Obama Administration

How Many Islamic State Fighters Are There?

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Exclusive: As the United States slides back into war in the Middle East, the specter of Vietnam hovers over the endeavor with some observers wondering if wishful thinking will again replace hardheaded analysis about the risks and the costs, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Behind the War with Boko Haram

The Nigerian and U.S. flags carried together in parade on the campus of the American University of NIgeria in Yola, celebrating AUN’s tenth anniversary. (Photo credit: Don North)

Exclusive: Last April, much of the world was horrified when the Boko Haram rebels of northern Nigeria kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls and vowed to marry them off. But the violence in Africa’s richest country has a complex back story of religion, ignorance, corruption and injustice, as Don North explains.

America’s Pseudo-Democracy

Mr. Moneybags from the "Monopoly" game

U.S. pundits mock countries, like Iran or China, where candidates are screened before they go on the ballot, but America has a similar approach, with candidates needing approval from plutocrats and special interests. But that’s just one problem of U.S. democracy, says Lawrence Davidson.

The Iraq War’s Pricy Ticket

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

For American taxpayers, the Iraq War is a gift that keeps on taking, with new plans to spend tens of billions of dollars to retrain the Iraqi army whose initial training cost tens of billions before the army collapsed against a few thousand militants, a pricy dilemma cited by ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.

Can the World Avert a New Cold War?

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a state visit to Austria on June 24, 2014. (Official Russian government photo)

The West is charging off into a new Cold War with Russia under banners of hypocrisy, from charges of “expansionism” to complaints about disrespect for individual rights. This lack of balance could have grave consequences for the world, says former British intelligence officer Annie Machon.

GOP Climate-Deniers Lose a Point

President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China greet children during the State Arrival Welcome Ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Nov. 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Republican mid-term victories were viewed as a big win for global-warming deniers and their oil-and-coal industry backers, but China’s surprising acceptance of greenhouse gas limits removes one of the chief arguments against the U.S. doing something about the climate crisis, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

When Henry Kissinger Makes Sense

President Richard Nixon with his then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in 1972.

Exclusive: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger disputes the mainstream U.S. media’s view of the Ukraine crisis, noting that Russia’s response was reactive to the West’s actions, not the other way around. But the MSM keeps up the drumbeat about Russian “aggression,” writes Robert Parry.

Plumbing the Depths of NSA’s Spying

Former National Security Agency official William Binney sitting in the offices of Democracy Now! in New York City. (Photo credit: Jacob Appelbaum)

The complexity of the National Security Agency’s spying programs has made some of its ex-technical experts the most dangerous critics since they are among the few who understand the potential totalitarian risks involved, as ex-NSA analyst William Binney showed in an interview with journalist Lars Schall.

The Neocon Plan for War and More War

President Barack Obama uncomfortably accepting the Nobel Peace Prize from Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009. (White House photo)

Exclusive: A major test for President Obama is whether he will – in the face of the Republican midterm victories – submit to neocon demands for more wars in the Middle East and a costly Cold War with Russia or finally earn the Nobel Peace Prize that he got at the start of his presidency, writes…

Obama Slammed for Iran Outreach

President Barack Obama talks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call in the Oval Office, Sept. 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

American neocons are furious that President Obama reportedly sent a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei apparently urging concessions on nuclear talks and referencing joint interests in combating Islamic State radicals, but the letter may reflect smart diplomacy, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.