Secrecy

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Giving the Torturers a Pass

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

During Watergate, senior U.S. officials went to jail for lying and obstructing justice. Many politicians have gone to prison for taking bribes and for corruption. But it’s somehow unthinkable to prosecute Bush administration officials implicated in torture and murder, an attitude that Marjorie Cohn rejects.

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.

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.

America’s Illusion of Free Will

President George W. Bush in a flight suit after landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech about the Iraq War.

The mainstream U.S. news media’s narrow parameters, especially on foreign policy issues, give the American people little opportunity to engage in meaningful debate or to influence outcomes. Typically, public perceptions are managed and consensus is manufactured, as Lawrence Davidson writes.

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.

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.

Shielding Israel’s Secret Nukes

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own "red line" on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

A glaring case of hypocrisy is that the U.S. government berates Iran for a non-weaponized nuclear program while fighting to protect Israel’s large, sophisticated and undeclared nuclear arsenal, a double standard that led the Obama administration to oppose a nuclear-free Mideast, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.