(The better informed everybody becomes the greater the chance that war can be prevented and propaganda can not distort reality. With a couple of clicks you can do your part by simply forwarding this to others.)
(The talks seem to have gone okay, though no spin has yet been created out of Washington or Tel Aviv. Let's see how their propaganda machine twists it. But the initial news is that things went reasonably well. Let's hope they will meet again and get some concrete results soon.)
Leave Us Out of Another Middle East War
By JAMES G. ABOUREZK
(James Abourezk is a former U.S. Senator from South Dakota.)
‘Grandpa, why are we killing so many people with our airplanes?’ I had to try to explain to him why some people thought killing was necessary. It was an effort that forced me into deep thought about the entire concept of the war in Vietnam. I’ve decided that I am no longer able to explain to my grandchildren the fact that my country has now become the bully of the world.”
At that, Symington abruptly ended his speech and sat down, his emotions eluding his self-control. He put his head in his hands and, in front of the entire gathering of U.S. senators, sobbed unashamedly.
Today our government is arguing with Israel as to whether or not we will support Israel’s threatened attack on Iran. What is as certain as the sun will come up tomorrow morning is that, no matter what our position is, if Israel attacks, America will be blamed for it. I guess that, because we furnish money and weapons and protection in the U.N. for Israel, such collaboration would be difficult for us to deny.
And there is almost no protest here against Israel’s saber rattling about Iran. But our government could, if it could somehow grow a pair of gonads, tell Israel outright that both American money and American political and military support will end should it decide to drag America into another Middle East war as it did in Iraq. It is my view that Bibi Netanyahu would drop the question of an Iranian threat once he has to consider the greater threat posed by the U.S. cutting off the gift of billions of dollars each year.
It’s a question of whether our elected leaders will protect Americans or Israel. Surely it’s not too much to ask that they put their own country first.
The Irrationality of the Case against Iran’s Nuclear Program
by GARY LEUPP
How have we reached this “last chance” interval? The irrationality is in fact mind-boggling. How is it that while the entire U.S. intelligence community has on the basis of exhaustive research and analysis concluded—twice—that Iran terminated its (incipient) program of research in 2003 and does not have a nuclear weapons program; and while the Joint Chiefs of Staff is firmly opposed to an attack on Iran; and while the IAEA has repeatedly reported no evidence for diversion of enriched uranium for military purposes— Obama can still treat Iran’s civilian program as an imminent danger? And threaten war?
Preparations for an attack on Iran have been made, like those for the Iraq War, through a media campaign involving terrifying phrases and accusations. “Mushroom cloud over New York” has been replaced with “existential threat,” “nuclear holocaust,” “threats to wipe Israel off the map,” “calls for the destruction of Israel.” This is fear-mongering with a twist. Few are suggesting that Iran constitutes a major threat to the U.S.; instead the focus is on the putative threat to Israel.
Many have pointed out that key architects of the Iraq War (including Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser) authored a report under Perle’s leadership in 1996 for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (They did so presumably in their capacity as U.S.-Israeli dual nationals.) The paper, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, advocated pre-emptive strikes against Iran and Syria, regime change in Iraq, and the abandonment of “land for peace” negotiations with Palestinians.
What if mainstream journalists made it a point to constantly reiterate the following?
There are over 30 operating synagogues in Iran, kosher stores and restaurants and Hebrew schools.
While by law there is one member of parliament elected per 150,000 people, the Jewish community of 25,000 is guaranteed one seat.
While life is oppressive for everyone in Iran, an Islamist theocracy, Jews hold jobs in government ministries and state-owned firms. Their lot may be unhappy, like the lot of most Iranians. But it hardly resembles the lot of Jews in Hitler’s Germany.
World’s Apex Bully Leads World Into Lawlessness
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
(Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.)
The US government pretends to live under the rule of law, to respect human rights, and to provide freedom and democracy to citizens. Washington’s pretense and the stark reality are diametrically opposed.
US government officials routinely criticize other governments for being undemocratic and for violating human rights. Yet, no other country except Israel sends bombs, missiles, and drones into sovereign countries to murder civilian populations. The torture prisons of Abu Gahraib, Guantanamo, and CIA secret rendition sites are the contributions of the Bush/Obama regimes to human rights.
Washington violates the human rights of its own citizens. Washington has suspended the civil liberties guaranteed in the US Constitution and declared its intention to detain US citizens indefinitely without due process of law. President Obama has announced that he, at his discretion, can murder US citizens whom he regards as a threat to the US.
