Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 19, 2017

On Crapified News And Foreign Policy

Significant parts of the Trump administration, Congress and the general Zionist borg would love to start a war between the U.S. and Iran.

A war is unlikely. Iran's geography and strategic position is unassailable. Its global political standing has increased during the last decades. Any war with Iran would be extremely costly yet unwinnable.

But with U.S. pressure again increasing on Iran it is important to learn and understand what happens inside of country. Unfortunately most reporting about politics within Iran is bit of a mess. Considers the piece below from the Washington Post. Written from Turkey by a journalist who (to my best knowledge) does not speaks Farsi nor has any special knowledge of the country: With U.S. scholar’s conviction, power struggle escalates between Iran’s president and hard-liners

ISTANBUL — A high-stakes power struggle between Iran’s moderate president and his hard-line opponents in the judiciary appeared to escalate with the arrest of the president’s brother and the conviction of an American student for espionage this weekend — rulings that seemed timed to embarrass the Iranian leader at home and abroad.

The piece should be classic foreign reporting. But who is speaking here?

  • ... Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, said ...
  • ... Khamenei said in a speech this month, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, an independent nonprofit based in New York
  • ... said Alex Vatanka, an Iran expert at the Middle East Institute in Washington
  • ... said Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington
  • ... [a]ccording to Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow and expert on Iran at the Brookings Institution ...

There is certainly no reason to lambast the journalist, Erin Cunningham, for being lazy. Getting five telephone or email interviews and authorized quotes for the piece was surely a day's work. But how come there is no voice from Iran? The only quote from an Iranian person, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is in translation of a lobby shop in New York which does not reveal its sponsors. Is the quote correct? The other "expert" are all from outlets that are more or less adverse to Iran's system of governance.

The piece makes the recent dispute and judicial action look extraordinary and sensational. It connects it to actions in Washington DC:

The tensions come as Iran and the United States spar over the terms of a nuclear deal struck with world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
...
The Trump administration has taken a much harsher stance on Iran, threatening to abandon the deal, and the Treasury Department on Tuesday announced new sanctions primarily targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program.
...
The arrest and conviction of Wang, a 37-year-old scholar at Princeton, appeared to target Rouhani’s wider foreign policy and engagement with the West. Although Wang was detained in August 2016, the timing of the verdict is suspect, analysts say.

“Why did they keep it a secret as long as they did? Timing is important,” said Alex Vatanka, an Iran expert at the Middle East Institute in Washington.

Conflicts between the executive and the judiciary in Iran are legend and reoccur at least every other year. They are independent of the president being "moderate" or "hard-line" himself. Consider the obvious similarities between the above lede and this one from 2012:

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The head of Iran's judiciary lashed out at the country's president Wednesday, the latest salvo in an escalating political conflict that has undermined much of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political clout.

The Iranian constitution and political system is build on the principal of Vilayat-e Faqih, the guardianship of the (Islamic) jurists. The undecided question is how absolute the primacy of the jurists is supposed to be. The interpretations vary widely and often depend on the issue at hand. The executive will naturally assert primacy wherever it can, while absolute principalists in the judiciary will always assert that their jurisprudence is prime. The conflict is daily bread in Tehran and it makes no sense to sensationalize it.

The arrest of the president’s brother for corruption may well be justified. It should astonish no one. It could be timed to assert pressure but we have no way to know that. It would be mere speculation to say so. Experience has show that effective coordination within the Iranian state machinery is way less than western authors tend to assume.

The U.S. student/spy had already been imprisoned for eleven months. That he was convicted now is likely not related to any Trump tantrum or epiphany. Washington's capers are less important in Tehran as the U.S. would like them to be.

All together the piece shows the typical pitfalls of U.S. reporting on Iran (and many other countries).

  • Original and relevant voices from the ground are absent. None of the people involved in the issues is questioned. "Expert" quotes from often partisan western think thanks are the sorry substitute.
  • Cultural and historic characteristics are neglected. The current dispute between Rouhani and the judiciary has its background in a century old discussion in Iran about the limits of vilayat-e faqih. (The importance of this is comparable to conflicts about "executive privilege" or "state rights vs. federal rights" in U.S. politics.) With that background the spat between Rouhani and the judiciary is simply the marking of territories for his now beginning second term.
  • Most of the issues happening in a foreign country's politics are NOT related to whatever happens in Washington DC. U.S. writers love to draw such causal connections. But not every hiccup in Moscow is in response to some fart in DC. More often then not there is no connection at all.

One original voice from within Tehran's ruling circuit would have been more valuable to the above piece than the five think tank quotes.  A few more words about the historic role of the judiciary would have helped to set some perspective. Connecting the political theater in Tehran to Trump's zigzags makes it easier to write the lede. But there is no justification for it without evidentiary backing. 

Despite the nitpicking I don't regard the Cunningham piece as bad at all. Each day there are way worse reports in the papers and on cable TV. It is probably the best one can do when the editors demand a fast one on some less familiar issue. Over the last years many experienced foreign correspondents were fired or paid to leave. Main-stream media replaced serious foreign reporting with childish "listicals", high school level "explainers" and cat pictures. 

When a few dailies and news shows drive foreign policy making the lack of in-depth reporting becomes a serious issue. Members of Congress and the administration get much of their foreign policy knowledge from U.S. media reports. It is no wonder that they are clueless when those reports lack insight and details. The crapification of high decision making is probably directly related to the crapification of the news media. Trump taking his clues from Fox News (and others) is bad. Fox News (and others) having no well reported clues at all is even worse.

