A Late Summer Hiatus

We may not be filing our usual allotment of stories through the end of August due to vacations. So we invite readers to look back at earlier Consortiumnews.com stories, including those highlighted in our latest “In Case You Missed…” posting for July.

In Case You Missed…

Some of our special stories in July focused on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine (especially the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17), the Israeli war on Gaza, and the real history of Thomas Jefferson.

Forgetting Cheney’s Legacy of Lies

Vice President Dick Cheney speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 26, 2002. [Source: White House]

The neocons – aided by their “liberal interventionist” allies and the U.S. mainstream media – are building new “group thinks” on the Middle East and Ukraine with many Americans having forgotten how they were duped into war a dozen years ago, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Washington’s Latest War Fever

obama-cameron

War fever is running high again in Official Washington with pols and pundits demanding that President Obama order a major military intervention in Iraq and Syria to stop the violent jihadists of ISIS, a group that got its start with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, as ex-CIA analyst Paul Pillar recalls.

Selective Outrage over Ukraine POWs

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

Exclusive: The U.S. news media regularly engages in selective outrage, piously denouncing some adversary for violating international law yet hypocritically silent when worse abuses are committed by the U.S. or allied governments, as the New York Times has shown again, writes Robert Parry.

Bringing War Home to America

Michael Brown, the victim of a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

From the “war on drugs” to the “war on terror,” U.S. society has grown increasingly militarized with police now armed to the teeth with weapons of war to deploy against American citizens, a process that apes U.S. violence-oriented actions abroad, says Brian J. Trautman.

Russia’s Humanitarian ‘Invasion’

President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Official Washington’s war-hysteria machine is running at full speed again after Russia unilaterally dispatched a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Ukrainian city of Luhansk, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Judging Israeli-Palestinian Demands

The Gaza Strip is a tightly cordoned-off area of only 139 square miles where some 1.6 million Palestinians are essentially trapped.

Neither side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict wants to accept a return to the status quo prior to the latest bloodshed, but there are differences between the reasonableness of the conflicting demands and how the world should see them, as John V. Whitbeck explains.

Seeking Accountability for Gaza

The Israeli government has cited rocket fire from Gaza as justification for its bombardment and assault on the narrow strip of land holding some 1.8 million Palestinians. (Graphic from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook page)

Israel and the Obama administration insist that Israel’s recent slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza was justified by indiscriminate rocket fire from the blockaded area, but some international law advocates think the disproportionate response justifies prosecution of Israeli and U.S. officials for war crimes, says Marjorie Cohn.

How the Internet Checks Police Abuses

The autopsy drawing of Michael Brown's body after he was gunned down by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Though often disparaged by the mainstream media, the Internet – and its social media – represent an important safeguard against civil rights abuses, like the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, from being covered up. That makes Net neutrality especially important, says Michael Winship.

Is Police Brutality Color-Blind?

Attorney General Eric Holder meets with local residents and community leaders of Ferguson, Missouri at Drake’s Place Restaurant. (by Lonnie Taque, U.S. Department of Justice)

The Missouri police shooting death of Michael Brown has spotlighted police brutality toward blacks but many other Americans, including whites, are finding themselves the targets of harsher and harsher police tactics, notes Nat Parry.

Behind Obama’s ‘Chaotic’ Foreign Policy

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice in the Oval Office on March 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: The chaos enveloping U.S. foreign policy stems from President Obama’s unwillingness to challenge Official Washington’s power centers which favor neoconservatism and “liberal interventionism” – strategies that have often undercut real U.S. national security interests, writes Robert Parry.

The Neocons’ Grim ‘Victory’ in Iraq

Former Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

The neocons who plunged the U.S. into the disastrous Iraq War never say they’re sorry. Instead, it’s all about how their idea was great but President Bush bungled the implementation or how the war was “won” but President Obama chose defeat. Still, the real neocon “victory” could be their success in inflicting endless chaos on the Middle East, as JP Sottile observes.

The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case

The controversial map developed by Human Rights Watch and embraced by the New York Times, supposedly showing the flight paths of two missiles from the Aug. 21 Sarin attack intersecting at a Syrian military base.

From the Archive: At the first anniversary of the Sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, there is a concerted effort to reestablish the original conventional wisdom, blaming the Syrian government for the hundreds of deaths. The goal seems to be to bury  the alternative narrative that later emerged, as Robert Parry wrote last April.

Cracking Down on Truth-telling

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama entered office vowing to run a transparent government. But instead he has clamped down on leaks, prosecuted whistleblowers and threatened truth-telling journalists with jail if they don’t reveal sources, as Marcy Wheeler recounts.

The Liberal Zionist Dilemma

A section of the barrier -- erected by Israeli officials to prevent the passage of Palestinians -- with graffiti using President John F. Kennedy's famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, "Ich bin ein Berliner." (Photo credit: Marc Venezia)

Several decades ago, liberal Jews and African-Americans were at the forefront for the U.S. fight for civil rights, but the demands from Israel for Jews to support Zionism to the detriment of Palestinian rights created a rift that grows wider even today, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

The Powerful ‘Group Think’ on Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivering a speech on the Ukraine crisis in Moscow on March 18, 2014. (Russian government photo)

Exclusive: Official Washington’s “group think” on Ukraine – blaming everything on Russian President Putin – is so dominant that even independent thinkers like Paul Krugman get sucked into the collective misinformation, reports Robert Parry.

