Bulletin N° 103



20 December 2003
Grenoble, France

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Terror has become a way of life for millions of people this Christmas Season. The terrorists and the terrorized share in common the spiritual and intellectual mutilation stemming from an environment in which reason has no place. I remember years ago living on the edge of Camp Pendleton, in Southern California, and seeing children playing games war with small toy soldiers and tiny weapons, the exact replicas of Tomahawk missiles and Apache helicopters. They were destroying make-believe villages in surprise attacks --blowing up toy men, women and children, along with stones and dirt. Today, some of these kids are no doubt in Baghdad carrying AK-47s and screaming at old men, women, and children. They prepared all their lives for this experience, and this terrorist behavior comes fairly easily to many of them.

Over the past several weeks, the Grenoble Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements has received many communications from readers concerning the escalating violence in Iraq. Below, Professor Richard Du Boff has sent us an account of the US army terrorists in Iraq, who have adopted Israeli methods of dominating the population through fear. (Please see item A.)

Item B. is an account sent to us by Maria Lagos, from Revolutionary Worker, which describes a new elite unit of "hunters" who murder dissident leaders, again a tactic taken from the CIA-Israeli textbook. (For more information on CIA-Israeli tactics, please visit : http://www.mepc.org/public_asp/journal_shahak/shahakmain.asp , or visit the general google site : <http://groups.google.com/groups?q=shahak&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&start=120&sa=N>

Item C., again sent to us by Professor Du Boff, is an article taken from the Los Angeles Times, in which author Amy Kaplan explains the frightening historical ignorance of President Bush, who appears to be leading the American people into the Abyss.

Item D. is a useful FACT SHEET sent to us by Professor James A. Stevenson, in which the repeated lies of the Bush Administration on Iraq are listed side by side with evidence showing the contrary. (Please visit the new American leftist Think Tank site :
http://www.centerforamericanprogress.org/ )

Item E. is an eye wittness account of the Iraqi war zone taken from "Iraq Diaries" and sent to us by Hazel Rowley. (Please visit : http://electroniciraq.net/news/ )

from Richard Du Boff :
The Independent
12 October 2003

US soldiers bulldoze farmers' crops.  Americans accused of brutal 'punishment' tactics against villagers, while British are condemned as too soft
By Patrick Cockburn in Dhuluaya

US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops.

The stumps of palm trees, some 70 years old, protrude from the brown earth scoured by the bulldozers beside the road at Dhuluaya, a small town 50 miles north of Baghdad. Local women were yesterday busily bundling together the branches of the uprooted orange and lemon trees and carrying then back to their homes for firewood.

Nusayef Jassim, one of 32 farmers who saw their fruit trees destroyed, said: "They told us that the resistance fighters hide in our farms, but this is not true. They didn't capture anything. They didn't find any weapons."

Other farmers said that US troops had told them, over a loudspeaker in Arabic, that the fruit groves were being bulldozed to punish the farmers for not informing on the resistance which is very active in this Sunni Muslim district.

"They made a sort of joke against us by playing jazz music while they were cutting down the trees," said one man. Ambushes of US troops have taken place around Dhuluaya. But Sheikh Hussein Ali Saleh al-Jabouri, a member of a delegation that went to the nearby US base to ask for compensation for the loss of the fruit trees, said American officers described what had happened as "a punishment of local people because 'you know who is in the resistance and do not tell us'." What the Israelis had done by way of collective punishment of Palestinians was now happening in Iraq, Sheikh Hussein added.

The destruction of the fruit trees took place in the second half of last month but, like much which happens in rural Iraq, word of what occurred has only slowly filtered out. The destruction of crops took place along a kilometre-long stretch of road just after it passes over a bridge.

Farmers say that 50 families lost their livelihoods, but a petition addressed to the coalition forces in Dhuluaya pleading in erratic English for compensation, lists only 32 people. The petition says: "Tens of poor families depend completely on earning their life on these orchards and now they became very poor and have nothing and waiting for hunger and death."

