The Cruel Punishment of Jeffrey Sterling

Courtroom sketch of Jeffrey Sterling trial by Debra Van Poolen (http://www.debvanpoolen.com/)

The Obama administration’s cruel war on whistleblowers won another round, getting a 42-month sentence meted out to ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling even as the prosecutors were glum that he wasn’t given an even more draconian prison term, as Norman Solomon explains.

Netanyahu’s Narrow Right-Wing Majority

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows off photos that he claims justified the bombardment of Gaza. (Israeli government photo)

By the slimmest of margins, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu cobbled together a coalition government that is the most right-wing in Israel’s history, with key posts given to extremists who have made no secret of their disdain for Palestinians, writes Alon Ben-Meir.

The Bin Laden Murder Mystery

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden

Seymour Hersh, a great journalist with superb sources and the courage to challenge conventional wisdom, has presented a counter-narrative of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, but Hersh’s story – compelling in many respects, even to the New York Times – has some elements that stretch credulity, says John Gardner.

A Summer of War or Peace

An Iranian man holding a photo of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

After the final deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear program is finalized – expected in June – a crucial series of votes will follow in Congress as Republicans and some Democrats seek to scuttle the deal, a prospect that Jamal Abdi and Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council warn could mean war.

The Saudis’ Hurt Feelings

President Barack Obama meets with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during a bilateral meeting at Rawdat Khuraim in Saudi Arabia, March 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Republicans are slamming President Obama for strained relations with the Saudi royals and other Persian Gulf sheiks, but U.S. relations with these oil-rich monarchs have been tense before and – given their support for Sunni terrorism – should be tenser still, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

In Case You Missed…

Some of our special stories in April examined the expanding conflicts in the Middle East, the prospect of a peaceful nuclear agreement with Iran, and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Any Thank-You Gifts Gone Missing?

From Editor Robert Parry: Our Spring Fund Drive ended in late April, so the thank-you gifts should have arrived by now — either the “Kill the Messenger” movie DVD plus the CD of Gary Webb and me discussing the Contra-cocaine scandal in 1996 (for donations of $150 or more) or just the CD (for donations of lesser amounts).

Sacrificing Yemen to Appease Saudis

map-yemen

In pandering to the Saudi royals, President Obama has tolerated and even aided their aerial pummeling of their poverty-stricken neighbor Yemen. But the Saudi rush to bomb the Houthis may have destroyed a promising UN peace accord — and killed hundreds of civilians, writes Joe Lauria.

US Politics Gives Saudis an Edge

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, in the Oval Office, Sept. 13, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

If President Obama were speaking solely for U.S. national interests, he would offer a stern rebuke, not gentle reassurance, to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States during a Camp David summit, but domestic politics and Israeli pressure will constrain any frankness, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Obama Panders to Gulf State Sheiks

Saudi King Salman meets with President Barack Obama at Erga Palace during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have given crucial support to Al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists, but President Obama will pander to them anyway at a Camp David summit, a sign of a muddled foreign policy, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.

Tom Brady and Theoretical Crime

New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady.

Exclusive: The NFL meted out a four-game suspension to New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady while also fining the team $1 million and taking away two draft picks — though the NFL didn’t conclusively prove that footballs were deflated, establishing only a theoretical crime, a dangerous precedent, writes Robert Parry.

Punishing Another Whistleblower

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

Exclusive: Just weeks after ex-CIA Director David Petraeus got a no-jail-time wrist-slap for divulging secrets to his biographer/lover, ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling got 42 months in prison for allegedly alerting a U.S. journalist to a dubious covert op, a double standard of justice, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Failing to Hide Israel-Iran-Iraq Secrets

President Ronald Reagan with Secretary of State Alexander Haig and National Security Advisor Richard Allen during a meeting with Interagency Working Committee on Terrorism in the Cabinet Room on Jan. 26, 1981. (Photo from Reagan Library archives)

Exclusive: Many Americans think secret U.S. documents become public after, say, 30 years, but many are hidden indefinitely to conceal inconvenient truths that could enlighten public debate, as Robert Parry discovered in getting a redacted version of a “top secret” paper from 1981 that he had already found in unredacted form.

Saddam’s Green Light

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

From the Archive: An article from the first investigative series published at Consortiumnews in early 1996 revealed top-secret “talking points” used by Secretary of State Haig in 1981 to brief President Reagan about the Middle East, including an alleged U.S. “green light” for Iraq to invade Iran. Journalist Robert Parry found the document in old congressional files.

Two Approaches toward Nationalism

Wanted Poster of the Palestine Police Force offering rewards for the capture of Stern Gang terrorists: 1. Jaacov Levstein (Eliav), 2. Yitzhak Yezernitzky (Shamir), 3. Natan Friedman-Yelin

Despite a difficult history, Scotland and England have approached their modern differences within the democratic process – with Scottish nationalists sweeping recent parliamentary elections – but Israel has chosen cruel repression toward the Palestinians leading to a very different result, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Enforcing the Ukraine ‘Group Think’

Russia scholar Stephen Cohen.

Exclusive: U.S.-taxpayer-funded Radio Liberty has a checkered history that includes hiring Nazi sympathizers as Cold War commentators. Now, one of its current writers has used the platform to bash an American scholar who won’t join Official Washington’s “group think” on Ukraine, Robert Parry reports.

The Reasons for Urban Rioting

A screen-shot from a video showing Walter Scott being shot in the back by a North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager on April  4, 2015. (Video via the New York Times.)

