Sunday, December 6, 2015
Unfortunately, the knee-jerk reaction to the Paris attacks made the UNSC pass a french proposed paper that is FAR MORE DANGEROUS and DAMAGING that the post 911 UNSC resolution. Every country has the blessings of the UNSC to attack Syria or Iraq to fight ISIL! Even Israel's bombings can be considered 'legitimate' as well as the Turkish incursion into Iraq. How the Russians and Chinese along with the rest of the UNSC temporary members could have been so stupid is mind-bolgging but clearly none deserve to be in a leadership position.
Article First Published in 2008
John F. Kennedy warned: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic”. After the attacks of 9/11, refusing to present the truth as authority, we have been led to believe that the greatest threat to civilization is Islam. Dominance and ownership of language enabled the neoconservatives to coin the term ‘Islamofascism’ in order to wage war against Iraq. Iran is their next target, while shamelessly and brutally the people of Palestine and Lebanon are being eradicated in the name of ‘democracy’.
Describing Neo-conservatism as “a Jewish phenomenon” Jacob Heilbrunn, a professed former neoconservative says: “Neoconservatives are bound by a "shared commitment to the largest, most important Jewish cause: the survival of Israel”. Many of the founders of neo-conservatism, including the Public Interest founder Irving Kristol and coeditor Nathan Glazer, Sidney Hook, and Albert Wohlstetter, were either members of, or close to the Trotskyist left in the late 1930s and early 1940s. In 1960, Norman Podhoretz, became editor of Commentary and it focused on foreign policy, Israel in particular, and the threat of the Soviet Union.
The end of the Cold War had left Israel in an awkward place. According to The Jerusalem Report, in 1991, the idea that radical Islam would replace communism had taken seed among the Israeli right. The basis of the idea was founded on the neoconservatives fear that with the demise of the Soviet Union, and the splintering of the America’s right wing faction, there would no longer be an unconditional support for a U.S.-Israel alliance. Kristol and Podhoretz did not see the attraction to Islam as an ideology, but there was a decade of peace and prosperity to implement the seeds of hostility in the American psyche; As Podhoretz had stated: “But the real world and the world of ideas aren't always in the direct communication they should be. In the world of ideas the major media, the universities, the artistic community all of these are still on the left." (Jerusalem Report). These would have to be mastered.
In 1993, Samuel Huntington offered the solution, The Clash of Civilizations based on an earlier piece by Bernard Lewis. In an effort to Scapegoat Islam, he underscores that “Muslim societies and states located at the cultural fault lines of the world have shown to be excessively violent. He argues that Muslim enthusiasm for war and readiness to use violence cannot now be denied either by Muslims or non-Muslims. Although his theory was challenged by numerous reputable scholars, the neoconservatives continued to establish themselves in positions of power and influence.
Washington think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) became home to many influential neoconservatives such as Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, and Richard Perle who came to join the AEI from the Jerusalem-based think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS). A 2003 study by the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRMEP) indicates a correlation between the Bush war policy and the funding of these think tanks.
Table Exhibiting Funding Concentration: Top Three Donors
(Internal Revenue Service and IRMEP 2003)
(Internal Revenue Service and IRMEP 2003)
In addition to think tanks, much of the media was given over to the neoconservative ideology. This was made easy by the regulations in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the 1980s allowing mergers and acquisitions. It was natural for Rupert Murdoch and the neoconservatives to come together in the 1990s who had continued to make his media empire grow, especially in the 90s. Murdoch was recognized by the U.S. for his support of Israel, and the Jewish Congress of New York had voted him “Communication Man of the Year” in 1982.
In line with the neoconservative’s agenda, the mainstream media in the US framed September 11 within the context of Islam and Islamic terrorists. Refusing to acknowledge the identity of the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, fifteen of whom were Saudi nationals, the threat of Islam as designed by Huntington was trumpeted by the media. As religious extremism was emphasized as the motive for the terrorist plot, all other inquiries were terminated. America’s response to 9/11 was not an accident. Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ was to provide new bearings for U.S. foreign policy.
