Bulletin N°489


19 April 2011
Grenoble, France
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Concentration Camp Kapos hunting down humanists, artists, and intellectuals in the world's largest concentration camp, called Gaza, is a heartbreaking business, but not the first of its kind . . . . Self-destruction --spontaneous or planned-- seems to be almost contagious; certainly it is a structured phenomenon releasing human energies in the wrong direction, inimical to survival. The assassinations this month of Juliano Mer-Khamis and Vittorio Arrigoni have produced a moment of sadness and confusion. In the long run they will only strengthen the resolve to bring US-Israeli imperialism to a quiet end. The bloody march of capitalist progress has arrived at an historic impasse, the game is no longer worth the candle. The volumes of rational determinism can no longer serve to prop up this system and erase the affective memories of those sacrificed so that we could arrive where we are standing today.

Only those under the spell of a death wish could applaud such progress. Infatuated with power-for-the-sake-of-power, many of us pursue our own collective destruction with intense fascination. Is this the result of an epistemological error? Or are we driven by some metaphysical Thanatos? Is it the effect of skepticism folding back upon itself --the limits of the human mind ? Or perhaps it is the murderous and inexorable march of capitalist progress, which may very well be aiming at depopulating the planet and at the same time improving conditions for those who survive to enjoy the new Renaissance . . . .

But what is new in this? Can't this be said of any imperialist project? The Amerindians in North America? The Aborigines in Australia? Countless disappeared nations in Africa and Asia?

The rationalizations are endless and nauseating : truly this is the "banality of evil" --everywhere and everyday, talk, talk, talk; distorting, obfuscating and amplifying in an attempt to justify these wretched means with venerable objectives. It is practically impossible to see any longer that our relationships are capitalist relationships, that we are in every way the unmistakable products of capitalism, always ready for new entertainments and distractions, totally immerged in a wash of mystification, which is necessary to anesthetize our bodies and minds from the inconvenient truths that spring up around us. We are begging to be tricked, just one more time, as we willfully block out the murderous social context in which we are living.

The 9 items below offer CEIMSA readers information and analyses of the material relationships which govern our lives --from near and from afar-- reminding us that even our spontaneous actions are structured to a large degree by the context of capitalist interests.

Item A. is an article first published by The New York Times on the historic landmark that has been passed in the rising student debt in the United States. (The shade of things to come....)

Item B. is an interview with America's Black Forum producer, Glen Ford by The Real News founder, Paul Jay.

Item C., sent to us by Professor Edward S. Herman, is an article by Charles Glass on "Goldstone’s Guide to Gaza."

Item D., sent to us by Dr. Catherine Shammas, is a letter from Palestinian militant Wissam El Haj, address Gaza, speaking of his friend Vittorio, who was assassinated this week in the Israeli's concentration camp in Gaza.

Item E. is an article critical of Gilbert Achcar's recent apologies for "humanitarian wars," by Edward Herman.

Item F., sent to us by the Council for the National Interest Foundation reporting on recent anti-colonial resistance by Palestinians in Gaza and the moral imperative reaching out from the entire world to the occupants of Israel still capable of living in good faith.

Item G., sent to us by Tikkun editor, Michael Lerner, is a commentary on the sad history of Mr. Richard Goldsmith, by Uri Avnery

Item H., from Historians Against War scholar, Jim O'Brien, is a suggested bibliography for activists studying contemporary US militarism.

Item I. is a refreshing look at one alternative life style produced and broadcast by one American reporter George Kenney on Electric Politics: Rewiring the American Regime.

And finally, we urge readers to watch the documentary film by German Gutierrez et Carmen Garcia :

The Coca-Cola Affair
(English version)

L'Affaire Coca-Cola [DVDRiP|VOSTFR] [MULTI]

L'Affaire Coca-Cola [DVDRiP|VOSTFR] [MULTI]


Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Université de Grenoble 3
Director of Research
Université de Paris 10-Nanterre

P.S. We remind readers that they are invited to our May 19 International Conference on the University of Paris campus at Nanterre. Resistation at the door with no fees required: please see Program = http://dimension.ucsd.edu/CEIMSA-IN-EXILE/newsletter/newsletter45.html

from The New York Times :
Date 12 April 2011
Subject: The politics of debt.
NYTimes.com Home Page

Student loan debt will likely top a trillion dollars this year as more people go to college and borrow money to do so.

College Loans Weigh Heavier on Graduates

from The Real News :
Date 5 April 2011
Subject: The Black Agenda Report.

Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.

New Obama Chief of Staff a Message to Wall Street


from Edward Herman :
Date: 13 April 2011
Subject: Goldstone's Guide to Gaza.

A powerful analysis of Goldstone's work.

