Bulletin N°221


8 January 2006

Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

In preparation for our April colloquium on "The History of Pacifist Movements in the United States " at the University of Savoie, we offer readers some random notes on research in the social sciences. . . . .  .

Exercise 1 :

Fix an imaginary point in mid air, directly in front of you; then turn 45 degrees to the right and fix a second imaginary point; now, measure the real distance between these two imaginary points. This is space, and it has no history. It has always existed, even before the birth of our universe.

Exercise 2 :

Take a pencil and stick it in the ground on a sunny day; then place a sheet of white paper next to it, so that the pencil casts a shadow on the paper; make a mark at the tip of the shadow; then one hour later mark the new location of the shadow; now, measure the distance between the two points. You are looking at the passage of time. Time did not exist before the birth of our solar system and the rotation of the earth.

Theorem A :

The study of history teaches us how our species evolved into agents of history, using time and space to make conscious changes in the practico-inert -for better or for worse. In existentialist theory, the role of consciousness is assumed by praxis (human activity in its material context) and the practico-inert (the sedimentation of previous praxes). Praxis surpasses and subsumes the practico-inert. Thus acts of speech, for example, would be praxis, but language would be practico-inert; social institutions are practico-inert but the actions they foster and limit are praxes. [See Jean-Paul Satre's Search for a Method.]

Theorem B :

History is made by human beings located in space and time. Scientific research suggests that our spoken language was developed by prehistoric man at least 10,000 years ago. After imitating sounds of other species --by mimicking the noises made by mice, birds,  dogs, lions, monkeys, etc. --humans are thought to have created speech. Written language, scholars agree, first began to develop approximately at the time that the wheel and the lunar calendar were invented, around 3500 B.C. This most probably took place in the world's first cities which were located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in a region about the size of the state of Massachusetts called Sumer. Today there exist some 3000 distinct languages in the world, and may more dialects.

An examination of the written record of man reveals patterns of both human adaptation and resistance to environmental changes, some of which were caused by human interventions and others by natural forces.

Illustration i :

The institutionalization of stupidity (i.e. the policy of "dumbing down" a class of people so that they better serve the "needs" of a mass consumer society) . Football in Oklahoma is a case in point: for decades the state of Oklahoma has been famous for producing athletes, most importantly American football players. An essential part of this production is to identify, at the earliest possible age, potentially gifted athletes. These targeted individuals are managed through their school years so that their football-playing potential is maximized, which often involves retarding them intellectually so that by repeating one or more academic years at school they are physically more mature by the time they graduate from high school, and become prime candidates for college football, which in turn is the training ground for professional football. Over the decades this industry has proven to be quite efficient in producing "outstanding" athletes, whose average life expectancy is 12 years below the national average for men.

Illustration ii :

At the time when most Germans were singing "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles," some German intellectuals began to develop a private language which communicated their ideas to a very limited audience. A classic example of this phenomenon, discussed in University of California-Riverside Professor Howard Sherman's book, Reinventing Marxism, is taken from the " Frankfort School" of social philosophers. Herbert Reid was a product of this intellectual circle when he wrote an article in 1973, which he entitled "American Social Science in the Politics of Time and the Crisis of Technocorporate Society: Toward a Critical Phenomonology". The obtuse language in this article serves to illustrate the alienation of intellectuals from any social base which might be empowered to introduce progressive change.

Example :

            As Merleau-Ponty  recognized but as Enzo Paci made explicit, the temporal

          irreversibility and structure of needs and satisfactions is the permanent,

categorical structure of the life-world which provides the key to a political critique the reification of time as an aspect of technistic alienation and alienated labor in industrial society.

Finding themselves isolated from a vibrant progressive movement, these socialist intellectuals simply withdrew from society in order to remain true to their cultural revolutionary ideals. The price they paid for this commitment was political inactivity and intellectual isolation. Their language became increasingly private and inaccessible.

Below, we have selected recently received mail to share with our readers articles concerning praxis, the making of history with the use of space, time, and the practico-inert. . . .

Item A. is an article on new U.S.-Uzbakistan relations under the Bush administration, sent to us by Grenoble undergraduate student, Frédéric Méni.

Item B. is a testimonial by Milton Mayer, sent to us by Information Clearing House.

Item C. is a statement sent to us by Professor Richard Du Boff on legal precedents from the Nuremburg Trials.

