Darkness in Tehran: Abtahi Confession?

-

darknessatnoon.jpgA reader just forwarded me this New York Times clip on the “confession” of Mohammad Ali Abtahi, an adviser to former Iran President Khatami who has also been an important and talented blogger.
From “Top Reformers Admitted Plot, Iran Declares” by Michael Slackman:
abtahi.jpg

Iranian leaders say they have obtained confessions from top reformist officials that they plotted to bring down the government with a “velvet” revolution

Atef, a Web site of a conservative member of Parliament, referred to a video of Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served as vice president in the reform government of former President Mohammed Khatami, as showing that he tearfully “welcomed being defrocked and has confessed to provoking people, causing tension and creating media chaos.”
….
Mr. Memarian said that even in 2004, his interrogators were most interested in several leading reformers, including Mr. Abtahi, who at the time was an adviser to the president. When he was finally released, and after his confession was published by Fars, he was asked to testify before a committee led by the reform government investigating confessions, which included Mr. Abtahi. Mr. Abtahi, who has not been heard from since his arrest on June 16, understood even back then just how vulnerable he was, Mr. Memarian recalled.
“Abtahi said, ‘We cannot guarantee anyone’s security,’ ” Mr. Memarian said. ” ‘We know what happened to you guys. When you leave this building we do not know will happen to you, or what can happen to us in this committee.’ “

This just seems so Arthur Koestler. . .very dark.
We hope that Abtahi is soon released and has the opportunity to further work for reform inside the Islamic Republic of Iran despite the so-called “confessions” that the state has wrung out of him.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

156 comments on “Darkness in Tehran: Abtahi Confession?

  1. Arik says:

    Obama has taken us to a new low, clearly and unabashedly showing the world that we are a nation that is unwilling to prosecute criminals in our midst, unwilling to hold our leaders to the promises that grease the skids to the White House

    Reply

  2. Paul Norheim says:

    Arthur,
    I would prefer not to involve my late mother into this
    discussion. But since you brought it up, I certainly didn´t regard
    her as a forceful (or credible, if she`d tried) advocate for reason
    when I was 13 (I guess she was more into “passion”).
    But I had a deep respect for her moral stances on some
    occasions – especially her support to illegal refugees in church
    asylum (in Norway) at the time – many of them Muslims from
    the Middle East. Her moral view on several other issues, like
    playing cards, going to the cinema, listening to rock music, not
    to mention the fact that she for decades believed that I, as a
    non-Christian, would spend my afterlife in hell, was not so
    admirable in my view, and perhaps not very rational either.
    In some ways, looking back, I`m thankful for this schizophrenic
    upbringing – growing up in a modern secular society, but within
    a family where old fashioned religious views and norms were
    strictly adhered to. When I listen to Muslims, Jews, or other
    Christians from traditional communities who at the same time
    live in secular societies – their troubles, their ambivalences and
    revolt against their parents (or against the secular society), it all
    sounds very familiar.
    So yeah, perhaps our mothers are indirectly relevant with
    respect to our positions and how we express ourselves. I would
    assume that this also applies to prominent figures in the foreign
    policy establishment.

    Reply

  3. arthurdecco says:

    “A “champion of reason”?
    Lol… If your current prose is supposed to express this, Arthur, I wonder how it looks like when you get emotional!” Paul Norheim
    Who said Reason can’t be Passionate, Paul?
    No one I respect.
    Btw, is that a rule your parents taught you – ‘choose to reason, ignore passion’? I ask you because mine laid the same crap on 13 year old me too, my mom especially.
    I didn’t buy it then. I don’t now.

    Reply

  4. David says:

    Peace Now, actual champions of justice and peace, and driven by honest, humanitarian considerations. No wonder they are a minority. But god love ’em.
    Will have to wait until Microsoft Windows sorts out some kind of virust to which my Windows 2003 is vulnerable and which comes in on video links before I can watch this, but thanks for following this story and posting the link, POA.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Dear Friends,
    Last week volunteers with Peace Now in Israel fanned out into 5 teams to survey the extent of recent settlement construction in the West Bank.
    The work was documented by an Israeli Channel Two newscast and was broadcasted at Prime Time on Thursday Evening News.
    The team of survey volunteers were assaulted by a settler in the settlement of Dolev and the news team was also assaulted.
    Take a look at the report with English Subtitles:
    http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=585&docid=3727
    Peace Now’s dedicated volunteers know what you know, that settlements are detrimental to Israel’s future. They burden security services, create friction between Israelis and Palestinians, drain financial resources, and undermine the two-state solution which is so critical to bringing about real and lasting peace.
    The data gathered by these volunteers are crucial. It makes Peace Now one of the leading and most reliable sources of information about what is happening in the settlements. The information we obtain is used to educate the public, government officials in Israel and the US, and the media.
    To see what is being built in the settlements today see this special Peace Now Report here:
    http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=61&fld=191&docid=3721

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wig-wag’s citing of the “submarine picture” at Ricks’ web site pretty well summarizes the credibility we can place on Wig-wag’s commentary. Note how, (caught in such a transparent bit of bullshit), Wig-wag just ignores having his covers pulled, just acts as though it never happened. “Gee, I’ll just ignore that they caught me being full of shit, maybe they’ll just forget” is the apparent mindset that drives such foul cluelessness.
    “I do think that Hamas is the party most responsible for the terrible condition of the Palestinian people and I am glad that they were militarily defeated in January and are being politically degraded by the embargo”
    Are you really so effin’ ignorant that you think starving Palestinian women and children is diminishing the power of Hamas?
    Or are you just so devoid of character, and such a slimey lyin’ mouthpiece for the Israelis that you think making such transparently dissingenuous statements somehow justifies the murderous bigotry of the Israeli racists that are currently running the show over there?

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    “As for my comments at the Washington Note; I don’t feel any
    inclination to criticize the Israelis here.”
    That somehow answers my question, WigWag.

    Reply

  8. WigWag says:

    “Isn’t it about time for you two to raise your voices, and agree that Israel can’t continue to blame Hamas exclusively for the fact that “rubble removal” is the only possible job creation initiative in Gaza right now?”
    I feel sorry for the Palestinians in Gaza, Paul. I also feel sorry for the Tibetans, Uighurs, Kurds, Iranian students and residents of Darfur. To a lesser extent I feel sorry for the illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States and Muslim immigrants in Europe.
    I don’t feel worse for the Palestinians than I do for the Tibetans or Iranian students but I do feel worse for them than for Mexican immigrants in the U.S. or Muslim immigrants in Europe.
    I mistrust people who daily express great angst about the plight of the Palestinians but only occasionally express angst about other oppressed ethnic groups. I do understand their objection to seeing their tax dollars flow to Israel but I believe that none of us in a democracy get to personally choose where our tax dollars flow.
    I think the Israelis and Palestinians share responsibility for the terrible state of their region just as I think the governments of almost every Muslim State are responsible for the fact that, by in large, Muslims across the world are mostly oppressed by their own co-religionists.
    I do think that Hamas is the party most responsible for the terrible condition of the Palestinian people and I am glad that they were militarily defeated in January and are being politically degraded by the embargo. I would like to see Hamas obliterated as both a military and political entity but understand that it probably won’t happen. I am glad that their patron is preoccupied; their military capabilities have dwindled and their political isolation is increasing.
    I am sorry that the Palestinians are treated so poorly by the Israelis and I wish the Israeli government could find a better way to deal with them.
    I am glad, however, that contrary to the rest of human history that it is the Jewish State that is mighty and their opponents who are weak.
    I’ve lived long enough to experience what happens when the reverse is true.
    As for my comments at the Washington Note; I don’t feel any inclination to criticize the Israelis here; there’s plenty of that that takes place here on this blog on a regular basis.
    Does that answer your question?

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    POA,
    Do you even understand the point of my statement? First, I put in “probably” as a modifier. Second, the idea of pride over indignation is the idea that what she was doing was far more self-sacrificing and far braver than delivering a few packs of crayons. But read it how you want. You will anyway. Willful misreading or not?
    And the correlation/causation issue does not diminish in importance just because you take offense at something I post.
    But I would hazard a guess worth investigating that by and large, people who engage in actions similar to those McKinney engaged in generally hope to be arrested. Not sure anyone has survey data on this. Maybe someone will think it interesting enough to do the work of asking those involved in civil disobedience if arrest or the delivery of goods and services weighs more strongly.

    Reply

  10. From the Earth says:

    Statement by a group of Iranian bloggers about the Presidential elections and the subsequent events
    Statement by a group of Iranian bloggers about the Presidential elections and the subsequent events
    1) We, a group of Iranian bloggers, strongly condemn the violent and repressive confrontation of Iranian government against Iranian people’s legitimate and peaceful demonstrations and ask government officials to comply with Article 27 of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution which emphasizes “Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.”
    2) We consider the violations in the presidential elections, and their sad consequences a big blow to the democratic principles of the Islamic Republic regime, and observing the mounting evidence of fraud presented by the candidates and others, we believe that election fraud is obvious and we ask for a new election.
    3) Actions such as deporting foreign reporters, arresting local journalists, censorship of the news and misrepresenting the facts, cutting off the SMS network and filtering of the internet cannot silence the voices of Iranian people as no darkness and suffocation can go on forever. We invite the Iranian government to honest and friendly interaction with its people and we hope to witness the narrowing of the huge gap between people and the government.
    A part of the large community of Iranian bloggers
    http://fromtheearth.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/statement-by-a-group-of-iranian-bloggers-about-the-presidential-elections-and-the-subsequent-events/

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    Haaretz with ref. to what Biden said Sunday:
    “Obama: U.S. ‘absolutely’ did not give Israel green light to strike
    Iran
    By News Agencies
    U.S. President Barack Obama rebuffed suggestions that
    Washington had given Israel a green light to attack Iran’s
    nuclear facilities, in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.
    Asked by CNN whether Washington had given Israel approval to
    strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, Obama answered: “Absolutely
    not.”
    “We have said directly to the Israelis that it is important to try
    and resolve this in an international setting in a way that does
    not create major conflict in the Middle East,” Obama said in
    reference to Iran’s contentious nuclear program.
    In the interview broadcast from Russia where he is on an official
    visit, Obama added, however: “We can’t dictate to other
    countries what their security interests are.
    “What is also true is, it is the policy of the United States to try to
    resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear capabilities,” Obama said.
    This would be achieved “through diplomatic channels,” he
    added. ”
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1098425.html

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Correlation, causation…..
    All shown to be obsfucation and horseshit in this statement:
    “let’s face it, she probably was hoping for arrest, and shouldn’t then elicit indignation, but rather pride”

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    Correlation, causation, history, religion….
    All come together in this piece:
    http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/
    (link found via CongressMatters dot com — which should be daily reading if you want to know something about correlation, causation and Congress)

    Reply

  14. Paul Norheim says:

    A “champion of reason”?
    Lol… If your current prose is supposed to express this, Arthur, I
    wonder how it looks like when you get emotional!

    Reply

  15. arthurdecco says:

    “I have to repeat my frequent complaint against your method: Why don’t you start responding to written comments, instead of offering sensational horror reports directly from the heart of your opponent?” so typed Paul Norheim
    Paul, my “method”, as you describe it, is a champion of reason, however untenable that may be to you or some others. And as a matter of fact, my comment to Wig Wag was a direct in-your-face-response to the offensive quotation I lifted directly from Wig Wag’s earlier post. Wig Wag’s quote formed the basis of my post. Why aren’t you castigating Wig Wag for being a Sociopath instead of me for pointing out that obvious fact?
    There isn’t anything “sensational” about speaking the truth, even if the truth is a “horror”, Paul.
    I’m not here to soothe – I’m here to abrade – to rough up the pliant crowd – to point out the hypocrisy so evident to me.
    And let’s face it – when has “responding to written comments” ever gotten us anywhere? Especially with odious Monsters like Wig Wag, fer crissakes?!? How do you respond to “written comments” with a person who changes their story and their pov almost every time they post – someone who is incapable of discussing ANY issue with any honestly, ever, who is always championing the assent of Zionist Israel at all costs!?
    These people are NOT honest and do NOT respond to criticism forthrightly.
    They aren’t well, Paul. THEY AREN’T WELL!
    They might not even be real. (I’m beginning to think they’re computer constructs designed to keep our eyes OFF THE BALL! How wacked is that?!? Heh heh )
    Bottom Line: My description of Wig Wag was as accurate as my life’s experience could make it. If I made a mistake, it was in something innocuous, not anything substantive.
    Trust me – I’m good at this stuff, no matter how wacked I may appear to a straight up and down, well-intentioned, foreign fellow like you.
    (No slight intended or suggested with my last comment.)

    Reply

  16. questions says:

    What actions am I defending?
    In fact, I have a fair amount of admiration for civil disobedience as a political strategy, and the smaller the boat and the nastier the arrests, the worse Israel looks. Did you read McKinney’s letter from jail (do you get the references?!) — lots of talk about crayons for children. What she did was to make Israel look bad. And now she’ll publicize it to the best of here ability. She is probably not the best spokesperson for the cause, but she’s pretty damned brave.
    Now as for the precision and fact issue — POA, honestly, I’m sure you know more about civil disobedience than I do. You’re likely about the right age to have witnessed the US Civil Rights movement on TV and maybe in person. People try to get arrested. That’s how it works. Then the cops look like idiots or worse. That’s the point. If someone got a cup of coffee or a soda at the counter or a seat on a bus, that was a bonus. The point is to get arrested, get news stories out, and have people rethink. I’m sure you know this already.
    And by the way, do people ever think they can get through naval blockades in little fishing boats? Really?
    Was there publicity about this adventure in advance, or was it kept top secret, done in the cover of the night? Did they have diving equipment so that each member of the crew could grab a sack of crayons and swim under the Israeli ships? Or was there a camera crew ready and waiting, a website up, lots of announcements made before, during and after? I gotta think about all of this and see if there is any evidence here. It’s a tough one.
    And, no, I didn’t know that you made a copy/paste error. You gotta admit, you’re a little explosive and repeating the explosion has a little stylistic edginess.
    By the way, if you’re feeling really sick, a little ginger ale might help.

    Reply

  17. Carroll says:

    I don’t think you quite comprend questions, the sheer stupidity..and the cause of the stupidity of the Israeli actions you defend.
    A 100 foot boat of peace activist heading for Gaza…instead of Israel meeting them, giving them an escort to Gaza port and inspecting their cargo once in port and gaining a good opinion from it…Israel acost them in international waters, throws a Nobel Prize winner and US citizen in jail.
    Stupid, stupid, stupid. Monkeys beating their chest pretending to be silverbacks.

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Actually, I “doubled up the posting” because of a cut and paste mistake. But you knew that, didn’t you, you dissingenuous little schmuck?
    What evidence do you have that McKinney didn’t expect to get through? What exact evidence do you have that she expected to get arrested?
    Isn’t that your slimey little game, questions? Isn’t that the horseshit you toss out when rebutting the common sense conclusion about the extent and scope of AIPAC’s power?

    Reply

  19. Franklin says:

    WigWag,
    I’ll echo your comments from 3:10 PM — occasionally an interesting conversation breaks out despite the occasional noise.
    The discussion helps me to clarify my owb ideas, and occasionally it forces me to rethink my own views. A number of these issues are obviously complicated, and I don’t have a settled opinion frequently on the particulars.
    Also, thanks to Steve Clemons for providing the blog and opening the topics up to discussion.
    In reference to your comments about Cohen, I read his column differently. My essential take away is that he is saying now is not the time to negotiate with the current regime.
    This does not preclude the possibility of future negotiations — it simply rejects the possibility of discussions in the near-term; including recognition of Ahmadinejad as president.
    The administration policy seems to be that multi-lateral negotiations on the nuclear issue may still take place. However, at this stage it sounds like Iran is avoiding the negotiations. I think it’s reasonable to be wary about Iran negotiating in good faith; and I think there’s a high probability that they may simply try to stretch out the process. Still I think the decision point on things like sanctions, or more direct action is at least several months to a year away.
    As far as the regime policy change — once again I disagree with you that this should be a matter of state policy. The Bush administration’s policy gave legitimacy to the hardliners position — the Obama administration has been wise to re-calibrate the policy.
    Within Iran there are certainly elements in the minority who want more change than was offered in the last election; there are probably a larger number who want the role of Supreme Leader to be modified (e.g. the suggestion is that Rafsanjani wants to replace the post with a triumvirate or a multi-person body that plays a role of final review similar to our Supreme Court).
    Ultimately, it is best for the Iranian leadership itself to resolve this dispute internally. A political compromise involving the key stake-holders will have a better chance at being seen as legitimate and enduring, than one imposed by force on the outside. My sense is that there is very little support inside the country for an imposed solution from the outside — especially from groups like the MEK or the royalists in tandem with outside powers. A good article on this topic was highlighted over at the Tehran Bureau today.
    http://tehranbureau.com/crocidle-tears-iranians/
    Other commentators have echoed this view.
    Fareed Zakaria among them:
    “In this context, President Obama has been right to tread cautiously — for the most part — to extend his moral support to Iranian protesters but not get politically involved. The United States has always underestimated the raw power of nationalism across the world, assuming that people will not be taken in by cheap and transparent appeals against foreign domination. But look at what is happening in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki boasts that U.S. troop withdrawals are a “a heroic repulsion of the foreign occupiers.” Of course Maliki would not be in office but for those occupying forces, who protect his government to this day. A canny politician, though, he knows what will appeal to the Iraqi people.
    Ahmadinejad is also a politician with considerable mass appeal. He knows that accusing the United States and Britain of interference works in some quarters. Our effort should be to make sure that those accusations seem as loony and baseless as possible. Were President Obama to get out in front, vociferously supporting the protests, he would be helping Ahmadinejad’s strategy, not America’s.”
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/fareed_zakaria/2009/06/no_velvet_revolution_for_iran.html
    If the hardliners do succeed in reasserting control over the process through violence and coercion over the next year, then it might be necessary to re-evaluate. However, any interference at this stage, I see as being premature and counter-productive.
    The take away that I get is “stay involved with the human rights issues, but otherwise, back off.” I think we’d be well advised to heed that advice for now.
    The nuclear issue, I see as separate from the issue of the election. The nuclear issue has consequences beyond Iran’s borders, the election is largely an internal crisis. In our response we shouldn’t link the two together.

