Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 14, 2009

Some Dots You May Want To Connect

In any ordinary business, Manucher Ghorbanifar would cut an implausibly mysterious figure. Officially, he has been a shipping executive in Tehran and a commodities trader in France. By his own account he was a refugee from the revolutionary government of Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, which confiscated his businesses in Iran, yet he later became a trusted friend and kitchen adviser to Mir Hussein Mousavi, Prime Minister in the Khomeini government. Some U.S. officials who have dealt with Ghorbanifar praise him highly. Says Michael Ledeen, adviser to the Pentagon on counterterrorism: "He is one of the most honest, educated, honorable men I have ever known." Others call him a liar who, as one puts it, could not tell the truth about the clothes he is wearing.
The Murky World of Weapons Dealers, Time Magazin, Jan. 19, 1987

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On or about November 25, 1985, Ledeen received a frantic phone call from Ghorbanifar, asking him to relay a message from the prime minister of Iran to President Reagan regarding the shipment of the wrong type of HAWKs.
United States v. Robert C. McFarlane, Walsh Iran Contra Report, 1985

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Franklin, along with another colleague from Feith's office, a polyglot Middle East expert named Harold Rhode, were the two officials involved in the back-channel, which involved on-going meetings and contacts with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and other Iranian exiles, dissidents and government officials.
...
The administration's reluctance to disclose these details seems clear: the DoD-Ghorbanifar meetings suggest the possibility that a rogue faction at the Pentagon was trying to work outside normal US foreign policy channels to advance a "regime change" agenda not approved by the president's foreign policy principals or even the president himself.
Iran-Contra II?, Washington Monthly, September 2004

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Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership.
...
“The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.”
Preparing the Battlefield, The New Yorker, July 7, 2008

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The Ukrainian Orange phenomenon was modeled quite explicitly on the example of the Rose Revolution, which featured a disputed election, massive youth-oriented street protests, and plenty of subsidies from U.S. government agencies.
The 'Color' Revolutions: Fade to Black, Antiwar, September 29, 2006

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The Pentagon and US intelligence have refined the art of such soft coups to a fine level. RAND planners call it ‘swarming,’ referring to the swarms of youth, typically linked by SMS and web blogs, who can be mobilized on command to destabilize a target regime.
Color Revolutions, Geopolitics and the Baku Pipeline", Engdahl, (no date)

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Even before the count began, Mousavi declared himself “definitely the winner” based on “all indications from all over Iran.” He accused the government of “manipulating the people’s vote” to keep Ahmadinejad in power and suggested the reformist camp would stand up to challenge the results.

“It is our duty to defend people’s votes. There is no turning back,” Mousavi said, alleging widespread irregularities.
Iran declares win for Ahmadinejad in disputed vote, Associated Press, June 13, 2009

Posted by b on June 14, 2009 at 01:00 PM | Permalink

Comments

So long as maintain a half-assed MoA archive, these past few entries will be memorialized for their spasms of wishful thinking.

I truly don't know what's up with your Ghorbanifar connection. You insinuate Moussavi was an (erstwhile?) lackey of empire because he wheedled weapons from the US and Israel?

Wha?

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 14, 2009 1:31:01 PM | 1

Extra dot to connect:

A former Pentagon analyst who pleaded guilty to passing secret information to two former AIPAC staffers had his sentence drastically reduced.

Larry Franklin was sentenced to probation and 10 months of "community confinement," or a halfway house, along with 100 hours of community service. In 2005 he had received a sentence of 12 1/2 years in prison but was free pending his cooperation ...
Pentagon analyst who leaked info has sentence reduced, JTA, June 12, 2009

Posted by: b | Jun 14, 2009 1:44:10 PM | 2

yes, b. it is just that the Islamic Republic of Iran has inherited a ruthlessly efficient presumably US trained secret service from the Shah. Their secret service is the A-team and much, much better than the CIA in any foreign or local language, or black operation. so what you are digging from the archives, is bound to be known well in Iran and more. And there are loads of Iranians (many more than Israelis) with dual citizenship worldwide. whose loyalties might be either way. The US "covert" action as a matter of fact was quite open and public for everybody who cared to know. Nobody on the Iranian side (or US side) is a fool.
no I think it was what you could see - the business class for a liberal economic system and free international trade, hiring consultants who tried to copy Obama's election campaign.

Posted by: outsider | Jun 14, 2009 2:10:18 PM | 3

I'll write the above up in a story sometime. The piece I do not yet have documented is how Mousavi, suddenly and unexpected by nearly everyone, came out of retirement and ran as the frontman of the scheme.

It is clear that the Iranian authorities detected this scheme a few days ago and thus the revolution guard gave the public warning against any "color revolution" attempt. The shutdown of SMS and some parts of the internet in Iran is the logical counter to the scheme.

Still - the damage in the "western" public eyes has been done and will be used to further war.

Posted by: b | Jun 14, 2009 2:13:56 PM | 4

b, I disagree that this will further the cause of a military attack on Iran. The US' reasons for not attacking are just as valid today as they were when Bush denied an Israeli strike, and are related to Iranian counter-measures much more than the western public.

It does seem to have elements of outside-organized regime destabilization, but the US has been fully aware all along that it would most likely fail, at which point it would move on to negotiations.

My main question is: is Rafsanjani in on it?

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 14, 2009 2:34:17 PM | 5

My main question is: is Rafsanjani in on it?

Hard to know - there are current reports of arrests and Rafsanjani is said to have stepped back form his post. All of these are unconfirmed and I doubt them.

Has Rafsanjani been in on the U.S. regime change scheme - hard to say - he greedy and wants power and may act on that alone.

Posted by: b | Jun 14, 2009 2:52:05 PM | 6

What are the chances that the date is already set for the attack on Iran? As some strange 'coincidence' Netanyahu just made the correct 'sounds' a few hours ago that will be misinterpreted by the western imperialist propaganda machine as an endorsing of the US plans for the two states 'solution'. Just like before the Iraq war Sharon was making similar sounds about the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartet_on_the_Middle_East>'quartet' and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_map_for_peace>'road maps'. One year later Iraq was attacked by the empire.

My guess. Very high.

Whoever said in the previous thread that the international desligitimation of the electoral victory of Ahmadineyad plays on the war scripts may be quite right. The narrative is going to be set against a dictator not an elected president.

The only footage being presented here by the spanish goverment television network (RTVE) from reporters in Teheran about the disturbes shows:

a) Relatively few people for a widespread protests.
b) Not that impressive considering the celebration riots after Barcelona won the Champion's Coup. Very few people can actually do that and much more.
c) Iranian television footage (likely) of Ahmadineyad victory celebration rally with a huge amount of people.

And that was presented as an exclusive, no less, that no other international media could get, and they repeatdly stated that they are being forbidden from reporting (so how are they freely beaming live footage through a satellite and not under 'detention') and hinting to a threat for their safety.

I don't know if the election was rigged. I find a huge victory of Mousavi unlikely. But a complete victory for Ahmadineyad seemed unlikely from the limited information spread in the western media. Of couse we already know how unbiased can this information be. I'm pretty much tired of protest/revolutionary/pro-democracy rallies of rich young universitaries that can only complain about how the limited allowance from their parents prevent them from buying more western provided crap per month being presented as the new coming of the French Revolution.

I'm also puzzled about everything pointing to Khamenei being fully behind Ahmadineyad. I remember reading a couple years ago about him and part of the elite setting Rafsanjani as a counter power by selecting him as Chairman of the Assembly of Experts and Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council of Iran.

I'm pretty sure that the Pasdaran and all other core revolution organizations are 100% behind Ahmadineyad. But how is power actually distributed or shared on Iran between those organizations, the supreme leader and the 'civilian' power centers? The events seems to point to a conflict between two sections of the elite. The rich empresarial elite allied now with the westernized 'reformist' oposition and the militar and religious elites.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 14, 2009 3:47:00 PM | 7

Angry Arab's on Western Imperialism and 'Democratic' Elections:

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2009/06/western-primer-on-elections-in.html>Western Primer on elections in developing countries

Something to consider in this case too.

It's to note that western governments aren't openly challenging, yet, Ahmadineyad victory because such clear endorsing of Mousavi would kill his remaining credibility in Iran.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 14, 2009 3:54:08 PM | 8

RAND planners call it ‘swarming,’ referring to the swarms of youth, typically linked by SMS and web blogs, who can be mobilized on command to destabilize a target regime.

Reads like some of the descriptions of the Democratic Party caucuses. Any real resemblance?

