Bulletin #37

30 September 2002
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

There has been much mail in recent days concerning the emerging anti-war
movement in the United States and elsewhere. Below are 4 documents which we
have received pertaining to this historic social movement.

First, is an excerpt from Thomas Powers' review of the recent book by John
Miller and Michael Stone (with Chris Mitchell), The Cell: Inside the 9/11
Plot, and Why the FBI and the CIA Failed to Stop It (Hyperion Press, 2002).
This report confirms what our Grenoble Research Center observed several
weeks ago, namely that the Bush administration is attempting to impose
"military solutions" on "political and social problems".

The startling revelations in Powers' book review, published in The New York
Review of Books (October 10, 2002 issue), are important for any one doing
research on the modern "National Security State" and its evolution since
9/11. Among other things, Thomas Powers reproduces in his review an
encounter which John Miller had with Osama bin Laden in May 1998. A written
copy of Miller's questions had been delivered to bin Laden in advance, and
no follow-up questions were permitted. So the author was reduced to
filmming bin Laden's quietly spoken monologue, an excerpt of which is
reproduced below (without understanding Arabic). But the implications, once
the translation became available in 1998, were that distinctly political
problems in the Middle East were escalating toward military action directed
against the United States, as a result of U.S.-Palestine and U.S.-Iraqi

By all indications, these political/social problems were ignored and, to
this day, continue to be ignored by the U.S. government, assuming that
military assults are not addressing the real causes of the violence in
these areas.

Next, is a new communication from Michael Albert (our research associate in
Boston) who warns that a particularly vicious W.W.W. Disinformation
Campaign and Sabotage Attemps aimed at American anti-war activists has been
traced to computer hackers in Israel. As you can read below, whether this
strike against the anti-war movement  is with or without Israeli and U.S.
governments approval has not yet been determined....

Third, is a paper by Hans C. von Sponeck, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for
Iraq (1998-2000) delivered in Brussels on 25 September 2002, at the
European Colloquium. IRAQ: Four Questions, Four Answers is another attempt
to expose the criminal nature of the U.S. military policy as advocated the
the American President.

Finally, the forth article reproduced below, is an Open Letter by Professor
Jean Bricmont, also a research associate at the Center for the Advanced
Study of American Institutions and Social Movements, in Grenoble.

As usual, your comments on any of these items or other issues relevant to
American government policies and popular social movements will be welcomed
for review by scholars and students associated with our Research Center in
Grenoble and abroad.

Francis Feeley

"Thomas Powers: Secrets of Sept. 11"
(from The New York Review of Books, Oct. 10, 2002)

Bin Laden answered a question rarely addressed or even raised since
September 11: Why was he angry at America?

"The American imposes himself on everyone. Americans accuse our children in
Palestine of being terrorists --those children, who have no weapons and
have not even reached maturity. At the same time, Americans defend a
country, the state of the Jews, that has a policy to destroy the future of
these children....

"Your situation with Muslims in Palestine is shameful --if there is any
shame left in America. Houses were demolished over the heads of children.
Also, by the testimony of relief workers in Iraq, the American-led
sanctions resulted in the death of more than one million Iraqi children.
All of this is done in the name of American interests. We believe that the
biggest thieves in the world and the terrorists are the Americans. The only
way for us to fend off these assaults is to use similar means. We do not
worry about American opinion or the fact that they place prices on our
heads. We as Muslims believe our fate is set."

The politcal and social content of this statement implies, despite the
catagorical and uncompromising tone of the speaker, that an exclusively
military solution will not succeed. Compared with Nazi or Japanese
Imperialist propaganda, for example, the words of bin Laden, no matter how
you may interpret them, cannot not lead analysist to believe that the
military defeat of this leader and his followers will result in peace, as
was the case against Hitler and Japanese fascism in World War II.