It is the hoax of “weapons of mass destruction” all over again. Iran, unlike Israel, signed the non-proliferation treaty. All countries that sign the treaty have the right to nuclear energy. Washington claims that Iran is violating the treaty by developing a nuclear weapon. There is no evidence whatsoever for Washington’s assertion. Washington’s own 16 intelligence agencies are unanimous that Iran has had no nuclear weapons program since 2003. Moreover, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s weapons inspectors are in Iran and have reported consistently that there is no diversion of nuclear material from the energy program to a weapons program.
Lacking evidence for a case against Iran, Washington and Israel have substituted demonization. The lie has been established as truth that the current president of Iran intends to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
This lie has succeeded as propaganda even though numerous language experts have proven that the intention attributed to the Iranian president by American-Israeli propaganda is a gross mistranslation of what the president of Iran said. Once again, for Washington and its presstitutes, facts do not count. The agenda is all that counts, and any lie will be used to advance the agenda.
(Make sure to read the entire article as Mr. Roberts rarely disappoints when he performs a surgery of truth on propaganda.)
Iranian Dissident Opposes Sanctions on Tehran
By RICK GLADSTONE
Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has no affinity for the authorities in Iran, who she fears would have her arrested or worse if she returned home. But she has found herself standing with them in opposition to the onerous nuclear sanctions imposed on her country.
Ms. Ebadi, 64, who was attending a conference in Minneapolis on Thursday and Friday, asserted that the Iranian government was not correct in saying that its nuclear energy program was popular among Iranians. While Iranians across the political spectrum say Iran has the legal right to develop nuclear energy, Ms. Ebadi said, many people are privately worried about the environmental risks of nuclear reactors, particularly in Iran’s earthquake zones. She said there was no public discussion about this issue because the government had banned newspapers from reporting anything but the official position in recent years.
She became the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2003, for her work in advancing the rights of women in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. A judge by training before Islamic clerics took control, she was stripped of that title because they deemed women unfit to be judges, and she was made a secretary in her own court. She quit.
Ms. Ebadi then developed her own law practice, representing dissidents and victims of child abuse, and later founded the Human Rights Defenders Center in Iran. Six years after she won the Nobel Peace Prize, the government confiscated her medal and bank accounts, accusing her of evading taxes on the award money and forcing her into exile. The medal was later returned.
She now spends most of her time traveling, attending conferences and lectures and discussing her books about Iran, “The Golden Cage” and “Iran Awakiening."
She said she had often received death threats that she attributes to Iranian government harassment.
“They only are doing this to scare me,” she said. “They’ve always said they would come after me and kill me.”
(If free and fair presidential elections were held in Iran in 2013 and Shirin Ebadi was allowed to run I am pretty certain she would be Iran's next president. It's just a dream but imagine an Iran if she was our next president.....Iranians could once again hold their heads up and be proud of their country and culture.)
Tearing Down Iran's Electronic Curtain
By MARK DUBOWITZ AND TOBY DERSHOWITZ
Western companies have provided the technology that enables Tehran's Internet censorship.
Three hundred and sixty seconds. That's all it would take for Iranian security services to identify and track an encrypted message sent to a mobile phone somewhere inside Iran, kick in the door, and seize the phone.
Tehran authorities are able to monitor and control Internet activity because all of Iran's communications data travel through a single hub: the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI), which is controlled by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The U.S. and European Union have sanctioned leading Revolutionary Guards officials for human-rights abuses for their involvement in the brutal suppression of their political opponents.
In Iran's telecom and technology industries—as in its energy and financial sectors—there is little distinction between the Iranian government and the Revolutionary Guards. The Guards have used their control of TCI and their dominant role in the security establishment to take extraordinary measures to cut Iranians off from one another and from the outside world.
(This article is a little over the top as it makes it seem as if the regime has the ability and resources to monitor 30,000,000 Internet users in Iran, which it does not. The control at Internet café's is very lax and nobody that I have heard of has been arrested for posting anything from an Internet café. Anybody with some basic skills knows how to use VPN's, proxies, and TOR. Ultrasurf is a popular program for by-passing blocked sites. Even though all the traffic goes through regime controlled cables it does not mean they can identify users that easily. By law they have to get a court order to have an ISP reveal their logs and user IP numbers as without this information they won't know who the user is. At least I hope so....)
(So far I have not heard of any ISP's being forced to reveal this information, and if they were forced to do this you can be certain the news would very quickly spread throughout Internet users in Iran. Those users that have ended up in prison often failed to take basic precautions, like using an alias, and instead used their real names on Farsi blogs, or posted articles on well known news sites and used their real names. Personally I know I am taking a risk but sometimes it's necessary to take a risk. If they want to lock me up, or worse, for being antiwar, then something is screwy. If they want to lock me up for taking occasional pot shots at the regime, then under the same standards they would have to lock up 80% of the Iranian population. But I am sure they don't mind my revealing the inner workings of the American Empire and using the writings of Americans themselves to hold up a mirror to the Regime in Washington. But if my postings suddenly stop and I have not said goodbye then I guess I'll need a good lawyer or help of some sort so as to get out of prison. I don't think what I am doing risks getting hanged but you never know with this crowd.)
