HomeArticleSome Common Criticisms Of My Work Addressed, By Caitlin Johnstone

Some Common Criticisms Of My Work Addressed, By Caitlin Johnstone

It’s a relatively slow news day so I thought it might be good to just tap out a few responses to common criticisms of the writing I’ve been doing since I started this gig two and a half years ago. I try to put all my cards on the table in full transparency so that people can decide if they trust me or like what I’m doing.

Obviously when you do what I do for a living you get truckloads of criticisms every day ranging from the reasonable and thoughtful to the downright bizarre, so I’ll only be able to focus on the most common ones:

“Caitlin touts the Kremlin line. Everything she writes is in accordance with Kremlin talking points.”

It is true that my foreign policy views often align with the foreign policy positions promoted by the Russian government, but this is only because I oppose US interventionism. Russia, like many other sovereign nations, also opposes US interventionism, because it is in their interests to do so. This is unrelated to my own reasons for opposing US interventionism, namely that it is consistently disastrous and unhelpful, and that US military violence serves as the glue which holds together a powerful empire which is oppressive, ecocidal, omnicidal, and increasingly Orwellian. More on this here.

For the record, I have nothing to do with the Russian government, and to my knowledge I have never received any money that came from the Kremlin. I’ve been offered to appear on various RT programs, but I’ve always declined because I don’t want my arguments tainted with any perception of loyalty to that network. I’m an entirely reader-funded writer, and I have my Patreon information on the most transparent settings available. The particularly Russia-allergic are unable to fathom that I’d write what I write without being paid to by the Russian government, but I really do believe the things I say and westerners really do enjoy reading me so much that they help me financially so that it can be my full time job.

“Caitlin is an Assad apologist.”

What’s that? Is it like those “Saddam apologists” everyone was fretting about in 2002?

I have no loyalty to the Syrian government, and it’s bizarre that anyone thinks that’s a thing. I did not wake up one morning and decide that some random Middle Eastern leader on the other side of the planet is awesome. I oppose the longstanding US regime change agenda in Syria because it is immoral and has, like all US interventionism, proven extremely disastrous. I advocate skepticism of all western narratives about the Syrian government because that’s what every sane person should do in a post-Iraq invasion world, and it’s what should have been done regarding US government narratives about Saddam Hussein.

“Caitlin advocates an alliance between fascists and leftists.”

Completely false. Fascism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism run directly counter to everything I stand for, as is evident to anyone who reads me even semi-regularly. A couple of years ago I published an article suggesting that the left could be more open to interacting with the anti-establishment right (meaning libertarians and anti-interventionist Trump supporters, not fascists and Nazis) and figuring out how to work together on specific points of convergence where they agree. This was spun by some bad faith actors on Twitter and the lefty outlet CounterPunch into an advocacy for a “red-brown alliance”, neither of which I was able to defend effectively because Twitter’s then-140-character limit made nuanced discussion impossible and CounterPunch refused my right to respond. So the narrative was locked in, and there are still a bunch of leftists on Twitter who believe it.

In hindsight I could have articulated my ideas better and defended them more skillfully, but it was my first Twitter hate mob and I had no idea how to deal with it. Still it’s frustrating to have a lot of the people with whom I most closely align ideologically continue to associate me with one clumsy argument made nearly two years and six hundred articles ago. Everyone who reads me knows I’m not “fascist-adjacent” or a “Strasserist” or a “Nazbol” or any of the other weird esoteric labels I’ve had thrown at me. I’ve written more about this here.

“Caitlin wrote an astrology book.”

This one is true. I fed my two infant children while putting myself through university working for a gift company that paid me to rapidly churn out books of their choosing, mainly horoscopes but also a book on how to play the harmonica. People like to bring that 2002 publication up as though it invalidates my unrelated political analysis nearly two decades later, but I’m not ashamed of it. I needed the money to provide for my children, the content wasn’t my choice, and I wrote them to be as healthy and helpful as my abilities at the time allowed. Maybe if I’d have known strangers on the internet would be trying to dismiss me by calling me an “astrologist” decades later I’d have chosen a different workplace, but you only know what you know.

“Caitlin is a conspiracy theorist.”

Also true. It’s a known fact that secret conspiracies among the powerful happen all the time, and there need to be theories about how those conspiracies happen since they don’t happen out in the open. My position is that it’s always okay to question official narratives, even if people want to question things like 9/11, JFK, Seth Rich, or even really out-there stuff like elite pedophile networks or mass shooting events, because placing limits on the things people are allowed to question leads to things like the credulous acceptance of the Iraq narrative. I won’t always agree with all lines of inquiry, but I fully support people’s right to ask questions and if I see them being shamed into silence I’ll sometimes come forward and tell them they have permission to speak. Skepticism and critical thinking should be encouraged.

Personally I think the things our rulers are doing out in the open far exceed the evils alleged in any conspiracy theory, but there’s certainly value in bringing critical thinking to every official narrative, as long as it’s actually critical and not just blind faith thrown in the other direction for partisan reasons. I used to place more emphasis on conspiracy theory in my writings than I do now, not because people dislike conspiracy theories, nor because I have any problem with them, but simply because I find pointing at known, verifiable full stories to be a far more effective means of attacking establishment propaganda narratives.

“Caitlin’s writings are actually written by her husband, Tim Foley.”

Partially true. I have a longtime internet stalker who keeps creating new sock accounts to circulate this narrative on Twitter among anyone who criticizes me, but the truth of the matter is simply that my husband and I work together. We’re joined at the hip and nothing I write is separable from the ongoing conversation I have with him every day, a fact I’ve always been open about and have mentioned many times over the years. I retain sole authorship and authority over everything I publish and tweet, however, and all decisions made about anything that goes on under my name are my own. This narrative only gains traction among my most virulent haters, because no psychologically healthy person would have a problem with a person helping his spouse, but it comes up often enough to warrant address.

“Caitlin is an evil scum sucking socialist.”

