Buried Secrets

How an Israeli billionaire wrested control of one of Africa’s biggest prizes.

A Loaded Gun

After massacres involving gun violence, from Columbine High School, in 1999, to Sandy Hook Elementary School, in December, one of our national rituals is to search for some overlooked sign that the shooters were capable of such brutality. “This is not a whodunnit,” Amy Bishop’s court-appointed lawyer, Roy Miller, observed after the Huntsville attack: Bishop left nine living witnesses to her crime. The question was why.

Reversal of Fortune

When the verdict was issued in Lago Agrio, Chevron declared the judgment to be “illegitimate and unenforceable,” and said that the company, which has no assets in Ecuador, would not pay. Instead, it countered with an audacious move—suing Steven Donziger, the architect of the suit against it. At the very moment that Donziger might have been celebrating a landmark victory in Ecuador, he found himself facing charges of extortion and fraud in New York.

Welcome to Newburgh, Murder Capital of New York

Beautifully situated on a picturesque bend in the Hudson about a 90 minutes’ drive north of New York City, Newburgh does not look, from a distance, like a community mired in High Noon levels of lawlessness. But in actuality, it has less in common with bohemian Beacon, just across the river (“Williamsburg on the Hudson,” as the Times recently anointed it), than it does with, say, West Baltimore. Despite its small size and bucolic setting, Newburgh occupies one of the most dangerous four-mile stretches in the northeastern United States. “There are reports of shootouts in the town streets, strings of robberies, and gang assaults with machetes,” an alarmed Chuck Schumer said in a Senate hearing last year, describing the situation in Newburgh as “shocking.” With a higher rate of violent crime per capita than the South Bronx or Brownsville, little Newburgh, population 29,000, is the murder capital of New York State.

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