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Why has CounterPunch spiked Andre Vltchek’s ‘Lies of the Empire’?

Ramin Mazaheri

I first started reading Andre Vltchek on the website CounterPunch, which is a truly great leftist website… even though I will probably never get published on there, even if I was relaying the cure for cancer: CounterPunch appears totally opposed to working with any state media, and I work for Iran’s PressTV.

Rather anarchist and ivory-tower, but… whatever.

Reporters have only two choices: work for either privately-owned or state-owned media. I.e., you can work for shareholders, a patrician family (whether urban giants or rural petty tyrants), or some billionaire whose new sports team is in the middle of a boring rebuild, or you can work for the People.

I chose the People. Even if this closes a million doors to me – and the fact that I work for the Iranian People closes a million others – I have zero regrets.

(Blogging – working for Yourself – is now a third choice, but I don’t have the tech savvy to make that economically viable, and the vast majority of blogging journalists say the same thing.)

But what happened to Vltchek on CounterPunch? I don’t see anything from him on CP for more than a year? It is a truly top dissident media site, and they carry great thinkers, but I know they didn’t find someone better – at least not by much. I’m not the only one who has noticed this.

Is it because he has a Russian background and CounterPunch was duped on a few articles by a troll allegedly from Russia?

That was hardly the end of the world and quickly forgotten: I think every reader of CP viewed them as the victim, and thus CP could not lose any integrity. If CounterPunch thought this reduced their reputation in the Mainstream Media, well, much like state media with CP, CounterPunch has no chance of ever being appreciated by them. I would assume CP is fine with that, as the Mainstream Media can only reach the mere heights of fake-leftism on their very best days.

What is far more weighty is: given the 2+ years of a dangerous, misleading and appallingly stupid Russophobia campaign, US-based CounterPunch has an obvious obligation to promote Russian-linked leftists even more strongly now. That seems so obvious from a leftist analysis that I don’t think it requires much explanation. And yet… this is when CounterPunch chose to drop Vltchek?

The reason Vltchek is especially valuable to CP is because he’s actually going to myriad places and defending / unveiling leftism, whereas a lot of their contributors are leftists discussing leftism from their living room or discussing countries where they have never set their boots upon. That is not an insult, but is simply to show that both theoretical and practical knowledge is necessary.

Isn’t the US left supposed to be fostering a push to the left in the Trump era? That was supposed to be the best thing about Trump: he would pull the sheet off of American fascism – which has never been domestically discredited, unlike in Europe – to reveal that Trump is no different than Dronebama, the Clintons, the Bushes, et al.

Many Americans are more hungry and receptive to leftism than ever, and leftist journalists should gladly feed them the political nutrients they have been long denied by the Mainstream Media. So how could Vltchek’s work have been spiked by CounterPunch during this particular era? One would think that leftist interest in Vltchek’s work would spike during this time, not that he would get spiked!

Maybe it’s just an oversight by CounterPunch – I’m sure they get many submissions.

The solution is obvious: Bring back Vltchek, and perhaps tap some of his compatriots and colleagues at the superb New Eastern Outlook (full of Russian communist intelligentsia who have practical knowledge of socialism) for contributions. They could also run the superb analyses of The Saker, who is a courageous anti-imperialist and also Russian. Adding these Russian worthies would emphatically show that Russia is not the enemy.

But does CounterPunch believe that…?

Is it telling that CounterPunch’s website advertises the book Russia Without Putin? Putin is centre-right in the Russian context, sure, but check your local magazine stand – surely some US journal has a cover vilifying Putin this week. The book is clearly predicted on a fantasy; it has also found a way to not be only anti-Putin, but “non-Putin”. Regardless, it seems like a interesting read, and I hope somebody reviews it on Amazon.

But, at first glance, this seems like more fantasist thinking from Western leftists, which I find particularly aggravating. Just as Western leftists know nothing, investigate nothing, will not tolerate anything which challenges their fantasies on socialist-inspired Iran, the dumping of Vltchek seems like more Western leftism which refuses to see Russia as it really is, but instead as how Western leftists wish it would be. There is PLENTY of socialism in Russia, still; there is PLENTY of socialism in Iran, since 1979.

CounterPunch gets major kudos for having run Vltchek before, because Western Leftists generally have no interest in learning from the practical experiences of leftists in the Old World, and certainly not from the two main enemies of the US – Russia and Iran.

US animosity towards the “continent” of China is nowhere near as strong as towards Iran, but the socialist achievements of all three of these socialist-inspired nations are not just denied by Western leftists, but denigrated as well.

