Bulletin 115



                            GRENOBLE, FRANCE.

5 May 2004
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements at the University of Grenoble continues to receive communications for the United States and the European Community concerning local
democratic resistance to "capitalism in crisis".

The Euro-American communities --which is looking beyond short-term investment opportunities in the Third World, and has already publicly expressed itself against the history of their imperialist states and against the history of neo-imperialist collaboration with Third-World comprador classes --(these communities) are searching for reliable
information from which to analyze and understand the quickly changing alliances that are taking place in this post-Cold-War period of capitalist expansion.

The collaboration of Imperialist and "mini-imperialist" forces is not new. What is new is the efficient means with which ruling classes have imposed a self-censorship on the intelligentsia in both Europe and America. Those with the leisure time to read and to study (in the words of one student attending the recent International Colloquium at the University of Grenoble which featured Jim Hightower and Susan DeMarco) "have betrayed the people with jargon and rhetoric which only serves to promote their private careers." Hightower's reply was simply, "I don't know many intellectuals."

Below please read (A) the recent Newsletter from Jim Hightower, author of Ces truands qui nous gouvernent (Editions du Croquant, 2004) describing the state of American political culture, (B) the letter to George W. Bush from the General Secretary of Amnesty International and forwarded to us by our research associate Ed Herman, Professor of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, and (C) a communication sent to us by our graduate student, Tanguy Pichetto, concerning the craft of war journalism in the Middle East.

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
University of Grenoble 3

from Jim Hightower :

Jim Hightower's Common-Sense Commentaries 5/4/2004

My, my - the tiger can be a testy cat, can't he? ExxonMobil, the largest, most-polluting conglomerate on the globe has long used its tiger logo to promote it's gasoline, urging you to "Put a tiger in your tank." But now the tiger wants to put you in the tank, attempting to jail anyone who dares to protest ExxonMobil's polluting ways.

If Alan Greenspan was a medical doctor he'd be considered a dangerous quack, and his license to practice would have been yanked long ago.

If George W keeps telling us that global warming is not happening, and that, even if it is, it's nothing to worry about... why are his Pentagon planners warning that "There is substantial evidence that significant global warming will occur during the 21st century," that this could lead to "an abrupt climate change," and that this change could "destabilize the geo-political environment, leading to skirmishes, battles, and even war"?

As you know, the drug companies have been ripping off us consumers, charging exorbitant prices in the U.S. for medicines they sell elsewhere for half or even a third as much. Because of public outrage over this gouging, Bush and his congress had to look like they were doing something, so last year they rammed into law the "Medicare-drug discount program" for senior citizens.

Murder is not anything I could ever commit, but there are a few individuals whose obituaries I could read without feeling terribly sad.



Hightower's back at it, taking on George W and his rabid band of Bushites. If you like the Hightower Lowdown and his daily Common-Sense Commentaries, you're going to love this latest broadside. We'll have more advance sales
info in coming days.

The New York Times bestseller that skewers the Powers That Be. Stay tuned for advance purchase details.




Houston, TX Saturday, May 08, 2004
Jim will be speaking at the Houston ACLU Gala on Saturday, May 8 at 7:00 pm at a private venue. Admission is $75 per person. For more information call 713-528-5000.

from Professor Ed Herman :

The media's struggle to keep this letter out of sight will be interesting to watch.

Subject: [AcademicsforJustice] Detailed Amnesty Letter to Bush

The letter carefully and in detail shows how settlement-building, denial of the right of return and assassinations are contrary to international law.


Open Letter

AI Index: MDE 15/048/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 109
29 April 2004

Israel/OT: Open letter to President George W. Bush

George W. Bush
The President
The White House

29 April 2004

Dear Mr President,

As you know, Amnesty International has repeatedly condemned and alled for an end to human rights abuses committed by Israeli security forces and by Palestinian security forces and Palestinian armed groups.

Today, I am writing to express our deep concern about a number of issues related to human rights contained in your recent letter to Mr Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of Israel, and in your statement to the press of 14 April 2004, on the occasion of your meeting with Mr Sharon. We note that some of these positions are contrary to international law and appear to be at variance with previous United States (US) government policy. We fear that these statements may contribute to a futher deterioration of the human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

We are particularly concerned about your support for :

Israel's decision to maintain and expand Israeli settlements on occupied territory in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; Israel's denial of the right to return to Palestinian refugees, that is those who were expelled or fled their homes in the war which followed the establishment of the state of Israel, and their descendents;

Israel's construction of the fence/wall inside the West Bank;

Israel's policy of extrajudicially executing wanted Palestinians who could be arrested and brought to justice.

1. Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories.
In your letter to Prime Minister Sharon you stated that: "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centres, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949...".

The establishment by Israel of civilian Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, violates
international humanitarian law. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states categorically: "...The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population in the territory it occupies."

Article 55 of the Hague Regulations forbids the occupying State from changing the character and nature of state property, except for security needs or for the benefit of the local population. Israel's uilding of settlements, roads and related infrastructure for Israeli civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip does not meet these two exceptional criteria. These settlements were established for ideological reasons.

See notably the 1979 Supreme Court case: HCJ 390/79, Dweikat et al. v. Government of Israel et al., Piskei Din 34(1) 1 (Elon Moreh). - not security needs, and they have caused damage - not benefit, to the local Palestinian population.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, in force since 1 July 2002, includes among the war crimes within the jurisdiction of the court the "transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies..."

"when committed as part of a plan or policy or a part of a large scale commission of such crimes" (Article 8 (2) (b) (viii) ). This crime is further defined in the Elements of Crimes, a supplementary instrument to the Rome Statue adopted in September 2002.

As well as violating international humanitarian law per se, Israel's settlement policy in the Occupied Territories violates fundamental human rights provisions, including the prohibition of discrimination - a fundamental principle of human rights enshrined in treaties to which Israel is a State Party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Discrimination on grounds of nationality, ethnicity and religion is the dominant feature of Israel's settlement policy in the Occupied Territories. These settlements also deprive Palestinians of key natural resources such as land and water, which constitute a key means of survival.

In your letter you stated that: "It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities". Such a position would appear to reward unlawful actions taken by Israel in transferring part of its own population into occupied territory, in violation of international law, and in defiance of the UN Security Council resolutions.

In resolution 465 of 1 March 1980, the United Nations Security Council called on Israel: "to dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem...". Successive US administrations have expressed concern at Israel's policy of establishing Israeli civilian settlements in the Occupied Territories. The international community has long recognized the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories.

It is incumbent on the Israeli authorities to take measures to evacuate Israeli civilians living in settlements in the Occupied
Territories, in such a manner as to ensure the human rights of Palestinians are respected, in particular their rights to free movement and to an adequate standard of living. Such measures should also include respect for the rights of the Israeli citizens evacuated, including adequate compensation.

2. The right to return for Palestinian refugees.
In your letter you also stated that: "...an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel." US stated policy had hitherto been that the Palestinian refugee issue would be addressed in the context of final status negotiations. As far as we know, this is the first time that the US has explicitly rejected the right to return for Palestinian refugees a priori.

Amnesty International calls for the respect worldwide of the right of those who are forcibly exiled to return to their country. Forcible exile violates international law; the right to return to one's own country is based in international law, and is the most obvious way to redress the situation of those who are in exile. Among the key human rights principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the right to return: Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." (Article 13)

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the treaty which gives legal force to many of the rights proclaimed in the UDHR, codifies the right to return in Article 12.4: "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country."

The Human Rights Committee, which monitors implementation of the ICCPR, has given authoritative interpretation to the meaning of the phrase "own country", which clarifies who is entitled to exercise the right to return. The Committee asserts that the right applies even in relation to disputed territories, or territories that have changed hands. In its General Comment 27 (1999, paragraph 20) the Human Rights Committee determined: "The scope of 'his own country' is broader than the concept 'country of his nationality'. It is not limited to nationality in a formal sense, that is, nationality acquired at birth or by conferral; it embraces, at the very least, an individual who, because of his or her special ties to or claims in relation to a given country, cannot be considered to be a mere alien. This would be the case, for example, of nationals of a country who have been stripped of their nationality in violation of international law, and of individuals whose country of nationality has been incorporated in or transferred to another national entity, whose nationality is being denied them."

