Bulletin #189






12 June 2005

Grenoble, France


Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

A month ago, on May 13, I was invited to moderate a debate between Paul Allies (of Montpellier) and Jean-Louis Quermonne (of Grenoble), two French law professors who were addressing the up-coming referendum on the European constitution. M. Allies eloquently advocated a No Vote to promote industrial democracy in Europe and to force greater participation and discussion before the adoption of a better constitution, and M. Quermonne with equal eloquence argued that this constitution was a Lesser Evil and that any delay would have dire political consequences in the future for a united Europe.


I, of course, being an American and the moderator, assumed the formal role of "neutral party". My function was to call on people in the audience for questions and to organize rules by which some limits were placed on ensuing monologues. It was a rather successful exercise in democracy --first on the Grenoble university campus; then later, that same evening, with a larger crowd in downtown Grenoble.


At the start of the afternoon meeting on campus, before introducing the jurists, I decided to discuss the sociological concept developed by Barrington Moore, Jr., in his book, Injustice: The Social Bases of Obedience and Revolt. What (I asked the audience) are the social origins of obedience and political apathy? Can we determine why, at specific historic moments, large numbers of people collaborate with their own oppression and thereby dismiss (or never even consider) alternative modes of action which might lead to disobedience and revolt and ultimately a better life with better social policy? Is it legitimate for the majority of "non-specialists" to reject the political solutions of the "specialists" and to insist that they go back to the drawing board and propose something better. In a word, must we keep our veto power over the political and corporate elite who govern our institutions and our society, and insist on our right to urge the specialists toward better policies which better meet our collective needs, the knowledge of which we alone are the experts to whom the specialists must listen?


By obeying the "ill-will" of officially designated authorities, rather than recognizing and acting on their genuine collective interests, large majorities of people throughout history and in societies across the world, according to Barrington Moor, Jr., have again and again tolerated abuse at the hands of remarkably small numbers of people. In order to analyze this phenomenon, Professor Moore closely examines in great detail selected case studies taken from comparative world history, and he tries to answer the question: "How did this small group maintain control over that large number of people at this specific moment in history ?" As a good social scientist Moore is not out to discover an absolute cosmology or some universal "iron law" of human behavior, but rather he offers us some new tools and techniques of analysis so that we too can examine a selected historical moment and derive a satisfactory answer to his important question as it pertains to the specific social context that might be of interest.


Good social scientific writing should serve as an inspiration and a model for all of us --both inside and outside the academy.


Below, are four items we received recently on the all-too familiar subject of REPRESSION.



Item A. is an historical reminder by John Gerassi of what society can look like when capitalism enters a prolong and worsening crisis. It is not the first time, and there are lessons to be learned from the past . . . .


Item B. is an essay by Michael Parenti who explains why there are simply no easy solutions to the problems President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela presents to Washington, D.C. As Parenti points out, a class conscious citizenry is no match for an indoctrinated group working with received ideas, and with fearful stereotypes, despite their violent clichés.


Item C. is a reminder from Professor Edward Herman of the vicious bigotry that nationalist indoctrination reproduces, sometimes leaving the victimizers the greatest victims of their dogma, forcing on them at times a life worse than death.


Item D. arrived at CEIMSA via Michael Moore, and is a discussion of a recent attempt to return to the era of red-baiting, which today has adopted a post-modern ruse called : The Student Bill of Rights.


And finally, item E. is an article sent to us by San Diego community organizer Monty Kroopkin, on the pacifist resistance of Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes, and the Navy judge in San Diego who found war protest "Reasonable"




Francis McCollum Feeley

Professor of American Studies/

Director of Research

Université Stendhal






from John Gerassi

6 June 2005

Queens College

New York, New York



  The fact that you all seemed not to have received the original gave me a chance to add a few sentences to this revised


Cheers tito



Empire means Repression

by John Gerassi


 Throughout history, no empire has survived if it tolerated dissent. From the day that US policy makers, representing big business and finance capital, decided to control world trade, that is, to become the empire of the world, it has had to eliminate dissent.. But it did it slowly, within its strength and potential. It had to be certain that the European powers were too exhausted to object, and hence waited until 1917 to enter the war in Europe. It had to become a two-ocean power, hence turned Japan into an enemy to stop its industrialization by creating boycotts of steel, manganese, oil, bauxite, thus forcing Japan to invade other countries for its needed minerals. And at home it had to make sure that neither the media nor academia questioned its motives.


But again, it did so slowly, within its potential. It went to war against Spain in the Caribbean only when the Cuban revolutionaries had defeated Spain. It jailed Socialists and framed the Wobblies, executing some of its leaders, for opposing entry into World War I. It frightened anarchists by tossing their US leader Salcedo out the window of police headquarters, and framing two rank-and-file anarchists, Sacco and Vanzetti, to their death. When it did join the war, it claimed to side with the democracies, forcing the press to mimic its claim that England and France were the good guys and Germany the bully, when in fact it was the allies who started the war to stop Germany's rapidly expanding industrialization. Nor did our media tell Americans that there was much more democracy in Germany than in the so-called allies. In fact Germany then, with its legal Socialist parties, its massive union movement and its workingmen's bill of rights (including three weeks paid yearly holidays), was much freer in 1914 than  England is today. To make sure Americans did not realize the truth, the US elites harassed the media and launched witch- hunt committees to stop independent thought in academia. One of the worst was in New York, the Coudert-Rapp Committee, which "investigated" public schools and universities for "subversive" teachers, and arranged to have them drummed out of their schools.


