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Targeting Iran Continues

 

Targeting Iran Continues

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel's likely coalition partners assure it. Spurious Iranian threats are hyped. What began years ago continues. 

 

Washington and Israel want puppet leaders replacing independent ones in power. At issue is unchallenged regional dominance.

 

Iran War Weekly - January 27, 2013

Iran War Weekly

January 27, 2013

 

Obama's Second Inauguration: Big Money but No Big Lines

 

By Dave Lindorff


There were no memorable lines in President Obama’s second inaugural address. Certainly nothing like Franklin Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” which was in his first inaugural, or like John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.”


But there was plenty he said that was troubling. 


The problem mostly wasn’t what he said. It was how he said it, and what he left unsaid.

Iran War Weekly - January 20, 2013

Iran War Weekly

January 20, 2013

 

Hello All – Iran’s nuclear program, and the possibilities of war against Iran, will likely be prominent in the  Senate confirmation hearings of President Obama’s new national security team, particular in the case of the proposed Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.  While Hagel, Kerry (State), and Brennan (CIA) are all expected to be confirmed, Senate Republicans have served notice that (especially in the case of Hagel), the nominees will be scrutinized to see if they are prepared to keep the sanctions screwed on tightly against Iran and, if necessary, go to war.

 

Nixon Went to China, Who Will Go to Iran?

Iranians are now beginning to die for lack of medicines kept out by U.S.-imposed sanctions.  I recently questioned (and videoed) former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright about her notorious defense of sanctions that killed over a half million young Iraqi children.  She said she'd been wrong to say what she'd said.  She did not comment on the appropriateness of what she'd done.  I asked her if what we were doing to Iran was also wrong, and she replied, "No, absolutely not."

So, somehow it is good and proper for us to be killing Iranian children -- although perhaps not to be talking about it.

I suspect that some of the reasons why we imagine there is a greater good being served by such actions are the same reasons no U.S. president will go to Iran in the manner in which Nixon went to China.  Of course, the common political wisdom in the United States holds that the president who went to China had to be a Republican.  By the same logic, the president who goes to Iran must be a militarist power-mad servant of the corporate oligarchy from the Republican party and not a militarist power-mad servant of the corporate oligarchy from the Democratic party.  That wouldn't do at all.  And yet, U.S. conduct toward Iran has varied little from Bush to Clinton to Bush Jr. to Obama/Clinton, H.  A hopeless spiral of delusional counter-productive approaches toward the Islamic Republic of Iran needs to be broken by a 180 degree turn, and it won't make much substantive difference who does it, as long as it doesn't come too late.

Whether the authors intended exactly that or not, the above is the lesson I take away from an excellent new book by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett called "Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran."

It has been U.S. policy for decades not to engage with Iran, and -- misleading rhetoric notwithstanding -- it still is.  "More than any of his predecessors, in fact, Obama has given engagement a bad name, by claiming to have reached out to Tehran and failed when the truth is he never really tried." 

The Leveretts trace official U.S. policy on Iran to a trio of myths: the myths of irrationality, illegitimacy, and isolation. 

 

IRRATIONALITY:

The evidence of irrationality on the part of the Iranian people or the Iranian government is very slim.  I can find much more irrationality in the U.S. public and government.  Iranians, in fact, are better at distinguishing between our people and our government than we seem to be at making that distinction on their side.  Iran has funded Hizballah and HAMAS, and we call those groups terrorists.  But we call any militants opposing Pentagon interests terrorists.  Iranian leaders have made comments verging on anti-Semitic (and routinely distorted into outrageous anti-Semitism), but nothing approaching the things Anwar Sadat or Mahmoud Abbas said or wrote before they were deemed rational actors with whom the U.S. and Israel could (and did) work. 

Iran's policies have been defensive, not aggressive.  Iran has not threatened to attack or attacked others.  Iran has refused to retaliate against chemical weapons attacks or terrorism or our shooting down a commercial jet or our funding efforts within Iran to manipulate its elections or our training of militants seeking to overthrow Iran's government.  Iran has refused to develop chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.  Unlike Britain, Russia, or the United States, when provoked Iran has refused to invade Afghanistan, choosing wise reflection over hot-tempered anger.  Look at the polling across the Middle East: people fear the United States and Israel, not Iran. 