    Reply

  20. questions says:

    POA,
    You can’t be serious, can you? You really think that McKinney thought she was going to get those crayons for children, that suitcase of crayons, through an Israeli naval blockade? Really?
    Civil disobedience is all about getting arrested.
    It’s the arrest that is the political action, not the delivery of goods and services.
    The arrest is what shows the LAW to be illegitimate.
    The arrest is the dilemma for the powerful party.
    If you don’t enforce the law, then you look weak and your opponent wins.
    If you do enforce the law, then you look wicked and your opponent wins.
    Of course you enforce the law, and of course you look sick.
    Israel looks sick.
    THAT is the point of McKinney’s action.
    She made Israel look sick.
    Of course she was expecting to be arrested.
    Of course.
    And note how I’m not doubling up the posting for emphasis.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is a Reuters article about the sub allegedly steaming through the Suez Canal.
    Note that Reuters, with a HUGE pool of contributing photographers world wide, had to use file photos of an Israeli sub. If photos of an Israeli sub steaming in the Suez Canal existed, don’t you think Reuters, of all entities, would have some?
    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5621XZ20090703
    (Paul, you noticed it too, eh? Kinda fun, actually.)

    Reply

  22. Paul Norheim says:

    In many subtle ways this thread is becoming rather entertaining –
    despite the seriousness of the topic.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Meanwhile, Bahrain just sent its first-ever official delegation to Israel”
    To pick up the activists that were illegally kidnapped off the high seas by the Israeli jackboots.

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    ROFLMAO!!!
    It is a picture of a submarine, alright.
    Uncaptioned.
    For all we know that sub may be steaming out of SF Harbor.
    http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/07/06/israeli_sub_transits_suez_canal
    Wig-wag, you’re amazing. Do you really think that if a photog of an Israeli sub going through the Suez canal existed, it wouldn’t be plastered all over the internet, CAPTIONED AND WITH CREDIT TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER?
    We aren’t idiots, Wig-wag.
    Maybe, after posting this comment, I’ll go out front and take a picture of my truck. I’ll call it “Chevy in Egypt”.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Someone (I don’t remember who)”
    Liar. Are we to believe you can’t keep track of a single thread? Besides, wig-wag, you just proclaimed to this blog, through insinuation, that you don’t read my comments. How’d you know I brought up the issue of pictures?
    And why no link to the domain you cite, Wig-wag?
    My bet? I doubt if it is an actual picture of the recent alleged incident. More likely, its a file photo of a Dolphin class sub.
    But I’ll check it out anyway.

    Reply

  26. WigWag says:

    Someone (I don’t remember who) on one of these threads asked if there were any pictures of the Israeli sub traversing the Suez Canal. Tom Ricks (author of “Fiasco” and “The Gamble”) has publsihed a picture on his blog at Foreign Policy. Check it out if you’re interested.
    What we’ve alluded to on this thread so far is:
    1)Egypt allowing Israeli subs through the Suez.
    2)Saudi Arabia allowing Israeli jets to traverse its airspace on the way to Iran.
    3)The European Union contemplating removing all their ambassadors from Iran en mass.
    4)Biden’s comments.
    But Tom Ricks points out another interesting development; Bahrain just announced that it is sending its first trade mission to Israel.
    Here’s Ricks take on the matter,
    “It surprised me that the government of Egypt recently permitted an Israel submarine to move to the Red Sea through the Suez Canal. I wonder what signal Egypt is sending to Iran by permitting this. It would be easy enough for the Israelis to offload any nuclear-tipped missiles at one of its Mediterranean ports before the canal transit, and then pick them up down in Eilat.
    Meanwhile, Bahrain just sent its first-ever official delegation to Israel. Maybe the neocon dream of the Arab world deciding to focus on Iran instead of Israel is two small steps closer? Even a stopped clock …”

    Reply

  27. WigWag says:

    “Learning is about constantly adjusting our narratives as we discover credible facts which stand counter to our narratives. That is the foundation of the scientific process, and should be a guiding principle for all rational inquiry.”
    Your right, David. It would be good if it worked that way. Occasionally it does. Hopefully the arc of progress bends towards truth.
    I think most of us are far less intellectually (or emotionally) malleable than you suggest; but if you are, that’s great. Congratulations.
    I do have to object to one thing you said though. You obviously don’t know alot of scientists if you think that they are more prepared than the rest of us to question the narratives about their particular area of inquiry. Scientific investigators and especially biomedical researchers tend to hold onto their preconceived notions, the data be damned, with more robust enthusiasm than the rest of us. Yes science isn’t supposed to work that way; it’s supposed to be data driven. Unfortunately all too often it isn’t. There is a classic book written on just this subject; perhaps you have read it. It’s by Thomas Kuhn and its entitled “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” If you haven’t read it and this topic interests you, I urge you to pick up a copy. It’s an extraordinarily influential tome.
    Scientists are subject to the same human frailties as the rest of us. The fact that you seem to have overcome these frailties is admirable.

    Reply

  28. Paul Norheim says:

    Thanks Arthur,
    the quote is actually a good reminder – because it`s usually true,
    whether we like it or not. (On one level, it`s even liberating.)
    But reading your last reply to WigWag, I have to repeat my
    frequent complaint against your method: Why don`t you start
    responding to written comments, instead of offering sensational
    horror reports directly from the heart of your opponent?
    I promise you: it`s both more challenging and more interesting
    for the readers if you succeed. I think most people coming here
    are a bit fed up with the tabloids.

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “let’s face it, she probably was hoping for arrest”
    You are merely trying to turn altruism into something belittling. Perhaps, you slimey dissingenuous little puke, she was trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Palestinians.
    You’re scum, questions. Everytime I debate with you I can sense the complete lack of character or integrity that your arguments are founded on.
    I know such ad hominem is looked down upon, and surely for good reason, But you truly do disgust me, and for me, it is a necessity to give voice to the disdain I feel for you and your bullshit. The above quoted comment perfectly underscores why I feel you are so despicable. You berate some of us for using numbers as metaphors, and make a big effin’ deal out of demanding EXACT statistical evidence for that that is obvious on its face without such exact numerical or statistical proof; then you have the gall to drool out some hateful opinionated bullshit like “let’s face it, she probably was hoping for arrest, and shouldn’t then elicit indignation, but rather pride”
    Screw you, questions, and your all inclusive “lets face it” bullshit. You want to slime someone that is actually working to improve the lot of Palestinians by great personal sacrifice and risk, so you can drive home a point?
    “let’s face it, she probably was hoping for arrest”
    You are merely trying to turn altruism into something belittling. Perhaps, you slimey dissingenuous little puke, she was trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Palestinians.
    You’re scum, questions. Everytime I debate with you I can sense the complete lack of character or integrity that your arguments are founded on.
    I know such ad hominem is looked down upon, and surely for good reason, But you truly do disgust me, and for me, it is a necessity to give voice to the disdain I feel for you and your bullshit. The above quoted comment perfectly underscores why I feel you are so despicable. You berate some of us for using numbers as metaphors, and make a big effin’ deal out of demanding EXACT statistical evidence for that that is obvious on its face without such exact numerical or statistical proof; then you have the gall to drool out some hateful opinionated bullshit like “let’s face it, she probably was hoping for arrest, and shouldn’t then elicit indignation, but rather pride”
    Screw you, questions, and your all inclusive “lets face it” bullshit. You want to slime someone that is actually working to improve the lot of Palestinians by great personal sacrifice and risk, so you can drive home a point? Count me out, you characterless little scumbag. And take your “lets face it” and shove it.

    Reply

  30. David says:

    This statement is the intellectual downfall of anyone for whom it is true:
    “When the facts disprove the narratives we’ve constructed, most of us (including me) would rather ignore the facts than adjust our narratives.”
    Learning is about constantly adjusting our narratives as we discover credible facts which stand counter to our narratives. That is the foundation of the scientific process, and should be a guiding principle for all rational inquiry.
    Granted, it took discipline to learn to turn on a dime, if necessary, when my narrative could not account for verifiable facts, but that is a fundamental obligation of a mature human mind. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again, I’m sure, before I die. But I won’t do it haphazardly or casually. It is a deliberate process, but it cannot be avoided without loss of intellectual integrity, which rests on intellectual honesty.
    The person with the most complete set of verifiable facts and the strongest sense of intellectual honesty, along with the greatest capacity for gaining an insight, is the most useful thinker on any topic. And those people do exist.

    Reply

  31. arthurdecco says:

    Paul, perhaps it’s time to re-read the following:
    “You wouldn’t worry so much what other people think about you, if you realized how seldom they do.” Doctor Phil

    Reply

  32. arthurdecco says:

    “There are many scenarios where an attack could be launched against Iran’s nuclear installations, the Iranian army, the Revolutionary Guards, leading conservative mullahs or the Basiji militias without hurting many civilians.”
    “without hurting many civilians”?!?!?!?!?!?
    The whole world catches a whiff of blackened and rotting Muslim flesh every time you type a new lie or add a new meaning to the word delusional with your prodigious output of packaged and petted pig shit, Wig Wag. And always in the service of the sharpened-teeth Israelis too!
    I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: you’re a Monster. You are, in all likelihood, based on a careful reading of your opinions, a Sociopath. Of course you’d have to be assessed by a trained mental health professional for us to be sure. You may be only a bat-shit crazy psychopath. If that’s the case, I apologize.
    Only grievously damaged monsters are capable of offering up the deaths of millions (AND THERE WILL BE MILLIONS!) as a reasonable solution to political problems like you do blithely, even offhandedly time after time. I sometimes ask myself how many people you must have had a hand in destroying over the span of your twisted life. And how much you must have enjoyed it. Tell me – what personal need is being filled by non-stop typing into the comments sections of respected on-line political forums? Are you thinking that by doing so you are gluing a veneer of legitimacy over your mind’s creations?
    You have a rare gift for glib, a flair for flip, and a potpourri of ways and means of disguising your malign and often dangerous intentions and ambitions. I’ll be the first in line to admit you are a skilled liar. But even skilled liars get caught up in their own contradictions. You’ve been caught up in so many contradictions by so many of those of us reading you I wonder why you stay at it. Yet you go on, doggedly plowing into your next celebration of murder, your next cunning scheme to disenfranchise the citizens of the Middle East and even your own country in the interests of furthering the sovereign interests of today’s Israel…
    What fuels you? I really am curious.
    Think of the papers that could be written if you availed yourself of a Catholic-style Confession right here on TWN.

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag said: “And anyway, it doesn’t matter what the people
    who comment at the Washington Note think.”
    Basically, I think you`re right, WigWag. I enjoy discussing this or
    that topic just like I would in a pub, or while eating dinner with
    some friends. And I feel privileged discussing with some of the
    intelligent commenters here. An additional personal advantage,
    as a Norwegian, is that my English improves by forcing me to
    express opinions and thoughts in a foreign language on an
    almost daily basis.
    However, I`m occasionally a bit curious: Who are actually
    reading TWN? And what are their reading habits at the blog? I
    remember that Steve once mentioned that several readers had
    said to him that they visited TWN mainly to follow the
    discussions among some of the commenters. Who are these
    people?
    Are some of the host`s more influential friends and connections
    occasionally among those readers – when the topic interests
    them, or even directly addresses something they (or someone
    they know) have said or done?
    Are perhaps also some of the young foreign policy students
    reading not only Steve`s posts, but also browsing the comment
    sections?
    Journalists? People who work at the New America Foundation?
    Like everybody else, I don`t have a clue. But I would guess that
    the comment section at TWN is different from comment
    sections on most blogs and newspapers – in the sense that it`s
    not too big, and not too small (and perhaps also not too bright,
    but not too stupid).
    If you discover a couple of commenters you tend to enjoy
    reading, it`s easier to find them in the comment section of TWN
    than on blogs with hundreds (or thousands) of comments for
    each post.
    Again: I have no idea who is reading the comments at TWN.
    Perhaps only our fellow commenters?

    Reply

  34. questions says:

    FYI,
    McKinney was released Sunday and put on a plane headed back to the States.

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    “For whatever reasons, you yourself seem to be more into diminishing the flow of certain narratives (but why exactly those narratives, and not others?), while others here, like POA and WigWag, try to diminish some, and increase
    others at the same time.”
    Mostly I just say what I think. I’m not overly concerned with convincing anyone because very few people (including me) are particularly open to being convinced; at least we’re not open to it very often. And anyway, it doesn’t matter what the people who comment at the Washington Note think. We can vote, we can make political contributions, we can petition our representatives and we can even organize but hardly anyone who comments here has any opportunity to influence policy so what does it matter whom convinces whom?
    Mostly I write comments for the fun of it and because writing what I think helps me keep my own thoughts straight. I like to engage with people who disagree with me; if I didn’t I would just find one of the scores of other blogs where people who share my opinions congregate.
    I find that I do learn something from a small number of regular and very erudite commenters; Paul Norheim, Dan Kervick, JohnH, Franklin, Linda, Questions, Erichwwk and Sweetness who is regretably no longer around,(I might have missed one or two) are obviously all brilliant, entertaining and very good writers. I consider it a privilege to interface with them even though I often disagree with what they say. Steve Clemons and his guest posters are very smart and are obviously very tolerant. After all, they graciously put up with all of the noise coming from the comment section including mine.
    As for the rest of the people who comment regularly; some are okay, the rude ones I’ve learned to ignore. And the polite ones who never say anything substantive, I just don’t bother to read.
    I think my views are pretty mainstream; the fact that the opinions expressed at the Washington Note are so diverse is what makes this a better blog than most.
    We all have narratives that we’re attached to. When the facts disprove the narratives we’ve constructed, most of us (including me) would rather ignore the facts than adjust our narratives which are, after all, like our children (we gave birth to them).
    It’s all just human nature; and nothing to be concerned about.
    Don’t worry; be happy!

    Reply

  36. questions says:

    Of course I think some narratives are better at explaining the events than are others. “Let it flow” was more about blood pressure issues than about argumentation, and I ‘fessed up to my biases as well. Sorry if that was unclear. I think the differences are fine. I’d like everyone to agree with me, but I know better than to expect that, and I don’t need to curse out or make bad faith accusations against all those who disagree with me.

    Reply

  37. questions says:

    OT, totally, but….
    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/07/how-can-climate-bill-get-to-60-votes.html
    Nate Silver’s predictions on the climate change bill in the Senate. Note that money doesn’t correlate completely with the likely votes. Some dems get money from the coal industry but will vote for cap and trade. Some repubs don’t get money but will likely vote against it. The industry money is often too small to make any difference to the MC.
    Money may really be less of a factor than one tends to think.
    On a similar note, the health industry is going to town on spending. Sending 350 former staffers and MCs to lobby their buddies…. We’ll see how this one comes out.
    One of the tasks of lobbyists is simply to provide “information” to staffers and MCs. Sometimes the information is actually useful. (It can help an MC to hear from an uninsured family about how hard life is, it can help to hear from small businesses about the range of effects of mandates, it can even help to hear from actuaries about what insurance companies might expect from various changes to the law.) In the end, though, mobilized, informed, attentive constituents are going to matter a fair amount.
    The real issue, I think, is, again, the revolving door. If you get an industry job, re-election doesn’t matter any more and that removes a huge institutional check on congressional behavior.
    A study of industry-related votes crossed with industry jobs — with a time factor included — might be telling.