Michael Albert
"WWW Disinformation and Denial of Service Attacks Coming Out of Israel"

We and others are still under considerable sporadic internet attack. The
approach is: (a) The culprits send targeted individuals and
organizations huge numbers of emails, to try to clog their operations
and overtax their systems. For example, a few nights ago our servers
received about 35,000 illegitimate emails -- a few messages are sent to
us many many times each. (b) T culprits send out degrading or otherwise
misleading messages with false return addresses, trying to reduce the
credibility of the people falsely implicated in sending the offending
messages. Currently there are many graphics being sent around under
false pretenses, for example.
There have been some articles about what is going on -- and part of
their content has been accurate, though there have also been mistakes.
What we believe we know is that it is being done from inside Israel,
probably by four or five people, if not more, that those involved are
quite persistent even against significant disruption of their efforts,
and that the motive is clearly to discourage, interrupt, or discredit
people supporting Palestinian rights. There is no evidence that the
Israeli government is directly involved in the actual cyberattacks, nor
the U.S. -- but it is blatently obvious that neither the Israeli nor the
U.S. government is making any effort to curtail the illegalities.
For those not directly assaulted, the key things about this situation to
remember are first, to realize that there are very widespread
disinformation campaigns underway to discredit advocates of Palestinian
rights, and, to a lesser but still considerable extent, to also
discredit opponents of the war on terrorism and the proposed invasion of
Iraq. Please do not jump to conclusions when you receive offensive or
just plain odd email with content you simply would not have expected
from the named source. It is disinformation. And second, please realize
that the services of excellent outfits that utilize the internet may be
temporarily slowed or disrupted at any time. Please have patience and do
not make such violations more effective by becoming distraught with your
sources of valuable information.

Hans C. von Sponeck,
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1998-2000)
Paper delivered at the European Colloquium in Brussels on 25 September 2002:

"IRAQ: Four Questions, Four Answers"

Question No.1: Is there an Imminence of Threat posed by Iraq?
The United States maintains that Iraq poses a threat to its security. This
threat, it is argued, is so serious that a pre-emptive military strike is
required to protect the US and the wider global community. The UK shares
this perception.

The rest of the world, particularly Iraq's neighbours, do not agree with
this assessment. In any case articles 39, 42 and 51 of the UN Charter are
not applicable. None of the 'evidence' the US and the UK have produced is
accepted by the international community as hard core and unquestionable
evidence that Iraq is in possession of or trying to produce ABC weapons

Attempts to link acts of terrorism involving the 1993 and 2001 WTC, the US
Embassies in Nairobi and Dar-Es-salaam, the USS Cole in Aden, the Anthrax
cases in the US and collaboration with Al Qaeda to the Government of Iraq
have failed.

A study by the UK International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS),
published on 9 September 2002 constitutes a good compendium of speculation
concluding (see p.74) that Iraq "could probably assemble nuclear weapons",
"probably resumed biological growth media", "probably retained chemical
agent such as mustard gas and precursors", "probably retained a small
force of ballistic missiles with ranges up to 650 km, such as the al
Hussein missiles."

In its introduction the IISS study re-assures that its purpose is to
describe these (WMD) issues "accurately and fairly". Its conclusions (see
p.73) unfortunately constitute a political statement which amounts to
war-mongering. The document states inter alia: "A war, if it installs a
new government in Baghdad willing to comply with Iraq's international
commitments, would eliminate Iraq's WMD threat, but at the risk of limited
CBW use (and civilian casualties) during the conflict of overthrow the
present regime."

During a July 2002 visit to Iraq, the Government of Iraq gave me the
permission to visit two sites of my choice, Al Dora at the outskirts of
Baghdad and Al Fallujah III, which western intelligence agencies and main
stream US and UK media had identified as sites for which evidence existed
that they had been producing biological agents since the departure of UN
arms inspectors in December 1998.

The IISS report points out that at Al Dora "work appears to have started.
The facility has about 25% of its capacity" (see p.30). For Al Fallujah
III it points out that the "plant for processing castor beans has been
destroyed. Its current status is unknown" (see p.30).

In a document entitled "A decade of Deception and Defiance" handed out by
the US Government on 12 September at the time when US President Bush was
delivering his speech at the UN/GA, it is pointed out that Al Dora "has an
extensive air handling and filtering system" (see p.8) and for Al Fallujah
it states (see p.9) that "(the Government of Iraq) is making an effort to
hide activities at (the) Fallujah plant."

The British Government released its long announced 'dossier' on 24
September 2002. More a review of past WMD programmes than an empirical
analysis of the current situation in Iraq, the dossier is a document of
allegations not of evidence of the seriousness of the current WMD reality
in Iraq. For Al Fallujah, the dossier maintains that "the castor oil
production facility has been rebuild." Al Dora is cited as a "facility of

My visit to these two sites (accompanied by the ARD German TV) showed
conclusively that Al Dora and Al Fallujah III facilities had been
destroyed (it should be noted that the IISS report acknowledges this for
Al Fallujah III). What is destroyed can not be a threat.

