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Iranian Alert -- February 3, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
California Recall Daily Thread: Up To The Minute News ^ | 2.3.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/03/2004 12:01:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” But most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.

In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.

This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.

I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.

If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.

If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

1 posted on 02/03/2004 12:01:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 02/03/2004 12:04:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Islamic Republic is 25 - and at a watershed

By Gareth Smyth
Published: February 3 2004 4:00 | Last Updated: February 3 2004 4:00

When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini flew home from exile in Paris on February 1 1979, so many millions of people lined the streets of Tehran that the 78-year-old cleric abandoned his station wagon for a helicopter.

By contrast, the 25th anniversary of the key event in the establishment of Iran's Islamic Republic was a low-key affair on Sunday with few public displays of enthusiasm.

Dignitaries gathered to inaugurate Tehran's new international airport, where President Mohammad Khatami gave an address predicting it would help foster international co-operation.

The ceremony gave no hint of any crisis in the Islamic Republic, despite the resignation notices handed in on Sunday by 134 out of 290 parliamentary deputies.

Mosharekate (Participation Front), the largest reformist party, with around 120 parliamentary seats, yesterday said it would boycott the parliamentary elections due on February 20, but stopped short of calling on Iranians to abstain.

"We have no hope there is any possibility of free and fair elections - all legal opportunities have been killed," said Mohammad Reza Khatami, the party's secretary-general and brother of the president.

Since the Guardian Council, an unelected constitutional watchdog, three weeks ago barred 3,600 mainly reformist candidates, including 80 deputies, from this month's election, President Khatami has argued the matter could be resolved through discussions with the council and Ali Khameni, Iran's supreme leader.

Last Friday's announcement from the council that 2,450 candidates remained barred was a heavy blow to the president's whole project of revitalising the Islamic Republic through greater pluralism.

On Saturday, President Khatami took to his bed with severe back pain, rising only for the opening of the Imam Khomeini airport.

He missed the cabinet meeting which agreed late on Sunday "not to hold elections that are not competitive, fair and free" and apparently endorsed a call from Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari, the reformist interior minister, to postpone the poll.

While the Guardian Council must agree to any delay, the reformist-controlled interior ministry and the governors of Iran's 28 provinces are responsible for the practical conduct of the election and could refuse to carry out their duties.

With some reformers still hoping that the supreme leader may intervene in the crisis, they are giving no clear sense of how far they are prepared to go, or of whether they have a common strategy.

There is still little public interest in a political crisis that has been brewing for three weeks, despite a sit-in protest by deputies.

"The sit-in came far too late, and the reformers have not raised effective short-term demands among the people," said Javardi Hesar, a Mosharekate member banned from the election.

But while there has been no repeat of the demonstra tions that four years ago followed the closure of several reformist newspapers, there is aquiet sense that the Islamic Republic is at a watershed. "Maybe it's better to have conservatives in both the parliament and the government," said an Iranian civil servant. "At least then, people will know who's running the country and can see if this system can ever work."

Some conservatives worry that such a short-term victory may breed long-term problems for the system's legitimacy.

While conservative strategists made no secret of their original desire for a low turnout in the elections, at least one has criticised the Guardian Council's actions.

"The council's inflexibility has unified the reformist camp," wrote Amir Mohebian in Resalat newspaper. "It is not helpful to remove all control from the hands of Mr Khatami."

The deeper fear of pragmatic conservatives may be that brushing aside reformists may ultimately swell the ranks of those who, like many student leaders, argue that the Islamic Republic created by Ayatollah Khomeini 25 years ago cannot be reformed.
3 posted on 02/03/2004 12:08:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Former French President D'estaing calls for better Iran-EU ties

Feb 2, 2004, 22:44

Former French President Valery Giscard D'estaing here on Saturday called for expansion of relations between Iran and European countries.

In a meeting with Iran's ambassador to Paris Sadeq Kharrazi, Giscard D'estaing, who is currently chairman of the Convention on the Future of Europe, praised the ancient Iranian culture and civilization.

During the meeting, held on the threshold of the 25th anniversary of victory of the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian envoy appreciated hospitality of the French government and nation during stay of the founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Imam Khom eini, in France.

As to chairmanship of Giscard D'estaing over the European Convention, Kharrazi underlined the need for promotion of relations between European bodies and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
4 posted on 02/03/2004 12:11:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
5 posted on 02/03/2004 1:03:40 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: DoctorZIn
This guy was the one who sheltered Ayatollah Khomeini in 1978-79 and also gave him and his followers Entry Visa and stood against the Shah.
6 posted on 02/03/2004 1:07:13 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: freedom44; DoctorZIn; faludeh_shirazi; Pan_Yans Wife; AdmSmith; Persia; downer911; Eala; ...
Iranian rebel made room for 'Lolita'

Monday, February 2, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle

As a literature professor in Iran, Azar Nafisi seemed destined to run afoul of the country's religious authorities. Raised in Tehran but educated in the West, she championed novels such as "Lolita" and "The Great Gatsby," whose characters cross the line of acceptable sexual mores. Both in the classroom and on the streets of Iran's capital, Nafisi protested against codes of dress and behavior. In short, Nafisi was a rebellious intellect -- and a woman at that -- in a country where bearded mullahs legislate everyday life.

Until the day she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi found a way to circumvent her conditions, and when she wrote a book that detailed her unconventional ways --

a surprise best-seller called "Reading Lolita in Tehran'' -- Nafisi entered a new realm of life: public figure.

Now, Hollywood studios beckon her to give them the rights to her memoir. Now, Iranian exiles seek her status for human rights events. Now, many Americans flock to her book readings to meet the person behind "Reading Lolita in Tehran." Newly released in paperback, the book continues to generate buzz for Nafisi, who is in the Bay Area today and Tuesday to give talks.

"It's exhausting and liberating at the same time," Nafisi says in a phone interview from Seattle, one of many stops on her nationwide book tour.

Nafisi is debating the offers to turn "Reading Lolita in Tehran" into a movie. She's leery of a medium that could weed out important details of her book. Will there be room for all the student debates she chronicles, including the one where Nafisi holds a mock trial over the merits of studying "Gatsby"? (One student said in that trial, "The one good thing about this book is that it exposes the immorality and decadence of American society.") Will there be room for the stories of all the female students who take Nafisi's classes -- women like Sanaz, who has to put up with a bullying brother, or Mahshid, whose jailing left her with a bad kidney? Nafisi doesn't want a film to treat her as a hero. What she did in Iran -- protesting, questioning, holding secret meetings -- was done by scores of others, she says. Some of these protesters continue to risk their lives in Iran.

"There have been negotiations -- one or two from independents, and another one -- but nothing has materialized," Nafisi says of the prospective film. "In one sense it's tempting. In another sense you want people to capture the essence of what you've said. Once a film is done, it's going to be there forever. The instant gratification is that a film is out but you pay for it the rest of your life if it's not the right film."

