Category Archives: Eric Draitser

Conversation: Freedom in the Empire, a brilliant discussion with Eric Draitser, Don Debar & Laura Carlsen

After reading Pepe Escobar’s previous piece on the Chinese vision for the world, contrast that with this excellent look into the inner workings of Empire by Eric Draitser and Don DeBar.

Brilliant stuff. Your dose of reality.

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Source: counterpunch

Click the picture below to go to counterpunch and play the audio!

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This week, Eric welcomes two brilliant guests to the show. First, Eric speaks with Don DeBar, independent broadcaster and Senior Producer at Community Public Radio (CPRmetro.org). Eric and Don discuss the state of the independent media, and how it has been rapidly transformed in recent years. Don presents an inside account of the corporate takeover and purge of Pacifica Radio and its NYC flagship station WBAI, pulling back the curtain on how Pacifica operates, and why some of its good work has come to be overshadowed by the bad, especially when it comes to issues of war and peace. Eric and Don also touch on the war in Libya and how that exposed much of the media for being aligned with the US-NATO war agenda.

In the second half of the show, Eric welcomes Laura Carlsen, Director of the Americas Program at the Center for International Policy to the program. Eric and Laura discuss the 2014 Ayotzinapa massacre of student teachers in Mexico, and the obvious government cover-up of the incident. Laura explains what happened in late September 2014, what the circumstances were leading up to the massacre, and the inconsistencies in the initial government investigation. Eric and Laura also discuss neoliberalism and privatization, and how this massacre should be understood as part of a broader political process ongoing in Mexico with direct US involvement.

Musical interlude from Boukman Eksperyans – “Jou Nou Revolte”
Intro & Outtro from David Vest

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Conversation: Syria, Empire, Russia, Portugal and more!

Sunday 25 Oct 2015, CPR Sunday’s Geopolitical Talk Show

Eric Draitser with security analyst Mark Sleboda and journalist/broadcaster Don DeBar.

Introduction by Eric Draitser:

This week we discuss the election in Portugal and the anti-democratic actions of the Portuguese president who has refused to recognize the results. We also discuss the rise of the far left and new right in Europe, and what this means for European politics and organizing. The conversation also touches on the latest developments in the war in Syria, and other regional issues. All this and much more in this hour-long weekly conversation.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Israel, the Media and the Anatomy of a Sick Society, by Eric Draitser

Source: Counterpunch

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The video of 13 year old Palestinian Ahmed Manasrah bleeding to death on the pavement of an East Jerusalem neighborhood has been described as “shocking,” “disturbing,” and “painful to watch.” The callous verbal abuse and insults from Israelis watching the child writhe in agony are variously characterized as “heartless” and “cruel”; and indeed they are. “Die you son of a whore. Die! Die!” the Israeli onlookers can be heard shouting in the video which has since gone viral on social media.

While there has been much discussion of this video, and other similar incidents involving the extrajudicial executions of Palestinian youths accused by Israel of having stabbed Israelis (the veracity of some of these claims is disputed), there is decidedly little examination of the sociological implications. Specifically, it has become taboo to interrogate just what sort of ideological and psychological conclusions can be drawn about Israelis society – a society where such behavior is not an outlier; where, rather than being an anomaly, it is indicative of a significant, if not mainstream, attitude. Such undeniably barbaric treatment is not simple hate, and cannot be explained away or justified. But that is precisely what the corporate media does.

Suffice to say that there are many political analysts, activists, and others who are timid about outright condemnations of Israeli society and Israeli attitudes. They are, with much justification, fearful of being demonized as anti-Semitic, terrified that rather than open dialogue and critical examination, they will have their arguments twisted and portrayed as hateful and racist. While such accusations are sometimes warranted – as in the case of fascist bigots and neo-Nazis for whom “Jew” is synonymous with “evil” – more often than not these are willfully deceptive deflections designed to shield Israeli society from the criticism that it so clearly deserves.

Continue reading Israel, the Media and the Anatomy of a Sick Society, by Eric Draitser

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The Refugee Crisis: Separating the Conspiracies from The Conspiracy™, by Eric Draitser

Source: Counterpunch

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As the refugee crisis in Europe has come to dominate western media headlines, it has predictably given rise to a complex web of theories, analyses, and politically and ideologically charged omissions and distortions. The corporate propagandists of ‘acceptable journalism’ have presented the issue in a purely humanitarian and cultural light, with little to no political context in terms of the refugee influx as the fruit of imperial wars in Africa and Asia.

