Americans are taught the myth that their democracy is safeguarded by an independent press. But the government and other powerful entities have long mastered the art of manipulating the major media, even to the point of bluntly telling reporters the facts of life, as Jon Schwarz recalls.
President Obama proclaims his love of “transparency” but has an odd idea what the word means. He generally defines it as sharing some information with Congress and the Courts but keeping the public in the dark and punishing those who ask too many questions, as William Blum explains.
After 9/11, the excuse for missing clues was too much data – trying to sip from a fire hose – but with the priority now excusing NSA spying, the metaphor is for more data – you can’t find a needle in a haystack without a haystack – a shift ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley dissects.
Exclusive: Brazil’s President Rousseff lashed out at U.S. spying during her UN speech, but there was a deeper message – the days when South America was Washington’s compliant “backyard” are over. The U.S. government now has the choice of forging a more equal relationship with the region or facing damaging isolation, writes Andrés Cala.
After 9/11, President George W. Bush turned to Civil War precedents to create military tribunals for trying alleged “terrorists.” But in applying those draconian rules to a worldwide battlefield, he created the nightmarish potential for a global totalitarianism, as retired U.S. Army JAG officer Todd E. Pierce explains.
Edward Snowden’s leaks about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs might have been avoided if more members of Congress had done their duty to stay informed about these classified activities, rather than get distracted by the fluff of politics, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.