- Radical anti-American journalist
- Son of British Stalinist Claud Cockburn
- Wrote for CounterPunch, Anti-War.com, and The Nation
- Referred to America’s War on Terror as the “Tenth Crusade”
- Died in July 2012
Alexander Cockburn (pronounced COE-burn) should be put into the Smithsonian Museum as "the last Stalinist," wrote columnist George Will. Cockburn's unreconstructed Communist worldview was on display in at least 25 books and in the newsletter and website CounterPunch, which he and fellow radical Jeffrey St. Clair co-edited beginning in 1996.
Cockburn was born in Scotland in 1941, and, like his journalist brothers Patrick and Andrew, was the son of Patricia Cockburn, the third wife of the British Stalinist Claud Cockburn, after whom Alexander modeled his life, ideology, and journalism. Raised in County Cork, Ireland, Alexander later studied at Oxford and worked as a London reporter, commentator, and editor at the Times Literary Supplement and the socialist New Statesman.
Cockburn became a permanent U.S. resident in 1973 and wrote articles for The Village Voice, The New York Review of Books, Esquire, and Harper's Magazine. During the 1980s he was a regular columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He later wrote for CounterPunch and produced three different columns each week -- one syndicated by the Los Angeles Times, a second for the anti-American website Anti-War.com, and a third for The Nation called "Beat the Devil," whose name derived from a novel written by his father and later turned into a Hollywood film.
Books which Alexander Cockburn authored or co-authored include Idle Passion: Chess and the Dance of Death (1975); Corruptions of Empire (1988); and Al Gore: A User's Manual (2000). Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Cockburn referred to America's war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq as the "Tenth Crusade," a term calculated to inflame the passions of Muslim readers.
As a tag at the end of his April 2004 CounterPunch tribute to his father (who died in 1981), titled "Claud Cockburn at 100: The Greatest Radical Journalist of His Age," Alexander Cockburn wrote: "And being a great connoisseur of propaganda techniques, Claud would certainly have enjoyed CounterPunch's savage new dissection of the propaganda blitzes surrounding the [American] Empire's attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia…."
On July 21, 2012, Cockburn died of cancer in Germany, where he had been receiving treatment.