Iran's approach to the United States over the years has been rational and forbearant.  In 1995 the Islamic Republic of Iran offered its first foreign oil development contract to the United States, which turned it down.  Iran aided President Clinton by shipping arms to Bosnia, which Clinton turned around and condemned Iran for when the story became public.  In 2001, the President of Iran requested permission to pray for 911 victims at the site of the World Trade Center and offered to assist in counterterrorism plans, but was turned down.  Iran assisted the United States with its invasion of Afghanistan and was labeled "evil" in return.  The current president of Iran wrote long friendly letters to President Bush and President Obama, both of whom ignored them except to allow their staffs to publicly mock them.  The Iranian government repeatedly proposed substantive dialogue, offering to put everything on the table, including its nuclear energy program, and was turned down.  The Obama administration gave Turkey and Brazil terms it was sure Iran wouldn't agree to; Iran agreed to them; and the White House rejected them, choosing instead to grow outraged at Brazil and Turkey.

Iran tried to believe in the change in Obama's (no doubt domestically intended) rhetoric, but never encountered any substance, only fraud and hostility.  That Iran attempts civil relations with a nation surrounding and threatening it, imposing deadly sanctions on it, funding terrorism within its borders, and publicly mocking its sincere approaches is indication of either rationality or something almost Christ-like (I'm inclined to go with rationality).

 

ILLEGITIMACY:

War is immoral, illegal, and counter-productive.  That doesn't change if the people bombed are living or suffering under an illegitimate government.  Here in the United States an unaccountable Supreme Court rewrites our basic laws, unverifiable privately owned and operated machines count our votes, candidates are chosen by wealth, media coverage is dolled out by a corporate cartel, presidents disregard the legislature, and high crimes and misdemeanors are not prosecuted.  And yet, nonetheless -- amazing to tell -- we'd rather not be bombed.  I don't give a damn whether this scholar or that scholar believes the Iranian government is legitimate or not; I don't want any human beings killed in my name with my money.

That being said, common claims of illegitimacy for Iran's government are myths.  Western experts have predicted its imminent collapse (as well as its imminent development of nukes) for decades.  Iranian elections are far more credible than U.S. ones.  A government need not be secular to be legitimate.  I might favor secular governments, but I'm not an Iranian.  I'm a citizen of a government that has been seeking to control Iran's government for over a half century since overthrowing it in 1953; I don't get to have a voice.  Iranians are gaining in rights, in education, in health, in life expectancy (the opposite in many ways of the course we are on in the United States).  Iranian women used to be permitted to dress as they liked but not to pursue the education and career they liked.  Now that has largely been reversed.  Iranian women are guaranteed paid maternity leave that outstrips our standards.  Iran's approach to drugs is more rational than our own, its approach to homosexuality more mixed than we suspect, its investment in science cutting edge. 

All of that being said, the Iranian government abuses its people in ways that need to be addressed by its people and should have been directly addressed by the Leveretts' book.

I also want to quibble with the Leveretts' account of the 1979 revolution in light of the views of some who were there at the time.  I'm not convinced that Khomeini led and directed the revolution from the start.  I'm willing to believe that secular pro-democracy activists did not represent the views of all Iranians.  There's no question that significant support swung to Khomeini and the mullahs who claimed power.  But Khomeini's supposed leadership was news in the West before it was ever heard of in Tehran.  The Shah was not opposed for his secularism, but for his surveillance, imprisonment, torture, murder, greed, expropriation of wealth, and subservience to foreigners.  The Leveretts admit that Khomeini originally proposed a government with less power for himself and then revised his plans, but they claim that he only did so in response to secularists' insistence that he hold no power at all.  Not the strongest defense of tyranny I've ever encountered. 

The authors then cite a public referendum of December 2-3, 1979, in which, they say, "the new constitution was approved by 98 percent of participating voters."  Sounds impressive, right?  Guess what choices the voters were offered: an Islamic republic or the Shah!  Of course they chose the Islamic republic! But to turn around and claim that 98% voted against a secular republic is misleading.  During the 2003-2013 U.S. war on Iraq, a U.S. Democratic-Party group called MoveOn.org polled its membership.  Did they support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plan for more war or President George W. Bush's?  Of course, they overwhelmingly chose Pelosi's.  MoveOn then turned around and claimed that their people opposed Congresswoman Barbara Lee's proposal to end the war.  Such votes should be given no more dignity than they deserve.

How the government of the 1980s came to be does not tell us everything we should know about today's government, but nothing you could tell me about today's government would have any relevance to the morality of bombing the people of Iran.

 

ISOLATION:

The United States has sought to isolate Iran and failed dramatically, with Iran now chairing the Nonaligned Movement.  It has sought to use economic and other pressures to overthrow the government, and instead strengthened it.  In 2011, Obama opened a "virtual embassy" to propagandize the Iranian people for "regime change."  In 2012 it removed the terrorist designation for an opposition terrorist group called the MEK.  Imagine if Iran did such things to us, rather than just being Muslim or whatever it is that it's actually done to us.  The Leveretts present a long and unrelenting history of incompetence and irrationality . . . from the U.S. side.  They have been reduced, reasonably enough, to something that sounds ridiculous: longing for Richard Nixon.