Posted by: rjj | Jun 14, 2009 4:03:12 PM | 9

Thanks, ThePaper. I just emailed your link, along with a few "examples" from the Primer. I knew this whole thing was developing into a crock of shit when the first protests were heard before the election polls were even closed. I must say, the moles really came out of the woodwork around here, didn't they?

Posted by: Jim T. | Jun 14, 2009 4:42:48 PM | 10

From what I gather, Mousavi would shape economic policy so that it's more favorable towards free-market capitalism. But just because he'd want to do this don't necessarily mean he's in favor of turning Iran into a nation ruled by oligarchs, as the US is now doing. If Mousavi is anything like Parviz, and I think he is, I feel very confident that he'll push for economic reforms that will strengthen the social safety net for all Iranians and will downsize welfare for the super-rich.

I also feel very confident, mainly because I trust Parviz's judgment, that Mousavi is the kind of leader who will bring more freedom and civil liberties to Iran and take meaningful steps towards removing religion from government, with the aim to transform Iran into a secular state. I can attest to the fact that it's bad enough being a secularist living in the US where many of its citizens believe that it's their god-given right to use big government, through so-called "faith-based initiatives," to shove religious dogma down our throats. But I imagine that living in a full-blown theocracy as a secularist, as Parviz is now doing, must be living hell. I can't think of anything more oppressive than living in a country, such as Iran, where you can be thrown in jail and possibly even tortured and killed for going against the grain of religious dogma.

Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 14, 2009 4:52:58 PM | 11

Thanks for the Engdahl paper. It does have a date: June 27, 2005.

Sometimes color revolutions just fail. The Engdahl paper places key personnel in China in the run up to the Tiananmen square protests. China is still here, probably stronger for the uprising if anything.

The US really does not have the capabilities of pulling an opposed color revolution off in a Muslim country.

Obama might have thought to sign off on giving one a shot, but even he had to know most likely it would fail, his calculation could only have been that if there is deniability, or even if there is not, he has to talk with, and make concessions to the Iranians afterwards anyway, so why not give it a shot.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 14, 2009 5:09:30 PM | 12

You can see the date of Engdahl in the print version of the page.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 14, 2009 5:11:51 PM | 13

What seems significant to me is that there are checks and balances in the Iranian system that favor the institutional, clerical power. The office of president has been created with circumscribed power. Ahmadinejad has his political base among the poorer classes and is strong on the religious piety that puts him in good standing with the conservatives. Mousavi is probably not the ideal standard bearer of the more liberal aspirations of the young, but could indeed attract a large voter turnout to oust Ahmadinejad from power.

I don't buy the idea that a "color revolution" would have as its aim the removal of Ahmadinejad. Those whose purpose remains to attack Iran would much rather preserve a lightning rod like him. The election of Mousavi is a disincentive for war, and would set back the plans of the militarists. Mousavi would prove a spoiler to the war aims, and make it much riskier in a diplomatic sense, for Israeli leaders to carry out an attack.

Furthermore, I find it incredible that some who are naturally sympathetic to populism, where it has brought real democracy and empowerment to the poor, can identify with Ahmadinejad, who is, in the final analysis, an favored tool of the religious conservatives in that country. Ahmadinejad is quite unpopular in the circles of the young and well-educated, the exuberant masses who made their way to the polls. Iran is an autocratic regime to be sure; and the proof is in the rough stuff on the streets; and there is video of riot goons on their motor bikes, going around whacking heads.

Autocratic regimes, like Iran's clerical institution, are also squelching lines of communication, screwing with internet communications and blocking cell phone traffic.

I really don't understand how the long-standing disgust of young people for overbearing religious police who screw around with couples holding hands, in public places, and the stifling atmosphere of autocracy, can be linked to Ghorbanifar and Michael Ledeen. We have to imagine a contentment with autocratic measures in the hearts of Iranian young people, and believe that the outpouring at the polls was intended to dramatically endorse Ahmadinejad. I don't find it believable; and I doubt that a uniform percentage in this alleged landslide across demographics, and the same percent in rural and urban constituencies is in any degree consistent with experience.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 14, 2009 5:18:48 PM | 14

Since birth rates tend to fall in nations with a growing middle class, it doesn't make any sense to me why Iran, which has a growing middle class, would have such a huge percentage of its population under the age of 30 -- roughly 60%, if my memory serves me right.

Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 14, 2009 5:38:31 PM | 15

"From what I gather, Mousavi would shape economic policy so that it's more favorable towards free-market capitalism. But just because he'd want to do this don't necessarily mean he's in favor of turning Iran into a nation ruled by oligarchs, as the US is now doing. If Mousavi is anything like Parviz, and I think he is, I feel very confident that he'll push for economic reforms that will strengthen the social safety net for all Iranians and will downsize welfare for the super-rich."

Well, "free-market capitalism" means exactly that:oligopoly, the word "economic reforms" is sounding ominous, also is synonymous for the same thing. Society ruled by looters.

I had "luck" to experience, and see the arivall of "free-market economy" in my ex-country.Now, after two decades the country is:ruin, failed/vassal state, jobless and lawless country, without future.Ruled by feudal oligarchy who are just pawn. Real master is IMF and banks from Italy and Austria (German and US capital).

Regardless of interior social structure or type of societal order, today, only REALLY FREE country is one which is out or reach of IMF, WB (read Fed., and Treasury) and the like org., whose currency and bond market (if exist) are out of reach of the Wall Street speculators.

All in all, IMHO - Iranian people, and any other nation for that matter, are better off with theocracy as independent country, then being "liberated" from organization such as IMF and looters aka "investitors".

Swarming - The next new major warfighting doctrine?

The new Gladio in action?

Posted by: balkanac | Jun 14, 2009 7:18:36 PM | 16

Copeland - you start a "colour revolution" in Iran but then reveal it to the conservatives so that they use their considerable resources to stage a counter-coup. That way you retain Ahmadinejad as president and delegitimize him at the same time. Perfect if you want to attack/invade Iran in the near future.

It may already have worked in Gaza - Dahlan tried a coup but the Israelis warned Hamas so that they took action against Dahlan then Israel did not have to "negotiate" with Hamas.

Posted by: blowback | Jun 14, 2009 7:21:14 PM | 17

Re: Extra Dot

Innaresting connection, b. I was wondering why Holder would do such a thing when the whole conspiracy was on tape, a few years worth of tape at that. We either have a case of blackmail by them ("We'll go public and screw you royal.") or extortion by us ("If you don't help us, we'll screw you royal."). The whole thing just screams to be looked at.

Posted by: vachon | Jun 14, 2009 7:28:41 PM | 18

@ blowback:

you have a compelling argument. Say it's true.

Still, what'd be the best way for the Iranian gov to react to such a situation?

IMHO the way is to make sure the elections are fair and transparent, by having representatives of the reformists, and even foreign inspectors (from a neutral country) overlook the process.

Posted by: St | Jun 14, 2009 7:49:10 PM | 19

@blowback

You could be right; and I never know how wary one ought to be. But what you suggest certainly would invest a kind of power in those making the color revolutions that seems nearly omnipotent, as if they can change any government under any set of circumstances. But it seems to me that the office of president in Iran is pretty ceremonial as far as foreign policy is concerned. Iran's stance in the world would not be that different under Mousavi; the aesthetics and rhetoric would seem more conciliatory, but the government will still insist on its legal rights to develop nuclear energy, for instance.

The presidency in Iran seems fundamentally connected to the domestic aspirations of the people. At the heart of this is the liberalization in society which many of the young want to take place. It seems to me that color revolutions, if they are to work, would take place in countries that are a lot weaker and more vulnerable than Iran internally. The autocracy of this country will yield to gradualism only, and really this is all the young electorate could hope for, even given a Mousavi presidency.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 14, 2009 7:52:44 PM | 20

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=arZWLtOviPFc

Posted by: outsider | Jun 14, 2009 9:30:00 PM | 21

Copeland @ 14:

I don't buy the idea that a "color revolution" would have as its aim the removal of Ahmadinejad. Those whose purpose remains to attack Iran would much rather preserve a lightning rod like him. The election of Mousavi is a disincentive for war, and would set back the plans of the militarists. Mousavi would prove a spoiler to the war aims, and make it much riskier in a diplomatic sense, for Israeli leaders to carry out an attack.

So does that mean Obama is planning to start a war with Iran? In case you haven't noticed there are already 2 wars going on and many more covert operations throughout the World. The military can't even man Afghanistan to match what the Soviets had and they are ratcheting up tension in Pakistan to boot. You really think they want to open up another front against Iran? With who's army? With what money?

I predicted a long time ago on this site that there will be no war on Iran. The war mongers lost their nerve in the summer of 2006 in Lebanon. There not talking about war anymore they are talking COIN.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 14, 2009 9:43:03 PM | 22

All that is neither here nor there, b.

