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Analyze That? Experts Get Inside Trump’s Dangerous Mind

10.06.2017

THE GRAND THEFT AUTO KILLERS The mysterious rise and fall of Moscow’s most notorious gang


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OCTOBER 06, 2017 _ VOL.169 _ NO.12

FEATURES HEAD OF STATE

Donald Trump has been a very publiF ɿgure Ior years, so e[perts are in a position to know his behaviors, whiFh are the basis Ior assessing his dangerousness. COVER CREDIT

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The Grand Theft Auto Killers

The Most Dangerous Man in the World?

The mysterious rise and fall of the notorious Moscow gang charged with one of the most horrific killing sprees in Russian history. BY MARC BENNETTS

Experts analyze Donald Trump and make some scary observations. BY LANCE DODES, M.D.

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OCTOBER 06, 2017 _ VOL.169 _ NO.12

Kenneth Li

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EDITORIAL

DEPARTMENTS In Focus

Periscope

04 Erbil, Iraq

08 Politics

Kurdled Dreams 06 Singapore KEY STRATEGY

:eapons oI mass destruction are dumb, soon to be whipped by smart weapons oI pinpoint disruptionâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; which nations can use without risking annihilation oI the human race.

Too Fast, Too Furious Tangshan, China Water World Camp Shorab, Afghanistan Tangled Up in Green

Strange vs. Really Strange 12 Disruptive

How Russia Blew Up America 14 Gangs

Suspect Suspects

%reaking 1ews (ditor _ Gersh Kuntzman $cting /ondon %ureau &hieI _ Robert Galster 1ational (ditor _ John Seeley 3olitics (ditor _ Matt Cooper &ulture (ditor _ Mary Kaye Schilling Science Editor _ Jessica Wapner Deputy &ulture Editor _ Nicholas Loffredo Social Media Editor _ Adam Silvers Senior Editor _ SiobhĂĄn Morrin $ssociate Editor _ Eliza Gray $ssociate 1ews Editor _ Orlando Crowcroft &ontributing Editors _ Max Fraser,

Owen Matthews, Matthew Sweet E[ecutive Editor, T9, Film Digital _ Teri Wagner Flynn Social Media Editor _ Valeriia Voshchevska 9ideo 3roducer _ Jordan Saville 3roduction Editor _ Jeff Perlah &opy &hieI _ Elizabeth Rhodes &opy Editors _ Joe WesterÉżeld, Bruce Janicke, Kelly Rush ART + PHOTO

Horizons 34 Science

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Never Smile at a Crocodile 38 Nature

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That Doo-Doo That You Do So Well Culture 42 Sports

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In Focus

THE NEWS IN PICTURES

ERBIL, IRAQ

Kurdled Dreams? &+5 IS M &*5AT+ʔ*ET T < IMA*E S

Kurds gathered in northern Iraq at a rally on September 22, days before they voted on whether to create their own state—a dream of Kurdish nationalists for more than a century. As of publication, the results were unclear, but the referendum faced strong objections from many in the region who fear that independence would further destabilize an already chaotic Middle East. Ơ C H R I S M c G R AT H

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In Focus

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SINGAPORE

TANGSHAN, CHINA

CAMP SHORAB, AFGHANISTAN

Too Fast, Too Furious

Water World

Tangled Up in Green

The U.K.’s Lewis Hamilton shot past the competition on September 17 to win the Formula One Grand Prix in Singapore. The victory moved him 28 points ahead of German driver Sebastian Vettel, his closest rival. The roads were wet and difɿcult to navigate, but Hamilton struck a balance between caution and aggression. “Today,” he said after the race, “couldn’t be a more perfect scenario for us.”

For years, tourists have ʀocked to the Maldives, a chain of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean, renowned for their overwater villas. Now, China’s Yue Tuo Island Resort is trying to replicate the experience—with a twist: Dutch-style cabins, as seen here on September 18. These eye-catching bungalows are only about 90 miles from Beijing, but residents wouldn’t know it from looking out their window.

Members of the Afghan special forces carry out a night-training exercise with their U.S. allies on September 10. After more than 15 years of war with the Taliban, 11,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan, down from roughly 100,000 at their height. Thousands more will soon arrive to help train and advise the Afghan special forces, who are expected to double their ranks.

Ơ MARK THOMPSON

Ơ LINTAO ZHANG

Ơ ANDREW RENNEISEN

NEWSWEEK.COM

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Periscope

NEWS, OPINION + ANALYSIS

THOU SHALT NOT LOSE

Many in the GOP fear that Moore is so fanatical, he might lose to the Democrats come December.

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“I should not have to stop wearing my coat (that keeps me warm) for people not to discriminate against me.”» P. 14

POLITICS

Strange vs. Really Strange

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Why Democrats have a shot to win in 2018—even in blood-red Alabama

h i s n a m e m ay s o u n d l i k e t h at o f State.) The first time, he wouldn’t get rid of a giant a comic book villain, but Senator Luther statue of the Ten Commandments he put on the courthouse lawn. The second time, he refused to Strange is a pretty normal Republican—at least by Alabama standards. Since former Governor Robert comply with federal law over same-sex marriage. Bentley appointed him to replace Jeff Sessions in the Moore justified both actions on religious grounds, which would probably disqualiSenate in February, Strange has voted along conserfy another candidate, in another state, at anvative lines, backing the repeal of Obamacare, the other time from ever seeking office. But this confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Goris the GOP in the age of Trump, so insurrections such and so on. So it’s no surprise that Strange, a former energy lobbyist and state attorney general, are celebrated. And two-thirds of voters in Alabama has earned the support of GOP Senate leader Mitch identify as fundamentalist Christians, according to McConnell and President Donald Trump. a recent survey. Moore came in first when RepubliBut these days, nothing is predictable with the cans went to the polls in the initial round of voting GOP. Strange has encountered an unexpectedly in August. Strange finished second, which sent mainstubborn opponent as he tries to finish his time in stream Republicans like McConnell into apoplexy. office, which expires on December 12. Their fear: Moore is so fanatical that he might lose that GOP seat— His name is Roy Moore, an Alabama BY Supreme Court chief justice who has even in blood-red Alabama—in the twice had the gavel taken from him. general election in December. Or MATTHEW COOPER worse, that he’ll win, and they’ll (It’s an elected office in the Cotton @mattizcoop

NEWSWEEK.COM

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Periscope

POLITICS

TRUMP COUNTRY The president, who

have to deal with him. That’s why establishment Republican money is pouring in to rescue Strange. Even Trump hurried down South to help the senator. In late September, in a rambling 90-minute speech at a campaign rally in Huntsville, Trump endorsed the candidate (and fulminated against NFL players for not standing for the national anthem). “Both good men,” the president said of the two Republican candidates. “If [Moore] wins, I’m going to be here campaigning like hell for him. But, I have to say this…. Luther will definitely win.” His words didn’t sound convincing—and the president had to be

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persuaded to make such a high-profile visit, fearing he’d do so and Strange would lose. Alabama is Trump country. It was the site of the real estate mogul’s first stadium rally during his primary

Moore ranted about divisions in America and weirdly cited schisms between the “reds from yellows.”

campaign, a massive event in Mobile in 2015, where Trump Force One did a wing dip for 30,000 cheering fans. Sessions first publicly cozied up to the GOP long shot at that event, before Trump went on to crush his Republican opponents and then Hillary Clinton in the state. Yet the GOP is now divided between the right wing and the really right wing. And Alabama is a prime example. While the Republican establishment supports Strange, conservative flamethrowers such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon (once again leading Breitbart News) are backing Moore. Among other things, these firebrands want to push Trump to crack down on undocumented immigrants even more, particularly those who came to the U.S. as minors. Both Trump and Strange say they are open to a deal allowing these immigrants stay in the U.S.—and that’s created tension within the party. But there’s a rebellious quality to Moore’s race. He’s vowed to blow up Senate rules if he’s elected and continue crusading against McConnell. He’d also likely try to kick all gays out of the military—and once called for ousting Minnesota’s Keith Ellison from Congress because he’s Muslim. GOP leaders are worried that candidates like Moore may cost the party its majorities in Congress. They know the cost of ugly primary fights and eccentric nominees. In 2010, they nominated Nevada’s Sharron Angle, who blew her chance at winning with wild-eyed statements about Sharia (Islamic law) taking over the U.S. Two years later,

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is popular in Alabama, hurried down South to hold a rally for Strange. It was a savvy move intended to counter Moore’s far-right supporters.


HELLO, STRANGER On paper, Strange

looks like the perfect GOP Senate candidate in Alabama. But in the era of Trump, the more outrageous, the more subversive the candidate, the better—or so Republican voters seems to think.

the Indiana GOP chose Richard Mourdock over the state’s longtime incumbent, Richard Lugar. And he blundered badly, saying if a woman was raped and got pregnant, “it’s something God intended.” He couldn’t spin his way out of that, and a Democrat, Joe Donnelly, won the seat for the first time in 46 years. If the Tea Party led to such bizarre and ignominious defeats, imagine what we’ll see in 2018 with Breitbart’s Bannon whipping the far right into a frenzy. Moore has a real shot at winning the primary. He got trounced in his 2006 and 2010 bids to be governor, but those were different times. Now, the more outrageous, the more subversive the candidate, the better—or so Republican voters seems to think. Since Moore jumped into the U.S. Senate race in April, he’s been on a fast waterslide to Crazy Town. He claimed an endorsement from conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly— even though she’s dead. In September, he ranted about divisions in America and weirdly cited schisms between the “reds from yellows.” (He meant Native Americans and Asians.) Voters didn’t seem to mind. And while Strange still has Trump’s backing, Moore has deftly been able to claim the president is being held hostage by the swamp monsters like McConnell. As he put it, “The attempt by the silk-stockinged Washington elitists to control the vote of the people of Alabama has failed.” Democrats are salivating at the prospect of facing Moore. For years, they’ve struggled in the state. But the divisive Senate race has given them hope. Their nominee, a high-profile prosecutor named Doug Jones, is polling close to the former justice—as well as Strange. So even if the weirder candidate wins, the GOP—and Trump—could still get buried in their own backyard.