I don't expect you to understand
After you've caused so much pain
But then again, you're not to blame
You're just a human, a victim of the insane
We're afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
Isolation
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
Isolation

--John Lennon

Why We Need a Mossadegh Legacy Institute

A Mossadegh Legacy Institute has been created.  If you're not sure what that means, read a few of the endorsements:

 

In full agreement with Cindy Sheehan, especially where she emphasizes the American nature of this responsibility, of this moral wound [see below], I am very glad to learn about what you are doing, and pleased to endorse the mission of the Mossadegh Legacy Institute.

I really wish I could do more, but demands are so intense, it’s just impossible I am afraid.

Prof. Noam Chomsky
http://chomsky.info/index.htm
Honorary Chair of the Board of Endorsers, Mossadegh Legacy Institute (MLI)


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The mission of this historic initiative should be (and indeed is) primarily an AMERICAN moral responsibility.

Why? Because the temporarily successful violent overthrow of the non-violent "George Washington of Iran" was the mother of almost all profoundly destructive subsequent errors of state judgement in the recent history of this country, at least since the deeply misguided CIA coup of August 19, 1953. Had the U.S. government not overthrown Iran's young democratic government 60 years ago, history would have unfolded quite differently, and many of today's conflicts would have been avoided.

So I firmly believe, that "We the People" should view the Mossadegh Legacy Institute (MLI) as a truly patriotic opportunity to help rehabilitate the collective conscience of our own nation. In other words, this is a neglected AMERICAN moral wound in need of authentic examination and healing, not just an Iranian, Middle Eastern, or "global South" festering wound.

Cindy Sheehan
www.cindysheehanssoapbox.com
Member of the Board of Endorsers, Mossadegh Legacy Institute (MLI)

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As a U.S. citizen with a keen interest in history, I believe that Americans should be aware of Mohammad Mossadegh (1882-1967), the former Prime Minister of Iran, who attempted to nationalize the Iranian oil industry--which had previously been 80% "owned" by the company we know now as the BP, and 20% owned by Iran.

In 1953 the government of Great Britain obtained the use of the American CIA to overthrow Mossadegh's democratic government. As a result, the Shah of Iran was returned to power, and ruled with a dictatorial iron fist, until he (in turn) was overthrown in 1979, by the Islamic Revolution of Iran, led by Ayatollah Khomeini.

Mohammad Mossadegh was a brilliant, well educated leader who could have changed the course of history if his government  had remained in power for a few more years. His life and legacy is a subject all people (especially Americans--who need to learn from history) should know about.

This is why I have joined this historic initiative.

Bruce Bridegroom

Film-maker, Historian, and Attorney at the Tucson, Arizona Law Offices of Bridegroom and Hayes -- http://www.orovalleyaz.gov/Assets/_assets/econ_dev/pdf/Film+Festival+Press+Release.pdf
Co-Initiator of the MLI

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The legacy of Mohammad Mossadegh, in particular his commitment to democracy, non-violence, and international law, serves a beacon and a moral example, not only for Iranian pro-democracy activists, but indeed for the entire world -- a unique legacy that should be studied carefully, remembered, and practiced. Thus, I am happy to endorse the work of the Mossadegh Legacy Institute.

Nader Hashemi
Director of Center for Middle East Studies; Assistant Professor of Middle East and
Islamic Politics, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
http://www.du.edu/korbel/docs/fac_hashemi_cv2012.pdf
Member of the Board of Endorsers, Mossadegh Legacy Institute (MLI)

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Dear Moji Agha:

I congratulate you [for starting] this initiative. In a small way the Mossadegh Legacy Institute (MLI) is a beginning of an American acknowledgement of the profound harm done to the people of Iran by initiating a chain of political events that started with the CIA engineered coup that restored the autocratic Shah to power and led to a revolutionary process hijacked by repressive theocrats, in the name of Islam.

I admire very much the legacy of Dr. Mossadegh, his passion for democracy, justice, and his dedication to the Iranian people and nation that led him to challenge the exploitative arrangement that allowed foreign oil companies to deprive the country of its resource wealth.

For these reasons I will be proud to be listed among the endorsers of MLI's mission statement--With my best wishes.

Prof. Richard A. Falk
The UN's Special Rapporteur on human rights in occupied Palestine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Falk
Member of the Board of Endorsers, Mossadegh Legacy Institute (MLI)


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As Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh's actions were motivated by a selfless dedication to improving the living conditions of the people his democratically elected government had the responsibility to serve. Accordingly, he courageously resisted the entreaties of special interest groups and foreign governments, whose immoral influence at the top echelons of government have always created havoc throughout the world, as is evident today when considering Israel's influence on American foreign policy.
So I think Dr. Mossadegh should be honored with a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his legacy, which demonstrates that freedom and democracy are possible anywhere in the world. Honoring the "Elder of Ahmad Abad" in this manner would also bestow dignity to the Nobel Prize Committee itself.

