Foreign Policy

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CIA Found No Magic in Operation Merlin

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

The espionage trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling has focused less on evidence that he leaked secrets about “Operation Merlin,” a CIA scheme to slip flawed nuclear designs to Iran, than on the merits of the unsuccessful covert op which never got a response from the Iranians, reports Gareth Porter.

The Death of King Abdullah

King Abdullah, the ailing monarch of Saudi Arabia whose country is playing a power game with its oil.

The death of Saudi King Abdullah adds a new layer of uncertainty to the already chaotic Middle East, including whether his successor will continue pursuing a détente with Israel and how the oil-rich kingdom will approach the dangerous issue of Sunni extremism, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Congress Seeks Netanyahu’s Direction

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Exclusive: Conservative Pat Buchanan once got in trouble by calling Capitol Hill “Israeli occupied territory,” but even he might not imagine what’s happening now – with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu invited to address a joint session of Congress to decry President Obama’s foreign policy, Robert Parry notes.

CIA Wants Its Reputation Back

CIA seal in lobby of the spy agency's headquarters. (U.S. government photo)

The CIA doesn’t like to be portrayed as the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, so it has been using the leak trial of ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling to insist that it really can shoot straight and indeed is brilliantly protecting America’s national security, writes Norman Solomon.

The Anti-Empirical Empire

New York Times graphic based on data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In many ways, America has become the anti-empirical empire, a superpower where many political leaders divorce themselves from facts. Few examples are more glaring or dangerous than the continued denial of global warming despite the latest evidence of impending catastrophe, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The West’s Help to Islamic Jihadists

In Afghanistan, U.S. Army Pfc. Sean Serritelli provides security outside Combat Outpost Charkh on Aug. 23, 2012. (Photo credit: Spc. Alexandra Campo)

Though Western leaders now lock arms in disgust over Islamic fundamentalism, the West’s actions – from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama – have often promoted the interests of jihadists from Afghanistan in the 1980s to Iraq in the 2000s to Libya and Syria in the 2010s, as William Blum recalls.

The CIA’s Prosecutorial Defense

Jose Rodriguez, former director of operations for the Central Intelligence Agency.

In the trial of alleged CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, the U.S. government appears more intent on burnishing the CIA’s tarnished reputation than proving Sterling’s guilt. The defendant almost looks to be collateral damage in this PR process, as Norman Solomon observes.

How Propaganda Conquers Democracy

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)

In recent decades, the U.S. propaganda system has grown more and more sophisticated in the art of “perception management,” now enlisting not only government PR specialists but careerist journalists and aspiring bloggers to push deceptions on the public, a crisis in democracy that Nicolas J S Davies explores.

The Danger of an MH-17 ‘Cold Case’

A Malaysia Airways' Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

Exclusive: The Obama administration continues to drag its feet on releasing U.S. intelligence evidence on who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 six months ago, a failure that has given the guilty parties time to scatter and has created a new breeding ground for conspiracy theories, writes Robert Parry.

Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd on May 9, 2014, celebrating the 69th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Crimean port city of  Sevastopol from the Nazis. (Russian government photo)

Today’s American foreign policy “elite” rarely thinks through the dangerous consequences of its “tough-guy” actions, including its new plan to provoke economic and political chaos in nuclear-armed Russia, a “strategy” that is also spreading pain and disorder to Europe, as Jonathan Marshall explains.