Annual Fundraising Appeal

The US Geological Survey recorded a minor earthquake this morning with its epicenter near Wasilla, Alaska, the probable result of Sarah Palin opening her mail box to find the latest issue of CounterPunch magazine we sent her. A few moments later she Instagrammed this startling comment…


The lunatic Right certainly has plenty of problems. We’ve made it our business to not only expose these absurdities, but to challenge them directly. With another election cycle gaining steam, more rhetoric and vitriol will be directed at progressive issues. More hatred will be spewed at minorities, women, gays and the poor. There will be calls for more fracking and war. We won’t back down like the Democrats. We’ll continue to publish fact-based critiques and investigative reports on the shenanigans and evil of the Radical Right. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.


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….)

or use

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

 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Bush's Torturous Logic

Shocked, Shocked, Shocked


George Bush is shocked, shocked that there is torture being used by U.S. forces on Iraqi prisoners of war, in direct violation not only of basic human rights but of the Geneva Convention on Treatment of Prisoners of War of which the United States is not only a signatory, but a founding writer.

So shocked that he had his Pentagon try to get CBS not to show the pictures of the shocking behavior.

The truth is that if the Commander-in-Chief–remember him? He’s the guy in charge of the military that was running the Abu Ghraib detention facility in Baghdad–really did feel the "deep disgust" he claims he feels, and that such treatment is "not the way we do things in America," heads would be rolling at very high levels of the military.

Instead what we see is six very low level soldiers facing possible court martials and seven higher-ups at the prison, as well as Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade which was in charge of running Abu Ghraib, being removed from their duties there.

You can always tell whether prosecutors are serious about a case by whether they go after the little guys with the big guns, or whether they start cutting plea bargains with the small fry, in order to get them to rat on the higher-ups. If they go after the little guys, like they did in the My Lai Massacre case in Vietnam, you can bet that will be the end of it. No senior commanders will be called to account.

And so it appears to be going this time. So far the "punishments," such as they are, are being strictly limited to the prison command structure, not to the officers above. This is exactly what was done with the My Lai case. No one responsible for the policies that led to that sickening massacre, or the countless others like it that went unpunished, was ever sanctioned.

Obviously everyone from General John Abezaid, and probably from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who actually visited the prison), on down knew what was going on, not only in Abu Ghraib, but in the other less publicly known prison camps where captured Iraqi insurgents are taken to be softened up for information. There have been enough reports leaking out about torture not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo, for us to know that torture is not an aberration but rather is the policy.

It is in fact very much "the way we do things," maybe not so much in America (though it certainly goes on routinely in police stations across the nation also), but wherever American soldiers fight the empire’s battles.

If anything, what sets America apart from some of its client states and from Saddam Hussein’s regime is not torture itself, which the CIA has long endorsed and practiced and taught to client states’ police, and which U.S. soldiers do at least as capably as the next centurion. It’s that some American soldiers actually believe strongly enough in the notional values of the American Constitution they ostensibly are fighting to protect to actually report such evil, even at the risk of personal loss or punishment. What sets America apart is that its mainstream media, as compromised and timid as they have become, will still occasionally, as CBS’s "60 Minutes" has done here, blow the whistle on such criminality and barbarism.

I suppose President Bush might be forgiven for saying that torture is not something American soldiers engage in. He wasn’t in Vietnam, or anywhere more dangerous than a rowdy bar, and probably the guys in his National Guard unit, at least on those days when he chose to show up for duty, weren’t into torturing the locals in Texas or Alabama. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, of course, would know better. Though he seems to deny having said it these days, he once admitted to committing atrocities in Vietnam, which he said was something everyone was doing over there.

Still, if he were genuinely distressed at the images broadcast by CBS over his Pentagon’s objections, he would be demanding the stripes and stars of every ranking officer in the chain of command who either knew what was going on, or should have known and allowed it to happen on their watch.

Don’t hold your breath.

Dave Lindorff is completing a book of Counterpunch columns titled "This Can’t be Happening!" to be published this fall by Common Courage Press.