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Iranian Alert -- May 7, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 5.7.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 05/06/2004 9:46:24 PM PDT 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.” 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. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.

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: alsadr; armyofmahdi; ayatollah; cleric; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; iraq; jayshalmahdi; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatami; khatemi; moqtadaalsadr; persecution; politicalprisoners; protests; rafsanjani; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; wot
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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 05/06/2004 9:46:25 PM PDT 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 05/06/2004 9:49:20 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran 'Must Come Clean' on Atomic Plans

May 06, 2004

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has warned Iran the world will not wait forever for it to divulge the full extent and nature of its nuclear program.

"People have to be a little bit patient, but Iran also has to understand that the world is not going to wait forever for them to come clean," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed El Baradei told a foreign relations committee of French Parliament.

Western diplomats who follow the IAEA say the number of questions about Tehran's nuclear program is increasing.

"There is suspicion that things are not completely right," a European Union diplomat in Brussels told Reuters.

Iran says its nuclear program is intended solely for the peaceful generation of electricity.

But the United States says it is a front for building an atomic bomb and has called for the IAEA Board of Governors to report Iran to the UN Security Council for violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Such a move could result in sanctions.

France has joined forces with Germany and Britain in an initiative intended to avoid US-style confrontations while encouraging Tehran to scrap its uranium enrichment program in exchange for a promise of peaceful nuclear technology.

Iran agreed to suspend its enrichment operations, which could be used to purify uranium for bombs, but says it will eventually restart the program.

In October, Iran gave the IAEA what it said was a full declaration of its atomic operations.

But it omitted a number of research projects that could relate to a weapons program, such as advanced "P2" centrifuges that can make arms-grade uranium.

"I'm pretty confident there will be more revelations down the line," another diplomat said.

Mr El Baradei has called the P2 revelation a "setback" in Iran's cooperation with the agency, but used softer language in describing Iran's cooperation to French parliamentarians.

"There are still some hiccups in the cooperation, but overall I think we are moving in the right direction," he said.

The IAEA has been investigating Iran's atomic program ever since a group of Iranian exiles broke the news in August 2002 that Tehran was hiding a massive uranium enrichment plant and a heavy-water plant. Iran later declared these to the IAEA.

Mr El Baradei has been calling for a change in NPT rules to prevent countries like Iran from developing the know-how to produce weapons-useable plutonium or highly enriched uranium.

"A country which has plutonium or highly enriched uranium is probably one month away in terms of capability of developing a nuclear weapon, should they decide to do that," Mr El Baradei said.

A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said Mr El Baradei would meet Foreign Minister Michel Barnier to discuss proliferation.
3 posted on 05/06/2004 9:55:30 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Moral Accounting [An Excerpt]

May 04, 2004
The Washington Post
Philip Kennicott

An Activist Draws Interest at the Bank

Shirin Ebadi's big day at the World Bank, her first visit to Washington since winning the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, began outside, on Pennsylvania Avenue, in the chill wind of a very gray morning. She was immaculate in a light blue pantsuit, better suited to August, and her hair and makeup were television-worthy. It was just after 9 and she was about to spend the next six hours meeting the suits.

Hair, makeup, clothing -- none of this matters much, except that Ebadi has an untouchable, remote, hands-off quality that is seamless, from the way she looks to the way she talks to the way she moves through a room. The Iranian lawyer, the first Muslim woman to win the Peace Prize, is a civil rights activist, a champion of women and children's issues, a former magistrate in Iran and now a Nobel laureate traveling the world at breakneck speed, using the limelight while it lasts. She is never off-message. She has put on determination like a coat of armor, and there are no chinks in it.

Ebadi had one very simple message for the people who tend to the economies of the world's poor and developing nations: Don't lend to tyrants. Don't lend to undemocratic regimes. Don't support countries that oppress their people. She spent the entire day saying it, over and over again, to people who don't so much resist the idea as find it too broad to be practical.

She was saying it already, at a quarter after 9, in the World Bank bookshop, where she was meeting and greeting some of her handlers for the day. "The prerequisite for economic development is compliance with human rights standards," she said through a translator. She said it again, on the top floor of the bank, in a vast boardroom overlooking Washington, where the bank's executive directors meet to decide the fate of several billion people. She said it yet again in her main public address, part of the bank's Presidential Fellows Lecture Series, and during a question-and-answer session afterward (her challenge was met with applause, cheers and a standing ovation). And she said it repeatedly during a small lunch with the bank's president, James D. Wolfensohn, and some of his senior managers.

Did the message get through?
4 posted on 05/06/2004 9:56:38 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
House Condemns Iran's Nuclear Program

May 06, 2004
The Associated Press
Jom Abrams

WASHINGTON -- The House on Thursday accused Iran of "continuing deceptions and falsehoods" involving development of nuclear weapons and said that Europe, Japan and Russia should cut commercial and energy ties until Iran permanently end such activities.

Among the few dissenters in the 376-3 vote was Democratic presidential contender Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who said the nonbinding resolution endorsed the administration's doctrine of preventive war.