It's easy to see why Hollywood is so interested in the rights to her book. After getting her doctorate at Oklahoma University in 1979, Nafisi took a position at the University of Tehran, just as the Iranian revolution brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power. By 1981, the university fired her after she refused to wear the mandated veil. Nafisi fought the mandate whenever she could, risking her job as well as arrest.

"A lot of people see my story as a story of courage," she says. "But I didn't want this to be a book where people said, 'Oh, look at how courageous she was.' I also didn't want this to be a sob story so that people thought, 'Oh, God -- look at how victimized she was.' "

At her lowest points in Iran, Nafisi admits that "I was afraid."

Yet it didn't stop her from continuing to challenge authority. In 1995, after resigning from another position, Nafisi started a literature group that met every week at her home. There, away from the stern eyes of school administrators, a small group of female students discussed "Lolita" and other books that were essentially banned. If authorities had discovered the sessions, they could have arrested Nafisi or done worse. She says Iranians who condemned her for using "Lolita," a lurid account of an affair between a man and an underage girl, are missing the point of literature.

"These are the kind of people -- not just in Iran but all over the world -- who read these works superficially and want to find their own affirmations in the book," she says. "They don't go into the deeper levels of what the structure of the novel is. So if Gatsby commits adultery, he's 'bad.' "

In moving to Washington in 1997 and becoming a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, Nafisi joined the large number of Iranian exiles in the United States, where they continue to work for change in their homeland. She's been disappointed that the seven-year term of reformist President Mohammad Khatami hasn't led to greater freedoms in Iran. And though Nafisi describes herself as a pessimist, she thinks change will eventually come to Iran because of the political demands of average Iranians. At Johns Hopkins, Nafisi started an Internet project called "The Dialogue Project," which is a forum for people --

including those in Iran -- to debate ideas about Islam, democracy, human rights and other subjects.

Nafisi's book is a minor hit in Iran. Iranian exiles in the United States are mailing it to friends and family there. Nafisi hears stories of people passing copies (which are still rare there) to others when they're done. Because of the Internet, Iranians can also read portions of the book online.

"I keep telling American friends and the readers of the book that a lot of times situations like Iran bring out the extremes of ordinary life," Nafisi says. "They strip it of all the paraphernalia and present it to us naked. So our love affair with these books and with literature arose out of the fact that in reality we were stripped of all the rights and pleasures of just ordinary life."

"When I left Iran, at first I was angry and resentful," Nafisi adds. "Through writing this book I realized the sources of my anger and came to terms with many of the issues that I had problems with in Iran. ... It's been successful beyond my expectations."

Azar Nafisi will discuss her book "Reading Lolita in Tehran" at 7 tonight at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco; and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Kepler's Bookstore, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park.
7 posted on 02/03/2004 5:08:53 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Iran bans student demonstration against crisis

Tuesday, February 03, 2004
IranMania News

TEHRAN, Feb 3 (AFP) -- Iranian authorities have banned the first planned student protest against the wholesale barring of reformist election candidates, the student news agency ISNA said Tuesday, quoting the Tehran governor's office.

"No gathering will be allowed outside the entrance of Tehran University," the agency quoted Ali Ta'ala, director of political and security affairs for the Tehran region as saying.

"No authorisation for a rally at that spot has been issued for several years because of traffic problems in the district," he added, implying that a demonstration could be organised in other circumstances.

The pro-democracy Islamic Association of Tehran's branches in the main and medical universities said Sunday they had requested a permit to stage a gathering at the gate of the capital's main campus on Wednesday.
8 posted on 02/03/2004 5:30:12 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: DoctorZIn
'Important meeting' imminent on Iran crisis

Middle East Online

Iranian authorities ban first planned student demonstration against barring of reformist election candidates.

TEHRAN - The head of Iran's leading reformist party said on Tuesday an "important meeting" would soon be held, feeding speculation that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could intervene in the political crisis over the February 20 parliamentary elections.

The student agency ISNA reported that Mohammad Reza Khatami, leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), announced the meeting after having talks with his brother President Mohammad Khatami and parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karoubi. He did not say whom the meeting would involve.

Another agency, the semi-official Ilna which is close to the reformist movement, said the two men would soon meet Iran's supreme leader.

At the weekend, referring to the impasse between conservatives and reformists over the elections and facing the resignation of 125 MPs, Karoubi had urged Khamenei to intervene.

Iran, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Republic, plunged into crisis on January 11 when the conservative Guardians Council vetting body barred some 3,500 would-be candidates out of around 8,000. Most were reformists, banned for an alleged lack of respect for Islam and the constitution.

Subsequently, the Council - ordered to carry out a review by Khamenei - reinstated 1,160 in a drawn-out appeals process, but some 80 sitting MPs, prominent pro-reform figures and allies of the embattled president remained barred.

Reformists, who believe they will lose their control of parliament and the government if the elections go ahead on February 20, want them postponed. The conservatives say they must proceed as planned.

Mohammad Reza Khatami, whose party said Monday it would boycott the elections, said he and Karoubi met some of the rebellious MPs on Tuesday. The MPs urged them to keep up their refusal to go along with a February 20 poll. They had also again demanded that barred candidates be allowed to stand, saying they had been rejected "illegally".

President Khatami and the government have not specifically said they would not organise elections on February 20. "This government will only organise elections which are free, fair and open," the president said Saturday.

Meanwhile, Iranian authorities have banned the first planned student protest against the wholesale barring of reformist election candidates, ISNA said Tuesday, quoting the Tehran governor's office.

"No gathering will be allowed outside the entrance of Tehran university," the agency quoted Ali Taala, director of political and security affairs for the Tehran region as saying.

"No authorisation for a rally at that spot has been issued for several years because of traffic problems in the district," he added, implying that a demonstration could be organised in other circumstances.

The pro-democracy Islamic Association of Tehran's branches in the main and medical universities said Sunday they had requested a permit to stage a gathering at the gate of the capital's main campus on Wednesday.

So far students, a driving force behind the embattled reformist movement, have largely kept out of the three-week-old political crisis sparked by powerful conservatives who have disqualified large numbers of reformists from contesting the February 20 elections.

Last week, Iran's main pro-democracy student movement - the Office to Consolidate Unity (OCU) - called for a nationwide boycott of the polls and demanded a referendum on the country's political future.

Last summer, students sparked a nationwide security crackdown when they led anti-regime protests. Since deadly street riots in 1999, authorities have tried to keep student protestors confined to their campuses.
9 posted on 02/03/2004 5:38:33 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: F14 Pilot
Iranian authorities ban first planned student demonstration against barring of reformist election candidates.

Not A Good News!

10 posted on 02/03/2004 5:42:14 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: DoctorZIn
I've Sold Nuclear Secrets to Iran

February 03, 2004
Ahmed Rashid and Anton La Guardia

The father of Pakistan's atomic bomb has confessed to selling nuclear weapons secrets to some of the world's most notorious "rogue states", a senior official said yesterday.

The admission that Abdul Qadeer Khan freely sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea confirms one of America's worst fears - that a close ally in the "war on terrorism" has turned out to be the secret armourer of its worst foes.

