Bulletin N°56

18 March 2003
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

With war looming, the Grenoble Center for the Advanced Study of American
Institutions and Social Movements has received much mail from scholars and
students in the United States and Europe.

Among the important communications received, two essays stand out: Below,
please read item (A), Professor John Gerassi's dire warning that the United
States has entered a new political era, where the state no longer
represents simply the capitalist interests of the nation, but serves as an
independent force favoring a few industries over the interests of other
sectors of the economy. In a word, a new FASCIST political economy is
taking root in America, according to this influential author, and
traditional market competitions are giving way to totalitarian state
control (with a simle). Item (B) below is an article forwarded to us by
Professor Richard DuBoff and written by Professor Arno Mayer, who warns
Europeans of the distortions of history in the hands of state ideologues
who control the media. As never before, a deep knowledge of European
history will be useful and even essential for survival in the coming years
which threaten "global americanization."

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research

And Now?
by John Gerassi

The time has come to say it out loud. Most of my academic colleagues say it
privately, but hedge in their classes. Many of my old buddies at Time and
Newsweek, where I was an editor for a decade, agree, but tell me they can
never say so in print. All my friends fear that if they spell it out the
FBI will arrest them in the middle of the night and they will become
"disappeared" like hundreds of innocent Moslems who are not even charged
with a crime. They know that Attorney General Ashcroft is itching to use
the proposed Patriots' Act II, which will certainly become law after US
forces suffer casualties in Iraq, to deport native-born critics of the
Administration to Antarctica or bury them in solitary confinement in the
Arizona desert, as that law permits.  But it is now time to say and act
upon the fact that the United States, as a state, is Fascist.

We all know, and the media certainly can list the proofs, that those in
power in Washington, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Runsfeld,
and his deputy  Wolfowitz, among others, plotted the current anti-Iraq
policy years ago. In 1992 they actually wrote it up in a letter to Bush I.
Even Ted Koppel read parts of that 96-page letter on Nightline the other
day, proving that Bush II's War has nothing to do with 9/11 or al Qaeda or
terrorism. In fact, President Reagan removed Iraq from the list of states
sponsoring terror back in l982.

To those 1992 conspirators now making policy in the White House, adding up
with Bush II as the world's new and dreaded Gang of Four, the goal was and
is control of the whole region. Not just to own the oil and gas, but also
to control their sale, in order to dictate which developing country the US
will help and which it will sink into desperate poverty. After Iraq, they
want to invade Iran. Then any other country, especially the oil-rich
"...stans" surrounding the Caspian Sea if they balk at US demands and where
the US now has bases.

No nation (certainly not Cuba) must be allowed to maintain an independent
course, say the Gang of Four. The world's worst dictators (in Saudi Arabia,
Egypt, Kuwait, Turkey, Kazakhstan et al) are acceptable if they trade by
Washington's rules. If not, a "regime change" is the next move. Bush II's
War on Iraq is only the beginning. It's part of what in polite circles is
called Globalization. In real terms it's just plain Americanization.

Most Americans support Bush II and his Gang of Four. So did the Germans
support Hitler. He won over 60 percent of the vote in a fair election. He
repeated ad nausea that it was the others' fault and the Germans believed
him. It was the Czechs who stole the Sudetenland, he said.  Repeat it
often, Goebels advised him, and the world will believe it. And now, he
would advise Bush II, say over and over that Saddam gassed his own people
in the village of Halapja and the world will believe it, even if the CIA's
senior political analyst on Iraq at the time, who had access to the
classified investigation of the incident, reported that it did not happen
(NYT 10/31/03). The media said it did, without proof, almost every day
since Bush said it during his State of the Union address. And again in his
March 15 radio talk. Goebels would have been proud.

Both the CIA and the FBI found no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq.
Bush II said there was one. He offered no proof. So what. He repeated it so
often most Americans believe it. That's like when daddy Bush said that
Saddam was going to attack Saudi Arabia after Kuwait. Totally absurd, and
everyone in the media knew it. Saddam may be a scumbag but he isn't mad.
But the media repeated it so often most Americans, who don't even know
where Saudi Arabia is, believed it.

To go against the Gang of Four is to be ostracized from Washington. The end
of a Journalism Career. Notice Bush II's last press conference. Only those
reporters on his "goodie" list could ask him questions. Those who usually
pose tough questions were silenced. CBS's veteran reporter-anchorman Dan
Rather admitted in a BBC interview on his way back from Iraq that even he
was intimidated by the Gang of Four: "It's that fear that keeps journalists
from asking the toughest of the tough questions."

