Persia پرشیا

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Letters written by Azadegan

Dear President Obama:During your historic speech at the University of Cairo on June 4, 2009, you mentioned the Persian Gulf simply as the "Gulf." Your Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, has also made similar references during her recent public statements and interviews. Additionally, your Commander of Central Command, General David Patreus, went so far as to refer to the Persian Gulf as the "Arabian Gulf", possibly for purposes of appeasing certain quarters in the region that have been trying to wage psychological warfare against the Iranian nation. The use of the term "Arabian Gulf" is indeed offensive to all Iranian people. As you know, for the past several millennia, diplomats, strategists, historians and geographers have consistently used the correct name of the Persian Gulf. It has also been the historic practice of the White House, State Department and various U.S. government agencies to use the historically correct and proper name of the Persian Gulf. What follows is an article I wrote several years ago regarding this same issue. I hope you and your staff will refer to this important region by its proper name of the Persian Gulf in the future. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. With high esteem,Dr. Assad HomayounFormer Iranian Diplomat
THE PERSIAN GULF IS THE PERSIAN GULFFrom Focus on Iran publication By Dr. Assad Homayoun “…When the American, like the British before them, grow weary of their imperial duties and sail away, Iran will dominate the Persian Gulf . It is ordained. No nation in the region can match Iran ’s size, population or power…The question is: what kind of Iran shall it be? “ Patrick Buchanan- The Washington Times , Commentary, January 14, 1998 Historical facts are known and self-evident. Throughout the years, a few of Iran 's neighbouring countries have claimed many of Iran 's men of sciences and letters as their own. Sadly enough, now there is yet a new vain attempt to re-name that body of water which for several millennia has been universally known as the " Persian Gulf ' to the " Arabian Gulf '. There are those who are unaware of the historical truths and while they do not bother to study the history of the region, they unintentionally contribute to a psychological warfare against the Iranian people. Among them, are certain elements in the U.S. Defense Department, especially those who serve in Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and Bahrain . In order to appease local sensitivities, "they" use " Arabian Gulf " instead of the " Persian Gulf ' simply to please their hosts, unaware that they are refusing to accept historical facts and international usage. Indeed they are offending the national feelings of the Iranian nation. The ancient Greek geographers and historians called this body of water "Sinus Persicus". It is interesting that since before the time of Christ until as late as the 17" century, the world greatest historians and cartographer s from Strabon and Ptolemy to famous Flemish geographer, Mercator, along with Arab historians referred to the Gulf south of Iran as either "Sinus Persicus" or " Mare Persicum", as distinct from "Arabicus Sinus", the name they used to refer to what is known as the Red Sea. The " Arabian Gulf ' was the ancient name of the Red Sea , actually a gulf prior to being connected with the Mediterranean via the opening of the Suez Canal . For the last two millennia the term " Persian Gulf ' has been used universally by historians, geographers, scholars, strategists and politicians. Also Arab historians and geographers from Ibn al-Mujawir to Yusuf Kamal, author of "Monumenta Cartographica", used "AlKhalij al-Fars", or Persian Gulf . The late president Sadat of Egypt, in his book, "Revolt on the Nile ", correctly identified the Gulf by its historical and original name. Anyone who has troubled himself to look at antique maps, contemporary writings and research documents, historical accounts of the region and encyclopedias written either by western or eastern observers and scholars would conclude that there is but one single name that is applicable to the Persian Gulf . It is the practice of the White House, the State Department, the U.S. government agencies and also the United Nations Secretariat, and National Geographic Society, to use in the document and maps the term "Persian Gulf" to indicate the body of water between Iran to the north and east and a number of other states to the south and west. It is a long established usage that is followed by publishers of atlases and geographical dictionaries. It was in the 1950s that and in order to manipulate the simple yet vital nationalistic sentiment of its people, that the then Iraqi president Colonel Abdol Karim Ghasem, ventured to refer to the " Persian Gulf ', as the " Arabian Gulf '. His intention was to create a new common enemy for the Arab world which were busy fighting Israel under the guidance of Egyptian Colonel, Gamal Abdol Nasser, and to divert the attention of Arab world from Nasser 's leadership in Egypt to his own in Baghdad . This strategy back-fired in the true sense of the word The scholastic community in Baghdad as a whole, and the faculty in the Baghdad University, especially due to overwhelming amount of historic and geographical evidence, reaching back to records as ancient as 2.5 millennia, refrained from supporting the belligerent and the unfounded claim of Colonel Abdol Karim Ghasem. Even later, when President Gamal Abdol Nasser under the pretext of enhancing his Pan-Arabist ideology proceeded to use Ghasem's self-invented term for the "Persian Gulf', he was instantly reminded of his own earlier comments wherein he had emphatically described the boundaries of the Arab World as: "Menal Moheet al-Atlasi elal Khalij-ol Farsi " (from Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf) As mentioned before, throughout history, educators, historians, travelers and geographers have always referred to this region as the "Persian Gulf"not only because of the vast coastal lines of various Persian Empire or the number of its Persian/Iranian inhabitants, but simply, and in their own words, to recognize the noble notion that, "The Persians were the first to have developed and greatly improved this part of the earth" Therefore, to apply the term "Arabian Gulf' or any other name to the Persian Gulf is an error, and indeed is to become a party to the psychological warfare mainly aimed against the Iranian people. Thus, this change of historical name, especially by some in the service of the U. S. government who are serving in the region is entirely absurd, counterproductive, and does not serve the interests of the United States. We can hope that sooner or later, the rule of reason and rationalism will triumph in Iran and liberty and democracy will replace the Theocratic regime in Tehran . Iranians and Arab must live together in peace. The Untied States and the Arab nations of the region need to deal with the people of Iran , in a just and equitable manner, just as the Iranians need to deal similarly with their neighbours. Furthermore Iran must re-establish friendly relationship with the United States on the basis of mutual trust and equality. The U.S. Department of Defense and especially the Navy which always take geo-strategic factors into consideration, must also take seriously the historic sensitivity and the rightful concerns of the Iranian people. It should be remembered that for three decades prior to the revolution in Iran , the Pentagon trained close to 30,000 members of Iranian Armed Forces and considered Iran a principal element of the regions stability. It ought not forget the past and close the door to future friendly relationships that will indeed be essential for stability and peace in the Persian Gulf . It should be remembered also that the Iranian Navy played a crucial role as the stabilizer for two decades following the British withdrawal from the Persian Gulf in 1971. Indeed it was the Iranian Armed Forces which defended both north and south of the Strait of Homuz against Marxist subversion. On one hand it prevented the fall of Oman, and on the other hand thwarted the Yemeni inspired guerrillas to undermine the Persian Gulf Sheikdoms. Iran is a land bridge between two centers of the world's most important energy zones, and the only power among the Persian Gulf states that has the capability to undertake military operation beyond its own frontiers. Iran is in the heart of the Eurasian Corridor. Because of its geo-strategic location, population, resources and cultural identity it can play a decisive role in the security of the Persian Gulf .. Iran was once a moderating force and it could, once again become a moderate regional force, friendly to the United States. For more information and clarification we would like to refer the readers to following publications mostly written by historians, geographers and scholars regarding the Persian Gulf . We are certain that only through rational channels we can shed light on and sort historical facts from baseless propaganda, which were at one time aimed to toy with the territorial integrity of Iran , albeit currently being directed in reaction to the short-sighted policies and irresponsible political behaviour of the ruling clerical regime of Tehran . 1) Revolt On The Nile, Anwar Sadat, John Day Inc. New York , 1957 2) Monumenta Cartographica et Aegypti ( Le Caire), Yusuf Kamal, 1926-51. 3) Geographie, De Strabon, Paris, 1805 4) Historical Geography of Iraq , Mohammad Rashid, Baghdad University , 1965 5) Science and Civilization of China , J. Needham, Cambridge University Press, 1959 6) The Past History of Arabs and Islam, Omar Abdol-Nasr, Beirut , 1962 7)Political History of Islam, Dr. Hassan Ibrahim Hassan. Cairo , 1935