The resolution states that despite Iran's promises to the International Atomic Energy Agency to end uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, "it is abundantly clear that Iran remains committed to a nuclear weapons program."

Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., said Iran "has engaged in a systematic campaign of deception and manipulation to hide its true intentions and keep its large scale nuclear efforts a secret."

The resolution said that Iran's Natanz fuel enrichment facility could, when completed, produce enough highly enriched uranium for as many as 25 to 40 nuclear weapons a year.

It says that until Iran verifies it has ended its weapons program, the European Union should break off trade talks, Japan should not proceed with the development of Iran's Azadegan oil field and Russia should not conclude a nuclear fuel supply agreement for an Iranian reactor.

Kucinich objected to language in the resolution that calls upon parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, including the United States, "to use all appropriate means to deter, dissuade and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

He said that was similar to the words of past congressional resolutions that the Bush administration used in justifying its decision to go to war against Iraq.

Burton disagreed, saying the resolution supported IAEA and U.N. efforts to assure Iran was not advancing a nuclear weapons program and did not amount to a tacit endorsement of regime change.

Joining Kucinich in voting against the bill were Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Ron Paul, R-Texas. Fourteen Democrats voted present.


Information on the measure, H.Con. Res. 398, can be found at
5 posted on 05/06/2004 9:57:16 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Dum-de-dum-dum-dum. Not the dreaded sanctions! LOL

(Thanks for all of your work, Doc!)
6 posted on 05/06/2004 9:57:23 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. --Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran: 7 Workers Still Held for Celebrating May Day

May 06, 2004
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions

From left to right, Mohsen Hakimi, member of Iranian Writers' Association, P. Haridasan, ICFTU APRO, Mahmoud Salehi, a well-known labour leader from the .Trade Association of Saqez Bakers. who had previously been arrested and imprisoned for 10 months in 2001 and Anna Biondi from ICFTU Geneva.[(Photo: ICFTU) SEE NEXT POST]

Four days after their unlawful arrest, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) today stepped up its demands for the release of 7 workers arrested during peaceful celebrations to mark May Day in Iran. As a result of this troubling course of events, the ICFTU has submitted additional information to its existing complaint against Iran to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). As the world’s largest trade union organisation, the ICFTU has also requested for the ILO to intervene on behalf of the detained workers and help secure their release.

Following a peaceful rally in the city of Saqez, police arrested Mahmoud Salehi, a well-known labour leader from the Trade Association of Saqez Bakers who had been arrested and imprisoned for 10 months in 2001, two local labour leaders Jalal Hosseini and Mohammad Abdipoor, and Mohsen Hakimi, a well-known member of the Iranian Writers' Association. Three other workers were also arrested on 1st May namely Borhan Divangard, Hadi Tanumand and Esmail Khodkam.

At the time of his arrest, Mahmoud Salehi was severely assaulted by security forces. The labour leader’s wife, Najibeh Salehzadeh, and his son were also assaulted when security forces raided their home and confiscated Salehi’s computer and documents.

Imprisoned in Sanandaj, the 7 workers have now gone on hunger strike to protest against their unlawful detention. The detainees argue that if there are no charges against them then they should be released without bail, set at 200,000,000.00 Tomans (approximately USD $250,000). In a letter to the Iranian President Seyed Mohammad Khatami, the ICFTU urged the Iranian authorities to ensure the unconditional release of the detained and to launch an independent investigation into the repression of the workers’ legitimate right to celebrate May Day.

The ICFTU is particularly concerned by the detentions since 2 days prior to the arrests, Salehi and Hakimi met with an ICFTU team on mission in Iran. The mission had been closely monitored by security services and the ICFTU believes that the search of Mr. Salehi’s house and confiscation of his computer were directly related to his contact with the ICFTU.

“The international trade union movement is not prepared to sit and watch authorities in Iran repress workers’ attempts to express their fundamental workers’ rights. We will continue to work at international level to ensure that rights are upheld in Iran. The case of 7 workers arrested when trying to exercise their right to celebrate May Day adds to the long catalogue of flagrant abuses of workers’ rights in Iran,” said Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the ICFTU.

Further information submitted to the ILO concerns instances of government interference to prevent workers organising at the Iran Khodro auto company, employing over 34,000 people, instances of forced overtime and cases of workers who have been fired when protesting about the non-payment of wages. In February 2004, the ICFTU filed an ILO freedom of association complaint against Iran following the killing of four striking workers in the city of Shahr-e Babak.

The ICFTU represents over 151 million workers in 233 affiliated organisations in 152 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions:

For more information, please contact the ICFTU Press Department on +32 2 224 0232 or +32 476 621 018.

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions(ICFTU)
Boulevard du Roi Albert II 5, B1, B-1210 Brussels, Belgium. For more information please contact ICFTU Press on: +32 (2) 224 0232 -

Letter to President of Iran regarding arrests an mistreatment of labour leaders celebrating Labour Day

Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran

TUR/FW 5 May 2004

Dear Mr. President,

Arrests an mistreatment of labour leaders celebrating Labour Day

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), which represents 150 million workers in 152 countries and territories, hereby strongly protests against the detention of up to 50 people, seven of whom remain in custody, on 1 May 2004.