Who is really threatened by Saddam? Israel? Saddam knows very well that if
he attacks it Iraq will be permanently exterminated. The American
people?  How absolutely ludicrous: his longest range missiles, which
according to the UN inspectors violated the 93 miles maximum by all of 30
miles, couldn't even reach the immense and oppressive US base on the Island
of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. So why do Americans support a
bloodthirsty liar whose bombs kill children?  Americans don't even know
that the UN does not sanction the US/British bombing of Iraq's self-defense

The sanctions that the US did force the UN to adopt have already killed
more than half a million Iraqi children, as reported by the UN and Bill
Moyers on Public Television.  But we know from the My Lai massacre that
American soldiers are trained to view children of enemies, even tiny
babies, equally as enemies, and kill them (raping the young girls first, of

What has happened to the US when murderers and liars run our affairs and
neither Congress nor ordinary Americans seem to care? Such Fascists as
Elliot Abrams, guilty of lying to Congress and pardoned by Bush I (NYT
12,/07/02), member of the Israel lobby, now in charge of Palestine affairs
at National Security; John Negroponte, who as US ambassador to Honduras
during the Contra wars, helped Generals Alvarez, chief of Honduras' Armed
Forces, and Luis Alonso Discua Elvir, head of Battalion 3-16, create the
death squads responsible for the torture and murder or hundreds of men and
women, including nuns opposed to the war, now US ambassador to the UN
(LATimes 03/25/01; Sister Laetiti Bordes, s.h., 08/24/01); John Poindexter,
former vice admiral convicted of five felonies of lying to Congress and
obstruction of justice pardoned by Bush I, now in charge of the Pentagon's
electronic surveillance system which plans to spy on all Americans'
banking, credit card, and travel transactions without a search warrant (NYT
11/10/02): Otto J. Reich, a Cuba-born anti-Castro fanatic whose office
engaged in prohibited acts of propaganda (New Yorker, Oct. 14 & 21, 2002)
and appears to want to execute anyone saying one word in favor of the Cuban
revolution, now boss of all Latin American US diplomats; Gerald A Reynolds,
a longtime foe of Affirmative Action,  in charge of Bush II's Office of
Civil Rights (NYT 06/27/01); Harvey L. Pitt, a corporate lawyer who has
represented the industries opposed to regulations by the  SEC, to head the
SEC; and on and on, plus all the disgustingly anti-poor, pro-big business
lawyers being  nominated by Bush II to judgeships around the country.

But by far the most dangerous fascist in Bush II's government is the man in
charge of "justice", Attorney General John Ashcroft.  A racist, fanatic
fundamentalist, opposed to the civil and bodily (abortion) liberties upheld
by the Constitution or the Supreme Court. Ashcroft is in favor of secret
arrests, secret detentions, secret trials without appeals, secret verdicts
and secret executions, all "odious to a democratic society" as Judge Arthur
N. D'Italia of New Jersey's Superior Court said, when he ruled that secret
detentions were illegal. Ashcroft not only appealed but ordered state and
local governments to stop making public the names of those arrested (NYT

Like in Nazi Germany of yesterday, an innocent citizen who may or may not
have mumbled some criticism of Ashcroft himself will suddenly disappear
when out walking his dog, and his family will be allowed to go crazy trying
to find out what happened.

Will the innocent citizen then be tortured? Don't laugh: the US already
uses torture. Now that the evidence is firm, the debate rages. Should we or
should we not? And who decides? But in fact, the CIA has been torturing
anti-US suspects for years, in Asia, Africa and especially Latin America.
When I accompanied former Attorney General Ramsey Clark to Teheran in l980,
I saw a video's of CIA men, or Special Forces soldiers, sometimes in US
uniform, showing SAVAK officers how to torture.