True. The ideology I mostly align with is socialism, because if our species is going to have to survive, its members are going to have to overcome their competitive relationship with one another and start collaborating in the interests of the whole, both with the whole of humanity and with our ecosystem. As I said recently, the ideas advanced by socialism thus far have been in and of themselves insufficient as far as steering our world into health is concerned, but the healthy sort of society I believe we need to create looks more like socialism than any other currently existing conceptual model. A new world will need radically new ideas, but right now socialism comes closest.

That said I find it very funny that my conservative followers get so triggered by my being a socialist, considering I hardly ever write about it. I am aware that we’ll be unable to create a healthy society as long as we’re locked down by an oligarchic government and a plutocratic propaganda machine which constantly manipulates people into accepting the status quo, so that’s where I place my emphasis. But simply the fact that I have “socialist” in my bio is deeply triggering for a certain subset of capitalism cultist, so they often flip out at me just for privately holding that idea.

“Caitlin lives in Australia, she has no business writing about America.”

You know it’s interesting, I write about UK politics a fair bit too, but I’ve never had a single British person tell me I shouldn’t write about their nation. Only in America is it considered strange and unacceptable for people in other countries to write about their country, despite the fact that the behaviors of the US government impact everyone in the world far more than any other country on earth.

I’ll butt out of America’s business as soon as America butts out of mine, thank you very much. I can’t imagine what kind of bizarre mental contortions one has to do to live in a country that constantly uses its military and economic might to bully and manipulate the rest of the world, and then bitch when people in other countries have a problem with it. Australia gets sucked into all of America’s idiotic wars, we’re functionally a US intelligence/defense asset, and the CIA staged a coup here in the seventies to oust our Prime Minister. Stop telling me that America is none of my business.

That said, I do believe it or not have a code of conduct when writing about US politics: I stay away from state and local politics, writing only about things which directly or indirectly impact the rest of the world. I have a strong belief in the primacy of sovereignty, and significantly involving myself beyond that which impacts the rest of the world feels in violation of that. I don’t even have any plans to endorse a presidential candidate this race, though that would be within my sovereign jurisdiction according to my rules.

And that’s about it for the big ones, I think. If you’d like more information about who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with my platform here, check out this article I wrote back in December.

Added August 12, 2019: “Caitlin is a plagiarist.”

I forgot about this one when I first wrote this article, but I see it re-surface every so often so I figure I should address it head-on. Back in 2017 a couple of weirdly similar progressive Twitter accounts began claiming I was stealing their work, and their claims were repeated as fact by influential leftist accounts like Robbie Martin and Alex Rubinstein.

These claims are completely false; I have never plagiarized anyone. Plagiarism is the easiest thing in the world to prove, yet both of the accounts who initiated this smear consistently refuse to even try to provide proof of their claims and block anyone who asks them to. This smear has been circulated by people who chose to believe it not because there was any evidence for it, but because they already disliked me and wanted another reason to.

You’d think this one would invalidate itself by the fact that the people who accuse me of plagiarism are the same people who accuse me of being a secret Nazi. How would plagiarizing the work of leftists advance the cause of fascism and white supremacy, exactly? Nobody’s bothered to explain this to me.


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Latest comments

  • Well done ! Just because everyone else never reacts to people that criticize them or only tries to make them look foolish, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Criticism is a essential and integral part of humanity’s progress, there just will be no progress, without it ! So, well done !
    I do have a criticism of my own, I for one, think your are way to mild on especially, left wing america.
    I have a much bigger problem with obama, then I have with trump, for the simple reason, that with trump everybody knows where he stands, but obama makes even the trully good americans complicite !
    And I find That infinitely more offensive.
    More or less the same goes for the whole electorial process overthere, or overhere in europe for that matter, it is all a scam to make trully good people complicite in ecocidal, genocidal, earthwarming, poluting, scams that only benefit the very few ! And for that reason alone, I think the “left” should be criticized more !

  • Yay Caitlin! Keep giving them hell. I thank you for your bravery and dedication.

  • Excuse me I have fine motor skill impairment that requires that I use dictation and that should be article not *hour to call.

  • There might be some confusion because in an hour to call that is credited as being written by you your husband Tim Foley appears to be writing the body of the text, but I do not see his name as co-author but it is written here. There is no co-signature.

    “Hi, hello, Caitlin’s collaborator here, and I’m as American as mass shootings. I co-sign everything Caitlin writes. You can claim we’re wrong, but you can’t legitimately claim that we’re not informed by an American perspective.”


    • Ms. Snody, the following statement by Tim Foley is also found at your link: “The only person Caitlin will shamelessly use the work of is me, and she does so with my permission.”

      So … the byline has been worked out between the two of them, and it is their decision, not ours, to make. Bear in mind that many authors use pseudonyms, and some collectives (e.g. ZeroHedge) use a single fictional byline for all articles.

      What is important is the content of the article.

      • Obviously. Why is this even a QUESTION, let alone an “issue”? This is all stoopid — ignore and move on, hey.

  • I am puzzled how you can have virulent haters who hate you, but I suppose I should not be surprised.

    But two things to remember: first, many of these nasties are paid by the Pentagon-plutocrats-or whatever they are called, to discredit all those who threaten the power of the oligarchs; second, for every one of your readers who comment, there are 10000 who read you but never comment; and they read you because they like you and what you write.

  • ” I can’t imagine what kind of bizarre mental contortions one has to do to live in a country that constantly uses its military and economic might to bully and manipulate the rest of the world, and then bitch when people in other countries have a problem with it.”

    The same bizarre mental contortions that allow Americans to think it’s okay to invade other countries. The bloody endless celebration here of men who killed Vietnamese peasants is sickening — we are constantly told that they did this “for us.” Not for me then, not for me now, not for me in the future. Most Americans are fully complicit (to quote a retired West Point professor) in their country’s militarism, reveling in it, glorifying it, thanking everyone who’s ever been in a uniform “for their service.” I actually had a neighbor stand in my dining room waiting for me to thank him!

    But all of this horror begins to make a sick sort of sense when you think about this country’s white supremacy mission — to kill or enslave the indigenous peoples and steal their land, their food, their children, their culture. (Ditto Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, etc.) We’re still doing it today and we carry the same attitudes everywhere in the world — it’s all our property and god forbid you don’t get out of the way while we are killing you and taking everything you possess.