Conclusions: The evidence offered by the US and UK administration as well
as the IISS assessment of Iraq's WMD status does not support in any way
the contention that an imminent threat emanates from Iraq justifying a
military offensive. The US government promoted mass hysteria and the
psycho war are internationally unacceptable. In the interest of preventing
such a war, the Iraqi Foreign Minister's statement to the UN/GA that the
country is free of WMD and the agreement by the Iraqi authorities to
re-admit unconditionally UN arms inspectors at this stage should be taken
at face value and UNMOVIC's installation in Baghdad be pursued without

Question No.2: What explains the present US Government Iraq policy?
There is no simple explanation. The importance of Iraq's sources of
energy, the composition of the Bush II administration and changes in the
political landscape of the Middle East, however, are three major factors
which are part of such an explanation:
Iraq's sources of energy:

During the 31 july/1 august hearings on Iraq in the US Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, the ranking representative of the Republican Party,
Senator Richard Lugar (R-In) stated: " ...we are going to run the oil
business. We are going to run it well, we are going to make money; and
it's going to help pay for the rehabilitation of Iraq because there is
money there!"

The Bush II administration:
Key policy makers in the administration of the present US Government had
been involved in the Bush I 1991 Gulf War. This may explain why the US
Government is taking the Iraq Liberation Act of the US Congress of October
1998 much more literal than the Clinton administration did. The Act calls
for 'regime change' in Iraq. The policy of 'containment within' under
President Clinton has become a policy of 'occupation from outside' under
President Bush.

This policy change combined with a missionary fanaticism to spread their
version of 'democracy' and a fatal mix-up of the justified fight against
terrorism and a regime change strategy for governments considered as too
aggressively anti-American are the main ingredients of the US
administration's approach on Iraq.

The political landscape in the Middle East:
The severe deterioration of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the course
of the past twelve months has intensified the cohesion among Arab
governments. Testimony of significant policy changes within the Arab
League became apparent in the final communiqui of the March 2002 Beirut
Summit. It concluded with a rejection of a war against the 'brotherly
country Iraq'. Since then all Arab governments including Kuwait and Saudi
Arabia have repeated their opposition to a military confrontation with
Iraq. There is strong public resentment, particularly in Saudi Arabia, to
what is perceived as double standards in dealing with the two major
conflicts in the Middle East, the Palestinian issue and Iraq. It can also
no longer be hidden that the US is on notice that agreements to their
military presence in the Middle East are no longer to be taken for
granted. This in turn has added an element of extreme urgency in
introducing changes in the US Iraq policy.

Conclusions: The Iraq policy of the US administration has little to do
with the return of UN arms inspectors or with a concern for the suffering
of the Iraqi people. It has all to do with a determination to introduce a
regime change in Baghdad. With this objective, the US enjoys no
international support. President Chirac confirmed this when he stated
publicly: "It is not a question of Bush/Blair on one side and
Chirac/Schroeder on the other side, it is Bush/Blair on one side and all
the others on the other side."

Question No.3: What are the implications for the Iraqi population?
First of all it must be pointed out that the suffering and the trauma
resulting from the intensified confrontation between Iraq and the US/UK
and the prospects of war have been sidelined by politicians and the media
in Europe. The massive evidence of the toll these developments and twelve
years of economic sanctions have taken among the Iraqi population is well
documented by reputable IGOs and INGOs. The impact of this reality will be
felt long after economic sanctions have been lifted and the Iraq conflict
has ended.

The humanitarian exemption, the oil for food programme has at all times
been underfunded, particularly, in the initial three phases when the UN/SC
had been decided that the oil for export revenue could not exceed $2.6
billion per phase. Despite this small amount, the UN/SC insisted that the
UNCC had to receive 30% of the oil revenue, funding which was desperately
needed by an undernourished population deprived from even basic medicines
to protect their health.

