Bulletin N° 603
Subject: ON THE INDISPENSABLE ILLUSION OF POWER THAT SERVES TO CONCEAL THE SOURCES AND INSTRUMETNS OF REAL POWER.
10 March 2014
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
For several years now CEIMSA has made use of Information Clearing House for articles containing some of the most critical information available on US foreign and domestic policies. Tom Feeley (no relation to me) is working in Southern California to gather and make available to subscribers an impressive diversity of alternative views of the North American political landscape and beyond. His web site at < http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/> must be considered among the top half-dozen sources of critical world news available in the English language, with new articles added on a daily basis.
Reading articles published by ICH, while keeping in mind John Kenneth Galbraith’s concepts that are outlined in his 1983 book, The Anatomy of Power, provides an invaluable education on the sources of political power and the instruments used to exercise this power which are being employed in various combinations today, as we speak. The definitions and illustrations offered by Galbraith of the classic instruments of power (condign punishment, both direct and indirect compensation, and social conditioning, both explicit and implicit) and of the universal locations of power sources (personality, property, and organization, or some combinations thereof . . .) constitute important analytical tools with which we can discover the pervasive illusions of power and expose real power relationships as they truly exist.
Any examination and understanding of Galbraith’s categories make it virtually impossible for one to remain passive in the face of current events. It is simply a fact of live that we are all actors –whether we wish to be or not— sometimes resisting power, more often submitting to power, but always engaged in what Galbraith describes as “the dialectics of power,” the symmetrical response and counter–response to the organizations and people who attempt to make us submit to their will, whether consciously or unconsciously, rationally or irrationally, eagerly or reluctantly . . . .
Contrary to what one might suppose before reading his book, The Anatomy of Power is not a reductive approach to this subject. It serves, as the title suggests, to present a picture of the structure of power in functionalist terms, as opposed to more general institutional terms, like military power, religious power, corporate power, government power, etc., etc.... From Galbraith's anatomy lesson, we can more easily identify where power comes from, how it is exercised, and to what effect. As we apply this knowledge to “messy realities” --whether of world history or local politics-- political structures become visible, and the articulations between different systems become apparent; we gain insights into the challenges we face when up against the will power of others, and into our own conditioned habits of thought. By dissecting power until its sources, its principles, and its instruments are completely exposed, Galbraith sheds light on how important organizing skills have become today and what a society where such skills are not widely distributed might look like, before it collapses.
The 11 items below will draw the attention of CEIMSA readers to the importance of organization as a source of power in contemporary society, and to the skilful exploitation of social conditioning --both explicit by propaganda and implicit by the reproduction of social traditions and systems of belief-- as an instrument of power, for winning popular submission to the will of organizations, which, of course, maintain a ready access to the instuments of condign punishment and compensations of various sorts in order to achieve submission when all else fails.
Item A., from Common Dreams, is an article by Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin on the failing power of the Israeli Lobby in Washington, D.C.
Item B., from ZNet, is an article by Jack Rasmus on the economic crisis in Ukraine.
Item C., from The Nation, is an article by former Princeton University Professor Stephen Cohen on the destabilization of Ukraine.
Item D. is an article by retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern in Consortium News : “Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many?”
Item E., from Democracy Now! is an interview with Yale University Professor Timothy Snyder speaking with Ray McGovern on the destabilization of Ukraine: Is it grassroots democracy or Astroturf democracy?
Item F., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Russian-Israeli writer, Israel Shamir, on Russian troops & US troops on the ground while Ukrainian Oligarchs are busy privatizing the rest of the country’s assets.
Item G., from the Real News Network, is a video report with Robert Parry, an American investigative journalist and founder of Consortium News, on the role of the US in the Ukrainian coup d’état.
Item H., from ZNet, is an article by Robert Fisk on the history of post-colonial violence in the Middle East.
Item I., from NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, founder of News From Underground, is a video tape of an American being hauled off to jail for speaking truth to the US Supreme Court.
Item J., from Mark Crispin Miller, is a video broadcast from Russian Television and an article from Global Research which discuss evidence that the same small group of professional Ukrainian snipers were paid to kill both police and demonstrators in Kiev in an effort to destabilize the elected government of Ukraine and affect a coup d’état against the pro-Russian government.
