Subject: THE ECONOMY OF WAR: FROM THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY
AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, GRENOBLE, FRANCE.
3 June 2003
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
While France is careening toward a General Strike in opposition to the
neoliberal "reforms" that the government is attempting to slip through the
Assembly next week, the international capitlist crisis is unraveling the
system, as we have known it. Some predict fascism while other have resigned
themselves to the end of the world.
Below are two commentaries sent to us by our research associates who
retained their lucidity and desire to know the truth.
As usual we welcome readers' comments on the views in the essays we
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/Director of Research
From Professor John Gerassi
Queen College, New York City
The following ... was written for the Nation but they refused to publish
it, so I'd appreciate you all spreading it around, on whatever website you
Our Own Fanatic Gang of Four
By John Gerassi
We always knew, of course, we peaceniks, we readers of Le Monde, the
Independent and Guardian, the Nation, CAQ and Extra, we perusers of the
worldwide web. Most people in the world also knew. But the average
American still doesn't know, or refuses to believe it. Yet the facts are
now indubitable: there were no weapons of mass destruction, nor were al
Qaeda hitmen hiding out in Baghdad.
Of course, the Bush administration may order such weapons planted there,
Gore Vidal said the other day. And some Iraqi soldiers may be "convinced"
after "interrogation" to claim they were top-echelon al Qaeda henchmen.
Neither we few nor the world's many will believe it. But most Americans
will. They like to have faith in their leaders, and their leaders are
expert liars. Like conservative columnist Arianna Huffington wrote on May
23, "we are being governed by a gang of out and out fanatics" whose
"eleventh commandment" is "ignore the evidence."
In Basra on May 29, Prime Minister Blair bellowed that the invasion
was "a lesson for armed forces everywhere, the world over." It was indeed:
If the US decides that white is black or that oranges are really apples,
the US is so powerful that it will crush any armed force whose chiefs do
not agree. And naturally, England, as a good US puppet, will use its own
forces to make white even more black.
"The defining trait of the fanatic," Huffington added, be it Bush or
Rumsfeld or "Little Condoleezza Sunshine" or "gulp, a Wolfowitz is the
utter refusal to allow anything as piddling as evidence to get in the way
of an unshakable belief." But Huffington cannot surmount her own faith that
the Bush administration, as wrong as are its methods, really wants to make
the world safer. Fact is that the Bush Administration couldn't care less
about safety. Its fanatics just want to dominate the world's economies,
control the world's oil and gas and make Cheney another umpteen billion
dollars, and to kill those who resist overseas they are perfectly at ease
lying to ordinary Americans that their task is America's safety. And so
they violate our civil liberties, jail anyone who looks suspicious to that
Gestapo Gauleiter Ashcroft, torture prisoners in Guantanamo, and,
transforming every little orange into a big red apple, pass laws that turn
the world and common sense -- upside down, such as giving the rich huge
tax breaks while penalizing millions of poor families for daring to earn
under $26,625 a year, or allow the corporate media to concentrate its power
so much that, as Ted Turner himself warmed May 30th, conflicting ideas will
totally disappear from public discourse.
The fact that there are now 2.1 million more unemployed than when
fanatics got into the White House after a Supreme Court coup d'etat, only
proves that what they are doing, they cry, is fair. Why these 2.1 million
and the few of us who like our oranges to taste like oranges don't make a
revolution, especially since there is nothing legitimate about this
administration, is mind-boggling. But then these fanatics are killing a lot
of children and a lot of Americans, employed or not, just love to "kick
ass," their favorite expression.
