Bulletin N°421



23 October 2009
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

Speaking about revolution and counter-revolution, Mao Zedong (1893-1976) was reported to have once observed : "If a big meteor hit earth and destroyed everything, that would be a major event for the solar system but a relatively minor event for the galaxy."

Several thousand years of belief systems, and institutions, and social movements should be put in perspective occasionally.

The human population of this planet is approaching 7 billion, and the national distribution of this population may be at least culturally significant. Take, for example China, the most populated country in the world (1.33 billion); it could be represented something like this :


14       13       12       11        10         9         8         7       6       5       4       3       2       1   (100's of millions)
  .         .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
  .         .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
  .         .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
          .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .

            .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .    (10's of millions)

            .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
            .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
            .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
            .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
            .           .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .

By contrast, the population of France (65 million) could be depicted using the same style of notation as follows :

. . 
.     (10'sofmillions) .

And likewise for England, with a population of 61.6 million :

. . 
.     (10'sofmillions) .

While the population of India (with some 1.17 billion inhabitants), the second largest in the world, would register as follows :

                      12       11        10         9         8         7       6       5       4       3       2       1   (100's of millions)
                       .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
                       .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
                       .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
                       .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
                       .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
    (10's of millions)

                       .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
                       .          .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
                        +          .          ..          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
                                  .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .
                                  .           .          .           .          .        .        .        .        .        .        .

And as for the third-, fourth-, and fifth-placed countries, ranked according to the world's most populated, they are The United States of America (310 million), Indonesia (230 million), and Brazil (190 million). These populations would appear in only a fraction of the columns above representing nations in the 100's of millions.

We live in a period of megalomania, when greedy little men among us aspire to be "masters of the universe" while others among us wish for nothing more than to be "their servants." Both groups will fail of course to achieve their fantasies, but we all will be divided and ruled ruthlessly until these groups fall, this is a certainty.

Meanwhile, the cosmos continues in its routine movements, unaffected by these delusions and their all-too-human consequences.

In the 7 items below, CEIMSA readers will get a glimpse of humanity and some modest actors trying to make a difference at the local level, in this "temporary theater" situated somewhere in the Milky Way....

Item A. is a homage to Ms. Beatriz Garza, my high school Spanish teacher in Weslaco, Texas.

Item B., sent to us by University of California Professor Fred Lonidier, is coverage of the Opening Reception on 20 October at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, depicting reenactments of protest speeches from the New Left movement of the Vietnam era.

Item C. is an article by UCSD sociology Professors Akos Rona-Tas and Gershon Shafir, written for the UCSD student newspaper, the Guardian, and discussing the significance of the financial crisis in public education as felt on The University of California campuses.

Item D. is an announcement from the CNI's "Jerusalem Calling" transmission, plugging into the banalities of genocide as it happens, "in real time."

Item E. is New York City Professor John Gerassi on the "Obama Mania", the morning after. . . .

Item F. is an article sent to us by Professor Edward S. Herman, in which he and American journalist David Peterson provide a detailed analysis of how  "Iran Versus U.S.-Israeli-NATO Threats" today.

Item G., sent to us by Al Burke, is a report on "the tyrany of small steps leading Sweden into a military alliance with NATO".

And finally, we offer CEIMSA readers a three-part series of video shorts discussing the globalization crisis today on Paul Jay's Internet transmission, The Real News, in which he interviews United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and econominst, Jomo Kwame Sundaram :

"Globalization, a devastating success"

[Jomo Kwame Sundaram, better known as Jomo KS, is a prominent Malaysian economist, who is currently serving as the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). He was also the founder chair of International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs), and sat on the Board of the United Nations Research Institute For Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva. Jomo is a leading scholar and expert on the political economy of development, especially in Southeast Asia, who has authored over 35 monographs, edited over 50 books and translated 12 volumes besides writing many academic papers and articles for the media.He is on the editorial boards of several learned journals. In 2007, he was awarded the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.]

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3

P.S. Our thanks to Jean Mister for reminding us that he was not the author of the report he forwarded to us on Puerto Rico (see Oct. 18 Bulletin #420), which included video footage of high school students being attaked by police after they protested the presence of the governor at a public housing across the street by throwing eggs and rocks at his delegation = http://www.wapa.tv/noticias/locales/motin-estudiantil-por-visita-del-gobernador/20091009132823, and a teachers walk out before the strike = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2_ba2efD48.
(Please see CEIMSA Bulletin #420, Item C., for more information.)

from Francis Feeley
Date: 21 October 2009
Subject: A homage to Ms. Beatriz Garza, my Spanish teacher at Weslaco High School.

