Friday, October 29, 2004

Postings from Nabil:

1) In a peer-reviewed, scientific survey of

post-invasion Iraq mortality rates, a team estimates
approximately 100,000 additional deaths since the
US/UK invasion. Although the estimate may be a bit
high, it is a credible estimate. It is quite a bit
higher than the previous amount of 16,000 NAMED
civilian deaths. Now we know why the Pentagon doesn't
issue estimates of Iraqi dead.

Below is the Lancet article, and the accompanying

This is a New Republic interview with those who
produced the survey:

See Juan Cole's analysis of the numbers:

2) Voices of Iraq -- this team of documentary
filmmakers attempted to film Iraqis 'as they would
tell the story themselves.' There is a clear and
obvious pro-invasion bias to the selections aired on
the 6 minute segment posted here online. The segments
are real enough, but the selection bias is transparent
-- Iraqi children did not magically want to become
doctors after the invasion, and a lot of the optimism
for the future and pro-American sentiment displayed in
some of the footage is probably accurate for May-June
2003 and would no longer be evident:

3) This video is a must see for anti-Bush humor:

4) This is a web-site for tracking alternative news
sources (as if you haven't found enough already...):

5) New Democrat Network (NDN) Spanish Election Ads:

6) Here is an academic article appearing in Ethics &
International Affairs, concerning the contraction of
humanitarian space in recent years:

7) Here's a novel approach to get out the vote:

The body politic
How do you get young Americans to vote? By promising
sexual ecstasy in return. The lure of
has led over 25,000 people to the ballot box
By Jennifer Fried
28 October 2004

As the election draws nearer, the four co-founders of
a web-based, youth activist group gather in a flat in
Manhattan for their weekly meeting. Chairs are pulled
into a circle, iPods and mobiles are set aside. The
attendants are well-groomed and academic-looking.
Snacks are going around. The host, a 23-year-old
publicity assistant named Julie Binder, sits barefoot
on the floor, occasionally taking notes on a laptop...

8) Is Florida dirty tricks on their way back?

Seeing red in Florida
Four years after the biggest voting debacle in U.S.
history, many suspect that GOP officials in the
crucial state are planning dirty tricks again.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Farhad Manjoo
Oct. 15, 2004 | MIAMI --

"I'll tell you an interesting story about lawyer
recruitment," says Stephen Zack, the smooth-talking
Miami attorney leading John Kerry's army of election
lawyers in Florida. "When I first started to do this a
few months ago, I sent out an e-mail to 50 lawyers I'd
worked with around the state asking for help," he
said. "I got 65 yes answers, from 50 e-mails. They'd
sent it on to friends saying, 'I got this e-mail. You
ought to get involved.'" With a typical pro-bono
query, Zack estimates, he might get a 10 percent reply
rate. But this isn't just any pro-bono job. Zack needs
smart attorneys to work on the thorny legal questions
that could arise on Election Day, amidst the tight
election returns everyone expects in this state. Zack
won't say exactly how many lawyers he's recruited to
work for Kerry on Nov. 2, but local media have
reported the number at around 2,000. "There isn't a
day that I don't walk down the street here in downtown
Miami that I don't have a lawyer come up to me and
volunteer," he says...

9) And now, a message from our Great Leader:

10) This is a great analysis about why Eminem's video
is so perfect. Yesterday it hit #1 on MTV.

11) From a reader:

...I hope that American women are horrified to the
treatment of their Grandmothers, and it is so
reflective of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib and so
much abuse by power, I hope these shocking
descriptions create leaps of history and culture etc
so we may see that the abuse of one is the abuse of

What do you think we should do if the elections are as
bogus as they seem to be? What is the next course of
political action? Anyone responding to this or are we
all just stunned and overwhelmed by the implications?

12) Adventure Capitalism:

(Original appeared in Znet..)
Web| Oct 27, 2004
View From The USA

Why were Iraqi elections delayed? Why was Jay Garner
fired? Why are American troops still there? New
uncovered documents answer these questions and more
about the Bush administration's grand designs on Iraq.