Amnesty International believes that the right to return applies not just to those who were directly expelled and their immediate families, but also to those of their descendants who have maintained what the Human Rights Committee defines as having a "close and enduring connections" with the area. The organization supports the right of exiles to return to their own homes or the vicinity of their own homes, where this is feasible. Exiles who choose not to return are entitled to compensation for lost property and those returning should also be compensated for lost property. The rights of innocent third parties, who may be living in the homes or on the lands of the exiles, should also be taken into account.

Amnesty International recognizes that the resolution of protracted conflicts involving the displacement of populations may require durable solutions alternative to the exercise of the right to return, such as integration into the host country and resettlement in a third country.

However, the decision to exercise the right to return or to avail themselves of alternative solutions must be the free and informed decision of the individuals concerned. The right to return is an individual human right, and as such it cannot be waived by any of the parties involved in negotiating a settlement.

The same principles apply to Israeli citizens and to Jewish citizens of other countries who were once citizens of Arab or other countries and who fled or were expelled from such countries. If they wish to return, they should be allowed to do so and they should also be entitled to compensation for any lost property.

3. The construction of the fence/wall in the West Bank.
In your letter to Prime Minister Sharon you noted the Israeli government's assertion that the fence/wall currently being built in the West Bank "...should be a security rather than political barrier, should be temporary rather than permanent, and therefore not prejudice any final status issues including final borders, and its route should take into account, consistent with security needs, its impact on Palestinians not engaged in terrorist activities".

As you are no doubt aware, even though according to the Israeli authorities the fence/wall is "a defensive measure, designed to block the passage of terrorists, weapons and explosives into the State of Israel...", (Israeli Ministry of Defence on 31 July 2003:
http://www.seamzone.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/news.htm) most of the fence/wall is not being constructed between Israel and the West Bank but rather inside the West Bank. Close to 90% of the route of the fence/wall is on Palestinian land inside the West Bank, encircling Palestinian towns and villages and cutting off communities and families from each other, separating farmers from their land and Palestinians from their places of work, education and health care facilities and other essential services. The total route of the fence/wall runs for more than 600 kilometres, more than double the length of the Green Line, and includes a complex of barriers with an average width of 60 to 80 meters, including barbed wire, ditches, large trace paths and tank patrol lanes on each sides of the fence/wall, as well as additional buffer zones/no-go areas of varying depths. The assertions that this fence/wall is a temporary rather than permanent structure are not supported by the facts on the ground, notably the scale and cost of the project. The destruction of large areas of cultivated land and the uprooting of tens of thousands of trees to make way for the fence/wall and its accessory structures are for the most part irreversible measures. In the past year the US had repeatedly expressed concern about the fact that the fence/wall being constructed inside the West Bank. On 19 November 2003, during a visit to London, you urged Israel "not to prejudice final peace talks by erecting walls and fences".

In its present configuration, the fence/wall violates Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law. The route of the
fence/wall has been designed so as to create direct territorial contiguity with Israel for some 65 Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in which live more than 320,000 Israeli settlers, that is approximately 80% of the settlers living in the Occupied Territories. This has resulted in unlawful destruction and appropriation of Palestinian property and other violations of Palestinian rights.

In his letter addressed to you, Prime Minister Sharon stated that Israel also plans "to accelerate construction of the Security Fence". In spite of repeated assurances by the Israeli authorities that in setting the route of the fence/wall due consideration is given to the impact on the local Palestinian population, to date only very minor adjustments to the route of the fence/wall have been made and the vast majority of the route remains inside the West Bank. The sections of the fence/wall which have already been constructed have contributed to serious violations of the human rights of the Palestinian population of the West Bank, especially those living and working in areas close to the fence/wall. The result has been a deterioration of the social and economic situation, already seriously affected by increasingly stringent restrictions imposed by the Israeli army on the movement of Palestinians within the Occupied Territories in the past three and a half years.

Extrajudicial executions.
In his Disengagement Plan, Prime Minister Sharon states that : "Israel reserves for itself the basic right of self-defence, including taking preventive steps...". The Prime Minister and numerous other Israeli government and military officials have repeatedly described as "preventive actions" the extrajudicial executions of Palestinians known or suspected of involvement in attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in Israel and in the Occupied Territories.

Extrajudicial executions are among the practices to which the Israeli army and security services have resorted for several years, without offering proof of guilt or right of defence. In addition to causing the death or injury of the targeted person, such attacks have resulted in the unlawful killing of scores and injury of hundreds of bystanders, including children.

