Human Rights

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.

The Moral Challenge of ‘Kill Lists’

From the Archive: In naming counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be the new CIA director, President Obama praised Brennan’s work ethic, but there are other more pressing ethical issues tied to this promotion, like the morality of “kill lists” that Brennan maintained, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern noted last May.

Excusing Torture, Again

Exclusive: The neocon Washington Post let ex-CIA official Jose Rodriguez, who oversaw waterboarding and other torture and then destroyed the videotaped evidence, make his case that there was no torture, just effective interrogation that helped get Osama bin Laden. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern disagrees.

The Madness of the NRA

The American Right has fabricated a false narrative about the Second Amendment to justify the ongoing slaughter of children and thousands of other civilians across the United States. But the NRA’s pro-gun arguments sometimes even go beyond satire, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship explain.