Item D. is an article by John Pilger, also sent to us by Professor Du Boff, documenting an historic phenomenon: "The Death of Freedom" in America .

Item E. is an article by the anti-war activist and dissident mother of Casey Sheehan, who was among the first 1000 Americans killed in Iraq .

Item F. is a message from San Diego community organizer, Monty Kroopkin, who is now participating in the "Impeach Bush" movement.


Francis McCollum Feeley

Professor of American Studies

Dircector of Research

Université Stendhal Grenoble 3




from Frédéric Méni :

7 January 2006

 U.S.-Uzbakistan relations



from Information Clearing House :

8 January 2006


They Thought They Were Free

by Milton Mayer

"What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people. And it became always wider.....the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think....for people who did not want to think anyway gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about.....and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated.....by the machinations of the 'national enemies,'  without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.....

"Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,' that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'.....must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing.....Each act is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next.

"You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, alone.....you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.'  But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes.

"That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed.

"You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father.....could never have imagined."


Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955) 



from Richard Du Boff :

6 January 2006


17 for the dock...


Urgently needed:  a new Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal
"President Meets with Current & Former Secretaries of State and Defense"



from Richard Du Boff :

Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2006

Subject: John Pilger:  The death of freedom


The Death of Freedom

by John Pilger

The rights of ordinary people to speak out against an unjust war and atrocities unleashed in their name are being crushed. Fascism is at the door. Who else, asks John Pilger, will fight it?

On Christmas Eve, I dropped in on Brian Haw, whose hunched, pacing figure was just visible through the freezing fog. For four and a half years, Brian has camped in Parliament Square with a graphic display of photographs that show the terror and suffering imposed on Iraqi children by British policies. The effectiveness of his action was demonstrated last April when the Blair government banned any expression of opposition within a kilometer of parliament. The high court subsequently ruled that, because his presence preceded the ban, Brian was an exception.

Day after day, night after night, season upon season, he remains a beacon, illuminating the great crime of Iraq and the cowardice of the House of Commons. As we talked, two women brought him a Christmas meal and mulled wine. They thanked him, shook his hand and hurried on. He had never seen them before. "That's typical of the public," he said. A man in a pinstriped suit and tie emerged from the fog, carrying a small wreath. "I intend to place this at the Cenotaph and read out the names of the dead in Iraq ," he said to Brian, who cautioned him: "You'll spend the night in the cells, mate." We watched him stride off and lay his wreath. His head bowed, he appeared to be whispering. Thirty years ago, I watched dissidents do something similar outside the walls of the Kremlin.

As the night had covered him, he was lucky. On 7 December, Maya Evans, a vegan chef aged 25, was convicted of breaching the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act by reading aloud at the Cenotaph the names of 97 British soldiers killed in Iraq . So serious was her crime that it required 14 policemen in two vans to arrest her. She was fined and given a criminal record for the rest of her life.

Freedom is dying.

Eighty-year-old John Catt served with the RAF in the Second World War. Last September, he was stopped by police in Brighton for wearing an "offensive" T-shirt which suggested that Bush and Blair be tried for war crimes. He was arrested under the Terrorism Act and handcuffed, with his arms held behind his back. The official record of the arrest says the "purpose" of searching him was "terrorism" and the "grounds for intervention" were "carrying plackard and T-shirt with anti-Blair info" (sic).

He is awaiting trial.

Such cases compare with others that remain secret and beyond any form of justice: those of the foreign nationals held at Belmarsh Prison who have never been charged, let alone put on trial. They are held "on suspicion". Some of the "evidence" against them, whatever it is, the government has now admitted, could have been extracted under torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. They are political prisoners in all but name. They face the prospect of being spirited out of the country and into the arms of a regime which may torture them to death. Their isolated families, including children, are quietly going mad.

And for what?

Between 11 September 2001 and 30 September 2005, 895 people in total were arrested under the Terrorism Act. Only 23 have been convicted of offences covered by the act. As for real terrorists, the identities of two of the 7 July bombers, including the suspected mastermind, were known to MI5, yet nothing was done. And Blair wants to give the security services more power. Having helped to devastate Iraq , he is now killing freedom in his own country.