  • Caitlin is true. Truth is almost impossible to digest for “Propagandized minds” which have been fed on the bakery-of-fakery.

    But there are many like me who read, think and discuss your writings to further the truth.
    Keep it up Good Joe !!!

  • Don’t you just hate it when all those vicious online voices throw abuse at you, spread rumors and half-truths about you, etc? Still, I guess that’s the price to pay for maintaining any kind of online presence, though especially if it’s a positive presence you maintain online. (Positive, as in sharing important facts about and voicing serious concern for the many aspects of our modern world.)

    C’est la vie, given how wicked the human heart can be.

    By the way, a certain Michel Gauquelin (1928 — 1991) has been able to amass large amounts of statistical data which, fascinatingly enough, actually confirm some of the traditional claims of astrology. Astrology isn’t rubbish. No need to feel apologetic about having penned a book on astrology.

  • Caitlin, your essays have an enlightening, awakening quality that I find extremely helpful in making sense of the chaos and near-insanity of today’s world. You, along with a few other truth tellers, are absolutely necessary at this time. Please don’t let your detractors, most of whom come across as mentally unbalanced individuals, get you down.

    Stay focused, stay on track, keep your beautiful center, and ride high as you go forth. You are valued, loved, and very much appreciated. Please know it. 🙂

  • One of my many teachers told us that the greatest trickster and deceiver that we will ever encounter is right inside of that image we look at in the mirror in the morning!! One of humanities greatest weaknesses is self-delusion; unfortunately very few of us ever learn to deal with our own inner selves and control our own illusions and deceptions!!

  • You made all the right enemies !!

    Keep up the great work!!

  • Because your are ALREADY being accused of being an unwitting agent of Mr. Putin, I think you should appear on various alternative media shows such as, in particular, “On Contact” as a guest of Chris Hedges, or the daily radio show “Lound n Clear” with Brian Becker and John Kiriakou; George Galloway’s “Sputnik, Orbiting the World”; “Crosstalk”; the Duran witih the two Alexs, etc. etc.
    I think that appearing on those, for lack of a better expression, “shows” would be good for your career. By so doing, you may find that sympathetic viewers — fans, if you will — might contact you with first-hand information so that you might actually “break’ stories rather than just be a transmitter and opinion-giver.

  • Left wing, right wing, center left, center right, libertarian, communist, socialist, Words, just more words. “Mere words have an extraordinary significance for us; they have a neurological effect whose sensations are more important than what is beyond the symbol. The symbol, the image, the flag, the sound, are all important; substitution, and not reality, is our strength. We follow the example of others, we quote others. We are empty in ourselves, and we try to fill this emptiness with words, sensations, hopes and imagination; but the emptiness continues. Repetition, with its sensations, however pleasant and noble, is not the state of experiencing; the constant repetition of a ritual, of a word, of a prayer, is a gratifying sensation to which a noble term is given. But experiencing is not sensation, and sensory response soon yields place to actuality. The actual, the what IS, cannot be understood through mere sensation. The senses play a limited part, but understanding or experiencing lies beyond and above the senses. Sensation becomes important only when experiencing ceases; then words are significant and symbols dominate; then the gramophone becomes enchanting. Experiencing is not a continuity; for what has continuity is sensation, at whatever level. The repetition of sensation gives the experience of a fresh experience, but sensations can never be new. The search of the new does not lie in repetitive sensations. The new comes into being only when there is experiencing; and experiencing is possible only when the urge and the pursuit of sensation have ceased. The desire for the repetition of an experience is the binding quality of sensation, and the enrichment of memory is the expansion of sensation. The desire for the repetition of an experience , whether your own or that of another, leads to insensitivity, to death. Repetition of a truth is a lie. Truth cannot be repeated, it cannot be propagated or used. That which can be used and repeated has no life in itself, it is mechanical, static. A dead thing can be used, but not truth. You may kill and deny truth first, and then use it; but it is no longer truth. The propagandist are not concerned with experiencing; they are concerned with the organization of sensation, religious or political, social or private. The propagandist, religious or secular, cannot be a speaker of truth. Experiencing can come only with the absence of the desire for sensation; the naming, the terming must cease. There is no thought process without verbalization; and to be caught in verbalization is to be a prisoner to the illusions of desire.” “Words” well explained by Mr. J. Krishnamurti in commentaries on living (First series)

    • When it comes time to ‘define humanity’, we are the people who tell stories. We also ‘role play’ rather than constantly figure out what to do or think on a case by case basis, i.e. we are actors. The name ‘homo sapiens’ has a couple of contradictory interpretations. A ‘sap’ is a sucker who will believe anything. Also representation is made that man is a ‘wise fool’ with characteristics of cunning – and the morality and insight of a herd animal.

  • The nature of the ‘complaints’ reminds me of a placard I have on my studio wall:

    “I Don’t Mind CRITICISM as Long as It’s Outright Approval”

  • Caitlan:

    You are a “Truth-Teller” – such as you see “truth”, of course. THAT you do so obviously means that you have CHOSEN to do so. As did Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and John Kiriakou – just a few of the most (in-)famous. And there are a host of (diverse) others – like Paul Craig Roberts, Ron Unz, The Saker, Moon of Alabama, James Howard Kunstler, Glenn Greenwald, Philip M. Giraldi, John W. Whitehead, Robert Fisk, Jonathan Cook, Stephen F. Cohen, Finian Cunnigham, John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Peter Koenig, Tucker Carlson, Abby Martin, Lee Camp, and (even) .

    That CHOICE you made implies moral and ethical conviction – and the strength-of-character to ACT out of same. That you thusly ACT is not only overtly courageous, it signifies your decision to also “serve the greater good of all” over “personal/individual advantage/benefit.”

    ‘Got “critics?” OF COURSE you do! Anyone who “speaks” in a public forum will encounter LOVERS and HATERS – likely along the lines predicted by the (statistical) “Normal Curve”.

    EXCEPT! – these are NOT “normal” times. ‘Little doubt that you are being systematically attacked by “HATERS” who have nothing else to do because they are “incentivized” (paid/recompensed) to do so.