The total value of what has been received in Iraq between 16 December
1996, the beginning of the oil for food programme and 10 may 2002 amounts
to $172 per person/year. One indicator of the state of impoverishment of
the Iraqi population is that 55% of the population lives below the poverty
line. Were the monthly food basket valued at $25 not given to the
population free of charge under the oil for food programme, some 90% of
the population would be forced to live under the poverty line.
Another dramatic indicator of the ill being of the population relates to
child mortality. UNICEF in its annual State of the Children's report
identified Iraq as the country which showed an increase of 160% in the
mortality rate of children under five for the period 1990 to 1999. This
constitutes the highest recorded increase of all the 188 countries
surveyed. According to the same organisation, female literacy has slipped
to 45% in 1995 while in 1987 Iraq had received from UNESCO international
recognition that it had achieved a literacy level of 80%. There are other
alarming figures published by WHO showing that the number of youth with
mental disorders has more than doubled between 1990 and 1998.
While the US Government accuses Iraq of having violated 16 UN resolutions,
no mention is made that the main responsibility for the violation of just
about all international treaties and conventions from the UN Charter to
the International Covenant of economic, social and cultural rights, the
Geneva and Hague Conventions and the genocide convention points to the US
and British governments (see in this connection a document of UN/ECOSOC
dated 21 June 2000 (GE.00-14092) in which Prof. Marc Bossuyt, presently
judge in the Belgian Supreme Court and formerly chairman of the UN Human
Rights Commission gives evidence to this effect; see also selected papers
on "The Impact on International Law of a Decade of Measures Against Iraq"
published by Oxford University Press in February 2002).

It must also be stated that the establishment of the two no-fly-zones is
based on no UN mandate and constitutes a serious breach of international
law and UN resolutions which make specific mention of Iraq's territorial
integrity and sovereignty. As the UN designated Official for Security of
UN staff in Iraq, I introduced air strike reports which reflected
collected and verified information on damage to life and property of
civilians as a result of US/UK air incursions and attacks in Iraq. In 1999
my office in Baghdad recorded 132 air strikes with 144 civilian death and
over 300 wounded and civilian property destroyed. These air strike reports
were, when possible, handed to US and UK officials in New York during
various briefing visits. I was told by representatives of those two
governments that I was violating my mandate in producing such documents
and that in any case all I was doing was to put a UN stamp on Iraqi
propaganda. It is a serious matter that the UN Security Council having a
mandated oversight responsibility has not been able to stop this serious
violation, particularly since US and UK pilots have operated in Iraqi
airspace after Operation Desert Fox in December 1998 under 'enlarged rules
of engagement'. These allow them to use their firing power with fewer
restrictions and consequently with more damage to civilian life and

Should a US war against Iraq take place, particularly the high-tech war
currently contemplated in Washington, there would be significant civilian
casualties and destruction. To prevent this must be a major challenge for
European democracies.

Conclusions: The political battle continues to be played on the backs of
the Iraqi people. Objectionable treatment of people within Iraq can not
provide the justification for a crippling punishment extended by the UN
Security Council to the Iraqi people in the form of economic sanctions,
blocking of humanitarian supplies, regular air attacks and, possibly
military confrontation. Governments who are in possession of the many
accounts from reputable international organisations on the state of human
condition can no longer remain silent regarding the fact that today the
main perpetrators responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people are
the governments of the US and the UK. This does not mean that one should
negate the concern over the internal human rights situation. The UN Human
Rights Rapporteur must be allowed to continue his dialogue with the Iraqi
authorities in this respect.

Question No.4: What could be the demands of the international public
conscience against a war on Iraq and for the lifting of economic

The European Colloquium (EC) should convey to the European
Parliament (EP) that the February 2001 hearings on Iraq have failed to
contribute to a credible EU Iraq policy. In the absence of an objective
position on Iraq, The EU had been largely excluded as a contributor to the
international Iraq debate. The EC should point out that this could be

Neither the report of the UK International Institute for
Strategic Studies (IISS) dated 9 September 2002 nor the document handed
out by the US Government dated 12 September provides any evidence
whatsoever of the imminence of an international threat posed by the Iraqi
Government that would justify evoking articles 39, 42 or 51 of the UN
Charter. A unilateral military strike by the US against Iraq would in any
case be a grave violation of international law. The EP should be reminded
of this serious fact.

The EC should advise the EP that in case of such a unilateral attack on
Iraq by the US, permission by EU member countries for US forces to use
airfields, harbours and other facilities might be consistent with NATO
statutes but would constitute a breach of international law. The EP should
be requested to convey this to member governments.