In a briefing to Pakistani journalists, the official admitted that successive governments had failed to control the activities of Mr Khan. He claimed that the technology sales were made for "personal greed" and did not involve Pakistani governments - something many experts find difficult to believe.

There were unconfirmed reports last night that Mr Khan's daughter had fled abroad with information that could compromise Pakistan's top brass.

According to journalists invited to the briefing, Mr Khan told investigators in an 11-page confession that he had provided the secrets to other Muslim countries - Iran and Libya - so they could become nuclear powers and strengthen the Islamic world.

The transfer to North Korea was supposedly "to divert attention of the international community from Pakistan".

The 69-year-old Mr Khan has been kept under 24-hour house arrest since the investigation was prompted by Iran's admission to United Nations nuclear inspectors that Pakistan had provided designs and hardware for uranium enrichment gas centrifuges. These are used to make fuel for civilian power reactors, but can also be used to make fissile material for nuclear weapons.

The government of Gen Pervaiz Musharraf has been gradually preparing public opinion for the news that one of its public heroes has betrayed Pakistan's most important military secrets.

In recent days, newspapers have reported that Mr Khan had a vast range of properties in Pakistan and abroad, and even used military transport aircraft to ship furniture to a hotel he owned in Timbuktu, Mali.

The disclosure is an acute embarrassment for Gen Musharraf. Islamic radicals accuse him of bowing to America's diktat. But the Pakistani leader is under Western pressure to tighten his grip of Pakistan's nuclear technology or risk being treated as a rogue state.

Senior Western officials have given Gen Musharraf private assurances that if he takes stern action they will take at face value his claims that nuclear technology was sold by scientists for "greed" and not at the behest that Pakistani governments.

In his confession Mr Khan absolved the army of any wrong-doing. "He does not mention the armed forces," said the official. "There were intelligence lapses on our part and we admit to them."

That is unlikely to convince international inspectors or the Pakistani public, who have long believed that the army rather than the government of the day has always controlled Pakistan's nuclear programme.

Officials said two former army chiefs have been questioned, but were not implicated in the scandal.

"Investigators have been able to establish that all this was driven by personal greed and ambition," the official said.

"He [Khan] talked unconvincingly about dispersal among Islamic states, but that does not seem very convincing as North Korea is also included."

Three nuclear scientists, two brigadiers and a major general are also among those accused of being involved. The army has so far declined to say whether anybody will be put on trial.

Officials said Mr Khan first began to transfer designs, drawings and components for gas centrifuges to Iran between 1989 to 1991. He provided similar technology to North Korea and Libya between 1991 and 1997.

They say these transfers ended in 2000. However America has said nuclear technology transfers from Pakistan to North Korea took place as late as 2002 and to Libya in August last year.
11 posted on 02/03/2004 7:45:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Cheney vs. the Mullahs

February 03, 2004
Reza Bayegan

Dick Cheney's speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on 24 January is of special significance for its vision and timing. It spells out the challenges that are still ahead of the free world in confronting terrorism. It makes clear that the search for global peace is inseparable from combating dictatorships and supporting democratic movements in the Middle East and around the world. It singles out Iran by name as a country whose rulers should "honour the legitimate demands of the people." He said, "There are growing calls for true democracy and human rights in Iran." Cheney's words come at a time when the totalitarian establishment in Iran has again dashed hopes for a free parliamentary election. The Islamic regime in Iran survives by intimidating the country's population and promoting terrorism abroad. Dick Cheney has used the opportunity of appearing in Davos to state that Americans are aware of this fact and harbour no illusions about the identity of their number one enemy.

September 11 has brought home to Americans the reality that the virus of dictatorship cannot be contained within the borders of one country or a continent. The world has turned into a place where the life and safety of the whole human civilization has become interdependent. Saddam Hussein not only was an evil to his own people, but an ongoing international menace. His removal has freed the Iraqi people and at the same time saved countless potential victims around the globe. The unfortunate truth is that a far greater danger than Saddam still threatens the world and the Middle Eastern peace with an ideology that thrives on hatred and xenophobia. The deadly ideology of suicide bombers and hostage takers that is fostered and promoted by the government of the Islamic Republic and is as dangerous as any weapons of mass destruction. Any political analyst worth his salt knows that without a regime change in Iran and the restoration of civil and political rights to the people of that country, peace in the Middle East is bound to remain a piecemeal peace, in constant threat of destruction.

To those Iranians struggling for freedom, Dick Cheney's words are a welcome sign that the Americans are still with them in their fight against the mullahs and have not bought into the policy of appeasement adopted by some European countries towards the Islamic Republic. The American Vice President called on Europe to stand together with America in insisting on democratic changes in Iran. His statement that the "ideologies of violence should be confronted at the source" was clearly directed at the rulers of the Islamic Republic who are incontrovertibly the spiritual and ideological doctrinarians of terrorism in the Islamic world.

Another top American official who gave a clear indication that America will maintain the pressure for bringing about democratic change in countries of the axis of evil was Condoleezza Rice, Bush's National Security Advisor. In an interview she gave from Camp David where she was editing the drafts of the State of the Union speech delivered by George Bush that Tuesday, she emphasized the need for providing moral help to the people of the countries suffering under totalitarian rule. Citing the example of the collapse of the Soviet Empire she noted, "When Ronald Reagan spoke out against the Soviet Union, it stimulated those inside, who saw they had friends around the world, and they were able to speak out."

Codoleezza Rice also underlined the need for truthfulness regarding the nature of undemocratic governments. The truthfulness she referred to is what is ignored by many European countries who encourage and embolden the totalitarian governments by their false bonhomie and moral indecision. This amounts to glossing over their crimes and making them look respectable. Those who are fighting to change those regimes need international solidarity; and it will not aid their search for a cure to call their national disease by any different name than what it really is.

It will not help those Iranians struggling for democracy when the Economist, in keeping with the dominant European relativism of the day, in its January 17, 2004, issue, paints an ameliorating picture of the lives of Iranians under President Khatami and calls it "less appalling" than what it used to be. As if "less appalling" is what any self-respecting nation can settle for. Dick Cheney in his speech spoke against this kind of moral relativism. Calling it a condescending attitude he said the idea that the Islamic World is incapable of accommodating democracy is ridiculous.

As the world can never settle for a piecemeal peace Iranian people also cannot settle for a false democracy or a "less appalling" dictatorship. There are positive and encouraging signs coming from Washington indicating that in their genuine struggle for freedom, the Iranians can count on American support.
12 posted on 02/03/2004 7:46:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Don't Want To Go Nuclear

February 03, 2004
The Washington Post
Karim Sadjadpour

Do the people of Iran want the bomb? Iran's recent decision to allow for tighter inspection of its nuclear facilities -- which Iran says are for civilian purposes -- was hailed by Iranian and European officials as a diplomatic victory, while analysts and officials in Washington and Tel Aviv continue to be wary of Tehran's intentions. But despite the attention given to Iran's nuclear aspirations in recent months, one important question has scarcely been touched on: How do the Iranian people feel about having nuclear weapons?

