Phyllis Bennis – USA

Linked with the Institute for Policy Studies IPS, and with the Transnational Institute TNI (appears on March 27).

Fellow Phyllis Bennis is in charge of the New Internationalism Project at IPS. The Middle East component of the Project challenges the drive towards U.S. empire in that region and beyond, focusing particularly on ending the U.S. war and occupation in Iraq, and supporting a just and comprehensive peace based on an end to Israeli occupation of Palestine. The United Nations component analyzes U.S. domination of the UN and attempts to strengthen the potential role of the UN as part of a new internationalism and the global resistance to empire. Since September 11, 2001, the New Internationalism Project has also been involved in assessing the root causes of, and critiquing Bush administration responses to, that tragedy.
Phyllis is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She has been a writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years. While working as a journalist at the United Nations during the run-up to the 1990-91 Gulf War, she began working on U.S. domination of the UN, and stayed involved in work on Iraq sanctions and disarmament, and later U.S. war and occupation in Iraq. In 1999, Phyllis accompanied a group of congressional aides to Iraq to examine the impact of U.S.-led economic sanctions on humanitarian conditions there, and later joined former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, who resigned his position as Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq to protest the impact of sanctions, in a speaking tour. In 2001 she helped found and currently co-chairs the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation. She works closely with the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, and since 2002 has played an active role in the growing global peace movement. (on IPS /about /staff).

Phyllis Bennis, author and senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies speaks to Paul Jay about Obama’s plan for withdrawal as the war in Iraq marks its sixth year anniversary. She says, “the Obama administration has a commitment to a major reduction in the size of the occupation,” but continues, “I am less convinced that there is a real commitment to a real withdrawal” … (watch this video, 16.39 min, March 23, 2009).

… Her latest book is “Challenging Empire: How People, Governments and the U.N. Defy U.S. Power” (Interlink, 2005). The Institute for Policy Studies is a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C.


Phyllis Bennis – USA

Watch these videos:

Author and activist Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies will speak in the Senate Chambers (Tivoli 329) on Wednesday, April 11, at 1:00. She will be discussing U.S. policy toward Iraq, Iran and other countries in the Middle East. (on aurariasds.blogspot).

… Mozgovaya neither showed up nor sent her regrets, however, and Barghouti, who was in Ramallah, initially couldn’t be reached by phone. So Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, spoke to the nearly full room of mostly new faces, as Peace Café co-founder Andy Shallal tried to reach Barghouti … (full text, March 2009).

Find her and her publications on; on Zmag; on amazon; on Google Video-search; on Google Group-search; on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Blog-search.

… Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies writes, “War production doesn’t create real economic health.” We account for approximately half of all global military spending. Our military budget is larger than what the next 45 nations together spend, much wasted on fantasy weapons like Reagan’s silly missile defense system or outmoded weapons systems like aircraft-carrier battle groups. Meanwhile, the infrastructure deteriorates. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave it a grade of D. Thirty-five million citizens go hungry or face hunger on a regular basis. Forty-five million people have no health insurance and millions more don’t have enough. But we throw away trillions on war, especially the war on terror, which, as Meriam Pemberton of the Institute for Policy Studies and Lawrence Korb write, “is one that is not working (while) diplomacy, peacekeeping, and international police work are the ones that are” … (full text, March 11, 2009).

The Gaza Crisis, Phyllis Bennis, December 28, 2008.

… Obama is no patsy. He has practical reasons for his desire to move on. First of all, he’s sending more U.S. troops in Afghanistan — a poorly thought-out plan, argue Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) contributors Farrah Hassen and Phyllis Bennis — and any discussion of U.S. war crimes would complicate his mission. Moreover, any investigation of U.S. conduct in Iraq would run up against the uncomfortable truth that a large number of folks in Obama’s party favored the invasion. A Predator strike on the Republican opposition, in other words, would cause collateral damage on the Democrats. This collective responsibility relates to the second problem: The legal case for war crimes isn’t a slam dunk. Unlike the Nuremberg trials against the Nazis, lawyers can’t make the argument that the government that authorized the invasion of Iraq was an illegitimate one. “The legislature and the courts continued to function according to the constitution, even though the president tried to shield his actions and those of his administration from review,” writes Foreign Policy In Focus contributor Robert Pallitto in Prosecuting the Bush Team? “In several instances — authorizing military action against Iraq, detainee treatment, denial of court review to detainees, immunity for warrantless wiretapping — Congress approved presidential actions, thus making it harder to argue that the government wasn’t operating according to valid law” … (full text, March 10, 2009).

