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“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”   – Asimov

Another day went by in the unrest in Iran.   News came through early on about the results of the peaceful demonstrations of the night before and brutal violence of the security forces and Basijis, leading to the death – according to Tehran province governor – of 7 demonstrators, and 8 deaths according to medical staff and doctors at the hospital treating the victims (see video below).

Personally, before i go further i have some questions for Mr. Ahmadinejad (i dont doubt that there are a few million of us, each with our own questions).  First of all, i found his comment describing the protesters as ‘riff-raff’ ( i can’t find a link to the article/speech, would welcome if someone has it), oddly reminiscent not only of Sarkozy’s “racaille” comment, in 2005 sparking the paris riots, but also, of Shah’s similar comments, which in some ways sparked, or at least fed the revolution.  The Iranian people do not like being belittled or discarded with such epithets.

Secondly I would like to know, if you, Mr. Ahmadinejad, claim and believe this was a free and fair election, Why do you need to arrest opposition politicans (and here)?

Why do you need to arrest the country’s Human Rights Activists?

If you won then Why do you need to arrest the peaceful demonstrators?
If you won, then why do you need to shut down the country’s conventional and internet communication lines (and here and here)?
If you won then Why do you need to tell International media to shut up (and here)and kick them out or to arrest them and beat them up?

Why do you need to kill your own future, your own university students?
If you won, then Why do you need to kill your fellow countrymen who are protesting peacefully (also, see videos below?
Shouldn’t the president of a country LISTEN to its citizens, isnt that what democracy is about, and after all its YOU who said Iran has the healthiest democracy in the world?

—//   HERE ARE A LIST OF INTERESTING ARTICLES AND READING MATERIAL REGARDING THE CURRENT SITUATION

  • Getting back to Andrew Sullivan, he has been one of the most active livebloggers of the situation in Iran, and at least personally i’m very thankful to him.  (i really would like to know what makes him tick).  But he has been so with the spirit of the Green revolution, that at one point yesterday he was citing Rumi on the liveblog!!!

–// A COLLECTION OF VIDEOS FROM YESTERDAY AND TODAY (WARNING SOME FOOTAGE IS DISTURBING)

Another example of beautiful, peaceful, march of the protestors, in Tehran (jam-e jam):

Another (HD) video of the attack on the Basij base that had fired (and killed) some protestors:

SKYNEWS footage of yesterday’s demonstrations:

Doctors and nurses on protest:

Young protestor is shot in the stomach (disturbing video)

More violent attacks against protestors (disturbing):

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Presidential CandidatesWell, its a day later, and i’ve got to admit, i’m still in shock, although i’m sure that i’m not the only person in that.  I’m talking of course about the results of yesterdays’ elections in Iran.  I’ve got to tell you it feels much more like a SELECTION than an ELECTION.

I’ve spoken with my parents and others regarding this, watched the spectrum of news sources, from fox to al jazeera english, and listened to radio from iran to try and understand what has happened.  While the situation is unclear in Iran, and in Tehran, with clashes continuing in teh streets, the likes of which we’ve not had since the time of the revolution, it is blind hope to think that anythign will change i think.

But here are just a few a things to think of, which seem not only aberrant, but perhaps hint at something unusual in the works.

  • The reason that Ahmadinejad was able to win the election last time, was due to vast nationwide elections boycott by the youth.  Yet, now, four years later, a disasterous economy later, with the youth rejuvenated Ahmadinejad manages a LANDSLIDE of this magnitude?  It would mean that all the youth that did NOT vote last time, joined in this time, AND VOTED FOR AHMADINEJAD? Seems to go against all that we saw in terms of 100,000 strong pro-Moussavi rallys.
  • According to Hooman Majd (during this talk given about his recent visit to Tehran during the campaign), while the city of Tehran was covered wall to wall by posters for Moussavi, Karroubi, Rafsanjani, etc, … he was able to find two (yes TWO) pro-Ahmadinejad posters.  According to him, this was because even within the Ahmadinejad camp, they had rather given up on Tehran.
    Now, consdiering this, Tehran is a city of 15 million, which makes it around 20% of the COUNTRY’S POPULATION.  And by proportionality, a fair share of the overall number of votes.  Nevertheless, it is reported that more than 50% of Tehran’s votes went to Ahmadinejad, which would mean that nearly all those iranian youth we saw at the pro-moussavi rally’s actually voted for ahmadinejad.
  • With 57% of the vote, The city of Tabriz (captial of the Azerbaijan province) went to Ahmadinejad, where he .  Which is odd considering that Moussavi was born not far from there, and is himself an ethnic Azeri!
  • Andrew Sullivan in the Atlantic. has published a short article, showing A graph first published in Entekhab news (which interestingly enough is currently offline, and has been suspended at the time of this writing).  A graph which “shows how the proportion of Ahmadinejad’s victory remained totally stable through every vote update though the night”.  that is to say it remained perfectly linear.  This is considered by many to be a statistical impossibility.
  • Karroubi, got less than 1% of the vote.  In 2005 he got 17% of the vote.  Moroever his birht province, went to Ahmadinejad.  How is such a thing possible?
  • I dont see how Ahmadinejad could get such a landslide victory, unless he’s got the majority of the Woman’s vote.  Somethign which is incredibly hard to imagine, considering his stance on women’s freedoms, not to mention the wide support for Moussavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, who accompanied him during the entire campaign, who is a former political scientist and advisor, as well a former university chancellor, and painter.
  • The day before the election, the head of the Revolutionary Guard, issued an ominious warning against what he called a “velvet revolution”, promising that it would be “nipped in the bud”. Now put this together with the incredibly odd coincidence that accordign to Tehran Times,