The only offence of the arrested persons seems to be that they tried to stage a peaceful march in the city of Saqez, in order to celebrate Labour Day. According to our information, the marchers were attacked by your government's security forces, including plain clothes agents of the security service, and up to 50 participants were detained and taken into custody. Seven of them remain in custody to date: Mr. Mahmoud Salehi, a well-known labour leader who has previously been arrested and imprisoned for ten months in November 2000, Mr. Jalal Hoseini, a local labour leader, Mr. Mohsen Hakimi, a well-known activist, and a member of the Iranian Writers' Association, Mr. Mohammad Abdipoor, and three other labour activists whose names have not been communicated to us.

Upon his arrest, Mr. Salehi was badly beaten up, and the security forces broke his glasses. They subsequently raided his house where they beat up his wife, Mrs. Najibeh Salehzadeh, as well as his son, and confiscated his computer and documents. Mr. Hakimi's wife reported that at least until 3 May 2004, she had not been given any opportunity to contact her husband by phone, and didn't even have any information concerning his whereabouts. At this moment, the detainees have gone on hungerstrike, rightfully claiming that they have the right to celebrate Labour Day and did not commit any violation of any law or regulation whatsoever.

Also according to our information, the arrested people were later on transferred to a prison in Sannadaj, whereafter their families were asked for a bail of 200,000,000.00 Tomans (around 250,000 US$). Given that no formal charges have been brought, there can of course be absolutely no question of demanding a bail.

As all of them are independent labour activists, none of the arrested workers have links with political parties; it seems that they are merely being prosecuted for their labour rights activism. Furthermore, as Mr. Salehi and Mr. Hakimi had met an ICFTU mission only two days before their arrest, and as this mission has been closely monitored by the Iranian security service, the ICFTU is particularly worried that their prosecution is directly related to their contacts with the ICFTU. We would point out that the ICFTU is an independent, non-governmental organisation.

Mr. President, celebrating Labour Day can under no circumstances be seen as an offence of any kind. Attacking and arresting up to 50 peaceful marchers with security forces is a clear demonstration of disrespect for internationally recognized workers' and democratic rights. These actions contravene ILO Conventions 87 (on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, 1948) and 98 (on the Right to Organise and Collectively Bargain, 1949). These instruments are fundamental and as an ILO member state Iran has an obligation to respect and enforce the principles enshrined in them.

The ICFTU therefore urges you to take immediate measures in order to obtain the unconditional release of the seven labour leaders being held in custody. We would also urge you to launch an independent investigation into the repression of their legitimate will to celebrate Labour Day.

I look forward to your quick and decisive action in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

General Secretary
7 posted on 05/06/2004 10:00:07 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The three dissenters should be spammed with protest email. (smile!)
8 posted on 05/06/2004 10:00:26 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. --Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DoctorZIn

9 posted on 05/06/2004 10:01:16 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"Western diplomats who follow the IAEA say the number of questions about Tehran's nuclear program is increasing"

Isn't this enough? They have more questions than 6 months ago.......I'd say things are heading in the wrong direction.

"Iran also has to understand that the world is not going to wait forever for them to come clean," "

No, Mr. ElBaradei, you won't have to wait forever.
Hasn't he figured out that the regime is playing him "like a cheap violin"? They're going to string this out and ocassionally reveal things along the way, so they can string it out some more. They'll do that right up until they let everyone know that they don't need to play these games anymore, because they have nuclear weapons and they aren't afraid to use them.
10 posted on 05/07/2004 4:53:54 AM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ...( Azadi baraye Iran)
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To: DoctorZIn
Second round of polling in Iran

Friday, 7 May, 2004
BBC News, UK

A second round of voting is taking place in constituencies in Iran that failed to return a winner in the February parliamentary elections.
No single candidate in the 57 seats being contested had received the necessary 25% of the vote.

This latest round of voting will not change the overall outcome of the election that saw the conservatives regain control of the Parliament.

The first poll was widely criticised and there were claims of vote-rigging.

The BBC's Miranda Eeles, in Teheran, says that the Conservatives are expected to win a two-thirds majority, leaving the reformist President Mohammed Khatami in a lame-duck position until elections next year.

'Little interest'

Latest figures from the interior ministry say around 114 candidates are standing.

Most are conservatives, but there are around 20 reformists and some independents.

There has been little preview coverage of the run-off with much of the population resigned over the outcome.

In February, more than 2,000 reformist candidates were banned from standing in the elections by the conservative-dominated watchdog body the Guardian Council.

This led to accusations of vote-rigging as well as international condemnation.

February's elections saw the lowest turnout since the Islamic revolution in 1979 with just over 50% of the electorate turning out to vote.
11 posted on 05/07/2004 6:38:27 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
12 posted on 05/07/2004 6:59:17 AM PDT 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
Iran Confident of Escaping Censure at IAEA Meeting

May 07, 2004

TEHRAN -- Iran is confident it will escape censure about its nuclear program at next month's board meeting of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, its Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on Friday.

