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 January 2014
What It Means to Lose Pete Seeger
DAVE MARSH
I met Pete Seeger about 40 years ago on the Clearwater, a refurbished 19th century sloop which had begun its then seemingly hopeless task of cleaning up the shores and waters of the Hudson River. Like a lot of the things that Pete got involved in, it was a hopeless task u...
Obama Takes on Inequality
ANDREW LEVINE
Because the level of inequality in the United States is so extreme, because the condition of the “middle class” is deteriorating, and because there is so much need in the midst of plenty, increasing numbers of Americans are becoming troubled. Inequality has bee...
It’s the Other Oscars
JOHN PILGER
It’s celebrity time again. The Golden Globes have been, and the Oscars are coming. This is a “vintage year”, say Hollywood’s hagiographers on cue.  It isn’t. Most movies are made to a formula for the highest return, money-fuelled by marketin...
What is the Real Price of Starting Another Cold War?
FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
In the late 1980s, the leaders of the west promised Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev that they would not expand eastward if the Soviet Union pulled out of Eastern Europe and ended the Cold War.  That promise was not kept.  A triumphal West stuck it to the Sovi...
How Markets Will be the End of Us
ALI E. EROL
Thanks to the capitalist policies prioritizing profit over sustainability, and what policymakers perceive as ‘short-term gains’ over long-term human survival, the issue of climate change is more in focus than it ever was. From the looks of it, the same policies that b...
Land Conflict and Injustice
GRAHAM PEEBLES
Hedonism is said to be the hallmark of a civilization in decline. Is it fear or avarice that consumes the revelers, content to avert their gaze as their countrymen, doused in poverty, burn on the party pyre. There are many fires raging in India; the agrarian crisis...
Obama’s ‘Raise’ for Federal Workers is a Bad Joke
DAVE LINDORFF
President Obama, five years late, in his fifth State of the Union speech, decried the terrible income gap in the US, a gap which has worsened during his years in the White House. Saying he was tired of the obstruction of his policies by Republicans in Congress, he said he...
Fraud-Ridden Banks Are Not L.A.’s Only Option
ELLEN BROWN
“Epic in scale, unprecedented in world history.” That is how William K. Black, professor of law and economics and former bank fraud investigator, ...
Obamaphelia: a Short History and Diagnostic Guide
PAUL STREET
Obamaphelia, “the Obama disease:”  a delusional belief that Barack Obama is a progressive, peace- and justice-oriented, liberal and even left politician and policymaker.  The belief is maintained despite abundant evidence to the contrary dating ...
New Jersey’s Education Cerf-dumb
MICHELLE RENEE MATISONS and SETH SANDRONSKY
In this class bludgeoning era of public education, when repression is used to silence dissent and school employee and student displacement is the new normal, anyone following predatory education reform tactics knows private money is trying to manipulate the fate of local ...
In Search of Ward Churchill
JOSHUA FRANK
It has been nearly nine years since Ward Churchill was the talk of Fox News and the target of a concerted campaign to remove him from his teaching post at the University of Colorado. Well, as many of you know, they were successful. No longer living in Colorado, Ward i...
Tuning Out Obama
MIKE WHITNEY
If you didn’t catch Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, you’re not alone. According to Nielsen ratings, Obama’s hour-long presentation garnered less than 34 million viewers, an all-time low for the president and the “second...
The Plagiarisms of Damien Hirst
CHARLES THOMSON
Last week I was interviewed on BBC1’s prime time The One Show about Damien Hirst’s plagiarism. Damien Hirst naturally did not accept the invitation to appear, but in the past his reaction to such accusations has ranged from “It’s just gibber...
Memories of Seeger and Aloni
URI AVNERY
Pete Seeger touched my life only once. But what a touch. It was a few days before the 1967 Six-Day War. After almost three weeks of mounting tension, the war fever was nearing breaking point. I knew that the war was only days, perhaps hours, away. Dina Dinur...
Why is the Fed Tapering?
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS and DAVE KRANZLER
In former times, the rise in the gold price was held down by central banks selling gold or leasing gold to bullion dealers who sold the gold. The supply added in this way to the market absorbed some of the demand, thus holding down the rise in the gold price. As th...
The Realms of Impunity
BINOY KAMPMARK
It will only get worse, but the last few days have been interesting in the accumulating annals of massive surveillance. Britain’s equivalent of the National Security Agency, GCHQ, has been placed under the legal microscope, and found wanting. The legal briefs who...
