Bulletin N° 357



11 June 2008
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In his award-winning book, Young Stalin, Simon Segag Montefiore jettisons the exclusive use of psychoanalysis and describes the complexity of context to account for the development of Stalin's behavior patterns. The milieux --and not early individual traumas-- explain the formation of Stalin's character structure, according to this book. This approach, which is sometimes called "context theory" or "complexity theory," offers explanatory power for understanding the formations of ethical and unethical behaviors that individual psychoanalysis simply lacks. The theory of "over determination" is about the best explanation the psychoanalytic approach can come up with to account for the formations of Hitlers, Stalins and other tyrants, both large and small. Context theory is a multi-disciplinary approach which focuses on interrelationships in specific situations that represent the dynamics of a social environment which, in turn, cause evolutions to occur as a result of a multiplicity of relationships.

When looking at deep environmental changes in human society, for example, we are well advised to pay attention to economic relationships which constitute the bedrock of human behavior. Naomi Klein's book, The Shock Doctrine, the rise of disaster capitalism, is a major contribution to understanding what is happening to us today. Remote economic rules and regulations constrain human creativity and limit our lives on a massive scale for the narrowly defined benefits of a relatively few strategically placed people. How to recognize this change and to disarm the sophisticated predators is perhaps so obvious that we cannot see it. To refuse to collaborate with injustices, both large and small, one needs access to a culture which is different from the dominant capitalist culture of today. Values issuing from cultural activities are human constructions, like the social conventions associated with capital accumulation itself, which is usually accompanied by a banal acceptance of the everyday violence that sustains it.

The 8 items below were received by CEIMSA recently, and they speak to the growing concern about the milieux of capital accumulation, and radical changes in the "norm" which is necessary to extract a maximum of profits from investments. Historical knowledge is one source that enables us to measure the patterns and the velocities of social change; another source is our own personal lives. . . .

Item A. is a communication from Historians Against War, a national organization which is now organizing teach-ins at American universities for next Fall.
Item B., from the Council for the National Interest Foundation, is a letter from the West Bank by Palestinian lawyer, Raja Shehadeh, describing the deterioration of Palestinian society under Israeli control.
Item C. is an interview with Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé, by Frank Barat, discussing "The Future of Israel and Palestine".
Item D. is a piece by Robert Fisk on the depressing hopelessness of Israeli foreign policy and the amnesia that necessarily follows these aggressions.
Item E. is a critique by John Pilger of the false hopes created by "top-down democracy" in the guise of American Populism, from Robert Kennedy to Barack Obama.
Item F. is a brief description compiled by Greenpeace on the vital statistics of the world's nuclear weapons arsenals.
Item G., sent to us by Professor Jim Cohen, is an analysis by former German Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor, Joschka Fischer, explaining why an Israeli attack on Iran seems imminent.
Item H., from San Diego community organizer Monty Kroopkin, is a strategic call for public support for the Impeachment of President Bush by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who today is joined by several U.S. Representatives in Congress.

We conclude this Bulletin by inviting CEIMSA readers to listen to a popular expression of political outrage by the American musical group, PINK, with its rendition :

"Dear Mr. President"

and we also encourage readers to visit the alternative candidate's Internet site :

Ralph Nader on justice

and finally the inimitable William Blum's :

Anti-Empire Report
(June 6, 2008)

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université de Grenoble-3
Grenoble, France

from Historians Against War :
Date: 9 June 2008

This message is sent on behalf of Margaret Power of the Steering Committee of Historians Against the War.

Work with HAW to Organize a Fall Educational Event about the War in Iraq on Your Campus

In the fall of 2006 over forty campuses held educational events or teach-ins to educate students and faculty about the war and what they could do to oppose it. For information on these events and a list of the materials we prepared for them, see http://www.historiansagainstwar.org/teachin/fall06/. In this critical election year, we feel it is essential to continue to educate and mobilize against the war in Iraq. To that end, HAW is encouraging historians to organize, or to work with others who are already organizing, educational activities on campuses across the ountry.  If you would like to set up an event on your campus or be on the HAW committee that is working on these events/activities, contact Margaret Power, at power@iit.edu.

from Council for the National Interest Foundation :
Date: 1 June 2008
Subject: The Challenges of a Walk in the West Bank


"The Challenges of a Walk in the West Bank"

On May 30th Raja Shehadeh, a lawyer and the founder of Al-Haq, a non-partisan human rights organization, gave a brief presentation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on his book, "Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape." Shehadeh is the 2008 recipient of the Orwell Prize for political writing. At his presentation, Shehadeh first gave a description of his book along with reading several passages from the text. Following the book discussion Shehadeh opened the floor to a question and answer session.

Shehadeh's book describes six different walks that he took in the West Bank between 1978 and 2006 around his home in Ramallah. Each successive walk became less peaceful and enjoyable as contact with Israeli settlements and soldiers became more frequent. Trails that he once freely traveled became impassible either because of new settlements blocking his way, alteration of the landscape or some areas simply being too dangerous to walk in as tension between the settlers and the Palestinians grew and violence became more likely.

The question and answer session began with a request for Shehadeh by CNI Foundation President Eugene Bird to give his opinion on three of the possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the one-state, two-state or transfer options. Shehadeh claimed that he does not know which solution will eventually be implemented but that "the current situation is not sustainable."

A further question was raised about the possibility of retrieving the two-state solution. Shehadeh replied that no country ever has given up territory without being forced to do so. With the Israeli courts having claimed that areas in the West Bank are public land open for Israeli settlement combined with a vibrant Israeli economy there is little incentive for the Israelis to cede the West Bank for an independent Palestinian state.

Shehadeh also explained that the unwavering support for Israel by the U.S. government is a problem that must be overcome before serious resolutions can occur. He said that persuasion must come from the United States in order to influence Israel or else it will be "impossible otherwise" for any progress to be made.

A question was asked about whether a settlement can be reached without the inclusion of Hamas. Shehadeh replied that Hamas wants to be included in the process and that the group has not yet been given a chance by the world. Shehadeh explained that the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections was a protest vote against Fatah, because the Palestinian people did not like the direction that Fatah was moving in the peace process. He said however that the world must respect the democratic victory of Hamas.

Shehadeh was also asked about the possibility of whether presidential hopeful Barrack Obama would be able to help resolve the conflict. Shehadeh replied that he could not speak on behalf of the Palestinian people about Senator Obama, but that the Palestinians in general have become jaded and have lost faith in the ability of the United States to assist in ending the conflict, because of the one-sided support for Israel.

Finally, after hearing about the many hardships that he has faced in the West Bank, Shehadeh was asked about what keeps him going in life. He replied that, "life has high dramatic and miserable points," but added "that is not all of life." He said that he reminds himself of Palestine during hard times. Just like the early peaceful walks in his book, he tries to remind himself of the views and sounds of his home.