There seemed to be a deliberate attempt to portray the motivation of the hijackers as Islamic extremism, thus replacing the threat of Soviet Union with Islam. But who were the real hijackers? In that a new U.N. Human Rights Council assigned to monitor Israel is calling for an official commission to study the role neoconservatives may have played in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, is indicative that this group’s role is believed to be influencing U.S. policies, if not determining it (New York Sun). What is irrefutable is that on September 20, 2001, a large group of neoconservatives outside the government sent an open letter to the White House outlining how the war on terror should be conducted. The target was to be Iraq even if evidence did not link Iraq directly to September 11. Among them were Norman Podhoretz, Defense and Policy Board members Eliot Cohen and Richard Perle, William Kristol, and Charles Krauthammer.
Two short months after the invasion of Iraq, William Kristol, Editor of Murdoch’s Weekly Standard and recently appointed New York Times columnist opined: “[T]he war in which we are presently engaged is a fundamental challenge for the United States and the civilized world ….The liberation of Iraq was the first great battle for the future of the Middle East. The creation of a free Iraq is now of fundamental importance…But the next battle....will be for Iran.” (Weekly Standard) The threat of Islam has been driven home to the American people by the neoconservatives and the controlled media so that nations in the Middle East can be annihilated – wiped out. The leaders no longer serve the American people but the interest of Israel. The 2008 presidential campaign was a clear indication of the influence of the neoconservatives, the mass media, and the priorities in this country.
Former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, made the threat of Islamic terrorism the centerpiece of his campaign. He brought two neoconservatives on board with him as advisors; Daniel Pipes, the man who headed ‘Campus Watch’ to ensure that all education in this country is pro-Zionist, and Peter King, senior Republican Congressman on the House Homeland Security Committee who is of the opinion that there are “too many mosques in this country”. Podhoretz also joined Giuliani (now with McCain), as did John Deady who resigned after it came out that he said the following of Giuliani: "He's got, I believe, the knowledge and the judgment to attack one of the most difficult problems in current history and that is the rise of the Muslims. Make no mistake about it, this hasn't happened for a thousand years, these people are very dedicated and they're also very, very smart in their own way. We need to keep the feet to the fire and keep pressing these people until we defeat or chase them back to their caves or, in other words, get rid of them."[i] Renowned Evangelical Pat Robertson gave Giuliani his endorsement.
Mitt Romney raised eyebrows when he suggested that mosques be wire-tapped. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, allegedly dissuaded Mike Huckabee from “reaching out” to the Muslim world. Jim Backlin, a blogger for the Christian Coalition of America wrote: "Comments like 'America was founded on Christian principles' by Senator John McCain just might make him President" who sings ‘bomb Iran’. Mrs. Clinton has pledged to “obliterate Iran” should Iran attack nuclear-armed Israel with nuclear weapons [it does not have].
Where does America go from here? Wave our flags and destroy another country because we allow our congress and officials, including the president to be influenced by neoconservatives and in so doing tell us that they are saving our civilization?
An army is a strange composite masterpiece, which strength results from an enormous sum total of utter weaknesses. Thus only can we explain a war waged by humanity against humanity in spite of humanity – Victor Hugo
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an Iranian-American studying at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is a member of World Association of International Studies society, Stanford. Her research focus is U.S. foreign policy towards Iran, Iran’s nuclear program, and the influence of lobby groups. She is a peace activist, essayist, radio commentator and public speaker.
