Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
Archives from December 2001
An Alternative to War in Iraq
John Absood
As the impressive U.S. military rout of the Taliban regime and the terrorists they harbored enters a new phase, some in Washington propose a similar strategy for Iraq. I argue against this for several reasons and propose a non-military solution. Indeed, a carefully revamp...
The Most Precious Gift
Kathy Kelly
It is ironic that my most treasured Christmas moments have come in a largely Muslim country. It is December 1998 and after an intense and illegal bombing campaign at the very beginning of Ramadan, we have spent a week with children in Baghdad learning to sing ...
Going Nuclear in Iraq
Ramzi Kysia
Dr Alim Abdul-Hamid’s office at Al Mustanseriya Medical College in Baghdad is decorated in bright, cheerful colours, but what he has to say is anything but cheerful. Formerly Dean of Basra Medical College, Abdul-Hamid has had plenty of first-hand experience with I...
Can’t Forget the Afghan Dead
Robert Jensen And Rahul Mahajan
How many civilians have died in the United States’ attack on Afghanistan? Military officials assert that high-tech weapons and precision bombing have kept that number low. Reports of civilian casualties — whether coming from the Taliban or independent ...
Inviting Future Terrorism
Aaron G. Lehmer
In early December, another dreadful statistic — more than 3,500 dead — was made public, except this time the figure did not refer to the appalling mass grave at Ground Zero. No, this gruesome number described the civilian death toll so far in Afghanist...
No Holiday for Iraq
Ramzi Kysia
When I first visited Iraq in the summer of 1999, I wrote that nothing could have prepared me for my trip – for the incredible hospitality of the people, or for the incredible brutality of the sanctions. Since then, I’ve seen reports that sanctions against Iraq...
Observing George Bush
John Chuckman
Millions of Americans settle into their couches with bowls of popcorn, bags of potato chips, and diet cola. They enjoy the color pictures on the evening news report of bombs exploding in Afghanistan. Pictures of explosions are always popular in America, no matter ...
Palestinian Children Bear the Brunt of Mideast Violence
Patrick McNamara
The United states once again has vetoed a UN resolution calling for an end to Israeli violence against Palestinians and the introduction of international monitors. The veto damages both Israel and the Palestinians. Friends of Israel and Palestine need to act now t...
Where’s Osama?
Nelson P. Valdés
Let us suppose, for a moment that Osama Bin Laden had something to do with the events of September 11. Let us suppose, also, that he understood how the United States government would react. Let us suppose that he, like those who actually implemented ...
Consumers Unite!
Philip A. Farruggio
Confucius said: “you succeeded because you tried again”. When will we realize that from the 9-month-old baby to the 99-year-old in the nursing home, we all share one connection: as consumers!. We all consume, thus we have the numbers. It’s time t...
On the Recognition of Death
Suren Pillay
I took my usual trip from our apartment off Amsterdam Avenue uphill toward the School of International and Public Affairs building at Columbia University. It was a crisp morning, just a hint of autumn in the air. On my way to the library I passed the small ...
In Praise of Unspeakable Things
John Chuckman
When I turn to the opinion pages of a major newspaper in the muscular, brawling Midwestern city where I grew up, it’s an unpleasantly fascinating experience, a little like what I imagine a victim of child abuse might feel, smiling at a family gathering, stil...
Year of 2’s
Sam Bahour
“We Palestinians believe that the creation of the State of Israel was a grave political error, one which has done grievous harm to the interests of all concerned [...]. But it was not merely an error, it was also a crime. A crime perpetrated against the na...
Believe It or Not
Sam Bahour
For the last sixteen months my staff has suffered the humiliation of Israeli checkpoints twice a day, once coming to work and once going back home. Daily, I’m briefed of the horror stories, which unfortunately have become part of our ‘normal’ lif...
Why I Resisted the Draft
Yair Khilou
[ Yair Khilou, is a young activist in several radical left-wing groups, and one of the organisers behind the "letter of the twelfth-graders" (a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, signed by 62 youths, announcing their refusal to cooperate with the Israeli arm...
Israel’s Human Righs Record
Jennifer Loewenstein
On Saturday, 15 December 2001, the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have cleared the way for international monitors in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Many believe that such monitors would help end the increasingly bloody ...
