How the World Views US ‘Clown Show’

Ben Carson, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination who opposed a Muslim being elected president.

Some Americans may be amused by the “clown show” that is modern U.S. politics, particularly the Republican presidential race. But the crude insults and gross bigotry are seen around the world, reducing the appeal of democracy and turning more people against the U.S., notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama’s Flak Demeans Putin’s Posture

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Sept. 21, 2015.

Exclusive: Afraid of neocon criticism, President Obama is going out of his way to insult Russian President Putin prior to a summit meeting. Obama’s press secretary mocked Putin as “desperate” and accused him of displaying poor posture in a meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, reports Robert Parry.

Can Obama Lecture Xi on Human Rights?

A screen shot of the White House home page on Sept. 25, 2015, noting the summit with China's President Xi Jinping by showing an earlier meeting between Xi and President Barack Obama.

Exclusive: The Obama administration often scolds China over its human rights record – and President Obama is sure to hammer away at those themes in his summit with Chinese President Xi – but it’s hard for the United States not to look hypocritical given its own checkered history, writes Jonathan Marshall.

Giving Up the Global-Cop Badge

A U.S. Army soldier provides security at a school in Farah City, Afghanistan, on Aug. 1, 2012. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy Lt. Benjamin Addison)

Official Washington is fuming over Russia’s expanded military role in helping Syria fight the Islamic State and Al Qaeda (as if the U.S. has been doing such a crack job). Instead, the U.S. should retreat from the unpopular job of global policeman, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

Decline of Western Ethnic States

Flag of the European Union.

The neocon-driven wars in the Middle East have unleashed a demographic tidal wave on Europe, the arrival of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other war-torn countries. Despite political resistance, this flood inevitably will reshape the Continent’s ethnic character, says Lawrence Davidson.

The Sneering at China’s President Xi

China's President Xi Jinping.

In mainstream U.S. media, it’s always a “safe play” for pundits to sneer at foreign leaders and countries that interfere with American hegemony, thus guiding the public toward unnecessary hostilities, a phenomenon now playing out in the treatment of China and President Xi, writes Dan Steinbok.

Parry to Receive I.F. Stone Award

Journalist Robert Parry.

From Editor Robert Parry: Our nearly two decades of work at Consortiumnews were recently recognized by Harvard’s Nieman Foundation in awarding me the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. But this honor really is for all those who have written for this Web site and our many readers who have supported us with donations.

A Prized Iran-Nuke Myth Unraveling

Satellite photo of Parchin military base in Iran. (Photo credit: Digital Globe - ISIS)

Once an Official Washington “group think” gets going it’s very hard to stop because the mainstream U.S. media will adjust the narrative so as not to debunk what all the Important People “know” to be true, such as shoring up a beloved Iran nuclear myth that is starting to fall apart, as Gareth Porter notes.

GOP Vexed over Pope on Climate Change

Image of Planet Earth taken from Apollo 17

In the pocket of the oil industry, key Republicans continue to sow doubts about the science on climate change, an attitude that may extend to their annoyance with Pope Francis if he raises the issue when he addresses Congress, as Michael Winship describes.

The ‘Tempest-tost’ Syrian Refugees

The Statue of Liberty.

Like its predecessor in Iraq, the “regime change” war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands and uprooted millions more, with many now seeking refuge in the West. But political forces have resisted providing safe haven, an affront to international law, writes Marjorie Cohn at Truthdig.

Blunting the Pope’s Environmentalism

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has challenged market economics to address the human cost of profit-making, especially global warming’s threat to the future of the planet. But opponents of government regulation are set to spin whatever criticism the Pope delivers during his U.S. trip, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Will US Grasp Putin’s Syria Lifeline?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (left) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on Sept. 13, 2013. (Photo credit: Press TV)

Exclusive: The neocons’ obsession with “regime change” in Syria is driving another one of Official Washington’s “group thinks” toward rejecting Russia’s offer to help stabilize the war-torn country and stem the destabilizing flood of refugees into Europe, writes Robert Parry.

The Frantic Fear of Islam

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The American Right and neocon activists have whipped up so much Islamophobia that this bigotry is now shaping the Republican presidential race and contributed to the arrest of a 14-year-old Texas boy who built a clock as a school project, writes Nat Parry.

A Moral Challenge for Pope Francis

Pope Francis. (Photo from Casa Rosada)

Exclusive: In modern times, the Catholic Church has made excuses for unjustifiable wars even as it has made abortion a cardinal sin, a hypocrisy that will be tested as Pope Francis visits the United States, a country immersed in all the immorality that comes from warfare, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Russian Role Could Help in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin taking the presidential oath at his third inauguration ceremony  on May 7, 2012. (Russian government photo)

Despite the alarms in Official Washington about Russia’s increased military role in Syria, this expanded commitment breathes new hope into a possible political settlement of the conflict and could help reverse Islamic State gains, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Get Parry’s Classic Book, ‘Fooling America’


From Editor Robert Parry: As part of Consortiumnews’ fall fund drive, we are re-releasing my first book, Fooling America, a critique of the mainstream media published at a time (in 1992) when many people still viewed major U.S. news outlets through the outdated prism of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers.

