Constitution

PRISM’s Controversial Forerunner

Using a powerful computer program known as PRISM, the U.S. government has been downloading vast amounts of communications data and mining it for counterterrorism purposes. But these capabilities began more than three decades ago with the controversial PROMIS software, Richard L. Fricker reports.

Bringing Back Jim Crow

Exclusive: Many U.S. historians have soft spots for Thomas Jefferson, despite his gross hypocrisy on slavery, and for the Confederates and their supposed gallantry in their fight to preserve slavery. But apologizing for historical racists only invites more racism, warns Robert Parry.

Why MSNBC Defends NSA Surveillance

President Obama seems more willing to alienate his base of young supporters who object to the growing Surveillance State than to offend the national security apparatchiks who run it. But Obama’s crackdown on leakers also has found apologists among MSNBC’s “liberal” talkers, as Jeff Cohen reports.

Snowden Honored by Ex-Intel Officials

Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, an organization of former national security officials, has honored NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, praising his decision to reveal the extent of U.S. government electronic surveillance of people in the United States and around the world.

The Right’s Made-up ‘Constitution’

For Tea Partiers and libertarians, it is an article of faith that the Constitution tightly constrained the federal government and gave broad powers to the states. But that is bogus history — mere propaganda — and suggests that the Right’s rank-and-file has never read or understood the document, says historian Jada Thacker.

Gitmo’s Kafkaesque Kangaroo Courts

The Military Commissions for trying alleged al-Qaeda terrorists always had the risk of becoming Kafkaesque kangaroo courts with little credibility among people around the world, a danger that has become more and more acute as the process moves forward, Marjorie Cohn writes.

Another ‘War on Terror’ Casualty

Attorney Lynne Stewart aggressively defended alleged terrorists, making her a target of President George W. Bush’s “war on terror.” After 9/11, she was prosecuted for violating special security rules for dealing with a client – and is now dying of cancer in federal prison, denied compassionate release, reports William Boardman.

Rethinking Thomas Jefferson

Exclusive: Americans are proud that their Declaration of Independence was also a declaration of universal rights. But the hard truth is that, in 1776, the words were mere propaganda cloaking the fact that a third of the signers were slaveholders, including the famous author, Thomas Jefferson, as Robert Parry recalls.

Gauging Sympathy for Snowden

As the U.S. media turns on NSA leaker Edward Snowden – and as many Americans say they’re happy to trade some privacy for more security – samples of public opinion abroad are more sympathetic. An online poll by a major German daily reflects that sentiment, writes ex-Danish intelligence analyst Frank S. Grevil.

Why Snowden’s Fate Matters

Exclusive: There’s an old saying that a reporter is only as good as his sources, meaning that there’s a need for people inside government who see wrongdoing to speak up. It is also a test of a democratic Republic whether truth-tellers like Edward Snowden are appreciated or persecuted, ex-intelligence analyst Elizabeth Murray notes.