The usual explanation that the US media just repeats as fact the lies
spewed forth by the fanatics is not reason enough. True, even the NY Times
is in the habit of repeating the disinformation, or of creating its own as
when it put on the front page a ridiculous story by Judith Miller claiming
that an Iraqi scientist had shown
the "coalition" where weapons of mass destruction were hidden, basing her
information on "coalition facts" for which she was not allowed to interview
the so-called scientist whom she could not even identify, nor verify the
weapons' existence, nor submit her masterpiece to her bosses without first
getting approval from the "coalition." (There is of course no "coalition"
no matter how often the media, including the NY Times, repeats the word;
there is the boss, the fanatics, and a few subservient followers). But the
rest of the people of the world, if not their governments, know better, and
they can and should fight back for their own survival (helping us all on
A united Europe, even without England, is potentially richer than the
Unless it starts using its muscles, the English-like Quislings, like
Poland, will destroy it from within. De Gaulle understood this perfectly 40
years ago, which is why he was absolutely opposed to England's entry into
the Common Market. "What can I do to stop the US dictating our policies,"
Prime Minister Macmillan asked De Gaulle in February 1963 on his way to
meet Kennedy in Barbados. "Too late," answered the old French warhorse,
"England is nothing more than an aircraft carrier for American goods."
When General le Gallois, France's chief of La Force de Frappe, its nuclear
defense system, came to the US that month and lunched with the editors of
Time (of which I was then one) for an absolutely off-record no-notes
interview, I asked him in French which way were his missiles pointing. He
smiled, asked me if anyone else understood my question, then made a V with
his two hands, pointed at both Russia and the US.
Pompidou betrayed de Gaulle, and so has every French Prime Minister,
socialist or conservative, since, until these days when President Chirac
tries to maintain some semblance of independence. But the French know
Chirac just wants his cut, and his suspicion of US policies is not enough.
The French and Belgian and German people must continue to demand that the
US get tossed out of NATO, not just agitate for their own rapid deployment
force. They must impose their social contract on all goods entering Europe.
So that each European citizen can enjoy five or six weeks vacation a
free universal health care, free day care for working mothers, free and
good education system all the way up to the top post-grad schools, European
Community employers currently pay their governments 57 cents on each dollar
of salary, while US employers barely send 7 cents to their counties,
states and federal governments. As a result, European products cannot
compete with their American equivalent, thus forcing Europe to subsidize
its manufacturers and farmers, which is why the US has imposed on the World
Trade Organization the abolish-all-subsidies code. Europe's only response:
tax all unsocial products 50percent, and if the US retaliates, come back
again with your own penalties, 100 percent, 300 percent. Trade War? So
what! Europe is the only area of the world where the US has a positive
balance of trade. Yes, Guerlain, Remy Martin, Airbus will get hurt. But
overall, Europe does not need the US, the US needs Europe.
If Europe can become a genuine economic rival to the US, another economic
union might erupt. Japan (technology), China (disciplined labor) and India
(raw materials) might eventually get over their mutual hatred and form
their own block, to which Asia's Four Tigers (Taiwan, Malaysia, South
perhaps then-united to North Korea, and Singapore) would rapidly adhere,
possibly joined by the Philippines and three then-newly reformed states,
Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia. The three rivals would then offer the
Third World fair prices for their goods.
Today, 75 percent of the world's natural goodies now lie in the Third
World, but those assets are controlled by the huge multinational (US)
corporations which pay less and less every year while increasing the price
of their manufactured goods. The result: for every dollar invested in Latin
America, for example, seven are remitted to the US. No wonder that being
pro-American and accumulating capital in order to develop infrastructure is
contradictory. And when some leaders do try, they are inevitably brought
down by agents inside USAID, or MAAG, CIA, DIA and NSA.
That's why the "Get Fidel" drive now being pushed by the fanatics (adding
Deputy Secretary Otto Reich to Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz), involves
paying Cuban dissenters to carry out sabotage. Cuba's social example is a
real thorn in the flanks of that Gang of Four. It may be a dictatorship,
but no Cuban child goes to bed hungry, and none die of curable disease.
After Fidel will come Venezuela's Chavez in a better plot than the last
one. Chavez has built hundreds of houses for the poor and hence is also a
major thorn. And after Chavez, Lula (the laborite President of Brazil). He
will either have to cave in or be "re-placed" by another "regime change"
costing the country another 50,000 deaths or more, as the US sponsored coup
against President Joao Goulart. (JFK's great liberal ambassador to Brazil,
Lincoln Gordon, miscalculated and, while claiming the US had nothing to do
with it, congratulated the coup-makers the day before they launched it).