The children of one woman who owned some fruit trees lay down in front of a bulldozer but were dragged away, according to eyewitnesses who did not want to give their names. They said that one American soldier broke down and cried during the operation. When a reporter from the newspaper Iraq Today attempted to take a photograph of the bulldozers at work a soldier grabbed his camera and tried to smash it. The same paper quotes Lt Col Springman, a US commander in the region, as saying: "We asked the farmers several times to stop the attacks, or to tell us who was responsible, but the farmers didn't tell us."

Informing US troops about the identity of their attackers would be extremely dangerous in Iraqi villages, where most people are related and everyone knows each other. The farmers who lost their fruit trees all belong to the Khazraji tribe and are unlikely to give information about fellow tribesmen if they are, in fact, attacking US troops.

Asked how much his lost orchard was worth, Nusayef Jassim said in a distraught voice: "It is as if someone cut off my hands and you asked me how much my hands were worth."

from Maria Lagos
Revolutionary Worker
19 December 2003

The Man-Hunters of Task Force 121

The U.S. military has created a highly secret operation of "hunter-killers" called Task Force 121--assigned to kill the leaders of Iraqi's resistance.
Journalist Seymour Hersh ( New Yorker , Dec. 15) reports this Task Force 121 is a rapid- deployment assassination operation built out of elite Special Operations forces from the Army, Navy and Air Force. The death squads have CIA officers officially "attached," and come with a large accompanying "conventional force" to seal off areas while the killing goes down. Operations are already reported in Iraq and Syria.
The unit is patterned on similar Israeli units that hunt down and assassinate leaders of Palestinian resistance. It is also inspired by the notorious "Operation Phoenix" where CIA death squads murdered and tortured tens of thousands of people to "neutralize the infrastructure" of South Vietnam's National Liberation Front.
Hersh writes: "According to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers--again, in secret--when full-field operations begin." The U.S. high command denies Israeli involvement and an Israeli official told Hersh: "Both governments have decided at the highest level that it is in their interest to keep a low profile on U.S.-Israeli cooperation."
It has come out that a key figure in creating these death squads has been Special Forces veteran Lt. Gen. William Boykin. Boykin became notorious in October for publicly describing recent U.S. military operations as a Christian war against Satan and Islam. He told audiences that George W. Bush got to the White House despite losing the popular vote in 2000, because god himself wanted Bush in power. The Pentagon refused to sanction Boykin for these openly Christian-fascist statements--as Boykin's Task Force 121 pressed ahead with this unfolding campaign of assassinations.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497

from Richard Du Boff :
Los Angeles Times
October 24, 2003

Confusing Occupation With Liberation: Bush's claim that the U.S. freed Filipinos strains the truth, bodes ill for Iraq and probably sets Mark Twain spinning.
By Amy Kaplan

[Amy Kaplan, professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, is the president of the American Studies Assn. and the author of The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture (Harvard University Press, 2003).]

"Why, we have gotten into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I'm sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation."

Someone could have said this about Iraq today or about Vietnam 35 years ago. But in fact it was Mark Twain who said it a century ago about the American occupation of the Philippines.

I was reminded of that quote when I heard President Bush, in a speech Saturday before the Philippine Congress, refer to our history in that country as a "model" for establishing democracy in Iraq. Alluding to the 1898 Spanish-American War, he said, "America is proud of its part in the great story of the Filipino people. Together our soldiers liberated the Philippines from colonial rule."

Twain would have laughed with outrage at this stretch of the truth, which obscures a shameful chapter of this story. What Bush called liberation, Twain decried as a bloody campaign against the Philippine struggle for independence, a campaign that would usher in five decades of occupation by the United States.

In the years leading up to the Philippine war, Twain, the outspoken vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League, believed that once Spanish rule ended, the Philippines would achieve their independence: "It was not to be a government according to our ideas, but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the Filipinos, a government according to Filipino ideas."

Instead, the U.S. annexed the Philippines in 1899 and waged a brutal war to enforce its rule across the archipelago. Nearly 5,000 American soldiers died, and historians estimate that 250,000 Filipinos perished - 20,000 were killed in combat and the vast majority died from disease and starvation. The U.S. Army burned villages and fields, massacred civilians and herded the residents of entire provinces into concentration camps.

The U.S. justified this inhumane treatment by calling Filipinos uncivilized and incapable of governing themselves. American soldiers in the Philippines, many of whom had fought Indian wars in the U.S. West, were the first to use the racist appellation "gook," which gained notoriety during the Vietnam War.