Though many of the idiotic Republicans never understood that Franklin Roosevelt was saving their capitalism for them, it was he who set up the machinery of state to crush serious dissent in America, which his heirs employed to the fullest. The arbitrary arrest and incarceration of Japanese Americans, even if they were born in the US, would later give impetus to Colonel North and his NSA henchmen to set up concentration camps all over the West, and frighten the Latino population into submissiveness when his boss, President Reagan, and the fascist team working for him (Poindexter, McFarland, Weinburger, Perle, Abrams, et al) decided to crush a legally and very fairly elected Nicaraguan government, calling it Marxist-Leninists, because it had the gall to institute the first minimum wage law of Central America ($1.27). The OSS (Office of Strategic Services) which FDR allowed to operate all over the world without oversight, stimulated President Truman to enact the National Security Act 1968 (that's just a number, the date was 1946), creating the CIA and the various loyalty boards under which 1.2 million people lost their jobs without being able to confront their accusers. 


Senator Joseph McCarthy's "anti-Communist" crusades did them a disservice for a while by overdoing it, causing some newsmen (Edward R. Morrow) and academics (Harvard President Pusey) to fight back, especially after two more rank-and-filer dissidents, in this case the Communists Rosenbergs, were executed.  But the US ruling  class never lost track of its main goal: pervert, intimidate, or force all other countries to accept the US 's criteria for world trade.


Bush II's infamous "if you're not with us you're against us" is not new to US policy. Nor was it new with President Eisenhower's Secretary of State John Forster Dulles, who was the first to affirm categorically that the US had a right to demolish any country opposed to "our new order". No, even before him, that great statesman whom every liberal adores, General George Marshall, made it quite clear in testifying before the House Foreign Relations Committee that his objective (known since as "The Marshall Plan") was to rekindle Europe as a market for US goods, and any neutralist opposed to it was "as dangerous as any communist."


No poor country can develop its infrastructure, build low-cost housing, hospitals, universities, self-defense force without capital accumulation. No poor country can achieve such accumulation by allowing foreign companies to run its utilities, its banks, its  mines. Latin America has 75% of the goodies the US needs to maintain its industrial might, under its ground. The US does not have enough iron (steel), cobalt, bauxite (aluminum), manganese, diamonds (industrial), to keep its imperial machinery running. Hence it wants what Latin America has. To get it, it supports every dictator it can bribe and oppose every independent government which dares to try to develop its own country. So the US plotted against Argentina's Peron (a "Nazi" it said), Frondizi (a "Communist)", Brazil's Vargas (another Nazi), Quadros (too conservative to be a red so a "nut"), Goulart (another communist), etc., and of course Allende, and supported all the petty dictators in Central America and the Caribbean, from Somoza to Trujillo. To succeed, the US had to create death squads, organize Operation Condor assassination teams, plan dirty wars, foster vicious military coups and, as NYTimesman Langguth so eloquently described in his book, teach all the two-bit gangster corralled into the local police force, how to torture. Always to support  US corporations exploiting Latin lands. With what results? Every year, 5 million kids under the age of 14 die in Latin America alone from lack of potable water where that water is used and polluted by American mining (especially nitrate) corporations. Hitler may have killed over 50 million people with his drive to create a thousand-year Reich, Stalin 20 or 30 million to cater to his paranoia, but the US has murdered more than 100 million people in the last century alone just to satisfy the greed of its corporate executives.


Does the average American know any of this? Does the mainstream media report any of these facts? No wonder then that when a Latino rebels or a Shiite blows himself up with a few US soldiers, the average American thinks the Latino is an ingrate, the Moslem is a fanatic. What paper tells him that only 14 percent of suicide bombers are religious? What TV anchorman tells him that the CIA murdered every decent leader the Third World ever had, incorruptible leaders who wanted to better the lot of their people? Egypt's Nasser (heart attack by poison), Iraq's Kassem (shot by CIA employee Saddam Hussein), Algeria's Frantz Fanon (leukemia by poison in a US hospital), Guyana's Cheddi Jagan (heart attack by poison),  Congo's Lumumba (by CIA and Belgian local gunmen) Che Guevara (by Cuban CIA employees), Indonesia's Sukarno (by Japanese World War II collaborator Gen Suharto under CIA orders), the Cameroon's Felix Moumie. Um Nyobe and Osende Afana (by French CIA thugs), Guinea's Amilcar Cabral (shot in the back by a local CIA operative), ad infinatum.


Most of the people of the world (not in the US) know that it was the US which started the Cold War, by violating the Berlin treaty whereby each of the victorious powers would rule the city together, backed by a currency defended by the four. But the US decided  to issue a mark backed by the dollar. So the English did the same, and so too the French. When the Russians decided to follow suit, the West cried foul. Why did the US want the war? Because it could then launch an arms race and have its citizens pay for it, by frightening them with the coming nuclear war. Those of you old enough will remember all those alarms and tests, where we had to scamper under the nearest table to "protect" ourselves against the A-bomb dropping on our heads. Fear! That was the object, and it made the industrial-military complex rich. Nothing better than weapons: once one is built it is obsolete, so let's build another. And another. And another. Who is going to object to paying taxes for our defense? Building hospitals is profitable to the builder, but it can't be rebuilt every year. But weapon systems can, and did. And just to make sure we stayed in fear, the CIA lied to us; for 20 years, it claimed that Russia was way ahead of the US in arms build-up. For 20 years it lied, so the complex could keep making money -- on average-Joe's taxes.


To get the American public to buy US intervention in the Middle East, the Russians gave us Afghanistan. The co-called Communist regime which came to power during Breshnev's reign was quite good, better than Afghanistan ever had, It built schools, hospitals, roads. It allowed women to work, to walk the streets without shadors or burkas if they wanted, to demand that their husbands have only one wife. The fanatic tribesmen were outraged and launched a counter war against Kabul. Their operations were on the border with Soviet Russia, which was worried that fundamentalist Moslems would sweep into Russia as well. So Moscow intervened, and our ruling class warmongers immediately called the Kabul regime "Marxist-Leninist" The only Marx its leaders had ever heard of was probably Groucho. President Carter surely knew that, since all he did was condemn the Soviet intervention by boycotting the Olympics scheduled for Moscow that year. But Reagan and his cohorts jubilantly saw their chance to start dominating the whole area.. The CIA poured weapons and money ($44 million to what was to be Taliban) to the worst fanatics in the whole Middle East. And the Pentagon set up the most advanced base it could build in Saudi Arabia.