Richard Forer
Author: Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion - A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict
http://www.redress.cc/zionism/rforer20120716
Member of the Board of Endorsers, Mossadegh Legacy Institute (MLI)

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ENDORSEMENT OF THE MOSSADEGH LEGACY INSTITUTE (MLI)

Here is an organization with the right mission in the right moment, a mission encapsulated in its perfect choice of name.  

Mohammad Mossadegh is remembered, when he is remembered, as a man who worked to better the lives of Iranians, who resisted foreign control of his nation and its natural resources, and who understood war to be the ultimate evil.  Mossadegh's tools were oratory, organizing, and integrity.  Not only did he choose not to use violence, but he was willing to give up power peacefully rather than allow a civil war to be waged in his name.  
 

David and Wes Image

Westerners should find Mossadegh's legacy valuable for two reasons.  First, his was an Iranian government more democratic and secular in nature than some others before and since.  Second, what was done to his government is a critical historical lesson for those not well-informed on this shameful tragedy.  When the CIA overthrew Mossadegh to install a U.S.-friendly dictatorship, it poisoned U.S.-Iranian relations from that day to this, and it developed a model for poisoning U.S. relations with many other nations, including Guatemala the very next year.

That Iranian people maintain any affection for the American people is a testament to the Iranians' wisdom and rationality.  The U.S. public struggles to match Iranians in that regard.  Understanding our shared and painful history is a necessary part of a process of reconciliation.  Naming streets and landmarks in the United States for Mossadegh is a brilliant and creative idea, as is marking the 60th anniversary of the coup this summer at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, which Mossadegh had symbolically visited not long before the United States threw him out of power.  I hope that work on developing student and cultural exchanges between Iran and the United States might also become part of this project.

I admire and appreciate Mossadegh who would obviously be a better Nobel Peace Prize recipient than the EU or Obama. While I'm pursuing, along with Fredrik Heffermehl and others, a strategy of trying to strictly enforce Alfred Nobel's will, in order to avoid the bestowing of Nobel Peace Prizes on either promoters of war or good humanitarians whose work is not for disarmament and demilitarization, I do believe that Mossadegh is long overdue for recognition. Statues, parks, streets, airports, halls, endowments, and peace rallies ought to be used to honor his legacy and to educate the world.

History is not apart from us.  The United States has never dropped its effort to control Iran and to do so coercively.  I am hopeful that Iran, as a leading nation among the non-aligned nations of our world, can actually lead the United States toward the better elements of its own legacy.  There have been Americans over the decades who have been friends to Iran and have been honored for it.  And there have been times when the United States has made movements in the direction of peace.

Having recently completed a study of the 1928 Kellogg Briand Pact, which bans war, and to which Iran and the United States and 80 some other nations are party, I would like to begin working to encourage Iran to ask the United States to state its intention of complying with the treaty.  Iran could also encourage 100 some additional nations to join the treaty, which can be accomplished simply by notifying the U.S. State Department.  All nations are accepted, by the terms of the treaty itself.  

We should seek out such bright spots in our collective past and renew them.  There was a time in 1951 when Mossadegh visited the United States and the United Nations, as well as the Liberty Bell.  He was the Time magazine person of the year in 1952.  Many respected him, although begrudgingly.  Others truly liked and admired him.  We cannot undo the crime of 1953, the overthrow engineered from the same U.S. embassy that Iranians would occupy to prevent its repetition in 1979.  But we can focus on what the American and Iranian people have in common, which runs far deeper than the disagreements of governments.

And as Americans come to understand the Iranian people, we will be better able to face down a propaganda push for a war on Iran, not only because of our familiarity with the lies that launched the war on Iraq in 2003, not only because of our understanding of the lies that have framed official U.S. discussions of Iran since 1953, but also because the phrase "Iranian collateral damage" will mean to us people whom we know, love, and respect.

David Swanson
Author: WAR IS A LIE
http://davidswanson.org/about
Member of the Board of Endorsers, Mossadegh Legacy Institute (MLI)

Fingaring Fraud in Intelligence

Post-Iraq-War US Intel Chief Praised

January 14, 2013

Editor Note: After the U.S. intelligence community caved in to political pressure on Iraq’s non-existent WMD, Thomas Fingar restored professionalism that poured cold water on the neocons’ rush to war with Iran – and has now earned the former Director of the National Intelligence Council an award for integrity, reports ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Thomas Fingar, former U.S. Director of the National Intelligence Council, will receive the annual award from Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence in recognition of Fingar’s work from 2005 to 2008 restoring respect for the battered discipline of U.S. intelligence analysis after the fraudulent assessments on Iraq’s non-existent WMD.