The Operation Sovereignty began in different squares a few hours ago to ensure the security in Tehran,”" Colonel Mohsen Khancharli, a deputy head of Tehran’s Police Forces announced.

The maneuver which began on 5 pm (12:30 GMT) will continue until all votes in the city are counted,”" IRNA quoted the Iranian police official as saying.

You can’t help wondering, why would you need riot police in teh streets, BEFORE the end of voting, and having such a stern warning days ahead of time, unless the conservatives’ FORESAW a sitaution which would anger the people to the point to have them pour into the streets.

  • Widespread problems with not just SMS services, but mobile phone services as well, not to mention certain reformist papers and websites going down following the end of the elections.

Anyways, here we are, and in the meanwhile, inside Iran, in Terhan and other cities, clashes continue between the disenchanted voters and the governmental police forces.

There is no shortage of footage of what has been going on within Iran, all you need to do is go on youtube, and there are tens of videos being uploaded by the minute.  While i dont think of much i (or anyone else outside the country) can do, other than keeping our thoughts with those within the country, i’d welcome any news about activities, protests, demosntrations going on outside the country (i.e. here in paris)

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More good news from Seymour Hersh

First watch this video:

Here is the New Yorker article “Preparing the Battlefield” mentioned.  Here is a brief excerpt:

ate last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year….

Furthermore, here is an interesting interview by teh New Yorker with Seymour Hersh:

There are several things which are interesting (which for example we see in the video), for example the fact that the Democrats are looking on purpose the other way, and accepting the money going to this operation.  Goes to show you how complicit the Democrats are with the war mongering republicans, possibly far worse, since they say one thing and give hope to people and then do the opposite.

on a possibly related news, or at least interesting at the same time as all this, is the Mujadeddin Khalgh demonstrations across Europe (who are proponenets of armed opposition to the current iranian regime), having already been removed from the “terrorist blacklist” by the UK, and well underway in other european countries such as france.

I know i’d said i didnt want to write any more politics, but with SO MUCH good news coming out all at once what can i do?

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This is a speech from Ron Paul at the house of representatives in the US, regarding the continual rise of energy cost, and tying it eventually to the situation, the continuous threats by the US and Israel against Iran.  He finally also mentions a bill about ot be passed, which would install sanctions/embargo not unlike what was put against Iraq in the 10 years preceing the illegal invasion in 2003.

While we are spreading this good news, there is this other bill.…now i’m not sure if it is the same bill or another, but here is a taste of what is being proposed:

A US House of Representatives Resolution effectively requiring a naval blockade on Iran seems fast tracked for passage, gaining co-sponsors at a remarkable speed, but experts say the measures called for in the resolutions amount to an act of war [italics added].

H.CON.RES 362 calls on the president to stop all shipments of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran. It also “demands” that the President impose “stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran.”

Analysts say that this would require a US naval blockade in the Strait of Hormuz.

Since its introduction three weeks ago, the resolution has attracted 146 cosponsors. Forty-three members added their names to the bill in the past two days.

In the Senate, a sister resolution S.RES 580 has gained co-sponsors with similar speed. The Senate measure was introduced by Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh on June 2. In little more than a week’s time, it has accrued 19 co-sponsors.

It might be the same bill, i’m not sure.  Where is the media coverage of somethign like this? not just in the US, i dont think ANYONE is expecting fair or real media coverage of this in the US. But elsewhere? in Europe? France?

What is also worrisome, is how the democrats are lined up behind this as readily as republicans.  But then again, are we really surprised? Does anyone thing any real change will come, even with a Barak Obama? Not really, at least not me.  did you hear his speech to AIPAC? This new bill has been endorsed by the AIPAC, and all of htis happening a couple of weeks after the AIPAC summit on june 2-4.