Posted by b on July 19, 2017 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

Comments

Yeh, sure I am going to believe an, in effect, "ALL-AMERICAN" stooges reporting about anything stated as FACT from or about Iran

Keep in mind what ,who and Chacteristics of WHOM we are dealing with:

Perpetual WAR, ISRAEL , CHRISTIANS, JEWS, Muslims and the CONNECTION: https://boblivingstonletter.com/alerts/america-perpetual-war/

AND

Psychopathy by James Corbett: https://youtu.be/DPf5i84BqcA

AND

Trump’s NEW WORLD ORDER, run by Jews, with him as Temporary Chief Stooge : http://www.realjewnews.com/?p=1222

Posted by: Freespirit | Jul 19, 2017 12:14:14 PM | 1

Southfront has a report about a just released stink tank study: "A new study conducted by members of the U.S. military establishment has concluded that the U.S.-led international global order established after World War II is “fraying” and may even be “collapsing” as the U.S. continues to lose its position of “primacy” in world affairs." https://southfront.org/us-military-establishment-study-american-empire-collapsing/ https://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=1358

The diminishing capacity to get a proper look at global affairs is related to the rise in Imperial Hubris of the Outlaw US Empire, which I turn degrades your ability to properly respond to events--particularly those created by Empire policy. I think this is a part of what b's writing about here.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 19, 2017 12:18:08 PM | 2

- One doesn't have to occupy Iran in its entirity. One can simply occupy the Khuzestan oilprovince in the west of Iran to cripple the iranian government.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 19, 2017 12:28:28 PM | 3

3
that is why Iran has specialised in all types of missiles for the last decades or so.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19, 2017 12:49:32 PM | 5

Important background. Thank you B.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jul 19, 2017 12:59:03 PM | 6

@2 karlof1

Nafeez Ahmed did a good job dissecting the 145 pages report:
https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/pentagon-study-declares-american-empire-is-collapsing-746754cdaebf

Posted by: Yul | Jul 19, 2017 1:16:32 PM | 7

Believe it or not, NYT's Tehran correspondent, Thomas Erdbrink, is pretty good. I remember seeing a video a couple years ago where Erdbrink profiles Najiyeh Allahdad, a daughter of a martyr in the Iran-Iraq War I believe. It was very sympathetic to the revolution. In the bio of Allahad NYT published they included this:

How do you describe yourself? I’m an Iranian Muslim who uses any opportunity to improve her country and who protects her country's reputation in the world. I love life, and I love peace. I feel that what people have lost in this world is spirituality. I’ve devoted my life to trying to find this spirituality for myself first and then to help others enjoy it.

Have you traveled outside of Iran? Where? What did you think? I have traveled to India, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, the United States and Syria. I found some Eastern countries like India and China to be very civilized, but they have not used their civilization to improve their daily lives. On the other hand, I found the Western countries to be detached from their histories and stepping into a new world that has an unclear future. Some Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. seemed too dependent on Western countries and would be nothing without help from the U.S. And a country like Iraq has always been hampered by circumstances throughout its history.

There is a strong body of opinion within the U.S. national security state that believes along with b that Iran cannot be defeated militarily. Trump is doing the bidding of his buddies in Jeddah and Tel Aviv.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jul 19, 2017 1:36:03 PM | 8

A beautiful piece of analytical, sequential surgery, b.
I was watching a doco at the weekend and #Occupy was mentioned, reminding me that we can thank #Occupy for the introduction of 1%/99% into the lexicon, and the #Occupiers for the meme...

The America dream
You have to be asleep
To believe it.

Similarly, I'm grateful to Trump for linking the terms "Fake News" and "Mainstream Media" and making each an autonomic reminder of the other.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 19, 2017 1:50:12 PM | 9

thanks b... msm is superficial at best... unfortunately they are beholden to israel's agenda which is the same as the military, financial and neo-con industries... until that changes, it will be playing fast with facts in order to perpetuate more war... good to know what the msm is really about... it isn't about anything in depth, that's for sure!

Posted by: james | Jul 19, 2017 2:23:52 PM | 10

Yul @7--

Thanks! I noted Southfront cited him and linked to his article.

To continue my thought on this: Garbage in leads to garbage out. In the process of propagandizing and indoctrinating the populous, you dumb them down to the point that to be effective analysts and policy makers people must be reeducated. My #1 example is Trump. He's been fed so much Crappola his entire life that it negatively affects his thought processes and judgment. At least he's willing to call such crappola for what it is, although he in turn produces his own version of it often.

A very good example of the change in the elite's philosophy from 1776 to today is found in this clause from the Outlaw US Empire's Declaration of Independence:

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

And then compared to this exemplary expression of hubris from Karl Rove:

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

In other words, we don't give a damn about what anybody else thinks or what the law says--pretty much the same sentiments uttered by every megalomaniac that ever existed.

How to return to the prudent, moral, and law-based philosophy penned by Jefferson that seems to guide the Multipolar Alliance? Where was it reported in the Western media that Iran sanctioned the Outlaw US Empire for its overwhelmingly obvious support for terrorism that I noted yesterday:

"In view of the overt support provided to terrorist groups by the US government and the country’s military and intelligence forces and repeated confessions by American officials to having created terrorist groups and offered them all-out support, from the standpoint of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the entirety of the United States’ military and intelligence forces are considered as supporters of terrorist groups in the region." http://theduran.com/us-iran-sanctions-are-a-tit-for-tat-measure-that-is-part-of-a-wider-geo-strategic-reality/

Just how many Outlaw US Empire citizens are aware of the fact that it was deemed necessary by a member of congress to introduce a bill entitled the Stop Arming Terrorists Act that affirms the Iranian Parliament's decision to sanction such behavior. And how many citizens are aware that their government's behavior flaunts numerous UNSCRs and is thus in violation of International Law--the very same International Law it championed in 1940--Atlantic Charter--which resulted in the UN Charter and UN organization? As someone who was trained to teach US History, I can tell you I was never taught a huge amount of very important facts about the Outlaw US Empire--indeed, many of my presentations and essays resulted in educating my professors! And some talk of colonizing Mars! That's a huge howler! And I haven't even touched upon Junk Economics and its related Randian Crappola.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 19, 2017 2:54:20 PM | 11

@2, karlof1

The diminishing capacity to get a proper look at global affairs is related to the rise in Imperial Hubris of the Outlaw US Empire, which I turn degrades your ability to properly respond to events--particularly those created by Empire policy. I think this is a part of what b's writing about here.