I remember very vividly one horrifying case: a naked anti-Shah Iranian
hanging six inches off the floor by a chain around his wrists, which were
bleeding, in the middle of what appeared to be a cement bunker. Two
Iranians in civilian clothes were having difficulty forcing a cattle prod,
which was wired to an electric generator, into the man's rectum, because
his body kept swinging to and fro. An officer, obviously an American, in
uniform but sporting no insignia, pushed the Iranians to the side, grabbed
the prod with his right hand, held the prisoner with his left, and rammed
the prod as far as he could, turning the Iranian toward the camera, and
smiled as if to say "see! it's easy." Then, one of the officers of the
SAVAK, which was created, financed and trained for the Shah by the CIA and
Israel's secret service, the Mossad, turned on the juice, and while the
three men jokingly talked to the cameraman in this silent video, the
hapless prisoner kept shaking wildly behind. When the three turned back to
him, he was dead.

Not quite what the Washington Post reported on the front page of its
December 26, 2002, issue, but what it did report about systematic torture
at CIA and Special Forces centers was bad enough. Since then, the NYTimes
has been publishing other torture incidents, including the death of two old
farmers tortured for having been forced to fight for Taliban. Enough to
make every American democrat ashamed. And agree with the chief of Egypt's
Organization for Human Rights who said: "Torture demonstrates that the
regime deserves destroying because it does not respect the dignity of the
people." (The Nation, 03/31/03). Yes, it is the US which needs a regime
change -- before we all become either Gestapo informers or actual goons, or
end up rotting in jail.

So who benefits from all this repression at home, torture, destruction and
killing of children overseas? Not you or me, not us ordinary Joe and Jane.
But the rich, those who profit from controlling world trade, the CEO's of
the multi-national corporations, like Goodyear, Texaco, Colgate-Palmolive,
WorldCom, which earned more than $12 billion in l996-98 but instead of
paying taxes got $535 million in credit and refunds, or General Electric,
IBM, Intel, and so many others which paid almost no taxes (NYT 10/20/00),
while their CEOs gave themselves such huge bonuses that, combined, they
could have built a modest home stocked with a year's worth of healthy food
for every poor person in the Third World. In 1997, Occidental Petroleum
lost $390 million, but CEO Ray Ironi gave himself a $100 bonus. Sanford
Wyle, CEO of Travellers upped him quite a bit, with $230 million. Bill
Gates' new mansion cost $53.4 million, more than the budget of 72 countries
of the world. In 2000, the ratio of the average salary of a Japanese CEO to
that of a Japanese blue-collar worker was 11 to 1; in the US it was 476 to
1 (Time, 04/24/00).  Today the US figures are up another third. Obscene,
isn't it? So which country really needs a regime change?

The Gang of Four are dedicated to these greedy bloodsuckers. They will
continue to lie, torture and kill for their patrons. As Hitler would have
said: Iraq today, the world tomorrow. It is time to stop them. Or to try,
anyway. Like the German Catholic underground. They risked their lives, and
most did indeed lose them, because they knew in their souls that to conquer
the world is more than a sin; it is the establishment of evil on earth.

In Germany the goal was power. In the US the goal is mostly money. The
result is the same, and the leaders of this country should be tried for war
crimes and crimes against humanity, just as they were in Germany. That's
why US leaders, who voted for the creation of a War Crimes Tribunal, want
Americans to be immune from the court's prosecutors. Understandably, since
some of worst crimes against humanity were perpetrated by former Defense
Secretary Robert McNamara, Reagan's team with its decision to assassinate
teachers, doctors, nurses and agricultural workers in order to bring down
the government of Nicaragua which had been fairly elected after the
revolution, by all of Nixon's top staff, and especially by America's No.1
political gangster, Henry Kissinger who is responsible for the murder of
30,000 Chileans.

American law gives each of us the right to make a citizen's arrest when we
see a criminal in action. The Gang of Four are such criminals. Let's stop
them. We tried and did fairly well during the Vietnam War. The Gang of Four
are tougher; unlike President Johnson they have no human conscience. So it
will be harder. But you can do it.

I say "you" because if this is printed I will surely be arrested and
deported to some Arizona desert cave by Ashcroft's criminal organization
known as the FBI. Or beaten to death by some American "patriotic" yokel.

John Gerassi
Professor of Political Science
Queens College & Graduate Center

Beyond the Drumbeat: Iraq, Preventive War, 'Old Europe'
By Arno J. Mayer
copyright Monthly Review 54 (March 2003)

Arno J. Mayer is Professor Emeritus of history at Princeton University and
author of numerous works including Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?: The
"Final Solution" in History (Pantheon Books, 1988) and The Furies: Violence
and Terror in The French and Russian Revolutions (Princeton Univeristy
Press, 2000). He dedicates this article to the memory of his editor and
friend, Angus Cameron.

