Subject: ON SERIAL KILLERS, MASS MURDERERS,
AND REVIVING THE WILL TO RESIST.
3 December 2006
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The recent history of political culture is a reminder of how blind we
can be to real dangers. Just as Adolf Hitler was fairly explicit about
his intentions in Mein Kampf, years before he tried to carry
them out, so we can see that the political elite of the United States
have been rather consistent in their behaviors and in their statements
about their intentions.
Several years ago, back around 1999, it was of concern to many of us
that a "serial killer" would be a candidate for President of the United
States. For any humanist reading newspapers at the time, it was
apparent that George W. Bush closely matched the official
psychological profile of a serial killer, which had been provided by
the U.S. Department of Justice at the time. During his term as governor
of Texas (1994-2000), he presided over the execution of one hundred
fifty-two prison inmates, far more than any other state
governor in recent history, and he became famous for mocking in an
interview on Texas television the desperate plea of Karla Faye Tucker :
"Please don't kill me!" he laughingly imitated her intonation, just
hours after he had refused to spare her life.
From micro to macro....
One fundamental plank of Western policy in the Middle East
has always been the idea, expressed by U.S.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, that "Oil is much too important
a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs". Although Bush
and Blair have consistently denied that control of oil supplies were a
factor in their wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, evidence is mounting
not only that oil is a key factor in US decision making, but also that
the real state of oil reserves is being kept
quiet by those in the know.
Below is a list of 4 items recently received by CEIMSA.
Item A. is an article by Norman G. Finkelstein on
massive war-crime collaboration in the U.S. media.
Item B. is an article from Common Dreams on President
Bush's decision to bomb the Arab TV station, al-Jazeera, in
Item C., an article by Dahr Jamal, describes how
American capitalism is destroying the market economy in Iraq,
threatening millions with destitution and even starvation.
And finally, item D. is an essay from Democracy Now, in which we
learn how the Zionist political elite of Israel are ready to subject
their own people to destruction at the behest of American corporate
interests. For an historical reminder of Zionist leadership's betrayal
of the Jewish people during the Second World War, we strongly recommend Lenni Brenner's classic study of this subject, Zionism in the Age of
Dictators (1984), particularly Chapter 5.
And for an update on the historical alliance between the United States
and Israel today, we invite readers to visit the "Scholarly
Publications - Essays 2006" section of the CEIMSA Internet site and
read the 14 entries under item number 7 : "On the Question of Zionism and World War
III", which include descriptions of war
resistance today within the international Jewish community --both in
and outside of Israel. These essays were selected for CEIMSA by our
research associates, Professors Edward S. Herman and Bertell Ollman :
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Dircector of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Alexander Cockburn :
29 November 2006
Human Rights Watch Must Retract Its Shameful Press Release
by Norman G. Finkelstein
E ven by the grim standards of Gaza, the past
five months have been cruel ones.
Some four hundred Palestinians, mostly unarmed civilians, have been
killed during Israeli attacks. (Four Israeli soldiers and two civilians
have been killed.) Israel has sealed off Gaza from the outside world
while the international community has imposed brutal sanctions,
ravaging Gaza's already impoverished economy.
"Gaza is dying," Patrick Cockburn reported in CounterPunch,
"its people are on the edge of starvation.A whole society is being
destroyed.The sound that Palestinians most dread is an unknown voice on
their cell phone saying they have half an hour to leave their home
before it is hit by bombs or missiles. There is no appeal. "
"Gaza is in its worst condition ever," Gideon Levy wrote in Haaretz,
"The Israeli army has been rampaging through Gaza--there's no other
word to describe it--killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling
indiscriminately....This is disgraceful and shocking collective
Predictably Gaza teetered on the precipice of fratricidal civil war.
"The experiment was a success: The Palestinians are killing each
other," Amira Hass wryly observed in Ha'aretz, "They are
behaving as expected at the end of the extended experiment called 'what
happens when you imprison 1.3 million human beings in an enclosed space
like battery hens.'"
It is at times like this that we expect human rights organizations to
How has Human Rights Watch responded to the challenge? It criticized
Israel for destroying Gaza's only electrical plant, and also called on
Israel to "investigate" why its forces were targeting Palestinian
medical personnel in Gaza and to "investigate" the Beit Hanoun massacre.
