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Iran's Letter Should Start a Dialogue

Published on Friday, May 19, 2006 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
By Helen Thomas

Wanted: A seasoned U.S. statesman to start direct talks with Iran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote an 18-page letter to President Bush on May 10 that recited a host of Iranian grievances but barely touched on the crucial topic of Iran's apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons.

What the United States needs now is a diplomatic pro well-versed in Middle Eastern affairs who can read between the lines of that letter, ignore the fiery rhetoric and look for a clue on how to peacefully end the dangerous U.S. rift with Tehran.

Terrorism is a pretext for violating civil rights: Swanson

http://www.tehrantimes.com

TEHRAN (IRIB) - David Swanson is the founder of After Downing Street.org. On May 16, Morteza Jabbari of the English Service of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Radio conducted an interview with Swanson on illegal wiretaps in the U.S. and the violation of civil liberties.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How would you describe the recent disclosure by USA Today about the American administration’s attempt to collect millions of telephone records from ordinary citizens?

WOULD WAR WITH IRAN HELP OR HURT U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY?

Congressional Progressive Caucus

PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS CO-CHAIRS AND MEMBERS TO HOST FIRST IN SERIES OF PUBLIC FORUMS AND AD HOC HEARINGS: WOULD WAR WITH IRAN HELP OR HURT U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY?

Who: Progressive Caucus Co-Chairwomen Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey, and U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio and Dennis Kucinich, and additional Progressive Caucus Members hosting:

• Ms. Samantha Power – Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University and author of the widely-acclaimed, thought-provoking book entitled “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.” She will address: The Use of Force and Key Questions About the Bush Doctrine of Preemptive Warfare in the Post 9/11 World.

Native Americans protest planned non-nuclear blast at test site

"Do they think the Shoshone people don't matter?... Do they want to kill more people?"
Pahrump Valley Times, NV
By MARK WAITE

Darlene Graham, a resident of the Duckwater Indian Reservation in northeastern Nye County, said she never understood why her 32-year-old brother died of throat cancer back in 1983. He didn't smoke.

Graham suspects the testing of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site in the 1950s killed her brother. The family grew their own vegetables and butchered their own cattle, she said, on ground that could have been contaminated. She raised her nephew and niece.

Anderson calls on delegation to hear test-blast concerns

By Judy Fahys
The Salt Lake Tribune

Northern Utahns who are concerned about the experimental explosion set next month for the Nevada Test Site deserve to be heard, says Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.

So, he called on the state's congressional delegation Tuesday to push for public hearings about the "Divine Strake" test in northern communities as well as southern Utah, where they are already planned.

Native Americans protest planned non-nuclear blast at test site

By MARK WAITE, PVT

Darlene Graham, a resident of the Duckwater Indian Reservation in
northeastern Nye County, said she never understood why her 32-year-old brother died
of throat cancer back in 1983. He didn't smoke.

Graham suspects the testing of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site
in the
1950s killed her brother. The family grew their own vegetables and

Green Party of Utah, Desert Greens Candidates Oppose Divine Strake Test

Green Party of Utah
http://www.gput.org

May 17, 2006

For information:
Tom King: phone 801-502-8556
gpu@gput.org
Phone: 801-631-2998
Website: www.gput.org

Desert Greens, Green Party of Utah Candidates Oppose Divine Strake Test - Endorse International Day of Action at Nevada Test Site on Memorial Day

05.17.2006 SALT LAKE CITY -- Desert Greens Green Party Candidates have joined the Stop Divine Strake Coalition, to pressure the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Nuclear National Security Agency to cancel the Divine Strake detonation currently scheduled for June 23. Some of the candidates will be joining the coalition on May 28 at the Nevada Test Site to stand with dozens of other organizations to protest the planned test, and to attempt to influence policy makers to cancel the test in the face of massive public opposition.

43,000 Reasons Not To Attack Iran

By David Swanson

Remarks in front of White House, May 17, 2006.

