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by Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos, Founder & Publisher, Political Strategist, and Strategy/Peace Negotiator with the UN Security Council Special Envoy to the Arab Nations
July 22, 2012 (TSR) - An interesting event happened to me when I woke up on Saturday morning. As I was doing my morning “hello” to the wild birds that usually greet me from my balcony, I had a sparrow that just died, waiting at my door. I picked up the beautiful creature, whose body was still warm, in tearful compassion and held it between the palm of my hands. As I gazed at it, I was prompted sing one of my favorite old gospel hymns I learned as a child, His Eye on the Sparrow.
I looked up in the sky and was curious what this all meant. Among the clouds I saw the face of a man and next to it were shapes resembling four letters. I was trying to figure it out and in my humble plea, I asked Heaven to give me insight. Knowing myself, I would spend the entire day solving this strange puzzle.
I was already struggling with how Omar Suleiman truly died. Saturday was his funeral.
I then heard a whisper in my ear, “Alex,” which disturbed my morning equilibrium. I started praying because one of the people closest to my heart is called Alex (well, one of his names). He is my mentor and big brother, the UN Security Council Special Envoy to the Arab Nations, a Level 1 Diplomat (highest rank you can have on the planet) whom Sarcozy was trying so very hard to murder last year because of our involvement in brokering peace in the Middle East. Sarcozy was particularly irked at our proof of his war crimes in Libya. I have been praying for my big brother’s protection every day since last year.
However, I have a conviction to not dwell so much in negative thinking and worrying. Hence, I let it go and trust in the Higher Powers that be. I remained in a meditative state all day, and opted to allow the events of the day to unfold.
Later in the day, news broke: Alexander Cockburn (1941-2012), TSR Contributing writer and the co-editor of the political newsletter Counterpunch died on Saturday in Bad Salzhausen, Germany at the age of 71 after a secret battle with cancer.
Alexander Cockburn (pronounced COE-burn) was an Irish-American writer born in Scotland on June 6, 1941. Educated in Ireland, England and Scotland, he graduated with honors from Oxford University in 1963. He is survived by a daughter, Daisy Cockburn, two brothers, the author Andrew Cockburn and British journalist Patrick Cockburn, as well as several nephews and nieces, including the actress Olivia Wilde, a daughter of Andrew Cockburn.
Alex had been a journalist since 1973, before I was born, and established a reputation as one of the foremost reporters and commentators by writing newspaper and magazine columns for decades whose areas of interest include the American political scene, economics, the environment, labor issues and international policy. Traveling extensively, he also regularly lectured on environmental issues and global politics.
He authored a bi-weekly column for The Nation called “Beat the Devil” and also wrote a syndicated newspaper column, which is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate and has appeared regularly in such papers as the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Examiner, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Detroit Free Press. In 1987, Cockburn authored a highly successful collection of essays, some autobiographical, entitled “Corruptions of Empire” for which he was called “the most gifted polemicist now writing in English” by the Times Literary Supplement. Cockburn also co-authored the acclaimed “The Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers and Defenders of the Amazon.” He appeared on numerous national television programs, including interviews with Ted Koppel and Phil Donohue.
With all those impressive accolades, however, not many knew of Alex’s personal battle from that evil disease called cancer for he only disclosed his illness to a few people:
“Alex kept his illness a tightly guarded secret. Only a handful of us knew how terribly sick he truly was. He didn’t want the disease to define him. He didn’t want his friends and readers to shower him with sympathy,” in a published column by Jeffrey St. Clair, whom Alex co-founded CounterPunch with in 1996, to express his grief at losing a good friend and mentor.
For decades, Alex, who lived in recent years in Petrolia, California, was dubbed by political pundits from both Democrats and Republicans, critics and the American mainstream media establishment as “radical” “leftwing”.
Alex had a love-hate relationship with many people in polarized circles, even infuriating them to the point of describing his writing style as “acidic.” Liberals disliked his skeptical writing about global warming, and he irked the neoconservatives with his ferocious attacks on Israel. He was known to be unapologetic for his convictions. As he should be. Why would he apologize for speaking up for the majority who couldn’t speak or write eloquently about their disgust over loss of innocent lives, unemployment, poverty and expensive wars due to greed and power lust of the Few?
I find “leftwing” to be wrong in labeling him, or even labeling him at all because people are complex beings, because as St. Clair asserts, “he hated compromise in politics, and he didn’t tolerate it in his own life.” It sounds more to me that he has a zero tolerance policy for bullsh*t, regardless of where and to which group you belong. That is one thing to which I can truly relate.
