Bulletin 169

14 January 2005

Grenoble, France


Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,


After grading a mountain of papers and what seemed like an endless stream of exams, we are about to begin spring semester in Grenoble.


At the end of this month, CEIMSA-IN-EXILE will sponsor a campus showing of the award-winning documentary : "The Corporation", featuring Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore, Naomi Klein, and many other critiques of the American capitalist system in crisis



On another front , more than 50 graduate students in American Studies at Stendhal University have signed a petition demanding the restoration of our research center and its web site on the Standhal University campus. An international press conference is being planned to discuss this scandale in Grenoble within the next few weeks, and the ad hoc Committee of Support is growing, with a significant, local, national and international membership. . . .



Meanwhile, we have received much mail dealing with personal and institutional identity crises in this "Age of Extremes".


Item A. is a wake-up call from NYU Professor Bertell Ollman, an international scholar and winner of the Charles A. McCoy Distinguished Career Award from the New Political Science Section of the American Political Science Association. Professor Ollman has devoted his professional life to making Marx's theories and methodologies accessible to social science scholars. In this piece he has sent us, Professor Ollman is dramatically rejecting "identity politics," beginning with his own ethnic identity, which in his youth he had embraced as a universal good.


Item B. is a report from the U.S. Council for the National Interest, discussing the recent FBI investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and tracing these activities to possible charges of treason.


In item C. Stendhal University Professor of linguistics, Vicki Briault, has sent us a recent article warning that financial contributions to the victims on the tsunami-wracked costs on the Indian Ocean may never arrive at their intended destination, because servicing Third World debt takes priority over human lives. The banks are likely to receive this money before the victims needs are met.


And finally, in item D., Dahr Jamail has sent us another eye-witness account of U.S. imperialist violence and the "banality of evil" that hangs heavily in the air during these last weeks before the American-supervised "free elections" in Iraq.




Francis McCollum Feeley

Professor of American Studies

Director of Research

Université Stendhal






from Bertell Ollman

Date: 10 Jan 2005

Subject: "Letter of Resignation from the Jewish People"


Please click on following link to CEIMSA’s “Scholarly Publications” for :  “Letter of Resignation”, by Professor Ollman.





From: Council for the National Interest

Date: December 23, 2004

Subject: Is AIPAC Mortally Wounded?



The FBI investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has long been viewed as the pro-Israel lobby on Capitol Hill, has sparked the thought that the once powerful organization may be headed for history's dustbin. If it is required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), as even mainstream Newsweek hinted at this week, it may spell the ruin of the organization that always professed itself the great supporter of "American" interests.


But some supporters are wondering if Israel's AIPAC is really needed. Those who have been following the course of foreign aid to Israel realize that the amount of pure economic assistance given each year is gradually shrinking, and very shortly will amount to nothing at all. This year it is a mere $360 million - compared to $1.2 billion eight years ago. At the same time, military aid is being increasingly rechanneled through the Defense Department budgets in the guise of "joint U.S.-Israel Defense" programs. In October the defense budget passed by Congress included $300 million for several joint programs - the Arrow missile defense program, the Counter Terrorism Support Working Group, the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (lasers that hit incoming rockets), and the Bradley Reactive Armor Tiles (panels attached to military vehicles that explode outward on impact, protecting soldiers). In addition some $2.2 billion in further military aid is given as part of the yearly foreign aid package.