Some weeks back, Cindy Sheehan asked me to start a petition opposing an attack on Iran. We posted it at www.dontattackiran.org

It's wonderful that so many people are here as we deliver the petition to the White House. It would be nice if President Bush were here, but I understand he's run for the border in search of his lost 30 percent approval rating.

Nevada bombing prelude to attack on Iran

"The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (Geneva, Switzerland) ruled in March that the Western Shoshone are the rightful owners of this land and ordered Washington to abort the June 2 [Divine Strake] test and to desist from activities that violate Western Shoshone sovereignty."

Desert Dispatch, CA

by Carol Jensen
As an American whose family tree includes a branch of ancestors who were living on this land when the first Europeans stumbled ashore, I find it intolerable that the Bush Administration is going ahead with its plan to detonate 700 tons of explosives on tribal land in Nevada. This is yet another hate-based idea concocted by the Republican-controlled government.

Russia, China: Don't use force in Iran

By CHARLES HUTZLER, ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIJING -- Russia and China will not vote for the use of force in resolving the Iranian nuclear dispute, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday in a sign of persisting differences with the U.S.

After two days of talks with his Chinese counterpart, Lavrov said Moscow and Beijing hold identical positions on Iran's nuclear program and a separate one by North Korea: Both disputes require diplomacy, not force.

Stop "Divine Strake" Bombing in Newe Sogobia (NTS); May 28

by Shundahai Network Call to Action Sunday, May. 14, 2006 at 10:49 PM
On May 28, 2006 dozens of indigenous, environmental justice and peace and disarmament organizations will converge at the Peace Camp outside the Nevada Test Site near Mercury Nevada to protest the Divine Strake test scheduled for June 2, but now apparently postponed to June 23.

"Divine Strake" is the name of a planned military (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) test above ground explosion of a 700 ton ammonium nitrate mixed with fuel oil bomb planned to be detonated on ground level in the Nevada Test Site (Newe Sogobia, Shoshone land from Treaty of Ruby Valleyof 1862). The Nevada Test Site was the location where above ground nuclear weapons were exploded during the cold war era 1950s-1960s. Some residual radioactive particulates from these tests remain in the desert sands. In the event of a large explosion like "Divine Strake", the particulates will become resuspended in the air and likely enter the watershed of the nearby Amargosa River, home ecosystem of the endangered Amargosa pupfish. The land occupied by the NTS is also the ancestral home of the Western Shoshone (Newe Sogobia), and many other people who live downwind of the test site will also be exposed to the dust cloud containing radioactive particulates released by the "Divine Strake" explosion..

Southern Utah residents rally to protest Divine Strake

"If our grandparents were here they wouldn't want us to carry on blindly and trust the government like they did." --Katy Kroupa
ASSOCIATED PRESS

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - Several dozen southern Utah residents gathered at a park Saturday to question the safety of detonating a 700-ton explosive in the neighboring Nevada desert.

The blast known as "Divine Strake," which is planned to occur about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is expected to generate a 10,000-foot mushroom cloud and a shock wave that can be felt dozens of miles away.

So. Utah Demonstrators Want End To 'Divine Strake'

By Kathryn May

(KUTV) ST. GEORGE Demonstrators say that the delay of the massive, so-called Divine Strake blast planned for Nevada is good. Eliminating the whole project would be even better.

Residents of Southern Utah gathered for a protest in St. George Saturday. They say bomb testing is dangerous, and they're sick of paying the price. They want to put an end to bomb testing at the Nevada test site and they're making their voices heard.

'Divine Strake' test fuels Dixie protest

"The government seems to be fighting its own people on this." --John Nordin
60 rally in St. George against the planned detonation in Nevada
By Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning News, UT

ST. GEORGE — John Nordin remembers growing up with his best buddies in Dragerton, Carbon County, and keeping an eagle eye on the sky.

Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning NewsRoy Hahn signs a petition Saturday that calls for stopping the June 23 "Divine Strake" test.

