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 May 2004
The Other War, One Year Later
ELAINE CASSEL
A year ago, I started writing about the Bush Administration’s war on civil liberties. Having just completed a book on the topic (The War on Civil Liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismantled the Bill of Rights, Lawrence Hill Books, September 2004), I am ...
The Color of Abu Ghraib
BOB WING
A friend of mine was discussing Abu Ghraib with his Egyptian father, who had originally supported the war. Referring to the photo of the female U.S. soldier with a leash around a prostrate Iraqi, he asked his Dad, "What is the message of that photo? It’...
The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations
ZEYNEP TOUFE
For the powers-that-be, scapegoating individuals serves as a smokescreen to deflect attention from unjust power structures. When the individuals targeted are far down in the social hierarchy, this serves the added benefit of deflecting attention from the people at...
Mistreatment of Detainees in US Custody
KENNETH ROTH
President George W. Bush The White House Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President: Nearly a year ago, on June 26, 2003, you reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to respect international prohibitions not only of torture but als...
Why Abu Ghraib Shouldn’t Surprise Us
DOUG STOKES
What is perhaps most surprising about the abuses committed against civilians at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq is the fact that they came as a surprise at all. The ‘sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses’ found by Major General Taguba has a long hist...
A New Film Exposes Police Terror
FREDERICK B. HUDSON
The gentle lady who came to the mainland United States from Puerto Rico when she was one year old had two kitchens in her home in the Bronx. One downstairs for the early eaters and one upstairs for the late eaters. She cooked for both groups. Together the groups c...
Iraq from Saddam to Occupatio
ALEX DAWOODY
More than a year ago as we were preparing to go to war with Iraq and the administration was building up its case against Saddam, I expressed my opinion regarding the war efforts. Despite my sincere wish to witness the demise of Saddam’s regime, I opposed the...
Were Abu Ghraib Soldiers Properly "Trained?"
LAURA SANTINA
There has been a rash of allegations by politicians that the reason the American soldiers committed such atrocities at Abu Ghraid and the other prisons in Iraq is because they were not properly trained. Their mothers would vouch for the fact that, as babie...
The Revelations of Mr. W
BORIS LEONARDO CARO
Mr. W: A few days ago, I read the interviews that you gave to two Arab-language television channels. I haven’t laughed as much since I finished reading Stupid White Men. Believe me. I particularly enjoyed the transcript of your interview with...
The Violence of the Camera
SHAKIRAH ESMAIL-HUDANI
The pictures say it all–or do they? Sordid echoes of the past. Now, ironically transposed: American captors, Iraqi prisoners. A testimony to the reversibility of the pontifical discourse that underlay the invasion. Even, finally, the admitted risk of some eq...
More Election 2004 Madness
MICKEY Z.
If a surprising number of Left luminaries think it’s wise to vote for John Kerry, well, that’s their opinion. I disagree and have explained why in several other articles so, don’t worry, I’m not going to offer more damning evidence about th...
Kerry Woos McCain
KURT NIMMO
John Kerry wants John McCain to be his running mate. But wait a minute. John McCain is a Republican and John Kerry is a Democrat. No problem. It would be a "unity government." "The enthusiasm of Democrats for Mr. M...
The Last Moments in the Life of Nick Berg
VICTOR KATTAN
I have just seen video footage of the decapitation of Nicholas Berg. It arrived in a link to an email sent to me by an acquaintance. Only "decapitation" is the wrong word to describe what happened. Among the cries and screams, Berg was pushed onto his si...
Rumsfeld’s Sovereignty Shell Game
RON JACOBS
During his recent visit to Abu Gharaib, Mr. Rumsfeld told those US soldiers who were allowed to see him that troops from other countries would be joining them soon in their debacle. As anyone who has followed this war knows, this has been one of the ongoing fables...
The Power of Patti Smith
RON JACOBS
There’s a consistent thread through every Patti Smith album. It is a theme that is even more present in those that she has released since her first child was born. That thread is spun from strands of hope and the belief in the possibilities of change. It is ...
There’s No Such Thing as a Good War Crime
RAY HANANIA
Savage, barbaric and cruel atrocities seem to quickly be replacing respect for human life in President Bush’s war in Iraq. Apparently, neither side in the conflict can claim the moral ground. For more than a year, the Arab World has been hearin...