The point is whether Ahmadinejad won the election. As this commenter wrote:

"But if Ahmadinejad really did win a clean election, why the shutdown of communications? Why the government control of how media outlets reported? Why the illegally early announcement by The Supreme Leader?"

If he did not, whether there's a link between the true winner (Mousavi) and the neocons is not relevant. So a majority of Iranians may have freely voted for a neocon politician. So where's the problem? Isn't that what democracy is all about?

Posted by: ptw | Jun 14, 2009 9:49:11 PM | 23


Some excellent dots b. I'm still waiting to see anything to show us the charge that the elections have been stolen? MoB, thanks to b real, had an excellent coverage of the Kenyan elections which WERE STOLEN and we had some clear facts to help make our minds up (irrespective of what one thought of the Kenyan regime and a future Raila gov.). I have to say despite the lack of 3rd party international observers so far the dots have connected and the picture of the attempted 'coup' looks like the club Hashemi crowd and their handlers. I'll guess we will see in the coming days.

Posted by: BenIAM | Jun 14, 2009 10:27:14 PM | 24

St - disrupt communications so that the "colour revolution" collapses because it can't organize its supporters and crack a few heads among the supporters particularly when the supporters use violence. No western government would tolerate people on the street throwing petrol bombs at the police so why should the Iranian government?

Copeland - the "colour revolution" is not meant to be successful in the scenario I outlined - it just has to push the government into a crackdown that the western media can present as repression so delegitimizing the real winner.

"But if Ahmadinejad really did win a clean election, why the shutdown of communications?"

Because there was a coup attempt by Mousawi using the techniques used by other colour revolutions. After all Mousawi supporters adopted green as their colour and Mousawi (just like Ahmadinejad) was claiming victory before the polls had closed (but no-one has said what the source for this claim was). Many of the claims of irregular voting practices have originated within the Mousawi camp rather than from third parties so where is the exceptional proof for such exceptional claims. This could be an attempted coup by Mousawi against a legitimate Ahmadinejad victory. One way to disrupt such a coup is to prevent communications among the coup's supporters so the coup collapses.

Posted by: blowback | Jun 14, 2009 10:30:46 PM | 25

Sam @ 22

Well, blowback @ 20 has offered a horrible alternative explanation, which can't be completely discounted. But to answer your question, it depends on who the actors are, or who creates the realities which we are intended to study. No, that doesn't mean that Obama intends to make war on Iran. There may even be a diplomatic incentive to improve relations with Iran; and if you go back to the tangled history of the October Surprise and Iran-Contra, you can suppose that the occult, as opposed to public relationship with Iran, is of a more complex and convoluted nature. Some trade-off, with respect to national interests has been going on, and is still in progress, I guess. Perhaps the Obama administration is focusing on help with supply lines to Afghanistan. The administration may need Iranian cooperation.

The Israelis have harbored some intention to harm Iran. They have no doubt schemed in the direction of getting the US to do the dirty work. They are not opposed to presenting Obama with a fait accompli, attacking Iran themselves, with the expectation of provoking Iranian retaliation on themselves or against US interests. Either response from Iran would greenlight the destruction of Iranian infrastructure by US forces.

Never underestimate the powers of darkness; Hersh never did, and that's why he kept warning us about the impending attack on Iran. It will never be possible to win the war on terror; the only point is to keep expanding the theater of operations. That would be "Afpak" at the present moment in time. The point is not to occupy or invade Iran, but to destroy or degrade it as a significant regional power. And move on.

Whose money? Whose army? Iraq's money. Pakistan's money. Pakistan's army. India's army. God only knows. Give peace a chance. It's not what can or can't happen, Sam. It's about what we will or won't accept.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 14, 2009 10:52:53 PM | 26


still trying to understand what "reform" means to the regular Irani:

-- a more western (party-oriented) democracy minus the mullah-meddling
-- end to state enforcement of Islamic moralities
-- full ascendancy of civil-liberties over state/police goon-regimen
-- end to status-quo of robber-barons/monopolists & their mullah enablers
-- comprehensive crackdown on corruption
-- improved economics via less tenuous/polarized relationship with USA

on the other hand, the powerful public sentiments generated by the intense enmity between the USA/Israel/EU & Iran governments suggests that the fear of USA/Israel/EU hostile intentions may trump any or all of the above in the minds of perhaps a majority of Iranians. And a lot of Iranians are understandably going to factor in whats going on over the border in Iraq & Afghanistan into their consciousness of what Western-agenda favored reforms amount to for a Muslim population.

its also likely that a lot of Iranians also want what most other peoples want everywhere else -- improved overall performance & service-delivery as the dividend of government.

It would be interesting to see a poll.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 14, 2009 11:02:03 PM | 27

@ # 25

You say that communications are being curtailed ... [b]ecause there was a coup attempt by Mousawi using the techniques used by other colour revolutions.

What coup? Seems to me you are turning reality on its head. Ahmadinejad and Grand Ayatollah Khamenei did not play by the rules of the constitution, according to this blogger:

12:50 GMT, Saturday: The leader just sent a congratulation message to the winning candidate, stating his number of votes and thanking the management of the election. He just closed the discussion! and called all those protesting, agents of enemies!! This is exactly against the constitution. The final vote is not yet announced and there are three days for clarification of disputes. This is just outrageous!

Check this!


Posted by: ptw | Jun 14, 2009 11:21:11 PM | 28

Furthermore, I find it incredible that some who are naturally sympathetic to populism, where it has brought real democracy and empowerment to the poor, can identify with Ahmadinejad, who is, in the final analysis, an favored tool of the religious conservatives in that country.

If you had been following Iran's internal politics the last few years, you'd know that AhmadiNejad is hardly the best-beloved of the religious establishment. He gives them lip-service, but has been harshly, publicly reprimanded by Khamenei himself on several occasions.

Thanks, b, for the clear outline of the "color revolution" technique. It's not something i had ever closely considered, and i appreciate the insight you've given about its origins and use.

Regarding Tiananmen: many people over here in Taiwan -- Taiwan nationalists opposed to reunification, i mean -- have long acknowledged CIA and Taiwanese involvement in those protests. As many point out, if you look carefully at the footage from the protests, there are a lot of signs written in traditional Chinese characters; only Taiwan still uses that form of writing, and it was a strange thing indeed to see those signs being held up within a mainland crowd of college students.

That was at about the same time as Korea was brutally murdering tens of thousands of its own students, as they protested in favor of detente with North Korea and an end to military dictatorships -- so at the time, it may have actually been an Asian back-and-forth going on.

@sloth:
Furthermore, I find it incredible that some who are naturally sympathetic to populism, where it has brought real democracy and empowerment to the poor, can identify with Ahmadinejad, who is, in the final analysis, an favored tool of the religious conservatives in that country.

Heh, heh, heh. Do you really think whinging about the archive will detract anything at all from the quality of debate going on, here?

Really, sloth: what is it you object to b's post? Is it the idea that U.S. intelligence services actually, you know, try to destabilize governments through financing and organizing armed revolts, coups, and popular uprisings?

Or is it just that you think U.S. and Western intelligence (Britain MI-6 is no doubt just as -- if not far more -- active in Iran than the U.S. is) is active in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Taiwan, the Philippines, Western Europe, Greece, Lebanon, India, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, the Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Australia, Indonesia, and China --

but not in Iran?

Come, my man -- have another drink. It's time for bed.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 14, 2009 11:23:55 PM | 29

@ blowback

I still don't understand how this is a coup for Mousavi if his only avenue for victory is the actual vote tally. The coup involves stealing the ballot box, as it always has done.

the "colour revolution" is not meant to be successful in the scenario I outlined - it just has to push the government into a crackdown that the western media can present as repression so delegitimizing the real winner.


But the real winner would be Mousavi if he won the votes.


The way the coup really operates, is to bluff a frightened government into aborting the vote count, disenfranchising the voters, whereby it selects the candidate it had chosen to govern the country. The authors of the color revolution thus don't install a president, as they did in Georgia; but compel the target government to violate law and take legitimacy away from its favored candidate.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 14, 2009 11:26:15 PM | 30

Back in February Parvis posted his thoughts on an election betwwen Khatemi and Ahmadinejad and predicted the former would win. (thanx for the link b) Loyal @ 7 contested his assertion and clearly displayed more informed knowledge on the Iranian election scene. He also posted this about Ahmadinejad's popularity:

AhmadNejad enjoys majorly support in small towns and rural areas.

This was Parvis's reply:

Everyone knows that Ahmadinejad temporarily bought popularity in the rural areas, but at what cost? Inflation and unemployment have nullified those gains.