For whatever reason, Latin American leftists are deemed more acceptable to Western leftists – seems like an anti-Asian thing? We can certainly add in North Korea and especially Vietnam, whom Western leftists rallied around in the 1960s but whom they strangely and completely ignored once Vietnamese leftists won. Vietnam has the 2nd highest economic growth rate since 1990 (probably since 1981), China is #2 in increasing their UN Human development Index from 1970-2010, while Iran is #2 from 1990-2014) but – nothing for Western leftists to learn here, right?

Just being “anti-Putin” is not a very leftist stance from a leftist media like CounterPunch – right now is the time for CounterPunch to stand up for Russian leftism (and for the leftist insistence on internationalism), and not after the FBI finally admits they have nothing on Trump and Russia. However, it is very typical of Western leftists to be merely “anti-” (although being “non-” is indeed an original stance), but it’s not enough to sustain leftist-inspired revolutions, and this helps explain why the West has none.

CounterPunch should re-add Vltchek, and then add other Russian leftists as well (I think the “West Coast hippie” viewpoint can afford to lose a couple slots). This will help set many good examples, and it will counter the widespread belief that Western leftists can only push their own regional version of leftism, and are so individualistic and ethnocentric that they often appear incapable of being true internationalists.

But Vltchek is no affirmative-action hire: He is one of the very, very few open and unrepentant socialist journalists who have been around the world, burned the lying flag of imperialism, and kept the leftist flag upraised. Vltchek’s journalism helped gave me the confidence to do leftist advocacy journalism, and he can do the same for others.

I have limitations, as PressTV is a hard-news, daily journalism gig. Hard-news daily journalism has fundamental limitations: our main task is to provide as many facts as possible (and to decide which facts are the most important). At heart, I am just a sucker for from-the-street, daily, hack journalism, but Vltchek’s example shows how leftist advocacy journalism can and should be done.

I bring up CounterPunch because Vltchek was on there, and he deserves to be broadcast as widely as possible – that’s why I’m happy to write a review of his book: Exposing the Lies of the Empire.

‘Exposing the Lies of Empire’ – constant inspiration + massive information

I once read that a good critic doesn’t just bash what he doesn’t like – he sings the praises of that which he does like.

The book, a huge compilation of nearly 70 articles, is Vltchek serving as the world’s best socialist tour guide. It’s an encyclopedia of leftist, on-the-ground reporting from… nearly everywhere.

It’s especially fascinating to read because he seeks out reports, which overturn the Mainstream Media accounts. He goes to the places the West vilifies and lies about (Out and About in Zimbabwe’s Capital: Harare – Is It Really the Worst City on Earth?), or totally ignores (Eritrea: African Ideological Ebola for Imperialists). Zimbabwe never gets a good write-up in the West – they nationalized White farms, after all; Eritrea never gets positive press – it’s a unique socialist state, which has massively uplifted its People.

But he also goes to the West and intellectually scorches them with equal vigor. He demolishes what they incorrectly hold up as worthy of emulation (Shameful, Cowardly European Art) and he shows how hollow their own alleged “democratic successes” are, as well as those of their allies, such as Indonesia and Nigeria.

Vltchek does things like going to North Korea to make a 25-minute documentary, which the West would surely love to ban entirely and which should be on CounterPunch, but it’s his writing style which really sets him apart from other leftists: he is not telling you a story, but relating a human being’s history. Even if that person was sacrificed to capitalism-imperialism 400 years ago, Vltchek seems to feel as though it just happened and right in front of him.

I would say that Vltchek writes with the conscience of a 13-year old, and that is quite a compliment: these idealistic, freshly-minted adults are not only absolutely certain that something better should be done immediately, but that they could do it if only they could hold the reins for a time.

You see the same words over and over in Vltchek’s reports, and they are completely foreign to the daily hard-news journalism I was trained in: words like “compassion”, “humane”, “dehumanization”, “nightmarish”, “struggling”, “conscience”, “miraculous”, “beautiful”, “shameless”.

When is the last time you read a report in a newspaper – not in an editorial – which described an economically right-wing policy’s outcome as “shameless”? Vltchek uses it when talking about free-market fundamentalism, capitalism, US foreign policy, etc. Unlike the absurd, rabid, Russophobic anti-Trumpers, Vltchek is no fake-leftist – he knows it’s all about class & economics, and the permanent link between capitalism & imperialism.