Persian Gulf is Persian Gulf
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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sharia Laws

Join International Coalition for Women's RightsAugust 29, 2009
On April 19, 2009, the Somali parliament unanimously endorsed the introduction of Sharia law across the country.
A few days earlier, the imposition of Sharia law in Pakistan's northwestern Swat region was approved.
Last month, a sweeping law approved by the Afghan parliament and signed by President Hamid Karzai required Shi’a women to seek their husband's permission to leave home, and to submit to their sexual demands. Because of international and national protests the new law is now being reviewed but only to check its compatibility with Sharia law.
Sharia law deems a woman unequal and subordinate to her husband or male guardian. Under Sharia, women’s testimony is worth half that of men’s, women have limited rights to divorce and child custody and women can be executed for apostasy or stoned to death for adultery. It imposes sexual or gender apartheid and the veil and denies women rights, equality and freedom.
The imposition of Sharia law in the legal codes of Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan brings millions more under the yoke of political Islam.
Local and international pressure and opposition are the only ways to stop the rise of this regressive movement and defend women’s universal rights and secularism.
From Iran and Iraq to Britain and Canada, Sharia law is being opposed by a vast majority who choose 21st century universal values over medievalism. We, the undersigned, support this international struggle and call for:
• the abolition of discriminatory and Sharia laws • an end to sexual apartheid• secularism and the separation of religion from the state• equality between women and men

List of initial signatories:

Boaz Adhengo, Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya, Kenya Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Coordinator, Stop Child Executions Campaign, Canada Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany; Coordinator, International Committee against Stoning, GermanyYasmin Alibhai-Brown, Chair, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, UKMahin Alipour, Coordinator, Equal Rights Now - Organisation against Women's Discrimination in Iran, Stockholm, Sweden British Humanist Association, UKBritish Muslims for Secular Democracy, UKCaroline Brancher, UFAL, FranceNazanin Borumand, Never forget Hatun‚Campaign against Honour Killings, GermanyClean Break Theatre Company, UKCouncil of Ex-Muslims of Britain, UK Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany, Germany Council of Ex-Muslims of Scandinavia, Sweden Richard Dawkins, Scientist, UK Patty Debonitas, Coordinator, International Campaign for Women’s Rights, UKDeeyah, Singer and Composer, USASonja Eggerickx, President, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Belgium Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Sweden Tarek Fatah, Author, Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, Canada Jacqueline Fichet - Professeure en Retraite, FranceGay and Lesbian Humanist Association, UKAC Grayling, Writer and Philosopher, London, UKRahila Gupta, Activist and Writer, UKMaria Hagberg, Chairperson, Network Against Honour-Related Violence, SwedenKatie Hickman, Writer, UKHumanist and Ethical Union of KenyaLeo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist Movement, NigeriaInternational Committee against Stoning, Germany Iranian Secular Society, London, UK Asqar Karimi, Central Committee Member, Worker-communist Party of Iran, UKKenya Association of Humanists in Aid of Women AtheistsRuth Kithei and Teresia Naomi, Kenya Association of Humanists in Aid of Women Atheists, KenyaDerek Lennard, Chairperson, Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, UKDoreen Massey, Peer, House of Lords, London, UKCaspar Melville, Editor, New Humanist magazine, UKReza Moradi, Director, New Channel TV, UKMaryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain, UKNational Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, UKNational Secular Society, London, UKNever Forget Hatun Campaign against Honour Killings, Germany Network Against Honour-Related Violence, SwedenNigerian Humanist Movement, NigeriaOne Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain, UKLucy Perman, Executive Director, Clean Break, UKDavid Pollock, President, the European Humanist Federation, London, UK Fariborz Pooya, Founder, Iranian Secular Society, London, UK Pragna Patel, Founding Member, Southall Black Sisters and Women Against Fundamentalism, UKRevolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, AfghanistanTerry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society, London, UK Sohaila Sharifi, Editor, Unveiled Persian, London, UKJoan Smith, Writer and Activist, London, UK Southall Black Sisters, UKIssam Shukri, Head, Defense of Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq; Central Committee Secretary, Left Worker-communist Party of Iraq, Iraq Hanne Stinson, British Humanist Association, UKAnnie Sugier, Ligue du Droit International des Femmes, FrancePeter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner, UKWomen Against Fundamentalisms, UKIbn Warraq, writer

To join the coalition, click here.

For more information, to help organise a rally in your city on November 21, 2009, please contact coalition coordinator Patty Debonitas +44 (0) 7778804304, ICFWR, BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK, email

ERN join One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in BritainDecember 10, 2008

Equal Rights copposition to political Islam and Sharia law in Britain, but also Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, demand one secular law and full citizenship rights, demand an end to cultural relativism and racism, and defend universal rights.

Sharia law is discriminatory and unjust, particularly against women and children. Sharia courts in Britain are a quick and cheap route to injustice and do nothing to promote minority rights and social cohesion. Their voluntary nature is a sham as many women will be pressured into going to these courts and abiding by their decisions. Those who fail to make use of Sharia law or seek to opt out will be made to feel guilty and can be treated as apostates and outcasts.

You can sign the petition or find out more about this campaign by visiting its website.

Against the New “Family Bill” of the Islamic Republic of IranAugust 13, 2008
The “Family Bill” of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been postponed for review as a result of public outrage and pressure. Nonetheless, opposition to the Bill must be maintained until it is cancelled altogether.

This bill introduces new ultra-reactionary regulations in addition to all existing misogynist Islamic laws in order to deny women any rights and to push the society even further backwards. This bill openly wages a war against the Iranian society irrespective of gender. It is an extension of the war of this regime against human dignity, women’s rights, secularism, freedom and equality. This bill intensifies the organised violence against women and all members of society and further denies them their rights.

The misogynist and medieval laws and this bill should be strongly condemned. Equal Rights Now proposes the following alternative platform against the Family Bill of the Islamic Republic of Iran and calls upon all to support this alternative towards forming a widespread and strong struggle against the Islamic regime.

1. We alongside the people of Iran object to the totality of the Islamic Republic and its laws and regulations including the current Family Bill, the oppression of women in Iran, compulsory Islamic veiling, “siqeh” (temporary marriage), polygamy and sexual apartheid.

We believe that all the misogynist laws of the Islamic Republic should be abolished. Religion should be separate from the state and educational system and be relegated to the private sphere. We believe that the slightest improvement in the quality of lives of the people in Iran requires an unconditional struggle against the totality of the regime and depends on the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are against the essence of polygamy, irrespective of the consent or disapproval of the first wife. This is a law that belongs to the age of barbarism. We are against the totality of “siqeh”, Islamic prostitution, whether it is registered or unregistered. We are against any form of “mehriye” (dowry) or “shirbaha” (mother’s milk money) be it taxed or exempt of taxation. This reduced women to commodities and personifies the lack of rights for millions of people. We are against the state’s intervention in people’s private lives, be it in name of religion, or in name of institution of family, nation, honour, culture or tradition.

