Sunday, February 25, 2007

Do you remember when the news broke about the U.S. tapping the phones and emails of U.N. delegates in NY as part of an aggressive campaign of strong-arming countries into voting for the illegal war on Iraq? Now, stories about U.S. coercions vis-a-vis Iran are slowly coming to light, and I am sure there are many more that we will never know about.

Stephen G. Rademaker, the former Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation and International Security at the U.S. State Department, has acknowledged that India's votes against Iran at the IAEA were coereced.

Bush probably promised that if India helps to punish Iran for trying to excercise the rights guaranteed to it under the NPT, then Mr. Bush would reward India for refusing to join the NPT, and I guess that explains the sweet (no pun intended) mangos for nuclear capabilites deal Bush offered India.

India will get nukes, Iran will get nuked, and the U.S. will get mangos, among other things.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Iraq State of Islam

Michelle Bachmann, the House Representative from the 6th district of Minnesotta has some insider information about the futre of Iraq, though she isn't revealing her sources. Here is an excerpt of an interview, in which she discusses the content of a secret pact:

"Iran is the trouble maker, trying to tip over apple carts all over Baghdad right now because they want America to pull out. And do you know why? It’s because they’ve already decided that they’re going to partition Iraq.

And half of Iraq, the western, northern portion of Iraq, is going to be called…. the Iraq State of Islam, something like that. And I’m sorry, I don’t have the official name, but it’s meant to be the training ground for the terrorists. There’s already an agreement made.

They are going to get half of Iraq and that is going to be a terrorist safe haven zone where they can go ahead and bring about more terrorist attacks in the Middle East region and then to come against the United States because we are their avowed enemy."

That's right folks, the "Iraq State of Islam" in the Western part of Northern Iraq!

In case you've never heard of Bachmann, let me refresh your memory, she is the one who couldn't let go of Bush after his last state of the union address.

One of the best descriptions I've read of that incident is the following from a DC blog site:

"Yes, we saw crazy Michele Bachmann sexually assault the President. It was… weird. It made us uncomfortable. Sadly, Minnesota’s KSTP has taken the video down from their website, after their servers were presumably swamped by perverted Drudge readers. We’ll work on getting our own up, but in case you’re wondering what you missed, the crazy Jesus Lady held on to the President’s shoulder with a Holy Ghost-strengthened death grip for what felt like an hour. He signed her an autograph, she still held on. He tried to ditch her and kiss some other congresswoman, and she still held on. In fact, she held on even tighter.

She finally got her hug and kiss, after the President realized that if he didn’t acquiesce, she would probably slip him a roofie and drag him into a committee room somewhere.

And now you have had a glimpse of what kind of personalities and lunatic reasons are associated with those who support George Bush's Iraq strategy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Constitution of Iran, Article 146: The establishment of any kind of foreign military base in Iran, even for peaceful purposes, is forbidden.

Monday, February 19, 2007

1. Political prisoner Ahmad Batebi has been transferred to a hospital, and his doctor has announced that he is not in a condition where he can endure further incarceration. It looks like this news of his condition is spreading pretty quickly across the Persian language websites; I hope the publicity helps his situation.

2. According to a story published in Friday's New York Times Weekend Arts section about a new exhibition at the Asia Society, "Flaunting Dominion in Ancient Iran", a number of objects, which had been in French museums for generations (read: stolen by colonialists eons ago), were held up at customs for reasons having to do with the current sanctions on Iran and despite having permits.

According to the terms of the US embargo on Iran, no art objects of Iranian origin may enter the U.S. without permit, no matter how long they have been outside of Iran.

As my friend and erstwhile blogger Sima pointed out when we were chatting earlier, this may be a blessing in disguise. Maybe if the artworks made it here they will try to confiscate it and sell it off, you know the way they are planning to do with Iranian artifacts in possession of University of Chicago.

3. I haven't seen it yet, but I've heard decent reviews from a few people, so I will cautiously recommend this BBC documentary on Tehran. It supposedly shows many different sides of Tehran, instead of reflecting the hackneyed polarities usually beamed in for Western audiences.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Anna Nicole, Britney Spears, and Kooodz

The U.S. media out-does itself on a daily basis. CNN's Newsroom program, which is broadcasting as I write, prompted me to send them the following letter:

As if CNN's excessive focus on Anna Nicole Smith was not enough, now you are covering Britney Spears' shaved head?