    So, now & then you choose to “defend yourself” against (these) critics.

    WHY!? …

    In a “normal curve” scenario, YOU need to completely disregard the 2+-sigma (readership) COMMENTS altogether and instead be focused on the 68% “in between”. THESE are the folks to whom you are actually speaking – those tens if not hundreds of millions of “ordinary people” who are confused, and afraid, and increasingly distrustful of “government” at every level.

    As they should be! …

    My POINT?

    STOP “defending”! It’s the same as “apologizing”. Doing either/both actually UNDERMINES exactly what you are acting to ACCOMPLISH.

    It also (uselessly) “distracts” you of your time and energy (otherwise better devoted to Truth-Telling!!)

    I am NOT a “fan/advocate” of social media – quite the contrary; I don’t participate, and never will. Obviously, you “disagree.” You have YOUR “reasons”, as I have mine. Fine. But your online posts that “whine” (yes) about critics/criticism out of “social media” render them a total waste of my time and attention.

    I am “one” of that 68% spanning the goalposts between +/- 2 sigma. There are tens if not hundreds of millions “like ME” concerned/scared/worried/distrustful and so desperately seeking “truth.”

    I am approaching 64 – USA citizen, WI resident, WASP hetero male, and a “captive wage-slave” since 2002 (despite 2/nearly a 3rd college degrees and an IQ of 160.)

    Ain’t bitchin’ about my “place/circumstance” in AMERICA so much as WHY this has happened!

    It’s Truth-Tellers who “educate” me in this context.

    YOU are one of them.

    But NOT when you are “defending” yourself from CRITICS/CRISTICSM arising out horseshit “social media” sources

    Let the critics “run”, hey – you’ll always have them, anyway.

    RETURN your “focus” onto your own unique message to ALL humankind – and KEEP it there!

    Present-era “greats” of HUMANITY – but a mere few mentioned above – have a MISSION. Which is essentially to “Un-teach” what has been TAUGHT t generations for going on (at least) 80 years.

    “Defending” against predictable critics who only defend status quo IS NOT “un-teachnng”, nor is it “educating/informing”. So WHY BOTHER?! …

    IMO, FWIW.

    Sheboygan WI USA

    • A list worth repeating:

      Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and John Kiriakou – just a few of the most (in-)famous. And there are a host of (diverse) others – like Paul Craig Roberts, Ron Unz, The Saker, Moon of Alabama, James Howard Kunstler, Glenn Greenwald, Philip M. Giraldi, John W. Whitehead, Robert Fisk, Jonathan Cook, Stephen F. Cohen, Finian Cunnigham, John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Peter Koenig, Tucker Carlson, Abby Martin, Lee Camp, and (even) .

  • Thank you, Caitlin, for your essay today and for the entire 2-1/2 years of blogging. On the matter of socialism, I assume you mean democratic socialism and not the kind of top-down bogus systems fostered by Stalin and Mao. Getting the term “democratic socialism” de-stigmatized is the very first priority in getting a better world.

  • Hi, Caitlin! You come into my email inbox and I read you every day, but I’ve stopped responding as much on Medium because I read you in my inbox now. 🙂

    I have a thought about you talking about United States national politics that I’d like to share, and I hope you consider it with the rest of your point of view, in case it’s not an angle you ever considered before:

    You’ve said, numerous times, that your husband, the incredible and supportive aforementioned Tim Foley, is an American. Since you have also indicated that you married Mr. Foley, that makes him a member of your immediate family. I’ve also got in my memory the impression that you have children. That makes Mr. Foley their father, whether socially, legally or biologically. They are your family, too (… duh), and unless your husband gave up his US citizenship, you are American and so are your children. That’s how our citizenship laws work in the United States, as popularized by the concept of immigrants marrying for their “green card.” And it is very clear and public that you pass that metric and didn’t marry Tim just to gain citizenship to our miserable country! And if he did give up his citizenship? It’s still his heritage. So you are still directly connected to us in your immediate family.

    In light of all of this, it is perfectly reasonable that you would be directly concerned with how the United States affects the rest of the world. Even if you didn’t live in a country that was basically America’s sock puppet you would have that right. For you, it’s personal. It’s your family. The fact that my country is a frightening juggernaut of bullying and corporate corruption just makes it that much easier, but your critics have no right to question your interest in American politics when America lives in your very home.

  • Caitlin, here in the belly of the beast, your writing helps me find my courage and my strength as I fend off every effort to get me to align with this or that action of the Empire.

    One dissent: don’t give up on the American people so easily. I can assure you that Bernie’s wild popularity is because he’s saying what a good majority of us really think, and have been thinking for a long time.

    There is a deeply held and long-standing conviction among American working people, that comes out spontaneously after maybe half an hour of sharing privately what we know and see: “You know what? We need a revolution!” I’ve been hearing this throughout my life, and I’m nearly 75. Unfortunately the highly-doctored story we’ve been fed about our own revolution, which thoroughly conflates it with the war to defend the revolution that followed, has left us deeply confused about what a revolution actually is.

    See https://www.revolution1774.org/ted-talk-revolution-a-success-story/ for a glimpse at the long-buried story about a nonviolent revolution brought about through the conversations and actions of regular people, a narrative that could turn America’s National Story on it’s head.

    • alas! Bernie is hardly a revolutionary when it comes to neo-liberal, neo-colonialist foreign policies of the US of Israel.

  • Thank you, Caitlin, for today’s piece. I enjoy your rhetoric at least as much as your analytics.

    So just a small comment on the graph on your being a “socialist.” Tho good and true, I think your explanation missed the main point, which is that your detractors incorrectly associate socialism with some form of totalitarianism. Your position would perhaps strengthen if you made that distinction.

    • i have a hunch that at least some of those “conservative detractors” are neo-liberal operatives whose biggest fear is alliance between the real left and the real right on some key foreign policy issues.

    • True, but that can be a slippery slope, as every move a revolution takes to defend itself will be used to paint it as repressive and undemocratic. Witness the demonization of Maduro!

  • Rock on, Lady Great! The Truth awaits all of us.