In February 2003, a month before the U.S. invasion of
Iraq, a 101-page document came my way from somewhere
within the U.S. State Department. Titled pleasantly,
"Moving the Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Growth," it
was part of a larger under-wraps program called "The
Iraq Strategy."

The Economy Plan goes boldly where no invasion plan
has gone before: the complete rewrite, it says, of a
conquered state's "policies, laws and regulations."
Here's what you'll find in the Plan: A highly detailed
program, begun years before the tanks rolled, for
imposing a new regime of low taxes on big business,
and quick sales of Iraq's banks and bridges-in fact,
"ALL state enterprises"-to foreign operators. There's
more in the Plan, part of which became public when the
State Department hired consulting firm to track the
progress of the Iraq makeover. Example: This is likely
history's first military assault plan appended to a
program for toughening the target nation's copyright

And when it comes to oil, the Plan leaves nothing to
chance-or to the Iraqis. Beginning on page 73, the
secret drafters emphasized that Iraq would have to
"privatize" (i.e., sell off) its "oil and supporting
industries." The Plan makes it clear that-even if we
didn't go in for the oil-we certainly won't leave
without it.

If the Economy Plan reads like a Christmas wishlist
drafted by U.S. corporate lobbyists, that's because it

>From slashing taxes to wiping away Iraq's tariffs
(taxes on imports of U.S. and other foreign goods),
the package carries the unmistakable fingerprints of
the small, soft hands of Grover Norquist.

Norquist is the capo di capi of the lobbyist army of
the right. In Washington every Wednesday, he hosts a
pow-wow of big business political operatives and
right-wing muscle groups-including the Christian
Coalition and National Rifle Association-where
Norquist quarterbacks their media and legislative
offensive for the week.

Once registered as a lobbyist for Microsoft and
American Express, Norquist today directs Americans for
Tax Reform, a kind of trade union for billionaires
unnamed, pushing a regressive "flat tax" scheme.

Acting on a tip, I dropped by the super-lobbyist's
L-Street office. Below a huge framed poster of his
idol ("NIXON- NOW MORE THAN EVER"), Norquist could not
wait to boast of moving freely at the Treasury,
Defense and State Departments, and, in the White
House, shaping the post-conquest economic plans-from
taxes to tariffs to the "intellectual property rights"
that I pointed to in the Plan.

Norquist wasn't the only corporate front man getting a
piece of the Iraq cash cow. Norquist suggested the
change in copyright laws after seeking the guidance of
the Recording Industry Association of America.

And then there's the oil. Iraq-born Falah Aljibury
was in on the drafting of administration blueprints
for the post-Saddam Iraq. According to Aljibury, the
administration began coveting its Mideast neighbor's
oil within weeks of the Bush-Cheney inauguration, when
the White House convened a closed committee under the
direction of the State Department's Pam Wainwright.
The group included banking and chemical industry men,
and the range of topics over what to do with a
post-conquest Iraq was wide. In short order, said
Aljibury, "It became an oil group."

This was not surprising as the membership list had a
strong smell of petroleum. Besides Aljibury, an oil
industry consultant, the secret team included
executives from Royal-Dutch Shell and ChevronTexaco.
These and other oil industry bigs would, in 2003,
direct the drafting of a 300-page addendum to the
Economy Plan solely about Iraq's oil assets.The oil
section of the Plan, obtained after a year of
wrestling with the administration over the Freedom of
Information Act, calls for Iraqis to sell off to
"IOCs" (international oil companies) the nation's
"downstream" assets-that is, the refineries, pipelines
and ports that, unless under armed occupation, a
Mideast nation would be loathe to give up.

The General Versus Annex D

One thing stood in the way of rewriting Iraq's laws
and selling off Iraq's assets: the Iraqis. An insider
working on the plans put it coldly: "They have [Deputy
Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz coming out saying
it's going to be a democratic country . but we're
going to do something that 99 percent of the people of
Iraq wouldn't vote for."

In this looming battle between what Iraqis wanted and
what the Bush administration planned for them, the
Iraqis had an unexpected ally, Gen. Jay Garner, the
man appointed by our president just before the
invasion as a kind of temporary Pasha to run the
soon-to-be conquered nation.

