Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Riding the "Green Wave" at the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond - by Ed Herman & David Peterson

Riding the "Green Wave" at the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond - by Ed Herman & David Peterson

Riding the "Green Wave" at the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond - by Ed Herman & David Peterson

[This article was posted on ZNet, 23 July 2009, at

By the time we read it, the destabilization of the Iranian nation had reached well beyond the Campaign for Peace and Democracy's Q’n’A-ing of the 12 June presidential elections, and the ensuing bloodshed of the 'nonviolent street theatre’ it encourages, and into the provocation of serious rifts within the Iranian executive branch, involving resignations from President Ahmadinejad's inner circle that could lead to a vote of no-confidence for the duly elected president in the Parliament.

A similar scenario was played out in Zimbabwe in March 2008, with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change preemptively declaring victory while the polls were still open, and the violent, even murderous, public demonstrations leading to the elevation of the MDC’s defeated candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, to the Zimbabwean Prime Minister’s post. And through truly perverse spectacles, like the ones worn around here @ cm/p, one could hallucinate that what these antidemocratic forces for the imposition of Democracy are doing in Iran and elsewhere have certain grotesque parallels to what is happening to President Obama and his health reforms within the US, itself. For, after all, in Western Democracy (what professor Chomsky has called ‘that form of government organized to best serve the interests of US Business.’), once the majority has given its mandate to a president through the electoral process, the system of checks and balances kicks in to make sure that the majority’s interests are in no way served (if served at all) to the detriment of the interests of the ancient financial, commercial, cultural and religious elites--no matter how diseased unto moribund these inbred and immoral bands of imbeciles have become.

However, the Ahmadinejad government has been a target of the 'forced democracy' marketeers for some time now. Several of our most beloved and highly valued contributors began to demonstrate serious flaws in their commitments to universal liberation and the uncompromising pursuit of Historical Verité et Justice early in 2007 by circulated lame jokes about Iranian society and culture, and the person of President Ahmadinejad, himself. These nerdy gags usually involved implications of Iranian anti-Semitism, painfully contorted notions of Holocaust denial in Iran, and began the now incontrovertible misquoting of Ahmadinejad's 2007 speech in which he claimed that, should it continue its nuclear-armed militaristic, expansionist, racist and neocolonialist ways, Israel would, in fact and indeed, 'wipe ITSELF from the map of the Middle East' (a concern held by an important demographic inside contemporary Israel)--and not that Iran or Ahmadinejad, personally, would be doing any of this wiping out. But such is the force of this current self-realizing dread of seeming the coward: the Western terrorists wield their broadsword of 'anti-Semit-o-phobia' so that few can hold fast to their considered critical convictions, be they on the USSR, Yugoslavia, Latin America, Africa, HIV=AIDS or 9/11, without the chill of cultural excommunication or even career crucifixion shaking them into the castrati section of consensus chorale.

However, Peterson and Herman are happily among this courageous few. And they have, once again, given us the great gift of their diligent and rigorous scholarship in this catalogue of the many ways and means disposed of by that Fifth Column which is the old anticommunist Left to promote, protect and defend the most strategic interests of the Western Waste Kultur's obsession with militarizing the as yet ‘undeveloped’ nations and peoples of the world into total, shrieking, bloody extinction--then ripping off, and rinsing the innocent blood from, what is left of their abundant natural riches. Of course, these faux gauchistes, like Steve Zunes and Pete Ackerman, advance their CIA/MI6 agendas by painting their unspeakable crimes in the cuddly camo of the Nonviolent Promotion of Democracy. --mc]


Riding the "Green Wave" at the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond

July 23, 2009

By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson 

There are many problems with the Campaign for Peace and Democracy's "Question & Answer on the Iran Crisis," issued by the CPD on July 7, and widely circulated since then.[1] 

The CPD adopted this format, it tells us, because "some on the left, and others as well, have questioned the legitimacy of and the need for solidarity with the anti-Ahmadinejad movement," and the CPD believes "those questions need to be squarely addressed." 

We believe, on the contrary, that the CPD's 13 questions-and-answers do little to clarify issues related to Iran's June 12 presidential election and its tumultuous aftermath, and even less to help leftists and "American progressives" decide how they should respond to them. 

As we try to show below, when stripped of its didactic format, this Q&A amounts to little more than an emotional plea to its target audience to surrender what remains of their leftist instincts (long under siege in the States, and shrinking rapidly), and join its authors[2] for a ride on the "green wave" of yet another color-coded campaign that fits well with one of their government's longest-running programs of destabilization and regime-change. We believe that any "confusion" felt by the left and "American progressives" towards these events is a confusion that has been sown by our would-be instructors.[3]

*** *** ***

1. Consider first the CPD's selectivity. A look at its "Past Sign-on Statements and Letters" and elsewhere on its website (e.g., "Statement of Purpose") shows that, in contrast to its lengthy, 4,000-word Q&A of July 7, as well as its earlier statement on the "Crisis in Iran" (June 17), the CPD has yet to put up a Q&A related to or a statement announcing its solidarity with the mass demonstrations in Honduras after the June 27-28 military coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of the country, Manuel Zelaya. Neither has the CPD announced its solidarity with the 100 or more indigenous victims of a June 5 massacre by the government of Alan García in Peru, which some groups are calling the "Amazon's Tiananmen," nor with the high numbers of civilian victims of the several-year-long U.S. and NATO bombing campaigns over Afghanistan and Pakistan, now sharply escalated by the new Democratic administration.

If we expand the purview of perpetrator-and-victim sets beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan to other theaters of U.S. and NATO violence, the possibilities for Q&A's and shows of solidarity with the victims would become unmanageably large. But as of July 2009, shouldn't Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Honduras rate a very high priority among American progressives precisely because the U.S. government and its military are destructively engaged in the first two theaters, and in the third, where the U.S. is deeply involved in training and arming the military, and where its influence is unmistakable, almost surely could have prevented the coup, and still could easily reverse it, had the U.S. leadership wanted it reversed?

Given that Hosni Mubarak's Egypt is on the U.S. payroll and a part of the "global spider's web" of secret prisons run by Washington, shouldn't we have been more concerned with Egypt's last presidential election in September 2005, which Mubarak, effectively Egypt's president-for-life, won with 89% of the vote? Shouldn't we pay more attention to the complete absence of elections in U.S. client Saudi Arabia? Or to client-state Mexico, where presidential elections have a long history of vote-rigging, the last one, in July 2006, stolen in favor of the pro-business, U.S.-favored candidate Felipe Calderon, and inspiring a massive tent-city protest in the center of Mexico City to demonstrate people's support for the leftist runner-up, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador? 

In each of these theaters and the many others that fall within the U.S. sphere of influence and responsibility, the potential benefits of a sustained left-critique and consciousness-raising about U.S. policy and its devastating impact on the lives of people are far greater than anything to be gained by urging "solidarity" with dissenters in a distant land where the U.S. influence for constructive purposes is minimal, but its hostile and destructive interventionism has been and remains great.

2. Is it a mere coincidence that these neglected matters, all of which bear undeniably on the cause of peace and democracy, are also ones in which a thoughtful Q&A would inevitably challenge U.S. policy action or inaction, whereas a focus on Iran at this moment fits instead the long-term U.S. policy of demonization, isolation, sanctions, destabilization, and eventual regime-change? 

Contemporaneous New York Times coverage of events inside Iran and Honduras (for example) reflects exactly the same set of priorities: That is, on the one hand, a heavy focus on the Iranian election, the charge of vote-fraud on behalf of Ahmadinejad, the protests against this, the violent crackdown across Iranian society, and the shaken legitimacy of the Islamic Republic; and, on the other hand, the downplaying of the Honduran coup and the protests and repression there, the possible U.S. role behind the scene, the credulous reporting of the formula repeated by the Obama administration that it seeks the "restoration of the democratic order in Honduras," rather than of the ousted President, sober questions about what the Honduran Constitution does and does not permit, and a barely concealed apologetics for the coup.

The contrast in the Times's treatment of Iran and Honduras for the first 15 days of coverage after the June 12 election (i.e., June 13 - June 27) and after the June 28 coup (i.e., June 29 - July 13) has been dramatic.[4] The Times devoted at least 61 reports to Iran, and 19 to Honduras, with at least 21 of the Iran reports beginning on Section 1, page 1; in fact, the Times devoted page-1 reports to Iran consecutively for all 15 days in our sample. Only two reports on Honduras started on page 1. The Times also devoted 14 op-eds and 2 editorials to Iran, but only 2 op-eds and 1 editorial to Honduras. In terms of content, the Times's opinion pages unequivocally rejected the fairness and legitimacy of Iran's election and its government's handling of the protests. (Its two editorials were "Neither Real Nor Free" (June 15) and "Iran's Nonrepublic" (June 18).) But when discussing Honduras, it was the legitimacy and tactics of Manuel Zelaya's government that the Times and its contributors questioned, with Zelaya dismissed as an "ally" of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, "The Winner in Honduras: Chavez" (June 30) and the editorial "Mr. Arias Steps In" (July 10)), and a politician whose "larger goal seemed to be a change from our democratic system into a kind of 21st century create a Hugo Chavez-type of government" (Roger Marin Neda, "Who Cares About Zelaya?" (July 7)).

For progressive Americans, aren't the New York Time's priorities upside-down? But then how about those of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy? It is interesting that the CPD actually lauds the news media's performance on Iran, claiming that "there is no good evidence so far that Western news reports on the government's electoral fraud and violence repression of dissent have been fundamentally inaccurate" (#7). But there were gross inaccuracies in the establishment media's assertion of vote fraud. As Mark Weisbrot points out,[5] the first sentence in the lead, front-page story run by the New York Times on June 23 reported that "Iran's most powerful oversight council announced on Monday [June 22] that the number of votes recorded in 50 cities exceeded the number of eligible voters there by three million, further tarnishing a presidential election that has set off the most sustained challenge to Iran's leadership in 30 years."[6] Yet, Weisbrot adds, Iran's Guardian Council had actually stated something completely different:

Candidates campaigns have said that in 80-170 towns and cities, more people have voted than are eligible voters. We have determined, based on preliminary studies, that there are only about 50 such cities or towns....The total number of votes in these cities or towns is something close to three million; therefore, even if we were to throw away all of these votes, it would not change the result.[7]

So there were 3 million total votes in the 50 towns and cities, not 3 million over-votes. Furthermore, the over-votes did not prove fraud. Iranians can vote at any polling place, so it is—according to the government—common to have more votes than eligible voters where there are a lot of commuters, vacationers, or areas where the voting districts are not clearly delineated. Yet the Times misleading report was picked up widely and used to convince people that the government had "admitted" to having stolen three million votes.

