Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 24, 2009


Sam Smith - It's looking more and more like Iran is another battle between their bad guys and ours. The media and the pols keep foistering the illusion that it is just a struggle of virtue vs. evil. Obama even seems shocked at the suggestion that the CIA might be involved, when - as have we pointed out - its designated hitter, the National Endowment for Democracy, certainly is and the whole affair has some of the smell of not terribly clever agents trying to manipulate matters in Iran and with the American public. If this isn't what is happening, then it's the first time since Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Venezuela, Chile etc, that it hasn't been. It's all part of the great American road show. Some days it even feels like the Bush run up to Iraq. Get everyone incensed and then attack.

Since we tend to forget how many times we have been deceived in such situations, there is a not surprising tendency to accept whatever noble myth is being perpetuated, even if our new hero once made a name for himself by getting Americans killed. It may all work out all right this time, but it helps to remember that it hardly ever has in the past and that just because there are two sides to the question doesn't mean they can't both be for the worse.

Jeff Stein, CQ Politics - He may yet turn out to be the avatar of Iranian democracy, but three decades ago Mir-Hossein Mousavi was waging a terrorist war on the United States that included bloody attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut.

Mousavi, prime minister for most of the 1980s, personally selected his point man for the Beirut terror campaign, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi-pur, and dispatched him to Damascus as Iran's ambassador, according to former CIA and military officials.

The ambassador in turn hosted several meetings of the cell that would carry out the Beirut attacks, which were overheard by the National Security Agency.

"We had a tap on the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon," retired Navy Admiral James "Ace" Lyons related by telephone Monday. In 1983 Lyons was deputy chief of Naval Operations, and deeply involved in the events in Lebanon.

"The Iranian ambassador received instructions from the foreign minister to have various groups target U.S. personnel in Lebanon, but in particular to carry out a 'spectacular action' against the Marines," said Lyons.

"He was prime minister," Lyons said of Mousavi, "so he didn't get down to the details at the lowest levels. "But he was in a principal position and had to be aware of what was going on."

Lyons, sometimes called "the father" of the Navy SEALs' Red Cell counter-terror unit, also fingered Mousavi for the 1988 truck bombing of the U.S. Navy's Fleet Center in Naples, Italy, that killed five persons, including the first Navy woman to die in a terrorist attack.

Bob Baer agrees that Mousavi, who has been celebrated in the West for sparking street demonstrations against the Teheran regime since he lost the elections, was directing the overall 1980s terror campaign.

But Baer, a former CIA Middle East field officer whose exploits were dramatized in the George Clooney movie "Syriana," places Mousavi even closer to the Beirut bombings.

"He dealt directly with Imad Mughniyah," who ran the Beirut terrorist campaign and was "the man largely held responsible for both attacks," Baer wrote in Time over the weekend.

Chris Hedges, Truthdig - "The central story of Iran over the last 200 years has been national humiliation at the hands of foreign powers who have subjugated and looted the country," Stephen Kinzer, the author of "All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror," told me. "For a long time the perpetrators were the British and Russians. Beginning in 1953, the United States began taking over that role. In that year, the American and British secret services overthrew an elected government, wiped away Iranian democracy, and set the country on the path to dictatorship."

"Then, in the 1980s, the U.S. sided with Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war, providing him with military equipment and intelligence that helped make it possible for his army to kill hundreds of thousands of Iranians," Kinzer said. "Given this history, the moral credibility of the U.S. to pose as a promoter of democracy in Iran is close to nil.

"Especially ludicrous is the sight of people in Washington calling for intervention on behalf of democracy in Iran when just last year they were calling for the bombing of Iran. If they had had their way then, many of the brave protesters on the streets of Tehran today-the ones they hold up as heroes of democracy-would be dead now."

I am no friend of the Iranian regime, which helped create and arm Hezbollah, is certainly meddling in Iraq, has persecuted human rights activists, gays, women and religious and ethnic minorities, embraces racism and intolerance and uses its power to deny popular will. But I do not remember Iran orchestrating a coup in the United States to replace an elected government with a brutal dictator who for decades persecuted, assassinated and imprisoned democracy activists. I do not remember Iran arming and funding a neighboring state to wage war against our country. Iran never shot down one of our passenger jets as did the USS Vincennes-caustically nicknamed Robocruiser by the crews of other American vessels-when in June 1988 it fired missiles at an Airbus filled with Iranian civilians, killing everyone on board. Iran is not sponsoring terrorism within the United States, as our intelligence services currently do in Iran. The attacks on Iranian soil include suicide bombings, kidnappings, beheadings, sabotage and "targeted assassinations" of government officials, scientists and other Iranian leaders. . .