Garner's an old Iraq hand who performed the benevolent
autocratic function in the Kurdish zone after the
first Gulf War. But in March 2003, the general made
his big career mistake. In Kuwait City, fresh off the
plane from the United States, he promised Iraqis they
would have free and fair elections as soon as Saddam
was toppled, preferably within 90 days.

Garner's 90-days-to-democracy pledge ran into a hard
object: The Economy Plan's 'Annex D.' Disposing of a
nation's oil industry-let alone redrafting trade and
tax laws-can't be done in a weekend, nor in 90 days.
Annex D lays out a strict 360-day schedule for the
free-market makeover of Iraq. And there's the rub: It
was simply inconceivable that any popularly elected
government would let America write its laws and
auction off the nation's crown jewel, its petroleum

Elections would have to wait. As lobbyist Norquist
explained when I asked him about the Annex D
timetable, "The right to trade, property rights, these
things are not to be determined by some democratic
election." Our troops would simply have to stay in
Mesopotamia a bit longer.

New World Orders 12, 37, 81 and 83

Gen. Garner resisted-which was one of the reasons for
his swift sacking by Secretary of State Donald
Rumsfeld on the very night he arrived in Baghdad last
April. Rummy had a perfect replacement ready to wing
it in Iraq to replace the recalcitrant general. Paul
Bremer may not have had Garner's experience on the
ground in Iraq, but no one would question the
qualifications of a man who served as managing
director of Kissinger Associates.

Pausing only to install himself in Saddam's old
palace-and adding an extra ring of barbed wire-"Jerry"
Bremer cancelled Garner's scheduled meeting of Iraq's
tribal leaders called to plan national elections.
Instead, Bremer appointed the entire government
himself. National elections, Bremer pronounced, would
have to wait until 2005. The extended occupation would
require our forces to linger.

The delay would, incidentally, provide time needed to
lock in the laws, regulations and irreversible sales
of assets in accordance with the Economy Plan.

On that, Bremer wasted no time. Altogether, the leader
of the Coalition Provisional Authority issued exactly
100 orders that remade Iraq in the image of the
Economy Plan. In May, for example, Bremer-only a month
from escaping out Baghdad's back door-took time from
fighting the burgeoning insurrection to sign orders
81-"Patents,"and 83, "Copyrights." Here, Grover
Norquist's hard work paid off. Fifty years of
royalties would now be conferred on music recording.
And 20 years on Windows code.

Order number 37, "Tax Strategy for 2003," was
Norquist's dream come true: taxes capped at 15 percent
on corporate and individual income (as suggested in
the Economy Plan, page 8). The U.S. Congress had
rejected a similar flat-tax plan for America, but in
Iraq, with an electorate of one-Jerry Bremer-the
public's will was not an issue.

Not everyone felt the pain of this reckless rush to a
free market. Order 12, "Trade Liberalization,"
permitted the tax- and tariff-free import of foreign
products. One big winner was Cargill, the world's
largest grain merchant, which flooded Iraq with
hundreds of thousands of tons of wheat. For Iraqi
farmers, already wounded by sanctions and war, this
was devastating. They could not compete with the U.S.
and Australian surplusses dumped on them. But the
import plan carried out the letter of the Economy

This trade windfall for the West was enforced by the
occupation's agriculture chief, Dan Amstutz, himself
an import from the United States. Prior to George Bush
taking office, Amstutz chaired a company funded by

There's no sense cutting taxes on big business,
ordering 20 years of copyright payments for Bill
Gates' operating system or killing off protections for
Iraqi farmers if some out-of-control Iraqi government
is going to take it away after an election. The shadow
governors of Iraq back in Washington thought of that,
too. Bremer fled, but he's left behind him nearly 200
American "experts," assigned to baby-sit each new
Iraqi minister-functionaries also approved by the U.S.
State Department.

The Price: The free market paradise in Iraq is not

After General Garner was deposed, I met with him in
Washington. He had little regard for the Economy Plan
handed to him three months before the tanks rolled. He
especially feared its designs on Iraq's oil assets and
the delay in handing Iraq back to Iraqis. "That's one
fight you don't want to take on," he told me.