Iranian officials have suggested that the country's nuclear program is an issue that resonates on the Iranian street and is a great source of national pride. But months of interviews I have done in Iran reveal a somewhat different picture. Whereas few Iranians are opposed to the development of a nuclear energy facility, most do not see it as a solution to their primary concerns: economic malaise and political and social repression. What's more, most of the Iranians surveyed said they oppose the pursuit of a nuclear weapons program because it runs counter to their desire for "peace and tranquility." Three reasons were commonly cited.

First, having experienced a devastating eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of their compatriots, Iranians are opposed to reliving war or violence. Many Iranians said the pursuit of nuclear weapons would lead the country down a path no one wanted to travel.

Two decades ago revolutionary euphoria was strong, and millions of young men volunteered to defend their country against an Iraqi onslaught. Today few Iranians have illusions about the realities of conflict. The argument that a nuclear weapon could help serve as a deterrent to ensure peace in Iran seemed incongruous to most. "If we want peace, why would we want a bomb?" asked a middle-aged Iranian woman, seemingly concurring with an influential Iranian diplomat who contends that a nuclear weapon "would not augment Iran's security but rather heighten its vulnerabilities."

Second, while a central premise of Iran's Islamic government from the time of its inception has been its steadfast opposition to the United States and Israel, for most Iranians no such nemeses exist. Iran's young populace -- more than two-thirds of the country is younger than 30 -- is among the most pro-American in the Middle East, and tend not to share the impassioned anti-Israel sentiment of their Arab neighbors. While the excitement generated on the Indian and Pakistani streets as a result of their nuclear detonations is commonly cited to show the correlation between nuclear weapons and national pride, such a reaction is best understood in the context of the rivalry between the two countries. The majority of Iranians surveyed claimed to have little desire to show off their military or nuclear prowess to anyone. "Whom would we attack?" asked a 31-year-old laborer, echoing a commonly heard sentiment in Tehran. "We don't want war with anyone."

Finally, many Iranians, youth in particular, are opposed to the Islamic republic's becoming a nuclear power because they believe it would further entrench the hard-liners in the government. "I fear that if these guys get the bomb they will be able to hold on to power for another 25 years," said a 30-year-old Iranian professional. "Nobody wants that." In particular some expressed a concern that a nuclear Iran would be immune to U.S. and European diplomatic pressure and could continue to repress popular demands for reform without fear of repercussion.

At the same time, most Iranians -- including harsh critics of the Islamic regime -- remain unconvinced by the allegations that their government is secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Many dismiss it as another bogeyman manufactured by the United States and Israel to further antagonize and isolate the Islamic regime. "I don't believe we're after a bomb," said a 25-year-old Tehran University student. "The U.S. is always looking for an excuse to harass these mullahs." A recently retired Iranian diplomat who said he is "strongly critical" of the Islamic government agreed with this assessment, saying Iran's nuclear program "is neither for defensive nor offensive purposes . . . It's only for energy purposes."

I draw two lessons from this. First, the European-brokered compromise on Iran's nuclear program, which appealed to reformists and pragmatists within the Iranian government, was also a victory of sorts for the Iranian people, who are eager to emerge from the political and economic isolation of the past two decades and are strongly in favor of increasing ties with the West. A blatant lack of cooperation with the international community would not have been well-received domestically.

Second, a more aggressive reaction by the international community -- a U.S. or Israeli attempt to strike Iran's nuclear facilities -- could well have the unintended consequence of antagonizing a highly nationalistic and largely pro-Western populace and convincing Iranians that a nuclear weapon is indeed in their national interests. Such a reaction would be disastrous for U.S. interests in the region, especially given Iran's key location between Iraq and Afghanistan.

Western and Israeli diplomats and analysts should know that the ability to solve the Iranian nuclear predicament diplomatically has broad implications for the future of democracy and nonproliferation in Iran and the rest of the Middle East. The goal is to bring the Iranian regime on the same page with the Iranian people. A non-diplomatic attempt to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities could do precisely the opposite.

The writer, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, is a visiting fellow at the American University of Beirut.
13 posted on 02/03/2004 7:48:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
End Game

February 03, 2004
Mother Jones

Iran is at the brink -- but of what? Hard-line repression or revolution? It's hard to believe that things will ever be quite the same in the Islamic republic after the current standoff between the forces of reform and tradition.

Iran’s largest pro-reform party, the Participation Front, said it would boycott the February 20th elections because the Guardian Council, an un-elected, hard-line clerical body that oversees the political system, refused to reinstate all of the 3,600 pro-reform candidates it had blacklisted -- even after more than 40 per cent of the Iranian parliament resigned in protest.

Where is this going? It could be that Iran’s reformist forces finally wield power; more likely, though, religious conservatives will clamp down and consolidate their grip.

Part of the trouble is that the Iranian public are disillusioned, having seen the reformist candidates they voted into office virtually powerless to effect change. Like many Americans, they register their disgust by staying away from the polls. In the last Iranian elections (about a year ago, for local councils), only about 10-15% of Iranians voted, handing religious conservatives an easy victory.

President Khatami, the early focus of reformist hopes, was first voted into office in 1997 and reelected in 2001. Since then, he and the majority reformist parliament have tried to pass progressive laws, but have been repeatedly rebuffed by the Council of Guardians. One parliamentarian said of the Council’s attempt to disqualify candidates, "They want to cover the ugly body of dictatorship with the beautiful dress of democracy". The Economist reports:

"The parliament has passed some remarkably enlightened laws in recent years: to liberalise the press; to sign United Nations conventions outlawing torture and sex discrimination; to expand trial by jury; and to stop the police from storming the universities, which are a main base for pro-reform movements. But the Council of Guardians has spiked every one."
One Iranian columnist, Ahmad Sadri, sums up what many Iranians feel: they are chafing under theocratic rule and are bitterly disappointed with the reformists' performance:

"The real news is that the Iranian reformers put on a grand show of defying the widely hated Islamic troglodytes and Iranians didn't care.The majority of Iranians didn't care about the spectacle of the reformist resistance on the floor of their parliament because they had no confidence in a movement that had once embodied their political aspirations. The reform mint had lost its luster and much of its currency when Iranians went to the polls in 2001 to reelect a do-nothing reform president."
In fact, so low is popular interest in Iranian politics that the Council of Guardians may not have needed to remove the reformist names from the ballot; low voter turnout would anyway have most likely resulted in a win for the religious right. They were simply covering their bases. The Iranian Interior Minister has called for a postponing of the February elections, on the grounds that they should not proceed if they can’t be "free, fair, and competitive." The Council of Guardians has thus rejected this call.

Analysts now say that only Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- who has the final say in all matters political as well as spiritual -- can defuse what is shaping up as one of the country's worst political crises.

