Bulletin N°225


25 February 2006
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The documentary film which our research center tried to screen last Tuesday evening (21 February) was sabotaged by a false alarm fire drill in the building. The concierge was seen running from his office located next to the main entrance of the building two minutes before the false alarm went off. In Amphitheater 2, at precisely 19h, the projector was shut down; all the lights came on, and a loud voice (possibly that of the concierge) kept repeating "EVACUATE THE BUILDING NOW!" Fifty of us in the room agreed, before we filed out of the Amphitheater, to meet outside, at the front of the building. I locked the Amphitheater door behind me and spoke to some cleaning women in the lobby before joining the students outside. We had been able to see Part I and most of Part II of the documentary film, "The Un-Americans", and we agreed to postpone the screening of Part III for another day, instead of waiting in the dark for the false alarm to finish. The students left for supper, and I returned to the Amphitheater to retrieve my video tape where the voice over the loud speaker continued to blast the command : EVACUATE!

I had trouble retrieving my tape until suddenly I heard a click. The machine was turned on, my tape was released, and the loud voice ceased at that same moment. I left the room, locking the door behind me, once again, and exited the main entrance. As I walked toward my bicycle in the dark, I saw the concierge returning to his office.

It was Victor Serge, I believe, who observed around 1917, "War is the midwife of Revolution." If this be true, we seem to be heading for some revolutionary days ahead, as the permanent war economy in the United States develops to new extremes. We invite readers to visit our CEIMSA-IN-EXILE website located temporarily at The University of California, and read Newsletter N°32, in which historian Gabriel Kolko discusses "The Decline of the American Empire".

My own historical research on the impressive anti-war movement in France both before and during the First World War, informed me of the classic pattern of authoritarianism during times of war. A virtual paradigm shift took place, almost imperceptibly at first: from civil tolerance to military-style command, from democratic discussions to rapport de force organization, from social class consciousness to esprit de corps. In my first book, Rebels with Causes, I tried to describe the glacial shifts which took place in Europe before 1914 and which prepared literally millions of young Frenchmen to accept their own destruction. My study focused on public school teachers who did not want to educate their classes to this particular objective and tried to resist.

The five items below were recently received by our research center, and speak to the "unforeseen" consequences of another war, the slaughter we are today witnessing in the Middle East.

Item A. are two website links from Peace Activists working in the state of Colorado, who have made a major contribution toward breaking the silence and media collaboration which serve to protect George W. Bush and his "business as usual" doctrine.

Item B. are again two website links, this time from The National Council on Child Abuse & Family Violence, which describe the effects this War is having on groups of American women.

Item C. is an article by investigative reporter Marjorie Cohn discussing the censored cause of deaths of American women soldiers".

Item D. is a press release from late January announcing the approaching trial of dissidents who were arrested while protesting the "International School of Torture" at Ft. Benning, Georgia .

And finally, item E. is an article from Dahr Jamail, analyzing the political context of the February 22nd bombing of the Shia Mosque at Samarra, in southern Iraq .

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

from " Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace" :

October 2005 - February 2006

Photo and Video Archives by "unembedded" journalists.

from The National Council on Child Abuse & Family Violence :
Women in the Military

Rash of Wife Killings Stuns Ft. Bragg


FORT BRAGG, N.C., July 26 (AP) Three veterans of the war in Afghanistan and a fourth soldier have killed their wives in the Fort Bragg area in the last six weeks, the Army said today as it announced a re-evaluation of the base's family counseling program.

"It's mind-boggling," said Henry Berry, manager of family advocacy programs at Fort Bragg. "We're going to look at these cases to prevent them from happening in the future."

Two Fort Bragg soldiers killed their wives in murder-suicides, and two others have been charged with murdering their wives. Three of the soldiers were from the Army's Special Operations unit and had recently returned from Afghanistan ; the fourth was from an airborne unit and had not been sent into action. All four were sergeants.

Fort Bragg is the Army's headquarters for Special Forces and Special Operations units, and the base has sent hundreds of soldiers into the fight against terrorism. Counselors are available in the field, and soldiers are counseled before they leave on assignment and before they return home, said Col. Jerome Haberek, a chaplain at Fort Bragg.

