Telling Scary Stories about Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)

Israel has a large, sophisticated and undeclared nuclear arsenal, but Prime Minister Netanyahu told scary stories to a rapt U.S. Congress entranced by his warnings about the chance that Iran might consider building one bomb a decade from now, a double standard if there ever was one, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Netanyahu’s False Narrative

An Israeli soldier prepares for a night attack inside Gaza as part of Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 2,000 Gazans in 2014. (Israel Defense Forces photo)

As members of the U.S. Congress bobbed up and down with applause, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spun a tale of brave little Israel fretting about its survival, but he left out the fact that Israel has a large arsenal of nuclear weapons and has often been the one to invade its neighbors, as Marjorie Cohn recalls.

Congress Cheers Netanyahu’s Hatred of Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015. (Screen shot from CNN broadcast)

Exclusive: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu showed off his extraordinary control of the U.S. Congress as he bathed in waves of applause while denouncing President Obama’s proposed deal with Iran and urging America to sign up for the Israeli-Saudi regional war on Iran and its Shiite allies, reports Robert Parry.

Netanyahu’s Troubling Subtext

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Though Iran’s nuclear program is the supposed focus of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s extraordinary speech to Congress, a troubling subtext is that the U.S. must have no meaningful dealings with Iran, a condition that undercuts American interests, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Playing Chicken with Nuclear War

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

Exclusive: U.S.-Russian tensions keep escalating – now surrounding the murder of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov – yet almost no one on the American side seems to worry about the possibility that the tough-guy rhetoric and proxy war in Ukraine might risk a nuclear conflagration, writes Robert Parry.

The Rise of a ‘Democratic’ Fascism

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Traditional fascism is defined as a right-wing political system run by a dictator who prohibits dissent and relies on repression. But some analysts believe a new form of fascism has arisen that has a democratic façade and is based on relentless propaganda and endless war, as journalist John Pilger describes.

Netanyahu’s Big Gamble

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Aug. 6, 2014,
announced the success of Operation Protective Edge, which killed some2,000 Gazans. Netanyahu said, "The goal of Operation Protective Edge was and remains to protect Israeli civilians." (Israeli government photo)

By going over President Obama’s head to Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is taking a big gamble, apparently hoping that he can block any U.S. rapprochement with Iran and heighten tensions in the Middle East, a strategy that lacks both facts and logic, says Ted Snider.

Neocons Want ‘Regime Change’ in Iran

At the urging of American neoconservatives in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, Iraq, known as "shock and awe."

A curious trait of America’s neocons is that they never change course or learn from past mistakes. They simply press on for more and more “regime change,” explaining their determination to sink the Iranian nuclear talks to reopen the pathway to more war, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

FCC Delivers a Free Speech Victory

Free Press President Craig Aaron (Photo: Michael Winship)

The Democratic majority on the Federal Communications Commission sided with millions of Internet users, voting to prevent the Web from being turned into a high-speed super-highway for some and a slower-speed roadway for many, a victory for free speech and democracy, says Michael Winship.

Needed: Leaders Like JFK and Khrushchev

President John F. Kennedy addressing the nation regarding the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Three days ago, former U.S. diplomat William R. Polk, who served President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, warned that the West was risking a similar crisis in reverse by pressing NATO forces aggressively onto Russia’s borders. He has now added this postscript about the need for wise leaders.

The Mystery of the Civil War’s Camp Casey

A U.S. Colored Troop soldier in the Civil War.

Special Report: During the Civil War’s final years, a Union base in Northern Virginia trained hundreds of African-American soldiers to fight to end slavery, one of only a few such bases inside a Confederate state. But Camp Casey has nearly disappeared from history, a mystery examined by Chelsea Gilmour.

Americans Catching a New War Fever

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

The U.S. media/political elites are again riling up the American people about threats abroad, whether it’s the hysterical reporting about Russia or the sensationalistic coverage of Islamic State atrocities. The results are showing with more Americans favoring more war, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Planting False Evidence on Iran

Iranian women attending a speech by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

Prior to the U.S. intelligence community’s 2007 assessment that Iran was not working on a nuclear weapons program, there was a scramble among U.S. and Israeli officials to show that it was. The CIA’s Operation Merlin also revealed that U.S. officials were not above planting false evidence, writes Norman Solomon.

Saudis Said to Aid Israeli Plan to Bomb Iran

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan (left) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (right). (Photo credit: Press TV)

Exclusive: As the Obama administration is rushing to complete a nuclear agreement with Iran and reduce regional tensions, the Israeli media is reporting on a deal with Saudi Arabia to let Israeli warplanes transit Saudi airspace en route to bombing Iran, reports Robert Parry.

The Gaza Test for World Justice

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presses his case for the military offensive against Gaza in a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2014. (Israeli government photo)

The future of world justice – with powerful nations held as accountable as the weak – may be decided by how the International Criminal Court handles allegations of Israeli crimes in last year’s war on Gaza. Will the same standards apply to influential Israel that are enforced against Third World violators, asks Lawrence Davidson.

Should Jews Flee Europe to Israel?