It is more than just rise, however correctly pointed out by you, of Imperial Hubris--the whole panoply of the "tools" of military-political analysis is plain and simple wrong. This failure is based on a metaphysical mistake--wrong reading of history, especially of the 20th Century, which led to an ultimate failure in understanding the issues of scales and proportions. What was merely a once in a lifetime window of opportunities due to a specific combination of geopolitical, military, economic etc. factors in the immediate wake of WW II was perceived as a dialectic and inevitable march of history in favor of messianic USA, not a gift to be cherished. Sand castles on the beach, however, do not live long, the high tide has arrived some time ago.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Jul 19, 2017 3:15:59 PM | 12

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that a country's executive branch has clashed with its judiciary branch. Errr, isnt that the entire point of separating these two government functions, so they will clash instead of having the judicary act as a rubber stamp for the executive? In the US, we call it the "Separation of Powers Doctrine." What is so wrong when other countries, such as Iran, have the same policy our Founding Fathers wanted us to have?

Posted by: TimmyB | Jul 19, 2017 3:55:08 PM | 13

Of course there is nothing sensational to write about, everyday occurrence elbowing for influence peddling and positioning within grid of political power.
But more interesting is what such a common, for US Iran and most of other countries, occurrences really mean, namely political game within strictly limited range of moves mostly for benefit of electoral audience entertainment while constitutional and judicial framework makes sure that Deep state and Rulling elite interests, political and economic are satisfied no matter what.

As in the US DOJ, FBI, CIA etc., are organizations aimed directly to protect oligarchic rule, IRG protects ruling class of clerics in Iran, in both countries under guise of protecting constitution and law and order, earthly or heavenly.

Unfortunately, the overall collapse of civilization corrupted by money and power in a unprecedented global dimension of mass mental enslavement, extereme radical consumerism, religion,nationalism or delusional psychotic cult of globalism and suicidal growth of social cancers is ubiquitous within societies crazed by fetish of material or immaterial social products or commodities, monetizing everything including most of all human flesh, relations, culture, religion, and humanist egalitarian societies. Such a decomposing ocean of human flesh spawned an mercenary army of human looking zombies conditioned and ready to violently defend their own enslavement for whatever reason was fed into their rotten brains.


Posted by: Kalen | Jul 19, 2017 4:04:21 PM | 14

SmoothieX12 @12--

Thanks for your reply! Unfortunately, "What was merely a once in a lifetime window of opportunities due to a specific combination of geopolitical, military, economic etc. factors in the immediate wake of WW II was perceived as a dialectic and inevitable march of history in favor of messianic USA," this "metaphysical mistake" had already ingrained itself into the Outlaw US Empire's Mythos as Manifest Destiny and quickly found its way into all realms of discourse by the mid-1840s. The creation and perpetuation of such a grandiose mythos can only be done though lies and the deliberate falsification of history. As Hoarsewhisperer @9 intoned:

"The America dream
You have to be asleep
To believe it."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 19, 2017 4:17:43 PM | 15

@15, Karlof1

Outlaw US Empire's Mythos as Manifest Destiny and quickly found its way into all realms of discourse by the mid-1840s. The creation and perpetuation of such a grandiose mythos can only be done though lies and the deliberate falsification of history

While I don't disagree with you, it has to be well understood that any big "player" by 19th Century had its own version of Manifest Destiny e.g. Russia as a Third Rome. But it was namely through WW II where US could claim a "victory" over Nazism (hence a vast field of Anglo-American WW II history falsifiers) and thus realize itself as a continental power that the issue of exceptionalism really have got into over-drive and resulted in US literally running itself into the ground. When one has a political class (and population) not conditioned by continental warfare--it is almost inevitable.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Jul 19, 2017 5:17:29 PM | 16

Regarding, "crapification".
I get the impression the situation is typically less a matter of, "the editors demand a fast one on some less familiar issue", than certain intelligence operatives tasked with gaming the media echo chamber, feed well placed assets prioritized talking points to create the illusion of a 'thing'.
Any western reporting on America's/Israel's numero uno enemy du jour cannot be anything other than psyops. The strategy of 'full spectrum' BS necessitates that the media become the biggest (and most cost effective) venue for conducting psyops.
Just look at the media shitstorm regarding Russia, different crap, same difference!

Posted by: spinworthy | Jul 19, 2017 5:43:58 PM | 18

SmoothieX12 @16--

"The issue of exceptionalism"

Yes, on the international stage I must agree with you, although it would've occurred earlier if the US government hadn't censored George Seldes's interview with Hindenburg shortly after the Armistice. Hindenburg: "The American infantry won the World War in battle in the Argonne." (p 24; You Can't Print That; George Seldes; Payson & Clarke, Ltd; New York; 1929) Arguably, however, if the interview hadn't been censored and been published as the world-wide scoop that it was, then the "Stab in the Back" propaganda charge wouldn't have had anything to uphold it and Hitler's movement wouldn't have happened, although it's very likely the Pacific War would've occurred regardless. Censorship and Propaganda always have unforeseen consequences.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 19, 2017 6:12:07 PM | 19

a century old discussion

Posted by b on July 19, 2017 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

Not sure where you are getting that number from. The doctrine was introduced by Khomeini, at some point after his exile: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokumat-e_Islami_:_Velayat-e_Faqih_%28book_by_Khomeini%29

It is also not a "discussion", b. It is a thought-crime to criticize this doctrine in the Islamic Republic.

