Tag Archives: Iran

The Music is the Same, Just a Different Dance Floor

This is from William Blum’s December 2011 post:
-o-
USrael and Iran

There’s no letup, is there? The preparation of the American mind, the world mind, for the next gala performance of D&D — Death and Destruction. The Bunker Buster bombs are now 30,000 pounds each one, six times as heavy as the previous delightful model..

But the Masters of War still want to be loved; they need for you to believe them when they say they have no choice, that Iran is the latest threat to life as we know it, no time to waste.

The preparation of minds was just as fervent before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. And when it turned out that Iraq did not have any kind of arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) … well, our power elite found other justifications for the invasion, and didn’t look back. Some berated Iraq: “Why didn’t they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?”

In actuality, before the US invasion high Iraqi officials had stated clearly on repeated occasions that they had no such weapons. In August 2002, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told American newscaster Dan Rather on CBS: “We do not possess any nuclear or biological or chemical weapons.”1

In December, Aziz stated to Ted Koppel on ABC: “The fact is that we don’t have weapons of mass destruction. We don’t have chemical, biological, or nuclear weaponry.”2

Hussein himself told Rather in February 2003: “These missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations [as to range] in Iraq. They are no longer there.”3

Moreover, Gen. Hussein Kamel, former head of Iraq’s secret weapons program, and a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, told the UN in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its banned missiles and chemical and biological weapons soon after the Persian Gulf War of 1991.4

There are yet other examples of Iraqi officials telling the world that the WMD were non-existent.

And if there were still any uncertainty remaining, last year Hans Blix, former chief United Nations weapons inspector, who led a doomed hunt for WMD in Iraq, told a British inquiry into the 2003 invasion that those who were “100 percent certain there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq turned out to have “less than zero percent knowledge” of where the purported hidden caches might be. He testified that he had warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a February 2003 meeting — as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in separate talks — that Hussein might have no weapons of mass destruction.5

Those of who you don’t already have serious doubts about the American mainstream media’s knowledge and understanding of US foreign policy, should consider this: Despite the two revelations on Dan Rather’s CBS programs, and the other revelations noted above, in January 2008 we find CBS reporter Scott Pelley interviewing FBI agent George Piro, who had interviewed Saddam Hussein before he was executed:

PELLEY: And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?

PIRO: He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the ’90s, and those that hadn’t been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.

PELLEY: He had ordered them destroyed?

PIRO: Yes.

PELLEY: So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk? Why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?6

The United States and Israel are preparing to attack Iran because of their alleged development of nuclear weapons, which Iran has denied on many occasions. Of the Iraqis who warned the United States that it was mistaken about the WMD — Saddam Hussein was executed, Tariq Aziz is awaiting execution. Which Iranian officials is USrael going to hang after their country is laid to waste?

Would it have mattered if the Bush administration had fully believed Iraq when it said it had no WMD? Probably not. There is ample evidence that Bush knew this to be the case, or at a minimum should have seriously suspected it; the same applies to Tony Blair. Saddam Hussein did not sufficiently appreciate just how psychopathic his two adversaries were. Bush was determined to vanquish Iraq, for the sake of Israel, for control of oil, and for expanding the empire with new bases, though in the end most of this didn’t work out as the empire expected; for some odd reason, it seems that the Iraqi people resented being bombed, invaded, occupied, demolished, and tortured.

But if Iran is in fact building nuclear weapons, we have to ask: Is there some international law that says that the US, the UK, Russia, China, Israel, France, Pakistan, and India are entitled to nuclear weapons, but Iran is not? If the United States had known that the Japanese had deliverable atomic bombs, would Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been destroyed? Israeli military historian, Martin van Creveld, has written: “The world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy.”7

It can not be repeated too often: The secret to understanding US foreign policy is that there is no secret. Principally, one must come to the realization that the United States strives to dominate the world. Once one understands that, much of the apparent confusion, contradiction, and ambiguity surrounding Washington’s policies fades away. Examine a map: Iran sits directly between two of the United States’ great obsessions — Iraq and Afghanistan … directly between two of the world’s greatest oil regions — the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea areas … it’s part of the encirclement of the two leading potential threats to American world domination — Russia and China … Tehran will never be a client state or obedient poodle to Washington. How could any good, self-respecting Washington imperialist resist such a target? Bombs Away!