Another favorite word of Vltchek’s is one which journalists don’t utter, and which they feel is their duty to ignore, is ”humiliation”. France’s protesting Yellow Vests, for example, apparently never feel “humiliated” by their 10-year, austerity-enforced, slow descent into borderline / real poverty, even though they are, and even though this explains their anger and violence (which was only marginally exceptional in France solely during the first 6 weeks of the movement).

One is struck by Vltchek’s insistence on the fact that third worlders actually do deserve to not live in humiliation – in a just media world, such a sentiment would be in every story about the developing world… but that would undermine the false idea that capitalism & neoliberal globalism is working great / has learned from the most recent crisis / could never be the reason for a foreign army base.

In his writing he is appalled by horrid living conditions, by lack of worker safety, by infrastructure so dilapidated it creates a lack of citizen safety, and by other conditions people just write off as “normal for those people”. For Vltchek, people riding on the tops of trains in Jakarta (and getting maimed or killed) is not the chance to run a bemused photo, but it always is for Western Mainstream Media. Whereas most of us gloss over it, he relates to the reader like it was the first, worst time he has ever seen poor governance, the abuses of capitalism, the rapes of imperialism, etc. This fresh-eyed view is incredibly inspirational.

Like any 13 year old, Vltchek has a clique of friends who are SO, SO much cooler. Vltchek goes to these places – like to doctors in the Bolivia of Evo Morales – and reports back, providing the reader with yet another heaping of inspiration. If he had not done this, perhaps Vltchek would have been like many other lefties – content just to vilify their neighbors, eventually growing embittered, superior and apathetic.

To me these sights in the middle of the Bolivian Andes were like the essence of human nature – by now almost extinct – but still the essence played in front of my eyes. I was very much aware of the fact that this was exactly the socialism in which I have believed for decades; it was right here, in action, in front of my eyes. And it was simple, natural and undogmatic.”

It is these stories, which supply the vital, other half to his work: the requited passion, the justice, the action, the promises kept, the potential fulfilled.

It is fundamentally flattering to the reader, and correct, that Vltchek appears to treat every true leftist as though they were Che Guevara: he does not overvalue the leftist figures from his own nations, and he does not see historical figures as Ubermen from a golden or Salafist era. He sees everyone standing on the same level – even if that person is barefoot and dirty. What impresses him is only moral leftist effort, struggle and sacrifice. That is the true socialist mentality, just as much as it is true leftist internationalism.

Vltchek is an opponent of the smug & cold, the poseur & the disingenuous, the elitists & those who stratify themselves away from the People. For example, Vltchek is an atheist, but that doesn’t mean he supports stupidity when it comes to those who are anti-religion (from Blaming It All on the Muslims):

She is not the only person in Istanbul I know who has those moments. In the ‘City of Dreams’ to show spite for Islam and for practicing Muslims is clearly some commonly-used secret password to the universe of what is acceptable here as brainy and hip.”

You don’t read that from the Mainstream Media because, to them, being Islamophobic IS brainy and hip; you don’t read that from a lot of leftist media because they ARE Islamophobic, which includes the fear of Islam as a political force in any definition of the term. Islam is not the danger in the Muslim World – capitalism-imperialism and Western racism-ethnocentrism are the dangers. Vltchek is an atheist, but it seems he’s not so dogmatic, superior, ruthless and politically-stupid as to think socialism can function without embracing members who also choose to be religious. In short: he’s not an idiot nor a bigot – he’s a true internationalist.

If I had to pin down his official label I would describe Vltchek’s overall view most in line with “Cuban-style” socialism: after all, no country (other than the USSR) has been more truly internationalist (there would have been no South African independence without Cuban assistance to Angola, which was not even a Spanish colony); conversely, Chinese and Iranian internationalist efforts, while extensive, vital and costly, have been limited to regional affairs.

Not much to say – only much to read

This review is not that long, mainly because there is not much I can say. Yes, I agree with Vltchek on seemingly 90% of his major points, but his book is not theoretical but practical. It is on-the-ground journalism: there is nothing to argue about. Unless you have been there yourself and can call him a liar, there is only acceptance, and then the intellectual adaptation required to accommodate new, ignored, shocking, passionately-infused facts of modern social existence. This is what CounterPunch and those unfamiliar with Vltchek’s work are missing.

Of course, If you want to visit such places and analyze their current situation from an openly socialist perspective, I would certainly love to read it… but very, very few people do this.

The book reminds me of J Is for Junk Economics, by our era’s must-read economist Michael Hudson, in that you can pick up either of these books for just 5 minutes and then have something to reflect on for the rest of the day.

