Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 14, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/13/2004 9:04:40 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largley 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 Americans 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.
Radio Free World
July 13, 2004
National Review Online
Nir Boms & Erick Stakelbeck
Liberty-starved countries see a boom in clandestine radio.
Although it often seems like a solitary outpost of democratic sanity, the U.S. is not alone in waging the war of ideas.
Since 9/11, over a dozen privately owned, pro-democracy radio stations have emerged in freedom-starved countries like North Korea, Syria, Iran, and Cuba.
From the earliest days of World War II to its peak during the Cold War, clandestine radio played a critical role in the fight for liberty. Today is no exception.
Iraq's Radio al-Mustaqbal figured prominently in the CIA's covert plans to topple Saddam Hussein throughout the past decade. Likewise, Voice of the People of Kurdistan played an integral part in the Pentagon's psychological war prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq last March, eventually helping to secure the surrender of 9,000 Iraqi soldiers at the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Following the fall of Saddam, these clandestine outlets, now fully licensed, joined the rapidly growing Iraqi media market, which is comprised of over 50 fledgling radio and television stations. Among them is Radio Dijla, Baghdad's only private, commercial radio station. Operating out of a modest house in the Baghdad suburbs, Radio Dijla allows listeners a forum to freely express their views and concerns, a concept unheard of in Iraq just 15 months ago.
In Afghanistan, where an estimated 96 percent of all households own a radio unit, clandestine radio has also begun to blossom. After the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, a pair of successful Afghan-Australian businessmen, Zaid and Sadd Moshen, returned to Afghanistan and developed the first commercial FM radio station in the country's history.
Called "Arman" (the Afghan word for home), the station addresses issues such as human rights, women's rights, national reconciliation, and the importance of private-sector contribution and social responsibility.
Beginning in 1979, Iran saw a similar rise in pro-democracy broadcasting spurred by the ascension of Ayatollah Khomeini's tyrannical regime. Today, there are no fewer than 16 clandestine, anti-government radio stations operating over Iranian airwaves.
One of the most successful of these subversive outlets is KRSI radio, which began broadcasting into Iran from Los Angeles in 1999.
"Every time we hear of a political prisoner being arrested, we announce his name, write to the U.S., U.N., and the human-rights community, and start a campaign," says Ali Reza Morovati, one of the founders of KSRI. "Now the people in Iran have a voice, and I sense that even the ayatollahs are being more cautious."
An important newcomer to the clandestine-radio arena is Syria. Last week, the U.S.-based Syrian Reform party launched "Radio Free Syria" in order to "educate the Syrian public on issues of democracy, freedom and the cessation of violence." The station, which is available on shortwave frequency and the Internet, plans to air cynical and humorous programs criticizing Syria's ruling Baath party as well as on-air plays written by dissident Syrian playwrights.
"Radio Free Syria will help us unite and consolidate the reformers inside Syria with the reformers pressuring the regime from the outside," says Farid Ghadry, president of the Syrian Reform party and Syrian Democratic Coalition.
Elsewhere, a dissident station called Radio Free North Korea began operating out of Seoul this past April, thanks to the efforts of a small group of North Korean defectors. "Our program aims to help North Koreans know better about their actual situation and to let the rest of the world know about the reality of the North Korean government," says Kim Sung-Min, the station's president and chief writer. "(Our aim is also) to finally lead the nation to become a democratic nation like South Korea."
A precedent of sorts exists for the efforts of Sung-Min, Ghadry, and Morovati: It can be argued that the U.S.-backed Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty helped hasten the fall of the Iron Curtain and defeat Soviet Communism during the 1980s. Unlike these programs, however, the purveyors of clandestine radio operate without state funding.
"What we're seeing is a true grassroots effort to democratize these countries without the help of state dollars," says Nick Grace, Washington managing editor of Clandestine Radio.com, a monitoring project that tracks subversive media around the world. "Commercial opposition broadcast radio predates September 11. However, it is clear that the war of ideas awakened a number of pro-democratic groups around the world to the effectiveness of the media as a weapon to spark a change in their respective countries."
Over the last two years, the U.S has become much more engaged in its attempts to foster democracy around the world, particularly in the Middle East. Institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy and Voice of America, along with projects like the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), have almost quadrupled their funding over this period. MEPI, according to State Department statistics, received $29 million in 2002 and $100 million in 2003, while $145 million has been committed for 2004.