Chris Molisani
June 2nd 2008

Council for the National Interest Foundation
1250 4th Street SW, Suite WG-1 · Washington, DC 20024
800.296.6958 · 202.863.2951 · Fax: 202.863.2952

from ZMag :
Date: 8 June 2008
Subject: The Future of Israel and Palestine.

On the Future of Israel and Palestine
by Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappé and Frank Barat

[ZNet Editors Note: Frank Barat sent a set of questions to Pappe and Chomsky, each independently. They sent back answers, again, independently. Neither saw and so of course neither made any reference to what the other had to say. They weren't ignoring each other. Rather, they were operating in isolation from one another.]

Barat: Thanks for accepting this interview. Firstly I would like to ask if you are working on something at the moment that you would like to let us know about?

Ilan Pappé: I am completing several books. The first is a concise history of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the other is on the Palestinian minority in Israel and one on the Arab Jews. I am completing an edited volume comparing the South Africa situation to that of Palestine

Noam Chomsky: The usual range of articles, talks, etc.  No time for major projects right now.

Barat: A British M.P recently said that he had felt a change in the last 5 years regarding Israel. British M.Ps nowadays sign E.D.M (Early Day Motions) condemning Israel in bigger number than ever before and he told us that it was now easier to express criticism towards Israel even when talking on U.S campuses.Also, in the last few weeks, John Dugard, independent investigator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the U.N Human Right Council said that "Palestinian terror 'inevitable' result of occupation", the European parliament adopted a resolution saying that "policy of isolation of the Gaza strip has failed at both the political and humanitarian level" and the U.N and the E.U have condemned Israel use of excessive and disproportionate force in the Gaza strip. Could we interpret that as a general shift in attitude towards Israel?

Ilan Pappé: The two examples indicate a significant shift in public opinion and in the civil society. However, the problem remained what it had been in the last sixty years: these impulses and energies are not translated, and are not likely to be translated in the near future, into actual policies on the ground.  And thus the only way of enhancing this transition from support from below to actual policies is by developing the idea of sanctions and boycott.  This can give a clear orientation and direction to the many individuals and ngos that have shown for years solidarity with the Palestine cause. Noam

Chomsky: There has been a very clear shift in recent years.  On US campuses and with general audiences as well.  It was not long ago that police protection was a standard feature of talks at all critical of Israeli policies, meetings were broken up, audiences very hostile and abusive.  By now it is sharply different, with scattered exceptions. Apologists for Israeli violence now tend often to be defensive and desperate, rather than arrogant and overbearing.  But the critique of Israeli actions is thin, because the basic facts are systematically suppressed.   That is particularly true of the decisive US role in barring diplomatic options, undermining democracy, and supporting Israel's systematic program of undermining the possibility for an eventual political settlement.  But portrayal of the US as an "honest broker," somehow unable to pursue its benign objectives, is characteristic, not only in this domain.

Barat: The word apartheid is more and more often used by NGO's and charities to describe Israel's actions towards the Palestinians (in Gaza, the OPT but also in Israel itself). Is the situation in Palestine and Israel comparable to Apartheid South Africa?

Ilan Pappé: There are similarities and dissimilarities. The colonialist history has many chapters in common and some of the features of the Apartheid system can be found in the Israeli policies towards its own Palestinian minority and towards those in the occupied territories. Some aspects of the occupation, however, are worse then the apartheid reality of South Africa and some aspects in the lives of Palestinian citizens in Israel, are not as bad as they were in the hey days of Apartheid. The main point of comparison to my mind is political inspiration. The anti-Apartheid movement, the ANC, the solidarity networks developed throughout the years in the West, should inspire a more focused and effect pro-Palestinian campaign. This is why there is a need to learn the history of the struggle against Apartheid, much more than dwell too long on comparing the Zionist and Apartheid systems.

Noam Chomsky: There can be no definite answer to such questions.  There are similarities and differences.  Within Israel itself, there is serious discrimination, but it's very far from South African Apartheid.  Within the occupied territories, it's a different story.  In 1997, I gave the keynote address at Ben-Gurion University in a conference on the anniversary of the 1967 war.  I read a paragraph from a standard history of South Africa.  No comment was necessary.

Looking more closely, the situation in the OT differs in many ways from Apartheid.  In some respects, South African Apartheid was more vicious than Israeli practices, and in some respects the opposite is true.  To mention one example, White South Africa depended on Black labor.  The large majority of the population could not be expelled.  At one time Israel relied on cheap and easily exploited Palestinian labor, but they have long ago been replaced by the miserable of the earth from Asia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. Israelis would mostly breathe a sigh of relief if Palestinians were to disappear. 

And it is no secret that the policies that have taken shape accord well with the recommendations of Moshe Dayan right after the 1967 war: Palestinians will "continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave." More extreme recommendations have been made by highly regarded left humanists in the United States, for example Michael Walzer of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton and editor of the democratic socialist journal Dissent, who advised 35 years ago that since Palestinians are "marginal to the nation," they should be "helped" to leave. He was referring to Palestinian citizens of Israel itself, a position made familiar more recently by the ultra-right Avigdor Lieberman, and now being picked up in the Israeli mainstream.  I put aside the real fanatics, like Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who declares that Israel never kills civilians, only terrorists, so that the definition of "terrorist" is "killed by Israel"; and Israel should aim for a kill ratio of 1000 to zero, which means "exterminate the brutes" completely.  It is of no small significance that advocates of these views are regarded with respect in enlightened circles in the US, indeed the West.   One can imagine the reaction if such comments were made about Jews.

On the query, to repeat, there can be no clear answer as to whether the analogy is appropriate.

Barat: Israel has recently said that it will boycott the U.N conference on Human Rights in Durban because "it will be impossible to prevent the conference from turning into a festival of anti-Israeli attacks" and has also cancelled a meeting with Costa Rican officials over the Central American nation's decision to formally recognize a Palestinian state. Is Israel's refusal to accept any sort of criticism towards its policies likely to eventually backfire?

Ilan Pappé: One hopes it will backfire one day. However, this depends on the global and regional balances of power, not only on the Israelis 'over reacting'. The two, namely the balance of power and Israel intransigence, may be interconnected in the future. If there is a change in America's policy, or in its hegemonic role in the politics of the region, than a continued Israeli inflexibility can encourage the international community to adopt a more critical position against Israel and exert pressure on the Jewish state to end the occupation and dispossession of Palestine

Noam Chomsky: One can agree or disagree with these decisions, but they do not imply "refusal to accept any sort of criticism towards its policies." I doubt that these particular decisions will backfire, or will even receive much notice.