[i] “The Religion Card; GOP Candidates Play on anti-Muslim Sentiments” The Progressive, Biography Resource Center, USC Feb 2008“The Religion Card; GOP Candidates Play on anti-Muslim Sentiments”The Progressive, Biography Resource Center, USC Feb 2008
Sources: JJ Goldberg, “The Rest is Commentary”. The Jerusalem Report. Jerusalem:Sep 26, 1991
Eli Lake, The New York Sun, 10 April 2008
William Kristol, Weekly Standard, May 12, 2003
Tony Smith, “A Pact with the Devil”
Halper and Clarke, “America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order”. Cambridge University Press: 2004
Monday, November 23, 2015
Okay, the guy is a clown, a showman wanting to be president. While the media is rightly focusing on this non-politician's remarks about Moslems, giving him so much attention, you HAVE TO ASK why not a word was said when actual politicians and presidential candidates targeted Moslems in worse ways in the 2008 run.
Former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, made the threat of Islamic terrorism the centerpiece of his campaign. He brought two neoconservatives on board with him as advisors; Daniel Pipes, the man who headed ‘Campus Watch’ to ensure that all education in this country is pro-Zionist, and Peter King, senior Republican Congressman on the House Homeland Security Committee who is of the opinion that there are “too many mosques in this country”. Podhoretz also joined Giuliani (now with McCain), as did John Deady who resigned after it came out that he said the following of Giuliani: "He's got, I believe, the knowledge and the judgment to attack one of the most difficult problems in current history and that is the rise of the Muslims. Make no mistake about it, this hasn't happened for a thousand years, these people are very dedicated and they're also very, very smart in their own way. We need to keep the feet to the fire and keep pressing these people until we defeat or chase them back to their caves or, in other words, get rid of them." Renowned Evangelical Pat Robertson gave Giuliani his endorsement.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Today, the NYT published a scathing article titled" Saudi Arabia, An ISIS That Has Made It". The attack on the Wahabbis comes as no surprise. At the end of the day , I say of Saudis what I have always said – they are the gladiators. As Cicero acknowledged of the Roman gladiatoria muner that their sponsorship was a political imperative. The similarities are uncanny. Even though the Roman gladiators were adulated, they were segregated and despised. Today, while Saudi Arabia is hailed as an ally for sponsoring, participating, and facilitating the massacre of fellow Moslems, deafened by the cheers of the Empire’s elite and media, it has become deaf to the chant ‘death to Saudis’ coming from the four-corners of the Empire. In spite of tossing a barrel of oil to the Empire for the murders it commits, the Saudis continue to be despised, hated – set apart. Far right Israelis are responsible for promoting Islam as an enemy. This started after the fall of the Soviet Union. The continued promotion of this idea by the media is what we see as Islamophobia, facilitating the invasion and massacre of Moslem land and Moslems. At the same time, the US was teaching its future leaders at military academies “total war” against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims in order "to protect America from Islamic terrorists”. They even called for the bombing of Mecca and Medina.Now the same media is painting Saudis as complicit in 911 – which they were, by absolving Israel. When much of the Western world (and many non-Western) has come to believe Islam to be a threat, they will not tolerate the most extremists of all — the Wahabis At the moment, they are simply using Saudis to destroy more moderate Moslems – when the SAudi's turn comes around, who will protect them? I think this whole Israel-Saudi-US alliance is by design, not money, though they sure use the money!I am constantly reminded of this writing at Boston's Faneuil Hall when it comes to the Saudis and what they are doing to the whole world – replace Communist, Jews, Unionists, Catholics, Protestants with Palestinian, Iraqi, etc., etc. Not only are they not speaking up, they are complicit. There will be cheers when their time comes. This is why I always say they should wake up! They came first for the Communists,and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.Then they came for the Jews,and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.Then they came for the Catholics,and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.Then they came for me,and by that time no one was left to speak up.---Martin Niemoeller
Thursday, November 19, 2015
