ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Why, why, why, as our ecosystem collapses, as millions of refugees flee the horrors of war and poverty, as the pandemic continues, as World War III and the possibility of nuclear Armageddon rears its evil head, as the planet trembles, does ever-expanding, global militarism remain our primary national purpose?
BRIAN TERRELL – All of us in the U.S., the politicians, voters, tax payers, the investors and even those who protested and resisted it, are responsible for 20 years of war in Afghanistan. We are also all responsible for ending it.
KATHY KELLY – The U.S. government owes reparations to the civilians of Afghanistan for the past twenty years of war and brutal impoverishment.
BRIAN TERRELL – It is refreshing to hear a U.S. president at least recognize that the Yemeni people are suffering an â€œunendurable devastationâ€ and this is due to the hard work of grassroots peace activists around the world. Whether President Bidenâ€™s proclamation will mean much in the real world beyond a temporary hold on the weapons deals Trump made just before leaving office is yet to be seen.
BRETT WILKINS – The Belmarsh Tribunalâ€”named after the notorious British prison where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is imprisoned as he faces possible extradition to the U.S.â€”was convened remotely Friday morning by Progressive International (PI). The activists “put the United States government on trial” for crimes ranging “from atrocities in Iraq to torture at GuantÃ¡namo Bay to the CIA’s illegal surveillance programâ€”and draw attention to the extradition case of Julian Assange for revealing them.”
JACK MATLOCK – Did the U.S. â€œIntelligence Communityâ€ judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?
Most commentators seem to think so, but this understanding does not hold up under careful analysis.
DAVID SWANSON – Back before Donald Trump was inaugurated, I wrote an article called â€œFantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump.â€ Perhaps it is less quixotic, or perhaps it is more, to hope that, after more than two years of being barraged with those fantasies, but with their main focus having publicly flopped, more people will now be open to trying something else. That pre-inauguration article read: â€œTrump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. . . . Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate . . .
If you scan the Internet for immigration-related news stories following the Trump administration’s May 7 announcement of its “zero tolerance” border policy, you’ll find the word “chaos” coming up time and time again.
JESSELYN RADACK – It is the leakiest of times in the Executive Branch. [A little over a week ago], Wikileaks published a massive and, by all accounts genuine, trove of documents revealing that the CIA has been stockpiling, and lost control of, hacking tools it uses against targets. Particularly noteworthy were the revelations that the CIA developed a tool to hack Samsung TVs and turn them into recording devices and that the CIA worked to infiltrate both Apple and Google smart phone operating systems since it could not break encryption. No one in government has challenged the authenticity of the documents disclosed.
BOB FITRIKAS and HARVEY WASSERMAN – As the nightmare reality of Donald Trump sinks in, we need to put our resistance in a larger perspective.
NORMAN SOLOMON – For months now, our country has endured the tacit denigration of American ingenuity. Countless statements — from elected officials, activist groups, journalists and many others — have ignored our nationâ€™s superb blend of dazzling high-tech capacities and statecraft mendacities. Fortunately, this week the news about release of illuminating CIA documents by WikiLeaks has begun to give adequate credit where due. And not a moment too soon. For way too long, Russia has been credited with prodigious hacking and undermining of democracy in the United States.
DAVID SWANSON – Here I am in occupied DC. The White House looks like a Green Zone. There was a time when you could walk up to it. Caravans of police cars and black SUVs zoom by with sirens blaring and everyone else forced aside. Do people look outraged? No, they grin and admire. We need more democratic perspectives. Here are six.
DAVID SWANSON – The U.S. government has now generated numerous news stories and released multiple “reports” aimed at persuading us that Vladimir Putin is to blame for Donald Trump becoming president. U.S. media has dutifully informed us that the case has been made. But a closer analysis finds a different reality.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Many big factors affect any presidential race, and the Russian government may have tried to be one of them for the 2016 electionâ€”though itâ€™s hardly the slam dunk that agencies like the CIA and U.S. mass media are now claiming. But in any event, this month it has become routine for a lot of progressive organizations and individuals to descend into a dangerous mode of partisan flackery — with troubling consequences.
NORMAN SOLOMAN – [In late June] CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling went to prison. If he were white, he probably wouldnâ€™t be there.
NORMAN SOLOMON – A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based on a juryâ€™s conclusion that he gave classified information to a New York Times journalist, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency. ExposeFacts.org has obtained letters from Sterling to prominent members of Congress, beseeching them in 2003 and 2006 to hear him out about racial bias at the CIA. Sterling, who is expected to enter prison soon, provided the letters last week. They indicate that he believed the CIA was retaliating against him for daring to become the first-ever black case officer to sue the agency for racial discrimination.
RALPH LOPEZ – Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a â€œpropagandist,â€ an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA. Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germanyâ€™s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war. Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling â€” after his conviction Monday, January 26, as a CIA whistleblower. Sterlingâ€™s indictment four years ago received fleeting news coverage that recited the governmentâ€™s charges. From the outset, the Justice Department portrayed him as bitter and vengeful â€” with the classic trash-the-whistleblower word â€œdisgruntledâ€ thrown in â€” all of which the mainline media dutifully recounted without any other perspective.