The Brussels meeting of the EC should be concluded by expressing full
support for the UN/Security Council-led arms inspection process. The EC
should emphasize in this context that the Iraq Government should not be
hindered in any way to demonstrate its preparedness to unconditionally
cooperate with UNMOVIC. The EC should furthermore convey to the UN
Secretary General that it considers the protection of the integrity of the
team of UN inspectors as a paramount responsibility of the chairman of
UNMOVIC. Misuse of UNMOVIC for intelligence operations, as had been the
case with UNSCOM, harbours the grave danger of a confrontation between
Iraq and the US. It would undoubtedly be used by US authorities as an
immediate pretext to respond with a military attack. The EC should convey
to the EP that it has a profound responsibility to pass these concerns to
member governments and to the UN.

Comprehensive economic sanctions against the people of Iraq are entering
their 13th year. The human condition identified already in 1991 after the
Gulf War as 'apocalyptic' have significantly worsened since then in both
mental and physical terms. The amount of evidence collected by reputable
international organisations about child mortality, malnutrition,
re-emerging diseases, impoverishment, educational neglect and
psychological disorders continues to accumulate (please see in particular
recent reports by UNICEF, CARITAS, Save The Children/UK).
What the international community has seen since May 2002 when UN/SC
resolution 1409 introduced so-called 'smart sanctions' represents, as
predicted by individual members of the current UN Security Council,
anything but an improvement. In addition, over $5 billion worth of
humanitarian supplies remain on hold-blocked by US/UK authorities. The oil
pricing confrontation created by the US/UK governments to end the
'illegal' surcharge issue has resulted in a major shortfall of funding for
the present phase XII of the oil for food programme and seriously
endangers the already fragile humanitarian exemption programme.

The EC should make a strong case in its Brussels' communiqui for the
lifting of economic sanctions once the UN arms inspectors programme is
underway with the full cooperation of the Government of Iraq. The EC
should request the EP to strongly support such an approach in the interest
of ending the suffering of a people who have done nothing wrong.
National anti-sanction groups in Europe and elsewhere are unrelenting in
their efforts to bring about justice and conditions of human dignity for
the Iraqi people. The public conscience is alert and at national levels
has helped in shaping political decision making. In these critical days of
international relations, efforts to make it possible that at times
national initiatives can function in an integrated manner would seem of
importance. The ideal would be to create a European response mechanism
that can be used to periodically react to morally, ethically and legally
unacceptable policies and positions on Iraq maintained by individual
members of the United Nations. Such a mechanism would be particularly
significant at this moment to protest against economic sanctions and to
solicit support against a military attack on Iraq. Protesting would create
awareness that such an attack would lead to another human catastrophe and
endanger the international solidarity in the fight against terrorism. It
would be of immense value in this respect if the EC could agree on an
'action alert focal point'. Such a focal point would function as a basis
for the strategic issuance of joint statements and the preparation of
integrated actions and lobby work.

As a step in this direction, national associations, whether represented at
the Brussels' meeting or not should be encouraged to forward the final
communiqui and a copy of the open letter to the EP to all the
representative foreign media and other influential bodies on the ground.

The EC should forward these two documents to the President of the UN
Security Council, the UN Secretary General, the Secretary General of the
Arab League, the Holy Sea and the International Court of Justice.

An important first step towards improved cooperation among different
national groups working towards the lifting of economic sanctions and
averting an unjustified war against Iraq would be the preparation of a
master-list of cooperating entities and their coordinates.

Jean Bricmont Bricmont Jean
Louvain la Neuve

Lettre ouverte aux pacifistes
Les concessions irakiennes et les recommandations de dirigeants de nombreux
pays ne semblent pas ébranler la détermination affichée par les Etats-Unis
à imposer un "changement de régime" en Irak. En y renonçant maintenant, ils
perdraient d'ailleurs toute crédibilité. Cette situation pose de nouveaux
défis, tout en offrant l'espoir d'un renouveau des mouvements de la paix, à
condition que nous nous ayons une vue claire de la situation. Les remarques
qui suivent n'ont pour but que de lancer une réflexion et un débat parmi
les pacifistes sur les attitudes à prendre.
Tout d'abord, il faut apprécier correctement les rapports de force réels.
Les Etats-Unis possèdent une puissance de destruction, conventionnelle et
non conventionnelle, unique dans l'hiistoire. Leur allié israélien est de
loin l'état le plus puissant du Moyen Orient. La supériorité économique des
Etats-Unis sur l'Irak est écrasante. Mais ce n'est pas tout; la plupart des
moyens d'information au niveau mondial présentent les Etats-Unis sous un
jour favorable - en particulier en acceptant l'idée saugrenue que ce sont
eux et non l'Irak qui sont menacés, malgré le rapport de force existant.
Par ailleurs, ni les vietnamiens ni les millions d'autres victimes de la
politique américaine depuis un demi-siècle n'ont attiré une attention des
médias comparable à celle consacrée aux victimes du 11 septembre. Il existe
aujourd'hui de nombreuses études montrant que les médias sont
systématiquement biaisés lors des guerres. Nous devons par conséquent nous
en méfier et utiliser et diffuser, autant que possible, des informations