On the other hand, it accused Palestinians of committing a "war crime"
after they captured an Israeli soldier and offered to exchange him for
Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails. (Israel was
holding 10,000 Palestinians prisoner.) It demanded that Palestinians
"bring an immediate end to the lawlessness and vigilante violence" in
Gaza. (Compare Amira Hass's words.) It issued a 101-page report
chastising the Palestinian Authority for failing to protect women and
girls. It called on the Palestinian Authority to take "immediate steps
to halt" Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.
Were this record not shameful enough, HRW crossed a new threshold at
the end of November.
After Palestinians spontaneously responded to that "unknown voice on a
cell phone" by putting their own bare bodies in harm's way, HRW rushed
to issue a press release warning that Palestinians might be committing
a "war crime" and might be guilty of "human shielding." ("Civilians
Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks")
In what must surely be the most shocking statement ever issued by a
human rights organization, HRW indicted Palestinian leaders for
supporting this nonviolent civil disobedience:
Prime Minister Haniyeh and other Palestinian leaders should be
renouncing, not embracing, the tactic of encouraging civilians to place
themselves at risk.
The international community has for decades implored Palestinian
leaders to forsake armed struggle in favor of nonviolent civil
disobedience. Why is a human rights organization now attacking them for
adopting this tactic?
Is it a war crime to protect one's home from collective punishment?
Is it human shielding if a desperate and forsaken populace chooses to
put itself at deadly risk in order to preserve the last shred of its
Indeed, although Israeli soldiers have frequently used Palestinians as
human shields in life-threatening situations, and although HRW has
itself documented this egregious Israeli practice, HRW has never once
called it a war crime.
It took weeks before HRW finally issued a report condemning Israeli war
crimes in Lebanon. Although many reliable journalists were daily
documenting these crimes, HRW said it first had to conduct an
independent investigation of its own.
But HRW hastened to deplore the nonviolent protests in Gaza based on
anonymous press reports which apparently got crucial facts wrong.
Why this headlong rush to judgment?
Was HRW seeking to appease pro-Israel critics after taking the heat for
its report documenting Israeli war crimes in Lebanon?
After Martin Luther King delivered his famous speech in 1967 denouncing
the war in Vietnam, mainstream Black leaders rebuked him for
jeopardizing the financial support of liberal whites. "You might get
yourself a foundation grant," King retorted, "but you won't get
yourself into the Kingdom of Truth."
HRW now also stands poised at a crossroads: foundation grants or the
Kingdom of Truth?
A first step in the right direction would be for it to issue a
retraction of its press release and an apology.
HRW executive director Kenneth Roth "commended" Israel during its last
invasion for warning people in south Lebanon to flee--before turning it
into a moonscape, slaughtering the old, infirm and poor left behind. It
would seem that Palestinian leaders and people, too, merit some
recognition for embracing the tactics of Gandhi and King in a last
desperate bid to save themselves from annihilation.
Email HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitsonemail@example.com - and HRW executive
director Kenneth Roth--RothK@hrw.org.
Norman Finkelstein's most
recent book is Beyond
Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history (University of California Press). His web site is www.NormanFinkelstein.com .
from CommonDreams :
3 December 2006
PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV
station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.
from Dahr Jamal :
29 November 2006
Subject: MidEast Dispatches: Business Becomes a Big Casualty
Business Becomes a Big Casualty
* BAGHDAD, Nov 29 (IPS) - "Iraq got the foreign investment rules long sought by U.S.
corporations," Antonia Juhasz, a visiting scholar at the Institute for
Policy Studies in Washington, and author of 'The Bush Agenda: Invading
the World, One Economy at a Time' told IPS earlier.*
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily
Juhasz said the new laws, which were a part of the 100 'Bremer Orders'
instituted by former U.S. administrator Paul Bremer when he headed the
Coalition Provisional Authority during the first year of the
occupation, provided a flood of benefits for U.S. companies.
These included "100 percent repatriation of profits earned in Iraq by
foreign companies; 100 percent foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses,
including banks; privatisation of Iraq's state owned enterprises; 100
percent immunity for U.S. contractors and soldiers from Iraq's laws;
and 'national treatment' which allowed for Iraqis to be all but
excluded from the reconstruction for years while the U.S. government
paid 50 billion dollars to some 150 U.S. corporations for work in Iraq."
What followed was "a U.S. corporate invasion of Iraq," Juhasz said.
"Many companies had their sights set on privatisation in Iraq, also
made possible by Bremer, which helps explain their interest in 'major
overhauls' rather than getting the systems up and running."
