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7 deadly reads

Sitdown Sunday: How a deadly fall revealed the CIA's secrets

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. The murder of Joy Morgan

When Joy Morgan joined the church Israel United in Christ, it meant she ended up pulling away from her family. But after it became a big part of her life, she went missing, and was found murdered – by a man she met in that church.

(BBC, approx 15 mins reading time) 

Joy and other members of the church would meet on a Saturday – known as the Sabbath. She ran the children’s group and hardly ever missed one of the church’s festivals. “The moment she started getting more and more into the church it was unbearable,” says Carol. “We were dirty people because we had not converted to the faith. That meant we were sinners.

2. How a deadly fall revealed the CIA’s secrets

The death of Frank Olson ended up revealing the truth behind clandestine CIA experiments.

(The Guardian, approx 22 mins reading time)

To the first police officers on the scene, this seemed like another of the human tragedies they saw too often: a distressed or distraught man had taken his own life. They could not have known that the dead man and the survivor were scientists who helped direct one of the US government’s most highly classified intelligence programmes.

3. The gospel according to Marianne Williamson

A long profile on the US presidential candidate, which asks: do spirituality and self-help have a political constituency?

(New York Times, approx 27 mins reading time)

Williamson is also a politician now, and on the weekend after Independence Day, she was doing what politicians do, which is visit citizens gathered at people’s homes (and on peach farms and at ice-cream socials) and make a case to the American people, one group of interested voters at a time. There she stood, tiny and regal, on the breathtaking porch of someone else’s breathtaking home in New Castle, N.H., right on the river, giving a civics lesson not about her specific policies; those were all on her website, under the label “The Issues Aren’t Always the Issue.” She was talking about how she could beat Donald Trump.

4. How this island became the world’s leading supplier of opioids

A visit to Tasmania, where poppies are grown.

(Pacific Standard, approx 30 mins reading time)

He had a contract to grow these specialized poppies with Tasmanian Alkaloids, which, until it was sold in 2016, was the only agricultural research and development facility in Johnson & Johnson’s sprawling pharmaceutical empire. For a time, Tasmanian Alkaloids offered tens of thousands of dollars in cash incentives to farmers. Growers also reported receiving Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs for producing the highest yields of drug compounds. Across the island, Bignell saw how the potential long-term profits on investment had drawn young professionals away from desk jobs on the Australian mainland back to the island.

5. The tragedy at Howse Peak

Three cutting edge climbers die during a harrowing expedition in Canada.

(Outside, approx 24 mins reading time)

Around 2 A.M. on Wednesday, April 17, Roskelley’s wife, Allison, texted his mother, Joyce. Jess had not yet checked in by InReach messenger, as he usually did. Joyce tried to reassure her, but Alli spent a sleepless night waiting for news. The next morning, when Jess still hadn’t checked in, Joyce spoke with Jess’s dad, John, a renowned climber himself. John thought there were a number of possible explanations, not all of them dire. He contacted Parks Canada, which promptly dispatched a search and rescue team from Lake Louise, about 30 miles away.

6. The cost of next-day delivery

Next-day delivery is huge in the US – so it’s natural we might want something similar here. But has it a cost?

(Buzzfeed, approx 35 mins reading time)

The super-pressurized, chaotic atmosphere leading up to that tragedy was hardly unique to Inpax, to Chicago, or to the holiday crunch. Amazon is the biggest retailer on the planet — with customers in 180 countries — and in its relentless bid to offer ever-faster delivery at ever-lower costs, it has built a national delivery system from the ground up. In under six years, Amazon has created a sprawling, decentralized network of thousands of vans operating in and around nearly every major metropolitan area in the country, dropping nearly 5 million packages on America’s doorsteps seven days a week.


The story of a harrowing ocean rescue, after two giant ships sailed into a superstorm.

(GQ, approx 25 mins reading time)

As they worked, a monster wave struck, knocking the cargo booms loose, swinging the giant cranes to the left side of the ship, compounding the list. The adjustments, the countermeasures, nothing seemed to work—the storm kept up its assault. Quickly, the crew tried jettisoning cargo, tossing containers over in a desperate scramble to stabilize the ship. That’s when she lost engine power. 

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>


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