1998 Clinton’s national security agenda made it clear that unhampered access to Nigerian oil and other vital resources was a key US policy. Push for African oil was on Dick Cheney’s desk on May 31, 2000. IASPS (Israeli think tank) in 2002 suggested American push toward African oil. In the same year Boko Haram was established. AFRICOM in 2007 helped consolidate this push into the region. 2010 International energy outlook considered West Coast of Africa to be the new oil frontier. A position previously articulated by Chatham House.Nigeria second biggest recipient of Africa funds from International Military Education and Training. Obama administration increased the aid by 30%. The objective has been to build capacity of local security forces to suppress domestic and regional forces who challenge the US agenda. US positioning itself to use military force to make sure African oil flows to the US. Washington understands better than anyone that the simplest way to ramp-up a military presence in any region is to create a public enemy. Voila, you have one in Nigeria.Curious that Jacob Zenn gave the link to the video of Boko Haram rants to CNN. How odd that someone so opposed to Western Education should use Western means and a Washington Foundation – the Jamestown foundation established in 1984 to recruit Soviet dissidents for propagating its message! Related interview: http://www.disclose.tv/.../African_leaders_pledge.../...(Disclose.tv+-+New+Videos
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Virtually everyone is familiar with Pinocchio’s story __ a wooden puppet carved by Gepetto brought to life by a fairy that instructed him to be "brave, truthful, and unselfish" in order to remain a real boy. What I remember the most about Pinocchio was his failure to heed the fairy, his nose growing longer with every lie. This seems to be the case with Tehran Bureau’s unnamed correspondent who failed to heed the “canons of journalism” by making up tall stories about Iran in her article “How the hijab has made sexual harassment worse in Iran” __ in effect turning herself into
Correspondent Pinocchio (CP).
CP writes a damning account of being sexually harassed in Iran, of being subjected to “ogling”, “whistling, hissing, smacking, licking, puffing” and “unhindered expressions of lust and profanity”. She backs her personal account with remarks from a friend who told her that she felt “naked, and worthless.” Not only is CP claiming that hijab has made the situation worse for women, but she also quotes someone as saying: “Basically, a woman shouldn’t walk in the street without male protection,”. What nonsense.
Now as a scholar of US foreign policy I pay close attention to propaganda. Misinformation is nothing new to me and I don’t like to spend my time and energy responding to all the lies. But this particular article by CP hit me hard because I happen to be in Iran at the moment and in the same exact location/neighborhood she mentions in her tall tale. And had it not been for the fact that the evening prior to reading her story I had been talking to my husband in California telling him that never had I felt more safe and comfortable walking alone and eating alone in a restaurant than I did here, I would have dismissed CP’s propaganda. But CP’s lies had a personal effect on me and I could not let it rest __especially in light of Tehran Bureau’s malicious history.
Tehran Bureau (TB) was established shorty prior to the 2009 elections in Iran. It would seem the sole purpose at the time was to start false allegations about the 2009 elections in Iran (Foreign Policy Journal Editor Jeremy Hammond has a brilliant piece on this HERE). TB’s ability to promote lies and with it, unrest, must have caught the attention of PBS. Tehran Bureau is now affiliated with PBS. PBS receives funding from the Federal Government. Hosting Tehran Bureau by “The Guardian” may have well given the paper a boost for its very continuity was questionable as admitted to in 2013 when its CEO warned that his paper might not survive.
So given this colorful background of Tehran Bureau and PC’s blatant lies, I was prompted to set the record straight and share my experiences and observations which were the exact opposite of what PC wrote in her piece. What I saw and personally experienced was profound respect. No glaring stares, no harassment. Simply the kind of courtesy that is offered to a woman and that is demanded by society. It seems to me as if in Iran the hijab serves as a reminder of how men are expected to behave toward women. (See article on hijab and status of women in Iran HERE). So what is CP on about?
Of course there is the possibility that CP is a budding beauty and Iranian men simply can’t handle her splendor (what an insult to Iranian men). Were I to give her this benefit of the doubt and imagine her to be a radiant beauty, her (possible) beauty would be completely eclipsed in Iran. As Mara wrote of the Iranian women in her 2012 article titled For the women of Iran, with Love “They are the most beautiful women I have ever seen”. I concur__ as do many others. Iranian men are accustomed to beauty. So I tend to dismiss her claims of “harassment” based on her glamor.
