Tag Archives: Iran

The Real Deterrent Against War with Iran

Excerpt from Aljazeera’s How close are Iran and the US to war?

The “real deterrent” in the current situation was the fact “the Iranians were able to down the most advanced American drone using stealth technology with an Iranian-made surface-to-air missile,” he said, adding that Trump may have stood down because he recognised any Iranian response to a US attack would be “relentless and disproportionate”

In such a scenario, Iran was also likely to target US allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where the drone that was shot down reportedly took off from.

“I think it would be an enormous miscalculation on the part of the Americans to assume that the Iranian response to any strike would be limited.

“It will be larger than the initial strike, it will be disproportionate, and it will be relentless. And it will not only target the aggressor, it will target those countries – like the United Arab Emirates or perhaps Saudi Arabia – that allowed the US to carry out this attack.”

Mahjoob Zweiri, director of the Gulf Studies centre at Qatar University, said Trump’s actions towards Iran are designed to appeal to his support base in the US ahead of the 2020 presidential elections. 

“He has done what will make [his base] happy, he has withdrawn from the [nuclear] deal, he imposed sanctions, he basically made sure the economy of Iran was really falling apart. He has done everything he has promised his base. 

“Trump’s main focus is a second term. If any military action against Iran will affect this badly, he will never do it.” 

Zweiri said the escalating series of incidents in the Gulf may be an Iranian ploy to pile up pressure on the international community to act and protect Tehran from US sanctions. 

“They want to push more for the international community to act, to mediate, to push, to pressure the United States, to have a dialogue because this status quo is collapsing their economy and will have serious ramifications on the stability of the regime in Iran. 

Iran and “the problem of peace”

Here’s something of interest that I read a while ago and marked for future reference. Serious challenges facing the Revolutionary Guard in Iran include “the problem of peace”.

First, the good news:

The threat posed by the United States has been the backdrop for much of the IRGCs career. The organization has relied on the United States to serve as an omnipresent boogeyman bent on destroying the revolution. If the Islamic Republic were to reach a rapprochement with the United States, America would no longer be a viable scapegoat for the repression of Iranians. Within that context, Iranians will expect more out of life and more freedoms from the regime. An argument could be made that a rapprochement with the United States would have an ameliorating effect on Iran’s behavior both internally and externally. Some sectors of the regime, such as the reformists, would probably favor such change.

But on the other . . . .

The IRGC and the hardline camp likely would not. This is because the IRGC’s status in the country is contingent on the existence of existential threats to the Islamic system. If the United States is no longer a problem, the IRGC will need to find a suitable replacement. Threats will need to be found outside Iran and within. The IRGC already sees the social and cultural arenas as a battleground between it and anti-Islamic forces. The need for a threat could see the IRGC place more emphasis on these issues — and other scapegoats such as religious minorities — than it already does. This means further repression of the Iranian people at a time when they will be expecting more liberty, not less.

Ostovar, Afshon. 2016. Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 240
That was before Trump and Bolton. I think “omnipresent boogeyman” is perhaps too fanciful a term in the current situation.

 

Iran, Iran, if only we had been friends

I don’t know what lies ahead but a study of Iran and its Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) by a Senior Analyst at the Center for Strategic Studies at CNA leads me to think that Western voices urging diplomatic support for the moderate political forces in Iran (as opposed to funding terrorist attacks or dropping bombs and missiles on the country) have the wisdom of history on their side.

After 9/11 there was a window of opportunity for mutually beneficial US-Iranian cooperation in getting rid of the Taliban and Al Qaeda then in Afghanistan.

3. See for example, “Khatami Condemns Terrorism, Calls for Global Fight against It,” Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1 (Tehran) in Persian, September 22, 2001, BBCWM, September 22, 2001.

The 9/11 attacks inspired a rare display of sympathy for the United States across Iran. Spontaneous candlelight vigils from Tehran to Shiraz accompanied statements from President Mohammad Khatami condemning terrorism and the attacks.3 The goodwill was short lived. As Washington began building up a campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Iranian pundits warm against any American military action in the Muslim world. A news site connected to the conservative Islamic Propagation Organization warned: “Any unilateral military action against innocent Afghans may help to boost the image of Uncle Sam at home, but it will surely tarnish the US image on the international arena for its flagrant violation of international law.” While condemning the 9/11 attacks, the reformist Aftab-e Yazd newspaper argued that 9/11 “should not become an excuse to make the world insecure and create warlike events.” Yet, as Iran was condemning American aggression, Khatami’s administration was secretly exploring ways in which Iran could assist the effort against the Sunni fundamentalist Taliban. Iran had been actively supporting Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance for years, and had almost gone to war with the Taliban after the murder of eight Iranian diplomats in Mazar-e Sharif in 1998. Iran had a vested interst in seeing the Taliban overthrown in favor of its allies in the Northern Alliance.

(Ostovar, p. 160)

President Bush even sent an ambassador, Ryan Crocker, to talk with the Iranians. Crocker found the Iranians very willing to cooperate with the US in Afghanistan:

Soon after 9/11, the Bush administration dispatched Ryan Crocker—then a senior US State Department official—to engage in secret meetings with Iranian diplomats in Geneva and Paris. The two sides discussed potential US operations to uproot the Taliban Afghanistan. According to Seyed Hossein Mousavian, then the head of the SNSC s Foreign Relations Committee, the Iranian delegation was “pursuing two objectives”:

First, we sought ways to unseat the Taliban and eliminate extremist terrorists, namely al-Qaeda. Both of these groups… were arch enemies of Iran. Second, we wanted to look for ways to test cooperation with the Americans, thus decreasing the level of mistrust and tension between us. During these meetings, neither party pursued the subject of Iran-US relations. Nonetheless, we did the groundwork for significant, mutual cooperation on Afghanistan during these meetings, resulting in Iran’s assistance during the attack on the Taliban.

Iran’s delegation consisted of three ambassadors and one anonymous “member of the security establishment responsible for Afghanistan”—likely a member of the IRGC’s Quds Force. . . . The Iranians eagerly shared intelligence on Taliban positions. In one meeting, the lead Iranian negotiator gave Crocker a map that identified Taliban locations. Crocker recounted the exchange in an interview with the New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins. He recalled the Iranian saying: “Here’s our advice: hit them here first, and then hit them over there. And here’s the logic …” Crocker asked if he could take notes, to which the Iranian diplomat responded: “You can keep the map.” At one point the lead Iranian negotiator told Crocker that Soleimani was “very pleased with our cooperation.” The diplomatic exchanges bore fruit Crocker recalls giving his Iranian counterparts the location of an Al Qaeda operative living in the eastern Iranian city of Mashhad. The Iranians detained the operative and later turned him over to Afghanistan’s post-Taliban government. The IRGC’s help might have also extended to the battlefield. Mousavian writes that through the Quds Force’s close ties with the Northern Alliance (America’s Afghan allies against the Taliban), the IRGC had been “actively involved in organizing” the victory over the Taliban in Herat (western Afghanistan), and Soleimani himself had been “key in organizing” the Northern Alliance’s advance into Kabul.

(Ostovar, p. 161)

But then, alas, there was that “axis of evil” speech.

President Bush’s axis of evil speech in January 2002 ended any budding trust. Crocker, who was stationed at the US embassy in Kabul, met with an incensed Iranian diplomat the next day. “You completely damaged me,” the diplomat told him. “Soleimani is in a tearing rage. He feels compromised.” Crocker was further told that Soleimani had begun considering a “re-think” of Iran’s relationship with the United States. Mousavian recalls Soleimani telling him that “he had suspected that the US request for our help might have been a tactical move and not intended to lead to long-term cooperation.” Washington’s apparent insincerity left Iranian diplomats and President Khatami feeling “betrayed.”