The Israeli army and government authorities have repeatedly claimed that assassinations are "necessary" because it is not possible for Israel to arrest Palestinians in the areas which fall under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction according to the Oslo Agreements (known as Areas A in the West Bank and White Areas in the Gaza Strip).

Alternative, lawful means to address threats posed by Palestinians known or suspected of planning or of having participated in attacks against Israelis exist. The Israeli army has proved that it can and does exercise full and effective control over the Occupied Territories, including the areas which fall under the Palestinian Authority jurisdiction.

In the past three and a half years the Israeli army and security services have arrested tens of thousands of Palestinians whom they accuse of having perpetrated, participated in or planned attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians. Such arrests continue daily in towns, villages and refugee camps throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Those arrested have been apprehended individually or in groups, in their homes or other private houses, in universities or student dormitories, at their work place or at checkpoints, when moving around openly or while in hiding. While the majority of the Palestinians arrested by the Israeli army have been subsequently released without charge or trial, thousands have been charged with criminal offences including committing, participating in or planning suicide bombings and other attacks against civilians or soldiers.

Extrajudicial executions of Palestinians by the Israeli army have been widely condemned by the international community, including by United Nations bodies and mechanisms. Most recently, on 17 April, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the assassination of Hamas leader Abdelaziz Rantissi, reiterating that "extrajudicial killings are violations of international law" and calling on the Israeli government "to immediately end this practice".

Amnesty International is concerned that your statement, in your letter to Prime Minister Sharon, that: "Israel will retain its right to defend itself against terrorism, including to take actions against terrorist organizations", and the absence of any condemnation by yourself or by the US administration of Israel's frequent extrajudicial executions of Palestinians may be interpreted by the Israeli authorities as an encouragement to pursue such actions.

Amnesty International urges you to review your position with regard to the concerns raised in this letter and to convey a message to Prime Minister Sharon and to the Israeli government that, while Israel has a right to take measures to protect the security of its citizens and its borders from Palestinian attacks, such measures must be necessary and proportionate, in accordance with international law.

I trust that you will give due consideration to the concerns raised in this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Irene Khan
Secretary General

cc The Honorable Colin Powell, Secretary of State

Join Us! 2003 is Al-Nakba Awareness and Al-Awda Activism Year.

Contact your representatives and elected officials: use

For other ways to help, see http://BoycottIsraeliGoods.org

from Tanguy Pichetto :

Professor Feeley,
One more thing, there is a seemingly independent reporter's newsletter from Iraq. I found it very interesting and a good source of information. Maybe you will too.


Two weblog posts from Dahr Jamail today, plus what we think is one of the best hard news articles he has written for The NewStandard to date and some other links for those who just can't get enough of Dahr's work.

[For list subscription options, please see:
http://newstandardnews.net/dahr/?action=show_elist_subscribe ]

Dahr's latest TNS article is a perfect example of the kind of journalism that should be, but simply is not, being carried out in Iraq today. Dahr interviewed a number of Fallujan refugees in Baghdad, and since the tensions have been too high for Western reporters to safely access Fallujah, Dahr has been doing the next best thing -- conducting telephone interviews with people living under siege. And on a shoestring budget and extremely limited resources, Dahr is one of the only reporters trying to get the inside story of Fallujah out to the world.

That claim can be tested. Go to Google News (http://news.google.com) and run a search for the words Fallujah and Refugees. The top results are almost exclusively by leftist/progressive sources, many based on Dahr's (and his friends' work), and almost none of them edited hard news. We are running some of the only primary source news on the inside story of what is without question the largest US urban battle since the Vietnam War. (This is true, at least, with the exception of some embedded reporters, who of course make scant reference to the Iraqi perspective.)

That article, "Fallujah Residents Report U.S. Forces Engaged in Collective Punishment," is available online at:

Dahr also took time yesterday to follow up on a story he wrote in January, about people living in the Al-Dora area outside Baghdad whose farmland was riddled with unexploded US mortar rounds. The update (and the January story) are posted on Dahr's weblog at:

Haven't gotten your fill of Dahr's work yet? Neither has the international and alternative media. For instance, IslamOnline.net is hosting a "live dialog" with Dahr on Monday, the 26th, at 1500 GMT (that's 10 AM Eastern time in the US). For more information, check out:

And there's a new interview with KPFA's Flashpoints radio show:

Dahr also wrote an exclusive commentary for the ZNet Sustainers Program. To get that commentary the moment it's released, consider signing up and supporting ZNet. http://www.zmag.org/weluser.htm -- we'll post the commentary on Dahr's blog after ZNet releases it.