War as Diversionary Tactic
Michael Chisari
The riots in Argentina are serious. They are food riots. They required no agitation, no manufactured political awakening of the people, and no defining moment. Just hunger. When millions of people starve as food rots on the shelves of supermarkets and warehouses, ...
Enron and the Green Seal
Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair
The fall of Enron sounds the death knell for one of the great rackets of the past decade: green seals of approval, whereby some outfit like the Natural Resources Defense Council or the Environmental Defense Fund would issue testimonials to the enviro-conscience and selfle...
War is Working for Bush:
Tom Turnipseed
Polls in the United States show unprecedented support for George W. Bush and his leadership in the victory of the world’s sole super-power over the destitute nation of Afghanistan, and its rag-tag Taliban government. Bush has become enormously popular and em...
Letter to Secretary Rumsfeld on Military Commissions
Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair
Dear Secretary Rumsfeld, We are writing to urge you to ensure that the rules and procedures governing military commissions authorized by the President’s order of November 13 fully honor the fair trial guarantees mandated by international human rights...
Foundations Without Representation?
Miriam Rozen Texas Lawyer
In the days since the FBI secured the premises of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development’s headquarters in Richardson, Texas, the subject of who will represent the nation’s largest Muslim charity has prompted an uncustomary level of consternation ...
The First Victim in the War on Terror
John Chuckman
It takes a good deal of time to realize the full impact of any large and sudden change in foreign policy, and this is especially true of the kind of sudden, violent interventions often undertaken by the United States since the end of World War ll. In the ca...
Who Opposes the War?
Marjorie Cohn
Don’t label John Walker a traitor yet. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York didn’t hesitate to call John Walker a traitor when she was interviewed on Meet the Press. The American was recently found with the Taliban in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, an...
Palestine and You
Sam Bahour
“…Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law” Universal Declarat...
Clash of Civilizations?
Shahid Alam
In the weeks after the September 11 attacks, and the instant US declaration of a global war against all countries that harbor terrorists-a list populated by Muslim countries-it appeared that the ‘clash of civilizations’ predicted by Samuel Huntington w...
Civilian Casualties: Theirs and Ours
William Blum
The question is now upon us. Who killed more innocent, defenseless people? The terrorists in the United States on September 11 with their crashing airplanes? Or the American government in Afghanistan the past ten weeks with their AGM-86D cruise missiles, th...
Killing Other People’s Children
Lawrence McGuire
The deep craters and pieces of shrapnel indicate that America’s weapon of choice in Kabul was the Mark 82 500lb bomb, which is designed to be guided to its target by the pilot, a nearby observation plane or a spotter on the ground. But there was...
Who Opposes the War?
C.G. Estabrook
When we look back at the great state crimes of the last century — German militarism, Soviet authoritarianism, American imperialism — we comfort ourselves by descrying in each case dissident movements that bore the stifled conscience of humanity. But in...
Arabs Viewed as Dangerous By Definition?
Amira Howeidy Al-Ahram
It is no longer surprising, nor is it ironic. In the US, many observers, rights activists and civil liberties groups are failing even to wonder at the glaring paradoxes of America ‘s readiness to shatter away its once established ...
Afghan Refugees: 1983-2001
Judith Mann
These photographs of Afghan refugees were taken in the Katchagiri Refugee Camp, Peshawar, Pakistan in 1983. Eighteen years later, the two million Afghans left in dusty, sprawling camps in Pakistan after the Soviet war, are joined by new refugees fleeing the...
Bush the Unilateralist
John Isaacs
In time for the Christmas holidays, President Bush has presented a lump of coal to the American people: the first withdrawal from a major arms control agreement since World War II. President Bush is doing his best impression of Scrooge, telling the rest of...
Naguib Mahfouz and the Cruelty of Memory
Edward Said
Before he won the Nobel Prize in 1988, Naguib Mahfouz was known outside the Arab world to students of Arab or Middle Eastern studies largely as the author of picturesque stories about lower-middle-class Cairo life. In 1980 I tried to interest a New York publisher,...
Zinni’s Doomed Mideast Mission
Sam Bahour And Michael Dahan
U.S. envoy to the Middle East, retired marine general Anthony Zinni’s announcement of his decision to end his cease-fire mission following his meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon adds yet another blunder to the numerous failed attempts throughout his...