Of course, the outcome in Iran will have a large effect on world opinion, particularly U.S. opinion:. This from a January 30 editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"If the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, has any regard for citizens' rights in his Islamic republic, he will halt the attempt by anti-democratic hard-liners to corrupt the next round of parliamentary elections … Khamenei, the nation's ultimate authority, has gone through the motions of promoting a compromise, ordering the Guardian Council to reconsider its controversial disqualifications. That seems to be a sham -- a foot-dragging exercise resulting in few restorations of candidacies and no real change in the strategy of subverting electoral democracy. The ayatollah should be reminded that the world sees what is going on and will not respect his theocracy for denying Iranians a minimal degree of control over their currently harried lives."

Perhaps one of the worst prospects for the reform movement is another small turnout like the last elections. Alex Vatanka, a country risk analyst with the Jane's Defense group of publications, said:

"As you have now seen, the elections that are about to be held are already pretty much discredited -- the worst-case scenario as far as democracy in Iran is concerned. The way I look at it is, if you have a similar situation as you had with the local elections [last year], that would be bad for the evolution of reform in Iran because that would pretty much put everything in the hands of the conservatives."
Students, who are largely pro-reform, are a powerful force in Iran, and they may play a role in all this as well. Two-thirds of the population is under 30 and the minimum voting age is 15. So far they have kept out of the conflict, but a demonstration may be in the works.

One Iranian political observer told the Christian Science Monitor that a decisive crisis is brewing:

"Now [politics] is so completely polarized. [The conservatives are] happy and singing, because they think they will soon control the [parliament], and the presidency after that, in elections for 2005.The conservative strategy before was to drive a wedge among the reformists, to tame the opposition. Now the attitude is absolutist and heavy handed."
14 posted on 02/03/2004 7:51:50 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Islamic Republic Urged to Heed UN Rapporteur's Findings

February 03, 2004
Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders today hailed the report issued on 12 January by the UN special rapporteur for freedom of expression and opinion, Ambeyi Ligabo, following his 4-10 November visit to Iran, and it urged the Iranian authorities to implement the report's recommendations.

"The observations and conclusions of this official UN document confirm the dramatic situation for press freedom in Iran, which Reporters Without Borders has been condemning for years," the organisation's secretary-general, Robert Ménard, said.

"The Iranian authorities accepted the principle of this visit, so we call on them now to implement the conclusions and proposals made by the special rapporteur for a rapid reform of the press code and criminal code and an improvement in the judicial practices which currently allow widespread abuses in the trials of prisoners of opinion," Ménard said.

"Like the special rapporteur, we expect the release of all the journalists who have been imprisoned just for doing their job. We also hope that Zahra Kazemi's murderers will not benefit from any impunity and that her body will be repatriated at once to Canada, as her son wishes," Ménard added.

Ligabo found a decline in respect for freedom of expression in Iran, with increasing numbers of newspapers being closed and journalists being imprisoned, often beyond what is legally allowed for provisional detention. The systematic repression of all critical opinion as regards political and religious institutions has ushered in a climate of fear and encouraged self-censorship.

The special rapporteur also noted the arbitrary procedures being followed by judicial institutions, in violation of the most elementary rights of defendants, who are tried behind closed doors without a lawyer present. He saw very harsh prison conditions, with long periods of solitary confinement that are tantamount to torture.

Ligabo urged the Islamic Republic to revise its judicial procedures and make them conform to international standards, and to adopt a human rights charter. He said the revolutionary courts should no longer have authority over crimes of opinion and he called on the authorities to end prison sentences for crimes of opinion and press offences.

Ligabo was the second rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights to make an official visit to Iran. Louis Joinet, the chairman of the working group on arbitrary detention visited Iran from 15 to 27 February 2003, but his recommendations had no effect.

Both rapporteurs expressed the same expectations as regard press freedom and respect for human rights in Iran.

Reporters Without Borders hopes that the changes recommended by Joinet and Ligabo will be implemented with monitoring by international bodies, in particular, by human rights organisations and the European Union, which has been conducting a constructive dialogue with the Iranian regime on human rights issues since 1998.
15 posted on 02/03/2004 7:53:48 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Inelegant Lies

February 03, 2004
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen

Making sense out of mullahs.

To underline one of my favorite themes, notice that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's arrival in Iraq last week was, as usual, welcomed by massive suicide bombings, this time in the north. At least sixty Kurds were killed in Irbil by simultaneous attacks on the two big political parties, and hundreds were injured, some of whom will likely die. This sort of message — you come, we kill you and your allies — is well understood in the Middle East, although not so well back here. Last time he was in Iraq, they tried to kill Wolfowitz, when he was unaccountably put in one of the terrorists' favorite target areas, the al Rasheed hotel in Baghdad.

Anyway, Agence France Presse quoted Mr. Tachlo Khodr Najmeddine, the official spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — the attractively acronymned PUK — as convinced that Iran was involved. "We (the two Kurdish groups) have a common enemy: the terrorists who come from Iran and other countries, and we must face them."

On January 29, our excellent General Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force 7, said that "al Qaeda's fingerprints have been here in Iraq (for months)." He said that their methods had been evident at least since the suicide attacks against the Italian carabinieri in Nassiriyah last November.

Apparently nobody thought to ask him from which planet the terrorists had entered Iraq, although Mr. Najmeddine had undoubtedly shared his concerns with the leader of Task Force 7. In any event, General Sanchez knows full well where the operations are staged, for he named Abu Musab Zarkawi as the ringleader, and Zarkawi has long worked out of Tehran (and briefly from Baghdad, according to Secretary of State Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom).

Not that Iran limits itself to organizing suicide missions. The pattern is, in fact, distinctly multicultural: They send non-Iranians to blow themselves up, but their own people get easier duty. On February 2, an Iranian and an Afghan were arrested planting bombs in a major oil refinery in Baghdad. And, in darkest Africa: "An Iranian has been arrested by Nigerian police for taking photographs of what they say are strategic buildings in the capital, Abuja." Iranians — including official diplomats — have previously been caught taking pictures of Jewish community centers in London, and the New York City subway system. While Iranians are brilliant moviemakers, it is unlikely that these guys were planning to enter an artistic competition.

These are the gentle souls with whom our diplomats and a handful of their willing handmaidens in Congress wish to "improve relations." One can only imagine the negotiations that have already taken place, the only results of which have been broken Iranian promises regarding al Qaeda terrorists "held" in Iran and concerning the ongoing Iranian nuclear program. The mullahs are not models of consistency. Just the other day, President Mohammed Khatami delivered himself of a line worthy of George Orwell at his finest. "We have reached a deadlock with the Guardians Council regarding the qualifications of candidates" he was quoted by the official news agency, the student news agency and several other media outlets. But a few hours later his office produced the Orwellian masterpiece:

"In the official and quotable comments of the esteemed president, this sentence and comment does not exist." This sort of inelegant lie should be a warning to anyone who tries to understand Iran through the words of their spokesmen. You have to watch their feet, not their lips. Thus, for example, the pathetic charade over the upcoming elections — a charade that has produced an incredible quantity of misreportage — has been portrayed exactly as the mullahs want: as an important power struggle between "hard liners" and "reformers." The "hard liners" dissed several thousand would-be candidates for the February 20 parliamentary elections, including some sitting "reformers," and many of the parliamentarians have been protesting. On occasion, they have announced their resignations (although they are still there, debating and protesting).