In a just world, Vltchek is tapped to run a media company by a leftist billionaire. I don’t think there is such a thing, though…

However, there are leftist-influenced states – two of them are publishing me and Vltchek (NEO is part of the Russian Academy of Sciences), whereas CounterPunch is not, whatever their reasons are. Thank God for state media, eh?

Leftists writers all know: we are not in this for money, because what we propose is a guaranteed loser – writing leftist journalism in the English language. No Anglophone country is remotely socialist and most are ardently anti-socialist, so there is near-zero demand. We should pick something with slightly greater sales prospects: like selling pamphlets on atheism in Farsi, or books railing against the evils of hockey & donuts in Canada.

But if you can’t bankroll a media company, I hope you have some money to buy Vltchek’s book. The most important unsaid leftist phrase in the West is “anti-imperialist” – here is a book which tells you the state of that struggle around the world.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

59 Comments

    • Ramin Mazaheri says

      Many thanks Mr. Shamir, I used to read you on CounterPunch, but I believe you are another Russian who CP has recently dropped? That is very unfortunate, as you do such brave and highly engaging work. Unz has some great writers, indeed, and I also agree that Max Parry is excellent.

      It’s interesting that CP has apparently pulled the book I referenced, “Russia Without Putin” – I can promise that it was there when this article was first published….

  1. Hankus says

    CounterPunch stopped advertising the book mentioned in this article, “Russia Without Putin”. That was quick. They must have read this article and realized they are looking pretty Russophobic these days.

  2. Seamus Padraig says

    CounterPunch appears totally opposed to working with any state media, and I work for Iran’s PressTV.

    That’s probably true now, CounterPurge having become controlled opposition. But back in the day, when Alexander Cockburn was alive, they used to regularly run pieces by Bouthaina Shaaban, who is a media advisor to the President of Syria: https://www.counterpunch.org/author/fruyabaf5a/

    For a while, they were even publishing pieces by Fidel Castro himself, although that, too, looks like it’s fallen by the wayside recently: https://www.counterpunch.org/author/5apedreb/

    For whatever reason, Latin American leftists are deemed more acceptable to Western leftists …

    Sadly, not so much anymore. Bernie Sanders once called Hugo Chávez a “dead dictator”, and even Alexandria ‘Occasional-Cortex’ (who is Hispanic herself) has dissed Venezuela. Back in the 80s, Louis Proyect’s claim to fame was that he volunteered to work for the Sandinistas. But now? He can hardly be moved to defend Ortega at all.

  3. David Eire says

    There is no true Left in the traditional sense any more in the West; and anywhere it emerges in developing nations it is viciously attacked by Neoliberal Capitalism – for example Venezuela.

  4. David Eire says

    I dont consider CP Leftist; unless you mean leftists like George Soros.
    Seems to me CP is progressive neoliberal…. the good cop.

  5. Anony says

    CounterPunch has pulled the book the author mentioned from its website, Russia Without Putin. Guess it’ll never get an Amazon review now. CounterPunch clearly saw the article and was affected. Hope they write a response, because the author is right about how the US left is giving in to Russophobia, as well as the lack of input from those with non-European backgrounds.

  6. Nils says

    From Counterpunch today:

    “…
    unlike the crowds in French cities where the “Gilets Jaunes” (Yellow Jackets) raged against French President Emmanuel Macron and against Jews and against income inequality, too. MFF gave me the low-down on Les Gilets Jaunes, who sound similar to many of Trump’s supporters: angry, bitter racists who feel alienated.”

    Maybe they have become shit? I read more and more stuff like this. Pro-EU, anti-yellow vests. is there even a left anymore?

    • mark says

      Case proven.

      A well known Macron toady, who was taunting Gilets Jaunes at a demonstration, received some abuse in return, He happens to be Jewish, so the GJs are now “anti semitic”, and “racists.” They’re probably “Kremlin stooges” as well.

      Like anyone who supported Brexit, or who failed to turn out to vote for Clinton, or Corbyn and Labour, or anyone who criticises the banksters, or the activities of Soros, or who offends anyone with an agenda who happens to be Jewish, or any self appointed Zionist spokesman who declares himself “offended” by any criticism of Israel.

      All they can do is scream “anti semite!”, “racist!”, “Kremlin stooge!” Divert, deflect, deceive, deny. Except they don’t even bother to deny now. The Zionist media can be relied upon to repeat this garbage till the cows come home.

      Counterpunch is juts a piece of Soros funded Faux Left toilet paper. It has been for years.