"I am optimistic about the results of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) next meeting," the official IRNA news agency quoted Hamid Reza Asefi as saying.

"Iran will definitely not be condemned in the next meeting, because Iran has been cooperating with the agency transparently."

IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei warned Iran on Thursday the world would not wait forever for the Islamic republic to divulge the full extent and nature of its nuclear program.

Asefi said Tehran's cooperation with the agency had accelerated in recent weeks and outstanding "ambiguities" about its atomic program were about to be cleared up.

Iran has agreed to submit a full declaration about its nuclear activities to the IAEA this month. A previous "full" report handed in by Tehran last October omitted details about equipment and research that could be used to make bomb material.

Doubts remain about Iran's insistence it only wants to use nuclear technology to generate electricity, but diplomats privately acknowledge that they have not found any "smoking gun" that would prove Iran wants atomic weapons.

"We have suspicions but no evidence and we're running out of leads to follow up," said one.

Diplomats say Iran has managed to divert attention to individual issues and shortcomings, which it is gradually addressing, and away from the bigger picture of an 18-year cover-up of sensitive nuclear research and development.

Another diplomat said even Washington acknowledged there was no prospect of the IAEA board sending Iran's case to the U.N. Security Council in June.
13 posted on 05/07/2004 8:59:42 AM PDT 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; ...
Iran Confident of Escaping Censure at IAEA Meeting

May 07, 2004
14 posted on 05/07/2004 9:00:51 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Rafsanjani: US Grappled with Scandal

May 07, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Tehran -- Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said here on Thursday that the US has not been able to whitewash its Iraqi prisoners abuse scandal and has cunningly extended apologies for the issue.

Speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate the new office of Persian daily Jomhouri Eslami, Rafsanjani said that Americans will eventually continue their own way in defiance of the scandal.

Rafsanjani said many torture chambers worldwide are run through backing of the arrogant powers such as the US.

He said history of arrogance is full of such events.

The United States is facing mounting international anger after graphic photographs of abuse of Iraqi detainees by US troops were released by CBS news and other media outlets.

Elsewhere in his speech, Rafsanjani called on the press to be fair and sincere in their mission.

He concluded that the press would be the bastion of freedom and democracy if carry out their duties properly.
15 posted on 05/07/2004 9:04:23 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Only Player Not in Spin Game Is the U.S.A.

May 07, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Daniel Henninger

A picture used to be worth a thousand words. With the inflation of global electronic media, it's now worth about 100 million words. As soon as CBS television sent the Abu Ghraib prison photos around the world, the floor under the Iraq war effort cracked, sending a tidal wave of outrage -- some real and some phony -- right at the Bush administration.

Amid this public-relations disaster, one may reasonably ask: Who in fact handles public relations for the Bush administration? Michael Jackson?

When the Abu Ghraib story hit the fan, the administration, like others before it, concluded it had to appease the chorus of moral umbrage. What has this gotten them?

Colin Powell went on TV and by way of trying to explain that horrible things do happen in war, noted that he himself was in a unit responsible for My Lai in Vietnam and arrived there after it happened. His mere mention of the "My Lai" ghosts is now being spun into undifferentiated equivalence with Abu Ghraib. My Lai, Abu Ghraib, the Katyn Massacre -- an atrocity is an atrocity is an atrocity. Really?

The White House thought it could draw off some of the pressure on the boilers by dripping word that the president conveyed some unhappiness to Don Rumsfeld. And maybe he did. But leaking it to pacify the moral hounds only set off more howling and yelping, this time for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation. No news story that I read on this included a subordinate clause identifying Sen. Tom Harkin as a 24/7 opponent of the war, George Bush and the horse he rode in on.

Conceivably Mr. Bush got more bang with his two turns on Arab television, explaining American values. The news out of Turkey last week was of a father who ritually strangled his daughter with wire because kidnappers had raped her. And most Arabs under 30 recall that in the early 1980s Syria's Hafez al-Assad, after an assassination attempt, murdered 1,000 Islamic inmates at Tadmur Military Prison. The vagaries of life with dictatorships in Iraq, Iran, Syria et al. may have left the average Muslim with a better understanding of "atrocity" than the Appalled Pundits Society in America.

Still, the Abu Ghraib story is indeed potentially destructive to the U.S. effort to democratize Iraq in a region that has little way to know who we are and what we represent other than the military presence there. A recurring question asked by readers of this column is: Why isn't the U.S. government doing a better job of "getting its story out," the positive side of the Iraq story, either in the Middle East or even here in the U.S.? Why, these readers ask, has the administration defaulted coverage either to Al-Jazeera or the American media's current news model of daily body counts, mayhem and now atrocity?

There are answers to those questions.

Last week Margaret Tutwiler resigned as the head of the State Department's office of Public Diplomacy, the people officially assigned to get that story out. Want the job? Call the White House because they are looking for a Big Foot to take it on. But before mailing your resume, read this history.