Consider parallel events in the United States . Last October, an American doctor, loved by his patients, was punished with 22 years in prison for founding a charity, Help the Needy, which helped children in Iraq stricken by an economic and humanitarian blockade imposed by America and Britain . In raising money for infants dying from diarrhoea, Dr Rafil Dhafir broke a siege which, according to Unicef, had caused the deaths of half a million under the age of five. John Ashcroft, the then US attorney general, called Dr Dhafir, a Muslim, a "terrorist", a description mocked by even the judge in a politically motivated travesty of a trial.

The Dhafir case is not extraordinary. In the same month, three US circuit court judges ruled in favour of the Bush regime's "right" to imprison an American citizen "indefinitely" without charging him with a crime. This was the case of Jose Padilla, a petty criminal who allegedly visited Pakistan before he was arrested at Chicago airport three and a half years ago. He was never charged and no evidence has ever been presented against him. Now mired in legal complexity, the case puts George W Bush above the law and outlaws the Bill of Rights. Indeed, on 14 November, the US Senate in effect voted to ban habeas corpus by passing an amendment that overturned a Supreme Court ruling allowing Guantanamo prisoners access to a federal court. Thus, the touchstone of America 's most celebrated freedom was scrapped. Without habeas corpus, a government can simply lock away its opponents and implement a dictatorship.

A related, insidious tyranny is being imposed across the world. For all his troubles in Iraq , Bush has carried out the recommendations of a Messianic conspiracy theory called the "Project for the New American Century". Written by his ideological sponsors shortly before he came to power, it foresaw his administration as a military dictatorship behind a democratic facade: "the cavalry on the new American frontier", guided by a blend of paranoia and megalomania. More than 700 American bases are now placed strategically in compliant countries, notably at gateways to sources of fossil fuels and encircling the Middle East and central Asia. "Pre-emptive" aggression is policy, including the use of nuclear weapons. The chemical warfare industry has been reinvigorated. Missile treaties have been torn up. Space has been militarised. Global warming has been embraced. The powers of the president have never been greater. The judicial system has been subverted, along with civil liberties. The former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who once prepared the daily White House briefing, told me that the authors of the PNAC and those now occupying positions of executive power used to be known in Washington as "the crazies". He said: "We should now be very worried about fascism."

In his epic acceptance of the Nobel Prize in Literature on 7 December, Harold Pinter spoke of "a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed". He asked why "the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of inde- pendent thought" of Stalinist Russia were well known in the west while US state crimes were merely "superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged".

A silence has reigned. Across the world, the extinction and suffering of countless human beings can be attributed to rampant American power, "But you wouldn't know it," said Pinter. "It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest."

To its credit, the Guardian published every word of Pinter's warning. To its shame, though unsurprising, the state television broadcaster ignored it. All that Newsnight flatulence about the arts, all that recycled preening for the cameras at Booker Prize-giving events, yet the BBC could not make room for Britain 's greatest living dramatist, so honoured, to tell the truth.

For the BBC, it simply never happened, just as the killing of half a million children by America's medieval siege of Iraq during the 1990s never happened, just as the Dhafir and Padilla trials and the Senate vote banning freedom never happened. The political prisoners of Belmarsh barely exist; and a big, brave posse of Metropolitan police never swept away Maya Evans as she publicly grieved for British soldiers killed in the cause of nothing except rotten power.

Bereft of irony, but with a snigger, the newsreader Fiona Bruce introduced, as news, a Christmas propaganda film about Bush's dogs. That happened. Now imagine Bruce reading the following: "Here is delayed news, just in. From 1945 to 2005, the United States attempted to overthrow 50 governments, many of them democracies, and to crush 30 popular movements fighting tyrannical regimes. In the process, 25 countries were bombed, causing the loss of several million lives and the despair of millions more." (Thanks to William Blum's Rogue State, published by Common Courage Press.)

The icon of horror of Saddam Hussein's rule is a 1988 film of petrified bodies of people in the Kurdish town of Halabja, killed in a chemical weapons attack. The attack has been referred to a great deal by Bush and Blair and the film shown a great deal by the BBC. At the time, as I know from personal experience, the Foreign Office tried to cover up the crime at Halabja. The Americans tried to blame it on Iran . Today, in an age of images, there are no images of the chemical weapons attack on Fallujah in November 2004. This allowed the Americans to deny it until they were caught out recently by investigators using the internet. For the BBC, American atrocities simply do not happen.