A USS Liberty’s Hero’s Passing

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)

Exclusive:  Silver Star winner Terry Halbardier, the hero who got off the SOS that saved the USS Liberty from Israeli destruction in 1967, died last week in California, prompting ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern to recall the murderous attack and the cowardly cover-up that followed.

Iraq and the Oil Wars

Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. (Photo credit: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica J. Wilkes)

Oil has always been part of U.S. decision-making on Iraq, a key motive for the 2003 invasion and the bloody occupation that followed. Now, as President Obama returns U.S. forces to Iraq, the issue of oil has bubbled back to the surface, as oil analyst Antonia Juhasz explained to Dennis J Bernstein.

The Hushed-Up Hitler Factor in Ukraine

German dictator Adolf Hitler

Behind the Ukraine crisis is a revision of World War II history that seeks to honor eastern European collaborators with Hitler and the Holocaust by repackaging these rightists as anti-Soviet heroes, a reality shielded from the U.S. public, as Dovid Katz explains.

Back into Iraq, Again

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to Marines stationed on Camp Pendleton, Calififornia, Aug. 12, 2014, after returning from a trip to Germany, India and Australia.  (DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt)

As the U.S. military returns to Iraq, Official Washington won’t tolerate a serious examination of the back story of the crisis, which began with the U.S. invasion of Iraq and continued with covert support of Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow Syria’s government, now returning to Iraq. Instead, its more hype and deception, says Danny Schechter.

Will Israel’s War Crimes Go Unpunished?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security meeting with senior Israeli Defense Forces commanders near Gaza on July 21, 2014. (Israel government photo)

The credibility of the International Criminal Court has fallen into question because it focuses on human rights abusers in weak countries while ignoring those in powerful countries or with powerful friends, a criticism being tested again by Israel’s slaughter in Gaza, as Brian J. Trautman notes.

The Berlin Wall and Missed Opportunities

A portion of the Berlin Wall as photographed in 1975, toward the east. (Photo credit: Edward Valachovic)

Exclusive: The U.S. State Department’s obsession with “information warfare” as a strategic weapon has made U.S. credibility one more casualty of the Ukraine crisis, along with any remaining trust in the mainstream U.S. media. It was not always thus, laments ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers

The Wolfsangel symbol on a banner in Ukraine.

Exclusive: You might think a story about modern-day Nazi storm troopers attacking a European city without mercy would merit front-page coverage in the U.S. press, but not when the Nazi paramilitaries are fighting for the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government and are killing ethnic Russians, writes Robert Parry.

Giving Israel a Pass on Civilian Deaths

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows off photos that he claims justified the bombardment of Gaza. (Israeli government photo)

The Obama administration, which touts its “responsibility to protect” civilians when it wants to intervene somewhere in the world, went silent when Israel engaged in massive attacks on civilian targets in Gaza, killing hundreds of non-combatants including many children, notes Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.

Wisdom in Obama’s ‘Don’t Do Stupid Stuff’

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honor the four victims of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Sept. 14, 2012. [State Department photo)

Hillary Clinton and other war hawks are scolding President Obama for not asserting U.S. power more aggressively around the world to deal with a rash of crises, but there is wisdom in Obama’s saying, “Don’t do stupid stuff,” observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Rear-Guard Defense of Torture

John Rizzo, who was acting General Counsel at the CIA during the first nine years of the "war on terror."

Official U.S. policy is to decry torture – at least when done by adversaries – but ambiguities abound when U.S. operatives do the torturing. Then, torture becomes debatable and its defenders go on TV talk shows and even get honors from universities, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

Still Tolerating Torture

CIA Director John Brennan addresses officials at the Agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia. (Photo credit: CIA)

President Obama admits that U.S. authorities engaged in torture during the “war on terror” but he has taken no action to hold the torturers accountable and even elevated one of its defenders, John Brennan, to chief of the CIA, notes William Blum.

Why Israel Is Bad for the Jews

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu

Among the harm that hardline Israeli policies have inflicted on Judaism is the erosion of the traditional Jewish tolerance toward dissent, now virtually forbidden if it involves criticizing Israel, as Danny Schechter learned when he asserted that “Israel is bad for the Jews.”

The Battle for Palestine

French diplomat Francois George-Picot, who along with British colonial officer Mark Sykes drew lines across a Middle East map of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, carving out states with boundaries that are nearly the same as they are today.

Special Report: Americans often focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the latest atrocity and which side is to blame. But there is a long and important back story to this conflict which continues to stir up unrest across the Middle East, as retired U.S. diplomat William R. Polk explains.

NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War

Far-right militia members demonstrating outside Ukrainian parliament in Kiev. (Screen shot from RT video via YouTube video)

Exclusive: Throughout the Ukraine crisis, the U.S. State Department and mainstream media have downplayed the role of neo-Nazis in the U.S.-backed Kiev regime, an inconvenient truth that is surfacing again as right-wing storm troopers fly neo-Nazi banners as they attack in the east, Robert Parry reports.