Posted by: nobody | Jul 19, 2017 7:00:42 PM | 20

OT, but right up b's alley....

almasdarnews.com is saying Trump orders the CIA to halt all financial, military aid for rebels in Syria

He's a dead man if true.

Posted by: b4real | Jul 19, 2017 7:03:10 PM | 21

>>>> jo6pac | Jul 19, 2017 5:37:02 PM | 17

I wonder if its true, time will tell. google news carried it also.

Reuters is also reporting it.

Trump ends CIA arms support for anti-Assad Syria rebels - U.S. officials

God, are the Clintonists going to be pissed off. Their beloved leader's foreign policy achievement in tatters and Putin's interference in the election paying off at last.

Meanwhile nothing on the New York Times as yet but it does have a sweet little video about life in an Ukrainian summer camp run by Nazis.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jul 19, 2017 7:06:50 PM | 22

re 3 willy2

- One doesn't have to occupy Iran in its entirity. One can simply occupy the Khuzestan oilprovince in the west of Iran to cripple the iranian government.
That was what Saddam thought in 1980. I suppose that's a bit too much like ancient history for you to know anything about that war.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 19, 2017 7:20:15 PM | 23

messianic USA

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Jul 19, 2017 5:17:29 PM | 16

Is it not true that (some) Russians believe that ("Holy") Russia has a messianic role to play in the history of mankind?

To what extent would you say this self perception is prevalent among the Russian people and the Russian ruling elite?

Posted by: nobody | Jul 19, 2017 7:56:58 PM | 24

[The New York Times] was very sympathetic to the revolution.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jul 19, 2017 1:36:03 PM | 8

No shit. Afterall, the West provided assistance at every turn to the "revolutionaries" -- many of whom are now residents of USA -- to topple the Shah of Iran. Most of you know zip about Iran, "1953", and the role of Soviet Union, UK, France, Germany, and United State of America in the concerted effort to topple the uber nationalist Shah of Iran.

You will not write our history for us, I assure you.

Posted by: nobody | Jul 19, 2017 8:05:15 PM | 26

For any planned future for Iran, look at the pictures from Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Gaza. As to the usual suspects, it's funny that they're Mideast experts but mostly connected to Israel.

George Smiley 25
The break in US support for the rebel factions is interesting in that it hasn't been public in US MSM. This includes the new coalition that doesn't want to attack Syrian government forces.

Posted by: Curtis | Jul 19, 2017 8:06:02 PM | 27

WOW

Posted by: George Smiley | Jul 19, 2017 7:57:45 PM | 25

Is "WOW" a neologism for Déjà vu?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boland_Amendment

Posted by: nobody | Jul 19, 2017 8:13:58 PM | 28

When the U$A pulls its' troops, I'll rejoice, and give Trump the credit for making a sane decision.

@ b:With this thread you've encapsulated what's up with the U$A media. Many quotes from " think tanks", and none from the subjects themselves. AKA propaganda..

Posted by: ben | Jul 19, 2017 8:20:11 PM | 29

Amerikas senator is dying then again he has the best medical care in the world. The rest of us in Amerika not so much.

I would like to care but I don't.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Sen-John-McCain-of-Arizona-diagnosed-with-brain-11300972.php

Posted by: jo6pac | Jul 19, 2017 8:26:42 PM | 30

More truth about Syria coming out

Murder Of Green Berets In Jordan Exposed Secretive CIA Syria Program Details

Posted by: ProPeace | Jul 19, 2017 9:08:41 PM | 31

John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Posted by: Nick | Jul 19, 2017 9:10:10 PM | 32

Interesting part:


Training Jihadists for Syria Operations: Whistleblowers Speak

One month before the attack at King Faisal Air Base, a Green Beret associated with covert operations in Syria spoke out to a prominent military news site called SOFREP, blowing the whistle on details surrounding the CIA's use of jihadists to overthrow Assad:

"Nobody believes in it. You're like, 'F--k this.' Everyone on the ground knows they are jihadis. No one on the ground believes in this mission or this effort, and they know they are just training the next generation of jihadis, so they are sabotaging it by saying, 'F--k it, who cares?'

The lengthy whistleblower report (member restricted) circulated widely among special forces veterans and professional analysts, but never reached a broader public audience and was ignored in mainstream press as it sat behind a members only access site founded by a well-known Navy Seal for the purpose of 'insider' news and discussion impacting the special forces community. The report revealed that American Syrian rebel trainers (in Jordan and elsewhere) belonging to the Army's 5th Special Forces Group had been tasked with assisting a CIA covert mission, but they knew full well that they were being ordered by the Obama administration to train jihadists and ISIS sympathizers in the push to topple the Syrian government. They warned blowback was coming as the CIA was violating America's own counter-terror laws...

Posted by: ProPeace | Jul 19, 2017 9:16:28 PM | 33

Just released and there is nothing else like it - Truth of Ukraine War Revealed: Watchdog Media Releases Definitive Chronological Timeline Video of Ukrainian War From Euromaidan to MH-17 https://clarityofsignal.com/2017/07/19/truth-of-ukraine-war-revealed-watchdog-media-institute-releases-definitive-chronological-timeline-video-of-ukrainian-war-from-euromaidan-to-mh-17/

Posted by: Liam | Jul 19, 2017 9:22:07 PM | 34

So Trump is saying he will end the CIA's covert support of Syrian militants fighting against the government. It's funny/sad seeing diehard Trump supporters latching on to this hoping it will redeem their hero. Talk is cheap and Trump does not exactly have a reliable track record when it comes to honoring his word. Even if he is serious in this instance the neocon contingent he invited into his highest levels of his administration may see things differently and push back. Whatever the case, I expect the US/EU/NATO/Israel/GCC/KSA/Turkey sponsored regime change agenda will continue.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jul 19, 2017 10:00:52 PM | 36

@29 ben

Concise and spot-on summary that sums up the state of "journalism" in 2017.