2. This alternative platform consists of personalities, activists, and forces that struggle against the Islamic Republic. We condemn any form of appeasement or collaboration in the name of defending women’s right or rejecting the Family Bill with the power centres, factions, and representatives of the regime, members of the Islamic Assembly, pressure groups organised around the Islamic Republic, its ayatollahs and clerics that appear as opponents or proponents of the Islamic Republic. Such an approach is deceitful; it is a particular political project which is in line with the competition of factions of the regime as the so-called elections approach. The struggle for women’s rights and against the Family Bill is not a platform for The Women’s Faction of the Islamic Parliament, Tahkim Vahdat faction, Mosharekat faction or those who gather around Khatami and/or Rafsanjani or the candidates of the sham elections. Any attempt to bridge the legitimate struggle of women and libertarian people and the Islamic Assembly and the factions of the regime will be exposed. The struggle for women’s right is not the scene of intra-government competition and conspiracy.

3. The Family Bill is openly against women’s rights and people’s civil rights; it is not reformable and should be done away with. We believe that no state has the right to intervene in people’s private lives. Forming or not forming a family, registering or not registering a marriage, adopting any form of private life should be done free from any intervention of state or religion and should be regarded as part of people’s civil rights. Our opposition to this bill is not being made in the name of protecting the institution of the family, in the name of national or cultural identity, or from the point of its supposed inconsistencies with Islam. We believe that both the Islamic institution of family and the national-traditional institution of family have been made on the basis of depriving women of their human rights. From our point of view women’s rights and human rights are the fundamentals of any law. For us the most sacred and the most important thing is providing people with libertarian and egalitarian rights. Any person, with or without a family, woman or man, calling herself an Iranian or not, single parent or not, married or unmarried should be provided with equal rights and human dignity in society. When it comes to women’s right within the family we believe in and demand the following:

1. Any couple above 16 has the right to choose a conjugal life. Any kind of pressure in order to choose a spouse, begin or terminate a marriage should be outlawed.
2. To acquire official status for conjugal relationships in order to be included within the scope of laws, which are related to familial matters, registration in governmental offices will be sufficient. Registration of marriage should not be given any religious status. No form of religious ceremony should be allowed in the official registration of marriage. Performing a particular form of religious or traditional marriage ceremony has no role in considering a marriage as official or unofficial.
3. Prohibition of any form of bargaining and monetary exchange in the marriage such as marriage-portion, “shirbaha,” dowry etc.
4. Prohibition of polygamy and siqeh (temporary marriages).
5.Absolute equal rights for women and men in the family such as deciding the place to live, child custody cases and matters related to child education, decision making concerning the belongings of the family and its economic affairs and whatever that is related to conjugal relationship. Man’s privileged position as the head of family should be abolished in all laws and regulations. The right to direct the family should be passed to women and men equally.
6. Women and men should have the unconditional right to divorce. After divorce, women and men have absolutely equal rights and duties regarding children.
7. Women and men have equal rights concerning the belongings that have been acquired or have been used by all the family during their conjugal relationship.
8. The automatic attribution of father’s family name to children should be abolished. Choosing the family name of the children should be left to the mutual consent between the mother and the father. If an agreement is not reached children will bear the mother’s family name. The father and mother’s names should be removed from official ID cards (such as driving license, national identification card, etc.).
9. The state should support single-parent families. The state should especially support divorced single mothers or those who have given birth to a child without marriage against material pressure and backward morality.
10. Any form of backward and reactionary laws that consider extramarital sexual relationships as an offence should be abolished.
11. Any person that has reached the age of sexual maturity has the irreversible right to freely participate in sexual relationships with other adults.
12. The age of sexual maturity for both women and men is 15. Sexually mature people (adults) do not have the right to have sexual relationship with those who have not arrived at the age of sexual maturity even though with consent; this is considered a criminal offence.
13. All sexually mature women and men have the right to decide about their sexual relationship with other sexually mature persons. A voluntary sexual relationship between adults is their private affair and no person or authority has the right to intervene or expose it.
14. All people, especially the youth, should be educated about sex, safe preventative methods, and methods of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. Sexual education should become a part of curriculum of high schools. The state has the immediate duty to inform the widest public and promote people’s scientific consciousness about different aspects of sexual life and individual’s rights in sexual relationships through advertisements, forming mobile clinics and educational teams, special campaigns and TV and radio programmes or through any other effective way.
15. Contraceptives and means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases should be widely accessible free of charge.
To protest and object to the reactionary Family Bill of the Islamic Republic we call upon all activists of women and children’s rights, revolutionaries, libertarian and egalitarian organisations, political parties, and all the people to unite around this platform. ¦ ©2008 Equal Rights Now

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Your wicked liberal spells and curses cannot hurt Sarah Palin


Video footage shows McCain's running-mate receiving special protection from witches in a 2005 ceremony
Oh look, here's Sarah Palin receiving special protection from witches in a laying-on-of-hands ceremony at the Wasilla Assembly of God, apparently during her gubernatorial campaign in 2005. The hands in question belong to Pastor Thomas Muthee, who incidentally made another appearance at the church this past weekend. The ceremony — including a prayer that Palin be protected from "every form of witchcraft" — begins after Palin steps up to the podium at around 7m10s. Before that, starting at 4m58s, Muthee explains how it's all part of a grand plan to reinsert God — or rather, his particular version of God — back into American public life:
We need God taking over our education system... If we have that in our schools, we will not have kids being taught how to worship Buddha, how to worship Mohammed. We will not have, in their curriculum, witchcraft, and sorcery. Is anybody hearing me? The other area is in the area of media. We need believers in the media. We need God taking over the media in our lands... And the last area is in the area of government. Hello? We need believers there. We need men and women of integrity. You know, as the secretaries of state. We need them right there. People that are born again, spirit-filled; people who know God, and who are serious with God.
And then, as the ceremony draws to an end, the video cuts out. Before the part where Muthee performs an exorcism on Palin to rid her of the spirit of a demonic moose. What an anti-climax!

Lipstick on a Wing Nut

Subject to Debate
By Katha Pollitt
This article appeared in the September 29, 2008 edition of The Nation.
September 10, 2008

John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you're a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she'll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you're a super-sexist. "When do they ever ask a man that question?" charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex--and blaming their parents for letting it happen.

If there were an Olympics for hypocrisy, the Republican Party would have more gold medals
than Michael Phelps. And Palin would be wearing quite a few of them. It takes chutzpah for a mother to thrust her pregnant teen into the world's harshest spotlight and then demand the world respect the girl's privacy. But then it takes chutzpah to support criminalizing abortion and then praise Bristol's "decision" to have the baby. The right to decide, and privacy, after all, are two of the things Palin wants to deny every other woman, and every other family, in America. Palin's even said she would "choose life" if her daughter was pregnant from rape. Can't you just hear Bristol groaning, "Mo-om...!"
The Republicans bashed Barack Obama as a "celebrity," but now they've got a star of their own, so naturally the rules have changed. Nothing would suit them better than for the media to spend the next two months spellbound by the wacky carnival on ice that is the Palin family: Todd, aka the First Dude, the kids, Levi the hunky bad-boy dad-to-be--well, maybe not him so much after his expletive-adorned MySpace page briefly came to light ("I'm a fuckin' redneck"; "I don't want kids"--whoops). The snowmobiles, the moose burgers, the guns, the hair, the glasses that are flying off America's shelves (starting at $375 a pair, and she has seven). Fretting over the work/family issue alone should take up enough column inches to employ all the female journalists in America from now to next Mother's Day. And don't forget that op-ed staple, What Does This Mean for Feminism?
Well, I'm not playing. I don't care about Sarah Palin's family. I don't care if she's a good mother. I don't care if she's happily married, or who shops and who vacuums, or who takes care of the kids while both parents are at work. I don't want her recipe for caribou hot dogs, either. Life chez Sarah and Todd might make an adorable sitcom (Leave It to Jesus?) or a scathing tell-all a decade or so down the road (Governor Dearest?). Either way, so what? This is an election, not The View. As for feminism's meaning, what can you say after you've said that her career shows that even right-wing fundamentalist women have taken in feminism's message of empowerment and that's good, but that Palin's example suggests women can do it all without support from society and that's bad?
Count me as a feminist who never believed that being PTA president meant you could be, well, President. The more time we spend on dippy ruminations--how does she do it? Queen Bee on steroids or the hockey mom next door? how hot is Todd, anyway?--the less focus there will be on the kind of queries that should come first with any vice presidential candidate, and certainly would if Palin were a man. Questions like:
§ Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists' babies?
§ You say you don't believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you've spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?
§ If you didn't try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?
§ What is the European Union, and how does it function?
§ Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?
§ What is the function of the Federal Reserve?
§ Cindy and John McCain say you have experience in foreign affairs because Alaska is next to Russia. When did you last speak with Prime Minister Putin, and what did you talk about?
§ Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?
§ You are a big fan of President Bush, so why didn't you mention him even once in your convention speech?
§ McCain says cutting earmarks and waste will make up for revenues lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Experts say that won't wash. Balancing the Bush tax cuts plus new ones proposed by McCain would most likely mean cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Which would you cut?
§ You're suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list, even as Alaska's northern coastal ice is melting and falling into the sea. Can you explain the science behind your decision?
§ You've suggested that God approves of the Iraq War and the Alaska pipeline. How do you know?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hillary's Berserker Campaign ... for 2012

