Monthly Archives: January 2014

NSA’s Preference for Metadata

A slide from material leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Washington Post, showing what happens when an NSA analyst "tasks" the PRISM system for information about a new surveillance target.

Exclusive: The hidden ball in the debate over the NSA’s collection of phone and e-mail metadata (vs. tapping into actual conversations with a court order) is that the NSA actually prefers the metadata approach because it strips away privacy more efficiently, says ex-NSA analyst Kirk Wiebe.

The Weapons of the Poor

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Many on the American Right define themselves as Christians and angrily defend the religion’s symbols and myths, but this Christian Right ignores a core reality about Jesus, that he spoke to and for the poor, decried the rich, and demanded social justice for all, as Rev. Howard Bess recounts.

‘Gaming’ Obama on Afghan War

Gen. David Petraeus, as commander of allied forces in Afghanistan in 2010.

As President Obama grappled with the Afghan War in 2009-10, he faced insubordination from Gen. Petraeus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Gates, a reality that Gates leaves out of his new memoir, as Gareth Porter writes for Inter Press Service.

Capitol Hill’s Millionaire Club

Mr. Moneybags from the "Monopoly" game

Back from the holidays, Congress is hearing calls to raise the minimum wage, renew long-term unemployment insurance and spare food stamps from sharp budget cuts. But with most members now in the millionaire club, these issues are more and more abstract, writes Michael Winship.

How GOP Gerrymanders Away Democracy

Republican political operative Karl Rove.

Amid America’s demographic changes, Republicans have exploited every trick they can think of to stave off actual democracy, where every vote is respected and equal. One scheme has been to modernize the old practice of “gerrymandering,” as Beverly Bandler explains.

Robert Gates’s Blame-Shifting Memoir

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

A core myth about Robert Gates was that he was an “adult” who would bring wisdom and order to the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But the reality was always different as his score-settling memoir reveals, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

America’s War-Weary Public

Coffins of dead U.S. soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in 2006. (U.S. government photo)

A new wave of neocon opinion is pounding President Obama for failing to keep troops in Iraq and resisting wars in Syria and Iran – claiming U.S. prestige and power are in decline – but these bellicose appeals are, for once, getting little traction with a war-weary public, as Lawrence S. Wittner observes.

US Foreign Policy — If Obama Had Lost

President Barack Obama talks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call in the Oval Office, Sept. 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Some progressives see little difference between the foreign policies of a President Obama and a President McCain or Romney or Hillary Clinton. But those shades of gray can mean invading Syria or bombing Iran or continuing the occupation of Iraq – or not, as Adil E. Shamoo notes.

Robert Gates’s Narcissistic ‘Duty’

gates-duty

The Inside-the-Beltway acclaim bestowed on Robert Gates is perhaps the clearest evidence of the failure of Washington’s media/political elite to recognize reality and impose accountability on incompetent or corrupt government officials, a point addressed by ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

Robert Gates Double-Crosses Obama

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on May 1, 2011, watching developments in the Special Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Neither played a particularly prominent role in the operation. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

Special Report: Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is slamming President Obama in a new memoir, accusing him of lacking enthusiasm for the Afghan War. But perhaps Obama’s bigger mistake was trusting Gates, a Bush Family operative with a history of dirty dealing, writes Robert Parry.