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Not the Fluffy Chair


Three Colours: Red

If my foggy memory serves me right, the title I use here comes from Monty Python.  Tell me if I’m wrong.  In one hilarious scene someone is being whisked away to be tortured to death, apparently.

The person shouting orders goes “Take him to the fluffy chair!”

The victim begs “No!  Not the fluffy chair!!!!”

Imagine the rest of the sequence for yourselves.

This morning I was asked by Avaaz.org to sign a petiton to stop the stoning to death of a woman in Iran.  Here is part of the text:

Yesterday an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, was saved by global protests from being stoned to death.

But she may still be hanged — and, meanwhile, execution by stoning continues. Right now fifteen more people are on death row awaiting stoning in which victims are buried up to their necks in the ground and then large rocks are thrown at their heads.

–Avaaz.org

Back when I was still giving lectures to university students, the matter of the death penalty came up.  I think it was around the time it was being debated by lawmakers.  The government through the years had been pressured by various differing lobby groups to either abolish it or have it reinstated – a number of times, if I remember correctly – like it was a game of table tennis, with the rules changing as the game went on it seemed.

One of my students posted the question: what if you were the child of a person set to be killed by the state?  What would you feel towards the government?

In the film Three Colours: Red (the final part in the magnificent trilogy) by the late Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, one of the main characters is a former judge who monitors his neigbour’s secret conversations.  It asks us how much do we know the people around us, or the people we may encounter very briefly?  In the end, how do we, indeed, how can we judge another person to a certain fate?  By appearance, police records, media, religious stands?  Yes, all of us tend to weigh each person’s worth, each person’s relevance to our lives.  Often it is a matter of perspective.

Here is a leap.  Why feel horrified by a pile of stones reserved for a person buried in the ground up to the neck?  Is lethal injection or the electric chair a more humane option?  (bitter laughter please)  How about torture (yes, I see that as slow killing) in a secret detention centre – no, what about a known detention centre, say Guantanamo and others like it in other countries?  Would that be more palatable?

Let us not forget that it is not just the act of stoning someone (a mere head protruding from dry ground, apparently) that should be seen as disgusting, but the very notion of capital punishment (which, in historical and literal fact, means severing the head!).

If you sign the petition, keep these thoughts in mind.  And be surprised at this list of countries that continue to impose the death penalty.

Yes, I did sign the petition.

Now, can someone tell me what that Monty Python movie is called so I can get it out of the video shop?  Please?


Subversion in “Children of Heaven”

children of heaven

There’s a movie
you must never see:
“Children of Heaven.”

Don’t be fooled by its charming title.
Nothing religious in it at all.
Nothing but lies, lies, lies.

Avoid it at all cost
even if you are lucky enough
to find it in your convenient video store.

Too many lies in it
about a boy who loses his sister’s
only pair of shoes.

About their struggle
to keep the loss a secret
from their poor parents.

About the blind man
who finds the shoes
and gives it to his own daughter.

About the boy’s father
who gets a second job
gardening in a leafy suburb.

It goes on and on
showing you lies
about these people

Who seem real.
Remember, none of it is.
The only thing you need to know

Is that it is made in Iran.
-o-


Regime Change Current Target: Iran

THE FOLLOWING QUOTES ARE FROM WILLIAM BLUM

In his world-prominent speech to the Middle East on June 4, Obama mentioned that “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.” So we have the president of the United States admitting to a previous overthrow of the Iranian government while the United States is in the very midst of trying to overthrow the current Iranian government. This will serve as the best example of hypocrisy that’s come along in quite a while.

