Chomsky undermines the facile if comforting myths that are often used to justify US action abroad—the distinction between, as he puts it, “what we stand for” and “what we do.” His views are held not only by American critics on the left but also by many people around the world who are more likely to think of themselves as targeted rather than protected by US military power.
Introduction Modern slavery takes many forms, but most slaves are forced to work in the shadows. Those who control modern slaves—whether men compelled to work on Thai fishing boats, domestic workers trapped in the homes of their Saudi employers, children ordered to beg in Senegal, bonded workers in India, or …
Whether the issue is torture, Guantánamo, military commissions, drone attacks, or electronic surveillance, Barack Obama’s tenure has been one of disappointment for those who had hoped for a more consistently rights-respecting approach to combating terrorism.
Reclaiming American Virtue: The Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s
by Barbara J. Keys
Human rights organizations today have a major part in international affairs. My organization, Human Rights Watch, works in ninety countries, including virtually all those suffering war or severe governmental repression. Amnesty International, the largest rights group, has similar coverage and three million members around the world. These two big international …
Following months of Snowden disclosures, the extent to which the National Security Agency’s extraordinary surveillance infringes on the privacy of our communications and other vast areas of our lives has become widely apparent. Far less appreciated, however, is the global threat it poses to freedom of expression. After the revelations about NSA surveillance, many countries have said they may require Internet companies to keep data about their citizens on servers within their own borders. If that becomes standard practice, it will be easier for repressive governments to monitor Internet communications.
As a federal prosecutor in the 1980s, I used to think nothing of scooping up the phone numbers that a suspect called. I viewed that surveillance as no big deal because the Supreme Court had ruled in Smith v. Maryland (1979) that we have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the phone numbers we dial, as opposed to the content of the calls. And in any event, I had limited time or practical ability to follow up on those numbers. Today, by contrast, when I look at the government’s large-scale electronic surveillance of private communications, I see an urgent need to rethink the rationale—and legal limits—for such intrusion.