Obama Administration

Empire of Panic and Illusion

Americans have been sold on the promise of perfect security, whether protecting “the homeland” with gadgets of death or guarding “the homestead” with high-powered assault rifles firing 100-round magazines. But this “safety” is an illusion, making Americans less secure than if they engaged the world around them, as Phil Rockstroh observes.

A Chance to Debate the ‘War on Terror’

Confirmation hearings for John Brennan to head the CIA will give Congress – and the American people – their first chance for some public airing of the secret drone program that has struck at suspected al-Qaeda terrorists, including U.S. citizens, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Drone Memo Puts Brennan on Spot

Exclusive: President Obama is finally giving the congressional Intelligence Committees a look at a Justice Department legal opinion justifying the killing of Americans in senior al-Qaeda positions plotting attacks on the U.S. The disclosure comes as the Senate considers John Brennan to be CIA director, notes Ray McGovern.

How Secrecy Corrodes Democracy

Exclusive: The Obama administration is under fire for its secret policy of using drone strikes to kill alleged al-Qaeda terrorists, including Americans. But the public suspicion is heightened by frustration over decades of excessive government secrecy and deception, says Robert Parry.

Requiem for Cambodia’s Crafty King

Exclusive: In an elaborate cremation ceremony, Cambodians bade farewell to their dead king, Norodom Sihanouk, the crafty leader who for decades tried to maneuver the small country around the interests of great powers, with mixed and sometimes disastrous results, reports Don North from Phnom Penh.

Guardrail Design Raises Concerns

Update: In recent years, highways have been made safer by guardrail end units that absorb the impact of collisions and redistribute the energy to protect drivers and passengers. But one popular system is now generating concerns over a slight design change, reports Daniel J. Goldstein, with new company comment.

The Secrets of ‘The Gatekeepers’

“The Gatekeepers,” a new documentary, records the views of the Israeli security officials most responsible for suppressing Palestinian resistance and their growing doubts about the strategy of endless repression. But even this criticism glosses over the depth of the problem, writes Lawrence Davidson.

Recycling Radioactive Metals Disputed

An Energy Department plan to allow the recycling of scrap metals emitting very low levels of radiation is drawing opposition because of concerns about potential health hazards. But the upside for U.S. atomic bomb-makers is that waste now requiring costly storage could be sold for a profit, reports William Boardman.

The Trickery of the Military Budget

A key federal budget trick is using words to confuse citizens, such as labeling U.S. military spending as “defense” though much is for “offense” and sliding costs for wounded soldiers under “veterans affairs” and nuclear bombs under “energy,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Lesson in Hagel’s Inquisition

Exclusive: Several U.S. senators rudely questioned Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel for alleged heresies against Official Washington’s orthodoxies, like his strange detection of an Israel Lobby operating on Capitol Hill and his refusal to accept that the 2007 troop “surge” in Iraq won that war, notes Robert Parry.