Given the U.S. news media's history of systematically biased and unreliable reporting on issues central to U.S. foreign policy and when dealing with an official enemy, is the CPD's position on media coverage of Iran's election credible? We wonder if the CPD also found media performance on the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq to be fundamentally accurate, ca. 2002-2003? Or on Israel's recent wars against Lebanon (2006) and the Gaza Palestinians (early 2009)? Or on the alleged "threat" that Iran's nuclear program poses to the world? Or is it just the news media's performance on the election and its aftermath in Iran that the CPD finds fundamentally sound?

3. By portraying the Islamic Republic as even more of an outlaw regime than it had been portrayed prior to June 12, doesn't this intensive focus on discrediting the Iranian election feed nicely into the U.S.-Israeli destabilization and regime-change campaign? No matter how much the CPD protests otherwise (#13), doesn't its call for "solidarity with the anti-Ahmadinejad movement" and its advocacy for "a different form of government in Iran" encourage leftists to pull-down their natural defenses against U.S. imperialism?

Much intelligent analysis has pointed to similarities between a strategy employed by the Mousavi camp in June 2009, and the strategy's use in earlier campaigns of destabilization against U.S. targets for regime-change that date back to the elections in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 2000, Georgia in 2003, and the Ukraine in 2004, to name three where it succeeded.[8] As was the case in these three other countries, the challenger Mousavi and his aides started by declaring Mousavi the "definite winner" by very wide margins on the day of the election (Friday, June 12), long before the polls had closed and the votes were counted; one Mousavi aide even told Agence France Presse that "Mousavi has got 65% of the votes cast," a "landslide victory," AFP called it.[9] This was followed by Mousavi's claim on the next day (Saturday, June 13) that his rightful victory and therefore the will of the Iranian people had been stolen by the incumbent President Ahmadinejad's supporters in the Ministry of the Interior, with the official result delegitimized; from here went the calls to Iranians and all democracy-loving peoples the world-over to reject it.[10]

But the regnant portrayal of Iran's 2009 election as a sham, riddled with fraud and illegitimate, also reminds us of the Reagan administration's propaganda campaign in 1984, which focused on the hostile Sandinista treatment of the newspaper La Prensa, the withdrawal of Contra leader Arturo Cruz from the election, and other actions that delegitimized it, thus justifying further U.S.-sponsored terrorism. As early as July 1984, Ronald Reagan himself had likened the Sandinistas' proposal to hold elections in November to a "Soviet-style sham." The editors of the New York Times picked-up on their President's rhetoric, warning first that "If [the Sandinistas] go forward with plans to hold a sham vote..., they will confirm Mr. Reagan's thesis" (October 7), and concluding one month later that "Only the naïve believe that [the] election in Nicaragua was democratic or legitimizing proof of the Sandinistas' popularity.... The Sandinistas made it easy to dismiss their election as a sham" (November 7).[11]

For progressive Americans who'd like to "make it clear to the Iranian people that there is 'another America', one that is independent of the government and opposed to its oppressive and anti-democratic foreign policy" (#12), but whose memory of their own government's history has yet to be Twittered-away, isn't the net-effect of the CPD's activism to increase the likelihood that the next president of Iran, some time in 2013 (if not sooner[12]), will be a U.S.-supported candidate—in the pattern of the "remarkable victory" of Violeta Barrios de Chamorro in 1990 that delivered a "devastating rebuke to the Sandinistas," as the New York Times editorialized, a "clear mandate for peace and democracy," in the first President Bush's words?[13]

4. Even the language used by the CPD displays a revealing bias. At no place in its July 7 Q&A does the CPD refer to the United States or to Washington or to any U.S. leader as "murderous" or "vicious" or "barbaric," or any U.S. action as "ferocious." Instead, such language is reserved for U.S. targets such as Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic (#9), and for the clerical-state in Iran. Thus, the CPD's introduction speaks of their "horror at the ferocious response" of Iran and the "brutal repression" in support of the "electoral fraud," and later the CPD refers to the "ferocious violence of the security forces" against the protestors and the general public (#8). 

But in the CPD's November 2002 statement (later updated), "We Oppose Both Saddam Hussein and the U.S. War on Iraq: A Call for a New Democratic U.S. Foreign Policy," such invidious language is used only to describe the regime of Saddam Hussein, whom it calls a "killer and serial aggressor," and a "tyrant who should be removed from power," but never the United States. 

"War"—not George Bush or the United States—but "War threatens massive harm to Iraqi civilians," the CPD stated, "and will encourage international bullies to pursue further acts of aggression."

The CPD recognized that President Bush's objective was "to expand and solidify U.S. predominance in the Middle East, at the cost of tens of thousands of civilian lives if necessary" (and many more, ultimately). But this didn't make the United States or Washington or President Bush a "bully," a "killer and serial aggressor," or a "terrorist" on a grand scale.

5. The CPD goes to great length to deny that the post-June 12 protests in Iran can be regarded as a consequence of U.S. policy towards that country, and is adamant that U.S. interference played no role in the election and its aftermath. "[F]oreign meddling does not prove foreign control," the CPD asserts, and "foreign meddling does not automatically discredit mass movements or their goals; it depends on who is calling the shots....[T]there is no evidence that the CIA or any other arm of U.S. intelligence—or Mossad—had anything to do with initiating or leading the protests in Iran...[T]there has been not a scrap of credible evidence that the millions of people in the streets these past few weeks were brought out by CIA money" (#6). 

But "foreign control" and "calling the shots" are extreme forms of foreign meddling, and we regard them as straw men of the CPD's making. Another straw man is the CPD's repudiation of the notion that "millions of people in the streets" were on the CIA's payroll, the CPD implying strongly that the consequences of U.S. meddling are too insignificant to be a factor.

But who ever said that huge numbers of Iranians were on the CIA's payroll? More to the point: Does the CPD have any "credible evidence" that none of them are?[14]

Surely the CPD knows that in early 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requested $75 million "in emergency funding to step up pressure on the Iranian government, including expanding radio and television broadcasts into Iran and promoting internal opposition to the rule of religious leaders"? Before the money was appropriated by Congress, $15 million of it was channeled "toward grants for software programmers who specialize in creating programs that thwart Internet firewalls erected by repressive countries such as Iran and China. The idea, which was championed by Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), is intended to assist dissidents without making them the target of arrests and harassment."[15]

The CPD ignores ABC TV's report in 2007 that the CIA "received secret presidential approval to mount a covert 'black' operation to destabilize the Iranian government," a policy that "would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime," retired CIA officer Bruce Riedel told ABC. The CPD also ignores Seymour Hersh's report about a "major escalation of covert operations against Iran," worth $400 million, and "designed to destabilize the country's religious leadership." One source familiar with the presidential order told Hersh that its purpose was "to undermine the [Iranian] government through regime change," and involved "working with opposition groups and passing [out] money."[16] As always with how the U.S. "intelligence" agencies spend their massive budgets, the potential for additional unreported operations is great.[17]

The CPD ignores the existence, let alone the impact, of multiple, large, and overlapping governmental and nongovernmental programs devoted to developing the media and expertise necessary for "democratic movements" in other countries, and to "strengthen the bond between indigenous democratic movements abroad and the people of the United States," as the National Endowment for Democracy describes its mission.[18] Despite President Obama's semi-apologetic admission in his speech at Cairo University the week before Iran's election that the United States once "played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government,"[19] USA Today reports that "The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents,...continuing a program that became controversial when it was expanded by President Bush." Part of the purpose of the $15 million Near Eastern Regional Democracy Initiative, a Senate Appropriations committees spokesman told USA Today, "is to expand access to information and communications through the Internet for Iranians."[20]

In short, there is extensive evidence of U.S. meddling inside Iran, over a very long period of time, and these efforts cannot simply be dismissed as old-style leftist hyperbole.[21]

6. Also relevant to assessing the true nature and scope of U.S. interference in the lives of Iran's 70 million people—and their election process—but virtually ignored by the CPD are the massive U.S. wars in neighboring Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, the constant threats of attack by the United States and Israel, the use of the International Atomic Energy Agency dating back to 2003 to harass Iran over its legal and NPT-compliant nuclear program,[22] and the serious economic and political sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, its allies, and the Security Council—all of which add-up to a sum that vastly exceeds "foreign meddling," and the impact of which cannot be dismissed by asserting that there is "no evidence that" the CIA has engineered yet another coup on the model of its 1953 overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddeq.[23] 

Isn't U.S.-organized economic warfare that reduces Iranian standards of living over many years,[24] along with the likelihood that it can only be ended by a U.S.-approved political transformation, a grave form of foreign intervention in Iranian politics, in the June 12 election, and in its aftermath? Isn't it reminiscent of Reagan's and Bush One's blackmailing threat to continue the Contra's terrorist war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua until the people removed the Sandinistas from power? Isn't the CPD's insistence that "American progressives" can safely discount these forms of foreign intervention as having played no important role in recent events inside Iran a form of apologetics for the same ugly operations?

7. Apart from these ongoing destabilization campaigns, a series of reports since early July have described plans and training for possible future Israeli military attacks on Iran's nuclear program. It is important to remember that such reports have been regular features in the Western media for six years running, invariably contain a psychological warfare component, and are even discussed as psy-ops inside Iran. But this time we notice some novel features to the reports, including an agreement with Egypt for Israeli warships to pass through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, an agreement with Saudi Arabia permitting the Israeli air force to traverse Saudi airspace, several long-range, joint U.S. and NATO training missions with the Israeli Air Force, and joint U.S.-Israeli tests of the Arrow interceptor missile "designed to defend Israel from missile attacks by Iran and Syria," according to the London Times. "It is not by chance that Israel is drilling long-range maneuvers in a public way," an Israeli defense official stated. "This is not a secret operation. This is something that has been published and will showcase Israel's abilities."[25]

There is also U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's response to question by George Stephanopoulos on ABC - TV in the States, widely interpreted as giving a virtual go-ahead to an Israeli bombing attack on Iran:[26]

--Stephanopoulos: [I]f the Israelis decide Iran is an existential threat, they have to take out the nuclear program, militarily the United States will not stand in the way?--

--Biden: Look, we cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do when they make a determination, if they make a determination that they're existentially threatened and their survival is threatened by another country.--

We find it damning that as these U.S. and Israeli threats to attack Iran have escalated in June and especially in July, the U.S.-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy, while remaining silent on this major threat to international peace and security posed by the United States and Israel, which if carried out would undoubtedly kill many more Iranian civilians than the Iranian government has killed since June 12, initiated its campaign to delegitimize Iran's June 12 election as its cause celebre—and in effect lay down with the lions.