Green Lights for Torture
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
So there were WMDs in Iraq after all. They’re called digital cameras. Partly because of them the US faces one of the most humiliating defeats in imperial history. But there’s also a clear paper trail. Not just the long and copiously documented record o...
ABCs of American Interrogation Methods
DOUGLAS VALENTINE
Adapted From "Chapter 5: PICS" in The Phoenix Program, DOUGLAS VALENTINE (NY, Wm Morrow, 1990) "A census, if properly made and exploited, is a basic source of intelligence. It would show, for instance, who is related to whom, an...
Inside the City Detention Center
JOE SURKIEWICZ
The litany of horrors at the Baltimore City Detention Center reads like something out of Dickens. The short list: Officials who routinely take life-sustaining prescription drugs away from new detainees – who then go weeks or even months without proper...
Massive Demolition of Palestinian Homes in Gaza
JEFF HALPER
At this very moment, Friday, May 14, IsraelI army bulldozers are razing dozens of homes in the Rafah refugee camp in retaliation for the deaths of five Israeli soldiers. Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz last night authorized the army to demolish hu...
A Fond Reminiscence
BEN TRIPP
I learned two powerful lessons this month: first, never attempt to answer the telephone while applying drywall compound to a ceiling. Second, never allow yourself to be photographed while violating the Geneva Convention, even if you’re just romping around. T...
Sex, Lies and Videotapes
JOHN CHUCKMAN
Among the hoard of pictures from Iraq viewed by members of America’s Senate in a top-secret, eavesdrop-proof room–a rather grandiose version of one of those smelly little, stained booths for which patrons of Times Square shops used to pay to watch &quo...
United Kingdom, United States and Israel
JOHN STANTON
A little publicized piece by Ali Abunimah in Lebanon’s Daily Star titled "Israeli link possible in US torture techniques: In exchange for interrogation training, did Washington award security contracts?" should be getting a lot more attention. Whil...
The Lesson from Turkey
JUSTIN E.H. SMITH
After Abu Ghraib, the Bush administration’s insistence that its misadventure in Iraq has anything to do with promoting democracy should by now come across as grossly fraudulent to any half-thoughtful, non-self-deluding adult. At the outset, a charitable anti...
Where Are You Heading, America?
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY
The parallels with 1930s Germany are ominous . . . Have you read the USA PATRIOT Act right through, and examined every one of its amendments to existing legislation? Has anyone done this, apart from its authors and a few agitated souls in media, academia an...
That Halo Over Romeo Dalliare’s Head Has More Than One Hole in It!
ROBIN PHILPOT
When International Criminal Tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte learned from a Canadian newspaper in 2000 that the Rwandan Patriotic Front and its leader Paul Kagame were prime suspects in the April 6, 1994, assassination of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, s...
Iraq Goddamn
JOHN WHITLOW
"Alabama’s got me so upset Tennessee made me lose my rest and everybody knows about Mississippi Goddamn." -Nina Simone In the past two weeks, we’ve been privy to a public morality play of dizzyi...
Why Bush Needs to Watch the Berg Video
MICHEAL LEON
Surfing the net to read the latest dispatches posted on Empire Notes, I just came across an item reading: "Salon.com has...
Fencing the Sky
JOHN HOLT
I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don’t want to waste the trip Robert Traver–Anatomy of a Fisherman My difficulties with fences began some years ago, a delicate transmut...
The Carlyle Empire
ERIC LESER
The biggest private investor in the world, deeply entrenched in the weapons’ sector, is a discreet group that cultivates dealings with influential men, including Bush father and son. One year ago, May 1, 2003, George Bush, strapped up in a fighter pil...
Why the Outrage About Abu Ghraib?
BRIAN J. FOLEY
Little the US has done in its War on Terror has sparked so much outrage among Americans as photographs of US troops torturing and sexually abusing Iraqis in Saddam Hussein’s infamous torture and rape rooms at Abu Ghraib. Back at the beginning, most Am...
Equal Opportunity Torture
BRANDY BAKER
Right wing pundits have been seeking to draw special notice to Private Lynndie England. Though only one of many sadistic individuals involved in the horrific acts at the prison who were photographed, England has been on the receiving end of the most invective. Tho...
Goon Squad
BILL GLAHN
In this month’s issue of Rock & Rap Confidential, Lee Ballinger and Dave Marsh’s excellent newsletter that has been r...