And finally we invite CEIMSA readers to view a Real News Network photo report from . . .
Inside the Secret Wall Street Society of the 1%
Professor of American Studies
University of Grenoble-3
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
From Common Dreams :
Dates: 28 February 2014
Subject: [Syria] Israel Lobby AIPAC Down, But Not Out---Medea Benjamin.
Israel Lobby AIPAC Down, But Not Out—Yet
by Medea Benjamin
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is still one of the most powerful lobby organizations in the country, but fortunately, it is starting to lose its iron-clad grip on our policymakers. AIPAC lost the fight to stop Chuck Hagel from being confirmed as Secretary of Defense; it lost the push for the US military to attack Syria, and it is losing its effort to derail nuclear talks with Iran. In the old days, AIPAC bragged that it could, within 24 hours, get the signatures of 70 Senators on a napkin if it really wanted to. This year, AIPAC got stuck at 59 cosponsors for its S.1881 sanctions bill–not enough support to force Senator Harry Reid to bring the bill to the floor or to override a threatened presidential veto.
Another sign of AIPAC’s waning influence is the fact that this year, at their March 2-4 Policy Conference in Washington DC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend but not President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden—both of whom have spoken in past years.
But it’s certainly not time to sound the death knell. AIPAC still has a lot of muscle and will keep trying to flex it. Here’s what we have to look forward to coming out of AIPAC 2014:
1. AIPAC continues to gun for a military confrontation with Iran. AIPAC has been pushing for increased sanctions during these delicate international nuclear talks, a move that would violate the terms of the agreement, signal to Iran that the US negotiating team cannot deliver on its commitments, divide the US from its international negotiating partners, and embolden Iranian hardliners. AIPAC is still pushing for this, but as a backup is trying to set the conditions for the talks. AIPAC’s policy would lead us down a path to yet another disastrous war in the Middle East (AIPAC was a big promoter of the war in Iraq–and look how that one turned out!).
2. AIPAC’s call for unconditional support for the Israeli government undermines a possible negotiated solution between the Israelis and Palestinians. AIPAC promotes Israeli policies that are in direct opposition to international law, including the establishment of settlements in the Occupied West Bank and the confiscation of Palestinian land in its construction of the 26-foot high concrete “separation barrier” running through the West Bank. On February 27 Amnesty International published a report called Trigger Happy providing chilling detail of Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank. AIPAC’s support of these illegal practices is in direct opposition to a negotiated solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. AIPAC has also been pressuring Secretary of State Kerry to keep the political representatives of Palestinians in Gaza–Hamas–completely out of the peace talks. How can you come to a negotiated solution if 40 percent of all Palestinians are not represented?
3. AIPAC’s influence on US policy–pushing it in the direction of unconditional support for Israel–increases anti-American sentiment around the world, sowing the seeds of more possible terrorist attacks against us. Even General David Petraeus admitted that the U.S./Palestine conflict “foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel.” He also said that “Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the [region] and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.”
4. AIPAC makes the U.S. a pariah at the UN. AIPAC describes the UN as a body hostile to the State of Israel and has pressured the U.S. government to oppose resolutions calling Israel to account. Since 1972, the US has vetoed 44 UN Security Council resolutions condemning Israel’s actions against the Palestinians. President Obama continues that practice. Under Obama, the US vetoed UN censure of the savage Israeli assault on Gaza in January 2009 in which about 1400 Palestinians were killed; a 2011 resolution calling for a halt to the illegal Israeli West Bank settlements, even though this was stated U.S. policy; a 2011 resolution calling for Israel to cease obstructing the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees; and another resolution calling for an end to illegal Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem and the occupied Golan Heights.
5. AIPAC attacks politicians who question unconditional support of Israel. AIPAC demands that Congress rubber stamp legislation drafted by AIPAC staff. It keeps a record of how members of Congress vote and this record is used by donors to make contributions to the politicians who score well. Members of Congress who fail to support AIPAC legislation have been targeted for defeat in re-election bids. These include Senators Adlai Stevenson III and Charles H. Percy, and Representatives Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, and Earl F. Hilliard. AIPAC’s overwhelmingly disproportionate influence on Congress subverts our democratic system.