8. Considering events inside Iran from June 12 on, it seems highly likely that many of Iran's more affluent, urban-activist and technologically savvy youth had concluded that they could achieve their political objectives best, not at the ballot box in June 2009, and not by arguing their case before the rigid bodies of Iran's executive branch, but by tailoring their messages of dissent to foreign audiences, taking to the streets to provoke repressive responses by state authorities, with every action of the state serving to delegitimize it in the eyes of the West's metropolitan centers, whose recognition and validation the protestors have sought above all.[27] Indeed, the West is where we find the real streets the demonstrators want to control. Not "from Engelob Square to Azadi Square," as Robert Fisk reported it,[28] but how Engelob Square and Azadi Square, Evin Prison and the Basij militia, play in the United States and other Western powers, where 98% of the "internationalists" wouldn't blog, "tweet," text-message, or take to their own streets to stop a single NATO missile from striking a wedding or funeral party in Afghanistan, however much they cheer Iran's dissidents.

Today's mobile communications technology (including voice, text-messaging and Twitter, and digital imaging) played an unprecedented role in the election and its aftermath, as did the Internet (websites, email, Facebook, and photo and video-sharing platforms such YouTube and Flickr), and foreign-based radio and television sources such as the BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera, as well as BBC Persian TV and Voice of America's Persian News Network. By-passing Iran's state-run media, younger Iranians kept informed via these state-of-the-art samizdat and establishment foreign sources. Much of the establishment Western media (print, TV, and radio) also relied heavily on the new samizdat, and for one-to-two weeks running featured content drawn allegedly from Iran's street protestors.[29]

When Tehran's executive branch accuses the U.S. Government and foreign NGOs of trying to foment a "velvet" or "color revolution," this is the modus operandi that Tehran has in mind. Given the U.S., U.K., and Israeli investment in destabilization and regime-change in Iran, we believe it highly plausible that strategy exists for mobilizing Iran's dissident youth via both samizdat and the foreign media beyond their country's borders that feed-back into the consciousnesses of the Iranian street and the executive branch, altering the relation between the two, in precisely the sense that U.S.-based nonviolent action-operatives and foreign regime-changers have been advocating for use in Iran for years.[30] 

In short, the protests are certainly not entirely "home-grown" and have a pretty clear link both to direct destabilization campaigns and to the massive destabilizations imposed upon this region of the world by the United States and its allies just this decade alone. It is also interesting to note that Peter Ackerman, the founding chair of the U.S.-based International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and a former chair of the right-wing Freedom House, along with the ICNC's founding director and president Jack DuVall, once cynically cautioned that for a destabilization campaign such as this to be maximally effective against Iran, it "should not come from the CIA or Defense Department, but rather from pro-democracy programs throughout the West."[31] 

None of this is to deny the reality of a massive democratic surge inside Iran on a scale unseen since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. But it is to question how well we understand the role of state-of-the-art communications technology in mobilizing the demonstrators, and how truly "indigenous," autonomous, and independent they are from foreign meddling and influence, where foreign powers have invested considerable resources and know-how in these modern regime-change campaigns.

9. The question of vote fraud in Iran's reported election results remains hotly contested.[32] There have been allegations of fraud among both Iran's political class and foreign analysts,[33] but the true scale of any possible tampering with the actual ballots cast is uncertain. Still, more than any other factor, it is the allegations of an election rigged by Iran's executive branch to deny the will of the Iranian people that have driven events inside Iran since June 12.

The CPD devotes its first five Q&A's to delegitimizing both the election and Iran's political system. The CPD dismisses the political system's fairness (#1), the "un-elected" nature of its "theocratic rulers" (#2), as well as rejects Ahmadinejad's reported victory (#3 - #5). "[T]here is very powerful evidence that either no one emerged with a majority [in the first round]," the CPD even states at one point, "or that Mousavi won outright" (#3). The CPD also states that the "basic prerequisite of a democratic system—that people can change their government—is missing" in Iran (#2), and that as the "un-elected Guardian Council" filtered out hundreds of potential candidates, leaving only four to run for the presidency, with no free press, free expression and freedom to organize, the June 12 election wasn't free and fair (#1 and #2, and passim).

While we agree that Iran's political system has very serious defects, it towers above others in the Middle East that are U.S. clients and recipients of U.S. aid and protection. If Iran were a U.S. client rather than a U.S. target, its political system would be portrayed as a "fledgling democracy," imperfect but improving over time and with the promise of a democratic future. Furthermore, in the current electoral contest, the three challengers (Mousavi, as well as the former Speaker of the Parliament, Mehdi Karroubi, and the former head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezai) seemed ABLE to voice sharp disagreements with the incumbent and with many aspects of Iranian life under its current executive branch; also, Mousavi's candidacy was supported passionately by large numbers of people, and he had very contentious debates with Ahmadinejad as well as the others two candidates on national TV.[34] We do not recall the CPD ever contesting the legitimacy of the U.S. political system or the fairness of U.S. elections on the grounds that an unelected dictatorship of money—as opposed to the Islamic Council of Guardians—vets the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties, reducing the options available to U.S. citizens to two candidates, neither of whom can change the foreign or domestic priorities of the imperial U.S. regime. Nor did the CPD draw any important comparison between conditions in Iran, on the one hand, and conditions in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait, or Iraq and Afghanistan under U.S. military occupation, on the other. And though the CPD mentions that conditions are worse in the "dictatorship" of Saudi Arabia, the CPD never explains why its focus is (and has been) on Iran rather than Saudi Arabia or the United States of America.

Although serious doubts have been raised about the integrity of Iran's vote-counting process, it is worthy of note that the only relatively scientific, non-partisan poll of Iranian opinion conducted in the pre-election period, between May 11 and 20, asked the question, "If the presidential elections were held today, who would you vote for?"[35] 33.8% of the Iranians surveyed said that they'd vote for Ahmadinejad, compared to 13.6% for Mousavi, 1.7% for Karroubi, and 0.9% for Rezai. These results formed the basis for the pollsters Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty's claim shortly after the election that their "nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by more than a 2 to 1 margin—greater than his actual apparent margin of victory [on June 12]."[36]

While 50.1% who did not name any of these four candidates, either because they didn't know (27.4%), they didn't like any of the four (7.6%), or they refused to answer (15.1%), present a real problem, this deserves less weight than critics of the official results have given it. "If one merely extrapolated from the reported results [of the Ballen - Doherty poll]," Robert Naiman writes, "that is, if one assumed that the people who refused to respond or who didn't know voted for the four candidates in the same proportion as their counterparts who named candidates," Ahmadinejad would have received 66.7% of the votes, almost 4 points more than the Interior Ministry announced on June 13.[37] Moreover, were we to allocate as high as 60% of the undecided votes to the two "reform" candidates (Mousavi and Karroubi) and only 40% to the two "conservative" candidates (Ahmadinejad and Rezai), but in the same proportion that each received from those who answered the "who would you vote for" question by naming their candidate, Naiman projects that Ahmadinejad still would have received 57% to Mousavi's 36%—results that "differ from the Interior Ministry numbers by less than the poll's [3.1%] margin of error."

The CPD tries to get around these results by arguing that the Ballen - Doherty poll was taken early in the campaign, before the TV debates in early June, which were a "turning point" where people " opportunity for real change" (#4). But the CPD's contention that Iranian public opinion changed after the poll in May is not only speculative and lacking in evidence, it ignores the fact that Ahmadinejad's forces were also campaigning, and vigorously; and contrary to the CPD implication that the TV debates turned the tide against Ahmadinejad, U.S. journalist Joe Klein, though hostile towards the incumbent, nonetheless reported that Ahmadinejad "was, without question, the best politician in the race," and that his nationally televised debates against both Mousavi and Karroubi "were routs."[38]

The CPD also claims that while Ahmadinejad did get support from the poor with his social welfare programs (i.e., Ahmadinejad's "social welfare programs, funded from oil revenues, have undoubtedly induced many among the poor to give him their allegiance," the CPD sneers (#5)), "there is no evidence that these were enough to give him the huge majorities that he claims" (#5). But we repeat that the only evidence gathered by an opinion poll suggested roughly a 2-1 lead for Ahmadinejad over Mousavi, and hence a possible majority victory. Nowhere does the CPD acknowledge that Ahmadinejad's refusal to kow-tow to the West and his nationalistic stance in opposing the U.S., Israel and a threatening Western establishment, also could have won him votes.

The quasi-official source for the fraud allegation in the West is the U.K.-based Chatham House analysis, released on June 21. When Ahmadinejad defeated Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani by 61.7% to 31.5% in the second-round run-off in June 2005, commentators attributed Ahmadinejad's nearly 2 to 1 margin of victory to Rafsanjani's "symboliz[ing] wealth and power," with Ahmadinejad "capitaliz[ing] on the schism between the government and the people, the poor and the rich," as one senior advisor to the outgoing President Mohammad Khatami explained. "The White House responded to the [2005] election result by reiterating charges made previously by President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the legitimacy of the vote, noting that 'over 1,000 candidates were disqualified from running and there were many allegations of election fraud and interference'," the New York Times reported. [39] But with voter turnout in June 2009 showing "massive across the board increases," rising from 28,100,000 in the first-round of 2005, to 38,700,000 in the first and only round of 2009, Chatham House finds it "problematic" that there was any "correlation between increases in turnout and increased support for any candidate...."[40] This would be a solid objection, if in fact there had been a substantial "swing to Ahmadinejad" in 2009. But out of the total number of valid votes reported by the Interior Ministry on June 13, Ahmadinejad received 62.6% to Mousavi's 33.8%, leaving little evidence of a "swing" or change between the second round of 2005 and 2009. Furthermore, as noted, the Ballen - Doherty poll completed three weeks before the election showed Ahmadinejad with a 2 to 1 edge over Mousavi, and as Naiman indicated, with reasonable adjustments for the effects of non-voting and run-off consolidations, Ahmadinejad's numbers for the June 12 election are consistent with that pre-election poll.

