But truth, along with an open and fair debate, is the last thing the Israel lobby and its lackeys seek. The goal is to silence students, faculty members and outside speakers who do not read from the approved script. The decades-long persecution of the courageous scholar Norman Finkelstein, which has included repeatedly successful campaigns by the Israel lobby to get him removed from university teaching positions, is accompanied by efforts to discredit fearless writers on Israel such as Max Blumenthal, the author of "Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel." Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, and Blumenthal are Jews. And Jews who demand justice for the Palestinians -- Jews often make up sizable parts of college groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine -- are attacked with a particular vindictiveness by propagandists for Israel. read more
Glenn Greenwald and Peter Maass, The Intercept: NBC News yesterday called her a "key apologist" for the CIA's torture program. A follow-up New Yorker article dubbed her "The Unidentified Queen of Torture" and in part "the model for the lead character in Zero Dark Thirty." Yet in both articles she was anonymous. The person described by both NBC and the New Yorker is senior CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky. Multiple news outlets have reported that as the result of a long string of significant errors and malfeasance, her competence and integrity are doubted -- even by some within the agency. The Intercept is naming Bikowsky over CIA objections because of her key role in misleading Congress about the agency's use of torture, and her active participation in the torture program (including playing a direct part in the torture of at least one innocent detainee). Moreover, Bikowsky has already been publicly identified by news organizations as the CIA officer responsible for many of these acts. read more
By Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's reckoning, being a millionaire does not constitute living high above the ranks of ordinary people. Lew said last week that back when he was in the private sector enjoying six- and seven-figure pay packages, "My own compensation was never in the stratosphere."
Lew made that pronouncement as he sought to defend President Barack Obama's embattled Treasury undersecretary nominee Antonio Weiss from charges that as a financial executive, he is out of touch with the interests of regular people. Lew was seeking to cast his own lot with the ranks of ordinary Americans at a time of growing economic inequality.
But in doing so, Lew shed light on a uniquely American phenomenon -- the tendency of extraordinarily rich people to cast themselves as everyday members of the middle class. read more
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is our Frankenstein. The United States after a decade of war in Iraq pieced together its body parts. We jolted it into life. We bathed it in blood and trauma. And we gave it its intelligence. Its dark and vicious heart of vengeance and war is our heart. It kills as we kill. It tortures as we torture. It carries out conquest as we carry out conquest. It is building a state driven by hatred for American occupation, a product of the death, horror and destruction we visited on the Middle East. ISIS now controls an area the size of Texas. It is erasing the borders established by French and British colonial powers through the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement. There is little we can do to stop it.
ISIS, ironically, is perhaps the only example of successful nation-building in the contemporary Middle East, despite the billions of dollars we have squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. read more
Peter Maass, The Intercept: Have you heard the screams of a prisoner who is being tortured in America's war on terror? I can't forget them. They pierced the walls of a detention center I visited in Samarra during an offensive by American and Iraqi forces in 2005. In a small room, I was interviewing a frightened detainee whose head was bandaged from an injury he unconvincingly attributed to a car accident during his capture. Bloodstains dripped down the side of a desk, and there was an American military adviser with us, as well as a portly officer of Iraq's special police commandos. Suddenly there was a chilling scream. "Allah," someone wailed. "Allah! Allah!" As I wrote at the time, this wasn't a cry of religious ecstasy. It was the sound of deep pain, coming from elsewhere in the town library, which had been turned into a detention center by Iraqi security forces who were advised by American soldiers and contractors. read more