Beatriz Garza 

WESLACO, TX - Beatriz Gerusa Garza, 94, died in her home Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 12:06 p.m., in the presence of loved ones. She is preceded in death by her parents, Joe E. Gerusa and Rosa Weaver Gerusa; her daughter, Gloria Garza Llewellyn; her husband, Eleno Garza and her sister, Mary Helen Manganiello.
She is survived by her son, Jose Marcelo Garza, and daughter-in-law, Teresa Cadena, of Weslaco; by three sisters, Angela Leal and Bertha Elizondo, both of Los Indios, and Dora Reinbold, of Sun City, California; by a brother, Rodolfo Gerusa, and his wife, Joan, of Pacifica, California. She also left behind two grandsons, Jeffrey David Llewellyn, of Phoenix, and James Marcelo Garza-Gerow and his wife Lyza Elaine, of Weslaco; her great-grandson, Ian David Llewellyn, of McAllen, her great-granddaughter, Megan Llewellyn, of Phoenix; and numerous nephews and nieces.
Beatriz was born at El Rancho del Venadito, near Los Indios, Texas, on August 29, 1915. She graduated from Villa Maria High School in Brownsville and completed one year at Texas Southmost College, where she met her future husband, Eleno Garza. She continued her college education at Texas A & I, in Kingsville and began her teaching career before she had completed her degree. She and Eleno married on September 24, 1936, and moved to Weslaco, where they eventually established the Garza Funeral Home. Beatriz later completed her bachelor's degree at Pan American College.
Her long career as an educator began near her home at schools along the Military Highway. She taught first in La Paloma (1935-37), then Landrum School (1937-40), and eventually in Runn (1942-43). In 1942, she also began her career with the Weslaco school district, teaching first at Leoline Horton Elementary School (1942-57) and then at Weslaco High School, where she taught Spanish until her retirement in 1970. In her role as a class sponsor, a sponsor of the National Honor Society, and the Pan American Forum, she formed deep and lasting relationships with numerous students and their families.
In addition to membership in various state and local teaching organizations, Bea, as she was called, remained active for many years in the Business and Professional Women's Club, the Fine Arts Club, and Delta Kappa Gamma. She helped with the Girl Scouts for a few years but is best remembered for her tireless efforts on behalf of the American Cancer Society, including her leadership roles in promoting such activities as the "Great American Smoke Out," "Jail 'N Bail," the "Christmas Open House" parties, as well as meriendas and style shows of regional Mexican costumes. In addition, she was a zealous fundraiser at times for local school projects, for Valley Grande Manor (when her parents lived there), for the Knapp Medical Center Foundation, and for M.D. Anderson hospital. She also served on boards of the Weslaco Library and the Weslaco Bi-Cultural Museum.
Co-founding the San Pablo Presbyterian Church with her husband Eleno ranked as one of her most notable and satisfying achievements. For over forty years, she played an active role there as a teacher, an officer in church organizations, and an organizer of countless church functions.
In recognition of her service as an educator and civic leader, Bea received many honors. She was selected as an Outstanding Educator of America, included in a list of Personalities of the South, and named in the World Who's Who of Women. In 1967, she was selected Weslaco First Lady. The Weslaco Chamber of Commerce chose her as the comadre (and her husband as the compadre) of the 1986 "Diez y Seis Celebration." The Chamber of Commerce also presented her with the Outstanding Citizen Award, for her "many years of unselfish service to Weslaco," in 1982 and again in 1992. In recognition of this achievement and of her work on behalf of the American Cancer Society, the House of Representatives of the Texas state legislature passed a "House Congratulatory Motion" in 1993 commending her service. In 1997, her community bestowed its highest honor on her by giving its newest middle school her name.
After her retirement as a teacher in 1970, Bea's greatest pleasure for many years was having lunch a couple of times a week with a few high school teachers and administrators, most of whom had been her students.
Family, friends, acquaintances, and members of the public can pay their respects on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at Hawkins Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m., with a memorial service from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Visitation will continue on Thursday, October 22, at the San Pablo Presbyterian Chruch, from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. A worship service will begin at 2:00 p.m. Interment at the Weslaco City Cemetery will follow the service.
Pallbearers include Jeffrey David Llewellyn, James Marcelo Garza-Gerow, Ian David Llewellyn, Olivier Van Der Graaff, Rolando Arellano and Anthony Covacevich.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Hawkins Funeral Home of Weslaco.
Her loved ones miss her already and commend her spirit into the hands of her Lord, praying that He will extend all His tender mercies toward her.