In 1999, while filming in Washington and Iraq , I learned the true scale of bombing in what the Americans and British then called Iraq 's "no-fly zones". During the 18 months to 14 January 1999, US aircraft flew 24,000 combat missions over Iraq ; almost every mission was bombing or strafing. "We're down to the last outhouse," a US official protested. "There are still some things left [to bomb], but not many." That was seven years ago. In recent months, the air assault on Iraq has multiplied; the effect on the ground cannot be imagined. For the BBC, it has not happened.

The black farce extends to those pseudo-humanitarians in the media and elsewhere, who themselves have never seen the effects of cluster bombs and air-burst shells, yet continue to invoke the crimes of Saddam to justify the nightmare in Iraq and to protect a quisling prime minister who has sold out his country and made the world more dangerous. Curiously, some of them insist on describing themselves as "liberals" and "left of centre", even "anti-fascists". They want some respectability, I suppose. This is understandable, given that the league table of carnage by Saddam Hussein was overtaken long ago by that of their hero in Downing Street, who will now support an attack on Iran .

This cannot change until we, in the west, look in the mirror and confront the true aims and narcissism of the power applied in our name, its extremes and terrorism. The usual double standard no longer works; there are now millions like Brian Haw, Maya Evans, John Catt and the man in the pinstriped suit, with his wreath. Looking in the mirror means understanding that a violent and undemocratic order is being imposed by those whose actions are little different from the actions of fascists. The difference used to be distance. Now they are bringing it home.


John Pilger's new book, Freedom Next Time, will be published in June by Bantam Press



from Truthout :

t r u t h o u t | Perspective

6 January 2006

The Opposite of Good Is Apathy

by Cindy Sheehan

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead.

-- William Lloyd Garrison

    The apathy of most of America is stunning and appalling to me. When I found this quote I was filled with wide-eyed wonder that there is one statue left in America complete with statue, or one grave or tomb still occupied.

    On October 26th, as MoveOn.org was holding its candlelight vigils across the country to mourn the death of the 2000th American soldier in Iraq , I and two dozen others were being arrested in front of the White House protesting the carnage done in our name by the illegitimate residents therein.

    Now, counting the 11 American soldiers who were pointlessly killed in George's unconscionable and brainless war of terror in the Middle East, the American "official" death toll is up to 2193: 200 more families ruined in less than three months!

    My son Casey was in the first 1000 to be killed in Iraq . We reached that dismal mark by September 2004. MoveOn.org conducted candlelight vigils for that occasion. Then a little over a year later, MoveOn.org conducted candlelight vigils to commemorate the 2000th soldier. If we don't get off of our collective apathetic and complacent backsides to stop the barbaric killing in Iraq , when will the next candlelight vigil be? George Bush and the evil neocons are killing our precious soldiers at the rate of 2.78 per day. By my calculations, we should be lighting our candles again and singing "Kum bah ya" by October.

    This article is not intended to be an indictment of MoveOn.org, which does some amazing work and who were big supporters of Camp Casey. But my point is this, America : the longer we allow the illegitimate pretender to the White House and his conniving and callous gang of co-conspirators to continue, the more our collective humanity is damaged. Apparently, candlelight vigils do very little to stop, or even slow down a little, the carnage committed by the war criminals in DC.

    Then we have the unfortunate innocents of Iraq . I have heard reports of up to as many as 200 of them killed yesterday. So if 200 were reported, one has to really wonder what the true count was. Bill O'Reilly and George Bush define a terrorist as someone who "kills innocent men, women and children." Am I the only one who sees the irony and stunning hypocrisy in this statement?" Who do Bill and George think are being killed in Iraq ? A well-trained and organized Army? Terrorists? We all know that is false. This is who is being killed in Iraq: living breathing human beings, identical to Americans or any other human beings on earth, who are just trying to go about their lives, trying to survive in a war-torn country that was no threat to America or our way of life.

    "I would say 30,000 more or less have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis," said George on December 12, 2005. Even if one accepts this very low guess-timate by George, his policies have been responsible for ten times the 3000 deaths on September 11, 2001. By his own admission, he is ten times the terrorist that Osama ever was. If George says 30,000 ... who knows what the truthful total is. It fills me with sorrow and hurts my heart to even contemplate the number.

