Obama Administration

Hard Lessons from the Afghan War

For years, the Afghan Taliban have said they would negotiate with the U.S. once it was clear the Americans were committed to leaving, making their sudden commitment to talk less “surprising.” But Official Washington could learn other important lessons from the long Afghan War, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

US Vets Join Gitmo Hunger Strike

Of the 166 detainees still at the Guantanamo Bay prison, 104 are on a hunger strike that has lasted over four months as they protest indefinite detentions without trial or even charges. They have now been joined by several U.S. war veterans, including former Army medic Diane Wilson who spoke with Dennis J Bernstein.

How to Thwart Internet Spying

Many are beginning to wonder if the Internet was America’s great “Trojan horse” gift to the world, a clever way to get past barriers and into everyone’s private information. The recent PRISM spying disclosures have especially riled Europeans. But there are techniques for fighting back, says Dutch technology expert Arjen Kamphuis.

The Need for National Security Leaks

The attack line against whistleblowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden – that they should have gone through “proper channels” – ignores that those oversight channels have been badly corrupted over the past several decades. That has left Americans dependent on out-of-channel leaks, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

Exposing the Global Surveillance State

In lifting the curtain of secrecy only slightly, the Obama administration says U.S. surveillance of telephone and Internet communications has helped disrupt dozens of terror plots and is subjected to rigorous checks and balances. But the continued secrecy shows the need for whistleblowers, writes ex-British intelligence official Annie Machon.

Explaining Iran’s ‘Surprise’ Election

Iran’s election of centrist Hassan Rowhani has confused the mainstream U.S. news media which was primed to reprise its favored narrative of “rigged” voting but now is going through contortions to explain the “surprise” result. Or one could read Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett’s book, says Dave Schneider.

Toward a US-Iranian Detente

With Iran’s election of Hassan Rohani as the new president, the West is confronted with the PR dilemma of not having Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to kick around anymore. But there is a route to a more constructive relationship, if Official Washington would lessen its hostility, write Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.

Would Jesus Love Ayn Rand Economics?

Many on the American Right say they’re strong Christians, but have bought into Ayn Rand economics which disdains government help for the poor and needy. Other Christians, like Sojourners’ Jim Wallis, see Jesus’s teachings enshrined in the Constitution’s commitment to the common good, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

The High Cost of Deportations

As Tea Party activists and some Republican senators vow to stop immigration reform, the status quo means that hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants are deported under President Obama’s aggressive enforcement policies, creating a humanitarian crisis for millions, writes Dennis J Bernstein.

Can the West Accept Iran’s Opening?

The mainstream U.S. news media always blames Iran for the nuclear dispute, while ignoring other key facts like Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal and the failure of the West to offer Iran meaningful sanctions relief. But Iran’s election of Hassan Rouhani creates a chance for mutual concessions, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.