The letter of support, signed by the leaders of eight European countries
last January, for the Bush administration's inexorable push for war with
Iraq was both singularly ideological and shortsighted. The list of values
that the signatories claim to share with the United States is altogether
unexceptionable: "democracy, individual freedom, human rights, and the rule
of law." But there is a crying omission: free-market capitalism. This
omission is all the more striking since there is no fathoming the infamous
terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 without bearing in mind that its
main target was the World Trade Center, a prominent symbol and hub of
globalizing capitalism.

It is no less striking that the signatories should still, at this late
date, embrace the hallowed but highly debatable Cold War interpretation of
the presumably indispensable place of the United States in the recent
history of Europe: "Thanks in large part to American bravery, generosity,
and farsightedness, Europe was set free from the two forms of tyranny that
devastated our continent in the 20th century: Nazism and Communism." The
facts are that in both world wars Washington was an ally of last resort. In
1914-1918, as in 1941-1945, Europe's blood sacrifice was immeasurably
greater and more punishing than America's. To be sure, the Allies might not
have won the day without Uncle Sam's intervention; perhaps one should
recall that Washington's contribution was primarily material, financial,
and ideological.

Certainly during the Second World War the Red Army contributed infinitely
more "blood, sweat, and tears" than the U.S. military to turning the tide
of battle against the Axis powers in Europe. Had the Red Army not broken
the back of the Wehrmacht in 1942-1943, more than likely the American-led
landings in Normandy in June 1944 would have turned into a tragic
bloodbath. Moreover, during that war, unlike the European and Soviet
noncombatants who died in the millions, the United States civilian deaths
were infinitesimal by comparison. This anomaly largely explains the
avenging furor of Americans in the wake of September 11, which ended the
self-perceived innocence of U.S. exceptionalism. Protected, as always, by
two oceans, the United States means to keep its own casualties to an
absolute minimum. It may even be said to be looking for, perhaps demanding
or even buying, cannon fodder (and sinews of war and occupation) among both
the cautious governments that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has labeled
Europe" and the mainly eastern European countries we might call the
"new-old Europe."
Inasmuch as the eight signatories implicitly subscribe to the Bush
administration's loudly trumpeted and not so novel doctrine of preemptive
or preventive war, they ought to remember that the logic of preventive war
played a central role at two crucial turning points of the Thirty Years'
War of the twentieth century: in July-August 1914, Kaiser William II and
his advisors precipitated war to forestall the balance of military power
turning to the advantage of the Entente in 1917, when Tsarist Russia was
expected to complete the modernization and preparedness of its armed
forces; in the spring of 1941, Hitler rushed into war against the Soviet
Union to avoid having to face Stalin in the spring of 1942, when the Red
Army was expected to complete its modernization and preparedness. Since
this history is as well known to the "new-old" Europeans--seeking to
demonstrate fealty to their new American friends--as it is to the cautious
schismatics of the "old," both Europes might wish to remind their
Washington colleagues that the logic of preventive war also significantly
informed the preparation and timing of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. And
they might want to remind Bush and his strategists that all three
meticulously planned preventive wars had enormous unintended consequences:
Verdun, Stalingrad, Auschwitz, Dresden, Hiroshima.

It is a truism that the United Nations Security Council, to "maintain its
credibility" must "ensure full compliance with its resolutions." But that
"credibility" surely must require rectification on another score on which
there has been a crying omission or silence: since at least 1967 the
Security Council has closed its eyes to Israel's consistent violation, if
not disregard, of successive UN resolutions. Could it be that like the
governments of the old-new Europe-particularly the governments of Poland,
Hungary, Romania, and Italy, perhaps in an excess of New Testament charity,
blindly side with Israel against the Palestinians in atonement for their
nefarious role in the Judeocide? Needless to say, for its own political and
geopolitical reasons the United States supports, not to say imposes, this
naked incongruity, if not duplicity.

