Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
If They Could Only Hear Themselves
First we had Osama bin Laden telling Pakistani journalists that the death toll in the World Trade Tower attacks was far greater than the U.S. government was letting on. An interview in UMMAT, published on September 28 and reported in CounterPunch, made it clear that bin Laden had been counting on a much higher death toll.
But later we saw him on that famous “smoking gun” video, leaning against the wall in someone’s home and claiming that news reports of the devastation proved that the attacks far exceeded anything he had anticipated.
Whether or not the interview and the video established bin Laden’s culpability, they certainly made it clear that, dead or alive, he is full of shit, a veritable sack of stercory but with plenty of money.
Speaking of money, now comes word on the home front from President Bush and from Sen. Phil Gramm’s office that the real victims of the Enron debacle were the Bush and Gramm families. The president’s mother-in-law bought stock last summer, but “she didn’t know all the facts,” said Bush, “and that’s wrong.”
Surely it was not the president’s intent to suggest, as his wording did, that it was his mother in-law who did “wrong.”
“No help here” was the response, he avowed, when Enron called members of his cabinet. Was that the same answer Dick Cheney gave Kenneth Lay, one wonders, when Enron called on the vice-president to sway the administration’s energy policy? “No help here, Kenny Boy”?
Sen. Gramm, for his part, did not allege that anyone had done anything “wrong,” only that he hadn’t, and neither had his wife, Wendy, who sits on Enron’s board and audit committee. Oh, well, then.
It was also instructive to see former Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher (remember him? from Bush I? he was Georgette Mosbacher’s husband, remember her?) on CNN’s Moneyline with Lou Dobbs, who made no mention of the fact that Mosbacher was on Enron’s payroll. Neither did Mosbacher, who all but suggested that “the Ken Lay I know,” who is probably “not sleeping well,” ought to do everyone a favor and fall on his sword before all the swearing-in and plea-bargaining starts.
You get the feeling that there are other waves, building way out there behind the Enron scandal, that may turn out to be even bigger. Halliburton’s widely-predicted fall would cast more than sand and foam on the shoes of Dick Cheney. And that Unocal/Afghan oil pipeline rumble could be the Tsunami of all undertows. What WERE the Taliban doing in Sugar Land, while Bush was governor of Texas? Did he meet with them?
Then there is the roiling divertimento of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s clarification, following the British reaction to some disturbing photos of sensory-deprived people kneeling in chains in Cuba. Turns out that the photos were misleading, clarified Rumsfeld. The al-Queda prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay are actually receiving an all-expense-paid vacation in the “sunny Caribbean.” Why, they’ve even been provided with free medical care and “writing materials.” No doubt one of them is penning an op-ed piece for USA Today even now, to explain the whole silly misunderstanding.
What, precisely, can our sun-basked prisoners be expected to do with their “writing materials,” apart from confessing and naming names? Can they write home? Can they petition their governments for assistance? Can they have pen-pals among the infidel?
Beyond the question of the media’s (and thus the public’s) right to information, there is another issue: is access to the media, the opportunity to tell one’s story, to state one’s case in daylight, some sort of basic human right, not to be denied even terrorists and murderers?
“Treat me as you should treat me, not as I should be treated,” wrote Antonio Porchia, as translated by W. S. Merwin in a wonderful little book called Voices. The question is not whether the United States is treating its al-Queda prisoners the way they ought to be treated, but whether the United States is behaving the way the last best hope of humanity ought to behave — with “a decent respect for the opinions of [hu]mankind.”
David Vest is a regular writer for CounterPunch, a poet and piano-player for the Pacific Northwest’s hottest blues band, The Cannonballs. Visit his website at http://www.mindspring.com/~dcqv