How would Americans react if, on the guise of helping the US stop Cuban exile terrorism, Fidel built a huge modern military base in North Carolina? As President de Gaulle told a worried British Prime Minister Macmillan on his way to meet JFK and hoping to resist  US domination: "Too late. England is now nothing more than an aircraft carrier for US goods and policies. No country can be free if it has a foreign base on its territory." The effect of the US base in Saudi Arabia was immediate. Every Moslem whose creed opposes foreigners stationed on their land and every Saudi who hopes one day to be genuinely independent rallied to those who denounced it. But don't castigate the Reagan administration for that.  On the contrary, that's what the US ruling class wanted: a "war of religion". If only the Moslems got really angry, maybe they might resort to a bit of terrorism. And then the politics of fear would continue. Instead of a Cold War, the US would now fight the War on Terror. And once again, taxes would go for weapons, military bases, cops, agents, torturers, assassins, with no money left for hospitals,  schools, entitlements, invalid children, AIDS, for anything human. Thanks to "Terror", taxes would continue to go for death. Because death makes more money for the rich. And to "defend ourselves," the ruling class could tighten its repression.


Arrest any one who looks Moslem could now be jailed.  And any foreigner the US didn't like would become an  "enemy combatant." The US could now torture anyone it wanted to at home or, if some lawyers objected, send them to Egypt, Pakistan,  Uzbekistan or some other dictatorship-run friend of the US, where they might be tortured without interference, secretly. It is called "rendition". How many of the 1500 American Moslems whom the ACLU has identified as "disappeared" are being rendered  abroad? Every day we learn of a new case. The Canadian citizen taken off a plane at JFK airport. sent to his native Syria, tortured there for three years. The German Moslem, "not tortured only severely beaten" for nine months and held long enough to force his family back to  Lebanon. The American Lebanese picked up in the street by FBI goons who refused to notify his family and held him incomunicado for three years, compelling his wife and two kids to abandon their lives in Queens, New York. Not to mention systematic torture in Guantanamo, Abu Graib, US detention camps in Afghanistan and, we now are told, in US prisons as well. Amnesty International defines the US camp at Guantanamo as a "Gulag." Logic and careful analysis of the facts tell us that the US runs Gulags wherever it dominates a country.


Some of that information is now known to the average American. But not all. Not enough, thanks to a pliable media, for average-Joe to understand that the FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, and most local US police corps are today no better than the Gestapo or the KGB goons. And to make sure that average Joe does not get to know the extent of US atrocities, the government is now trying to silence even defense lawyers.


So for you and me, who don't look Moslem or Latino or Hindu or  Apache, beware: one wrong word and we will face the charge of aiding and abetting the terrorists. And we will find it harder and harder to find a lawyer willing to defend us, that is if we are not simply "disappeared" to Tashkent or Ryad.  Under the War on Terror, nothing can stop the empire. Years ago, the State Department hawk who invented the rational for the Cold War, the  former ambassador to Moscow who invented "containment," euphemistically meant to give an acceptable term to the US policy of surrounding Soviet Russia (and making the Russians so scared of our first strike policy that the US, in effect, created and is responsible for post-war Stalin),  the  great statesman George Kennan said:


We have about 50 percent of the world's wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships that will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We should cease the talk about vague, unreal objectives, such as human rights, raising of living standards and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.





from Michael Parenti

5 June 2005



Please use this article as you wish.



Good Things Happening in Venezuela

by Michael Parenti


Even before I arrived in Venezuela for a recent visit, I encountered the great class divide that besets that country. On my connecting flight from Miami to Caracas, I found myself seated next to an attractive, exquisitely dressed Venezuelan woman. Judging from her prosperous aspect, I anticipated that she would take the first opportunity to hold forth against President Hugo Chavez. Unfortunately, I was right.


Our conversation moved along famously until we got to the political struggle going on in Venezuela. “Chavez,” she hissed, “is terrible, terrible.” He is “a liar”; he “fools the people” and is “ruining the country.”


She herself owns an upscale women’s fashion company with links to prominent firms in the United States. When I asked how Chavez has hurt her business, she said, “Not at all.” But many other businesses, she quickly added, have been irreparably damaged as has the whole economy. She went on denouncing Chavez in sweeping terms, warning me of the national disaster to come if this demon continued to have his way.


Other critics I encountered in Venezuela shared this same mode of attack: weak on specifics but strong in venom, voiced with all the ferocity of those who fear that their birthright (that is, their class advantages) was under siege because others below them on the social ladder were now getting a slightly larger slice of the pie.


In Venezuela over 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty level. Before Chavez, most of the poor had never seen a doctor or dentist. Their children never went to school, since they could not afford the annual fees. The neoliberal market “adjustments” of the 1980s and 1990s only made things worse, cutting social spending and eliminating subsidies in consumer goods. Successive administrations did nothing about the rampant corruption and nothing about the growing gap between rich and poor, the growing malnutrition and desperation. 


Far from ruining the country, here are some of the good things the Chavez government has accomplished:


       A land reform program designed to assist small farmers and the landless poor has been instituted. Just this month (March 2005) a large landed estate owned by a British beef company was occupied by agrarian workers for farming purposes.

        Education is now free (right through to university level), causing a dramatic increase in grade school enrollment.

        The government has set up a marine conservation program, and is taking steps to protect the land and fishing rights of indigenous peoples.

        Special banks now assist small enterprises, worker cooperatives, and farmers.