In 1998 the Clinton administration, with GOP support, abolished the United States Information Agency, which did this work, often ably, from 1948 onward. It was a Cold War operation waging what we used to call the "war of ideas." With the Cold War over, history ended, ideas passe and Congress in need of budget cuts that touched no Member's pork, Washington terminated USIA as an independent agency and folded it into the State Department. There, like any rock in water, it sank to the bottom.

State's diplomatic culture doesn't much like competitors for its turf (its unmediated tensions with the Pentagon may yet lose the war in Iraq and sink the Bush presidency), and so the sharp edges of the U.S. public information effort were sanded smooth. For example, the Voice of America radio into the Middle East airs mostly music (its "ratings" are good).

Indeed, in recent years we closed formerly USIA-run American libraries and centers in such delightfully settled places as Yugoslavia, Ankara and Islamabad. America's image in all three places today is largely in the dumpster.

Now, we hear ad nauseam, the world "hates us." How could it not? Here are the headlines yesterday on Voice of America's own Web site: Bush Apologizes for Iraqi Prisoner Abuse; Bush Stands by Rumsfeld; Britain, Poland Condemn Iraqi Prisoner Abuse; Washington Post Publishes New Iraq Prisoner Photos; ICRC Says It Repeatedly Asked U.S. to Improve Iraqi Prison Conditions. Who needs Al-Jazeera?

It would be nice to end on a positive, hopeful note, but that is difficult. It is May, and the president's energies are in re-election and the war on the ground. His speeches eloquently make the case for democracy in the Middle East, but he is one man carrying the burden alone. Colin Powell could offer visible cover and support to Ms. Tutwiler's successor at Public Diplomacy, but probably won't. That would require bucking his State constituency, which has a full-time job now distancing itself from the "utopians" in Defense.

In 1944 in World War II, at the direction of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the army created a Psychological Warfare office. It unabashedly disseminated "propaganda" whose purpose, its director Robert McClure said, was to "undermine the enemy's will to resist . . . and sustain the morale of our supporters." Well we won.

Official ambivalence now about "getting our message out" with a successor agency to the USIA is tied to fear of being seen as producing propaganda, a dirty word today. But that's a bit odd. The media world we inhabit is without exception a world of "spin." Most people, having given up on getting a set of unadorned facts, align themselves with whichever spin outlet seems comfortable.

The U.S. government isn't even in the game of shaping world opinion. And so the Bush administration gets spun by whichever ill wind is blowing through the media. This week its the prison pictures. More to come.

Daniel Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. Mr. Henninger joined Dow Jones in 1971 as a staff writer for the National Observer. He became an editorial-page writer for the Journal in 1977, arts editor in 1978 and editorial features editor in 1980. He was appointed assistant editor of the editorial page in 1983 and chief editorial writer and senior assistant editor in October 1986, with daily responsibility for the "Review & Outlook" columns. In November 1989 he became deputy editor of the editorial page.

Mr. Henninger was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing in 1987 and 1996, and shared in the Journal's Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper's coverage of the attacks on September 11. He won the Gerald Loeb Award for commentary in 1985. In 1998 he received the Scripps Howard Foundation's Walker Stone Award for editorial writing, for editorials on a range of issues, including the International Monetary Fund, presidential politics and cloning. He won the 1995 American Society of Newspaper Editors' Distinguished Writing Award for editorial writing, and he was a finalist in that award in 1985, 1986 and 1993. A native of Cleveland, Mr. Henninger graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor's degree from the School of Foreign Service.

Mr. Henninger invites comments to
16 posted on 05/07/2004 9:06:33 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Khamenei Calls for Unity of Muslims

May 07, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Tehran -- The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei here Friday referred to the unity among the Muslims as the most significant and indispensable requirement in the world of Islam.

The Supreme Leader reiterated that the Muslim Umma needs to be unified in order to maintain its status, keep the banner of Islam hoisted and overcome difficulties adding that unity among Muslims is of top priority.

Speaking at a gathering of the government officials, foreign guests attending the international Islamic unity conference and representatives of Islamic states in Tehran, felicitated the Iranian nation and Muslim Umma the auspicious birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad Mostafa (PBUH) and Imam Sadeq (AS).

Turning to the holy prophet as an instructor of virtues, justice, humanitarianism, knowledge, brotherhood, maturity and perfection, he underlined that even today the humanity needs to practice the lessons taught by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

"Given that the dilemmas facing the world of Islam are partly due to the inefficiencies, materialism and separation among Muslims, the world of Islam should revise its past performance," he added.

The Supreme Leader attributed part of the problems in the world of Islam to the unrighteous system currently dominating the world which is based on pressure and hegemony.

"The world powers present their wrongdoings and criminal acts as reasonable measures by relying on their force, weapons as well as political and monetary power. The current situations in Palestine and Iraq are a clear example of it," he added.

Turning to the Zionist regime's announcement on the assassination of Palestinian leaders, Ayatollah Khamenei noted that US government, which uses campaign against terrorism as a pretext to exercise forceand power, approves such acts by its overt and official support of the Zionist leaders' crimes.

He referred to the occupation of Iraq and oppression of the Iraqi nation as an international crime and said that the occupiers justify their act as defense of human rights, democracy and freedom.