    Reply

  38. Paul Norheim says:

    “So instead of exploding a blood vessel in your brain, just allow
    the narratives to flow.”
    Questions, I wouldn`t exactly put it that way. Several narratives
    are “flowing” through TWN, and all of us try to diminish the flow
    of certain narratives, and increase the flow of others – that`s
    the nature of political blogs. For whatever reasons, you yourself
    seem to be more into diminishing the flow of certain narratives
    (but why exactly those narratives, and not others?), while others
    here, like POA and WigWag, try to diminish some, and increase
    others at the same time.
    I`m not sure how to interpret the Saudi/Egypt/Suez reports, but
    regardless of which narrative I prefer in connection to the
    statements from the VP yesterday (Biden`s words as a carte
    blanche to Israel; a warning to Tehran; a way to tell the Israelis
    that if they give a little bit on settlements, we`ll give on the
    “Iranian threat”; or simply that “Biden is Biden”), I regard his
    statements as bad news.

    Reply

  39. questions says:

    POA,
    The problem with your interpretation is that we really don’t know how much is disinformation, how much is idiocy, how much is good cop/bad cop, trial balloons, bad reporting and the like. I saw some piece somewhere about the sub in the Suez and it seemed that it was concluded that Egypt had allowed transit because of the distances and times involved in getting the sub from point A to point B. It only made sense if there had been transit. So the whole thing is murky.
    But within the murk that is international relations, one tries to construct logical narratives, or narratives that support one’s views.
    You do this by taking the most extreme reading possible of McKinney’s treatment (let’s face it, she probably was hoping for arrest, and shouldn’t then elicit indignation, but rather pride).
    WigWag does this by thinking that Iranians might prefer having help knocking out their government, and that Israel is more popular in the world than Gaza.
    I have my own set of narratives that I construct with texts I have read, with a deep desire for careful incrementalism in policy, with a concern for the most vulnerable among us and a fear that certain kinds of assistance can be worse in the long run, even if not providing the assistance feels awful in the short run. And with a pretty deep suspicion of a range of empirical claims that lack empirical support.
    So instead of exploding a blood vessel in your brain, just allow the narratives to flow.

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yet one more embarrassing VP unfit for public office. Someone ought to tape his mouth shut the next time he sticks his foot in it, and hope he aphyxiates on it. The country would be better off.
    Gads, how low we have fallen.
    On the Saudi/Egypt/Suez; Funny how wig-wag always has premier access to the latest script, that he invariably tries to pimp as a documentary. But notice how he always scurries for the nearest rock when it is shown to be yet one more B-rated propaganda drama.
    This one was Buzby Berkely inspired; throngs of Iranians cheering wildly in choreographed precision, while Israeli and American jets dump bunker busters and white phosphorous on their neighborhoods.
    Kinda reminds me of the last docudrama they sold us; Iraqis filling the streets of Baghdad, roses in hand, welcoming the liberators with open arms and a gleeful willingness to cede over management of their country’s resources and assets to global mega-corporations.

    Reply

  41. samuelburke says:

    Dear compatriots,
    Honorable Iranians living abroad,
    I am fully aware that your justified demands have nothing to do with groups who do not believe in the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran’s system. It is up to you to distance yourself from them, and do not allow them to misuse the current situation.
    Mir Hossein Mousavi
    1388/4/3
    Yes, the Iranian people do need moral support. But they do not need the ersatz support of the warmongers who for years have done all they can to start a war with their country. In a message to the Iranians in the Diaspora, Mousavi said, “I am fully aware that your justified demands have nothing to do with groups who do not believe in the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran’s system. It is up to you to distance yourself from them, and do not allow them to misuse the current situation.”
    http://original.antiwar.com/sahimi/2009/07/05/false-sorrow-for-the-people-of-iran/
    http://newsfromiran.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/mousavis-statement-to-the-iranian-diaspora/

    Reply

  42. Carroll says:

    Well.that didn’t take long.
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1097911.html
    Last update – 09:19 06/07/2009
    U.S.: Letting Israel act freely on Iran isn’t policy change
    By Haaretz Service
    White House officials said that the vice president’s remarks demonstrated only U.S. allowance of Israeli sovereignty, and not a change in policy on the part of the Obama administration
    White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said Biden’s remarks did not signaling any change of approach on Iran or Israel.
    “The vice president refused to engage hypotheticals, and he made clear that our policy has not changed,” Vietor said. “Our friends and allies, including Israel, know that the president believes that now is the time to explore direct diplomatic options.”
    * how long till the WH gets tired of this bag of wind?
    But here he goes again. Can anyone shut this hoof and mouth disease up? Gawd, can you imagine if this idiot had been elected president?
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1097692.HTML
    Biden: That SOB Saddam is rolling over in his grave
    By News Agencies
    “We did it in Saddam’s palace and I can think of nothing better,” Biden said of the naturalization ceremony, held at Al-Faw Palace near Baghdad airport.
    “That SOB is rolling over in his grave right now,” he said of executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

    Reply

  43. Carroll says:

    Blah,blah,blah…blah,blah. Even though I try to think of some smart cunning reason or stragety for the Israelis and Bolton to hype a Saudi agreement, then leak it,which obviously Saudi would deny true or not …all I can think of is stupid.
    Being so stupid that since you have no workable plan you just stir shit to see what happens. Good for 24 hours of hyperventilating.
    Next?
    More blah,blah from Biden? Who thought he was going to be the foreign affairs Cheney power behind the throne for the Obama showpony cause as SC said he knew all the names of world leaders…. ROTFLMAO. Pony turned out to be a mustang and Biden turned out to be an extra piece of furniture with cufflinks. Having lost his pontificating perch in the senate he now gets as much public attention as a pimple, so he’s gotta say something hasn’t he.
    News results for Israel Saudi airspace
    Israel: ‘Saudi Arabia did not authorize us to use its air space’‎ – 11 hours ago
    The Sunday Times also quoted the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, stating that ‘it is logical for Israel to use the Saudi air pace
    .International Middle East Media Center – 612 related articles »
    Israel denies Saudis gave IDF airspace clearance for Iran strike …Jul 5, 2009 …
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1097882.html
    Saudi air space is ‘not open’ for attack on Iran – The National …Saudi analysts reject media reports the kingdom has given permission to Israel to use its air space for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
    http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090706/FOREIGN/…/1002 – 10 hours ago
    Kuwait not to allow Israeli crafts to use its airspace: speaker
    Trend News Agency – ‎14 hours ago‎
    Some other reports mentioned that Saudi Arabia might open its airspace before Israeli military jets in case of a probable Israeli air attack on Iranian …

    Reply

  44. Carroll says:

    Posted by Outraged American, Jul 06 2009, 12:14AM – Link
    Why do you waste your time with WIg Wag and Questions?
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    I was going to ask the same question. Instead of wasting time responding to whatever wig wag zig zag is smoking they should read the Rand Report.
    2009
    Rand Report on US -Saudi – Iran…..Since the Fall of Saddam
    You can download the 158 page report here:
    http://xrdarabia.org/2009/03/18/rand-report-saudi-arabia-iran-and-the-us/
    or the summary here:
    http://rand.org/pubs/monographs/2009/RAND_MG840.sum.pdf
    Good report on the strengths and weaknesses of Saudi and Iran and the US, and the regional politics confronting the US.
    Read carefully and if you think Obama agrees with Rand’s assesment you will start thinking about what Obama “might” be after, how he “might” be trying to get through the web.
    If you’ve been reading serious studies instead of newpaper plants some of this might ring a bell.

    Reply

  45. Paul Norheim says:

    There are reasons to doubt that the Iranian government will ever
    give up their program. The Israelis themselves certainly don`t
    think that they will do so. By linking “the Iranian threat” to the
    freeze of settlements, Netanyahu in reality says:
    “Of course we will freeze the settlements (with certain
    exceptions) if you agree that we also cooperate on bombing
    Iran!”
    And WigWag, of course you are well aware of the significant
    difference between Obama`s original position: “a settlement
    freeze as a prerequisite for successful negotiations (with Iran)”
    and Netanyahu`s demand: “dealing with the Iranian threat” as a
    prerequisite for settlement freeze.
    If anything should be linked to Iran`s program and the risk that
    they may develop nuclear weapons in the future, the only
    logical issue is Israel`s actual nuclear arsenal.
    Instead, the west agrees to play Netanyahu`s dangerous game.
    Absurd and abominable.

    Reply

  46. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Why do you waste your time with WIg Wag and Questions?”
    It beats working a crossword to stave off senility.
    Betty, is that you?

    Reply

  47. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Some people have speculated that Egyptian permission for Israel to use the Suez Canal, Saudi permission for over flights and Biden’s statement on attacking Iran are all intended to demonstrate to Israel the cooperation it can anticipate if it agrees to a settlement freeze and sticks to Netanyahu’s recent statement on the two state solution”
    Oh horseshit. Name these “some people”.
    You’re full of crap, wig-wag. I honestly believe this is the most crap I’ve ever seen you spew on a single thread. You’re setting some sort of crap-spewing record today. You oughta call Guinness and get on the books, you’re on a roll.

    Reply

  48. Outraged American says:

    Why do you waste your time with WIg Wag and Questions?

    Reply

  49. WigWag says:

    “If Biden`s statement about the “sovereign nation” today was approved by Obama, the President is undermining himself. And if it was not cleared beforehand; Obama should remind Biden who is the boss.”
    Why would Biden’s statement be seen as undermining Obama?
    Obama has insisted all along that progress towards a deal between Israelis and Palestinians would enhance cooperation between Israel and the Arab nations in dealing with Iran. Obama repeated that mantra on more than once occasion. Obama has also made it clear that he views a settlement freeze as a prerequisite for successful negotiations.
    Biden’s statement as well as the Egyptian and Saudi remarks on cooperation with the IDF reinforce everything Obama’s been saying about the payoff to Israel if it “plays ball.”
    And it’s well known that Mitchell has been speaking to Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to get them to reciprocate if Israel agrees to a settlement freeze.
    It seems to me that we’ve just seen the form that the reciprocation Mitchell has asked for will take.

    Reply

  50. Paul Norheim says:

    If Biden`s statement about the “sovereign nation” today was
    approved by Obama, the President is undermining himself. And if
    it was not cleared beforehand; Obama should remind Biden who
    is the boss.

    Reply

  51. ... says:

    a settlement has been in the works for the past 20 – 40 years and it has never stopped the israelis from speaking out of one side of their mouths while acting out of the other… lets think this time it is different…. if you are an idiot….

    Reply

  52. WigWag says:

    “For Israel all of this is a welcome distraction from the focus on settlements. With a little help from John Bolton, Ahmadinejad and Michael Jackson, the world has forgotten the issue of freeze versus “natural growth”. Israel has the upper hand now – demonstrated by Biden`s statements about that “sovereign nation”. Amazing.”
    Actually that’s not true. At least the United States and Israel haven’t forgotten. Ehud Barak and George Mitchell are meeting in London this week (following up on their New York meeting last week) to negotiate the details of a settlement freeze. Will they arrive at an agreement? I hope so, but I have no idea. But the issue has not been forgotten and negotiations towards a freeze continue.
    In fact, there is a reasonable chance that all the recent signs of Arab support for IDF activities against Iran were orchestrated by George Mitchell as an inducement for a settlement freeze
    Some people have speculated that Egyptian permission for Israel to use the Suez Canal, Saudi permission for over flights and Biden’s statement on attacking Iran are all intended to demonstrate to Israel the cooperation it can anticipate if it agrees to a settlement freeze and sticks to Netanyahu’s recent statement on the two state solution.

    Reply

  53. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “For Israel all of this is a welcome distraction from the focus on settlements”
    I’m not so sure they require a “distraction” on the settlement issue. After all, they’ve pretty well told Obama to go fuck himself on this issue, and we returned the gesture by renewing loan guarantees, and cinching the deal to givce them a few more billion in “aid”. Meanwhile, this mewling little ratfaced insipid weasel Reid tells Obama to lay off of Israeli and get nasty with the Palestinians. With Congress groveling before AIPAC, and Reid undermining Obama’s resolve, who needs a distraction?

    Reply

  54. ... says:

    paul it has been going on for so long, and peoples attention span seems short.. biden is a jackass..one more distraction in a long line of stupid distractions..
    Human rights worker Mike Levy explains why he singles Israel out
    http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/07/human-rights-worker-mike-levy-explains-why-he-singles-israel-out-.html

    Reply

  55. Paul Norheim says:

    For Israel all of this is a welcome distraction from the focus on
    settlements. With a little help from John Bolton, Achmedinajad
    and Michael Jackson, the world has forgotten the issue of freeze
    versus “natural growth”. Israel has the upper hand now –
    demonstrated by Biden`s statements about that “sovereign
    nation”. Amazing.

    Reply

  56. ... says:

    a blind man can see where it is all going with the usa/israel and iran on the other hand… put aside all the propaganda, and wigwags words for a moment to consider what many here have been saying for the past few years… does it look any different now? no… it is the same bullshit with the same folks wishing for more murder and mayhem so as to control everything except their own paranoia… the military establishment is a perfect fit for these same energies… they will not be happy until they destroy the planet and everything on it, so they can apparently have ‘peace’.. for them it will never come, because they are intent on war and more war…it is the business model of the leading power in the world at present… what a sick model to live by..

    Reply

  57. PissedOffAmerican says:

    New IAEA Head: No Evidence Iran Seeking Nuclear Weapons
    Outgoing Head Cited ‘Gut Feeling’ in Accusations
    by Jason Ditz, July 03, 2009
    New International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano may have been the candidate of choice for Western nations, and in particular Israel, but he sought to assure the world today that he would remain independent and would seek to de-politicize the office.
    In particular, Amano noted that going through the IAEA’s documents he didn’t see any evidence that Iran was trying to develop nuclear weapons. The IAEA had repeatedly certified that Iran was not diverting any of its civilian program’s enriched uranium to any other purpose, but outgoing chief Mohamed ElBaradei claimed to have a “gut feeling” that Iran secretly wanted the technology.
    Amano seems less inclined, at least so far, to rely on his gut and is looking for hard evidence to back up the allegations by Western nations in general and Israel in particular, that the Iranians have a covert program.
    He did however claim that the Iranian government had an ‘obligation’ to abandon its civilian program, despite the lack of evidence of anything untoward in the program, citing demands from the UN Security Council. Those demands are separate from any Iranian obligations under the IAEA’s protocols however, under which Iran would seem to have every right to civilian energy generation.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2009/07/03/new-iaea-head-no-evidence-iran-seeking-nuclear-weapons/
    Now, if he would just demand Israel live up to the 62 UN resolutions it is in violation of, we might just be getting somewhere.

    Reply

  58. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The following is an excerpt from the propaganda mill known as the AIPAC website….
    “The latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shows that Iran continues to aggressively expand its nuclear capabilities in continued defiance of the international community. Learn more about Iran’s progress in developing nuclear weapons”
    http://www.aipac.org/The_Issues/index.asp
    Now tell me, is that an honest assertion? Do we have ANY evidence that Iran is “developing nuclear weapons”?
    Like I said, the AIPAC website REGULARLY contains blatant lies, and ALWAYS contains gross exagerations.

    Reply

  59. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The arguments offered on this entire thread is premised on the FANTASY that actual evidence of an Iranian Nuclear weapons facility has been produced. But the truth of the matter is that any attack on the nuclear facilities in Iran would be based on an allegation rather than the substantiated presence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Reading the convoluted reasoning of the propagandist Wig-wag, and noting the constant flow of exagerations and outright LIES that Israel has leveled towards Iran in regards to their “progress” in pursuing nuclear weaponry, (just monitor the AIPAC website if you don’t believe me), what possible insanity could drive the American people to allow another military adventure based on the allegations put forth by liars? Have we learned nothing since being conned into this debacle in Iraq?

    Reply

  60. Paul Norheim says:

    From Haaretz today:
    “Israel is urging the United States and other countries to start
    preparing now for the possibility that Washington’s proposed
    dialogue with Iran will fail, by readying a “Plan B” that includes
    “paralyzing sanctions” and other measures against Tehran.
    The U.S. has resisted this idea so far.
    The Israeli messages – sent against the background of the
    recent unrest in Iran – have been delivered to the White House,
    the State Department and senior officials in the U.S. intelligence
    community by senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and
    the Foreign Ministry. Similar messages have been sent to senior
    officials in Germany, Russia, France and Japan.
    Israel’s argument is that if the Americans are indeed committed
    to imposing “paralyzing sanctions” on Iran should the dialogue
    fail – as both U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of
    State Hillary Clinton have said in the past – the work of drafting
    these sanctions must begin now.
    “Israel is adjusting its messages to the new circumstances
    created by the unrest in Iran,” a senior government official said.
    “These things must be stated clearly now so that there is no
    confusion about our position.”
    (…)”
    More here:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1098043.html

    Reply

  61. Dan Kervick says:

    Oh, and to echo POA, everything I have heard leads me to believe that while many Iranians oppose some of Ahmadinejad’s foreign policies and diplomatic tactics, there is broad multi-partisan support for their country’s nuclear power program, and a determination to defend Iran’s right to keep it.

    Reply

  62. Dan Kervick says:

    Maybe Steve can find someone who really knows something about Iran to weigh in on this, but I strongly suspect that WigWag’s apparent conviction that a substantial body of Iranians are yearning for Dorothy Obama to fly in on his chopper to throw water on the Wicked Mullah of the West is just way, way, way off.
    We don’t yet know who would have won the election in Iran if it was clean and transparent, but I think we do know that an awfully large number of people voted for Ahmadinejad. So those people clearly aren’t hoping for a foreign overthrow of the Iranian regime, and would presumably defend their country against foreign assault.
    Of the rest, my guess is that some rather substantial proportion would like to see the reformist movement take power through more or less legitimate means or political maneuvering, but are reformists not at all looking for a revolutionary outcome, especially not one wrought by foreign action.
    Some others would indeed like to see revolutionary change, but would be aghast and offended by the suggestion that they would tolerate a foreign military attack on their country in order to procure that change.
    So my guess is that those who would welcome foreign-engineered regime change constitute only a very small percentage of Iranian radicals. What proportion of Iranians does WigWag think are literally traitors who would welcome a military assault on their own country?!
    I hated George Bush with a passion and thought he was illegitimately elevated to power in a fixed election. And I like French people, read French literature and love French food. But if the French had invaded America to depose George Bush, I would have asked my local wingnuts where I could find a gun to help kick the blasted Frogs out!
    Yes, of course a lot of Iranians now want a rapprochement with the United States. That was one of the main underlying issues in the election, and Mousavi argued that Ahmadinejad’s terribly clueless, provocative and stubborn approach to international diplomacy had damaged the foreign policy and security of the country. But rapprochement with the United States is not the same thing as America-backed regime change! Many Americans in the late sixties and seventies supported rapprochement with the Chinese and detente with the Soviets. But only a handful or radical Maoists and Stalinists would have looked favorably on a Sino-Soviet overthrow of their government.

    Reply

  63. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The Iranian public might even welcome an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities if no ordinary Iranians were hurt in the process”
    Oh yes, those stupid ragheads would be delighted we bombed facilities that they have every right to operate under the terms of the NPT.
    How do you dream this crap up, Wig-wag? Oops, forgot, you don’t need to dream it up, as you are obviuously full of it.

    Reply

  64. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I have patiently waited for someone else to note the irony of Biden’s thoughtless blather, but apparently none of you caught it…
    http://presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=99866&sectionid=351020104
    An excerpt..
    “Meanwhile in the White House, US Vice President Joe Biden said that the US would not stop Israel if it launches an attack against Iran”
    “The US “cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do,” Biden said, the Associated Press reported.”
    END EXCERPT.
    Except, apparently, if you are “dictating” to a member of the NPT that they cannot develop nuclear energy technology.

    Reply

  65. WigWag says:

    To Franklin and Paul Norheim,
    Even the most diehard apologists for the Iranian regime like Roger Cohen have now admitted that what the Iranian public wants is a rapprochement with the United States. In his last column, Cohen suggested that the coup-meisters wanted to deny the reformers the opportunity to produce that rapprochement. Cohen believes that Obama should now refuse to negotiate with the illegitimate regime. According to Cohen, who is in Tehran, the United States is extremely popular among Iranians and Obama is more popular than Khamanei. Remember, chants of “death to America” have been replaced by chants of “death to the Supreme Leader.” I don’t believe the Iranian public would tolerate an Israeli attack and I don’t believe the Iranian public would tolerate an American attack that killed or hurt lots of civilians. I think it’s entirely reasonable to believe that the Iranian public would tolerate and perhaps welcome an American attack that targeted the Revolutionary Guards, the Basaji militias, the Iranian military or the coup leaders. The Iranian public might even welcome an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities if no ordinary Iranians were hurt in the process.
    Moreover there may now be non-military means to achieve regime change in Iran. While regime change was once a pipe dream, now that it’s clear that it’s what Iranians want, the U.S. should explore all options to achieve it. Targeted sanctions of greater severity, a naval blockade or other measures might now work where before they probably wouldn’t have.
    As for the analogy of the U.S. elections in 2000; while many Americans were skeptical of the result (including me) there were no riots in the United States, no one took to the roof tops to should “death to Bush,” the “defeated” candidate graciously conceded after a legal process that he believed in ruled against him. Unlike Iranians, Americans trusted the system; even those who believed an incredibly close election went a way they didn’t like. All of that is entirely different than the situation in Iran. To take your metaphor to its logical conclusion, if the Russians had attacked in those circumstances, all Americans would have been lining up to join the American armed forces (like they did after the attack on the world trade center). On the other hand, if the United States takes reasonable and prudent measures to pursue regime change in Iran, they will be on the side of the Iranian people not on the side of the autocrats; that’s why the Iranians would support Obama if he decided to intervene.
    Actually if Obama took tough measures to enforce regime change in Iran not only would the Arab street not be enraged; they would probably be delighted. Undoubtedly they would wonder, now that Obama’s taken care of the Iranian dictators, when is he going to get rid of ours.

    Reply

  66. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Some in the west will follow their worthless opinion which I guess they’ll have to learn the hard way, but to think attacking a fense post, let alone the nuclear facilities which are the subject of the youth’s national pride will be welcomed is delusional and very naive”
    Yeah? Well, welcome to Wig-wag’s world, where no farfetched delusion is ruled out in his quest to cede Middle Eastern dominance to a cadre of racist fanatics that are the core of Israel’s leadership.

    Reply

  67. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Its pure speculation but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if at some point both Israel and the entire Sunni Arab world makes an American attack on Iran the price for the two state solution that Obama wants”
    Thats the same Wig-wag that used to argue that Israel didn’t seek to spill American blood in defense of Israeli agendas. Wig-wag’s dried up cowpies are dispersed on the flow of political winds.

    Reply

  68. Pahlavan says:

    Maybe the ex monarchists and their western offsprings endorse an attack on Iran, but it’s worth noting that these were the same (very insignificant) pack that bailed out during or immediately after the Shah’s good ridance, who have yet to figure out that Shah’s son can’t even muster up an ounce of charisma and leadership to lead anything, let a lone a country. Some in the west will follow their worthless opinion which I guess they’ll have to learn the hard way, but to think attacking a fense post, let alone the nuclear facilities which are the subject of the youth’s national pride will be welcomed is delusional and very naive.

    Reply

  69. Pahlavan says:

    Maybe the ex monarchists and their western offsprings endorse an attack on Iran, but it’s worth noting that these were the same (very insignificant) pack that bailed out during or immediately after the Shah’s good ridance, who have yet to figure out that Shah’s son can’t even muster up an ounce of charisma and leadership to lead anything, let a lone a country. Some in the west will follow their worthless opinion which I guess they’ll have to learn the hard way, but to think attacking a fense post, let alone the nuclear facilities which are the subject of the youth’s national pride will be welcomed is delusional and very naive.

    Reply

  70. Paul Norheim says:

    Franklin,
    WigWag confuses Iran with certain Eastern European countries
    dominated by the Soviet Union during the cold war. America was
    very popular among dissents in those countries – so WigWag
    concludes that a US attack on Iran will be welcomed by the
    Iranians as well.
    However, and in contrast to US policy towards Iran, the United
    States never ousted a democratically elected leader, supported
    tyrants, or fueled wars between any countries in Eastern Europe.
    I`m afraid all this talk about the Iranian opposition wanting
    America to bomb their country is just bizarre wishful thinking
    inside WigWag`s head.

    Reply

  71. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its a sad state of affairs when the Vice President of the United States is so easily discounted because he has a tendency to blather. Should this loud mouthed knee jerker find himself in the cat seat, whats to guarantee he won’t blather us right into World War Three?
    Factor in a President who seems to be unable to utter a single policy advocation he won’t eventually backpedal, and you have a White House with absolutely ZERO credibility.

    Reply

  72. clinch says:

    My general reaction is: So?
    Let’s clean up our own house. Why the odd reluctance to do that? Why not roll it all right out in the light of day, where American leaders civil service can show us what they’re so proud of?
    Until we do that, there’s not much room for pointing fingers. In fact, the Saudis tortured to blame Iran — and cover for al Quaeda.
    So Iran does what America does, and what Saudi Arabia does: tortures innocent people to get false confessions. Seriously, so what? Our responsibility is here at home. And a red herring, no matter how grievous the crime, is still a red herring. I’m not callous, but color me unimpressed: our responsibility is what we govern, and we govern our own leadership and civil service, which is what still needs to be cleaned up.
    Ironically, failure to do so allows us to view Iran as ‘the enemy’. The Saudis tortured suspects to produce false confessions that blamed–you guessed it–Iran .. and cover for al Quaeda:
    http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/06/26/saudis-coerced-bombing-suspects-to-blame-iran-shield-al-qaeda/
    Headline:
    Saudis coerced bombing suspects to blame Iran, shield al Qaeda
    (note: this story hasn’t been picked up elsewhere, so all I can do is pass it on; I’ll leave the research & verification to others on this one.)
    “When a truck bomb exploded outside a housing unit in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing 19 US service members, the Saudis quickly concluded that the plot had been carried out by Hezbollah with the backing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. FBI Director Louis Freeh was prepared to accept the confessions obtained by the Saudis as proof, but the Department of Justice suspected they had been obtained through torture.”
    “… by 2003, it had become apparent that the Saudis routinely tortured terror suspects and coached them into making confessions that would not implicate al Qaeda.”
    WASHINGTON, Jun 26 (IPS) – In early November 1998, Louis Freeh sent an FBI team off to observe Saudi secret police officials interviewing eight Shi’a detainees from behind a one-way mirror at the Riyadh detention centre. He planned to use the Shi’a testimony to show that Iran was behind the bombing.
    “We came away with solid evidence that Iran was behind it,” says a former FBI agent.
    There was one problem with the evidence the FBI team collected: the Saudi secret police had already had two and half years to coach the Saudi Hezbollah detainees on what to say about the case, with the ever-present threat of more torture to provide the incentive.
    But Freeh was not about to let the torture issue interfere with his mission. ‘For Louis, if they would let us in the room, that was the important thing,’ one former high-ranking FBI official told IPS. ‘We would have gone over there and gotten the answers even if they had been propped up.’ ”
    “When Freeh took the accounts from the Shi’a detainees in interrogations witnessed by the FBI team, however, the Justice Department didn’t buy them as valid testimony. The department refused to go ahead with an indictment as Freeh had desired, evidently based on the same objection that had been raised two years earlier: the Shi’a had been subject to torture.”
    ____________
    But seriously — why should anyone be outraged about Iran, or get sucked into another manufactured vortex of outrage directed at Teheran—
    —when the folks who’ve betrayed America’s core principles are those Americans who’ve tortured, conducted covert ops and engaged in a time-tested suite of anti-Constitutional activities?
    Color me unimpressed, and unsurprised, at the wholesale lack of interest in setting things right in the arena we are responsible, and where we DO govern. After all, we committed the same crimes and we hold those crimes to be ostensibly illegal.
    Americans tortured to produce false confessions.
    Americans tortured over 100 people to death — individuals most of whom in all likelihood were innocent of any wrongdoing.
    But LOOK over there!! A bright shiny object in IRAN!!!!
    Yikes. Quite the all-time low.
    Note, though, this is NOT a put-down of Steve, who has condemned American torture. Which we all appreciate. It is, however, worth noting that lots and lots of attention is being heaped upon an Iran destabilization project — at a time when exactly zero has been done to restore the rule of law in America –land of the free!–nor has any move been made towards functional accountability.
    Seriously. You’d think with a crumbling Pakistan a stable Iran would have slightly more value. But as anyone who can read knows, Bush gave a set of covert ops the green light in 2008, Congress openly funded those efforts with less classfied programs, and it was reported that Obama chose not to call a halt. Not having learned our lesson in Vietnam, or in Iraq, we go for broke.
    So it should come as no surprise that an already-repressive Iranian regime resorted to exactly the same harsh methods America uses to extract confessions to meet political objectives.
    After all, that’s what Dick Cheney did. Dick Cheney tortured for political purposes, to produce that (ooo! frustratingly) nonexistent Iraq-alQueda link.
    No matter how you slice it:
    Dick Cheney = Ahmadinejad
    I guess it’s gotta still feel good to blame the other guy, scapegoat an external enemy, blame somebody else for our own flaws.
    But we’ll never fix this without, you know, fixing this here at home. Leadership by example is juust soo hard! America puts up so many impediments to living up to these standards! All that clumsy freedom! So messy, so inconvenient!

    Reply

  73. Franklin says:

    WigWag,
    If the Russians had intervened in the U.S. election in 2000 by bombing U.S. cities, I don’t think the U.S. population would have celebrated the event and pushed to unseat W. Same story in 2004. While Iran is not the U.S., I think it’s fairly certain that the population of Iran will not respond favorably to being bombed. Some of the exile communities might support it, but odds that it would serve as a rallying point for those inside Iran.
    As far as the Middle East as a whole is concerned, it’s worth remembering that most of the governments in the region are illegitimate to begin with (e.g. in the sense that their legitimacy comes from coercion, not consent). The source of their own stability could be effected by another major shift within the region.
    It is not hard to conceive how problems could spread throughout the region following an attack by Israel on Iran. While the leadership of the Arab states might entertain an Israeli attack; and while they are certainly anxious about an Iranian nuclear weapon; I don’t think it’s a given that a simple public declaration distancing themselves from the action would be sufficient to reduce blow-back.
    Basically, the Israelis acting without explicit consent from powers including the U.S. will bring upon themselves a world of pain. 2009 isn’t 1967 — this isn’t 1981 Iraq.
    Adm. Mullens statement makes sense. An attack by Israel might provide some short-term benefit for some Israeli politicians, but it would likely be a catalyst for the destruction of the Israeli state over the long-term — especially if it acts without the explicit blessing of a large share of the global community.
    As far as Biden’s comments go, the hardliners will probably try to make use of them inside Iran, but in the big scheme of things, I don’t think they’re likely to be that significant. At worst, it offers mixed signals to the hardliners, which in itself is probably not a terrible thing. I agree that his words alone will probably have nil effect in the region. He’s the VP, not the president.

    Reply

  74. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Dan, I presume that neither Israel nor the United States would attack an installation that might result in the release of large amounts of dangerous radiation”
    ROFLMAO!!!! Yeah, they wouldn’t be murderous enough to dump white phosphorous on innocent civilians, either. Right?
    Of course, should Israel do such a deed, you will blame the Iranians.

    Reply

  75. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is the link to the Gulf News article Wig-wag linked to.
    http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/09/04/26/10307797.html
    Do you see any disclaimers by Wig-wag noting that he selectively excerpted the article? A word of warning; When these propagandists like Wiggie cite articles, yet omit the link, beware, there is a reason for it. There is no tactic that is too slimey for Wig-wag and his ilk.

    Reply

  76. WigWag says:

    Dan Kervick says,
    “Speaking of the possibility of fallout, I hope Steve is using his contacts inside Biden’s staff to follow up on the fallout from his statements this morning on “This Week”. According to Marc Lynch, the statements are being interpreted throughout the region as a green light for an Israeli attack.”
    Dan gets Marc Lynch’s comments exactly right. Here’s what Lynch had to say on his blog,
    “Does it really need to be said that such an attack would radicalize the region, and place a wide range of American interests at risk — especially since Biden’s comment will be cited forever as evidence that the attack had an American imprimatur? Even if the attack does not happen, Biden’s comment will likely further inflame the regional atmosphere, while helping the Iranian hardliners, who will use it as evidence of malign American intentions, throwing away much of the value of Obama’s carefully and appropriately nuanced response to the unfolding crisis.”
    Lynch, as usual is clueless. Does he really think Biden’s comments will inflame the Middle East? Even if Israel or the United States attacked Iran would it destabilize the Middle East? Of course not. As usual, Lynch like Bullfinch is a chronicler of myths.
    Every nation of consequence in the Middle East both Arab and Jewish wants Iranian nuclear installations destroyed and the Iranian regime’s desire for regional hegemony cut down to size. Biden’s comments will be welcome in most Middle Eastern nations as would either an Israeli or American attack on Iranian nuclear installations.
    And if Lynch thinks the Arab street objects to Biden’s comments or would object to an American attack on Iranian nuclear installations; he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The Arab street watched the mullahs in action last week just like the rest of the world. Any illusions they may have had about Iran providing a role model have been laid to rest. The Arab street is, if anything, relieved that the autocratic regimes that rule them are mildly less violent than the autocrats who run Iran.
    Does Lynch really think the millions of Iranians who feel defrauded by the recent election and put life and limb at risk to protest the coup would rally to the regime that sent out goons to beat and kill them?
    The idea that Biden’s comments might inflame the Middle East or radicalize the region is just wrong on the face of it.
    Lynch just isn’t that smart. Like many others, he’s stubbornly holding onto the narrative he’s created in his own mind; he just can’t let go.
    Even though the facts have proven how wrong he is.