March 24, 2008
Blonde Ambition
Hillary Clinton can not win the Democratic nomination for president. The numbers tell the story. Even with robust victories in Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, Hillary will trail Obama in popular votes and pledged delegates as they enter the convention hall in Denver.
Any other candidate would have been shamed into dropping out long ago. But these are the Clintons and they have no shame.
So why does Hillary persist? Because she hasn't abandoned her aspiration for the White House. Not in 2008, but for 2012. Here's the perverse logic at work.
If Obama defeats McCain in November, it will take an act of treachery beyond anything even the Clintons have ever conjured from their grimoire of political demonology for Hillary to challenge him in 2012. She will be 69 in 2016, almost ready to move into one of the Beverly Nursing Homes, owned by a company she once represented as a corporate lawyer, aggressively protecting the bottom line against such extravagances as healthy meals, clean sheets and proper medical care for the elderly.
Hillary Clinton is the prisoner of an unimpeachable mathematics. So she makes the most of a remorseless situation by doing what the Clintons do best: commit political fratricide. Quite literally, in this case, by knocking off a brother.
In order to realize her vaulting ambition, Hillary must mortally wound Obama as candidate in the fall race against John McCain so that she can run against McCain in 2012.
McCain is at best a one term president. The signs of this are as clear as the scar jagging down his face. McCain, whose resemblance to Lon Chaney becomes eerier by the day, is already an old man, older than Reagan when he was first elected. He is plagued by a cancer he refuses to speak about, a war he refuses to end and an economy that is collapsing beyond the point of recovery. Add to this prospectus, the fact that McCain is prone to the most self-destructive impulses of any American politician since Aaron Burr. His political fate will be sealed before he even swears his oath.
Thus Hillary's berserker strategy against Obama. (For more on "berserkerism" see the SF novels of Fred Saberhagen.)
Down in Mark Penn's dark computer lab, the data culled from pulse polls and focus groups probing the hidden prejudices in the psyche of white America are being packed like shrapnel into political landmines set for Obama: he's unpatriotic, he's un-Christian, he's a Palestinian symp and, yes, he's black. That's three strikes and one head shot.
Exploitation of racial panic is second nature to the power couple Ishmael Reed calls Ma and Pa Clinton. Bill Clinton launched his 1992 campaign by personally overseeing the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a brain-damaged young black man. He wagged his finger at the rapper Sister Souljah, denouncing her music and political opinions as a danger to young minds. The Clintons pilloried their one-time friend Lani Guinier, for her legal writings on the status of blacks and women and booted Dr. Jocelyn Elders from her position as Surgeon General for her refreshingly candid statements about the utility of condoms and masturbation for sexually active youths.
And that's how they treated people they knew. At a structural level, the Clintons' economic and social agenda, incubated at the conservative Democratic Leadership Council, struck directly at poorest precincts of America, targeting blacks and Hispanics with a fervor not seen since Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips crafted the infamous Southern Strategy for Richard Nixon. Hence, the dismantling of welfare, harsh federal crime bills, the refusal to intervene against racial profiling or redress the grievous injustices caused by the racially-motivated sentences handed out for crack cocaine.
The fallout from Ms. Clinton's racially-tinged blitz against Obama will spread far and wide across her party like the toxic particles from a nuclear blast. They've done it all before. The Clintons' reckless first two years in the White House, from the heavy-handed Travel Office fiasco to the fires of Waco and HRC's sophomoric bungling of the health care reform, spurred the GOP takeover of congress in 1994, which they used to their political profit. Then in 1996, Clinton refused to allocate DNC money to tight senate and congressional races, a miserly tactic that allowed the faltering Republicans to retain control of both houses of Congress. It was a cynical decision that many high-ranking Democrats believe constituted a deliberate sabotage of the party's prospects, designed to secure a monopoly-like control of the party apparatus for the Clintons, turning the DNC into their own private PAC.
That's the logic of triangulation. The daisy-cutter tactics of Hillary's current campaign might be called pre-emptive triangulation. The Clintons enrich themselves politically by looting the ruins of their own party.
Look how swiftly her campaign knee-capped her friend Bill Richardson. After working sedulously for Richardson's endorsement only to lose out to Obama, Mark Penn dismissed the governor as "irrelevant." On Good Friday, Clinton intimate James Carville denounced Richardson as "a Judas."
Clinton believes she must destroy the party in order to save it-for herself. But her campaign geared at women and white working class voters relies on a perversion of the past. The recent past at that, as if they believe that the American electorate is blinking out from a kind of political Alzheimer's, where the short-term goes first. Perhaps that's why Penn and his pack of geeks geared their themes to appeal to geezers and grandparents. Clintontime is recast as a glittering epoch of peace and prosperity. Yet this was a decade when Iraq was bombed every three days and a half-million people died under the cruel sanctions regime, when cruise missiles were launched on Sudan and Afghanistan to divert popular attention from blow-jobs and thong-snapping interns, when an illegal air war was orchestrated against Serbia, racking up thousands of civilian casualties and the ongoing bloodbath against peasants in South America known as Plan Colombia, the drug war that keeps on killing.
The Clinton 90s was a time when the economic chasm in America between the rich and everyone else deepened and widened profoundly, under the command of Alan Greenspan and Wall Street maestro Robert Rubin, and the social safety nets protecting the most vulnerable among us where shorn in the name of political pragmatism. The Clintons evoke a nostalgia for a time that never was. If you require objective confirmation of the economic enervation unleashed by the Clinton program consult Contours of Descent, economist Robert Pollin's brilliant dissection of that dismal era.
This coarse reality is transparent to those who lived through it and still suffer the aftershocks of the Clintons' neoliberal program. That's one reason why almost the only blacks to back HRC are encrusted members of Congressional Black Caucus and corporate shills like Andrew Young, who whitewashed Nike's crimes against workers in its Asian sweat-factories. Both camps are old hands at palming political gratuities and walking around money.
Meanwhile, Obama plays the role of willing victim like he spent years studying Italian frescos on the torments of St. Sebastian. He exudes a sense of entitlement nearly as all-engrossing as the Clintons and compounds this with a martydom complex that dramatizes the wounding of each slingshot and arrow lobbed his way.
Although it's not strictly attuned to her peculiar pathology, Hillary could almost call it quits right now, even before she claims Pennsylvania as a scalp. She has fatally toxified Obama and almost certainly secured the White House for her good friend John McCain.
Hillary is following the Reagan model. In 1976, Ronald Reagan bled Gerald Ford through the long winter and spring months, before bludgeoning him the late primary in Pennsylvania. As told in Adam Clymer's new book, Drawing the Line at the Big Ditch: the Panama Canal Treaties and the Rise of the Right, Reagan finally found a theme to his weird internecine challenge in the Panama Canal Treaty. Reagan fell short in the end, but he had hobbled Ford, who stumbled and fell against Carter in the fall election. Carter inherited a stagnant economy, soaring oil prices and a simmering crisis in the Middle East. Reagan easily unseated Carter in the 1980 election. The Clintons are shrewd enough to detect the striking historical parallels here and craven enough to exploit them for their own long-term advantage.
The Clinton war room may still throb to the beats of Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow." But late at night, when Mandy Grunwald has slipped on her flannels and Mark Penn has powered-down his Cray super-computer, Hillary and Bill will surely toast their strange time-delayed victory to the chords of McCartney's "Live and Let Die."
Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky, will be published this spring. He can be reached at:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