"However, what is going on in Iraq is the clear violation of human rights and the Iraqis' right to choose their government," he added.

On the capability of the Islamic Umma to defend itself under such disastrous conditions, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the Muslims' material and spiritual potentials as well as their cultural and civilizational background and said that lack of unity among Muslims mainly accounts for their current plight.

Stressing that the US threats backed by the Zionist capitalists target the entire world of Islam and the mighty riches of the region, he said that the `greater Middle East initiative' is also in line with such a goal.

"The governments as well as men of culture and religion from the world of Islam are strongly committed to contribute to unity among Muslims, since if the enemies succeed to overtake the region, the world of Islam would get behind a century," he added.

At the beginning of the meeting, President Mohammad Khatami congratulated the birth anniversary of Muslim's Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Imam Sadeq (AS) to the Supreme Leader as well as the Iranian nation and the Islamic Umma.

Turning to the current situation of the oppressed world and the sacrifice of human faith and respect, the chief executive underlined that today the humankind needs more than ever to understand the lessons taught by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and exercise them correctly.
17 posted on 05/07/2004 9:07:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Why Rogue States Matter

May 07, 2004
Washington Times
William R. Hawkins

The appearance of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard Cheney before the September 11 commission will again fuel criticism that before the terrorism attacks, the Bush administration had been too focused on other issues, such as missile defense, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, rogue states and other rival rising powers. Yet such developments posed far greater threats to American security than did al-Qaeda, and still do.

Polls show American fears of terrorism have recently increased, no doubt a result of the September 11 commission hearings. In Europe, fears were heightened by the March 11 attack on Spanish commuter trains and a rash of plots elsewhere. This was followed by a broadcast on Arab satellite networks of a tape by Osama bin Laden offering a "truce" to European.

European governments were quick to reject Osama's offer, but militants are likelier to see the hurried withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq as a truer sign many Europeans can be frightened by the bluster of some madman hiding in a cave.

The most important thing to remember about terrorism is that it is the weapon of the weak. The September 11 commission hearings have been compared to the investigations into the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The casualty counts on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001, were similar, but there the similarity ends. In 1941, there was a surge of enemy conquests across vast areas of the world. And when the United States counterattacked, it was against an empire with fleets of ships and aircraft and millions of soldiers. Al-Qaeda has no such capabilities.

Even the thwarted terrorist plot in Jordan, which might have killed thousands with its mix of explosives and toxic chemicals, was a weak effort as there were no al-Qaeda legions assembled to march into Amman to seize power. The cure for terrorism is to refuse to be intimidated, and always hit back.

Osama bin Laden's objective on September 11 was not to capture New York. He wanted the U.S. to withdraw from the Middle East, clearing the way for establishment of radical regimes that could mobilize the much greater resources available to states (and empires).

A recently captured terrorist manual "Targets Inside the Cities" by Abdul Aziz al-Moqrin, al-Qaeda's operational chief in the Gulf, lists among the strategic objectives of attacks "to help mujahideen to gain experience and qualifications to lead their nations later on."

Without larger resources, al-Qaeda cannot change the balance of power in the world. Wars are about politics, and politics is about the control of territory and people who are organized by states. Al-Moqrin was last reported fleeing from Saudi troops in the mountains northeast of Riyadh.

When President Bush came into office, many of the problems that had been glanced over in the 1990s — when it was naively felt a more harmonious "new world order" was taking shape, were coming to a head. North Korea's nuclear ambitions were breaking containment. Pyongyang was also shipping rocket engines to Iran for testing, aiding both countries to expand their offensive capabilities. Iraq was using its UN "oil for food" program to support a diplomatic effort to wiggle out of the box it had been placed after the 1991 Gulf War. There was a rapid, global proliferation of ballistic missile technology, along with the means for nuclear, chemical and biological warheads.

On April 1, 2001, a U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane was rammed by a Chinese interceptor over international waters. This triggered a crisis with Beijing, whose rising power was again demonstrating the historical link between economic growth and expanding ambition. China was also at the center of the proliferation of WMD technology.

Though September 11 has heightened concern over WMD terrorism, such weapons won't be developed from scratch by some ad hoc gang of dissidents in a cave. It will be states who fund such programs. When Abdul Qadeer Khan, the "father" of Pakistan's nuclear program, dealt in the tools to enrich uranium, his clients were Iran and Libya, probably North Korea and possibly Brazil and Egypt — entities able to use what he sold.

The invasion of Iraq, meant to topple a regime with a long history of WMD involvement, was not a "diversion" from the war on terrorism but an action against a higher level of threat.

The battle for the future of Iraq, a country with the resources to be a major regional power, is vital. The Iranian mullahs know this, and have been backing the uprising of radical Shi'ite cleric Sheik Moqtada al-Sadr. Who rules in Baghdad is much more important than who is hiding in a cave somewhere.