         Attempts to further privatize the state-run oil industry---80 percent of which is still publicly owned---have been halted, and limits have been placed on foreign capital penetration.                                               

         Chavez kicked out the U.S. military advisors and prohibited overflights by U.S. military aircraft engaged in counterinsurgency in Colombia.

         “Bolivarian Circles” have been organized throughout the nation, neighborhood committees designed to activate citizens at the community level to assist in literacy, education, vaccination campaigns, and other public services.

   The government hires unemployed men, on a temporary basis, to repair streets and neglected drainage and water systems in poor neighborhoods.        


Then there is the health program. I visited a dental clinic in Chavez’s home state of Barinas. The staff consisted of four dentists, two of whom were young Venezuelan women. The other two were Cuban men who were there on a one-year program. The Venezuelan dentists noted that in earlier times dentists did not have enough work. There were millions of people who needed treatment, but care was severely rationed by the private market, that is, by one’s ability to pay. Dental care was distributed like any other commodity, not to everyone who needed it but only to those who could afford it.


When the free clinic in Barinas first opened it was flooded with people seeking dental care. No one was turned away. Even opponents of the Chavez government availed themselves of the free service, temporarily putting aside their political aversions.


Many of the doctors and dentists who work in the barrio clinics (along with some of the clinical supplies and pharmaceuticals) come from Cuba. Chavez has also put Venezuelan military doctors and dentists to work in the free clinics. Meanwhile, much of the Venezuelan medical establishment is vehemently opposed to the free-clinic program, seeing it as a Cuban communist campaign to undermine medical standards and physicians’ earnings.


That low-income people are receiving medical and dental care for the first time in their lives does not seem to be a consideration that carries much weight among the more “professionally minded” practitioners.


I visited one of the government-supported community food stores that are located around the country, mostly in low income areas. These modest establishments sell canned goods, pasta, beans, rice, and some produce and fruits at well below the market price, a blessing in a society with widespread malnutrition.


Popular food markets have eliminated the layers of middlemen and made staples more affordable for residents. Most of these markets are run by women. The government also created a state-financed bank whose function is to provide low-income women with funds to start cooperatives in their communities.


There is a growing number of worker cooperatives. One in Caracas was started by turning a waste dump into a shoe factory and a T-shirt factory. Financed with money from the Petroleum Ministry, the coop has put about a thousand people to work. The workers seem enthusiastic and hopeful.


Surprisingly, many Venezuelans know relatively little about the worker cooperatives. Or perhaps it’s not surprising, given the near monopoly that private capital has over the print and broadcast media. The wealthy media moguls, all vehemently anti-Chavez, own four of the five television stations and all the major newspapers.


The man most responsible for Venezuela’s revolutionary developments, Hugo Chavez, has been accorded the usual ad hominem treatment in the U.S. news media. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle  described him as “Venezuela’s pugnacious president.” An earlier Chronicle report (30 November 2001) quotes a political opponent who calls Chavez “a psychopath, a terribly aggressive guy.”  The London Financial Times sees him as “increasingly autocratic” and presiding over something called a “rogue democracy.”


In the Nation (6 May 2002), Marc Cooper---one of those Cold War liberals who nowadays regularly defends the U.S. empire---writes that the democratically-elected Chavez speaks “often as a thug,” who “flirts with megalomania.” Chavez’s behavior, Cooper rattles on, “borders on the paranoiac,” is “ham-fisted demagogy” acted out with an “increasingly autocratic style.” Like so many critics, Cooper downplays Chavez’s accomplishments, and uses name-calling in place of informed analysis. 


Other media mouthpieces have labeled Chavez “mercurial,” “besieged,” “heavy-handed,”  “incompetent,” and “dictatorial,” a “barracks populist,” a “strongman,” a “firebrand,” and, above all, a “leftist.”  It is never explained what “leftist” means. A leftist is someone who advocates a more equitable distribution of social resources and human services, and who supports the kinds of programs that the Chavez government is putting in place. (Likewise a rightist is someone who opposes such programs and seeks to advance the insatiable privileges of private capital and the wealthy few.)


The term “leftist” is frequently bandied about in the U.S. media but seldom defined. The power of the label is in its remaining undefined, allowing it to have an abstracted built-in demonizing impact which precludes rational examination of its political content.


Meanwhile Chavez’s opponents, who staged an illegal and unconstitutional coup in April 2002 against Venezuela’s democratically elected government are depicted in the U.S. media as champions of  pro-democratic” and “pro-West” governance. We are talking about the free-market plutocrats and corporate-military leaders of the privileged social order who killed more people in the 48 hours they held power in 2002 than were ever harmed by Chavez in his years of rule.


When one of these perpetrators, General  Carlos Alfonzo, was hit with charges for the role he had played,  the New York Times chose to call him a “dissident” whose rights were being suppressed by the Chavez government.  Four other top military officers charged with leading the 2002 coup were also likely to face legal action. No doubt, they too will be described not as plotters or traitors who tried to destroy a democratic government, but as “dissidents,” simple decent individuals who are being denied their right to disagree with the government.


President Hugo Chavez whose public talks I attended on three occasions proved to be an educated, articulate, remarkably well-informed and well-read individual. Of big heart, deep human feeling, and keen intellect, he manifests a sincere dedication to effecting some salutary changes for the great mass of his people, a man who in every aspect seems worthy of the decent and peaceful democratic revolution he is leading.


Millions of his compatriots correctly perceive him as being the only president who has ever paid attention to the nation’s poorest areas. No wonder he is the target of calumny and coup from the upper echelons in his own country and from ruling circles up north.   


Chavez charges that the United States government is plotting to assassinate him. I can believe it.



Michael Parenti's recent books include Superpatriotism (City Lights) and The Assassination of Julius Caesar  (New Press) which won Book of the Year Award, 2004 (nonfiction) from Online Review of Books. His latest work, The Culture Struggle , will be published by Seven Stories Press in the fall of 2005.  For more information visit his website:  www.michaelparenti.org.  





from Ed Herman

Date: 4 June 2005

Subject: Erasing the Past in Israel (Gideon Levy)



You can read this sad story about ultra-ethnic cleansing in the Israeli press, but not in the NYT or Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ed Herman




Shards of memory

by Gideon Levy



June 02/2005


This is the most Arab-free area in Israel. It was the scene of total ethnic cleansing, which left not a vestige apart from the heaps of ruins and the sabra bushes. On the coastal plain, between Jaffa and Gaza, not one Palestinian village remains intact. Now the

settlers of the Gush Katif bloc from the Gaza Strip are to be brought here. In a bitterly ironic jest of fate, the settlers who sowed ruin and destruction in the Gaza Strip will now live on the ruins of the homes of the residents who were their invisible neighbors in the

refugee camps.


Again they will see nothing. From Gush Katif they saw nothing of the devastation that was wrought in Khan Yunis and in its refugee camp; and in the Nitzanim region they will see nothing of the rich fabric of life that existed here and was destroyed. It was all erased

from the face of the earth (eternity is only dust and earth). Only the skeletons of a few beautiful homes, which somehow still stand, and the piles of stones, the orchards and the natural fences made of sabra bushes remain as mute testimony among the eucalyptus groves, the new settlements and the orchards that were planted on the sites of the destruction. From the Ashdod-Ashkelon road it is possible to see a few of the ruins, but who pays attention? Who asks himself what these houses are, what used to be here and where the former residents are as he shoots past on the highway?


There is no memorial and no monument. No signpost and no sign of the dozens of villages that were razed. In Moshav Mavki'im, on the ruins of the village of Barbara, in a grove where dozens of bulldozers and trucks are now working to prepare the ground for the evacuees, we actually found a monument between the trees: "Here rests our beloved dog Mozart Hanin, of blessed memory, 1991-2003."


In the center of Kibbutz Zikim from the left-wing Kibbutz Haartzi movement a sign stands next to a ruined Palestinian mansion: "Danger, dangerous building. Keep away." An illustration showing a skull and crossbones embellishes the sign, so threatening is the memory. In Mavki'im the last vestiges are being leveled. This week the industrious tractors already removed a few piles of

stones that were once homes. Thus the final remnants of the indigenous people, the previous residents of the land, are being erased. In a country that has a law mandating "rescue digs," a country that delays and sometimes prevents construction wherever archaeological remnants of its ancient past are found, the near past is being trampled into dust.


Only in one place was it decided to be considerate of the past. Three kilometers south of the community of Nitzan, in the orchards of the Mehadrin Company, whose chairman is the head of the Disengagement Administration, in a place where settlers will also be

moved under the plan of the Housing Ministry, it was decided not to touch the land on which the center of the village of Hamama once stood. Why? Because of the concern that digging here would turn up Byzantine ruins. Byzantine ruins are liable to delay the

construction, but not Palestinian ruins. But this lovely region also has a near past which is a bleeding present in the refugee camps, and no heavy engineering equipment will be able to erase the memory.


We drove like detectives across the dunes, between the natural brush, the fruit groves, the garbage dumps and the local communities, hunting for any sign of earlier life. In one orchard we found an old faucet, in another the remnants of a millstone. We entered every ruin, turned over almost every stone. In the second part of the journey to uncover what is hidden from the eye we

were joined by the director of the Nitzanim Field School, Yair Farjun, who is very learned in remote history and also, amazingly, in the recent history that has been repressed out of the collective memory.


Farjun can not only identify every rare plant and the footprints of every deer that has trod here, he can also relate the history of every ruin. Now he shrinks at the sight of every bulldozer that slashes into the soil so the settlers' new homes can be built. There are

bulldozers aplenty here. Earth-moving contractors again have more work than they can handle, the whole coastal plain is inundated with heavy equipment. It is the unfolding of the country's history in metal: the equipment that once built the Bar-Lev Line and then the settlements line and then the separation wall is now building these new communities.


About a kilometer south of the Ad Halom junction, on Highway 4, the remnants of a fence surround a mosque, two homes and the sabra fence that contains a secret. There were sabra fences around every village, and now they are living fences of dead villages. This was the site of the town of Isdud, 4,910 residents in the years 1944-1945 - 4,620 Palestinians and 290 Jews - according

to the historian Walid Khalidi's book "All That Remains." In a field of withering hummus, which looks as though it was only recently abandoned, behind an electrified fence on which are signs warning against entry and hunting, another handsome home stands on a

limestone hill, defying the attempt to erase everything.


East of the road, behind a sign inviting local residents to a performance by the singer Zehava Ben in the "Queen's Courtyard," located in the Kanot industrial zone, a splendid house of arches is perched atop a lofty hill amid a dump of building refuse. "1948

will return to the Muslims," declares graffiti on the peeling wall, and also "Man, you stole." Rusty iron cables dangle from the high ceilings, all that's left of the lights in the Isdud house. On the southern wall someone has drawn an Israeli flag in blue and white.

This is the battle for home. The carcass of a sheep is lying next to the balcony which is covered with arches. There are few architects in Israel today who could build such a beautiful house. The tiles in the next-door house, a one-room place, still preserve vestiges of their turquoise glory. On the cracked wall is an empty clothes hanger.


The double-decker red train from Ashkelon to Tel Aviv passes by quickly. It would be interesting to know if any of the passengers turn to look at the remains of the school which is hiding in the shade of the giant ficus tree, west of the road and east of the tracks.

