Iran and the US Position in the P5+1 Talks

July 10, 2015 at 12:03 PM

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Eric Draitser of StopImperialism.org appears on Radio Sputnik to discuss the current state of the P5+1 negotiations in Vienna.  Draitser explains that the US has been an obstacle to reaching a deal because of its disingenuous positions which  change and are, quite often, utterly contradictory.  He notes that Iran has maintained consistently that the sanctions and arms embargo must be lifted in order for a deal to be concluded, but the US continues to maintain that it should have the right to continue economic war against Iran, regardless of if a deal is reach or not.  These and other points discussed in this short interview.

Counterpunch Radio – Ep. 10 (Ron Jacobs)

July 10, 2015 at 11:53 AM

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Click here to listen to Counterpunch Radio – Ep. 10 (Ron Jacobs)

This week, CounterPunch Radio host Eric Draitser speaks with author Ron Jacobs, whose new book Daydream Sunset: The 60s Counterculture in the 70s is available from CounterPunch. Eric and Ron discuss many of the important themes of the book, including the role of music and culture in reflecting the evolution of the counterculture, and of American culture broadly, during this period. They examine how issues of class, race, and identity took their respective places in politics and society during the 70s, as well as the role of the Vietnam War in galvanizing various forms of countercultural protest and expression. Eric and Ron also juxtapose the politics of the younger generation and that of the 60s and 70s, and how the experiences of today’s youth are both related to, and distinct from, those of the counterculture of the previous generation. All this and much more in Episode 10 which also includes intro and outtro music provided by the Dr. of the Blues, the man with a PhD in Boogie Woogie, David Vest, and interlude by I See Hawks in LA.

US-Russia Economic War Heats Up

July 3, 2015 at 9:33 AM

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As the US and Europe push forward with continued sanctions against Russia, an intriguing economic battle is taking shape, one which will have significant repercussions for years to come. While Washington and Brussels seek to divide Russia from Europe in order to maintain Western hegemony – blocking Eurasian integration by definition – Moscow is counteracting this strategy by leveraging its economic power in the form of energy exports and cooperation.

Although most of the economic machinations have flown under the radar, being less headline-grabbing than the conflict over Ukraine, extended sanctions, or the NATO military buildup, in reality they are equally important. Russia’s energy giant Gazprom has entered into economically and strategically critical deals with key western companies at precisely the same moment that the West seeks to isolate Russia economically. Simultaneously, Russian-sponsored gas pipelines in the North and South of Europe (as well as in Central and East Asia) complicate matters for those who would seek to alienate Russia from the European market and the potential political and economic power that access to that market brings.

From a geopolitical and strategic perspective, Russia’s ongoing conflict with the US and its European subordinates is being manifested as much in the boardrooms as in the halls of parliaments; as much under the Baltic and Black Seas, as in the war rooms of the Pentagon and Kremlin.

It’s the Economics, Stupid

Amid the panels and discussions about the development of BRICS, Eurasian integration, and New Silk Roads at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a massive energy cooperation deal was signed, one that should be seen as a major coup for Moscow. An agreement between the world’s top gas producer, Russia’s Gazprom, and Royal Dutch Shell, to build two new Nord Stream gas pipelines to Germany will have major implications for the future of economic cooperation between Russia and European energy firms. Moreover, it will further cement Russia as an integral partner for German industry, the heart of Germany’s economy.

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Counterpunch Radio – Ep. 9 (Sharmine Narwani & Reme Sakr)

July 3, 2015 at 9:08 AM

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Click here to listen to Counterpunch Radio – Ep. 9 with Sharmine Narwani and Reme Sakr

This week, CounterPunch Radio host Eric Draitser sits down with two important guests to discuss all things Syria. The first part of the show is an in depth discussion with Beirut-based political analyst and commentator Sharmine Narwani. Eric and Sharmine examine the latest developments in the war in Syria with particular attention to the battles along the Syria-Lebanon border, as well as the role of Turkey and other regional players. They also touch on the ongoing conflict in Iraq and the way in which the US continues to play a double-game when it comes to Baghdad and the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).

The second part of the show features an oddly congested Eric Draitser in conversation with Syrian-Australian political activist Reme Sakr speaking from Syria. Sakr provides her insight into the collective psyche and daily life of ordinary Syrians after more than four years of war. She explains some of the hardships they face, as well as the nuances of how Syrians actually view this conflict, their country, and its institutions. Don’t miss this important episode, which also include intro and outtro music provided by the Dr. of the Blues, the man with a PhD in Boogie Woogie, David Vest, and interlude by The Mekons.

Honduras Bleeding: The Coup and Its Aftermath

June 29, 2015 at 11:26 AM

 

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June 28 marked the six year anniversary of the military coup in Honduras – the day that a democratically elected left wing government was ousted by a US-backed, US-trained cabal of generals and right wing politicians and landowners. It could correctly be called a “Quiet Coup” primarily because it took place with very little fanfare from the corporate media which, to the extent that it covered it at all, did so mostly from a distorted perspective which spread more misinformation than truth. Today, six years (and many innocent lives, and billions of dollars) later, this shameful moment in recent history still remains largely forgotten.

Perhaps it was the lingering euphoria felt by liberals and so-called progressives in the months after Obama’s election and inauguration. Perhaps it was the still new economic crisis and subsequent bailout and financial turmoil. Perhaps it was plain old imperialistic, neocolonial disregard for Latin America and the rights of the people unfortunate enough to be living in “America’s backyard.” Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the Obama administration and those who supported it, then and now, are complicit in an ongoing political, economic, and social tragedy in Honduras.

But why bring it up now, other than to mark the anniversary of the coup? For starters, because one of the primary participants and benefactors happens to be the likely Democratic Party presidential candidate: Hillary Clinton. Also, far from being a discrete episode of US imperialism’s sordid past, the coup and its legacy remain a driving force in Honduran politics and society today. The beneficiaries and participants are all still either in government or have shifted to the private sector, and continue to enrich themselves at the cost of the poor and working people of the country. The coup government of Honduras continues to wage a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against minority communities to benefit itself and its patrons from the US and elsewhere.

Perhaps most importantly, the coup of 2009 reveals the extent to which the United States remains a neocolonial, imperial power in Latin America, and reminds us of just what countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador have been struggling against. It illustrates in the starkest terms the human cost of Washington’s policies, not in books about a historical period, but in images and videos of a country under its thumb today. It reminds us just how real the struggle still is.

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