President Obama has promised reform of the NSA’s mass collection of data on virtually all Americans and much of the world. But his proposals are limited and his speech failed to offer clemency to Edward Snowden who made the public debate possible, writes Marjorie Cohn.
Some of our special stories in August focused on the worsening crisis in Syria, the injustice of the Manning case, the history of U.S. war crimes using nukes and chemical weapons, and the Right’s disdain for reality.
U.S. government officials concede that a barrage of cruise missiles against Syria could result in collateral civilian deaths, possibly exceeding the numbers allegedly killed by chemical weapons. Such an assault also would violate international law and risk widening the Syrian conflict, note Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer.
Official Washington often lectures other countries on the need for accountability, especially when governments have engaged in war crimes. Yet, one of the clearest cases of a U.S. war crime – the mass spraying of Vietnam with Agent Orange – has escaped any reckoning, note Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer.
The cruel irony of how the United States has addressed post-9/11 war crimes, including President Bush’s invasion of Iraq and his use of torture, is that no major government official has been held accountable, yet whistleblowers have faced harsh reprisals, most notably Pvt. Bradley Manning, as Marjorie Cohn explains.
The Military Commissions for trying alleged al-Qaeda terrorists always had the risk of becoming Kafkaesque kangaroo courts with little credibility among people around the world, a danger that has become more and more acute as the process moves forward, Marjorie Cohn writes.
Despite U.S. government pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin is balking at demands that he extradite Edward Snowden from Moscow to face espionage charges for leaking secrets about America’s global surveillance operations. Still, Snowden’s status remains dicey, as Marjorie Cohn explains to Dennis J Bernstein.
Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” – no one wanting to look “weak” on “terror” – has stopped sane and humane policies toward Guantanamo. Members of Congress have blocked President Obama’s efforts to close the prison and he has shied away from a political battle to do so, as Marjorie Cohn explains.
The tenth anniversary of the Iraq War has understandably focused on the thousands upon thousands of people killed and the chaos unleashed. But the war also dealt a harsh blow to the legal principles that U.S. leaders helped enshrine after World War II, as Marjorie Cohn noted in this excerpt from “Cowboy Republic.”