In short, although there is some anecdotal evidence of vote fraud in the reported results of Iran's June 12 election, the CPD's assurances of massive vote fraud and a possible Mousavi majority are not based on any credible evidence whatsoever.[41] Some 700,000 Iranians worked 45,000 polls on June 12, including tens-of-thousands drawn from opposition parties. Ballots were counted at the polling sites in the presence of some 14 - 18 people, including these opposition observers. Numerous other safeguards also would have had to be violated on a massive scale—in the presence of tens- and perhaps hundreds-of-thousands of witnesses. The results of each of the 45,000 polls were posted to the Interior Ministry's website. Neither the Mousavi camp nor anyone else have produced witnesses who can testify to the violation of voting and counting procedures on a scale beyond the anecdotal and therefore marginal. If vote fraud occurred on the scale necessary to rig the election by the nearly 11,290,000 votes that separate its proclaimed winner, the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from its runner-up, the former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, the fraud would have had to occur outside the voting process. This is possible, but unproven. As Iran's Supreme Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in his first post-election sermon, "If the difference was 100,000 or 500,000 or 1 million, well, one may say fraud could have happened. But how can one rig 11 million votes? The Guardian Council has said that if people have doubts they should prove them."[42] It is quite possible that Ahmadinejad won his first-round majority without or despite a resort to fraud.

"The data offers no arbitration in this dispute," the Chatham House analysis cautiously states, and we agree.[43] But this means that the assured conclusion of massive fraud, a stolen election, and a "coup d'état," simply are unproven speculation, and that passions in the West, stirred by the repeated allegations of theft, are deeply problematic—as they would not be, were the same passionate intensity focused closer to home, on the tangible coup d'état in Honduras.

10. The CPD asks whether Ahmadinejad is "good for world anti-imperialism?" It answers that "There is a foolish argument in some sectors of the left that holds that any state that is opposed by the U.S. government is therefore automatically playing a progressive, anti-imperialist role and should be supported. On these grounds, many such 'leftists' have acted as apologists for murderous dictators like Milosevic and Saddam Hussein" (#9).

This tendentious analysis misrepresents the real issues, and begs several questions. According to both the letter and the spirit of the UN Charter, a state that is on the imperial hit-list ought to be defended against aggression, and interference in its affairs is ruled out. Aggression and subversion should be strenuously opposed by the American left. It should not be suckered into such efforts even when the target is not playing a "progressive, anti-imperialist role."

Whether North Vietnam and the Vietnamese resistance were "playing a progressive, anti-imperialist role" in the years 1950-1975 can be debated. But it must be recalled that folks straightening-out the "confusion" on the left in those years were also busy demonizing the "murderous dictator" Ho Chi Minh and featuring Vietnamese terrorism, thereby providing de facto support to a truly genocidal aggression by the United States. 

The Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was not playing a progressive, anti-imperialist role in the 1980s and 1990s. But what leftist would have swallowed the U.S.-U.K. aggression of 2003 on grounds that Saddam was a "murderous dictator"? (For the record, we know that on this occasion, the CPD did not swallow it.) Yet, it appears that in the CPD's judgment, anyone strenuously opposing imperialist attacks on the former Yugoslavia and Iraq could be found guilty of apologizing for "murderous dictators"!

So, while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might not be good for world anti-imperialism, his country is not just "opposed by the United States," it has been under serious U.S. attack and faces a continuing threat of escalated violence. It should be first-order business of a left and supposed campaign for peace as well as democracy to oppose this threat. But with Ahmadinejad a demonized target and Iran's allegedly sham election of June 12 utterly discredited, the CPD's willing participation in that whole process (in contrast to Honduras, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia) provides first-class service to the imperial powers.

Concluding Note: "American progressives"?

The Iranian election of June 12 and its aftermath have been subjected to competing but not necessarily exclusive interpretations. In dealing with these events, some commentators have framed them as features of an autonomous, local struggle for democracy; others view them as an internal struggle tightly integrated into regional and global struggles for conquest of territories and control over scarce energy resources. We may recall that Iran is one of the two remaining members of the "Axis of Evil" (January 2002-), accused then and still today of pursuing weapons of mass destruction and exporting terrorism, "while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom." [44]

We believe that the latter frame is by far the more illuminating and politically relevant, as it emphasizes the fact that the huge publicity given to Iran in the establishment Western political and media systems is closely connected to the U.S., NATO, and Israeli campaign to destabilize and change regimes in Iran, a campaign that is part of a larger program of power-projection, subversion, territorial expansion, and serial warfare. The same basic point applies to the U.S. campaign against Iran's nuclear program, and remains perhaps the most visible part of the regime-change project (i.e., short of an eventual military attack).

It goes without saying that "all peoples have the right to self-determination," and that any struggle for freedom deserves our solidarity and respect. No less compelling to us, however, are the injunctions against the "subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination, and exploitation," "armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples," and the "partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country."[45] The Iranian election and the Iranian struggle for freedom are the rightful property of the Iranian people, not something about which their more sophisticated counterparts in the States and on the "internationalist" left need to instruct them. But this is especially true where that struggle is used in the destabilization and subjugation program.

Overall, the Campaign for Peace and Democracy's "Question & Answer on the Iran Crisis" reminds us of the position Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice staked-out in her early 2006 statement before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee: "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," Rice warned. But, she added, "We do not have a problem with the Iranian people. We want the Iranian people to be free. Our problem is with the Iranian regime...."[46]

A Gallup World Affairs poll taken in the United States around the same time found that nearly one-in-three Americans ranked Iran "America's greatest enemy," ahead of Iraq (22%) and North Korea (15%), to name the other two notables. The same poll found that Americans rated Iran the "most negatively" out of 22 foreign countries, a place of honor formerly held by Iraq for the previous 15 years (1991-2005). "Generally speaking," Gallup explained, "Americans' ratings of other nations are fairly stable from year to year, though they do change in response to international events."[47]

But the "international events" to which Gallup referred were located in Washington, London, Paris, and Bonn, and directed at Iran, specifically these capitals' use of the IAEA to harass Iran over its nuclear program, to depict its nuclear program as a global threat to international peace and security, and to demonize its president—the latter process ratcheted-up so high since the 12th of June that by now Iran has been demonized beyond recognition.

Rather than countering this process, the CPD pleads with "American progressives" to let their guards down and go for a ride on the "green wave." Instead of U.S. citizens asking the question, What should we do about the current situation in the United States of America? (extended to those parts of the world that suffer beneath its myriad forms of violence and oppression), the CPD asks (#12): "What should we do about the current situation in Iran?"

This approach to "progressive" politics makes us wonder, not whether "Ahmadinejad [is] good for world anti-imperialism?" but, frankly, whether the CPD is? We have our doubts.

 ---- Endnotes ----

[1] Besides its posting to the Campaign for Peace and Democracy's own website, the CPD's July 7 "Question & Answer on the Iran Crisis" has also been posted to websites at, CASMII, The Indypendent, Payvand Iran News, Portside, and ZNet, among others. At the time of this writing (July 12), we do not believe that this Q&A has been posted at AlterNet, CommonDreams, Information Clearinghouse, or Truthout—four other left and progressive websites with a sizeable audience.

[2] The four authors as listed on the July 7 document are Stephen R. Shalom, Thomas Harrison, Joanne Landy, and Jesse Lemisch.

[3] As was the case concerning the decade-long dismantling of the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, the phenomenon of left-splintering over the true significance of Iran's June 12 election has been marked. For an example of how the subject of Iran in 2009 is being exploited under the banner of the American "left" literally to attack the left and to enforce a doctrinal discipline regarding the election and its aftermath see Reese Erlich, "Iran and Leftist Confusion," CommonDreams, June 29, 2009. It therefore comes as no surprise that the CPD has provided a link this anti-left diatribe by Erlich on the CPD's homepage ("Related Materials, Announcements, and Links"), as well as a listing for "Reese Erlich Speaking Engagements." (See David Peterson, "And Whose Side Are You On?" ZNet, July 1, 2009.)

[4] These results are based on searches of the Factiva database according to the following sets of parameters: (a) rst=nytf and Iran for June 13 through June 27, and (b) rst=nytf and Honduras for June 29 through July 13. We then checked the Factiva-generated results, item-by-item, to generate the final results reported above.

[5] Mark Weisbrot, "Was Iran's Election Stolen?" PostGlobal, June 26, 2009.

[6] Michael Slackman, "Amid Crackdown, Iran Admits Voting Errors," New York Times, June 23, 2009.

[7] According to Mark Weisbrot (personal communication), the Guardian Council's June 22 statement can be found on this webpage, and the English-language translation that he uses was provided by Rostam Pourzal.

[8] See, e.g., Simon Tisdall, "Iran plays the blame game," The Guardian, June 16, 2009; Anthony Dimaggio, "Lapdog Journalists," CounterPunch, June 18, 2009; James Petras, "Iranian Elections: The ‘Stolen Elections' Hoax," Centre for Research on Globalization, June 18, 2009; Phil Wilayto, "Some Observations on the Iranian Presidential Election and Its Aftermath," Truthout, June 19, 2009; Paul Craig Roberts, "Are the Iranian Protests Another U.S. Orchestrated 'Color Revolution'?" CounterPunch, June 19-21, 2009; Steve Weissman, "Iran: Non-Violence 101," Truthout, June 21, 2009; M.K. Bhadrakumar, "Beijing cautions U.S. over Iran," The Hindu, June 22, 2009; Jeremy R. Hammond, "Has the U.S. Played a Role in Fomenting Unrest During Iran's Election?" Foreign Policy Journal, June 23, 2009; Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, "Iran: This Is Not a Revolution," MRZine, June 23, 2009; Huang Xiangyang, "Why Doesn't the Media Leave Iran Alone?" China Daily, June 26, 2009; Elias Akleh, "Demonizing Iranian Democracy," Palestine Chronicle, June 30, 2009; Mazhar Qayyum Khan, "Is 'regime change' at work in Iran?" The Nation (Pakistan), June 30, 2009; Steve Weissman, "Iran: The World Is Watching," Truthout, June 30, 2009; William Blum, "Much Ado about Nothing?" Anti-Empire Report, July 3, 2009; John Laughland, "The Technique of a Coup d'État,", July 21, 2009.

[9] "Mousavi says he 'definite winner' in Iran election," Reuters, June 12, 2009; "Mousavi claims landslide victory in Iran vote," Agence France Presse, June 12, 2009.

[10] The Xinhua News Agency reported that a statement posted to the Mir Hossein Mousavi campaign's website dated June 13 decried "obvious and numerous violations and irregularities [on] the election day," asked his supporters "to remain [on] the scene," warned that "such an injustice will cause the removal of the legitimacy" of the government and is "shaking the pillars of the sacred system of [the] Islamic Republic [of Iran]" and amounts to "dictatorship," asked "[Iranian] officials to stop such a process before it is late," and proclaimed that "he will not surrender to such a dangerous show." ("Iran's Mousavi says obvious violations in Iran's presidential election," June 13, 2009.)