As an avid student of human nature and its politics, I’ve learned that most people’s fears and convictions are learned from their environments and the circles in which they navigate. This in turn is applied and becomes the driving force in how they manage their affairs. It is also prevalent that these people who are controlled by their insecure Egos have a need to always carry a big stick and thus behave like bullies. Indeed, many do not grow past high school mentality, even after they graduate university studies and become professionals. Dysfunctional thinking and behaviors are quite a hard habit to break for many.
Take the young nation called the United States of America, a train wreck now from their warmongering foreign policies which caused a lot of animosity and distrust around the world. America has yet to understand what true diplomacy and multi-polar world is about.
The United States of America is in denial, marketing themselves as some “healthy” and “powerful” nation when they are not. Most average Americans these days rely heavily on the government’s social safety net, and it has grown exponentially. U.S.A. Today reports on the dim reality of the American dream due to the insurmountable debt it incurred from its incessant, unjustified wars, with its poverty on track to climb to levels not seen in nearly half a century. It is spreading at record rates across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor.
The analysts’ estimates suggest that some 47 million people in the U.S., or 1 in 6, were poor last year. An increase of one-tenth of a percentage point to 15.2 percent would tie the 1983 rate, the highest since 1965. The highest level on record was 22.4 percent in 1959, when the government began calculating poverty figures.
Mr. Nobel “War is Peace” Obama, his Administration and the corrupt U.S. Congress have nothing to flaunt, together with their predecessors. Honest and hardworking Americans dare not call themselves a free and prosperous “powerful” nation on earth anymore. Freedoms are also hijacked by the unconstitutional Patriot Act and other forms of whatever they have concocted over there to control the Will of the People.
I have said this before, and I will say it once again to educate the masses: The United States of America was established as a Republic, not as a democracy. As historian Bettany Hughes bluntly states, Democracy is historically a dead end, a goddess worship, and its promoters were called idiots. Now, you know one of the major reasons why I don’t promote it. It is time to evolve, not go backwards. Usher what the 21st Century should be and leave primitive thinking behind. You become what you feed your mind.
American zero-sum games, consumerism and debased robotic attitudes have pushed our civilization to a very disturbing time in our history, where real war and political reporting has turned into tabloid Hollywood production: where US-NATO allies, Israel and Qatar, use channels such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, and other media outlets to conduct their psy-op warfare and fabricate news with subservient journalists and editors who are more than willing to sacrifice truth and context over profit and fancy über-Nazi propaganda-esque methodology and savvy applications. Even worse, people who are guilty of skeletons in their closets are often the same people who attack and demonize others, since they mostly see the world through their warped lenses as a projection of themselves, are often the most noisy and desperate bunch you hear cackle like chickens on TV.
In an age where “democracy,” “forced regime change” and “humanitarian and just war” interventions are prevalent, such as what happened in 2011 with Libya, Syrian Crisis, destabilization of countries and lawlessness left and right led by USA, Israel and the West, whose leadership use “human rights” in name only and have been unaccountable by all international laws, real hardcore investigative and responsible journalism in the mainstream (print, TV or online) is a dying breed. People like Alex are a very rare asset in these bleak times against a mainstream media behemoth that is complicit to war crimes and responsible to inciting provocation and discord between nations, leaders, cultures and societies.
For example, in politics (where I have had the privilege to see and work front and back, top to bottom, bottom and up, left or right), mainstream party politics are mostly perception. It is a show. The aim is to get an audience or get more monies to fuel the election coffers, like when President Obama went out to “support” gay marriage, and Alex wrote on his bluff (like many others before him), to which I personally and professionally agree based on how I know American electioneering is concerned.
While you see many of the elected representatives do their typical talking points and sound bytes to win sympathy and attack their so-called “opponents,” the fact is that many of those “points” are crafted and concocted by political strategists like me. What the public does not understand nor see is that at the end of the day, these same people go out and have their dinners and cocktails, and god knows what else you can think of (to which I will allow your imaginations to run wild on that one.)
If Obama truly cared about and supported gay marriage, why didn’t he do it during his first year as President? Why didn’t he come out with guns blazing when Californians and Americans across the country were in heated debate and protests regarding Proposition 8? No, gentle people of planet Earth, Obama’s support was motivated by the worth of gays and lesbians in America by 2011: $835 billion, their annual spending power. Smart politicians employ political strategists and consultants like me for knowing things like that. They may be in the limelight, but there is usually a “man behind the curtain” doing the thinking and writing. They cannot do both; those who do, fail. Rarely do you find real geniuses. That is part of the game of politics. It’s all business; rarely anything is personal.