Base officials said that before the recent rash of killings, there had been no deaths attributable to domestic abuse by Fort Bragg personnel in two years. Maj. Gary Kolb, a spokesman for the Army Special Operations Command, said it would be stretching matters to link the recent killings to service in Afghanistan .

The string of deaths started June 11 when Sgt. 1st Class Rigoberto Nieves fatally shot his wife, Teresa, and then killed himself in their Fayetteville bedroom. Sergeant Nieves, who had been back from Afghanistan just two days, had recently requested leave to resolve personal problems, officials said.

On July 1, Master Sgt. William Wright reported that his wife, Jennifer, was missing. On July 19, he led investigators to her body, buried in a shallow grave in a field near Fayetteville, and was charged with murder. Sheriff's investigators said she was strangled on June 29.

Sergeant Wright, who had been back from Afghanistan for about a month, had moved out of the family's house and was living in the barracks.

His mother-in-law, Wilma Watson, said from her home in Mason, Ohio. "Until he came back from Afghanistan , I didn't worry about violence. He was getting these attacks of rage. She was afraid of him."

On the same day Sergeant Wright was arrested, Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Floyd shot his wife, Andrea, and himself in their Stedman home.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that Sergeant Floyd was a member of Delta Force, the secretive antiterrorism unit based at Fort Bragg. He returned from Afghanistan in January.

In the fourth case, Sgt. Cedric Ramon Griffin was charged with stabbing his estranged wife, Marilyn, on July 9. He was in an engineering battalion.

from Truthout :
30 January 2006

For background, see:     
Marjorie Cohn | Bush on Trial for Crimes against Humanity   
Marjorie Cohn | Abu Ghraib General Lambastes Bush Administration   

    Military Hides Cause of Women Soldiers' Deaths
    By Marjorie Cohn

    In a startling revelation, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison testified that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq , gave orders to cover up the cause of death for some female American soldiers serving in Iraq .

    Last week, Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark.

    The latrine for female soldiers at Camp Victory wasn't located near their barracks, so they had to go outside if they needed to use the bathroom. "There were no lights near any of their facilities, so women were doubly easy targets in the dark of the night," Karpinski told retired US Army Col. David Hackworth in a September 2004 interview. It was there that male soldiers assaulted and raped women soldiers. So the women took matters into their own hands. They didn't drink in the late afternoon so they wouldn't have to urinate at night. They didn't get raped. But some died of dehydration in the desert heat, Karpinski said.

    Karpinski testified that a surgeon for the coalition's joint task force said in a briefing that "women in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the port-a-lets or the latrines were not drinking liquids after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and in 120 degree heat or warmer, because there was no air-conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep."

    "And rather than make everybody aware of that - because that's shocking, and as a leader if that's not shocking to you then you're not much of a leader - what they told the surgeon to do is don't brief those details anymore. And don't say specifically that they're women. You can provide that in a written report but don't brief it in the open anymore."

    For example, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Sanchez's top deputy in Iraq , saw "dehydration" listed as the cause of death on the death certificate of a female master sergeant in September 2003. Under orders from Sanchez, he directed that the cause of death no longer be listed, Karpinski stated. The official explanation for this was to protect the women's privacy rights.

    Sanchez's attitude was: "The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory," Karpinski quoted him as saying. Karpinski told me that Sanchez, who was her boss, was very sensitive to the political ramifications of everything he did. She thinks it likely that when the information about the cause of these women's deaths was passed to the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld ordered that the details not be released. "That's how Rumsfeld works," she said.

    "It was out of control," Karpinski told a group of students at Thomas Jefferson School of Law last October. There was an 800 number women could use to report sexual assaults. But no one had a phone, she added. And no one answered that number, which was based in the United States . Any woman who successfully connected to it would get a recording. Even after more than 83 incidents were reported during a six-month period in Iraq and Kuwait , the 24-hour rape hot line was still answered by a machine that told callers to leave a message.

    "There were countless such situations all over the theater of operations - Iraq and Kuwait - because female soldiers didn't have a voice, individually or collectively," Karpinski told Hackworth. "Even as a general I didn't have a voice with Sanchez, so I know what the soldiers were facing. Sanchez did not want to hear about female soldier requirements and/or issues."

    Karpinski was the highest officer reprimanded for the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, although the details of interrogations were carefully hidden from her. Demoted from Brigadier General to Colonel, Karpinski feels she was chosen as a scapegoat because she was a female.