  7. Nils says

    Why do they only post right wing remainiacs? Another article today by the awful Patrick Cockburn. Last week it was the over rated conservative Robert Fisk praising EU and calling Maduro a dictator.

  8. Gwyn says

    For a second, there, I allowed myself the delicious luxury of imagining André Vltchek as one of the Guardian’s writers. We’d get some proper journalism for once, instead of the propaganda that’s churned out by the pathetic and spineless hacks of that rag.

    As things stand, though, the mere mention of André’s name is enough to get a comment modded at the Guardian. How very touchy they are when confronted with someone whose work wouldn’t even be necessary if papers such as the Guardian did their f**king job.

  9. Good article. I unsubscribed from CP more than a year ago. Too much crap.I’m probably very old fashined in some ways so I still enjoy John Pilger and Greyzones’ editors, Max Ben, Dan and Anya.There are many goodjournalists “out there” if you know where to look, but sadly, too many of them won’t receive funding or the acknowledgement they deserve. Sadly, the best are the ones usually silenced.

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  10. bevin says

    It is heartening to see so many comments taking the non sectarian view that CP, though it seems to be changing for the worse, remains a site well worth visiting and a useful resource for critical thinkers.
    After all there are still plenty of places where we can find the people that CP no longer publishes, including Andre Vltcheck, Diane Johnstone and, (what is this?) John Pilger is back on Counterpunch.
    One of the things that annoy me about CP nowadays is that it seems to be getting narrower and more inclined to the worst sort of pseudo-Trotskyism. Which is to say that it is getting sectarian, narrow minded and juvenile in its entertainment of the ‘red-brown’ idiocy from academe.
    All the more reason why we should not follow them down those paths and continue to delight in the breadth of the many strains of thought which are disassociating themselves from mainstream politics and the conventional media- including, currently an excellent Iranian journalist who explores the terrain of Islamic socialism (more please OG), a piece on radical christianity and much more. All of which would, I imagine make Louis Proyect’s upper lip curl.

  11. John says

    Counterpunch is controlled opposition and I they are anarchists that says it all. Anarkids are people who’ve never been told off by mummy and daddy and still have their dinners taken up to their ro and the plate taken down for them while they sit there all rebellious

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  12. CP employs Louis Proyect and Thomas Knapp. So it isn’t a serious leftist site anymore.
    I’m also highly suspicious of the Saker.

      • Reading too much into my comment there, old chap.
        I am suspicious of the Saker not because of left or right orientation.

        • milosevic says

          let me guess, the problem is “anti-semitism”. as usual.

          since it always turns out that consistent opposition to capitalism and imperialism is “anti-semitic”, you would think that people might become curious about the nature of semitism itself. oddly, that never seems to happen.

          it’s almost as if a big part of the “left” is a covert operation to camouflage and disguise a very specific form of elite privilege, to the point of inducing selective blindness in most of its sympathizers.

          • JohnG says

            Your guess is wrong as usual. The geopolitics there is tainted by the fake economics and banking conspiracy theories that the extreme right wing loves to push.

    • CounterPunch employs me? Are you nuts? I am a film reviewer. Well over 80 percent of my CP articles have nothing to do with the god-damned “axis of resistance” bullshit. Because I write an article recommending a film like “First Reformed” that means I am a Mossad agent? Give me a break.

      • You’re a ridiculous nut job. That Counterpunch publishes your dirt reflects poorly on it.

  13. vexarb says

    Ramin Mazaheri in Saker Vineyard, and Andre Vltchek in OffG, are two journalists who opened my eyes to _positive_ sides of daily life in Korea and Iran respectively. And as Ramin says of Vltchek, they do it by socialist conviction and sympathy with ordinary people. Their style and content shows up the limitations of a brilliantly satiric but non-commitedly “objective” vein of political journalism that I used to like, such as Holidays in Hell, by PJ O’Rourke.

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  14. Fair dinkum says

    All websites, including CP, are obliged to pay their bills.
    How far they are prepared to compromise might depend on how much they covet their creature comforts.
    CP still has some worthwhile pieces and we shouldn’t throw the ‘dirty’ baby out with the bath water

    • Willem says

      True.
      What would improve CP is if they acknowledged behind every article who made the publication possible, like a conflict of interest. This publication was made possible by a grant of Olicharch A, government B, and was censored by employees from intelligence agency C. Then we wouldn’t have to guess anymore through which mouth they speak.

      Silly me… CP Journalism is doing as if an independent mind is speaking to us, with only one goal: objective reporting. If CP would acknowledge they were not independent, they could not be called objective and then their journalism (where they beg for regime change, etc) would no longer work!