On the other hand, it may be that she was completely ignored. After all, in many countries around the world men do indeed harass women and make sexual overtures. Some women are flattered while others are offended. But being invisible is not easy to handle. Being invisible may be likened to a blank piece of paper on which one can write anything and all things imaginary – depending on one’s inclination. What is an undisputed fact is that contrary to CP’s report, many Iranian women go all out to become visible.
I spent hours in a coffee shop in a beautiful park (Ab o Atash – literal translation water and fire) near where CP claims to have walked, and watched young women. Faces made up, dressed fashionably in their colorful hijab they paraded around like peacocks that opens their glorious tails in order to attract attention. Sadly for them, I was doing the glaring while they were left mostly unnoticed. And in their midst there were also women who did not venture out to make an impression with their hairdo and clothing. They were beautiful in their simplicity and modesty. I made a mental note of them too, of their ease and confidence.
Now it would be a lie to claim that all women are ignored and all men here are well behaved. With all the demonizing of Iranians, it may be hard to believe that Iranians are normal! As with every other country in the world, there are men who harass women and who make unsolicited approaches. This is more a personal upbringing than a norm. In the pre-revolution years, when I visited Iran as a very young teenager, harassment and catcalling was prevalent. As a shy girl, I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me up so that I would be spared the stares, the pestering. But things have changed. What was once common is truly rare these days. Men would not dare disrespect women__and they don’t.
I would very much like to suggest that PC take her notebook or laptop, sit in the aforementioned park (or anywhere else in Tehran and elsewhere) and speak the truth. Perhaps only then, as with Pinocchio, her courage and unselfishness to write truthfully will turn her into a real bona fide correspondent.
Who is a terrorist? Undoubtedly, what comes to mind is Daesh (ISIL), al-Qaeda, MKO, Boko Haram, etc. What is terrorism? The events of 9/11 and the gruesome beheadings carried out by Daesh shape our visual perception of terrorism. What is left unmentioned and unrecognized in our collective psyche is the kind of terrorism that has been deliberately obfuscated: sanctioned terrorism or terrorism with a license—sanctions.
The fact that scholars have identified over 100 definitions of the term terrorism demonstrates that there is no universally accepted definition. There is general consensus that terrorism is “viewed as a method of violence in which civilians are targeted with the objective of forcing a perceived enemy into submission by creating fear, demoralization, and political friction in the population under attack.”[i]In 1937, the League of Nations Convention defined terrorism as: “All criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons or a group of persons or the general public.”
Article 1.2 of The Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism signed in Cairo in 1998 describes terrorism as: “Any act or threat of violence, whatever its motives or purposes, that occurs for the advancement of an individual or collective criminal agenda, causing terror among people, causing fear by harming them, or placing their lives, liberty or security in danger, or aiming to cause damage to the environment or to public or private installations or property or to occupy or to seize them, or aiming to jeopardize a national resource”.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1373, licensing the United States to wage war against terrorism without first defining terrorism. However, Section 1.B of 18 U.S. Code § 2331 on international terrorism includes the following: (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping. In spite of these clear definitions, sanctions—sanctioned terrorism is dubbed as “diplomacy”, “an alternate to war”, etc.
The reality of sanctioned terrorism is denied even by the UN from whence the most important definition terrorism was delivered in a seminal speech by Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations. Annan conveyed the findings of a high level UN panel “A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility”(2004)[ii] as having defined terrorism to be: “[A]ny action intended to kill or seriously harm civilians or non-combatants, with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling action by a government or international organization”.
Shamelessly, even after sanctioned terrorism took the life of one million Iraqis, the UNSC licensed terrorism against Iran—sanctions, without any remorse for the lost lives of one million Iraqi victims of sanctioned terrorism and untold numbers or other victims across the globe.