Some of the schools were not demolished, Farjun explains, because they were built by the British and Ben-Gurion was afraid that they would be angry, just months after their departure from the country. This was a small educational center: a few classrooms, arches and a well in the courtyard. An empty Bamba bag lies in the yard. Where are the children who went to school here and played in the shade of the tree? On the house closest to the highway, on its very edge, by the road that goes to Emunim and Azrikim, someone has written "Isdud" in Hebrew. On the side is a call to place the Oslo criminals on trial. On the fence is a sign:

"Private property. Kibbutz Hatzor." It too belongs to Hakibbutz Haarzti.


About a kilometer to the south the earth-moving trucks of Zalman Barashi spread locust-like over the dunes. Soon expanded Nitzan will arise here, that is, the new Neveh Dekalim. The bulldozers of Haim Yisraeli & Sons roll across the fields of Mavki'im, namely the

Palestinians' Barbara. All that remain here are piles of stones from a village with a population of 2,410, according to Walidi. Mavki'im was founded in January 1949 on the southern lands of Barbara, to block the return of refugees from Gaza to the village. It is a

meager-looking moshav, without even one upgraded house, its economic situation gloomy, awaiting the bonanza that is perhaps closer than ever. The restaurant that serves bland Hungarian goulash in the gas station at the entrance to the moshav stands on the ruins of the school of Barbara.


The bulldozers are hard at work to the west of the moshav houses, removing the last piles of stones that stand for Barbara. In 1949, after demolishing the schools, the workers of the Jewish National Fund pushed aside the ruins and unwittingly created mute monuments in the form of these piles of stones among the eucalyptus trees they planted on the ruins. Barbara was abandoned between the 4th and 5th of November 1948 during Operation Yoav, which was carried out by the Givati Brigade under the command of Yigal Allon, who left no Arab population in any of the areas he conquered - in Operation Yiftah, in Operation Dani and finally in Operation Yoav, which was originally called "Operation 10 Plagues." It was perhaps the case that even without Allon saying anything specific, "[his] officers knew what he wanted," Benny Morris notes in "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem,



Abed, a construction worker from Gaza, who was originally from Barbara and built the houses of Nitzan on the land of his lost village, told Farjun that his father said on his deathbed that the family had fled and not been expelled and that he never forgave himself for the hasty decision. "We saw everyone running away, so we ran too," the old man told his son apologetically. They were convinced that when the fighting abated they would be able to return. But whether they fled or were evicted, they were never

allowed to return. Now an Arab driver from the Israeli village of Tamra, who works for Haim Yisraeli & Sons, removes the last remains of Barbara for Zvi Hendel and his daughters.


Kibbutz Zikim is also expanding. The expansion, which was originally earmarked for the private market but did not succeed, will probably now be sold to the state to house the settlers (in nearby Carmiya another 53 homes are being built for them, on the land of the lost village of Irbiya). Next to the water tower of Kibbutz Zikim stands the multi-arched house of Mussa al-Alami, overlooking the lawns of the communal settlement. At the entrance to the kibbutz is another abandoned building from a spectacular Arab orchard, on the walls of which the baskets of the Zikim orchard workers still hang. Also on the cracked wall are scratched photographs of avocados, on the floor lie old books on agriculture about exterminating pests in lettuce and about growing papaya. "Long live peace," a member of the left-wing Hashomer Hatzair movement wrote on the wall of the Arab structure. An issue of Yedioth Ahronoth reports in its headline: "Investments in territories to create employment and accelerate separation." The paper is from April 11, 1983, 22 years ago. No employment and no acceleration: time stands still in an occupation.


Shikmim Field School of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is located in Nitzanim in a fine Arab house, one of the few that has been renovated here, with a balcony of arches and high ceilings. "Restoration and preservation work is under way here

within the framework of `50 settlement and revival sites.'" This building was in fact bought from its owner, the Effendi Surkaji, in 1942.


The zoologist Dr. Michael Satner sits in Farjun's office, exhausted from a day of searching and extremely worried. "You are destroying the last habitat of the gray force in the coastal plain," furious researchers from around the world are writing to him in the wake of the construction project for the settlers, on the eve of a major international conference on the gray force due to be held in Bonn. Gray force? The Hebrew word for force - koach [see Leviticus 11:30] - turns out to have another meaning: the monitor lizard. A great daytime predator, Satner explains, sandals and canteen in a sheath-like holder. He spent the whole day under the broiling sun looking for footprints of monitor lizards in the sands of Nitzan and barely found four. His master's thesis was on the monitor lizard in the dunes of Nitzan and his doctoral dissertation on the snakes in Hadera. Before Zionism there were apparently more of these lizards here. Satner is worried that the lizards that already leave footprints are all elderly. The Latin name of the lizard, Veranus, derives from Arabic, he notes.


Farjun, from the Society for the Protection of Nature, looks the part. A hero of the Yom Kippur War in the fighting on the Golan Heights, a disabled war veteran, matted beard and hair, resilient in T-shirt and sandals. He looks younger than his 52 years, a

knowledgeable expert who speaks fluent Arabic. "In terms of the Zionist ethos, the best work was done in the south. If not for that work, Ahmed and Mustafa would now be holding a discussion about us, and I prefer me holding a discussion about Ahmed and

Mustafa." That is the gist of his Zionism. "Anyone who tells you that there was no ethnic cleansing here will be lying, and anyone who tells you that without the ethnic cleansing Israel would have been established will also be lying."


We travel on a dirt road, but an amazingly beautiful one, to Hamama; this was once the service road of the farmers between Majdal [today's Ashkelon] and Hamama. The entire concealed way is rich with groves, with a row of ancient sycamores planted along both sides. The white wild strawberries taste of paradise - maybe this is the taste for which the refugees yearn when they talk about their childhood. In 1945 the population of Hamama was 5,070 souls. Now it is a Mehadrin orchard of the settler evacuator Yonatan Bassi. Some of the settlers will be moved here, too, though not, as we noted, to the area that was the center of the village, because of the Byzantines. Shards are scattered between the rows of young and well-tended citrus trees; Farjun explains that the red shards are Byzantine, the black ones Palestinian. He finds the remnants of a Palestinian faucet and a rusty window handle. Here are remnants of rabbit traps and here are sections of stone from a sea boulder that was brought here from the shore to be a wall. The writing on the door of the adjacent storeroom is in Thai.