Goldstone’s Guide to Gaza
by Charles Glass

It takes courage to confront Israel on the battlefield. Egypt, Syria, and Jordan’s puffed-up armies learned that lesson in June 1967, when six days of combat forced them to throw in the towel. Courage is also necessary to take on Israel in the court of public opinion, something the once-respected South African jurist Richard Goldstone ought to have considered. When he accepted the United Nations’ invitation to investigate Israel’s military assault of December 2008 and January 2009 on the Gaza Strip, he took precautions to avert attacks on his character. At the beginning, he said, “I insisted on changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was skewed against Israel.” Israel could not have asked for a more sympathetic investigator of its army’s behavior during its invasion of the Gaza Strip. Perhaps Justice Goldstone believed that, by accepting Israel’s terms of reference and emphasizing his own commitment to Zionism, he would avoid being smeared if his inquiry turned out to be anything other than a commendation to the Israeli armed forces for a job well done. If so, he discovered how wrong a good lawyer can be.

Goldstone and the three other members of the UN Human Rights Council’s Fact Finding Mission—Pakistani lawyer Hina Jilani, Irish Colonel Desmond Travers, and British professor Christine Chinkin—conducted a thorough inquiry into the conduct of Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants during Israel’s
Operation Cast Lead. The report acknowledged:

When the operations began, the Gaza Strip had been for almost three years
under a severe regime of closures and restrictions on the movement of
people, goods and services. This included basic life necessities such as
food and medical supplies….These measures were imposed by the State of
Israel purportedly to isolate and weaken Hamas after its electoral

As a renowned lawyer, Goldstone knew that an embargo—such as when Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping in 1967—constitutes an act
of war against which the aggrieved party is entitled to defend itself. Ignoring the proximate cause of Hamas’s futile deployment of homemade rockets against Israel was like condemning America for attacking Japan in World War II without any reference to Pearl Harbor.

Rather than appearing “skewed” against Israel, the Mission refrained from asking basic questions:

Why do 1.6 million people dwell on a narrow strip of sand between Israel and
the Egyptian Sinai, when most of them, their parents, or their grandparents
were born in villages a few miles away in what became Israel in 1948?

Does Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza have any connection to
the violence undertaken by the occupied population?

Does Israel have any obligation to observe UN Security Council Resolution
242 calling for its complete withdrawal from territories it occupied in

While the Palestine Authority has recognized the State of Israel and its
“right to exist,” is there no reciprocal obligation on Israel to recognize
Palestine and its “right to exist”?

Do Israel’s attacks on Gaza and its seizure of land in the West Bank serve
to undermine Palestinian voices calling for peaceful coexistence and do they
fuel the radicalism of Hamas and its allies?

Israel was not required to answer any of these questions. In fact, it refused to answer any questions at all. Nor would it allow the Mission to enter the Gaza Strip from Israel, forcing it to travel via Egypt. In Gaza, the Mission could not ignore the evidence of its eyes and ears during two days of dramatic and compelling testimony that is recorded in the 575-page report it published in September 2009.

The Mission noted that at least 1,387 Palestinians were killed, compared to ten Israeli soldiers, four of whom were killed in fire from their own side.
Despite the disproportion in casualties that indicate an onslaught rather than a battle, the Fact Finding Mission condemned both sides. It found Hamas
guilty of “an indiscriminate attack on the civilian population of southern Israel, a war crime, and may amount to crimes against humanity.” That balance would not be enough for Israel, however, to act upon the Mission’s recommendations that soldiers and officers be investigated and prosecuted for war crimes. Instead of prosecuting war crimes, it attacked Justice Goldstone.

A US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks cites Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as saying that Israel faces “three principal threats: Iran’s nuclear program, missile proliferation and the Goldstone Report.” Israel may not have done much about Iran and the missiles, but it has now put Goldstone to rest. Israel’s thuggish foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman (who must have the suave Abba Eban moaning from the grave) triumphed, “The price of dealing [with the report] over the past few years was worth it.”

Goldstone performed an auto-da-fé in the Washington Post’s op-ed pages on April 1, which unfortunately was not an April Fools’ deception: “If I had
known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” The new development, he asserted, was Israel’s prosecution of
several soldiers. That seems unlikely. This is a system of justice that ordered an Israeli settler to do six months’ community service for beating a ten-year-old Palestinian to death. No one has been prosecuted for killing twenty-nine men, women, and children of the al-Simouni family in their home. One soldier who stole and used a Palestinian’s credit card was sentenced to seven months, while two soldiers who risked a Palestinian child’s life by using him as a human shield were given three-month suspended sentences. Goldstone relied on a report by New York judge Mary McGowan Davis that he said exonerated Israel, when her report had done exactly the opposite. The more likely explanation for Justice Goldstone’s recantation was not new evidence, but what the soon-to-be-indicted-for-graft Lieberman would call“dealing.”

Leading lights of prominent Jewish organizations in South Africa told Goldstone they were unhappy with his report. Zionist groups threatened to picket his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah if he attended. He was, like the great philosopher Baruch Spinoza in the seventeenth century, suddenly an outcast among his own. The pressure was understandably too much for him to bear. British architect Richard Rogers trod a similar path in 2006 when he formed a group to oppose construction of the Separation Barrier (also known as the Apartheid Wall) that sealed off the West Bank and added Palestinian land to the Israeli side. After calling for a boycott of companies building the wall, he saw the light when New York threatened to withdraw his $1.7 billion contract to reconstruct the Javits Center. To confirm his enlightenment, Rogers stated, “I unequivocally renounce Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine and have withdrawn my relationship with them.” Like Goldstone, he learned how far Israel would go to defend itself from criticism.