Nous ne devons pas nous laisser enfermer dans la logique des sanctions qui
seraient un moyen approprié pour obtenir le désarmement unilatéral de
l'Irak. En effet, quelle est cette logique? Si on lève les sanctions, rien
n'empêchera l'Irak de se réarmer. Donc, l'exigence de désarmement mène à la
perpétuation des sanctions qui, comme en ont témoigné des responsables du
programme pétrole pour nourriture (von Sponeck et Halliday) ont des
conséquences génocidaires pour la population, et cela malgré le fait que le
régime irakien fait ce qu'il peut pour distribuer la nourriture disponible.
Exiger le désarmement unilatéral d'un seul pays dans une région où il y a
des conflits et des convoitises multiples n'est pas raisonnable. La seule
solution passe par un désarmement global, en commençant par les pays les
plus armés- Israël dans la région et les Etats-Unis au niveau mondial.

Les résolutions de l'ONU ne doivent pas être sacralisées par le mouvement
de la paix. D'une part, depuis la création de l'ONU, il existe une
résolution demandant que les réfugiés palestiniens puissent rentrer chez
eux. Tout le monde sait que cela ne se fera jamais et personne n'exige des
bombardments massifs ou un changement de régime en Israël pour mettre cette
résolution en application. Ce type de résolution peut donc rester longtemps
lettre morte. D'autre part, la structure du conseil de sécurité ainsi que
les rapports de force économiques au niveau mondial font que l'ONU, loin
d'être une instance neutre, est trop souvent une arme entre les mains des
grandes puissances. Finalement, il ne faut pas oublier que l'ONU a été créé
pour éviter à l'humanité le "fléau de la guerre". Si les Etats-Unis
parviennent, au moyen de pressions politiques et économiques à convaincre
le conseil de sécurité d'appuyer leur offensive (comme ils l'ont fait en
1991), il ne faudra pas en conclure que la guerre est légitime, mais plutôt
que l'ONU a renoncé à sa mission.

Il est, par ailleurs, absurde de présenter l'Irak comme une menace pour la
paix. Aucun des pays voisins ne la considère comme telle. Lors de la guerre
Iran-Irak, l'Occident a soutenu l'Irak, y compris en fournissant des armes
chimiques, ce qui fait qu'il est assez cynique d'utiliser aujourd'hui cette
guerre, comme on le fait en Occident, pour démoniser l'Irak. L'Irak n'a
aucun moyen d'envoyer des missiles sur les Etats-Unis ou l'Europe et,
surtout, il n'y a aucune raison de croire que ses dirigeants soient prêts
au suicide national qu'une telle attaque impliquerait. Lors de la guerre de
1991, ils ont laissé leur pays être détruit par des armes conventionnelles
plutôt que d'utiliser les armes non conventionnelles qu'ils possèdaient.
Nous devons séparer radicalement notre opposition à la guerre et notre
opinion sur la nature du régime irakien. Qui accepterait que l'Inde, qui
est une démocratie, envahisse la Syrie, qui est une dictature, pour y
opérer un "changement de régime"? Il ne faut pas non plus oublier que, pour
les Etats-Unis, il y a des bonnes dictatures et des mauvaises, mais
surtout, il y de bonnes et de mauvaises démocraties: l'Argentine sous Menem
est une bonne démocratie parce que la population y est atomisée et
démoralisée et que les ressources nationales peuvent être bradées; le
Vénézuéla de Chavez est une mauvaise démocratie, pour les raisons inverses.
Il est à noter que dans leur empressement à "défendre la démocratie", les
Etats-Unis et l'Union Européenne ont soutenu en avril 2002 au Vénézuéla un
des coups d'état les plus éphémères de l'histoire. Quant au désir proclamé
d'apporter la démocratie dans le monde arabe, il faut faire attention: un
pays arabe qui serait véritablement démocratique tentera de contrôler ses
ressources et sera bien plus anti-sioniste que les dictatures actuelles,
parce qu'une telle attitude reflèterait les aspirations de sa population.
On peut douter que c'est cela que l'Occident souhaite.

