Human Rights

Ellsberg Sees Vietnam-Like Risks in ISIS War

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers exposing the Vietnam War lies, is alarmed at the many parallels between Vietnam and President Obama’s new military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as Barbara Koeppel reports.

Standing Up for Lessons of Dissent

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964, a powerful example of how dissenters have addressed injustice in America and given meaning to democracy.

There is a general belief that Americans don’t care much about history, preferring to bask in self-reverential “exceptionalism” with U.S. behavior beyond criticism. But students outside Denver are taking to the streets to protest right-wing efforts to strip dissent from the history curriculum, writes Peter Dreier.

Oh, What a Webb We Weave…

Journalist Gary Webb.

Despite overwhelming evidence linking the CIA to drug traffickers, that sordid reality remains one of the great taboos of the mainstream U.S. media, which rallies to destroy anyone who points out the facts, a fate that befell journalist Gary Webb, as Greg Maybury explains.

Beheadings v. Drone Assassinations

A Predator drone firing a missile.

As gruesome as the Islamic Front’s videotaped beheadings are, there is ambiguity over whether the U.S. government’s death-by-drone is any less horrific, with some victims crawling about with severed limbs and others just collateral damage, a moral dilemma addressed by ex-FBI official Coleen Rowley.

Neocons’ Noses Into the Syrian Tent

Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post.

Exclusive: The neocons say the next step in President Obama’s bombing raids inside Syria must be to move from attacking the terrorist Islamic State to destroying Syria’s air force and air defenses, all the better to achieve the neocons’ long-sought “regime change,” reports Robert Parry.

The Case of Tariq Khdeir

A map showing Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories.

Even as President Obama launches a new war against Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, the politics of Official Washington won’t allow for pressure on Israel to end one of the principal drivers of that extremism, oppression of the Palestinians, as shown in the case of Tariq Khdeir, described by Marjorie Cohn.

The Chile Coup, 9/11 and James Foley

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an ISIS operative.

Time and history sometimes intertwine in ways more poetic than linear, such as the multiple crimes associated with the date September 11 and the legacy of bearing witness to suffering that led journalist James Foley to his death in Syria, as Martín Espada explained to Dennis J Bernstein.

Obama’s Propagandistic UN Address

President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2014. (Screenshot from White House video of speech)

Exclusive: The longer President Obama has been in office the less honest he has become, a problem growing more apparent in his second term as he reads speeches containing information that he knows to be false or at least highly misleading, Robert Parry recounts.

Hoping Bombs Will Solve Iraq/Syria Mess

The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea launches a Tomahawk cruise missile as seen from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, Sept. 23, 2014.  (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Garst)

Contradictions beset the U.S. war over Iraq and Syria. The principal target ISIS wouldn’t even exist but for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria have benefited from defections of U.S.-backed “moderates.” But now warplanes and missiles are supposed to fix things, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama’s Novel Lawyering to Bomb Syria

President Barack Obama talks with Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, following a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: The U.S. government likes international law when it serves Washington’s purposes, but not when it constrains U.S. desires to use military force. Then, the rules are bent, ignored or subjected to novel lawyering, as President Obama is doing with airstrikes into Syria, reports Robert Parry.