Terrorism must be vigorously combated, but it cannot be the only focus of policy. There are dangers lurking in nearly every corner of the world that, left unchecked, could not only threaten lives on a scale orders of magnitude beyond terrorism, but change how people live and are governed for generations. America's defense and foreign policy team must be active on multiple fronts if the nation's security is to be protected. Myopia is not the kind of vision needed.
18 posted on 05/07/2004 9:08:45 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Posted Thursday, May 6, 2004

BAGHDAD 6 May (IPS) As representatives of Iraq's most influential Shi’ite leaders met to decide on the fate of Hojjatoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr, the turbulent cleric who is fighting the Coalition forces in Shi’a-dominated centres, the Americans launched on Wednesday their first major assault against Mr. Sadr and his Army of Mahdi in the areas he controls, including the holy Shi’ite city of Karbala.

Hundreds of Coalition soldiers in dozens of armoured vehicles, including M-1 Abram tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, rumbled beneath a full moon through a neighbourhood here controlled by armed supporters of Mr. Sadr, the New York Times reported.

“The firepower on display was extraordinary. Polish and Bulgarian soldiers, Special Forces snipers, an Apache attack helicopter and an AC-130 Spectre gunship backed up the main strike force”, the paper said, adding that the operation, called Iron Saber, began at 11 p.m. on Tuesday ran until dawn.

A similar battle took place at the same time in the city of Diwaniya, 100 kilometres southeast of Karbala, the Shi’a holiest cities for sheltering the shrine of Hussein, their second imam and symbol of justice and resistance to the oppressor.

The coordinated attacks in Karbala and in Diwaniya began hours after powerful Shi’ite politicians and religious leaders met in Baghdad to urge Mr. Sadr to withdraw his militia from the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, in an attempt to safeguard the holy shrines from possible destruction.

About 150 leaders attended the gathering, representing many of Shi’ism's most influential political, religious and professional groups, among them representatives of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and the Supreme assembly for the the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI) that has close links with the neighbouring ayatollahs-ruled Iran.

Soldiers in Karbala killed at least 41 Iraqi fighters and captured many more, Lt. Col. Gary Bishop of the First Armoured Division said. A spokesman for Mr. Sadr said nine militiamen had been killed in the clashes in Diwaniya.

Founded on the site where Hussein, second son of Ali, the Sh’ite’s first Imam and grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and 72 of his followers were slain in battle by Sunni Muslim warriors in the eighth century, sealing the unending rift between the Sunnis and Shi’ites, Karbala is the pilgrimage centre for Shi’ites from all over the world, but mostly Iran, who make frequent pilgrimages to the golden-domed Shrines of Hussein and Abbas, his cousin.

Members of Mr. Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army, set off roadside bombs and fired rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles at the American convoy as it inched its way down a half-mile stretch of road through the heart of the neighbourhood.

"Hopefully we can put enough pressure on them to break their will to stay in Karbala", said Brig. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, who flew down from Baghdad in a Black Hawk to watch the battle.

More than 2,500 American soldiers have surrounded the holy city of Najaf, where the shrine of Imam Ali is situated. But the soldiers have not invaded the city centre for fear of inflaming Shi’ites around the world and alienating the senior clerics of Najaf, whom American officials are hoping will oust the much-reviled Mr. Sadr.

However, the Americans have retaken the Najaf governor's office on the outskirts of the city, apparently without any resistance. The move came after the US-led coalition in Iraq named a new governor for the Najaf region.

Senior Iranian officials have repeatedly warned the Americans against attacking the holy shrines of Najaf and Karbala, saying openly that such an attack could lead to an outright war between the Americans with the Shi’ites worldwide.

The lead US military spokesman in Iraq, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, insisted there was no new push into the city. "We're not going to go wading into Najaf, we know how sensitive it is," he told the British news agency Reuters.

Earlier on Thursday, the chief US civilian administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, named Adnan al-Sharifi as the new provincial governor for Najaf and called on the militiamen occupying the city to lay down their arms.

"The people of the Middle Euphrates are eager for a return of normal life. They are going to have it", said Mr Bremer.

Although American commanders have hinted at an offensive soon against Mr. Sadr's force, they have repeatedly said they do not intend to attack the holy cities of Najaf or Karbala, hinting however that Kufa, a small city ten kilometres northeast of Najaf, where Mr. Sadr appears to have established his headquarters, might be attacked.

The Shi’ite leaders convened in Baghdad after it became clear that both the Islamic Republic and senior Shía authorities, above all Ayatollah Kazem Ha’eri, a hard line Iraqi cleric supposed to be the mentor of the young Mr. Sadr have let him down.

Several Shi’ite leaders acknowledged that they had delayed issuing their statement until there were clear signs that public opinion among Shiites had moved strongly against Mr. Sadr.

Reports in the past two weeks have spoken of a shadowy death squad calling itself the Thulfiqar Army shooting dead at least seven of Mr. Sadr's militiamen in Najaf, and several thousand people attended an anti-Sadr protest meeting outside the Imam Ali shrine in the city on Friday, according to several of the meeting's participants, the New York Times claimed.

