Object: ON THE CARNIVORES OF WAR AND THEIR PARASITICAL ATTACHMENTS.
1 May 2010
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
There is little doubt that Richard Cheney, George Bush, Ronald Rumsfeld, & Co. will go down in the annals of history joining that list of pathological killers which includes such men as Attila the Hun, Ivan the Terrible, Adolph Hitler, "Jack the Ripper," and the "Monster of Rostov," Andrei Chikatilo, who ate the uteruses of the women he killed. The disgust with the self-appointed "political elite" in contemporary world politics is almost universal. They are sending people to do what they themselves have never done directly --massacre men, women and children-- and we must assume that they sleep well at night to continue their work the next day without remorse.
On the role of studying history, Howard Zinn once wrote of the importance of the "historical imagination" to stimulate thought and understanding. The lifeless, bloodless abstractions of "structures" and "systems", and the gray-on-gray "theory" compositions cannot capture the human significance of our past, nor can it present us with a meaningful understanding of who we are and how we came to be this way.
Citing the testimony in May 1968 of a Catholic priest on trial in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for burning the records of a military draft center, Zinn paraphrases the explanation given by this activist at his trial :
I was trained in Rome. I was quite conservative, never broke a rule in seminary. Then I read a book by Gordon Zahn, called German Catholics and Hitler's Wars. It told how the Catholic Church carried on its normal activities while Hitler carried on his. It told how SS men went to mass, then went out to round up Jews. That book changed my life. I decided the church must never behave again as it did in the past; and that I must not. (The Politics of History, 1971, p. 35)
In contemporary scientific language, we might describe this as the interaction of the human brain with its environment, and what happens when new information is introduced into the human organism. In the language of neurologist Antonio Damasio, author of Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (2005), an "emotionally competent" experience has a physiological effect on the body which produces "feelings" in the region of the brain and activates the neural systems across this brain, as well as the biochemical secretions into the cardiovascular system producing a qualitative change in the blood flowing to the brain. From these subsequent "feelings," according to Dr. Damasio, regions of the brain are activated which produce: "memory," "rationality," and "will-power." In short the priest, by his own account, became an activist because of the emotional experience while reading this book. [For more discussion of Damasio's radical neurology, see in the CEIMSA Archives Bulletin 369, 371 and 399.]
The diminution of this neurological impact would be affected by an impoverished environment which inhibited "feelings" by screening as much as possible our encounters with "emotionally competent" experiences. The bureaucratization of society has gone a long way toward inhibiting the thought processes, beyond a few elementary routines required for social functions concomitant with capitalist accumulation.
In the real world, the power of the imagination supercedes the power of knowledge: science remains an invention of the imagination, and enslavement to the rule of science is comprehensible only when viewed from outside the proverbial "box", in a larger domain where "Beauty" is in the eye of the beholder, and "Reason" is not always rational.
CEIMSA is pleased to announce three books produced by our research center and now available at reduced prices for students at the local Grenoble bookstore, Decitre:
Ces truands qui nous gouvernent -ils nous ont volé l'Amérique, il est temps de la repreondre (2004)
Les mouvements pacifistes américaines et français hier et aujourd'huis (2007)
Le Patriarcat et les institutions américaines: études comparés (2009)
Also available at The University of Paris-Nanterre, is our bilingual book: War, Resistance, and Counter-Resistance (2010).
The 6 items below offer CEIMSA readers, we hope, some "emotionally competent" experiences that could provoke thought (via feelings, memories, reason, and will-power) to a degree that might make a difference in their lives and in the lives of the people around them.
Item A. is an article from Professor Edward S. Herman on the "national security" scam run out of Israel, as a cover for imperialist expansion and higher corporate profits.
Item B., sent to us by Truth Out, is an article by Professor Noam Chomsky on the economic necessity of Israeli militarism: "A Middle East Peace That Could Happen (but Won't)."
Item C. is an article by cognitive psychologist Bernard Weiner on "Rage and Rebellion" in the USA, the matrix for reform, revolution, or simply chaos?
Item D., sent to is by San Diego community organizer Monty Kroopkin, is a discussion of "May Days," past and present.
Item E., from Brian Ritter in San Diego, California, is a "discovery" which he shares with us on the nature of "information" in the modern world.
Item F., sent to us by Professor Edward Herman, is an excerpt from his new book, The Politics of Genocide, which offers a critique of the disinformation which has dominated the western press since the 1994 "genocide in Rwanda."
Finally, we invite CEIMSA readers to view this Democracy Now! discussion of : “The United Nations Beyond Reform,” with former UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto :
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Ed Herman :
Date: 28 April 2010
Subject: The National Security Sham.