In Congress, the Zionist lobby is now comfortably institutionalized. The core bipartisan group of congressional supporters of Israel can be found in the Middle East subcommittee of the House Committee on International Relations, headed by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and including Gary Ackerman (D-NY) (also minority leader of the full IR committee), Howard Berman (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), and Tom Lantos (D-CA). Along with Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Robert Wexler (D-FL), and Dan Burton (R-IN), this core group habitually puts forward congressional resolutions and "dear colleague" letters to the President on any number of Israeli needs and requests. The latest letter from Wexler, Ackerman, Menendez, and Engel to President Bush expressed their "concerns" about and requested information on why the FBI needs to investigate their good friends at AIPAC, and Wexler has suggested that the FBI is targeting Jews. This is the same group that circulated a letter condemning the Presbyterian Church for its Israel divestment policy, and wrote the President of France asking him to add Hezbollah to the European Union list of terrorist organizations. Meanwhile, Israel's every military and security need is articulated and promoted - sometimes in advance - by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). This so-called non-partisan "think tank" cleverly spots ways in which U.S. defense needs can be meshed with Israel's military-industrial complex. Currently it is busy promoting the applicability of Israel's anti-Palestinian expertise to America's "war on terrorism," mostly notably through exchange programs between Israel and each of the state law enforcement agencies. The primary focus of the program is to bring U.S. law enforcement executives (chiefs, sheriffs, deputies, etc.) to Israel for an intensive two-week program aimed at educating the officials on the possible threats posed by terrorists in America. Law enforcement trainers have been drawn from Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Minneapolis, and New Jersey.


So why is AIPAC needed at all? It clearly is no longer required to push for economic or military aid; all that seems to be left for the organization to do is provide junket trips for congressmen and their staff to visit Israel. But does this require a budget of $33 million a year and a staff of 140, including full-time lobbyists on Capitol Hill?


One might wonder what will happen to an organization with four of its principal officers testifying before a grand jury investigating espionage on behalf of Israel.




Council for the National Interest

1250 4th St SW Ste WG-1

Washington, District of Columbia 20024

United States






from Vicki Briault

Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005

Subject: Tsunami and debt



Dear Friends and Relations,

I translated the enclosed article on Sunday for the CADTM hoping to get it published in Britain but so far have met with no success so am sending it to you so that at least some people will read it!  (In fact it has been sent round the world by the CADTM network but you might find it interesting if you have time).  The authors are happy for it to be published in case anyone has an opportunity!  (The French version has been taken up by French and Belgian newspapers and sent round the French-speaking world - there are lots of very active CADTM-affiliates in Francophone Africa and the Caribbean).

Love and best wishes to all,


PS For people who kindly helped me with the rereading of a chapter in Your Money or Your Life, we should be getting copies soon (it was delayed, they always are it seems) and I will send you each one by way of thanks.



Disaster donations may well end up servicing the Third World Debt!

By Damien Millet and Eric Toussaint (*)


Ever since the earthquake that struck off the coast of Indonesia on 26th December there has been a profusion of figures in the headlines, increasing remorselessly: the number of victims, the cost of the damage, the amount of international aid.  And a succession of meetings involving the major powers: the Jakarta conference, a G7 meeting, a session of the Paris Club ` Let us pause to comment on some little-known facts and figures that should be at the heart of the debate.


Eleven countries are affected: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Somalia, the Maldives, Malaysia, Burma, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Kenya. A mixed bag, including countries from Africa and from Asia, countries with emerging economies and very poor countries, countries repaying colossal amounts on their debts and others which have suspended payments.  However Nature made no distinction between these countries, so it would seem all the more shocking to grant to some what others might be denied.

At the end of 2003, the total external debt of the eleven countries came to 406 billion dollars . Their economic performance varied greatly, as did their creditors . Promising countries like India and Thailand have a debt mainly to private lenders, contracted on the finance markets or with big banks.  Poor countries like Sri Lanka or Bangladesh have a mainly multilateral debt, held by the World Bank, the Regional Development Banks and the IMF.  More internationally isolated countries like Somalia have a mainly bilateral debt contracted with rich countries.  All the big creditors are looking for a solution that will cater for the interests of the populations affected by the disaster.


In 2003, the eleven countries repaid a total of 68 billion dollars to their foreign creditors, as compared to 60 billion the preceding year. Their governments alone repaid 38 billion dollars .  It is an enormous drain on their resources: between 1980 and 2003, repayments totalled eleven times the amount owed in 1980, while at the same time, that original debt had increased fivefold .