Test blurs political lines

"Reid, however, is a disappointment. He's selling out for political gain. He's placing clout above human lives, and, as a result, is no better than the administration that he has so heavily criticized."
The Spectrum, UT

The political lines are blurring with regard to the Divine Strake bomb blast in the Nevada desert, which has been postponed until June 23.

Parts of the left are drifting to the right and some from the right are moving to the left.

Bush's Unanswered Letter

Published on Friday, May 12, 2006 by TomPaine.com
by Tom Porteous

The first reaction of the Bush administration to the extraordinary letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been to dismiss it out of hand on the grounds that it does not offer any compromises over Iran's nuclear enrichment program. That’s a strategic mistake, because the biggest complaint of Middle Easterners about the United States is precisely that it has consistently failed to listen to concerns of the kind outlined by Ahmadinejad.

Debate on blast safety heats up

By ROBERT GEHRKE, Times Record News, TX

An environmental consultant who has studied the Nevada Test Site says there is likely radioactive contamination at the location where the Pentagon plans to conduct a major explosives test, potentially dispersing the contaminants.

Richard L. Miller, author of two books on nuclear fallout from atomic testing, identified six tests conducted in the 1950s that could have spread contamination over the area where the Pentagon plans to detonate 700 tons of explosives in a test called Divine Strake.

Will Israel Start the Next War?

Commentary: Iran's nuclear nightmare
By Arnaud de Borchgrave
UPI Editor at Large

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. and/or Israeli air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities before November conjures up a dead duck rather than a lame one at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue and at the other, key Congressional committees under the control of prominent liberals.

Charlie Rangel rewriting the tax code to penalize the rich and favor the disadvantaged? Barney Frank, John Conyers and Henry Waxman chairing key committees? America's NATO allies siding with Russia and China in disassociating themselves from President Bush's decision to defang Iran's nuclear ambitions? This is what moderate Republicans can see in their viewfinders if the decision were made to decapitate Iran's nuclear ambitions before November's Congressional elections.

Woman plans bomb protest

The Spectrum, UT
By BRIAN PASSEY
bpassey@thespectrum.com

Though St George resident Hughette Nordin lived in Iowa during the Cold War-era atomic testing at the Nevada Test Site, she decided after reading about a planned non-nuclear bomb blast at the site that she wanted to do something to stop history from repeating itself.

Nordin said she and her husband, John, who grew up in Carbon County during the testing, thought of their grandchildren's future as they began planning a protest of the 700-ton ammonium nitrate-fuel oil explosion. Downwinders - those who claim health problems related to above-ground atomic testing at the site during the 1950s and 1960s - and special interest groups have taken notice and Nordin now has an old-fashioned grassroots protest scheduled for Saturday morning at Bluff Street Park.

Divine Strake

Editorial KSL.com
Salt Lake City, UT

Defense Department plans to detonate a 700-ton mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil at the Nevada Test Site in late June should concern every Utahn.

The enormous blast, dubbed Divine Strake (not strike), is projected to send a debris cloud some 10,000 feet into the air.

Considering the debilitating downwind health problems caused by nuclear testing in Nevada a half century ago, a hefty dose of skepticism is warranted over the scheduled test. Indeed, the Defense Department ought not to go ahead with Divine Strake without credible assurances there'll be no adverse effect on residents in communities downwind from the test site.

The Fourth "Supreme International Crime" in Seven Years is Already Underway

With the Support of the Free Press and the "International Community"
US Aggression-Time Once Again: Target Iran
By EDWARD S. HERMAN and DAVID PETERSON, www.counterpunch.org

With the United States having initiated wars in violation of the UN Charter, and hence engaged in the "supreme international crime,"1 against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq in 1999, 2001, and 2003, one might have expected that its commencement of a fourth aggression only a few years later against Iran would arouse the UN, EU, other international institutions and NGOs, and even the supposedly moral and independent Free Press, to serious protest and counter-action, including referral to the UN Security Council under Chapter VII's "threat of peace" articles and support of possible diplomatic and economic sanctions. This has not happened, and in fact the Bush administration has successfully mobilized the UN, whose "primary responsibility" is the "maintenance of international peace and security," and the EU, as well as the Free Press, to facilitate its fourth attack.