Barat: How can Israel reach a settlement with an organization which declares that it will never recognize Israel and whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state? If Hamas really wants a settlement, why won't it recognize Israel?

Ilan Pappé: Peace is made between enemies not lovers. The end result of the peace process can be a political Islamic recognition in the place of the Jews in Palestine and in the Middle East as a whole, whether in a separated state or a joint state.  The PLO entered negotiations with Israel without changing its charter, which is not that different as far as the attitude to Israel, is concerned.  So the search should be for a text, solution and political structure that is inclusive - enabling all the national, ethnic, religious and ideological groups to coexist

Noam Chomsky: Hamas cannot recognize Israel any more than Kadima can recognize Palestine, or than the Democratic Party in the US can recognize England.  One could ask whether a government led by Hamas should recognize Israel, or whether a government led by Kadima or the Democratic Party should recognize Palestine.  So far they have all refused to do so, though Hamas has at least called for a two-state settlement in accord with the long-standing international consensus, while Kadima and the Democratic Party refuse to go that far, keeping to the rejectionist stance that the US and Israel have maintained for over 30 years in international isolation.  As for words, when Prime Minister Olmert declares to a joint session of the US Congress that he believes "in our people's eternal and historic right to this entire land," to rousing applause, he is presumably referring not only to Palestine from the Jordan to the sea, but also to the other side of the Jordan river, the historic claim of the Likud Party that was his political home, a claim never formally abandoned, to my knowledge. On Hamas, I think it should abandon those provisions of its charter, and should move from acceptance of a two-state settlement to mutual recognition, though we must bear in mind that its positions are more forthcoming than those of the US and Israel.

Barat: During the last few months, Israel has accentuated its attacks on Gaza and is talking of an imminent ground invasion, there is also a strong possibility that it is involved in the killing of the Hezbollah leader Mughniyeh and it is pushing for stronger sanctions (including military) on Iran. Do you believe that Israel's appetite for war could eventually lead to its self destruction?

Ilan Pappé: Yes, I think that the aggressiveness is increasing and Israel antagonizes not only the Palestinian world, but also the Arab and Islamic ones. The military balance of power, at present, is in Israel's presence, but this can change at any given moment, especially once the US withdrew its support.

Noam Chomsky: I wrote decades ago that those who call themselves "supporters of Israel" are in reality supporters of its moral degeneration and probable ultimate destruction.  I have also believed for many years that Israel's very clear choice of expansion over security, ever since it turned down Sadat's offer of a full peace treaty in 1971, may well lead to that consequence.

Barat: What would it take for the U.S to withdraw its unconditional support to Israel?

Ilan Pappé: Externally: a collapse of its Middle East policy, mainly through the downfall of one of its allies. Alternatively, but less likely, the emergence of a counter European policy. Internally: a major economic crisis and the success of the present coalition of forces working within the civil society to impact such a change.

Noam Chomsky: To answer that, we have to consider the sources of the support.  The corporate sector in the US, which dominates policy formation, appears to be quite satisfied with the current situation.  One indication is the increasing flow of investment to Israel by Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and other leading elements of the high-tech economy.  Military and intelligence relations remain very strong.  Since 1967, US intellectuals have had a virtual love affair with Israel, for reasons that relate more to the US than to Israel, in my opinion.  That strongly affects portrayal of events and history in media and journals.  Palestinians are weak, dispersed, friendless, and offer nothing to concentrations of power in the US.  A large majority of Americans support the international consensus on a two-state settlement, and even call for equalizing aid to Israel and the Palestinians.  In this as in many other respects, both political parties are well to the right of the population.  95% of the US population think that the government should pay attention to the views of the population, a position rejected across the elite spectrum (sometimes quite explicitly, at other times tacitly).  Hence one step towards a more even-handed stance would be "democracy promotion" within the US.  Apart from that eventuality, what it would take is events that lead to a recalculation of interests among elite sectors.

Barat: CounterPunch featured an interesting debate on the 1 state vs 2 states solution last month. It started with a Michael Neumann article saying that "the one state solution was an illusion" and was followed by articles from Assaf Kfoury entitled "One-State or Two-State?" - A Sterile Debate on False Alternatives" and Jonathan Cook entitled "One state or two, neither, the issue is Zionism". What's your opinion on this and do you think that in view of the "facts on the ground" (settlements, bypass roads...) created by Israel a 2 state solution is still possible?

Ilan Pappé: The facts on the ground had rendered a two states solution impossible a long time ago. The facts indicated that there was never and will never be an Israeli consent to a Palestinian state apart from a stateless state within two Bantustans in the West Bank and Gaza totally under Israeli control. There is already one state and the struggle is to change its nature and regime. Whether the new regime and constitutional basis would be bi-national or democratic, or maybe even both, is less significant at this point. Any political outfit that would replace the present racist state of affairs is welcome. Any such outfit should also enable the refugees to return and even the most recent immigrants to remain.

Noam Chomsky: We have to make a distinction between proposal and advocacy. We can propose that everyone should live in peace.  It becomes advocacy when we sketch out a realistic path from here to there.  A one-state solution makes little sense, in my opinion, but a bi-national state does.   It was possible to advocate such a settlement from 1967 to the mid-1970s, and in fact I did, in many writings and talks, including a book.  The reaction was mostly fury. After Palestinian national rights entered the international agenda in the mid-1970s, it has remained possible to advocate bi-nationalism (and I continue to do so), but only as a process passing through intermediate stages, the first being a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus. That outcome, probably the best that can be envisioned in the short term, was almost reached in negotiations in Taba in January 2001, and according to participants, could have been reached had the negotiations not been prematurely terminated by Israeli Prime Minister Barak. That was the one moment in the past 30 years when the two leading rejectionist states did briefly consider joining the international consensus, and the one time when a diplomatic settlement seemed within sight.  Much has changed since 2001, but I do not see any reason to believe that what was apparently within reach then is impossible today.

It is of some interest, and I think instructive, that proposals for a "one-state solution" are tolerated within the mainstream today, unlike the period when advocacy was indeed feasible and they were anathema.  Today they are published in the New York Times, New York Review of Books, and elsewhere.  One can only conclude that they are considered acceptable today because they are completely unfeasible -- they remain proposal, not advocacy.  In practice, the proposals lend support to US-Israeli rejectionism, and undermine the only feasible advocacy of a bi-national solution, in stages.

Today there are two options for Palestinians.  One is US-Israeli abandonment of their rejectionist stance, and a settlement roughly along the lines of what was being approached at Taba, The other option is continuation of current policies, which lead, inexorably, to incorporation into Israel of what it wants:  at least, Greater Jerusalem, the areas within the Separation Wall (now an Annexation Wall), the Jordan Valley, and the salients through Ma'aleh Adumim and Ariel and beyond that effectively trisect what remains, which will be broken up into unviable cantons by huge infrastructure projects, hundreds of check points, and other devices to ensure that Palestinians live like dogs.

