Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle. We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. 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….)
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
CIA’s "Torture Taxi" in the Spotlight
Sitting in a Georgia motel Saturday night, Kathy Kelly talked through a bad phone connection and a worse head cold to recount the previous day’s activities where she and 13 others were arrested at an airstrip outside Raleigh, North Carolina.
The tiny Johnson County Airport is home to Aero Contractors Corp., a firm described by the New York Times as "a major domestic hub of the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret air service," that shuttles prisoners abroad for interrogation and suspected torture. The Times reports Aero was founded in 1979 by the chief pilot for Air America, a CIA "front" in Vietnam.
In addition to Kelly, those arrested Friday included residents of a Raleigh Catholic Worker house and members of Stop Torture Now, a project of the Center for Theology and Social Analysis in St. Louis, Missouri. Protesters walked onto company property and lowered the flags to half-mast before being arrested.
Local supporters included members of the North Carolina Council of Churches, Amnesty International, and the War Resisters League. They participated by dressing like Guantanamo prisoners in orange jumpsuits, holding a banner that said "Aero Contractor CIA Torture Taxi," and delivering a four-count "indictment" to current and former heads of the CIA and company officials for violating U.S. and international laws against torture.
Kelly, a leader in the movement to stop the U.S. war on Iraq, said she got arrested because of a growing concern over the government "becoming increasingly blatant about its role in torture. People need to stand up before it becomes more risky."
Asked what she meant by that, she replied, "At this point here in the U.S., we don’t face any of the risks of people who stood up against the Salvadoran death squads. We are perhaps inconvenienced, but there are no massacres, our family members aren’t being killed. That’s why we need to stand up now."
What worries her most, she explained, are not reports of torture coming out of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq or secret sites around the world. "The U.S. has always excepted itself from international norms of human decencybut now some are starting to say, ‘It’s ok. We’re the U.S. We have to do anything to make sure we’re never attacked again.’ It’s disturbing to see how tolerant we’ve become."
"You hear people say, ‘Well, Saddam was a lot worse than the CIA so we have to do it in order to keep people like Saddam from hurting people.’ That is really faulty thinking," the Nobel Peace Prize nominee added. "We are using some of the exact same torture cells Saddam used! When we apprehend Iraqis they might be good guys, but by the time they leave after three days, they’re bad guys, is how one soldier explained it. And look at the woman bomber arrested in Jordan. She had three brothers killed in Iraq and the person she married was held three days and tortured. If we think terrifying people is a way to build security, we’re misguiding ourselves in a terrible way. Real protection lies in building just and fair relationships."
While Kelly and the others were being arrested Friday morning, copies of the "indictment" were delivered to members of the Johnston County Council and the Johnston County Airport Commission asking that officials take action to revoke Aero Contractors’ lease for engaging in illegal activities at the public airfield.
After her arrest at the Johnston County Airport, Friday, Kelly traveled to Ft. Benning, Georgia, to join over 15,000 people gathered for the annual protest against the Army’s School of the Americas, which critics say trains Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency tactics including torture. She and the 13 people arrested outside Raleigh were released on $500 bond and given dates in January to appear in court in Johnston County.
MIKE FERNER is a freelance writer from Ohio. He can be reached at: email@example.com