Critics of Israel, beware. If you don’t have the stomach for a fight, don’t go into the ring.

Meanwhile, Israel continues its embargo and assaults on Gaza.

Larry Gross
Professor and Director
School of Communication
The Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
3502 Watt Way, Suite 305
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281
[213] 740-3770  FAX: [213] 740-3913

from Catherine Shamas :
Date: 16 April 2011
Subject: Je suis palestinien, et je m'appelle Victorio.

bonsoir les ami(e)s,
de retour et du mal à  atterrir

lettre écrite par wissam el haj militant palestinien de gaza et ami de vittorio


Chères et chers Camarades,
    Nous venons de subir de fortes frappes qui ont touché deux de nos
    camarades Juliano d'abord et Vic ensuite. Cela nous a tous troublé
    et traumatisé profondément. Et nous sommes nombreux à essayer de
    trouver des réponses aux questions légitimes sur l’identité des
    auteurs de ces deux crimes. Le fait que Juliano ait reçu des menaces
    venant de palestiniens, ou que Victorio ait été kidnappé et tué par
    des palestiniens, a fait que beaucoup d'entre nous ont rejeté le
    fait que les auteurs peuvent être des palestiniens, et ont cherché
    la piste Israélienne dans les deux affaires, vu que ces crimes ne
    servent fondamentalement qu’à l'occupant sur plusieurs niveaux. Cela
    nous renvoie tous à un questionnement, qui doit être autre, car ce
    est pas à nous de trouver l'acteur de ces crimes, mais aux autorités
    palestiniennes (malgré toutes les critiques que j’adresse à ces
    dernières). Quand Juliano Mer Khamis, ou Vittorio Arrigoni ont
    choisi leur palestinité, ils ont fait le choix de leur camp, et
    quand ils ont été tués dans la lutte, les auteurs du crime ont
    choisi leur camp aussi. Si les criminels sont nés palestiniens,
    Israéliens, chinois, quelle que soit leur nationalité, leur
    religion, ou leur couleur de peau: ces derniers ont déjà choisi
    d'être les ennemis de la cause palestinienne, la cause pour laquelle
    ont vécu nos camarades. Si les tueurs sont vraiment des palestiniens
    par naissance, et criminels pour raisons idéologiques, politiques ou
    autre; et/ou si ils étaient téléguidés par Israël ou n'importe
    quelle force ennemie de la cause de la justice et la libération; ils
    sont déjà les ennemis de chacun d'entre nous.
    *Les Salafistes?*
    Les groupes salafistes à Gaza qui sont accusé, dans un premier
    temps, de l'assassinat de Vic, qui sont ils? et sont ils vraiment
    les auteurs du crime?
    Comme dit précédemment, les ennemis de la cause, ne sont pas des
    palestiniens, dans le sens ou la Palestine est un choix de lutte
    pour la justice et la liberté. Hélas, même si les salafistes
    jihadistes de Gaza n'étaient pas les auteurs du ce crime précis,
    celui de l'assassinat du Vic, n'ont ils cependant pas tué et attaqué
    les palestiniens de Gaza: des fêtes de mariages, des salons de
    coiffure, des cafés, des structures associatives ET MÊME des
    militants du Hamas et du Jihad Islamique. Ces groupes ont déjà fait
    des morts en Palestine, et ils sont prêts idéologiquement et
    fonctionnellement à faire plus. S’ils ont tué Juliano, Vic, ou non,
    ils ont déjà tué des palestiniens, et leur cause n'est pas celle de
    la Palestine. Ils sont nos ennemis qu'on soit palestinien de par
    notre naissance, ou de par notre engagement, et nous devons
    continuer la lutte contre toutes les ennemis de notre cause.
    Un camarade est tombé au combat aujourd'hui. Qu'on réaffirme notre
    engagement avec sa cause, sachant que notre rôle n'est pas de
    condamner sa mort, et nous n’avons pas à nous justifier. L'un des
    notre est tombé en combat, et nous qui restons, nous devons lever le
    drapeau: c'est ce drapeau qui est visé par l'ennemi, quelque soit
    son identité.
    Et à mon cher Vic, comme promis, je chanterai Ounadikum pour faire
    ton deuil camarade.

from Ed Herman :
Date: 8 April 2011
Subject: More on "humanitarian wars".