NEWSWEEK.COM

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Periscope

D I S R UPTIVE

How Russia Blew Up America in the long view of history, North Korea getting a nuclear-tipped intercontinental missile in 2017 is the rough equivalent of an army showing up for World War II riding horses and shooting muskets. Nukes are so last century. War is changing, driven by cyberweapons, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots. Weapons of mass destruction are dumb, soon to be whipped by smart weapons of pinpoint disruption— which nations can use without risking annihilation of the human race. If the U.S. is innovative and forward-thinking, it can develop technology that ensures no ill-behaving government could ever get a nuke off the ground. Then we might be able to relax and return to laughing at Kim Jong Un for looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man topped by a small furry mammal. This is the argument in a new book, Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules of War, by international law professors John Yoo (University of California, Berkeley) and Jeremy Rabkin (George Mason University). Their book connects war and nuclear weapons to a profound shift in the way the world works. We’re moving away from an era of mass production, mass media and mass markets, and into an era when products, media, markets and everything else are hyper-targeted and highly personalized. I’ve been

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researching that broad shift for a book that comes out in March, and it makes sense that it applies to war too. Economics of the 20th century were all about the masses. To be successful, a factory would strive to make the same product for the most people. TV networks sought to air least-common-denominator shows that would appeal to the broadest audience. In such a milieu, bigger usually won. Economies of scale ruled, “so we saw huge armies with identical mass-produced weapons that were cheap to make and caused a lot of indiscriminate destruction,” Yoo tells me. World War I was the first mass-market war, as reflected in its grim statistics: the Allies lost 5 million killed, 12.8 million wounded; the Central Powers lost 8.5 million killed, 21 million wounded. “Efficiency did not stop with the production of consumer goods,” Yoo and Rabkin write. “It extended even to the business of killing.” Nuclear weapons multiplied those economies of scale—the goal was to make one big weapon that could wipe out whole cities. Nobody ever built a more efficient mass-market killing machine. These days, that mentality is morphing. Look at the way Facebook, Google and Amazon use AI to learn BY about you and effectively market directly to KEVIN MANEY you. You’re becoming @kmaney

more of a market of one instead of a plebe in the mass market. The more technology can customize products, the more we’ll demand products built just for each of us, not mass-produced stuff made for everybody. In the military, this hyper-targeting is exactly what drones are about. Instead of leveling a village, as the U.S. did in Vietnam (watch Ken Burns’s new series), we would build one robotic flying machine to seek out and kill a targeted individual. As Yoo and Rabkin point out, the Obama administration deployed a software virus called Stuxnet in 2010 to disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons program but do no other damage. “Cyberweapons have this precision effect, and they don’t destroy anything or kill anyone,” Yoo says.

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Want to win a nuclear war? Build better hackers, not better bombs


MAKING A KILLING WITHOUT KILLING If you believe the multiple

intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Europe that have investigated Russian meddling in the past U.S. presidential election, Putin essentially achieved regime change without ɿring a bullet by deploying an army of hackers.

Last year, Russia taught us a lesson in new-century warfare, if you can even call it warfare. Multiple intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia essentially achieved regime change in the U.S. by relying on narrowly directed hacks and hyper-targeted influence campaigns, like those fake ads that Facebook recently revealed. After nearly 70 years of pointing nukes at the U.S., Russia just had its most disruptive impact on it with nothing but computer code. All of this suggests an approach to North Korea that has little in common with threatening “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” as President Donald Trump so quaintly put it. He’d have been barely less in sync with the times if he’d promised to make it rain for 40 days and 40 nights. Instead, Yoo suggests, the U.S. should go on the offense with cyberweapons designed to do things like make missiles malfunction (which maybe it has already done, but shh!), erase data from military computers, wipe out the country’s bank accounts or even steal and publicize Kim’s smoochy emails to Dennis Rodman. It might send out tiny, barely detectable, AI-driven drones that work together like swarms of bees to take out key assets or people. In the longer run, Yoo says, it’s feasible to develop satellite-based anti-missile technology armed with AI that could watch other nations, learn what an impending missile launch looks like and immediately fry the thing with lasers. This isn’t to say robot and software

weapons are not dangerous to the world. They could do enormous damage and lead to many deaths if they disrupt the systems—power, water, food, communications—that keep societies going. Something like the mutually assured destruction deterrent of the nuke era must emerge—a knowledge that retaliation in kind is likely, so everybody better cyber-behave. You might call it a new code war.

After nearly 70 years of pointing nukes at the U.S., Russia just had its most disruptive impact on it with nothing but computer code.

At least it seems less terrifying than wondering if a nutjob is going to lob an atomic missile into Beverly Hills. If the U.S. plays it smart, it will move out of the atomic age of war and into the AI age of war, and render Kim’s nuclear ambitions meaningless. Of course, that would require leadership from a tech-savvy, innovative and forward-thinking American president—so…oops. “New technology gives countries more options than just the tragic choice of either let this madman have a nuclear arsenal or trigger a conventional war,” Yoo says. Ultimately, we’d like to be able to say to Kim or any nuke-seeking leader: Yeah, go ahead and build that useless weapon. What are you going to do next, develop a crossbow?

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Periscope

Suspect Suspects

By scrapping its gang database, is Portland putting political correctness above public safety?

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he was busted for his flannel by Newsweek (his name was redacted from it). “But I am no longer coat—and not by the fashion police. The authorities stopped him active and…[am trying] to get my life on his way home from work and straighten[ed] out and take care of thought he was in a gang. Or so the my two kids…. I should not have to man realized after police in Portland, stop wear[ing] my coat (that keeps me Oregon, sent him a letter saying they’d warm) for people not to discriminate added him to a list of against me.” known gang members. He isn’t the only one “I did tell the cops that complaining. For about BY I use[d] to bang,” the three decades, police man wrote in a 2015 departments have used JOSH SAUL appeal letter obtained databases to keep track @joshfromalaska

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California’s gang database included 42 people who were babies when they were listed as gang members. of suspected gang members, often sharing their lists with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who target those on the list for deportation. Police officials say the databases help detectives quickly determine which witnesses or suspects they should focus on after a violent crime, identify rival gangs that might be responsible and build larger cases—whether it’s gunrunning or human trafficking—by making connections between street-level crooks and kingpins. But critics say the lists are overly broad and lead to racial profiling. They not only include people who aren’t in gangs; they also make it hard for former gang members to get a job or find a place to live. Last year, a report from the California state auditor found the state’s database was improperly used for job screenings and potentially violated privacy rights. It was also inaccurate. Among other blunders, it included 42 people who were babies when the authorities labeled them as gang members. In September, the Portland Police Bureau became what appears to be the first department to announce it would stop compiling or using its gang database. The move, says police Captain Mike Krantz, a former member of the bureau’s gang task force, was a way to rebuild trust with city residents, especially blacks and Latinos, who are disproportionately represented on the list. (Portland was 76 percent white in the latest census;

last year, The Oregonian discovered that 77 percent of the 359 people in the city’s gang database were black or Latino.) Rebuilding that trust is important because it’s key to reducing crime, according to recent studies and Department of Justice reports. The gang database is also no longer necessary, Krantz and other observers say. In recent decades, advances in crime lab technology have allowed authorities to quickly analyze ballistic evidence from shootings and identify the people involved—without using the controversial list. Jeffrey Wennar, a former gang prosecutor in Maryland and now the legal counsel for the National Alliance of Gang Investigators Association, says keeping lists of suspected gang members can lead to lazy investigations. “Go back to the

SUSPECT BEHAVIOR Critics say gang databases are overly broad and make it hard for former gang members to get a job or ɿnd a place to live.

movie Casablanca, where he says, ‘Round up the usual suspects,’” he says. “That’s too broad an approach.” Other departments will be watching as Portland’s plan goes into effect October 15. Some of them maintain that gang databases still help detectives make connections between shooters and victims, for example, and should be used so long as the authorities protect civil liberties. “The correlation of gang violence and gun violence is very high,” Meena Harris, director of the National Gang Center, which is funded by the Department of Justice, wrote in an email. A Chicago Police Department detective put his thoughts on Portland’s move more bluntly. “What a joke,” he tells Newsweek via text, asking for anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the press. One drawback, Wennar and Krantz acknowledge, is the loss of gang statistics, which can alert police to when groups grow or start committing new crimes. “We understand it’s going to hurt us a little,” Krantz says. But both say the risks posed by Portland’s decision are worth the potential rewards. Because gangs don’t have clearly defined membership, people who live in a neighborhood with a lot of gang activity, or have family or friends in a gang, can end up on the list, says Peter Bibring, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Which is why Krantz believes his city’s new policy will encourage residents to work with the authorities and help them stop gangs like the Bloods, Crips and Hoovers. As for the man in the flannel coat whom the police stopped in 2015, it seems he already has stood up— at least for himself. Later that year, he won his appeal, and the police removed him from their database.

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The mysterious rise and fall of Moscowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most notorious gang by MARC BENNETTS

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T A E U E

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E D T O S 17


t was a daring escape plan, one that

started in the elevator of a Moscow courthouse. On August 1, two Russian police officers were leading five murder suspects to a court hearing. But as the elevator ascended, investigators say, one suspect—his hands cuffed in front of him—began to choke an officer from behind, while his fellow defendants swiftly disarmed the other. Clutching their newly acquired weapons, the men burst out of the elevator on the third floor of the courthouse and began firing at members of Russia’s National Guard, but the state security force quickly overwhelmed the prisoners. Three suspects were killed in the gun battle; another two suffered serious injuries, and one would later die in a Moscow hospital. Russian television soon aired footage of the suspects lying in pools of their own blood. “Is that one alive or dead?” said an off-camera voice, as security officers stood guard over the crime scene. The five men who attempted that escape had all been charged with a spate of brutal murders on the highways around Moscow. It was one of the most horrific killing sprees in Russia under Vladimir Putin. It was also one of the most mystifying, giving rise to explosive rumors of high-level cover-ups and terrible vengeance. Almost three years on, the rumors just won’t go away—and with good reason.

Corpses on the Highway investigators say the killings began on may 3, 2014, when Anatoly Lebedev and his wife, Tatiana, both in their 60s, were driving south on the M4, a 950-mile-long highway that winds through Russia’s agricultural heartland. It was dark, and they had been traveling for around an hour when Anatoly realized one of his tires was deflating. He pulled over and discovered a hole. As he was taking a tire jack out of the trunk, at least two gunmen appeared, firing four shots from two 9 mm handguns, killing Anatoly where he stood and Tatiana, who was in the passenger seat. Then the attackers vanished, leaving the couple’s car by the side of the road. The next to die was Alexei Tsiganov, a 53-year-old bus driver, who was gunned down on the M4 two months later. In August, the lifeless body of Albert Yusupov, a 31-year-old former dancer, was discovered lying next to his car on a road near Moscow. He had been shot in the head and back. Both men’s cars had flat tires. And so it went. By the fall, the

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number of killings on and around the M4 had hit double digits. Some reports said the gang had taken the lives of as many as 26 motorists. State media and pro-Kremlin news websites, citing sources in the security services, reported that few if any valuables were taken from the victims—so robbery wasn’t the likely motive. Russian media quickly dubbed the mysterious gunmen the GTA gang, a reference to the Grand Theft Auto video games, in which players engage in random acts of violence. The gang’s tactics were simple and brutal, investigators say. The killers placed a chain of metal spikes on roads near Moscow, usually, but not always, on the M4. Then, they waited for a car to drive over them. When the drivers emerged from their vehicles to check the damage, the gang moved in, shooting its victims with skill and precision. Some motorists were lucky enough to escape. Irina was traveling south from Moscow on the M4 one night in July 2014 when her dashboard

THE HUNTING GROUND

The killers placed spikes on roads, usually the M4, above, to set up their ambushes. The nine arrested suspects, right, are migrant workers, all from former Soviet states in Central Asia.