These bastions of journalistic truth have managed to flush down the memory hole nearly all evidence published in their own pages of the overlapping strategies of regional and international powers that have conspired to wage war in Syria, openly colluded in wars of aggression in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen, and prolonged and capitalized from seemingly endless conflicts in Somalia and elsewhere. All of these very conscious decisions by the ruling class and its political establishment in the US-NATO (plus Israel and GCC), have led directly to the “crisis” as it exists today. And yet, if they’re mentioned at all, it is merely in passing bemusement, the way one might refer to a stupid comment made after one too many tequila shots at a margarita happy hour.

The refugee issue then becomes less a product of political conflict, and more a cultural battlefield with trenches dug along racial and ethnic lines: the struggle to maintain European ‘civilization’ against the barbaric hordes of uncivilized brown-skinned invaders arriving as a “swarm,” to borrow the unintentionally honest expression used by British Prime Minister David Cameron to describe the refugees. This is of course the neocolonial, supremacist position espoused most vocally by the far right throughout Europe, from Marine Le Pen and the Front National in France, to Hungary’s conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban whose heavy-handed tactics – building fences, mobilizing troops and the unemployed, convicts, and fascists of various stripes – to block the refugee influx, have been both praised and condemned by various elements in Europe.

Continue reading The Refugee Crisis: Separating the Conspiracies from The Conspiracy™, by Eric Draitser

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The Douma Market Attack: a Fabricated Pretext for Intervention?, by Eric Draitser

Source: Counterpunch

The August 16, 2015 attack on a market in the Syrian town of Douma, just outside the capital Damascus, has caused international outrage. Condemnations of the Syrian government have poured in from seemingly all corners of the globe as President Assad and the Syrian military have been declared responsible for the attack, convicted in the court of media opinion. Interestingly, such declarations have come well before any investigation has been conducted, and without any tangible evidence other than the assertions of the rebel spokespersons and anti-government sources. Indeed, there has been an embarrassing dearth of investigative questions asked as corporate media, who have been far from objective these last four and half years, have rushed to fit the facts to their long-standing narrative of “Assad the Butcher.”

This author fully understands that, in asking difficult questions, he will be called an “apologist,” an “Assad propagandist,” or some other such nonsense. Frankly, such name-calling means very little when compared to the suffering of Syrian people, and the untold brutality that will be visited upon them if the western corporate media and warmongers get their way and yet another imperialist so-called intervention is carried out in the name of “humanitarianism.” The goal is to ask the right questions, to cast doubt on the already solidifying propaganda narrative that will undoubtedly be used to justify still more war.

Those who work for peace must be prepared to interrogate the received truths of the media machine, to confront head on that which is uncomfortable, and to do so knowing that their motives are just. The victims of this war, both past and future, deserve nothing less.

Questioning the Douma Narrative

When carefully scrutinizing the documentary evidence of the attack, and comparing that to the claims made throughout western media, some troubling irregularities emerge. Not only do the claims seem to be exaggerated, but when placed within the historical context of this war, they seem to fit into a clear pattern of distortion and misinformation disseminated for political purposes, rather than objective reportage. Indeed, the raw footage taken on the scene goes a long way to contradicting some of the claims made by witnesses and “activists” (an interesting term in itself) often quoted in the media.

[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading The Douma Market Attack: a Fabricated Pretext for Intervention?, by Eric Draitser

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Libya: African Jewel, by Eric Draitser

Source: Counterpunch

Snatched away –
blood and sand
alloyed to lifeless aridity:
add water. A man-made
river stolen, siphoned

assets in frozen accounts,
darkness unpenetrated
by the electric gaze
of a once buzzing grid,
spark snuffed.

The Greeks knew this:
tragedies have heroes
and death, covalent bond –
a binary truth
to build myths upon.

Here the wind dries tears,
breaks skin like stone
and stone like steel.
Still, man and martyr stand,
faces to an unforgiving sun.

And with hands that once
broke bread
tilled soil
mended wounds,
they hoist the Green Flag

And declare:
We are here.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. He is the editor of StopImperialism.org, host of CounterPunch Radio, OP-ed columnist for RT and writes for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. You can reach him at ericdraitser@gmail.com

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The Fake War on ISIS: US and Turkey Escalate in Syria, by Eric Draitser

Source: New Eastern Outlook

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It is late July 2015, and the media is abuzz with the news that Turkey will allow US jets to use its bases to bomb Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Syria. There is much talk about how this development is a “game-changer,” and how this is a clear escalation of the much ballyhooed, but more fictional than real, US war on ISIS: the terror organization that US intelligence welcomed as a positive development in 2012 in their continued attempts to instigate regime change against the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad.