 Gilbert Achcar's Defense of Humanitarian Intervention
by Edward S. Herman

Gilbert Achcar defends the recently "UN-authorized" imperialist intervention in Libya on the ground that general principles may require exceptions in concrete cases. "Every general rule admits of exceptions. This includes the general rule that UN-authorized military interventions by imperialist powers are purely reactionary ones, and can never achieve a humanitarian or positive purpose."[1]  This kind of argument brings to mind analogous special case positions in defense of torture (of the prisoner who may have information on the ticking bomb); and it reminds me of the claim of a set of defenders of  the military attack on Yugoslavia that this was "illegal but legitimate." His ultimate position, of defending the attack on Libya, but urging constructive criticism,  calls to mind Randolph Bourne's remark on the war-supportive intellectuals of World War I: "If we responsibly approve, we then retain our power for guiding. We will be listened to as responsible thinkers, while those who obstructed the coming of war have committed intellectual suicide and shall be cast into outer darkness."[2]  This was, of course, nonsense, and the responsible liberal thinkers of that bloody era merely contributed to justifying war, but such accommodationist thinking arises naturally in a militaristic environment, and in each such phase of history it returns to splinter war critics and lend support to the killing enterprise.

But before examining Achcar's principles and factual claims justifying this new Western military attack on a relatively defenseless small country, I want to point out that his main and reiterated specific illustration of a historical case where imperial intervention would clearly have been warranted­Rwanda­is larded with factual errors and misunderstandings. He says that: "Just for the sake of argument: if we could turn back the wheel of history and go back to the period immediately preceding the  Rwandan genocide, would we oppose an UN-authorized Western-led military intervention deployed in order to prevent it? Of course, many would say that the intervention by imperialist/foreign forces risks making a lot of victims. But can anyone in their right mind believe that Western powers would have massacred between half a million and a million human beings in 100 days?"

Achcar clearly swallows the standard  narrative on the Rwanda "genocide," in which the imperialist powers just "stood by"­he is explicit later that the Western powers "were not intervening" in the period before and while the Hutus supposedly massacred between 500,000 and a million Tutsis (and "moderate" Hutus). But in fact the Western powers didn't just stand by; they actively intervened throughout, but not to contain the killing: Paul Kagame, the primary actor before, during and after the mass killings, was trained at Ft. Leavenworth; his Rwanda Patriotic Front's 1990 invasion of Rwanda from Uganda was not punished by the Security Council; his subsequent infiltration and subversion of Rwanda was actively supported by the United States, U.K., Belgium, Canada and therefore the UN; his forces shot down the plane carrying Rwanda president Juvenal Habyarimana back to Kigali on April 6, 1994, generally acknowledged to have been the "triggering event" in the mass killings; and Kagame's well-prepared military forces were in action within an hour or two of the shoot-down.

Kagame needed this triggering event and the 100-day military conquest because, with his Tutsi comprising well under 15% of the population and vast numbers of Hutus having been made refugees by Kagame's invasions and ethnic cleansings (and those by Tutsi military forces in neighboring Burundi after the Tutsi assassination of their Hutu leader), he would have been crushed in the free election to be held in 1995 under the terms of  the 1993 Arusha Accords. And Kagame did a major part of the killing, extended into a slaughter of several millions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following his takeover of Rwanda.  An internal State Department document of September 1994 indicated that in Rwanda itself Kagame's forces had been killing some 10,000 Hutu civilians per month.[3] That information led to no responsive action from the United States, which had actually voted for a reduction in UN forces in Rwanda as the killings were escalating. This was consistent with the U.S. support of Kagame, his military conquest, and his subsequent invasions of and mass killings in the DRC.[4]

When  in 1997 investigator Michael Hourigan reported to his employer, the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, and its prosecutor Louise Arbour, that Kagame's forces had been responsible for the "triggering event," after consultation with U.S. officials Arbour quashed the investigation and the ICTR has never taken it up since. This important development, which tells us so much about the source of the violence, and the roles of  the United States and the ICTR in underwriting, sustaining and protecting that violence, has rarely if ever been mentioned in the U.S. mainstream media, and clearly has escaped Gilbert Achcar's notice as well.

So Achcar misreads history in suggesting that Western intervention was missing in Rwanda and that if the imperial powers had intervened they might have prevented 500,000-1 million casualties. The imperial powers were there and contributed positively to those deaths. Of course, they might conceivably have behaved differently, but what an illustration, which assumes behavior exactly the reverse of the (unrecognized and real-politic-based) reality! Achcar also fails to mention that in Iraq the U.S.-U.K.-UN combo killed 500,000+ during the "sanctions of mass destruction" era and were responsible for maybe a million more in the invasion-occupation.  Can "anyone in their right minds" deny the Western capacity to impose or support mass deaths?

In making his case for Western intervention, Achcar mentions that there are thousands (1-10,000) possibly already killed in the Gadaffi advances, a rather wide range of possibilities. The 10,000 number he sources to the International Criminal Court, a name he provides perhaps to suggest authenticity. I wonder if he knows that all 14 indictees of the ICC are black Africans, but do not include Kagame or Museveni (Uganda), U.S. clients? Achcar's pro-intervention policy stance here rests heavily on a threatened Gadaffi bloodbath, that "Western governments and everybody else" anticipate. This is a classic imperialist response that goes hand-in-hand with demonization and frequently inflated claims of target villain violence. Gadaffi, like Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, has moved quickly from a quasi-friend and ally to "another Hitler." One of the durable justifications for the Vietnam war was the likelihood of a bloodbath by the evil forces of communism if the United States were to exit without victory, although the real bloodbath (maybe 3 million civilians) was inflicted by the United States. The demonization and bloodbath threat claim did, however, help sustain the real bloodbath, with the help of the mainstream media. So Western military force is unleashed once again to prevent a bloodbath­to protect civilians!