In contrast, there was much state support for businesses under the
previous regime, which followed a socialist system under which the
government allowed Iraqis to establish their own factories and
workshops, and supported them in many ways.
Businesses were granted low interest loans and permission to transfer
foreign currency. They could get state-owned land to build on.
Administrative laws facilitated enterprise, and so small industry
business bloomed during the 1970s and 1980s.
Major industries in Iraq for oil products, phosphates and cement, along
with the military industry, were mostly state-run under the previous
regime. Foreign companies were allowed, under state supervision, to
build factories as Iraq moved towards increasing industrialisation.
This growth was reversed during the 1990's under the U.S-backed UN
economic sanctions. The sanctions crippled the Iraqi dinar and people's
ability to purchase goods and services.
The business situation worsened further during the U.S.-led invasion
when most factories ceased to function. Many were bombed, and for other
factories employees stayed at home. Following the invasion several were
looted, and were never able to start again.
Some private businesses held out, but eventually security problems,
lack of electricity and fuel, a staggering inflation rate (70 percent)
and lack of safe transportation led many of these too to close down.
Unemployment now stands at more than 50 percent û but most people
believe the real situation is far worse.
Thousands of business and factory owners sold what they could and fled
to neighbouring countries. Those who did not now wish they had.
"I used to employ more than 30 workers in my plastic products factory,
and business was good before the occupation," Abbas Ali told IPS in
Baghdad. "It is impossible to work now, and I had to go back to my old
job as school teacher. I was offered 200,000 dollars for the business,
but now it is not worth anything. I blame myself for not selling it to
flee, like some of my colleagues who live safely in Syria now."
And still, there are steel, textile, and other factories that continue
to produce what they can.
Kais al-Nazzal built a set of steel factories about 60km west of
Baghdad near Fallujah, and is fighting to keep them going. "We imported
the best quality steel manufacturing equipment and spent millions of
dollars on modern buildings to meet international standards," Kais
al-Nazzal told IPS.
"We have been able to work through the occupation period, but we must
admit there are hardships under the recent domestic disturbances that
are causing us considerable losses."
Local studies have found 85 percent unemployment in the industry
sector. Many of the 15 percent who remain employed are registered at a
few state factories that pay their employees even if they produce
"We are trying to do some work here, but the whole situation is not
encouraging, so it seems that we will wait until a miracle takes
place," a manager at a state-owned cement factory on the outskirts of
Baghdad told IPS.
The business and economic morass Iraq finds itself in today is evident
in the market places across the capital city.
About 80 percent of domestically manufactured goods were distributed
prior to the invasion and occupation through the Shorja market in the
centre of Baghdad. The wholesale market is a bazaar along narrow roads
where hundreds of small shop-owners display their merchandise.
"There is no Iraqi brand any more," plastic products distributor Johar
Aziz told IPS. "Iraqi products flourished during the quarter century
before occupation, but now we only sell imported products of the lowest
quality, and people have to buy them because there is no alternative."
Other markets in Baghdad are suffering a similar crisis, like the
Samarraii compound where tyres are sold, the Jamila market for fruits
and vegetables, and the Sinaa market for computers.
The main shopping centres like Saadoon Street and Rasheed Street, and
the once upmarket Mansour area and the Karrada district are now like
ghosts of what they once were.
"We used to open our shops for at least 16 hours a day, but now we only
open for a few hours because of the security threats," Duraid Abdullah,
an electrical appliances shop owner in Karrada told IPS. "We are facing
all kinds of threats starting from being abducted for money or
sectarian reasons, as well as being evicted from our shops by gangs
supported by government forces."
A businessman who once owned a small textile factory that has gone
bankrupt said he had not expected the coming in of a U.S.
administration to be bad for business.
"The picture of Japan after World War II dominated the minds of
businessmen in Iraq after occupation," he said. "Most of us thought the
American invasion of Iraq was bad for many things, but it must be good
for business in general and industry in particular. We were terribly
wrong. The Iraqi economy was meant to be destroyed for political
from Democracy Now :
1 December 2006
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is accusing
Israel of creating an apartheid system in the West Bank and Gaza. The
charge comes in his new book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." We play
an address by Carter talking about the Palestine-Israel conflict, the
role of the United States and much more.
Carter says, "Palestinians are deprived of basic human rights, their
land has been occupied, then confiscated, then colonized by the Israeli