Why CounterVortex? The planet is spiraling into a vortex of ecological collapse, permanent war, and totalitarianism—whether of the techno-security state or the religious and ethnic fundamentalisms that ostensibly oppose it. Through our resistance, we create a counter-vortex, generating movement toward sustainability, peace, and popular democracy.
While we advance a ruthless criticism of all existing reality, this is not an invitation to mere nihilism: in negating the leviathan that is itself negating human freedom and autonomy, we ultimately seek a negation of the negation.
The project has been monitoring the Global War on Terrorism and its implications for human rights, democracy and ecology since the immediate aftermath of 9-11. With an international network of contacts and correspondents, we scan the world press and Internet for important stories overlooked by the mass media, and examine the headlines with a critical eye for distortion, deceit and propaganda. We report on the forgotten wars outside the media spotlight, and seek out unexamined contexts that go beyond mainstream sound-bite coverage. We endeavor to expose the corporate agendas behind the new military interventions, and to find pro-autonomy, anti-militarist voices we can support in the countries under imperialist assault. We support the secular, progressive anti-imperialist and pro-democracy forces in the Middle East that reject the spectacularized “jihad-vs-GWOT” duality. We especially seek to loan solidarity to land-rooted, stateless, and indigenous peoples—the “Fourth World.” Above all, we are committed to real journalism (as opposed to mere opinion-spewing and bloggery), and seek through our example to resist its alarming decline. We are fastidiously non-sectarian, and our first loyalty is always to the truth.
We changed the name to CounterVortex in 2016, in light of our expanding areas of coverage (beyond our original mandate of the Global War on Terrorism), and to emphasize resistance and positive alternatives to the deepening dystopia. Hence our new kicker: “Resisting the Downward Spiral.”
Why World War 4? The “World War III” envisioned in the Cold War was a devastating conflict between two monolithic superpowers. The Cold War, thankfully, never reached this climax. But in the aftermath of 9-11, we entered its chilling sequel: the age of “asymmetrical” or “molecular” warfare, in which a single globalized superpower faces an invisible, hydra-headed enemy which is everywhere and nowhere; in which the expansion of “free markets” is an explicit aim of military campaigns; and in which indigenous peoples, stateless ethnicities and localist/autonomist political models—the “Fourth World”—are increasingly targeted and conflated with the “terrorist” threat. The leaders of this new global crusade acknowledge openly that it will last generations. To emphasize that this new world situation requires a new kind of thinking, we have joined with those on the left and right alike that call this global conflict World War 4. See World War 4 Report #106
But this conflict, the “GWOT,” is no longer the hegemonic paradigm for the global struggle, as it was for the first decade or so following 9-11. With Russia’s recovery as a superpower and the US embarking on a New Cold War with China, the potential has again emerged for a “World War III” scenario—which now could be considered World War 5. We similarly advance a neither/nor position vis-a-vis the US and its imperial rivals. We assert that acceptance of a multi-polar world must necessarily imply a critique of the “other” poles.
Why Overseas Contingency Operations? With the election of Barack Obama, our kicker changed from “Deconstructing the War on Terrorism” to “Deconstructing Overseas Contingency Operations.” There were some indications that with Obama, we had entered the post-GWOT era. Although the US military remained massively overstretched, the nomenclature, at least, changed. The Obama administration formally abandoned the Bush-era phrase “Global War on Terrorism.” The new term was the dryly clinical and antiseptic “Overseas Contingency Operation.” Was this an improvement—or a switch from a hubristic and bellicose rallying cry to an Orwellian euphemism? In any case, it was clear that our project had not outlived its mission. With the election of Donald Trump, the US returned to a more openly bellicose stance, with the enemy explicitly identified as “radical Islamic terrorism.” Trump’s “isolationist” rhetoric predictably failed to manifest in a withdrawal of US military commitments—occasional appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. It remains to be seen if the de-Trumpification now seen under Joseph Biden will do so.
We are committed to publish until peace—by which we mean, minimally, a withdrawal of all US combat forces and military advisors from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Colombia, the Philippines, West Africa, etc. We will continue to oppose domestic militarization, especially along the US-Mexico border, and the anti-immigrant backlash that began with 9-11 and is finding new life in the current crisis of capitalism. We will continue to oppose US support of regimes that keep down peoples struggling for autonomy and liberation—whether it is the Palestinians under Israeli occupation, the Kurds of Turkey and Syria, the Tuaregs and Berbers of the Sahel states and North Africa, or the Mapuche of Chile and Argentina. These struggles are certain to persist even if the US military leviathan significantly contracts its reach in the coming years—recalling the anarcho-surrealist slogan “Neither your war nor your peace!”