Achcar describes the rebel forces fighting Gadaffi as representing a "popular movement" and "mass insurrection." This is dubious­as Stratfor points out, the base of the insurrection has "consisted of a cluster of tribes and personalities," the heart of which was in the East,, and whose members and leaders "do not all advocate Western-style democracy. Rather, they saw an opportunity to take greater power, and they tried to seize it."[5] Achcar fails to mention that this eastern Libya base area was a principal recruiting ground for Al Qaeda, and that the killings of civilians and prisoners by these rebels has reportedly been large.[6]  He does not suggest the possibility of a bloodbath if they were to take over Tripoli and western Libya.

While focusing heavily on the "nature of Gadaffi's regime," Achcar doesn't discuss the nature of the imperial West's  regimes, their now systematic power projection by force, and their treatment of civilians in countries they attack. He doesn't ask how  their concern for Libyan civilians can be genuine when simultaneously they support the crackdown on Bahraini civilians and the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi Arabia. Assuredly he doesn't refer to Madeleine Albright's 1996 statement that the U.S. policy-caused death of 500,000 Iraqi children was "worth it" as indicative of U.S. concern over foreign civilian well-being. Or the significance of the almost daily  reports  of civilians killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by U.S. drone attacks, and the many thousands of "collateral damage" deaths in these countries and Iraq. Weapons evolution with drones and cluster bombs has tended to enlarge civilian casualties.[7]  Shouldn't this be mentioned in evaluating claims that a military response featuring air-power will serve to protect civilians?

A relevant political fact, also, is that it is own-casualties that are sensitive matters at home, not foreign civilian casualties, especially where the mainstream media can be counted on to cooperate in keeping information (and indignation) on those distant civilian casualties at a low key. This means that once the bars are down and the airpower is unleashed in the interest of real objectives, like regime change, distant civilians may die in large numbers without the home public knowing the reality. The public can be managed by official handouts and suppressions, with media cooperation.

Remarkably, Achcar tells us that one legitimate reason for the West's military response in defense of Libyan civilians is public pressure that builds as the public watches TV and demands action ("it is nonsensical, and an instance of very crude 'materialism', to dismiss as irrelevant the weight of public opinion on Western governments," etc.). He never questions the morality of international military action based on a public opinion that is regularly managed by a war-prone elite. This was the case in the United States in the lead-up to the 2003 attack on Iraq, where propaganda lies and a cooperative media built up substantial public support for a war of aggression. With minor exceptions the left at that time did not think that that made an adequate case for attacking Iraq. Recent public opinion polls in both the United States and Britain show substantial majorities against warring with Libya,[8] so Achcar is mistaken that public opinion is driving the war policy, and he and other responsible left intellectuals are more closely aligned with the war-prone elite than the general public.

Perhaps most amazing is Achcar's acceptance of  the imperial powers as the "good cops" who can properly bring law and order through violence to the citizens needing protection. Is it reasonable to give the power to straighten things out by force to imperialist powers that have been most guilty of using force in violation of both law and moral principles?  The United States is daily killing civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, among other places, has an ongoing torture gulag, and has engaged in a steady stream of wars in violation of the UN Charter. It is the bedrock of support for Israeli aggressions and ethnic cleansings. Shouldn't that rule out approving it as an instrument of supposed justice in protecting Libyan civilians?  Then there is the closely related rule of universality needed for meaningful justice. Can we support a U.S. initiated attack on another small country on alleged humanitarian grounds when such an attack is so extremely selective, so well geared to U.S. interests and priorities, and cannot be leveled against a U.S. friend or client or the United States itself, no matter how egregious the abuses?

Achcar performs one of the great somersaults in the collapsing left record in simultaneously supporting and opposing Security Council Resolution 1973. He says that it is not well drawn and should be refined:

The resolution leaves too much room for interpretation, and could be used to push forward an imperialist agenda going beyond protection into meddling into Libya's political future. It could not be supported, but must be criticized for its ambiguities. But neither could it be opposed, in the sense of opposing the no-fly zone and giving the impression that one doesn't care about the civilians and the uprising. We could only express our strong reservations.

So if it cannot be opposed except for details, the left must support it, but it should work hard to keep military actions within proper bounds:

Once intervention started, the role of anti-imperialist forces should have consisted in monitoring it closely, and condemning all actions hitting at civilians where measures to avoid such killings have not been observed, as well as all actions by the coalition that are devoid of a civilian protection rationale.

This defines a position for what we may call the "imperialism fine-tuning left," that will help show that the left as well as the leaders of imperialism really care for civilians.

