Who What Why ?

My name is Russ Baker. For more than two decades I have been an investigative journalist, doing what I believed journalists were supposed to do—seek the truth and publish nothing less. Over the years, however, I have learned how the media gatekeepers, both “mainstream” and “alternative,” will not allow the biggest, most disturbing revelations to see the light of day.


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MLK: What He Meant to the US and What the US Did to Him

Reading Time: 3 minutesWithout Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the United States would certainly look different than it does today. Yet, in spite of being one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century and helping the US become more just, much of the shameful injustice that his country perpetrated against him remains hidden. 

To the Brink of War, With No Upside

Reading Time: 13 minutesWith all the talk about President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s response, and the risk of war, it’s astonishing how little fresh insight is offered. That is definitely not the case in our podcast with Middle East scholar Stephen Zunes. Among his intriguing claims:

Is Trump’s Dam Breaking?

Reading Time: 2 minutesIt’s a small thing that may not get a huge amount of attention, but it seems significant. A writer for an iconic, conservative news and opinion publication has leveled a new charge at Trump, based on revelations over the Ukraine affair and the role of operative Lev Parnas.Writing

The Lebanese Want to Fight Corruption, Not US-Iran Proxy War

Reading Time: 6 minutesBEIRUT, LEBANON — When Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was assassinated in a US Reaper drone strike in Iraq January 3, fear spread throughout the world that Iran might retaliate by launching proxy wars throughout the Middle East. Here in Lebanon, that dread seemed justified.

The Healthcare Debate’s Chronic Condition

Reading Time: 4 minutesThis is an election year, so you can count on a healthcare debate riddled with erroneous charges and popular misconceptions that impede edifying discussion. Among the biggest obstacles is what we might call Healthcare Delusion Disorder (HDD), the idea that US healthcare is the best on earth.HDD is largely a Republican affliction.

Culture: In the Trump Era, It Has a Whole New Meaning

Reading Time: &; 1 minute One “highlight” of the recent crisis involving the US and Iran was President Donald Trump’s repeated threats to attack cultural sites in Iran, which would be a brazen violation of the Geneva Conventions and other international laws.

The World Fears Trump More Than It Fears Iran

Reading Time: 4 minutesIn the aftermath of the drone strike — unilaterally ordered by President Donald Trump — that killed Iran’s powerful Quds force general Qassem Soleimani, WhoWhatWhy’s weekly series surveys world opinion and its impression of the dramatic escalation of the bloody struggle for influence in the Middle East.On Wednesday evening Iran retaliated by attacki

Will Trump’s ‘Leadership’ Curb America’s Appetite for War?

Reading Time: 3 minutesIf you believe the new decade needs a good shooting war in the Middle East, then the year got off to a great start: Less than two days into 2020, the world found itself a big step closer to armed conflict between Iran and the US.If, on the other hand, you feel that President Donald Trump, a narcissist with an inferiority complex the size of the Grand Canyon,

Mean Streets: America’s Poverty Spiral

Reading Time: 3 minutesImagine this. You can barely hang on to your low-paying job. You have a terrible toothache — you can’t afford a dentist — but you still try to do the work. One day, you come down with the flu, but you work anyway. Your flu turns into pneumonia and you’re taken to an emergency room. You miss many days of work and, because you are paid by the hour, you lose money.

Is 2020 the Year That AI Finally Exerts Its Promised Power?

Reading Time: 15 minutesEvery year for the past six years, the New York Times has held a major international conference on artificial intelligence (AI). Not climate change, or healthcare, or politics, but AI. China has made it a central focus of its national agenda. Yet US leaders have paid very little attention to what AI is or how it works.

How Will Iran Respond After US Killing of Top General?

Reading Time: 14 minutesSix months ago, WhoWhatWhy presented a cast of characters that could trigger a war between the US and Iran. Now that Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani has been assassinated in an American drone strike in Baghdad, that list is shorter… but the possibility of another armed conflict in the Middle East is much higher.