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.

Obama’s Foreign Policy Scrambles

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)

As President Obama faces simultaneous foreign policy crises in multiple hotspots, his reaction often appears ad hoc, rushing to one flare-up after another. But he is not the first president to face multi-front brush fires, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

The Heinous Crime Behind Watergate

President Richard Nixon, trying to head off impeachment over Watergate, releases edited transcripts of his Oval Office tapes on April 29, 1974. (Photo credit: National Archives)

Exclusive: The mainstream media’s big takeaway from Richard Nixon’s Watergate resignation is that “the cover-up is always worse than the crime.” But that’s because few understand the crime behind Watergate, Nixon’s frantic search for a file on his 1968 subversion of Vietnam peace talks, reports Robert Parry.

The Unfinished Drama of Watergate

President Richard Nixon, speaking to the nation on Aug. 8, 1974, announcing his decision to resign.

Four decades ago, Richard Nixon resigned, making him the first U.S. president in history to quit the office, the result of two years of a spreading scandal known as Watergate. But many Watergate reforms aimed at limiting the power of money over politics were short-lived, as Michael Winship observes.

The Very Un-Christian Nagasaki Bomb

The ruins of the Urakami Christian church in Nagasaki, Japan, as shown in a photograph dated Jan. 7, 1946.

A bitter irony of the Nagasaki atomic bomb was that an all-Christian American crew used the steeple of Japan’s most prominent Christian church as the target for an act of unspeakable barbarism, making a mockery of Christian teachings on non-violence, writes Gary G. Kohls.

The Mystery of the Nagasaki Bomb

The U.S. explosion of a nuclear bomb over Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945.

On Aug. 9, 1945, three days after obliterating Hiroshima with one nuclear bomb – as Japan’s high command met on surrender plans – the U.S. government dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki killing 74,000 people instantly, a decision that has never been adequately explained, writes John LaForge.

Was Putin Targeted for Mid-Air Assassination?

A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane.

Exclusive: Official Washington’s conventional wisdom on the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down blames Russian President Putin, but some U.S. intelligence analysts think Putin, whose plane was flying nearby, may have been the target of Ukrainian hardliners who hit the wrong plane, writes Robert Parry.

Tallying Israeli War Crimes

President Obama speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the White House on May 20, 2011 (White House photo by Pete Souza)

For decades, Israel has slaughtered Palestinians with impunity, always protected by the U.S. government and its veto at the UN Security Council. But the latest bloody assault on Gaza has prompted more open talk about Israeli war crimes — and U.S. complicity, says Marjorie Cohn.

How Israel Trashes Judaism

A graphic released by the Israeli Defense Forces to justify Operation Protective Edge's destruction of so many civilian structures in Gaza. (Israeli government graphic)

While Official Washington excuses Israel’s latest slaughter of Gazans as justifiable self-defense, many thoughtful Jews are lamenting how the traditional humanism of Judaism is being despoiled by the brutal practices of the Israeli government, writes Danny Schechter.

Real Peace-Making Needed for Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Aug. 6, 2014,
announced the success of Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 1,800 Gazans. Netanyahu said, "The goal of Operation Protective Edge was and remains to protect Israeli civilians." (Israeli government photo)

Some Israeli leaders joke about their periodic slaughter of Gazans as “mowing the grass,” a chore that needs regular repeating. Though a ceasefire has stopped the killing for now, real peace-making is needed to stop Israel from bringing out the lawn mower again, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

If a Genocide Falls in the Forest

Israel justified its bombardment of civilian targets in Gaza by claiming that Hamas militants operated near schools, mosques and other civilian structures, as cited in this Israeli graphic supposedly showing a "terror tunnel" running near a school. (Israeli government photo)

Chilling words of ethnic hatred and even genocide – uttered by prominent Israelis – were the political backdrop for Israel’s military offensive against Gaza, which killed more than 1,800 people including many children, writes David Swanson.

The Fire Sale of the Post Offices

One of 13 murals in the Bronx Post Office created by New Deal artists Ben Shahn and Bernarda Bryson.

In an earlier time, U.S. post offices were more than just places to mail letters. They were noble structures, symbols of democracy, stone-and-mortar testimony to the value of community. But many are now neglected and up for sale, laments Gray Brechin.

The Enduring Myth of Hiroshima

The mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.

On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on a populated area, the Japanese city of Hiroshima,  followed by a second on Nagasaki three days later. There then ensued a U.S. propaganda campaign to claim the slaughter of more than 200,000 people saved lives, writes John LaForge.

The Long Reach of Vietnam War Deceptions

Scene from the Vietnam War

America’s war in Vietnam, which was authorized by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution a half century ago, had lasting consequences for the nation, including deeper public distrust of government and government’s determination to restrict the people’s right to know, as retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce explains.

How LBJ Was Deceived on Gulf of Tonkin

Dean Rusk, Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert McNamara in Cabinet Room meeting February 1968. (Photo credit: Yoichi R. Okamoto, White House Press Office)

As war hawks today push President Obama into more and more confrontations, there is an echo from a half century ago when Vietnam War hawks manipulated President Johnson into a bombing campaign in retaliation for the phony Gulf of Tonkin incident, as Gareth Porter recalls.