There are those who believe that Palestinians should simply let Israel take over the West Bank completely and then carry out a civil rights/anti-Apartheid style struggle.  That is an illusion, however.  There is no reason why the US-Israel would accept the premises of this proposal. They will simply proceed along the lines now being implemented, and will not accept any responsibility for Palestinians who are scattered outside the regions they intend to incorporate into Israel.

Barat: During my recent trip to Israel/Palestine it became obvious (talking to people, reading newspapers, watching the news) that something scared Israel a lot: a Boycott. Are you in favor of this type of actions and do you think that they could bare fruit?

Ilan Pappé: Yes I am and I do think it has a chance of triggering processes of change on the ground.

Noam Chomsky: Boycotts sometimes make sense.  For example, such actions against South Africa were effective, even though the Reagan administration evaded congressional sanctions while declaring Mandela's ANC to be one of the "more notorious terrorist groups" in the world (in 1988).   The actions were effective because the groundwork had been laid in many years of education and activism.  By the time they were implemented, they received substantial support in the US within the political system, the media, and even the corporate sector.  Nothing remotely like that has been achieved in this case.  As a result, calls for boycott almost invariably backfire, reinforcing the harshest and most brutal policies towards Palestinians.

Selective boycotts, carefully formulated, might have some effect.  For example, boycotts of military producers who provide arms to Israel, or to Caterpillar Corporation, which provides the equipment for destroying Palestine.  All of their actions are strictly illegal, and boycotts could be made understandable to the general public, so that they could be effective. Selective boycotts could also be effective against states with a far worse record of violence and terror than Israel, such as the US. And, of course, without its decisive support and participation, Israel could not carry out illegal expansion and other crimes.  There are no calls for boycotting the US, not for reasons of principle, but because it is simply too powerful -- facts that raise some obvious questions about the moral legitimacy of actions targeting its clients

Barat: Coming back from Israel/Palestine a few weeks ago, the director of ICAHD U.K said that, in spite of Annapolis, "not one thing on the ground has improved{...} witnessing Israel judaisation of the country left me feeling cold and angry". Seeing this, could Palestinian resistance (which has mainly been non violent so far) go back to an armed struggle and start the most brutal 3rd intifada?

Ilan Pappé: It is difficult to understand the 'could' - theoretically they can and they may, the question is whether it is going to produce different results from the previous two uprisings, the feeling is that it is not likely.

Noam Chomsky: My opinion all along has been that the Palestinian leadership is offering Israel and its US backers a great gift by resorting to violence and posturing about revolution -- quite apart from the fact that, tactical considerations aside, resort to violence carries a very heavy burden of justification.  Today, for example, nothing is more welcome to Israeli and US hawks than Qassam rockets, which enable them to shriek joyously about how the ratio of deaths should be increased to infinity (all victims being defined as "terrorists").  I have also agreed all along with personal friends who had contacts with the Palestinian leadership (in particular, Edward Said and Eqbal Ahmad) that a non-violent struggle would have had considerable prospects for success.  And I think it still does, in fact the only prospects for success.

Barat: What NGO's and charities working for justice in Palestine should focus on in the next few months?

Ilan Pappé: They know best and I hesitate to advise them. I think they gave us guidance with their call for boycott and if they continue with initiatives like this it can be very helpful. But most importantly it would be great if they could continue to work for reconciliation and unity in the Palestinian camp.

Noam Chomsky: The daily and urgent task is to focus on the terrible ongoing violations of the most elementary human rights and the illegal US-backed settlement and development projects that are designed to undermine a diplomatic settlement.  A more general task is to try to lay the basis for a successful struggle for a settlement that takes into account the just demands of contesting parties -- the kind of hard, dedicated, persistent educational and organizational work that has provided the underpinnings for other advances towards peace and justice.  I have already indicated what I think that entails -- not least, effective democracy promotion in the reigning superpower.

Frank Barat lives in London. He is a member of Palestine Solidarity Campaign London and ICAHD UK.

from Robert Fisk :
Date: 31 May 2008
Subject: Horrors We Have No Choice But To Forget.
The Independent

Horrors We Have No Choice But To Forget
by Robert Fisk

I have a clear memory of a terrible crime that was committed in southern Lebanon in 1978. Israeli soldiers, landing at night on the beach near Sarafand – the city of Sarepta in antiquity – were looking for "terrorists" and opened fire on a car load of female Palestinian refugees.

It took the Israelis a day before they admitted shooting at the car with an anti-tank weapons, by which time I had watched civil defence workers pulling the dead women from the vehicle, their faces slopping off on to the road, an AP correspondent holding his hands to his face in shock, leaning against an ambulance, crying "Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ. I suppose all this is because of what Hitler did to the Jews." Save for his remark, however, all I remember is silence. As if the whole scene was muted, sound smothered by the dead.

Yet I was running a tape recorder for part of the time, and when I listened to the old tape again a few days ago, I could hear many women, weeping, cars passing, honking horns above the shrieks of grief. My own original notes state, in my handwriting, that "a throng of women stood crying and wailing". Yet all I remember now is silence. A child was on a stretcher, cut in half, a girl in the back seat of the car, curled in death into the arms of an older woman. But silence.

I was reminded of all this by an especially powerful interview conducted at Cannes with the Israeli director Ari Folman, who has made a remarkable film – Waltz with Bashir – about Israel's later, 1982 invasion of Lebanon and about the "collective amnesia" of the soldiers who participated in this hopeless adventure.

Bashir Gemayel was the name of Israel's favourite Christian Maronite militia leader who was elected president but almost immediately assassinated. It's an animated film – a film of cartoons, if you like – because Folman is trying to fill in the empty space which the war occupies in his mind. Because he can't remember it.

"I never talked about my army service," Folman said. "I got on with my life without talking about it, without thinking about it. It was like something I didn't want to be connected with whatsoever." In one astonishing scene, Israeli soldiers come ashore in Lebanon – only to find that there is no one there. They are entering an empty country, washed clean of memory.