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KILLERS

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indicator showed that her left rear tire was losing air. She pulled over but did not leave the car immediately. That decision saved her life. “I saw the silhouettes of a number of men,” says Irina, who asked me not to reveal her true identity. “One of them began running toward the car. I saw him take a handgun out of his jacket. Another had a knife.” Terrified, Irina sped away. She called the police on her cellphone and gave them her GPS coordinates. Within minutes, officers arrived at the scene but discovered nothing. With the authorities unable to stop the slaughter, speculation mounted. One theory, pushed by Russian nationalists: Ukrainian authorities had hired killers to wreak havoc on ordinary Russians. The motive, the theory went, was revenge for the Kremlin’s seizure of Crimea earlier that year. Others alleged the gang was made up of rogue members of the Russian special forces, citing unconfirmed rumors the attackers used bullets available only to the security services.

Vladimir Yakhnenko, a lecturer at Moscow State University, suggested the killers were devil worshippers, because the metal spikes the gang used to disable their victims’ cars were in the shape of black crosses. In October 2014, around 150 armed vigilantes launched nightly patrols of the roads around Moscow, stopping suspicious vehicles and questioning drivers. “These killers aren’t just some crazies,” Erik Davidich, the leader of the vigilantes, told me ahead of one patrol. “They are far too well organized and professional for that,” he claimed. “In one case, three of them fired simultaneously from around [32 feet] away straight into the head of a driver. In the dark.” Davidich and his vigilantes didn’t catch the gang, but from the moment they began guarding the highways, not a single related shooting was reported. The GTA gang’s killing spree had come to an end. But the mystery surrounding the death and destruction it had left behind was far from over.

The Russian Zombie Box udelnaya is a quiet, almost idyllic village some 25 miles from the Russian capital. It is popular with wealthy Muscovites, who come on weekends to relax in two- or three-story homes surrounded by tall fences. Expensive, foreign-made vehicles glide through its tree-lined streets, many of which are named after Russian writers. Early on November 6, 2014, while it was still dark, a heavily armed special forces unit arrived in Udelnaya. Its target, at the rear of a residential compound, was a building that was home to a 35-year-old Kyrgyzstan national named Ibaydullo Subkhanov, along with his wife, her mother and the couple’s two small children. The special forces called for everyone inside to come out with their hands raised. The women and children complied. Subkhanov didn’t. Instead, he opened fire with a handgun, investigators said, and threw an explosive device at the officers, who responded with a lethal barrage of gunshots and grenades. Subkhanov was killed instantly, and the building was burned to the ground. The authorities later searched the property and found dozens of weapons, including AK-47 assault rifles, Browning semi-automatic handguns and bombs. Investigators later said Subkhanov was the leader of the infamous GTA gang. People in the village were shocked. “We didn’t know anything about the gang

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until we heard gunfire and explosions and saw all the smoke,” a neighbor told me when I visited Udelnaya. Over the next few weeks, Russian authorities arrested nine alleged gang members, charging them with 17 murders. The suspects were migrant workers from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan—all mainly Muslim former Soviet states in Central Asia. Like most of the millions of migrant workers who come from poor countries to work in Russia, they all had low-paying jobs. Some were janitors, others unloaded trucks or did grueling manual labor on construction sites. Subkhanov had been a maintenance man on the Udelnaya compound. In a bizarre twist, the property he was living on belonged to the family of Alexei Staroverov, a high-ranking official with the Russian prosecutor general’s office. Even veteran Russian journalists were taken aback by the news: How was the suspected leader of one of the most vicious gangs in Russia living at the home of a senior law enforcement official? Staroverov denied any knowledge of the gang. He said he rarely visited the property and had never met Subkhanov. But some doubted he was telling the truth, pointing to his allegedly dubious finances as evidence of mendacity. (Despite his modest salary, Staroverov had once been named by Forbes as one of Russia’s richest security officials.) Investigators ultimately opened a criminal case against him on arms trafficking charges over the weapons discovered on his property, but Viktor Grin, Russia’s deputy prosecutor general, quickly ordered those charges to be dropped. The link between Staroverov and the gang should have been one of the biggest stories of the year, but it was mostly ignored by the pro-Kremlin media. “The Zombie Box has gone quiet and is making out like it hasn’t noticed anything,” wrote Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, using a popular slang term for state television. After questioning Staroverov, investigators ruled it was mere coincidence that the alleged ringleader of the gang had lived on his property. He quietly resigned his post, and his whereabouts are now unclear. Although many questioned the official story, there was no clear explanation as to why he would have gotten involved with the gang. Yet suspicions linger. “I simply don’t believe in coincidences of this kind,” says Dmitry Alyaev, a

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journalist with Fergana, the Moscow-based news website, which reports on Central Asian issues. “There’s something extremely bizarre about all this.”

‘They Killed Complete Strangers’ the strangeness didn’t end with staroverov. Within days of the arrests, Putin congratulated police on their good work. “This was a terrorist crime,” he told Interior Ministry head Vladimir Kolokoltsev on November 8, 2014. State media echoed his comments. The Russian government’s official newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, cited law enforcement sources as saying the murder suspects were Islamist radicals. “Those who have been arrested weren’t shooting or cutting people up for money,” the newspaper wrote. “They killed complete strangers—unbelievers—for the sake of their ideology.” Pro-Kremlin media also reported that Subkhanov, the gang’s alleged leader, had briefly fought for the Islamic State group in Syria (ISIS). This would not have been the first time that Islamist militant groups had targeted Russia. Bombings claimed by the Caucasus Emirate jihadi group had torn through a high-speed train traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 2009, as well as metro stations in Moscow the following year. The group also said it carried out a suicide attack at the capital city’s Domodedovo International Airport in 2011. Suicide bombers also struck Volgograd, a city in the south, ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Yet within days of the GTA gang’s arrest, the Investigative Committee, an FBI-style law enforcement agency that answers only to Putin, declared the killings nothing more than an extremely violent form of highway robbery. “The members of the gang were motivated only by greed,” Vladimir Markin, the committee’s spokesman, said on November 12, 2014. It was a conclusion that was inconsistent with everything known about the attacks. According to the official indictment, reported on in detail by Russia’s Mediazona website, the most valuable item stolen by the alleged gunmen was a Toyota Land Cruiser. Usually, they left their victims’ vehicles at the side of the highway.

“THEY LIVED LIKE ORDINARY MIGRANT WORKERS. BUT AT NIGHT, LIKE WOLVES, THEY WENT OUT TO KILL.”

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Markin would later openly contradict himself, telling state radio that the gang was at least partly motivated by the desire to take the lives of innocent people. “They were very cunning,” he said last year, ahead of the initial court hearings for the arrested men. “They lived like ordinary migrant workers and were absolutely docile. But at night, like wolves, they went out to kill.” Attorneys for the suspects were either appointed by investigators or drawn from a pool of lawyers favored by the security services. These state-approved attorneys declared their clients were guilty as charged and made no public reference to the apparent absurdity of the allegations. However, in conversation with Newsweek, Irina Zykova, who represents one of the surviving suspects, hinted that there was more to the killings than financial gain. “It’s true that they took hardly anything from their victims,” Zykova says. “But you have to understand—I’m a defense attorney, and for me, it’s easier to work with the case that has been presented than with a more serious charge.” She declined to go into further detail. But if the gang members weren’t killing for profit, then what other explanation could there be? And why were the Russian authorities so eager to cover up their real motives?

‘White Power! Darkies Out!’

TOOʝSPEEDY TRIAL

Four GTA suspects died amid a gun battle with police while attempting to escape, left. Some suspect that lax security at the court was part of a conspiracy to kill the suspects before they faced charges in court.

after the shootout at the courthouse, i called Natalia Kozlova, the author of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta article. As the Russian government’s official print mouthpiece, the paper enjoys good relations with the security forces and is expected to echo the Kremlin’s line. I wanted to know if Kozlova’s sources in law enforcement had lied to her about the GTA gang’s motives. And if not, was there another explanation for state media’s dramatic shift in tone? It is extremely unusual for Russian state media journalists to discuss their work with foreign reporters, but Kozlova decided to talk—and had no apparent qualms about admitting there was a cover-up. “Investigators didn’t want to frighten society,” she says. “Society doesn’t always need to know the whole truth.” The unpalatable reality, Kozlova says, is that the killings were inspired by an explosive mixture of Islamist extremism and anger at their hostile treatment in Russia. “They were murdering people on racial, national and religious grounds,” she says. “It’s likely some of them would have gone on to Syria.”

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Although it is hard to get exact figures, between 1,500 and 4,000 Central Asian citizens are believed to have joined Islamist militant groups in Syria. Many are vulnerable to Islamist propaganda, analysts say, because they face widespread racism, discrimination and violence in Russia, often at the hands of the police. Central Asian migrants working in Russia have been targeted by ISIS online propaganda videos that accuse them of being “slaves of infidels” and urge them to join the jihadi group in Syria or Iraq. I asked Diana Tatosova, the attorney for Fazlitdin Khasanov, one of the four men shot dead during the courthouse breakout, if she had seen any indication that the gang’s killings were motivated by more than robbery. She says she has a good relationship with law enforcement and had been appointed to the case because investigators found her “convenient to work with.” Despite her links to the security services, Tatosova says the GTA gang’s members were at least partly inspired by their “ideological beliefs” and a desire for revenge. The highway killings, she says, were driven by “the mistaken and primitive idea that if they are afraid of us, this means they respect us.” The shootings had been classified as robbery-related, she says, because “the Investigative Committee will never say anything that could panic the public.” Investigators did not respond to a request from Newsweek for comment, but if the GTA gang was carrying out a terrorist campaign on the highways around Moscow, it’s not hard to see why Russian authorities would be keen to stop the truth from getting out. The killings came at an extremely sensitive time for the Kremlin. Six months before the first bodies turned up on the M4 highway, hundreds of people chanting “White power!” and “Darkies out!” had rampaged through a southern Moscow district after the murder of an ethnic Russian by a man from Azerbaijan, a Muslim-majority ex-Soviet republic. Around half a dozen similar riots had taken place in provincial Russian towns in the five years leading up to the highway shootings. In December 2010, thousands of ultranationalists had staged a violent rally under the Kremlin walls to protest the death of a soccer fan during a brawl with men from Russia’s largely Muslim North Caucasus region. The situation was so serious that the Kremlin called spiraling racial tensions “a threat to national

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ENFORCED CALM

State-run media downplayed recent terrorist attacks in Russia, and there is much speculation that Moscow is covering up many aspects of the GTA murder spree because it doesn’t want the public to know the campaign was yet another terrorist plot.