If you ignore the rhetoric and just watch the behavior, you will see that it all signifies nothing, as the Iranian people know full well. Foreign journalists have been baffled by the near-total indifference of the populace to what the journalists see as a really big story, but their bafflement only bespeaks their own lack of understanding. There is no real power struggle, because all effective power is in the hands of the two main thugs: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his henchman Akhbar Rafsanjani. The others, most decidedly including the esteemed president, do not matter at all. They hold no power, they can do nothing for the oppressed Iranian people, and the people know it. Recent polling in Tehran suggests that less than 15 percent of the electorate plans to go to the polls on election day, and even that number may be high.

The most likely explanation for the passionate protests is quite mundane: In a country reduced to economic misery, where workers are not paid for months on end, a government job is a miracle well worth fighting for. Has no one noticed that some 9,000 people signed up to run for a few hundred seats in the Majlis? Why such an enormous number? Because those are paying jobs, and paying jobs in Iran nowadays are hard to come by.

Despite the cheery words from Foggy Bottom and the eager appeasement from Capitol Hill, the Iranian regime is at war with us. The talk about "improved relations" has a double objective: to delay our support for democratic revolution in Iran, and to discourage the democratic revolutionaries by showing them that even the ferocious Bush administration is seeking a modus vivendi with the regime itself.

Our diplomats have it wrong. Sanchez and Najmeddine are the reliable sources. We will never get a firm grip on Iraq until the regime is changed in Tehran.

Faster, please.
16 posted on 02/03/2004 8:04:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Decide on Iran

February 01, 2004
The Jerusalem Post

For over a year before the war in Iraq, US President George W. Bush waged an internal struggle over his own administration's policy. It took a number of high-profile speeches for Bush to swing his own State Department in line, after it had resisted the notion of Saddam's forcible removal for as long as it could.

Though certain aspects of US policy toward Iraq remain in internal dispute even today, the question of whether Saddam's regime should be removed has been resolved. Yet today, long after Bush's "axis of evil" speech, the question of the nature of the Iranian regime remains the subject of blatantly contradictory US policies.

Testifying before Congress some months ago, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was asked point blank whether US policy was to pursue "regime change" in Teheran. His equally blunt answer was, "No, sir." Last month, following the terrible earthquake in Bam, Iran, Secretary of State Colin Powell seemed to see an opportunity for dialogue with the regime. Now a US-funded radio station broadcasting into Iran reports that, following the parliamentary sit-in by "moderate" Iranian MPs, Senator Arlen Specter would lead a trip to Iran to "improve relations" accompanied by Bush administration officials.

The Bush administration seems not to be able to decide something fundamental: Should the US be talking to the Iranian regime or seeking its removal? It is difficult to understand this ambivalence in the face of increasing signs of the mullocracy's unraveling. Yesterday, over 100 members of the Iranian Parliament resigned, following the mullahs' decision to disqualify 3,600 of 8,000 candidates seeking to run in the next elections, including about 80 sitting parliamentarians.

A government-sponsored poll found that more than 85 percent of the electorate intends to boycott the parliamentary vote on February 20. Even President Muhammad Khatami said that, under such circumstances, the elections would lack legitimacy.

In this context, a Bush administration-blessed congressional visit would be "throwing a life-line to a sinking regime," according to Shaheen Fatemi, writing on the Web site, Iran va Jahan. "How is this to be explained to the people of Iran, who have been listening to the president of the United States and his message of hope for the future of democracy in the region? While people of Afghanistan and Iraq are inching their way toward freedom and true self-determination, why is the Taliban-like regime in Teheran being courted?"

There is no explanation that stands up to scrutiny. As our columnist, Amir Taheri, wrote on January 23, "The Khomeinist regime is prepared to change aspects of its behavior and even concede some tactical retreats to weather what many in Teheran call 'the Bush storm.' But the regime's strategy, which is aimed at driving the US out of the Middle East, destroying Israel, and replacing all Arab regimes with 'truly Islamic' ones, remains unchanged."

How long will the West, particularly the US, continue to play the regime's game of giving powerless "moderates" credence?

Taheri reports that, in about 10 days, the regime will host a terrorists' jamboree, including their prize client, Hizbullah, two al-Qaida-linked Sunni groups, Latin American guerrillas, clandestine Irish organizations, Basque and Corsican separatists, and a variety of leftist groups from Trotskyites to Guevarists.

"Teheran today is also the only capital where all the Palestinian militant movements have offices and, in some cases, training and financial facilities," Taheri writes.

The "moderates" have no power to do anything about this, and that's assuming they oppose Teheran's support for terrorism. So why should the West constantly pretend that the regime in Teheran is any less of an implacable and uniform dictatorship than that in Damascus or formerly in Baghdad?

If there is a difference, it is not in the pliability of the regime, but the ferment among the people. Iran, unlike Syria or Iraq under Saddam, has a people that is not so crushed by the regime that there is no potential of mass disobedience of the sort that toppled the communist governments of central Europe.

Every feeler sent out to the mullocracy postpones the day of its collapse. The West should not be searching for moderate mullahs, but should be doing what the millions of ordinary Iranians want, which is to help them by isolating the regime. An invasion is not necessary. But a decision is.
17 posted on 02/03/2004 8:10:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Decide on Iran

February 01, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
18 posted on 02/03/2004 8:11:27 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in from a student in Iran....

The following are the results of an alleged poll conducted in Iran...

"A New poll done a few days ago about the upcoming Election:
How is the importance of MPs' sit-in?
1- Very Important >> 2.6 %
2- Important >> 4%
3- Usual >> 14.6%
4- Not Important >> 78.6%

How do you feel over the ban on so-called reformists?
1- I am sad 10.6%
2- I am happy 65.3%
3- I dont care 24%

Whats the best reaction that Mr. Khatami is able to do now?
1- Resign 5.3%
2- Keep working to solve the crisis 1.3%
3- Join the protest and sit in 4%
4- I never care about him 89%

Will you join the elections to vote?
1- Yes, absolutely 2.6%
2- No, No way 51%
3- Not Decided yet 10.6%
4- Yes, If the lift the ban 18.6%

The poll was done in Northern part of the city of Tehran on last monday. "

The student could not provide the source of the poll, so I can't confirm its reliability.
19 posted on 02/03/2004 8:22:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Terrorism Is Free Speech

By Michael Radu | February 3, 2004

Freedom of speech permits supporting terrorism, as long as you are only providing "expert advice and assistance" to groups the federal government has designated as “foreign terrorist organizations.” So says a California district judge, in a decision that can only be disheartening for those on the frontlines of the struggle against terrorism. We can hope the decision will be set aside on appeal, but it nevertheless shows how vulnerable our legal instruments are against international terrorism -- and how powerful the influence is of those who would dismantle existing Homeland Security legislation.

