Constitution

James Risen’s Painful Truths

New York Times national security reporter James Risen, author of the new book, Pay Any Price.

President Obama promised a “transparent” administration – but the American people didn’t know the transparency would go only one way, letting the government look at the people while blocking the public’s view of the government, a reality described in James Risen’s new book, reviewed by Norman Solomon.

The War Responsibility of Congress

An American flag flying next to the dome of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol)

Looking nervously toward the November elections, members of Congress ducked the issue of authorizing U.S. military attacks on targets in Iraq and Syria, but that evasion of responsibility is not what the Founders had in mind, writes the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

An Imperial Death Grip on Democracy

President Barack Obama as he is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009, with an oath to defend the Constitution. (Defense Department photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo, U.S. Air Force)

Official Washington – controlled by a lethal mix of politics, ideology, media and money – has an imperial death grip on what’s left of the American democratic republic, a hold so suffocating that it’s hard to envision any move to escape. But some citizens keep on trying, writes Greg Maybury.

A Murder Mystery at Guantanamo Bay

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right).

Exclusive: America’s plunge into the “dark side” last decade created a hidden history of shocking brutality, including torture and homicides, that the U.S. government would prefer to keep secret, even though many of the perpetrators are out of office, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

The Lost Hope of Democracy

Mr. Moneybags from the "Monopoly" game

Western nations are fond of using “democracy promotion” as a justification for interfering in other countries, including overthrowing elected leaders (as in Ukraine). But Western democracies themselves often fall short of democratic values, as John Chuckman explains.

Ducking War Responsibilities

Members of Congress avoided action on authorizing new wars in Syria and Iraq before departing Washington for the campaign trail.

Conservatives insist that they revere the U.S. Constitution, but congressional Republicans – as well as Democrats – hastily fled Washington to hit the campaign trail rather than vote up or down on authorizing new wars in Syria and Iraq, an abdication of duty, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

Guantanamo’s Force-Feeding Challenged

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

Exclusive: In the Kafkaesque world of Guantanamo, even inmates cleared for release are held indefinitely and – if they try to kill themselves via hunger strikes – are brutally force-fed to keep them alive. Finally, a U.S. court is confronting whether the force-feeding can be done more humanely, reports Ray McGovern.

Ellsberg Sees Vietnam-Like Risks in ISIS War

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers exposing the Vietnam War lies, is alarmed at the many parallels between Vietnam and President Obama’s new military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as Barbara Koeppel reports.

Standing Up for Lessons of Dissent

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964, a powerful example of how dissenters have addressed injustice in America and given meaning to democracy.

There is a general belief that Americans don’t care much about history, preferring to bask in self-reverential “exceptionalism” with U.S. behavior beyond criticism. But students outside Denver are taking to the streets to protest right-wing efforts to strip dissent from the history curriculum, writes Peter Dreier.

PRISM’s Controversial Forerunner

William Hamilton, developer of the PROMIS software, and his wife Nancy.

From the Archive: Richard L. Fricker, a courageous journalist and frequent writer at Consortiumnews, died on Sept. 12 from heart failure. Among Fricker’s important work was his investigation of the U.S. government’s PROMIS software which preceded the NSA’s Orwellian PRISM, as Fricker noted last July.