The fanatics running the US honor no treaty, no alliance, no
handshake. Even in trivial matters. In l995, when Mohammed Abbas, known as
Abu Abbas, apologized for the death of Leon Klinghoffer, carried out
against his orders, and withdrew from the struggle, settling down openly in
Baghdad, President Clinton and the Israelis offered him immunity. In l998,
Janet Reno reiterated that Washington agreement and said Abu Abbas was no
longer sought by the US. But a few days ago, the fanatics jumped up and
down with joy because they had "captured" Abbas living openly in his house
in Baghdad, where he had been often interviewed by the Western Press.
Proof, the fanatics told the docile press, that the US is winning the war
How can any country of the world trust these fanatics? If anyone of
a small country which hoped to navigate an independent course, what would
be our only option. North Korea understood: If it can deliver one nuclear
weapon on the US, the Gang of Four will not invade it. After all, only the
US has used nuclear devices in the past, and almost did again more recently
So, come on France, Belgium, Germany et al, save us from American
terrorism, quit the WTO, form your own economic union, force the US to stop
interfering all over the world, demand the destruction of weapons of mass
destruction in the only country that has used them extensively and is
perfectly willing, under the fanatic Gang of Four, to use them again.
John Gerassi, a professor of political science at Queens College and
Graduate Center of CUNY, has written 10 books on Latin America, and most
recently a political biography of Jean-Paul Sartre, Hated Conscience of His
From Professor Richard Du Boff
Brynmawr College, Pennsylvania
Seek...and ye shall not find anything like this in the
now-entering-a-new-stage-of-concentration US media. With the exception of
Paul Krugman: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/03/opinion/03KRUG.html
One can only wonder how much longer the NewPimp Times will tolerate
sourece: ZNet Commentary June 03, 2003
The Unravelling Of Tony Blair
By John Pilger
In his latest article for the Daily Mirror, John Pilger argues that
"high crime" of the invasion of Iraq that "will not melt away" and says the
catalogue of Tony Blair's deceptions are now being revealed by the day,
unravelling what was left of his credibility.
Such a high crime does not, and will not, melt away; the facts cannot
changed. Tony Blair took Britain to war against Iraq illegally. He mounted
an unprovoked attack on a country that offered no threat, and he helped
cause the deaths of thousands of innocent people. The judges at the
Nuremberg Tribunal following world war two, who inspired much of
international law, called this "the gravest of all war crimes".
Blair had not the shred of a mandate from the British people to do what
did. On the contrary, on the eve of the attack, the majority of Britons
clearly demanded he stop. His response was contemptuous of such an epic
show of true democracy. He chose to listen only to the unelected leader of
a foreign power, and to his court and his obsession.
With his courtiers in and out of the media telling him he was "courageous"
and even "moral" when he scored his "historic victory" over a defenceless,
stricken and traumatised nation, almost half of them children, his
propaganda managers staged a series of unctuous public relations stunts.
The first stunt sought to elicit public sympathy with a story about
telling his children that he had "almost lost his job". The second stunt,
which had the same objective, was a story about how his privileged
childhood had really been "difficult" and "painful". The third and most
outrageous stunt saw him in Basra, in southern Iraq last week, lifting an
Iraqi child in his arms, in a school that had been renovated for his visit,
in a city where education, like water and other basic services, are still a
shambles following the British invasion and occupation.
When I saw this image of Blair holding a child in Basra, I happened
in a hotel in Kabul in Afghanistan, the scene of an earlier "historic
victory" of Bush and Blair in another stricken land. I found myself saying
out loud the words, "ultimate obscenity". It was in Basra that I filmed
hundreds of children ill and dying because they had been denied cancer
treatment equipment and drugs under an embargo enforced with enthusiasm by
It was the one story Blair's court would almost never tell, because
true and damning.
Up to July last year, $5.4 billion in vital and mostly humanitarian
supplies for the ordinary people of Iraq were being obstructed by the
United States, backed by Britain. Professor Karol Sikora, head of the World
Health Organisation's cancer treatment programme, who had been to the same
hospitals in Basra that I saw, told me: "The excuse that certain drugs can
be converted into weapons of mass destruction is ludicrous. I saw wards
where dying people were even denied pain-killers."