    America : this is what you are allowing your government to do in your name:

    Detain and torture prisoners without due process. Use chemical weapons on other members of humanity. Spy on Americans without a court order (I hope my conversations put them in a coma of boredom). Carpet bomb cities filled with human beings like yourselves. Destroy the infrastructure of other countries. Destroy the infrastructure of American cities. Cut taxes on the rich while pouring money and blood into the thirsty sands of the Middle East. Decimate our treasury. Rape the environment. Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum.

    Hillary Clinton told me that the "wheels of government grind slowly." This is a tired cliché and it is unacceptable blather while the war machine is grinding the bones of our children. It is time for us wide-awake Americans to make our elected officials speed up the timetable for withdrawal from Iraq .

    If I hear one more rendition of "We Shall Overcome" and then watch the vigilers or marchers go home and turn on their TVs and crack open a brewsky, content in the fact that they have done something for peace that day, I am going to scream! We can't overcome unless we take the proverbial bull by the horns and overcome!

    Hold your vigils and marches in relevant places: such as warmongering local Congressional offices. So many Senators and Congresspeople come to mind. Or in front of a recruiting station. Or federal buildings. Or military bases. Then instead of going home and cracking open a beer, or uncorking a bottle of wine, sit down and say "we aren't leaving until you call for an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq ." Put your butt on the line for humanity.

    Change will not happen until we make it happen. We can't make change happen by wishing or praying that it will happen.

    We actually have to do something.

    Cindy Sheehan is a co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of Not One More Mother's Child, available at www.koabooks.com..



from Monty Kroopkin :

Date: Sat, 7 Jan 2006

Subject: Fw: Act Locally: Support Efforts to Investigate Impeachable Offenses

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January 5, 2006

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Attend Local Events in Support of Resolution to

Investigate Impeachable Offenses

    I have taken steps to begin the inquiry into possible impeachable offenses by the Bush Administration, and have called for censure of the President and the Vice President.  Now I am asking for your help to stand with me in fighting for accountability.

    We need to present a unified front in our call for justice.  A coalition of organizations, led by AfterDowningStreet.org, has organized a series of town hall events and house parties this weekend to coordinate grassroots activity in support of efforts to investigate impeachable offenses.

Find an Event in Your Area

Action Center

Attend a Town Hall Meeting This Weekend

Forward this to a Friend

    On January 7th, there will be over 130 events held across the country, several attended by Democratic Members of Congress.  These will provide an opportunity to meet like-minded people from your area and to coordinate efforts to hold this administration accountable for misleading us into war.  I will be at the Speak Out on the War Town Hall in Livonia, Michigan. 

    These events will also set in motion a massive grassroots campaign in support of our efforts.  The Progressive Democrats of America have set up a follow-up outreach program on January 9th, called the PDA National Call-In Day, the details of which may be found here.

Become a Citizen Cosponsor

    I also want to let you know about a program I have started called the Citizen Cosponsorship campaign which encourages people to sign onto my legislation calling for the investigation of possible impeachable offenses.  We have amassed 30,000 signatures in a week and are seeking to reach 100,000 cosponsors by the time Congress reconvenes at the end of January.

    This campaign follows a thorough review of Bush Administration misconduct I undertook which culminated in the publication of a 250-page report.  [A copy of the report may be found at Raw Story.com and also at CensureBush.org.]

    The latest incidence of the Bush Administration's abuse of power underscores why we must unite to take strong action now.  Late last night we learned that NBC is investigating reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) conducted wiretaps of CNN reporter, Christiane Amanpour.  While it is very troubling that the NSA would be targeting journalists to uncover terrorist plots, what is especially disconcerting is that Ms. Amanpour's husband served as a senior advisor to the John Kerry presidential campaign and would have been using the same phone that the Agency is alleged to have been wiretapping.  The overreach of the NSA in conducting warrantless wiretaps is astounding in its audacity and I have demanded the White House disclose to Congress whether, and to what extent, journalists have been under surveillance and report on additional elements of this program.  21 other Members of Congress joined me in this request, a copy of which may be found on RawStory.com.

    These continued constitutional abuses means your voice needs to be heard.  Please take the time to get involved.  Help send the message to the President, the media, and the American people that we want an end to the war and we are not going to stand for an imperial presidency any longer.


John Conyers

Contact Information


Alexandria, Virginia 17


Francis McCollum Feeley

Professor of American Studies/

Director of Research

Université de Grenoble-3

Grenoble, France