    Reply

  77. Franklin says:

    One take on the Israeli over-flight story . . .
    “Overseas, a bit of disturbing silliness is going on. The Israelis are stirring up the image of the Iranian nuclear threat, with the prominent spokesman (now Ambassador to the US) Michael Oren talking of a Tehran bomb wiping out Israel “within seconds”, and The Sunday Times of London — a regular channel for Tel Aviv’s propaganda — claiming that Saudi Arabia has sanctioned an Israeli attack on Iran by allowing the use of its airspace.”
    http://enduringamerica.com/2009/07/05/the-latest-from-iran-5-july-treading-water/#more-12685
    This seems to point in the direction of a leak from Israel done on its own initiative.
    Dan Kervick,
    Regarding Biden’s comments, Adm. Mullen stated today that an Israeli bombing campaign would be “very destablizing” and produce bad outcomes for the entire region. (Via Nico Pitney at HuffPost). The Israeli leadership likely realizes the limits of public statements made by the VP. If they don’t an act without first consulting the U.S. — odds are they are on their own.
    WigWag,
    I disagree with your reasoning that an intervention by the Obama admin — especially a military one — would do anything other than rally the majority of the population around the leadership.
    Karim Sadjadpour highlighted this point in a Carnegie Endowment discussion recently. Essentially, the hardliners are looking for a life-line from the outside to bail them out right now — they are baiting the U.S., Britain, or Israel to give them political cover to engage in a massive purge internally. Sadjadpour’s point is effectively “don’t fall into their trap”. Abbas Milani and Nicholas Burns who were part of the discussion echo this view.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7EUdf4OI6E

    Reply

  78. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Jul 05 2009, 5:28PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Obama did call the settlemens “illegal” in Cairo and said the US did not recongize them as “legitmate”.
    Now if he actually does anything but talk is another thing.
    If he is just jiving the Arabs and the US public and the EU and G8 on I-P then I expect we are gonna see some repercussions from the Saudis and everyone else in the ME. The only thing I have seen in the ME papers that ME leaders speak publically on, re the US, is Israel and the I-P conflict. Last thing I saw from Saudi before Cairo was their declaration that if something wasn’t done about I-P there would be “a huge war” in the ME.
    If I were the Saudi king I would politely tell the US with great regret…. no more oil for you…until our problems are solved.
    They could take the revenue hit the US couldn’t take shortage and price hike.
    Then Obama could send Biden out to say that we can’t tell a sovereign country what to do with their own oil. ROTFLMAO
    Course we could buy the shortage from the Chevas axis of evil or Russia. ROTFLMAO..again.
    They are all dickless nitwits. Just send the damn marines in and kick Israel’s ass out of Palestine.
    That’s the answer I get when I ask “what would Eisenhower do”? It’s the simplest,most effective solution and the 80% or + of the world that isn’t zio, neo or whacko would cheer.

    Reply

  79. WigWag says:

    “What I want to know is what happens when you drop a bomb on an online reactor or a uranium processing plant. Just to take one example, the Esfahan facility is in Iran’s third largest city, with a population of a million and a half and some of the country’s most historic sites.”
    Dan, I presume that neither Israel nor the United States would attack an installation that might result in the release of large amounts of dangerous radiation. There are other possibilities; centrifuges used for enrichment could be attacked; missile installations and other facilities involved with delivery capability could be bombed; Iranian nuclear scientists could be targeted.
    As I said, I don’t think Israel has the capability to seriously damage Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But the United States does. And a United State attack wouldn’t even have to target Iranian nuclear installations; it could just target leaders of the regime itself.
    By effecting regime change Obama might transform himself into a heroic figure for millions of Iranians. It would be a way for the U.S. to support the Iranian population by making up for the mistake of Mossedeigh. And if Obama played his cards right, not only would the Iranian public support him but so would the Europeans and most of the Muslim world.
    Effecting regime change might or might not inhibit Iranian nuclear ambitions but Obama could well conclude that it’s worth a try.
    I have no doubt that Obama is loathe to attack Iran. But I also have no doubt that he is hearing from Israel and every single one of America’s Sunni Arab allies that they want him to attack.
    Its pure speculation but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if at some point both Israel and the entire Sunni Arab world makes an American attack on Iran the price for the two state solution that Obama wants.

    Reply

  80. Dan Kervick says:

    Speaking of the possibility of fallout, I hope Steve is using his contacts inside Biden’s staff to follow up on the fallout from his statements this morning on “This Week”. According to Marc Lynch, the statements are being interpreted throughout the region as a green light for an Israeli attack.
    http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/07/05/say_it_aint_so_joe#comments
    Now maybe this is all part of a clever and deliberate plan to ratchet up pressure on Iran. But frankly, given his tack record, this could just be another case of Biden being Biden.

    Reply

  81. Doubting says:

    >> And an attack launched by Obama with the support of Europe and most of the Muslim world could easily prove very popular in Iran;
    ————————————–
    Sure, who doesn’t love being bombed by foreigners who hate your guts?
    I come here for deep insights and am rarely disappointed.

    Reply

  82. WigWag says:

    More on Dolphins in the Suez:
    I have no idea whether the report on Israeli submarines going through the Suez is true or just a disinformation campaign, but it is now being reported by scores of newspapers around the world including newspapers in India, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. In addition the story has been picked up on Arab websites such as “Arab Monitor” and “International Middle East Media Center.”
    It is perfectly logical to assume it’s true. Egypt hates Iran as much or more than the Israelis do. Even more importantly, for the past three months Egypt has been engaging in a blood feud with Hezbollah.
    Here’s the explanation from the “Gulf News”
    Lebanon using diplomacy in Egypt-Hezbollah Dispute
    Published: April 26, 2009, 07:57
    “Egypt announced earlier this month that it had uncovered a plot by 49 men with links to Hezbollah to destabilize the country by carrying out attacks in Egypt and on Israeli tourists.
    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has rejected the accusations, but he admitted that a Hezbollah member was in Egypt supervising weapons shipments to Hamas…”
    Undoubtedly Egypt is convinced that the Hezbollah campaign to destabilize Egypt had its genesis in Iran. Letting Israeli submarines traverse the Suez Canal is just Egypt’s way of sending a message to the Iranians. Egypt considers Iran far more of an enemy than Israel. The intelligence services of Israel, Egypt and Jordan work closely together; and they all consider Iran to be their opponent.
    As for the Saudis, those who doubt that Saudi Arabia would permit Israel to enter its airspace to attack Iran need to do some research on the degree of animosity between Saudi Arabia and Iran. And they should remember that it wouldn’t be the first time the Israelis and Saudis worked together. After all, Israel attacked Gaza with the full support of the Saudis and they received great assistance from the Saudis during the invasion with the Arab League.
    Underestimate the hatred between the ruling elites in Saudi Arabia and Iran at your own peril.
    But my guess is the whole thing is a ruse. Dan Kervick and Franklin are right; Israel does not possess the capability of setting back Iran’s nuclear ambitions in a serious way.
    But the United States does.

    Reply

  83. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Dan, are you implying that rendering a large section of Iran uninhabitable actually concerns the Israelis? Why kill a select few when you can potentially kill not only the immediate victims, but future generations as well?
    What do you think DU is doing to the Iraqi environment? Its fairly disheartening seeing us consider with rue the potential loss of life in Iran as we ignore the loss of life in Iraq, as if such casualties are consideration to the despicable monsters that have embarked us upon this clash of civilizations. Do you honestly think Wig-wag gives a shit for loss of life in Iran? It is neither here nor there to him. He will state Israel’s intention to avoid civilian loss of life, then, when massive civilian loss of life occurs, he will simply make excuses for it, then blame the victims. Its what these propaganda slinging islamophobes do.
    Besides, are we to just ignore the FACT that no evidence of a Iranian nuclear weapons program has been presented? Which means, if in fact there is no weapons programs at these sites, that ALL casualties can be considered as non-combatant.

    Reply

  84. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick, Jul 05 2009, 4:06PM
    “But I wonder if Israel might be getting set up here, beguiled by its transient regional allies of convenience into believing that if it attacks Iran it will be the beneficiary of subtle winks of support from Arab powers who will then help to engineer a smooth diplomatic landing out of the predictable turbulence.
    The morning after such an attack, Israel may well find itself maneuvered into a dangerous and untenable position. Having done the Sunni despots’ dirty work in Iran, they may find themselves politically expendable, and repudiated and abandoned by their new sunshine friends.”>>>>>>>>>>>
    In the Arab world that strategy is more than probable.

    Reply

  85. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, the Osirak reactor was not yet fueled when Israel attacked it. What I want to know is what happens when you drop a bomb on an online reactor or a uranium processing plant. Just to take one example, the Esfahan facility is in Iran’s third largest city, with a population of a million and a half and some of the country’s most historic sites.

    Reply

  86. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Carroll, in respect to this fraud Obama’s fictitious “hard line” on Israel…..
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/07/01/a_legal_mis_settlement

    Reply

  87. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Besides, when has Israel ever exhibited the willingness to lodge a military campaign that sought to minimize civilian casualties?
    Does peppering the Lebanese countryside with millions of cluster bomblets quailify?
    Or perhaps the latest carnage in Gaza is testimony to your insinuation that the Israelis would design a military strike against Iran that was mindful of civilian lives.

    Reply

  88. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick, Jul 05 2009, 4:36PM – Link
    If Israel were to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear program, how would they do it? What kinds of ordinance would they use? What sites would they hit? How successful could they be? Would they go for a knockout blow, a partial blow or a warning shot? What would be the effects on the ground following the attack?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The War College studies I have seen cited say they would have to use bunker busting bombs on the nuclear sites and even those are not guarented to be entirely successful.
    Common sense and past observation of Israelis says that they would destroy as much of Iran as they possibly could in one run ..civilian,infastructure, military installations, power, anything to weaken or slow down Iran in coming after them…which Iran surely would with some kind of ground scatter war.

    Reply

  89. Paul Norheim says:

    I actually doubt that this is a prelude to an attack. The timing of
    such an attack must come as a surprise to the Iranians. If the
    reports are true, I think this is some kind of message.

    Reply

  90. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And your admonition about Neda is incorrect. There are many scenarios where an attack could be launched against Iran’s nuclear installations, the Iranian army, the Revolutionary Guards, leading conservative mullahs or the Basiji militias without hurting many civilians”
    Oh bullshit. What the hell do you care anyway? If Israel kills a bunch of Iranian non-combatants, you’ll just come up with a whole bunch of justifications, and blame the victims.
    After all, its what you do.

    Reply

  91. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “JohnH, if those reports of Egypt allowing Israeli submarines through the Suez Canal are true…..yadayadayada….”
    Where are the pictures, Wiggie? Are you seriously advancing the premise that such an event would not be photographed?

    Reply

  92. Franklin says:

    In reference to the two news items — Israeli sub; and the OK to fly over Saudi airspace it’s not clear how credible the info is. The JPost info I’d look at with a skeptical eye. Haaretz is more credible — especially if it’s backed up by the Times of London.
    The more interesting question is why leak the info in the first place? What purpose is it intended to serve? Is this intended to undermine the opposition in Iran and lend support on the hardliners, or is the purpose to ratchet up pressure on the hardliners in hopes that it will produce more cracks at the top? Are these leaks done with the awareness of other states in the region and the U.S. or are the leaks done without the awareness of the U.S. (e.g. are the Arab states and Israel working their own strategy, or is Israel simply pulling its own bluff trying to box other states into a strategy)?
    As far as Israel’s capacity to undercut the Iranian nuclear program through the use of a bombing campaign it’s doubtful that they could achieve their objectives. I believe some of the sites are in population centers; some are deep underground and would not be vulnerable to conventional bombing campaign. In order to achieve the objective of stopping the nuclear program militarily there would need to be people on the ground in large numbers. I don’t see that happening.
    It’s not entirely clear to me what the purpose of the leaks are. Have Bibi’s poll numbers been sinking lately? Perhaps the leaks have more to do with internal politics within Israel than with how they might play outside.
    Ultimately, I tend to side with Carroll’s view.

    Reply

  93. JohnH says:

    Wigwag, I tend to agree with most of what you say. The West clearly had its hopes pinned on Moussavi. Now that that proved futile, it’s back to saber rattling.
    What I disagree with is the assumption that Iranians would welcome an attack. The millions of Ahmadinejad supporters certainly would not. As to the millions of Moussavi supporters, I tend to believe that they are extremely aware of the immense suffering caused by the American occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and are well aware of what life was like under America’s lackey the Shah and during Iraq’s American supported war against Iran in the 1980s. I can’t imagine any sane Iranian welcoming an American attack.

    Reply

  94. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH, Jul 05 2009, 12:04PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    What you seeing and hearing re Iran is the monkey attack and jungle grapevine.
    The monkeys stand across from each other and jump up and down and screech and throw rotten bananna peels at the other monkey tribe. Both monkey tribes put out on the grapevine how tough they are hoping to rattle the other monkey tribe.
    Most everything we read in the public sphere regarding Israel and Iran is this monkey routine.
    You can tell from this where the Saudi angle started ..although the Israelis have been beating the jungle drums on the Saudi thing for several years now.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6638568.ece
    July 5, 2009
    Saudis give nod to Israeli raid on IranUzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv and Sarah Baxter
    The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.
    Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.
    The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.
    The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week.
    Although the countries have no formal diplomatic relations, an Israeli defence source confirmed that Mossad maintained “working relations” with the Saudis.
    John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations who recently visited the Gulf, said it was “entirely logical” for the Israelis to use Saudi airspace’>>>>
    Let’s deconstruct :
    ?carried unconfirmed reports
    ?reports were denied by Saudi officials.
    ?The Saudis have “”tacitly”” agreed
    ?”a diplomatic source” said last week.
    ?John Bolton..(for gawd’s sake?)
    ?said it was “”entirely logical”” for the Israelis to use Saudi airspace’
    Why would the Saudi’s even talk to Israel regarding Iran when the Saudis know very well the US has,as Bush did, ditched the idea of an attack on Iran.
    Even if the US had changed it’s mind the Saudi’s are too cagy to be caught talking to the monkeys instead of the silverback in this particular jungle. Particulary when the monkeys leak the talks to the public.
    Unless Obama is full of shit, insane and just made the most misleading speech ever given to the world..and is in fact setting up some elaborate, intricate, subterfuge to faciliate an attack on Iran without seeming to be involved and has brought the Saudis in on the plan as a cover I would take this with a grain of salt.

    Reply

  95. WigWag says:

    JohnH, if those reports of Egypt allowing Israeli submarines through the Suez Canal are true; and
    If those reports of Saudi Arabia approving Israeli over flights of its territory to attack Iranian nuclear installations are true; and
    If those reports of the European Union contemplating removing all its ambassadors from Iran are true; and
    If Biden meant what he said on “This Week” this morning,
    then it’s not the Israelis being aggressive; it’s virtually the entire western world and Sunni Arab world that’s ratcheting up the pressure on Iran.
    None of this necessarily means Iran will be attacked, but it does suggest that the Obama Administration (which may be orchestrating this whole thing) has decided to adopt a far more muscular policy towards Iran.
    And your admonition about Neda is incorrect. There are many scenarios where an attack could be launched against Iran’s nuclear installations, the Iranian army, the Revolutionary Guards, leading conservative mullahs or the Basiji militias without hurting many civilians. When Israel attacked Iraq’s Osarik reactor exactly two civilians were killed and they both worked at the plant. Far from harming civilians, if done correctly, it’s entirely possible that the majority of Iranians would welcome an attack.
    But Iranians will never welcome an attack launched by the Israelis. And Israel is almost certainly incapable of doing serious damage to Iran’s nuclear ambitions; if anything an Israeli attack will spur the regime to work even harder to get nuclear weapons.
    The only nation with the technological know how and military strength to destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities is the United States. And an attack launched by Obama with the support of Europe and most of the Muslim world could easily prove very popular in Iran; especially if it resulted in the regime change that Iranians voted for.

