Human Rights

The Thwarting of Catholic Reform

A half century ago, the Second Vatican Council charted a course for reform of the Catholic Church. But conservative popes, such as John Paul II and Benedict XVI, protected an autocratic system that failed to stop pedophile priests and even falls short on the religious needs of the faithful, says Catholic theologian Paul Surlis.

Hounding Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London rather than be extradited to Sweden to face sex-abuse accusations. But Assange’s ordeal reflects a larger and more troubling American hostility to truth-tellers who point the finger at Washington, says Lawrence Davidson.

What Russia Fears in Syrian Conflict

The U.S. government condemns Russia for blocking aggressive steps to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But Moscow fears Sunni extremists in the Syrian opposition and recalls how the West’s tolerance of such radicals before — in Afghanistan and the Balkans — led to even worse violence, writes Joe Lauria.

All for One

Much of the propaganda that inundates the world’s population is designed to justify animosities and conflicts, whether religious, racial or political. But there is a larger truth that also must be understood – that we are all in this together, as Winslow Myers notes.

Hope Dies at Guantánamo

A combination of a right-wing federal Appeals Court in Washington and a disinterested U.S. Supreme Court means Guantánamo inmates have little hope for justice even if a District Court judge sides with their arguments. That means the right of habeas corpus is effectively dead for detainees, Marjorie Cohn writes at Jurist.

Julian Assange’s Artful Dodge

Exclusive: Faced with extradition from London to Sweden to face sex-abuse allegations, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fled to the Ecuadorian embassy and asked for asylum, what ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern considers an artful dodge to avoid possible U.S. persecution.

Who Speaks for Jesus?

The Vatican has scolded American nuns for deviating from Church doctrine. Conservative bishops decry President Obama’s health-care reform for violating their religious freedom. But some Catholics find this heated rhetoric at odds with the gentler message of Jesus, as Catholic theologian Paul Surlis said in this excerpted sermon.

Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars

For decades, Amnesty International has been a respected name in the cause of human rights, but its recent hiring of Suzanne Nossel, a longtime U.S. “humanitarian interventionist,” has swung the organization more behind the Afghan War and the use of U.S. military force, Ann Wright and Coleen Rowley write.

A Chill in Egypt’s Arab Spring

Dissolution of Egypt’s parliament and doubts about the upcoming presidential election have undermined the country’s once-promising transition to democracy. Now the question is, can any likely outcome justify the hopes of last year’s Arab Spring, asks ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Journey of an Israeli General’s Son

The Israeli-Palestinian crisis is one of the world’s most troublesome conflicts, especially since it has been exploited by extremists on both sides to justify a range of violent actions far and wide. A book by the son of an Israeli war hero puts the dispute in a human context, writes David Swanson at warisacrime.org.