The Decision

In a decision released January 26, Federal Judge Audrey B. Collins (Central District of California), ruled in Humanitarian Law Project, et al. v. Reno et al. that the U.S. Departments of State and Justice cannot stop groups from providing "expert advice and assistance" to either the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey or the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka.

The plaintiffs had brought their suit in 1998, after passage of the Anti-Terrorism Law, most of which was initially upheld by Judge Collins. However, she agreed with the plaintiffs that the prohibition against providing "expert advice and assistance" was “impermissibly vague.” The newest decision comes in a new phase of the case based on the post-9/11 Patriot Act’s similar prohibitions. “The USA Patriot Act places no limitation on the type of expert advice and assistance which is prohibited and instead bans the provision of all expert advice and assistance regardless of its nature,” said Collins. She specifically cited the provision that makes it a crime to provide personnel and training to designated terrorist groups as unenforceable, saying that it was sufficiently vague to raise First and Fifth Amendment issues. (Surprisingly, she rejected arguments by the plaintiffs that the law was too general and that it gave the Secretary of State “virtually unreviewable authority” to designate a group as a foreign terrorist organization.)

As the New York Times noted [1], Judge Collins is the first federal judge actually to strike down part of the Patriot Act. But this is not the first legal challenge to aspects of the war on terror. California courts have made earlier attempts to weaken anti-terrorism legislation introduced in 1997. In 1998, the infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that fundraising for the lawful activities of a foreign terrorist organization is protected by the First Amendment, if there is no specific intent to further the group’s illegal ends [2]. That decision, resulting from a complaint by pro-terrorist Arab groups, would have allowed Hamas, Palestinian Jihad and others to openly raise money in the United States. Had it not become moot after 2001, the decision also would have allowed most of those tried or indicted since 9/11 to remain free, and the terrorist-funding Islamic “charities” the Bush administration has closed down to remain open and active.

Judge Audrey Collins, who was appointed to the court in 1994 by Bill Clinton, is a product of Affirmative Action. Her decision follows a familiar pattern of California jurisprudence that the Supreme Court routinely overrules in some 80 percent of the cases, far more than for any other court. Indeed, California judges are the ones who declared that God has no place in the Pledge of Allegiance and who have twice attempted to cripple the nation’s already limited legal defenses against terrorism.

The Plaintiffs

The plaintiffs in the case were suing for the right to provide support “to the political and humanitarian activities” of the PKK and LTTE. One of them, the International Educational Development-Humanitarian Law Project (IED-HLP), has long provided aid to the PKK, and was joined in the suit by five Tamil organizations who aided the LTTE.

The IED-HLP said that, since 1992, it had conducted fact-finding investigations of human rights violations by the Turkish government against the Kurds, published reports on their findings that were supportive of the PKK, and provided training to the PKK on how to advocate for their "rights" under international law. The five Tamil organizations support the LTTE with donations of food, clothing, books and educational materials for its orphanages, refugee relief centers, and schools. These groups also wanted to make cash contributions to the LTTE to finance both its 1997 lawsuit challenging its terrorist designation and the distribution of LTTE literature in the United States.

So who are the terrorist beneficiaries of this court case, the PKK and LTTE? Both the PKK (now going under the name of the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy–KADEK) and the LTTE are separatist, terrorist, Marxist organizations, whose actions have so far led to more than 100,000 deaths over the past two decades.


The PKK has always been defined not by Kurdish nationalism but by Marxism. Founder Abdullah Öcalan was half-Turkish, as he himself reminded his Turkish commando captors in Kenya in 1999; its other early leaders included ethnic Turks as well as Kurds, but no “workers.” In the “Party Program of the PKK,” adopted at the Fifth “Victory” Congress of January 1995, the organization portrays itself as the vanguard of the new global socialism movement. On the subject of the decline of the USSR, it claimed that Soviet socialism was a rough, wild, even “primitive” deviation. By contrast, its own approach to socialism was “scientific and creative.”

The Party’s internal structure also demonstrates its Leninist character. Öcalan’s continuous control was only obtained by ruthlessly eliminating challengers, “the most deviated” of whom, he says, “could only be neutralized.” Even journalist Chris Kutschera, a sympathetic but knowledgeable analyst of the PKK, has acknowledged that five or six of the Party’s original leaders were killed. Three others committed suicide, and others have been driven underground.

After training in PLO-run international terrorist camps in Lebanon, the PKK opened its military campaign against the Turkish state in 1984, largely from its secure bases in Syria. By 1990-93 it was able to take advantage of the post-Gulf War environment (specifically, the power vacuum created by the de facto creation of an autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan), and it became a real threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity. The PKK engaged in a massive rural insurgency in southeastern Turkey, which, by 1999, resulted in some 30,000 fatalities. These deaths were mostly insurgents, civilians and anti-PKK village guards -- and almost all were Kurds. Indeed, far more Kurdish civilians have been killed by the PKK than Turks, some as reprisals for suspected collaboration with Ankara, others during clashes with rival clans. Kurds in Europe and Lebanon who disagreed with Öcalan were murdered. Throughout the 1990s the PKK in Iraq enjoyed Saddam’s support and regularly engaged in clashes with local Kurdish forces.

At its Fifth Congress the PKK decided to engage in suicide bombings and, by 1997, the group had formed “Suicide Guerrilla Teams.” The early “volunteers” came from the most vulnerable segments of society: young, impoverished, poorly educated women. The group’s ambitions went even further: in November 1996, thirteen PKK members arrested on the Syrian border with the Hatay Province were found to possess antimony, which they thought was uranium.

PKK operations in Western Europe are led by relatively well-educated people. They enjoy support from governments and groups in Western countries (Germany, Benelux, Scandinavian states), local governments such as the Basques in Spain, prominent individuals and member parties of government coalitions in Italy, France, Russia, and Greece, and most of the remnants of Germany’s and Italy’s Marxist terrorists. These latter occasionally participated (and were killed or captured) in PKK combat operations.

In addition to its key role in PKK propaganda and political support, Europe was and still is the major source of PKK funding. European assessments of the PKK’s income generally placed it at between $200 and $500 million a year for the mid-1990s. The German government has asserted that the PKK collects millions of deutsche marks at its annual fundraising events, and some sources have estimated PKK’s annual income from these along with drug trafficking, robberies, extortion, and emigrant and arms smuggling at $86 million (U.S.). Considering the range of PKK drug trafficking in Europe (Germany, France, Denmark, Romania, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands), the group is wealthy indeed. None of this dissuaded such self-proclaimed “human rights” militants as Danielle Mitterand, the radical widow of former French president, from addressing Öcalan as “Dear President Öcalan” in a 1998 letter which ended with: “Looking forward to an initial result, rest assured, Abdullah, that I am committed to be beside you in the bid for peace, Sincerely yours, Danielle Mitterand.”

