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

Shaft the Draft!

The Turkish Army’s Gay Porn Archive

by MICHAEL DICKINSON

In the immortal words of Frank Zappa, from his ode ‘If Only She Woulda’:

 “You got a letter today…
Life And love
Has left you shafted
And on top of that
You just got drafted”

Words to strike a chill in many a good-hearted American who can remember the Vietnam War and the forced recruitment of young men to serve as trained killers for the War Machine, or perhaps a grateful sigh of relief that there is no longer mandatory conscription  since the United States discontinued the draft in 1973.  At present it maintains it collossal military force with an all-volunteer personnel.  Unemployment helps.

Not so democratic in some other countries around the world, where regardless of unemployment figures, young males are still legally forced to serve time in the military.  One such country is Turkey.

Compulsory military service in Turkey applies to all male citizens from twenty to forty-one years of age.  The duration is up to fifteen months, when, apart from training as soldiers, conscripts are forced to work for officers’ private needs, including driving, cooking and serving meals in officers’ clubs.

Most young male Turks accept their obligatory call-up with a resigned shrug.  It’s the way things are.  Besides, refusing military service due to conscientious objection is illegal, and speaking publicly against the army or conscription rates as “undermining Turkish people’s zeal towards military” and  “insulting the spirit of the Armed Forces”, both  punishable offences.   Better to bear the term in military hell than face censure and perhaps prison.

Or what about another way out?  For example, homosexuality is perceived as an illness by the Turkish military, and gays and bisexuals are barred from serving.  Why not just claim to be gay, and get away?  Well, it’s not quite as easy as that. Apart from the social stigma of being openly gay in macho-minded Turkey, the top brass want evidence.

All you have to do to get out of doing your military service is to present photographic or video evidence of your participation in homosexal acts with others.  Get shafted and you won’t get drafted!  You might get some friends to help out.  Then after intimate questioning by army officers and perhaps an anal check-up, if they’re convinced you’re gay you’ll be barred from the military.  Yippee!  No more “You’re in the Army now!”  But at what a cost!  And what happened to those sordid pictures the inspecting officers were poring over?  They will be kept in your confidential file in Ankara Military Hospital, which has been described as ‘the biggest state owned gay porn archive in the world.’  Yes, many unfortunate gay brothers have been forced to degrade themselves in such a way rather than endure time in the army.

A recent Turkish film, “Zenne,” movingly depicts one such case.  The man who came out rather than face military service was shot and killed by his conservative father.

Mehmet Tahan, an anti-war protestor, who, although gay, refused to recognize his sexuality as an illness or an excuse to escape service, spent several months as a conscientious objector in prison, where he was tortured and threatened.  In a statement before his arrest Mehmet Tahan said:

“I condemn every kind of violence and believe that joining or condoning violence will only result in new violence and everyone will be responsible for the consequences.  I think that wars caused by power-mongering states are first and foremost a violation of the right to life. The violation of the right to life is a crime against humanity and no international convention or law can justify this crime, regardless of any rationale. I therefore declare that I won’t be an agent of such crime under any circumstances.  I will not serve any military apparatus.”

Well said!  Go shaft your draft!

Michael Dickinson lives in Istanbul.  He can be contacted at michaelyabanji@gmail.com