Alas, Lebanon was not empty; more than 17,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, almost all civilians, died in that terrible war, and at the end of Folman's movie, the animation turns to reality with photographs of some of the 1,700 Palestinian dead of the Sabra and Chatila massacre, murdered by Israel's Phalangist allies while the Israelis watched from high-rise buildings. It is Folman's dream that this film should be shown in an Arab country – given the dotage and stupidity of most Arab ministers, that is surely a hope that will not be realised – but it did almost win the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

Amnesia is real. And it afflicts us all. But it is also a block to memory. Take my old letter-writing friend, poet Don Newton. He dropped me a note the other day, asking why humans have to create wars and mentioning, at the start, that he remembered the Second World War and, in 1944, Germany's V2 missiles. What grabbed me by the throat, however, was the penultimate paragraph of his letter, written with an eloquence I cannot match – and whose power and suddenness will shock you, as readers, just as it shocked me. This is what Don wrote:

"I saw some of my friends killed around me when I was 12, when a V2 punched into the road near where we were playing ... I was lucky and survived but ran over the road to find my father lying dead by our front gate. He looked for all the world like a grey, dusty broken puppet with his left arm laying next to him. It had been sliced off just above the elbow by a piece of shrapnel that had also cut through the oak gatepost behind him.

"Strangely enough, that sight seems to have wiped from my conscious mind all but a handful of memories of him and those are mostly unpleasant in their associations, like the time I burst into the toilet when I was only six, to find him sitting reading a newspaper, and blurted out that my younger brother by a year had been run over. Peter died in hospital the next day without ever recovering consciousness. This 'amnesia' is, I suppose, a defence mechanism but I find it weird and unable to break. I am struggling to put this problem into a poem and, hopefully, when it is out on paper maybe the fog will clear?"

I find this letter – horror and the mundane inextricably, unbelievably mixed together – unanswerable. The V2 explosion turns into a father's death, the interruption in the lavatory into a child's death. And a poem to clear the amnesia? Only a poet could suggest that. I didn't see my father die but I was sitting beside my own mother when she died from the results of Parkinson's. My memory is clear – she choked on her own saliva because she could no longer clear her throat – and I do remember sitting by her body and thinking (and here I quote another Israeli, a fine and brilliant novelist), "I'm next!"

So I turned, of course, to a haiku in Don's latest collection of poetry, The Soup Stone, called "Mum's Death, 1982" – the same date as Folman's Israeli invasion when he (and I) were trying to stay alive in Lebanon:

"Just sitting, waiting,

For your last slow breath.

Suddenly – it's here."

Which is about as close to death as you can get in verse. And there really is a silence at the end.

Robert Fisk's new book, 'The Age of the Warrior: Selected Writings', a selection of his Saturday columns in 'The Independent', is published by Fourth Estate

from John Pilger :
Date: 30 May 2008
Subject: After Bobby Kennedy

Bobby Kennedy's campaign is the model for Barack Obama's current bid to be the Democratic nominee for the White House. Both offer a false hope that they can bring peace and racial harmony to all Americans.

After Bobby Kennedy
by John Pilger

In this season of 1968 nostalgia, one anniversary illuminates today. It is the rise and fall of Robert Kennedy, who would have been elected president of the United States had he not been assassinated in June 1968. Having travelled with Kennedy up to the moment of his shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on 5 June, I heard The Speech many times. He would "return government to the people" and bestow "dignity and justice" on the oppressed. "As Bernard Shaw once said," he would say, "'Most men look at things as they are and wonder why. I dream of things that never were and ask: Why not?'" That was the signal to run back to the bus. It was fun until a hail of bullets passed over our shoulders.

Kennedy's campaign is a model for Barack Obama. Like Obama, he was a senator with no achievements to his name. Like Obama, he raised the expectations of young people and minorities. Like Obama, he promised to end an unpopular war, not because he opposed the war's conquest of other people's land and resources, but because it was "unwinnable".

Should Obama beat John McCain to the White House in November, it will be liberalism's last fling. In the United States and Britain, liberalism as a war-making, divisive ideology is once again being used to destroy liberalism as a reality. A great many people understand this, as the hatred of Blair and new Labour attest, but many are disoriented and eager for "leadership" and basic social democracy. In the US, where unrelenting propaganda about American democratic uniqueness disguises a corporate system based on extremes of wealth and privilege, liberalism as expressed through the Democratic Party has played a crucial, compliant role.

In 1968, Robert Kennedy sought to rescue the party and his own ambitions from the threat of real change that came from an alliance of the civil rights campaign and the anti-war movement then commanding the streets of the main cities, and which Martin Luther King had drawn together until he was assassinated in April that year. Kennedy had supported the war in Vietnam and continued to support it in private, but this was skilfully suppressed as he competed against the maverick Eugene McCarthy, whose surprise win in the New Hampshire primary on an anti-war ticket had forced President Lyndon Johnson to abandon the idea of another term. Using the memory of his martyred brother, Kennedy assiduously exploited the electoral power of delusion among people hungry for politics that represented them, not the rich.

"These people love you," I said to him as we left Calexico, California, where the immigrant population lived in abject poverty and people came like a great wave and swept him out of his car, his hands fastened to their lips.

"Yes, yes, sure they love me," he replied. "I love them!" I asked him how exactly he would lift them out of poverty: just what was his political philosophy? "Philosophy? Well, it's based on a faith in this country and I believe that many Americans have lost this faith and I want to give it back to them, because we are the last and the best hope of the world, as Thomas Jefferson said."

"That's what you say in your speech. Surely the question is: How?"

"How . . . by charting a new direction for America."

The vacuities are familiar. Obama is his echo. Like Kennedy, Obama may well "chart a new direction for America" in specious, media-honed language, but in reality he will secure, like every president, the best damned democracy money can buy.

Embarrassing truth

As their contest for the White House draws closer, watch how, regardless of the inevitable personal smears, Obama and McCain draw nearer to each other. They already concur on America's divine right to control all before it. "We lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good," said Obama. "We must lead by building a 21st-century military . . . to advance the security of all people [emphasis added]." McCain agrees. Obama says in pursuing "terrorists" he would attack Pakistan. McCain wouldn't quarrel.

Both candidates have paid ritual obeisance to the regime in Tel Aviv, unquestioning support for which defines all presidential ambition. In opposing a UN Security Council resolution implying criticism of Israel's starvation of the people of Gaza, Obama was ahead of both McCain and Hillary Clinton. In January, pressured by the Israel lobby, he massaged a statement that "nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people" to now read: "Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognise Israel [emphasis added]." Such is his concern for the victims of the longest, illegal military occupation of modern times. Like all the candidates, Obama has furthered Israeli/Bush fictions about Iran, whose regime, he says absurdly, "is a threat to all of us".

On the war in Iraq, Obama the dove and McCain the hawk are almost united. McCain now says he wants US troops to leave in five years (instead of "100 years", his earlier option). Obama has now "reserved the right" to change his pledge to get troops out next year. "I will listen to our commanders on the ground," he now says, echoing Bush. His adviser on Iraq, Colin Kahl, says the US should maintain up to 80,000 troops in Iraq until 2010. Like McCain, Obama has voted repeatedly in the Senate to support Bush's demands for funding of the occupation of Iraq; and he has called for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan. His senior advisers embrace McCain's proposal for an aggressive "league of democracies", led by the United States, to circumvent the United Nations.