The Iranian Election - An Economic View

If "Everyone knows" that Ahmadinejad is popular why is it so hard to beleive that he got elected?

Posted by: Sam | Jun 14, 2009 11:31:10 PM | 31

china_hand2

Fuck. You mean Khamenei voted for Mousavi?

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 14, 2009 11:52:27 PM | 32

Blowback @ 25: Maybe you didn't get my argument.

If, according to the theory you are proposing, Ahmadinejad and Khamenei got to know about the "green" revolution before the elections take place, why not make sure that the election is transparent and that there are international inspectors verifying the process? Why not being proactive (in a democratic way) instead of reactive?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the orange and rose revolution, there was election fraud. If you think that's the same situation with Iran, then it means there was fraud here too, right?

Posted by: St | Jun 15, 2009 12:05:54 AM | 33

I have no idea who he voted for, but i'm pretty sure it wasn't Mousavi. I don't know much about Iran's culture, but from what i've heard, i wouldn't be surprised if Khamenei kept his mouth shut about all the candidates.

But Khamenei has publicly rebuked Ahmadinejad over a number of issues, most notably his rhetoric towards Israel and his confrontational stance over the nuclear issue.

Ahmadinejad has also been pushing hard to wrest more power for the presidency from the domain of the Supreme Council; it's probably true that Khamenei sees AhmadiNejad as the best option among the candidates, but it's wrong to say that he is the best-beloved and most willing servant of the Supreme Council. Within the context of domestic Irani politics, AhmadiNejad is probably no less a challenger to the SC's power than was Rafsanjani or Khatami; it's just that his inclinations, in most respects, are isolationist, nationalist, and anti-corporate, which puts him in direct opposition to the other "reform" candidates embraced by the U.S. and Israel.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 12:09:38 AM | 34


regardless of whether the Iran election result was rigged or not (we should know in a few days) the reformist movement needs to make adjustments. The USA/Israel neocon agenda set out to forcefully pacify the Middle-East from Lebanon, through Iran and on to Pakistan and its been a massive failure. On the other hand, the Iranian incumbent establishment's goal has been comparatively modest ---- to resist & defend itself against neocon aggression and its been very successful. Plus the repelled Israeli invasion of South Lebanon bought the mullahs/Nejad the kind of cred thats only possible when the planets align in your favor.

its probably not a good idea (from an electoral standpoint) for a reform movement to identify itself or to allow itself to be closely identified with a losing effort (USA/Israel neocons).

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 15, 2009 12:18:21 AM | 35

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the orange and rose revolution, there was election fraud.

You're wrong.

In the Orange Revolution, in particular, there was less voter fraud than there was in the U.S's 2004 election, and far, far less than in the 2000 election.

So unless, based on that, you want to say the U.S. needs to have its own color revolution, then you're flat-out wrong on at least one of those, and probably both.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 12:25:48 AM | 36

It really is curious that the citizens, for the most part, of a country which disenfranchises so many people that its elections, generally, have a turnout of about 30% of adults, expends so much energy in the disection of Iran's far more open and transparent electoral process.

The plain truth is that what has happened in Iran is far less suspicious than what happened in Ohio in 2004. And it isn't close to what occurred in Kenya or Mexico. And let's not even talk about Egypt's elections.

This is the imperialist noise machine again and it ought to be ignored.

Posted by: ellis | Jun 15, 2009 1:00:15 AM | 37


Two great posts b. I was not paying much attention to these elections and was kind of going along with what parwiz was saying before them (albeit with a few uncertainties in my mind). With this controversy, I guess the moles around here have had to come out following their programming (also antifa!)... there is a treacherous blog-sphere out there!!

I hope, b, you get the time soon to write a complete story on this... thank god the attempt failed.

Posted by: a | Jun 15, 2009 1:10:48 AM | 38

Parviz was saying they fucked up his country and stole an election. Antifa was saying it's a coup which he believes is backed by the military. You can see riot goons on bikes cracking heads of protesters. And it's absolute bullshit to say there is less vote fraud than in the stolen US election. The ballot tampering in Florida was bad, but the suppression and falsification of results in a top-down process by the government is a hell of a lot worse.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2009 1:29:18 AM | 39

But Copeland -

"the suppression and falsification of results in a top-down process by the government" is exactly what happened in both Ohio and Florida, during the U.S's 2000 and 2004 elections.

Further, riot police "cracking heads" is what riot police do. They did it in London (where the even killed some poor newspaper seller as he was walking home from work), they did it in New York, Seattle, and they do it in any number of other places in the world, as well (Taiwan and Korea, for instance -- repeatedly -- and nobody ever complained about it happening in either of those places).

The only thing to question is whether or not the riot police should be called out in the first place -- and with Mousavi claiming victory before any of the official returns had come in, is it any surprise that people are rioting?

I have a lot of respect for Parviz -- i really like the guy, and 4 times out of 5 i find myself in agreement with him -- but i really can't say one way or another if his opinions on this are accurate or not, while i'm sure he's pretty pissed about what happened.

I, too, am disappointed -- read my post on another thread -- but really, what's the point in making a big deal out of this election?

Think about that, for a moment: there is only one fucking reason why the western media is making a big deal about this eleciton, and it's this --

Now, Israel and the U.S. can make a case for invasion.

But seriously: how on earth do the events of the last couple of days make a U.S. invasion any more justifiable?

Not one iota. Iran is Iran. The people who live there have their own system, their own culture, and their own problems.

It's none of our fucking business if the election was stolen or not. It's not our oil, it's not our land, and it's not our religion.

And ultimately, no --

the election results in Iran are by no means worse than the election fraud in the U.S, that brought a war-mongering clique to power which then proceeded to initate two major, full-scale invasions that have left millions -- millions -- dead, and scores of millions more injured, displaced, and without any home to speak of. Entire cities were destroyed -- literally wiped off the face of the map -- under the reign of those tyrants, and yet the U.S. public, cowards that they are, raised no hand to stop them, did not prosecute the clearly illegal usurpation of power, and have allowed the perpetrators to remain free, even giving them a high platform from which they can proclaim their false righteousness and evil dignity.

In comparison to that, the Iranian election is nothing -- got it? A single pimple on the ass of Iran, while the U.S. is covered, head to toe, in oozing boils of corruption.

And you want to push the Iranians to embrace us? To follow us? To be like us?

You're insane.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 1:53:51 AM | 40

copeland you have gone nuts.

Posted by: a | Jun 15, 2009 2:13:58 AM | 41

I said nothing about asking the Iranians to emulate us. And let me be more exact, before I'm accused of having lost my mind.

In 2000, Clinton was in the White House and there was no top down coup, but there was a coup, make no mistake about it. Because of the structure of our electoral system the conspirators concentrated their efforts in one state. There is election theft by gambit and there is the kind of election theft where the ballot boxes are locked down everywhere, where a curtain of secrecy drops like a ton of bricks, and where the government turns off public communication and silences cell phones.

This is not about disappointment, or the US and its crimes, this is only about getting the goddamn story straight, the facts straight, having a clue as to reality, as opposed to veering off into some ideological make believe.

I haven't been up all night sick with worry because the Iranian's lost election is any better or worse than our lost elections. I'm scared that people are opting for their own version of reality, and find the truth irrelevant.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2009 2:41:13 AM | 42

I'm really reluctant to post on any of this because it is none of our fucking business and that includes the bourgeois sons and daughters of Iranian 'refugees', what happens in Iran is Iran's business comment either way is mined and then used to develop talking points to bring the neo-cons, neo-libs, & national socialists onside for sticking their sticky beaks into Iran.

At most Oblamblam and co will be spinning up acceptance for more overt destabilisation of Iran, a full on attack is completely off the agenda despite however much israelis, imperialists and pseudo leftie national socialists may want it. The plain fact is the odds of amerika and whatever other scurds of cannon fodder can be scraped out from under Oblamblam's fingernails after he has scoured the bottom of the foreign support barrel couldn't win a bar blue at happy hour, let alone take on Iran's well organised and well resourced defence forces.

And they, (the war mongers) know it. Consequently they are stuck with trying to organise a colour revolution in the hope that even if they don't get a puppet in, they may get the opportunity to leverage a bit more of an opening.
One to either take over and at best install their trained chook or at least weaken Iran's defences.

Nukes and crap have about as much to do with this as WMD had with Iraq, they are an excuse not a reason.
The motive is exactly the same as that which has had amerikans slaughtering native americans from the Amazon to Angoon for the last 300+ years.
It won't stop - it can't stop, the empire must be fed or it will die, and Iran is much favoured sustenance.
Iraq was a stopgap, a small taster that fortuitously became available after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Iran has been on the agenda since Stalin offered the loot up to Roosevelt in 1943 as payment for the material required to defeat europe's national socialists.

