Constitution

How Secrecy Stops Debate on Secrecy

Americans got a rare glimpse into the breadth of U.S. government surveillance of their communications with new revelations that phone and Internet providers have been turning over vast amounts of data to be mined for “terrorism” investigations, an issue discussed by human rights attorney Shahid Buttar with Dennis J Bernstein.

Right-Wing Ideology and Reality

Pervasive right-wing propaganda – relying on false allusions to the Founding myth and bigoted illusions about non-white minorities – has sucked millions of Americans into an unrealistic ideology centered on hatred of government. Lawrence Davidson encountered that reality on a vacation cruise.

Selective Definition of ‘Terrorism’

Terrorism once had an objective meaning: an act of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal. But it’s since been transformed into a bigoted curse word aimed broadly at Muslims, while rarely applied to politically motivated violence by other groups, as Nima Shirazi notes.

The Manning Trial’s Real Defendant

Exclusive: The trial of Pvt. Bradley Manning for leaking classified documents is a test of values in the American Republic. The case pits a democracy’s need for knowledge against the government’s insistence on secrecy, a moral balancing act assessed by religious ethicist Daniel C. Maguire.

Dangerous Precedent of Drone Wars

President Obama has promised to put tighter restrictions on his use of lethal drones in U.S. counterterrorism attacks, but even if he follows through, there’s no guarantee that some future president won’t cite the precedents of the past decade to expand the operations again, writes Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

New Risks from 9/11 War Act

Presidents have been stretching their commander-in-chief powers since Thomas Jefferson dispatched the Navy to make war on the Barbary pirates. But Congress risks a perpetual war of presidential choice if it carelessly rewrites the 9/11 force-authorization act, warns Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

Doubting Obama’s Resolve to Do Right

Exclusive: In his counterterrorism speech, President Obama ruminated about the moral and legal dilemma of balancing the safety of the American people against the use of targeted killings abroad. But Obama’s handwringing did not sit well with some critics including ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Source of Anti-Government Extremism

Exclusive: The Right’s hostility to “guv-mint” is not new. It traces back to the South’s fears that any activism by the national government, whether building roads or providing disaster relief, would risk federal intervention against slavery and later against segregation, perhaps even the end of white supremacy, reports Robert Parry.

Charting a New Course on Terrorism

President Obama offered a comprehensive review of U.S. counterterrorism policies since 9/11, while vowing to ratchet down the violence and acknowledging harm done to America’s principles and image. Still, many details of his plans remain fuzzy and follow-through far from certain, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama Distorts ‘Just War’ Principles

In assessing the consequences of the decade-plus “war on terror,” President Obama sought to place his continued — albeit more targeted — use of violence within the context of just-war principles, stressing self-defense and proportionality, a point that religious ethicist Daniel C. Maguire disputes.