DR.Shojaeddin Shafa

The third millennium is on its way and will commence soon! During the past 100 years many countries of the world have changed their positions on a pyramid of wealth and influence. Some from underdeveloped to developed and some from developed to industrial superpowers. This last group is known as G8.
Most members of this group once were at the bottom of the pyramid. Some changed their position to the middle of the pyramid, such as Italy, and a few did not change their position like England or France. Russia moved down and the USA moved up to the top. During this period, Iran, which promisingly began with a constitutional revolution and progressed for about 50 years, seemed about to flourish, when suddenly found itself near the bottom of the pyramid.
About 100 years ago Haj Sayyah wrote in his journal:
"People wearing turbans are seen everywhere. Most occupy key positions and nobody seems to know who is intellectually qualified and who is simply illiterate. All have Ayatollah, Hojat-ol-Eslam, Sheikh or Mullah in front of their names. Their job is to do whatever they think is right which sometimes means killing people. They buy and sell Heaven and Hell.
No one has the guts to say anything to them. No one can tell them that they are lying. No one can say or do otherwise lest they be persecuted in the name of religion. They say you cannot criticize religion. If you defy, they accuse you of defying god and his prophet. No one can call them simply "priest". They must be addressed as Ayatollah or Hojatoleslam. They have their own vigilantes to force you to obey them.
People have a thick dust of gloom on their sad faces and shoulders. They are pale, skinny and wearing dirty clothes. Their faces are sad with down-turned mouths. Their eyes stare at the ground. It looks as if these people never knew about happiness or life. Nothing can be heard but crying and mourning. Nothing is left of Islam but praying, pilgrimage and following coffins! The real Islamic teaching has been abandoned. In this way Iran not only was unable to achieve what was possible to achieve, but also lost even whatever it already had."
During the first 1400 years of the past two millenniums, Iran was a super power. In fact for 200 years of the past 1400 years Iran was the sole super power with many contributions to science and culture. But in the second 1400 years (after Arabs conquest) Iran lost its glory and became part of Arab and Turkish kingdoms.
During the first 1400 years of Iran's history, no Iranian was killed by an Iranian to gain power. During the second 1400 years (to the present) many Iranians have betrayed Iranians, taken Iranian eye or life! More women and girls have been sold as slaves, more men have had to serve as servants.
At first Iranians felt insulted by what the Arabs had introduced. Out in public they had to pretend that they were Muslims, in private they followed their own religion (Zoroastrianism).
Anytime they found a good opportunity, they revolted and fought with the Arabs. We cannot deny the fact that Islam and/or the Arabs dominated Iran by force and with the edge of their swords.
The Arabs moved to North Africa, Spain and France. It was only in Poitier, France that their swords became blunt and they lost their power.
At no given time did the Arabs/Muslims bring equality or freedom to the defeated people, neither in Iran nor in other places. Such historical lies should not be believed.
One thing for sure was delivered, prejudice and hatred! The Arabs believed that they were beyond and above others, Iranians in particular. They said: "three things may nullify prayers: a Dog, a Donkey and an Iranian"
When the Arabs attacked Byzance (Eastern Rome), the people of Byzance accepted a second imported religion, following Judeo-Christianity. Their God did not change. It was no problem for them to change their Master, because their God remained the same.
At the time the Arabs conquered Iran, it was not a colony of some other Empire, but by itself, one of the biggest kingdoms. Iran had its own religion which was older than Judaism and Christianity. The Iranian language was Arian and had no relationship to Arabic.
Renan once said: "Iran did accept Islam, but never was defeated by the Arabs or their poor culture. In a very short period of time Iranians gained their freedom from Arabs. 100 years after Mohammed (Prophet) nothing was left from his land and kingdom, which once stretched from Malaysia to Morocco!"
We cannot compare Iran to other countries in the region (Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc.,) as they were introduced to variety of religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) Iranians on their part alone provided the world with Mithraism, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism.
The Mithraism was the number one religion for 400 years within Roman Empire. We can find many archaeological proofs and documents, in Italy, Spain, France Germany, Austria, England and Romania. The Balkan Peninsula, North Africa and most parts of the Mediterranean countries once were influenced by Mithra protocols and regulations. Mithraism was defeated because Christians attacked it by sword!
During the last 1400 years Iranians did not understand what Islam preached, nor had the opportunity to taste the freedom promised by Mohammed. Ebn-e-Khaldoon, the historian, once wrote: "Most mathematicians, Physicians, Physicists, Astronomers, Philosophers, Historians, Geographer, Professors, Artists, Men of letters and Scholars were Iranian, not Arab. The Arabs were not interested in any of these fine techniques. Iranians always were interested in research, development and inventions."
In this regard we can name Ebn-e-Sina, Razi, Kharazmi, Ebn-e-Moghafae, Birooni, Molana, Ghazali, Badi-e-Zaman, Hafez, Khayam, Saadi and a hundred others.
A Pakistani Muslim living in USA (Zia-ed-din Sardar) in his book called "Future of Islam" wrote: "Islam does not need to be fed by modern science and technologies. It is the modern world that is in great need of the Koran and its teachings!" We should not forget that all the Koran's teachings are over 1400 years old and some are impossible to implement. Imagine a person fasting from dawn to dusk who is living in North Pole, in which the days are 2-3 months long!
For many of those who are Muslim, it is because their respective ancestors once had to say "La-Elaha-Elal-Lah" or be killed by Arab sword. My ancestors certainly never understood what the meaning of the phrase was. It certainly might not be meaningful to many of the readers of this page.
"It is because of love of you (God) that I face Mecca, (in my prayers) otherwise I hate praying and Mecca. - Molana Jalaleddin Rumi"
We should not forget that people who have experienced wars, defeats and tastes of ups-and-downs over the last 3000 years have each time gained more experience. Although they lost a lot of courage and have been destroyed by selfishness and force of certain cruel governments oppression, they will however stand up due to their innate nobility and will rise again. Memoris of 1896 courtesy of a dear friend
What should be important for our youths and people to understand in the exploration of the third millennium is to increase their knowledge about our values, image and culture. They should realize that although the Charter of Rights provides everyone with essential Freedoms and Rights, Iran is one of those nations that has been spoiled by forceful teachings of Islam in the wrong direction. We are not minors, fools nor uneducated to need a guardian for our protection!