Notre opposition à la guerre doit être inconditionnelle et basée sur des
principe clairs. En particulier, elle ne doit pas se baser sur le coût de
la guerre, pour nous ou même pour les Irakiens, sur les risques de
déstabilisation de la région etc. De tels arguments ont été avancés lors de
la guerre du Kosovo ou de l'Afghanistan et, lorsque les échecs prédits ne
se réalisent pas, cela affaiblit encore plus le mouvement de la paix. Il
est très possible que les Etats-Unis arrivent à leurs fins par un coup
d'Etat, une insurrection ou une guerre-éclair. L'avenir le dira, mais il ne
faut jamais oublier qu'ils ont énormément de cartes dans leur jeu et qu'ils
ont procédé de la sorte très souvent dans le passé. Une opposition solide à
la guerre doit partir d'une vision globale.

La guerre froide, loin d'être une simple lutte défensive contre le
communisme, a été caractérisée par ce qu'on pourrait appeler la
latino-américanisation du monde , c'est-à-dire, d'une part, le remplacement
de l'Europe par les Etats-Unis comme centre du système impérial et, d'autre
part, la substitution du néo-colonialisme au colonialisme. Le
néo-colonialisme permet de continuer le pillage classique, exploitation des
ressources et de la main d'¦uvre du Tiers Monde (et, aujourd'hui, de la
matière grise qui doit suppléer aux déficiences de notre système éducatif),
tout en permettant une autonomie politique formelle et une délégation
corrélative des tâches de répression.
Les renversements d'Arbenz au Guatemala, de Mossadegh en Iran, de Goulart
au Brésil, d'Allende au Chili, de Soekarno en Indonésie, de Lumumba au
Congo ont été la face visible de cette politique, à côté d'une multitude de
pressions en tout genre ainsi que de la mécanique de l'endettement. Le but
des Etats-Unis en l'Irak est d'étendre ce système à tout pays récalcitrant.
Quels que soient les moyens mis en oeuvre pour y parvenir, c'est cet
objectif, et l'accroissement des inégalités qu'il implique, que nous devons
rejeter, et cela par principe.

Le mouvement altermondialiste devrait être un allié privilégié du mouvement
de la paix. Il est évident que n'importe quel pays qui mettrait en oeuvre
certaines des mesures que ce mouvement prône, qu'il s'agisse de
l'annulation de la dette ou de la remise en place de services publics
forts, serait immédiatement traité comme l'Irak ou la Yougoslavie. On
commencerait peut-être par des mesures de rétorsions économiques ou par une
subversion politique (ce qui a d'ailleurs été essayé en Irak); mais il ne
faut jamais oublier que la guerre est la dernière carte du système
Finalement, nous ne devons pas craindre d'être isolés parce que nous
adoptons une position claire. Les Etats-Unis sont forts militairement, mais
ils sont en train de perdre la bataille des idées; nous devons au moins
faire tout ce que nous pouvons pour les affaiblir sur ce plan-là. De plus,
ils sont face à un dilemne: s'ils n'attaquent pas, ils perdent leur pouvoir
d'intimidation. S'ils attaquent, ils décupleront la haine dont ils sont
déjà l'objet. Même en Europe, leur arrogance suscite une forte opposition.
Mais, dans le Tiers Monde, la situation est différente: des millions de
gens admirent bin Laden et admireront demain Saddam Hussein. Pourquoi?
Parce qu'ils apparaissent - à tort ou à raison- comme les symboles de la
résistance à l'oppresion et à l'exploitation. Nous ne sommes pas obligés de
partager ce point de vue, mais nous devons au moins adopter une attitude
qui nous démarque radicalement des positions des gouvernements occidentaux
et qui rende possible le dialogue entre les mouvements pacifistes en
Occident et les mouvements bien plus radicaux qui existent dans le Tiers
Monde, ainsi que dans les populations immigrées ici. Ce sont eux nos
véritables alliés et non les représentants de partis anciennement
pacifistes qui ont vendu leur âme en échange de strapontins ministériels.
C'est seulement ainsi que le mouvement de la paix sortira de la léthargie
dans laquelle il est tombé depuis la guerre du Golfe et contribuera à
inverser la mécanique militaire, économique et idéologique qui, depuis
vingt ans, ne fait qu'aggraver la violence et l'injustice du monde.

Jean Bricmont

Francis Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal
Grenoble, France