@18 spinworthy

Remember 911 hero Ashleigh Banfield? Her "fall from grace" is a typical example of what happens to American journalists who try to tell tell the truth about the empire's wars.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jul 19, 2017 10:29:27 PM | 37

Someone's probably already done this, but:

... Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, said ... (dunno background)
... Khamenei said in a speech this month, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, an independent nonprofit based in New York (independent?; this list suggests a pattern/otherwise)
... said Alex Vatanka, an Iran expert at the Middle East Institute in Washington (formerly WINEP, AIPAC's "policy" think tank)
... said Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington (Sheldon Adelson founded/funded)
... [a]ccording to Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow and expert on Iran at the Brookings Institution ... (the [Haim] Saban Institute at Brookings?)

So not only NOT in Iran, but Israel/Zionist-centric. IOW...agenda-driven and NOT to be believed AT ALL.

b is too kind to this reporter. I doubt if it took "a day's work" to get these quotable "insights." They probably came as a shopped, package deal.

Posted by: ritzl | Jul 20, 2017 12:37:25 AM | 38

@TimmyB #13, what's even more shocking is that the members of the judicial branch are not elected by the people and serve for life! Who do they think they are? Lords? Justices?

Posted by: William Rood | Jul 20, 2017 12:54:45 AM | 39

"There is certainly no reason to lambast the journalist, Erin Cunningham, for being lazy."

Well he's not extraordiarily lazy for what passes as 'journalists' currently, now is he? or am I missing something.
Cheers.

Posted by: stevelaudig | Jul 20, 2017 3:18:05 AM | 40

@nobody @20

You criticize me for claiming "a century old discussion" about Velayat-e_Faqih:

"Limited Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist" has been known since Sheikh Mofid, When Ijtihad among Shi'a emerged in 10th century CE (4th century AH). On the basis of this jurists have judged and take Khoms.

Absolute Velayat-e faqih was probably first introduced in the Fiqh of Jafari in the famous text book Javaher-ol-Kalaam (جواهر الکلام). Later, Ayatollah Molla Mohammad Mahdee Naraqi [born 1128 AH] of Iran published a paper advocating a modest level of political actions for Islamic leaders – limited velayat-e-faqih.

The Iranian constitution of 1906 already sets Islamic jurisprudence into a prime position. Khomeini wasn't the first with the idea by a long shot.

Posted by: b | Jul 20, 2017 5:26:39 AM | 41

John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Posted by: Nick | Jul 19, 2017 9:10:10 PM | 32

-------

Poisoned by Putin, no doubt!


Posted by: Captain Cook | Jul 20, 2017 6:31:24 AM | 42

Too early to say what the ending-support-of syrian terrorists actually mean, if its true at all. I hold my breath on this news....However just look at the western press, they hate it that Trump may stop its illegal support for terrorists in another country! These people love war, just like Obama and their God Hillary. Digusting people!

Posted by: Anon | Jul 20, 2017 7:38:42 AM | 43

26 I don't think this history has been written yet.

On the internet you find fascinating stuff.

Prince Turki bin Faisal in Georgetown

In 1976, after the Watergate matters took place here, your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. It could not do anything. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran.

plus

New York Times: Trusting Khomeini

Having created a new model of popular revolution based, for the most part, on nonviolent tactics, Iran may yet provide us with a desperately‐needed model of humane governance for a third‐world country. If this is true, then indeed the exotic Ayatollah may yet convince the world that “politics is the opiate of the people.”

In a very short time the following took place: the Grand Mosque Seizure in Saudi Arabia, the Iranian revolution, the start of the Soviet Afghan war and the CIA supported Turkish military coup.


Preceded by The Nationalities Working Group which was founded in 1978

In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter’s National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. The Islamic populations are regarded as prime targets. Richard Pipes, the father of Daniel Pipes, takes over the leadership of the NWG in 1981. Pipes predicts that with the right encouragement Soviet Muslims will “explode into genocidal fury” against Moscow. According to Richard Cottam, a former CIA official who advised the Carter administration at the time, after the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1978, Brzezinski favored a “de facto alliance with the forces of Islamic resurgence, and with the Republic of Iran.”

The Shah was a US puppet, same as Saddam Hussein. Their nationalism was fake.
With the Islamist strategy, nationalism was out.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 20, 2017 7:57:40 AM | 44

The Iranian constitution of 1906 already sets Islamic jurisprudence into a prime position. Khomeini wasn't the first with the idea by a long shot.

Posted by: b | Jul 20, 2017 5:26:39 AM | 41

The same constitution quite clearly designates a Monarch. (Now please go and repeat how in "1953" the USA "installed" the legal reigning consitutional monarch of Iranians. [This is not directed at you 'b'])

The role of the clerics in the Iranian State goes back to the Savafid Shah Abbass, a Shia Turk, who 'gifted' the long suffering Iranian people with a dual pole state consisting of the Court and the Mosque. The clerics were, naturally, in charge of applying Sharia, and also a sort of education system. The court had the military, foreign policy, etc.

As for whatever pamphlet some flea ridden cleric may or may not have penned prior to the "Imam" of the Khomeinists, who gives a fig?

Kindly produce 'concensus' position papers by the SHIA CENTERS OF LEARNING -- this is the Shia way; consultation and mutual agreement -- from those days even entertaining such notions. "Guardianship", as many "Ayatollahs" note to this day was only over those who lacked the capacity or had not reached the age of maturity. Apparently that now means the entire long suffering nation of Iran.

The doctrine of Khomeini is not a matter of 'degrees'.