We all are committed to inform each other and our youths. We must let them have access to every publication, speech and belief. This will facilitate their access to the transition period into the third millennium with an open mind.
We all are responsible to inform our youths and the next generation about religion, history, politics, sociology and technology. This site can only list brief subjects of all.
The importance of availability of information for our people is that the more they are informed the better they will choose their way into the 3rd millennium. If I have accepted such a responsibility it is not because I feel competent, but I feel it to be my special duty.
The world acknowledges three religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. These religions have more followers than other minor religions. In all three, the teachings almost follow the same route. But in the past, people have fought each other unaware that the opponent believes in a God similar to their own.
For over 200 years Christians killed many Muslims and the Muslims killed many Christians. They did not know much about Torah and/or Bible, nor did they know enough about Koran. As tradition dictates, our sons and daughters will believe in the same God that we worship. If Khomeini was born in Israel he would have been an Orthodox Jew fighting Palestinians.
We never studied our holy books (Old testament, Evangiles, Koran etc.,) in a manner to find how many contradictions are present in the body of these books. It is as if these books are talking in favor of the personal life of their respective authors!
In one verse God is very loving and caring; in some other verses he is very angry and has a satanic personality. He kills one of his own abstemious creation, his sons' sheeps, calves and camels and burn their homes!
When God realized that the tower, being constructed by Noah and his sons, was reaching its highest stage and may endanger God's kingdom, he sent one of his own angels to earth to establish a conflict between people. The conflict lasted forever, with the result that the people of that land dispersed. The city was called Babylon.
Although most holy books talk about the merciful and powerful personality of God, sometimes the verses are describing the life of His messengers and surprisingly talk about prophets' wishes!
The Christian Holy Book (Bible) and Muslims' Koran talk about wisdom, but the Torah, teaches and orders things that are in favor of Jews. If some acts are damaging to Jews, they are prohibited and if they are in their favor, they are strongly recommended. The Torah is very similar to a soap opera, which teaches terror, conspiracy and lies. The Koran teaches similar things but mixes the economy, politics and war (Jihad) with religious teachings.
Origin of religions
Most old books written in the periods 500 B.C. to 300 B.C. indicate that the territory occupied by the Jews was part of the Persian Empire. For this reason Zoroastrian and other Iranian religious influences can be found in that era. Persian (Iranian) kings and cities have a high importance in the Torah. "We Jews are God's creatures, but our God did not leave us alone, we live in the kingdom of the kind king of Pars" (Book of Azra 9-5).
The famous philosopher of Alexandria, Phylon, who was a Jew traveled to Palestine between 50-8 B.C. He was one of the most influential persons in his era. Albert Schweitzer who was a church member as well as a philosopher, in his research about Jesus, wrote: "in fact, that innocent Jesus, who rose to bring God's messages to us, established peace on earth, and who is said to have died on the cross, never existed. He was created by rationalism, by liberalism, and wore the clothing of mythological history until rhetoricians could govern church and people..." The Koran says: "a resembling man went on the cross, Jesus went into hiding"
Unlike the Bible, the date and origin of the Koran is known. In the Koran, God is not referred to in the third person; he talks to his created beings directly. We should not forget that today's Koran might not contain exactly the same verses that the prophet Mohammad heard from his god.
The Koran was written many years after the death of Mohammad. The first copy, called Mo-ss-h-eff, was not considered as an approved copy. Later many other verses were added to the Mo-ss-h-eff. When Ottoman came to power he decided to make one official copy of the Koran. He combined many other copies; verses that were remembered by people, friends and families of Prophet, and the other copies were destroyed. It is believed that Ottoman did not put the Koran together for God's sake but because he had political motives to have a written book as a source of reference.
We all believe in one God, but the text of the Testaments and Koran have testimonials that are not unified in teachings; there seems to be changeable rules and regulations of the merciful God from one book to the other!
At least a century prior to Jesus' birth, the Persian religion Mehr (Mithraism) was introduced to the people of the Roman Empire. For three centuries it was the official religion of Rome. Mithra influenced and covered most parts of today's Europe in a period of time. (Refer to Les Mysteres de Mithra- Bruxsseles 1899-1896). Mithra was God of light, justice, loyalty, friendship, fertility and victory.
In Roman Empire, Mithra was known as ((Fautori imperii sui = protector of Empire)), later called Sol invictus, unconquerable Sun. Worship of Mithra which started a century prior to Jesus lasted until the mid forth century in Europe, the Balkans and Roman Empire.
Mithra vastly influenced Christianity and many other religions. In the year 325, three centuries after Christ, the 25th day of December became the birthday for Jesus. This day was Mithra's birthday. On this day the sun starts rising earlier to make the days of the week longer until 21st day of March, when the length of days and nights are equal. Later the 25th of March, the Iranian New Year festivity, was established as Easter (Paques).
"Christianity was vastly influenced by previous religions. The early spiritual leaders were condemning Mithraism copying (stealing) Christian fundamentals. They were not aware that they had stolen many traditions from Mithra" Gustave Le Bon wrote in his book, La vie des Verites.
Iranian influences are not limited to Judaism and Christianity; Islam was vastly under the influence of the Iranian religious foundation. We can refer to a story developed in Koran, (Baghara 102), about two angles who go to earth; they see an extraordinarily beautiful women and get involved with her. God calls other angels to show how everybody gets involved with things that are forbidden. On their return the two angels were offered two choices - to be punished on earth or to be punished in the universe. They chose to be punished on earth. They were dropped to the bottom of a deep well in Babylon.
This story is a carbon copy of a Persian tale in which the name of angels are Haurvatat and Ameretat; these two names became the name of Iranian calendar months (Khordad & Amordad). Refer to Essai sur la mythologie de L'Avesta by J. Darmesteter.
The Aryan's beliefs and religious foundations well established the basics of Zoroastrianism, Mazdaism, Mithraism, Manichaeism and influenced Judaism, Christianism and Islam.
Nietzsche said once:
"Not to be an Idolater, it is not enough to break the Idol, you must relinquish Idolatrous behavior"