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security.” News that a gang of Central Asian migrants had been murdering Russians on ethnic or religious grounds would likely have sparked nationwide riots and revenge killings, undermining Putin’s claim to have brought “stability” to Russia. The Kremlin remains hypersensitive about publicizing Islamist attacks. On August 19, after a teenager went on a stabbing rampage in Surgut, a city in Siberia, state media made no mention of ISIS’s claim of responsibility. Russia’s two main national TV channels did briefly mention the attack, but both reports lasted less than half a minute. They cited investigators who said the assailant, a 19-year-old man from Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus region, was suffering from psychiatric problems. Instead of reporting on a clear case of “domestic terrorism,” the two state channels devoted much of their programs to tensions in the U.S. following the far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12. “Russian state media doesn’t want to admit that it’s not just Western countries that are hit by terror attacks,” says Ruslan Leviev, a prominent investigative blogger. “It wants Russians to believe that terror attacks in Europe are a direct result of more tolerant attitudes to migrants and refugees there.”

“THESE KILLERS AREN’T JUST SOME CRAZIES. THEY ARE FAR TOO WELLORGANIZED AND PROFESSIONAL.”

A Kremlin Conspiracy?

the gta killings stopped with the arrests of the migrants, but speculation continues to run hot as the surviving defendants are set to appear in court again at the end of the year. Not everyone is convinced the suspects were even responsible for the killings. Apparent police sketches leaked to Russian media indicated that the assailants were white males of Slavic appearance. Investigators have not commented on the veracity of the images, and Newsweek has been unable to ascertain if they are genuine. Others say the tactics allegedly employed by the gang, which seemed to possess an uncanny ability to evade police searches, were too proficient to be the work of amateur assassins. “I don’t believe these shootings were carried out by these Tajik, Uzbek and Kyrgyz nationals,” says Alyaev, the Fergana reporter. “The killings were all committed in an extremely

professional manner. If this really was the work of a gang of labor migrants, then Russia’s special forces would have located and destroyed them instantly.” There are other, more sinister grounds for suspicion too. Although the alleged gunmen initially confessed to the slayings, some later retracted their statements, claiming they had been tortured by investigators into doing so. Human rights activists say torture is commonly used by Russian police to force innocent people to admit to crimes they did not commit. Central Asian migrants are a particular target. “I’m always extremely suspicious when I hear that a Central Asian migrant has been accused of a crime,” says Valentina Chupkin, the head of Tong Jahoni, a Moscow-based human rights group. “Russian police don’t believe that Central Asian migrants have any rights at all.” There are also questions about the lax security at the courthouse. Why were only two police officers—a 45-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman— tasked with escorting five of the nation’s most notorious alleged killers to the courtroom? And why had they not been cuffed with their hands behind their backs, per regulations? “I don’t remember a single case in my entire 15-year career when I was in a courthouse lift with five suspects at the same time,” Nikolai Vernik, a former police officer who was responsible for escorting defendants to court, told Russian media. The suspects had all been awaiting trial in the same detention facility in Moscow, a serious violation of Russian prison regulations. Igor Trunov, a prominent attorney, says it’s possible the men had been encouraged to make a break for freedom to provide security services with an opportunity to “liquidate” them. Did someone silence the defendants before they could spill some dark secrets? Anvar Ulugmuradov, the oldest of the suspects, certainly wanted to share something in the months before the courthouse shootout. “Can I [get assurances] that nothing will happen to me, that no one will harm me…if I say what really happened?” Ulugmuradov asked in a preliminary court hearing. His fellow alleged gang members, including those gunned down at the courthouse in August, made similar appeals. To no avail. “What do you want?” the judge snapped. “The court can’t give you anything.” The surviving defendants have said nothing more—at least for now.

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A PERSISTENT LOSS OF REALITY B Y LANCE DODES, M.D.

because donald trump has been a very public figure for many years, we are in an excellent position to know his behaviors—his speech and actions— which are precisely the basis for making an assessment of his dangerousness, whether we assess him using the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for antisocial personality disorder, as below, or whether we apply our knowledge of malignant narcissism, both of which include the signs and symptoms of sociopathy. Let us consider these in turn.

Lack of Empathy for Others; Lack of Remorse; Lying and Cheating Trump’s mocking the disability of a handicapped reporter, unconcern for the safety of protesters at a rally (“Get rid of them!”), sexually assaulting women, threatening physical harm to his opponent in the election (alluding to gun owners eliminating her), repeatedly verbally attacking a family who lost their son fighting for the country, degrading people who criticize him (calling them insulting names, as he did in both the Republican primaries and the general election), a history of cheating people he’s hired by not paying them what he owes, and targeting and terrifying minority groups all provide overwhelming evidence of profound sociopathic traits.

Loss of Reality Trump’s insistence on the truth of matters proved to be untrue (“alternative facts”) is well known, even when such denial is not in his interest. He has falsely claimed that President Barack Obama is not an American and that he wiretapped Trump’s building, that his loss in the popular vote of the general election was caused by illegal aliens, that he had the largest inauguration crowd in history and so on. Together, these show a persistent loss of reality. Rage Reactions and Impulsivity Trump’s rages have been reported on multiple occasions, leading to sudden decisions and actions. He fired and subsequently threatened the director of the FBI after hearing

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him testify in unwanted ways before Congress; launched more than 50 missiles within 72 hours of seeing a disturbing image on the news, reversing his stated Middle East policy; precipitously violated diplomatic norms, creating international tensions (as with reports of threatening to invade Mexico, hanging up on the prime minister of Australia, antagonizing Germany, France, Greece and others); and issued illegal executive orders, apparently without vetting them with knowledgeable attorneys. Conclusion While there have surely been American presidents who could be said to be narcissistic, none have shown sociopathic qualities to the degree seen in Trump. Correspondingly, none have been so definitively and so obviously dangerous. Democracy requires respect and protection for multiple points of view, concepts that are incompatible with sociopathy. The need to be seen as superior and a lack of empathy or remorse for harming other people are in fact the signature characteristics of tyrants, who seek the control and destruction of all who oppose them, as well as loyalty to themselves instead of the country they lead. The paranoia of severe sociopathy creates a profound risk of war, since heads of other nations will inevitably disagree with or challenge the sociopathic leader, who will experience the disagreement as a personal attack, leading to rage reactions and impulsive action to destroy this “enemy.” Trump’s sociopathic characteristics are undeniable and create a profound danger for America.

THE INSURMOUNTABLE TRUST DEFICIT BY GAIL SHEEHY

T

he fundamental bedrock of human development is the formation of a capacity to trust, absorbed by children between birth and 18 months. Donald Trump has boasted of his total lack of trust: “People are too trusting. I’m a very untrusting guy.” “Hire the best people and don’t trust them.” “The world is a vicious and brutal place. Even your friends are out to get you. They want your job, your money, your wife.” His biographers have recorded his worldview as saturated with a sense of danger and his need to project total toughness. As we know, his father trained him to be a “killer,” the only alternative to being a “loser.” Trump has never forgotten the primary lesson he learned from his father and at the military school to which he was sent to be toughened up further. In Trump’s words, “Man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat.” As president, Trump is systematically shredding trust in the institutions he now commands. In the nearly two years that Trump has been in our face almost daily, he has sown mistrust in all his Republican rivals, alienated much of the conservative Republican bloc he needs in the House for legislative success, ignored congressional Democrats and viciously insulted Democratic leaders, calling them liars, clowns, stupid and incompetent, and condemning former President Barack Obama as “sick” and Hillary Clinton as “the devil.” Having discredited the entire 17-agency intelligence community as acting like Nazis, he also dismissed the judiciary because of one judge’s Hispanic background and another’s opposition to his travel >n«e Muslim@ ban. Even

DR. LANCE DODES is a training and supervising analyst emeritus at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society.

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A FRIGHTENING VENN DIAGRAM B Y P H I L I P Z I M B A R DO

his Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, said it was “disheartening” and “demoralizing” to hear Trump disparage the judiciary. Not content to smear the media on a daily basis, Trump borrowed a phrase used by /enin and Stalin to brand the American media as an “enemy of the people.” The nonmedical deɿnition of paranoia is the tendency toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others. By his own words, Trump operates on the assumption that everyone is out to get him. We hear repeatedly that Trump as a manager likes chaos. I asked a deputy White House counsel under Obama, a decorated former ofɿcer in Iraq and former White House counsel to Obama, how such a management style impacts trust. “Trump explicitly or implicitly manages the situation so it’s never possible for his advisers to know “One deɿnition where they stand,” he said. “It’s of paranoia the opposite of what you want in is excessive a high-functioning organization.” or irrational To the dismay of even consuspiciousness. servative observers, Trump By his own appears totally indifferent to words, Trump the truth. Time gave Trump an operates on the opportunity to clarify his refusal assumption that to correct his long string of everyone is out falsehoods. What the interview to get him.” produced instead was an astonishing revelation of his thinking: He states what he wants to be true. If his statement is proved false, he is unfazed and conɿdently predicts that the facts will catch up with his belief: “I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right.” Beneath the grandiose behavior of every narcissist lies the pit of fragile self-esteem. What if, deep down, the person whom Trump trusts least is himself? The humiliation of being widely exposed as a “loser,” unable to bully through the actions he promised during the campaign, could drive him to prove he is, after all, a “killer.” GAIL SHEEHY is

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an author, journalist and popular lecturer.

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& ROSEMARY SWORD

through our observations, it was glaringly apparent that Donald Trump embodied a specific personality type: an unbridled, or extreme, present hedonist. As the words suggest, present hedonists live in the moment, without much thought of any consequences of their actions or of the future. An extreme present hedonist will say whatever it takes to pump up his ego and to assuage his inherent low self-esteem, without any thought for past reality or for the potentially devastating future outcomes. Our assertion that Trump is among the most extreme present hedonists we have ever witnessed comes from the plethora of written and recorded material on him. The extreme present hedonist’s impulsive thought leads to an impulsive action that can cause him to dig in his heels when confronted with the consequences of that action. If the person is in a position of power, then others scramble either to deny or to find ways to back up the original impulsive action. In normal day-today life, this impulsiveness leads to misunderstandings, lying and toxic relationships. In the case of Trump, an impulsive thought may unleash a stream of tweets or verbal remarks that then spur others to try to fulfill, or deny, his thoughtless action. Case in point: Trump’s impulsive tweet, “How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” caused members of his staff to scramble to find evidence to make the false and slanderous claim “real.” Another concerning characteristic

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of extreme present hedonists is the often unwitting—we like to give some extreme present hedonists the benefit of the doubt—propensity to dehumanize others in order to feel superior. The Bullying Kind In the early 1900s, Sigmund Freud introduced narcissism as part of his psychoanalytic theory. Throughout the ensuing decades, it was refined and sometimes referred to as megalomania or severe egocentrism. By 1968, the condition had evolved into the diagnosable narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissistic people are out of balance in that they think very highly of themselves while simultaneously thinking very lowly of all those whom they consider their inferiors, which is almost everybody. Narcissists are emotional, dramatic and can lack compassion and empathy. What lies underneath this personality type is often very low self-esteem. Narcissists can’t handle criticism of any kind, and will belittle others or

become enraged or condescending to make themselves feel better when they perceive they are being criticized. It’s not unusual for a narcissistic personality to be blind to his behavior because it doesn’t fit his view of his perfect and dominant self. Research indicates that some bullies may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, while others may have difficulty interpreting or judging social situations and other people’s actions—they interpret hostility from others when none was meant. For example, a person unintentionally bumps into a bully, who views this accident as an act of aggression; he therefore overreacts, which triggers the bully response of seeking revenge. Bullies have often been abused or are driven by their insecurities. They typically want to control and manipulate others to feel superior. In Trump, we have a frightening Venn diagram consisting of three circles: The first is extreme present hedonism; the second, narcissism;

and the third, bullying behavior. These three circles overlap in the middle to create an impulsive, immature, incompetent person who, when in the position of ultimate power, easily slides into the role of tyrant, complete with family members sitting at his proverbial “ruling table.” Everything Can Fall Apart In presenting our case that Trump is mentally unfit to be president of the United States, we would be remiss if we did not consider one more factor: the possibility of a neurological disorder such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which the president’s father, Fred Trump, suffered from. Again, we are not trying to speculate diagnoses from afar, but comparing video interviews of Trump from the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s to current video, we find that the differences (significant reduction in the use of essential words; an increase in the use of adjectives such as very, huge and tremendous; and incomplete, run-on sentences

GEORGE MARKSʔGE T T <

“A N E X T R E M E P R E S E N T H E D O N I S T WILL SAY WH ATEVER IT TAKES TO PUMP UP HIS EGO A ND ASSUAGE HIS IN HER EN T L OW SELF-E ST EE M .”