Amusingly, both have denounced their "preachers" for speaking out. Whereas McCain's man of God praised Hitler, in the fashion of lunatic white holy-rollers, Obama's man, Jeremiah Wright, spoke an embarrassing truth. He said that the attacks of 11 September 2001 had taken place as a consequence of the violence of US power across the world. The media demanded that Obama disown Wright and swear an oath of loyalty to the Bush lie that "terrorists attacked America because they hate our freedoms". So he did. The conflict in the Middle East, said Obama, was rooted not "primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel", but in "the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam". Journalists applauded. Islamophobia is a liberal speciality.

The American media love both Obama and McCain. Reminiscent of mating calls by Guardian writers to Blair more than a decade ago, Jann Wenner, founder of the liberal Rolling Stone, wrote: "There is a sense of dignity, even majesty, about him, and underneath that ease lies a resolute discipline . . . Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon 'the better angels of our nature'." At the liberal New Republic, Charles Lane confessed: "I know it shouldn't be happening, but it is. I'm falling for John McCain." His colleague Michael Lewis had gone further. His feelings for McCain, he wrote, were like "the war that must occur inside a 14-year-old boy who discovers he is more sexually attracted to boys than to girls".

The objects of these uncontrollable passions are as one in their support for America's true deity, its corporate oligarchs. Despite claiming that his campaign wealth comes from small individual donors, Obama is backed by the biggest Wall Street firms: Goldman Sachs, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers, J P Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, as well as the huge hedge fund Citadel Investment Group. "Seven of the Obama campaign's top 14 donors," wrote the investigator Pam Martens, "consisted of officers and employees of the same Wall Street firms charged time and again with looting the public and newly implicated in originating and/or bundling fraudulently made mortgages." A report by United for a Fair Economy, a non-profit group, estimates the total loss to poor Americans of colour who took out sub-prime loans as being between $164bn and $213bn: the greatest loss of wealth ever recorded for people of colour in the United States. "Washington lobbyists haven't funded my campaign," said Obama in January, "they won't run my White House and they will not drown out the voices of working Americans when I am president." According to files held by the Centre for Responsive Politics, the top five contributors to the Obama campaign are registered corporate lobbyists.

What is Obama's attraction to big business? Precisely the same as Robert Kennedy's. By offering a "new", young and apparently progressive face of the Democratic Party - with the bonus of being a member of the black elite - he can blunt and divert real opposition. That was Colin Powell's role as Bush's secretary of state. An Obama victory will bring intense pressure on the US anti-war and social justice movements to accept a Democratic administration for all its faults. If that happens, domestic resistance to rapacious America will fall silent.

Piracies and dangers

America's war on Iran has already begun. In December, Bush secretly authorised support for two guerrilla armies inside Iran, one of which, the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, is described by the state department as terrorist. The US is also engaged in attacks or subversion against Somalia, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bolivia and Venezuela. A new military command, Africom, is being set up to fight proxy wars for control of Africa's oil and other riches. With US missiles soon to be stationed provocatively on Russia's borders, the Cold War is back. None of these piracies and dangers has raised a whisper in the presidential campaign, not least from its great liberal hope.

Moreover, none of the candidates represents so-called mainstream America. In poll after poll, voters make clear that they want the normal decencies of jobs, proper housing and health care. They want their troops out of Iraq and the Israelis to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbours. This is a remarkable testimony, given the daily brainwashing of ordinary Americans in almost everything they watch and read.

On this side of the Atlantic, a deeply cynical electorate watches British liberalism's equivalent last fling. Most of the "philosophy" of new Labour was borrowed wholesale from the US. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were interchangeable. Both were hostile to traditionalists in their parties who might question the corporate-speak of their class-based economic policies and their relish for colonial conquests. Now the British find themselves spectators to the rise of new Tory, distinguishable from Blair’s new Labour only in the personality of its leader, a former corporate public relations man who presents himself as Tonier than thou. We all deserve better.


from Greenpeace :
Date: 1 June 2008
Subject: Vital Statistics on nucler weapons.

The vital statistics


Globally around 30,000 nuclear weapons are held by various countries. More than one thousand five hundred of them ready to launch at a moment's notice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On average, each of them has a destructive power thirty times that of the Hiroshima bomb. Through atmospheric effects, a few hundred could destroy a major part of the world.
         General Lee Butler, formerly responsible for all US Air Force and Navy strategic nuclear forces, describes nuclear weapons in the following way:
"Nuclear weapons give no quarter. Their effects transcend time and place, poisoning the Earth and deforming its inhabitants for generation upon generation. They leave us wholly without defence, expunge all hope for meaningful survival. They hold in their sway not just the fate of nations, but the very meaning of civilization."

Below is a list of which countries have nuclear weapons and how many. Numbers can vary widely between sources, where we found deiscrepencies we have taken the numbers from the Federation of Atomic Scientists (FAS). However, at around 27,000 nuclear weapons world-wide, it's safe to say we have more than enough nukes to obliterate all life on Earth many times over.

The US has around 9,962 nuclear weapons with 5,735 classed as 'deliverable', on submarines, boats, planes and on land. Most weapons are located in Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, Nevada, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, South Dakota and Colorado. The US also has some 480 of these positioned in Europe: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the U.K..

The Russian Federation has 16,000 nuclear weapons with 5,830 classed as deliverable: including strategic, tactical and bomber capability. These are all located in Russia in Aleysk, Dombraovskiy, Kartaly, Kozels, Tatschevo, Bershet, Kostroma, Krasnoyarsk, Drovyanaya, Irkustsk, Kansk, Nizhniy, Novosibirsk, Teykobo, Vypolzovo, Yoshkar-Ola and Yurya.

The UK has 200 weapons all of which are deliverable located in Coulport and Faslane, to be delivered by its Trident submarines. The UK also hosts 110 US-owned tactical nuclear weapons at RAF Lakenheath. UK Trident submarines typically go to sea with 48 warheads-equivalent to 380 Hiroshima bombs. Late in 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he intends to build new nuclear weapons to replace the current Trident system, while joining the US programme to extend its life. The UK government has already started construction on facilities to build a new nuclear bomb.

France has 348 nuclear weapons all deliverable, and four ballistic missile submarines, each with a load of 16 missiles with 6 warheads each. The stock is stored in Luxeuil, Istres, Landivisiau and L'Ile Longue.

China  has an estimated stockpile of around 200 nuclear weapons, with some 145 classed as deliverable.