    Reply

  96. JohnH says:

    Somehow I seriously doubt that Saudi Arabia would agree to open its air space for an Israel attack on Iran. That would be tantamount to aggression by Saudi Arabia on Iran.
    Would the Saudis be so stupid as to dare Iran to attack it? Let’s hope not. We all know the only thing worth attacking in Saudi Arabia. We’d all be walking to work, if there were any work, shortly thereafter. Is this what Washington and Tel Aviv want?

    Reply

  97. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If Israel were to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear program, how would they do it?”
    By a 9/11 scale, or probably larger, false flag attack on American interests, blamed on the Iranians. Why expend their own weapons and blood when they can screw us into doing it for them?
    If you do not think they are willing and capable of such a covert undertaking, then you aren’t paying attention.

    Reply

  98. Paul Norheim says:

    It would probably imply a delay in US plans of retreating from
    Iraq. The situation there seems quite unstable right now.

    Reply

  99. PissedOffAmerican says:

    No, John, these racist monsters will simply change the labeling they assign to the Nedas. They will go from “peaceful protestors” back to “Islamic terrorists” once again. Evil doers, doncha know? Besides, a few thousand Nedas, incinerated, are just “collateral damage”, sacrificed to the higher purpose of Israeli Middle Eastern dominance.
    To think that the so called “western powers” would condemn such “collateral damage” is naive. In fact, Israel just admitted to slaughtering a Palestinian “Neda”, and there was nary a peep from the world community of human rights crusaders, like this effin’ fraud Obama. How many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi “Nedas” have we slaughtered,wantonly and unapologetically, not even bothering to keep track of the numbers? And the “Nedas” slaughtered in Gaza? Where is our indignation about that bloodbath?
    Look at the pools of blood that both the United States and Israel are standing in, millions of gallons of blood. And we demonize Iran?

    Reply

  100. Dan Kervick says:

    If Israel were to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear program, how would they do it? What kinds of ordinance would they use? What sites would they hit? How successful could they be? Would they go for a knockout blow, a partial blow or a warning shot? What would be the effects on the ground following the attack?

    Reply

  101. JohnH says:

    Interesting that Israel would choose to show itself as the potential aggressor now that the world realizes that Iranians are real people. Neda’s death made believers of most of those who doubted that humans actually live in Iran. Any attack will kill many Nedas. Though their images will not show on American TV, many will realize what Israeli aggression has wrought.
    My only guess that Israel, stripped of its victim image, now has a compulsion about being the baddest, like those tattooed teenagers wearing black and piercing their bodies everywhere imaginable.

    Reply

  102. Dan Kervick says:

    Given that these reports about Egypt and Saudi Arabia are coming out in Israeli papers, part of what might be going on is that the Israeli government is attempting through leaks to prepare its citizens for an attack on Iran by inoculating them against the barrage of denunciations that will certainly follow. Somebody seems very eager to make Israelis believe that the people who will be criticizing them the morning after the attack are actually secretly cheering them on.
    Whether the reports are true, and the Saudis and Egyptians are indeed cheering the Israelis on, or whether any attack is actually in the works, I have no idea. But it is not surprising to see the pressure and threats against Iran ratcheted up. Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have a common interest right now in empowering Iranian militarists, hardliners and xenophobes, and helping the latter discredit the reformers as dangerous softies or fifth-columnist lackeys of outside forces. The Saudis and Egyptians are no doubt eager to nip any regional color revolution and reformist wave in the bud before in comes to their own countries. They would like their people to conclude that such efforts are doomed to ignominious failure. And the Israelis must be desperate to prevent Iranians from actually succeeding in removing their central casting bogeyman, Ahmadinejad, from office. They can’t attack Iran, or at least exploit perceptions of a a drummed-up existential Iranian threat, if some “peace craze” brakes out. The more Iran senses a noose being tightened around their necks, the less power the reformists have.
    But I wonder if Israel might be getting set up here, beguiled by its transient regional allies of convenience into believing that if it attacks Iran it will be the beneficiary of subtle winks of support from Arab powers who will then help to engineer a smooth diplomatic landing out of the predictable turbulence.
    The morning after such an attack, Israel may well find itself maneuvered into a dangerous and untenable position. Having done the Sunni despots’ dirty work in Iran, they may find themselves politically expendable, and repudiated and abandoned by their new sunshine friends. As much as the prospect of Israel being hoist on its own Machiavellian petard should appeal to me, I wouldn’t want to see that happen as the side effect of Israeli bombs falling on Iranians.

    Reply

  103. WigWag says:

    “WigWag, Nico Pitney on HuffPo discusses the Saudi airspace thing and doesn’t think it’s corroborated.”
    Questions, I don’t have any idea whether the report about Saudi airspace is true or the report about the Suez Canal is true. Like everyone else who comments at the Washington Note, I just know what I read in the newspaper. The Times of London (which is the source of the story about Saudi airspace) seems like a pretty reliable newspaper to me; but I could easily be wrong. The report about the Suez Canal appeared in the Arab press before it appeared in the Israeli press or the western press.
    Maybe Steve Clemons can ask his buddy, Prince Turki Al Faisal (who keynoted the conference on Saudi-American relations he chaired this past May) whether the Saudis would let the Israelis use their airspace to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
    In a larger sense, what I find astounding is how frequently critics of Israel are proven wrong. I’m not questioning their motivation for criticizing Israel which I assume in most cases is genuine. But both the hysterical critics of Israel found in the comment section at the Washington Note and the more rational and even-tempered critics like Daniel Levy and Steve Clemons turn out to be wrong over and over again.
    To wit,
    At the end of the Clinton Administration and well into the Dubya’s first term, the second intafada produced scores of suicide bombers who attacked bus depots, religious ceremonies and cafes. The critics of Israel assured us that the separation fence Israel was building was not only immoral, but that it would be ineffective in stopping suicide bombers; they assured us that Palestinian rage could not be deterred by a fence.
    Of course they were wrong. Since the barrier was completed, suicide bombings dropped from several a month to at most one or two a year (if that).
    In 2006 in response to the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in the Sheba Farms region and a constant barrage of rockets launched from Lebanon into Northern Israel, Israel launched a massive bombing campaign and ground assault into Lebanon. Israel’s critics insisted the operation was a failure that would do nothing to enhance Israel’s security. They mistook an Israeli inquiry into why the ground invasion didn’t go as planned as evidence that the military action had been a huge mistake.
    They were wrong again. As a result of the Lebanon war, the rocket attacks against Northern Israel completely stopped. Israelis who needed to run to bomb shelters several times a day now head to bomb shelters only for the monthly drills. During the Israeli attack on Gaza, Hezbollah meekly sat on the sidelines and didn’t approve the launch of a single rocket (two were actually launched by rogue elements from Hezbollah without authorization). The source of Hezbollah’s trepidation to support their Palestinian allies was clear; they were cowed into submission by the fear of a repeat of Israel’s 2006 campaign. Israel’s victory in the 2006 Lebanon War prevented new attacks against Northern Israel during the attack on Gaza in 2008.
    Israel’s critics assured us that the ground invasion and air attacks in Gaza in January, 2009 would backfire and make Hamas more recalcitrant and more insistent on launching rockets into the Negev and other areas adjoining Gaza. They insisted that attacking Gaza would only make Hamas more popular and result in an increased barrage of rockets fired Israel’s way. They also advocated talking with Hamas and acquiescing to their demand for a free-flow of goods into Gaza from open borders in Israel and Egypt.
    Obviously, once again, the critics were mistaken. As a result of the three week campaign, the scores of rockets launched at Israel everyday have now dwindled to just a few a month (actually its mostly mortar fire not rocket fire). Hamas’s weaponry has been depleted and if they become too aggressive again they can be neutered again. Hamas once said it would only stop firing rockets if the borders were opened to the free-flow of goods; well the rockets have stopped and the borders are locked tighter than ever. Israel will decide when to open its border according to its assessment of its own interests. When will the border with Egypt be opened? Nobody knows, but the best guess is when Hamas accedes to the humiliating terms being demanded by Egypt for Hamas to join a unity government with Fatah. If Tom Friedman is to be believed, the popularity of Hamas is plummeting in Gaza and the popularity of Fatah is rising in the West Bank and Gaza. Whether or not this is true, two things are clear; Fatah is dismantling the Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank and arresting Hamas activists at will and the main patron of Hamas, Iran is deeply preoccupied with other issues. From a military point of view, it’s hard to imagine the attack on Gaza being more successful.
    Israel’s critics suggested that Israel’s behavior was empowering the most radical elements in the Middle East. They assured us that the rise of Hamas and Hezbollah was a reasonable and entirely foreseeable response to Israeli aggression and they insisted that the most recalcitrant elements of Arab Society were also the most popular. We were reminded again and again that Hassan Nasrallah was the most popular leader in the Arab world.
    The only problem is that the critics were wrong again. During the Lebanese elections held last month the Hezbollah/Amal/Aoun coalition was repudiated by the majority of Lebanese. Yes, the coalition got the majority of the Shia vote, but they received virtually no votes from the Sunnis, no votes from the Christians and no votes from the Druze. Despite the widespread expectation that the Hezbollah coalition would be victorious, it won no more seats in the current Parliament than it had in the last Parliament. Apparently the majority of Lebanese don’t want to resist the Israelis; they want peaceful coexistence with the Israelis. And perhaps most galling to Israel’s critics is the fact that it’s the United States most Lebanese want to align with; not Iran.
    And speaking of Iran, when it comes to failure of vision by the Israel critics, here’s the pies de resistance. Many of these critics assured us that Iran was the best model for the Arab world; that if not a full democracy it was an incipient democracy where the “will of the people” played a role in shaping government policies. Certainly, the assured us, it wasn’t like those autocratic Sunni Arab nations that were contemplating some type of compromise with Israel. Of course the implication was that the Khameni/Ahmadinejad policy of resistance to Israel and to the United States had popular support.
    But this was just another failure of intellect and imagination by the critics. As recent events have demonstrated, Iranians don’t want to define their nation’s aspirations as leader of the resistance to Israel. The nation they most want to align themselves with is the United States. The only way the conservative Mullah’s could maintain power is by using brute force against their own people in such a violent fashion that had any Sunni Arab government behaved this way; these same critics of Israel would have been up in arms.
    So, Questions, I don’t know about the veracity of the Suez or Saudi stories. But I do know this; the Middle East has changed in profound ways. The current discussion in Lebanon is once again about how to disarm Hezbollah. If a coalition government is to be formed by the Palestinians, it will be Abbas in the leadership role and Mashaal and Haniyah bringing up the rear. And the idea of an empowered Iran or a Shia resurgence has now been laid to rest.
    What all of this proves is that there are a lot of people who need to rethink their strategic point of view about the Middle East. Of course, like all of us, they are deeply attached to the narratives they have invented in their own heads.
    After being proved wrong so often, its time for them to come up with a new narrative they can believe in.

    Reply

  104. ... says:

    twisted logic… they are ‘our’ friends and those ‘others’ aren’t… we have a few salespeople at twn they try hard to peddle this same bs regularly…
    lets alter bidens comment to reflect his twisted logic “i will not stand in ‘someones’ way if ‘someone’ believes ‘assassination’ is needed to eliminate bidens attitude, the poster… said on Sunday, during ‘commentary at twn’.
    he wouldn’t like it… why would he advocate this type twisted logic to others???

    Reply

  105. PissedOffAmerican says:

    One other comment about the Israeli submarine thing.
    If in fact the Israelis did provocatively and antagonistically navigate a nuclear armed submarine through the Suez Canal, why are we (the White House) silent about it? We are certainly vocal enough in condemning the provocative actions of North Korea, aren’t we? How does Israel’s submarine stunt contribute to the de-escalation of hostilities in the Middle East? Is such a move constructive, or just one more effort to further widen the chasm they seek to create, making diplomatic engagement with Iran impossible?
    Again, in condemning the North Korean’s threatening military posturing, while ignoring that of the Israelis, is just one more blatant example of the double standard that is the hallmark of current American foreign policy.
    The message the N.Koreans were sending was “We can reach you”.
    The message the Israelis were sending was “We can reach you”.
    Do either of these messages differ in their inflammatory and antagonistically threatening nature?

    Reply

  106. David says:

    Whatever the gamesmanship involved, what Joe Biden said is both appalling and very dangerous. Were Israel to strike, they could state quite correctly that it was with US acquiescence. It amost surely has already undercut Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world. Israel is in the driver’s seat, and has apparently been handed the US portfolio for the Middle East. This is not good.
    Whatever the rationale and whatever the arguments for Israel as our key ally in the Middle East might be, for the future of the Middle East and US-Middle East relations, contemporary Israel is an albatross, an arrogant, defiant, totally self-serving, expansionist albatross for whom the Palestinians are, in the words of any number of Israeli hardliners, cockroaches.
    We have zero influence over them, they have total influence over us. It is apparently that appallingly simple. And to anyone who attempts to link my comments to some sort of anti-semitism just because I do not consider Israel above criticism, go Cheney yourselves.
    Bill Kristol must be delighted at this turn of events. Maybe we could make Dick Cheney our special envoy to the Middle East. This is as stupid as when Jimmy Carter, who has since become a champion for justice in the Israeli-Palestinian nightmare that just keeps recurring, backed bin Laden et.al. as part of the strategy of turning Afghanistan into the Soviet Union’s Viet Nam. What in god’s name does Joe Biden think an Israeli attack on Iran would turn the Middle East into?

    Reply

  107. ... says:

    usa invaded iraq as well, just for the record… the usa has a sickening history when it comes to intervention and ‘my way or the highway’ attitudes.. some posters here seem to reflect this attitude automatically without any ‘question’… questions appears to fall into the same category.. so much for the name!

    Reply

  108. JohnH says:

    Like questions said, “a lot of politicos around the world would like to add external pressure to the internal pressure on the current ruling structure in Iran.”
    For what purpose? That is the question.
    What exactly do they want Iran to do? US belligerence toward Iran has been going on since, well, the Iranian people threw out the US lackey, the Shah. The US imposed sanctions years before all this nuclear hype (the issue du jour) and froze $12 billion of Iranian assets which they refuse to return. And the US has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to NED and the CIA for the purpose of regime change.
    In the last 30 years the US has invaded Grenada and Panama, and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. In the meantime, has Iran invaded anyone? No.
    Yet the foreign policy mob and their fellow travelers abroad insist that it is the Iranians who are doing the threating!
    Pul-leez!
    My reading is that the US wants Iran to drop its defenses, bend over, and take it in the rear, like the good lackey they’re supposed to be. And a few other nasty little countries, like Israel, would like to make it into a gang bang.

    Reply

  109. ... says:

    questions, the usa could start in it’s own backyard… it would be very unlike it’s zealous nature, i’ll admit and you seem to want to further that then the former..

    Reply

  110. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ironic, isn’t it, that Wig-wag gloats so easily about the fact that Israel is the one rattling the nuclear saber in the Middle east? Lets assume that the Israelis are telling the truth, and the Egyptians are lying about the sub. (Thats the politically correct assumption, isn’t it? Israelis; honest, Muslims; liars?)
    So in effect, isn’t provacative moves, like navigating a nuclear armed submarine through the Suez canal CONTRIBUTING to the nuclear arms race in the Middle East? If Israel is committing such acts, iot is THEY that aqre threatening nuclear confrontation, particularly considering that Iran DOES NOT have nuclear weapons at this time. Factor in the fact that the new IAEA chief has stated that there IS NO EVIDENCE OF AN IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM, and it becomes painfully obvious that it is ISRAEL that is the chief antagonist, and that it is ISRAEL that is responsible for driving the Iranians towards the development of nuclear weapons, if in fact that is the direction they are headed.
    It is increasingly obvious that this racist little back stabbing vicious regime in Israel, who kill, maim, and detain American citizens with impunity, is the truly destabalizing factor in the Middle East, and if any one factor can be blamed for nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, it is Israel’s nuclear atrsenal, and the antagonistic and threatening manner in which Israel flouts its power.

    Reply

  111. questions says:

    Simplifying words to leave out the guesswork — if I’m right in my interpretation — would fail to do what we seem to want to do which is to topple Ahmadinejad in a far better way than how we toppled Saddam Hussein.
    Now, of course, “toppling” dictators, toppling elected rulers, toppling just about anybody is questionable, but rather than get into that whole mess, I’d rather focus just on the current Iran situation.
    There’s a pretty clear widespread domestic discontent with the current rule. It looks like there was significant fraud in the election. It looks like Moussavi might be easier to deal with. And we know that invasions and bombings are bad bad bad.
    What would work better for US national interests (and maybe now you can see why I have problems with this concept) would be for Ahmadinejad to be sidelined. So the double talk is actually war-avoiding rather than war-mongering.
    This only if my interpretation is correct. OTOH, Biden is indeed Biden.