Legacy of US Weapons-Caused Birth Defects Still Haunts Iraq
(On Iranian.com there are some members that very loudly advocate bombing Iran as a means to bring about regime change.)
(If you are one of those bomb Iran members then please make sure to read this article because what they did to Iraq will happen to Iran. And most likely ten times worse.)
Iraqi children being born with birth defects has been devastating families for years. A July 2010 study showed that increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukemia in the heavily bombarded city of Fallujah surpass those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Iran: We do not want nuclear weapons
By Ali Akbar Salehi.
(It was a bit of surprise to read this Op-Ed in the Washington Post by Iran's Foreign Minister. Mr. Ali Akbar Salehi is very articulate and actually has an excellent command of the English language, which has always been rare or non-existant with Iranian officials, especially those in negotiating positions. I am posting his entire Op-Ed because I think it should be read in its entiretly rather than just be highlighted.)
Forty-five years ago, the United States sold my country a research reactor as well as weapons-grade uranium as its fuel. Not long afterward, America agreed to help Iran set up the full nuclear fuel cycle along with atomic power plants. The U.S. argument was that nuclear power would provide for the growing needs of our economy and free our remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals.
That rationale has not changed.
Still, after the Islamic Revolution in our country in 1979, all understandings with the United States in the nuclear field unraveled. Washington even cut off fuel deliveries to the very facility it supplied. To secure fuel from other sources, Iran was forced to modify the reactor to run on uranium enriched to around 20 percent. The Tehran Research Reactor still operates, supplying isotopes used in the medical treatment of 800,000 of my fellow Iranians every year.
But getting to this point was not easy. In 2009, we put forward a request to the International Atomic Energy Agency for fuel for the reactor as its supply was running out, threatening the lives of many Iranians. When we agreed to exchange a major portion of our stock of low-enriched uranium for reactor fuel in 2010 — a proposal by the Obama administration — the response we got from the White House was a push for more U.N. Security Council sanctions.
Again, we did what every government is obliged to do: protect and ensure the well-being of our citizens. Thanks to the grace of God and the hard work of our committed and growing cadre of scientists, we managed to do something we had never done before: enrich uranium to the needed 20 percent and mold it into fuel plates for the reactor. We have never failed when faced with no option but to provide for our own needs.
All relationships — whether between parents and children, spouses or even nation-states — are based on trust. The example of the Tehran Research Reactor vividly illustrates the key issue between Iran and the United States: lack of trust.
We have strongly marked our opposition to weapons of mass destruction on many occasions. Almost seven years ago, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a binding commitment. He issued a religious edict — a fatwa — forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons. Our stance against weapons of mass destruction, which is far from new, has been put to the test. When Saddam Hussein attacked us with chemical arms in the 1980s, we did not retaliate with the same means. And when it comes to our nuclear energy program, the IAEA has failed to find any military dimension, despite an unprecedented number of man-hours in intrusive inspections.
Being sovereign and independent does not mean that there is no room for dialogue or diplomacy. It means that one enters any debate as an equal, based on mutual respect and justice. To reestablish trust, all sides must assume an honest approach with a view toward moving past the barriers to sincere dialogue.
A key aspect of entering a conversation based on mutual respect is recognizing the other side’s concerns as equal to one’s own. To solve the nuclear issue, the scope of the upcoming talks among Iran and the “P5+1” (the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany) must be comprehensive. The concerns of all sides must be addressed. Complex matters that have been left unaddressed for decades cannot be solved overnight. Another sign of mutual respect is a willingness and readiness to both give and take, without preconditions. This form of reciprocity is distinct from approaches that involve only taking. Most important, and this cannot be stressed enough, is that dialogue must be seen as a process rather than an event. A house can burn to the ground in minutes but takes a long time to build. Similarly, trust can easily and rapidly be broken, but it takes a long time to build.
If the intention of dialogue is merely to prevent cold conflict from turning hot, rather than to resolve differences, suspicion will linger. Trust will not be established. Despite sanctions, threats of war, assassinations of several of our scientists and other forms of terrorism, we have chosen to remain committed to dialogue.
In the upcoming talks, we hope that all sides will return to the negotiating table as equals with mutual respect; that all sides will be committed to comprehensive, long-term dialogue aimed at resolving all parties’ outstanding concerns; and, most important, that all sides make genuine efforts to reestablish confidence and trust.
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