Forgetting Lessons of Terrorism

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Terror tactics have always been partly theater designed to elicit public reaction, whether to draw attention to a grievance or to draw the U.S. military into a conflict. Yet, American pols and pundits seem to have forgotten this reality and thus continue to get manipulated, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

NYT’s Belated Admission on Contra-Cocaine

Ronald Reagan statue at National Airport, which was renamed in his honor as his scandals were excused and suppressed.

Exclusive: Since the Contra-cocaine scandal surfaced in 1985, major U.S. news outlets have disparaged it, most notably when the big newspapers destroyed Gary Webb for reviving it in 1996. But a New York Times review of a movie on Webb finally admits the reality, writes Robert Parry.

Eyes Finally Open to Syrian Realities

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Exclusive: For the past three years, Official Washington has viewed the Syrian civil war as “white-hatted” rebels against “black-hatted” President Assad, but finally some of the “gray-hatted” reality is breaking through, though perhaps too late, Robert Parry reports.

Who’s to Blame for ISIS ‘Surprise’?

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

For several years, Official Washington blinded itself to the growing radicalism of the Syrian opposition, all the better to portray the Assad regime as the “bad guys” and the rebels as the “good guys.” Now, everyone is pointing fingers about the ISIS “surprise,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Official Washington’s Syrian ‘Fantasy’

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. (Photo credit: Aude)

Exclusive: It is perhaps not news that the U.S. government bases wars on illusions, such as the nonexistent WMD in Iraq, but it is rare when there is a broad consensus before the conflict begins that a war’s success rests on a “fantasy” like the chimera of “moderate” Syrian rebels, reports Robert Parry.

Oh, What a Webb We Weave…

Journalist Gary Webb.

Despite overwhelming evidence linking the CIA to drug traffickers, that sordid reality remains one of the great taboos of the mainstream U.S. media, which rallies to destroy anyone who points out the facts, a fate that befell journalist Gary Webb, as Greg Maybury explains.

Beheadings v. Drone Assassinations

A Predator drone firing a missile.

As gruesome as the Islamic Front’s videotaped beheadings are, there is ambiguity over whether the U.S. government’s death-by-drone is any less horrific, with some victims crawling about with severed limbs and others just collateral damage, a moral dilemma addressed by ex-FBI official Coleen Rowley.

Neocons’ Noses Into the Syrian Tent

Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post.

Exclusive: The neocons say the next step in President Obama’s bombing raids inside Syria must be to move from attacking the terrorist Islamic State to destroying Syria’s air force and air defenses, all the better to achieve the neocons’ long-sought “regime change,” reports Robert Parry.

Hung Out to Dry

Contra-Cocaine Poster by Robbie Conal (

From the Archive: With Hollywood poised to release “Kill the Messenger,” a movie showing how the mainstream U.S. media destroyed journalist Gary Webb for reviving the Contra-cocaine scandal in the mid-1990s, we are reposting Georg Hodel’s 1997 account of how Webb was betrayed by his own editors.

The Chile Coup, 9/11 and James Foley

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John and identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the target of a drone attack that the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

Time and history sometimes intertwine in ways more poetic than linear, such as the multiple crimes associated with the date September 11 and the legacy of bearing witness to suffering that led journalist James Foley to his death in Syria, as Martín Espada explained to Dennis J Bernstein.