[11] Steven R. Weisman, "Reagan Predicts Nicaraguan Vote Will be 'Sham'," New York Times, July 20, 1984; "Going With the Wind in Nicaragua," New York Times, October 7, 1984; "Nobody Won in Nicaragua," New York Times, November 7, 1984.

[12] On Sunday, July 19, some websites began reporting that Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami had called for a referendum on the "current situation" inside Iran. "People should be asked whether they are happy with the current situation," Reuters reported comments attributed to Khatami. "If the vast majority of people are happy with the current situation, we will accept it as well." (Zahra Hosseinian, "Supreme leader warns against helping Iran's enemies," Reuters, July 20, 2009; Robert F. Worth, "Ex-President In Iran Seeks Referendum On Leaders," New York Times, July 20, 2009.)

[13] "The Morning After in Nicaragua," New York Times, February 27, 1990. George Bush's remark was quoted in the same.

[14] The term 'CIA' can refer very precisely to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, with its reported annual budget and the myriad activities that it funds. But 'CIA' is also used much more loosely to refer to all similar agencies of the U.S. Government, their budgets, and their activities, or to refer to the dirtier activities of the U.S. Government—those "covert" activities that one or more agencies of the U.S. Government directs, funds, sponsors, and the like, but which the Government would never publicly admit. In fact, among the general public, these second and third uses of 'CIA' are probably the most frequent.

[15] Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger, "Bush Plans Huge Propaganda Campaign in Iran," The Guardian, February 16, 2006; Glenn Kessler, "Rice Asks for $75 Million to Increase Pressure on Iran," Washington Post, February 16, 2006; Glenn Kessler, "Congress Sets Limits on Aid to Pakistan," Washington Post, December 20, 2007.

[16] Brian Ross, "Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran," ABC News, May 22, 2007; Seymour M. Hersh, "The Bush administration steps up its secret moves against Iran," New Yorker, July 7, 2008. In the latter, Hersh makes it clear that this funding was for terrorist operations against targets inside Iran, and has employed both CIA and Joint Special Operations Command units, as well as regional terrorist groups such as the Jundallah (or Iranian People's Resistance Movement), the Mujahedin-e Khalq, and the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan. Also see Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "The U.S. Aggression Process and Its Collaborators: From Guatemala (1950-1954) to Iran (2002-)," Electric Politics, November 26, 2007.

[17] The reported budget of the U.S. "intelligence" agencies (of which the CIA is by far the largest) for Fiscal Year 2008 was $47.5 billion. ("DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2008 National Intelligence Program," News Release No. 17-08, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, October 28, 2008.)

[18] See "About Us," the National Endowment for Democracy website, accessed in July 2009. Also see the NED's annual budgeted items for promoting "democracy" inside Iran so far this decade: Iran - 2001, Iran - 2002, Iran - 2003, Iran - 2004, Iran - 2005, Iran - 2006, Iran - 2007, and Iran - 2008. Here we'd like to emphasize that the NED is but one of many groups that act and spend lavishly in the name of "democracy," but for which the right to self-determination and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States never seems to stand in its way.

[19] Barack Obama, "Remarks by the President on a New Beginning," Cairo, Egypt, White House Office of the Press Secretary, June 4, 2009. A June 7 commentary on Obama's speech in the Iranian newspaper Keyhan noted: "In Cairo, Obama spoke of change," and "pretend[ed] that his country's problems with Iran are purely historical [i.e., things of the past]." But, the commentator added, Obama mentioned only the 1953 coup and Iran's nuclear program today. "America's actions in supporting Saddam when he attacked Iran, bringing down of Iran's airbus passenger plane, attacking Iran's oil rigs, blocking our country's assets, military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and bullying actions against governments and nations did not attract his notice. He merely apologized for an issue when his apology would not change anything and was nothing but a propaganda move." (Sa'dollah Zare'I, "Speech in Cairo; running on sands," Keyhan website, June 7, 2009, as translated by the BBC Monitoring Middle East, June 9, 2009.)

[20] Ken Dilanian, "U.S. grants lend support to Iran's dissidents," USA Today, June 26, 2009.

[21] In William Blum's estimate, the "United States has seriously intervened in some 30 elections around the world" since World War II. ("Much Ado about Nothing?" Anti-Empire Report, July 3, 2009.) Had the U.S. Government kept its hands-off Iran prior to the June 12 election, surely this would have been the first time in post-World War II history that it failed to interfere in a foreign election the outcome of which was important to its global policies.

[22] Sylvia Westall, "No Evidence Iran Seeks Nuclear Arms: New IAEA Head," Reuters, July 3, 2009. We add that since 2003, the IAEA has never reported any hard evidence that Iran seeks nuclear weapons. (See, e.g., "'Iran Has Centrifuge Capacity for Nuclear Arms'?" ZNet, June 6, 2009.) Even the National Intelligence Estimate, Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities (Office of the Director of National Intelligence, November, 2007) asserted with "high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program" (p. 6), the NIE adding that it intends 'nuclear weapons program' to be taken in the minimalist sense of "nuclear weapon design and weaponization work" (n. 1, p. 6), not work on highly enriched, weapons-grade fissile material.

[23] See Malcolm Byrne, Ed., "The Secret History of the Iran Coup," National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 28, November 29, 2000. At this webpage, one will also find a PDF of the complete text of Donald Wilber's first-person account, Overthrow of Premier Mossadeq of Iran, November 1952-August 1953 (CIA Clandestine Service History, March, 1954).

[24] Following the July 15 crash of a Tehran-based commercial airliner shortly after it took-off from Imam Khomeini Airport, killing everyone on board, the New York Times reported that the crash "underscored the country's vulnerability to aviation disasters. Iran has been unable to adequately maintain its aging fleet of American-built aircraft for 30 years because of an embargo after the Islamic Revolution, and has increasingly relied on aircraft from Russian manufacturers, which have their own troubled safety history." (Robert F. Worth and Nicola Clark, "Iranian Airliner Crashes And Explodes, Killing 168," New York Times, July 16, 2009.)

[25] Yaakov Katz, "Israel sends sub through Suez Canal," Jerusalem Post, July 3, 2009; Dan Williams, "Israeli sub sails Suez, signalling reach to Iran," Reuters, July 3, 2009; Yaakov Kaatz, "IAF to train overseas for Iran strike," Jerusalem Post, July 5, 2009; Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter, "Saudis give nod to Israeli raid on Iran," Sunday Times, July 5, 2009; Sheera Frenkel, "Israel rehearses Iran raid; Warships in Suez a stark signal to Tehran," The Times, July 16, 2009.

[26] Interview with Vice President Joe Biden, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC - TV, July 5, 2009.

[27] This is not to ignore the fact that Shirin Ebadi, Akbar Ganji, and other well-known Iranian dissidents have repeatedly emphasized their refusal to accept the help of the U.S. Government, out of the reasonable fear that to be seen as accepting U.S. Government help discredits their cause and endangers their freedom and safety in Iran.

[28] Robert Fisk, "Iran's day of destiny," The Independent, June 16, 2009; and Robert Fisk, "Fear has gone in a land that has tasted freedom," The Independent, June 17 2009.

[29] Here we would like to register a skeptical question, the answer to which we do not pretend to know: Since June 12-13, how many of the "voices of the 2009 Iranian Revolution" (Twitter, text-messaging, and Internet traffic) have been generated by non-indigenous "intelligence" services, "nongovernmental" organizations, and PR firms exploiting the anonymity inherent to these state-of-the-art communications systems to disseminate a consistent party-line about Iran that is hostile towards its executive branch, favorable towards the opposition—and therefore favorable to foreign destabilizers as well?

[30] In one early commentary advocating regime-change for Iran, the U.S.-based International Center on Nonviolent Conflict's Peter Ackerman and Jack Duvall argued that, just as "Serbian dissidents [back in 2000] were given working capital—money for supplies, communications, and, most important, training in strategic nonviolent struggle," so a similar "civilian-based struggle [to make] a country ungovernable through strikes, boycotts, civil disobedience, and other nonviolent tactics—in addition to mass protests—crumbling a government's pillars of possible in Iran." (Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall, "The nonviolent script for Iran," Christian Science Monitor, July 22, 2003.)

[31] Ibid.

[32] For a copy of the election results as reported by Iran's Ministry of the Interior on June 13, see Ali Ansari et al., Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran's 2009 Presidential Election, Chatham House (U.K.), Appendix, "By Province Results for the 2009 Iranian Presidential Election," June 21, 2009, pp. 12-13. As determined by the Interior Ministry, the reported total of "valid" votes for the four candidates were: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (24,525,209), Mir Hossein Mousavi (13,225,330), Mohsen Rezai (659,281), and Mehdi Karroubi (328,979).

[33] Ibid. Also see "The contested results," The Guardian, June 17, 2009, which plots the reported results for Ahmadinejad and Mousavi across a province-by-province map of Iran. And see Juan Cole, "Stealing the Iranian Election," Informed Comment, June 13, 2009; Juan Cole, "Terror Free Tomorrow Poll Did not Predict Ahmadinejad Win," Informed Comment, June 15, 2009; and Juan Cole, "Chatham House Study Definitively Shows Massive Ballot Fraud in Iran's Reported Results," Informed Comment, June 22, 2009.

[34] In 2009, televised debates were held for the first time in the history of Iran's 10 presidential elections since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. There were six TV debates in all (June 2, June 3, June 4, June 6, June 7, and June 8), and each one involved two candidates at a time. In only one of these debates did Ahmadinejad and Mousavi face-off against each other (June 3). For a video copy with an English-language voiceover of the June 3 debate between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir Hossein Mousavi, see the website, June 3, 2009, ; and for an English-language transcript of this June 3 debate, see Charlie Szrom et al., IranTracker, June 9, 2009, .

[35] Results of a New Nationwide Public Opinion Survey of Iran before the June 12, 2009 Presidential Elections, (May 11 - 20), Terror Free Tomorrow, Center for Public Opinion, and New America Foundation, Q27, p. 52.

[36] Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty, "The Iranian People Speak," Washington Post, June 15, 2009.

[37] Robert Naiman, "Based on Terror Free Tomorrow Poll, Ahmadinejad Victory Was Expected," Huffington Post, June 14, 2009.

[38] Joe Klein, "What I Saw at the Revolution," Time Magazine, June 18, 2009.

[39] Ali Akbar Dareni, "Analysts: Rafsanjani Turned Off the Poor," Associated Press, June 27, 2005; Michael Slackman, "Winner in Iran Calls for Unity; Reformists Reel," New York Times, June 26, 2005.