But we have. After a month in Saddam's palace, Bremer
cancelled municipal elections, including the crucial
vote about to take place in Najaf. Denied the ballot,
Najaf's Shi'ites voted with bullets. This April,
insurgent leader Moqtada Al Sadr's militia killed 21
U.S. soldiers and, for a month, seized the holy city.

"They shouldn't have to follow our plan," the general
said. "It's their country, their oil." Maybe, but not
according to the Plan. And until it does become their
country, the 82nd Airborne will have to remain to keep
it from them.

13) Here is a field report I wrote coming out of Iraq
in June 2003. Note how chaotic the situation was -- I
for one am not at all surprised that 385 tons of
explosives were looted. In another message (which I
couldn't find), I told a friend that I thought
whatever threat Iraq posed was now gradually making
its way to the West on the back of a truck.
Vindication? Maybe:

3 June 2003
Iraq Field Report
Nabil Al-Tikriti

On 25-31 May I visited Baghdad, attended a number of
ORHA/UN/NGO meetings, interviewed several officials,
and visited a number of locations throughout the city.
Due to time limitations, I was unable to extend this
visit beyond Baghdad. Here are some points:

A) Paul Bremer’s ORHA (now re-named the CPA, or
Coalition Provisional Authority) is completely cut off
from its surroundings. There are ca. 1200
(overwhelmingly American) members of this government,
all ensconced within the American (formerly
Republican) Palace complex. Staff members do not
venture much outside their palace, and appear to spend
most of their time designing a government on paper,
meeting with those Iraqis allowed into the palace,
offering utopian PowerPoint presentations to each
other, and fighting over their virtual turf. When the
contractors start pouring into the country in the next
few weeks, it will be interesting to see how this
dynamic evolves.

B) Outside the American Palace, Iraqis run their
society themselves. This has meant the de-facto
instant privatization of what was previously a
completely centralized system. GOI departments now
charge for services previously offered for free – most
notably the central pharmacies in each governorate.
As most are refusing to pay, nothing much is getting

C) While the American Palace claims to be acting as
“trustee” for Iraqi democracy, they are in fact making
all important decisions without the slightest degree
of consultation with local actors. In one meeting, a
US official explained how “we” had simplified the
civil service pay scale in the interests of
“monetization of government services,” and then stated
10 minutes later (concerning a separate administrative
matter) that “of course the final decision rests with
the Iraqis themselves.” The modus operandi appears to
be: make a decision, and then find some Iraqi to sign
off on it.

D) Although the upper-level ORHA administrators often
combine the best traditions of arrogant American
naivete with old-fashioned European imperialism,
mid-level US military Civil Affairs officers often
appear to be eager, resourceful, friendly,
co-operative, supportive, and critical of their own
governmental policies. The lower-level US soldiers
wonder why they’re guarding a street corner in a dust
storm, why everyone hates them, why one of them is
being killed every other day, and when they’re going
home. Iraqis wonder the same.

E) Yesterday it was reported that the “Iraqi Interim
Authority” (the name keeps changing) was to be
expanded from 7 members (Barzani, Talabani, Hakim,
Chalabi, Allawi, Chaderchi, and ?) to 25-30 members –
all appointed by Bremer. While this move would widen
the circle of consultation, it would also dilute the
coherence of the body. The additional members have
not yet been announced, and the mandate of this body
has also not been clarified. Several political
factions have come out against this latest decree,
insisting on Iraq’s right to, uh, democracy.

F) This week it was also reported that “it may be as
long as a year until an Iraqi authority emerges,” due
primarily to issues of security and reconstruction.
Iraqis insist that US authorities are intentionally
allowing insecurity and blocking reconstruction in
order to create an artificial Iraqi dependence on the
US presence. A US Civil Affairs Officer, however,
commented that “it would be a lot easier to restore
electricity if people would stop looting the
facilities after we repair them.” Whatever the case,
the situation is not yet stable.

