Human Rights

The Battle over Dr. King’s Message

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964, a powerful example of how dissenters have addressed injustice in America and given meaning to democracy.

From the Archive: 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 his message is intense, pitting a bland conventional view against a radical call for profound change,…

MLK and the Curse of ‘Moderation’

A mug shot photo of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

From the Archive: When Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. went to jail to focus national attention on the injustice of segregation, he was stung by criticism from Christian clergy who feared upsetting the status quo and urged “moderation,” prompting his historic rejoinder from the Birmingham jail, as Rev. Howard Bess recalls.

Hypocrisy on Parade in Paris

Singer James Taylor performs "You've Got a Friend" onstage in Paris on Jan. 16, 2015, during a tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. On the left is Secretary of State John Kerry. (U.S. State Department photo)

At the Paris procession honoring the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, world leaders locked arms in defense of free speech – although many of the participants including the French have been busy cracking down on freedom of expression, notes Michael Winship.

The Syrian Ambassador’s Complaint

Bashar al-Ja'afari, Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations.

The Western news media calls itself “objective,” but many foreign crises are reported in a biased way, fawning over one side and hammering the other. To provide a sense of the “other side” in the Syrian civil war, we are reposting an interview with Syria’s UN ambassador by Eva Bartlett for a Lebanese newspaper.

Neocons: The ‘Anti-Realists’

Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan. (Photo credit: Mariusz Kubik, http://www.mariuszkubik.pl)

Special Report: America’s neocons, who wield great power inside the U.S. government and media, endanger the planet by concocting strategies inside their heads that ignore real-world consequences. Thus, their “regime changes” have unleashed ancient hatreds and spread chaos across the globe, as Robert Parry explains.

France’s Wavy Line on ‘Free Speech’

Stephane Charboniere, the editor of Charlie Hebdo killed in Jan. 7, 2015 terror attack. (Photo credit: Coyau)

Though called a “satirical” magazine, Charlie Hebdo was really more “scatological,” obsessed with depicting the naked derrieres of political and religious figures often bent over in humiliating postures, especially Prophet Mohammed, a willful provocation that reflected more bigotry than free speech, notes Lawrence Davidson.

The Integrity of Ambassador Robert White

U.S. Ambassador Robert White.

At the start of the Reagan administration, Ambassador Robert White refused to cover up the rape-murders of four American churchman in El Salvador and paid for his integrity with the end of his career. His death last Tuesday at age 88 marked the passing of a courageous diplomat, writes ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

The Problems with Being Charlie

Islamic terrorists prepare to execute a wounded policeman after their attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, 2015.

It’s one thing to decry all terrorism and defend the principle of free expression; it’s another to show disproportionate concern for some victims over others and to embrace offensive or irresponsible media content, troubling issues from the Charlie Hebdo case, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

A ‘Free Press’ and Double Standards

The slogan used to show support for the Charlie Hebdo journalists killed by Islamist terrorists in Paris on Jan. 7, 2015.

The Western reaction to last week’s terror attacks in Paris has been rife with double standards as U.S. and European politicians and pundits reinvent themselves as purists on freedom of the press and compound the hypocrisy by ignoring the longstanding slaughter in the Middle East, John V. Walsh observes.

NYC’s Riptides of Free Speech

Eric Garner being put in a chokehold by New York City police shortly before his death.

Amid Western government’s sudden enthusiasm for free speech, no matter how offensive, there is the angry police reaction in New York City to protests against some police officers killing an unarmed black man – by blaming the protesters for a deranged man’s shooting of two policemen, as Michael Winship describes.