Published in The Monitor on October 21, 2009

from Fred Lonidier :
Date: 20 October 2009
Subject: Opening Reception tonight at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions: Ricardo Dominguez Reenactment (Mark Tribe: Port Huron Project).

Ricardo Dominguez
Mark Tribe: Port Huron Project

Exhibition runs October 21 through January 2010
Opening Reception on October 20, 2009
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

LACE is pleased to present Mark Tribe: Port Huron Project, a video installation depicting reenactments of protest speeches from the New Left movement of the Vietnam era. Each reenactment took place at the site of the original speech and was delivered by an actor or performance artist to an audience of invited guests and passers-by.
Drawing upon traditions of political protest, civil rights, and public address, Port Huron Project reenactments traveled across the country and encouraged audience participation and dialogue. Employing actors and artists to restage these radical and historically monumental speeches, the project examines artists' relationships with the roots of American democracy, and the way in which these issues are still relevant today.
"The goal was to use the speeches not just as historical ready-mades or conceptual-art explorations of context, but also as a genuine form of protest, to point out with the help of art how much has changed, yet how much remains the same." - Mark Tribe
Last year, LACE teamed up with Creative Time and Mark Tribe to present Cesar Chavez's 1971 speech We Are Also Responsible at Exposition Park. The documentation of this performance and other Port Huron Project reenactments, including The Liberation of Our People: Angela Davis 1969/2008 and Let Another World Be Born: Stokely Carmichael 1967/2008, were later screened on campuses, in art spaces, and distributed online as an open-source media. Locations included Park Avenue Armory in New York City, the National Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow, and MTV's oversized HD screen in Times Square.
With large-scale video projections, the upcoming installation at LACE will bring these reenactments to life within the exhibition space. This encompassing spectacle will allow viewers to step inside each scene and become a part of the reenactment audience. With evocative declarations and calls to actions, the video reenactments will allow audience members to experience the events that have undoubtedly shaped the world today.
Wednesday - Sunday, noon - 6pm
Friday, noon - 9pm

from Roddey Reid :
Date: 21 October 2009
Subject: The fiscal crisis of public education in California.

Our colleagues Akos Rona-Tas and Gershon Shafir have published an excellent opinion piece in the Oct. 19, 2009 UCSD Guardian urging 
students and their parents to mobilize to defend higher public education in California. I've attached it below.

Roddey Reid

Think big, act political!

The University of California is in its deepest crisis in half a century and every member of the UC community feels the blow. You, students, are especially affected as you will see your tuition rise, your classes grow, wait lists expand, courses disappear, the quality of your education slide and the prestige of your UC diploma slip. But everyone suffers from staff and faculty to the administration. We are in this together.

What went wrong? Is it that UC failed and now needs shock therapy to mend its ways? Hardly. UC is not perfect, but it has been a spectacular success, an engine of economic growth and social equality. UC is considered among the best universities in the world and just this year, two of its current faculty and three of its previous students received Nobel prizes. Is it that UC is like a master carriage maker whose product is excellent just that there are fewer people today who travel by horse and buggy? President Yudof suggested this much in a recent interview arguing that as our country grows older there is less demand for higher education. This may be true elsewhere, but not here in California. In our state, there is no significant drop in college age students in the foreseeable future. Moreover, in California only one in four young people go to four-year colleges and universities compared to one in two Indiana or Massachusetts. In fact, only two states do more poorly than us.

So why is the legislature taking away money from something that works and is in high demand? Where has our money gone? One part of it has gone to healthcare where costs are running amok. If you want to save UC, fight for healthcare reform. Another part of our money has gone to the prison system. In 1977, there were 20,000 prisoners in California, today, thanks to the war on drugs, mandatory sentencing and three-strikes laws, we have 173,000. Even though prison conditions are appalling, the state spends five times as much on an inmate as on your education, and the average prison guard makes as much as an associate professor at UC.