6. AIPAC attempts to silence all criticism of Israel. Journalists, think tanks, students and professors have been accused of anti-Semitism for merely taking stands critical of Israeli government policies. These attacks stifle the critical discussions and debates that are at the heart of democratic policy-making. Most recently, AIPAC has been attacking supporters of the movement that calls for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions on Israel (BDS), a movement that has gained rapid momentum and multiple victories to put pressure on Israel to end the occupation. In December, the American Studies Association passed a measure supporting BDS. In direct response, AIPAC is trying to push a bill through Congress that would cut federal funding to American academic institutions that advocate a boycott of Israel. Several state-level bills are also in the works. Seems like AIPAC has a hard time with the First Amendment!
7. AIPAC feeds U.S. government officials a distorted view of the Israel/Palestine conflict. AIPAC takes U.S. representatives on sugar-coated trips to Israel. Every year, AIPAC takes dozens of members of Congress—and many of their spouses—on a free junket to Israel to see precisely what the Israeli government want them to see. It is illegal for lobby groups to take Congresspeople on trips, but AIPAC gets around the law by creating a bogus educational group, the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), to “organize” the trips for them. AIEF has the same office address as AIPAC and the same staff. These trips help cement the ties between AIPAC and Congress, furthering their undue influence.
8. AIPAC lobbies for billions of U.S. taxdollars to go to Israel instead of rebuilding America or funding the truly needy. While our country is still suffering from a prolonged financial crisis, AIPAC is pushing for no cuts in military funds for Israel. With communities across the nation slashing budgets for teachers, firefighters and police, AIPAC pushes for over $3 billion a year to Israel.
Israel is the 27th richest country in world, but thanks to AIPAC, it gets more U.S. taxdollars than any other country. At a time when the foreign aid budget is being slashed, keeping the lion’s share of foreign assistance for Israel means taking funds from critical programs to feed, provide shelter and offer emergency assistance to the world’s poorest people.
The bottom line is that AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign government, has influence on U.S. policy out of all proportion to the number of Americans who support its policies. When a small group like this has disproportionate power, that hurts everyone—including Israelis and American Jews. From stopping a catastrophic war with Iran to finally solving the Israel/Palestine conflict, an essential starting point is breaking AIPAC’s grip on U.S. policy. Join us by sending a message to AIPAC today.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Medea Benjamin (email@example.com), cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. Her previous books include Don’t Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart., and (with Jodie Evans) Stop the Next War Now (Inner Ocean Action Guide).
From Z Net :
Dates: 3 March 2014
Subject: Killing our own citizens ‘legally’.
What are the dimensions of the current economic crisis in the Ukraine? And its origins in the preceding decade?
by Jack Rasmus
From The Nation :
Dates: 20 February 2014
Subject: Ukraine, an interpretation by Stephen Cohen.
by Stephen Cohn
From Consortium News :
Dates: 20 February 2014
Subject: Killing our own citizens ‘legally’.
Is “regime change” in Ukraine the bridge too far for the neoconservative “regime changers” of Official Washington and their sophomoric “responsibility-to-protect” allies?
Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many?
by Ray McGovern
From Democracy Now! :
Dates: 3 March 2014
Subject: Ukraine, the start of a new Cold War?
From Information Clearing House :
Dates: 8 March 2014
Subject: US & Russian Troops in Ukraine.
The stakes are high in the Ukraine: after the coup, as Crimea and Donbas asserted their right to self determination, American and Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory, both under cover.
The American soldiers are “military advisors”, ostensibly members of Blackwater private army (renamed Academi); a few hundred of them patrol Kiev while others try to suppress the revolt in Donetsk. Officially, they were invited by the new West-installed regime. They are the spearhead of the US invasion attempting to prop up the regime and break down all resistance. They have already bloodied their hands in Donetsk.
The Ukrainian Pendulum
by Israel Shamir
From The Real News Network :
Dates: 4 March 2014
Subject: The US and the Ukrainian coup.
Investigative journalist Robert Parry talks about Russia's move to invade Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and the role of the US and the west in fomenting crisis there.
Did the U.S. Carry Out a Ukrainian Coup?
From Z Net :
Dates: 4 March 2014
Subject: Arabs Killing Arabs.