  • You are a great journalist, a sane voice in a sea of babble.
    I have given up trying to persuade others of the inequities Western Political life as no one believes me/cares. My skill sets don’t cover pointing out the bleedin obvious.

    I’m reliant on you and others like you (sadly not many) to try and bring some critical comment to momentous (monstrous) events.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Keep it up Caitlin. You’re in a select group of truth tellers, even if you might be politically distant from some of us (prefer ‘bogan bolshevism’ to ‘bogan socialism’). After your appearance on Jimmy Dore, you’ve been a regular for me.

    In these rather dark times while a coherent worldview is crucial, sources of reliable information from truth tellers like yourself is also so important. You’re in a small exclusive club that includes Jimmy Dore, Abby Martin, Rania Khalek, Julian Assange, Aaron Mate, Max Blumenthal, Michael Tracey, Matt Taibbi, Bill Binney, Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou, Vanessa Beeley, Ben Norton, Dan Cohen, Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Greg Palast, Susie Dawson, Ray McGovern, Chris Hedges, John Pilger, Eva Bartlett…hmmm the club actually isn’t that small, but it’s still pretty ‘exclusive’.

  • I’ve always enjoyed your writing and insights. Although I don’t agree with the narrative that Ukraine has a fascist government or the U.S. interfered in a coup to overthrow Yanokovych. Your assessment of Russiagate is right on. It’s unfortunate though that some people write off a writer because they disagree on one or more topics. I agree with everything you have said about who controls the narrative and how the narrative is used to manipulate society. Socialism is the only chance we have to save ourselves and capitalism can remain in a more docile form. Keep doing what you do for all of us.

  • You write a lot of great stuff, Caitlin, but I note you carefully avoided mentioning the criticism that your mere challenging of the official story of 9/11 is bullshit. Of course, 9/11 was an inside conspiracy – there’s no “theory” about it. The evidence of it is so in-your-face it practically makes us gag. To posit that it’s not a “top to bottom terrorist attack” is completely disingenuous because it is, in fact, a “top to bottom lie” and the ONLY truth, the absolute ONLY truth is the demolition of all the buildings at the WTC and damage to the Pentagon west wing. They are the only truths of the entire 9/11 story and I show it very, very clearly and incontrovertibly on my website (no one has been able to respond to my challenge to show the opposite).

    And 9/11 is just one staged event on a long continuum, the latest example being Christchurch and ensuing ridiculous hoopla.

  • This comment in song sort of sums it all up:


    Keep on truckin’!

  • It is nice to know that there are other caring people alive and well on this planet. I grew up in Boston Massachusetts but I now live on Staten Island in New York City. I am 74 years old and very ashamed of my “government ” at every level because all of it is corrupt to the bone.

    I am a new reader of yours, Ms Johnstone, and I am happy to be so. Is there a way to contact you because I would very much like to have your permission to reprint your articles on paynal.com?

      • Thank You Ms Johnstone!! My website paynal.com is a hobby and as such I am not allowed to sell anything due to the new New York tax laws. I can put up links to your website and your books however as I have permission to provide those for other authors. I can put up your complete text but not with all of the links that you provided there!!

        • Ms Johnstone you are up in the parables section of paynal.com . I may get some flack for putting up a link to your merchandise but I’ll just have to see if that happens. May The Heavens Bless And Keep You!!!

          Your Own Body Is Not Your Possession…It is the Shape Lent to you by Heaven and Earth. Your Life is Not Your Possession; it is Harmony Between Your Forces, granted for a time by Heaven and Earth. Your Nature and Destiny are Not Your Possessions; they are the Course Laid Down for you by Heaven and Earth. Your Children and Grandchildren
          are Not Your Possessions; Heaven and Earth lend them to you to cast off from your body as an insect sheds its skin. Therefore you travel without knowing where you go, stay without knowing what you cling to, are fed without knowing how. You are the Breath of Heaven and Earth which goes To and Fro; How can You Ever Possess It?

          – From The Book Of Lieh – Tzu

  • Don’t bother with idiots, dear Caitlin, keep up with the good work.

  • I’ve been reading your writings frequently in recent months, because I agree with a lot of the positions expressed in them and I consider these positions very important and drastically underrepresented in Western public discourse. In addition, you often think lucidly, boldly and originally, and write forcefully and eloquently. To me, these things are more important than who you are, and I believe that arguments need to be judged on their own merits, irrespective of their author. That is *in spite of the fact* that I don’t find most the criticisms listed here to be negligible and that I can’t say the issues raised by them don’t bother me to a greater or lesser extent.
    Re Nazis – it is true that you do not voice any fascist views and often explicitly reject them, and you only advocate collaboration with libertarians and right-wing Trump/Alex Jones-style ‘anti-globalists’. On the other hand, there is a problem here in that there is a rather fuzzy boundary between Trump/Alex Jones-style anti-establishment right-wingers and fascists (strictly speaking, fascists are *one* group of anti-establishment right-wingers). Even mainstream American Republicans tend to be more or less covert racists and overt nationalists, and the Trump wing of the Republican Party is especially racist and supportive of violence. The conspiratorial ‘anti-globalist’ right is even more explicitly racist, xenophobic, nationalistic and often anti-Semitic. As a result, your fanbase does include many actual anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, some white nationalists, Islamophobes, hyper-reactionaries fearing plans for a ‘UN world government’, and conspiratorial-minded people who believe all forms of leftism and even secularism since 1789 are a secret project of ‘the elite’ aiming to enslave the world. Even US libertarian-style positions are often motivated by racism: the US poor tend to be black, so assuming that they don’t deserve help fits in well with racism and often co-occurs with it. Internationally, they fit in with belief in genetic inequality between people and in the justice of a natural hierarchy coinciding at least partly with the existing hierarchy between rich and poor. The ‘anti-interventionism’ of such people is bound to be superficial at best, as it is.
    Re the astrology book – well, I’m sorry, but AFAICS, you are essentially saying here that you chose to write things you did not believe in so you could make money (you must have realised that astrology is nonsense). You shouldn’t consider it surprising or unfair that such a precedent would greatly diminish your perceived trustworthiness and reliability later on. I understand that you were poor and had to support your children, but many people still manage to earn their living without doing things like deliberately making untrue assertions for pay. If you thought and still think that such a thing was acceptable then, it is inevitable that people will find it more plausible that you might be doing that now, too.
    Re conspiracy theories – it’s one thing to say that questioning official narratives *in general* is permitted, and it’s another thing to say that a *specific* conspiracy theory is ‘OK’ and ‘no reason for shame’. The latter implies that you consider *this specific* conspiracy theory to have some merit and to be supported by or at least compatible with evidence and common sense. And such a statement does come with some responsibility, just like any other would.
    Re Mr Foley – the reason why this accusation is damaging is because it implies dishonesty. If you are not even being sincere with your readers about something as basic as who you are – meaning, who is the person writing the texts and whose voice we are hearing – then that would obviously put in question the sincerity of your other statements. You do write in what seems to be a very personal voice, too, so the question arises which person it is – not even two spouses are anything close to being *the same* person. BTW, using American spelling, whether to please your US readers or because of this collaboration, kind of produces a sense of inauthenticity in this context, too.
    Re socialism – I don’t think you can meaningfully criticise the status quo without also implying *how* that status quo should be different, i.e. in *what* direction it should be changed. Already using the word ‘plutocratic’ is a condemnation of capitalism, because capitalism does entail that the rich rule (in more than one way, too), and that’s what conservatives and pro-capitalists really support, justify and want, more or less openly. The problem arises from the fact that you so often please them and so avoid displeasing them, so this sudden cognitive dissonance is understandably painful to them.
    Re the legitimacy of foreign comments on US politics – excellent point. I’d just say that even a limitation to ‘things which directly or indirectly impact the rest of the world’ is unnecessary – everything can impact everything, directly or indirectly, the expression of an opinion is not a violation of anybody’s sovereignty since it involves no coercion, and one should be free to express an opinion about everything.