What can be done? There are three options. The first is privatization. That would shift most of the cost of higher education to you, the students. In a fully privatized model, tuition would have to rise to $27,000 to return UC funding to normal levels. There are several ways to moderate this enormous increase by drawing on other private revenue sources, but each has its price and in the end, they would not bring enough money to spare you from a fee increase that is still very large. The second is a 30% cut in enrolment. This is how much less money UC is currently getting from Sacramento. This would be a disaster. Californias already abysmal college-going rate would fall even further, depriving 15,000 students each year of a UC education. Either solution will have a devastating effect on access and diversity.  If we do nothing, some combination of these two options is going to happen.

The third solution is to fight for keeping UC a public institution as it was envisioned by the California Master Plan which is still the law of our state. This fight cannot be fought for UC only, otherwise any extra dollar for UC will have to be taken from elsewhere. That will pit us against CalState, K-12 education, healthcare for poor children and other constituencies, each with its own legitimate needs.  We will be divided and conquered. The only fight with any hope of success is the one for sweeping political change. Think big, act political. There has to be a healthcare reform and a complete overhaul of the criminal justice system. Most importantly, we need a democratic way of deciding about taxes and the budget. Currently, only a two-third majority can decide how much money the state can collect and spend. That leaves the power in the hands of a small, Republican minority that vetoes any public spending unless it involves armed men in uniform. 

It is not public higher education that failed. It is Sacramento that did. We need a better Governor, a better 
legislature and a better state constitution. Our next governor and legislature will be decided next year, so get 
organized and vote. In the meantime, write them and let them know you want public universities protected, and you 
support reasonable ways of increasing state revenue. For instance, as California is the only major oil producing 
state that does not tax oil drilling, a modest tax on drilling would bring in $1-2 billion.  Use the internet to 
find out more about the issues and to connect with other bright, like-minded and resourceful people, here on campus 
and elsewhere.  A good place to start is http://savingucsd.ning.com/ or you can contact your already active fellow 
students at the UCSD Coalition to Save our Futures at ucsdcoalition4future@gmail.com.         
You, students, have much more political power than you think. There are 220,000 of you just at UC and over 2 million in public higher education in California. Once families added, together with your parents you are part of a group that is so large and formidable that Sacramento will take notice.

Akos Rona-Tas, Associate Professor of Sociology
Gershon Shafir, Professor of Sociology

from Council for the National Interest Foundation <cnif@democracyinaction.org> :
Date: 20 October 2009
Subject: This Thursday tune into CNI:Jerusalem Calling w/host Anna Baltzer.


CNI: Jerusalem Calling Thursday October 22nd w/host Anna Baltzer

and guest Micha Kurz, co-founder of Breaking the Silence

Don't miss the next broadcast of CNI: Jerusalem Calling, entitled "Voices from Silence," on Thursday, October 22nd, from 12 noon to 1 pm EST. Host Anna Baltzer will be joined by Micha Kurz, a former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) combat soldier, who attained rank of Master Sergeant. After an honorable discharge from the army Kurz co-founded Breaking the Silence, an organization of former Israeli soldiers speaking out about their service in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

CNI: JERUSALEM CALLING host Anna Baltzer, a Fulbright fellow and Jewish American, traveled to the West Bank to learn about Palestinian life under military occupation.  Her book, Witness in Palestine, reveals Palestine's daily struggles with Jewish settler attacks and roadblocks.  She is currently touring the U.S. speaking about her experiences.

Remember to dial 1-877-474-3302 to participate in the question and answer segment. If the phone lines are busy email your question to radio@cnionline.org
. To listen to the live broadcast visit www.wsradio.com/cni

<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->


Listen to last week's broadcast of CNI: Jerusalem Calling, entitled "The Voices of Jerusalem Women Speak". CNI board member Dr. E. Faye Williams was joined with Jala Andoni, a Christian Palestinian woman living under occupation, and Ruth El-Raz, an Israeli resident of Jerusalem. The panel discussed current turmoil in Jerusalem, the Goldstone Report, and the state of the peace process.

