Constitution

The Restoration of Plundered Rights

Ex-slave and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass in 1856.

There is cognitive dissonance in the way Americans view their Declaration of Independence of 1776, with pride over its assertion of fundamental human rights but in denial about the hypocrisy of Thomas Jefferson and other Founders who owned and abused their slaves, as Danny Schechter reflects.

Does Cell-Phone Case Imperil NSA Spying?

U.S. Supreme Court

Though the Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court often splits 5-4 on partisan and ideological issues, a consensus is emerging against the government’s electronic intrusion on personal privacy, which could portend trouble for NSA spying, says Marjorie Cohn.

A Half-Century Battle for Voting Rights

Voting rights activists in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964.

A half century ago, in summer 1964, brave Americans challenged the entrenched racism of white-ruled Mississippi and overcame bars against black voting. Now, those gains are under attack from right-wing efforts to restrict voting and reverse the legacy of Freedom Summer, writes Brian J. Trautman.

Treating Snowden as a ‘Personality’

Vanity Fair graphic accompanying its profile of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The mainstream U.S. media prefers personalities over substance, so it was perhaps not a surprise that its focus at the first anniversary of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks was on his alleged peculiarities, not the frightening prospect of a Big Brother state, says ex-State Department official William R. Polk.

Learning No Lessons About War

President George W. Bush in a flight suit after landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech about the Iraq War.

Americans like to think of themselves as a peace-loving people but their record has been one of war-making with the pace of interventions picking up in recent decades as the U.S. military and intelligence services are dispatched around the world, notes ex-State Department official William R. Polk.

How NSA Can Secretly Aid Criminal Cases

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Though the NSA says its mass surveillance of Americans targets only “terrorists,” the spying may turn up evidence of other illegal acts that can get passed on to law enforcement which hides the secret source through a ruse called “parallel construction,” writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

GOP Descent into Mindless Meanness

President Richard Nixon.

Since the days of Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” – a crass appeal to angry pro-segregationist whites – the Republican Party has descended into a political nastiness that has corroded the foundations of American democracy, a problem that Lawrence Davidson examines.

An Ignored Pre-9/11 Warning on Spying

internet-address

One year after NSA contractor Edward Snowden began exposing the U.S. government’s surveillance capabilities, Europe and other targets are still reeling from the revelations. But a little-noticed report in summer 2001 offered an early warning, says Dutch IT expert Arjen Kamphuis.

An Appeal for More Whistleblowers

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, standing up for Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning.

As more and more secrecy envelopes the U.S. government – with millions of hidden records concealing both past and present – there is no practical alternative for democracy but to fight back with “unauthorized” disclosures, as Norman Solomon explains in an appeal for more whistleblowers.

How Snowden Changed the World

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking in Moscow on Oct. 9, 2013. (From a video posted by WikiLeaks)

Globe-rattling disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden began a year ago and have shaken how the world understands the capacity of the U.S. government and its allies to pry into almost every facet of the lives of almost anyone, as former British intelligence official Annie Machon recalls.