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PHILIP ZIMBAR RDO,, professor p r emeritus at Sttanford University, is a scholar, educator and researcherr perhaps best k known for his landmark Sta anford prison study..

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THE MANY DANGER SIGNS BY JAMES GILLIGAN, M.D.

P

sychiatrists in America today have been told that they have two diametrically opposite professional obligations, and that if they violate either one, they are behaving unethically. The ɿrst says they have an obligation to remain silent about their evaluation of anyone if that person has not given them permission to speak about it publicly. The second says they have an obligation to speak out and inform others if they believe that person may be dangerous to them, even if he has not given them permission to do so. From both an ethical and a legal standpoint, the second of those two trumps the ɿrst. The issue here is not whether President Donald Trump is mentally ill. It is whether he is dangerous. Dangerousness is not a psychiatric diagno diagnosis. One does not have to be “mentally ill” in order to be e dangerous. Trump may or may not meet the criteria for any a of the diagnoses of mental disorders deɿned in the Diagnostic D and Statistical Manual of y Association, or for many of them, the American Psychiatric but that is not relevant to the issue we are raising here. The most reliable data for assessing dangerousness often do not require interrviewing the individuals about g an opinion. The most reliable data whom we are forming on’s family and friends and, just may come from the perso p p e reports, criminal histories, and as important, from police medical, prison and jjudiccial records, as well as other p ation from third parties. In Trump’s publiclyy available informa case, we also have many public records, tape recordings p as well as his own public speeches, and videotapes, interviews and tweets of his numerous threats of violence, c te e ts to violence o e ce a and boasts of violence that he himself incitements g having g com mmitted repeatedly and habitually. acknowledges Sometimes, a person’s dangerousness is so obvious

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GEORGE MARKSʔRETROFI/EʔGET T <

that don’t make sense and that could indicate a loss of train of thought or memory) are conspicuously apparent. Whether Trump suffers from a neurological disorder—or narcissistic personality disorder, or any other mental health issue, for that matter— will, undeniably, remain conjecture unless he submits to tests, which is highly unlikely given his personality. However, the lack of such tests cannot erase the well-documented behaviors he has displayed for decades and the dangers they pose. When an individual is psychologically unbalanced, everything can teeter and fall apart if change does not occur. We believe that Trump is the most dangerous man in the world, a powerful leader of a powerful nation who can order missiles fired at another nation because of his (or a family member’s) personal distress at seeing sad scenes of people having been gassed to death. We a r e g r ave l y c o n c e r n e d about Trump’s abrupt, capricious 180-degree sh hifts and how these dis-plays of instab bilityy have the potential to be unconsscionably dangerous. g Corporation s and companies vet their prospecctive employees. y This vetting process frequently includes psychologicall testingg in the form of exams or quizzzes to help the employer make more infformed hiring decisions and determin ne if the prospective employee is ho onest and/or / would be a good fit for th he company. These tests are used for positions p ranging from department sttore sales clerk to high-level executivee. Isn’t it time that the same be requiired for candidates for the most impo ortant job in the world??


that one does not need professional training in either psychiatry or criminology to recognize it. One does not need to have had 50 years of professional experience in assessing the dangerousness of violent criminals to recognize the dangerousness of a president who: Asks what the point of having thermonuclear weapons is if we cannot use them. For example, MSNBC host -oe Scarborough reported that Trump had asked a foreign policy adviser three times, â&#x20AC;&#x153;If we have them, why canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t we use them?â&#x20AC;? Urges our government to use torture or worse against our prisoners of war. Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly said â&#x20AC;&#x153;torture works,â&#x20AC;? and promised to bring back â&#x20AC;&#x153;waterboardingâ&#x20AC;? and to introduce new methods â&#x20AC;&#x153;that go a lot further.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sometimes Urged that Éżve innocent a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s African-American youths be dangerousness given the death penalty for a is so obvious sexual assault years after it that one does had been proved beyond a not need reasonable doubt to have been professional committed by someone else. training in either Boasts about his ability to psychiatry or get away with sexually assaulting criminology to women because of his celebrity recognize it.â&#x20AC;? and power. Trump was recorded saying, of his way of relating to women, that â&#x20AC;&#x153;I just start kissing them. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like a magnetâ&#x20AC;Ś. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even wait. And when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab â&#x20AC;&#x2122;em by the pussy. You can do anything.â&#x20AC;? Urges his followers at political rallies to punch protesters in the face and beat them up so badly that they have to be taken out on stretchers. In an editorial, The New York Times has quoted the following remarks by Trump at his rallies: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to punch him in the face, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll tell youâ&#x20AC;?; â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be carried out on a stretcher, folksâ&#x20AC;?; â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK? -ust knock the hell... I will pay for the legal fees, I promise you.â&#x20AC;?

Suggests that his followers could always assassinate his political rival, Hillary Clinton, if she were elected president or, at the very least, throw her in prison. And so on, in an endless stream of threats of violence, boasts of violence and incitements to violence. If psychiatrists with decades of experience doing research on violent offenders do not conÉżrm the validity of the conclusion that many nonpsychiatrists have reached, that Trump is extremely dangerousâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;indeed, by far the most dangerous of any president in our lifetimesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;then we are not behaving with appropriate professional restraint and discipline. However, while all psychiatrists, by deÉżnition, have studied mental illness, most have not specialized in studying the causes, consequences, prediction and prevention of violence. That is why it is so important for those few of us who have done so to warn the potential victims, in the interests of public health, when we identify signs and symptoms that indicate that someone is dangerous to the public health. We need to recognize the earliest signs of danger before they have expanded into a full-scale epidemic of lethal or life-threatening injury. If we are silent about the numerous ways in which Trump has repeatedly threatened violence, incited violence or boasted about his own violence, we are passively supporting and enabling the dangerous and naĂŻve mistake of treating him as if he were a â&#x20AC;&#x153;normalâ&#x20AC;? president or a â&#x20AC;&#x153;normalâ&#x20AC;? political leader. He is not, and it is our duty to say so. DR. JAMES GILLIGAN is clinical professor of psychiatry and adjunct professor of law at New York University. He is a renowned violence studies expert and has served as director of mental health services for the Massachusetts prisons and prison mental hospital, president of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy, and as a consultant to PresiGHQW%LOO&OLQWRQ7RQ\%ODLU.RÉľ$QQDQWKH:RUOG&RXUWWKH :RUOG+HDOWK2UJDQL]DWLRQDQGWKH:RUOG(FRQRPLF)RUXP

Ć Ada A pted from thee essays entitled â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sociopathy,â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;? copyright 2 7 by Lance Dodes; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Trust DeďŹ cit Is the Core 201 Problem,â&#x20AC;? copyright g 2017 by Gail Sheehy; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Unbridled and Extrem me P Present Heedonism s : How the Leader of the Free World Has Proven Time and Again He Is UnďŹ t for Dutty,â&#x20AC;? y â&#x20AC;? copyright 2017 by Philip ip Zim Z bardo and a Ro osemary r Sword; and n â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Isssue Is Dan ngerous ou ness, Not N Mental Illness,â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;? copyright 2017 by James Gill i igaan; as the t y appe pp ar in n The Dangerous Casee of Donald Trump by Dr. Bandy X. Lee, ee organ a izer off Yaleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Duty to Warnâ&#x20AC;? Conference, copyright 2017 by the author and repr p inted by permission of St. Martinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Press. s

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SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY + HEALTH

S C I ENCE

In Space, No One Can Hear You Sneeze The greatest threat to space travel may be the common cold

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in what could be the premise of a horror sci-fi movie, scientists have discovered that bacteria shape-shift. In experiments on board the International Space Station (ISS), they found that E. coli adapts so it is harder to kill with antibiotics. The discovery potentially poses a big problem for space travel: On long-duration missions, we will need antibiotics to treat sick astronauts. But if bacteria are able to quickly develop resistance to them, common infections could become deadly in space. Scientists have known for some time that bacteria behave differently in space compared with how they do on Earth—it takes higher concentrations of antibiotics to kill them, for example. The exact reason for this, however, is unknown. That’s why a team of researchers led by Luis Zea from the University of Colorado, Boulder, sent E. coli samples up to the ISS to compare how the bacterium grew and responded to the antibiotic gentamicin sulfate, which kills it on Earth. Their findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, showed that bacteria cells became significantly smaller, while their numbers vastly increased, when compared with samples on Earth. The space samples also developed a thicker cell wall and membrane, which the team believes helped the bacterium protect itself from the antibiotic. Another finding was that the space E. coli formed in clumps more than it does on Earth, which the scientists suggest is a defensive maneuver to sacrifice the outer cells to protect the inner ones. This may be related to the formation of biofilms, multicellular communities that build up on surfaces over time. While not necessarily dangerous, if bacteria form as a biofilm on part of a space station, they could end up infecting astronauts on board. “By default, bacteria will accompany humans in our exploration of space,” the researchers write. Included within our microbiome are opportunistic pathogens, which do not cause disease in healthy people but can cause infection when an immune system is compromised. Because immune suppression is known to occur during spaceflight, the study findings are particularly concerning. As a result, the authors say, further research will be needed to assess the risk posed to astronauts on longBY duration missions. In the meantime, astronauts HANNAH OSBORNE @hannah_osborne should pack a hankie.