The amount of international aid so far pledged is estimated at 6 billion dollars, 4 billion of which will come from official institutions.   Without wishing to discourage the wave of generosity, which relieves the donors' consciences long before it reaches the victims, it is urgent to point out that the eleven countries shell out six times that much in debt repayments each year.  So the grossly over-publicised generosity, even when it is sincere, remains a very subtle mechanism for sucking the wealth of the populations of the South towards their rich creditors.  If only December's tragedy could serve to highlight that other tragedy, going well beyond the eleven countries hit by the tsunami: the debt.  Because of it, and with the complicity of the local ruling classes who have a personal interest in keeping their countries indebted, States do not guarantee the fulfilment of their people's basic needs; poverty and corruption are widespread; political and economic sovereignty have become meaningless concepts for dozens of countries; natural resources are pillaged or sold off to powerful multinational corporations; farmers are forced to grow cash crops for export to the detriment of subsistence crops.   The debt is the particularly vigorous nerve centre of a predatory and oppressive economic model.     


What creditor would dare declare publicly that they still intend to obtain repayments from such badly damaged countries?  Nevertheless, none has definitely given up.  The long-awaited Paris Club meeting,  (17 days after the quake) attended by 19 rich countries, should fool no one.  The creditors are ready to suspend repayments, with no significant cancellation of the debt, all the better to lay down strict conditionalities enforced by the IMF.  Yet this is the same IMF which already distinguished itself during the 1997-1998 crisis with remedies worse than the disease.


As a mater of conscience, all creditors can decide to renounce their debts.  Without delay.  It has already happened in recent years for geopolitical reasons .  Hundreds of social movements present in the region, particularly the CADTM and Jubilee South networks, have called for cancellation, showing the objective solidarity that exists among all those who have first-hand experience of the tyranny of the debt.  A moratorium or simple reduction will not do.  Only the total and unconditional cancellation of the external public debt of the stricken countries, with local citizens' control over the money thus freed up, can be an adequate response to the scale of the tsunami disaster.  Otherwise, the only purpose your donations will serve, in the end, is to help the devastated countries to repay their debt - a debt that has become immoral.    


(*) Damien Millet is president of CADTM France, Eric Toussaint is president of CADTM Belgium (Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt).  They co-authored the book "Who Owes Who?" published by Zedbooks, London, 2004. Translated by Vicki Briault CADTM France





from Dahr Jamail

Date: Januaru 13, 2005

Subject: A Restless Calm in Iraq Before the Elections.









Iraq Dispatches


« This is not a life. | Main










January 13, 2005










A Restless Calm


I m typing as mortars are blasting away in the nearby Green Zone. Mortars are easy to tell-the higher pitched thunk of their launch, then a pause, then a loud boom that echoes through the still night. Blaring sirens wail in the distance, along with the random cracking of gunfire. Nightfall always seems to bring action in this area of central Baghdad-just last night there were many sporadic gun battles out my window.


Earlier today while I was in the al-Adhamiya district of Baghdad the US base there was mortared 8 times. We heard it just after finished huge plates of kebabs at a sidewalk restaurant. After finishing the meal an old woman came to our table and asked if she could take our leftovers.


He took two plastic bags and began dumping our half eaten salads and extra bread into them. She thanked us and blessed us, then began to shuffle off&Abu Talat and I both quickly walked over to her and gave her a small wad of Iraqi Dinars. We walked back to the car not saying a word about it.


Funny that everyone lately is talking about how calm it is here in Baghdad&expecting things to grow so much worse as the election approaches. If this is calm&


Calm looks like the military not releasing the number of times each day they are attacked&at last count this was around 70 per day that they admitted to&which means it is probably more.


