Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
ANATOMY OF TORTURE — Historian Christopher Dietrich on the 100-year-long history of American torture; Jeffrey St. Clair on the implications of giving impunity to the CIA’s torturers; Chris Floyd on how the US has exported torture to its client states around the world. David Macaray on the Paradoxes of Police Unions; Louis Proyect on Slave Rebellions in the Open Seas; Paul Krassner on the Perils of Political Cartooning; Martha Rosenberg on the dangers of Livestock Shot-up with Antibiotics; and Lee Ballinger on Elvis, Race and the Poor South. Plus: Mike Whitney on Greece and the Eurozone and JoAnn Wypijewski on Media Lies that Killed.
Archives from November 2012
Israel’s Gaza Calculus
GREGORY HARMS
 The recent violence between Gaza and Israel can be considered in three frames of reference. The first is the immediate context of Israel’s targeted killing of Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jabari. This action was taken during back-channel negotiations of...
Labor Union Unfairly Blamed for the Hostess Meltdown
DAVID MACARAY
“Ignored or left to languish, even the strongest brands can decline or die.”—Charles Sullivan, Hostess CEO, 2000 (Source:  Mid-American Journal of Business, Spring, 2000) “If you over-lever a business, and you don’t invest back i...
Occupy Best Buy
DANIEL CHURCH
The annual rabid consumer frenzy of “Black Friday” is ominously approaching  with the media-endorsed  free for all now only a few days away. Fastidiously lined tents adorn the sides of local shopping centers across the nation as willing capitalist soldiers a...
Looking Back on Occupy
L’Échaudée
1. Your assessment of the Occupy movement was very positive. What is the overall perception you have of this movement today? What is left of Occupy? There is not much left of the Occupy movement as such — almost all the encampments were destroyed...
Honduras’ Post-Coup Elections
CHARLES HINTON
It’s 9:24 (now 10:37 s i edit) and i’ve been up since 6, so i’t been a very full and wonderful day, accented by possibly the creepiest experience of my life. Election polling seems to have gone smoothly throughout the country, certainly in Tegucigalpa. T...
Why Gaza Must Suffer Again
JONATHAN COOK
Nazareth. A short interview broadcast by CNN late last week featuring two participants – a Palestinian in Gaza and an Israeli within range of the rocket attacks – did not follow the usual script. For once, a media outlet dropped its role as gate...
What is Israel Really Up to in Gaza?
JOHN MEARSHEIMER
In response to a recent upsurge in tit for tat strikes between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, Israel decided to ratchet up the violence even further by assassinating Hamas’s military chief, Ahmad Jabari. Hamas, which had been playing a minor role in these exchange...
Fear of the Cliff
DEAN BAKER
Washington elites have spent much of the last three decades getting hysterical about budget deficits; however they are outdoing themselves in the current budget standoff which they labeled as “the fiscal cliff.” Their story is that scheduled increases in taxes at the ...
Jane Austen in Tripoli
PATRICK COCKBURN
The boredom of travel is frequently understated by travel writers. They dwell on the exhilarating time spent on the Nile and the Grand Canal or seeing the wonders of Istanbul and Damascus rather than the hours of tedium in airport lounges and hotels bedrooms. ...
Netanyahu’s Gaza Quickie
ROB PRINCE
Unable to – or restrained from – attacking Iran (or getting the United States to do so), Israel had to shoot its military rocks off somewhere else, so it has turned its fire power on Gaza? As in 2008, Netanyahu and Lieberman waited until after the U.S. ...
Inside the Psyche of the 1%
DON FITZ
Do the rich and super-rich tend to be psychopaths, devoid of guilt or shame?  Are the 1% lacking in compassion?  Does their endless accumulation of possessions actually bring them little to no happiness?  To each of these, the answer is “yes” — but a very qualifi...
The War on Fairness
M. G. PIETY
It’s rare when a person does something that is a once so idiotic and so heinous that it brings discredit upon his entire profession. I fear philosopher Stephen T. Asma has done this, however, with his new book from the University of Chicago Press. I’ve bragged for yea...
The Power of the Hunger Strike
BINOY KAMPMARK
The hunger strike has a long political pedigree.  It combines sensationalism with moral anger, but it also minimizes harm to others who are not directly involved in the conflict.  “Collateral damage”, the military argot’s most vicious euphemism, is avoided – at ...
Mitt Romney and the Gift of White Supremacy
COREY D. B. WALKER
“White supremacy was all but world-wide . . . [t]he using of men for the benefit of masters is no new invention . . . [t]he imperial width of the thing, – the heaven defying audacity – makes its modern newness.” W.E.B Du Bois, Darkwater:  V...
Locking in Dirty Energy Demand
STEVE HORN
On November 13, ...