7 June 2005

t r u t h o u t | Perspective




What's behind the Student Bill of Rights?

    By David Bacon



    Santa Rosa, CA - An older generation of teachers may remember the days of California's loyalty oaths and red scares. During the cold-war, McCarthyite era of the early 1950s, educators accused of being Communists or harboring left-wing views were driven from the school system.


    Today, witchhunts seem once again on the rise. The latest attempt to return to the era of red-baiting is called, ironically, the Student Bill of Rights. That has a fine, democratic ring to it. The phrase, however, is being used to restrict the ability of teachers to introduce controversial or provocative ideas into their classrooms. The argument goes like this: Conservative students are offended when "liberal" faculty try to force them to consider ideas with which they don't agree. Political science or sociology instructors, for instance, who support the benefits of minimum or living wage ordinances for workers, should be prevented from advancing such liberal biases in class.


    If this sounds far-fetched, consider the fact that 13 states have introduced legislation that would prohibit such "indoctrination." These bills, a project of ultra-conservative ideologue David Horowitz, aren't aimed at the many prestigious business schools around the country. There, instructors not only teach students that making profit is necessary and virtuous, but insist students learn to do so as efficiently as possible. Instead, these measures are directed against teachers who question such established ideas.


    This spring in Santa Rosa, conservative students supporting the state's own version of the Student Bill of Rights demonstrated where this is headed.


    On February 25, leaflets quoting Section 51530 of the Education Code were anonymously posted on the doors of ten faculty members at Santa Rosa Junior College. The leaflet quoted the code: "No teacher ... shall advocate or teach communism with the intent to indoctrinate, inculcate in the mind of any pupil a preference for communism." Such "advocacy," the statute says, means teaching "for the purpose of undermining patriotism for, and the belief in, the government of the United States and of this state." Fifty years ago, when left-wing teachers were hounded out of the state's school system during the cold war, this code section was rushed through the legislature to make it legal.


    A subsequent press release by the Santa Rosa Junior College Republicans claimed responsibility. "We did this because we believe certain instructors at SRJC are in violation of California state law," it said. The same day, a news release was posted on the website of California College Republicans, titled "Operation 'Red Scare,'" saying the action targeted "10 troublesome professors." The organization's chair, Michael Davidson, told blogger John Gorenfeld that "a lot of the college professors are leftovers from the Seventies - and Communist sympathizers."


    In a letter to the campus newspaper, the Oak Leaf, the president of the SRJC College Republicans, Molly McPherson, explains that "The instructors I 'targeted' were not selected at random ... There have even been accounts of JC teachers openly advocating Communist and Marxist theories ... [which have] been outlawed in the classrooms of a country with the strongest free speech rights in the world."


    When the campus Republicans found it hard to document the massive teaching of communism at the junior college, they retreated to general complaints of "leftist bias" by faculty members. Evidence to support charges of biased teaching seemed just as scarce. In a forum discussing the flyer, student trustee Nick Caston pointed out, "I have been on the Board of Review (the last step of the grievance process) for three years and have never heard a complaint about bias in the class room."


    "I've never even talked with any of the students who were involved in this," commented red-starred professor Marty Bennett. "But I do teach a lot of labor history in my social sciences classes, and I'm identified in the community as someone involved in the labor movement. That's probably why I was chosen." Other instructors also had had little or no contact with the young Republicans. Bennett says that because of the incident, "some teachers were reluctant to take up more controversial subjects. But it pushed others towards an activism they might not have considered before."


    On her organization's website, McPherson says the flyering was "just in time for one of our senators introducing the academic bill of rights in April." That bill, SB 5, introduced by Sen. Bill Morrow, R-San Juan Capistrano, says, "faculty shall not use their courses or their positions for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination."


    David Horowitz' website warns that "while a professor is on campus or in an academic setting, he or she has professional responsibilities that make partisan political action unacceptable," and that "all too frequently, professors behave as political advocates in the classroom, express opinions in a partisan manner on controversial issues irrelevant to the academic subject." In an era in which Governor Schwarzenegger has gone to war with the state's teachers, Horowitz's admonitions would silence protest against him. On April 20, SB 5 failed to pass the Senate Education Committee. McPherson and her clubmates fared equally poorly in late April student body elections at SRJC, when the slate they supported lost by a 2-1 majority.


    Nevertheless, bills similar to Morrow's have been introduced into 13 other states this year. Defending one in the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State Senator Larry Mumper warned that "card-carrying Communists," whom he defined as "people who try to over-regulate and try to bring in a lot of issues we don't agree with," are teaching at universities.


    Isn't that what the free market in ideas is all about?




David Bacon is a California photojournalist who documents labor, migration and globalization. His book The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the US/Mexico Border was published last year by University of California Press.






Monty Kroopkin

Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005

Subject: Fw: A HUGE VICTORY for Pablo Paredes!  Navy Judge Finds War Protest Reasonable




I was a warm body at some of the support demos for him and contributed a bit to his defense fund. This is not what many people expect of a military judge in the heart of the empire. Do you know Marjorie?