Many distinguished Americans across the political spectrum joined Twain in protest of this war, including Grover Cleveland, Jane Addams, Samuel Gompers, Andrew Carnegie, William James and <W.E.B>. Du Bois. When the Senate conducted hearings in 1902 on atrocities, American soldiers testified about the killing of prisoners and torturing of civilians.

Although the war officially ended with the declaration of U.S. sovereignty in 1902, there was ongoing resistance to the occupation. In one incident, U.S. troops massacred at least 900 Muslim women, children and men in 1906 on the southern island of Jolo. Today, U.S. military advisors are being sent to that region, where the Bush administration and that of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo see only terrorists but where residents remember tales of the brutal occupation of a century ago.

If the story of democracy in the Philippines is a model for Iraq today, how ironic that the president of the United States, more than 100 years after the end of "hostilities," found it too dangerous to stay the night. Filipino protesters in the streets of Manila last week have a very different interpretation of this history. Bush must be reading revisionist historians who point to the war in the Philippines as a model for waging war in the 21st century. He might be better off reading Twain, whom Laura Bush praised as "one of America's most important storytellers," and one who wrote eloquently about the meaning of freedom.

In a famous essay, "To the Person Sitting in Darkness," Twain imagined a benighted citizen of the Philippines trying to understand how liberation could turn into its opposite. The person sitting in darkness muses, "There must be two Americas: one that sets the captive free, and one that takes a once-captive's new freedom away from him, and picks a quarrel with him with nothing to found it on; then kills him to get his land."

Which of these two Americas would Mark Twain see at work today in the occupation of Iraq?

from James Stevenson :
18 December 2003

Here is something neat from the new liberal think tank Center for American Progress
http://www.americanprogress.org/AccountTempFiles/cf/%7bE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7d/IRAQ-CLAIMVSFACT.PDF .

Happy holidays to you and your family.


Claims & Facts : Rhetoric, Reality and the War in Iraq

Page 1: Iraq-Al Quaeda Connections
Page 2: Terror "Threats" and Repression
Page 3: War Costs & Post-War Planning
Page 5: War Costs & Post-War Planning

from Hazel Rowley :
18 December 2003

Iraq Diaries : Arresting Children
by Jo Wilding

"Two days ago there was a demonstration after school finished, against the
coalition and for Saddam. Yesterday the American army came and surrounded
the whole block. They just crashed into the school, 6, 7, 8 into every
classroom with their guns. They took the name of every student and matched
the names to the photos they got from the day before and then arrested the
students. They actually dragged them by their shirts onto the floor and out
of the class."

They wouldn't give their names. The children at Adnan Kheiralla Boys' School
in the Amiriya district of Baghdad were still scared, still seething with
rage. Another boy, Hakim Hamid Naji, was taken today. "They were kicking
him," one of the pupils said. A car pulled up and a tall, thin boy ran into
the school, talked briefly with staff and left again. The kids said the
soldiers had come looking for this boy too.

The headmaster, too, was reluctant to speak. No, he said, looking down at
the desk, there were no guns. But Ahmed, an English teacher, followed the
soldiers on the raid. "The translators had masks or scarves because maybe
they are from this area. They came and they chose several students and they
took them. The demonstration started after school on Tuesday. I advised them
not to do it because I am their teacher and the Americans don't care. The
children had pictures of Saddam Hussein from their text books and that's
all, so they demonstrated and just said we want Saddam Hussein.

"There were no leaders, this wasn't an arranged demonstration. It comes
honestly, some of the students say, we love Saddam Hussein. Some of the
students say no, we hate Saddam Hussein. I told them, it's OK, let them love
him and let them hate him, we can all express our opinions. There are no
weapons, there is no bombing."

"The American soldiers came with tanks and stopped the demonstration and the
kids sat in front of the tanks. They took pictures of the students and they
had some spy maybe, I'm not sure, maybe students in the school. I begged the
soldiers to leave these students because they are naïve, they just believe
this is a civilian demonstration, but the soldiers were very rude to the
students and treated them like soldiers. They are kids, they are teenagers,
so I begged the officer, but he didn't care.

"I told them, just calm down, but they said no, they are not kids. In Abu
Ghraib we have 16 year olds shooting at us. I said yes, but these are in
school. They have books, not weapons. And they took pictures of us, what is
your name, stand here. I am not a criminal, I am a teacher. They took
pictures of most of the teachers.

"I told them you have to educate people about freedom, not punish them, but
they brought tanks and helicopters. Yesterday they surrounded the school and
came in with weapons everywhere, soldiers everywhere and used tear gas on
the students. They fired guns to scare them, above their heads. One student
got a broken arm because of the beating. They had some sticks, electric
sticks and they hit the students. Some of them were vomiting, some of them
were crying and they were very afraid."

All the other teachers and students who talked to us backed Ahmed's version
over the headmaster's: the soldiers were armed when they came into the
classrooms. One of the arrested boys decided he trusted Ahmed enough to talk
to the people that Ahmed told him were safe, as long as he wasn't recorded
and we promised not to identify him in any way. He wouldn't give his name or

"The soldiers pointed at me and I was grabbed by about 8 of them and dragged
out by my clothes and my collar. They threw me on the ground and searched me
and cocked their guns on me. We were held in chicken cages, about two metres
by a metre and a half with criss cross wire. They were swearing at us a lot.
They didn't beat us but they accused us of having relations with Saddam
Hussein, asking who organized the demonstration, telling us anyone who is
against our American interests will be arrested.

"They offered us some food but more curses. They didn't inform our parents
at all. The headmaster came with three of the fathers. Most of us were held
between 7 and 10 hours but one student is not Iraqi and he was held for much
longer and they questioned him for two hours and made him stand outside from
10pm till 2am in the freezing cold. The youngest was 14."

The school is named after a brother-in-law of Saddam's who was popular with
both Sunni and Shia people. For this he was killed by Saddam and, when the
statues of former regime figures were being destroyed after the invasion,
both of his monuments, in Baghdad and Basra, were protected by local people.
The pupils have painted over the sign at the school's entrance, renaming it
Saddam's School. The depiction of Saddam on TV in American hands seems to
have made him a heroic symbol even to many who disliked him.

One of the boys told me, "Only 40 kids out of all of us were on the first
demonstration but after the raid, we will all go out on Saturday after
school and demonstrate against the occupation. They have turned us all
against the American soldiers. We don't care about their tanks, we don't
care about their machine guns, we don't care about their prisons any more."

Outside the school, Rana asked me, "Did you see the bodies in Amiriya? There
were bodies in the street, Americans and Iraqis. They stopped an ambulance,
threw in 5 bodies and said go, just go. It is a war zone. They don't want to
give the bodies to the families. Even my neighbour, he was killed by the
Americans a few days ago and they didn't receive his body yet. When they
went to the hospital the doctors said you have to go to the Americans, bring
permission from them and we will give you your son's body."

Wasef, one of the Iraq Indymedia members, was shot in the foot while filming
the demonstration in Amiriya yesterday. He's OK, still smiling, doesn't know
who fired the bullet that hit him.

In the Abu Ghraib hospital while I was visiting someone, there was a noise,
something more than a groan but weaker than a shout, broken by short
in-breaths, aah, aah, aah: a man with a gunshot wound, a crowd of men trying
to lift him from the trolley to the bed. Outside was exploding at frequent
intervals. In the doorway they were loading a coffin onto a pick up. A woman
with a full pregnant belly told us her two children were playing in the
garden when a rocket landed in the flower bed. Another one landed in the
street outside.

The petrol queues are now about 2-3km long, two cars wide in places.
Billboards and leaflets declare the new penalty of 3 to 10 years in jail --
yes, it does say years -- for buying or selling black market petrol. They,
like the posters advertising rewards for information, are plastered with
paint, red or black.

I have to apologise to Hamsa and Khalid -- I misunderstood. Hamsa said, "Now
you are in handcuffs, the bastards," not "you bastard" about Saddam -- a
small but significant linguistic cock-up on my part, and Khalid said they
will make him crawl over nails not that they should. I'm sorry.

Francis McCollum Feeley
Research Center Director <http://www.u-grenoble3.fr/ciesimsa>
and Professor of North American Studies
UFR d'Anglais
Université Stendhal
Grenoble, France