    • It’s not easy for a person to expose all his/her own warts on one rant, but you made a heroic effort.
      Regarding your charge of racism against libertarians, you exposed yourself especially well. Being uncomfortable with taking stuff from Peter to assist Paul does not show any unwillingness to help Paul, nor does it remotely imply racism.

  • This was entirely unnecessary, Caitlin.
    Anyone who is not a part of the American imperium knows its SOP is to shoot the messenger when it doesn’t fancy the message. The neocons, purchased politicians, clandestine alphabet soup agencies, banksters, high tech behemoths, shame-free MSM liars, and lesser fraudsters and gangsters who make up the American/Western ruling class are waging an all out war against anyone and everyone who is not subservient to them. Journalists like you who uphold the integrity of facts to tell it as it is shouldn’t feel obliged to react this way to their slurs. What is the point of giving them the satisfaction you are stung by their accusations when you know their intent is to discredit you for telling the truth? They have plenty more mud to sling in spite of your explanations and they won’t stop slinging.
    As Gandhi said: “Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”
    Judging by the responses here and elsewhere to what you write, you are clearly not alone. Indeed, I would like to believe we are in the midst of an awakening across the world. Millions of ordinary folks are coming to terms with the fact they are in a silent war of oppression against them by corrupt governments and businesses. Yours is a voice of a growing majority. It is time to take the fight to the real criminals and warmongers, and let them do the explaining.

    • the figurative 99%, across history and geography, live the social-historical truth everyday and thus know it in our gut. we don’t grow or awakened by a few. yes, many of us have been deprived of means much worse than usual lately, but change is a matter of us trusting, finding, and joining each other, like water always flowing to the lower place to join and become an ocean.

  • And… Caitlin left out… she won’t address the intelligent readership which found her belief in “Climate Change” to be irrational.

    • It’s not entirely irrational — there are no doubt many millions of pages of reasoning about it — but the hysteria and McCarthyism which have been practiced around it are pretty irrational. In general, as you can observe personally, humans have brought about radical changes to their environments, many of which will probably prove deleterious to humans’ quality of life, if not to their existence itself. I’m not speaking only of climate change. Most of us live under regimes which are based on domination and exploitation, and gross destruction is the inevitable outcome of that kind of culture and social organization. (Consider, for example, how antiobiotics have been misused so as to breed deadly pathogens which are immune to them.) We may dodge the bullet of climate change, but many bullets are flying about, and its time to question the systems which fired them — for ‘we have met the enemy, and he is us.’

      • Nothing’s entirely irrational, and she’s talented — however her critics were a great opportunity for her– It was a rare confluence of so many smart people, and she did not engage them.

        She still does not mention that episode in this article where it obviously belongs. For someone so bold and confident, she is not able or willing to grow in that area and others.. An agenda is sensed.

        I’m not promoting a position, but she avoided a growth opportunity for herself and the readers.

        • “she avoided a growth opportunity for herself and the readers.”

          She’s wisely avoided other pitfalls with similar religious overtones.
          BTW, given your position, I think it is a mistake for you to use the psycho-linguistic phrase “climate change” chosen by your adversaries. Climate change cannot be denied but “global warming” and anthropogenic cause certainly can be disputed.

          • I stated, I’m not taking a position. “Climate change” was the topic Caitlin featured in her article, to which I referred.

      • CEPR’s “study” is essentially a Medical Industry press release.

        Medical agencies (FDA/NIH/CDC) are officially Military agencies.

  • Great article. I agree with you on nearly all of it. My only difference is that, as a Marxist, I do not support nationalism, but I do support internationalism, and therefore the right of you any anyone else to comment on global issues and global crimes (incuding especially imperialism). That said, I also believe that it is up to the working class of each country to deal with their own despots, whose agenda is almost always to oppress them, rip them off, and sell them down the river. But that does not give the United States government the right to exercise “regime change” in any country. Regime change is just invasion (REAL invasion) and destruction of a country and the murder of its citizens. (See any recent war in the 20th/21st century.)

    The environment is a global issue that can only be dealt with on a global basis. All state borders are fictitious and nothing teaches us the truth of that more starkly than the environmental disaster that is descending upon us all. The author Adam Frank, in his book “Light of the Stars”, urges us to think like a planet.