    Reply

  112. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Oops, sorry, heres the link….
    http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1097643.html

    Reply

  113. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Egypt denies Israeli sub sailed Suez Canal
    By Reuters and Haaretz Service
    A senior Egyptian security official on Saturday denied reports that an Israeli submarine had sailed the Suez Canal last month as part of a naval drill.
    “Egypt does not allow Israeli warships to enter our territory,” Army Radio quoted the official as saying.
    On Friday, defense sources reported that an Israeli submarine had sailed the Suez Canal to the Red Sea last month, describing the unusual maneuver as a show of strategic reach in the face of Iran.
    Israel has long kept its three Dolphin-class submarines, which are widely assumed to carry nuclear missiles, away from Suez so as not to expose them to the gaze of Egyptian harbormasters.
    The Egyptian official said Saturday that Cairo did not, nor will it in the future, offer Israel logistic assistance in its efforts to attack Iran.
    continues….
    Who knows what the “truth” is? The only given here is that to Wig-wag, questions, Franklin, etc, the only “truth” is the depictions of events, true or not, that advance their political agenda.
    Where are the pictures of this sub passing through the Suez canal, on the surface, as alleged? Does Wig-wag expect us to believe such an event would not be extensively photographed by the media?

    Reply

  114. ... says:

    questions, simplifying words to leave out the guesswork is the way to go… no war or support for war is a straight forward communication which lacks the aggression the usa has become known for.. the usa is a warmongering country at this point and i wish it was different.. his words are like condoning violence… in most other contexts it would not be acceptable… it isn’t here either..

    Reply

  115. questions says:

    …,
    Always remember Biden is Biden. It’s hard to tell if it’s good cop/bad cop or not. It’s always hard to tell with Biden.
    And it’s possible that what’s really going on is that a lot of politicos around the world would like to add external pressure to the internal pressure on the current ruling structure in Iran. Biden’s mouth may be serving a purpose, along with the Saudi airspace story. Just makes it that much less comfortable for Ahmadinejad’s supporters in the government.
    But this is all guesswork on my part.

    Reply

  116. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The correct question, Bart, would be to ask what the reaction would be if the Iranians were holding a former US Congresswoman after kidnapping her off the high seas, illegally confinscating the Cyprus flagged vessel she was on, and illegally detaining her after trying to coerce a false confession out of her.
    One thing is for sure, these people like Franklin would be braying like freshly gelded donkeys; screaming for Iranian blood.

    Reply

  117. ... says:

    definition of a warmonger : The US will not stand in Israel’s way if Israel believes military action is needed to eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat, Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday, during an interview with ABC’s ‘This Week.
    it is hard to respect the usa in any way shape or form when one of it’s leaders comes out and says this…

    Reply

  118. questions says:

    WigWag,
    Nico Pitney on HuffPo discusses the Saudi airspace thing and doesn’t think it’s corroborated. He locates it in the UK Times and finds that source to be pretty suspect. So don’t bank on it til it makes the rounds of all the papers who merely repeat one another’s rumors!

    Reply

  119. questions says:

    Franklin!! Thanks. Futile, but as some web comic puts it, I can’t get to sleep because there’s a mistake on the internet. (Tried just now to find this one on xkcd, but I have failed. I’m still pretty sure it’s xkcd, but I have the tag wrong.)
    POA writes:
    What information do you have that the FreeGaza website was “likely not down because of Israeli interference”?
    questions replies:
    Well, it’s more of a surmise. 1) The site didn’t work one day, and then it was back up again. I have this problem with plenty of other sites at various times. 2) There’s no mention of Israeli interference on the site. You’d think that they might have said something. 3) There were postings dated the day that the site was allegedly down. This would suggest that they had no idea that the site was down and no problem posting material. So then I think, maybe there was something else going on, some fairly standard tech issue. But I’m not a computer/website technician.
    So maybe Israel actually set it up so that the Free Gaza people had no idea that their site was down. And Israel blocked any and all readers from being able to communicate with the site sponsors to let them know there was a problem. And Israel suddenly after a day or two decided to let the site go back up, but blocked any postings that made mention of problems. Or maybe not.
    POA writes:
    Describe for us exactly what the “act of civilian disobedience” was.
    Civil disobedience is a willful violation of a law as a direct challenge to the validity of that law. It is a direct undermining of the rule of law.
    If Israel is maintaining a blockade of nation in compliance with laws of war, or at least with something like tacit international approval, then to attempt to violate that blockade would seem to me to be an act of civil disobedience.
    Now if you want to split hairs and say there’s nothing “legal” about Israel’s blockade and so civil disobedience is the wrong term for what the relief boat people were doing, fine. I would guess a court needs to weigh in on this point.
    And if you want to insist that they were in international waters and so could not have violated any laws, and they were not intending to cross into controlled waters and so were not intending to violate borders, then fine. But if they weren’t going to enter Gaza, what were they doing with all of the “crayons for children”?
    In all likelihood, they were intending to cross a quite probably legal even if awful blockade. In all likelihood, they were going to cross into controlled waters, or possibly did cross. In all likelihood, they were planning what we generally call “civil disobedience.” When you commit an act of civil disobedience, you generally want to be arrested so that the arrest becomes a stain on the arresting power. It’s a clever tactic, and is likely what McKinney was planning for.
    Note that in the US, if you merely HAVE lock picking tools, it is assumed that you are planning to use them (to the best of my non-existent legal knowledge) and I think you can be arrested for possession because possession is taken to be synonymous with intent to use. Being in a boat right next to a naval blockade, carrying crayons for children, and in all likelihood, announcing quite publicly that you are intending to go through the blockade and deliver the crayons is probably enough to motivate an arrest.
    POA writes:
    Do you concur with the jackass Franklin that the prisoners were given documents in hebrew to sign because “hebrew is the official language”? If so, you people certainly don’t have much respect for, or faith in, the Israeli Justice System, do you?
    questions responds:
    We jackasses have to stick together!!!
    And as I copy/pasted and linked above, the US does not give translation services to all non-English speakers in the court system. The example from above, from California by the way, allowed the kids to spend time with their abusive father because of a lack of translation services. Not so good.
    I don’t quite understand the last sentence here about not having much respect…. Sorry.
    I do not know if Hebrew is the official language of Israel. “Official language” status is a legal category that entails all sorts of things about the availability of translation services, language instruction in schools, signage in multiple languages (AFAIK English is banned on all commercial signage in the province of Quebec. Perhaps … or arthurdecco could speak to this point.) I do not know if Israel provides legal documents in other languages. I actually do not know if the US allows documents to be filed in other languages or if the US provides translations and requires signatures on the English version. I would assume the latter so that the public documents are always in English, but I did not go to law school, have not ended up on the “wrong” side of a court proceeding, and I speak reasonably fluent English.
    The point of all of this, POA, is that you maintain aneurysm-level outrage at what might actually be pretty commonplace events. You give no context (possibly because you don’t know it any better than I do, but I admit my density, stupidity ignorance and limits all the time. And come to think of it, you admit all of my lackings all the time as well. So we agree on something!)
    I really don’t know if McKinney’s treatment is outrageous or not. I actually don’t feel that I know everything that happened to McKinney. I know that she has exaggerated events for effect (or has perceived them in what I would tend to think is exaggerated fashion — very different points). I have read that she refused to sign the document and will see a judge today. That doesn’t seem inhumane to me. It seems pretty typical. And in the states, maybe she’d have had to wait til Monday or Tuesday to see a judge.
    Also, please note that deportation proceedings are quite possibly handled a little differently from proceedings against citizens. I would think that many Mexicans in the US receive somewhat rougher justice than do the whitest of the white people. But I’ve never been a deported Mexican national either.

    Reply

  120. JohnH says:

    Ratcheting up the bellicosity once again. Exactly who is the threatening whom here?
    Wigwag seems to suggest that everyone now wants to tacitly support an Israeli attack on Iran. But why is this? Is Iran intent on attacking anybody? Apart from a few statements where Ahmadinejad said he wished Israel would vanish from the face of the earth, you would have a difficult time creating an argument that Iran wants to attack anybody.
    Oh sure, Iran exploits Hezbollah and Hamas to annoy Israel. And Iran has shown off some new missiles. And perhaps they’ve got a nuke program. But what does that buy them offensively but retaliation? On the other hand, a few missiles also buys them a modicum of deterrence, particularly when targeted against the world oil supply sitting just across the Gulf.
    And with Iran’s strategic location and vast energy resources, who wouldn’t want to defend themselves against potential looters?
    People need to take a hard look at this ‘attack Iran’ campaign and start asking what’s really behind it.

    Reply

  121. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Why am I thinking that if another ex-Congressperson were being held, say Newt Gingrich for example, he would be home now with his third wife?”
    Its a moot point.
    Like Franklin, Gingrich would not be delivering aid to the Palestinians, he would be shipping white phosphorous to the Israelis so Israel could fry a few more of those nasty degenerate terrorist ragheads.

    Reply

  122. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I’m sure JohnH, Don Bacon, Anon, and Outraged American would fail to appreciate the meaning of the above — for all I know they may be you just typing under a different pen name”
    You really are a major jackass, aren’t you? This crap has been tried before here by your ilk. It didn’t sell then, and its not selling now.
    “Crossed over illegally”…..
    Accusations of anti-semitism….
    Etc….
    Its all bullshit from you, all an effort to steer the debate away from any fault on Israel’s part.
    An act of piracy, on the high seas, an illegal detention and captivity, an effort to coerce the activists into signing untrue documents…..
    And you don’t address ANY of it. You just slime forth with a bunch of horseshit, hoping some of it sticks. Like I said, Franklin, you’re a moral midget, a politically driven bigot whose concern for human rights is transparently fraudulent. Your hypocricy is clearly outlined in your comments, and your every additional comment only underscores the veracity of my observations.

    Reply

  123. Bart says:

    Why am I thinking that if another ex-Congressperson were being held, say Newt Gingrich for example, he would be home now with his third wife?

    Reply

  124. WigWag says:

    More from the “That’s very interesting” department:
    Last week the Egyptians permitted an Israeli Dolphin Class submarine to traverse the Suez Canal on the surface for everyone, espically the Iranians, to see. These Dolphin Class subs donated by Germany can be outfitted with short/intermediate range nuclear tipped cruise missiles.
    Now the Saudis are joining with Egypt in providing assistance to the IDF. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Saudis will permit Israel’s jet fighters to over-fly Saudi Arabian airspace in the event of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.
    The entire world seems to be lining up against Iran. The Iranian people want the regime overthrown; the Europeans are thinking of withdrawing their ambassadors; the Sunni Arab nations hate Iran so much that they’re willing to form a partnership with the nation that has for decades been their biggest adversary; in a clear snub to the Iranians, Bashir Assad of Syria just invited President Obama to visit Syria; Hamas is watching its popularity plummet and Hezbollah just lost the election in Lebanon.
    Well, perhaps Khamanei and Ahmadinejad should look at the bright side; at least they can still count on Hugo Chavez.
    For those who might be interested, here’s the article from today’s Jerusalem Post:
    Jul 5, 2009 4:46 | Updated Jul 5, 2009 15:49
    ‘Saudis would agree to IAF flyovers’
    By JPOST.COM STAFF
    Mossad head Meir Dagan assured Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that Saudi Arabia would allow IAF jets to fly over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Sunday Times reported.
    The British paper reported that Dagan held talks with Saudi officials earlier this year on the topic.
    However, the Prime Minister’s Office issued an official denial on Sunday morning, saying the report was “completely false and baseless.”
    The Israeli media has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert, held meetings with Saudi officials, but the kingdom has denied the reports. “The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source was quoted in the Times as saying.

    Reply

  125. Franklin says:

    POA,
    If I’m interested in reading a Glenn Greenwald column, I’ll go to the source. I don’t need to read a regurgitated, half-baked version.
    Glenn may use emotionally charged language to manipulate his audience, but he at least knows how to frame his arguments.
    As far as the judgment goes anyone schooled in rhetoric can parse your b.s. for themselves. False equivalence, ad hominem, straw men, begging the question, appeal to emotion — your comments are a primer in them.
    Your program is written “[ad hominem][blame the Israelis/Jews][fallacy Xsub1][ad hominem][ad hominem][fallacy Xsub2][ad hominem]”
    I’m sure JohnH, Don Bacon, Anon, and Outraged American would fail to appreciate the meaning of the above — for all I know they may be you just typing under a different pen name.
    Ultimately, it makes no difference. It’s a diversion and a joke. I get it.

    Reply

  126. JohnH says:

    Franklin uses black and white thinking to accuse accuses his opponents of… black and white thinking!

    Reply

  127. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Regardless of the input, or the subject matter, the out-put will be “I blame the jews!” followed by invective.”
    Notice how the jackass slips in the ‘ol “anti-semitism” canard?
    Notice two how he totally avoids the query about his assertions of Abhati’s torture?
    Anyone reading this thread cannot fail to note the despicably dissingenuous manner in which Franklin argues this issue. I despise people like this, they are truly moral midgets using a fiegned concern for human rights to mask a deep seated bigotry against the Muslims, and possessing a purely political agenda that completely trumps any true concern they have for democracy, human rights, or the rule of law.

    Reply

  128. Franklin says:

    questions,
    Your additional points are reasonable, and you clearly demonstrate the argument from another vantage point.
    Unfortunately, you’re dealing with what seem to be AI programs that can only replicate closed loops of thought.
    Regardless of the input, or the subject matter, the out-put will be “I blame the jews!” followed by invective.
    There’s another variant here that runs the program “the military industrial complex is to blame for everything!!!”.
    There’s nothing to engage.
    The exercise in discussion is as predictable as engaging the AI program that’s known as “Rush Limbaugh”. All the riffs are variations on the same theme. The “logic” loop is entirely closed.

    Reply

  129. samuelburke says:

    there are voices crying in the wilderness of the american political captivity…
    http://www.juancole.com/
    This site explains the dire character of the Palestinians’ straits.
    A reader asked what would happen if someone tried to get food aid to Cuba. That person unwittingly underlined how extreme Israel’s policies are, since Russia and others. routinely ship food aid to Cuba despite the US embargo.

    Reply

  130. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What information do you have that the FreeGaza website was “likely not down because of Israeli interference”?
    Describe for us exactly what the “act of civilian disobedience” was.
    Do you concur with the jackass Franklin that the prisoners were given documents in hebrew to sign because “hebrew is the official language”? If so, you people certainly don’t have much respect for, or faith in, the Israeli Justice System, do you?

    Reply

  131. samuelburke says:

    and for those of us that resent the zionist power grab in the good ole u.s.a. and the fear and cowardice that zionist have instilled in our politicians and our media representatives…there is this from non other than Tom Brokaw…
    http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/07/brokaw-says-israelis-can-learn-from-buchenwald-about-their-treatment-of-palestinians.html
    The conversation is obviously changing in the U.S. But I missed this one. It happened at Buchenwald a month ago, Brokaw asked Obama the question. My assiduous coreligionists at CAMERA got it. They’re now trying to give Brokaw a spanking, administer a catechism of Holocaust exceptionalism.
    Tom: Know that many Americans, including many Jews, share your sense that Israelis are visiting upon the Palestinians their uninterrogated rage toward the Germans. (Thanks to Jeff Blankfort)

    Reply

  132. questions says:

    And speaking of slime and the like, why no mention of the fact that the Free Gaza website is back up and was likely not down because of Israeli interference? Now THAT’S insinuation!

    Reply

  133. questions says:

    My “baseless” insinuation is that I said that I don’t know if laws were broken. Now THAT’S and insinuation.
    I’m not an expert in Israeli law, or any other law that might apply to this situation, and on top of that, I have no idea where the boat was when it was either stopped or became a victim of state piracy (if that’s the best term).
    So in my ignorance, I choose not to pronounce. Now THAT’S insinuation and slime.
    Whenever someone doesn’t agree with the precise moral sentiment POA announces, that someone is instantly found guilty of slime, hypocrisy, bad faith, immorality, hasbarism and so on.

    Reply

  134. ... says:

    poa, i 2nd johnh’s 421pm comments towards your comments here.. kudos in pointing out the ongoing hypocrisy..

    Reply

  135. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BTW, Franklin has been quite liberal in his use of the word “torture” to describe the treatment of Abtahi. Perhaps he will share with us his evidence the Abtahi has been tortured? After all, he is in Iran, not Abu Ghraib or Gitmo.