Walton Family Greenwashing
DAN BACHER
Much recent media attention has focused on Walmart’s announcement that it is canceling Thanksgiving plans for many of its employees. These workers will now have to work on the holiday as the retail giant kicks off its holiday sale at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving D...
Goodies for the Unmentionables
CHARLES R. LARSON
In a conference call with his donors, defeated Republican candidate Mitt Romney was heard saying that his opponent, Barack Obama, was observed the weekend before the election playing Santa Claus, “giving gifts to the 47 per centers.” “He spent the entire week...
Israel’s Gaza Attack: Not Defence But Murder of Unarmed Civilians
MAIREAD MAGUIRE
Belfast. It is with the greatest sadness, mixed with frustration, and a sense of helplessness, that many people around the world, myself included, watched on television the horrific scenes of death and destruction perpetrated, yet again, by the latest Isra...
Welcome to the Lousiest Recovery of All Time
MIKE WHITNEY
Is this the lousiest recovery of all time? Check it out: The number of people currently on food stamps in the US is at a record-high of 47.1 million. That’s more than twice as many recipients than in 2007 when the crisis began. And the percent of Americans li...
The Grand Bargain Meets the Bank Bailouts
ROB URIE
Two storylines long in the making are converging in a manner that would be hilarious were they not so radically egregious. In the first, President re-elect Barack Obama is joining his supporters in urging that they, his supporters, ‘make’ him do right by their expecta...
Obama’s Biggest Environmental ‘Victory’ Was A Huge Win for Frackers
Joshua Frank
Greenhouse gas emissions are hot news these days — especially in the lead up to an election when candidates, at least those who claim to believe in climate science, vow to do something about the biggest environmental crisis facing our little blue planet: climate cha...
Civilians Under Attack in Gaza: a Photo Essay
COUNTERPUNCH NEWSWIRE
The Israeli attacks across the Gaza Strip have entered their third day. We write this report amid the sounds of incessant bombings, which have continued all day yesterday and throughout the night. The military escalation carried out by the Israeli Army continues al...
Command Responsibility and the Ghost of General Yamashita
TOM McNAMARA
Rennes, France. World War II was the most violent conflict of the 20th century, if not in all human history. And nowhere was the fighting more fierce than in the Pacific Theatre. After recovering from a devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbo...
Another Superfluous War
URI AVNERY
How did it start? Stupid question. Conflagrations along the Gaza Strip don’t start. They are just a continuous chain of events, each claimed to be a [or “in”] “retaliation” for the previous one. Action is followed by reaction, which is followed by retalia...
AIPAC Takes a Big Hit
DAVE LINDORFF
One little-noted but important result of the November election in the US that returned President Barack Obama to the White House for another four years is that the right-wing Israeli government and the Zionist lobbying organization AIPAC (for American Israel Public Affair...
Marijuana: an Avoidable Loss in Oregon
FRED GARDNER
Paul Stanford, 52, is the author and prime mover behind Oregon’s marijuana legalization initiative, Measure 80, which had gotten 46.5 percent of the vote as of Sunday morning when I called to offer condolences. “We came close,” he said.  “W...
The Post-Election Economic Blues
DEAN BAKER
U.S. President Barack Obama won an extraordinary victory last week. Republicans have largely dominated the presidency over the last six decades. The Republicans have won most of the elections since World War II and they have won them by larger margins. In fact, only two D...
America’s Defense Dependency
FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
The essay — America the Third World Nation in Just 4 Easy Steps, (Trutho...
The Celebrity General
MICHAEL BRENNER
There is one celebrity with the makings of a national hero, someone who has the qualities that might carry him right into the White House.  It is David Petraeus.  He is almost universally credited with the brilliant achievement of saving American honor and gaining an...
From East Germany to the Electoral College
DAVID YEARSLEY
The American electoral system is a difficult thing to explain to Europeans with a long tradition of proportional representation. My first two-year stretch spent living in Berlin between 2003 and 2005 coincided with the endless presidential campaign that eventually conclud...
Behind the Twinkie Defense
PAUL KRASSNER
The apparent demise of the Twinkie brings back memories for me . . . A dozen police cars had been set on fire, which in turn set off their alarms, underscoring the angry shouts from five thousand understandably angry gays. This was in 1979. I had been covering the ...
What’s the Point of Having Laws Against Torture if They Don’t Apply to the Powerful?
KATHERINE GALLAGHER
One thing brings these four men together. Hassan bin Attash, Sami el-Hajj, Muhammed Khan Tumani and Murat Kurnaz—they are all survivors of the systematic torture program the Bush administration authorized and carried out in locations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantá...
Recriminations as Petraeus Falls
DEEPAK TRIPATHI
The longest, most expensive elections in one of the most polarized democracies in the Western world are over. Now we see contrasting reactions and unforeseen fallout––in the form of elation, bitter disappointment, investigation and resignation. The downfall of the CIA...