What makes this stance exceedingly foolish as well as distinctly non-left is the idea that the "left" would be able to seriously influence policy once a war is embarked upon (and with "left" encouragement). This simultaneous approval and disapproval of the war will further splinter the left and carry it beyond mere marginalization to butt of jokes.

Achcar tells us that this intervention to protect civilians in Libya will prove "embarrassing" to the imperial powers, as the next time Israel bombs Gaza or Lebanon the world will demand a no-fly zone and picket for the same, and Achcar himself "definitely" will join the picket line. But why wasn't there a demand for a no-fly zone with Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and attack on Gaza? And why isn't Achcar picketing today against the killing of  Bahraini civilians with the aid of a Saudi invasion force and the drone attacks on Afghanistan and Pakistan that take a heavy civilian toll right now? Perhaps he is too busy worrying about civilians in the latest U.S-.targeted state.

---- Endnotes ----

 [1] Gilbert Achcar, "A legitimate and necessary debate from an anti-imperialist perspective," ZNet, March 25, 2011. All further quotes attributed to Achcar derive from this particular essay.

 [2] Randolph Bourne, "The War and the Intellectuals," 1917.  (Or see Randolph S. Bourne, War and the Intellectuals: Collected Essays, 1915-1919, Carl Resek, Ed. (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1999), p. 13.)

 [3] See George E. Moose, "Human Rights Abuses in Rwanda," Information Memorandum to The Secretary, U.S. Department of State, September, 1994.

 [4] For more details, see Robin Philpot, Rwanda 1994: Colonialism Dies Hard, E-Text as posted to the Taylor Report Website, 2004; Christian Davenport and Allan C. Stam, "What Really Happened in Rwanda?" Miller-McCune, October 6, 2009; Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System," Monthly Review 62, No. 1, May, 2010; and Peter Erlinder, "The UN Security Council Ad Hoc Rwanda Tribunal: International Justice or Juridically-Constructed 'Victor's Impunity'?" DePaul Journal for Social Justice, Vol. 4, No. 1, Fall 2010, pp. 131-214.

 [5] George Friedman, "Libya, the West and the Narrative of Democracy," Stratfor, March 21, 2011.

 [6] See, e.g., Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman, "Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records," Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 2007; "Africans Hunted Down in 'Liberated' Libya" (afrol News, 28 February 2011); Peter Dale Scott, "Who Are the Libyan Freedom Fighters and Their Patrons?" The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, Vol. 9, Issue 13, No. 3, March 28, 2011; Wolfgang Weber, "Libyan Rebels Massacre Black Africans," World Socialist Web Site, 31 March 2011.

 [7] See Beau Grosscup, "Cluster Munitions and State Terrorism," Monthly Review 62, No. 11, April, 2011.

 [8] See, e.g., "Fewer See Clear Goal in Libya; Opposition to Arming Rebels," Pew Research Center for the People & the Press (U.S.), April 5, 2011; and "Political Poll for The Independent," ComRes (U.K.), March 29, 2011.

from : CNI :
Date: 11 April 2011
AP Report on Gaza Deconstructed.

Council for the National Interest Foundation

Dear Friend:

The Associated Press is the oldest and largest wire service in the world and is the primary source of international news for newspapers all over the country.

As we expect you're acutely aware, its reports are consistently Israeli-centric. Therefore, we are providing an analysis of today's report on Gaza, telling what actually occurred over the past week, what AP chose to report, and what it chose not to report.

Please feel free to share this widely, especially with your local news media.

This kind of highly distorted reporting misleads Americans on Israel-Palestine, resulting in the disastrous Middle East policies we see today. We feel that exposing this situation and educating the general public -- as well as editors here in America -- on the actual situation in the region will help to bring the change so urgently needed.

Thank you for helping us do this work.



Alison Weir, President

from Michael Lerner :
Date: 9 April 2011
Subject: Human, all too human.....


Goldstone and the Israelis–an analysis by Uri Avnery

by Michael Lerner

Editor’s Note: There is much wisdom in Uri Avnery’s analysis of the Goldstone controversy, but I cannot accept the ironic dissing of Goldstone himself. We did not give him the Tikkun award because we agreed with his report–we knew and said publicly long ago that the claim that Israel intentionally sought to kill civilians was at this point unsubstantiated and weakened the report, and I’m glad he repudiated that part. As other commentators have mentioned, Israeli human rights violations remain deeply unethical whether or not they were consciously intended by the Israeli government, or merely the product of what Avnery analyzes below--a systematic inability on the part of Israelis to see Palestinians as human and their suffering as a moral affront to God and humanity.