Tehran's kids are an easy target for the quiet amerikans, the situation parallels that of Moscow in the 80's where kids would sell their society for a few pairs of levis.
The Iranians regime know that and attempt to keep most consumerist stuff coming for the bourgeois youth, they know how this goes otherwise.
However the effect of the sanctions combined with the controls on the media the ruling elite believes they have to put in place cause they can see no other way of preventing the covert disinformation campaign amerika and co are running now from going right over the top, have combined to convince the kids that their own leaders are 'uncool' - which is probably true but nevertheless the alternative would be much less cool for a whole lot more Iranians - worse there would be no way back from it. Well no bearable way. Ask the Zimbabweans what happens if you close your legs once the gang has begun to bang.

Attempting to convince kids of this is likely to make matter worse, so the Iranian administration is forced to sit on it's hands and hope that if things go real quiet some of the kids might just hear the amerikans and work it out for themselves.

Sometimes that isn't possible. Setting fire to buses and smashing windows provokes a crackdown anywhere in the world. When Tibetans protest that's good and the crackdown bad, but until recently protesting was frowned on in Nepal - the protestors were maoist murderers on the streets of Kathmandu - until the Maoists won power that is, now Nepalese rioters are freedom fighters.
Same in Thailand, when the Bangkok middle and merchant class put their airport under siege for weeks so as to overthrow the democratically elected government - that was good, but when the rural people who voted for the former government arrived in Bangkok to protest the coup, the western media dubbed them illiterate peasants greedy for hand outs.

Still in Iran none of it will matter in the end. Ahmadinejad has got another 4 years and his mob was ready for the losers' dummy spit, the 'riots' will die down and things will be tougher for amerika next time round in Iran.

I'm betting that it will be the heroin the amerikans are smuggling into Iran that will likely bring them undone in the eyes of the young Iranians - they will get caught at it as they eventually always do.

There hasn't been much talk about this problem in the west I wonder why not) and the Iranians are staying shtum for their own reasons, but since the coalition of the willing cranked up the Afghani 'O' cultivation racket, the bulk of that O has been refined into hammer and pushed into Iran.

The BBC ran a story a few weeks back saying Iran now had 4 million yep you read right 4,000,000 junkies. I have an Iranian student in one class who told me he reckons that Tehran probably has 4 million addicts. He said the real figure for all Iran is much much higher.

Smallpox in blankets becomes smack in bindles but this hammer thing won't work, it never really has. I suppose you could say that taking crack into Compton helped amerika keep it's slaves in their place, but the destruction of black society hasn't been anything like complete and has relied upon a number of other controls which cannot easily be replicated in a country whose leadership doesn't play ball.
For example the Iranians are treating the problem as more of a health issue than a good old amerikan "war on drugs". They have been opening many treatment centres (altho without getting the "turn yourself into a pliant vegetable" Bill and Bob scam going)

In the end the young people will realise that their difference of opinion with Ahmadinejad is just a family dispute which amerika exploits for it's own ends. One is an overly authoritarian parent, the other a sleazy old sex addict whose seeming charm is just grooming in preparation for rape.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jun 15, 2009 2:52:49 AM | 43

If Mousavi did win the election, fair and square, it would be a lot better for all of us if he could take office. Under those circumstances (as opposed to the apparent clusterfuck) it would be a lot less likely that Iran would be in danger of attack. Iran would be not in as great a mess even if Ahmadinejad had been reelected legitimately; but this is a disaster.

If the Iranian ruling class has really fucked its people, this will not exactly blow over easily. But there are some here at MoA who have an answer. "Let's just say there wasn't a coup"...Let's say Mousavi is an unworthy man and it's better after all that he didn't become president"..."Let's say the theocrats dodged the bullet of a color revolution".. "Let's pretend nothing bad has happened".

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2009 3:24:28 AM | 44

Well, actually, Copeland, i think most here are saying:

We don't know. We can't know. And it's really none of our business.

That's a far cry from the words you're putting forth.

Correct me if i'm wrong, but you seem to be saying:

We do know. Mousavi won, and the government altered the results, so we all should be outraged and....

Do what? Invade them? Jump up and down and scream 'til our face turns red? Pay the Jundullah or whatever they're called to place a few more bombs, and blow up a few more innocent people?

Support Israel in its planned strike?

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 3:32:33 AM | 45

b,

your insinuation that me, and every other iranian I know (hundreds), including extended family on my mother's side, who live in a rural area west of tehran and are *poor* and *deeply religious*, and have voted for mousavi, are all part of an overarching israeli/american plot is offending and unimaginably stupid. b, it highlights your dogmatic 1d view of world affairs, and your inability to understand iran.

here are some pictures of violence against university students. (i went to UTehran and I can tell you roughly 50-60% come from very modest/poor backgrounds. university/board are free in Iranian public universities).

UTehran
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Khaane_farhang/attachments/folder/1430600879/item/list?mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&dir=asc

Isfehan U.Tech (hey i thought it was limited to northern tehran..)
http://entesabat88.persianblog.ir/post/2/

How delusional must one be to think that what is happening to these students is part of a plan hatched by a few people at RAND?

Here are some pictures of the protests all over Iran (in 10 different cities... and all over tehran)
http://iran101.blogspot.com/

Anyone with a basic understanding of mathematics, and the heterogeneous social and ethnic structure of Iran can see in an instant that the election results were fraudulent.

Your inability to understand is simply due to your dogmatic adherence to an outdated worldview and a lack of understanding of Iran, coupled with paranoia from the copious amount of marijuana you have been smoking.

Why don't you do something useful with your time, like help democracy in Iran?

Ali

Posted by: Ali | Jun 15, 2009 3:47:04 AM | 46

Additional dots to connect to the points in the post (mostly via "curious" in SST comments:

The National Endowment for Democracy, in its tireless effort to give democracy a bad name, initiated a project called "World Movement for Democracy" in 1999. The project's acronym, WMD, may very well be a bad inside joke among the guardians of the empire today.

On WMD's steering committee sits Mahnaz Afkhami, President of "Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development and Peace." One of WMD's projects is "International Women's Democracy Network," whose "secretariat [is] to be housed at an existing network with a substantial trans-regional membership, currently the Women's Learning Partnership." Iran must be close to the heart of this circle.

Afkhami, the first Minister for Women's Affairs under the Pahlavi regime, is naturally a friend of Reza Pahlavi, the son of the deposed Shah, who has not given up on the dream of restoration and is busily trying to organize Iranian exiles, not just monarchists but also leftists and separatists, in a vain attempt at regime change (Connie Bruck, "Exiles: How Iran's Expatriates Are Gaming the Nuclear Threat," New Yorker, 6 March 2006). What does Afkhami say about the former crown prince? "He's a regular guy" (qtd. in Franklin Foer, "Reza Pahlavi's Next Revolution: Successor Story," The New Republic, 3 January 2002). That says everything about the kind of world she lives in.
NED's WMD, March 2008

-----

AIPAC'S ANNUAL POLICY CONFERENCE 2004 SCHEDULE FOR THE PRESS

SUNDAY, MAY 16

Revolution From Within: Can the Iranian People Reclaim the Republic? (Convention Center - ROOM 144 ABC):

-- Mr. Philo Dibble, deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of State

-- Ms. Haleh Esfandiari(*), Middle East Project consulting director, Woodrow Wilson Center
AIPAC Policy Conference: Celebrating 50 Years; Largest and Most Important Event Affecting US-Israel Relationship, Science Blog, 2004

-----
Haleh Esfandiari is no firebrand opponent of the regime in Tehran. As director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., the Iranian-born scholar is known as an advocate of U.S. engagement with the mullahs and supporter of the "reformists" associated with former President Mohammad Khatami. But those distinctions don't count for much with the people who now hold her hostage in Tehran's infamous Evin prison.

Ms. Esfandiari has been a prisoner of the Ayatollahs for the past five months, since her U.S. and Iranian passports were stolen by knife-wielding assailants during one of her routine visits to Tehran to see her 93-year-old mother. Rather than issue her new travel documents, agents from the ministry of intelligence subjected her to four months of intensive questioning, culminating with demands that she "cooperate." She refused. She was remanded to Evin prison earlier this month. On Monday, she was charged with attempting to overthrow the Islamic Republic, according to Iranian state news agencies.
Iran's Latest Hostages, WSJ, May 24 2007

-----
Also: Iran's Fear Of A George Soros-Funded "Velvet Revolution" ukit/Daily Kos, June 14 2009

Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2009 3:47:43 AM | 47

Yes, b.