G) On 16 May, ORHA abolished the Ba’ath Party and
barred middle and upper-level members from public
employment. While there are many unpleasant
characters who should be barred from public office, in
most cases such individuals are actively opposed by
the Iraqis themselves (as was the case with the
ORHA-appointed Ba’athist Minister of Health, whose
appointment was rescinded after 2 days of doctors’
protests). Many party members, however, are popular
and effective technocrats, professors, doctors, etc.
In addition, this “de-Ba’athification” does nothing to
extend the “de-Saddamization” which the Iraqis really

H) Today it was reported that US military units are
preparing to “take full control” of Falluja and
Habbaniya. It was also reported that helicopter
patrols would increase in intensity throughout the

I) Last week ORHA rationalized the civil servant
salary scale to 5 pay scales, ranging from ca. 100
USD/month to ca. 500 USD/month. This new scale
amounted to a 10 times increase in the salary of the
lowest grades, and a ca. 40 percent cut in the salary
of the highest grades. The announcement rendered
public all governmental pay scales in the interest of
transparency – although ORHA salaries are not a matter
of public record. The decree also monetized all
compensation through the abolition of extra perks such
as cars, flats, health benefits, special shopping
venues, etc. Of course, the lower pay scales (guards,
cleaners, drivers, etc.) were thrilled at their new
salary. April salaries were due to be paid on 31 May,
but I have heard no confirmation concerning whether
they were in fact paid.

J) Within the past 10 days, ORHA abolished the
Ministries of Defense, Information, and Interior, as
well as all intelligence services. This measure
rendered unemployed at least 400,000 individuals
(mostly male). Within two days of the announcement
there were 15-20 attacks on US soldiers, after which
ORHA clarified that there would be some sort of
arrangement concerning military pay. This week 3000
demobilized soldiers marched on the American Palace
demanding their salaries. Some commentators are
warning of a serious decline in rural security due to
this measure alone. I heard a couple of Iraqis mumble
“wait till July (the traditional month of

K) The health situation is manageable to date, but
there are indications that it will decline over the
summer – the period of peak case loads anyway
(especially with cholera). Although estimates vary,
there are said to be 2-3 weeks of known pharmaceutical
stocks in most hospitals – in addition to unknown
secret supplies “out back.” Kamidia, the state
pharmaceutical distributor in Baghdad, is said to have
had large stocks of drugs on hand, but is either
charging for shipments or simply not disbursing drugs
to the provinces. In the provinces, governorate
central pharmacies are doing the same. As drug stocks
decline, hospitals are seeing more incidents of armed
individuals demanding treatment for their sick or
wounded relatives. This in turn has led to increased
security measures at hospital entrances.

L) Public services like water, electricity, and
telecommunications are still not adequately restored.
In Baghdad, the electric supply appears to be roughly
50% coverage, which is complicating the water supply,
food storage, and night time security. In many
neighborhoods it is now possible to call within a
switchboard exchange, but not outside the exchange.
As a result, Thuraya phones are in use everywhere.

M) Due to the complete lack of customs, taxation,
registration, visas, etc, a lot of unregulated
importation of vehicles, satellite dishes, thuraya
phones, etc is evident. Iraqi passports, vehicle
registration plates, ID’s, etc can all be purchased on
the open market.

N) Women do not drive due to security concerns
related to widespread carjacking. In fact, women do
not venture outside of their homes much at all. In a
post-war society where as much as 55% of the
population might be female, this is quite an anomaly.
Women who do venture outside are now harassed over
clothing, which was never a problem before the war.

O) Gas stations continue to have lines well over a
kilometre long. Most of those waiting in line are
either taxi drivers or entrepreneurs re-selling their
gas on the black market. Gas at the pump is now 50
ID/litre (ca. 5 US cents/litre or 20 US cents/gallon),
while gas on the black market (guys on the side of the
road with jerry cans) was 200-250 ID/litre. Every day
CPA officials briefed the NGO’s on refinery capacity,
which was experiencing serious bottlenecks.
Meanwhile, employees of the state-owned “Southern Oil
Company” in Basra have reportedly been barred from
their place of work since the end of the war by
“Americans” – and then paid not to work. If accurate,
these would be the only GOI employees paid their
salaries so far.

P) On a positive note, there are now at least 55
weekly newspapers and 4-5 daily newspapers. This
media is absolutely free – with some wacky results.

14) Here is an old letter I wrote (but never sent) in
response to a article in March 2003, blaming
Nader voters for causing 9/11, Gore's defeat, and the
US/UK invasion of Iraq. What's interesting about the
letter is the difference the Dean campaign -- and
events -- has made on the Democratic party stance
since that time. On that note, Kerry just said a
one-sided statement concerning "the rights of Israelis
to live in a secure state" -- with no mention of
parallel Palestinian rights a week after 100+
Palestinians died in a military incursion in Gaza. If
Kerry wants the Arab-American and Muslim voters to
turn out Tuesday (concentrated in Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Michigan, and Florida), just SHUT UP about Israeli
rights this weekend:

"To have Mr. Taylor blame Nader voters for the current
predicament reverses responsibility. It is the
Democratic party's responsibility to earn votes, not
its prerogative to blame voters for refusing to have
their vote taken for granted in the interests of
professional party ambition.

Don't blame this Nader voter for Iraq, Mr. Taylor --
I've been on the ramparts for months now, while most
of our well-meaning but spineless career Democrats
voted in support of Bush's foreign policy agenda until
hundreds of thousands of protesters persuaded them to
at least ride the fence. Just this week, Mr. Edwards
had the gall to say that if he were in office, he
would do just what Mr. Bush is doing, only better.

Who in the Democratic Party voted against the
Congressional resolution last fall authorizing Bush to
use force against Iraq? Who in the Democratic Party
voted against the USA Patriot Act? Those who did
would have the right to blame Nader voters for not
supporting them. How did Lieberman vote? Edwards?
Daschle? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly
confident that each of them voted for these and other
absolutely abominable resolutions since 2001 -- and
their acts are what counts, not the name of their
party. So, to have a Democratic apparatchik like
yourself blame Nader voters for Iraq when his own
party allowed Bush to mobilize troops and implement
his agenda last fall is the height of Stalinist

It is the Democratic Party's responsibility to find
responsible leadership (and Edwards just disqualified
himself), not voters' responsibility to succumb to a
benevolent corporate oligarchy by providing a positive
endorsement to someone they violently disagree with.

When you provide your vote to an individual or a
party, that is a positive extension of your "personal
capital" or "personal resources" for that individual
or system to utilize. If the system presents you with
no choice that you can positively endorse in this
fashion, then you have every right to vote third
party, or refrain from voting.

That is one reason voter turnout continues to fall.
It is not only because people are apathetic (although
that is true for most), it is also because people are
actively alienated from the choices our system
provides them -- and refuse to provide the system the
positive justification it craves and needs. Call it
"passive-aggressive resistance."

In 2000, I was presented with two choices that
actively alienated me, and a third choice that I could
actively support. If I had submitted to party
calculations -- in 2000 -- then that would render me
an active supporter of those I detested. Ethically, I
could not do so.

In 2004, it will be the responsibility of the
Democratic party to find a ticket that people like me
(at least 5-10% of the electorate) can vote for
without betraying their personal ethics. Nader voters
will not be intimidated into voting for someone they
cannot ethically support in order to stop someone they
detest. For example, after Edwards' pro-war statement
this week, I would vote for Nader to stop Edwards as
well as Bush.

What the Democratic Party needs to remember is that
politicians work for us, not vice-versa. Mr. Taylor's
attitude is the functional equivalent of Bush's "if
you're not with us, you're against us" approach. No,
I will not service your ambition, and I will not
follow your orders any more than I will follow Bush's.
You want my vote? I suggest you earn it the
old-fashioned way."