      Now there is independent and ‘independent’ similar as to that there is love and ‘love’

      CP Journalism=Whorenalism without acknowledgment. Not to go there is I guess the best advice one can give.

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    • Frankly Speaking says

      “All websites, including CP, are obliged to pay their bills.”

      Agreed. However, there are way too many “freetards” around these days who expect everything for nothing, then complain that what they want is not delivered! Their attituded truly annoys me. In my “traditional Labour” / old school Social Democratic worldview, everyone who is fit to work does so, each contributing to their ability, and they get paid a comensurate decent sum for their labour which allows them and their family at least a respectful standard of living.

      The internet pays some site owners handsomely, but the vast majority of non-corporate sites make nothing and their ownwers do it just for the passion, or as part of a marketing effort to hopefully get noticed by someone with deeper pockets. I don’t know what the answer is, but as far as pluralism of independent news sites is concerned, I hope that every reader of all the alternative news sites contributes at least something, according to their pocket. Even a mere £$€ 1 per year would make a difference.

      • milosevic says

        everyone who is fit to work does so, each contributing to their ability, and they get paid a comensurate decent sum for their labour which allows them and their family at least a respectful standard of living.

        — as the unicorns and faeries danced in the moonlight. And they all lived happily ever after, in the land of lollipops and icecream.

  15. It might also have something to do with Vltchek’s video on North Korea which has riled both Republicans and Democrats.

  16. summitflyer says

    I read his book”Exposing the lies of Empire “when it first came out and now I hear that he is coming to a city close to where I reside ,in April.I will surely attend his lecture/visit.
    IMHO he is an exceptional human being .

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  17. bjd says

    the “West Coast hippie” viewpoint can afford to lose a couple slots

    I think the gentleman has a point. After all — pot is legal now there, is it not?

  18. Jen says

    While it’s disappointing that Counterpunch is going the way of The Fraudian, it means our Bullshit Antennae must continually keep sharp. The convenience of relying on CP, Consortium News (which has been on the verge of going “mainstream”) and a few other alt-media blogs and websites (because we have limited time) comes at the cost of our BS Antennae going complacent and dusty.

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    • Joe Lauria seems to be smitten with Normon Solomon who is smitten – blech! – with Bernie Sanders.

      Some established alternative media really has no use for other alternative media. Some progressives, who do a good job of critiquing the State and all that it touches/defiles, are actually at home in their corner of the establishment. We don’t notice it right away for various reasons. We notice it, I think, when those progressives begin to be out of touch, precisely because of their bias for establishment sources of info and their bias against newer, non establishment alternative media. (Chomsky bought the barrel bombs fake news! Michael Klare buys, or would have us believe that he buys, the ‘Russia hacked the American 2016 election’ idea! Nafeez Ahmed, who I used to think was the cat’s meow, is truly awful.) This was really brought home to me when I realized that Noam Chomsky, while he’s genius at digging into old working class dailies and pamphlets and such, never quotes from the alternative/progressive media that I visit regularly, even though they quote, usually favorably, him.

  19. Robyn says

    André is a hero. It’s very disappointing to see the way Counterpunch has gone. So many former reliable sites have become almost MSM on some matters, but there are still enough people fighting for peace and justice for us not to lose hope altogether. With limited time to sit at the computer reading, I have found some podcasts useful for providing news and analysis while I do other things. I especially like Loud and Clear presented by John Kiriakou and Brian Becker. Like André, they are also heroes.

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  20. Badger Down says

    Near the top of this very good article, the writer says CounterPunch was duped by a troll allegedly from Russia. I understand that there are many people from Russia, but now living in “israel”, who do this kind of thing.

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  21. Mandrau says

    I give credit to Andre Vitchtek for having raised my political consciousness when I first read an article of his in counter punch many years ago (I no longer subscribe to CP). His direct ‘no beating around the bush’ style of writing, his passion and advocacy for the victims of western imperialism made him stand out – he speaks to the heart more than to the brain and has a knack for making smug western progressives squirm. He is the real deal.

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  22. mark says

    Counterpunch is just a Soros funded piece of controlled opposition Faux Left garbage.
    Like Goodman and Democracy Now.
    It hasn’t been worth reading for years.