    Sexual assault in the US military has become a hot topic in the last few years, "not just because of the high number of rapes and other assaults, but also because of the tendency to cover up assaults and to harass or retaliate against women who report assaults," according to Kathy Gilberd, co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild's Military Law Task Force.

    This problem has become so acute that the Army has set up its own sexual assault web site.

    In February 2004, Rumsfeld directed the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to undertake a 90-day review of sexual assault policies. "Sexual assault will not be tolerated in the Department of Defense," Rumsfeld declared.

    The 99-page report was issued in April 2004. It affirmed, "The chain of command is responsible for ensuring that policies and practices regarding crime prevention and security are in place for the safety of service members." The rates of reported alleged sexual assault were 69.1 and 70.0 per 100,000 uniformed service members in 2002 and 2003. Yet those rates were not directly comparable to rates reported by the Department of Justice, due to substantial differences in the definition of sexual assault.

    Notably, the report found that low sociocultural power (i.e., age, education, race/ethnicity, marital status) and low organizational power (i.e., pay grade and years of active duty service) were associated with an increased likelihood of both sexual assault and sexual harassment.

    The Department of Defense announced a new policy on sexual assault prevention and response on January 3, 2005. It was a reaction to media reports and public outrage about sexual assaults against women in the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan , and ongoing sexual assaults and cover-ups at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, Gilberd said. As a result, Congress demanded that the military review the problem, and the Defense Authorization Act of 2005 required a new policy be put in place by January 1.

    The policy is a series of very brief "directive-type memoranda" for the Secretaries of the military services from the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. "Overall, the policy emphasizes that sexual assault harms military readiness, that education about sexual assault policy needs to be increased and repeated, and that improvements in response to sexual assaults are necessary to make victims more willing to report assaults," Gilberd notes. "Unfortunately," she added "analysis of the issues is shallow, and the plans for addressing them are limited."

    Commands can reject the complaints if they decide they aren't credible, and there is limited protection against retaliation against the women who come forward, according to Gilberd. "People who report assaults still face command disbelief, illegal efforts to protect the assaulters, informal harassment from assaulters, their friends or the command itself," she said.

    But most shameful is Sanchez's cover-up of the dehydration deaths of women that occurred in Iraq . Sanchez is no stranger to outrageous military orders. He was heavily involved in the torture scandal that surfaced at Abu Ghraib. Sanchez approved the use of unmuzzled dogs and the insertion of prisoners head-first into sleeping bags after which they are tied with an electrical cord and their are mouths covered. At least one person died as the result of the sleeping bag technique. Karpinski charges that Sanchez attempted to hide the torture after the hideous photographs became public.

    Sanchez reportedly plans to retire soon, according to an article in the International Herald Tribune earlier this month. But Rumsfeld recently considered elevating the 3-star general to a 4-star. The Tribune also reported that Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, the Army's chief spokesman, said in an email message, "The Army leaders do have confidence in LTG Sanchez."

from Truthout
27 January 2006

Torture School Protesters Face Six Months in Prison

Trials Begin in Columbus, Georgia on Monday, January 30; grandmother, priests, retirees, nun, students among those prosecuted.

    Washington - On Monday, January 30 thirty-two people ranging in age from 19 to 81 will begin federal trials for peacefully walking onto a military base in protest of a controversial Army training school. Each person faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine for this act of nonviolent civil disobedience.

    The 34 were among 19,000 who gathered on November 18-20 outside the gates of Ft. Benning, Georgia to demand a dramatic shift in US foreign policy and the closure of the controversial US Army's School of the Americas , now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC). The group peacefully crossed onto Ft. Benning, site of the school, at the culmination of a symbolic funeral procession in memory of those killed by graduates of the institution.

    "People speaking out for justice and accountability will most likely be sent to prison next week," said Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch, "while the SOA and its graduates continue to operate outside a system of real accountability."

    Those arrested at the demonstration - 40 in all - cited the Bush Administration's opposition to banning torture techniques, pictures of abuse at the hands US personnel, and reports about secret CIA detention facilities as catalysts for this growing grassroots movement for human rights. The demonstration was the largest yet in a 16-year history of opposition to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, a combat-training school for Latin American soldiers.