The western public is told that “This is a significant shift…It’s a big deal,” as a US military official told the Wall Street Journal. What the corporate media fail to mention, however, is the fact that Turkey has been, and continues to be, a central actor in the war in Syria and, consequently, in the development and maintenance of ISIS. So, while Washington waxes poetic about stepping up the fight against the terror group, and lauds the participation of its allies in Ankara, the barely concealed fact is that Turkey is merely further entrenching itself in a war that it has fomented.

Of equal importance is the simple fact that a “war on ISIS” is merely a pretext for Turkey’s military engagement in Syria and throughout the region. Not only does Turkey’s neo-Ottoman revanchist President Erdogan want to flex his military muscles in order to further the regime change agenda in Syria, he also is using recent tragic events as political and diplomatic cover for waging a new aggressive war against the region’s Kurds, especially Turkey’s longtime foe the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

[Please click below to continue reading[ Continue reading The Fake War on ISIS: US and Turkey Escalate in Syria, by Eric Draitser

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China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion, by Eric Draitser

Source: New Eastern Outlook

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China has recently taken an important step in more tightly regulating foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) inside the country. Despite condemnation from so called human rights groups in the West, China’s move should be understood as a critical decision to assert sovereignty over its own political space. Naturally, the shrill cries of “repression” and “hostility toward civil society” from western NGOs have done little to shake the resolve of Beijing as the government has recognized the critical importance of cutting off all avenues for political and social destabilization.

The predictable argument, once again being made against China’sOverseas NGO Management Law, is that it is a restriction on freedom of association and expression, and a means of stifling the burgeoning civil society sector in China. The NGO advocates portray this proposed legislation as another example of the violation of human rights in China, and further evidence of Beijing’s lack of commitment to them. They posit that China is moving to further entrench an authoritarian government by closing off the democratic space which has emerged in recent years.

However, amid all the hand-wringing about human rights and democracy, what is conveniently left out of the narrative is the simple fact that foreign NGOs, and domestic ones funded by foreign money, are, to a large extent, agents of foreign interests, and are quite used as soft power weapons for destabilization. And this is no mere conspiracy theory as the documented record of the role of NGOs in recent political unrest in China is voluminous. It would not be a stretch to say that Beijing has finally recognized, just as Russia has before it, that in order to maintain political stability and true sovereignty, it must be able to control the civil society space otherwise manipulated by the US and its allies.

[Please click below to continue reading]
Continue reading China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion, by Eric Draitser

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The Geopolitics & Economics of the Iran Nuclear Deal, by Eric Draitser

Source: New Eastern Outlook

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The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to in Vienna by the P5+1 countries and Iran is clearly a landmark agreement, one which will significantly alter the political and economic balance of power in the Middle East, as well as the global strategic picture. However, amidst the chorus of celebration from many capitals around the world, and condemnations from Israel, some of the Gulf states, and certain segments in Iran, much of the geopolitical significance of the agreement has been overlooked.

From this perspective, the deal is more than simply a new chapter in Iran’s relations with the West and the world at large; it is the agreement by which Iran will transform itself from a potentially powerful, though politically and economically isolated country, to an emerging regional power that will become a linchpin of the strategies of both the western and non-western worlds. Of course, this potential benefit came at the cost of major concessions from Tehran, concessions which are in many ways difficult to justify, especially within the context of Iranian domestic politics where issues of national pride have a very real political currency and cannot necessarily be measured in rials, euros, and dollars.

However, an analysis of the impact of the deal cannot simply be relegated to what is in Iran’s immediate interests, nor those of the P5+1 countries, but rather must take into account the long-term strategic imperatives of each. Moreover, the emerging non-western alliance of BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), New Silk Road, and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) broadly speaking, factor significantly into this deal. So too does Turkey, both an important trading partner for Iran, but also a political adversary.

Seen in this way, the agreement reached in Vienna is a watershed in early 21st Century geopolitics and economic development, one which will have vast implications for years, and perhaps decades, to come.

[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading The Geopolitics & Economics of the Iran Nuclear Deal, by Eric Draitser

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