Kill for Peace - US and EU Sanctions Deny Medicine to the Critically Ill

Michael Collins

 

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United States and European Union sanctions against Iran prevent much needed medical care for the Iranian people.   Those with cancer, for example, have lost the option of treatment through chemotherapy while hemophiliacs are at high risk for any surgery due to a denial of essential pharmaceuticals. There are 85,000 new cases of cancer every year in Iran.  Those with cancer and the newly diagnosed will have to do without effective treatments. A large percentage of them will die sooner than anticipated as a result.  (Image:  Fergal of Calldagh)

The Iranian medical community is unable to get required medicines due to financial restrictions in the sanctions regime.  The restrictions effectively blocks pharmaceutical purchases by Iranian medical facilities.  No ticket, no laundry is the policy of big and little pharma throughout the world.  As a result, right now -- as you read this -- innocent Iranians are dying, sentenced to death by the U.S.-E.U. sanctions.

Who on earth would initiate and sustain such a policy?

Iran War Weekly - January 13, 2013

Iran War Weekly

January 13, 2013

 

Hello All – A few weeks ago there was a lot of optimism among the nuclear-diplomatic elite that negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program – stalled since last summer – would soon resume and might, possibly, lead to a breakthrough and a settlement.  Foremost among the reasons for this optimism were the re-election of Obama (giving him “room” to tackle domestically controversial issues) and the severe impact of sanctions on Iran, making it supposedly more willing to negotiate/compromise.  Now the pendulum has swung back to the pessimistic pole.  Negotiations between the UN’s P5+1 and Iran have been put off and not rescheduled, and the negotiations between the IAEA and Iran scheduled for January 16 have also been postponed.

 

Waking Up in Tehran

According to one theory, U.S.-Iranian relations began around November 1979 when a crowd of irrational religious nutcases violently seized the U.S. embassy in Iran, took the employees hostage, tortured them, and held them until scared into freeing them by the arrival of a new sheriff in Washington, a man named Ronald Reagan.  From that day to this, according to this popular theory, Iran has been run by a bunch of subhuman lunatics with whom rational people couldn't really talk if they wanted to.  These monsters only understand force.  And they have been moments away from developing and using nuclear weapons against us for decades now.  Moments away, I tell you!

According to another theory -- a quaint little notion that I like to refer to as "verifiable history" -- the CIA, operating out of that U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1953, maliciously and illegally overthrew a relatively democratic and liberal parliamentary government, and with it the 1951 Time magazine man of the year Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, because Mossadegh insisted that Iran's oil wealth enrich Iranians rather than foreign corporations.  The CIA installed a dictatorship run by the Shah of Iran who quickly became a major source of profits for U.S. weapons makers, and his nation a testing ground for surveillance techniques and human rights abuses.  The U.S. government encouraged the Shah's development of a nuclear energy program.  But the Shah impoverished and alienated the people of Iran, including hundreds of thousands educated abroad.  A secular pro-democracy revolution nonviolently overthrew the Shah in January 1979, but it was a revolution without a leader or a plan for governing.  It was co-opted by rightwing religious forces led by a man who pretended briefly to favor democratic reform.  The U.S. government, operating out of the same embassy despised by many in Iran since 1953, explored possible means of keeping the Shah in power, but some in the CIA worked to facilitate what they saw as the second best option: a theocracy that would substitute religious fanaticism and oppression for populist and nationalist demands.  When the U.S. embassy was taken over by an unarmed crowd the next November, immediately following the public announcement of the Shah's arrival in the United States, and with fears of another U.S.-led coup widespread in Tehran, a sit-in planned for two or three days was co-opted, as the whole revolution had been, by mullahs with connections to the CIA and an extremely anti-democratic agenda.  They later made a deal with U.S. Republicans, as Robert Parry and others have well documented, to keep the hostage crisis going until Carter lost the 1980 presidential election to Ronald Reagan.  Reagan's government secretly renewed weapons sales to the new Iranian dictatorship despite its public anti-American stance and with no more concern for its religious fervor than for that of future al Qaeda leaders who would spend the 1980s fighting the Soviets with U.S. weapons in Afghanistan.  At the same time, the Reagan administration made similarly profitable deals with Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq, which had launched a war on Iran and continued it with U.S. support through the length of the Reagan presidency.  The mad military investment in the United States that took off with Reagan and again with George W. Bush, and which continues to this day, has made the nation of Iran -- which asserts its serious independence from U.S. rule -- a target of threatened war and actual sanctions and terrorism.