    Socialism is the only international system that can unite the human race and make it possible to solve global crises together with our human relative around the world. The profit system of capitalism divides people, makes war, and wastes the planet. We don’t have another planet to escape to, so we’d better get hip to what it takes to save this one.

  • ,Good on you Caitlyn ,fear fear, fear.the ruling class feeds it to us 24/7 fear of change, a fearful people is an obedient people. Who killed John and Bobby kennedy what is the truth behind 9/11.as Virginia Wolf said, ” Position have been taken, myths have been made ‘ By the way Russia defeated the nazi machine in Stalingrad and not the western forces. Stalins goal was to bring about a new society based on equality. Social justice However as a ruthless dictator he distorted social Ideals and eliminated every opposition. LiIke todays Wonderland Lets try socialism.

    • Actually, Stalinism, like Stalin himself, dug the grave of the Revolution, just as Leon Trotsky predicted it would. That is the reason Stalin slaughtered all of the Bolshevik revolutionaries who opposed him and who supported Trotsky’s Left Opposition. Stalin finally had Trotsky murdered, as well. I am a Marxist and Trotskyist. I recommend that you read and study the World Socialist Web Site and educate yourself.

      • Carolyn under Stalin the whole nation was sent to school as education boomed. In the victorious war against the Nazis Stalin was proved right in his forced, ruthless. rapid industrialization of the 1930 .That,s just a fact.—-” The Russians have proved that their only aim is really the improvement of the lot of the Russian people” –Albert Einstein in his 1934 refusal to sign a petition condemning Stalins murder of political prisoners Caitlyn beliefs just like myself people don’t need to be lied to. Most can take the truth. Most prefer it. Psychopaths become prominent citizens indeed leaders of nations Their only criteria are their own desires

  • Caitlin, I don’t know why you bother to answer any of these accusations, as if they matter and you’re answering people who think about what they say or listen to your explanations. The people that think are already judging and approving you from your work. The lies don’t matter. It’s just a game of mental badminton, with no winners or losers. Don’t even act as if they bother you because they are insignificant little robots that have nothing better to do with their time but heckle. As soon as you start to care what they think, they’re making you think twice about what you say. Don’t do it. Forgetaboutit!

    • pointing out their various attempts to foster mistrust and division among people (99%) is important whenever the ugly head pops up.

      • Also there can be a certain amount of humor in collecting canards, calumnies, and epithets. Back in Usenet days, I collected those which were aimed at me and got up to 320 or so. Whenever a new one appeared I would add it to the list and publish the list as an appendix to my reply, if any.

      • Here is UNITY among all: Everyone is severely divided and incapacitated before they are born. Prenatal x-rays and ultrasound:

  • “I can’t imagine what kind of bizarre mental contortions one has to do to live in a country that constantly uses its military and economic might to bully and manipulate the rest of the world …”

    I am a 10th generation American, and I do agree with your perception of US military policies. We have not had an ethical war since WW-II … or perhaps Korea. It is obvious we have been under increasing control by the military-industrial complex since Eisenhower’s warning.

    You seem to assume Americans are responsible for this change in the ethical/moral culture. Obama and Trump both ran on a policy of reducing what you call bullying, but both have failed. Elections show the US voters want to end these wars, elect people who agree, but do not get the desired result.

    It appears to me that we have a malfunctioning democracy more than a war-mongering citizenry.

    Please be careful to make that distinction.

    • Korea an ethical war?! “We” pretty much flattened the entire country and everything in it.

      MacArthur’s comments to the Senate in 1951:
      “The war in Korea has already almost destroyed that nation of 20,000,000 people. I have never seen such devastation. I have seen, I guess, as much blood and disaster as any living man, and it just curdled my stomach the last time I was there. After I looked at the wreckage and those thousands of women and children and everything, I vomited … If you go on indefinitely, you are perpetuating a slaughter such as I have never heard of in the history of mankind.”

  • Caitlin, your paragraph about conspiracy theories(ists) was as good as anything that short on the subject could be.

  • “there are still a bunch of leftists on Twitter who believe it.”

    Probably true, but like the foolishness about your being an active agent of Putin and Assad, you never know whether the people asserting that stuff are actually stupid enough to believe it or are simply making the most onerous charge they can think of at the moment because there’s something you said that they don’t like. But rabid partisans lie as much from Kool-Aid intoxication as from malevolence, so ya never know.

  • Folks hunting for their echo chamber find your writing often hard to take. Another reason for liking what you write.

  • That was good. Your December article was awesome.

  • Love your work Caitlin!

  • The establishment works very, very hard to make sure the opposition on the right hates the opposition on the left. And also that the opposition on the left hates the opposition on the right.

    Their nightmare is the two groups joining forces and that’s when they have to take that emergency helicopter ride out of the country. Thus, you can expect to get a lot of opposition should you ever dare to point out that the two groups have issues on which they could agree.

    And, personally, I think the whole 2D political spectrum thing is a con job. This myth of a straight line from left to right (or vice versa) and that if you are at one end you are far away from the other end. My brain instead imagines a 3D cone shape. The elites are up at the point. The mass of people are arranged around the bottom. Thus people can find its a short trip from say left to libertarian, while the people at the top of the cone are like they are on a different planet. If you are a leftist fighting for an end to the war on drugs (ie people), you should quickly find the libertarians agree with you on that issue.

    • I’m a (small “L” ) libertarian who agrees with most of what Caitlin writes. It seems she thinks the issues most in need of our knowledge and understanding are the ones libertarians tend to take most seriously. Civil liberties (including but not mostly the drug war) the MIC and others motivated toward US foreign adventures, the perfidy of Western MSM, and the criminal justice system.

    • on the procedural issues of liberty, sovereignty, and democracy, people (minus the ruling 1%) of all creeds agree. the debate over the substantial issues involving “what is mine and not yours” is separate, but even in that debate, an overwhelming majority of the people want equality, the acknowledgement that everyone is born with own abilities and thus equal worth.

