- Contributing Editor at Harper’s Magazine
- Founder of the newsletter CounterPunch
Ken Silverstein is a Contributing Editor at Harper’s Magazine, a writer widely published in other Leftist magazines, and author or co-author of five books.
In December 1993, the then-34-year-old Silverstein founded the radical fortnightly newsletter CounterPunch to expose, as American Journalism Review described his aim, “ties between American officials and corrupt foreign leaders overseas.” He was then living in Washington, D.C. after working almost five years as an Associated Press reporter in Brazil. [In 1991 Silverstein co-authored the Left-loving book Without Fear of Being Happy: Lula, The Workers Party and Brazil (Verso) about the rise of Fidel Castro comrade Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (who became President of Brazil in 2003).]
In 1996 Silverstein left CounterPunch in the hands of two fellow leftists, Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, son of the infamous British Stalinist Claud Cockburn. That same year Silverstein and Cockburn co-authored the book Washington Babylon (Verso).
An eccentric investigator who apparently prefers reporting to editing a twice-monthly newsletter, Silverstein has written Washington on $10 Million a Day: How Lobbyists Plunder the Nation (Common Courage Press 1998) and co-authored Private Warriors (Verso 2000) about former government people who become mercenaries and arms merchants. His latest book is The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Random House 2004), based on an article he did for Harper’s. He also helped Mother Jones win a National Magazine Award with his investigation into money-laundering in the Bahamas, but as of 2004 he was no longer on that far-Left magazine’s masthead as a Contributing Editor.
Silverstein is capable of occasionally biting the left hand as well as the right. His November 2000 Harper’s investigation “The Church of Morris Dees” exposed this Leftist leader of the tax-exempt Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a money-grubbing huckster and liar. His July 22, 2002 The American Prospect investigation “No War for Oil! Is the United States Really After Afghanistan’s Resources? Not a Chance,” debunked what was then a favorite conspiratorial Leftist accusation against the George W. Bush Administration.
Silverstein’s articles have appeared in other Leftist publications and web sites, including AlterNet, In These Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The New Statesman, The Progressive, Salon, Slate, and Washington Monthly.