Ben Affleck was asked by Rolling Stone magazine, "What do you think the Iranians' reaction is gonna be?" to Affleck's movie Argo, which depicts a side-story about six embassy employees who, in 1979, avoided being taken hostage.  Affleck, mixing bits of truth and mythology, just as in the movie itself, replied:

"Who the FUCK knows – who knows if their reaction is going to be anything? This is still the same Stalinist, oppressive regime that was in place when the hostages were taken. There was no rhyme or reason to this action. What's interesting is that people later figured out that Khomeini just used the hostages to consolidate power internally and marginalize the moderates and everyone in America was going, 'What the fuck's wrong with these people?' You know, 'What do they want from us?' It was because it wasn't about us. It was about Khomeini holding on to power and being able to say to his political opponents, of which he had many, 'You're either with us or you're with the Americans' – which is, of course, a tactic that works really well. That revolution was a students' revolution. There were students and communists and secularists and merchants and Islamists, it's just that Khomeini fucking slowly took it for himself."

The takeover of the embassy is an action virtually no one would advocate in retrospect, but asserting that it lacked rhyme or reason requires willful ignorance of Iranian-U.S. relations.  Claiming that nobody knew what the hostage-takers wanted requires erasing from history their very clear demands for the Shah to be returned to stand trial, for Iranian money in U.S. banks to be returned to Iran, and for the United States to commit to never again interfering in Iranian politics.  In fact, not only were those demands clearly made, but they are almost indisputably reasonable demands.  A dictator guilty of murder, torture, and countless other abuses should have stood trial, and should have been extradited to do so, as required by treaty.  Money belonging to the Iranian government under a dictatorship should have been returned to a new Iranian government, not pocketed by a U.S. bank.  And for one nation to agree not to interfere in another's politics is merely to agree to compliance with the most fundamental requirement of legal international relations.

Argo devotes its first 2 minutes or so to the 1953 background of the 1979 drama.  Blink and you'll miss it, as I'm betting most viewers do.  For a richer understanding of what was happening in Iran in the late 1970s and early 1980s I have a better recommendation than watching Argo.  For a truly magnificent modern epic I strongly encourage getting ahold of the forthcoming masterpiece by M. Lachlan White, titled Waking Up in Tehran: Love and Intrigue in Revolutionary Iran, due to be published this spring.  Weighing in at well over 300,000 words, or about 100,000 more than Moby Dick, Waking Up in Tehran is the memoir of Margot White, an American human rights activist who became an ally of pro-democracy Iranian student groups in 1977, traveled to Iran, supported the revolution, met with the hostage-takers in the embassy, became a public figure, worked with the Kurdish resistance when the new regime attacked the Kurds for being infidels, married an Iranian, and was at home with her husband in Tehran when armed representatives of the government finally banged on the door.  I'm not going to give away what happened next.  This book will transport you into the world of a gripping novel, but you'll emerge with a political, cultural, and even linguistic education.  This is an action-adventure that would, in fact, make an excellent movie -- or even a film trilogy.  It's also an historical document.

There are sections in which White relates conversations with her friends and colleagues in Iran, including their speculations as to who was behind what government intrigue.  A few of these speculations strike me as in need of more serious support.  They also strike me as helpful in understanding the viewpoints of Iranians at the time.  Had I edited this book I might have framed them a little differently, but I wouldn't have left them out.  I wouldn't have left anything out.  This is a several-hundred-page love letter from a woman to her husband and from an activist to humanity.  It is intensely romantic and as honest as cold steel.  It starts in 1977.

On November 15, 1977, at the White House, our human rights president, Jimmy Carter, was holding an outdoor press conference with his good friend the Shah.  The police used pepper spray tear gas on the protesters, including Margot White, in front of the White House.  But then the wind shifted.  Carter and the Shah ended up in tears as their wives fled indoors.  Later that day, White and an Iranian friend were attacked with a knife, chased by spies, and occupied with hiding the wallets of anti-Shah protesters in a D.C. hospital from pro-Shah forces eager to identify them.  In December, White was off to Iran to meet with the opposition, including those who had backed Mossadegh a quarter century before.  She learned the size and strength of the movement and came to understand its power to overthrow the Shah better than did the U.S. government or the U.S. media.  White was followed by the Shah's secret police, SAVAK, during her stay.

Hagel Questioned by a Serious Reporter

Communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy, Sam Husseini said today: "With the Hagel nomination, former 'anti-war' candidate Barack Obama continues to appoint individuals to top foreign policy positions who voted for or otherwise backed the invasion of Iraq. This includes Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Robert Gates as well as John Kerry. Those who actually opposed the war from the start have been iced out. In establishment Washington, you get points for being wrong on the most important foreign policy question of your career.