That was more than three years ago. Now come forward to a hot May day
2003, and here is Blair - shirt open, a man of the troops, if not of the
people - lifting a child into his arms, for the cameras, and just a few
miles from where I watched toddler after toddler suffer for want of
treatment that is standard in Britain and which was denied as part of a
medieval siege approved by Blair. Remember, the main reason that these
life-saving drugs and equipment were blocked, the reason Professor Sikora
and countless other experts ridiculed, was that essential drugs and even
children's vaccines could be converted to weapons of mass destruction.
Weapons of Mass Destruction, or WMD, has become part of the jargon of
time. When he finally goes, Blair ought have WMD chiselled on his political
headstone. He has now been caught; for it must be clear to the most devoted
courtier that he has lied about the primary reason he gave, repeatedly, for
THERE is a series of such lies; I have counted at least a dozen significant
ones. They range from Blair's "solid evidence" linking Iraq with Al-Qaeda
and September 11 (refuted by British intelligence) to claims of Iraq's
"growing" nuclear weapons programme (refuted by the International Atomic
Energy Agency when documents quoted by Blair were found to be forgeries),
to perhaps his most audacious tale - that Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction "could be activated within 45 minutes".
It is now Day 83 in the post-war magical mystery hunt for Iraq's "secret"
arsenal. One group of experts, sent by George Bush, have already gone home.
This week, British intelligence sources exposed Blair's "45 minutes"
as the fiction of one defector with scant credibility. A United Nations
inspector has ridiculed Blair's latest claim that two canvas-covered
lorries represent "proof" of mobile chemical weapons. Incredible, yesterday
he promised "a new dossier".
It is ironic that the unravelling of Blair has come from the source
almost all his lies, the United States, where senior intelligence officers
are now publicly complaining about their "abuse as political propagandists".
They point to the Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul
Wolfowitz who, said one of them, fed "the most alarming tidbits to the
president ... so instead of giving the president the most considered,
carefully examined information available, basically you give him the
garbage. And then in a few days when it's clear that maybe it wasn't right,
well then, you feed him some hot garbage."
That Blair's tale about Saddam Hussein being ready to attack "in 45
minutes" is part of the "hot garbage" is not surprising. What is
surprising, or unbelievable, is that Blair did not know it was "hot", just
as he must have known that Jack Straw and Colin Powell met in February to
express serious doubts about the whole issue of weapons of mass destruction.
It was all a charade. Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, has
this truth: the invasion of Iraq was planned long ago, he said, and that
the issue of weapons rested largely on "fabricated evidence". Blair has
made fools not so much of the British people, most of whom were and are on
to him, but of respectable journalists and broadcasters who channelled and
amplified his black propaganda as headlines and lead items on BBC news
bulletins. They cried wolf for him. They gave him every benefit of the
doubt, and so minimised his culpability and allowed him to set much of the
For months, the charade of weapons of mass destruction overshadowed
issues we had a right to know about and debate - that the United States
intended to take control of the Middle East by turning an entire country,
Iraq, into its oil-rich base. History is our evidence. Since the 19th
century, British governments have done the same, and the Blair government
is no different.
What is different now is that the truth is winning through. This week,
publication of an extraordinary map left little doubt that the British
military had plastered much of Iraq with cluster bombs, many of which
almost certainly have failed to detonate on impact. They usually wait for
children to pick them up, then they explode, as in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
They are cowardly weapons; but of course this was one of the most craven
all wars, "fought" against a country with no navy, no air force and rag-tag
army. Last month, HMS Turbulent, a nuclear-power submarine, slipped back to
Plymouth, flying the Jolly Roger, the pirates' emblem. How appropriate.
This British warship fired 30 American Tomahawk missiles at Iraq. Each
missile cost 700,000 pounds, a total of 21 million pounds in taxpayers'
money. That alone would have provided the basic services that the British
government has yet to restore to Basra, as it is obliged to do under
What did HMS Turbulent's 30 missiles hit? How many people did they kill
maim? And why have we heard nothing about this? Perhaps the missiles had
sensory devices that could distinguish Bush's "evil-doers" and Blair's
"wicked men" from toddlers? What is certain is they were not aimed at the
Ministry of Oil.
This cynical and shaming chapter in Britain's modern story was written
our name, your name. Blair and his collaborators ought not to be allowed to
get away with it.
