Tag Archive for Global War on Terror


Curbs on Surveillance State Urged

Barack Obama, then President-elect, and President George W. Bush at the White House during the 2008 transition.

In the post 9/11 era, the U.S. government vastly expanded its surveillance of nearly everyone on earth, even U.S. citizens, brushing aside constitutional protections in the name of security. A group of intelligence veterans urges reform of those practices to protect privacy and to stop the waste of resources. 

A Vague War Declaration on ISIS

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John and identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the target of a drone attack that the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

President Obama has tossed Congress a draft resolution on using force against Islamic State militants but the vague language is something of a hot potato that neither the White House nor Congress is comfortable with, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Finding Creative Ways to Torture

George W. Bush taking the presidential oath of office on Jan. 20, 2001. (White House photo)

After World War II, Americans led the way in establishing landmark human rights principles, including a repudiation of torture. But more recent U.S. leaders have chosen to disgrace those ideals by devising euphemisms and end-runs to continue the barbaric practices, as Peter Costantini describes.

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.

Bush’s Enduring Theories of Martial Law

Barack Obama, then President-elect, and President George W. Bush at the White House during the 2008 transition.

The failure to hold anyone accountable for torture derives from extraordinary post-9/11 legal theories that made the President all-powerful during “wartime” and established what amounted to martial law in the United States, a condition that continues to this day, writes retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.

NSA’s Binney Honored for Integrity

Former National Security Agency official William Binney sitting in the offices of Democracy Now! in New York City. (Photo credit: Jacob Appelbaum)

Retired National Security Agency official William Binney, who challenged decisions to ignore the Fourth Amendment in the government’s massive — and wasteful — collection of electronic data, faced career and legal repercussions. Because of his courage, he is being honored by former intelligence officials.

Is Torture a ‘Conservative’ Value?

President George W. Bush receiving applause during his 2003 State of the Union Address in which he laid out a fraudulent case for invading Iraq.

Conservatives who usually hail individual liberties are leading the televised defense of the U.S. government’s torture of terror suspects, including many who were completely innocent. But some conservatives are troubled by this knee-jerk defense of the Bush administration, as Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland explains.

Torture’s Time for Accountability

President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Dec. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Exclusive: America’s reputation for cognitive dissonance is being tested by the Senate report documenting the U.S. government’s torture of detainees and the fact that nothing is happening to those responsible. Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says the nation must choose between crossing the Delaware or the Rubicon.

Torture’s Fallacies — and Criminality

Actor Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in the Fox TV show "24" using torture to extract information.

In America’s fascination with fictional entertainment, torture has been a popular plot device as some tough-guy “hero” extracts a clue from a hardened “bad guy,” most famously with Jack Bauer in “24.” But real-world torture elicits false information – and is a grave crime of state, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

How Torture Puts Americans at Risk

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

Exclusive: Polls show that most Americans – and an overwhelming majority of “conservatives” – view post-9/11 torture as justified, presumably because it made them feel safer. But torture may actually have made them less safe, as retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce explains.