A section of the barrier -- erected by Israeli officials to prevent the passage of Palestinians -- with graffiti using President John F. Kennedy's famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, "Ich bin ein Berliner." (Photo credit: Marc Venezia)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s appeal to European Jews to seek refuge in Israel has offended many leaders in Europe who reject the charge that recent cases of violent anti-Semitism justify such a drastic step. Netanyahu’s call also smacks of political opportunism, says Professor Alon Ben-Meir.

Killing Democracy in Greece

The Parthenon in Athens, standing atop the Acropolis.

Greece, known as the birthplace of democracy, has seen the popular will thwarted often since World War II, from a brutal rightist coup to today’s austerity-driven depression touched off by financial manipulators, as William Blum describes.

Ukraine War: A Reverse Cuban Missile Crisis

In October 1962, Americans were terrified over Soviet missiles in Cuba, as this newspaper map showing distances between Cuba and major North American  cities demonstrates.

Guided by an aggressive neocon “regime change” strategy, the United States has stumbled into a potential military confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, a dangerous predicament that could become a Cuban Missile Crisis in reverse, as ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk explains.

A ‘Downton Abbey’ World of US Politics

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U.S. pundits and pols often lecture other countries for their lapses in democracy, sometimes citing barriers that some candidates may face to get on the ballot. But American politics has its own major barrier, the need to raise lots and lots of money, as Michael Winship notes.

The State Department’s ‘Twilight Zone’

Rod Serling, host of the iconic television series, "The Twilight Zone."

The gap between reality and what the U.S. government says is reality has widened into a chasm with the mainstream U.S. news media usually nodding at whatever absurdity is presented, but the AP’s Matthew Lee is one of the few reporters who challenges the State Department’s “Twilight Zone,” as William Blum notes.

Ready for Nuclear War over Ukraine?

Peter Sellers playing Dr. Strangelove as he struggles to control his right arm from making a Nazi salute.

Exclusive: A year after a U.S.-backed coup ousted Ukraine’s elected president, the new powers in Kiev are itching for a “full-scale war” with Russia — and want the West’s backing even if it could provoke a nuclear conflict, a Strangelovian madness that the U.S. media ignores, writes Robert Parry.

Jeb Bush’s Iraq War Cop-Out

President George W. Bush is introduced by his brother Florida Gov. Jeb Bush before delivering remarks at Sun City Center, Florida, on May 9, 2006. (White House photo by Eric Draper)

Very few promoters of the Iraq War faced any accountability for their aggressive war, nor it seems were many lessons learned. This failure is being tested again as President George W. Bush’s brother Jeb seeks the White House without a serious critique of this bloody disaster, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

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In Case You Missed…

Some of our special stories in January focused on the sophistication of U.S. government propaganda, Roy Cohn’s role in recruiting Rupert Murdoch, the worsening crisis in Ukraine, and the prosecution of another whistleblower.

Failing Tonkin Gulf Test on Ukraine

President Lyndon Johnson announces "retaliatory" strike against North Vietnam in response to the supposed attacks on U.S. warships in the Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 4, 1964. (Photo credit: LBJ Library)

Exclusive: As the Ukraine crisis worsens, Official Washington fumes only about “Russian aggression” — much as a half century ago, the Tonkin Gulf talk was all about “North Vietnamese aggression.” But then and now there were other sides to the story – and questions that Congress needed to ask, writes Robert Parry.

The Obama-Netanyahu Showdown

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Oct 1, 2014. The meeting was described as chilly, reflecting the strained relationship between the two leaders. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama has been reduced to asking Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for permission to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, recognizing Netanyahu’s power over the U.S. Congress. But Netanyahu’s determination to block any deal has left Obama traversing a difficult negotiating path, writes Gareth Porter.

Tick-Tock-ing toward Oblivion

The Doomsday Clock set at three minutes to midnight.

Blithely, the world’s political, military and financial leaders strut toward existential catastrophes while never questioning the rightness of their actions. This arrogance has caused leading scientists to push the symbolic clock of global destruction to three minutes to midnight, notes Nicolas J S Davies.

Ukraine Finance Minister’s American ‘Values’

Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

Special Report: Among the arguments for why Americans should risk nuclear war with Russia over Ukraine is that the regime that took power in a coup last year “shares our values.” But one of those “values” – personified by Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko – may be the skill of using insider connections, reports Robert Parry.

Giving Obama Even More War Powers

President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As much as Republicans hate President Obama, their love of war seems to be winning out as they ratchet up his request for powers to attack the Islamic State, another sign that the Founders’ vision of restraining armed conflicts is being lost, as Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland notes.

Shocked over Senate’s Gitmo Rhetoric

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation."

A citizen who attended a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about Guantanamo Bay was so shocked by the ugly rhetoric from some senators that she spoke up and was arrested. Now in an open letter, Helen Schietinger is asking Sen. McCain to use his chairmanship to finally close the prison.

Disdaining ‘the Search for Truth’

Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

When information becomes a weapon – whether in geopolitics or domestic politics – the democratic principle of an informed electorate is sacrificed, as is now the case in modern America, where some leaders pander to parts of the electorate that are disdainful of science, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.