The Guardian (UK) Monday June 2, 2003
Powell's doubts over CIA intelligence on Iraq prompted him to set up secret
review. Specialists removed questionable evidence about weapons from draft
of secretary of state's speech to UN
by Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington and Richard Norton-Taylor
Fresh evidence emerged last night that Colin Powell, the US secretary
state, was so disturbed about questionable American intelligence on Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction that he assembled a secret team to review the
information he was given before he made a crucial speech to the UN security
council on February 5. Mr Powell conducted a full-dress rehearsal of the
speech on the eve of the session at his suite in the Waldorf Astoria, his
New York base when he is on UN business, according to the authoritative US
News and World Report.
Much of the initial information for Mr Powell's speech to the UN was
provided by the Pentagon, where Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy defence
secretary, set up a special unit, the Office of Special Plans, to counter
the uncertainty of the CIA's intelligence on Iraq.
Mr Powell's team removed dozens of pages of alleged evidence about Iraq's
banned weapons and ties to terrorists from a draft of his speech, US News
and World Report says today. At one point, he became so angry at the lack
of adequate sourcing to intelligence claims that he declared: "I'm not
reading this. This is bullshit," according to the magazine.
Presented with a script for his speech, Mr Powell suspected that Washington
hawks were "cherry picking", the US magazine Newsweek also reports today.
Greg Theilmann, a recently retired state department intelligence analyst
directly involved in assessing the Iraqi threat, says that inside the Bush
administration "there is a lot of sorrow and anger at the way intelligence
The Bush administration, under increased scrutiny for failing to find
Saddam Hussein's arsenals eight weeks after occupying Baghdad, yesterday
confronted the damaging new allegations on the misuse of intelligence to
bolster the case for war.
The gaps in the case against Saddam have become a matter for public
only within the last few days. They have also become an issue of
credibility for the CIA and the Bush administration as it begins to
assemble a case against Iran and its nuclear programme.
Yesterday, a senior Bush administration official told reporters travelling
with the president to the Evian summit that Washington was not alone in its
pursuit of Saddam's arsenal.
"We have to remember that there's a long history of accusation of the
weapons of mass destruction programmes in Iraq. A lot of what is unresolved
about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programme comes from the United
Nations, from Unscom, from Unmovic [teams of weapons inspectors] and, of
course, from US and other intelligence," the official said.
The official also said that US forces in Iraq had not yet had the time
process the hundreds of documents captured since Saddam's fall, or track
down the people with information on his weapons programmes.
On Friday, the CIA director, George Tenet, was forced to issue a statement
denying the agency doctored intelligence reports. "Our role is to call it
like we see it, to tell policymakers what we know, what we don't know, what
we think, and what we base it on. That's the code we live by," the
During a series of meetings at CIA headquarters last February, initiated
Mr Powell, the secretary of state was reported to have reviewed the
intelligence reports on Saddam, his arsenal of chemical and nuclear
weapons, and his possible links with al-Qaida. The ostensible purpose of
the exercise, carried out over four days, was to decide which should be
included in his address.
However, a common theme of the meetings was the failure of the CIA and
other intelligence agencies to produce a convincing case against Saddam.
Despite the increasingly belligerent statements from the administration's
hawks, the CIA had disturbingly little proof.
Even more damaging, many of the assertions bandied about were based
reports that were speculative or impossible to corroborate - but seized on
because they suited the agenda of the hawks in the administration.
Ambiguities and nuance were left aside.
One claim from the original dossier that could not be proved involved
supply of sensitive software from Australia that would have allowed Baghdad
to gather sensitive information about the topography of the US. However,
the CIA could not establish for Mr Powell whether the software had been
delivered to Iraq.
Although the issue of flawed CIA intelligence has caused concern about
agency's ability to gather evidence on potential threats to the US, it did
not appear to have shaken the widespread belief that the war on Iraq was a
"The day that I saw those nine and 10- year-old boys released from a
prison, the day I saw the mass graves uncovered, it was ample testimony of
the brutality and repressiveness of this regime," the Republican senator
John McCain told ABC television yesterday. "It was the day that I believe
our liberation of Iraq was fully vindicated."
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