"Particularly noteworthy are the contortions 'reasonable' individuals like Hagel have gone through. For example, when I questioned him in 2007, he said he did regret his Iraq war vote, but argued that it wasn't actually a war vote, couldn't bring himself to say the Bush administration had rigged the intelligence about Iraqi WMDs and gave as reasons for opposing the war things that were known before the war." [Video at WashingtonStakeout]

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None of this is reason not to oppose the prowar opposition to Hagel's nomination.  But it is worth keeping in mind who Hagel is, including the bit of information that nobody wants mentioned: he owned the company that counted his votes.

Our Government Is Intent on Not Knowing How Catastrophic an Attack on Iran Would Be

By Ben Armbruster

A measure requiring the office of the Director of National Intelligence to report to Congress on the consequences of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities will not be included in the FY2013 Intelligence Authorization Act.

The House voted in May to include the amendment calling for a report on the consequences of an Iran attack in its version of the intelligence authorization bill. It reads:

SEC. 307. REPORT ON CONSEQUENCES OF MILITARY STRIKE AGAINST IRAN.

Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of National Intelligence shall submit to the congressional intelligence committees a report containing an assessment of the consequences of a military strike against Iran.

But the version the Senate passed on Friday does not contain any language calling for such a report. And instead of merging the House and Senate intelligence authorization bills, the House is scheduled to vote on the Senate version without the Iran war consequences measure.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who led the push in the House to include the Iran war consequences amendment back in May, expressed disappointment the measure has not been included.

“While I am disappointed that our amendment will not be included in the final version of 2013 Intelligence Authorization Act,” Conyers said in a statement this afternoon, “the unanimous support for the report language in the House of Representatives shows that there is substantial bipartisan demand in Congress for a clear-sighted, realistic analysis of the very serious consequences that could result from a preemptive military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.”

Various experts and current and former U.S. and Israeli security officials have publicly warned about the consequences of attacking Iran, including the possibility of an “all out regional war” or a situation that would, in the words of former Bush administration CIA Director Michael Hayden, “guarantee that which we are trying to prevent — an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon.”

The House was expected to pass the Senate’s version of the intelligence bill today, but Republican leaders have postponed the vote.

“Although a report on the consequences of an attack on Iran will not be mandated by this law,” Conyers added, “I strongly encourage the Director of National Intelligence to proceed with this analysis and share it with Congress. The expertise and collective wisdom of our intelligence community is critically needed in this debate.”

Iran War Weekly - January 1, 2013

Iran War Weekly

January 1, 2013

 

Talk Nation Radio: Roy Hange on Struggle for Peace in Syria and Iran

Roy Hange is a Mennonite pastor in Charlottesville, Va., who has spent 30 years studying Western Asia (the Middle East).  He has lived for 3 years in Egypt, 6 in Syria, and 1 in Iran.  Hange has taught peace building at Eastern Mennonite University and the University of Virginia.  Hange discusses prospects for peace in Syria and Iran.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Crime Watch: American Presidents and their Advisors are War Criminals

 

By Dave Lindorff


Most Americans, their minds focused at the moment on the tragic slaughter of 20 young children aged 5-10, along with five teachers and a school principal in Connecticut by a heavily-armed psychotic 21-year-old, are blissfully unaware that their last president, George W. Bush, along with five key members of his administration, were convicted in absentia of war crimes earlier this month at a tribunal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Iranian Bomb Graph Appears Adapted from One on Internet

By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON, Dec 13 2012 (IPS- The suspect graph of a nuclear explosion reportedly provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as evidence of Iranian computer modeling of nuclear weapons yields appears to have been adapted from a very similar graph in a scholarly journal article published in January 2009 and available on the internet.


Graph published by the scholarly journal Nuclear Engineering and Design, Volume 239, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 80–86.

The graph, published in a Nov. 27 Associated Press story but immediately found to have a mathematical error of four orders of magnitude, closely resembles a graph accompanying a scholarly articlemodeling a nuclear explosion. It provides a plausible explanation for the origins of the graph leaked to AP, according to two nuclear physicists following the issue closely.

The graph in the scholarly journal article was well known to the IAEA at the time of its publication, according to a knowledgeable source.

That means that the IAEA should have been able to make the connection between the set of graphs alleged to have been used by Iran to calculate yields from nuclear explosions that the agency obtained in 2011 and the very similar graph available on the internet.

The IAEA did not identify the member countries that provided the intelligence about the alleged Iran studies. However, Israel provided most of the intelligence cited by the IAEA in its 2011 report, and Israeli intelligence has been the source of a number of leaks to the AP reporter in Vienna, George Jahn.


Graph published by the Associated Press on Nov. 27, 2012, reportedly as evidence of Iranian computer modeling of nuclear weapons yields.