The timing was just too obvious – Obama just had clashes with Binyamin Netanyahu, and he needed to raise more money against Mitt Romney; thus, he had to appease Hollywood and the awakening youth. What many seem to have forgotten is that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in America has felt dissed and left out by Obama’s policies. The President chose to appease the special interests that fuel his ‘power’ by going center-right.
Those who think Hollywood actor George Clooney, Glee creator Ryan Murphy and singer Ricky Martin were not tactical and calculated are sorely mistaken. The super PAC (political action committee) supporting President Barack Obama raised more than $6.2 million in June, much of it from the gay rights community and the entertainment industry. POLITICO.com reported that Priorities USA, a pro-Obama PAC spent $7.9 million in June and finished the month $2.8 million in the black.
Priorities USA received $1 million from Fred Eychaner, a prominent gay rights supporter and owner of Newsweb Corporation. Another gay rights supporter, Jon Stryker, gave $750,000 to the PAC. Veteran Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman, who starred in the Broadway reading of 8, the play based on the trial over the constitutionality of California’s gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, also donated $1 million recently to the Obama campaign.
American votes are bought and paid for. Its price is wholesale, not retail. The poor youth and innocent bystanders have no clue what is what because they are all bombarded with propaganda using their favorite artists and heroes. It’s a circus in America. Personally, I dislike clowns. They scare me. Who knows who and what is all behind that make-up, right? One should be deeply concerned when everything seems to be geared more for entertainment value, rather than to educate and inform.
Many of these “leaders” are impotent, for they cater to the people who fund their machine and put them in power. Unlike them, I choose to disengage in the pettiness and drama due to my moral duty and obligation to Humanity. Many of these people you read, see and loudly hear are all about pleasing their base in order to maintain power and influence. Ego rules far and wide in this world. Their weapon of choice? Fearmongering. Rarely do you find anyone who will stand up and do the right thing, regardless of what the status quo entails.
America is now bankrupt and depressed across the board – economically, politically, morally, culturally, and spiritually. Is it any wonder why the 147 nations (and rising) led by BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), along with the Muslim world, do not wish to kowtow and bow to Washington’s demands and its hypocritical preaching of human rights anymore? People are realizing the shroud of darkness that has engulfed the world, and they are resisting. It is laughable, indeed, that the West blasts the volume of their megaphones and resort to name-calling when anyone dares stand up for what is true and right for the universal needs of Humanity.
Cockburn’s approach in exposing and attacking the hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy and slamming the mainstream media definitely ran in his genes. Among his ancestors was Sir George Cockburn, an English admiral who helped burn down the White House in 1814 during the War of 1812.
His father, British novelist Claud Cockburn, joined the Republican forces fighting the rebellion of Francisco Franco while covering the Spanish Civil War for The Daily Worker. In fact, he also wrote novels using a pseudonym, including “Beat the Devil,” which was made into a film with Humphrey Bogart and the title Alex used for his column in The Nation.
In the 1970s and ’80s, Alex wrote for the Village Voice, but was fired after the Boston Phoenix reported him for taking a $10,000 grant from the Institute of Arab Studies to write a book about Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. David Schneiderman, the Voice editor at the time, suggested that the grant created a conflict of interest since critics considered it pro-Arab.
In London, Alex worked for The Times Literary Supplement and The New Statesman, before becoming a permanent resident of the United States in 1973.
He joined The Nation in 1984 after leaving The Voice and took that magazine’s old rivalry with the more centrist New Republic to a new level. He also had a column for a time in the Wall Street Journal.
He authored several books, including Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press (1998, with St. Clair), Corruptions of Empire (1988), End Times: The Death of the Fourth Estate (2006, with St. Clair), and A Short History of Fear (2009).
St. Clair confirms Cockburn’s fiery life purpose,
“Alex wanted to keep living his life right to the end. He wanted to live on his terms. And he wanted to continue writing through it all, just as his brilliant father, the novelist and journalist Claud Cockburn had done. And so he did. His body was deteriorating, but his prose remained as sharp, lucid and deadly as ever.”
“Amid the chemo and blood transfusions and painkillers, Alex turned out not only columns for CounterPunch and The Nation and First Post, but he also wrote a small book called Guillotine and finished his memoirs, A Colossal Wreck, both of which CounterPunch plans to publish over the course of the next year,” as St. Clair also announced.
“Acidic” is not the term I would use to describe him nor his writings. I bemoan those who fail to distinguish the difference between what the majority does, like people groping in the dark calling it a “cause,” versus people like Alex. He cared, simple as that. He was a catalyst, whose writings are acerbic, waking people up to independently think for themselves, regardless of where they are in the political spectrum. I personally do not want to label Alex like they do. If I must, I would call him freedom lover, fighter and guardian. His pen spared very few on either the left or right for policies that he felt were hypocritical or corrupt. Indeed, there are many things in this world that should be clear-cut: Never forget your humanity.
Humanity suffers from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Alex was a real (and rare) eloquent TRUTH warrior for Humanity who kept digging the trenches of lies and propaganda. I am neither any more conservative, libertarian, moderate or whatever you wish to call me. It does not make any difference as to which belief, status, background or political persuasion we belong. We are at war on all fronts now, and it is not anymore about left or right, top or bottom; our enemy is tyranny, and it wants to control us. It is against all our freedoms. It wants to own each and every single one of us.
It does not make any difference as to which belief, status, background or political persuasion we belong. We are at war on all fronts now, and it is not anymore about left or right, top or bottom; our enemy is tyranny, and it wants to control us. It is against all our freedoms. It wants to own each and every single one of us.
Alex earned my respect for his audacious contributions to journalism and society. He demanded forthrightness in our social values and mores, norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance, that ought to predicate and elevate decency and noble virtues in leadership, legislations, domestic and foreign policies. He is a courageous writer, whose sword was the mighty pen and armor was his heart which bled for TRUTH in order to radically change our perceptions and usher a civilization worthy to be called “civilized.” Heaven knows all the chaos and suffering we have done and experience down here is caused by humans, and collectively and individually, we must take responsibility and undo it with great determination, persistence and courage.
Heaven knows all the chaos and suffering we have done and experience down here is caused by humans, and collectively and individually, we must take responsibility and undo it with great determination, persistence and courage.
If we really read between the lines of his words, you can hear Alex’s voice screaming, “Think freely, do justly, love and don’t harm one another,” to a world full of brainwashed Sheeples. He fiercely shook the foundations of the ‘strong’ and told them “Lead justly and in fairness,” and proclaimed to the fearful who wish to be heard, “Stand up and be counted. Your voice matters.”
If we really read between the lines of his words, you can hear his voice screaming, “Think freely, do justly, love and don’t harm one another,” to a world full of brainwashed Sheeples. He fiercely shook the foundations of the ‘strong’ and told them “Lead justly and in fairness,” and proclaimed to the fearful who wish to be heard, “Stand up and be counted. Your voice matters.”
“… he taught at least two generations how to think, how to look at the world, how to live a life of joyful and creative resistance. So, the struggle continues and we’re going to remain engaged. He wouldn’t have it any other way,” St. Clair asserts.
My sentiments exactly, and the reason for which The Santos Republic was birthed. There is a huge deficit of real free thinkers who will indeed represent the voice of the 21st Century generation. We cannot go on the way we have. We need to propel Humanity to greatness, not take it on a downward spiral
As our tribute to Alex, we will continue to publish his relevant thought-provoking articles in order to educate current and future generations. Also, since Alex didn’t get to do his exposé on Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, we will publish an article about that in forthcoming posts. I have personally kept something that the West has refused to release for years. Truth is a double-edged sword meant to cut through the heart of the matter, not to intentionally hurt, but compassionately heal our world. Real history of our civilization has been hijacked by the loudmouth neo-liberal propagandists. Well, no more. It is time to grow up.
To Alex, thank you for your gift to us, the younger generation, who were once blind and shackled, now free. I and the others will carry the torch through The Santos Republic.
Fly home, my dear Sparrow. Fly home.
AUTHOR: Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos
Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos is the Founder & Publisher of The Santos Republic. She is also political strategist and analyst, investment consultant and advisor, and the Strategy/Peace Negotiator with the UN Security Council Special Envoy to the Arab Nations involved in brokering peace in the Middle East since 2011. She is also the Principal of MJS Global Group whose core competency is strategy, image/media, branding, geopolitics, international trade and development, communications, intelligence and security, aerospace, technology, entertainment, wealth management, mining, energy, infrastructure, commodities (gold, diamonds, oil and gas, sugar, cement, edible oils, rice, et al), and capital markets. also serves as a Senior Consulting Advisor for DeMatteo Monness LLC, a specialized agency brokerage with equity trading operations in New York and Boston and a member firm of the NASD and clears trades through Goldman Sachs Execution; Clearing LLC. With a background in working for international political campaigns, she is also a public speaker and lecturer on politics and motivational topics. Lady MJ has appeared and been featured in international media outlets (radio, television, print and internet) in Europe and USA such as Fox Business News, NRK, CNBC, CBS and AOL News. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter (@mj_santos). You can read more about her here.