I heard seven years back, at the beginning of the Iraq invasion, from a British expat who was a major industrial and civil engineer in Iran (he headed up the high-speed rail project here in Taiwan). He said he'd heard from "people in the know" that the MI-6 and U.S. plan was to re-instate the Phalavi regime, in the person of the Shah.

I thought it was insane, back then, but over the years i've come to believe him.

If nothing else, what people can take away from my little nugget there is that these rumours are widespread and deep; b and "curious" are not just talking out their ass, here, however much Ali would like to pretend they are.

BTW -- what's your last name, Ali?

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 3:53:12 AM | 48

I'm just saying that the story we tell ourselves ought to be the truth. I don't know what's so difficult about that.

No one would suggest that we can't know. In a few days the certainty as to whether this is a coup in Iran or not, can be confirmed.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2009 3:54:37 AM | 49

I'm really too tired to post any more and have to sleep. It's been quite a night, and one of the most remarkable evenings I've spent at the bar. Goodnight.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2009 3:58:08 AM | 50

To china_hand2

That's really none of your business. It's a unique last name so I really can't tell you without completely revealing who I am, which I'm not interested in doing as I will be going to Iran in 20 days.

If you want my background,
Spent 6 years in U.S. during elementary school, then went back for middle school, highschool and undergrad (EE). I've came to Canada for grad school.


He said he'd heard from "people in the know" that the MI-6 and U.S. plan was to re-instate the Phalavi regime, in the person of the Shah.

And saying that this "plan" from 6 years ago is being hatched now is like saying JFK was killed by Elvis at the fake site of the moonlanding. You have unfortunately 0 understanding of Iran. Worse than 0 because sometimes a little understanding with a lot of confidence can be worse. This isn't completely your fault, Iran is hard to understand and most of the sources are newspapers (e.g. Aftab) and student news agencies which are in Farsi.

Interesting how every single Iranian who has commented on what is happening has claimed that a fraud has occured.

Isn't it a bit "imperialist" for you to assume that you know best what happens in our country, and that we are only pawns?

And don't start with the Iran-contra affair like you've found a smoking gun. Everyone in Iran knows Mousavi's history. This shit goes further back to carter and reagan. why do you think the hostages were released the day reagan came to power? IRI was doing regime change in the US 30 years ago, you think they're not prepared for a few of your joke plots?

The only thing that matters is that we voted for Mousavi. 21 Million of us. If you want to support AN, fine, but don't belittle the iranian decision for your own pseudo-leftist b.s.

Posted by: Ali | Jun 15, 2009 4:07:04 AM | 51

@Ali -

The only available "neutral" pre-election poll I am aware of is this one (pdf) which had Ahmadinejad lead Mousavi 2 to 1.

I am happy to review other polls if you can provide any.

Anyone with a basic understanding of mathematics, and the heterogeneous social and ethnic structure of Iran can see in an instant that the election results were fraudulent.

That basic understanding of mathematics, I assume, relates to this chart by the western organised "Tehran Bureau".
Election expert Nathan Silver debunkt that chart as did others.

There are also seasoned knowledgeable people who think that an Ahmadinejad victory was highly plausible:

Guardian: Wishful thinking from Tehran
Newsweek: What Ahmadinejad's win means for Iran, Israel and the United States

As for the videos and pictures: People demonstrate, burn buses and rubbish in the streets and the police cracks down on them. Happens everywhere. The state has to assert is monopoly of violence.
May 1 demonstrations in Berlin usually end like that. The British police recently even killed an innocent bystander while cracking down on anti-G8 demonstrations. There is nothing special with that.

Also please refrain from personal attacks. I haven't smoked marijuana for years.

Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2009 4:17:16 AM | 52

As someone who has studied Iran, has visited several times, and is married to an Iranian, I thought I’d throw in a few comments for those who would like to know more about Iran - especially from an outsider's point of view.

Regarding the election results: although I expected a second round with Mousavi a winner, I am not that surprised by the results. Most of my Iranian friends and family are from the north of Tehran and backed Mousavi and are now screaming for their votes to be returned (whatever that means), and the scenes on TV and pre-election polls mainly concentrated on this region of the city – a region which is largely upper-class or newly-rich (for want of a better term). My sister-in-law, however, works with many people from the south of Tehran, and she told me the result doesn’t surprise her at all, Ahmadinejad is very popular in the south which is mainly filled with poorer and/or more conservative people.

What is becoming apparent to many people outside of Iran is that Tehran isn’t the whole country – it is perhaps 10 or 12 million people out of around 70. That means there is a lot of other people voting too, yet how often are their voices heard in international media? Usually university students or residents of northern Tehran are interviewed. But different people have different opinions – and Ahmadinejad’s handouts of potatoes, farming equipment, and aid money to individuals in the poorer regions of the country would have gone a long way to ensure votes. All of that, of course, contributes to inflation – which the people of Tehran subsequently complain about.

Last time I was in Iran (April this year) I visited Esfahan – bad timing, it was at the same time Ahmadinejad visited. The crowd of people coming out to see him was unbelievable, it almost filled Imam Square. The city came to a stand still that day. This is another reason why his win does not surprise me.

Jony_b_cool @14 – although not Iranian, I think I can partly answer some of your question: short answer, it means many different things. To most of my friends (aged 20-30) it means greater freedoms like voluntary wearing of hijab, the ability to travel to other countries with more ease, and lifting the ban on western music/movies, ridding compulsory military service, etc. To my older friends and family it means reducing corruption and improving international ties to rid Iran of sanctions, improve trade, etc. All the Iranians I know believe their country can and should be better than it currently is and that their government – not necessarily mullahs or religion but the government as a whole – is most of the problem. But it is also easier to say what they don't want than what they do - I doubt from many laymen Iranian you would get answers as specific as your dot points (and it wouldn't be any different here in Australia either, btw).

Anyway, just my two cents, hope it helps.

Posted by: Ash | Jun 15, 2009 4:26:44 AM | 53


That basic understanding of mathematics, I assume, relates to this chart by the western organised "Tehran Bureau".
Election expert Nathan Silver debunkt that chart as did others.

No. I'd never even seen this Tehran Bureau website, mainly because I don't read the english blogs. The analysis I'd seen is based on the log distribution of digits in base10. This is common practice, and a technique I personally use to see if my students are cheating or not by forging measurements in their lab reports. The fact that digit distributions were uniform shows that the numbers had actually been done by hand. vezarat keshvar site is down, so when it comes up, and when I have the final numbers I'll right something up.

I guess this requires more than a *basic* understanding of mathematics so sorry for the confusion. In my defense, in Iran it would be counted as a basic understanding, and completely elementary for a Fanni graduate.


As for the videos and pictures: People demonstrate, burn buses and rubbish in the streets and the police cracks down on them. Happens everywhere. The state has to assert is monopoly of violence.
May 1 demonstrations in Berlin usually end like that. The British police recently even killed an innocent bystander while cracking down on anti-G8 demonstrations. There is nothing special with that.

Do Ansar-Hezbollah bring vans in front of the university dormitories, break in, beat and arrest over a hundred students who have done *nothing* illegal in Germany? Do they put 2 cities under military rule, arrest reformers and journalists and place the opposition leader under house arrest in the UK? Do 150 university professors at the leading institution (it would be MPI, Max Planck Institut in Germany, Sharif UT in Tehran) resign, en masse, on Mayday? Let me remind do even have a research post at Sharif one must have passed the most stringent ideological tests.

Your comparison is stupid and insulting.


Guardian: Wishful thinking from Tehran
Newsweek: What Ahmadinejad's win means for Iran, Israel and the United States

Find me a single Iranian who actually understands the power structure and who has contemporary ties to the country who is of this opinion.

Posted by: Ali | Jun 15, 2009 4:36:14 AM | 54

Hey Ali you are doing a fine job of discrediting your country and pointing out the corrupt and repressive regime in power. Tell us some more about the beatings and murders and fraud running rampant through Iran. Let all the World know how despotic your country is and how much you hate each other. You are the gift that keeps on giving. You are the reason the World can label Iran the truly disfunctional nation that it is. Post some more of your hatred for your fellow Iranians and expose them as the true criminals that they are. The Pentagon thanks you. Israel thanks you. AIPAC thanks you.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 15, 2009 4:36:53 AM | 55

Interesting how every single Iranian who has commented on what is happening has claimed that a fraud has occured.

Uhhh....i think that would be more like:

Interesting how every single Iranian who has [access to the internet, can speak English, and frequents U.S. political blogs and have] commented on what is happening have claimed that a fraud has occured.

What, only something like 1/3rd of Iranis actually have access to the Internet, right?