Obama’s Fateful Syrian Choice

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: President Obama faces a choice that could define his legacy and the future of the American Republic: He can either work with Russia’s President Putin to stabilize Syria or he can opt for a confrontation that could lead to an open-ended war with grave risks of escalation, writes Robert Parry.

Lost Lessons from a Toddler’s Death

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

The world’s conscience was touched by the photo of a toddler who drowned while fleeing the war in Syria — and Europe’s cohesion is threatened by the growing flood of Syrian refugees. But Western leaders won’t let go of their “regime change” fixation which is making matters worse, writes Rick Sterling.

Congress Deserving of Dunce Caps

The U.S. Capitol. (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol)

The inability of the U.S. Congress to address basic responsibilities, such as funding the government, invites negative comparisons to unruly school children in need of detention, dunce caps or worse, as Michael Winship describes.

Neocons Babble Over Syria Crisis

Amid the crisis over Syria, President Vladimir Putin of Russia welcomed President Barack Obama to the G20 Summit at Konstantinovsky Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: America’s neocons are so wedded to their “regime change” plans for Syria that they even flirted with embracing Al Qaeda. They are now furious over Russia’s expanded engagement in support of Syria’s secular government because it frustrates long-held neocon desires, reports Daniel Lazare.

Was Turkey Behind Syria Sarin Attack?

President Barack Obama speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. (UN photo)

From the Archive: As Washington pundits again demand Syrian President Assad’s ouster, a top talking point is that he “gassed his own people” in a Sarin attack in 2013. But that rush to judgment was picked apart by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh and others, as Robert Parry reported in spring 2014.

Solitary Confinement Under Attack

U.S. Supreme Court

One of the cruelest aspects of American prisons is the excessive use of solitary confinement, especially in “supermax” facilities, leaving inmates without normal human contact for years and even decades, a form of cruel punishment now under challenge in the courts, as Marjorie Cohn described for teleSUR.

The Crisis of ‘Regime Change Refugees’

Afghan commandos demonstrate their skills for U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Camp Morehead, Afghanistan, April 23, 2012. (Defense Department photo by D. Myles Cullen)

The West’s dominant prescription toward the crisis of war-torn regions and the destabilizing refugee flow that has followed is to have more “regime change,” particularly in Syria. But the reality is that the West’s fondness for violent “regime change” is the core reason for the refugees, says James Paul.

Are Neocons an Existential Threat?

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

Exclusive: Despite a record of unprecedented error, American neocons remain the dominant foreign policy force in Official Washington, demanding more “regime change” in the Middle East and a new Cold War that could heat up and end all life on the planet, writes Robert Parry.

How Russia Can Help in Syria

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (left) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on Sept. 13, 2013. (Photo credit: Press TV)

Despite Official Washington’s annoyance, the Russian involvement in Syria could work in favor of U.S. national interests by adding forces experienced in dealing with Islamic extremists and capable of restoring some stability, a prerequisite for a political settlement, writes ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

US Confusion over the Syrian War

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Official Washington is in a tizzy over Russia’s decision to join the fight in Syria to defeat Al Qaeda and ISIS, though one might have thought the U.S. would welcome Moscow’s help. But there are other factors, including the wishes of Israel and Saudi Arabia, complicating matters, writes Lawrence Davidson.

Donald Trump’s Nativist Impulse

Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The anti-immigrant focus of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign reminds historian Bernard A. Weisberger of shameful past eras that conflict with America’s self-image as a place of refuge for people from many lands.

Fall Fund Drive Goal Set at $25,000

From Editor Robert Parry: Unlike some Web sites, we don’t bother our readers with lots of requests for donations, but we do need to pay the bills and we try to pay our writers something for the important original work that they do. So, we are setting our fall fund drive at $25,000.

In Case You Missed…

Some of our special stories from August focused on the failure of the mainstream media to question prevailing “group thinks” on almost any topic, the bitter fight over the Iran nuclear deal, the hidden reality of U.S. allies aiding Al Qaeda in Syria, and the surprising surge of anti-Establishment candidates.

US Intel Vets Decry CIA’s Use of Torture

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)

Torture defenders are back on the offensive publishing a book by ex-CIA leaders rebutting a Senate report that denounced the brutal tactics as illegal, inhumane and ineffective. Now, in a memo to President Obama, other U.S. intelligence veterans are siding with the Senate findings and repudiating the torture apologists.

A Challenge to Neoliberal Orthodoxy

Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of Great Britain's Labour Party.

Conventional thinkers say Jeremy Corbyn’s election to head Britain’s opposition Labour Party and Bernie Sanders’s surge against Hillary Clinton are passing fancies that will fade as the summer ends, but Nicolas J S Davies sees the hope for an inspiring new politics.