    The SOA/WHINSEC made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the facility has ever taken place. New research confirms that the school continues to support known human rights abusers. Despite having been investigated by the United Nations for ordering the shooting of 16 indigenous peasants in El Salvador (a massacre recorded by the State Department), Col. Francisco del Cid Diaz returned to SOA/WHINSEC in 2003.

    The defendants are scheduled to begin trial at 9 am on Monday morning before Judge G. Mallon Faircloth, known for handing down stiff sentences to opponents of the SOA/WHINSEC. Since protests against the SOA/WHINSEC began more than a decade ago, 183 people have served a total of over 81 years in prison for engaging in nonviolent resistance in a broad-based campaign to close the school.

    The movement to close the SOA/WHINSEC continues to grow. In 2005, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced HR 1217, a bill to suspend operations at WHINSEC and to investigate the development and use of the "torture manuals." The bill currently has 123 bipartisan co-sponsors.

SOA Watch, founded in 1990, is a national, grassroots, faith- and conscience-based organization committed to nonviolence.

from Dahr Jamail
February 24, 2006

Who Benefits?

The most important question to ask regarding the bombings of the Golden Mosque in Samarra on the 22nd is: who benefits?

Prior to asking this question, let us note the timing of the bombing. The last weeks in Iraq have been a PR disaster for the occupiers.

First, the negative publicity of the video of British soldiers beating and abusing young Iraqis has generated a backlash for British occupation forces theyve yet to face in Iraq .

Indicative of this, Abdul Jabbar Waheed, the head of the Misan provincial council in southern Iraq, announced his councils decision to lift the immunity British forces have enjoyed, so that the soldiers who beat the young Iraqis can be tried in Iraqi courts. Former U.S. proconsul Paul Bremer had issued an order granting all occupation soldiers and western contractors immunity to Iraqi law when he was head of the CPAbut this province has now decided to lift that so the British soldiers can be investigated and tried under Iraqi law.

This deeply meaningful event, if replicated around Iraq , will generate a huge rift between the occupiers and local governments. A rift which, of course, the puppet government in Baghdad will be unable to mend.

The other huge event which drew Iraqis into greater solidarity with one another was more photos and video aired depicting atrocities within Abu Ghraib at the hands of U.S. occupation forces.

The inherent desecration of Islam and shaming of the Iraqi people shown in these images enrages all Iraqis.

In a recent press conference, the aforementioned Waheed urged the Brits to allow members of the provincial committee to visit a local jail to check on detainees; perhaps Waheed is alarmed as to what their condition may be after seeing more photos and videos from Abu Ghraib.

Waheed also warned British forces that if they didnt not comply with the demands of the council, all British political, security and
reconstruction initiatives will be boycotted.

Basra province has already taken similar steps, and similar machinations are occurring in Kerbala.

Basra and Misan provinces, for example, refused to raise the cost of petrol when the puppet government in Baghdad, following orders from the IMF, decided to recently raise the cost of Iraqi petrol at the pumps several times last December.

The horrific attack which destroyed much of the Golden Mosque generated sectarian outrage which led to attacks on over 50 Sunni mosques. Many Sunni mosques in Baghdad were shot, burnt, or taken over. Three Imans were killed, along with scores of others in widespread violence.

This is what was shown by western corporate media.

As quickly as these horrible events began, they were called to an end and replaced by acts of solidarity between Sunni and Shia across Iraq .

This, however, was not shown by western corporate media.

The Sunnis where the first to go to demonstrations of solidarity with Shia in Samarra, as well as to condemn the mosque bombings.
Demonstrations of solidarity between Sunni and Shia went off over all of Iraq : in Basra, Diwaniyah, Nasiriyah, Kut, and Salah al-Din.

Thousands of Shia marched shouting anti-American slogans through Sadr City, the huge Shia slum area of Baghdad, which is home to nearly half the population of the capital city. Meanwhile, in the primarily Shia city of Kut, south of Baghdad, thousands marched while shouting slogans against America and Israel and burning U.S. and Israeli flags.

Baghdad had huge demonstrations of solidarity, following announcements by several Shia religious leaders not to attack Sunni mosques.

Attacks stopped after these announcements, coupled with those from Sadr, which Ill discuss shortly.

Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, shortly after the Golden Mosque was attacked, called for easing things down and not attacking any Sunni mosques and shrines, as Sunni religious authorities called for a truce and invited everyone to block the way of those trying to generate a sectarian war.

Sistanis office issued this statement: We call upon believers to express their protest ... through peaceful means. The extent of their sorrow and shock should not drag them into taking actions that serve the enemies who have been working to lead Iraq into sectarian strife.

Shiite religious authority Ayatollah Hussein Ismail al-Sadr warned of the emergence of a sectarian strife that terrorists want to ignite
between the Iraqis by the bombings and said, The Iraqi Shiite authority strenuously denied that Sunnis could have done this work.

He also said, Of course it is not Sunnis who did this work; it is the terrorists who are the enemies of the Shiites and Sunni, Muslims and non Muslims. They are the enemies of all religions; terrorism does not have a religion.

He warned against touching any Sunni Mosque, saying, our Sunni brothers mosques must be protected and we must all stand against terrorism and sabotage. He added: The two shrines are located in the Samarra region, which [is] predominantly Sunni. They have been protecting, using and guarding the mosques for years, it is not them but terrorism that targeted the mosques

He ruled out the possibility of a civil war while telling a reporter, I dont believe there will a civil or religious war in Iraq; thank God
that our Sunni and Shiite references are urging everyone to not respond to these terrorist and sabotage acts. We are aware of their attempts as are our people; Sistani had issued many statements [regarding this issue] just as we did.

The other, and more prominent Sadr, Muqtada Al-Sadr, who has already lead two uprisings against occupation forces, held Takfiris [those who regard other Muslims as infidels], Bathists, and especially the foreign occupation responsible for the bombing attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra.

Sadr, who suspended his visit to Lebanon and cancelled his meeting with the president there, promptly returned to Iraq in order to call on the Iraqi parliament to vote on the request for the departure of the occupation forces from Iraq .

It was not the Sunnis who attacked the shrine of Imam Al-Hadi, Gods peace be upon him, but rather the occupation [forces] and BaathistsGod damn them. We should not attack Sunni mosques. I ordered Al-Mahdi Army to protect the Shii and Sunni shrines.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran , urged Iraqi Shia not to seek revenge against Sunni Muslims, saying there were definite plots to force the Shia to attack the mosques and other properties respected by the Sunni. Any measure to contribute to that direction is helping the enemies of Islam and is forbidden by sharia.

Instead, he blamed the intelligence services of the U.S. and Israel for being behind the bombs at the Golden Mosque.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that those who committed the attack on the Golden Mosque have only one motive: to create a violent sedition between the Sunnis and the Shiites in order to derail the Iraqi rising democracy from its path.

Well said Mr. Blair, particularly when we keep in mind the fact that less than a year ago in Basra, two undercover British SAS soldiers were detained by Iraqi security forces whilst traveling in a car full of bombs and remote detonators.

Jailed and accused by Muqtada al-Sadr and others of attempting to generate sectarian conflict by planting bombs in mosques, they were broken out of the Iraqi jail by the British military before they could be tried.

Addition to Who Benefits? Post

Al-Arabiya TV reports that on February 22rd, the day of the bombing at
the Golden Mosque in Samarra:

Al-Arabiya Television has lost its correspondent in Iraq , Atwar Bahjat,
with two other colleagues. Atwar gave the last live dispatch to
Al-Arabiya Television at 1500 gmt yesterday. Atwar disappeared after
that. The Iraqi Police today confirmed that she and two other colleagues
were assassinated in Samarra... The three journalists were covering the
attack on the shrine of the two Shi'i imams, Ali al-Hadi and Al-Hasan
al-Askari, north of Baghdad.

Also, on February 21st:

(Asharq al-Awsat) Karbala governor Akeel al-Khazali announced on
February 20 that he will suspend all official contact with the Americans
to protest the improper behavior of the US officials who visited the
province last week. They did not show any respect to the province's
local security and prevented high-ranking Iraqi officials from entering
the (governor's office,) which frustrated them. He insisted that the
Americans should officially apologize for the uncivilized behavior
(including bringing dogs into the building) and that they should never
act that way again. If not, the governor said he would prevent them from
entering the office without prior approval from the Iraqi authorities.
(London-based Asharq al-Awsat, a pro-Saudi independent paper, is issued

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