Obama Administration

Nagging Obama into Syria’s Civil War

After the Syrian government agreed to attend peace talks – and the rebels refused unless they were given U.S. weapons – President Obama succumbed and agreed to ship the weapons, an approach favored by the neocons and one likely to cause more bloodshed not less, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Secrecy’s Tangled Web of Deceit

Exclusive: U.S. government officials insist that their secret surveillance techniques are so valuable in fighting “terrorism” that they must be kept completely in the dark – along with the American people. This alleged imperative has justified even lying to Congress, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern observes.

Fighting the Secrecy/Surveillance State

The emergence of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and now Edward Snowden represents just the tip of the iceberg of a popular resistance that is challenging the U.S. government’s excesses in secrecy and surveillance, a movement that Iceland MP Birgitta Jonsdottir discusses with Dennis J Bernstein.

Misreading Iranian Politics

Every four years when Iran holds presidential elections, U.S. journalists travel to Tehran, hang out with middle-class English speakers and – when the vote tallies are in – insist that the electoral outcome must have been rigged. But that typically reflects a lack of U.S. media objectivity about Iran, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.

Edward Snowden’s Brave Choice

The mainstream media’s assault on Edward Snowden’s character has begun, with columns in outlets like the Washington Post and The New Yorker calling him “narcissistic” and reckless. But his brave disclosures highlight how out of control the U.S. surveillance state is and how it threatens democracy, says Christopher H. Pyle.

How PBS Lost the Public

America’s PBS has long since compromised its journalistic integrity to deflect political and financial pressure from the Right. But assaults on public broadcasting in Greece and other countries are provoking outrage and resistance from the public, reports Danny Schechter.

Obama’s Dangerous Dilemma

Exclusive: Many Americans, particularly the young, are angry over government spying — and are cheering on leakers who release “secret” documents. By taking the “establishment” side of this debate, President Obama risks discrediting government just as it is needed on global warming and other critical issues, writes Robert Parry.

Letting Iran in on Syrian Peace Talks

The U.S.-Russia-led peace talks on Syria face many obstacles, including rebels demanding weapons in exchange for showing up. But one self-imposed obstacle would be Official Washington blocking Iranian participation out of a misguided fear of political fallout, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Spillover from Data-Mining

U.S. government officials (and many mainstream pundits) assure Americans that there’s nothing to fear from the electronic surveillance aimed at “terrorists,” but some intelligence experts say the new techniques could ultimately intimidate people from participating in democracy, as author Christopher Simpson tells Dennis J Bernstein.

Escaping the ‘War on Terror’

It is true, as President Obama says, that you can’t have 100% security and 100% privacy, but it’s also true that you can never have 100% security – and seeking it often makes you less secure by creating more enemies. Any debate on this must include the imperfect process called “conflict transformation,” says Patrick T. Hiller.