The Ideology of Hatred
NEVE GORDON
After 9/11, hate began colonizing new spheres, operating as a social and political force that manipulates and mobilizes entire publics in very specific ways. In order to understand the recent events in Gaza you should read Niza Yanay’s new book ...
What Starts Here … Accelerates Destruction?
ROBERT JENSEN
I want to suggest a slight modification of the University of Texas’ motto, “What starts here changes the world.” A more accurate slogan — while not quite as pithy and probably less effective for public-relations purposes — would be, “What starts...
Galloping Petraeus
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK
The original Petraeus of ancient Greece was a centaur, a mythical chimera with the body of a man from head to waist, the physique of a horse from loins to hooves and—thanks to this potent hybridization—a voracious sexual appetite.  As legend tells us, when he and sev...
David, Paula, Tom and Jill
DAVID MACARAY
If I were a responsible grown-up, I wouldn’t care.  If I were responsible grown-up I would be more concerned with national security and chain-of-command issues than with the lurid details of the sex scandal itself.  But I’m not a responsible grown-up.  I’m a reco...
Broadwell Defended Petraeus’ Village Destruction Policy
GARETH PORTER
Paula Broadwell, whose affair with Gen. David Petraeus brought his career to a sudden end last week, had sought to help defend his decision in 2010 to allow village destruction in Afghanistan that not only violated his own previous guidance but the international laws of w...
Bahrain: Last Throes of a Desperate Regime
RANNIE AMIRI
Since Bahrain’s uprising against absolute monarchal rule began in the wake of last year’s Arab Spring, the al-Khalifa regime has brazenly trampled over the civil and human rights of its people. This past week it stripped 31 citizens of their nationality, effectively l...
After the Flood
PHIL ROCKSTROH
So much has been lost to the hubris and cupidity inherent to the hyper-industrialization and commercial hustler that defines the Anthropocene Epoch. To take it all in, to allow oneself to feel the full implications of the dire situation, of the ecocide and humanity lost t...
James Bond and the Petraeus Affair
JOHN GRANT
Using one of those overarching dramatic titles we have come to expect in mainstream media news coverage, Jon Stewart summed up the Petraeus story as “Band of Boners.” It’s the sort of thing that may be inevitable when so much power is given so much free reign by...
Intentional and Deadly Mistakes
RON JACOBS
There’s a fair amount of literature revealing the true nature of US foreign policy.  Some of the masters at relating this narrative (with seemingly dozens of books between them) include Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and James Loewen.  Films in this this field, however, s...
If Marx’s Math is Fundamental, Why Do So Few Teach It?
BRIAN MCKENNA
“Capital is dead labor, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.” Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1, (1867:233) “Fuzzy math?” Obama accused R...
The Sinking of New York City’s Subways
RITT GOLDSTEIN
It took just short days before New York’s subways overcame the assorted horrors of ‘Frankenstorm’, Superstorm Sandy’s turning subway tunnels into horizontal saltwater silos proving nothing that could stop NY. But just after Sandy struck, Bloomberg News headlined ...
The Dangling Appendage
BINOY KAMPMARK
Melbourne. The US juggernaut is positioning itself with some speed while the policy free wonks in Canberra catch their breath.  The US Presidential election results are still warm, and President Barack Obama’s heralded “pivot” (some call it “rebal...
Scandals Without Perspective
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
It is good it all came to light just after the elections were over.  The media would really not have had the time to simultaneously give the election and sex the extensive coverage they richly deserve.  Elections are, of course, happily behind us and we can focus all ou...
Does Lebanon Really Want to Solve the Imam Musa Sadr Mystery?
FRANKLIN LAMB
Cairo. Some former Gadaffi officials, among the hundreds lying low in Egypt these days, continue to express remarkable interest in contributing to uncovering the truth surrounding the August 31, 1978 disappearance of Lebanon’s Imam Musa Sadr, Sheik Mo...
Fiscal (Cliff) Graffiti
ALAN BARBER
The story of the fiscal cliff is a simple one. The basic idea is that more than $500 billion in new taxes take effect on January 1, 2013. These include the end of the Bush tax cuts ($220 billion), the end of the payroll tax cuts ($130 billion), and the end of the Alternat...
Straight Outta La Jolla
RANDY SHIELDS
I was recently taken to task by an elections boycott advocate from San Diego for voting for Jill Stein, which inspired the following thoughts. One of the irritations caused by people proposing political actions is that they often find out what’s most comfy for t...
Prescribed and Abandoned
MARTHA ROSENBERG
It was supposed to replace the millions Wyeth lost when its hormone drugs Prempro and Premarin tanked in 2002 thanks to links to breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots and strokes.  So many women quit the Wyeth menopause drugs when the risks surfaced, the company anno...