Filling the Blanks in Snowden’s ‘Citizenfour’

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking in Moscow on Oct. 9, 2013. (From a video posted by WikiLeaks)

Exclusive: To grasp the full story of Citizenfour, the documentary on Edward Snowden’s decision to expose NSA spying, you must go back four decades to see how the reality slowly dawned on Americans that their privacy and freedoms were at risk, writes James DiEugenio.

Why JFK Still Matters

john-f-kennedy-35

Since John F. Kennedy’s death, there’s been little presidential rhetoric that was not either bombastic and self-serving – Reagan’s “tear down this wall” – or cringingly dishonest – Nixon’s “I am not a crook” or Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Which may be why JFK still inspires many, writes Beverly Bandler.

Will the Iran Deal-Wreckers Prevail?

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sitting next to President Hassan Rouhani and addressing the cabinet.

Iran appears ready to sign an agreement tightly constraining its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief, but neocons and other U.S. hardliners appear determined to wreck the deal, which could make Mideast tensions even worse, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Bought-and-Paid Congress Divides the Spoils

After unprecedented spending on the mid-term elections, Congress returns to Washington.

Never has the Golden Rule of Politics glittered so bright: the corporate-person with the most gold rules. And the Republicans are now firmly in control of Congress after having their pockets filled more than the Democrats, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship explain.

CIA’s Torturous Maneuvers on Torture

CIA Director John Brennan at a White House meeting during his time as President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser.

Exclusive: The CIA is fighting congressional demands to release a report on its covert program for torturing “war on terror” suspects, even as the spy agency contemplates a reorganization that could give the covert-action side more ways to bend the truth, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Why US Balks at Accord on Children’s Rights

Afghan children await school supplies from Allied forces at Sozo School in Kabul. (French navy photo by Master Petty Officer Valverde)

With its powerful political-media apparatus, America’s right wing can create hysteria over pretty much anything, even something as innocuous as a U.N. agreement on the rights of children, leaving the U.S. as one of only three countries not to ratify it a quarter century later, writes Joe Lauria.

Delusional US ‘Group Think’ on Syria, Ukraine

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Exclusive: Official Washington’s “group think” on Syria and Ukraine is so delusional that it is putting the whole world in danger, but – as with the Iraq War – the mainstream U.S. news media is part of the problem, not part of any solution, writes Robert Parry.

EU Wobbles Amid Conflicting Priorities

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: The 28-nation European Union was always a tenuous affair, pulling together historic enemies and nations with conflicting economic priorities, but now those stresses – a triple-dip recession and differences over Ukraine and immigration – are threatening to splinter the EU, writes Andrés Cala.

Ellsberg Discusses Decline of Democracy

Daniel Ellsberg on the cover of Time after leaking the Pentagon Papers

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg discussed the threat of National Security Agency surveillance and the decline of American democracy in a late-night interview that he gave after a lecture at George State University in Atlanta.

Katharine Gun’s Risky Truth-telling

Former British intelligence officer Katharine Gun. (Photo credit: BBC)

Truth-telling can be a dangerous undertaking, especially when done by government insiders trying to expose wrongdoing connected to war-making, as British intelligence official Katharine Gun discovered in blowing the whistle on a pre-Iraq War ploy, writes Sam Husseini.

The Confusion Around Net Neutrality

President Barack Obama announces the nomination Tom Wheeler, right, as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, on May 1, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama reaffirmed his support for “Net neutrality,” but his appointed FCC chairman Tom Wheeler continues to flirt with ideas for giving major Internet providers more options to charge extra for higher-speed service, reports Michael Winship.

The Double Standards on Bank Crimes

Timothy Geithner (left), then Treasury Secretary, meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. (White House photo)

The U.S. government has levied some billion-dollar fines on banks for offenses tied to the financial crisis, but bank officers have avoided the shackled frog-walk and time behind bars, humiliations dealt out routinely to criminals who make off with much less money, says ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.

Picking a Fight with China

President Barack Obama shakes hands with staff and their families during a meet and greet at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, Nov. 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Amid the tough talk on Russia, President Obama is speaking more softly about China but still seems ready to brandish a geopolitical stick against Asia’s emerging superpower, another unnecessary confrontation, says the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

Should Christians Embrace Gay Marriage?

Rainbow flag of the gay-rights movement

The issue of gay marriage appears headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court where the justices may finally decide if states can bar gay couples from marrying or not. Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia recognize gay marriage, including Alaska where Rev. Howard Bess lives.

Neocons’ Fateful Iraq ‘Surge’ Myth

Coffins of dead U.S. soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in 2006. (U.S. government photo)

After provoking the Iraq War debacle, America’s neocons found themselves on the defensive but soon came up with a “theme” to salvage their reputations – the  myth of the “successful surge” – what might be called the last lie of Iraq War I or the first lie of Iraq War II, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Punishing a Professor’s Criticism of Israel

Professor Steven Salaita.

Criticism of how Israel treats Palestinians has become a firing offense in some circles, including academia where professors must muzzle themselves or face accusations of anti-Semitism. In the case of Steven Salaita, Twitter posts about Gaza cost him his job, as Dennis J. Bernstein explores in an interview.

Letting the Neocons Lead

President Barack Obama talks with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation as they join other leaders en route to the APEC Family Photo at the International Convention Center in Beijing, China, Nov. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: At the G-20 meeting, Putin-bashing was all the rage, as President Obama and other Western leaders berated Russian President Putin for his supposed “aggression” in Ukraine. The mainstream media also piled on. But the reality is much more complex, writes Robert Parry.

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.

Behind the USS Liberty Cover-up

USS Liberty (AGTR-5) receives assistance from units of the Sixth Fleet, after she was attacked and seriously damaged by Israeli forces off the Sinai Peninsula on June 8, 1967.  (US Navy photo)

For decades, Israel has exercised strong influence over U.S. policies in the Mideast via its highly effective Washington lobby, but that power was tested in 1967 when Israeli warplanes strafed the USS Liberty killing 34 American crewmen, an incident revisited in a new documentary reviewed by Maidhc Ó Cathail.

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 Robert Parry.

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.

Obama Boosts ‘Net Neutrality’

President Barack Obama runs onto a stage in Rockville, Maryland, Oct. 3, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The battle to protect “Net Neutrality” got a boost from President Obama’s strong recommendation to the FCC in favor of reclassifying the Internet as a public utility, but the newly empowered Republicans are demanding that private industry have more control, writes Michael Winship.

Standing in an Adversary’s Shoes

President John F. Kennedy addressing the nation regarding the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Americans are notoriously disinterested in history, preferring to focus on the present and often reacting to the latest crisis. But the past can teach important lessons including the need to understand an adversary’s perspective and to avoid unnecessary conflicts, as ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk explains.

The Mystery of Ray McGovern’s Arrest

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern

Exclusive: On Oct. 30, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern was arrested for trying to attend a public speech by retired Gen. David Petraeus. McGovern had hoped to ask Petraeus a critical question during Q-and-A but was instead trundled off to jail, another sign of a growing hostility toward dissent, McGovern says.