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  23. notheonly1 says

    A real treat to read about Your perspective. Counter Punch has long been transformed into a Fruit Punch. While it had some great potential to serve as the voice for true progress, it chose to become the Huffington Post of pseudo Leftists. Not necessarily deserving of a ‘good riddance’ for its demise, but surely deserving the descend into oblivion. Alone the fact that its comment section is outsourced to FB of all insidious places – BTW nowadays a perfectly good reason to drop any website preemptively for collaboration with Deep Fascism – gives its status as being compromised away. Especially in the present world affairs, a site like Counter Punch is superfluous. We – the people of the world – need truthful reporting. The truth, nothing but that. Controlled dissent sites come for a dime a dozen already. Like this example:

    Comment on Global Research Articles on our Facebook page

    for the Deep Fascist State to take notes about your opinion…

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    • summitflyer says

      Speaking for myself,at my age,I really don’t give a $hit if the deep state listens or knows about my opinions.They can go to hell in a hand basket for all I care.
      Global Research does do much good work on informing the public through their freelance journalists and they get their working capital from people like me and not from the deep state so I take reservation when they are chastised .For the record ,I have no facebook account nor do I have intention of ever having one,but lets not forget that many on facebook might want to investigate the Global Research page on facebook and from there learn a few things.Just saying .
      Cheers.

      • notheonly1 says

        Global Research is one of the remaining sites I visit and am subscribed to. Unfortunately, when the desire arises to respond to an article, the only way it can be done is via FB. At this time, I consider any affiliation with this detriment to humanity unforgivable. There are alternatives to provide readers and especially those who like to contribute with that option.
        I have been listening to Fela Kuti for way too long to give a shit about the mofos that run the Fascist shithole called ‘Western world’. My parents always tell me to not speak about politics when we do Facetime and the only thing that I have to say is “Fuck them”. Fascism is not defeated by crawling under the table.
        There are fewer places to go to and get informed. Consortium News has always been a favorite, but they don’t have the means to provide constant coverage. Moon of Alabama offers exquisite political analysis and its comment section is exemplary. Personally, I publish on Minds, but it is only now taking off. The future of information lies within the blockchain and I have been preferring crypto compensation for some time now.
        It is my opinion that we will see new and truly independent political information just down the road. The ‘traditional’ internet information is totally manipulated.
        If Global Research could only join the blockchain, it wouldn’t need FB anymore. Minds and Steemit are both evolving fast. Last but not least, I have become very ambivalent about any kind of news. Too much misinformation and for someone with real journalistic ethics in my heart and mind, I am mostly disgusted. If the truth can only be relayed via comics on YT it might be altogether better to work in the vegetable garden. OffGuardian, MoA, Strategic Culture, Consortium News, GRI and the World Socialist Website are good to get the drift.

        Pasar bien!

    • Gezzah Potts says

      notheonly1: Often your comments, and Mark’s hit the nail squarely on the head. Just out of complete curiosity, what sites would you consider controlled opposition or faux left? What prompted me to ask was the Global Research insert which surprised me. IMO, thought they were legit. But then again I have a tendency to be quite naive at times. Yes, I know: Democracy Now, Noam Chomsky, Mother Jones, The Nation, Huff Post are really obvious ( I was sucked in by Chomsky for years – no longer). I pretty much accept my phone and email is monitored as I’ve made comments using my real name on other sites, and lots on Palestine that had greatly offended a local Zionist bot who said he’d reported me to Mossad for my ‘jew hatred’ (Sigh). And Australia is one of the Five Eyes countries anyway. Should’ve been more careful? Probably yes.

      • mark says

        The ones you mention are the main ones that should be carrying red flags.

        The Duran, The Saker, and 21st century wire seem genuine and have a lot of very worthwhile content.
        Though it is alt right, and some people might find some if its content problematic, Fash The Nation has some very shrewd assessments of current trends.

    • milosevic says

      the Huffington Post of pseudo Leftists

      I thought the Huffington-Post of pseudo-leftists was the Huffington-Post?

      Have they now run out of middle-class do-gooder-ism and identity-politics drivel?

      Because that would be tragic.

  24. Willem says

    Ron Unz, provides some numbers about traffic to counterpunch and Unz Review (UR)

    Counterpunch plummeted, UR grew: http://www.unz.com/announcement/gaining-ground-on-the-new-republic-the-nation-and-foreign-policy/

    UR runs some pretty bad articles, but also good articles, and has a great commenting system. Counterpunch is worse than bad by promoting regime change and humanitarian intervention while at the same time acting as a left/progressive website, where commenting is nearly impossible (unless you are connected to Facebook).

