Human Rights

Finding Excuses to Torture

Despite evidence over the centuries that torture fails to elicit reliable information – and is criminal as well – apologists for George W. Bush and movies like Zero Dark Thirty continue to perpetuate the myth that torture is a necessary evil, at least when Americans are doing the torturing, as Lawrence Davidson writes.

‘Fixing the Debt’ on Average Folks

Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein and other tycoons behind “Fix the Debt” want average folks to expect less from Social Security and other safety-net programs but are doing all they can to protect their special interest tax breaks and dodge the slightly higher tax rates for the rich, note Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.

America’s Bloody Price for Power

Exclusive: “The Untold History of the United States” shakes up the traditional recounting of the last century, forcing Americans to rethink key assumptions, but director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick have not written a people’s history, says Jim DiEugenio in part two of his review.

The Dark Side of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Movie-goers across America can now see the hunt-for-bin-Laden film, “Zero Dark Thirty,” and its graphic portrayal of torture as a key element in that search. But the filmmakers distort the facts and ignore the reality that torture is illegal, immoral and dangerously ineffective, writes Marjorie Cohn.

Waking Up to Iran’s Real History

Americans have a deeply distorted understanding of Iran and what has driven that country’s political change over the past six decades. This false history has become the backdrop for a possible new war, as David Swanson notes in reviewing a new book, Waking Up in Tehran.

Jesus’s Provocative Political Protest

Christians celebrate Jesus’s birth and the immediate events around his crucifixion, but less attention is given to the clearest sign of his political activism, his overturning of the money-changing tables at the Temple in Jerusalem, the likeliest reason for his execution, as Mark Manolopoulos explains.

The Grilling that Brennan Deserves

Exclusive: When President Obama’s national security nominees reach the Senate, the toughest challenge is expected against Chuck Hagel for Defense, but CIA Director-designee John Brennan has more to explain about his work over the past decade on the terror war’s “dark side,” says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Keystone Pipeline’s March to the Sea

Progress continues on the Keystone XL pipeline as it overcomes creative protests and legal challenges in East Texas. But opposition also is building with big-name environmentalists, like Robert Redford, urging the Obama administration to stand up against global warming, reports William Boardman.

Where Rachel Maddow Dares Not Tread

From the Archive: On domestic politics, MSNBC has provided some balance to the hard-right bent of Fox News, but the liberal-oriented network won’t diverge much from Washington’s hawkish foreign policy orthodoxy, especially on the Middle East, a reality that Marquette professor Daniel C. Maguire observed in 2011.

Walling in Israeli Occupation

Israel keeps turning to “fences” to protect its territory even if these walls cut through lands conquered by force and are not internationally recognized as belonging to Israel, as is the case with new plans for the occupied Golan Heights, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.