We gave Goldstone the report for his integrity and willingness to challenge his own people’s blind allegiance to the government of Israel, and I continue to believe in his integrity even if I believe that the op-ed he published in The Washington Post was confused and ambiguous in many respects. Goldstone received the enthusiastic standing ovation from the 600 people who attened Tikkun's 25th anniversary celebration March 14, 2011,  when he was introduced and when he finished his remarks (which you can actually listen to on http://www.youtube.com/user/TikkunNSP#p/c/3BA201F10A65A3E7/4/rG_58B_y014 ). And we were moved by his insistence on protecting the needs of civilians and his justifiable outrage (which I share) at the brutal killing of an extremist settler family (including a 3 month old baby) by terrorists. Goldstone reported what he saw, given Israel's refusal to cooperate with the investigation, and his change in the op-ed reflects seeing something differently now. He doesn't seem to me to be a clever scheming self-interested person, but rather a man of great integrity without much understanding or interest in larger political contexts who uses his judicial training to make conclusions on "the facts" as they are presented to him. For this reason, I doubt Avnery's account that seems to question his integrity.  Neverthelesss, Uri Avnery has a very important point in arguing that war itself is such a violation of human rights that the notion that we can only protect “innocent civilians” is itself a problematic retreat for those who know that the “legal” murdering that takes place in wars is itself fundamentally immoral. So I hope that Avnery’s cynical comments about Goldstone doesn’t deflect you from considering all the rest of his important analysis. –Rabbi Michael Lerner

The Gold and the Stone
by Uri Avnery

THERE IS something tragicomic about the persona of Richard Goldstone.

First there was a veritable storm of fury when the original Goldstone report was issued.

What a fiend! A Jew who claims to be a Zionist and an Israel-lover, who publishes the most abominable slanders about against our valiant soldiers, aiding and abetting the worst anti-Semites around the world! The very prototype of a self-hating Jew! Still worse, a “mosser” – a Jew who turns another Jew over to the evil Goyim, the most detested figure in Jewish folklore.

And now the turnabout. Goldstone, the Jew who has recanted. Goldstone who has publicly confessed that he was wrong all along. That the Israeli army committed no crimes in the 2009-2010 “Cast Lead” Gaza operation, On the contrary, while the Israeli army has conducted honest and meticulous investigations into all the allegations, Hamas has not investigated any of the horrendous crimes it has committed.

Goldstone, the Man of Stone, has become Goldstone, the Man of Gold. A man of conscience! A man to be admired!

It was, of course, Binyamin Netanyahu who had the final word. Goldstone’s recantation, he summarized, has confirmed once again that the IDF is the Most Moral Army in the World.

MY HEART bleeds for Judge Goldstone. From the beginning he was placed in an impossible situation.

The UN commission which appointed him to head the inquiry into the allegations of war crimes committed during the operation was acting on a seemingly logical but actually foolish calculation. Appointing to the job a good Jew, and an avowed Zionist to boot, would disarm, it was thought, any allegation of anti-Israeli bias.

Goldstone and his colleagues undoubtedly did an honest and conscientious job. They sifted the evidence laid before them and arrived at reasonable conclusions on that basis. However, almost all the evidence came from Palestinian and UN sources. The commission could not interrogate the officers and soldiers of the Israeli forces because our government, in a typical and almost routine act of folly, refused to cooperate.

Why? The basic assumption is that all the world is out to get us, not because of anything we do, but because we are Jews. We know we are right, and we know that they are out to prove us wrong. So why cooperate with these bloody anti-Semites and Jewish self-haters?

Today, almost all influential Israelis concede that this was a stupid attitude. But there is no guarantee that our leaders will behave any differently next time, especially since the army is dead set against allowing any soldiers to appear before a non-Israeli forum, or, for that matter, before an Israeli non-military forum either.

BACK TO poor Goldstone. After the publication of his commission’s report, his life became hell.

The full fury of the Jewish ghetto against traitors from its midst was turned on him. Jews objected to his attending his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. His friends turned away from him, He was ostracized by all the people he valued.

So he searched his soul and found that he had been wrong all along. His findings were one-sided. He would have found differently if he had heard the Israeli side of the story. The Israeli army has conducted honest investigations into the allegations, while the barbarous Hamas has not conducted any investigations at all into their obvious war crimes.

So when was Goldstone wrong? The first or the second time?

The answer is, alas, that he was wrong both times.

THE VERY term “war crimes” is problematic. War itself is a crime, never to be justified unless it is the only way to prevent a bigger crime – as with the war against Adolf Hitler, and now – on an incomparably smaller scale – against Muammar Qaddafi.

The idea of war crimes arose after the horrendous atrocities of the 30-year war, which devastated central Europe. The idea was that it is impossible to prevent brutal actions if they are needed to win a war, but that such actions are illegitimate if they are not needed for this purpose. The principle is not moral, but practical. Killing prisoners and civilians is a war crime, because it serves no effective military purpose, since both sides can do it.  So is the wanton destruction of property.

In Israel this principle was embodied in the landmark judgment by Binyamin Halevy after the 1956 Kafr Qasim massacre of innocent farmers, men, women and children. The Judge ruled that a “black flag” flies over “manifestly” illegal orders – orders which even a simple person can see are illegal, without talking to a lawyer. Since then, obeying such orders has been a crime under Israeli law.