There is, of course, no denying or minimizing the despotism of Saddam
Hussein and his regime. But America is known to have nurtured such
Frankenstein monsters in the past, and today the world accommodates not a
few such despots in the third world. This raises the question of why
America, as it renews Woodrow Wilson's mission to "make the world safe for
democracy," obsessively focuses on Saddam Hussein, portraying him as a
crossbreed of Stalin, Hitler, bin Laden, and Satan. Surely, it is sheer
hyperbole to claim, "the Iraqi regime and its weapons of mass destruction
represent a clear threat to world security." This characterization echoes
yesterday's demonization of successive Soviet leaders and their regime.
Compared to the late Soviet Russian superpower, which between 1945 and 1989
was contained without recourse to war, in military and ideological terms
Iraq is a pygmy.

If lraq's economic base were the cultivation of tulips for export, rather
than the world's second largest oil reserve, the United States would turn a
blind eye to Baghdad's arsenal of weapons, which is not really all that
much out of the ordinary. Ever since before the outbreak of war in 1914,
control of the Mesopotamian and Arabian oil fields has been a major stake
in the diplomacy of the Great Powers. During and immediately following the
First World War, Britain and France all but divided the greater Middle
East's oil deposits between themselves, the Sykes-Picot agreement of May
1916 serving as a road map. Created overnight in the wake of the Great War,
Iraq was the big prize, and it went to Britain. In compensation London
yielded nearly one-quarter of the oil production of Iraq's Mosul region to
France, which secured oil-less Syria. London's regional hegemony was
bolstered by its continuing control of the Suez Canal and its mastery of
The Great War confirmed that in times of war and peace oil was, in the
words of the then-French Premier Georges Clemenceau, "as necessary as
blood," particularly for imperial Europe and the United States--what we
know as the "first world." After the Second World War the United States
supplanted Great Britain as the dominant power in the greater Middle East.
The inability of London and Paris to preempt Egypt's seizure of the Suez
Canal in 1956 not only confirmed their demise as world powers, it affirmed
the consolidation of America's military and economic hegemony in
Mesopotamia and Arabia. With this region's oil resources of greater
importance today than ever before, the White House is not about to permit
any challenge to its domination of the Middle East, which is vital to
Washington's imperial reach, including its leverage over the other
economies of the first world as well as that of China. As part of the new
power arrangements, Washington means to give privileged access to Middle
Eastern oil to the United Kingdom, to the disadvantage of France and
Germany which, along with Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg are the
core of the authentic "New Europe," whose economy bids fair to one day
challenge America's economic and dollar primacy.
There is a whiff of ideological affinity between and among the members of
the emergent "axis of virtue" that proposes to fight the emergent "axis of
evil," especially since "New Labourite" Tony Blair's support is strongest
among Britain's--and Australia's(!)--Tories. In point of fact, the White
House, perhaps mimicking the late Soviet Kremlin's relation to its clients,
means to preside over an aggregation of like-minded governments and
submissive regimes (a veritable "fifth International"), and any country
that refuses to fall in line will be excommunicated--or worse--for siding
or fellow-traveling with the enemy. In this perspective, in the (not too
likely?) event that they will stay the course, for seeking a third way
Schroeder's Germany and Chirac's France might well become the functional
equivalent of yesteryear's Yugoslavia (which had been communist but outside
the Warsaw Pact), writ large and strong. Tito redivivus!

At this juncture Iraq is not an end in itself: for the United States Iraq
is a pawn, a way station in the evolving geopolitics and geo-economics of
its imperial power. But for the genuinely New Europe it is a test and
measure of its growing political and economic autonomy and muscle in the
world system.

It is natural for America to try to head off or slow down Europe's
emancipation by rallying, in particular, the ex-Warsaw Pact countries whose
first debt and loyalty now are to NATO rather than to the European Union.
It is no less natural, however, for this union, which recently bid them
welcome, to demand that they face up to their responsibility and make their
oath. (As for England, perhaps it should not be discouraged from applying
to become the fifty-first state of the American Union.)

Meanwhile Europeans, all too familiar with the wages of war, should remind
Washington that classical cross-border wars, in the mode of von Clausewitz,
are all but a thing of the past. As Israel is learning by experience, a war
on terror(ism) cannot be won by bombing a seat of government, overthrowing
a regime, and dismantling an armory. In thinking and preparing for
tomorrow's uncharted hybrid warfare, the European Union's strategic elites
ought to stress the importance of combining a new generation of military
weapons and tactics with a new generation of political, social, and
cultural policies without which the blight of terror will be difficult, if
not impossible, to contain.


Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research at CEIMSA
Center for the Advanced Study of American
Institutions and Social Movements
University of Grenoble-3