    Reply

  136. プロミス says:

    こんにちは。
    がんばってくださいね。

    Reply

  137. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gee, questions is now blathering some crap about “civil disobedience”. Perhaps after this jackass Franklin clarifies his insinuation that McKinney “crossed over illegally” into Israel, this fog machine questions will tell us what act of “civil disobedience” these activists committed, and how that justifies Israel’s act of piracy. How does one commit an act of “civil disobedience” in a country they are not actually in, or citizens of? Or is he now going to claim they WERE in Israel when they committed this act of “civil disobedience”? That’ll be a fair sized pile of horseshit, won’t it?
    Its actually quite comical reading the despicable manner that both Franklin and questions are arguing this issue. Its amazing how many baseless insinuations they can slime into a paragraph in their quest to muddy the waters.

    Reply

  138. questions says:

    Thanks Franklin.
    Here’s today’s NYTimes on US translation issues in the court system.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/04/us/04interpret.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=study%20finds%20gaps%20in%20aid%20for%20non-english%20speakers%20in%20state%20civil%20courts&st=cse
    “When Maythe Ramirez went to Superior Court in Contra Costa, Calif., for a child custody hearing in 2006, she wanted to tell the judge that her husband beat her and should not be allowed broad visitation rights. The court did not provide an interpreter for her, however, and Ms. Ramirez, who speaks almost no English, could not follow the arcane proceeding, much less participate.
    “It is really as if you are doing nothing in court,” she said in Spanish through an interpreter, “standing still and not being able to explain what’s really happening.”
    Ms. Ramirez, who came to the United States from Mexico, later divorced her husband and had the visitation rules modified with the help of a lawyer from Bay Area Legal Aid, who got her interpreters for other hearings.
    The court system can be a bewildering place for anyone, but it can be terrifying for those who do not understand English. Federal law requires civil and criminal courts that receive federal financing to provide free interpreters for those with limited proficiency in English. But while interpreters are commonly offered in criminal cases, many states do not require the services in all civil cases. The state of California, where Ms. Ramirez’s case was heard, provides interpreters in some civil cases and not others. ”
    *************
    The US isn’t perfect on the translation/court issue either. And since this is often a Spanish language issue, though clearly not always, it has nothing to do with Israel for a change.
    One likely needs to be an expert in Israeli law in order to give a reasonable reading of the level of social fairness in McKinney’s treatment. I clearly lack that expertise.
    And we don’t know if translators/translations were provided.
    (I believe that in the US there have been frequent pushes to make English the official language of the country and to make unavailable any government documents in other languages. This kind of move would institutionalize for all non-English speakers in the US POA’s worst fears for McKinney in Israel.)

    Reply

  139. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Well stated” my ass. You two have one intent, to blame the victim. Never mind an act of piracy committed on the high seas, an illegal captivity and detention, and an attempt to coerce a false statement out of these activists.
    Franklin goes so far as to attempt to marginalize McKinney’s “importance” on the scale of celebrity, as if that somehow excuses Israel’s blatant disregard for international law. “Oh so what, she’s a nobody anyway”. Franklin’s argument is truly despicable, and PERFECTLY underscores the double standard of which I speak, and the shallow contrived concern for “human rights” that these jackass anti-Iran propagandists exhibit. There can be no doubt, reading the selective nature of Franklin’s “concerns” for human rights, that the concern is contrived, shallow, lacking conviction. Franklin’s is a political agenda, and he has already revealed enough in his rebuttals to earn the disdain of any clear and fair minded human truly concerned for human rights and the rule of law.

    Reply

  140. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The same would be true if I crossed illegally into…..blablahblah….”
    Gee, I was unaware these humanitarian activists “crossed illegally” into Israel, Franklin. Care to elaborate?
    Actually, it seems such an untrue confession is EXACTLY what the Israeli jackboots were trying to get these activists to sign. You don’t think maybe thats why they tried to get them to sign the documents despite the fact they couldn’t read them?

    Reply

  141. Franklin says:

    questions, well stated.

    Reply

  142. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Because Hebrew is the official language of Israel, perhaps”
    “The same would be true if I crossed illegally into Mexico, France, Germany, or China. Odds are I would be asked to sign deportation documents that were not in English prior to my deportation”
    Thats pure unadulterated garbage, and you know it.
    There is no sense in debating this with you, because if thats the kind of horseshit you are going to offer, you are just being a dissingenuous ass.
    Are you telling me that the Israeli’s would ask someone to sign documents they cannot read, simply because “Hebrew is the offficial language of Israel”. So tough shit if you can’t read what you are signing, sign it anyway? Hows that stack up in your catalogue of human and legal rights, you jackass?

    Reply

  143. questions says:

    Maybe the issue is the following — is McKinney’s unsigned and refused and possibly translated or maybe not “confession” more akin to a plea bargain in which people routinely plead guilty to things they don’t quite do, or is McKinney’s unsigned and refused and possibly translated or maybe not “confession” more like that which comes from torture.
    Another issue lurking around here is the fact (if it is a fact) that her refusal to sign has led thus far merely to a court date on Sunday so far as I can tell. That is, she was well within her rights to refuse to sign, and she’ll see a judge after the Sabbath.
    Further, I, at least, am unclear about whether or not there was an actual law broken by the aid ship. But people get arrested and detained for crimes they don’t commit quite routinely. That’s what judges and courts and juries and bail bondsmen and courthouse and police station jails are all about.
    And further still, she was probably pretty determined to commit an act of civil disobedience and could easily assume jail/prison time would result. That’s what civil disobedience is all about. There shouldn’t be anything quite so shocking here, any more than there should be for anyone else who, bravely or foolishly, sticks him or herself into a conflict.
    I have some amount of both admiration for and frustration with McKinney. Sometimes her rhetoric is beyond, and sometimes it’s right. But for sure, she knew what she was doing, and pretty likely she’ll be released Sunday (or at least, so I’ve read) and she’ll be shipped back to the US and quite able to narrate her story as she sees fit.
    It’s best to be profoundly indignant when something truly horrible happens and save the intensity for actual horror and not for the occasional small drama. It starts to feel like there’s a wolf being imagined under every street lamp, and it doesn’t help the victims of real injustice — the ones who don’t volunteer their time, but are actually stuck.
    (And note that I posted below somewhere that the Free Gaza website was working fine yesterday. So the disappearance may have been trivial rather than Israeli.)

    Reply

  144. Franklin says:

    Pahlavan,
    Treason is punishable by death in the U.S.
    However, evidence accumulated on the basis of torture is inadmissible in court.
    Additionally, it is illegal to televise “confessions” in the U.S. A trial is OK. A “confession” no. Confessions are a ham-fisted propaganda tool that tends to work best in dictatorships.
    The circumstances surrounding Abtahi’s detention would be considered illegal in the U.S.
    The Abtahi case would be roughly akin to Al Gore being taken into custody and being forced to “admit” to crimes against the state on national TV (presumably with the goal of purging other Dems from the government).
    If one political party did the same in the U.S., it would be a trigger for a civil war.

    Reply

  145. Pahlavan says:

    Can someone elaborate on the use of the word “forced” confession? It seems like a big qualifier to me more than anything else.
    Also, what is the penalty for committing treason agains the United States? If it bears a heavy consequence, then maybe allowing the masses in Iran to determine abtahi’s faith for his action is a better focal point for an argument.

    Reply

  146. JohnH says:

    POA, I have to hand it to you. You have REALLY nailed the hypocrisy here. You can argue all you want about the equivalence between the Abtahi and McKinney cases. But the fact is that both were jailed for their political views and both were asked to sign false confessions.
    The difference is that one is an Iranian, whom our government, media and foreign policy mob care deeply about. The other is an American citizen and former Congresswoman that they don’t care about at all. The only thing that is important to them is protecting the reputation of one criminal government and demonizing that of another.

    Reply

  147. Franklin says:

    Why would Israel ask people to sign documents written in Hebrew? Because Hebrew is the official language of Israel, perhaps.
    The same would be true if I crossed illegally into Mexico, France, Germany, or China. Odds are I would be asked to sign deportation documents that were not in English prior to my deportation.
    More to the point: McKinney states NOWHERE that she was deprived of a translator. She simply states that the documents were not in English.
    Based on multiple sources — including interviews with independent media and family members, the people taken into custody from the “Spirit of Humanity” explained why they were were taken into custody and what the charges were.
    So clearly someone in their group someone either understood Hebrew, or they were presented with a translator who explained the charges to them.
    I realize that I am guilty of letting you hijack this discussion thread with a non-sequitor about Israel as well as indulging your anti-Israel mono-mania.
    Linking McKinney’s case to Abtahi’s is truly perverted in my view, because the circumstances and facts at stake are wildly divergent.
    Two wrongs don’t make a right; and not all wrongs have the same equivalence. I have spoken my peace on this issue.

    Reply

  148. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What crock of shit, Franklin.
    I’ll ask you again, WHY WOULD ISRAEL ASK A GROUP OF PEOPLE TO SIGN STATEMENTS THEY CAN’T READ?

    Reply

  149. Franklin says:

    The McKinney to Abtahi analogy is what I’d consider asinine.
    It falls under the “false equivalence” fallacy. It does not hold.
    It’s like saying that rape is a form of consensual sex. Perhaps some people believe this. I don’t.
    McKinney is in no real danger.
    She is being held in a detention center. She had access to outside communications and family almost immediately after her detention. Tomorrow she will have a case before a judge and and will undoubtedly be returned soon. She will likely be held for fewer than 5 days.
    We will not see a tear-filled confession by her on state TV elicited under torture with her stating that she “welcomed being defrocked and confessed to provoking people, causing tension and creating media chaos.” In all likelihood she will not be executed for her actions on the basis of trumped up charges.
    The comparison is noxious.
    There are worse incidents committed by the Israeli state on a regular basis against the occupied population in Palestine. In comparison to that McKinney’s detention is trivial. It’s a PR stunt.
    She even had a camera crew in tow as if to underscore the point.
    The McKinney story is getting little media coverage, because she is a marginal public figure. If the incident involved another two-term member of the House it would probably receive the same level of attention. Had this been Oprah, then it would receive a much, much higher profile.
    In contrast Abtahi’s forced confession is also not receiving much attention in western media.
    On the other hand, on Iranian state TV in the UK McKinney is receiving plenty of attention, but the torture of a former Iranian VP under a popular president like Khatami is not.
    More false equivalence.

    Reply

  150. David says:

    Israel is certainly rubbing its defiance in our faces, and essentially telling the whole world to go Cheney itself. Sad that we continue to be passive parties to Likudworld.
    And to conjoin Sarah Palin’s story, which is getting major coverage, and Cynthia McKinney’s, which is not: Sarah Palin is a beauty queen/erstatz fighter and Cynthia McKinney is a reality-based political activist/gutsy fighter. Palin is appearance, McKinney substance. I cannot speak to what were portrayed as imprudent outbursts when she was a congresswoman, especially the one involving the security guard. I do know that when she speaks and/or acts, she tends to be far more fact-based and morally justified than her critics.
    This incident between her humanitarian group and Israeli thugs ought to be the subject of media outrage, but I am not holding my breath. I just hope humanitarian groups keep challenging the criminal abuse of Gaza by the Israelis, the larger the groups and more inclusive of high-profile international champions of human rights, the better.
    We were justly appalled by the crimes against humanity committed by the Third Reich. We should be appalled by all crimes against humanity, but I suspect we are still too close to what we did to Native Americans, and more recently American apartheid. We can apparently reject American apartheid, but we still cannot as a nation be truly appalled by what we did, nor can we stop exploiting the Navajo, whose resevations include sources of uranium ore, and so outrage at crimes against humanity are still targeted according to political considerations, not basic universal human values.
    Cold-blooded “realpolitik” Israeli rightwingers are in the driver’s seat at the moment, in no small part due to horribly misguided suicide attacks by outraged Palestinians, attacks which Likud and company have exploited for very narrow political goals, most importantly the continued de facto annexation of the Occupied Territories through relentless expansion of the settlements.
    Justice has nothing to do with modern Israeli policies regarding Palestine, and I suspect it never will. Either the rest of the world demands just solutions or Israel will simply continue its conquest of Palestine, taking its choicest land, its water, and its natural gas. Pretty much a standard historical pattern of behavior “in the national interest.” From what moral platform can the United States actually oppose it?
    This is not a rhetorical question. It is a question I think we must honestly answer.

    Reply

  151. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If Abtahi was in the same situation as McKinney right now, I suspect he would count himself as VERY, VERY lucky”
    What an asinine statement.
    So, you agree with the Israeli’s treatment of McKinney, or you are just treading water trying to come up with something to say that takes the emphasis off of Israel’s illegal kidnapping of a former United States Congresswoman?
    Tell me Franklin, why would the Israeli Gestapo give these people documents to sign that they can’t even read?

    Reply

  152. Franklin says:

    If Abtahi was in the same situation as McKinney right now, I suspect he would count himself as VERY, VERY lucky.

    Reply

  153. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “We hope that Abtahi is soon released and has the opportunity to further work for reform inside the Islamic Republic of Iran despite the so-called “confessions” that the state has wrung out of him”
    McKinney refuses to sign document to win release
    By RHONDA COOK
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Saturday, July 04, 2009
    With Cynthia McKinney due to appear in an Israeli court Sunday, the mother of the former congresswoman decided to skip a weekend family reunion in Alabama just in case State Department officials need any documents to get her released from jail.
    McKinney has been in custody since Tuesday when she and 20 others were swept up by the Israeli Navy while allegedly trying to sail through a navy blockade. The group says it was attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza.
    The formidable one-time lawmaker and the rest of her group could have been released soon after they were taken into custody but they refused to sign a document admitting they violated Israel’s blockade. All will be held at least until Sunday, when they are to appear in court.
    “I didn’t go [to the family reunion] because I didn’t know if they needed special papers for Cynthia, like a birth certificate,” Leola McKinney said Saturday. “I wanted to be in place.”
    Leola McKinney said she had not spoken with her daughter since shortly after she was taken into custody on Tuesday. “I don’t even know where she is or who she’s with,” Leola McKinney said.
    Cynthia McKinney and other members of the “Free Gaza Movement” left Cyprus Tuesday on the Greek-registered ship Arion.
    Their ship was stopped when they tried to pass through the Israeli Navy’s security blockade at Ashdod. The group was taken into custody and their ship was seized. Israel officials promised to deliver by ground all of the humanitarian supplies that were on the boat.
    Family, friends and supporters say Cynthia McKinney believed she was in international waters and was free to pass.
    “The Israelis hijacked us because we wanted to give crayons to the children of Gaza,” Cynthia McKinney said in a recorded statement delivered via telephone and posted on the internet site YouTube [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkPvzSZRuDo]. .
    The office of the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta said in a statement released Friday, “According to Israeli law Ms. McKinney and her fellow crew members were suggested to sign a form acknowledging their deportation… Since Ms. McKinney has refused to do so, she is expected to appear before an Israeli judge on Sunday, July 5, and afterwards be returned home as soon as possible.”
    continues……
    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2009/07/04/mckinney_israel.html
    Darkness in Israel.
    Now why do you ask a group of people to sign papers that they cannot read or understand? There is only one reason for that action, and that reason is to get these people to sign a document that they would not sign if they could read the content.
    Israel’s actions here are criminal, and this double standard we are witnessing from our media, from the Washington insider think tank blogosphere, and from our government, is despicable and transparent in its hypocricy and agenda driven pseudo-concern for law, human rights, and democracy.
    Any concern or disdain for human rights violations, across the globe, ring hollow and shallow when they are so selectively administered, underscoring their foundation in political agendas.
    When Bush was President, I didn’t think this nation could sink much lower. But Obama has taken us to a new low, clearly and unabashedly showing the world that we are a nation that is unwilling to prosecute criminals in our midst, unwilling to hold our leaders to the promises that grease the skids to the White House, and unwilling to stand up for our citizens abroad when they fall victim to the fascist crimes of a racist foreign power that holds an entire people hostage to its murdreous whims.
    This international incident has underscored our subservience to a racist and brutal regime that we finance and support at our own peril, and to the diminishment of our standing in the world community. More than ever, I am ashamed of what we have become, and I loathe the openly shallow, hypocritical, and contrived rhetoric coming out of the White House about human rights and the advancement of democracy.

    Reply

  154. ... says:

    when is the usa going to release those it threw in its gulag down in cuba called gitmo?? i bet ya’ll are concerned about that too….

    Reply

  155. JohnH says:

    If we’re really concerned about “Darkness at Noon,” there are plenty of offending countries, including ones that the US government happily supports with massive amounts of aid.
    http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/07/03/us-colombian-soldiers-innocent-cash/
    If we’re really concerned about “Darkness at Noon,” the US government could do something about the reprehensible behavior of its allies, where the it presumably exercises the most influence and could actually do something about it.
    But I suspect we’re not really concerned about “Darkness at Noon” at all, unless it happens to occur in regimes the US opposes. Then it’s useful to the US agenda to invoke freedom, democracy, and human rights.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *