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This week NIAC hosted another potentially important hearing in DC, entitled, "Answering the Iranian People's Call for Human Rights", a series of speeches by a low tier barely visible State Department staffer, the one from that far end of the office that never seems to get any heat, the Swedish Ambassador???, a Moslem- I mean Muslim Democrat Congressman from Minnesota????, and just one Iranian, a "former" NY Times correspondent, which I think means she either quit, or was laid off due to no one in New York actually wanting to read any articles about Iran.
If anyone was not clinically comatose, a panel of 2 Iranians and a drum machine was supposed to talk about the real topic we all want to discuss, Iran's Democracy Movement, and more specifically, how on earth we will ever get another one. Now that Iran has shown that while you can certainly use Twitter and Facebook to start a revolution, it turns out to be real handy in quashing them too.
Here's the Panel digest, watch it for yourself here: (NIAC YT Channel)
Trita Parsi, my poor reluctant personal pocket-sized hero, once again in a suit 2 sizes too big, at a podium one size too tall, and a microphone 12 inches too far, introduced (and I'm serious) "…some of the foremost experts, practitioners and thinkers", almost all of whom you have never heard of before.
Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch, who apparently like to get paid to watch, and do little else. Her advice? Document the situation, and force the UN to do something. And that we need to look at the Egyptian (Islamic) revolution and the other (Islamic) revolutions in the region (that Iran is supporting) as prime examples of how to pressure Iran to change. She then correctly stated that another way could be to pressure Brazil and South Africa, two of Iran's biggest trading partners, to pressure Iran as well. Which of course is impossible, but a surprisingly actual idea from the Human Rights Watch organization, nonetheless.
Nader Hashemi, who co-edited (co-edited, did not write) "The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future.", which if it coincidentally sounds like "The Matrix Reloaded" the film about a world in which the people are used as batteries to power the robots that govern them, is actually a fantastic title, if unimaginative. And don't forget, Nader co-edited it. His idea? "Shine a Global Spotlight on Iran's Human Rights violations". Assuming of course that Iran's Spectacular Show hasn't been playing to "sell out" audiences from the UN to the entire Iranian diaspora in a "Broad way" for the past 32 years. He then went on to suggest that we need to go beyond talking about human rights in Iran "in a general abstract fashion", and have the head of the UN and President Obama or Hillary Clinton talk about human rights in Iran "in a general abstract fashion", and that we should all try to make Emaedin Baghi a mis-pronounceable household name in America.
You see? This is exactly the kind of educated ideas we need, from educators perched high in their mountain lairs at the University of Denver.
Alireza Nader: Represented the Rand corporation, which is one of those think tank private companies that will tell you and governments what they would do if it was them. For a fee or grant. That's it. That's all he did. And that his poll suggests that a large number of Iranians in Iran actually support weaponizing Iran's nuclear program for patriotic reasons. Which was of course completely useless to the conversation. He then added that there have been some popular uprisings in Egypt and Libya, and that while Ahmadinejad was stealing his last election, the Obama administration did not know what to do. Which is always nice to know.
The speeches that followed, were supposed to be about Iran's Human Rights record as well. Here's that digest, watch them for yourself here: (NIAC YT Channel)
Suzanne Nossel: Tried to sell that in spite of 100 years of proof otherwise, the US really cares about Human Rights in the Gulf, and suggested that Iran apparently does not have freedom of speech. She then went on to recommend that someone needed to fill out the UN forms necessary to put Iran on notice. Wow! I'm sure that will work, just like it has with all those resolutions against Israel.
Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafstrom: "Human Rights is a mainstay of Swedish foreign policy!" He then departed from Human Rights and went right to supporting sanctions against Iran for it's Nuclear program. Then bounced back to report that Iran apparently has lots of executions, including stoning. Which is bad too. And that Iran's record of Human Rights is "profoundly disturbing" and that the Swedish answer to this was to "voice concern" and that it is "dangerous to isolate regimes". Probably because you can't sell them stuff like Volvo trucks if you isolate them.
Rep Keith Ellison (D-MN): Leave it to the only Black person in Minnesota to criticize the US historical relationship with Israel and Oil, as a major cause of the problem, and US apathy and silence, as a cause of decades of oppression in the Mid-East. He then labeled the 1953 coup as "[Undermined] the democratic initiatives of the Iranian people… and we've been dealing with the aftermath ever since." He then went on to use "vis-vis" and stated "vis-a-vis Iran, the US must do no harm". He then went on to describe the details of his "Stand With (on?) the Iranian People Act". This act allowed money to bypass the embargo on Iran, and go from the US to NGOs inside Iran. So that the Iranian government could identify and shut them down more easily.
Bravo! Too bad you're a democrat. Too bad you won't matter in less than 2 years when the republicans take over. Again.
The longest speech of course went to the Iranian. Nazila Fathi: who actually opened with "It seems that the Human Rights situation in Iran is deteriorating dramatically". And she emphasized the word "dramatically" and raised her eyebrows as she said it. That's how you know it's serious. Then, since all Iranians are engineers and love statistics, went on to project that at the current rate of executions in Iran, on or about the year 72011, Iran will have executed everyone in the country. She then mentioned that in Iran, 1 out of 7 people are drug addicts. Which when once again, applied statistically, actually explains a lot of the decisions that have come down from the Guardian Council. The rest of the speech was yet more recording of what has been merely Iran's standard operating procedure in place since 1979. Actually this week I think, Iran is celebrating the retirement of the second generation of prison guards, torturers, and executioners who are still implementing these same procedures today. Right now. There goes another one. And another. And Another.
That's right Nazila! Everytime an Akhoond sings azan, a couple hundred political prisoners get their wings!
Then a bunch of CIA junior officers doing "fieldwork" asked some really illiterate questions.
As I hope you can see, all this posturing, selling, and self promotion is an utter crock, and none of this will EVER work.
As an organized organization goes, whether they will admit it, or know it, NIAC is about the closest thing we've got to an actual Opposition. Which is not as sad as it reads, than it sounds when you actually say it out loud. And NIAC does it's darnedest best to raise the stakes and actually step into the huge pile of shit we have now amassed and must cross, because frankly, as much as we pretend it isn't, it is always directly, squarely, right in front of our fucking faces.
But to give NIAC the full credit, as an actual downright state-of-the-art Opposition, NIAC still has a long way to go.
As the only de facto representatives of anything remotely close to what one would call "Free-Iran", and the only group that has any kind of mildly coherent ability to make a mildly compelling argument and pull in DC to listen, thanks mostly to the aroma of Persian hors d'oeuvres, and Trita Parsi's flawless Swedish accent, and many internships on Capitol Hill, NIAC is pretty much all we've got to stand up to Iran's Saddamocracy (def. "Here, choose a candidate from this list I pulled out of my ass, then go vote, then I'll say you agreed with me, my philosophy, and my entire ploy, because you voted freely.).
Looking at the safe haven from which NIAC always seems to operate, carefully choosing and mixing words and lawsuits to avoid any kind of risk of alienating any side, except for the monarchists that continually nip and bite at it's heels out of rabid habit, it is a wonder that any coherent statements or declarations could ever leak out of 1411 K St. NW, Suite 600 in Washington, DC 20005, at all.
And it's not for lack of trying. For the barely brain dead 500 NIAC members that even bother to ever respond to opinion polling that NIAC tries to use to make it's Franknstein-like ideas come to life, somehow, they seem to think that Human Rights in Iran can actually and magically improve before Iran's Constitution does.
Which is of course, utter nonsense. If you tried to find a single coherent reference from the Mooing Mollah Mollification we must suffer, sheer udder nonsense. (Side Note: Sheer read as Milk, combined with udder, makes this the world's first bilingual double-pun).
Contrary to some who have many many more than me, it seems, I only have 2 minor objections to NIAC and the less than satisfying events it seems to continually deliver:
First, they never give me enough time to actually buy that $700 plane ticket, and reserve the $300 a night hotel room to actually go to one of these "Shows" so I can ask the embarrassing questions you now know I am more than capable of asking. But, it seems the N in NIAC stands for something other than National.
Second, this whole apprehension about jumping in and becoming the voice of an honest to Gav opposition in diaspora. (Side Note: the use of Gav and not God makes this a bilingual single-pun)
I mean whatever are you waiting for NIAC? Things in Iran to get really bad?
Traditionally, or at least ever since say, Cuba, an opposition to tyranny that is being foisted inside a country in the 20th century, has often survived outside of the homeland, and is operated by volunteers that look a lot like Trita and even more like the young NIAC staff, but not Javad Abdi (he's far too good looking to Oppose anything other than the abuse of hair gel) fresh from this year's crop, replacing last years' burnt out crop, by pointing out the flaws, fouls, and foibles of the ruling tyrants in Iran.
I mean, come on, how hard is this?
With the more than ample ammunition available by just counting on what Ahmadinejad can provide on his own, this seems easy-peasy, and to now make this article topical, and yet another Google search result, Japanesey.
Certainly for example, one can easily point out that Iran's Constitution is technically invalid and broken, even if it was surreptitiously recoded and recorded as an infallible and perfect document in 1989 after Khomeini died, and therefore blessedly needless of the usual amendment rules that other far less perfect Constitutions widely used by the many foolishly free people in the world seem to need.
I mean you could spend a year of speech-filled meetings in the Dirksen Senate Building just analyzing how Iran isn't technically even a real republic.
On a bet, and after a night of especially hard drinking at one of those raunchy piano bars in Georgetown, and thinking totally batshit crazy out of the box, Trita and his cast of "Friends", could file an awesome objection with the UN that Iran's president isn't technically an elected representative of the people of Iran, but more or less an appointed, and merely validated fake, complete with fake election, whose results are then falsified or faked, just to make sure the fake "chosen one", wins.
You could then argue, that since the UN is where world leaders are supposed to gather and talk, that allowing Ahmadinejad to speak on behalf of Iranians, makes about as much sense as letting Snooky speak on behalf of Governor Christie of New Jersey. Actually, I've been to New jersey ("Really? Which exit?") and that's not a half bad idea! You could then call on the UN to require Iran's actual leader to come/waddle up to the UN podium and speak nonsense, and not the idiot full-eared halfwitted checkbox on the meaningless interior ministry employee counted, Presidential ballot.
So, if you were so inclined, or cared to step up and actually realize your destiny instead of putting it off for an Aslan-worthy book deal that never seems to come, you could do a lot of far cooler stuff than host already fat American congressmen, and cater cold Iranian food decorated as cuisine, combined with cheap red wine (always red!), and sit and watch them merely get fatter. And like Hamid Biglari after an 18 hour day covering up all those bad loans at Chase, try and stay awake.
Disappointed and the least bit bitter? You bet we are! To butcher/paraphrase my favorite Madonna song, we are after all, "Material Iranian Girls, living in a Material Iranian World."
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