For decades, the U.S. State Department’s reports on human rights and terrorism have been exercises in hypocrisy. The reports have been used as clubs against “enemies” and as excuses for “allies.” The latest terrorism report fits that sorry and dishonest trend, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
The sectarian rifts, which were opened by George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, continue to tear apart the Middle East, now involving Syria and Lebanon. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, has plunged into Syria to fight Sunni-led rebels, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
In assessing murky terrorism cases in the Middle East, one must take into account the political pressures on investigators and journalists to push the conclusion in a favored direction. That truism has surfaced again in a bombing at the Bulgarian resort of Burgas, says Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.
One problem in assessing blame for terror attacks in the Middle East is that governments have political interests in linking these outrages to enemies and then pushing that case in public forums. That dynamic may now be influencing the probe of a terror bombing in Bulgaria, reports Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.
Israel attacked a target in Syria, allegedly out of concern that some antiaircraft missiles might be shifted to Hezbollah in Lebanon. But the mysterious raid raises troubling questions about the possible region-wide spread of the Syrian civil war, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Over the years, the U.S. “terrorism list” has become less an objective assessment of groups that use violence against civilians than an ideological battlefield littered with blatant hypocrisies and outdated hatreds. The list has even complicated strategies for reducing political violence, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Sweeping assertions by Israeli officials regarding their certainty about the authorship of a bus bombing in Bulgaria last week – pinning it first on Iran and then Hezbollah – may not be backed up by solid intelligence, but it may help rally European condemnation, writes Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.
Exclusive: Though the 9/11 attacks occurred more than a decade ago, Congress continues to exploit them to pass evermore draconian laws on “terrorism,” with the Senate now empowering the military to arrest people on U.S. soil and hold them without trial, a serious threat to American liberties, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
From the start, the United Nations-sponsored inquiry into the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has looked more like an agit-prop campaign, first aimed at Syria and now Hezbollah, than an impartial investigation into the crime. Gareth Porter notes the inquiry’s curious blind eye toward an al-Qaeda confession.
The evidentiary standards used by international tribunals to charge people with crimes seem to depend on whether the West favors you or not. A new example is the Hariri case in which four Hezbollah members were indicted based on a bizarrely speculative cell-phone analysis, writes Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.