Also, guess what, I finally got a copy of the Marcuse video, "Herbert's Hippos" along with the panel discussion at UCSD that included both Angela Davis and former Chancellor McGill. What address do you want it mailed







 Navy Judge Finds War Protest Reasonable

    by Marjorie Cohn


    t r u t h o u t | Report


    Friday 13 May 2005


"I think that the government has successfully proved that any service member has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal."  -- Lt. Cmdr. Robert Klant, presiding at Pablo Paredes' court-martial


    In a stunning blow to the Bush administration, a Navy judge gave Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes no jail time for refusing orders to board the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard before it left San Diego with 3,000 sailors and Marines bound for the Persian Gulf on December 6th. Lt. Cmdr. Robert Klant found Pablo guilty of missing his ship's movement by design, but dismissed the charge of unauthorized absence. Although Pablo faced one year in the brig, the judge sentenced him to two months' restriction and three months of hard labor, and reduced his rank to seaman recruit.


    "This is a huge victory," said Jeremy Warren, Pablo's lawyer. "A sailor can show up on a Navy base, refuse in good conscience to board a ship bound for Iraq, and receive no time in jail," Warren added. Although Pablo is delighted he will not to go jail, he still regrets that he was convicted of a crime. He told the judge at sentencing: "I am guilty of believing this war is illegal. I am guilty of believing war in all forms is immoral and useless, and I am guilty of believing that as a service member I have a duty to refuse to participate in this War because it is illegal."


    Pablo maintained that transporting Marines to fight in an illegal war, and possibly to commit war crimes, would make him complicit in those crimes. He told the judge, "I believe as a member of the armed forces, beyond having a duty to my chain of command and my President, I have a higher duty to my conscience and to the supreme law of the land. Both of these higher duties dictate that I must not participate in any way, hands-on or indirect, in the current aggression that has been unleashed on Iraq."


    Pablo said he formed his views about the illegality of the war by reading truthout.org, listening to Democracy Now!, and reading articles by Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, Naomi Klein, Stephen Zunes, and Marjorie Cohn, as well as Kofi Annan's statements that the war is illegal under the UN Charter, and material on the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals.


    I testified at Pablo's court-martial as a defense expert on the legality of the war in Iraq, and the commission of war crimes by US forces. My testimony corroborated the reasonableness of Pablo's beliefs. I told the judge that the war violates the United Nations Charter, which forbids the use of force, unless carried out in self-defense or with the approval of the Security Council, neither of which obtained before Bush invaded Iraq. I also said that torture and inhuman treatment, which have been documented in Iraqi prisons, constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and are considered war crimes under the US War Crimes Statute. The United States has ratified both the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions, making them part of the supreme law of the land under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.


    I noted that the Uniform Code of Military Justice requires that all military personnel obey lawful orders. Article 92 of the UCMJ says, "A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States...." Both the Nuremberg Principles and the Army Field Manual create a duty to disobey unlawful orders. Article 509 of Field Manual 27-10, codifying another Nuremberg Principle, specifies that "following superior orders" is not a defense to the commission of war crimes, unless the accused "did not know and could not reasonably have been expected to know that the act ordered was unlawful."


    I concluded that the Iraq war is illegal. US troops who participate in the war are put in a position to commit war crimes. By boarding that ship and delivering Marines to Iraq - to fight in an illegal war, and possibly to commit war crimes - Pablo would have been complicit in those crimes. Therefore, orders to board that ship were illegal, and Pablo had a duty to disobey them.


    On cross-examination, Navy prosecutor Lt. Jonathan Freeman elicited testimony from me that the US wars in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan also violated the UN Charter, as neither was conducted in self-defense or with the blessing of the Security Council. Upon the conclusion of my testimony, the judge said, "I think that the government has successfully proved that any service member has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal."


    The Navy prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Pablo to nine months in the brig, forfeiture of pay and benefits, and a bad conduct discharge. Lt. Brandon Hale argued that Pablo's conduct was "egregious," that Pablo could have "slinked away with his privately-held beliefs quietly." The public nature of Pablo's protest made it more serious, according to the chief prosecuting officer.


    But Pablo's lawyer urged the judge not to punish Pablo more harshly for exercising his right of free speech. Pablo refused to board the ship not, as many others, for selfish reasons, but rather as an act of conscience, Warren said.


    "Pablo's victory is an incredible boon to the anti-war movement," according to Warren. Since December 6th, Pablo has had a strong support network. Camilo Mejia, a former Army infantryman who spent nine months in the brig at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for refusing to return to Iraq after a military leave, was present throughout Pablo's court-martial. Tim Goodrich, co-founder of Iraq Veterans against the War, also attended the court-martial. "We have all been to Iraq, and we support anyone who stands in nonviolent opposition," he said. Fernando Suárez del Solar and Cindy Sheehan, both of whom lost sons in Iraq, came to defend Pablo.


    The night before his sentencing, many spoke at a program in support of Pablo. Mejia thanked Pablo for bringing back the humanity and doubts about the war into people's hearts. Sheehan, whose son, K.C., died two weeks after he arrived in Iraq, said, "I was told my son was killed in the war on terror. He was killed by George Bush's war of terror on the world."


    Aidan Delgado, who received conscientious objector status after spending nine months in Iraq, worked in the battalion headquarters at the Abu Ghraib prison. Confirming the Red Cross's conclusion that 70 to 90 percent of the prisoners were there by mistake, Delgado said that most were suspected only of petty theft, public drunkenness, forging documents and impersonating officials. "At Abu Ghraib, we shot prisoners for protesting their conditions; four were killed," Delgado maintained. He has photographs of troops "scooping their brains out."


    Pablo's application for conscientious objector status is pending. He has one year of Navy service left. If his C.O. application is granted, he could be released. Or he could receive an administrative discharge. Worst case scenario, he could be sent back to Iraq. But it is unlikely the Navy will choose to go through this again.


For more on Pablo's trial and his statement of conscience, go to:



First they ignore you.

Then they laugh at you.

Then they fight you.

Then you win. 






Francis McCollum Feeley

Professor of American Studies/

Director of Research at CEIMSA-IN-EXILE