Media

PRISM’s Controversial Forerunner

Using a powerful computer program known as PRISM, the U.S. government has been downloading vast amounts of communications data and mining it for counterterrorism purposes. But these capabilities began more than three decades ago with the controversial PROMIS software, Richard L. Fricker reports.

Parsing the Lies of Statecraft

In the many grays of statecraft, there are many gradations in lying. Some lies have grave consequences, including war and loss of life, while artful wording sometimes can cool down a crisis and save lives. The differences are not insignificant, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Why MSNBC Defends NSA Surveillance

President Obama seems more willing to alienate his base of young supporters who object to the growing Surveillance State than to offend the national security apparatchiks who run it. But Obama’s crackdown on leakers also has found apologists among MSNBC’s “liberal” talkers, as Jeff Cohen reports.

Snowden Honored by Ex-Intel Officials

Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, an organization of former national security officials, has honored NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, praising his decision to reveal the extent of U.S. government electronic surveillance of people in the United States and around the world.

Flag-Waving to Death

In American politics and media, anyone who questions the concept of “American Exceptionalism” is banished to the margins of society. But this self-aggrandizing notion has always contained a large measure of self-deception, ignoring the suffering inflicted on other peoples and on U.S. soldiers, as Gary G. Kohls notes.

Gauging Sympathy for Snowden

As the U.S. media turns on NSA leaker Edward Snowden – and as many Americans say they’re happy to trade some privacy for more security – samples of public opinion abroad are more sympathetic. An online poll by a major German daily reflects that sentiment, writes ex-Danish intelligence analyst Frank S. Grevil.

Sanitizing Nelson Mandela

When Nelson Mandela was a dedicated freedom-fighter against white-ruled South Africa, he was almost as much a “non-person” in the U.S. media as he was in South Africa’s press. Only after Mandela pulled back from demands about redistributing wealth was he embraced as a mass media icon, Danny Schechter reports.

Demonizing Iran, Again

Despite Iran’s election of relative moderate Hassan Rouhani to be the new president, the demonization of Iran continues, with dubious claims about Iranian-linked “terrorism” against the U.S. and its allies. This renewed propaganda campaign threatens the success of negotiations with Iran, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Slippery Slope into Syrian War

The neocons and much of the mainstream U.S. news media are eager for another U.S.-sponsored “regime change” in the Middle East – this time in Syria – and President Obama has acquiesced to shipping guns to the rebels. But this slippery slope has hidden dangers, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

The Painful Truths Told by Phil Agee

Truly objective journalism would value facts and accuracy above all else, but the mainstream U.S. press – while pretending to be “objective” – treasures faux patriotism much more, as is evident with recent whistleblowers as it was with the hostility toward the late Phil Agee who exposed CIA crimes, as William Blum recalls.