And most of those are in Urban centers, right?

And how many of them do you think speak and write english well enough to hold their own on a U.S. political blog? Don't try to piddle around, here: i'm an ESL specialist with decades of experience and published papers in the field.

So basically, what you really meant to say was this:

Interesting how every single Iranian who [lives in the U.S., Canada, or Britain, as well as any other person who is pretending to be Iranian just so s/he can get away with promoting a particular world-view and] has commented on what is happening has claimed that a fraud has occured.

When you put it that way, your assertion makes a lot of sense:

The expats who fled Iran because they supported the Shah want the English-speaking world to believe that AhmadiNejad's election was false because that paves the way for them to get Israel and the U.S. to put Reza Pahlavi back into power.

And as for conspiracies: well, i think i've been pretty transparent about saying i don't really know what's going on over there. I don't pretend to have any privileged information.

But the fact is that if the current government of Iran is toppled, it'll need to be replaced by some other government -- and the only Iranian "government in exile" is the Pahloozy family and their hangers-on.

Truth be told, i was a little confused why the government decided to turn off SMS just before the election, and then i was even more amazed at the big deal made of it by the U.S. media and "Iranians" like you.

But then i heard b and others here chatting about the colour revolutions, and got to thinking, and suddenly it made a lot of sense.

So i've got something to ask you:

Who, other than a bunch of youngsters looking to promote riots and protests, would get upset about losing the SMS capacity on their phones?

Because i've been using SMS for years; here in Taiwan, it's a huge deal, a much more common tool than it is in the U.S, and i know how useful and important it can be.

But if these students and youth and internet-connected-urban-wealthy were really all about having a fair-and-honest election, and then accepting the results, then why would they make such a big deal about losing SMS capacity? Because there are only two things i could imagine using SMS for:

Chatting with one's friends, and sending out bulk messages to large groups of people to coordinate mass movements.

So again, i ask you:

If the only thing these groups were interested in were free and fair elections, then why did they get upset at the cancelling of SMS before the election?

I think it's pretty damn obvious why:

Because the plans for protest were already in place.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 4:40:40 AM | 56

to Sam:

AIPAC and Bibi are thanking Ahmadinejad for the coup right now.

And Ahmadinejad is thanking you guys. The scathing attacks on Mousavi I've seen here are orders of magnitude harsher than those of AN.

Posted by: Ali | Jun 15, 2009 4:42:35 AM | 57

"Scathing attacks"?

Y'know, when you use words like that it makes it seem like your command of English isn't really all that nothingness you're making it out to be.

What i find amazing is how you can rant and rave and pretend like you even know what you're talking about. In all the posts i've reviewed here, these last two days, i don't think i've seen a single attack on Mousavi here, and certainly nothing "scathing".

But hey -- you don't really know what that word means, do you? Ho-ho-ho.

I mean, if you can get something like that wrong -- something anyone here can point to, and say, "Wait a minute -- scathing attacks? Mousavi? What the hell?" then really: why should we believe your pronouncements about Iran?

* You said there was rampant killing, then backtracked (and, unlike Loyal, i actually did go view the "death porn" -- i saw a bad beating on a cel-phone cam from four, maybe six stories up, and nothing else. Certainly, nothing that suggested death or murder)

* You have consistently quoted bad statistics

* You have consistently equated "Internet commentators" with "the Iranian public"

Eh. The list could probably go on and on, but i haven't the energy to bother. For my part, i'm guessing your name isn't really Ali, and you aren't really Iranian. Parviz, on his good days -- i can believe him. He's got a bit of finesse to what he says. He tries to give the whole picture, and he's pretty careful about wishing good things for his countrymen. He certainly makes it clear he doesn't want war.

You, you're either a really naive and occiphilic Irani teenager with too much time on his hands --

or a shill, working for someone like AIPAC.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 4:57:47 AM | 58

Ali:

AIPAC and Bibi are thanking Ahmadinejad for the coup right now.

Nice to see you agree with me. I'm sure they will be very pleased that you provide the reasons for their thank you.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 15, 2009 5:04:51 AM | 59

to china_hand2:

Again more insulting insinuations.

I want you to actually think through what you're saying right now. you're speaking to someone who has had family tortured and killed by the Shah. I spent 45 minutes today yelling "marg bar shah" at a rally (~1000) in toronto which was about to by hijacked by 20-30 loud Shah supporters. Shah and his supporters are a historical curosity and for you to even mention them in this debate highlights your extreme lack of touch. I want you to find some Iranian news sources and blogs, and search for the word shah: شاه
good like finding hits. The shah is as irrelevant to Iran as the royalists to modern day france. there is a small population of Iranian "refugees", delusional and mentally unstable historical oddities in Sweden, Canada, Germany and LA who may think his american son will ride a white horse and "save" iran. In Iran, they are essentially a joke. you take pictures of them and show them to friends, and laugh. The fact that you've now seriously suggested twice that this is a plot to bring back the shah, really shows how out of touch you are.

Again i'm not exactly sure what you're saying, but reading behind the lines it seems like you're implying that I'm a paid israeli or CIA agent. Or someone from a neocon think tank. Maybe AEI? PNAC? Right those guys definitely read this blog. Is the fact that I speak english well (i like to flatter myself) enough evidence for the high and mighty ESL teacher to point out a "traitor"?

Guys, the reason I'm on this blog is because I read it. You and Phil Weiss, I visit often. And I usually like what I read. But this is ridiculous. If you don't come off this horribly misinformed conspiracy theory bullshit, you'll lose whatever credibility you might have.


Posted by: Ali | Jun 15, 2009 5:07:00 AM | 60


or a shill, working for someone like AIPAC.

It seems like in the time it took me to write my post you've actually changed your position to one in which I am a full fledged AIPAC agent.

This really saddening for me. It has happened in the past while I've been reading various blogs and posts that I have been convinced that someone must be an AIPAC agent. I've usually thought that I've been right. The fact that i've now been accused of this throws doubt on my previous judgement.



But hey -- you don't really know what that word means, do you? Ho-ho-ho.

It's 5am here, and yes, I don't know what that word means, though I can kick your ass in 3 other languages. (and none of them is hebrew if you're wondering). But the way the opposition part here has been attacked on this blog as one composed of Israeli and American agents is brutal.


* You said there was rampant killing, then backtracked

Please, where did i say there was rampant killing, and where did I backtrack?



Irani teenager with too much time on his hands

I'd be proud today of being an Iranian teenager. (unfortunatly, i'm not)

Posted by: Ali | Jun 15, 2009 5:16:58 AM | 61

to Sam:

Iranians don't care about AIPAC and Bibi's and your personal feelings. they want democracy. They want their islamic republic to maintain the republic part.

Posted by: Ali | Jun 15, 2009 5:18:55 AM | 62

It's really amazing the way you guys are shouting down people who actually have knowledge of the situation, although they may not have full knowledge. It's really quite shameful for MoA.

How do people who have no on-the-ground knowledge know better than people who are there, or who are natives of the country? Why believe one conspiracy theory rather than another?

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 15, 2009 5:52:14 AM | 63

Here you suggested that we stop talking "out of respect for the people who have died in the last 48 hours". You justified that with talks of riots, student dorms being razed to "rubble", and a video you claimed showed some kid getting killed, but nobody who views it is every really gonna know anything other than someone got beat up by a bunch of black-clad thugs.

And: shouting him down, Alex_no? Hardly. We've just politely pointed out the inconsistencies in "Ali"'s behavior, rhetoric, and logic. And further, Ali doesn't claim to have "on-the-ground" knowledge; he says he's living in Canada and will be returning to Iran in less than twenty hours.

Really, now.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 5:56:54 AM | 64

The view that Iran's disputed election is the devious work of Western raconteurs creating a Color Revolution is paranoia and poetic license. The comments following this and the previous post descends at several points to ad hominem and accusations worthy of the hissy fits that fill every diary over at the Gigantic Orange Blog. It's partisan sniping and counter-sniping, not discussion, and not exploration. It is a fight to -- and for -- the last word, nothing more.

Feh.

The second highest value of MoA is that it has generally avoided that kind of bitchy repartee.

Its highest value is that differing views are generally welcomed and examined on their merits.

Verbal fights will kill the site. Cool it, ladies and gents. After all, no one posting here has a bandalero over their shoulders, blood on their boots, and the smell of fresh cordite in their hair. We are armchair warriors and analysts, all. Even those of us with dear friends, relatives, compadres and kindred souls awash in the current turmoil over there in Persia are not going to win anything by throwing verbal stones in a typed out international forum averaging 3500 visitors per month. Whatever tempest we stir in this teapot will not affect what the youth of Iran win for themselves on the streets of their cities.

