MEDIA ALERT: Rachel Maddow Show on Basiji Hunting


Rachel Maddow MSNBC Bar.jpg
I will be appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show tonight about 9:15 pm EST discussing with Rachel some of the things that protesters in Iran are doing to put the feared and violent basij security forces on edge and how some groups are organizing a capacity of domestic insurgency inside Iran.
This picture was snapped when Rachel Maddow was serving bar at “Rachel’s” at the MSNBC After Party following the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner Friday night with Barack Obama.
I get the photo credit.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons


10 comments on “MEDIA ALERT: Rachel Maddow Show on Basiji Hunting

  1. jjkyle says:

    The most interesting things to emerge from the Iranian crisis
    so far are the surprising swell of protests in Teheran last week
    and the reports of basiji-hunting that Steve has jumped on.
    What ignited the protests? A lack of politics and a fatal
    exposure of K and A’s banal nakedness in the face of ragingly
    popular technologies like twitter, straight texting, facebook and
    that almost quaint email. K and A zipped up their game too soon
    like a bunch of neanderthals, betraying an unforgiveable tone-
    deafness to the culture they’re supposed to be in charge of.
    Gone are the days when you can command respect and not
    know how how to answer your cellphone, let alone text. Granted,
    we still have senators in this country who know neither, but
    they’re ducks waiting to die or get picked off.
    If K and A had rolled out a slick, social network inclusive,
    satellite dish media spectacular election finale with multi-
    layered tension, expectancy and late-night ‘this just in’s they
    would have stolen the show.
    I’m perfectly willing to accept that K and A legitimately won
    by their landslide of 62 %. Problem is, it is widely perceived that
    they didn’t, mainly because of the mechanical, outmoded style of
    their claim of victory.
    Victory means popular perception, not just fact and fiat.
    Picture a perfectly nice young woman who says ” excuse me, but
    what?” Or a young man: “Are you shitting me?” These are initial
    reactions to K and A’s Great Bumbled Election.
    It gets juicier because massive protests ensue due to
    perceived incompetence of supposedly winning leadership. Pre-
    dictably, Basiji, semi-vigilante goons, appear on the scene,
    beating people up with clubs, ambushing late night protest
    stragglers, perhaps killing them and generally behaving like
    repressive organs of the state. They seem to be clones of
    Ahmedinejad, as if he could run off a few thousand replicates of
    himself and go out and kick butt. They even go so far as to
    shoot a perfectly harmless, uninvolved young woman dead on
    the street.
    Yet the basiji, as fearsome and unassailable as the old guard
    in every country likes to portray them, are being counter-
    victimized. Gangs of heretofore unradicalized young Iranians, as
    good or better than the basiji on bikes,and perhaps not even all
    male, form to hunt these basiji down where they cluster,
    breaking them up and taking them out.
    It sounds like a video game or out of Star Wars.But as much
    as I can see the point of Meir Dagan, M K Bhadrakumar or for
    that matter the Leveretts, namely that K and A are awesome in
    their control and have won a new ultimatum, I don’t buy their
    hopes that matters will stay within the scope of their
    understanding, or are even there now.


  2. JamesL says:

    Bhadrakumar calls the ‘color’ revolution as fizzling too soon. Permanent overt repression is not a stable state.


  3. wonderful says:

    Mr. Clemons,
    THANK YOU. You are such a refreshing, smart voice on Rachel’s show. Your not full of that snarkiness that so many others are full of. I really learned something from you and sense that you are a very decent man. I will watch Rachel Maddow now more often because she had the good sense to have you on. Many thanks for showing Americans what smart and nice can mean in just a few minutes.


  4. samuelburke says:

    But that was not the whole story. Washington has been attempting to overthrow Iran’s Islamic government since the 1979 revolution and continues to do so in spite of pledges of neutrality in the current crisis.
    The US has laid economic siege to Iran for 30 years, blocking desperately needed foreign investment, preventing technology transfers, and disrupting Iranian trade. In recent years, the US Congress voted $120 million for anti-regime media broadcasts into Iran, and $60-75 million funding opposition parties, violent underground Marxists like the Mujahidin-i-Khalq, and restive ethnic groups like Azeris, Kurds, and Arabs under the so-called `Iran Democracy Program.’
    The arm of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, remains withered from a bomb planted by the US-backed Mujahidin-i-Khalq, who were once on the US terrorist list.
    Pakistani intelligence sources put CIA’s recent spending on `black operations’ to subvert Iran’s government at $400 million.
    According to an ABC News investigation, President George Bush signed a `finding’ that authorized an accelerated campaign of subversion against the Islamic Republic. Washington’s goal was `regime change’ in Tehran and installation of a pro-US regime of former Iranian royalist exiles.
    While the majority of protests we see in Tehran are genuine and spontaneous, Western intelligence agencies and media are playing a key role in sustaining the uprising and providing communications, including the newest electronic method, via Twitter. These are covert techniques developed by the US during recent revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia that brought pro-US governments to power.