This, then, is the organization the HLP managed to get Judge Collins to allow open support for in the United States in the name of the First and Fifth Amendments. Karen Parker of IED-HLP, an NGO accredited by UNESCO, has called it “an affront to humanitarian law” that Turkey and the United States designate the PKK a terrorist organization. IED-HLP president Ralph Fertig, a retired administrative law judge with the EEO Commission in Los Angeles, claims that the Kurdish civilian population is being “terrorized” by the Turkish armed forces and that the PKK elements are being denied protections they should have under humanitarian law.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

Ever since the group’s founding in 1976, the LTTE have been led by a high-school dropout and perhaps the world’s most successful terrorist, Velupillai Prabhakaran. His main spokesman is Anton Balasingham, a Marxist and former journalist. The group’s goal is to establish a totalitarian, ethnically pure Tamil state in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

Whereas the PKK engaged in suicide bombings only sporadically, the LTTE were the world’s main practitioners of suicide terrorism until very recently, when Palestinian groups overtook them. Their more prominent victims include former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993. Since 1987, at least 243 Tigers, all members of a special “Black Tigers” unit, have blown themselves up, including 53 women (“the Birds of Freedom,” in LTTE parlance). In addition, just about every LTTE member captured has followed Prabhakaran’s strict orders and swallowed the cyanide pill that is an obligatory part of terrorist equipment.

In the book Inside an Elusive Mind: Prabhakaran. The First Profile of the World’s Most Ruthless Guerrilla Leader (Delhi, 2003), M. R. Narayan Swamy writes that LTTE managers in the Western world use coercion to force Tamils to support them, “keeping tabs on Tamils, their incomes, and names and addresses of their relatives back in Sri Lanka.” Considering the enormous size of the Tamil diaspora in Britain, Canada, Australia, and the fact that many of its members are professionals with high incomes, these are huge sums of money -- to which one can add the “taxes” imposed on inhabitants of LTTE-controlled areas in Sri Lanka and international drug and precious stones trafficking. Judge Collins' decision would open the gates for a flood of legal contributions from the likes of Parker and Fertig, as well.

Where are these contributions going? To LTTE’s de facto statelet in Sri Lanka, where "illicit" sex, smoking, liquor, and homosexuality are forbidden and rules are enforced by a secret police at Prabhakan’s arbitrary will. That is the future of the “free Tamil state” for which the LTTE fights for and in the name of which the group has left 60,000 dead. This is also the militant aim of the Humanitarian Law Project (HLP). Nonetheless, the HLP describes itself as “a Los Angeles-based not-for-profit organization that advocates for the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts and for worldwide compliance with humanitarian law and human rights law before the United Nations, where it has consultative status as an NGO, and in other arenas.” Or, alternatively, in a purely Orwellian manner, HLP states it is “a nonprofit organization founded in 1985, dedicated to protecting human rights and promoting the peaceful resolution of conflict by using established international human rights laws and humanitarian law” (See it works for the PKK’s right to kill).

The HLP’s goals

The HLP is open about its goals within the United States. As Parker puts it, “Citizens, wherever they are, pay taxes. Our taxes have gone to perpetrate atrocities and gross violations of human rights and the humanitarian law around the world. Now, as we succeed in unraveling and curtailing that involvement, less tax money is required in those areas.” In fact, by making PKK and LTTE “taxes” [read: extortion and crime proceeds] legal, Judge Collins’ ruling would permit further atrocities by those groups, precisely because “less tax money is required in those areas.”

A Canadian Security Intelligence Service report asserts that a “quasi-diplomatic” LTTE organization had cells and offices in some 54 countries in 1998. The most important are in Western nations with large Tamil expatriate communities, most notably the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Australia. Most LTTE international propaganda tends to be conducted through politically sympathetic pressure groups and media units, the activities of which are coordinated through umbrella front organizations such as the Illankai Tamil Sangam in the United States. The LTTE uses its “peace” slogan to attract NGOs such as the IED, whose support has helped the LTTE internationalize their cause.

The implications

Nancy Chang, senior staff attorney at the leftist Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), asserts that the Anti-Terrorism Law effectively intimidates the plaintiffs from exercising their First Amendment rights. She contends that convictions under this law can result in up to ten years imprisonment and substantial fines. The plaintiffs’ counsel, David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, was an attorney for one of the al-Arian defendants who was subsequently deported. He explains the legal theory behind the case: “The Anti-Terrorism Law violates a cardinal principle of the First Amendment: it imposes guilt by association, rather than on the basis of one’s acts. The Anti-Terrorism Law makes it a crime to send blankets to a refugee relief center, not because doing so is wrong, but because the government has designated the group that runs the center as 'terrorist.' This is guilt by association, which is prohibited by the First Amendment.”

This is the faulty logic accepted by Judge Collins.

In a globalized world of mass communications, travel and instant financial transactions, the PKK and LTTE cannot survive without international help. The same can be said of al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Philippines’ New People’s Army, the Basque ETA and many other violent groups. And, as Clausewitz put it, war is the continuation of politics by other means. Giving “political and humanitarian” aid to terrorists is paying for murder.

Prof. Cole’s claim that the Anti-Terrorism Law "imposes guilt by association, rather on the basis of one’s acts" is made in apparent blissful ignorance of such legal concepts as “accessory to crime” or “conspiracy to commit murder.” It makes one wonder about the legal training that is being inflicted on his Georgetown students. According to this kind of thinking, Hitler or Osama bin Laden would be untouchable. After all, neither committed a physical crime. So would Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted in connection with the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He was merely a poor, blind old man, obviously incapable of personally inflicting violence.

How much should we excuse supporters’ purported ignorance of the nature of these groups? Ignorance should be no defense here: a search for PKK on Google brings 355,000 results; one for LTTE returns 278,000. These are not exactly obscure sects. In fact, the plaintiffs in Judge Collins’ court made no secret of their being well aware of the nature of these groups.

The IED-HLP or CCR say that the First Amendment is being violated by the application of the Anti-Terrorism Law’s restrictions to legitimate activities of supporters of international human rights. This means that the providers of funds, recruiters, and ideologues of terrorism are immune from punishment, while their homicidal rank-and-file recruits are unpunishable under “human rights” protections (“human rights” that 100,000 victims of terrorism by the PKK no longer enjoy). No one is to blame.

One can only hope that Judge Collins will be overruled, if not by her colleagues on the Ninth Circuit (yes, miracles do happen), then by the Supreme Court. But regardless of what happens, we can draw valuable observations from these developments. The War on Terror has numerous fronts, many of them, unfortunately, within America itself, where sympathetic lawyers, “human rights” militants and inane judges can be the most dedicated enemies to national security.


1. “Citing Free Speech, Judge Voids Part of Antiterror Act,” Eric Lichtblau. The New York Times. January 26, 2004.

2. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee v. Reno, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1997.

Michael Radu is Senior Fellow and Co - Chair, Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism, at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.
20 posted on 02/03/2004 8:28:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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