Upcoming Programs:

October 29th:  The show will be hosted by Alison Weir, the founder of If Americans Knew as she discusses the fairness of media reporting on the Middle East. As a freelance journalist, Weir went on an independent investigation to the flashpoints in the West Bank and Gaza rarely visited by American journalists. Since returning to the United States she has spoken on Capitol Hill, to business leaders, at prestigious Washington D.C. think-tanks, and at a multitude of universities.


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 John Gerassi :
Date: 18 October 2009
Subject: "The morning after . . . ."

either my students nor I had any illusions: we voted for Obama because we wanted to see a black man occupy the white house built by black slaves. But we did think that he might keep a few of his campaign promises. Did he not say over and over again that no man was above the law, meaning that he planned to prosecute those neo-cons who hate our Constitution, those who advocated and justified the torture of anyone opposed to their grandiose plans of dominating the world, or at least world trade. We did daydream of seeing Wolfowitz, Feith, Loo, Atkinson, Kagan, Gonzales and their ilk, maybe even Cheney, behind bars. Instead they are reaping millions from lectures, consulting, cushy media slots, and whatnot, while the poor vets they sent to be killed but survived are abandoned, jobless, and miserable, committing suicide at the military's highest rate.

            But, we thought, or rather hoped, that Obama was  surely not a patsy of the big banks. We were wrong there too. Ok, what we really wanted, namely that he nationalize the top six banks, AIG, plus any other insurance company that had profited unethically from their strangle-hold on the poor and the innocent, was not possible in our laissez-faire capitalist system. But he could have pushed for an aid-bill that firmly specified that no institutions, which the government helped to bail out with our taxes, be allowed to grant its officers a single penny of bonus or a salary above $400,000 (which is what Obama gets) until every cent of the bailout plus interest has been returned to the tax payers.

            How did Obama decide to help our weakening economy? By appointing the same culprits who caused it in the first place, namely:

--Robert Rubin as his unofficial primary adviser. Pres. Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury, Rubin opposed regulation of derivatives, causing overexposure of mortgage-backed securities, which in turn helped cause the failure of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Washington Mutual; he pushed Mexico to accept NAFTA which ruined that country, joined Citigroup as top adviser and, with other Citigroup executives, is currently being sued by investors for allegedly selling shares at inflated prices knowing the firm was in trouble; Rubin is a member of Harvard University executive governing board.

--as director of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, the former president of Harvard who was forced to resign for conflict of interest and for claiming that the reason women are almost non-existent in top academic posts is because they just can't think as well as men. Succeeding Rubin, his longtime political mentor, as Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury, Summers helped overturn the New Deal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which had stopped banks from offering commercial banking, insurances, and investment services, thus growing to such a mammoth size that the government could insist that the big ones were too big to fail, letting them get away with loans without collateral, a major cause for our economic near-collapse. Summers also told governments fighting recession to increase their interest rates, which Nobel Timesman Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz vehemently opposed, and successfully campaigned to cut capital gains taxes helping the rich get richer. With Kenneth Lay, the convicted (for theft) boss of Enron, Summers lectured governors to drop regulations on big business.

-- Timothy Franz Geithner, the former president of NY's Federal Reserve Bank, a Rubin protege who had worked for Kissinger Associates, and was under secretary of the Treasury for both Rubin and Summers, then director of Policy Development of the International Monetary Fund, which is hated throughout the Third World for its loans always coupled with huge austerity restrictions that hurt only the poor. In 2008 Geithner arranged the rescue and sale of Bear Stearns to Bank of America and played a key role in bailing out AIG, one of the most disgusting companies in the world, so as to save Goldman Sachs, which held many of AIG's collapsing derivative contracts (alarming the meticulously cautious Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson into implying some kind of back-room shenanigans). Geithner has never helped to bail out small businesses or the thousands of folks who have lost their jobs, their homes and their pensions, nor did he object when Goldman Sachs, to which he managed to funnel  $12.9 billion to erase its exposure, chalked up huge profits and awarded its officers the biggest bonus yet on record up to date..

            Obama's electoral victories (for which he spent $30 billion) were paid by the big corporations and especially the banks, advised by, yes, Geithner and Summers, precisely those who under Bill Clinton convinced the big banks to start their sub-prime lending program. That's why they are now running Obama's economy; he owes them. And they don't care about ordinary people's mortgages: not one borrower who owed $200,000 or less mortgage on his/her home and was defaulting has been saved by Obama, not one. Citibank alone, the major recipient of Obama's "salvage" incentives, had foreclosed on 6200 such homes by June 1st and counting. As Becker and Morgenson revealed in the NY Times last April, Geithner is tied to his mentor Robert Rubin, and to Sanford Weill who pushed Geithner to head Citigroup, and to BlackRock which got a no-bid bailout contract from Geithner when he bossed New York Fed.

