Obama Administration

How Secrecy Stops Debate on Secrecy

Americans got a rare glimpse into the breadth of U.S. government surveillance of their communications with new revelations that phone and Internet providers have been turning over vast amounts of data to be mined for “terrorism” investigations, an issue discussed by human rights attorney Shahid Buttar with Dennis J Bernstein.

Right-Wing Ideology and Reality

Pervasive right-wing propaganda – relying on false allusions to the Founding myth and bigoted illusions about non-white minorities – has sucked millions of Americans into an unrealistic ideology centered on hatred of government. Lawrence Davidson encountered that reality on a vacation cruise.

South America’s Drift toward Unity

Exclusive: Over the past decade, as the United States has focused on Middle East “terrorism,” its traditional sphere of influence in Latin America has spun further out of the U.S. orbit, with major regional countries coalescing around areas of cooperation. This pattern is deepening despite occasional political flare-ups, writes Andrés Cala.

Misreading History into Wars

Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” often cites historical precedents, like Hitler at Munich or the Rwanda genocide, as simplistic justifications for new wars. President Obama’s two new national security appointees – Susan Rice and Samantha Power – seem prone to that mistake, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Manning: Guilty of Aiding Democracy

Because democracy is dependent on an informed electorate, political control in advanced societies like the United States has focused on selective dissemination of information and ideological spin. A whistleblower like Pvt. Bradley Manning disrupts that process, says Norman Solomon.

To Russia With Love

It was surely odd to see right-wing Republican Dana Rohrabacher speaking positively about Russia, but perhaps he was influenced by actor Steven Seagal — or maybe animosity toward Islamists now tops old grudges toward Moscow, a question that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar addresses.

Selective Definition of ‘Terrorism’

Terrorism once had an objective meaning: an act of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal. But it’s since been transformed into a bigoted curse word aimed broadly at Muslims, while rarely applied to politically motivated violence by other groups, as Nima Shirazi notes.

‘Dark Money’ Plot Behind IRS ‘Scandal’

The flap over a few IRS bureaucrats clumsily trying to identify the many right-wing groups abusing a tax-exempt status remains the “big story.” But the news media continues to miss the bigger scandal, the tricks used to create vast pools of “dark money” for buying the political process, writes Beverly Bandler.

The Manning Trial’s Real Defendant

Exclusive: The trial of Pvt. Bradley Manning for leaking classified documents is a test of values in the American Republic. The case pits a democracy’s need for knowledge against the government’s insistence on secrecy, a moral balancing act assessed by religious ethicist Daniel C. Maguire.

Dangerous Precedent of Drone Wars

President Obama has promised to put tighter restrictions on his use of lethal drones in U.S. counterterrorism attacks, but even if he follows through, there’s no guarantee that some future president won’t cite the precedents of the past decade to expand the operations again, writes Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.