[40] Ansari et al., Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran's 2009 Presidential Election, p. 3. By no means are we simply dismissing the objections raised by the Chatham House analysis. For example, the authors write: "The 2009 data suggests a sudden shift in political support within precisely these rural provinces, which had not previously supported Ahmadinejad or any other conservative...showing substantial swings to Ahmadinejad.... At the same time, the official data suggests that the vote for Mehdi Karrubi, who was extremely popular in these rural, ethnic minority areas in 2005, has collapsed entirely even in his home province of Lorestan, where his vote has gone from 440,247 (55.5%) in 2005 to just 44,036 (4.6%) in 2009. This is paralleled by an overall swing of 50.9% to Ahmadinejad, with official results suggesting that he has captured the support of 47.5% of those who cast their ballots for reformist candidates in 2005. This, more than any other result, is highly implausible, and has been the subject of much debate in Iran" (pp. 10-11).

[41] This paragraph summarizes the work of Mark Weisbrot, "Was Iran's Election Stolen?" PostGlobal, June 26, 2009.

[42] See Richard Beeston, "'The most evil of the Western countries is the British Government'," The Times, June 20, 2009. For a more complete version, see "'Western intelligence services, Zionists' behind post-election disturbances Iran leader," BBC Monitoring Middle East, June 19, 2009.

[43] Ansari et al., Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran's 2009 Presidential Election, p. 6.

[44] George W. Bush, Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union, January 29, 2002.

[45] See Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (A/RES/1514), UN General Assembly, December 14, 1960, para. 2, 1, 4, and 6. As para. 7 adds: "All States [shall act] on the basis of equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of all States, and respect the sovereign rights of all peoples and their territorial integrity."

[46] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Opening Remarks before the Senate Appropriations Committee, "FY 2006 Supplemental Budget Proposal," March 9, 2006. Rice added: "We have proposed a $75 million package that would allow us to broadcast more effectively in Iran, better messaging for Iran. We have proposed money that would be used for innovation in our efforts to reach the Iranian people through websites and modern technology. We have also proposed that we would be able to support non-governmental organizations that can function in Iran and in many ways, most importantly, to improve and increase our educational and cultural outreach to the people of Iran."

[47] Joseph Carroll, "Americans Say Iran Is Their Greatest Enemy," Gallup, February 23, 2006; and Jeffrey M. Jones, "Americans Rate Iran Most Negatively of 22 Countries," Gallup, February 23, 2006.

Deep Delusions, Bitter Truth (The Trial of a Rwandan General) [A Play in Two Acts]-- Compiled by CM/P from the actual trial transcripts of 24 & 25 Jun

Deep Delusions, Bitter Truth (The Trial of a Rwandan General) [A Play in Two Acts]-- Compiled by CM/P from the actual trial transcripts of 24 & 25 Jun
Deep Delusions, Bitter Truth (The Trial of a Rwandan General) [A Play in Two Acts]-- Compiled by CM/P from the actual trial transcripts of 24 & 25 June, 2009

[It's as if Obama just can't exert himself, can't stand up to his full moral height, in the face of US militarism. After all, he didn't pick the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates--Gates was Bush's replacement for the piss-drunk and mendacious Donald Rumsfeld. He's trying to stand by his campaign promises of pulling US troops out of Iraq--though he has really nothing to say about US military strategy and tactics, martial appointments, field promotions. And as the violence mounts--and the bizarre phenomenon of multiple daily suicide bombings moves inexorably from Israel/Palestine and Iraq (with the occasional diversion into a Western capital like NYC/Washington, DC, London or Madrid) into Iran and Afghanistan--and with mostly political feints toward moving US troops around in that bedeviled region; and the Zionist campaign to destabilize the entire Middle East unto Russia's Central Asian 'near abroad' get kicked into some hyperdrive with uncritical--even, in some cases, unconscious mainstream media support of the by-now familiar manipulations of 'pro-Democracy', 'non-violent', ‘civil society’ regime changers attempting to invalidate popular elections: the US president can only react as if everything he knew about everything he learned from Wolf Blitzer in the Sitchiation Room.

{--Or, even worse than The Wolfman is the gruelingly unfunny Hoser, Jonathan Mann, who, while commenting on Obama’s Russian excursion on his pretentiously named CNN show, The Political Mann, noted that Russia now has two leaders: PM Vladimir Putin and President SERGEI Medvedev. I have yet to read or hear an erratum on this one--but there go all the Dr Strangelove gags.}

Look at President Obama’s speech in Accra:

Obama: “But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants.”

Really? CNN might've missed this, or it might be another Bush legacy, but . . .

--The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 states that U.S. sanctions will remain in place against the Zimbabwean "government" [euphemism for "the people"] until the U.S. president certifies that the "rule of law has been restored in Zimbabwe, including respect for ownership and title to property. . . and an end to. . .lawlessness."
(from a site at -- with the interesting headnote: "Let's review the history of Zimbabwe lest we forget how European White settlers killed, plundered and stole in order to position themselves where they are today in Zimbabwe.")

One would think a Harvard lawyer might be able to work his way rhetorically around such dishonest denial without having to dump on all his criminal predecessors. For were not these British settlers Cecil Rhodes led into the former-Rhodesia to seize the best land for themselves, and work it with the life forces of the local residents, the same sort of parasitic teabags who used to call President Obama's Kenyan father and grandfather 'boy'?

And, though, ok, maybe Colonialism IS way overrated, why does he seem to gloat over the managed elections of March 2008 in Zimbabwe--a political strong-arm robbery mirrored in the Iranian voting of June 2009.

Obama: “We saw it in Zimbabwe, where the Election Support Network braved brutal repression to stand up for the principle that a person's vote is their sacred right. . . . “

In both cases the minority opposition made a preemptive claim of victory before the polls had even closed. Then the ensuing street demonstrations instigated by Western Democracy-thru-non-violent-regime-change agents-provocateurs, spawns of the NED, USAID, and Geo Soros' Open Society cabal, created sufficient bloody chaos to break down the authority of the majority government. Because US liberals, including Obama, see little difference between majority interests and minority interests, this sort of glib, equivocating obscurantism is no surprise:

--”The people of Ghana have worked hard to put democracy on a firmer footing, with repeated peaceful transfers of power even in the wake of closely contested elections. (Applause.) And by the way, can I say that for that the minority deserves as much credit as the majority.”--(What does this mean?)

And, of course, what is being obscured is the far too obvious iron hand of American militarism at the throat of African history. Obama cites all the usual African transgressions, but manages to turn responsibility for them back onto the victims, themselves: Tribal or ethnic or religious wars, using child soldiers, involving rape (systemic rape, whatever that is), and the inevitable terrorism unto genocide--and he localizes all these abominations most strategically: 'the value of every child in Darfur and the dignity of every woman in the Congo'; genocide in Darfur and (Islamic?) terrorism in Somalia; no US-ordered foreign invasions, no US-trained and equipped mercenaries leading death squads throughout the continent, no unconscionable dumping of deadly weapons and as-deadly medicines to mix with the unregulated degradation of ecosystems by the effluvia of industrial mining--the real African plagues being covered up by the HIV/AIDS phantasmagoria.

I suppose that Obama got out of Russia without ever acknowledging the US and NATO's responsibility for the wave of terrorism that has afflicted that country since the destabilization of Afghanistan by the US-backed mujahadeen in the late 1970s (now the Taliban), and the so-called Islamic uprisings from Bosnia and Kosovo to Chechnya that allowed the metastasis of US military bases currently strangling the former Soviet territories and China; that he got out of Italy without having to kiss Berlesconi's ring or the Pope's teenage boyfriend; and that he got out of Africa without having to explain why his hands-off policy toward his ancient homeland last year necessitated at $2 billion allotment for military aid and a still undisclosed budget for AFRICOM: I suppose these are all testimony to Obama's endearing young charm and his skills as an orator. But as long as he remains this far away from quotidian Reality, driven off by the monstrous killing machine that has taken over the entire reproductive-force of the USA, there can be little or no hope of his ever realizing an end to territorial and resource wars and bringing international war criminals to justice.

As goes the African proverb sampled by Robin Philpot in his wonderful 'Ça n'est pas passé comme ça à Kigali' (now in English translation as 'Rwanda 1994: Colonialism Dies Hard', and available free on Phil Taylor's site linked to the right of this blog):

--Until lions produce their own historians, the story of the hunt will glorify only the hunter.--

But we here at CM/P are trying hard to produce our own hunters--or historians--or something. We're producing a new play, at any rate. And it's attached to the bottom of this post. We composed, or compiled this two-act, one-man show from the transcripts of General Ndindiliyimana's trial at the ICTR. To be exact, the piece is made up mostly of Chris Black's final summation to the Tribunal in the Military II case.

So, here it is: The End of The General's Trial: Begging or Buggering Justice? --mc]


Deep Delusions, Bitter Truth
(The Trial of a Rwandan General)

[A Courtroom Drama in Two Acts]


THE SET: The stage is empty but for a small table with a lectern on it around CS. On the Cyclorama is
a large ‘Big Brother’ screen on which are projected images, still and moving pictures,
appropriate to what is being said on stage.


FIRST VO [Prosecutor Mr. Van]
Mr. President, if you hate somebody, it's not because you want to live with that person. And we are in a
war context. So if you consider that the Tutsi are an enemy, the Hutu, who did not want the Tutsi, and
actually hated the Tutsi, logically had to hurriedly exterminate the Tutsi, or else the Tutsi would
exterminate them. And that is the situation. When you say that you hate somebody, it is not a joke.
Besides, Mr. President, Your Honors, the results are there; the Tutsis were killed. They were
massacred, they were exterminated, and there was genocide.

SECOND VO [Thespus]
Yet the Tutsis minority wound up seizing state power and taking over Rwanda from the Hutu majority!

In the Karemera case, the Appeals Chamber took judicial note of that.

The order to take ‘Judicial Notice’ effectively removed from the Prosecution any burden of having to
produce evidence to prove the genocide actually took place.

Alone on stage is Maitre Christopher Black, Defense attorney to Major General Augustin
Ndindiliyimana, former Chief of Staff of the Rwandan National Gendarmerie during the troubles
of 1993 and 1994, on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Arusha,
Tanzania, on charges of Crimes against Humanity unto Genocide.

Mr. Black is just over 60 and very weary from his long travail.

