The mainstream U.S. news media has been chuckling over the “irony” of NSA leaker Edward Snowden asking asylum from Latin American countries purported to suppress press freedom. But the smugness misses both the complex realities abroad and the U.S. government’s own assaults on information, says a group of scholars.
The Western media likes its stories neat and tidy, enough time for correspondents to parachute in, do some stand-up reports and depart as quickly as the public’s attention span shifts. But a true understanding of events as complex as the Arab Spring may take years or decades to develop, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Though her Christian Democratic Union remains favored in upcoming German elections, Chancellor Angela Merkel is on the defensive over the “surveillance state” disclosures of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. One quirky turn came when a young German joked about visiting a U.S. spy base, Frank S. Grevil writes.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is pounding the war drums on Iran again, drawing support from the usual suspects in Washington’s think tank community and the media. The goal seems to be to derail prospects for negotiations with Iran and on the Palestinian dispute, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
President Obama says he welcomes a vibrant debate on government secrecy and surveillance, but he then punishes the people who provide information that could make such a debate meaningful. The mainstream U.S. news media also shows little regard for these brave truth-tellers, says Lawrence Davidson.
Exclusive: It was a typical day in the life of the mainstream U.S. news media. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu went on American TV and threatened war on Iran for its alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon, while being spared any inconvenient questions about Israel’s very real – and rogue – nuclear arsenal, notes Robert Parry.
Showing disdain for President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed a neoconservative ex-aide to Newt Gingrich to serve as ambassador to the United States. The choice of Ron Dermer also reminds U.S. politicians why they should fear offending Israel, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Frustrated over negotiations for a stay-behind force of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, President Obama is now weighing the possibility of a faster withdrawal and a “zero option” on troops going forward. That may signal the belated recognition of twin American defeats in the Afghan and Iraq wars, says Beverly Bandler.
The Obama administration’s aggressive campaign against whistleblowers, including the court martial of Bradley Manning and the pursuit of Edward Snowden, has stirred strong passions among many Americans who are tired of endless war and the resulting sacrifice of freedom, as this letter from David Finkelstein reflects.
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.