A Perverse Loyality
MURRAY DOBBIN
The dictionary definition of perverse says (of a person or their actions) “…showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable, often in spite of the consequences.” Well, that just about sums up Prime Minister Stephen H...
Super Bowl Sex
DAVID ROSEN
The Super Bowl is to be played on Sunday, February 2nd, “Groundhog Day,” at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford NJ.  The accompanying media spectacle is blunting the firestorm over NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal.  Nevertheless, while the “b...
Leading Sri Lanka Into the Abyss
NILANTHA ILANGAMUWA
Another diplomatic battle has erupted against the glorification of the lawless and authoritarian regime in Sri Lanka. We understand that this panoptic regime’s political existence depends on plundering, not only the wealth of the nation, but also the personnel liberties...
Spy Games
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
He that’s secure is not safe. — Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac In the face of the most recent revelations about the relationship of the NSA to many of our smartphone apps that neither we nor the apps knew w...
Yoga’s Court Jesters
STEWART J. LAWRENCE
It’s official:  The Babarrazzi – the self-styled court jesters of the American yoga scene – have called it quits.  The quirky – and shadowy — intellectual collective that made it oh-so-hip and fashionable to stigmatize American yoga teachers as unprinciple...
Washington Keeping An Eye On Its “Backyard”
NICK ALEXANDROV
The Salvadoran presidential election, pitting the progressive FMLN’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén against the right-wing ARENA Party’s Norman Quijano, is this Sunday. Roberto D’Aubuisson, a School of the Americas graduate, founded the latter party in 1981, around the sa...
The Innocence of American Imperialism
AHMAD BARQAWI
Another day, another American atrocity in Iraq revealed. By now, it’s become a very familiar (albeit unfortunate) tale; gory pictures of American marines’ criminal shenanigans in third-world countries surface, with little to zero indignation from the mainst...
Bernanke’s Biggest Beneficiaries
JACK RASMUS
In a few more days, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, retires. During the last eight years under his tutelage the Fed performed its primary function and bailed out the banking system, injecting between $15 and $20 trillion in the process.  Most of that...
Remembering the Overthrow of Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide
YVES ENGLER
This is the first in a four part series leading up to the 10th anniversary of the February 29, 2004, overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government in Haiti. -YE Eleven years ago this weekend Canada organized an international ...
The Extraordinary Otis Pike
KARL GROSSMAN
These days it’s the scandal involving widespread surveillance by the National Security Administration. Four decades ago it was the investigation of U.S. intelligence agency abuses by a committee chaired by Congressman Otis G. Pike. The panel’s report, revealing a patt...
State Rape
WILLIAM SHEPPARD
When the basic premise of the drug war is that we do not own our own bodies, the recurring theme of police sexual assault in the media over the last several months seem less like freak occurrence and more like an expected, perhaps its inevitable outcome. Last year there w...
Climate Change Hits Alaska
ROBERT HUNZIKER
Valdez, Alaska carries the moniker: the “snowiest place in the United States,” receiving on average 300-to-600 inches per year. Additionally, Valdez is the end of the line for the Tans-Alaska Pipeline that carries oil from the ...
Just be a Decent Human Being
ANDREW SMOLSKI
Too many weeks have gone by. Too many words on paper turned to ash. Each essay incinerated, one by one. Stupid ideas and ridiculous notions piled up as too many awful topics. Who cares about Woody Allen’s oedipal driven cinema with his constant self-critique ending cont...
Folk Tales and Foreign Policy
KARL NORTH
In the tale of the boy who cried wolf, a boy who is tending sheep and serving as a lookout for wolves seeks to relieve his boredom and gain attention by crying wolf when in fact there is no wolf. This decision/policy succeeds for a while, then it no longer works. A syste...
Why Capitalism Can’t Fix Our Most Urgent Problems
GARY ENGLER
Can capitalism solve the problems of global warming and growing inequality? It seems to me this is like discussing the issue of inappropriate hypersexual imagery bombarding 11-year olds and then asking: Can Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga fix the problem? Real ca...
Sexual Witch Hunts, Here and There
LOUIS PROYECT
Made in 2012, “The Hunt” is Denmark’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards ceremony scheduled on March 2nd with all the usual red carpet, tuxedo and designer gown nonsense. Apart from “Philomena”, it puts all the other English l...
Welcome to Stoney Spring
RON JACOBS
One of my favorite bands of the past decade is the California rock country ensemble I See Hawks in LA. Sometimes electric, other times acoustic, the unceasingly intricate and melodic guitar work, sweet vocals and lyrical sensibility featured across I See Hawks’ catalog ...
Obama’s State of the Union Address
NORMAN POLLACK
Coming off of a speech on surveillance at DOJ less than two weeks ago, Obama, in his State of the Union Address, its perfect complement, gives evidence of shifting further to the Right than previously, not so much by what he said (what on reading the latter, I termed mani...
This Just In
MISSY BEATTIE
Last Thursday, I was nearly inconsolable, having submitted my article midafternoon. If only I’d waited. I’d written about W. VA’s chemical spill, big industry’s latest egregious assault on what’s called Chemical Valley, an invasion, like war, that’s destroying...
The XLVIII Super Brag
PIER ANGELO
We are a country of excess. We are obsessed with size, quantity, speed, guns, monster trucks; with the Big Gulp, the economy pack, the party size, two-for-one regardless of what it is, the Whopper, the quadruple Big Mac and all-you-can-eat-buffets. We put foodstu...
The Tempests of Capitalism
KIM NICOLINI
Sites of production become mobile, while paths of distribution become fixed and routine. Factories are now like ships: they mutate strangely, masquerade, and sometimes sale away stealthily in the night, in search of cheaper labor, leaving their former employee...
Gertrude Stein in Love
CHARLES R. LARSON
Hassan Najmi’s gossipy romp about artists in Paris in the 1920s, Gertrude, should be t...
The Class of 1714
DAVID YEARSLEY
C. P. E. Bach was the towering German composer of the generation that succeeded the titans of the first half of the eighteenth century, J. S. Bach and Handel; it was a generation long demeaned by later music historians as merely “pre-Classical,” an inconsequential run...
What We’re Listening to This Week
COUNTERPUNCH STAFF
Jeffrey St. Clair Various Artists, I Heard the Angels Singing: Electr...
Bloody Sunday Revisited
EAMONN MCCANN
Editors’ Note: Today marks the anniversary of the massacre by British paratroopers of 14 civil rights marchers in Derry on January 30th 1972 – “Bloody Sunday”. The families of the slain were to fight an epic campaign against the lies of the Briti...
The Politics of Starvation in Syria
PATRICK COCKBURN
Homs, Syria. “Bread is a dream for children inside Yarmouk Camp,” says Fuad, a Syrian Palestinian music teacher who tries to help bring food to the 20,000 Palestinians besieged inside Yarmouk. Standing by a barrier of sand and rubble that blocks an ent...
Neoliberalism or Death!
PEPE ESCOBAR
US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) address was a somewhat surrealist spectacle. Way beyond avalanches of PR spin, the US government for a long time has not exactly done wonders for the public good. So as it advertises itself in front of a dysfunct...
India’s Coal Inferno
SARAH STIRK
Champa’s eyes are surrounded by dark circles and her face is thin and drawn. It began with a fever, pain in her limbs, and she was then diagnosed with tuberculosis. “I was diagnosed with TB two ye...
Staples Plucks Postal Jobs
ALEXANDRA BRADLEY
Staples’ latest ad slogan is “What the L?” That sounds like what postal workers said when they found out the retail chain planned to steal their work. The Long Island, New York, local of the American Postal Workers Union didn’t waste any time after the news...
The State of the Union, Obama-Style
ROBERT FANTINA
There is no question that President Barrack Obama is a gifted orator. He rose to fame as the junior senator from Illinois, and was propelled to the White House, at least partly because of his skills as a speaker. In his five years as president, he has often used that skil...
Pete Seeger: a Dissenting View
NOEL IGNATIEV
Following the August 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact, the Communist Party strongly opposed the “imperialist war,” and Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers made some great antiwar songs which were published in an album called “Songs for John Doe”: Remember when th...
Things Are Going Great
DAVID MACARAY
If we look back at, say, the last 100 years or so, we might be tempted to declare that all the really important “social” issues before us have demonstrably improved. While that’s an ambitious and wildly optimistic statement, it’s more or less true. From a purely s...
Ten Principles to Guide the Young Activist
RAMZY BAROUD
In a recent radio interview with a National Public Radio affiliate in Juneau, Alaska, I was asked if I had advice for a 16-year-old Palestinian student, Haitham. He had just arrived in the US as part of a school exchange program, and, admirably began reaching out to his p...