Americans Open To Force To Rein In Iran On Nukes, March 10, 2009.

… Olive Press has just released two excellent titles from author Phyllis Bennis, a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. Both Understanding the US-Iran Crisis and Ending the Iraq War are perfect choices for teens researching US history and policy as it applies to Iran and Iraq. The books are designed around clearly set question and answer sections and chapters that parcel history from modern events but build successively on previous sections. This translates into a lot of easy to digest information such as the bit from Understanding the US-Iran Crisis about how the company British Petroleum was initially named the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and developed so that the British government could exploit what later became the Iranian oil fields. (The company dates to 1908 and is still majority-owned by the government.) Bennis excels at this kind of information, not just thrown out for trivial shock, but to show how in the case of Iran, oil was key to western involvement in that country from the beginning of the 20th century and played a huge part in the removal of its democratically elected leader in 1953 and installation of the Shah of Iran… by the United States … (full text, March 2009).

She writes:

  • … At the United Nations: Also indicative of Washington’s strategy was the US veto of a ceasefire resolution at the United Nations, squelching any possibility of an early international call for an end to the killing. At this point, despite extensive discussion and widespread calls for a ceasefire, the US opposition to a ceasefire has largely paralyzed the Security Council. The secretary general has presented a set of recommendations that, while flawed in some respects at least begins with a call for an immediate “end to hostilities,” even if not an official ceasefire. Other UN officials, including humanitarian Jan Egeland and High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour have spoken of war crimes being committed, and called for an immediate end to hostilities. Several leading Non-Aligned countries have indicated other international initiatives might be under consideration as well, perhaps leading to a call for creation of an international “Coalition of the Willing to Stop the Killing.” The US and Israel appear to be considering a UN proposal that would send international troops – “not UN Blue-helmets,” according to US Ambassador John Bolton – to the region. While the call for international protection is a longstanding regional demand, the version under discussion now would be far too one-sided to answer the real need. It would essentially impose a new occupation of south Lebanon, albeit by international, rather than Israeli troops, its mandate would include forcible disarming of Hezbollah while doing nothing to rein in Israel’s attacks, and it might even be based on NATO, rather than UN troops … (full text, );
  • … I was part of the side of the Viet Nam anti-war movement whose favorite chant was “One side’s right, one side’s wrong. We’re on the side of the Viet Cong!” During the Central America years my part of the movement didn’t only oppose U.S. intervention, we also supported the FMLN in El Salvador and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. And throughout the anti-apartheid years, I supported the African National Congress. But that was then. This is now. I have spent the last five years opposing the invasion and occupation of Iraq (and before that, a dozen years opposing an earlier war and genocidal U.S.-led economic sanctions against Iraq). I spent – and still spend – weeks and months on the road, speaking at huge demonstrations and in tiny church basements, writing articles and talking points and whatever to help build and strengthen our movement. But I never supported Saddam Hussein, who was “resisting” the U.S. during the sanctions years, and I didn’t -and don’t–support what is called “the Iraqi resistance” today. What’s the difference? It’s not only about what will expand our movement … (full text, July 31, 2007).


Iraqi Holocaust: 2.3 Million Iraqi Excess Deaths, by Gideon Polya, 21 March, 2009;

Media with Conscience MWCnews;

Iraq Urged to Halt Execution of 128 Prisoners, March 19, 2009;

Photographs of the United For Peace and Justice Conference of June 6-8, 2003, by Diane Greene Lent;

Edward Said Remembered, March 2009.

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