O C T OBE R 0 6, 2017

FROM /EFT: PASIEKAʔGETTY; NASAʔESA

Horizons


ISS COLD

Researchers have found that bacteria might even be able to communicate to enhance their ability to resist antibiotics.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bacteria will accompany humans in our exploration of space.â&#x20AC;?


Horizons o o s

Ơ About 5 percent of people have sleep apnea, a breathing condition in which their airways collapse during the night, waking them up. The condition is associated with an increased risk of death from stroke. When a didgeridoo instructor reached out to a team of sleep researchers after he and his students realized they were sleeping better than they had before taking up the instrument, a fruitful research partnership was born. The research won the Ig Nobel’s peace prize.

RESEARCH

Never Smile at a Crocodile

This year’s Ig Nobel prizes award research on the liquid nature of cats and other strange inquiries sometimes, science is very, very serious—it makes fortunes, asks the big questions and saves lives. But science isn’t done by robots, and there usually isn’t a straight line between question and answer. And the quirks of scientists and the rabbit holes they investigate can have important implications for science. (Remember, the world’s first antibiotic, penicillin, was originally “mold juice” that got out of control over a vacation.) That’s the side of the scientific process celebrated by the Ig Nobels, an annual recognition of studies that “first make people laugh, then make them think.” Previous awards have honored research on the psychology of lying, the unboiling of eggs, the ubiquity of the word huh and the turning of old ammunition into diamonds, among many other off-kilter accomplishments. Unlike the Nobel Prizes they riff on, the categories vary each year, and people can be honored posthumously. BY During a ceremony held September 14 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this year’s winners were announced by a collection of actual MEGHAN BARTELS LS Nobel Prize recipients. Here’s the research the committee selected. @meghanbartels s

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Ơ If you can’t tell a pair of identical twins apart, you may not need to feel so guilty—they may have trouble with the task as well. We’re all programmed to recognize our own faces, but because the faces of identical twins are so similar, one twin will instinctively recognize both faces just as well. Ơ A paper called “On the Rheology of Cats” applied the physics of ʀowing matter that’s rheology to cats and their infamous “If it ɿts, I sits” philosophy. There’s more research to be done here, author Marc-Antoine Fardin wrote: “The wetting and general tribology of cats has not progressed enough to give a deɿ deɿnitive nitive answer to the capillary p y dependence p off the t e feline e e relaxation e a at o time.” t e”


Ơ About two decades ago, 19 British doctors got together to ask whether old men have big ears— and if so, why. They conɿrmed the trend but were unable to suss out its causes. The resulting paper has now received the Ig Nobel for anatomy. When the paper was published, it was met with several thoughtful letters from readers, including one offering a term for the condition in all six Celtic languages, notes about the Chinese’s belief that the trait is correlated with longevity and a d wealth, lth and d a scatter tt plot l t off writers’ w ’ own research into the rela-tionship t h between b ear size and d age. g .

Holding a live 3-foot-long crocodile led certain gamblers to make bigger bets. Ơ The biology prize winnerss weren’t able to attend the ce eremony in person but sent a video ɿlmed in a cave—whicch is appropriate, since their research h involved watching 24 pairs of four related species of cave insects, known as Neotrogla, have sex. They determined the female, but not the male, has a penis-like organ, which includes “numerous spines.” Don’t worry—their study provides plenty of photographs. Ơ Coffee is crucial. Spilling coffee is an everyday disaster. So learning how to spill coffee less often is a priority for scientists, which is why this year ʀuid year’ss winner in ʀ uid dynamics investigated how coffee d g sloshes when you y walk backward..

Ơ The economics prize went to the researchers behind a paper with the delightful title “Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines Is Intensiɿed by Reptile-Induced Arousal.” Again, an unusual approach to a common problem: About 80 percent of Americans have gambled, and between 3 and 5 percent of those who do have trouble managing the behavior. Holding a live 3-foot-long crocodile led certain gamblers to make bigger bets, but it also led gamblers who admitted to more negative feelings to make smaller bets. Please do not try this at home.

Illustrations by A L E X F I N E

Ơ We all have a food that the thought of makes our stomachs roil with disgust. Apparently, for some people that food is cheese— and, in fact, apparently, “a higher percentage of people are disgusted by cheese than by other types of food,” according to the winners of the Ig Nobel in medicine. They gathered some cheese-haters, popped them in an fMRI machine and watched their brains light up with disgust. In the process, they realized that the basal ganglia of our brains, which are known to o be involved in rewards, may also be involved in disgust. Ơ If you’re squeamish, maybe sskip this one. A trio of researche ers discovered that a Brazilian vvampire bat species previously b believed to subsist primarily on b bird blood actually snacks on h human blood regularly. They warn tthat the bats could spread rabies. Ơ Remember when playing M Mozart for your unborn baby was a all the rage? According to the w winners of this year’s obstetrics p prize, it’s more effective to play music inside the mother’s vagina tthan through her abdomen. And yyes, there’s a patent involved.

NEWSWEEK.COM

37


Horizons

N A T U RE

Polly Wanna Shelter when hurricane irma started barreling toward Puerto Rico, people across the island launched into storm preparations. Edwin Muñiz and Tom White were among them, but they had a somewhat different plan from most for dealing with the storm, seeing as they had to take care of themselves and ensure the safety of a bunch of brightgreen individuals covered in feathers. That’s because their jobs involve protecting 230 endangered Puerto Rican parrots. The species, which has been protected under the Endangered Species Act for five decades, is the only parrot found on U.S. soil. And on its home island, the parrot is considered “an icon,” according to Muñiz, a field supervisor at the Caribbean Ecological Services Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Natives nicknamed the foot-tall, redforeheaded birds iguaca because of their charismatic chattiness. By the late 1960s, however, the parrot was in trouble, mostly because of habitat loss due to agriculture and road-building, so the FWS began tending to the birds, which now make up three wild populations and two captive populations— including the parrots Muñiz and White needed to get through Hurricane Irma’s wrath at the aviary in El Yunque National Forest, in the northeast corner of the island. Captive populations are a powerful conservation tool because they

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produce birds that can be released into the wild, and their breeding success rates are higher than those of wild populations. Tending to the captive populations isn’t the only way the FWS is helping the Puerto Rican parrot. The birds don’t build nests; instead, they lay their eggs in the hollow cavities of trees. In order to encourage reproduction, conservationists mount artificial cavities in forests to give the parrots more property listings. They also take in wild chicks that are sick or orphaned and raise them. Hurricanes have always been a threat to Puerto Rico, and the parrots are in no way immune to them. In fact, Hurricane Hugo in 1989 killed nearly half the wild population—25 of what was then just 47 birds. There isn’t much scientists can do to protect the wild parrots, but it’s a different story for the captive populations. Not every hurricane merits a parrot-sheltering response, Muñiz says, since the process can stress the birds. His team keeps an eye on National Hurricane Center forecasts and then decides what risk each storm poses. If it looks like a storm will be a real threat, they’re ready to respond. “We always prepare. We have several protocols that we have to put in place,” Muñiz says. There’s a similar procedure at an aviary, run by Puerto BY Rico’s Department of Natural and EnvironMEGHAN BARTELS mental Resources, which @meghanbartels

is home to 175 more of the birds. For Hurricane Irma, it was clear the parrots would need to be protected. That meant netting all 230 of them from their normal cages and transporting them to the shelter, a process that takes at least a few hours and sometimes half a day. “Our staff has been trained—they’ve done this many times,” Muñiz says. Then they’re brought into the so-called hurricane room, a concrete space large enough to hold all the parrots in suspended cages, and the building’s hurricane shutters are lowered.

O C T OBE R 0 6, 2017

-AN PA8/ =EGARRAʔ8SFWS

How 230 endangered parrots survived Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico


STORMY FEATHERS Hurricanes

have always been a threat to Puerto Rico’s parrots. Hurricane Hugo in 1989 killed nearly half the wild population on the island.

The entire aviary, which was constructed in 2007, was built to withstand hurricane-force winds and is equipped with a backup diesel generator. But the parrots can’t stay there by themselves—even when the weather is calm, there’s always someone at the aviary to keep an eye on the birds and watch for injuries. So White, an FWS parrot biologist who has worked on the island for 18 years, and his wife, who also works for the FWS, moved into the aviary with them. The parrots didn’t make very courteous roommates to the biologists

bunked down next door. “You do not need an alarm clock when 230 parrots start squawking as soon as the sun comes up,” says White. “You will wake up. There’s no sleeping in under those circumstances.”

The parrots didn’t make very courteous roommates to the biologists bunked down next door.

Morning parrot duties include changing their food and water bowls and hosing off the floor of the hurricane room to clear away bird droppings. It’s also important to keep an eye on the birds throughout the day. “Sometimes, when they’re in a confined space, some of them get stressed out. Some of them may start fighting,” says White, adding that since the birds can sense barometric pressure, “I’m sure that the parrots knew instinctively that there was a storm coming.” The scientists arrived at the aviary on a Wednesday morning; Irma hit in the late afternoon and evening. Their colleagues couldn’t physically reach them until midday Monday because of downed trees blocking the roads. But the pair were in touch with their colleagues throughout the storm, and it was clear that the scientists and the birds did fine. It will take a while to determine how the wild population fared in El Yunque National Forest, outside the aviary but in the same neighborhood. (A larger wild population in Río Abajo, on the west side of the island, is also being monitored after Irma.) Surveys before the storm hit found about 50 birds in the area, which is fairly mountainous, so it was well protected from the winds and received little damage. While the parrots there were initially scattered by the storm, White says, “now, those birds have started to regroup and all come back together, so we’re optimistic that the wild population will pull through this quite well.” And someday soon, the Irma-pampered parrots will be released to join them and make it through dangers on their own.

