Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day12Fixed

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….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

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

Bad News for All Americans--Especially Journalists

Convicting Padilla

by DAVE LINDORFF

With habeas corpus a thing of the past, with arrest and detention without charge permitted, with torture and spying without court oversight all the rage, with prosecutors free to tape conversations between lawyers and their clients, and with the judicial branch now infested by rightwing judges who would have been at home in courtrooms of the Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany, for all they seem to care about common law tradition, the only real thing holding the line against absolute tyranny in the U.S. has been the jury.

Now, with Jose Padilla–a US citizen who was originally picked up and held incommunicado on a military base for three and a half years, publicly accused (though never charged) with planning to construct and detonate a so-called "dirty" nuclear device (this a guy without a high school education!), all based upon hearsay, evidence elicited by torture, and a few overheard wiretapped conversations where prosecutors claimed words like "zucchini" were code for explosive devices-convicted on a charge of "planning to murder," we see that juries in this era of a bogus "war on terror" are ready to believe anything.

That last line of defense-the common sense or ordinary citizens in a jury box-is gone too.

The jury in this case apparently accepted the government’s contention that Padilla was a member of Al Qaeda, and had returned from a trip to Pakistan full of plans to wreak mayhem on his own country. They cared not a whit for the fact that the government had used methods against Padilla (three years of isolation and total sensory deprivation that had driven him insane) which would have made medieval torturers green with envy. They cared not a whit that there was no real evidence against Padilla.

This was, in the end, a case that most closely resembled the famous Saturday Night Live skit in which witches were dunked underwater to "prove" whether they were in fact witches, and where if they drowned, they were found to be innocent. In the end, Padilla’s jury simply bought the government’s wild and wild-eyed story. They decided he hadn’t drowned, so he must be guilty.

Padilla can now expect to spend what’s left of his life in prison. Since the government has already driven him insane, he will have the added burden of being mentally unbalanced from the outset of his incarceration. His survival prospects are not good.

The president promptly thanked the jury for their "good judgment."

We can no doubt expect many more Padillas now that the way has been paved for this kind of totalitarian approach to law enforcement.

Beginning today, we can expect the government to begin arresting people on an array of trumped-up charges, locking them away in black sites, on military bases, or maybe even overseas, subjecting them to all manner of torture, and then finally bringing them to trial on trumped-up charges. We can also expect juries, made fearful by breathless warnings that "evil ones" mean us and our nation harm, to buy the government’s stories.

Who is at risk? That’s hard to say, but it’s clear that it won’t just be hardened terrorist types. A presidential executive order signed by Bush on July 17 declares that anything that "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction (sic) and political reform (sic) in Iraq" could be deemed a crime making the perpetrator subject to arrest. Would writing essays critical of the president, the war in Iraq, or the "reconstruction" effort in Iraq meet that standard? Who knows? Would being interviewed for commentary as part of a news story on English-language Al Jezeera TV (which Bush and Cheney have declared to be supportive of the Iraqi insurgency, and which Bush reportedly at one point considered bombing!)?

And how about anti-war protesters? We already have Washington, DC, under pressure from Homeland Security, threatening the organization World Can’t Wait with multiple $10,000 fines for posting flyers around the city announcing an anti-war march and rally on September 15. If they go ahead with the protest, will they be joining Padilla?

I have little doubt that this administration would love to lock up journalistic critics and protesters in military brigs, so the question is: how would juries respond to charges that American journalists and protesters against the war were treacherously undermining the Bush war effort?

I used to be confident that most juries would laugh such cases out of court. After the Padilla decision, I’m not so sure.

You want to think that your fellow citizens have at least some measure of common sense, but this case suggests otherwise–that they are easily frightened, gullible, and willing to believe the most fantastic claims of the government.

The future does not look good for freedom in America.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can’t be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is "The Case for Impeachment",
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com