            One of Geithner and Summers' "modernization" programs was to shift credit functions outside regulated banks and into a variety of unregulated money pots, " the so-called shadow banking system of hedge-funds and private-equity firm," as William Greider revealed in the Nation magazine (June 24, 2009). "That was the goal of financial deregulation enacted by Bill Clinton."

            These three corporativists have never used their economic training to help the poor, being confirmed believers in the outdated and mostly discarded trickle-down theory of development (and also by FDR),  whereby if the rich invest more and more, the crumbs they discard are bound to help the poor, ignoring what most of the worlds' economists today say that the rich can only get richer by making the poor get poorer.        

            We did hope, my students and I, that Obama would at least put up a real fight to pass a fair and progressive health bill. If not a single payer system which all the developed countries of the world have enacted, and they work very well, at least one with a genuine public option, whereby most of the uninsured could find the medical help they need at a very small cost. In fact most of my students hoped that Obama's "change" would tax the rich to guarantee the poor and unemployed free medical service. Instead, it seems, we are going to get, at best, a very wishy-washy public option paid by the poor. Why couldn't Obama tell the blue-dog democrats that unless they fought for a decent public option, he would personally campaign against them in their next primary. Why, my students asked, is he turning out to be a great speaker who never fights for what he claims to believe, instead endlessly yaps for bi-partisanship which is completely out of the question with these retrograde neanderthals Republicans?

            Nevertheless, my students retained one basic hope: Obama will end America's terrible wars. He will end rendition, torture and the mass murder by drones and vicious military units who were taught, as one veteran said, to never make a difference between their soldiers and their civilians (see the documentary "The Ground Truth"). But no, there too, we were all disappointed. Obama claimed he would stop the war in Iraq because "that war was of choice" meaning it was a cockamamy project of the neocons and their front men, Cheney and Rumsfeld, but not the war in Afghanistan because Taliban attacked us. Every student knows that was an outlandish lie. Al Queda did attack us, and al Queda did set up its training camp in Afghanistan's Pashtun  tribal area, and the Pashtuns  do adhere to a culture that protects its guests. That could allow the US to bomb the camp, but not the country. Besides, Obama knows full well that the Pashtuns  have an aversion to foreigners telling them what to do; they have fought and defeated every invader, from Gangis Khan to the British and the Russians. Bush knew that, so he invited  their leaders to the US, gave them $44 million, and asked them to allow UNOCAL to develop a pipeline through the Khyber Pass. Bush had wanted Ahmad Shah Mansoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance, which had beaten the Taliban in 2001, to be our man in Afghanistan. But Mansoud was too independent; he would gladly work with the US but not take its orders. So Bush asked Taliban's "one-eye" Omar, but got the same answer. Even if Obama did think that  Taliban and al Queda were partners' in crime, does that justify murdering their children, the guests at their marriages, their farmers and goat herders in their fields? The US will never stifle the desires of independence by those it forces to become warriors. The US will never win a war against 45 million independent-minded Pashtuns, but if left alone ordinary Pashtuns who love life and show it in their dances and books,  will eventually defeat the fanatic Taliban, as they did in the 1970s when miniskirted women freely attended Kabul University and American hippies, adventurous Indians, bored European mountain climbers treked absolutely safely from Afghanistan's green gorges to the snow-capped mountains surrounding them.

            Will Obama at least honor his pledge to close down Guantanamo's horrendous prison? He has already said that rendition will continue but only to countries that promise not to torture our prisoners. Come on! Why would we send our prisoners to Egypt or Syria if we didn't want them tortured? Oh, how my students were disappointed by that Obama promise. "He has started to lie, just like Bush," they wailed.

