Exclusive: The focus of the Syrian crisis has shifted to diplomatic moves for eliminating the government’s chemical weapons stockpile, but the whodunit over the Aug. 21 gas attack outside Damascus remains to be solved after a UN report offered a murky account of what happened, reports Robert Parry.
Exclusive: More than a half-century ago – at a pivotal moment in the emergence of independent African states – UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold was brokering peace in a divisive civil war in Congo when he died in a plane crash, leaving behind an enduring Cold War mystery, as Lisa Pease reports.
Secretary of State Kerry’s move to shut down or preempt a UN probe of alleged chemical weapons attacks inside Syria suggests that the U.S. doesn’t want facts to undermine its case for launching a retaliatory strike, an attitude reminiscent of George W. Bush’s behavior on Iraq, Gareth Porter writes for Inter Press Service.
U.S. government officials concede that a barrage of cruise missiles against Syria could result in collateral civilian deaths, possibly exceeding the numbers allegedly killed by chemical weapons. Such an assault also would violate international law and risk widening the Syrian conflict, note Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer.
On Sept. 18, 1961, a plane carrying UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold crashed in Africa as he was negotiating to stop a war in Congo. Hammarskjold’s death removed one of the great advocates for international peace, as Roger Lipsey explains in a biography reviewed by Winslow Myers.
Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador-designate to the UN, once dared to suggest deploying a peace-keeping force to Israel to protect the lives on both sides, an idea that infuriated the Israel Lobby and taught Power a lesson in how she must temper her views on human rights, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
The safest way for any U.S. foreign policy nominee to win Senate confirmation is to pander to Israel’s interests and to bluster against its enemies. That was the route Samantha Power took in her bid to win confirmation as the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, reports Nima Shirazi.
Many journalists are confronted with a choice in their careers: pursue a difficult truth by taking on powerful interests or protect their livelihoods by going with the flow. While readers may think the choice is obvious – pursue the truth – it often comes with a high price, as journalist Alan Hart learned.
The tenth anniversary of the Iraq War has understandably focused on the thousands upon thousands of people killed and the chaos unleashed. But the war also dealt a harsh blow to the legal principles that U.S. leaders helped enshrine after World War II, as Marjorie Cohn noted in this excerpt from “Cowboy Republic.”
Besides rejecting many aspects of science, the American Right despises the idea of international agreements as well, considering them infringements on U.S. “sovereignty.” That attitude among GOP senators turned back a global agreement on protecting the disabled, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.