Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: Blood Money, Bad Cops, And Sex Dolls

This week for BuzzFeed, Gregory D. Johnsen traces whether and how the U.S. is paying blood money to families of drone strike victims. Read that and these other stories from BuzzFeed and around the web.

1. Nothing Says “Sorry Our Drones Hit Your Wedding Party” Like $800,000 And Some Guns — BuzzFeed

Photograph by Iona Craig

On December 12, 2013, a drone struck and killed 12 members of a wedding party in Yemen. If the U.S., which claims the strike was clean and justified, didn’t pony up the $800,000 in cash and guns as reparations, then who did? Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. Brooklyn’s BaddestGQ

Alan Zale for GQ

In his work as a New York City detective, Louis Scarcella caught hundreds of killers. But what if the men he put behind bars were innocent? Read it at GQ.

3. Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the NumbersThe Intercept

Pool / Getty Images News / Via firstlook.org

A deep dive into the government’s massive Terrorist Screening Database, of which “more than 40 percent are described by the government as having ‘no recognized terrorist group affiliation.’ That category — 280,000 people — dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.” Read it at The Intercept.

4. One Man’s Journey To Become the First American Suicide Bomber in Syria — BuzzFeed

Syrians who knew Moner Mohammad Abusalha recall when the American first arrived: “When we received him, we were shocked. He didn’t look like a fighter at all.” Mike Giglio tells his story. Read it at BuzzFeed.

5. Pro-Troop Charity Misleads Donors While Lining Political Consultants’ Pockets — ProPublica

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The non-profit group Move America Forward claims to have raised millions to send care packages to troops abroad. But a ProPublica investigation reveals that the money may have gone elsewhere — including to political operatives closely tied with Tea Party groups. Read it at ProPublica.

6. The (Straight, Male) History of Sex DollsThe Atlantic

Reuters

Julie Beck explores sex dolls through history and today, questioning why people (mostly men) seek them, and the implications therein: “…the phenomenon as a whole is like a funhouse mirror — it may show a skewed reflection of male-female relationships, but it emphasizes some aspects we’d rather not see.” Read it at The Atlantic.

7. The Many Battles of Nina SimoneNew Yorker

Courtesy of the New York Public Library / Via newyorker.com

Claudia Roth Pierpont contemplates the late songstress’s life and politics in light of the recent announcement that lighter skinned Zoe Saldana will be playing her in an upcoming biopic. Read it at the New Yorker.

8. Why Do So Many People Pretend to Be Native American?This Land Press

Kjell Reigstad for This Land Press

Bill Clinton claims to be part Cherokee. So does Miley Cyrus. And they’re not alone in making claims they can’t prove. Read it at the Longreads blog.

9. The CIA Must Tell the Truth About My Rendition At 12 Years OldGawker

Image by Jim Cooke for Gawker

A powerful essay by Khadija al-Saadi: “Lying on the Oval Office desk, I’m told, is an official report about what happened to me and my family on that night all those years ago. Our story will be part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA rendition and interrogation. The only question is whether you will be able to read it, or whether it will be hidden under a smear of black ink.” Read it at Gawker.

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