NEWSWEEK.COM

39


HEA LTH

That Doo-Doo That You Do SoWell PETA claims vegans have super-poop that has healing powers 40

NEWSWEEK.COM

of Animals (PETA). Last month, the animal rights organization issued a call for more healthy vegans to consider becoming stool super-donors (i.e., providing specimens on a regular basis) to serve a growing demand, since a fecal microbiota transplant is now considered the best way to treat recurrent Clostridium difficile infections and other potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal illnesses. In this experimental medical procedure, stool from a healthy person is transplanted to the gut of an ailing patient either in pill form or through a colonoscopy. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that 81 percent of patients with C. difficile who underwent transplantation made a full recovery from their illness. Subsequent research has shown the cure rate after follow-up transplants may be even higher, as much as 90 percent. The problem, however, is that good poop is actually pretty hard to find, and stool banks such as OpenBiome and Advancing Bio might be pickier than your average blood bank. PETA suggests that relying on fruits and vegetables as a main source of sustenance leads to a more diverse micromost vegans are happy to biome, the complex ecosystem of reel off the reasons a plantbacteria freeloading inside your gut based diet is superior to that of a and nearly every part of your body. carnivore. Going strictly animal-free Many—or, if one is lucky, most—are can reduce one’s carbon footprint, beneficial to health. Some of these cut the risk for cancer and chronic microbes are even necessary for nordiseases, prevent animal cruelty and mal functioning of the body, such as provide an excuse to make a really the immune system. great dessert. More and more research suggests But one thing that’s probably not people with greater microbiome diveron your average vegan’s sity tend to be healthier. list is that this restrictive Scientists have identified diet improves the quality a link between certain BY of one’s poop—at least gut bacteria profiles and according to People for just about every chronic JESSICA FIRGER the Ethical Treatment @jessfirger medical condition, from

O C T OBE R 0 6, 2017

FROM /EFT: NE8STO C KIMAGESʔG E T T Y; P E T E R DA=E/E YʔG E T T Y

Horizons


Scientists have identiɿed a link between certain gut bacteria proɿles and just about every chronic medical condition, from autism to common allergies. ulcerative colitis and autism to common allergies, depression and certain cancers. More research needs to be conducted, which is another reason why people with healthy microbiomes are in high demand. Before launching this stool-soliciting campaign, PETA consulted with a gastroenterologist, who claimed that “high-fiber, plant-based foods such as those consumed by vegans can increase the growth of healthy gut flora—creating healthy fecal microbiota for transplants, which can help humans suffering with stomach ailments,” PETA spokesperson Moira Colley tells Newsweek. PETA also hopes anointing vegans with super-donor status will encourage carnivores to put aside the pork and pick up the portobellos. “PETA will be relieved if all-too-commonly constipated meat-eaters get off the pot and give vegan eating a whirl,” Colley says. “All those who make the switch will save more than 100 animals a year— and maybe their own life too.” Fecal transplantation isn’t yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, because it has been shown to be so effective for C. difficile, the FDA allows physicians to use it under their “enforcement discretion guidelines” for patients with C. difficile infections who do not respond to standard therapies. This essentially means the FDA won’t

go after doctors who perform fecal transplants if they have their patients’ consent. Last year, the FDA moved to tighten regulations by limiting the procedure only to large hospitals. Zain Kassam, chief medical officer of OpenBiome, is a little skeptical of PETA’s recommendation. Diet certainly has something to do with the quality of one’s stool, but it’s not the primary deciding factor when he’s determining if their poop warrants super-donor status. “Whether you’re a 34-year-old vegan lawyer who loves lentils or a 22-year-old college student who craves a good hamburger, OpenBiome welcomes all healthy donors in the fight against C. difficile,” he tells Newsweek. OpenBiome, sometimes called the “Red Cross of poop,” recruits and screens stool donors, then filters and freezes the raw material for clinicians to use. A large list of factors go into deciding who is qualified to be

DUMPING GROUND The growing popularity of fecal microbiota transplants has created a seller’s market for those possessing what some call “super-poop.”

a super-donor, and Kassam says there is ongoing research to gain more insight about the medicinal magic of human waste. “For the treatment of C. difficile, our studies and others suggest that all healthy donors are super-donors,” he says. “For other diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, preliminary research suggests there may be certain donors that seem to work best. But the jury is still out on what makes one donor work and another not.” In 2015, he conducted a study that proved just how hard it is to find suitable donors. Out of a pool of 459 people, only 27 passed clinical assessments and were permitted to submit stool samples for more extensive analysis. A study Kassam conducted the following year examined the diets of OpenBiome donors and compared them with the average diet of almost 5,000 Americans. The people at PETA will probably be disappointed to learn their findings: “Beyond a small increase in fiber, the diet of OpenBiome stool donors is largely the same as the average American.”


Culture

HIGH, LOW + EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN

SPORTS

Hoops Springs Eternal How a video game brought about an NBA revolution

LIVINâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; THE GREEN

Virtual Jayson Tatum in 2K18, the latest iteration of the NBA game.

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O C T OBE R 0 6, 2017


COURTESY OF 2K18

HOW’S TOM CRUISE DOING G? Twelve years after Oprah’s couch. » P.466

boston celtic jayson tatum, one of the top young players in basketball, stood out in the cramped, humid room in midtown Manhattan. It wasn’t just his 6-feet-8 inch height; Tatum, along with several other NBA stars—including C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers and Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell—was moving through a crowd of fanatic basketball fans, relatively unbothered, as if they were soccer players. It was disconcerting but easily explained. The event wasn’t about the actual game of basketball, it was about its virtual counterpart, NBA 2K. Booze flowed from a bar in the back, and TVs lined the room’s length, momentary distractions for a crowd waiting for the chance to man the joysticks. And the gamers, here to test the latest iteration, 2K18, were too focused on describing its new features, beat by beat, to millions of the video game’s followers, who were watching via live streaming. Forget that stereotype of gamers as pimply basement-dwellers. These were assured, relentlessly cheery young men, social media stars with followers numbering in the hundreds of thousands. One of them, 23-year-old Artreyo Boyd (aka Dimez)— one of the best 2K players in the world—recently helped his team win $250,000 in a tournament. (Gamers are organized into teams of five people who each control a virtual player.) When Dimez describes the tournament, he’ sounds like a pro athlete doing a postgame TV interview: “I took a lot of losses,” he says earnestly. “But ultimately, that made me better. In order to get to where I’m at now, you have to play the better people.” Dimez, who loves the NBA (especially the Cleveland Cavaliers), is now set to play in the NBA’s eSports league, in which actual NBA franchises choose gamers to represent them in a virtual season running concurrently with the real one. Dimez knows he will never play in the league, but he’s come close to that with 2K, where he’s a superstar, a virtual LeBron James. it’s a good time to be the national Basketball Association. Franchises are worth record amounts, arenas are sold out, and, thanks to its highly desirable

audience of young men (the youngest demographic among America’s top four sports), broadcasting rights cost tens of billions of dollars. It’s also the best time to be a basketball fan. Thanks to 2K, you can essentially play the game like a pro and an owner, even if you’re 5 feet 5 inches and broke. A user can live through a custom-created player’s entire career, for instance, or control every aspect of a team, from free agent signings to trades, city relocation, coaching hires—all the way to the price of virtual tickets. What’s most remarkable, though, is how much users have changed the actual game, creating an astonishing symbiosis between league and fan. At this point, 2K is the most immersive of sports video games, in some cases even training the NBA’s emerging stars. “I was obsessed with 2K,” says McCollum. “I basically hooped all day, played the video game all night, then did it all over again.” The father of De’Aaron Fox, drafted fifth overall this year by the Sacramento Kings, has credited 2K with schooling his son in the intricacies of highlevel basketball. “I tell kids if they want to learn something about basketball, go put it on pro mode on 2K and let them play,” Fox told Bleacher Report. The NBA introduced 2K in 1999 and has sold 70 million units to date. For the generation that grew up with it, the controls (X button to shoot, A to pass, Y to block) are retained in muscle memory. Eighteen years later and gameplay is spectacularly true to live. We’re talking minutiae like a virtual James chewing on his fingernails exactly as the realworld James does. To achieve this, 2K shuttles in the NBA’s top talent and uses motion capture to record everything they do on the court. They then tear into that data, while also studying film of NBA games, to create something that fans obsess over. Mike Wang, 2K’s director of gameplay, says that the NBA set a precedent for capturing a player’s “signature style” a decade ago and that those are the details gamers pay attention to. “The way an athlete celebrates after a shot, their pregame routines, the way BY they shoot, the way they dribble—all of those things. If it’s a little bit off, our TIM MARCIN @TimMarcin fans let us know about it.”

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SPORTS

JOYSTICK FIGURES

Clockwise from top: 76er Markelle Fultz guards Laker Lonzo Ball in 2K18; Singh, far right, with McCollum, far left, at the 2K18 event; Kyrie Irving on the cover of the game.

Ronnie Singh, who heads up 2K’s consumer engagement, social media and digital marketing, says, “The NBA itself is doing a really good job at being a 365 league. But the game is right alongside that.” Such dedication has turned Singh (better known as Ronnie 2K) into a celebrity among the game’s followers. Tall and confident and happy to shake hands, he has gamers pulling him aside on the streets of New York City, and NBA players giving him shit on Twitter if they think their likeness isn’t as good at virtual hoops as they had hoped. And when those players

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“It took until the last ɿve years for the league to get crazy about threes and dunks and nothing else,” which is what gamers had been doing since 2004.

aren’t complaining, they’re gaming. “Video games is what most of the guys do,” says the Celtics’ Tatum, 19, speaking about team downtime. It’s hard to overstate how dramatically the basic tactics of basketball have shifted since James entered the league in the early 2000s. The NBA of Fox and Tatum has shifted away from inefficient play—think Kobe Bryant taking on three defenders or chucking long two-pointers. Coaches now build their offenses around three-pointers, dunks and layups, and they are shunning behemoth centers for smaller, more versatile players. All that means the pace of play is increasingly up-tempo, and as teams focus on placing shooters along the threepoint line (to pull defenders away from the basket), there’s also more space on the hardwood. Teams like the early-2000s Celtics or mid-2000s Phoenix Suns dabbled in this style, “but the way it’s escalated in the last five is really remarkable,” says Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer’s NBA writer. Gamers were way ahead of that curve. The 2K4 edition, for example, introduced icons that signified strengths; a little “3” just below a player, for example, indicated he could shoot from long distance. It didn’t take long for gamers to realize that having a team with a lot of 3 icons helped you win. Mitch Goldich, a writer and social media producer at Sports Illustrated, has been playing video games since he was a kid; he had the original 2K on Sega Dreamcast. “It’s amazing to me that it took until the last five to 10 years for the league to get crazy about threes and dunks and nothing else,” which he and other gamers had been favoring for a while. Reality meets video; reality bends. Another recent NBA tactic is losing with purpose. Beginning in 2013,

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COURTESY OF 2K18

Culture


BOOK S

Falling Leaves

SEVEN NEW BOOKS THAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY YOU CAN READ Sam Hinkie, general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, began gaming the league’s draft. Hinkie traded veterans for draft picks, ditched high salaries and let his young Sixers lose badly and often in order to secure more high picks in the draft. “People hated what Hinkie did,” says O’Connor. “Dude! I was doing that shit when I was 14 years old, in [Madden NFL]. I was doing that in 2K and NBA Live when I was a teenager. It’s nothing new to tank and get high draft picks and increase your assets and be able to open [salary] cap space. What is new is seeing it happen in real life.” There is one crucial difference here. In video games, a losing season passes in a few minutes of simulation, and you have many chances to fix things; there are no real consequences. By waiting and maneuvering, you can stack a team with young talent. In other words, it makes a ton of sense to tank in 2K. But Hinkie acted like a gamer; he didn’t throw the season away after hope was lost; he did it early, as a strategy, without worrying about job security. Or his abused fans. Ultimately, he got fired for pursuing the Extreme Tank, and the Sixers haven’t won anything— although their roster is now stacked with promising young players like Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz. You could argue that with 2K, the NBA created a generation of amateur coaches and strategists who do the work for them. Still, there are limits to what a video game can do, no matter how good the graphics or gameplay. It can imitate the thing but can never be the thing. That became clear in the gamer-filled, Manhattan room when McCollum described frustration over not being able to do his real-life moves in a video game—the exact opposite complaint of all the young men around him that day.

