Tag Archive for Gareth Porter

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The Israel Lobby Shows Its Clout

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)

House Speaker Boehner’s unprecedented invitation to give Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a platform of a joint session of Congress to undercut President Obama’s foreign policy is just the latest example of how much power the Israel lobby wields, as Gareth Porter explains.

CIA Found No Magic in Operation Merlin

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

The espionage trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling has focused less on evidence that he leaked secrets about “Operation Merlin,” a CIA scheme to slip flawed nuclear designs to Iran, than on the merits of the unsuccessful covert op which never got a response from the Iranians, reports Gareth Porter.

Can Obama Untangle from Syria’s Civil War?

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

President Obama appears open to a UN strategy of negotiating local ceasefires in Syria as a step toward a political solution to that civil war, but he remains tangled in the demand from Israel, Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies for “regime change” in Damascus, writes Gareth Porter.

Twisting the Iran-Nuke Intelligence

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)

Since the Reagan administration broke the back of professionalism at the CIA’s analytical division, U.S. intelligence has regularly been twisted for geopolitical purposes, including the case made over Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, as Gareth Porter explains.

The Political Imperative to Be Reckless

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)

The overarching “strategic” ideology in Official Washington is “tough-guy-ism,” with politicians fearful of being called “weak,” a public-relations threat that drives even cautious leaders into reckless military actions, as occurred with President Obama in the war on the Islamic State, as Gareth Porter explains.

New Pressure to Stop Iran Nuke Accord

President Barack Obama talks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call in the Oval Office, Sept. 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The economic pain, being inflicted on Iran and Russia by the Saudi-induced oil-price drop, has fueled a new surge in Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” and thus may hurt chances for successful negotiations, especially an agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, as Gareth Porter reports.

How the Iran-Nuke Crisis Was Hyped

Yukiya Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaking to the United Nations

A prized weapon in the U.S. geopolitical arsenal is “information warfare,” the ability to promote false or misleading information to heighten the pressure on an adversary, often using supposedly neutral UN agencies as a front, as may have happened on Iran’s nuclear program, reports Gareth Porter.

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.

Squandering a Chance with Iran

President Barack Obama talks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call in the Oval Office, Sept. 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Under pressure from hardliners in Congress and Israel, the Obama administration backed away from what could have been a historic agreement with Iran over limiting its nuclear program. Instead coercive diplomacy has become almost an end in itself, as Gareth Porter explains.

Russia’s Key Role in Iran-Nuke Deal

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani talks by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 18, 2013, discussing developments in the talks between Tehran and the world powers as well as ways to end the bloodshed in Syria. (Iranian government photo)

Though the Ukraine crisis drove a wedge between Presidents Obama and Putin, their cooperation remains crucial to a negotiated agreement to constrain but not end Iran’s nuclear program, as Gareth Porter makes clear in reporting on a possible breakthrough for Inter Press Service.