    • James, you are spot-on. The thing that the oligarchy fears most is the concept of the 99% uniting together against their oppressors. That’s why the establishment (both right and left, but especially the Democrats) has been pushing identity politics so hard over the past few years. I find it very interesting that these divisive issues that were never really on people’s radar — and all centered around one’s immutable identity — are now being shoved down our throats 24/7 by the establishment’s propaganda arm (the media).

      There are many people on both the left and the right who are civil libertarians who vehemently oppose the surveillance/police state, who oppose overthrowning democratically-elected governments in foreign nations (and oppose most wars, in general), oppose propaganda and lying, oppose censorship and the oppression of whistleblowers, oppose the concentration of wealth and power in too few hands (whether they are “private”/capitalist or “public”/socialist), etc.

      We need to stop worrying about superficial differences and start working together. If we don’t we ALL lose.

  • It is painfully embarrassing to watch pompous, bolt-on and tweedle-dumb attempting to match wits with lavrov putin and zakharova. Its over before it starts.


  • Is there such a thing as a slow news day? I suppose it depends your idea of “news”. Each day we are making history and we definitely live in interesting times.
    – We are on verge of war with Russia.
    – Chinas economy is deflating.
    – US is in process of another coup.
    – Ukraine election is humorously disasterous and only way out is war with Russia. Clearly Bolton has some influence there.
    – Syria continues to regain its sovereignty.
    – EU continues implosion.
    – Turkey on platter for regime change.
    – Appears US has appointed future rightwing dictator in Brasil – we dont like commies but were fine with dictators.
    – On precipice of global recession.

    Yes other than those few points theres not much going on. But lets talk more about Russiagate.

  • Apropos to your defense of writing about America, a brilliant friend of mine made the following remark in the early days of the “Russia hacked our election” hysteria:

    “Russians ought to be allowed to vote, let alone talk to us about voting. What the Americans do influences the entire world enormously; if democracy is a defensible form of government, then all parties affected by the American political process ought to be able to participate fully in it. No nuclear annihilation without representation!”

    • Since the American congress represents their big donors and never the voters, I’m still with the old classic “No Taxation without Representation.” If you can’t even get in to see your congresscritter, then you don’t pay taxes!

  • Thanks, Caitlin. If only more analysts and bloggers would state their position as honestly and clearly.

    I understand your reason for steering clear of RT but regulars on the ABC (Australia) or BBC and other state-funded networks don’t have to defend themselves against perceptions that their arguments are tainted. It’s just more mindless Russia-bashing. I hope you steel yourself against such nonsense and contribute if asked because:

    (1) the Russia-bashers shouldn’t get away with it and
    (2) the bigger your audience the more hope for humanity.

  • Well , , ,
    I like playing the harmonica.
    Some of my best friends are socialists.
    The evil empire affects every country.
    (back in the 70’s, the U.S. did regime change in Australia)
    Things I like about CJ’s writings:
    intelligent, thoughtful, lot’s of heart, brutally honest, loves our planet, true humanitarian, covers all subjects I’m interested in, meticulous in showing reference material, she doesn’t plead for people to subscribe, the whole front-page format is on one topic, with no distractions or pop-up crap – so my 72-year old, ADD brain can read and digest properly, it feels like she is writing personally to somebody she cares about, she allows comments – even from the knuckleheads.
    Things I don’t like about CJ’s writings:
    well, yes, the F-word. My granny used to wash my mouth out with soap, so I panic when I see the real spelling – whereas frigging, f’ing, fugg et.al don’t taste like Ivory soap.

    • I think I like you, John, but you’re too damned old. I won’t be 72 until September 2018


  • Would it be the kiss of death to endorse Tulsi? I wish you would. She needs more media coverage.

    • First Tulsi has to smarten up on Syria. On Assad using chemical weapons she said,

      ‘“Yes, reports have shown that’s a fact … reports have shown chemical weapons attacks have been used by both the Syrian government as well as by the terrorist groups who are fighting in Syria.”

      It is definitely not a fact and it doesn’t take much reading to know it’s not a fact. It is, at the least, disputed. She’s either knowingly pushing the Washington propaganda line or she’s dismally ignorant. That might fit her for running for POTUS but it doesn’t make for world harmony.

  • By the same token, if everyone agreed with you, you would b a complete fool.

  • It’s a pity you must make all of these “clarifications”, but you did it well.

    One comment about “libertarian”. I challenge your assertion it is “right-wing”. Have you ever read the book “Flatland”? That is my perspective when someone characterises politics as a one-dimensional universe.

    “Libertarian” is neither “right” nor “left”; it is on a different “plane” entirely.

    And, to be practical, if you go far enough “right” and far enough “left” you end up in the same place: full-on totalitarianism. That in itself should tell you the “left-right” paradigm is flawed.

    • I disagree. It is fair to call libertarianism right-wing anarchism. There is also left-wing anarchism. Think Kropotkin and Emma Goldman. Then there is Antifa, which may be fake anarchism funded by the security state.

    • I agree with this. Politically, I call myself a Libertarian Socialist. Yes, I got that from one of those political axis tests but it was an interesting revelation. To explain my position, I usually describe how the Finnish education system works, using teams of teachers and pooling the students as a group rather than as individual achievers. The end result of the Finnish education system is that teamwork produces well-rounded and educated individuals. If we carried this sense of individual empowerment through team effort into all aspects of our society, we could see a lot of the changes Caitlin talks about in her articles. (In fact the one flaw in her previous article about how our ideologies are not working is that we’ve never teamed up to combine them in this way, and given some of Caitlin’s other writings on the importance of teaming with those who share your interests, I suspect she would be on board with that.)

    • Libertarianism only addresses the procedural issues of liberty. the substantial issues of economic structure is to be filled in by individuals individually. anarchism would mean “we can’t agree on the substance so anything goes.” no?

      • If you’re going to do anarchism seriously, you have to agree on a lot of things, and exert a lot of self-discipline (individual and group), because you don’t have the state or the tribal chief to straighten you out and keep you in order.

  • If you don’t attract a bunch of knockers by commenting on this world, then you ae not saying anything worth hearing.

  • Pretty cool Caitlin!!!! Felicitaciones.

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