Logical Family

The Glass Eye

Feather

HARPER

TIN HOUSE

ELSEWHERE EDITIONS

A memoir from the writer of the novel Tales of the City—the ɿrst of his moving nine-volume epic about LGBT friends in ’70s San Francisco. So more of that, but this time real.

A memoir about a woman named for her dead sister, whose shadow she can’t seem to escape. Vanasco explores the intricacies of the human psyche with stunning poignancy.

Award-winning children’s book writer Cao Wenxuan has teamed up with awardwinning illustrator Roger Mello for a meditative tale about a ʀoating feather in search of its bird.

Solar Bones

Don’t Call Us Dead

2023

SOHO PRESS

GRAY WOLF PRESS

FABER & FABER

In 2016, this novel was voted Bord G£is Energy Irish book of the year and won the Goldsmith’s Prize, which is for experimental literature. To wit: Solar Bones is one very, very long sentence, as well as a hymn to smalltown life, written by a ghost.

The title of this of-themoment collection, the second from queer writer Danez Smith, is taken from the ɿrst poem, “Summer, Somewhere,” which reimagines the afterlife for black men killed by police.

Anarchic British pop duo the KLF burned a million pounds on the Isle of Jura on August 23, 1994. This meta-novel—somehow connecting Doctor Who, Tammy Wynette and JFK—was published 23 years to the day.

Armistead Maupin

Mike McCormack

Jeannie Vanasco

Danez Smith

Cao Wenxuan & Roger Mello

The KLF

Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir Edited by Gary Phillips, THREE RO OMS PRESS

Writers take on the racist backlash against President Barack Obama in genres as diverse as spy thrillers, noir mysteries and science ɿction. For example, Walter Mosley’s “A Different Frame of Reference,” set in the South, explores a secret society of white supremacists planting news stories and enforcing racial fear in their communities. In other words, still relevant! —Ryan Bort

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Culture

MOVIES

Cruise Control

there have always been two of him: Tom Cruise the star— somehow cocksure and eager to please—who, by 26, had become the ideal of a Hollywood leading man, deftly juggling romantic, comedy, serious acting and action movies. (In 1996 alone, he got an Oscar nomination for Jerry Maguire and launched a billion-dollar action franchise, playing Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible.) And Tom Cruise the man, always a little problematic thanks to his involvement with Scientology—a connection that seemed more quirky than strange until his divorce from Nicole Kidman in 2001, blamed in part on the church. And then, in May 2005, Cruise made a giddy spectacle of himself on The Oprah Winfrey Show, jumping up and down on the host’s sofa, pumping his fists in the air, declaring his love for soon-to-be-wife Katie Holmes. The moment went viral on YouTube, launched just months before. It was at once infectious...and deeply weird. A month later, a second helping of weird: During a heated exchange with Matt Lauer on the Today show, Cruise railed against antidepressants and psychiatry, both frowned upon by Scientology. It’s hard to describe how negatively the press and Hollywood viewed Cruise after those events. Headlines declared his career was toast. Yet 12 years later, he remains one of the globe’s biggest box-office stars; he

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was the highest-paid actor in 2012, and his films, as of September, have grossed $9 billion worldwide. More bad publicity (his divorce from Holmes, the damning Scientology documentary Going Clear) and notable flops (most recently The Mummy) followed. However, even if the media continue to regard him warily, for the right project, moviegoers still show up. Gone are the romantic comedy roles and any sense of Oscar ambition, but Cruise clearly knows how to hang on, with or without suction cups. A timeline of lessons learned. Ơ WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005) Worlds premiered days after the Today show. The press speculated his absence from the movie poster had to do with his meltdown (it didn’t). Director Steven Spielberg was, at first, one of Cruise’s staunchest allies (this was their BY second film together, RYAN BORT after 2001’s Minority @ryanbort Report), but, despite the film being a hit, the two never worked together again. World’s $234 million U.S. box office—still the highest domestic take of Cruise’s career—had some speculating the draw was mere curiosity. His next film would answer that. Ơ MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (2006) When the third installment managed only $47.7 million in its opening

weekend (despite the fourth-widest release of any film at the time), Sumner Redstone, then-chairman of Viacom, which owns Paramount Pictures, effectively fired Cruise from the franchise, attributing the low number to the actor’s off-screen behavior. (Redstone may have also been annoyed by Cruise allegedly threatening to avoid the press unless Viacom, which also owns Comedy Central, pulled a South Park episode that implied he is gay—a rumor that has dogged his career.) “It’s nothing to do with his acting ability—he’s a terrific actor,” Redstone said to The Wall Street Journal. “But we don’t think someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot.” Ơ LIONS FOR LAMBS (2007) After Top Gun’s breakthrough success, Cruise’s pivot to more serious drama got him working with the top directors and actors of the time: Oliver Stone (Born on the Fourth of July), Martin Scorsese (The Color of Money), Jack Nicholson (A Few Good Men), Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man) and, of course, Spielberg. He hoped to rebound from the Mission: Impossible turmoil by taking a role in Lions for Lambs, Robert Redford’s Iraq War

O C T OBE R 0 6, 2017

FROM LEFT: PAUL DRINKWATERʔNBCʔG E T T Y; C O U RT E SY O F N B C U N I V E R S A L

In 2005, America’s top actor seemed to annihilate his reputation and career with two daytime TV appearances. Twelve years later, here’s how Tom Cruise stealthily prevailed


STAYIN’ ALIVE

Left: Cruise re-creating his Oprah moves for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show in 2005. Below, right: The actor’s new ɿlm reunites him with the director of 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow.

allegory. It was one of the biggest flops of Cruise’s career, receiving poor reviews and a disappointing $15 million domestically. He hasn’t appeared in a straightforward drama since. Ơ TROPIC THUNDER (2008) Jumping on Oprah’s couch made Cruise a punchline. He made himself a much better punchline playing the outrageously funny Hollywood power player Less Grossman in Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller’s war spoof. It was a brilliant career move (as well as a sharp poke at the industry that had mostly abandoned him). With this cameo, Cruise had everyone laughing with him rather than at him. He got a seventh Golden Globe nomination, as well as a rapprochement with Paramount, leading to a third whack at Mission: Impossible. Ơ MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE— GHOST PROTOCOL (2011) Following a tepid return to unadulterated action (2010’s Knight and Day), Cruise’s career exploded (again) with Ghost Protocol. The film would bring in over $200 million domestically and nearly $700 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of his career. Ghost Protocol’s critical and financial success re-established him as

the premiere action star. Apparently, no amount of bad Scientology press could keep action fans from watching Cruise climb the world’s tallest building with a pair of suction cups. Ơ ROCK OF AGES (2012) In another supporting role, Cruise took a quirky detour from action, playing the washed-up lead singer of a fictional ’80s hair metal band. The film was not successful by any metric, but Cruise’s covers of songs like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Paradise City” were irresistible. Suddenly, Hollywood and critics remembered what they loved about the actor: his full-throated commitment to every role he takes. Ơ EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014) After a few missteps (Jack Reacher, Oblivion), Cruise tried action with

“American Made” is classic Cruise: the daredevil and the charming scammer with a whiff of desperation.

humor: Edge of Tomorrow, a sort of sci-fi Groundhog Day. And he had winning. Jerry Maguire-style chemistry with co-star Emily Blunt. Oh, that guy! Right! It was one of the few Cruise films in ages that fans and critics loved, with a $100 million U.S. box office. It also endeared him to a generation that knew nothing about his Oprah and Today show debacles. Ơ JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (2016) Cruise is a nonstop working machine, but the lack of offers from top directors and the narrowing of focus to action alone mean he gets less opportunity to experiment—fewer options period. Another successful M:I, Rogue Nation, in 2015, had him press for a sequel to 2012’s Jack Reacher, despite that movie’s middling box office. Never Go Back did worse than the first. At this point, Cruise had starred in five over-thetop action films in as many years, with more misses than hits. Ơ AMERICAN MADE (2017) Good news: The film reunites Cruise with Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman, the king of visceral action that’s also fun (The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith). Based on a true story, the satire stars Cruise as a Trans World Airlines pilot recruited by the CIA for an undercover operation that spawns the Medellin cartel. It’s everything you love most about classic Cruise: the daredevil (with Top Gun–style stunts), the comedian (without the heavy makeup of Tropic Thunder), the charming scammer with a whiff of desperation (Jerry Maguire, Rain Man). It’s his sweet spot, and if he sticks to it again, maybe Cruise can pivot back to the guy who exceeds expectations rather than simply playing it safe.

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Culture

Illustration by J O E C I A R D I E L L O

P A R T ING SHOT

Sebastian Gorka his critics have called him a bigot and cast doubt on his credentials. But within months of joining the new administration, Sebastian Gorka, a self-styled counterterrorism expert and former editor at Breitbart News, became a White House favorite. President Donald Trump loved how he performed on television, aggressively defending the White House on everything from threatening North Korea to failing to condemn the bombing of a mosque. In August, however, Gorka and his former Breitbart colleague Steve Bannon got booted out of the White House. Gorka’s gone, but he insists he’s not forgotten. He claimed a role in crafting the president’s fiery speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September. [The White House denies this.] So as Trump flirts with the Democrats on issues such as immigration, Gorka hasn’t given up on the president’s “America first” agenda—or his role in advancing it. “I guarantee you,” he says, “people associated with the original campaign will be coming back in, or the president will be leaning on them more than ever.”

“We’re in this for eight years and then eight years of President Pence.”

What gives you the conɿdence that Trump will decide he’s better off returning to his original allies? The president has a very interesting management style. He’s comfortable with unusually high levels of creative chaos beneath him, because he sees who’s the best ɿghter and who makes the best argument. But if he feels he’s being poorly served by his lieutenants, he allows that frustration to increase until he gets to a point where he takes decisive action. I predict he will take decisive action to get [rid of] those people around him who are not serving his original platform. That’s just how he works. I predict that there will be some ɿrings in the near future that come from the president himself when he realizes just how much he needs the old team to be around him. I’m not making any predictions about Steve and myself. Whether or not Steve goes back or I go back— this is the long game. We’re in this for eight years and then eight years of President Pence. Has Trump done enough to condemn white supremacists? The president doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. When people who call themselves journalists have the bare effrontery—have the audacity— to call the White House racist, antiSemitic, xenophobic, when the president’s grandchildren are Orthodox Jews, it’s a scandal. These people have no moral compass; they are morally bankrupt. —Jason Le Miere

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After decades of denial, can weed finally expand into the national market?

RYAN DAVID BROWN

Lee Molloy, cofounding member of the International Church of Cannabis, addresses his congregation in May 2017. Members of the church call themselves Elevationists.

On Sale Now!

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2017 10 06 newsweek  
2017 10 06 newsweek  
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