Friday, May 19, 2006

John Pilger detects the Salvador Option ColumnistsJohn PilgerMonday 8th May 2006

The American public is being prepared. If the attack on Iran does come, there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no truth, writes John Pilger
The lifts in the New York Hilton played CNN on a small screen you could not avoid watching. Iraq was top of the news; pronouncements about a "civil war" and "sectarian violence" were repeated incessantly. It was as if the US invasion had never happened and the killing of tens of thousands of civilians by the Americans was a surreal fiction. The Iraqis were mindless Arabs, haunted by religion, ethnic strife and the need to blow themselves up. Unctuous puppet politicians were paraded with no hint that their exercise yard was inside an American fortress. And when you left the lift, this followed you to your room, to the hotel gym, the airport, the next airport and the next country. Such is the power of America's corporate propaganda, which, as Edward Said pointed out in Culture and Imperialism, "penetrates electronically" with its equivalent of a party line. The party line changed the other day. For almost three years it was that al-Qaeda was the driving force behind the "insurgency", led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a bloodthirsty Jordanian who was clearly being groomed for the kind of infamy Saddam Hussein enjoys. It mattered not that al-Zarqawi had never been seen alive and that only a fraction of the "insurgents" followed al-Qaeda. For the Americans, Zarqawi's role was to distract attention from the thing that almost all Iraqis oppose: the brutal Anglo-American occupation of their country. Now that al-Zarqawi has been replaced by "sectarian violence" and "civil war", the big news is the attacks by Sunnis on Shia mosques and bazaars. The real news, which is not reported in the CNN "mainstream", is that the Salvador Option has been invoked in Iraq. This is the campaign of terror by death squads armed and trained by the US, which attack Sunnis and Shias alike. The goal is the incitement of a real civil war and the break-up of Iraq, the original war aim of Bush's administration. The ministry of the interior in Baghdad, which is run by the CIA, directs the principal death squads. Their members are not exclusively Shia, as the myth goes. The most brutal are the Sunni-led Special Police Commandos, headed by former senior officers in Saddam's Ba'ath Party. This unit was formed and trained by CIA "counter-insurgency" experts, including veterans of the CIA's terror operations in central America in the 1980s, notably El Salvador. In his new book, Empire's Workshop (Metropolitan Books), the American historian Greg Grandin describes the Salvador Option thus: "Once in office, [President] Reagan came down hard on central America, in effect letting his administration's most committed militarists set and execute policy. In El Salvador, they provided more than a million dollars a day to fund a lethal counter-insurgency campaign . . . All told, US allies in central America during Reagan's two terms killed over 300,000 people, tortured hundreds of thousands and drove millions into exile." Although the Reagan administration spawned the current Bushites, or "neo-cons", the pattern was set earlier. In Vietnam, death squads trained, armed and directed by the CIA murdered up to 50,000 people in Operation Phoenix. In the mid-1960s in Indonesia CIA officers compiled "death lists" for General Suharto's killing spree during his seizure of power. After the 2003 invasion, it was only a matter of time before this venerable "policy" was applied in Iraq. According to the investigative writer Max Fuller (National Review Online), the key CIA manager of the interior ministry death squads "cut his teeth in Vietnam before moving on to direct the US military mission in El Salvador". Professor Grandin names another central America veteran whose job now is to "train a ruthless counter-insurgent force made up of ex-Ba'athist thugs". Another, says Fuller, is well-known for his "production of death lists". A secret militia run by the Americans is the Facilities Protection Service, which has been responsible for bombings. "The British and US Special Forces," concludes Fuller, "in conjunction with the [US-created] intelligence services at the Iraqi defence ministry, are fabricating insurgent bombings of Shias." On 16 March, Reuters reported the arrest of an American "security contractor" who was found with weapons and explosives in his car. Last year, two Britons disguised as Arabs were caught with a car full of weapons and explosives; British forces bulldozed the Basra prison to rescue them. The Boston Globe recently reported: "The FBI's counter-terrorism unit has launched a broad investigation of US-based theft rings after discovering that some of the vehicles used in deadly car bombings in Iraq, including attacks that killed US troops and Iraqi civilians, were probably stolen in the United States, according to senior government officials." As I say, all this has been tried before - just as the preparation of the American public for an atrocious attack on Iran is similar to the WMD fabrications in Iraq. If that attack comes, there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no truth. Imprisoned in the Hilton lift, staring at CNN, my fellow passengers could be excused for not making sense of the Middle East, or Latin America, or anywhere. They are isolated. Nothing is explained. Congress is silent. The Democrats are moribund. And the freest media on earth insult the public every day. As Voltaire put it: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
This article first appeared in the New Statesman.For the latest in current and cultural affairs take out a print or online subscription

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Iran is Bush's bogeyman

Click To Remove --- -------------------------------------> "AHBUSH " , naughty evils !!!!!!!!!!

The continuing crisis with Iran is a welcome distraction and blessing in disguise for the beleaguered Bush administration, writes Firas Al-Atraqchi---------

In February 2003, several thousand members of a Shia militia infiltrated Iraq from Iran and took up positions in anticipation of an imminent United States invasion.

Once US forces penetrated Iraqi defenses, the militia vanguard were joined by a heavily armed and fully mechanised Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), ideologically and financially supported by their host country Iran.

The infiltration of the Badr Brigade effectively breached an agreement between its late leader Ayatollah Mohamed Baqir Al-Hakim and the US military that his militia would not enter Iraq until well after Saddam Hussein had been deposed. But there was no complaint from Washington.

Instead, hoping to entice Iran to play a constructive role in controlling and stabilising Iraqi Shias, Washington made a dramatic concession to the Islamic Republic by shutting down its greatest internal threat -- the Mujahidi Khalq rebels.

Mujahidi Khalq, who had mounted attacks against the Tehran theocracy with the tacit support of Saddam Hussein, were disarmed and disbanded. Their bases were taken over by US forces and their Kurdish allies.

Iraqi Shia Ayatollahs and lesser clerics, who had been based in Iran (and to a lesser extent, Syria) were allowed to return to Iraq en masse.

Tens of thousands of former Iraqi soldiers, who had defected to Iran, as well as Iranian military advisers, took on security portfolios in the newly-liberated country.

Clerics immediately called for Iraq to become an Islamic state following Shariah law. Rules, regulations and civic codes were rewritten in municipalities to reflect this change as thousands of militia members patrolled the streets.

Revenge killings mushroomed and rights groups complained of abuses against women and minorities.

But Washington was silent, quietly hoping Iran, and its parade of Ayatollahs, such as Ali Al-Sistani, could help bring order to Iraq.

Three years later, the bizarre US-Iran nexus has been turned on its head and condemnation of Iran's involvement in Iraq is all the rage in US media.

How did this reversal of fortuitous friendship come about?

When Iraq was invaded by US forces in 2003, President George Bush's approval rating stood at 68 per cent and a majority of the public favoured military pre-emption in the oil-rich nation.

In January 2005, his approval rating stood at 57 per cent dropping to 45 per cent in August.

It was around this time that Iran's involvement in its neighbour began to be highlighted by US military leaders and Washington- based think tanks.

The flood of anti-Iran verbosity began to rise considerably as the president's numbers continued to decline. Last year, on 14 August, Bush told Israeli TV "all options were on the table" hinting a military option had not been ruled out in dealing with Iran's "support of terrorism" and nuclear programme.

"The use of force is the last option for any president. You know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country," he said. This was considered to be the most belligerent tone the president used against Iran to date.

When Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal addressed the Foreign Relations Council in Washington on 21 September and said the US had handed Iraq over to Iran on a silver platter, Bush's approval rating stood at 42 per cent.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was sitting by his side. Up to that point, Rice had given the Iranians "soft" warnings.

In July 2005, she said "The Middle East is changing, and even the unelected leaders in Tehran must recognise this fact. They must know that the energy of reform that is building all around them will one day inspire Iran's citizens to demand their liberty and their rights. The United States stands with the people of Iran."

So was Al-Faisal's tirade a sharp rebuke of Washington's policies in the region?

Hardly, rather it paved the way for a flurry of speeches and policies directly implicating Iran in the deterioration of security in Iraq.

On 1 October, Rice said "Any champion of democracy who promotes principles without power can make no real difference in the lives of oppressed people."

By 3 October, a CBS poll found Bush's approval rating at 37 per cent. On 6 October, British Prime Minister Tony Blair indicated Iran could be behind advanced explosive devices which had killed US and British troops.

Three days later, for the first time, US media began to report that death squads were suspected of operating in Iraq. "The murder of 22 men in one Baghdad neighborhood is being blamed on a corrupt police force with ties to Iran and the heart of the national Iraqi leadership," the Washington Times reported.

The above quote should not be taken lightly. It does two things: ties Iran to the violence and therefore corroborates Blair's statement and also belies Iran's infiltration in the Iraqi government.

On 12 October, US intelligence published a letter from Al-Qaeda leader Ayman El-Zawahiri purportedly to wanted Jordanian fugitive Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. Among other things, the letter indicated several Al-Qaeda operatives were based in Iran and crossing over into Iraq. Al-Qaeda claimed the letter was fake.

