It's been six years and over 13,000 articles published by some 250 of the world's finest politically progressive writers - some 20 per cent with Ph.D.s.
It's been a labour of love for myself, doing my thing to help educate people to ideas that I believe needed to be shared - and some 2.5 million people read articles on this site over the years.
It's a fitting last act for Atlantic Free Press. And I say finale because I can no longer afford the time to dedicate to AFP with a young family and a career in technology that's just become to big a part of my life to pull the time needed to run this site pro bono. Thanks to all those who helped donate over the years - but this project still cost me money in server bills. I was just not able to make it a commercial viability.
I will of course leave the site up for posterity. If anyone is interested, feel free to contact me.
Pacific Free Press
will live on - edited by Chris Cook in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Please visit him and the writers there and feel free to contact Chris if you would like to write for Pacific Free Press
EXPATHOS @ GMAIL dot COM
growth indicators overall are rapidly heading south at a time they're
already woefully weak. There's no end to decline in sight. Remarkably,
negative household assessments of government policy hit record lows,
surpassing the depths of the early 1980s recession and Watergate.
by Kourosh Ziabari
Abolghasem Bayyenat is an independent political analyst writing mainly on Iran’s foreign
policy developments. Over the past decade, his political commentaries and
articles have appeared in numerous popular media and online journals, including
Foreign Policy Journal, Foreign Policy In Focus, Monthly Review, Eurasia
Review, AntiWar.com, Tehran Times, Middle East Online, San Francisco Chronicle,
Online Opinion, American Chronicle, and a number of other national newspapers
and online journals across the world. He has also published a number of book
chapters and articles in academic journals. Besides academic studies in
political science and international relations, he has also practical experience
in international diplomacy. In the past, he has worked for several years as
international trade expert and researcher in Iran,
as part of which he was involved in various bilateral and multilateral trade
negotiations between Iran
and its trade partners around the world. He is currently completing his Ph. D
studies in political science at Maxwell School of Syracuse University. His
latest articles can also be read on his own blog at www.irandiplomacywatch.com
The reasons why Iran's nuclear
program has become controversial are twofold. First, Iran's decision to materialize its
rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to develop peaceful
applications of nuclear technology and nuclear fuel cycle in particular; what
can make this controversial in the eyes of Western powers is the dual use of
nuclear technology. Possessing full nuclear fuel cycle technology enables
states to produce the material needed for ultimate use in nuclear weapons.
Building nuclear bombs of course requires much more than just possessing
sufficient stock of highly-enriched uranium or plutonium, but mastering this
technology enables such states to make the essential ingredients for a bomb and
thus become closer to building nuclear warheads.
measure proposes giving Knesset members veto power over High Court
nominations. Likud's Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar called it
"dangerous, problematic, and creates a clear hazard of politicizing"
by Bruce Campbell Ph.D.
In the U.S., Rupert Murdoch's global News Corporation owns The Wall
Street Journal, Fox News, the New York Post, MySpace.com, Barron's,
TVGuide, HarperCollins Publishers, and 20th Century Fox, to name just a
few of its extensive holdings. Amid revelations that News Corporation
media entities hacked into the phone and medical accounts of British
elected officials and private citizens, a former New York City cop
alleges that he was approached by News Corporation employees who sought
illegal access to the phone accounts of Americans killed in the 9/11
This is an ugly glimpse of the truth behind the liberal vs. conservative
"culture wars" happily promoted by Murdoch's media enterprises and
other corporate media concerns. The true culture war is not about
religion or family values; it is about communication itself.
Like it or not, you and I are combatants in a society-wide conflict over
the means and ends of communication. Murdoch's News Corporation is the
paradigm case. We must recognize this conflict and deliberately and
collaboratively defend ourselves. I will call this conflict media
warfare. Let me explain.