Were It Not For The French
by Robert Fisk
From Mark Crispin Miller :
Dates: 2 March 2014
Subject: American hauled off to jail for speaking truth to the US Supreme Court.
Unprecedented Interruption of Supreme Court Proceedings
Thu, 2/27/2014 - by Carl Gibson
Early on Wednesday morning, inside the stuffy chambers of the United States Supreme Court, a man stood up in a crowd of 330 citizens to address the nation’s nine top judges. He wasn’t scheduled to give testimony, and wasn’t a certified legal expert with credentials to present an oral argument in the Supreme Court. His interruption of Supreme Court proceedings would be the first in eight years, and only the second in two decades. And for the first time ever, a citizen speaking freely inside the Supreme Court chamber was caught on video.
“I rise on behalf of the majority of the American people, who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people, and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Overturn Citizens United. Keep the cap in McCutcheon. The people demand democracy,” said Kai Newkirk of the organization 99Rise, before being hauled out of the courtroom and handcuffed. As of this writing, Newkirk is still in jail on charges of “haranguing” and uttering “loud threatening or abusive language" in the Supreme Court building.
Newkirk’s outburst preceded oral arguments for the McCutcheon vs. FEC case, which has been called “Citizens United, Part 2.” Shaun McCutcheon, C.E.O. of the mining industry-focused engineering company Coalmont Electrical Development, is the plaintiff in the case. McCutcheon, of Birmingham, Ala., donated $16,250 to the Alabama Republican Party in 2012. His company has donated to the campaigns of the most obstructionist Republicans in the US Senate, including top Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, who is credited with initiating the federal government shutdown of 2013. The latest oral arguments for McCutcheon vs. FEC were presented in October. It’s also worth noting that the Republican National Committee has joined McCutcheon in his lawsuit, along with Mitch McConnell himself, whose team of lawyers will be making arguments to the Supreme Court on McConnell’s behalf.
- See more at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K-8FJ114kU and at
From Mark Crispin Miller :
Dates: 6 March 2014
Subject: Kiev snipers who killed protesters were hired by US-backed "revolutionaries"!
Leaked EU’s Ashton Phone Tape: Kiev Snipers Were Hired by US Supported Opposition Leaders
by Russia Today
Article by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Image: leader of Neo Nazi Svoboda party together with John McCain
Article by Umberto Pascali
The Big Lie of the Maidan “Revolution”: The Organizers of the Coup d’état Hired the Snipers (And Lady Ashton Knows it)
Global Research Editor’s Note :
On the 20th of February, according to reports, more than twenty protesters were killed by professional snipers. This was not a spontaneous event resulting from clashes between protesters and riot police, nor was it marked by an exchange of gunfire between the police and the Neo-Nazi militia.
The sniper killings had the hallmarks of a carefully planned operation . They happened within ‘the space of a few hours”. Moreover, the killings coincided with the meetings of President Viktor Yanukovych with a high level EU delegation. In a bitter irony, these targeted killings were used as a pretext to topple the government and issue an arrest warrant directed against president Yanukovych
The following RT report confirms what is already known. The US Sponsored opposition militia was behind the shooting of civilians on February 20th.
Civilian casualties were part of this staged agenda, with a view to accusing president Yanukovych of “mass murder”, thereby providing a justification for regime change on humanitarian grounds.
Read the Report of Russia Today. GR will be releasing additional reports on this issue
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, March 5, 2014
The snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders, according to a leaked phone conversation between the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister, which has emerged online.
“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet said during the conversation.
“I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.
The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25 at the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.
Paet also recalled his conversation with a doctor who treated those shot by snipers in Kiev. She said that both protesters and police were shot at by the same people.
“And second, what was quite disturbing, this same Olga [Bogomolets] told as well that all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides,” the Estonian FM stressed.
Ashton reacted to the information by saying: “Well, yeah…that’s, that’s terrible.”
“So that she then also showed me some photos she said that as a medical doctor she can say that it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened,” Paet said.
The file was reportedly uploaded to the web by officers of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to ousted President Viktor Yanukovich who hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones.
An anti-government protester sit near the bodies of two demonstrators killed by a sniper during clashes with the police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)
An anti-government protester sits near the bodies of two demonstrators killed by a sniper during clashes with the police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)