Mr. Mahdi, from the SAIRI was blunt about Mr. Sadr's decline in popularity. "He's 100 percent isolated across most of the southern provinces; he's even isolated in Najaf. The people there regard him as having taken them hostage", he said.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the clerics called on Moqtada to stop turning the mosques into hiding places and weapons arsenals and return power to Iraqi police and civil defence units that operate under American control.

At the same time, they also called warned the Americans not to enter Najaf and Karbala in pursuit of Mr. Sadr.

This was not the first time that Iraqi Sh’ia authorities had urged Mr. Sadr to leave holy cities and put down arm offensive, but they were not heard, hence the strength of the last demand on him.

Elsewhere in Iraq, a suicide bomber killed five Iraqis and a US soldier outside an entrance to the main coalition headquarters in the capital Baghdad.

Several people were hurt, including two US soldiers said to be in a "very serious condition", in the first bomb attack to target coalition offices for weeks.

19 posted on 05/07/2004 11:28:23 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Posted Friday, May 7, 2004

TEHRAN, 7 May (IPS) Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reiterated that the Islamic Republic would continue its sustained efforts to develop a full nuclear fuel cycle, despite pressures from the international nuclear watchdog on Tehran to come clear on its suspected programmes for developing atomic weapons.

According to Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is considered as the Iranian regime’s second man in charge after the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, Iran is trying to build a “complete atomic programme comprising all facets of the nuclear fuel cycle from uranium mining to processing and enrichment”.

He repeated immediately that the programme is entirely of civilian purpose, mainly to generate much needed electricity for the nation.

"Running a nuclear fuel cycle is our nation's right", the former president was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.

"The Americans, with their evil intentions, confront Iran because they do not want Islamic countries to have modern technology", he added.

The statement comforted the position of the United States, Israel and some European nations fearing that some material obtained for nuclear power stations could be diverted for military use, including making nuclear bombs.

With the hekp of Russia, Iran is building its first nuclear power station, scheduled to be finished by next year.

The international community’s concern about the real aim of Iranian ayatollahs to build nuclear-powered electricity plants, instead of using natural gas, a source of cheap energy that Iran has the largest proven reserves after Russia increased after inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency discovered that contrary to earlier engagements, Tehran has put into service more advanced equipments to enrich uranium.

The discovery was made after Tehran had agreed on 21 October with foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany to sign the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty and suspend enriching uranium.

Later on, Tehran gave the IAEA what it said was a full declaration of its atomic operations. But inspectors were quick to find that it has deliberately omitted a number of research projects that could relate to a weapons program, such as advanced "P2" centrifuges that can make arms-grade uranium.

IAEA’s boss, the Egyptian Mohammad El-Barade’i called the P2 revelation a "setback" in Iran's cooperation with the agency, but used softer language in describing Iran's cooperation to French parliamentarians.

"There are still some hiccups in the cooperation, but overall I think we are moving in the right direction," he said.

A senior U.S. official who declined to be named told the British news agency Reuters in Vienna the Iranian statement was "extremely significant" and surprisingly brazen, given that the IAEA Board of Governors will meet next month to discuss the agency's progress in verifying that Tehran's atomic programme is entirely peaceful.

"Why they were foolish enough to say this just ahead of the board of governors meeting, I don't know", the official told Reuters by telephone.

To this question, Dr. Mehdi Mozzaffari, a professor of International Relations at the Copenhagen University says the Iranians think that an expanded European Union could be a at the same time a stronger unit to resist American pressures at international instance, like the IAEA, while making the process of decision taking –against Iran -- more difficult with 25 members instead of 15.

“However”, he told the Prague-based Radio Farda (Tomorrow), the Persian-language service of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, “it is foolish to thinking that the Europeans would sacrifice their interests in taking the side of the Islamic Republic against the United States”.

In his view, the Europeans have been very tolerant with Tehran. “But as pointed out by the IAEA Chief, this has also reached its limits. “In another words, the European Union is telling the Islamic Republic that enough with visits, diners and futile talks, enough with hearing you repeating same thing. Now let’s go to serious matters, that are Iran’s controversial nuclear projects, its support for international terrorism and violation of human rights”.

In fact, addressing Thursday the French National Assembly, Mr. El-Barade’i warned Iran that the world “would not wait forever for the Islamic Republic to divulge the full extent and nature of its nuclear program”.

"People have to be a little bit patient, but Iran also has to understand that the world is not going to wait forever for them to come clean", Mr. El-Barade’i told a foreign relations committee of French parliament.

He said the enrichment process itself has a deterrent effect, because the ability to get or make material useable in arms is key for making an atom bomb.

For this reason he has suggested amending the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to make it illegal for countries to develop the full fuel cycle.

"We are running against the clock because we know that there's a lot of interest in nuclear and radioactive sources by extremist groups," ElBaradei said

Touring European capitals, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi repeated in Brussels and in Berlin on Tuesday that Iran was ready to answer all outstanding questions about its atomic plans before the June IAEA board session.

Iran wants its case removed from the IAEA's agenda after the June meeting, something Western diplomats say is unrealistic. "That's not going to happen", a U.S. official said.


20 posted on 05/07/2004 11:29:56 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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