Urban rioting has a long history in the United States, often with one ethnic group turning on another. But modern history is more about oppressed racial communities lashing out at police brutality and government injustice, a phenomenon that requires a new national effort to resolve, writes Lawrence Davidson.

America as Dangerous Flailing Beast

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

Despite pretty talk about “democracy” and “human rights,” U.S. leaders have become the world’s chief purveyors of chaos and death – from Vietnam through Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and many other unfortunate nations, a dangerous dilemma addressed by John Chuckman.

Why Write about NFL’s ‘Deflategate’

1000px-National_Football_League_2008

Exclusive: After release of a tendentious NFL report on “Deflategate,” there is now a rush to the penalty phase with the media and public demanding severe punishment for quarterback Tom Brady — despite any clear evidence that he did anything wrong, writes Robert Parry.

Obama’s Petulant WWII Snub of Russia

President Barack Obama uncomfortably accepting the Nobel Peace Prize from Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009. (White House photo)

Exclusive: Russia will celebrate the Allied victory over Nazism on Saturday without U.S. President Obama and other Western leaders present, as they demean the extraordinary sacrifice of the Russian people in winning World War II – a gesture intended to humiliate President Putin, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Saudi Cash Wins France’s Favor

President Barack Obama holds a press conference with French President Francois Hollande at the White House on Feb. 11, 2014. (White House photo)

Saudi Arabia wields enormous influence in the West not only because of its oil power but also its ability to lavish billions of dollars or euros on sophisticated weapons systems, a bonanza of cash that has turned the head of French President Hollande, writes Jonathan Marshall.

Drone Deaths v. Broken Windows

Done "pilots" launch an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle for a raid in the Middle East. (U.S. military photo)

The outrage of Baltimore residents after the fatal police abuse of Freddie Gray spilled over into ugly rioting, drawing media condemnation and public disapproval. But a different attitude prevails toward U.S. drone assassinations around the world despite many civilian deaths, a contradiction addressed by Nat Parry.

The Danger of Resurgent Anti-Semitism

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security meeting with senior Israeli Defense Forces commanders near Gaza on July 21, 2014. (Israel government photo)

Anti-Semitism ranks as one of the vilest of bigotries, especially considering the West’s disgraceful history of persecuting and killing Jews. Any resurgence deserves full-throated condemnation. But the current danger is that Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians is fueling an ugly comeback, warns Alon Ben-Meir.

Amnesty International’s Palestine Sell-out

Israel justified its bombardment of civilian targets in Gaza by claiming that Hamas militants operated near schools, mosques and other civilian structures, as cited in this Israeli graphic supposedly showing a "terror tunnel" running near a school. (Israeli government photo)

For years, major human rights groups have been losing credibility as they scramble for grants and respectability – and thus shy away from criticizing governments than can effectively fight back. Such is the case with Amnesty International and Israel’s repression of Palestine, writes Paul de Rooij.

Holes in NFL’s ‘Deflategate’ Report

New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady.

Exclusive: A high-profile NFL probe into the champion New England Patriots concluded that “it is more probable than not” that quarterback Tom Brady’s footballs were intentionally deflated prior to a January playoff game, but the report sloughs off scientific evidence that undercuts the finding, writes Robert Parry.

Entangled in Sunni-Shiite Wars

President Obama and King Salman Arabia stand at attention during the U.S. national anthem as the First Lady stands in the background with other officials on Jan. 27, 2015, at the start of Obama's State Visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza). (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Early U.S. presidents warned against “entangling” foreign alliances, but they never suspected America might be drawn into squabbles between Sunnis and Shiites dating back to the Seventh Century succession of Prophet Muhammad. But that now seems to be the case, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

Gifting Russia ‘Free-Market’ Extremism

Russian President Vladimir Putin laying a wreath at Russia's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 8, 2014, as part of the observance of the World War II Victory over Germany.

Exclusive: Official Washington’s Putin-bashing knows no bounds as the Russian president’s understandable complaints about U.S. triumphalism and NATO expansion, after the Soviet collapse in the 1990s, are dismissed as signs of his “paranoia” and “revisionism,” writes Robert Parry.

US Media Shields Saudi War on Yemen

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The U.S. news media always seems to have an excuse for the actions of the Saudi-Israeli alliance, now trivializing Saudi Arabia’s open aggression against Yemen as simply one side of a “proxy war” with Iran, a misleading depiction, says Gareth Porter.

The War over the Vietnam War

ABC TV News cameraman Jim Dysilva at the Citadel in Hue at Tet 1968. (Photo credit: Don North)

Exclusive: The Pentagon has retreated somewhat from its recent campaign to rewrite the Vietnam War history to push the discredited theory that the military strategy was sound, just undercut by disloyal war reporters and a misled public, a modest victory for truth, as war correspondent Don North describes.

Papering Over Extra-Judicial Killings

A Predator drone firing a missile.

The Obama administration, like its predecessor, holds that the “exceptional” U.S. has the right to enter other countries to kill “terrorists,” but it would never tolerate, say, Cuba targeting CIA-trained terrorists harbored in Miami, one of many double standards posing as international law, as Coleen Rowley notes.

The Inhuman Failure of ‘Austerity’

A classic photo of a poor mother and children in Elm Grove, California, during the Great Depression. (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution said the Government should provide for the “general Welfare,” a mandate to help build a strong and prosperous nation. But the concept has been lost in a wave of anti-government, “neoliberal” propaganda making the Market king, as David William Pear explains.