Zinni’s Doomed Mideast Mission
Sam Bahour And Michael Dahan
U.S. envoy to the Middle East, retired marine general Anthony Zinni’s announcement of his decision to end his cease-fire mission following his meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon adds yet another blunder to the numerous failed attempts throughout his...
The Execution of Osama bin Laden
Dana Cook
Osama Bin Laden is finally captured alive and is brought to America for justice. He is found guilty by a military tribunal and the sentence is death, by hanging. There are cameras in the “courtroom” and CNN’s audience ratings triple that of the O...
Osama Gump?
Yusuf Agha
After days of anticipation, television viewers the world over witnessed the grand premiere of the mystery tape in which, according to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, “bin Laden confirms his guilt” and consequently “totally vindicates the ac...
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
Don Atapattu
Professor Norman Finkelstein is one of a dying breed of American mavericks that relentlessly defies any attempt at easy categorization. He is the son of Holocaust survivors but an unremitting critic of Holocaust reparation claims; a Jew but is a life-long anti Zio...
Ashcroft’s Jihad
Laura W. Murphy
In a blatant attempt to stifle growing criticism of recent government policy, Attorney General Ashcroft delivered testimony last week equating legitimate political dissent with something unpatriotic and un-American. We urge the Attorney General to learn from the h...
Afghanistan and Zaire
Dr. A. Tajudeen
Human beings can get used to anything: pain or pleasure. And in this day and age of globalized media culture fed by saturation coverage and repetitive drudgery our attention span has become even shorter. It is not just interest that dwindles but even our understan...
Prohibit Prohibition
Michael Williams
Throughout the 20th century, the United States government has waged a war against a freedom of choice, disguised as protection of the collective good. Through this seemingly altruistic goal, the US government successfully created powers beyond that which the Unite...
The Nonsense Mantras of Our Times
Ilija Trojanow And Ranjit Hoskote
What’s the world like? A flock of sheep. One falls into the ditch, the rest jump in. Kabir (Sakhi: 240, The Bijak of Kabir, trans. Linda Hess and Shukdev Singh) On TV screens across the globe, for more than two months now, the sheep have been...
Hitchens and Walker, the Betray Brothers?
Jack McCarthy
When an unshaven, unkempt, hung-over Christopher Hitchens stumbled in front of the TV cameras to issue his Orwellian, convoluted excuse for betraying the confidence of his “friend” and “Jewish cousin.” Sidney Blumenthal, to the congressiona...
Race and Visibility:
M. Shahid Alam
When I crossed the border into United States in 1988, after living in Canada for two years, I had the curious feeling that my wife, my son and I, still brown-skinned and dark-haired, had somehow become invisible. We walked the streets of Hamilton, a small u...
University of Wisconsin Will Not Aid in Interviews
Joshua Orton
Citing a lack of specific criminal information, UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley announced in a written statement Thursday that UW Police will not assist the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the questioning of international students. “University offic...
Cleansing the National Soul
Philip A. Farruggio
Our nation just memorialized the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. It was the spark that lit the explosion called “the good war”. Conspicuously absent from most history books are some startling facts: American investments in Nazi Germany at the ...
Iraqi Sanction’s Gruesome Toll
Andy Kershaw
I thought I had a strong stomach–toughened by the minefields and foul frontline hospitals of Angola, by the handiwork of the death squads in Haiti and by the wholesale butchery of Rwanda. But I nearly lost my breakfast last week at the Basrah Maternity and C...
My Beating is a Symbol of this Filthy War
Robert Fisk In Kila Abdullah After Afghan Border Ordeal The Independent
They started by shaking hands. We said “Salaam aleikum” — peace be upon you — then the first pebbles flew past my face. A small boy tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back. Then young men broke my glasses, began smas...
Death Penalty and Race
Robert Dunham
For years, study after study has established a disturbing link between race and the death penalty. The concerns about racial discrimination in the administration of the death penalty persist in virtually every jurisdiction in which death remains a legal fo...
The CIA Wanted Me Killed
Jo Dillon The Independent
Yvonne Ridley, the British journalist captured by the Taliban, this week makes the extraordinary claim that Western intelligence agencies tried to get her killed to bolster public support for the air strikes on Afghanistan. In her new book, In The Hands of the Tali...
Framing Chomsky
John Touchie
A recent criticism of Noam Chomsky by Jeffrey Isaac in the American Prospect offers up an use...