15) Arab-American vote analyzed in The Nation:

16) Election-Appropriate Quotes:
“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief
energies to trying to prove that the other party is
unfit to rule -- and both commonly succeed, and are
- H. L. Mencken

“I could think of no worse example for nations abroad,
who for the first time were trying to put free
electoral procedures into effect, than that of the
United States wrangling over the results of our
presidential election, and even suggesting that the
presidency itself could be stolen by thievery at the
ballot box.”
- Thomas Jefferson

“It's not the hand that signs the laws that holds the
destiny of America. It's the hand that casts the
- Harry S. Truman

“Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who
count the votes decide everything.”
- Josef Stalin

“Politicians do not have an easy life. Somebody is
always interrupting it with an election.”
- Will Rogers

“You don't make the poor richer by making the rich
- Sir Winston Churchill

“Our elections are free; it's in the results where
eventually we pay.”
- Bill Stern

“Half of the American people never read a newspaper.
Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the
same half.”
- Gore Vidal

“Politicians are the same the world over: they promise
to build a bridge even when there is no river.”
- Nikita Khrushchev

“Any attempt to replace a personal conscience by a
collective conscience does violence to the individual
and is the first step toward totalitarianism.”
- Herman Hesse

“The Democrats are the party that promises government
will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the
crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party
that says government doesn't work and then they get
elected and prove it.”
- P. J. O'Rourke

“I wouldn't call it fascism exactly, but a political
system nominally controlled by an irresponsible,
dumbed down electorate who are manipulated by
dishonest, cynical, controlled mass media that
dispense the propaganda of a corrupt political
establishment can hardly be described as democracy
- Edward Zehr

“On 'Meet the Press' yesterday President Bush was
asked what he would do if he lost the election and
Bush said, ''Phhh, you mean like last time?”
- Jay Leno

“You see the pictures in the paper today of John Kerry
windsurfing? He's at his home in Nantucket this week,
doing his favorite thing, windsurfing. Even his hobby
depends on which way the wind blows.”
- Jay Leno

“When I die, I want to be buried in Chicago so I can
still be active in politics.”
- Rep. Charlie Rangel

“Select capable men from all the people--men who fear
God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain--and
appoint them as rulers…”
- Exodus 18:21

“Ironically, the possibility that the President dodged
his military service has increased his approval
ratings with Democrats by 80 percent.”
- Craig Kilborn

“Now majority rule is a precious, sacred thing worth
dying for. But, like other precious, sacred’s not only worth dying for, it can make
you wish you were dead. Imagine if all life were
determined by majority rule. Every meal would be a
- P. J. O’Rourke

“Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people
who don't vote.”
- William Simon

“Don't vote. You'll only encourage them.”
- Unknown

“In America, anybody can be president. That's one of
the risks we take.”
- Adlai Stevenson


The Honorable Arthur A. Morrell cordially
Requests your presence at a fundraiser
For his campaign for the
United States Senate
Friday, October 29th, 2004
7 pm - 10 pm
The Tricou House
711 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

To RSVP or make your contribution
Call: 504 943 9374 or 504 616 4563
Mail: 2601 LePage, Ste. 202
New Orleans, LA 70119

18) Joseph Massad, contd:

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Wednesday, October 27, 2004

U.S. Lawmaker Urges Columbia U. to Fire Critic of

A U.S. congressman has demanded that Columbia
University fire a nontenured professor of Arab
politics who has been an outspoken critic of Israel.
The congressman, Anthony D. Weiner, a New York
Democrat up for re-election on Tuesday, said that
Joseph A. Massad had crossed a line "between vigorous
debate and discussion, and hate."

Fellow academics have come to the professor's defense
and have circulated a petition calling on Lee C.
Bollinger, Columbia's president, to "issue a
categorical statement in defense of Professor Massad
and against this campaign of defamation."

The dispute comes at a time when the discipline of
Middle East studies has come under fire from critics
who have denounced the programs as anti-American and
anti-Israel. At Columbia the controversy came to a
head last week after editorials in the New York Sun
and Daily News reported that in a yet-to-be released
documentary, Columbia students complain of anti-Israel
sentiment among faculty members. Professor Massad is
reportedly mentioned in the film.

"Massad is alleged to have likened Israel to Nazi
Germany, said that Israel doesn't have the right to
exist as a Jewish state, and asked an Israeli student,
'How many Palestinians have you killed?' and then
refused to allow the student to ask questions,"
Representative Weiner said last week in a statement in
which he accused the professor of using his classroom
to espouse anti-Semitic views.