But only $3.2 million, or 3.3 percent, of MEPI's funds were directed to help indigenous NGOs, and none of this money was allocated to voices of opposition in countries like Syria, Saudi Arabia, or Iran (which is currently ripe for change, in large part because of its burgeoning pro-democracy movement).
While U.S. policymakers have invested millions in radio and TV stations that aspire to deliver a "natural" voice aired out of Washington, they've bypassed opportunities to help genuine pro-democracy advocates that often struggle merely to stay on the airwaves. If the U.S. wishes to be truly effective in its efforts to spread democracy, it should reconsider this strategy.
Nir Boms is a senior fellow at the Council for Democracy and Tolerance. Erick Stakelbeck is senior writer for the Investigative Project.
Canadians Barred from Iran Trial
July 14, 2004
Iran has rejected Canadian demands that its diplomats observe the trial of an intelligence agent charged with beating a Canadian journalist to death.
Canada has withdrawn its ambassador to Tehran in protest, saying "justice will not be done behind closed doors".
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the case was a domestic issue, but pledged a fair trial.
Iranian-born journalist Zahra Kazemi died in 2003 after she was held for taking pictures outside a Tehran jail.
Iranian intelligence agent Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi pleaded not guilty to "semi-intentional murder" at the trial's first and only session last October.
The hearing was delayed to allow lawyers representing the Kazemi family to research the case, and is due to resume on Saturday.
"The request for the presence of Canadian observers is contrary to all international principles and regulations and is unacceptable," Mr Asefi said on state television.
But Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham decried Iran's "completely unacceptable behaviour", and said he was recalling the ambassador to Tehran.
He said Canada had been promised it could have three observers at the trial.
"It's a complete rejection of the rule of law... justice will not be done behind closed doors in Iran," he said.
Ms Kazemi, 54, was detained on 23 June 2003 for taking pictures of Tehran's Evin prison.
She died in hospital in Tehran on 10 July after falling into a coma having received head injuries during more than three days of interrogation.
The case has sparked a fierce debate between the hardline judiciary and the reformist intelligence ministry.
Both sides have accused one another of staging a cover-up to divert responsibility for Ms Kazemi's death.
On Wednesday the moderate President Mohammad Khatami backed the intelligence ministry, saying: "I believe the agent was not guilty. I hope the court will bravely be able to identify the guilty person."
Canada Recalls Ambassador to Iran
July 14, 2004
The Associated Press
The Globe and Mail
Ottawa A furious Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham recalled the ambassador to Iran on Wednesday after learning that Canadian observers will not be allowed at the Tehran trial of a man accused of killing a Canadian journalist.
An Iranian intelligence agent has been charged with semi-intentional murder in the death just over one year ago of Zahara Kazemi, a Montreal-based photographer of Iranian descent.
They had promised that we would have three observers, said Mr. Graham, who declared his extreme outrage at the development.
The trial is to start Saturday.
This is completely unacceptable behaviour on their part, Mr. Graham said. It's a complete rejection of the rule of law.
Under all human-rights codes, under all international-law standards, this should be a public trial with the right, certainly, of the family to be present to assure that justice is done.
Justice will not be done behind closed doors in Iran.
He learned of Iran's rejection of Canadian observers through media reports rather than directly from Tehran officials.
They are not co-operating with us, he said.
Mr. Graham is weighing a range of responses, from seeking a hearing at the International Court of Justice to slapping economic sanctions on Iran.
Ms. Kazemi died last year in Iranian custody after she was arrested outside a Tehran prison.
Iranian authorities at first said she died of a stroke after she was arrested photographing a protest outside a Tehran prison. They eventually charged an intelligence agent with her beating death.
The incident has strained diplomatic relations. Ottawa recalled its ambassador to Iran soon after the murder but returned the diplomat after co-operation was promised.
Think a light finally went on for Mr. Bill Graham ?
They had promised that we would have three observers."
(Lol...and you believed them?)
This is completely unacceptable behaviour on their part"
( So, what else is new?)
It's a complete rejection of the rule of law."
( Yeah? Since when did that matter?)
Justice will not be done behind closed doors in Iran"
(I think he's Got it !)