The terror inflicted by way of sanctions could not have been made more clear than what Kofi Annan reported of the 2004 UN panel’s findings stating that prevention was a vital part of any strategy to protect people against terrorism adding that “in today’s world, any threat to one is truly a threat to all” and that “any event or process that leads to deaths on a large scale or the lessening of life chances, and which undermines states as the basic unit of the international system, should be viewed as a threat to international peace and security. Such threats included “economic and social threats”.[iii]
“Security” in terms of international relations is understood to be human security. There are six sectors to security: physical, military, economic, ecological, societal and political. Any change from “secure” to “insecure” or a general deterioration in any one or more of these sectors, increases the potential for violence (Buzan 2009). In spite of it all, the UNSC licensed terrorism.The overall failure to identify and deliberately obfuscate this act of terrorism has enabled this premeditated act of terrorism to continue with impunity. The success of this deception is owed to controlling the narrative with complicity from the media. This has been so effective that even the victims of sanctioned terrorism fail to grasp that they are being subjected to terrorism. As Walter Laquer famously wrote in his 1977 piece “Terrorism”: “The success of a terrorist operation depends almost entirely on the amount of publicity it receives.” Sanctioned terrorism has received no publicity.
Our present day understanding of terrorism was initially introduced by Hollywood that often borrows its story ideas from the U.S. foreign policy agenda and has at times reinforced these policies. Hollywood rarely touched the topic of terrorism in the late 1960s and 1970s when the phenomenon was not high on the U.S. foreign policy agenda, in news headlines or in the American public consciousness. In the 1980s, in the footsteps of the Reagan administration, the commercial film industry brought terrorist villains to the big screen, making terrorism a blockbuster film product in the 1990s, painting Arabs (and now Moslems) as terrorists.[iv] Thus the movie industry defined and projected terrorism to the world at large in a manner consistent with US foreign policy. The news media continues to play an even bigger role.
News media has consistently framed terrorism by presenting sudden, shocking scenes of carnage and blood in order to shock the viewer and drive home the narrative of what terrorism should entail—by implication, ruling out all other terrorist acts. So while the imagery creates fear and loathing, and a total rejection of terrorism as identified by the media, a parallel loathing of unidentified terrorism—of sanctioned terrorism has been deliberately precluded. This is propaganda at its finest.
It goes without saying that the aim of propaganda is to change people’s opinion and attempt to influence their future actions and decisions. What is common about propaganda is that it seldom shows the situation from different points of view and seldom gives the full picture. Images of sanctioned terrorism are sorely missing from the picture as the culprits make every effort to present sanctions as diplomacy, a tool of statecraft, and have even convinced the general public that it is a better alternative to war. In fact, sanctioned terrorism is the cowardly alternate to war for the victim is deprived of an unidentifiable enemy to fight. Sanctions, like other terrorists, don’t wear military uniforms.
It is incumbent upon every individual opposed to terrorism to take ownership of the falsely presented narrative about sanctions and refer to sanctions as sanctioned terrorism at all times. Terrorism, like pollution, does not recognize boundaries. Russia has learnt this the hard way. By Hillary Clinton’s own admission, the terrorists America is fighting today were created by the US. We cannot send our uniformed men and women to fight unidentified terrorism, sanctions. We must be the champions of this war on terror. Whether we want to speak for yesterday’s victims, or defend today’s victims of sanctioned terrorism, or whether we want to prevent future victims, we must fight sanctioned terrorism today.
[i] Alex P. Schmid, Albert J. Jongman, et al., Political Terrorism: A New Guide to Actors, Authors, Concepts, Data Bases, Theories, and Literature, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1988, pp. 5-6.
[iii] Kofi Annan, “Special Report: Courage to fulfill our responsibilities”, The Economist Intelligence Unit, December 4, 2004.
[iv] Helena Vanhala – “Hollywood portrayal of modern international terrorism in blockbuster action-adventure films: From the Iran hostage crisis to September 11, 2001”. Dissertations and theses. University of Oregon; 2005.