In a letter he sent to Mr. Bollinger last week, the
congressman wrote: "Recent events continue to suggest
a disturbing trend in which Columbia's administration
has not been sensitive to issues of race. By publicly
rebuking anti-Semitic events on campus and terminating
Professor Massad, Columbia would make a brave
statement in support of tolerance and academic

"There's nothing wrong with having a debate about the
Middle East or a debate about politics in general,"
Representative Weiner told The Chronicle. "But when
you deal with students in the way this professor did,
and make comments that this professor did, it's clear
that's beyond debate. It has become harmful."

The lawmaker, who represents Brooklyn and Queens, said
he was not aware of whether Mr. Massad had denied
making the remarks. "So far the professor's defenders
have just argued as a college professor you have the
right to say any outrageous, hateful thing you want,
and I disagree with that," he said.

Mr. Massad, an assistant professor in the Middle East
and Asian languages and cultures department, did not
immediately respond to e-mail and telephone messages
seeking comment.

"The university does not condone anti-Semitic behavior
and _expression of any kind," said Susan M. Brown, a
spokeswoman for Columbia. "We take very seriously any
concerns raised by a congressman and respond to them."

The allegations prompted Mr. Bollinger to release a
statement last week on the university's policy on
academic integrity and freedom of _expression, saying
that Columbia is committed to upholding both. "At the
same time, we believe that the principle of academic
freedom is not unlimited," he said. "It does not, for
example, extend to protecting behavior in the
classroom that threatens or intimidates students for
expressing their viewpoints or that uses the classroom
as a means of political indoctrination."

Mr. Bollinger said he asked Alan Brinkley, the
university's provost, and Nicholas Dirks, vice
president of arts and sciences, to work with
Columbia's deans and chairmen to review the grievance
processes in place for professors and students so that
those "who feel they have experienced classroom
threats or intimidation have a place where their
complaints will be addressed."

More than 700 people, mainly faculty members from all
over the world, have signed a petition that Neville
Hoad, an assistant professor of English at the
University of Texas at Austin, circulated to support
Mr. Massad. The two attended graduate school at
Columbia together in the 1990s.

"Professor Massad has never been notified that any
student in any of his classes has ever lodged a formal
complaint about his teaching with the Columbia
administration," Mr. Hoad wrote in an e-mail message
to The Chronicle. He declined to be interviewed by
phone, citing "the generally poisonous atmosphere
around this issue."

What is happening to his colleague, he wrote, "strikes
at the heart of academic freedom and university
self-governance, and therefore it is crucial that the
academic community at large respond."

Rashid Khalidi, director of Columbia's Middle East
Institute, signed the petition. "Unsubstantiated
accusations are being used for a witch hunt," he told
The Chronicle. "You can't try somebody in the court of
public opinion."

He said it was an academic matter that the university
should deal with. "I would be very unhappy if students
did feel they couldn't bring issues they have around
these kinds of matters to a university forum," he
said, "but I do worry about faculty being

Mona Baker, a professor of translation studies at the
University of Manchester's Institute of Science and
Technology, posted the petition on her Web site
(, and urged academics to
sign. She wrote that Mr. Massad "is the target of a
new and particularly vicious attack by the pro-Israel
lobby in the States, aimed at getting him dismissed
and destroying his highly promising career." She said
that she knows him "personally" and called him "a man
of dazzling scholarship, academic and personal
integrity, and a tireless advocate for peace with
justice in the Middle East."

Two years ago, Ms. Baker, who owns St. Jerome
Publishing, an academic press specializing in
translation studies, dismissed two Israeli scholars
from the boards of academic journals published by her
company, which is British. Ms. Baker said she
dismissed them as part of an academic boycott of

Mr. Hoad sent the petition to Columbia's president
Tuesday and said that he has never met Ms. Baker and
has no affiliation with her but is "grateful" for her
help in circulating the petition.

Ms. Brown said she didn't know whether Columbia
officials had received the petition, but said that the
university was "very appreciative of people taking the
time to let us know their concerns. We do take them

Copyright ) 2004 by The Chronicle of Higher Education

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