NORMAN SOLOMAN – This [past] week, in a federal courtroom, Iâ€™ve heard a series of government witnesses testify behind a screen while expounding on a central precept of the national security state: The CIA can do no wrong. Those CIA employees and consultants are more than mere loyalists for an agency that soaks up $15 billion a year and continues to loosen the bonds of accountability. The docket says â€œUnited States of America v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling,â€ but a more discerning title would be â€œNational Security State v. The Publicâ€™s Right to Know.â€
DAVID SWANSON – Since Tuesday and continuing for the coming three weeks, an amazing trial is happening in U.S. District Court at 401 Courthouse Square in Alexandria, Va. The trial is open to the public, and among the upcoming witnesses is Condoleezza Rice, but — unlike the Chelsea Manning trial — most of the seats at this somewhat similar event are empty. The media is mostly MIA, and during lunch break the two tables at the cafe across the street are occupied, one by the defendant and his lawyers, the other by a small group of activists, including former CIA officer Ray McGovern, blogger Marcy Wheeler (follow her report of every detail at ExposeFacts.org), and Norman Solomon who has organized a petition at DropTheCharges.org — the name of which speaks for itself.
DAVID SWANSON – The U.S.-led NATO war on Afghanistan has lasted so long they’ve decided to rename it, declare the old war over, and announce a brand new war they’re just sure you’re going to love.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The Freedom of the Press Foundation calls the governmentâ€™s effort to force Risen to reveal a source â€œone of the most significant press freedom cases in decades.â€
NORMAN SOLOMON – President Obama is now considering whether to order the Central Intelligence Agency to kill a U.S. citizen in Pakistan. Thatâ€™s big news this week. But hidden in plain sight is the fact that Amazon would be an accessory to the assassination.
NORMAN SOLOMON – American journalism has entered highly dangerous terrain. A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos — whoâ€™s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazonâ€™s CEO and main stakeholder. The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million â€œcloudâ€ computing deal with the CIA.
NORMAN SOLOMON – News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them. But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaperâ€™s CIA coverage are left in the dark.
CONGRESSMAN ALAN GRAYSON (D, FL) – Members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, “oversight” has become “overlook.” Despite being a member of Congress possessing security clearance, I’ve learned far more about government spying on me and my fellow citizens from reading media reports than I have from “intelligence” briefings.
NORMAN SOLOMON – A simple twist of fate has set President Obamaâ€™s second Inaugural Address for January 21, the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.
Obama made no mention of King during the Inauguration four years ago — but since then, in word and deed, the president has done much to distinguish himself from the man who said â€œI have a dream.â€
DAVID SWANSON – Almost 10,000 Americans have sent messages to the Italian Embassy in Washington thanking Italy’s high court for upholding the conviction of 23 Americans (22 CIA officers and one military official) for the offense of kidnapping a man off the street in Milan on February 17, 2003, and shipping him to Egypt to be brutally tortured.
RITIKA SINGH and BENJAMIN WITTES – Political parties in the United States, like a spatting couple in a bad marriage, have been fighting over the law of counterterrorism for more than a decade. And like the spatting couple, they have developed an almost rote script for their fight. The script has a logic of its own. It is a comfortable one for both spousesâ€”and the fight is soothing in its own way. Republicans and Democrats alike wrap up some portion of their partyâ€™s identity and self-image in the conflict over national-security policy. The fight gives each side the impressionâ€”and the confidenceâ€”that the other endangers America. And it gives each side something to tell voters about why they should vote one way rather than another.
TOM ENGELHARDT – Americans may feel more distant from war than at any time since World War II began. Certainly, a smaller percentage of us â€” less than 1% â€” serves in the military in this all-volunteer era of ours and, on the face of it, Washingtonâ€™s constant warring in distant lands seems barely to touch the lives of most Americans. And yet the militarization of the United States and the strengthening of the National Security Complex continues to accelerate.
PHYLLIS BENNIS – Syria is close to full-scale civil war. If the conflict escalates further, as former UN Secretary-General and current envoy of both the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan noted: “Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”
SHAHZAD AKBAR – The drone campaign, which continues to be conducted without oversight and accountability, is documented to have taken a horrendous toll on the civilian population of these regions, the magnitude of which has only come to light through the efforts of grassroots activists such as Akbar.
KEN DILANIAN – A computer hacking group has revealed email addresses and other personal data from former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, and hundreds of U.S. intelligence, law enforcement and military officials in a high-profile case of cyber-theft.
IAN HARRIS – Honduras has for a long time been a â€œbanana republicâ€ controlled by U.S. interests. With the lowest per capita income in Central America, but with a strong military, Honduras in the 80s was viewed as a â€œU.S. surrogateâ€ in the region, providing a base for counter-insurgency operations especially in Nicaragua. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) signed in 2005 further cemented U.S. economic influence with Honduras.
URI AVNERY – We are in the middle of a geological event. An earthquake of epoch-making dimensions is changing the landscape of our region. Mountains turn into valleys, islands emerge from the sea, volcanoes cover the land with lava.
People are afraid of change. When it happens, they tend to deny, ignore, pretend that nothing really important is happening.
MICHAEL TRUE – Blind faith — adhering to a proposition with no reasonable justification of its truth — is more dangerous for politicians than it is for religionists. True believers may acknowledge their blind faith in religious dogma, while foreign policy wonks seldom acknowledge their blind faith in political dogma. Yet many legislators and administrators â€” as well as columnists and academics â€” adhere to the dogma of â€œmilitary supremacy,â€ which dominates U.S. foreign policy. American tax payers, who have invested heavily in that dogma, may have serious questions about whether it works. The evidence?
JORGE HEINE: The initial trickle of evidence about the many illegal ways in which Washington pursued its counterterrorist offensive from 2001 to 2008, first exposed by the pictures from Abu Ghraib in 2004, has turned into a veritable flood.