So why the big international fuss over the Iranian election and street protests? There’s only one answer. The obvious one. The announced winner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a Washington ODE, an Officially Designated Enemy, for not sufficiently respecting the Empire and its Israeli partner-in-crime; indeed, Ahmadinejad is one of the most outspoken critics of US foreign policy in the world.

So ingrained is this ODE response built into Washington’s world view that it appears to matter not at all that Mousavi, Ahmadinejad’s main opponent in the election and very much supported by the protesters, while prime minister 1981-89, bore large responsibility for the attacks on the US embassy and military barracks in Beirut in 1983, which took the lives of more than 200 Americans, and the 1988 truck bombing of a US Navy installation in Naples, Italy, that killed five persons. Remarkably, a search of US newspaper and broadcast sources shows no mention of this during the current protests.6Washington Post saw fit to run a story on June 27 that declared: “the authoritarian governments of China, Cuba and Burma have been selectively censoring the news this month of Iranian crowds braving government militias on the streets of Tehran to demand democratic reforms.”

Can it be that no one in the Obama administration knows of Mousavi’s background? And do none of them know about the violent government repression on June 5 in Peru of the peaceful protests organized in response to the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement? A massacre that took the lives of between 20 and 25 indigenous people in the Amazon and wounded another 100.7 The Obama administration was silent on the Peruvian massacre because the Peruvian president, Alan Garcia, is not an ODE.

… The issue is Washington’s long-standing goal of regime change. If the exact same electoral outcome had taken place in a country that is an ally of the United States, how much of all the accusatory news coverage and speeches would have taken place? In fact, the exact same thing did happen in a country that is an ally of the United States, three years ago when Felipe Calderon appeared to have stolen the presidential election in Mexico and there were daily large protests for more than two months; but the American and international condemnation was virtually non-existent compared to what we see today in regard to Iran.

President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was overthrown in a military coup June 28 because he was about to conduct a non-binding survey of the population, asking the question: “Do you agree that, during the general elections of November 2009 there should be a fourth ballot to decide whether to hold a Constituent National Assembly that will approve a new political constitution?” One of the issues that Zelaya hoped a new constitution would deal with is the limiting of the presidency to one four-year term. He also expressed the need for other constitutional changes to make it possible for him to carry out policies to improve the life of the poor; in countries like Honduras, the law is not generally crafted for that end.

At this writing it’s not clear how matters will turn out in Honduras, but the following should be noted: the United States, by its own admission, was fully aware for weeks of the Honduran military’s plan to overthrow Zelaya. Washington says it tried its best to change the mind of the plotters. It’s difficult to believe that this proved impossible. During the Cold War it was said, with much justification, that the United States could discourage a coup in Latin America with “a frown”. The Honduran and American military establishments have long been on very fraternal terms. And it must be asked: In what way and to what extent did the United States warn Zelaya of the impending coup? And what protection did it offer him? The response to the coup from the Obama administration can be described with adjectives such as lukewarm, proper but belated, and mixed. It is not unthinkable that the United States gave the military plotters the go-ahead, telling them to keep the traditional “golpe” bloodiness to a minimum. Zelaya was elected to office as the candidate of a conservative party; he then, surprisingly, moved to the left and became a strong critic of a number of Washington policies, and an ally of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia, both of whom the Bush administration tried to overthrow and assassinate.

-Read the rest. 03 July 2009, William Blum’s killinghope.org


Monsters 2: Cluster Bombs

They come in a rain of flames and screams.
They seek the softness of flesh,
cracking points of bones.

But many of them unleash the horror
of their intent when all is quiet.

In silence they lurk
among the bushes. Still. Sinister.
Patient. Someone will walk
past them one day. Perhaps
someone who collects metal
scraps for a living.

Or maybe a child
will notice just one of them
with a bright yellow tail
playfully beckoning in the wind:

Take me. Take me.
Take me that I may be
One with your tender flesh.
Take me…

Sometimes there will not even be a scream.
-o-

Abdullah Yaqoob - DCA Archive

Abdullah Yaqoob - DCA Archive

What are cluster bombs?

More information

What Human Rights Watch says about cluster bombs

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