Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Eastern Europe" ...

  • The Narco-Terror Trap

    This project traces the Drug Enforcement Administration’s use of a little-known statute of the Patriot Act to create a role for itself in the war on terror, based largely on unsubstantiated assertions that terrorists were using the drug trade to finance attacks against the United States. The statute, adopted with broad bi-partisan support, allows the D.E.A. to pursue so-called narco-terrorists anywhere in the world, even when none of their alleged crimes occurred on American soil. Between 2002 and 2008, the agency’s budget for foreign operations increased by some 75 percent, which supported expansions into Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, and West Africa. But an examination of the D.E.A.’s narco-terrorism cases reveals that most unraveled as they proceeded through court. The cases relied heavily on sting operations, and the only evidence of any links between terrorists and traffickers was concocted by the D.E.A., which used highly-paid informants to lure targets into staged narco-terrorism conspiracies. The first piece tells the story of three small-time smugglers from Mali who were arrested in West Africa, transported to New York and accused as narco-terrorists with links to Al-Qaeda. It explains how the D.E.A.’s narco-terrorism campaign began in the arrest-first-ask-questions-later period that followed 9/11. And it details the negligible contributions that the effort, whose total cost remains unknown, has made to keeping the country safe from either terrorists or drug traffickers. Nearly three years after the Malian’s arrest, a judge found that the men were not linked to Al-Qaeda, and that they had been motivated to participate in the D.E.A.’s fake conspiracy by an informant’s offer to pay them millions of dollars. The second piece uses an interactive comic – ProPublica’s first – to bring a sharper focus to the patterns in the DEA’s cases. It uses five different narco-terrorism operations in five different parts of the world. The interactivity of the comic allows readers to see how the agency’s stings use essentially the same script in order to make disparate targets fit the designated crime. https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/narco
  • Nuclear Black Market Seeks IS Extremists

    The AP investigation found that a remote corner of Eastern Europe has become a thriving marketplace for nuclear material aimed at extremists in the Middle East. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBCi3lyftvo
  • Can You Fight Poverty With A Five-Star Hotel?

    My story is about the World Bank’s private investing arm, the International Finance Corporation, the IFC. It reveals that the IFC is a profit-oriented, deal-driven organization that not only fails to fight poverty, its stated mission, but may exacerbate it in its zeal to earn a healthy return on investment. The article details my investigation through hundreds of primary source and other documents, dozens of interviews around the world and my trip to Ghana to see many projects first-hand, to recount that the IFC hands out billions in cut-rate loans to wealthy tycoons and giant multinationals in some of the world’s poorest places. My story details the IFC’s investments with a who’s who of giant multinational corporations: Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsubishi, Vodafone, and many more. It outlines that the IFC funds fast-food chains like Domino's Pizza in South Africa and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jamaica. It invests in upscale shopping malls in Egypt, Ghana, the former Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. It backs candy-shop chains in Argentina and Bangladesh; breweries with global beer behemoths like SABMiller and with other breweries in the Czech Republic, Laos, Romania, Russia, and Tanzania; and soft-drink distribution for the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and their competitors in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mali, Russia, South Sudan, Uzbekistan, and more. The criticism of most such investments -- from a broad array of academics, watchdog groups and local organizations in the poor countries themselves -- is that these investments make little impact on poverty and could just as easily be undertaken without IFC subsidies. In some cases, critics contend, the projects hold back development and exacerbate poverty, not to mention subjecting affected countries to pollution and other ills.
  • Brando Beach

    Some of the best investigative stories begin with a question. Public radio journalist Austin Jenkins wondered, why is the Washington State Investment Board contracting with a global security firm to protect its account managers? That led to weeks of digging and sifting through difficult-to-obtain documents. What Jenkins found is that this "under the radar" state agency maintains holdings worth millions of dollars in emerging (and sometimes dangerous) markets all over the world. They include housing projects and shopping centers in Brazil, beach properties in Vietnam, warehouses in Eastern Europe, cement plants in India and grocery stores in Romania. Jenkins found that the state of Washington spent $200 million to build a resort on Marlin Brando's private island in Tahiti. All these exotic investments came about because the Washington State Investment Board is responsible for funding the pensions of 400,000 public sector workers and retirees. The task is so big that a traditional mix of stocks and bonds won't do. So Washington, like a lot of states, seeks out higher risk strategies that can return higher rewards. Washington is now a leader in private equity investments. But Jenkins found that the state agency has few limits on these investments. Critics, including some pensioners, say Washington is chasing profits at the expense of social values. Even leaders at the Investment Board admit that, with $85 billion in assets, the agency doesn’t have the staff to police every investment.
  • The Offshore Crime

    While governments and citizen of Eastern Europe were struggling with the recent financial crisis and trying to borrow money from international institutions, billions of Euros circulated in the rgeion in an illegal, parallel system that enriched organized crime figures and corrupt politicians.
  • Fields of Terror-The New Slave Trade in the Heart of Europe

    People from poor countries are becoming modern day slaves as they are lured in on false pretenses and then being held captive. They were promised “good salaries, accommodations, and food”, but instead were beaten and threatened if they asked for these items. These people were becoming slaves and provided many local restaurants with fresh foods from the surrounding fields. Even though this was all happening, many people were continuing to get away with having these modern day slaves and no one was stopping them.
  • Game of Control

    While some agencies have chipped away at corruption in football, their efforts have stopped at their national borders. Criminals have observed no boundaries. Reporters for the Organize Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a consortium of investigative reporters, took a months-long look at the business of football in the southeast Europe and the former Soviet Union. They found networks of agents and power stakeholders quietly skimming transfer fees and working through tax havens and companies with shell proxies to avoid taxes. In post-transition Bulgaria some 200 killings have been linked to football. Among the dead are 15 club leaders who attained their posts through questionable means.
  • The CIA's Secret War Against Terrorism

    This series examines the inner workings, successes and failures of the CIA's covert campaign to capture or kill suspected terrorists. It exposed the existence of secret prisons in Eastern Europe, the death of a detainee in Afghanistan, the existence of intelligence centers around the globe, and the abduction of a radical cleric in Milan.
  • Secret CIA Prisons

    This investigation disclosed for the first time the locations of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. ABC news investigated the prisons as well as the prisoners kept there; it was the first time that information was made public.
  • Slavery of the Brothel

    An extensive account of the growing sex slave trade in the Balkans -- particularly Kosovo. "A virulent Mafia business is thriving in postwar Kosovo: the $7 to $12 billion traffic in Eastern European women lured by promises of work, then forced into prostitution. Despite international efforts, sex slave traders have been nearly impossible to prosecute, thanks to corruption, local laws, and the victims' fear of testifying. Tracing the path of one young Moldovan woman, Sebastian Junger conducts his own investigation of a vicious cycle that traps as many as 200,000 women a year."