Israel has an estimated arsenal of 100 weapons all of which are considered deliverable. It comprises mostly non-strategic (tactical) weapons deliverable by several types of aircraft including F-4 Phantoms, F-16s and F-15Es. There is also concern that Israel has equipped its conventionally powered submarines with cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads.

India is estimated to have a stockpile of between 40 and 50 nuclear warheads. India has several types of aircraft that could be used to deliver nuclear weapons including the MiG-27 and the Jaguar. India, like its neighbour Pakistan, is also developing missiles with sufficient range and capacity to deliver a nuclear payload.

Pakistan is estimated to have 50-60 nuclear weapons. It may also have produced a small quantity of weapons grade plutonium, sufficient for an estimated 3-5 nuclear weapons. These weapons are designed to be delivered by nuclear capable aircraft, but Pakistan is working hard on a long range missile that can deliver a nuclear payload as well.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is estimated to have up to ten nuclear weapons. In early 2005, North Korea announced it had produced nuclear weapons.

Europe hosts 480 NATO US weapons. Germany 150; the UK hosts 110; Italy 90. Turkey 90; the Netherlands 20; and Belgium 20.

Find out more:
Check out our map of destruction and Zoom in on the Doom :

from Jim Cohen :
Date: 2 June 2008
Subject: Joschka Fischer sees attack on Iran before end of Bush administration.

Thanks to a wise observer of international relations for sending this along.


Will Israel Attack Iran’s Nuclear Facilities Before the End of the Bush Administration?
Joschka Fischer Argues Yes
by Nouriel Roubini
(Global EconoMonitor)

I had the pleasure to meet and speak at length over the weekend with Joschka Fischer, former Foreign Minister of Germany and one of the deepest geo-strategic thinkers in the world. He argued with me that ­ as he fleshed out in a a recent article he wrote for the Project Syndicate ­ Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of the Bush administration and that Israel effectively received the green light to this action from Bush during his recent visit to Israel. Fischer was recently in Israel to
attend the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of Israel creation. A variety of factors and conversations ­ fleshed out in his article ­ have led him to the conclusion that Israel will attack Iran before the end of the Bush administration. This is just an opinion of one ­ however influential and well-connected ­ observer; but the arguments that Fischer makes on why Israel may go ahead sound compelling. We certainly don’t know if Israel will act that early ­ and certainly Israel has signaled that it will not accept
an Iran that is nuclear - but let us consider the economic and financial consequences of such action.

First, even before Iran may try to retaliate to this action by trying to block the flow of oil from the Gulf, oil prices would spike above $200 dollar a barrel.

Second, Iran could react militarily to such Israeli action (that would be taken with the tacit support and the military logistic support of the US) by unleashing its supporters in Iraq against the US military forces there. That would trigger a military reaction by the US that would start a sustained air-led bombing campaign against Iran’s military capabilities (air force, anti-aircraft defenses, radar and other military installations, etc.)

Third, Iran would unleash its supporters in Lebanon and Gaza (Hezbollah and Hamas) in a military confrontation with Israel. A broader war will follow in the Middle East.

Fourth, Iran would use both the threat of blocking the flow of oil out of the Gulf and an actual sharp reduction of its exports of oil (an embargo) to spike the price of oil. Oil prices would rapidly rise above $200 per barrel and the US and global economy would spin into a severe stagflationary recession (like those triggered by the sharp spikes in the prices of oil following the staflationary shocks of the Yom Kippur war in 1973, the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990).

Fifth, while Sunni regimes may ­ in private ­ sigh relief following the destruction of the nuclear capabilities of the Shiite Iranian regime ­ the Sunni Arab street (the masses of poor Sunnis) from Algeria to Egypt and all the way to Pakistan, India and Indonesia may become even more anti-Western and anti-American leading to the risk over time of rise of anti-Western fundamentalist regimes in many Arab countries.

Sixth, the Bush administration whose hands have been tied by the new National Intelligence Estimate (that argued that Iran had suspended its program of development of nuclear weapons) would thus be able to strike Iran ­ via Israel - before the end of its term. Such October surprise by Israel would also certainly lead to the election of McCain and defeat of Obama as a national security crisis of such an extent would doom the chances of Democrats to win the White House. So both Israel ­ that prefers McCain to Obama and is hurried to act as it is wary of the constraints that an Obama presidency may put on its ability to act against Iran ­ and the Bush administration would guarantee the election of McCain
Now, it is not certain ­ as argued by Fischer ­ that Israel will strike that early; this is just a guess and a prediction by one observer even if many others think likewise. But if such action were to be taken by Israel the consequences outlined above would be the clear outcome: a major global recession, wars throughout the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Israel, etc.) and a major increase in geopolitical instability.

Here is below the op-ed by Fischer first published last Friday by the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star:

As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon
by Joschka Fischer
(Friday, May 30, 2008

s a result of misguided American policy, the threat of another military
confrontation hangs like a dark cloud over the Middle East. The United
States' enemies have been strengthened, and Iran - despite being branded as
a member of the so-called "axis of evil" - has been catapulted into regional
hegemony. Iran could never have achieved this on its own, certainly not in
such a short time.

A hitherto latent rivalry between Iran and Israel thus has been transformed
into an open struggle for dominance in the Middle East. The result has been
the emergence of some surprising, if not bizarre, alliances: Iran, Syria,
Hizbullah, Hamas and the American-backed, Shiite-dominated Iraq are facing
Israel, Saudi Arabia, and most of the other Sunni Arab states, all of which
feel existentially threatened by Iran's ascendance.
The danger of a major confrontation has been heightened further by a series
of factors: persistently high oil prices, which have created new financial
and political opportunities for Iran; the possible defeat of the West and
its regional allies in proxy wars in Gaza and Lebanon; and the United
Nations Security Council's failure to induce Iran to accept even a temporary
freeze of its nuclear program.

Iran's nuclear program is the decisive factor in this equation, for it
threatens irreversibly the region's strategic balance. That Iran - a country
whose president never tires of calling for Israel's annihilation and that
threatens Israel's northern and southern borders through its massive support
of proxy wars waged by Hizbullah and Hamas - might one day have missiles
with nuclear warheads is Israel's worst security nightmare. Politics is not
just about facts, but also about perceptions. Whether or not a perception is
accurate is beside the point, because it nonetheless leads to decisions.
This applies in particular when the perception concerns what the parties
consider to be threats to their very existence. Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's threats of annihilation are taken seriously in Israel because
of the trauma of the Holocaust. And most Arab governments share the fear of
a nuclear Iran. Earlier this month, Israel celebrated its 60th birthday, and
US President George W. Bush went to Jerusalem to play a leading part in the
commemoration. But those who had expected that his visit would mainly be
about the stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were
bitterly disappointed. Bush's central topic, including his speech to
Israel's Knesset, was Iran. Bush had promised to bring the Middle East
conflict closer to a resolution before the end of his term this year. But
his final visit to Israel seemed to indicate that his objective was
different: he seemed to be planning, together with Israel, to end the
Iranian nuclear program - and to do so by military, rather than by
diplomatic, means.

