Human Rights


How Reagan Promoted Genocide

Vernon Walters, a former deputy director of the CIA who served as President Ronald Reagan's ambassador-at-large in the early 1980s. Walters also was the U.S. military attaché in Brazil at the time of the 1964 coup.

From the Archive: The Senate’s torture report is provoking some rare self-reflection among Americans even as TV talk shows are dominated by torture apologists. But there is a larger context to America’s modern embrace of the “dark side” including support for genocide, as Robert Parry reported in 2013.

Clashing Face-to-Face on Torture

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (left) argues with ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern about the Senate torture report on CCTV's "The Heat" on Dec. 11, 2014. (Screenshot from program)

Exclusive: It’s rare on TV when you see two former senior U.S. officials clashing angrily over something as significant as torture. Usually decorum prevails. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern wasn’t going to let the ex-House intelligence oversight chief get away with a bland defense of torture, as McGovern recounts.

The CIA’s Bureaucracy of Torture

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

Bureaucratic inertia – the CIA’s desire for bigger budgets and then its fear of negative consequences – helped drive the torture program from its frantic start to its belated finish, as Gareth Porter explains.

The Sordid Contra-Cocaine Saga

Journalist Gary Webb holding a copy of his Contra-cocaine article in the San Jose Mercury-News.

From the Archive: It’s been a decade since the big U.S. newspapers hounded journalist Gary Webb to suicide because he exposed their failure to stop one of Ronald Reagan’s worst crimes: drug trafficking by the Nicaraguan Contras. The sordid saga finally was told by a Hollywood movie, Robert Parry noted in October.

How Reagan Enforced US Hypocrisy

President Ronald Reagan.

From the Archive: To understand why many right-wingers are so defensive about offensive U.S. acts, even waterboarding and anal rape, you must look back to the Reagan years when “moral equivalence” became an accusation against applying universal standards to the U.S., as Robert Parry wrote last March about Ukraine.

How ‘Awesome’ Is America?

Fox News host Andrea Tantaros.

Exclusive: America has an extraordinary capacity to submerge unpleasant truths about its past and present, from African-American slavery and Native-American genocide to bloodbaths in Vietnam and Iraq. Now faced with clear evidence of torture, one cheerleader simply says the U.S. is “awesome,” as Robert Parry reports.

What’s the Next Step to Stop Torture?

Former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Exclusive: The grim details about the CIA’s torture techniques – from waterboarding to “rectal rehydration” – have overwhelmed the final defenses of the torture apologists. Now the question is what to do with this evidence and how to make sure this behavior doesn’t happen again, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Obama and the Truth Agenda

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 euphemism, “enhanced interrogations,” is finally fading amid truth-telling that President George W. Bush authorized — and the CIA engaged in — torture of “war on terror” detainees. The lack of a backlash to the stomach-turning new details also suggests that Americans are ready for a truth agenda, writes Robert Parry.

Facing Realities of Race

Eric Garner, suspected of selling "loose cigarettes" who died when New York police placed him a chokehold and sat on his chest.

Many white Americans think that racism is a problem of the past and that troubling realities – like mass incarceration and murder rates for black and brown men as well as inferior government services in racially diverse communities – have other explanations. But recent events have shaken that certainty, as Tony Jenkins explains.

Torture Report Exposes Sadism and Lies

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

The stunning Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture and other sadistic treatment meted out to “war on terror” detainees has shredded the credibility of CIA apologists who claimed the “enhance interrogations” were carefully calibrated and humane, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman explains.