It is a categorical break with the social order of what can be termed 'modern' Iranian society dating to the Safavids, and far more importantly to Muslim followers of Shia Imams, an usurpation of the divinely sanctioned role of the 12 -- count them, only 12 -- Imams descended from Ali.

No one prior to the ambitious Khomeini had dared entertain the idea of taking over the role of the Shia Imams with the exception of Al-Ma'mun (who we are told also ultimately murdered our beloved Imam Reza (#8).

Posted by: nobody | Jul 20, 2017 8:21:20 AM | 45

Posted by: somebody | Jul 20, 2017 7:57:40 AM | 44

Puppet?

http://masoudbehnoud.com/weblog/s2.pdf

Puppets either have someone's hand up their skirt or dangle from strings above. Shah of Iran was neither a puppet nor a tyrant. He assumed authoritarian powers in late 60s and certainly overstepped the legal limits placed on the Monarch. It was around this same period that after being refused by the West in his quest to industrialize Iran he signed a deal with SOVIET UNION. Yes, as Andrei will confirm, it was the SOVIETS who built the steel industry in Iran. Put that in your pipe.

(And before you decide to float the formula "dictator = tyrant", let me remind you that the late Dr. Mossadeqh assumed dictatorial powers before he was forced to relinquish power.)

Seriously people, you have the internet these days. What is your excuse for passing along second hand propaganda?

Posted by: nobody | Jul 20, 2017 8:37:23 AM | 46

add to 44

And no, the CIA supported Turkish 1980 military coup against Ecevit was not an outlier in the political manipulation of Islam and it was not secular. This from Turkey where people should know

In its bid to stabilize the country, legitimize the state, and counter the threat of leftist radicalism, the military authorities turned to what they called the Turkish-Islamic Synthesis. As Eligür writes, the plan was essentially to utilize Sunni Islam to create an “Islamic sense of community and prevent a recurrence of ideological clashes and the political violence of the 1970s.” While always viewing explicitly Islamist groups with suspicion, the military regarded Sunni Islam as a unifying instrument against anarchy and as the source of the nation’s moral life. The Turkish-Islamic Synthesis was originally formulated by the right-wing nationalist Intellectual Hearths (Aydınlar Ocakları) in the 1970s, but after the 1980 coup it rose to become the de facto state ideology. In practice, this meant more than just General Kenan Evren reciting Quranic verses during public speeches. It also meant huge budget increases for the Religious Affairs Directorate, rapid building of new mosques and opening of Quran courses, the introduction of mandatory religion classes in state schools (only on Sunni Islam), more tolerance for religious bureaucrats, active encouragement of religious organizations, and a widening of opportunities for graduates of religious imam hatip high schools. In this way, the professedly secular military “tactically open[ed] up a social and political space for Islamist mobilization in Turkey.”

Posted by: somebody | Jul 20, 2017 8:40:20 AM | 47

"Iran's geography and strategic position is unassailable."

Um, that depends. For a conventional invasion, you may well be right. But increasingly the United States does not invade, it destabilizes. Iran has a lot of internal tensions - many of which, as with Syria, are due to past pro-natalist government policies that have impoverished young people and made their careers raising a family etc. much tougher. But all the United States needs to do it hit the electric generators, and water pumps, and key bridges, etc., and Iran could go back to the 11th century.

Way back with Bill Clinton, our military realized that they couldn't directly take on the Serbian ground forces, not without unacceptable casualties. But they could dissect the civilian infrastructure of Serbia no problem, and there was nothing the Serbs could do about it.

The big issue: does Iran have the ability, even without nukes, to threaten to strike US interests outside of Iran proper? Do they have enough air defenses to attrit US air strikes? Not stop completely, mind you, just make them too expensive. That is the calculus.

Posted by: TG | Jul 20, 2017 9:02:58 AM | 48

46
It is well documented

Exhibit 1 Kermit Roosevelt - Brief life of a Harvard conspirator
Exhibit 2 Library of Congress - Iran

Disproving the high reputation of Iran’s armed forces, in August 1941 British and Russian forces invaded Iran when Reza Shah, who had declared Iran neutral in World War II, refused to expel German nationals from the country. In three days, the invading forces decimated the Iranian army and completely destroyed the fledgling air force and navy. With his institu­ tional power base ruined, the shah abdicated in favor of his 22­ year old son, Mohammad Reza Shah (r. 1941–79 as Moham­ mad Reza Shah Pahlavi) (see World War II and the Azarbaijan Crisis, ch. 1). Reza Shah’s abdication in favor of his son did not slow the modernization of the army. In 1942 the United States sent mili­ tary advisers to Iran to aid the new shah in reorganizing his orces, thus establishing a relationship between the armed forces of the two nations that would last until the Revolution of 1978–79. Beginning in 1946, the parliament (Majlis—see Glos­ sary) put limits on the military budget to keep the army from resuming its role as a base of political power. Although deter­ mined to build an effective military establishment, the shah was forced to accept the managerial control of the parliament. Mohammad Mossadeq, who with the support of the parliament gained the posts of prime minister (1951) and minister of war (1952), dismissed officers loyal to the shah. With the assistance of British and U.S. intelligence, however, officers who had been dismissed overthrew Mossadeq in August 1953 and re-installed the shah, who had fled the country (see Mossadeq and Oil Nationalization, ch. 1).

Posted by: somebody | Jul 20, 2017 9:36:50 AM | 49

>>>> Willy2 | Jul 19, 2017 12:28:28 PM | 3

One doesn't have to occupy Iran in its entirity. One can simply occupy the Khuzestan oilprovince in the west of Iran to cripple the iranian government.

How would you do that?