It also looks like a van with four bank guards being destroyed, burning the men to death; it looks like another US soldier being killed in al-Anbar province (read-Fallujah), four Iraqi soldiers being killed in Samarra, and Iraqi soldiers in Duluiya slaughtering three Iraqi civilians in their car at a checkpoint. In addition, in Hiyt, west of Ramadi, two US military vehicles were destroyed in a rocket attack. In Haqlaniya, also west of Ramadi, a roadside bomb detonated near a patrol, destroying two more US military vehicles. No word yet on casualities from either attack, although witnesses reported watching helicopters evacuating bloody soldiers from the attack scene near Hiyt.


Both of these locations are in the vicinity of Fallujah.


Calm looks like mortars and gunfire everyday, sporadically around Baghdad. Calm looks like two vehicle bombs in Mosul today, one a suicide van bomb that killed an unknown number of civilians when it missed a US convoy, the other a suicide car bomb that killed two Iraqi soldiers.


Of course it also looks like gas lines up to 6 miles long.


It is impossible to drive for long in Baghdad without running into these&lines of cars on the sides of highways and side streets, as people stand outside their cars waiting, then pushing their car forward each time the line inches a few meters closer to the sacred gas station. With 70% unemployment in Iraq, obtaining fuel is the most common full-time job for Iraqis now.


Sitting in another traffic jam while trying to decide how we ll work if any more fuel stations close and the black markets begin to dry up, I suggest to Abu Talat, We can get a donkey. You can drive and I ll sit on the back and write in my notebook and take photos.


Yes, that is certainly an option, he laughs, Definitely a much better idea than trying to steal a fuel tanker.


That had been my previous idea.


Earlier today I interviewed a man who was in the intelligence service of the former regime. He asked me if I wanted to go into Fallujah.


Um, no thanks, I said, Not right now, speaking to him from across a small table as we drank our orange Miranda soft drinks. The room was darkened by curtains, and he spoke to me only on condition of anonymity&after he took my satellite phone and placed it in another part of the building.


They can track the satellite phones even when they are not on, he explained to me, Only by removing the SIM card can they not be tracked.


Information I hope I never need to apply. One learns the most interesting things in Iraq nowadays.


He gives me a quick rundown of what he knows of Fallujah, telling me that the military controls two main checkpoints into the city and the main road which divides what is left of the demolished city. There are still 25 attacks each day by the mujahideen there against the occupiers, he says, And the resistance is in control of large areas of the city to this day.


Who knows how accurate this is. And with the military cordon around most of the city, it s almost impossible to verify for now.


He claims that only 3% of the people killed during the assault were fighters, and the rest civilians. I m sure this is a little low&but certainly closer to the truth than the US estimate that 1200-1300 of 2000 killed were fighters, and definitely closer than the statement from Allawi that every single person killed in Fallujah was a fighter. Even members of the Iraqi Red Crescent have stated that the majority of bodies, at least 60%, are of women, children and elderly.


He suddenly says, That s it, no more, and the interview is over.


We thank him for his time and are back on the street.


There are white military surveillance balloons floating all over Baghdad now.


Most of the Iraqi Army (formerly known as Iraqi National Guard) is wearing black facemasks as they ride around in the backs of pickups with makeshift machine guns in them. They seem like boys with toys compared to the Humvees with the 50 calibers on top of them, rocket launchers slung over the backs of the seats of the soldiers riding atop them&their faces hidden under helmets and behind goggles.


Baghdad feels restless during this calm time. There is an expectant energy in the air as the days tick off leading to January 30th. It's as if we are all waiting for the bombs and fierce clashes to kick off at anytime. Or maybe they will not occur until afterwards&nobody can say.


Driving down the highway this afternoon a van passes with a man waving a pistol at cars&making them give way so it can speed ahead.


This is our civilization now, says Abu Talat, laughing his deep contagious belly laugh as he lights another of his terribly harsh Gold Seal cigarettes.


If you don t laugh here, you lose your mind in a hurry.


Posted by Dahr_Jamail at January 13, 2005 06:16 PM