The Judges sit OS DR, the Prosecution is OS UR, and the Defendants are OS UL. After

SEVERAL BEATS, Maitre Black speaks:

Mr. Sefon, yesterday, referred to two interesting books. And I find the reference he made--and the fact
that he made that reference--that the Prosecution made that reference, very interesting. He referred to
Niccolò Machiavelli's book, The Prince. Everybody here, I assume, who went to law school has read
that at some time. And it's a book written by a man who was forced by a regime, the Medicis at that
time, to bow to a dictatorship, and decided to write a book to please his master about how to rule a
people who did not want to be ruled by a dictator. And one of Machiavelli's words of wisdom in that
book of realpolitik was that deception is one of the ways in which to control a people, deception and

Mr Sefon also made reference to The Art of War, by the Chinese military scholar, Sun Tzu. That is also
a very important book, studied in all military colleges and by philosophers, because it sets out how wars
are really conducted. And Sun Tzu's first lesson in that book, in the opening pages, is about the art of
deception, and how the art of deception is the key to winning any conflict.

And I raise that because it's quite clear that the Prosecution in this Tribunal is part and parcel of the
grand deception which is being woven--has been woven by the RPF and its neocolonial masters, the
United States and the United Kingdom, for the last 15 years.

Why do I say that? I will go into why it's evident that the--the Prosecution here has manipulated this
Court since day-one, and how they have tried to cover up the crimes of the RPF, how they, despite the
rank hypocrisy expressed by Mr. [Abubacarr] Tambadou and Mr. [Alphonse] Van, that they wish and
desire international justice and the erasing of immunity from prosecution for world leaders, when they, in
fact, have done nothing but grant those murderers in the RPF immunity from prosecution from the

And I'm not alone in saying this. I have here a letter which has been sent by 50 world scholars and
human rights defenders from universities in Canada, the United States, Britain, from
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International. They include professors from Columbia University,
Princeton, the University of California, the University of Antwerp, and on and on. Including the husband
of the late Dr. Alison Des Forges, Professor Roger Des Forges, and including the former expert for the
Prosecution, Filip Reyntjens, who refuses to work for the Prosecution any longer.

This letter is addressed to Ban Ki-Moon, President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and
copied to Hillary Clinton and various other American and British Foreign Ministry officials, because,
obviously, they're the ones who control this Tribunal. It is also copied to Judge Dennis Byron, and to
Prosecutor Hassan B. Jallow.

It says that Mr. Jallow--that the RPF has committed crimes, and that Mr. Jallow expresses an evident
reluctance to prosecute these RPF crimes. And this is clearly the result of intimidation and
obstructionism by the RPF, which now rules Rwanda. The Prosecutor, Jallow, has severely
compromised his prosecutorial independence and the Tribunal's integrity.

But they conclude with this: "In conclusion, we call on you to ensure that the ICTR prosecutes RPF
crimes. This issue should be raised when Prosecutor Jallow addresses the United Nations
Security Council about his completion strategy on June 4th, 2009. Unless the Prosecutor acts swiftly,
the ICTR will squander not only its last chance to provide accountability for those serious crimes, but
also its legitimacy."

It's dated May 31st of this year. Another professor, Dr. Hans Köchler, at the University of Innsbruck in
Austria, and who was selected as the Secretary General's personal representative at the Lockerbie trial
and still acts in that capacity, wrote a book called Global Justice and Global Revenge, about these
ad hoc tribunals and, with respect to the ICTR, stated that the Prosecution has engaged in selective
prosecution on ‘a massive scale,’ quote-unquote, ‘a massive scale.’ Now, why?

I don't think Mr. Jallow is afraid of a little man like Mr. Kagame in in Kigali. No. Mr. Jallow is not afraid
of that little man. He is controlled by bigger powers than that. And that's why this letter is addressed to
those powers. And if my friends over there [the Prosecution] want to sit in service of neocolonialism,
shame on them. But I don't think this Court should acquiesce to the planning out of neocolonialism and
imperialism in Africa by listening and accepting the manipulations presented to this Court and the
argument they pretend to make as evidence.

[To read more see the entire play in the attachment.--cm/p]

Deep Delusions, Bitter Truth.pdf (246KB)

Are Zunes' 'unspeakable crimes' really 'unspeakable'? -- by CM/P

Answering Professor Stephen Zunes' question about his 'unspeakable crimes.' -- by CM/P
[This appears as a response to Zunes' comment, sorta 'Why are my crimes unspeakable?' on my introduction to the article 'Riding the Green Wave . . . ' by Ed Herman and David Peterson (see below) over on Cyrano's Journal Online at

Hope you enjoy it--and he doesn't. --mc]


What is 'unspeakable' about your crimes, Mr Zunes, is that you PRETEND to advocate non-violence and democracy and oppose US imperialism and oppressive regimes, yet the results of the programs and policies you promote and support are the destruction of the democratic process and the murder, in the name of regime-change, of democratically elected socialist leaders. I’ll speak in particular of the aid and comfort you gave to the military violence that changed the duly-elected Milosevic regime in Serbia/Yugoslavia in 2000.

The stated purpose of the 78-day bombing of Serbia and its environs--stated by its supporters like General Wesley Clark, Javier Solano, and Richard Holbrooke (all, like you, warriors for peace?)-- was to 'bring down the Stalinist strongman Milosevic.' Now, you can demur and say you opposed the bombing as 'immoral, illegal, and unnecessary' and that it actually delayed the 'non-violent' movements effectively 'Bringing Down the Dictator,' but certainly anyone who lived through that bombing and the subsequent singularly non-non-violent riots around the Yugoslav presidential elections of 2000, would hear this as little more than liberal cant.

In your glorified fictionalization of how "The people of Serbia were able to do nonviolently what 11 weeks of NATO bombs could not," you omit some important history:

First, those 2000 presidential (early) elections called by then-Yugoslavia president Slobodan Milosevic, in response to enormous pressure from movements forcing non-violent and democratic regime-change, were the first time that the Yugoslav presidency had been put to a popular vote. Milosevic had assumed the role of president as he was the leader of the most popular political party, and as such was the head of the Yugoslav presidentium. The 'Stalinist' Milosevic did not run for a third term as the much more politically influential president of Serbia because of constitutional term limits on that office. Certainly conduct most unbecoming a repressive, authoritarian dictator.

And when it looked like the election would run its democratic course--and that is not to say that it appeared Milosevic was a cinch to win or lose--the real threat to you and yours became that the principles of Serbian/Yugoslav democracy (a real socialist democracy) would be shown to be far superior (i.e., far more honestly in the service of the real interests of the majority of its people) to those of any of the NATO nations seeking to 'change' Serbia/Yugoslavia. This was the moment the violent, anti-democratic forces in your movement kicked in.

The riots, the looting and burning and beatings, the mass destruction of public property, the circling of Belgrade with heavily armed troops: was this somehow separate and apart from your instructions to the OTPOR cadres in Budapest?

And when Milosevic came in second after the first round of voting to Vojislav Kostunica (though neither gained the 51% majority required to win outright), why was it imperative for your regime-change program to nullify the elections and threaten Milosevic with even more bloody civil war if he continued to pursue the electoral process into a constitutionally-mandated second round? Why couldn't Milosevic have been allowed to lose the second round?

Here is where your crimes become 'unspeakable.' Because your idea of regime change in Serbia went well-beyond the man, Milosevic, who, after all, was just that, one man, a man who had served his country lawfully, loyally and in the best traditions of revolutionary socialism. He could not be allowed to continue in Serbian/Yugoslav politics, especially as leader of the opposition, because that would have validated that country's socialist democracy, and it was that absolute need to destroy socialist democracy everywhere, that forced you not only to 'bring down' the politician Milosevic, along with his Socialist Party of Serbia (as your ilk has subsequently done with Vojslav Seselj and his Radical Party of Serbia), but you had, in the great tradition of non-violence, to put this decent, majoritarian leader to death.

First, your 'non-violent' ground forces arrested Slobodan Milosevic, put him in Belgrade's central prison, held him without ever bring charges against him (because, despite all your insinuations, your stooges have admitted there were no charges that could be brought!), and conning your craven bagman, PM Zoran Djindjic, into ransoming the President to NATO's kangaroo court in The Hague--a ransom that was never paid, of course, but then no sensible person puts any stock in the word of the NATO fascists you front.

And, in Holland, after a protracted circus of mendacious wheedling and prolonging the war against Yugoslav socialism by other means, it became painfully evident that the Tribunal could not convict Milosevic of the charges for which they had, again, produced no evidence. Yet they certainly could not acquit him--let him go home to assume the parliamentary seat he’d been democratically elected to while locked down--they couldn’t cut him loose without admitting their own subhuman criminality--so they just murdered him in prison--made it look like he slipped in the shower, choked on his mac and cheese, overdosed on allergy medication.

But, hey, the Tribunal investigated itself and absolved itself of any responsibility in the President’s death, so . . . as with 9/11: Democracy Rules! Death to Tyrants!

Then it became easy enough for Javier Solano and the rest of your NATO cohort to go about 'imposing' Peace and Democracy by eviscerating Serbia's political institutions and indenturing the people for generations to come through the private sale of that once proudly independent socialist nation to venal and vulgar Western financial and commercial mafias.

When I was in Belgrade in March to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the start of the NATO bombing, I turned on the TV and saw where the World Bank or IMF had granted Serbia a $4.3 billion loan. Good news? For privateers like you maybe. But the people of Serbia are going to have to further reduce their social spending by 30%.

So, see, this is where your crimes become truly 'unspeakable'--and whether you are now or ever have been paid on CIA/MI6/Mossad check stock is irrelevant. Your programs, through the most violent and anti-democratic means, have ruined the health of the Serbian/Yugoslav peoples with your use of depleted uranium arms and destroyed the river systems through the pollution brought on by the bombing of chemical and petroleum refineries; you have allowed the murders of thousands of innocent people and relegated the survivors to a life of miserable dependence on the Western Waste Culture that sponsors you.

The Peace your non-violence brings is the peace of death. And Serbia is but one example.

Now you are going to go down and help the anti-coup forces, the pro-Zelaya forces in Honduras? This is how you mean to oppose US imperialism? By showing them that documentary about how you brought down the democratically-elected dictator Milosevic, and by giving them some lessons in non-violence and democracy from young Serbian Quislings?

The Hondurans--and the world at large--need to be warned: You dishonor and destroy everyone you pretend to help.

You are truly unspeakable.

Mick Collins

"Obama War Crimes Ambassador Complicit in War Crimes Cover-up."--Does Obama Know? or Care? - by Prof. Peter Erlinder

“Obama War Crimes Ambassador Complicit in War Crimes Cover-up.”--Does Obama Know? or Care? - by Prof. Peter Erlinder

[CM/P continues to support President Obama despite all the seeming insults to the intelligence of his constituency--and to History, itself. The appointments of Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Richard Holbrooke--to name just three--are hard unto impossible to explain except as reflexes of a deeply decadant and savagely anti-democratic system for the administration of such a large and powerful nation.