THE REAL question about Cast Lead is not whether individual soldiers did commit such crimes. They sure did – any army is composed of all types of human beings, decent youngsters with a moral conscience besides sadists, imbeciles and others suffering from moral insanity. In a war you give all of them arms and a license to kill, and the results can be foreseen. That is one reason why “war is hell”.

The problem with Lebanon War II and Cast Lead is that the basic approach – the same in both cases – makes war crimes as good as inevitable. The planners were no monsters – they just did their job. They superimposed two facts one on the other. The result was inevitable.

One consideration was the requirement to avoid casualties on our side. We have a people’s army, composed of conscripts from all walks of life (like the US army in Vietnam but not in Afghanistan.) Our public opinion judges wars according to the number of (our) soldiers killed and wounded. So the directive to the military planners is: do everything possible so the number of our casualties will be next to nil.

The other fact is the total disregard for the humanity of the other side. Years and years of the occupation have created an army for whom Palestinians, and Arabs in general, are mere objects. Not human enemies, not even human monsters, just objects.

These two mental attitudes lead necessarily to a strategic and tactical doctrine which dictates the application of lethal force to anyone and anything that can possibly menace soldiers advancing in enemy territory – liquidating them in front of the soldiers preferably from afar by artillery and air power.

When the opposition is a resistance movement operating in a densely populated area, the results can almost be calculated mathematically. In Cast Lead, at least 350 Palestinian civilians, among them hundreds of women and children, were killed, together with about 750 enemy fighters. On the Israeli side: altogether 5 (five!) Israeli soldiers were killed by enemy fire (some six more by “friendly fire”).

This result did not contradict the undeclared political aim of the operation. It was to pressure the Gaza Strip population into overthrowing the Hamas government. This result, of course, was not achieved. Rather the opposite.

The logic – and the balance of casualties – of Lebanon War II were about the same, with added huge material destruction of civilian targets.

FOLLOWING THE Goldstone report, our army did indeed conduct quite extensive investigations into individual incidents. The number is impressive, the results are not. Some 150 or so cases were investigated, two soldiers were convicted (one for theft), one officer was indicted for the killing – by mistake – of an entire extended family.

This seems to satisfy Goldstone, who this week gratefully accepted an invitation  from the Israeli Minister of the Interior – perhaps the most rabid racist in the entire government, in which racists abound – to visit Israel. (When the conversation was leaked, Goldstone cancelled the matter and stated that the report would not be withdrawn.)

On the other side, Goldstone is aflame with indignation against Hamas, for launching rockets and mortar shells at civilians in Israel and conducting no investigations at all. Isn’t it rather ridiculous: using the same standards for one of the five mightiest armies in the world and a band of irregular and poorly equipped resistance fighters (alias terrorists).?

Terrorism is the weapon of the weak. (“Give me tanks and airplanes, and I promise I won’t plant bombs’” a Palestinian once said.) Since the entire military strategy of Hamas is terrorizing Israeli communities along the border in order to persuade Israel to put an end to the occupation (and, in the case of Gaza, to the ongoing blockade), Goldstone’s indignation seems a bit surprising.

Altogether, Goldstone has now paved the way for another Cast Lead operation which will be far worse.

I expect , however, that he can now pray in any synagogue he chooses.

Uri Avnery is chair of the Israeli peace movement  Gush Shalom

from Jim O'Brien :
Date: 14 April 2011
Subject: [haw-info] HAW Notes 4/14/11: Links to recent articles of interest.

Dear Colleagues,
Suggestions for these more-or-less biweekly lists can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.  Thanks to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Mim Jackson, Sam Lowe, Stuart Schaar, and Rusti Eisenberg for suggesting articles that are included in the following list.

"Not Why But How: To the Shores of (and the Skies above) Tripoli"
By Andrew J. Bacevich, Tom Dispatch.com, posted April 12
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University
"The Success of Revolutions That Do Not Succeed"
By Vijay Prashad, CounterPunch.org, posted April 8
The author teaches history at Trinity College
"Morocco: Can Dinosaurs Become Butterflies?"
By Stuart Schaar, The Indypendent, posted April 6
The author is a professor emeritus of Middle East and North African history at Brooklyn College
"The Censored War and You"
By Kelley B. Vlahos, antiwar.com, posted April 5
Compares coverage of the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars
"100 Years of Bombing Libya: The Forgotten Fascist Roots of Humanitarian Interventionism"
By Mark Almond, CounterPunch.org, posted April 5
"Japan, Europe and the Dangerous Fantasy of American Leadership"
By Karel van Wolferen, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, posted April 4
"Last Act in the Middle East"
By Andrew J. Bacevich, Newsweek, posted April 3
"A Matter of Empire"
By Arno J. Mayer, CounterPunch, posted April 1
The author is an emeritus professor of history at Princeton University
"Response to Juan Cole on Libya"
By Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies, posted April 1
"The Dangerous US Game in Yemen"
By Jeremy Scahill, The Nation, posted March 30
Has much historical background

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from George Kenney :
Date: 17 April 2011
Subject: Electric Politics: Rewiring the American Regime.