Foreign Policy

‘War-Wise’ Skepticism Prevailed on Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Aug. 30, 2013, claims to have proof that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21, but that evidence failed to materialize or was later discredited. [State Department photo]

Though nearly going to war with Syria last year over a chemical attack, the Obama administration has still not presented a shred of verifiable proof against the Syrian government. And, interest is waning now that suspicions have shifted to Syrian rebels aided by U.S. allies, Nat Parry reports.

A Peace Ship’s Challenge to Nukes

Albert Bigelow, right, captained the Golden Rule on her mission to disrupt atmospheric nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands. (Photo credit: Albert Bigelow Papers, Swarthmore College Peace Collection)

In the 1950s, as the United States obliterated Pacific islands to test hydrogen bombs, anti-nuclear activists challenged this devastation by trying to sail a ship, The Golden Rule, into the test zone, a protest that helped create political pressure for a nuclear test ban, as Lawrence S. Wittner recalls.

Reagan-Bush Ties to Iran-Hostage Crisis

President Ronald Reagan, delivering his Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 1981.

Exclusive: The Senate wants to block Iran’s new UN ambassador because he was linked to the Iran hostage crisis 35 years ago, but that standard would strip honors from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, implicated in extending the hostage crisis to win the 1980 election, reports Robert Parry.

Spies, Diplomacy and Double Standards

Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in the photo from his U.S. Naval Intelligence ID.

While Israel demands that the U.S. release spy Jonathan Pollard, it continues to persecute Mordechai Vanunu for exposing the existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, raising questions about secrecy, double standards and diplomacy, an issue addressed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

When Is a Putsch a Putsch?

Secretary of State John Kerry testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 8, 2014.

Exclusive: Secretary of State John Kerry accuses Russia of a “contrived crisis” in Ukraine as the U.S.-backed coup regime in Kiev sends troops to crush resistance in the ethnic-Russian east. But the most “contrived” element of this crisis may be the false U.S. narrative, writes Robert Parry.

Seeking a Dead-End in Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of a poster of his father, Hafez al-Assad.

By insisting that “Assad must go,” the West has locked itself in to a losing and dangerous game in Syria. Rather than negotiate a political settlement with President Assad, the alternative has been to back Saudi-funded jihadis with ties to al-Qaeda, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.

Anti-Iran Hardliners Seek New Excuse

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey.

U.S. hardliners seeking to disrupt negotiations that would constrain – but not eliminate – Iran’s nuclear program are citing Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. oil sanctions as their latest excuse. But Iran has no obligation to submit to U.S. sanctions, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case

The controversial map developed by Human Rights Watch and embraced by the New York Times, supposedly showing the flight paths of two missiles from the Aug. 21 Sarin attack intersecting at a Syrian military base.

Exclusive: Defenders of the old conventional wisdom blaming the Syrian government for the Aug. 21 Sarin attack are going after investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who implicates Syrian jihadists and Turkish intelligence. But the defenders are relying on long-discredited claims, says Robert Parry.

Was Turkey Behind Syrian Sarin Attack?

President Barack Obama speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. (UN photo)

Exclusive: Journalist Seymour Hersh has unearthed information implicating Turkish intelligence in last summer’s Sarin attack near Damascus that almost pushed President Obama into a war to topple Syria’s government and open a path for an al-Qaeda victory, writes Robert Parry.

The Torture Report’s Long, Winding Road

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).

Any encouragement that torture opponents may take from an initial step toward releasing part of a long Senate report on CIA abuses during the Bush-43 years is tempered by the fact that the declassification process may be glacially slow and still leave much hidden, writes Nat Parry.