It is all being decided on the streets of Iran's major cities, not here. Blood is being spilled there, not here.

The conflict over this weekend's election is between the political establishment and those who favor Anyone Else. It is between the younger generation and the generation of the '79 Revolution. They no longer wish to get along or go along. It's on.

Mousavi did, indeed, sweep into the electoral process like a late-arriving debutante, but this is not proof of him being a protege of economic hit-men or Alphabet Agencies of the American or Israeli governments. He came in because there is a groundswell of people who want Khameni and theocracy diminished, and he was the obvious choice to represent those aspirations. In truth, Mousavi may as well be referred to as Anyone But Khameni.

Whatever influence, devious meddling, financial or other shenanigans unnamed Westerners may wholeheartedly believe they are accomplishing, or believe they are capable of accomplishing in Iran, my friends over there assure me are all well known and included in the calculations of even the man in the street. America and Europe have been fucking Persia and the Middle East for over a century now. The recipients of all this raping and pillaging know every nuance of this tawdry romance.

Suggesting that Westerners are pulling a big political surprise on the Iranians with this disputed election is like suggesting that Grandpa can surprise Grandma in the bedroom on her birthday. Grandpa will exercise his imagination, and make a lot of fuss, but he'll do the same thing he's done every birthday since 1953. He'll fumble for the oil. He's out of surprises.

Since MoA is full of invective these days, I'm going to stay out of the discussion. When events on the ground in Iran work out, we will hear from the people actually involved what was done, and what happened.

Posted by: Antifa | Jun 15, 2009 5:57:05 AM | 65

@Alex_no

Actually, what's shameful are the utterly spurious and entirely unjustified attack's against this Blog's gracious host, b, and various posters ...

Furthermore, the repeated attempted hijacking of these threads by individuals who appear incapable of courteous discourse based on mutual respect or basic civility. Assertions, allegations and emotive personal attacks abound ... debate and an exchange of views, opinions, analysis and supportive references, many of these posts, are Not :(

A couple of posters, upon review of thier contributions in total, are almost certainly, I humbly suggest, online agents provocateur ... though not very capable ones, at that ... greater internal and structural consistency matched with intellectual self-discipline is required in maintaining the fictional persona boys ... with practice they will, regretfully, invariably improve :(

Respect, civility, courtesy, diversity, tolerance are usually the hallmarks of MOA ... to wit,to agree tocivilly disagree ... lately uncouth ruffians just seem to wish to barge in and vomit on the bar ... :(

Events, immediate and of the moment, will move on, and so likely shall they ... :)

Heartfelt well wishes to all at the Bar.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom.

Posted by: Outraged | Jun 15, 2009 6:24:02 AM | 66

If 'Anyone Else' means 'More of the Same' Musavi (and his backer Rafsanjani) would do a good job at it.

I can't really see why Khamenei, which in theory should be the TRUE power behind any coup, not Ahmadinejad, would care about Musavi and the clerical-empresarial elite (Rafsanjani) being back in 'power' in the presidential post while having so many mechanisms to check away any 'reformist' opening (that may not even happen). And Khamenei has actually moved in previous years to limit Ahmadinejad influence by promoting up that same Rafsanjani over people more favorable to Ahmadinejad and the Basaji and Pasdaran power base he represents (which source of power is the poor religious masses, not the rich clerical-business elite, again a class conflict). How is that all those 'iranian' experts are not explaining what is the current power sharing structure of the iranian regime? Why is this time Khamenei fully behind Ahmadinejad when it hasn't been so before? Musavi campaign actually made widespread use of Khamenei images without receiving any actual reprisal from Khamenei. What was Khamenei really afraid of? Losing power to his own old pal Rafsanjani and colaborators? Or something way more sinister?

I can't consider anyone who is in a Canadian university or that studied in the US in elementary school as representing the opinion of the lower classes. Iran isn't that 'developed' that the 'poor' can send their childs to learn in foreign countries. And we have already read from many sources that there are as many opinions from people with sources inside Iran or actually living in Iran that claim that the victory could go to one side or the other. So I don't see enough evidence one way or another. My personal opinion is that in may elements you can see the same tiresome script being played once again, so I'm with b on refusing to blindly follow that same script again.

We can't even discard that the election was rigged but that at the same time there was a 'green' revolution planned, both are not exclusive. We don't enough information to make a judgement.

In fact as far as I remember in the last presidential election or later elections there were also suggestion of poll stuffing by the Ahmadinejad bases (Pasdaran and Basij). And in every election the vigilant council has removed any 'dangerous' candidate before even the campaing started. Why not this time if Musavi was so dangerous that election had to be completely rigged later? So what would be SO new on more vote rigging? May be the difference is not in the vote rigging but on how to 'ride' the election.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 15, 2009 6:24:36 AM | 67

Alex_no:

It's really amazing the way you guys are shouting down people who actually have knowledge of the situation, although they may not have full knowledge. It's really quite shameful for MoA.

Hey Alex Loyal expressed quite a bit of knowledge about the situation and his comments are diametrically opposed to what Parviz and Ali have been portraying. So don't make it sound like every Iranian on this site has a different view than the regular posters. You have commented on other countries before is that shameful too? This blog is all about commenting on foreign relations or haven't you noticed? Some guy comes on the site and the first comment he prints is "Dear Author You are an idiot" and I'm supposed to be ashamed for shouting at him?

How do people who have no on-the-ground knowledge know better than people who are there, or who are natives of the country? Why believe one conspiracy theory rather than another?

It's not a matter of beleiving one or the other it's a matter of looking at the evidence and formulating an opinion. Evidence doesn't depend on where a person lives it depends on facts.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 15, 2009 6:32:32 AM | 68

ptw @ 28

You say that communications are being curtailed ... [b]ecause there was a coup attempt by Mousawi using the techniques used by other colour revolutions.

What coup? Seems to me you are turning reality on its head.

Mousawi knew he was not going to win by getting the highest number of votes so decided to steal the election by claiming fraud and hoping he could get enough support to become president.

Ahmadinejad and Grand Ayatollah Khamenei did not play by the rules of the constitution, according to this blogger:

12:50 GMT, Saturday: The leader just sent a congratulation message to the winning candidate, stating his number of votes and thanking the management of the election. He just closed the discussion! and called all those protesting, agents of enemies!! This is exactly against the constitution. The final vote is not yet announced and there are three days for clarification of disputes. This is just outrageous!

You personally know this blogger and that he has evidence to support his claim. For all we know, he could be sat in Tel Aviv (Mossad), Los Angeles (Pahlavists) or Washington DC (neo-con). His English looks pretty good?

Check this!

A site called iranian.com is registered in the US and is most likely run by a bunch of Pahlavist emigres - not exactly a reliable source when it comes to revolutionary Iran!

Posted by: blowback | Jun 15, 2009 6:40:34 AM | 69

I'm at the airport and leaving right now, so I think i'd give my final opinion. It's been an exciting few days. I've had 3 hours of sleep a night since the coup d'etat of 22 khordad.

I may not be able to access the internet for some time, (this is part of my post on the previous article) so i probably won't get your replies for a while.

What we've seen is an incredible coup d'etat followed by an incredible uprising.

I think i've given enough evidence here, but here are some more points to think about; lets take literally the conspiracy theory of the author here.

Then you'd have to accept that Khatami is also on the payroll. Not only khatami, but rafsanjani (richest man in Iran). not only rafsanjani but Ayatollah Sanei(who is actually of a higher religious rank than *khamenei*). Not only Sanei, but Rezai, the head of the Sepah (army). Not only Rezai, but Karroubi. and so on. And also all reformist newspapers, and families of prominent martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war, who have highways named after them, and who have produced very harsh TV ads against AN and for Mousavi.

In fact the number of people required to be under CIA payroll to fund the AN coup d'etat we've witnessed is an order of magnitude lower. This begs the question, why has the western response to an uprising which is supposed to be essentially their wet dream been so cold?


In 24 hours i've been called "mozdur" (mercenary) by pahlavists in toronto, and AIPAC spy by american leftists here. I'm going to Iran now, and we'll see what happens.

The only thing that matters, is that Mousavi won. 21 million. For once I'm happy to know of the extreme irrelevance of any opinions posted on blogs like this.

Ali

Posted by: Ali | Jun 15, 2009 11:34:52 AM | 70

another dot?

A guy form Soros' Open Society institute explains in length what tools one could use to attack Iranian websites including links to all those tools. Then he warns that this would also diminish traffic for the opposition.

Well - what is it? If the last concern is true, then why link to all those tools in the first place?

Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2009 11:59:10 AM | 71

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