On 15 October, US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton accused Iran of lying about its nuclear programme and that it was secretly developing nuclear weapons. And, on 19 October, testifying before a Congressional Committee, Rice refused to rule out a military option against Iran.

A Zogby poll on 21 October found Bush's approval rating had rebound to 45 per cent. On 26 October, US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad begins to increase the rhetoric against Iran. At a White House briefing he says: "Of course, we are opposed to Iranian policies with regard to Israel, we're opposed with regard to their nuclear policy, with regard to their support of terror, with regard to their negative policies in Iraq."

But since October, violence in Iraq had catapulted to frightening levels. The US military listed improvised explosive devices as the leading killer of US troops -- more than 100 servicemen and women were killed in Iraq breaking the 2000 mark, a "grim milestone", according to US media.

A disturbing phenomenon had also been introduced to the Iraqi landscape, scores of bound and executed men, mostly Sunnis, started to turn up in ditches, near mosques, etc.

Despite the passing of the referendum, violence did not abate and sectarian warfare skyrocketed.

After Iranian President Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be wiped off the map in late October, Blair said "If they [Iran] continue down this path, then people are going to believe that they are a real threat to our world security and peace."

On 7 November, Blair accused Iran of supporting terrorism in Iraq and elsewhere saying "There is a reason why Iran and Syria do their best to destabilise the situation in Iraq because they know that if Iraq is allowed to develop as a strong, Muslim state but with secular democratic government, then it's the best argument you can possibly have for people in Iran and in Syria to say 'Why don't we have some of that democracy? Why don't we have proper civil and human rights, too.'"

By 14 November, Bush's approval rating dropped to between 35 and 37 per cent. In the same period in 2001, his approval rating was 87 per cent. By 17 November, reports of death squads associated with Shia militia in turn associated with Iran were now hogging media headlines.

"One such group, the Volcano Brigade, is operating as a death squad -- under the influence or control of Iraq's most potent Shiite factional militia, the Iranian-backed Badr Organisation, said several Iraqi government officials and western Baghdad residents," wrote the Seattle Times.

This followed a spectacular US raid on several detention centres, some run in buildings belonging to the Interior Ministry, where dozens of Sunni Iraqis were freed from torture at the hands of the Badr Brigade.

A virtual blitz enveloped as pictures of emaciated, tortured, and murdered Sunni men were published in the media and on blogs.

The finger of blame was again pointed at Iran. On 27 November, former interim Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim Al-Shaalan said Iran was running affairs in Iraq.

A careful charting of the steady decline of Bush's approval rating plotted against the rise in Iran-centric rhetoric reveals an inversely proportional relationship at work; the lower the president's approval rating, the louder the rhetoric against Iran gets.

Six months later, the same formula still holds true. Bush's approval rating has fallen to 32 per cent and now there is open talk of military action against Iran.

Khalilzad has upped the ante on Iran, blaming its allies in Iraq for sectarian violence, and directly implicating it in arming Ansar Al-Sunna, a major terrorist organisation in Iraq according to the US military, with advanced explosives.

That notion that Shia Iran is arming Sunni fighters in Iraq -- who are also targeting Shia militants -- is nothing short of an outrageous flight of fancy.

But to the US public it rings true. Translation? Every time a US serviceman is killed by IEDs, the public is meant to direct its anger at Iran.

In addition to its alleged meddling in Iraq, the Iranian nuclear programme has been the source of much speculation and paranoia in the US media for the past two years. Iran, we were told, was two years away from having the means and technical expertise to build an atomic weapon.

In the past two weeks that estimate was reduced to an astonishing 16 days by some US pundits after Iran declared it had successfully enriched uranium.

For the Bush administration, the focus on Iran is a welcome, if not contrived, distraction from the woes that continue to shame and blame the White House and the planners of the Iraqi invasion.

In recent weeks, Bush administration policy has even been rocked by criticism from former senior US generals.

Therefore, blaming and targeting Iran fulfills several US strategic imperatives in the region.

Firstly, with the threat of a nuclear holocaust played up in the media and aired by "expert" talking heads, the public will turn its focus away from Iraq to dealing with Iran.

Furthermore, it has become abundantly clear that the US has no viable exit strategy in Iraq and has on the contrary made contradictory statements regarding the duration of the US military presence in Iraq. Will US forces be out by the end of the year or will they remain for a decade ... or more?

That question can be answered by examining the expansive military bases, campgrounds, and runways being built by a horde of military contractors throughout Iraq.

The US military has budgeted $74 million for the extension of the Al-Asad military base in Balad, Iraq. Spanning 49 square kilometres, it is so large that it requires bus transportation (routes have already been built). US military engineers have also been reinforcing Iraq's aging runways to sustain F-16 and other US air force use.

And this is just one of several similar military bases and expansions concurrently underway in Iraq.

This may appear puzzling at first -- why build bases if the US intends to withdraw as soon as security and military control is handed over to the Iraqis?

Iran, of course, is the most available answer. With its sponsorship of terrorism and active pursuit of fuelling sectarian violence -- as espoused by both US and UK officials -- the most logical recourse is for the US to maintain a near-permanent presence in Iraq to protect it from Iranian intervention.

Iranian dissidents have also upped the ante waxing imploringly of the dire situation in Iran declaring to the world to come to the salvation of the Persian peoples shackled by the evil Islamist Mullahs.

"Prince du jour" Amir Taheri, former editor of Kayhan, Iran's largest daily newspaper and current "exile" in Europe said last week that Iran was out to dominate the Middle East, threaten both Israeli and US interests in the region, and manipulate world economies in its stranglehold of vital oil resources.

"The Iranian plan is simple: playing the diplomatic game for another two years until Bush becomes a "lame-duck", unable to take military action against the mullahs, while continuing to develop nuclear weapons," he writes.

All at once, Iran has become the main instigator of all that is wrong in Iraq and the justification for an extended US military presence in the country.

It has also, more disturbingly, become the poster "rogue nation" validating the notion of pre-emption with some hinting that tactical nuclear weapons could be used for the first time since 1945.

The fear that the US could very well implement a nuclear option prompted 13 prominent US scientists to send an open letter to Bush saying a tactical nuclear strike would have "disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world".

White House officials are hoping that the strategy of focusing on Iran as the next greatest, most imminent threat will resuscitate Bush's flagging popularity and place in history.

Writing in Rolling Stones magazine, Sean Wilentz, Dayton- Stockon professor of history and director of the programme in American studies at Princeton University, says Bush is a strong candidate for worst-ever president in US history.

"Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents."

Nothing rallies a country around a leader like a war built around the defence of principle.

Iran is that event, particularly when it is played up as the next big bogeyman in the Middle East that is not only threatening Israel -- America's only stalwart democratic ally in the area -- but also undermining the democratic flowering of neighbouring Iraq.

In October 2002, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said: "The administration isn't targeting Iraq because of 9/11. It's exploiting 9/11 to target Iraq. This new fight isn't logical -- it's cultural. It is the latest chapter in the culture wars, the conservative dream of restoring America's sense of Manifest Destiny."

The threat of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme is very much fomenting in the shadow of 9/11. With Iran having considerably developed its nuclear capabilities, the fear-mongering of a mushroom cloud over a US city is very much still valid in the average American's psyche.

Beyond the Iraqi quagmire, Iran also provides the justification for cutting off financial aid to Hamas, billed as an Iran proxy, as well as pressuring Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hizbullah to disarm.

It also allows more indirect pressure to be heaped on Syria, one of the three countries (Iran and Hamas being the others) Israel labelled as the axis of evil in the Middle East.

Iran, unfortunately, is the glue (and target) that ties all US Middle East policy together.
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