Foreign Policy

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.

The Illusion of Syria’s ‘Moderate’ Rebels

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, says President Obama's plan for arming Syria's "moderate" rebels has strong support in Congress.

In militarily going after ISIS, President Obama is again letting his foreign policy be shaped by the popular illusions of Official Washington, particularly the idea that aiding Syrian “moderates” is a viable part of the strategy, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Dishing Up International Law a la Carte

President George W. Bush.

Official Washington honors international law when it’s politically useful, such as in condemning a global adversary, but then dismisses it as useless if it gets in the way of some desired U.S. action. This “international law a la carte” undermines the concept’s fundamental value, says Lawrence Davidson.

Perfecting ‘Regime Change’ in Ukraine

President Barack Obama.

The Obama administration has refined the practice of “regime change,” moving away from old-fashioned tanks in the street or overt invasions by U.S. troops, opting instead for “democracy promotion” that relies on “information warfare” to unseat elected governments disfavored by Washington, says Ted Snider.

A Third Decade of Bombing Iraq

President George H.W. Bush

Bombing ISIS amounts to attacking a symptom rather than finding a cure. But the cure would require addressing politically sensitive issues, such as Israel oppressing Palestinians and Saudi Arabia financing Islamic extremism. So the U.S. does what it knows best – blowing stuff up – as Nat Parry observes.

Cheney’s Dangerous Mideast Nostrums

Former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The extremist group ISIS asserts that only brutality will drive Westerners, including Israelis of European descent, from the Middle East. But the flip side of that coin is the demand from the likes of Dick Cheney for ever increasing repression of political Islam, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Neocons Revive Syria ‘Regime Change’ Plan

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with members of the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House, Sept. 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: President Obama plans to violate international law by launching airstrikes inside Syria without that government’s consent, even though Syria might well give it. Is Obama playing into neocon hands by providing a new argument for “regime change” in Damascus, asks Robert Parry.

NYT Reverses on Merits of ‘Perpetual War’

President Barack Obama delivers an address to the nation on the U.S. Counterterrorism strategy to combat ISIL (or ISIS), in the Cross Hall of the White House, Sept. 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama’s decision to expand U.S. attacks against ISIS radicals into Syria without that government’s approval is fraught with risks, including that U.S. forces might be sucked into yet another Mideast civil war, but the New York Times seems all right with that, notes Norman Solomon.

Will Scots Heed Ancient Call for ‘Freedom’?

A pro-independence sign near Inverness, Scotland. (Photo credit: Don North)

Exclusive: The Sept. 18 referendum on Scottish independence pits the ancient lure of freedom from English dominance against practical economic issues of the future. Continued union seemed to be winning but a late surge for separation has made the outcome a toss-up, as Don North reports.

The Earlier 9/11 Acts of Terror

Anti-Castro Cuban terrorist Eduardo Arocena.

Exclusive: As the U.S. government sets off on a new “war on terror” in the Middle East – on the eve of 9/11’s 13th anniversary – there is little national memory of how U.S. authorities tolerated waves of terror in the Western Hemisphere, including earlier 9/11 slaughters, writes Jonathan Marshall.