"I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem." So began Donald Trump's April 29 phone conversation with Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte, a transcript of which was obtained by The Intercept. Under Duterte, who once called President Obama a "son of a whore" and whom Trump addressed warmly as "Rodrigo," police and vigilante death squads have embarked on a campaign to slaughter drug users as well as drug dealers, killing more than 7,000 people, including government officials and community leaders. Trump and Duterte discussed how to confront North Korea, the U.S.'s superior nuclear firepower, and the possibility of a "nuclear blast" as an option that is "not good for everybody." Read the full transcript of their conversation here.
Other documents obtained by Intercept reporters provide an alarming glimpse of how a shadowy security firm called TigerSwan targeted activists opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline with military-style counterterrorism measures, collaborating closely with police in at least five states. TigerSwan, which originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor helping to execute the global war on terror, worked at the behest of its client Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, to surveil and undermine the indigenous-led anti-pipeline movement, which it explicitly compared to jihadist fighters in leaked internal company documents. Read about the sweeping and invasive surveillance of protesters in this disturbing and explosive exposé.
On another note — an invitation: If you're in New York this summer, we'd like to invite you to Northside Report, a series of talks about Truth, Lies, and Politics in the Age of Trump. Speakers include Intercept co-founders Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen, Recode executive editor Kara Swisher, Mayor Bill de Blasio, "Orange is the New Black" author Piper Kerman, and many more. It will take place on June 8 and 9 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You can buy deeply discounted tickets here. We're also offering a limited number of $25 tickets to students and low-income readers. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.