Foreign Policy

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Human Rights Watch’s Syria Dilemma

The cover photo of the Human Rights Watch's annual report.

Exclusive: Human Rights Watch, which has pushed for a U.S. military intervention in Syria, continues to blame the Assad government for the Aug. 21 Sarin attack even though the group’s high-profile map supposedly proving the case has been debunked, reports Robert Parry.

The Fragile Process for Engaging Iran

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

The diplomatic fracas over inviting and disinviting Iran to the Syrian peace talks only makes sense if you factor in President Obama’s fragile consensus for engaging Iran over its nuclear program – while influential neocons keep pressing for confrontation. That mix has made for a messy process on Syria, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Big-Power Foot-Dragging on Nukes

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

Most recent talk about nukes has focused on Iran, which doesn’t have one — and is accepting new constraints to show it won’t build one. But there’s been a long-delayed debate on a 44-year-old commitment by existing nuclear states to get rid of theirs, as Lawrence S. Wittner reports.

The Mistaken Guns of Last August

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.

Exclusive: After hundreds of Syrians died from Sarin gas last summer, Secretary of State Kerry insisted the U.S. had solid intelligence on the locations of the Syrian government’s launch sites used in the attack, thus justifying a U.S. military retaliation which was only narrowly averted. Now, those U.S. government’s claims have collapsed, writes Robert Parry.

The Battle over Dr. King’s Message

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Day is a rare moment in American life when people reflect – even if only briefly – on the ideals that guided Dr. King’s life and led to his death. Thus, the struggle over King’s message can be intense, pitting a bland conventional view against a more radical call for profound change,…

MLK’s Warning of America’s Spiritual Death

Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, DC.

At the dawn of the last year of his life, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. broke with many political allies by warning that the Vietnam War and the militarism that surrounded it were inflicting a “spiritual death” on America, an impassioned speech that cast King outside mainstream opinion circles which considered his advice naïve if…

Who Can Use Nazi Comparisons?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli lawmakers are debating a bill to criminalize the careless use of the word Nazi, but face a problem since Prime Minister Netanyahu is one of the worst abusers when denouncing Iran and comparing a deal on its nuclear program to Munich, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

How NSA Invites Totalitarianism

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

President Obama has unveiled some modest “reforms” of U.S. intelligence gathering, noting that just because NSA can vacuum up nearly all electronic data doesn’t mean it should. But the bigger issue is the future and how these powers may be unleashed, says Dutch tech expert Arjen Kamphuis.

When Protesting Bush’s Wars Was a Crime

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Photo by David Shankbone)

In 2004, at the height – or depths – of George W. Bush’s presidency, the very idea of protesting his “war on terror” or invasion of Iraq was deemed worthy of repressing, the backdrop for mass arrests outside the Republican National Convention in New York City, as Nat Parry recalls.

US Judges Square Off over NSA Spying

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon

President Obama is expected to impose new – but fairly modest – constraints on the NSA’s vast surveillance program, leaving open the legal issue, moving through the federal courts, whether the metadata collection violates the Fourth Amendment, writes Marjorie Cohn.