Bye, Bye, Mr. American Vajpayee
NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN
For political aficionados, the Indian parliamentary election is the superbowl of superbowls. The largest electorate in the world moves, and in that movement, scoffs at elites and cynics all around the world who say democracy is not for the poor, the illiterate or ...
The Secret History of the War on Drugs
RON JACOBS
A Review of The Strength of the Wolf, By Douglas Valentine (Verso 2004) Corruption, addiction and murder on a large and small scale. This is the story that Douglas Valentine chronicles in his new book ...
Bush’s POW Porn
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK
I was wondering when I would get a glimpse into the erotic nature of George W. Bush. Now, with the release of The Photos of the sexual torture that lurks within the bowels of Bush’s cells, I’d say I’ve got my glimpse. Now excuse me while I...
Building Democracy in Iraq and Other Absurdities
STEPHEN GOWANS
Who believes the following? Foreign troops should leave Iraq immediately. The US occupation authority, and the Iraqi Governing Council, should be disbanded just as quickly. An interim government should be appointed, not by the UN, not by the U...
God, Country and Torture
WILLIAM BLUM
On October 21, 1994, the United States became a State Party to the "Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment". Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, w...
Hippies Best MAXXAM on the North Coast
MICHAEL DONNELLY
Once in a while, the people win one. And while the successful effort to beat back a recall of a District Attorney is an improbable example of a People’s Victory, just that happened recently in California’s Humboldt County. From a confluence of environm...
All Quiet on the Southern Front?
FORREST HYLTON
"The Beast and the Whore rule without control." William Blake (1798) During the past year or so, I’ve tried to describe the nature of the Beast in Bolivia, and in previous articles I’ve mentioned its hunge...
Inhumane Treatment of Prisoners Produces Blowbacks and Backlashes
RALPH NADER
Dear Mr. President: The reported widespread abuse of prisoners by your Administration adds another condition that reflects on your failure of leadership. Anticipation and prevention of such tragedies should have been routine by the top officials whom you c...
Revenge American Style?
COLM O'LAITHIAN
Amongst the mass of comment and analysis that has flowed from the media around the world since the publication of "those pictures" was a small perhaps un-regarded, late-night piece on Radio 5, one of the of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s do...
Reality TV Bites
MARC SALOMON
For the first time since dead soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the graphic realities of war have been broadcast into every American home. After a two decade hiatus from direct military involvement, Bush I with Cheney running Defense devised ...
Scrooge with Hi-Tech Accounting Practices
SAUL LANDAU And FARRAH HASSEN
"First and foremost, a culture of ethical behavior underlies all that we do at Wal-Mart. All of us who worked with my father remember the many talks he gave stressing the importance of honesty, integrity and fairness in our dealings with our Cust...
The Deir Yassin Massacre
WILLIAM MARTIN
On April 9, 1948, members of the underground Jewish terrorist group, the Irgun, or IZL, led by Menachem Begin, who was to become the Israeli prime minister in 1977, entered the peaceful Arab village of Deir Yassin, massacred 250 men, women, children and the elderl...
Where is John Kerry?
DAVID LINDORFF
Three decades ago, it was John Kerry, the decorated Vietnam Vet, who dramatically asked a timid Congress who should be the last young soldier to die for a war that was already lost? It was an excellent question, then. It is an excellent question now,...
Making Peace with Bert Sacks
THOMAS P. HEALY
Bloomington, Indiana will host the 5th Annual National Grassroots Organizing Conference on Iraq on Memorial Day weekend, May 28-31, in Ballantine Hall at Indiana University. This year’s theme is "From Humanitarian Disaster to Quagmire: The Failure of th...
Plan to Get Out Now or Face a Disastrous Defeat
WILLIAM S. LIND
In 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II, whom history has underrated, told his Chief of the General Staff, von Moltke the Less, that he wanted to remain on the defensive in the West and take the offensive in the East, against Russia. Such a reversal of the Schlieffen Plan woul...
Racism and Ignorance
LINDA S. HEARD
With our senses bombarded daily by depictions of sadistic and pornographic practices perpetrated by American soldiers in Iraq, many of us are asking ourselves why does a 21-year-old "all-American" woman morph into what Britain’s Sun newspaper calls...
What’s Taguba to Him or He to Taguba?
NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN
It was rather a gala scene this Monday at the Pentagon. Turning on the television, the eye was treated to that rarest of darshans — a glimpse of Vice-President Dick Cheney. Standing beside Cheney was Powell the Principled, America’s answer to Si...