  5. JohnH says:

    Infatuation with basij hunters is a two edged sword. If applied to other people in similar circumstances–Palestinians (against settlers), Iraqis, Afghans–it could justify actions the US government does not like. Is resistance to government police and their paramilitaries really something that the US foreign policy circles want to advocate? Or are we just applying another double standard–it’s good to resist when the US doesn’t like the regime, bad when we do?


  6. Dan Kervick says:

    Is there a “revolution” taking place in Iran? If so, that revolution is an unusual one. It has no publicly identified leader; no publicly identified command organization or front; no publicly identified doctrines or demands or aims. There is clearly a movement of some kind that has brought people out into the streets. But at this point it would be hard to describe that movement as revolutionary.
    Mousavi is the ostensible head of the movement, but he does not look like a revolutionary leader. His movement appears to have as its aim the annulling of the disputed election results and the holding of a re-vote. It may also have as its aim some re-organization and reform at the top of the regime. Beyond that, the movement seems aimed at restoring the fortunes of the reformist movement of the late nineties, and bringing the “left Islamists” back into power through the same democratic means that worked to elect Khatami the first time.
    Some western observers seem to think it was only to be expected that the Iranian election would be perverted by massive fraud. But this should actually be surprising to us. In the past, the clerical establishment has limited democratic aspirations mainly by disqualifying undesirable candidates from elections. But once they have allowed candidates to run, the elections themselves haven’t been that controversial. Khatami won twice despite significant clerical opposition. The collapse of these procedures through transparent fraud directly assaults the the constitutional order, and undermines the legitimacy and political foundations of the IRI. It seems strange and desperate that it should have been allowed to happen.
    One possible outcome of the protest movement, then, is that the election is annulled and a well-supervised re-vote takes place that delivers an uncontroversial winner. No matter who wins, this result would be most accurately portrayed as a restoration of the previously existing order and the defeat of an extra-constitutional reactionary putsch. Some reshuffling at the top might take place, but within the established constitutional bounds. And if a determination is made that Ahmadinejad was personally involved in fraud, he may be disqualified from running so that the winner has a chance of achieving legitimacy.
    A more far-reaching possible result is that significant but orderly constitutional changes are implemented, possibly including some that place more checks in the way of the ability of the Guardian Council to disqualify candidates for office, and make the system more democratic. If these changes are made in line with the Article 177 procedures for amending the constitution, then they would not amount to a revolution.
    A third possibility is that even more deeply significant constitutional reforms take place that threaten or overturn the fundamental principle of Velayat-e Faqih, or are only only dubiously permitted under Article 177. It is barely conceivable that these changes could occur in a broadly peaceful and orderly manner. But it seems more likely that attempts along these lines would call forth significant violence, or even civil war. Yet, the result might still be portrayed by the victors as a purification or perfection of the 1979 revolution and a survival of the Islamic Republic.
    A fourth possibility is a thorough revolutionary destruction of the Islamic Republic, and its replacement by something entirely different. In the absence of some beloved and charismatic leader, it is hard to see how these changes could take place without a revolutionary civil war.
    Despite all the talk so far about the role of new media and social networking technologies in the Iranian protest movement, it is notable how effective the regime has been so far in shutting down traditional reporting and communications, including internet communications. That has made it hard for foreign observers to understand what is going on, and hard for the protesters to formulate a comprehensive agenda, and organize a movement around it. Or at least so it would seem so far. You can’t Twitter or text message a detailed manifesto.
    Is the so-called revolution something that is actually happening in Iran, or something that exists merely in the wishful fancies of western observers?


  7. ... says:

    erichwwk thanks for sharing that article…


  8. samuelburke says:

    i missed the afternoon show …i will deffinitely watch it this evening if its accessible.
    A quote from Stratfor concerning Iran on media fascination with a clouded focus:
    A Question of Support
    This is also what happened in Iran this week. The global media, obsessively focused on the initial demonstrators — who were supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s opponents — failed to notice that while large, the demonstrations primarily consisted of the same type of people demonstrating. Amid the breathless reporting on the demonstrations, reporters failed to notice that the uprising was not spreading to other classes and to other areas. In constantly interviewing English-speaking demonstrators, they failed to note just how many of the demonstrators spoke English and had smartphones.


  9. erichwwk says:

    The latest from M K Bhadrakumar at Asia times online:
    ‘Color’ revolution fizzles in Iran


  10. PoliticalBoy says:

    Steve, you are moving so many things at once. I watched your Iran
    debate and discussion at the New America Foundation online today
    and think it was one of the most interesting and useful discussions
    I have heard on the subject.
    I love Rachel Maddow so much. She is the best, and I’m so glad
    that you are going to be with her tonight.
    Thanks for your common sense leadership and for all the things
    you are pushing at the same time. You are a kind of modern
    wizard, and your friends really appreciate hanging out in your world
    when you let us.


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