Media are not corporations but those conduits of communication and
cultural diffusion that are the modern internal wiring of the cultural
landscape through which we move in our everyday lives. This cultural
circuitry is not the problem, at least not by itself. Media by
themselves - each medium a distinct channel of our collective messaging -
could (and should) serve to ease and extend and give specific form to
our efforts to interact meaningfully with each other.
The conflict arises when speech and creativity are overrun by interests
alien to our non-commercial and non-ideological interpersonal needs, to
our concrete family and community interests. The problem, in other
words, occurs when corporate interests use the media to sideline, or to
subordinate and control, the emotional and social and democratic needs
and purposes that require that we communicate with each other and create
meaning together in the first place.
Without these basic human needs, we would have nothing to say to each
other. If not for profit- and power-seeking interests commandeering the
channels of communication, we wouldn't so frequently feel powerless and
Media warfare, in short, results from the occupation of our
communication circuits by powers indifferent or even hostile to the
traditions and relationships that sustain human life in healthy
community. The media of communication are both the battlefield and the
spoils of war. This is media warfare. And we are losing.
On one side, forces that would marginalize or bend our communication to
the service of their strategies for concentrating profit and power; on
the other side, people who engage the means of communication in order to
understand, to reciprocate, to support, to learn, to discuss, and to
participate in an open-ended conversation about common interests.
Which side are you on?
You were likely already aware of the incoming cultural ordnance: The
News hits us daily. That capital "N" marks information as worthy of your
attention, but is also a sign common to all news that is packaged and
distributed as a corporate product, whether as CBS News, FOX News, or
With the occasional exception of carefully selected "human interest
stories," the News is an angst-ridden shock-and-awe affair. Crime,
natural disasters, and people suffering and behaving badly are placed at
the center of our attention. Scandals, tragedies and controversies
explode all around, preferably involving sex and/or celebrity. These
stories frequently generate their own sequels and prequels, cluster
bombs of ancillary emotional distress strewn about the media market.
One can only imagine how News Corporation agents might have sought to
amplify and extend the tragedy and horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks
by publishing the private communication of victims.
The political News centers frequently on those most divisive issues that
allow for easy distinction between the two major political parties.
Witness the "culture wars" central to News Corporation's business and
political interests. Into this simplistic polarity all of our hopes and
dreams for collective life are herded. We are barraged by the opinions
of professional ideologues who publicly digest the News-with-a-capital-N
on your and my behalf.
The point is not that the News is untrue (although, as it turns out,
sometimes it is untrue). The point is that the News is based on a
business model that recognizes fear and anger and titillation (and
simplistic either/or politics in a two-party political system) as
building blocks for market share, and hence for profit and ideological
dominance. Most of us, meanwhile, just want to inform ourselves, to
learn about and understand what is happening in our society and beyond.
Amid the clamor of the News, one can easily fail to notice the rarity of
news of such things as the policy arguments of social movements and
third parties, the existence of citizens forums, emerging neighborhood
development issues, city council meetings, union meetings, neighborhood
association meetings, civic initiatives and perspectives of young
people, scientific studies and their policy implications (of soil and
water quality, of early childhood development, etc.), historical
perspectives on issues of the day, or a broad range of civic activity
organized in and by the communities of the viewing public.
In short, what tends to be excluded from the corporate News is what
could be called actionable news, reporting that facilitates
participation by everyday people in existing democratic processes,
involvement in local or regional social action, and/or informed
engagement in meaningful public conversation about the common good and
how this is reflected (or not) in public policy. Instead, the News
promotes consumer action, with reporting about the opening of a new
shopping mall, the debut of a blockbuster movie, or the like.
We are nearly exclusively on the receiving end in these episodes of
communication, which are vertical and unilateral, and are now relayed
far beyond the once primitive reach of television and newspapers,
through the inter-locking networks of websites, blogs, cable news
programming, and social media. Despite our horizontal and multi-lateral
ability to "post" and "tweet" to our own social networks, the flow of
communication is heavily unidirectional, and we are shaped by the
impact. Vertical and unilateral decisions lurk behind the apparently
friendly and interpersonal surfaces of Facebook communications. Hey you
- hails the machine - a dozen of your friends "like" white teeth. Are
your teeth white enough?
"But in what sense is this warfare?," a reasonable person might ask.
In the sense that our way of life is under attack. I do not mean the
"American way of life," as reported on the News. I mean the way of life
of people who engage the means of communication in order to understand,
to reciprocate, to support, to learn, to discuss, and to participate in
an open-ended conversation about common interests and diverse
We are preoccupied, outraged, fearful, titillated, and suspicious in
measures grotesquely disproportionate to what we are able (or allowed)
to do about what concerns us. We like to think of ourselves as
reasonable people, but are stirred up and instigated, our limbic systems
activated and fed on fear, despondency, libidinous excitement and
anger. Any concept of human nature we might hold that is not driven by
the implicit theology of the News - i.e., death, destruction,
selfishness and mayhem at the dark core of humanity - is ritually slain
by nightfall each day.
So what to do? For starters, we need to recognize that the empowerment
afforded by social media sites is limited, and maybe even compensatory, a
taste of something that is otherwise not allowed. Instead of trying to
"like" our way to defense of our communication needs, we must engage
directly and actively with a growing conversation about policy
mechanisms for limiting vertical, corporate control of our cultural
environment, and for expanding and diversifying local community
participation and ownership. Most importantly, we must think. One of
the purposes of communication is to think together, to deliberate, to
participate in dialogue, to imagine possibilities for our collective
life. This is what the News asks us to forget.
Bruce Campbell teaches Cultural Criticism, among other things, at St.
John's University in Collegeville, MN. His most recent book is ¡Viva la
historieta!: Mexican Comics, NAFTA, and the Politics of Globalization.
|by James Petras Ph.D.
current activity of HS destroys lives abroad and neglects survival at home: It
has nothing to do with our “homeland” and even less with our
“security”. Five percent of HS budget would have prevented
(and saved us from Obama’s gaseous oratory!) and the other 400 deaths
from this year’s crop of tornadoes.
by Peter Stern
The Fight Against a Mediocre Public Education is NOT working. We all
• Increase teacher salaries and benefits.
by Susan Lindauer
According to history buff, Alan Batterman, the German word for “Gestapo” is an acronym of GEheim STAdt POlezi.
by William Blum
The fall of the American Empire would offer a new beginning for the long-suffering American people and the long-suffering world.
When I first read Robert Kaplan, it was shortly after 9/11 when a whole library of books became available about U.S. foreign policy and how it should deal with the terrorist threat presented to the U.S. and democracy. At that time, in his work “Warrior Politics” he reasonably recognizes that his perspective is but one of many and none can be truly objective. He recognized the reality of the “American imperium” in terms that imperialism is the “most ordinary and dependable form of protection for ethnic minorities and others under violent assault,” and “an imperial reality already dominates our foreign policy.” Towards the end of the work he quotes Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization,” and follows with his own summation that “the restraining power of our own democracy makes it hard for us to demand and orchestrate authentic transitions everywhere. Only through stealth and anxious foresight can America create a secure international system.”
There are areas of context and interpretation that do limit the text. Two of his main sub-themes are Islamic terrorism and democracy, and for both he makes statements that are almost ‘aha’ moments, but then are left hanging without actually making it into deeper connections. Further from apparent awareness, although perhaps lingering constantly in the background, is the very empire which he identified earlier as not being given its due background for the region. Other empires - Portugal, Dutch, British, French, Japanese - are all included for the influence they have had on the region, but little is discussed of U.S. actions, covert and overt, in the region, past or present. In the manner in which his information is presented, it makes little difference to the agreeable nature of the narrative, but it needs to be kept in mind while reading that there is much of the overall general context of the U.S. imperium that is not discussed. Diego Garcia is one of the singular misses, the island nation given to the U.S. military by Britain while the indigenous Chagossians were evicted from the island and not compensated. Ethnic cleansing? Racism? Empire? Certainly far from “the restraining power of our own democracy.”
|by Phil Rockstroh
Atlanta, Georgia, at present, among the scent of pine trees and the reek
denial. The moribund economy has thwarted the city’s manic drive to
silence its resentful ghosts by means of constant motion … Below the
lilting southern accents here, one detects rage … Not simply the
ubiquitous hate-speak on right-wing talk radio. But an animus bred by
truth-deferred … that southern pride is a lie of the mind — a blown
banner … foisted skyward to distract the minds of my fellow southerners
from the ground level truths of a system rigged to enrich the privileged
few and keep the many working for their benefit. (How do you think they
filled the ranks of the Confederate Army to kill and die for the rights
of rich men to own slaves.)
I arrived in Georgia by route of the US interstate system.
US interstate highways one suffers a confluence of so much contemporary
madness and tragedy extant in the land … so much suppressed fear and
aggression. Yet, through it all, the heart still yearns to see what lies
over the next horizon.
Although, lamentably, what is revealed, all
to often, proves to be as sterile, inhospitable, ugly, and inhuman as
what was beheld at the last.
"Who has twisted us around like
this, so that no matter what we do, we are in the posture of someone
- Rainer Maria Rilke
The apologists of the present
system tell us ad nauseam, and have convinced most, that a similar
disastrous fate will befall the nation if the engines of global
capitalism were to slow down even a bit. Interstate travel is emblematic
of the manner a system based on ceaseless production and manic
consumption degrades the senses and inflicts a dehumanizing assault
upon the psyche.
When stopped at an anonymous interstate service
island or some off-the-exit-ramp retail strip — those inhospitable
nether regions evincing a paradoxical mix of sterility and toxicity —
the permeating odor of exhaust fumes and processed food makes us woozy.
These places, only distinct for their ugliness, reek of how soul-numbing
and joyless travel has become . . . now a task nearly devoid of any
sense of the mystery, the option of exploration, or the possibility of
serendipity travel once offered.
Travel has been reduced to a
tedious ordeal, whereby our inchoate longings to escape the quotidian
prison of our economically circumscribed existence are mangled and
suppressed, only to rise as the hollow appetite of reflexive consumerism
and the ineffable sense of unease, so evident in the troubled American
Enclosed in our vehicles, we hurdle
from one sterile, impersonal location to the next sterile, impersonal
location, and then on to the next. As forbiddingly huge trucks, loaded
with the cargo of extinction, bear down on us, we grip the steering
wheel -- we know to stop is to risk death therefore we continue onward,
believing we must drive and consume and drive and consume in order to
survive. Yet the knowledge nettles, just below the surface of our
harried minds, that to continue down this road will, in turn, cause the
world to die.
Even the landscape itself of the US is stretched to
the breaking point: Cluttered upon it are gigantic islands of garish
light that torment the night …scouring away the stars. As, all the
while, SUVs and oversized pickup trucks -- the overgrown clown cars of
the demented circus of decaying empire trundle past -- the extravagant
size of the vehicles vainly compensating for how diminished and
powerless those within feel in relationship to the course of
NA: I think that the answer to your
question is embedded in the question itself. Moreover, the PLO should have
never accepted the stipulation that it is a terrorist organization which must
"renounce" and not "denounce" as Arafat had attempted
unsuccessfully and reminded about the crucial difference between the two
concepts. The assumption that the US was a judge and jury while at the same
time a chief armed supplier, bank roller, and diplomatic backer was
unfortunately accepted by the PLO leadership since the 1980s and should
not have been a surprise when the so-called Palestine papers were released and
leaked out quite recently. Under both Arafat and Abbas, the PLO concessions
were bottomless and these concessions had only encouraged Israel to throw more obstacles to peace and to
to act as a "Dishonest Broker."
by Ramzy Baroud
is not a sufficient term to describe Justice Richard Goldstone’s
decision to recant parts of the 2009 report on alleged war crimes in
the UN team of experts claimed there was “no indication that Israel has
opened investigations into the actions of those who designed, planned,
ordered and oversaw Operation Cast Lead.”
by William A. Cook Ph.D.
Thank God Judge Goldstone recanted his
judgment on Israel and its IDF forces in the slaughter inflicted on Gaza during
its Christmas invasion in 2008-2009; both are now innocent of wrongful intent
to kill Palestinian civilians since the Israeli military courts investigated
Goldstone’s allegations and determined he was wrong. Now the good Judge has
found, with the military court, that the Israeli government, that refused to
cooperate with the United Nations investigation, did not intentionally send its
forces to kill and destroy but only to kill and destroy Gaza; that the
civilians were killed is simply a sad consequence of war. How astute, how
learned, how compassionate; how absurd, how facetious, how despicable.
Consider the facts as articulated by the
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs as it labeled Cast Lead as Hamas
war against Israel
apologies; I’m interjecting a subjective comment on Israel’s calling Operation
Cast Lead “Hamas’ war against Israel.” In the 8 years preceding Cast Lead,
Hamas or other resistance groups in Gaza, fired 6000 home made rockets at
Israel, roughly 750 a year, or 62.5 per month or 2 per day. Twenty three people
were killed. In that same period Israel killed more than 1000 Palestinian
children and in Cast Lead killed an additional 352. A total of 1084 Israelis
were killed between 2000 and 2008, but 6430 Palestinians were killed. Yet it
was Hamas’ war against Israel. One final observation: Israel’s launch of one of
its American supplied missiles that cost $300,000, a fraction of the 8.2
million per day we supply to Israel’s military, a precision state of the art
weapon that hit a home where the IDF ordered people to go, in less than one
minute killed 21 members of the Samouni family, nine of them children.]
(figures from ifamericansknew.org and see this author’s article “Consider the
Realities of Gaza,” Counterpunch, Jan. 5, 2009). Back to our sources and let
the reader be judge.
by Matthew Nasuti
In February 2011, in a little known development, the Obama
Administration decided to seek new enemies abroad by choosing sides in a
low level civil war being waged in southern Nigeria. Astonishingly, the
U.S. State Department has publicly allied itself with oil giant
Chevron, which is the target of a guerrilla war being waged by the
fifteen (15) million Ijo tribesmen in the Niger River Delta.
Chevron is accused of environmental devastation, theft of resources and corruption.
the formal U.S./Chevron alliance in Nigeria is new, the ties between
senior Obama Administration officials and Chevon are long standing. On
August 9, 2009, Hillary Clinton, while traveling in Angola, proclaimed
that she and Chevron share “a common vision.”
and personnel in the Delta have been under attack for twenty years by
local tribesman. What occurred in Nigeria in February 2011, is that the
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) entered into a
partnership with Chevron Corporation. USAID contributed $25 million for a
joint public relations effort called “the “Niger Delta Partnership
Initiative.” Chevron press releases have since trumpeted the
U.S./Chevron alliance. Chevron, which has an unsavory reputation within
some segments of Nigerian society, is seeking to bolster its image by
allying itself with the United States.
The Niger Delta dispute
first came to the world’s attention in the early 1990's. At that time
the one million plus Ogoni people had begun a mass peaceful protest
against Shell Oil due to alleged environmental crimes. Led by
poet/writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni pacifist movement came under
increasing violent attack by government militias. In 1993, Mr. Saro-Wiwa
was arrested, 2,000 Ogoni were massacred and 80,000 were evicted from
their homes. In 1995, Mr. Saro-Wiwa was summarily tried by a military
court and hanged with eight others on November 12, 1995. His relatives
sued Shell in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
under the “Torture Victims Protection Act” and received a $15.5 million
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