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

Cashing In on the NHS

Privatizing the Social Healthcare ‘Brand’

by HOUMAN BAREKAT

London.

The musician and satirist Tom Lehrer famously quipped that satire died the day Henry Kissinger was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.  He might have saved his breath if he had known what was coming.  This week, the UK’s Conservative-led coalition government announced plans to export the National Health Service (NHS) brand under the auspices of the private sector in order, supposedly, to raise funds for the NHS at home.  The proposals amount to nothing less than the creation of a corporate franchise, using the good name of the NHS and everything it has historically represented – a not-for-profit, socialised healthcare system free at the point of delivery – as the driving force behind a renewed expansion of private sector medical services.

The move comes barely a matter of weeks after Danny Boyle’s pointed tribute to the NHS in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, a showpiece event watched by an estimated 900 million people worldwide, and widely lauded as an unqualified success.  The director’s tribute was believed to have been intended as a sideswipe at the coalition government, which has targeted the NHS as part of its aggressive programme of public sector cuts.   The gesture was warmly received by the general public at home; and obviously someone, somewhere spotted an opportunity.   The gall of it is something to behold.

The NHS was founded in 1948 in the face of fierce opposition from the Conservatives.  Seven decades later it is, for all its flaws, so popular an institution that no mainstream political party would dare to stand on a platform of earnest, full-scale privatisation.  Even the Conservative party, packed though it is with rightwing ideologues who would gladly see the NHS done away with, consistently pays lip service to it in a grudging concession to the popular consensus.  Not that this has stopped them from doing their worst: a plethora of private finance initiatives are slowly eating away at the fabric of the institution, which is increasingly taking on the aspect of a public-private hybrid.  Indeed, the present proposals are only an extension of existing successful schemes pioneered by Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

Despite the risks, it is a comparatively safe bet for the private entrepreneur, who will see their investment effectively securitised by the state.  If it works out, a coterie of private management companies, cronies and PR men will stand to make a killing; if it fails, the public will presumably foot the bill.  But if this latest initiative represents little more than the continuation of an ongoing agenda – pursued, it has to be said, with almost equal vigour by the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in the previous decade – the timing is nonetheless instructive.  In seeking to cash in on the immense pulling power of the NHS, the technocrats who will make this thing happen are paying an enormous compliment to an institution that reeks of socialism.  Its appeal as a ‘brand’ consists in its opposition to everything that neoliberalism stands for – all the more reason, therefore, to seek to exploit that brand and ultimately rob it of all meaning.  The Tories cannot kill the NHS outright; they will instead  look to re-shape it in their own image.  In other words, beyond recognition.

Houman Barekat is a London-based writer and editor of Review 31.  He is co-editor, with Mike Gonzalez, of Arms and the People: Popular Movements and the Military from the Paris Commune to the Arab Spring, forthcoming from Pluto Press.