    I like OffG, ICH, NakedCapitalusm and the comment section of UR. Democracy Now!, counterpunch, the Nation, Zerohedge, used to be Websites that I liked, but not anymore. Something happened after 2017 I think, and it is not me. I keep favorite articles in my History file: before 2017, plenty from DemocracyNow!, Counterpunch, etc, articles that I still like to read. After 2017, rarely or, in case of counterpunch, none at all. I guess it’s a money thing: who is paying counterpunch, and under what conditions?

    Why would counterpunch prefer to become a website that less and less people read instead of being truly progressive with a large and critical readership?

    16
    • Willem says

      That reminds me (although I am not sure if memory serves me well), about the propornot list: 200 great Websites (amongst others OffG) identified as ‘Russian propaganda’. Counterpunch was on that list at first. And then it was not anymore.

      That was the moment that counterpunch changed and became very unintersting.

      17
    • Naked Capitalism has some great stuff, but censors all positive information about China. A blind spot?

      • Jen says

        Nearly all alt-media and alt-alt-media blogs and websites have blind spots about China, I’m afraid.

        The only site I have found that consistently posts positive information about Chinese affairs is 21SilkRoad’s Facebook page.

  25. DunGroanin says

    It took me a few paragraphs to figure out that the author wasn’t being an apologist for the now out and proud controlled opposition that is CP.

    Much like the daily Obsessive Groaniad and its disappeared writers and their current coterie of house mouths with a single mind operating under the IoS/II collective shitfeed.

    For example the hiding of certain stories online as they did with Cohen/Rawnsley till late today.

    Also having a need to brave the weather for a pint of milk I just saw the front page of the Obsessive – with a story about Farcebook. Which is not easy to come across on the website by the Integrityful Cadswalladr
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/02/facebook-global-lobbying-campaign-against-data-privacy-laws-investment

    I had to search site to find it.

    Not much new in there, just some fluffy right-on cover for Carol the SJW – just don’t mention the propaganda war – I mean II!

    Not working – her rep is shit.

  26. Annie McStravick says

    Dear Ramin,
    Personally I don’t consider Counterpunch to be a great dissident website, as you call it. It is no longer the website run by Alexander Cockburn, who died an early death five or six years ago. I now go to other alternative sources of news and views, and appreciate especially the daily digest from the excellent International Clearing House http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/

    19
    • Badger Down says

      The unfailingly polite Badger Down was permanently banned from ICH some years ago. They didn’t say why.

  27. IntergenerationalTrauma says

    I quite agree with the author and his questions to CounterPoof, however I disagree that CP remains an important site. At least if one considers oneself anti-imperialist in outlook. Vltchek isn’t the only strong anti-imperialist voice to have been mysteriously disappeared from CounterPoof over the last few years. Gone also are Diana Johnstone writing out of Paris, C.J. Hopkins out of Berlin, and I’d be quite surprised if we ever again see Ed Curtain published there after the recent episode in which CounterPoof removed and archived an active article of his that happened to be critical of the CIA.

    CounterPoof continues to remove those authors who oppose U.S. imperialism, while publishing those authors (Louis Proyect, Melvin Goodman, and others) who credulously shill for the CIA’s latest “humanitarian intervention” propaganda BS without regard for reality, all while posing as – “leftists.” Andre’s book in question is very much worth reading as the author points out. However, I’m sure the book’s staunch anti-imperialism offends the delicate sensibilities of those brave progressive “regime-change-Resistance” fighters over at CounterPoof.

    27
    1
    • Jim says

      I tryed to reply and too many things went wrong, but now, that I can do it, at least, I can write that it are writers as Vltchek that the world surely needs. All my admiration goes to him for having the courage and power to do it. It can seem for some paradoxical, but his writings shows most of the traps we have to avoid in our world.

      Thanks for the excellent article.

    • CounterPoof continues to remove those authors who oppose U.S. imperialism, while publishing those authors (Louis Proyect, Melvin Goodman, and others) who credulously shill for the CIA’s latest “humanitarian intervention” propaganda BS without regard for reality, all while posing as – “leftists.”

      I am for “humanitarian intervention”? Really? All you need to do is Google my name and Yugoslavia and all you will find is consistent opposition to this. The reason I get smeared as being for “humanitarian intervention” is that I have the audacity to call out Assad as a mafia gangster who uses chemical attacks. If you think that this means I am for Trump bombing Syria or that I supported Obama’s threats against Syria in 2013, go quote me. I’ll donate $500 to your favorite Red-Brown cause if you can find a single word to that effect.

  28. Loverat says

    Really enjoyed reading that. Great insight – thank you.

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