We are, and have long been, the primary engine for radicalism in the Middle East. The greatest favor we can do for democracy activists in Iran, as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf and the dictatorships that dot North Africa, is withdraw our troops from the region and begin to speak to Iranians and the rest of the Muslim world in the civilized language of diplomacy, respect and mutual interests. . .

BBC - Iranian riot police and militiamen appear to have put a halt to protests in the capital, after days of clashes over a disputed presidential election. Residents say the city is quiet, though opposition supporters have called for a day of mourning for those killed during the protests.

One of the three defeated candidates, Mohsen Rezai, a conservative, has now withdrawn his complaint about the poll.

The pro-government Iran Daily newspaper said four of the six players who wore green wristbands during a World Cup qualifier against South Korea in Seoul had been retired from the national team.

Mohsen Rezai, a former leader of the Revolutionary Guards, said he had withdrawn his complaints about the vote in the interests of Iran's national security. "I see it as my responsibility to encourage myself and others to control the current situation," Mr Rezai was quoted as saying in a letter to the Guardian Council. He had previously claimed to have won more votes than the official tally, which placed him third in the poll.

Amid ongoing restrictions on media, Western media outlets reported that 25 journalists and other staff at a newspaper owned by Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main challenger to President Ahmadinejad, had been arrested.

Robert Dreyfuss, Nation - A newly released statistical study of the rigged election by Chatham House raises enormous questions about the validity of the Interior Ministry's reported vote totals. And Mousavi himself is making the point, in detailed fashion, that the vote was bogus. The Chatham House analysis, while wonky and full of detailed charts, provides the clearest evidence yet that Ahmadinejad and Co. rigged the vote.

It shows, for instance, that in at least ten provinces, in order to have amassed the vote totals given to him, Ahmadinejad would have had to have won all the voters who backed him in 2005, all of the voters who, last time, voted for the centrist candidacy of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, all of the voters who, last time, sat out the election and didn't vote at all, and -- on top of that -- up to 44 percent of the voters who, in 2005, backed the reformist slate. . . It also notes, wryly, that "in two conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of more than 100 percent was recorded."

Telegraph, UK, 2007 - President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert "black" operations to achieve regime change in Iran, intelligence sources have revealed. Mr Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilize, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs. . .

The CIA will also be allowed to supply communications equipment which would enable opposition groups in Iran to work together and bypass internet censorship by the clerical regime.

Pak Alert - Former Pakistani Army General Mirza Aslam Beig claims the US Central Intelligence Agency has distributed 400 million dollars inside Iran to evoke a revolution. In a phone interview with the Pashto Radio on Monday, General Beig said that there is undisputed intelligence proving the US interference in Iran. "The documents prove that the CIA spent 400 million dollars inside Iran to prop up a colorful-hollow revolution following the election," he added. Pakistan's former army chief of joint staff went on to say that the US wanted to disturb the situation in Iran and bring to power a pro-US government.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

400 million dollars sounds pretty cheap to me, considering the cost of 'conventional' war. I hope it will buy enough rope to string up every Islamic Fundamentalist Revolutionary in Persia.

June 25, 2009 1:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Iranians (or North Koreans, or whoever) have thought of funding riots in the US. Turn a bunch of anarchists lose on our streets to destroy property, attack cops, etc. and see if the MSM hails them as 'pro-democracy demonstrators'.

June 25, 2009 6:43 AM  
Anonymous For whom the bell tolls... said...

The ironic aspect to this is that even as American's watched the destruction of a whole generation of leftists or progressives or whatever by US machinations in Guatemala, in Chile, in Nicaragua, in Haiti, in Viet Nam, in Iran, in Yugoslavia, in Iraq they never saw who would be last on the list to be rounded up, put in camps and exterminated or reeducated.

June 26, 2009 4:11 PM  

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