Biden, like so many other good working-class American Catholics, was a rabid supporter of the illegal secession from the Yugoslav Socialist Federation in 1991 of the revived Fascist Croatian Free State (and the cannonization of the Ustashi's own Arch-Bishop Stepinac); Clinton, like so many other sentimental feminists (Eve Ensler and Ben Affleck also come to mind), did yeo(wo)man's work in arranging important financial incentives for making rape (of women and children, one supposes, though this crime has recently claimed victims among fighting-age males in Congo), which has always been a crime in every nation on the planet, into a war crime, a crime against Humanity and even an act of genocide (Ms Clinton got a $600K reward together that brought such an indictment from the ICTR against the Former Rwandan Women's Development and Family Welfare Minister, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, see p://; and Holbrooke, like all noble knights errant of the financial round table, almost single handedly from his broker's chair at Credit Suiss First Boston, broke into the privileged trade relations of the former Yugoslav Republics of Croatia and BiH, to insinuate therein the wasteful ministrations of Western investment banks, collected significant courtier's fees and service charges, and so raised the cost of living in these nominally socialist-administered political-economies that many chose suicide to paying outlandishly high energy prices for the same Russian feul they'd gotten pre-Dick at a third the price from YugoGaz when Slobodan Milosevic was heading that agency, just to help the Holbrookes with the rent on their Eastside Manhattan coop.

Maybe these appointments can be written off as corrupt Clinton-era legacies--or just further murky reflections in an ever-more degenerating and putrescent US social service employees pool. But President Obama's recent appointment of Stephen Rapp as his Ambassador for War Crimes, replacing Pierre Prosper--coming as it does at this critical moment in the writing of recent military history in Africa and elsewhere, and having as much or as little as it does of Obama's own political volition behind it--can only exacerbate an already morbidly ill US foreign policy, especially where the vast, rich and strategically essential African continent is concerned.

We won't blame Obama for this selection, yet another set back for Historical Truth and Justice; but we will come in as hot as we can to bring out the evidence of its folly.

For after all, as Prof Erlinder, a great and good fighter in our cause, mentioned in a personal email:

--I "like" Obama too, and would much rather shoot hoops with him, than cut brush with Bush ... but, we now have the smartest, most likeable and most competent captain that the Titanic has ever had. .... But he does not own the ship, does not determine the ports of call, has already demonstrated that "first class" gets the lifeboats and, even though he hears us yelling down in steerage--and was once down here himself-- ..... we are not a priority for the "Cunard Line" mukimuks that pay his salary.

More importantly, no matter how hard he pulls on the wheel .... when allowed to ..... the course of the ship was set long ago, and .... the iceberg is still looming in the darkness.--

Wow, whadda buzz-kill, huh. Man, let's all just pull up a deck chair, kick back, ice up those cocktails (there's a whole lot a fresh ice right off the port bow), and see what the band'll play next.

You think they know Louie, Louie? --mc]


Former Chief UN Rwanda Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte:
“Obama War Crimes Ambassador Complicit in War Crimes Cover-up.”

Does Obama Know? ….or Care?

by Prof. Peter Erlinder

In mid-July, the NY Times reported that the Obama administration had selected Stephen Rapp to replace Pierre Prosper, the Bush administration’s Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes. A former Iowa U.S. Attorney, and Democrat politico, Rapp began his international career at the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2001, while Carla Del Ponte was Chief Prosecutor. In Del Ponte’s 2008 memoir, Madam Prosecutor: Confronting Humanity’s Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity, translated into English in early 2009, Del Ponte explains how she was removed from her ICTR position in 2003 by U.S. Ambassador Prosper, himself, because she refused to cooperate with a U.S.-initiated “cover-up” of war crimes committed by the current Rwandan government during the 1994 “Rwandan Genocide.”

According to Del Ponte, the ICTR Prosecutor had the evidence long before 2003 to prosecute Kagame for “touching-off” the Rwanda Genocide by ordering the assassination of Rwanda’s sitting President Juvenal Habyarimana. Her book also details dozens of massacre sites involving thousands of victims for which the Kagame government and military should be prosecuted. The well-publicized canard, that “the identity of the assassins is unknown” is a bald-faced lie, known to all ICTR senior prosecutors, according to Ms. Del Ponte.

Two years after Del Ponte was removed from office, Rapp became “Chief” of ICTR Prosecutions with access to all of the evidence known to Ms. Del Ponte, and more. During his four years at the ICTR, Rapp also was in a position to prosecute Kagame and members of the current government of Rwanda, but, to this date, not ONE member of Kagame’s military has been prosecuted at the ICTR … and the “cover-up” continues to this day. Unlike, Ms. Del Ponte, Mr. Rapp was rewarded with an appointment as Chief Prosecutor at the U.S.-funded Sierra Leone Tribunal and, now, with a coveted ambassadorship.

Former Chief ICTR Prosecutor Del Ponte Details ICTR “Cover-up”

According to Del Ponte, in May 2003 she was called to Washington D.C. by Prosper (ironically, also a former ICTR prosecutor with knowledge of Kagame’s crimes) who informed her that the U.S. would remove her from her UN post if she carried through with her publicly announced plans to indict Kagame and members of his government and military. According to Del Ponte, when she refused to knuckle-under because “she worked for the UN, not for the U.S,” Prosper told her her ICTR career was over. True to his threat, by October, Del Ponte was replaced by a US-approved ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Abubacar Jallow. Stephen Rapp was elevated to Chief of Prosecution by Jallow two years later.

ICTR Trials: More Evidence of Rwanda Crimes Cover-Up

Del Ponte’s revelations are not the only evidence that a U.S. initiated “ICTR cover-up” is creating impunity for crimes committed by Kagame and his military. Memos from September 10, 1994, in evidence in the ICTR Military-1 Trial, confirm that U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher was informed that Kagame’s troops were killing “10,000 civilians a month” in military-style, according to an investigation funded by USAID. And, in early 1997, Chief ICTR Investigative Prosecutor and former Australian Crown Prosecutor Michael Hourigan; former FBI Agent James Lyons; and former UN-Chief of Military Intelligence in Rwanda, Amadou Deme: all reported to Ms. Del Ponte’s predecessor, Louise Arbour, that Kagame should be prosecuted for assassinating the previous president. Arbour scuttled the investigation, suppressed the report and disbanded the investigative team. Shortly thereafter, Arbour was elevated to Canada’s Supreme Court and has recently been chosen to head the International Crisis Group, after an illustrious UN career.

Former ICTR Prosecutor Rapp Complicit in Cover-up

But, even though Arbour suppressed the “Hourigan Report” it must have been known to Ms. Del Ponte, Mr. Rapp and other ICTR prosecutors, because ICTR judges had ordered the ICTR Prosecutor to release the “Hourigan report” which had already been released to a defense team as early as 2000, a year before Rapp began his ICTR work, and two years before Del Ponte was fired by Prosper.

Like Del Ponte, when Rapp became the ICTR Chief of Prosecutions under Jallow in 2005, he had access to all of the information necessary to prosecute Kagame and main figures in his military and government. But to date, not one indictment has been issued against Kagame by the ICTR Prosecutor.

Kagame & Co. Already Indicted in France and Spain

Athough the U.S. has been successful in preventing Kagame’s crew from being indicted at the ICTR, other courts have indicted Kagame and members of his retinue. In late 2007, French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière indicted the assassins of Habyarimana and recommended that Kagame be prosecuted by the ICTR. And, in February 2008, Spanish Judge Fernando Merelles issued a 180-page indictment specifically charging Kagame with Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, including the massacres of more than 300,000 civilians. And Mr. Rapp’s former boss, Mr. Jallow, publicly admitted before the UN Security Council in spring 2008 that Kagame’s military is responsible for the assassination of Rwanda’s Catholic leadership in 1994. But still no ICTR prosecutions.

The Consequences of the ICTR Cover-up of Kagame’s Crimes

The tragic consequence of the failure to prosecute Kagame at the ICTR, from 1994 to-date, is that Kagame was free to invade Congo in 1996 and 1998, and is currently occupying a part of eastern Congo 14-times larger than Rwanda. No less than four UN Security Counsel-commissioned Panel of Experts Report(s) on the Illegal Exploitation of the DR Congo (2001, 2002, 2003 and December 2008) have detailed the massive rape of the Congo’s resources that has brought vast riches to Kagame and his inner circle. Since the first invasion in 1996, Kagame’s Congo invasions have been responsible for more than 5-million deaths, more every few months than the total alleged to have died in Darfur, crimes for which Sudanese President Bashir, a figure disfavored by the U.S., has been indicted by the ICC.

While Rapp was ICTR Senior Trial Attorney and Chief of Prosecutions, Kagame was effectively elected President-for-Life with 95% of the vote, after banning opposition parties and jailing opponents, in “a climate of intimidation” according to EU observers. According to the Economist report on the 10th Anniversary of the “genocide” in 2004:

“[Kagame] tolerates no serious domestic opposition, nor much in the way of free speech. Rwanda today is a thinly-disguised autocracy, where dissidents are usually accused of genocidal tendencies, live in fear, or exile, or both. The regime is a threat to its neighbors.

ICTR Chief of Prosecutions Rapp Personally Withheld Exculpatory Evidence from Defense Counsel and ICTR Judges

As if this wasn’t enough, in February 2009, the ICTR issued its Judgement in the Military-1 case, the main case at the ICTR, in which Mr. Rapp personally appeared for the Prosecution. Although massive violence did occur in Rwanda, the court certainly recognized that blaming only one side WAS a falsehood, when it acquitted all of the “architects of the killing machine” (as Mr. Rapp called the defendants in court) of conspiracy or planning to kill civilians. The highest ranking military-officer was acquitted of all charges.

And, although it is now clear from Ms. Del Ponte’s memoirs that Mr. Rapp had the evidence that would clear the defendants of the assassination charges and that both sides had committed crimes, for which the losing side has been blamed entirely. Simply put, Mr. Rapp and other ICTR prosecutors have: withheld evidence at the ICTR that would be beneficial to the defense; prosecuted defendants for crimes they knew were committed by Kagame and the RPF; and created a system of “judicial impunity” that has permitted Kagame to kill millions in the eastern Congo.

All of which raises the uncomfortable question regarding President Obama’s nomination of Mr. Rapp: Are his advisors ignorant of the public record regarding Rapp’s complicity in an ICTR Cover-up? … or does Obama just not give a damn?

Prof. Peter Erlinder
Wm. Mitchell College of Law
St. Paul, MN 55105
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