Finally, a short but particularly moving commentary by Dahr concerning the term "relative calm" as it applies in Baghdad today.

Endless Suffering, U.S. Military Terrorism weblog entry by Dahr Jamail, The NewStandard
web version:

Baghdad, April 23 -- I noticed myself last night during a radio interview reporting that things in Baghdad lately have been relatively calm. Relatively. It’s funny what we get used to, what we adapt to and normalize.

Here is what “relatively calm” looks like in Baghdad on a daily basis-using the last 24 hours as an example. Early this morning I was awakened by a huge explosion quite a distance off. Far away, yet large enough to wake me and shake my bed, followed by a couple of smaller explosions. Nearly every time a bomb goes off, people are killed.

There is sporadic gunfire every night--this in one of the better areas of central Baghdad. Several friends of mine who live in Adhamiyah district report that on a nightly basis the U.S. base there in the Adhamiyah Palace is bombed by mortars. This is the same area where a South African mercenary was shot dead yesterday.

Aside from the mercenary being killed (reported by the corporate media as a South African “civilian”), I haven’t seen any of the bombs nor gunfire reported.

Then there is always the less obvious toll of the occupation upon the Iraqi people, as far as the news is concerned. The suffering is everywhere. Anyone traveling outside the “Green Zone” cannot help but have it thrust in their face. Begging women and children on the streets, people with disabilities sitting legless near buildings holding out their hands for a few dinars.

Nearly every car on the street looks as though it has been pulled from a scrap yard. The electricity blinks on and off, and if you are lucky, you have heated running water for a shower.

Stay here long enough and it inevitably hits closer to home. Emad is a middle-aged man with a kind heart who works at our apartment. He is always cleaning, treating us as though we were in a five star hotel-even though the accommodations couldn’t be any further from this. He never lets one of us walk up the stairs carrying anything--sweating and breathing heavily he insists on carrying whatever groceries or bags we might be holding.

A few days ago he told me his wife needed an operation, but he didn’t have enough money for it. He explained that it was $15, and I gave it to him.

This morning Emad is collecting the garbage from the apartments. He is crying. When we ask what is wrong, he tells us that his wife has died of cancer. I hug him, while he is apologizing. He is apologizing! For showing me his grief? For burdening me with his loss?

We take up a collection and give it to him, as he will be off work the next few days for his mourning period.

Another man who is a front desk clerk at a hotel I used to stay at told me his wife has breast cancer. He thinks it is from eating radioactive tomatoes from southern Iraq. Depleted Uranium.

Literally every Iraqi I’ve gotten to know has either a family member or friend who has been killed by U.S. soldiers or the effects of war/occupation, such as Depleted Uranium, not enough money for proper medical care due to 70% unemployment, or another of the myriad of effects caused by the aforementioned.

Meanwhile, the heavy-handed tactics of the U.S. military continue to effect people here in other ways, one of which I will discuss in my next blog.

Dahr Jamail is Baghdad correspondent for The NewStandard. He is an Alaskan devoted to covering the untold stories from occupied Iraq. You can help Dahr continue his crucial work in Iraq by making donations. For more information or to donate to Dahr, visit http://newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches .

The Iraq Dispatches list exists to keep readers of The NewStandard updated on reports by Baghdad correspondent Dahr Jamail. To manage subscriptions, or for more information and an archive of Dahr's writings and photographs:

To contribute to The NewStandard and support Dahr Jamail's crucial work in Iraq, go to:

The above message is Copyright 2004 Dahr Jamail and The NewStandard. Reprinting for commercial purposes is restricted. Permission is readily granted for nonprofit, noncommercial purposes as long as (1) adequate credit is provided in the byline (author and source), (2) a link back to http://newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches is prominently posted along with the text and (3) the journalist's bio at the end of the text is kept in tact. For commercial/for-profit usage, express, written permission is required. See our extended reprint guidelines at http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_reprint_policy

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research at CEIMSA
Université de Grenoble-3
Grenoble, France