The graph accompanying an article in the January 2009 issue of the journal Nuclear Engineering and Design by retired Swiss nuclear engineer Walter Seifritz displayed a curve representing power in a nuclear explosion over fractions of a second that is very close to the one shown in the graph published by AP and attributed by the officials leaking it to an Iranian scientist.

Both graphs depict a nuclear explosion as an asymmetrical bell curve in which the right side of the curve is more elongated than the left side. Although both graphs are too crudely drawn to allow precise measurement, it appears that the difference between the two sides of the curve on the two graphs is very close to the same in both graphs.

The AP graph appears to show a total energy production of 50 kilotonnes taking place over about 0.3 microseconds, whereas the Seifritz graph shows a total of roughly 18 kilotonnes produced over about 0.1 microseconds.

The resemblance is so dramatic that two nuclear specialists who compared the graphs at the request of IPS consider it very plausible that the graph leaked to AP as part of an Iranian secret nuclear weapons research programme may well have been derived from the one in the journal article.

Scott Kemp, an assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), told IPS he suspects the graph leaked to AP was “adapted from the open literature”. He said he believes the authors of that graph “were told they ought to look into the literature and found that paper, copied (the graph) and made their own plot from it.”

Yousaf Butt, a nuclear scientist at the Monterey Institute, who had spotted the enormous error in the graph published by AP, along with his colleague Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, said in an interview with IPS that a relationship between the two graphs is quite plausible, particularly given the fact they both have similar asymmetries in the power curve.

US Intelligence Analysts: American Power is in Terminal Decline

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The US is on the way out as a hegemonic power. 


That is the primary conclusion of a new report out of the National Intelligence Council -- a government organization that produces mid-term and long-range thinking for the US intelligence community.


Iran War Weekly - December 12, 2012

Iran War Weekly

December 12, 2012

 

Iran War Weekly - December 4, 2012

Iran War Weekly

December 4, 2012

 

Hello All – With negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program scheduled to resume in 10 days, the role of “Iran” in US Middle East policy is now sandwiched between the politico-military meltdown in Israel and an out-of-control war in Syria.  To those who remember how the US war against Iraq was orchestrated in 2002-2003, claims this week that Syria may be preparing to use its chemical weapons are especially alarming.  I have linked some good/useful readings about Syria below; for keeping up-to-date, I recommend the websites Syria Comment, War in Context, and Aljazeera (“Inside Syria”).

 

Veterans For Peace Strongly Condemns the New Round of Sanctions Against the People of Iran

On Friday November 30th, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a new round of sanctions against Iran as an amendment to the so-called Defense Authorization Act. This amendment, sponsored by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), broadens the scope of current sanctions on Iran to include Iran’s shipping industry and ports. According to Menendez, “By passing these additional measures ending sales to and transactions with Iranian sectors that support proliferation — energy, shipping, ship-building and port sectors as well as with anyone on our specially designed national list — we will send a message to Iran that they can’t just try to wait us out.”

This criminal act of collective punishment of the people of Iran is being taken at a time when the existing economic sanctions have already caused a tremendous amount of suffering for the Iranian people without having any impact on nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East.

Iran War Weekly - November 28, 2012

Iran War Weekly

November 28, 2012

 

Hello All – The Gaza war, the US presidential election, and a recently released IAEA report critical of Iran will provide the context for a new round of talks about Iran’s nuclear program scheduled to begin in mid-December.  How will these factors shape the next round of talks and, more generally, the possibility of escalating or de-escalating the war against Iran?  Each of these issues is addressed in the good/useful readings linked below.

 

Iran War Weekly - November 20, 2012

Iran War Weekly

November 20, 2012

 

Hello All – Buried first by Hurricane Sandy and then by the US presidential election, this week the story of the international conflict over Iran’s nuclear program lies in the deep shadow of the Israeli attack on Gaza.  Nevertheless, there were some important developments regarding both Iran’s program and the prospects for negotiations, which are discussed in some of the good/useful readings linked below.

 

Iran War Weekly - November 12, 2012

Iran War Weekly

November 12, 2012

 

Hello All – From the time of the last round of nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran (in Moscow last August), the issues surrounding these negotiations have lain dormant under the deep shadow of the US presidential election.  With the election out of the way, negotiations are expected to resume next month.  During the campaign the Obama team was content to have economic war (“sanctions”) against Iran substitute for diplomacy and pre-empt military action.  Now what?

 

Done in by the PATRIOT Act: The Grand Irony of the Petraeus Sex Scandal

 

By Dave Lindorff


There is a delicious irony to the story of the crash-and-burn career of Four-Star General and later (at least briefly) CIA Director David Petraeus.


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