Posted by: Ghostship | Jul 20, 2017 9:45:32 AM | 50

John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer.
Posted by: Nick | Jul 19, 2017 9:10:10 PM | 32

Satan's Mini-Me?
Syrians and Novorussiyans have begun saving their crocodile tears...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 20, 2017 9:47:56 AM | 51

48
The big issue: does Iran have the ability, even without nukes, to threaten to strike US interests outside of Iran proper? Do they have enough air defenses to attrit US air strikes? Not stop completely, mind you, just make them too expensive. That is the calculus.

a) They have superb mountain ranges making it difficult to fly low.

b) They are surrounded by US air bases they can target easily

c) They control the Strait of Hormuz

d) They are surrounded by US allies they can strike easily

Posted by: somebody | Jul 20, 2017 9:49:59 AM | 52

The Iranian constitution and political system is build on the principal of Vilayat-e Faqih, the guardianship of the (Islamic) jurists.

But then, how different is their system from ours really? Granted, we don't actually use the the term Vilayat-e-Faqih here. But if the Supreme Court is capable of striking down either an executive order or an act of congress, couldn't it be said that our judiciary is also superior to the other two branches?

Original and relevant voices from the ground are absent. None of the people involved in the issues is questioned. "Expert" quotes from often partisan western think thanks are the sorry substitute.

Par for the course. And whenever you complain that the only Iranians they interview are dissidents, defectors or 'Green Revolution' protesters who tweet in flawless English, the MSM just grumble about 'North Tehran Syndrome' and go on about their business.

The stink-tanks are the absolute worst. Does anybody remember that bogus story going around a couple of years ago, according to which Ahmadinejad threatened to "wipe Israel off the map"? It was first cooked up a neocon outfit (no surprise!) called the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which specializes in mis-translating quotes from ME political and religious figures. (My Iranian sources--none of whom were especially sympathetic to the current government of Iran--all assured me that he had actually said, "The Zionist Entity is destined to vanish from the pages of history." MEMRI also neglected to mention that A-jad was simply quoting Khomeini here, who had originally made this prediction more than twenty years before.)

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Jul 20, 2017 10:04:25 AM | 53

The sunni leaders are a pack of losers,
Kuwait orders Iran ambassador to leave country within 48 days – local media

Posted by: Anon | Jul 20, 2017 10:19:18 AM | 54

Pepe Escobar adds more information to the pot of stew of recent coup attempts in Qatar and Saudi and Deep State reactions to them, http://www.atimes.com/article/coup-house-saud/

And if you missed it, here's Pepe's latest on Korea, sanitizing recently published crapified news, https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201707171055616214-korean-matrix-pepe-escobar/

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 20, 2017 11:48:14 AM | 55

Re: is Velayet-eFaqih similar to the Supreme Court?

It is quite different. Iran is a "moderate theocracy". There is sacred branch of government and mundane. The sacred branch consists of several councils which are elected in some funny way, and the Supreme Leader that is elected by one of them -- somewhat comparable to the Catholic Church. The sacred branch supervised directly all matters of law enforcement, military and foreign policy. Thus courts, prosecutors, all types of police (perhaps not all?), military and paramilitary forces. And it controls a number of foundations that own a good chunk of the economy. The mundane branch has legislative and executive, elective like in the West, but candidates have to be approved by some committee of the sacred branch.

All of that can lead to very authoritarian theocratic oligarchy, but there is a tradition, or doctrine, or a certain remoteness of the marjah, the religious figures of veneration and guidance, from mundane matters. Khomeini and Khamenei are more activist than "the average grand ayatollah", but there are definite limits. Thus the mundane President, Majlis and local government have a lot to decide. For example, schools. I read an article about teaching about evolution. Unlike in Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Louisiana, there is no theocratic guidance in Iran against teaching the evolution, but with some twists. Connection of evolution to geology is explained (how the Almighty benevolently gives clues to the faithful to find oil and gas? sorry for an impious joke), but specifically human evolution is not in the textbooks.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 20, 2017 1:51:30 PM | 56

And now Trump suspends military supplies, including the covert ones, to the rebels. It is a bit unpredictable when Trump will behave reasonably. It will take some time to see how serious this is.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 20, 2017 2:03:33 PM | 57

@57 piotr... words are cheap - especially coming from the usa... i will believe it when i see actions that back it up... i am not counting on it either..

Posted by: james | Jul 20, 2017 2:45:55 PM | 58

I think you will find that the "cuts" to the CIA progammes for training terrorists, has more to do with respective "zones of influence" between them and the Pentagon. Plus the effort by the US to remove certain groups from the list of "terrorists".

At one point during the fighting for Aleppo, CIA supported Jihadis were fighting the Pentagon's "assets". The battles happening in Idlib province are probably due to the same confusion as to who is "boss" and can receive new weapons.

Secondly. Both the US and Canada have taken Al-Nusra off their "terrorist" list due to it being part of the "new HTS". The US has been arming the AL-Zinci group (also HTS), and for Al-N and Al-Z to be in the same group would be an admission by the US that they are arming real terrorists.
Al-Nusra is supported by both the CIA and Israel. (Who is building new facilities for them, pays their salaries etc.)

Basically the "defunding" of CIA-backed jihadis seems to be a semantic change to enable the US to pretend to be innocent. It has the secondary effect of allowing Trump a side-swipe at the CIA and Comey.
------
Unfortunately, the use of "information packages" by lobby groups, to journalits or politicians - is a "fact of life". I am possibly less inclined to think that the journalist mentioned by b is a "hard-working independent", than he appears to. But, no proof = so mine is only an opinion.

Posted by: stonebird | Jul 20, 2017 3:33:30 PM | 59

@ Trump stopping Syria's terrorists support - I will believe it when I see it, i.e. I'm not holding my breath. Trump said many things, just to do 180% days later. Considering entire US establishment and Israel are continuing their destruction of Syria, at MOST it will just change the form (if that), not the goals.

@ TG | 48

they could dissect the civilian infrastructure of Serbia no problem, and there was nothing the Serbs could do about it.