We/I can only hope that this nearly inevitable march to war will – somehow – be stopped in its tracks before another step is taken towards this unnecessary and criminal war.

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The Fabulous George Carlin Archive

I’d written this post a few weeks ago, but it seems much more fitting today.

George Carlin, that fabulous, genius of a stand up comic, (and Mr. Conductor on Shining times station!) died today, at 71.  It’s funny, every so often, you think to yourselves, there are certain people that you hope wouldn’t ever die.  Just becasue of how creative, and original they are, because of how much they contribue.  The two people in the entertainment business i always had this pre-emptive Lament for, have been George Carlin and Woody Allen. 

But what is wonderful is that while he may be physically gone, the body of work that is his legacy is preserved, and he stays with us in our thoughts.  So let us enjoy it, thinking about him.

So here is an archive of George Carlin videos available for free on the web:

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Documentary: “Why We Fight”

A very interesting documentary by the BBC on the rise of the Military-Industrial complex :

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Ask an Iraqi

UPDATE: The original video was blocked, so i’ve found another copy of it now on Youtube.

I came across this clip by accident. It is a segment from Ira Glass’s “this american life”. I did not know of this show, but it has begun running recently on Showtime i believe, and was originally an award-winnign radio show in the US on public radio.

This particular segment, which i found beautiful and powerful, is about an Iraqi who goes around the US, with a small wooden booth titled “talk to an iraqi”, and he just sits there and lets people come and ask to him.

What you see, is fascinating on a human level, on a psychological level, and helps explain a lot. For me it recofirmed the power of words. How many of the orindary americans (as well many ordinary people of ANY country) are able to regurgitate slogans that are fed to them, over and over by their governemnt, without the least bit of reflexion on their meaning.

i just found it so well down, because it was not emotional, not manipulative, simple and moving. Enjoy (and spread it if you like it):

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American Succubus

Hey Canada, This is what america thinks of us.

(The succubus in this Fox News clip is Anne Coulter, the second bit is Tucker Carlson of CNN with Carolyn Parish.)
(thanks to mud for link)

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28th of Mordad: 50th Anniversary

So yesterday, the 19th of August was the 50th anniversary of the 1953 Coup d’etat, organized by the CIA (operative Kermit Roosevelt) to overthrow the at-the-time ‘democratically elected’ prime minister of Iran, Mossadegh .

Now, this is an issue with is beset on all sides, by various thorns. The character of Mossadegh is still somewhat unclear to me, since i wasn’t alive at that time, but from all i’ve read, he seems to have been quite a Don Quixotic character. I do not doubt that he was a true nationalist and patriotic Iranian. I do not doubt whether his motivations and ideals were anything less that nationlistic and patriotic. Yet i wonder whether he was cut out to be a leader. He believed in democracy, he believed that Iran should be a constitutional Monarchy rather than an absolute one, and perhaps his greatest actual contribution (as opposed to what he stood for idealistically) was his nationalization of the oil industry in Iran. Even this isn’t a clear-cut good or bad thing. It freed Iran from the claws of the blood thirsty British. Of course, this lead to BP in collusion with the the other sisters of the Great Oil Cartel to boycotting and infact putting an embargo on Persian Oil, to the point that on a couple of occasions independant oil tankers from italy were confiscated by the british when they tried to take oil from Iran.

Anyways, this oil boycott paralyzed the Iranian Economy since oil was by far its greatest source of income. Of course both Sir William Fraser of BP and Mossadegh doggedly were not wiling to compromise. Until the british government (which majority shareholders of BP) under Churchill and Eden appealed to The U.S. to ask for their help first in a military invasion, and secondly in a covert operation to overthrow the Mossadegh regime. Until Harry Truman was president they refuse to have anything to do with this. Then when Eisenhower was elected, the Dulles brothers came into play (as secratary of state and CIA director). The british convinced the americans and the dogmaticly anti-communist Dulles’ that the unstable situation Iran made them a prime target for a communist takeover by the Soviets to the north, and that swift action was required. And thus operation Ajax came to being, which over a few months of propaganda started to shed Mossadegh in a dark light, and then Kermit Roosevelt was sent to Iran, and he eventually orchestrated the Coup that overthrew Mossadegh.

This was the first time teh US did anything of the sort.

Now, 50 years later, the greatest question asked, is WHAT IF? what if mossadegh had stayed in power? that was clearly the beginnings of an emerging democracy in Iran. What would the situation in Iran and the middle east be right now?

these are questions we should ask ourselves on the eve of this anniversary.

The Iranian Association at University of Toronto, has organized a massive international conference on this topic, with some famous speakers this coming saturday and sunday.

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