            And now Honduras: first, all senior Honduran military officers are graduates of the Pentagon's School of the Americas, which even Robert Kennedy denounced as the School of Assassins. As Michael Parenti reported accurately: "The Honduran military is trained, advised, equipped, indoctrinated, and financed by the United States national security state. The generals would never have dared to move without tacit consent from the White House or the Pentagon and CIA." And of course the US does not want to lose its favorable trade with Honduras: according to the US Census Bureau in 2008, the US exported $4,846 million worth of goods to Honduras, and imported $4,041. As The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) reported, "within days following coups  in both Mauritania and Madagascar, MCC commitments in Honduras, worth more than $190 million, have not been put on hold," ignoring the law passed by Congress that any coup-makers who overthrows a legally elected democratic government is to be denied any aid until the democratic government is restored. As mustard on theonduras, worth more than $190 million have notHondured, Honduras, worth more than $190 million, have notbeen put on hotdog, the hot-shot lobbyist firms of  The Cormac Group and Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates, which first worked for Sen. McCain, then for Hilary, at the service of AT&T which wanted Honduras' president Zelaya crushed to pieces because he dared to be in favor of publicly-owned  communications systems, are now employed by the Honduran military. And the relish is that Lanny Davis, Hillary's personal friend, has hired out to the Honduran military for a good cut of the $600,000 that it is spending in Washington (according to the DC Post) to convince Congress, the administration, indeed the world that they are not fighting Zelaya but Chavez, winning guffaws of praise by Congress' most fanatic ultraconservative, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, whose top election contributions were from, guess!, AT&T                                       

            The only difference between Bush and Obama, said my students finally last week, seems to be their speeches. That's why Europeans like Obama; they don't care about acts, they care only about words. But, to quote my mentor, Jean-Paul Sartre, it's what you do that determines you, not what you say.


from Edward Herman :
Date: 20 October 2009
Subject: The Iran Versus U.S.-Israeli-NATO Threats.

The Iran Versus U.S.-Israeli-NATO Threats
by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson


From: Al Burke
Date: 18 October 2009
Subject: "Gracias" from Sweden.

Thanks for this and all the other good stuff you circulate. Below, something that you may wish to include with your next mailing.

- - - - -

Sweden: From Neutrality to NATO
by Al Burke

In his 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Harold Pinter excoriated the U.S. empire and noted that it now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course.

Alas, he was misinformed about the honourable exceptionalism of Sweden. Around the same time that the mortally ill Pinter was video-recording his speech, an official of its Defence Ministry correctly observed that Sweden was already so deeply involved in USA/NATO that no one would be able to tell the difference if it were to formally become a member.

As yet, no U.S. military installation has been established within Swedens borders, but that is hardly necessary. The Swedish armed forces are now almost completely incorporated into the USA/NATO system; and joint military exercises are carried out in the air, on the land and in the territorial waters of Sweden with increasing frequency. This past June, for example, a huge area of northern Sweden and adjoining Baltic waters were devoted to a war game that was dubbed Loyal Arrow and clearly aimed at Russia.

The process by which Sweden has been transformed from a comparatively independent nation with a strong peace tradition to just another vassal-state within the U.S. empire is the subject of From Neutrality to NATO, a review of the various large and small steps involved during the period from World War II to the present.

Although the focus is on Sweden, the process reflects some basic trends in Norden and Europe, including the ever-deepening crisis of social democracy and of democracy in general, the furtive methods used by USA/NATO to absorb additional member-states, the complicity of mainstream media, etc.

The historical review is part of a developing movement, in which I am involved, to extricate Sweden from the claws of USA/NATO. We are eager to enlist the advice and support of knowledgeable and sympathetic souls from all over the world -- for our own sake, but also because the fate of Sweden in this matter has potentially large implications for the rest of the world. Anyone who is interested in the issue and would like to learn more is urged to read the review via the links below and/or to contact me at this e-mail address: <samordna@stoppanato.se>  

Best regards,

Al Burke
E-mail: samordna@stoppanato.se

From Neutrality to NATO
Complete document (8.2 MB)

The PDF document can be downloaded in its entirety or in five smaller parts via these links:
Five separate documents

Part 1  (1,7 MB):   http://www.stoppanato.se/utred/steps-1.pdf
Part 2  (1,6 MB):   http://www.stoppanato.se/utred/steps-2.pdf
Part 3  (1,7 MB):   http://www.stoppanato.se/utred/steps-3.pdf
Part 4  (1,8 MB):   http://www.stoppanato.se/utred/steps-4.pdf
Part 5  (1,7 MB):   http://www.stoppanato.se/utred/steps-5.pdf