Remember Serbia shooting down one (or more?) stealth jets with beyond ancient missiles, when they weren't suppose to even see the planes? Now imagine Iran actually has advanced missiles, wide range and highly mobile. And for Iran's radars there is nothing stealth about US jets. The most US could do is to send loads of cruise missiles to overwhelm SAMs and cause some destruction. Iran would have so many ways to retaliate, US would cry, literally.

No, what US wanted to do to Iran what they did to Libya and Syria, i.e. fight with proxy terrorists instead. However this project got stuck in Syria, they are running out of cannon fodder jihadists, major financiers are running out of money and will. Other than few terror hits here and there, Iran is safe.

Sanctions? They are unilateral and failing, even EU ignores more and more of them, what to speak of Asia.

Posted by: Harry | Jul 20, 2017 3:49:26 PM | 60

Not sure if already posted: US Senators Push for 20 Years in Prison If You Support Boycotting Israel

Add names of these 43 senators to The List of enemies of humanity.


...United States senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties are pushing to implement a bill that would make it a felony to support boycotting Israel, punishable by up to twenty years in prison. On Monday, the ACLU issued a letter to the Senate opposing the proposed legislation, which was introduced in March by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). It was “drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC],” according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720), which has a total of 43 sponsors in the Senate (14 Democrats and 29 Republicans), seeks to broaden the the Export Administration Act of 1979 “to include in the prohibitions on boycotts against allies of the United States boycotts fostered by international governmental organizations against Israel and to direct the Export-Import Bank of the United States to oppose boycotts against Israel, and for other purposes.”

The bill in its current form would also make it illegal to even request information about boycotts against Israel, and violations would carry a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years behind bars. If passed, this legislation would effectively put U.S. citizens behind bars for up to twenty years for nothing more than their political beliefs...

Posted by: ProPeace | Jul 20, 2017 4:50:34 PM | 61

Other important news in likely to be widely disseminated:

"Historic petition to OAS seeks retrial or hearing.

"Famed attorney, noted author, and human rights advocate Dr. William F. Pepper announced July 17 that he is filing a petition to the Organization of American States (OAS) seeking justice for his imprisoned client Sirhan B. Sirhan.

"The filing describes Sirhan (shown upon his arrest) as wrongfully convicted of the 1968 assassination of Pepper’s friend, Robert F. Kennedy, the late New York U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate. Pepper presents his evidence and arguments at a 10 a.m. news conference on July 20 at the National Press Club, located at 529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC.

"Seeking a new trial for Sirhan or an evidentiary hearing, Pepper’s petition against the U.S. government is being filed on July 19, 2017 with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an OAS body. The filing alleges that the California and U.S. justice systems violated Sirhan’s right to a fair trial, as required under the OAS Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. By treaty, the IACHR may review U.S. cases and those from 34 other nations when domestic remedies have been exhausted."

There's much more info at link, http://theindicter.com/petition-to-oas-sirhan-wrongfully-convicted-in-1968-rfkennedy-murder/

I'll be very much surprised if WaPost or NYTimes publishes anything about this Press Club engagement. A google news search got zero hits for this event, although Pepper's not completely airbrushed from the cloud.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 20, 2017 5:00:54 PM | 62

"Re: is Velayet-eFaqih similar to the Supreme Court?"

Does the SCOTUS command the US Military?

Islamic Republic is a crypto-Soviet.

Strip away the Allah fakery and what you have is a Soviet system, complete with central b, polit b, commisars in military, and toothless parliament.

(Do godly people sodomize young men and women simply because they protest against an election? Is that how a people who fear God behave?)

Posted by: nobody | Jul 20, 2017 6:32:30 PM | 63

The "puppet" speaks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnN3wVPx62Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHvbxjV37mk

Posted by: nobody | Jul 20, 2017 6:47:02 PM | 64

It is well documented

Exhibit 1 Kermit Roosevelt - Brief life of a Harvard conspirator
Exhibit 2 Library of Congress - Iran

https://www.loc.gov/collections/september-11th-2001-documentary-project/about-this-collection/

LOL. Any other sources dear?

Posted by: nobody | Jul 20, 2017 6:52:57 PM | 65

http://www.france24.com/en/20170702-iran-total-oil-deal-sanction

It's a sweet deal, and Gas is the future, so let's shake on it (and "defy the Americans")!

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/03/527292/Total-wins-Irans-biggest-gas-deal-in-years

France: 50.1%
China: 30%
Islamic Republic: 18%

They can't even team up with the Chinese to have control over one of Iran's most valuable strategic resources.

Has the penny dropped for you yet, or not? Must I go on?

Posted by: nobody | Jul 20, 2017 7:01:56 PM | 66

I know how keen barflies are about studies and polls, but this one certainly applies to this thread: What Americans Care About vs. What the Media Care About. The charts compiled by Bloomberg tell the story. Currently, Healthcare tops the people's concerns at 35% followed by jobs at 13%, while media devoted 4% and 1%, respectively, but provided a whopping 75% to anti-Russian propaganda versus only 6% of public interest, https://ricochet.com/442941/americans-care-vs-media-cares/

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 20, 2017 7:02:23 PM | 67

66
? It is one phase of twenty-eight planned phases ?

Posted by: somebody | Jul 21, 2017 6:09:58 AM | 68

Just had to share this laugher.

An example of the msm being so lost in their own propaganda that they can't hear themselves.

"The move is embarrassing for Russia which stands accused of disregarding EU sanctions"

www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-crimea-siemens-idUSKBN1A60I4?il=0

Excuse me...?

Posted by: librul | Jul 21, 2017 8:03:04 AM | 69

thank you for content.

Posted by: طراحی فروشگاه اینترنتی | Jul 22, 2017 5:46:43 AM | 70

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