Alexander Cockburn: The Best of ‘Beat the Devil’

Alexander Cockburn: The Best of ‘Beat the Devil’

Alexander Cockburn: The Best of ‘Beat the Devil’

Some of our favorites from nearly thirty years of his Nation column.


Alexander Cockburn, one of America’s best-known radical journalists, died unexpectedly over the weekend, at age 71. A champion of and frequent contributor to alternative and independent media, Cockburn penned The Nation’s “Beat the Devil” column from 1984 to 2012. Our favorites of his columns are collected below.

The Right’s Chicago Trial  August 1, 1987
Oliver North’s “fascism with a human face” and the mysterious case of Ralph the Lobster.

From Smoking Gun to Smoking Dog: A “Beat The Devil” Investigation  October 3, 1987
Why were two dogs gunned down right before the arrival of Air Force One?

The Rebellion in Israel and the Territories  January 16, 1988
The usual regulatory mechanisms of the mainstream US media processed the turmoil in the occupied territories and in Israel itself with some initial difficulty.

Why Say No?  October 4, 1994
Rabin and Arafat’s pathetic handshake.

ADK   November 21, 1999
A tribute to Andrew Kopkind.

Message in a Bottle  May 2, 2005
In India, Coca-Cola’s plants bring foul water and toxic sludge.

Levee Town  October 3, 2005
There are decades of memos from engineers and contractors setting forth budgets to build up the Gulf Coast’s levees, but Bush wouldn’t let them be.

The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts  September 7, 2006
August Bebel once called anti-Semitism the socialism of fools. These days, the 9/11 conspiracy fever is fast becoming the “socialism” of the left.

From Flying Saucers to 9/11  September 21, 2006
The world is in tumult, but in the heart of Empire, the level of creative political energy runs flat along the bottom of the graph.

Support Their Troops?  July 12, 2007
If the American people are largely against the war, what’s the matter with the antiwar movement? The answer lies with what has happened over the years to the American left.

“A Giant Ponzi Scheme”  December 17, 2008
What separates Madoff’s Ponzi scheme from the follies of the bailed-out banks, and how is Blagojevich’s pay-to-play any different from standard political fundraising?

The Parable of the Shopping Mall  February 18, 2009
From the wreckage of capitalism an opportunity for change springs forth.

Dead Souls  April 15, 2009
Life sentences without possibility of parole contribute to the ever-expanding gulag of our criminal justice system.

Rupert Murdoch’s Watergate May 2, 2011
An invasion of privacy scandal threatens the careers to two of Murdoch’s top executives and the apparent heir the News Corp. empire.

Russian Hero  July 27, 2011
A bet on a horse in the 1949 Grand National resulted in the largest collective transfer of wealth ever to communism’s stalwarts in Britain.

Why We Must Raise the Minimum Wage  April 23, 2012
Instead of making vague promises to create high-paying jobs, the government should increase wages for the jobs that actually exist.

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