Anyone following the press in Israel during the anniversary celebrations and
listening closely to what was said in Jerusalem did not have to be a prophet
to understand that matters are coming to a head. Consider the following:
First, "stop the appeasement!" is a demand raised across the political
spectrum in Israel - and what is meant is the nuclear threat emanating from

Second, while Israel celebrated, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quoted as
saying that a life-and-death military confrontation was a distinct

Third, the outgoing commander of the Israeli Air Force declared that the air
force was capable of any mission, no matter how difficult, to protect the
country's security. The destruction of a Syrian nuclear facility last year,
and the lack of any international reaction to it, were viewed as an example
for the coming action against Iran.

Fourth, the Israeli wish list for US arms deliveries, discussed with the
American president, focused mainly on the improvement of the attack
capabilities and precision of the Israeli Air Force.
Fifth, diplomatic initiatives and UN sanctions when it comes to Iran are
seen as hopelessly ineffective.

And sixth, with the approaching end of the Bush presidency and uncertainty
about his successor's policy, the window of opportunity for Israeli action
is seen as potentially closing.

The last two factors carry special weight. While Israeli military
intelligence is on record as saying that Iran is expected to cross the red
line on the path to nuclear power between 2010 and 2015 at the earliest, the
feeling in Israel is that the political window of opportunity to attack is
now, during the last months of Bush's presidency.
Although it is acknowledged in Israel that an attack on Iran's nuclear
facilities would involve grave and hard-to-assess risks, the choice between
acceptance of an Iranian bomb and an attempt at its military destruction,
with all the attendant consequences, is clear. Israel won't stand by and
wait for matters to take their course.

The Middle East is drifting toward a new great confrontation in 2008. Iran
must understand that without a diplomatic solution in the coming months, a
dangerous military conflict is very likely to erupt. It is high time for
serious negotiations to begin.

The most recent offer by the six powers - the UN Security Council's five
permanent members plus Germany - is on the table, and it goes very far in
accommodating Iran's interests. The decisive question, however, will be
whether it will be possible to freeze the Iranian nuclear program for the
duration of the negotiations to avoid a military confrontation before these
negotiations are completed. Should this newest attempt fail, things will
soon get serious. Deadly serious.

Joschka Fischer, Germany's foreign minister and vice chancellor from 1998 to 2005, led Germany's Green Party for nearly 20 years. THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with Project Syndicate-Institute for Human Sciences (c) (www.project-syndicate.org).

from Monty Kroopkin
Date: 11 June 2008
Subject: Ramsey Clark, "A decisive moment for impeachment."

If you scroll down past the introductory remarks, Clark's own words follow.

On the heels of the Senate Intelligence Committee's findings, the introduction of Articles of Impeachment is timely. One thing many people do not understand about the impeachment process is the fact that the executive branch cannot invoke executive privilege as a legal basis for refusing to produce documents and sworn testimony, upon a Congressional subpoena pursuant to an impeachment investigation. This makes it legally very different from other types of Congressional investigations. It means that more of the facts of the war, of torture, of illegal wiretaps, and so many other issues could come out. It also could mean, politically, that the Bush regime has less time to devote to starting a new war with Iran. My point is that an impeachment investigation is worth having, even if the House then decides against sending it on to the Senate for trial.

If you follow the links here, one you may especially want to see is a few links from links along the way at

http://www.impeachbush.org/site/News2/1480821988?page=NewsArticle&id=5283&news_iv_ ctrl=1041

which is the full text of the articles introduced.

You can also view the CSPAN coverage of the introduction of the articles (on June 10) at


Monty Reed Kroopkin

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

ImpeachBush top 

Ramsey Clark: A decisive moment for impeachment
Your help is needed!

35 articles of impeachmentNow is the time that our actions can prove decisive. Rep. Dennis Kucinich has introduced 35 articles of impeachment. Please read the important statement released today by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, which is below.

As Ramsey Clark makes clear, the impeachment of George W. Bush is the most important task of the moment for the safety and security of the people of the United States, the Middle East and throughout the world. None of us can risk being plunged further into war.

More than 1 million people have joined together in support of the impeachment movement launched by Ramsey Clark at ImpeachBush.org. From collecting signatures in towns and cities across the land to letter writing campaigns to direct congressional visits volunteers have forced impeachment "on the table."

Now we must act and take the next steps. We are doubling our efforts and we need everyone to pitch in. Please contact your congressional representative and demand they support the 35 Articles of Impeachment, and take a moment to make as generous a donation as you can to support this movement as we make this push.

We are printing thousands of leaflets, organizing door-to-door outreach for volunteers, phone banking, and exploring the possibilities for internet advertising and more newspaper ads.  What we can achieve  depends on the level of financial support provided by those who believe that the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney is necessary. Click this link to make your donation.

Message from Ramsey Clark

Impeachment is not a political question. Impeachment is a constitutional duty. It is the one power and highest duty the Constitution rests in the Congress to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States when the President, Vice President, and other civil officers of the United States commit treason, bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

George Bush has deliberately, falsely and systematically mislead the Congress and the American people concerning the most criminal, costly and harmful acts of his administration, leading us to war, tragic loss of human life, the devastation of Iraq, military expenses reaching trillions of dollars, disruption of the economy that will take decades to overcome, a contemptuous assault on the Bill of Rights, an international humanitarian disaster, deliberate antagonism and provocation of nations and people, most once friendly, and an enlarging assault on the earth's environment.

On June 5, 2008, a long delayed five year U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence study and 170-page report unanimously found President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top officers had made false charges and systematically presented a more dire picture about Iraq than justified by intelligence provided only to them. The Committee included both Democrats and Republicans.

Today President Bush is exerting all his power and influence to repeatedly urge Europe, Israel and others to support an attack on Iran which he intends to commence in the remaining months of the presidency. Iran is larger than Iraq and Afghanistan, has millions of people, richer by a multiple, unimpaired by recent war and will fight fiercely if attacked. He is negotiating a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq placing the U.S. on Iran's border.

The next several Presidents of the United States will spend their time in office miserably fighting wars started by Bush, as our economy is consumed in military spending.

Impeachment, a Constitutional duty, is the only way to prevent George W. Bush and his cabal from vastly enlarging the disastrous wars he has already inflicted on the world and the American people. The House of Representatives must quickly consider Bills of Impeachment long overdue, and the Senate must prepare to sit in judgment of President Bush, Vice President Cheney other officers who are implicated.

Ramsey Clark
June 10, 2008