(Ostovar, pp. 161f)

Recall those scary neo-cons from hell. In those days they looked like a gang that had shot out of left field.

As was the case in the 1990s, there was substantial support within the CIA and the State Department for taking Khatami at his word and attempting to normalize relations with Tehran. The neoconservatives inside and outside of the administration, however, vehemently opposed that idea; they favored getting tough with Iran, and they carried the day with Bush and Cheney. In his State of the Union address in late January 2002, the president rewarded Iran for its cooperation in Afghanistan by including it in the infamous ‘axis of evil.” Moreover, Bush made it clear in the following months that although he was preoccupied with regime change in Iraq, he would eventually turn to Iran and try to topple that government as well.

(Mearsheimer and Walt, p. 303)

But notice how that “betrayal” of Iran weakened the pro-democratic forces and strengthened the clerical dicatatorship. The nazi-style thugs came out to do their dirty work on behalf of the “supreme leader”… read more »

This book looks interesting

vanguardLook forward to reading this one:

Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards by Afshon Ostovar:

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are one of the most important forces in the Middle East today. As the appointed defender of Iran’s revolution, the Guards have evolved into a pillar of the Islamic Republic and the spearhead of its influence. Their sway has spread across the Middle East, where the Guards have overseen loyalist support to Bashar al-Assad in Syria and been a staunch backer in Iraq’s war against ISIS-bringing its own troops, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Shiite militias to the fight. Links to terrorism, human rights abuses, and the suppression of popular democracy have shrouded the Revolutionary Guards in controversy.

In spite of their prominence, the Guards remain poorly understood to outside observers. InVanguard of the Imam, Afshon Ostovar has written the first comprehensive history of the organization. Situating the rise of the Guards in the larger contexts of Shiite Islam, modern Iranian history, and international affairs, Ostovar takes a multifaceted approach in demystifying the organization and detailing its evolution since 1979. Politics, power, and religion collide in this story, wherein the Revolutionary Guards transform from a rag-tag militia established in the midst of revolutionary upheaval into a military and covert force with a global reach.

The Guards have been fundamental to the success of the Islamic revolution. The symbiotic relationship between them and Iran’s clerical rulers underpins the regime’s nearly unshakeable system of power. The Guards have used their privileged position at home to export Iran’s revolution beyond its borders, establishing client armies in their image and extending Iran’s strategic footprint in the process. Ostovar tenaciously documents the Guards’ transformation into a power-player and explores why the group matters now more than ever to regional and global affairs. The book simultaneously serves as a history of modern Iran, and provides a crucial and engrossing entryway into the complex world of war, politics, and identity in the Middle East.

Three Votes Away

The parable of the burning trees

English: Park County, CO, June 27, 2008 -- Saw...
Image via Wikipedia

Once there was a man who lived in the woods. His cabin was surrounded by 51 trees, one of them, a large oak so close that its spreading branches shaded the roof. He lived there happily for many years. Eventually, there came a season so hot and so dry that when the sparks from a nearby campfire flew in and touched them, the trees practically exploded into flames. The man watched in horror from his kitchen window as the trees were consumed, one by one. Finally, the firemen arrived and put out the conflagration, but not until 48 trees had been destroyed.

Relieved, the man wiped his forehead and vowed to take preventive measures immediately. So the next morning he called his insurance agent. “I need to protect myself and my property,” he said. “How much will it cost for full flood insurance?”

Religious privilege over personal rights

This past week the U.S. Senate barely voted down an amendment to a highway bill that would have allowed employers to opt out of paying for their workers’ insurance for any medical service they believe is “contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer or other entity offering the plan.” (For those who aren’t familiar with the crazy American system, the most common way we get health coverage here is as a benefit from our employers. The recently passed Affordable Health Care act mandates coverage, which has brought the issue to the forefront.) In the media, it was mostly framed as a debate about birth control, with the right wing calling it a freedom-of-religion issue.

But the truth is the law was so vaguely worded that it would have permitted an employer to deny funding for any procedure, any drug, anything at all if he or she has religious qualms. If your boss is a Jehovah’s Witness, he might opt not to pay for your husband’s blood transfusion. If he’s a Christian Scientist, he might not want to help pay for your children’s vaccinations. Does he have moral objections about your upcoming heart transplant? Then maybe you should pay for it out of pocket. His “conscience” trumps your health.

The meaning of the parable

The 51 trees represent the smallest majority vote possible in the Senate. The 48 burned trees are the Senators (3 Democrats and 45 Republicans) who voted to privilege religious beliefs over personal human rights. The cabin is our secular republic. So who is the man in the cabin? That would be Dr. Robert M. Price, aka The Bible Geek.

read more »

Syria: What we are not being told

Map of Syria, showing its adjacent location we...
Image via Wikipedia

Asia Times has a thoroughly documented article, A Mistaken Case for Syrian Regime Change, by Beirut based Aisling Byrne, a Projects Co-ordinator with Conflicts Forum. It is depressingly predictable reading.

In the last some weeks or more I have been only half-listening to any news of Syria I hear on the mainstream media for the simple reason that I have grown tired of hearing vague reports, unsubstantiated and contradictory reports, especially noticeable after I ever chanced to hear interviews in documentary type radio news programs, even on Al Jazeera, that all I have been sure of is that we are not being informed about what is happening there.

And Aisling Byrne’s article shows us why the news has been so unclear and incoherent. Except for the headlines that continually bombard us with the singular theme of genocidal tyrannical regime massacring its own people. I try to listen beyond the headlines and pick up some sourced facts and that’s where the headlines begin to turn into knotted strings beyond hope of unravelling. That leaves me suspicious that the headlines are a smokescreen for something. I eventually gave up listening because the detail was never there or never confirmed.

Read Aisling Byrne. It’s the same story as we experienced with the massaging of the Western publics to support the invasion of Iraq and then the humanitarian bombing of Libya. (Aisling has a little to say about that, too.)

Our mainstream Western media has for too many years now been the main cheerleaders for warmongering ventures of our governments acting on behalf of “our national interests”. (Translation of “national interest”: those specific interests within a nation that have the money and the power.)

Bush did it all wrong. He provoked ten million protestors to come out into the streets worldwide to try to stop a war. Ten million protestors don’t represent “national interests” so it would not do to make that mistake again. Libya showed a better way that became possible through exploitation of the Arab uprisings. Select target states (Libya and Syria) quickly found their peaceful civilian demonstrator replaced by armed gangs soliciting western military support. Curiously the same did not happen in states where popular protests threatened Western interests (e.g. Bahrain). Coincidence, of course.

Aisling Byrne’s article begins with the evidence that what is happening in Syria is the first chapter of a war on Iran, or at least regime change in Iran. This is confirmed by Under Secretary of State for the Near East Jeffrey Feltman and other sources.

What we are seeing in Syria is a deliberate and calculated campaign to bring down the Assad government so as to replace it with a regime “more compatible” with US interests in the region.

Remember that infamous Project for a New American Century? Well some of the same people behind that have been busy with a new document, Which Path to Persia? This is the “blueprint” for regime change in Iran produced by the neo-con Brookings Institute. A more recent appendix to this book is Towards a Post-Assad Syria produced by two neo-con think-tanks. It illustrates

how developments in Syria have been shaped according to the step-by-step approach detailed in the “Paths to Persia” report with the same objective: regime change. read more »

An Asian news perspective on Iran

In Asia Tims Online, US misunderstanding on Iran lingers By Ali Gharib:

Some extracts:

But much of the attention in Washington and elsewhere in the US is often misplaced, misguided, or completely detached from the realities currently embroiling Iran in its most significant crisis since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

US experts with firsthand knowledge of Iran grew older and their knowledge grew more obsolete. . . . . “We have a whole generation of foreign service officers who didn’t learn Farsi.”

“I was the point person on Iran from 2005 to 2008, and I never once met an Iranian official,”

Many pundits and politicians in the US view the current crisis as an opportunity to instigate a regime change in Iran, projecting their own aspirations on those of the demonstrators . . . . .

. . . . no credible evidence has emerged to suggest that the protest movement as whole endorses an overthrow of the system.

Undeterred by those realities, or perhaps unaware of the dynamics, US commentators continue to present the protesters as opposed to the system of the Islamic Republic.

the battle being waged in Iran is between two factions within the regime. Even Mousavi’s faction, . . . does not necessarily want to install a democracy in the Western sense.

“The neo-cons know nothing about Iran, nothing about the culture of Iran, . . . They have no interest in understanding Iran, in speaking to any Iranian other than Iranian exiles who support the idea of invasions

“There are people who . . . were worried, as some wrote in op-eds, that Mousavi would be a distraction and would make it easier to Iranians to build a nuclear weapon. And now all a sudden they want to be on his side? Go away.”

(Inter Press Service)

Reporters on Iran: FACTS, please.

ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission)’s correspondent, Ben Knight, has an article for the national news detailing his “expulsion” from Iran.

Here is the critical passage:

Then, on the day after the eight civilians were killed, our Iranian translator took a phone call with a message from the Ministry of Islamic Guidance, which oversees the foreign media in Iran.

All press cards had been cancelled; journalists were banned from covering any unauthorised gatherings; and we were to work only in our offices or hotels.

The message was clear enough. But then this bit was added on the end: ‘The police are no longer in charge of the city; it is now under the authority of the Revolutionary Guards.’

It was obviously sheer intimidation. And to be brutally honest, it worked.

Now I have not read as much as many others have about the details of expulsions of reporters from Iran. I would not be surprised if many representing mainstream news outlets have been expelled. But the reason I say that is that from the coverage I do read — from a miscellany of independent reporters on the ground in Iran — that there have been strong indications of pro-government demonstrations and other indications of even perhaps majority support for the present government, while the mainstream media only seems to report the anti-government evidence.

I cite Ben Knight’s reporting above as an example of the sort of confusion that is being fed the western audiences.

The sole source of Ben Knight’s directive to leave Iran under “government orders” was an Iranian translator relaying what he/she said they heard on a phone call claiming to be from the Ministry of Islamic Guidance. Knight confesses he had been scared enough not even to check out the veracity of that phonecall, but to get out of the country immediately. Admittedly he had only one day left on his visa, and for that reason did not want to risk any other activity. But I would be interested to know if since his return he has reapplied to enter, or if any ABC reporters have applied to enter and what the response has been from Iran.

But we are not told anything like this.

All we are left with is the impression — the impression — that the Iranian authorities had expelled Ben Knight. We do not know from the evidence he cites if it was true or not. Nor can Knight know, if we take his report at face value. Was Ben Knight really targeted for intimidation? If he was, we have questions about why Robert Fisk can continue, with other reporters, to send back critical messages of Iran’s government and the heroism of its people.

Ben Knight in his original article (see the link above) refers to police on motor cycles, but he does not give us evidence to enable readers to affirm that in every case motor-cycle riders were indeed police, and in a previous post there was a picture of Iranian civilians riding motor-cycles through streets showing evidence of rioting/destruction. So what can a thoughtful reader to conclude if anything? Knight also refers to civilians mobbing his team because of their camera, and even refers to a hand being placed over a lense — but again there is no way of knowing from his report if this was a civilian’s hand or a policeman’s.

Now when I compare all that with previous posts here of Robert Fisk being allowed to continue reporting in Iran, and even relaying in his reports discussions he has with other reporters in Iran — SINCE BEN KNIGHT’S departure — I can only be left with questions in my mind.

Mainstream media clearly cannot be relied on as a sole source of information coming from this country at this moment.

Seeing Through All the Propaganda About Iran

This can be accessed via Information Clearing House or from onsite direct.

From the site: Eric Margolis is contributing foreign editor for Sun National Media Canada. He is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World. See his website.

A little democracy in the Islamic Middle East is a dangerous thing for the west. When given the choice people tend to vote “the wrong way”. Wonder why? Our wars and other military ventures we support have all had the noblest of intentions and the best interests of the people at heart. Seems only western backed brutal torture-hungry anti-women barbaric punishing dictatorial regimes as in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco can be relied on to be our buddies. But can’t see why the ordinary folks of those regimes have any reason to hate us.

Some extracts:

Meanwhile, we have been watching an intensifying western propaganda campaign against Iran, mounted by the US and British governments. What we hear is commentary and analysis that comes from bitterly anti-regime Iranian exiles, “experts” with an ax to grind, and US pro-Israel neocons yearning for war with Iran.

In viewing the Muslim world, Westerners keep listening to those who tell them what they want to hear, rather than the facts. We are at it again in Iran.

Washington has been attempting to overthrow Iran’s Islamic government since the 1979 revolution and continues to do so in spite of pledges of neutrality in the current crisis.

While the majority of protests we see in Tehran are genuine and spontaneous, Western intelligence agencies and media are playing a key role in sustaining the uprising and providing communications, including the newest electronic method, via Twitter. These are covert techniques developed by the US during recent revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia that brought pro-US governments to power.

US and British efforts to subvert Iran’s government could yet blow up in our faces. And do we really need another monster crisis after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Palestine?

Meanwhile, other Mideast nations allied to the US will look at Iran and conclude that giving any democratic rights can be downright dangerous and must be avoided at all costs.

Robert Fisk (thankfully a few such reporters do exist) sifting fact from fantasy in Iran

Robert Fisk’s latest from Iran in The Independent:

In Tehran, Fantasy and Reality Make Uneasy Bedfellows

Some excerpts . . . .

On the myth of Iranian crackdown on western reporters (and CNN bias):

But then we had the famous instruction to journalists in Tehran from the Ministry of Islamic Guidance that they could no longer report opposition street demonstrations. I heard nothing of this. Indeed, the first clue came when I refused to be interviewed by CNN (because their coverage of the Middle East is so biased) and the woman calling me asked: “Why? Are you worried about your safety?” Fisk continued to spend 12 hours a day on the streets. I discovered there was a ban only when I read about it in The Independent. . . . . .

On a woman who told him of something sounding like a state-sponsored murder:

I never saw her again. Nor the photograph. Nor had anyone seen the body. It was a fantasy. Earnest reporters check this out – in fact, I have been spending at least a third of my working days in Tehran this past week not reporting what might prove to be true but disproving what is clearly untrue.

After getting a phone call in the middle of the night about a reported massacre of students on a university campus, and being informed of photographic evidence of the shooting of a young male student the day before, Fisk found both stories to be total fantasy. Yet that did not stop his newspaper editor calling him to ask about the news he had heard:

There are few provable assurances in the Middle East, often few facts and a lot of lies. Dangers are as thick as snakes in the desert. As I write, I have just received another call from Lebanon. “Mr Fisk, a girl has been shot in Iran. I have a video from the internet. You can see her body…” And you know what? I think he might be right.

 

Dust jacket of The Great War for Civilisation,...
Image via Wikipedia

Latest on western media misinformation on Iran

The details of stories of vote-rigging in Iran simply lack credibility as evidence that the election result was fraudulent. No doubt there was some fraud on both sides, as there usually is in many western elections (my Australia certainly included), too. But what we are reading now in the media is nothing short of sheer misinformation. Media spin out rumour and unsubstantiated stories or rely on the most blatant propaganda in the form of various government and political party press releases. (Compare my previous post for more details and genuine inside reporting.)

Examples:

  • By Esam Al-Amin, on the overall relative health of Iranian democracy and for a review of the actual facts vs media reports:

A Hard Look at the Numbers: What Actually Happened in the Iranian Elections?

  • Maarten Doude van Troostwijk is a Dutch historian and translator who has observed many elections in the former communist block for the British Helsinki Human Rights Group, writes:

Stolen Election in Iran? An Inside View of Vote Fraud

  • Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, Paul Craig Roberts, gives detailed background on what should surely be obvious to any reader who has been looking for sourced evidence for most of the astonishing claims made in the western media:

Iran Falls to US PSYOPS

  • On the stories that more than 100% of the people voted read Iranian reports on their own investigations (and compare with the U.S. response of blatant fraud in the Bush election):

Guardian Council: Over 100% Voted in 50 Cities

  • And for those who like a bit of history, Chris Hedges, who has a weekly column for www.Truthdig.com, is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Hedges, who has reported from more than 50 countries, worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, where he spent fifteen years.

Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away

Not forgetting (how could we?) the neo-con establishment in 2002 of the Coalition for Democracy in Iran.

In other words, if it’s imprudent to bomb them for a little while, work like hell to whiteant them until they restore another one like the shah.

Western media treatment of Iranian elections and the ongoing demonization

Change for the poor means food and jobs, not a relaxed dress code or mixed recreation…Politics in Iran is a lot more about class war than religion.”Financial Times Editorial, June 15 2009

June 19, 2009 “Information Clearing House” — There is hardly any election, in which the White House has a significant stake, where the electoral defeat of the pro-US candidate is not denounced as illegitimate by the entire political and mass media elite. In the most recent period, the White House and its camp followers cried foul following the free (and monitored) elections in Venezuela and Gaza, while joyously fabricating an ‘electoral success’ in Lebanon despite the fact that the Hezbollah-led coalition received over 53% of the vote.

The full article here.

Evidence of orchestration of the protests for western audiences? Iran Faces Greater Risks Than It Knows and Obama’s administration’s directive to Twitter.

And from my favourite Mid East correspondent, Robert Fisk, who gives an eyewitness account of who the demonstrators are, and what they want, and corrects a lot of misleading impressions coming through other channels that lazily rely more on official news releases and rumour:

Extraordinary scenes: Robert Fisk in Iran

Posted Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:23am AEST
Updated Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:17pm AEST

'The authorities are losing control of what's happening on the streets and that's very dangerous and damaging to them'

‘The authorities are losing control of what’s happening on the streets and that’s very dangerous and damaging to them’ (www.flickr.com: Shahram Sharif)

//

The long-standing Middle East correspondent for The Independent, Robert Fisk, is defying the government crackdown on foreign media reporting in Iran.

As he explains, he has been travelling around the streets of Tehran all day and most of the night and things are far from quiet:

See the Australian ABC news site for the full article and audio link.

Misquoting Ahmadinejad to isolate Iran (in prep for the next war?)

Western governments happily have mainstream media to report their pronouncements uncritically (saves media corp money to rely on press releases) and one has to dig a little to learn that those nations that have protested against President Ahmadinejad of Iran the loudest . . .

  • are but a minority (unfortunately a powerful minority), and
  • that their protests are in fact propaganda misrepresentations or outright lying translations of what Ahmadinejad has actually said — at least on two occasions.

So for those interested:

Full Text of President Ahmadinejad’s Remarks at U.N. Conference on Racism

Iran’s President Did Not Say “Israel Must Be Wiped Off The Map”

Iranian bloggers write letters to Jesus Christ

Global Voices has published a post by Hamid Tehrani alerting us to several Iranian bloggers writing letters to Jesus Christ on their blogs.

I won’t spoil any surprises by saying any more. Check out Iranian bloggers write letters to Christ for yourself.