It is one of the standard clichés of the U.S. political establishment that our policy toward Israel and the Palestinians is dominated by our desire to “protect Israel’s security.” Of course the need to protect our own “national security” is the excuse and cover for the gigantic U.S. military budget, the network of military bases across the globe, support of an expanding NATO, and the steady stream of warsall of them at quite a distance from the United States itself. The word “security” provides a protective linus blanket that obscures the reality of positive and expansionist objectives. As with “Hoover’s law” [J. Edgar Hoover]--that the fewer the number of Communists the greater the Communist threat--so with National Security: the greater the U.S. military budget and outreach, the greater the fear of overlooking “threats” that might seem unworthy of the attention of a superpower. The United States even attacked Grenada, the nutmeg capital of the world, in the interest of National Security.
But while the word has the ring of virtue that regularly paralyses any establishment opposition, it is economic and political power that dominates in clearing the ground for the investment in the “protection of security,” whether of this country or Israel. Here, the power of the military-industrial-complex and its close allies in the political, financial, media and academic communities have normalized gigantic and growing budgets and continuous warfare. In the case of Israel, the power of the pro-Israel Lobby; the inter-penetration of U.S. and Israeli business, finance, weapons development, and military and strategic planning; and the cultivation of and pressure on the media and politicians, have given Israeli leaders extraordinary power over U.S. policies that bear on their interests. They are a tail that can wag the big (and “security”-bloated) dog, although a flea jumping from the tail onto the dog’s body and giving it a nip might cause it to bark angrily and scratch.
One hugely underrated feature of the drumbeat of U.S. political leaders, and those of the EU, in stressing the urgency of protecting Israel’s security, is its blatant racism. U.S. officials repeat day-after-day that our “solidarity” with Israel is an “unshakeable bond,” that there is no “space” between us and Israel on the issues, and that we have an “absolute commitment to Israel’s security” (Hillary Clinton). A large fraction of congress and the Senate appear regularly at AIPAC annual meetings to virtually pledge allegiance to the State of Israel, and Vice President Joseph Biden has publicly declared himself “a Zionist,” with Israel “the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as vice president of the United States.”
Following the recent tiff between Obama and Netanyahu, AIPAC got over three-quarters of the U.S. congress to sign a letter calling for an end to public criticism of Israel and a “reinforcement” of the alliance based on “common values,” etc., the wording of the letter closely following one sent out by AIPAC. Is a Zionist and Israel-centered commitment, the deference to AIPAC, and the various pledges of allegiance to Israel consistent with the oath of office to the United States taken by these political leaders? General David Petraeus has recently and embarrassingly claimed that the commitment to Israel has damaged U.S. national security interests: “This conflict foments anti-American sentiment due to a perception of U.S. favoritism to Israel.” This would imply possible prosecutable behavior on the part of Biden and the other pledgees to Israeli interests, although needless to say this is not likely to materialize in legal action.
But the racist element in the pledges is also notorious. Palestinian “security” is unmentioned by these Israel-solidarity pledgees and activists, although the Israelis have long been brutalizing the Palestinians, taking their land and water by force, and although it is crystal clear that it is the Palestinians who need security protection here and now, as they have for decades. Palestinians are implicitly an unpeople, an untermenschen, who can be mistreated virtually without limit or penalty to the victimizers. Visiting South Africans have for years been claiming that the Israelis’apartheid system imposed on the Palestinians is worse than that under the departed apartheid regime in South Africa, and a number of Israelis have said the same thing. But this has made no impression on the West, whose leaders continue to claim their devotion to Israeli security in a manner they could not display openly in dealing with the old South Africa--there the Western establishment, while quietly protecting the apartheid state, had to do this without claiming a dedication to protecting the apartheid state’s “security.” Their racism was revealed mainly in their policies and political alignments, such as supporting South Africa in Angola and Namibia, cooperating with it in intelligence and “counter-terror” programs, and protecting it as much as possible against sanctions and condemnation.
With Israel, the West is actively engaged in supporting a state that violates the Fourth Geneva Convention on a daily and multiyear basis, ignores International Court (and international community) opinion on matters like the wall, continuously takes land and water from Palestinians and gives it to Jewish settlers, and freely attacks across borders in wars and assassination programs. In the recent exchanges over the Israeli government’s announcement of the planned construction of 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem, the attention in the Western mainstream media was on the insult to the visiting Joseph Biden (and President Obama), and the possible resultant setback to “proximity talks.” There was little or no mention of the fact that all of these units were for Jews---that while the ouster of Palestinians in East Jerusalem has been a long-standing process, as Gideon Levy points out, “we must not forget that this huge building project in Jerusalem is for Jews only; not one Palestinian neighborhood has been built in 43 years of occupation. Should that not be called apartheid?”
Levy adds, “Even the new magic and foolish solution of the greatest master of words, President Shimon Peres, has persuaded no one: Israel, the president now tells his guests from abroad, has the right to build in ‘Jewish neighborhoods.’ And how, Mr. President, did they become Jewish, all of them on Palestinian land, if not by massive, illegal settlement, just like in Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, which are now within the ‘consensus’ we invented for ourselves? Consensus? Only in Israel. And to a great extent this consensus, too, has been fabricated.” (“Netanyahu did one thing right in the Jerusalem debacle,” Haaretz, March 21, 20l0).
The racist premise of Israeli policy is normalized in the enlightened West, helped along by claims about a “peace process,” “proximity talks,” and “negotiations” that have to be restarted with the aid of the “honest broker.” This is all straight out of Orwell, or perhaps Kafka. There is no real peace process, or negotiations, because Israeli leaders do not want a settlement or borders, which would interfere with their steady displacement of the untermenschen and colonization of the West Bank. This has been obvious to anyone who doesn’t wear self-imposed blinders, in the continuous Israeli stalling and alleged inability to find a partner, and it is clear from Israeli self-interest in stealing and dispossessing, which is much easier in occupied lands than it would be with settled borders. It is also sometimes even acknowledged by Israeli leaders, as in the statement by Sharon adviser Dov Weisglas: “The significance of Sharon’s [Gaza evacuation] plan is the freezing of the peace process…The Disengagement Plan actually supplies the formaldehyde into which all other [peace] plans can be put” (Ari Shavit, “The Big Freeze,” Haaretz, October 8, 2004).
Thomas Friedman says that peace for Israelis has recently become a “hobby” rather than a “necessity.” They find they can live happily without peace, and they are disillusioned by “The collapse of the Oslo peace process combined with the unilateral Israeli pullouts from Lebanon and Gazawhich were followed not by peace but by rocket attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas on Israeldecimating Israel’s peace camp and the political parties aligned with it” (“Hobby Or Necessity?,” NYT, March 28, 2010). For Friedman Israel had a right to be in Lebanon and Gazait had aggression and occupation rightsso its exits were generous and peace-minded; not, in the former case based on non-viability and the latter a “formaldehye” to “freeze” the peace process. That the continued Israeli raids, killings, imprisonments, dispossession process and blockade of Gaza might have produced rockets is not admissible. That peace-making was formerly a necessity for Israel, but somehow not obtainable, presumably because of Palestinian intransigence and “terrorism,” is ethnic cleansing apologetics at the level of sick-comedy.
There is also no “honest broker” in this fraudulent “peace process”--honest brokering is inconsistent with complete “solidarity” and a “central commitment” to one side. Given the imbalance of power between Israel and Palestine, a settlement would require the exercise of U.S. power contrary to the desires of the Israeli leadership, incompatible with a close alliance and the absence of any “space” between Israel and the United States. In fact, solidarity is displayed by the pretence that a peace process is meaningful without serious pressure on the more powerful partythis pretence, along with arms supply and diplomatic protection of anything Israel does, is a critical feature of what must be regarded as a joint Israeli-U.S. program of long-term dispossession of the Palestinians.
This racist process is also normalized by distorting history. One important line of historical misrepresentation is the alleged dominance of Palestinian terrorism and violence and Israel as merely responding to this terrorism. In reality, the primary violence is Israeli dispossession, which has taken Palestinian land and water for decades, under U.S. and other enlightened states’ protection. Over the years the Palestinians have resisted, mainly peaceably, sometimes by violence, but with very much higher casualty rates suffered by the poorly armed Palestinians (over 20-1 prior to the second intifada, when the rate dropped to 3 or 4 to 1rising to 100 to 1 in the Gaza war). The Israelis have needed a certain level of Palestinian violence to justify their continuous encroachments on Palestinian land, and the kindly enlightened West has allowed these encroachments and dispossession as part of a response to “terrorism.” The Israelis have also needed to fend off any negotiated settlement of borders with a hypothetical Palestinian state, so that a “peace process” has never been allowed to result in peace. But once again the generous enlightened states have played the peace process game, without putting the slightest pressure on Israel to actually settle, thus giving it the cover for continued dispossession and ethnic cleansing.
So this is applied racism by Israel and the West. It turns on its head the newly claimed Western devotion to both “humanitarian intervention” and “right to protect.” Its interventions steadily support Israeli state violence against a civilian population that the West struggles to further disarm, but who desperately need protection. This is also a beautiful case of ethnic cleansing, being carried out systematically and openly. One may recall Western indignation at ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo, where this invidious notion could be applied--with great bias and fact-bending--to a Western target (the Serbs), and where it was used to justify a violent international (mainly U.S.) response to protect the victims. But in the case of Israeli ethnic cleansing, in an open and very clear case, carried out by the fifth largest army in the world against a virtually unarmed different ethnic group, the West continues to support the cleansing process, even gives it active aid.
This also means that protecting Israel’s “security” is a first class propaganda liethe United States and West are protecting Israel’s ethnic cleansing operations. Insofar as Israel has any security threat at all, this is a result of its refusal to stop its ethnic cleansing and make peace with the Palestinians and its other neighbors. It is well-known that the Arab states have offered Israel a comprehensive settlement and peace plan that entailed Israel’s giving up its post-1967 land seizures in exchange for full recognition and a peace settlement. The Israelis have rejected this and continue their ethnic cleansing march.
Will the new turns in the U.S.-Israeli relationship marked by the Netanyahu slap in Biden’s face during the Biden visit to Israel, the Petreaus suggestion that Israel’s policies damage U.S. interests, the allegedly unfriendly exchange between Netanyahu and Obama, and new U.S. demands on Israel, alter the long-standing U.S. support of the ethnic cleansing process? This writer is doubtful: the structural conditions are unchanged; the power of the Lobby is still great; the Israeli polity is further to the right and settler interests and power are strong; and the room for maneuver in producing negotiations that would yield a viable Palestinian state is small.
The U.S. and Israeli political establishment both agree that Iran is a huge menace. The recent Hoyer-Cantor-AIPAC-based letter calling for more ethnic cleansing solidarity stresses that “Above all, we must remain focused on the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear weapons program to Middle East peace and stability.” With Obama, Clinton, Hoyer and Cantor all agreeing on the seriousness of the Iran threat, and looking for a means of resolving the tiff, and Israelis possibly seeing this as a moment to “Leverage the Crisis” (Steven Goldberg, in Y Net, April 1, 2010), could it be that a determined Obama can achieve another success by getting Israel to agree to freeze settlements and negotiate with its favored Palestinians in exchange for a war against Iran?
from: Truth Out :
Date: 29 April 2010
Subject: Israeli capitalism and the economic necessity of "war".
The fact that the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange. For many of the world's conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement. In this case, it is not only possible, but there is near universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognized (pre-June 1967) borders - with 'minor and mutual modifications,' to adopt official US terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970's.
from Truth Out :
Date: 28 April 2010
Subject: Rage and Rebellion in the USA.
Bernard Weiner, Truthout: "Like a lot of progressives, I've been puzzling over the Tea Party phenomenon. Many on the left choose to believe that the hundreds and sometimes thousands who attend the group's rallies are the same old extreme rightwingers who always have been around - usually content to remain isolated individuals or small groups in the shadows but this time encouraged out in the open by incitement from the Far Right media."
from Brian Ritter :
Date: 29 April 2010
Subject: Oh My God! --Someone "significant" finally understands "Information Has No Value".
My website URL : http://informationhasnovalue.com
OMG! This is amazing.
I have been regularly googling "Information Has No Value" (but not in quotes) for almost 10 years now. This is the first time that something written that is actually reasonably correct has appeared, and this is from a blog written just last night (April 28, 2010, 9:34 p.m.).
Up until now, it has just been me preaching this stuff. I've been 15 years in the wilderness.
Since no one else "got it" and was writing about it on the Internet, I never felt pressured to hasten my writing about this theory. Now, I think the idea might be taking root finally from other sources. If I am to establish an ownership in the discovery of this paradigm-shifting idea, I must move on it soon.
This guy's approach to developing the theory is only minorly different from mine, but his conclusions are right on target and match my own. There is more for him to understand, but he is definitely on the right track and will get there soon if he persists. He already has a good grasp of the implications, and due to his commercial experience he may have a different (if not better) perspective on the commercial implications of this theory.
I knew I was right, and maybe now my doubters will take a second look.
Here's the link to Ted Shelton's blog on this topic; check out his credentials too:
And this from less than an hour ago:
Yes, yes, yes!
Information has no value--never has, never will.
from Edward Herman :
Date: 1 May 2010
Subject: Rwanda and the DRC in the Propaganda System.
Rwanda is an area in which Western disinformation has been massive, at least the equal of the 2002-3 claim of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction," and pushed by magazines like The New Yorker (Philip Gourevitch) and people like Stephen Kinzer. This is hard to digest, and I myself was taken in by the establishment narrative for some years. But I think that the attached article effectively dismantles that narrative. It is painful and hard to swallow, but an important subject for understanding the real world.
This attachment below is an article in the May 2010 issue of Monthly Review, and is taken from the book just issued by Monthly Review Press entitled "The Politics of Genocide."