Human Rights

‘Dirty War’ Questions for Pope Francis

Exclusive: The U.S. “news” networks bubbled with excitement over the selection of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to be Pope Francis I. But there was silence on the obvious question that should be asked about any senior cleric from Argentina: What was Bergoglio doing during the “dirty war,” writes Robert Parry.

Translating Karzai’s Anti-US Outbursts

Like the Iraq War, the long U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is grinding toward an American loss, with little left behind in either country beyond resentment toward military excesses. Afghan anger is the best interpretation of President Karzai’s bizarre remarks, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.

Laughing at Dennis Rodman

Official Washington had a good laugh at flamboyant basketball star Dennis Rodman for befriending North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and for suggesting the U.S. also has extensive prisons and commits human rights abuses. The media derision silenced Rodman, but his perspective deserved more respect, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

States’ Rights Over Voting Rights?

Though the Voting Rights Act was overwhelming reauthorized by Congress in 2006, the five Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court may gut the law in the name of “states’ rights.” Justice Scalia led the way with provocative, offensive and even weird arguments, notes William Boardman.

Saving the Church/State Wall

The American Religious Right has been eager to tear down – or chip away – the wall that separates government from religion and thus declare the United States a “Christian nation.” But the principle of a secular state has served the country well, says retired Baptist Minister Howard Bess.

John Brennan’s Heavy Baggage

Exclusive: After a messy confirmation — which asked new questions about drone assassinations and old questions about enhanced interrogations — John Brennan has taken over at CIA. But his past may not be so easily forgotten in a world looking for accountability, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Hagel Struggles to Calm Afghan Dispute

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel traveled to Afghanistan seeking to reduce tensions between the Afghan government and U.S. Special Forces who face allegations of supporting armed men accused of abusing civilians, as Gareth Porter writes at Inter Press Service.

South Africa’s Troubled Times

Though South Africa emerged from the cruel injustice of Apartheid to create a multiracial democracy, the country never addressed the residual inequality of wealth and property, contributing now to social unrest and political turmoil, as Danny Schechter reports from Durban.

Rethinking Watergate/Iran-Contra

Special Report: New evidence continues to accumulate showing how Official Washington got key elements of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals wrong, especially how these two crimes of state originated in treacherous actions to secure the powers of the presidency, writes Robert Parry.

Ramsey Clark’s Long Trek for Justice

There was a time in America when someone like Ramsey Clark could be Attorney General and assert the power of the federal government on the side of civil rights, but that now seems like ancient history, as Clark reflects on the past and present with Dennis J. Bernstein.