Iran's Nuclear Program: The Way Out

By Hassan Rohani, Time.com

A nuclear weaponized Iran destabilizes the region, prompts a regional arms race, and wastes the scarce resources in the region. And taking account of U.S. nuclear arsenal and its policy of ensuring a strategic edge for Israel, an Iranian bomb will accord Iran no security dividends. There are also some Islamic and developmental reasons why Iran as an Islamic and developing state must not develop and use weapons of mass destruction.

Iran vs. US: Nuclear Standoff or Realpolitik?

By Ramzy Baroud, Antiwar.com

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice couldn't possibly have been more accurate when she accused Iran of "playing games" with the international community.

Rice was specifically referring to an announcement made April 30, by deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Muhammad Saeedi, that his country is willing to allow "snap inspections" by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, on the condition that the UN Security Council is excluded from any involvement in inspecting Iran's nuclear-enrichment facilities.

US military, intelligence officials raise concern about possible preparations for Iran strike

By Larisa Alexandrovna, http://www.rawstory.com

Use of Iraq terror group bypassed Congress, sources say

Concern is building among the military and the intelligence community that the US may be preparing for a military strike on Iran, as military assets in key positions are approaching readiness, RAW STORY has learned.

According to military and intelligence sources, an air strike on Iran could be doable in June of this year, with military assets in key positions ready to go and a possible plan already on the table.

Poll: Bush Lied About Iraq, Has No Right to Attack Iran

By David Swanson, http://www.opednews.com

A new poll conducted in Pennsylvania by Zogby International and commissioned by OpEdNews.com asked some of the questions the corporate media has failed to ask. The answers are surprising. One revelation is this: the single greatest predictor of an American's political views is whether she or he watches Fox News. READ MORE: http://tinyurl.com/sxwcz

Test-Blast Battle Not over Yet

Published on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 by the Deseret Morning News (Utah)
Activists are not claiming victory over delay of explosion
by Joe Bauman and Suzanne Struglinski

Activists opposing the Divine Strake explosion are not claiming victory because the federal government has delayed the enormous blast, which had been set for June 2 at the Nevada Test Site.

"They still don't get it," said Robert R. Hager, the Reno attorney whose legal filing prompted the government to say it was putting off the explosion until at least June 23. In his opinion, the National Nuclear Security Administration still wants to ignite 700 tons of conventional explosives.

Bush struggles to make headway on Iran

Bid for U.N. resolution delayed; Rumsfeld openly questions quality of U.S. intelligence
Cox News Service

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration struggled Tuesday for a way forward in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, with a U.S. bid for a U.N. Security Council resolution stalled and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld publicly questioning the quality of American intelligence about Iran.

At the U.N., Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met resistance from Russia and China on a proposed resolution that would declare Iran’s nuclear program a threat to world security and demand that Tehran suspend its production of enriched uranium, a potential nuclear weapons fuel.

Middle East Experts Warn Against Military Option in Iran

Friends Committee on National Legislation
Ahmad Sadri, 847-735-5251, sadri@lakeforest.edu or Jim Cason, 202-903-2531, media@fcnl.org

WASHINGTON - May 10 - Today more than 200 scholars, academics, commentators, and former U.S. government officials issued a strong condemnation of the threat of U.S. military action against Iran and called on the Bush administration to enter into face-to-face negotiations with the government in Tehran.

Divine Strake

by Robert Koehler, http://www.opednews.com

Will residents of Las Vegas be seeing a mushroom cloud over their city next month?

As I write this, "Divine Strake," the big bang with the macabre and vaguely blasphemous name (the military-industrial complex is playing God again), has been postponed from June 2 to June 23, thanks to legal proceedings against the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Nuclear Security Administration, related to unanswered environmental-impact questions. Maybe the delay will be enough of a wedge to allow the passionately bitter opponents of the blast - and they are legion - to build the necessary momentum to stop it altogether.

Informed Activist

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