The funniest part of this embarrassing focus on celebrities on a "news" show is the way that CNN tries to disavow its involvement in making these stories "newsworthy". Your anchors' banter about there being "lots of celebrity news" is hilarious, as though CNN has no role in making events such as a haircut a "developing story".

By the way, please let your anchors know that Quds is not pronounced Koooodz. As for the content of your coverage of the Quds Forces, I will save my comments for a later time, as I am sure there will be many opportunities in the near future to speak to your superficial and ill-informed Iran stories.

Anna Nicole, Britney Spears, and the Koooooooodz Forces, U.S. journalism at its finest!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

1. The niece of Pakistan's ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who happens to have one Iranian grandparent, manages to take a trip to her grandmother's homeland. You can read about Fati's determination to visit Iran and her brief stay in Tehran. (third installment here)

2. The Iranian government is so concerned with gender equality that the parliament has been musing an affirmative action bill that would guarantee a certain number of slots for men, since they are increasingly outnumbered by their female counterparts. Today, officials announced that 67% of students admitted to Iranian medical schools are young women. I guess the parliament better get to work on enacting their proposed laws ASAP.

3.Check out this Kuwaiti singer's video satirizing Mr. Bush and his "freedom and democracy" agenda. Bush must be in big trouble when even Kuwaitis start turning against him! Anyway, my favorite part of the video comes at the end. I wont spoil it for you, but let's just say it involves one of my favorite "men".

4. Have you heard the one about the Iraqi graduate student at Harvard who left the U.S. to study displaced Iraqis and then he became a displaced Iraqi himself? And he is not the only person of Iraqi descent having a hard time reaching Harvard. A friend of ours who has been accepted into a graduate program at Harvard, may not be able make it to the States in time to begin his studies. Born in Spain and holding a British passport, he just has one small problem: his dad is an Iraqi. According to the people at the U.S. embassy, his father's nationality means that his student visa could take months to go through. Naturally, he is considering alternatives on where else he can pursue his graduate education.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has announced that they will accept 7,000 new Iraqi refugees. Seven thousand out of an estimated 2.8 million Iraqis who have been displaced because of the U.S. war. I guess the other 2,793,000 Iraqi should try and cram themselves into neighboring Jordan or Syria (forget Iran, they'd only be displaced again after the bombs start falling).

Anyway, you can be sure that the refugees will be highly screened, with first preference going to people who variously collaborated with the occupation authorities, the same way that refugees were chosen after the disasters in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Friday, February 09, 2007

1. Have a look at how CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour treats her younger Iranian counterparts, a group of journalists who are trying to ask her about her Iran coverage. The clip doesn't have subtitles, but you don't have to be able to understand Amanpour's broken Persian to grasp how condescending and rude she is to the Iranian journalists. She actually hushes them like you would a group of cranky babies.

When an Iranian journalist asks her about the political content of her reports, she responds that there is no such content in her work. Does Ms. Amanpour know that she is covering Iranian nuclear facilities, rather than, say, rose gardens in Shiraz?

She also brushes them off when they ask whether an Iranian journalist could have the access to sensitive U.S. sites and highlevel officials like Amanpour has had in Iran.

Not surprisingly, the Iranian channel covering Amanpour's behavior is having a propaganda field day, but frankly, I can't say I blame them.

2. The owner of the Lebanese business pictured below is on to something. There is a sign up asking patrons not to talk politics while inside.

I saw this picture here, where there is also an Arabic language story about it.

Somebody should capture this sentiment as a slogan on a piece of clothing, kind of like the "Please don't ask me about my thesis" t-shirt. These days, I've been feeling so overwhelmed and freaked out about political developments that I could really use a "Please don't ask me about politics" t-shirt.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Iranians Come Out To Speak Against Aggression on Iran

I found last week's peace march in Washington DC quite encouraging: significant numbers of Iranians turned out to specifically show their opposition to aggression on Iran. I was busy hauling around and holding up signs for most of the time, but I did manage to take some pictures when people were first gathering. I am posting some of them below.

First, our young activists:

Now some of the banners:

And finally, one more from our young activists: