Discover all the news since the protests began on June 10th, go to:
posted on 08/26/2003 12:05:29 AM PDT
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread
Live Thread Ping List | DoctorZin
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me
posted on 08/26/2003 12:06:41 AM PDT
Angrier and Angrier
August 25, 2003
National Review Online
One of the central themes of The War Against the Terror Masters is that we weren't ready for September 11 because the intelligence community did not want to see it coming. Over many years, people in the field and analysts in Washington and Langley had seen careers ruined because somebody tried to warn the policymakers that trouble was coming. The policymakers didn't want to hear that sort of thing because they were not prepared to do the unpleasant things that knowledge of the real situation required. The ultimate example was the Clinton White House, where the top people simply refused to even receive information about Osama bin Laden's activities in Sudan. Clinton was hardly unique; the NSC under Bush the Father simply refused to believe that Saddam would invade Kuwait, and even ignored seemingly incontrovertible information provided the night of the invasion, when General Scowcroft went home early.
When people lower down the food chain, perhaps driven by love of country, insisted on making their superiors face the facts, they often became living examples of "no good deed goes unpunished in Washington." Bob Baer, for example, who both proved the Iranian and PLO involvement in the Beirut-embassy bombing of 1983, and got inside the terror network a decade later, was threatened with criminal prosecution. And today, Michael Maloof, whose nearly 30 years of service in the Department of Defense uncovering all manner of anti-American skullduggery by various enemies should be rewarded with medals and high praise, is instead subjected to an internal inquisition and nasty leaks to the popular press.
Moreover, whenever either the CIA or FBI aggressively went after suspected terrorists, Congress was ready to investigate, to rewrite guidelines, and to punish anyone who actually succeeded. By September 10, the FBI could not even clip newspaper articles about openly anti-American groups, Muslim or otherwise. It was illegal.
The intelligence community accordingly learned that it must not take risks, and must not bring forward alarming information. So, over the years, the case officers and the top bureaucrats adapted to the political requirements, and they developed elaborate stratagems to ensure that they did not know the things that the policymakers did not want to know. On those occasions when, despite their best efforts, the information became so manifestly clear that it could not be ignored, the intelligence community denied its significance, or whispered darkly about the unreliability of the sources. Thus, for example, when some of the Ayatollah Khomeni's sermons were translated and published in the popular press, CIA sent experts to tell Senator Scoop Jackson's committee that the material was probably forged. And, at the same time, the CIA neatly refused to call the PLO a "terrorist" organization.
This convenient self-deception soon spread to the State Department, where in recent times it has taken on the characteristics of a full-blown obsessive/compulsive neurosis. No matter how many times State's policies fail, no matter how often the "peace process" produces more bloodshed than the preceding period, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs William J. Burns fly off to beg our Palestinian, Iranian, Saudi and Syrian enemies to behave better, and warn our allies in Israel to show restraint at all costs. No matter how many times Iran makes monkeys out of our policymakers, Powell and Armitage insist that Iran is a democracy, redefine the bloody internal conflict as a "family squabble," and beg the mullahs for some of the al Qaeda leaders now acknowledged to be in Iran (a fact first revealed on NRO during the fighting in Afghanistan). That is not in the cards. Iran supports al Qaeda and is not about to betray them merely to give our secretary of state a nice day.
Although clinically interesting, the patient most likely to die from this syndrome is the national security of the United States, with collateral damage throughout the Western world. Our policymakers are now willfully blind, if not always to the facts themselves, at least to their plain meaning. The BBC announced over the weekend that Iraqi police had arrested Iranian terrorists planning operations in Baghdad, and turned them over to the Americans. The general phenomenon is well known, as Jerry Bremer invariably notes in his many interviews and public statements. Yet even Bremer, a man of great talent and courage, has bought into one of the major State Department myths, namely that Sunnis and Shiites don't actively cooperate. When Brit Hume asked whether the large number of terrorists pouring across the Iran/Iraq border showed that the mullahs were supporting anti-American terrorism in Iraq, Bremer said one could not say that with confidence, since most of the terrorists were Sunni, and the Iranian regime is famously Shiite.
I suppose that, if asked about Syrian support for the terrorists pouring into Iraq from Syria, our experts would remind us that the Damascus regime is secular (Baathist, like Saddam), and does not endorse jihad.
And so we dither and debate, and go to the Security Council in order to lure more young soldiers to face the terror masters in Iraq, even as Imad Mughniyah, the lethal chieftain of Hezbollah, has now begun his operations against us in both Iraq and Jordan, and as the Iranian mullahs send out orders to begin taking American and British hostages. As Bashar Assad told us some months back, they are going to turn Iraq into a second Lebanon. This is total terrorist war, and we are trying to limit our losses, playing defense instead of taking the war into our enemies' havens.
Our inability to see the world plain carries over into more specialized areas of intelligence, even those of enormous importance. On some occasions, CIA and State have refused to even talk to sources whose previous information saved American lives, and promising leads on the location of WMDs in Iraq were dropped as well.
It is hard to believe that the president approves of this state of affairs, especially as he sees the poll results that document the American people's mounting dissatisfaction with developments in Iraq. They are right to be upset, and they are likely to get angrier still if, as I expect, the terror war against us gets uglier. I am an admirer of George W. Bush. He seems to have extraordinarily good instincts and the kind of faith-based courage that makes for good leadership under terrible circumstances. But I do not think he has come to grips with the systematic myopia of our policymakers, and the culture of self-deception that afflicts our intelligence community.
You don't need master spies to see what's going on in the Middle East, or brilliant diplomats to tell you that we are playing for enormous stakes. Most normal Americans, unencumbered by visions of diplomatic breakthroughs and negotiated settlements, sense that we are losing the initiative, and that this is costing us money, blood and prestige. We are indeed at war, but we have inexplicably stopped waging it.
Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently theauthor of The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen, Resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute, can be reached through Benador Associates. http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen082503.asp
posted on 08/26/2003 12:08:07 AM PDT
Apparently Cuba has stopped their embassy in Havana from jamming the Loral satelite with our news of what is happening.
posted on 08/26/2003 12:11:37 AM PDT
by Grampa Dave
('Axis of Acorns' ... Bitter little nuts fallen from the Clinton degenerate scrub oak.)
Rogue State Department
By David Bedein
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 25, 2003
The US Constitution mandates that the US Congress, the elected representatives of the American people, must advise and consent the US Administration in matters of foreign policy.
The time has come for the American people to make State Department policies accountable to the the US Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, the US House International Relations Committee, the media and the American electorate.
In at least twenty critical matters of Middle East foreign policy, the US State Department has acted independently of US Congressional approval in its implementation of Middle East policy.
1. The US State Department has ignored all data brought to its attention from Israeli intelligence which provides documents, records minutes, and recordings which demonstrate Abu Mazen's direct involvement with the PLO murder campaign which has ensued over the past three years, which has resulted in more than 18,000 terror attacks and more than 800 Israeli citizens who have been murdered by Arab terrorists in cold blood.
2. The US State Department has demanded that Israel free hundreds of Arabs who have been involved in acts of premeditated murder, meaning that Israel would have to free Arab terrorists who qualify as not having "blood on their hands" because while they tried to hurt people with bullets, bombs and rocks, they missed.
3. The US State Department has demanded that Israel free members of Arab terror organizations who are ideologically committed to murdering Jews.
4. The US State Department has refused to demand that the PLO withdraw its sentence of death for any Jew who lives in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Katif or the Golan.
5. The US State Department has demanded that Israel not publish the documents that it has acquired which demonstrate the direct involvement of the Palestinian National Authority and the Fateh in the PLO campaign of premeditated murder that has continued for the past
6. The US State Department has refused to comment on the new Palestine State Constitution which mandates that the Palestinian State will be based on the Islamic Sharia Law and allow for religious freedom, human rights or civil liberties, while legislating the "right of return" for all Palestinian Arab
refugees from 1948 and for their descendents.
7. The US State Department has mandated that Israel and the PA not dissemble the Hamas, which endorses the murder of all Jews in any part of Israel.
8. The US State Department refers to the June 29th "Hudna" agreement that was achieved between the PLO and the Hamas as a "cease-fire", despite the fact that the US State Department knows full well that a "hudna" implies a respite before the next battle in the war. Since the requirement of the "hudna" is that Israel free all jailed terrorists as a condition for continuing the war, there is no chance that the "hudna" will lead to peace or reconciliation.
9. The US State Department, while approving massive arms shipments and weapons upgrade for Egypt, has not used any leverage with Egypt to demand that Egypt put a stop to the mass construction of weapons tunnels into Israel.
10. The US State Department, despite its protestations against those who aid and abet terrorist organizations, will issue no public call for Saudi Arabia to cease and desist from its funding of Arab terror organizations.
11. The US State Department, mandated by the US Congress to monitor PA education, has hired a leading PLO advocacy organization known as IPCRI,which has whitewashed the PA school curriculum as a 'peace curriculum while not citing any specific reference in that same curriculum, That US-funded IPCRI report is being used as the rationale for US AID and the EU to renew funding for the PA schools. Meanwhile, the US State Department is ignoring the text analysis of the newest PA school textbooks provided by CMIP, the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, whose work is located at www.edume.org
12. The US State Department, mandated by the US Congress to provide a critical analysis of the status of religious freedom inside the Palestinian Authority, issued a report in which it described the
PA "transformation" of "Kever Yosef", Joseph's Tomb,into a mosque as an "act of religious freedom".
13. The US State Department acts under binding legislation which mandates that the US state Department not deal with the PLO unless and until the PLO cancels its covenant which calls for the
dismemberment of the state of Israel. The PNC, the Palestine National Council, met in special session on April 24, 1996 and on December 14, 1998 to consider the question of the PLO covenant. In both cases, the PNC did not cancel the PLO covenant. Even so, US State Department falsely claims that the PLO cancelled its covenant. In other words, the US State
Department's negotiations with the PLO remain in flagrant violation of US law
14. The US State Department recently dispatched emissaries to the middle east, John Wolfe and William Burns, both of whom met with Israeli political organizations that lobby for the PLO. However, Wolfe and Burns refused to meet with Israeli organizations which critique the PLO, leaving pro PLO groups as the only Israeli organizations which are in a position to provide feedback for the US State Department
15. The US State Department, mandated by the President to seek ways to facilitate a two-state solution, has allocated a special grant of $26 Million to UNRWA, the UN agency which runs Arab refugee camps under a policy that promote the "right of return" for four million Palestinian Arab
refugees to take back Arab villages which have been replaced by Israeli town collective farms and woodlands within the 1949-1967 lines.
16. The US State Department, mandated by the US Congress to facilitate the creation of a "democratic state of Palestine", describes the one party elections in which Arafat was elected
president of Palestinian Authority in January 1996 as "free and democratic" despite the fact that all candidates had to be selected and approved by Arafat in order to run. PA Foreign Minister and
Palestinian State Constitution author Nabil Shaath has confirmed that Arafat would again be the only candidate for president of the Palestinian Arab entity.
17. The US State Department, mandated by the US Congress to facilitate a system of human rights in the Palestinian Authority, turns a blind eye to the fact that the PA has placed more than 200
dissidents on death row for the crime of criticizing the PA. The PA calls them "collaborators" for media consumption.
18. The US State Department has authorized the resumption of direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority, before it took any steps to disarm and disband Arab terror groups which act within the PA. That aid to the PA was supposed to be predicated on that PA crackdown on organizations that plan and conduct acts of premeditated murder against Jews.
19. The US State Department has resumed military training of the PA military forces, after a three year period in which those same PA security forces were directly involved in all levels of terror
activity, while incorporating the Hamas.
20. The US State Department has provided financial backing to PASSIA, the Palestinian Arab lobby organization which trains professionals to lobby Capital Hill for the PLO cause. The PASSIA training manuals thank US AID for their generous sponsorship. In other words, the US government pays the PLO to lobby the US Congress to advance their interests.
David Bedein is the Bureau Chief of the Israel Resource News Agency. http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9521
posted on 08/26/2003 12:13:11 AM PDT
Iran's press regroups amid crackdown
Asia Times - By Ramin Mostaghim
Aug 26, 2003
TEHRAN - Dissident bookseller Ardeshir Masali explained his point of view with candor. "The Iranian Islamic system is run by a regime suffering from a deep-rooted paranoia, one which loses its temper easily."
The police, continued the 39-year-old, who owns a modest little book stall in a shopping arcade in Enqelab Square in the Iranian capital, does not just "slap the faces of detainees, but breaks their skulls, as they did with Zahra Kazemi".
This is the case that turned world attention, and that of much of its media, toward Iran. Kazemi, a photojournalist holding both Iranian and Canadian citizenship, died in custody on July 11 in Tehran as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage caused by a cranium fracture. She was reportedly severely beaten following her arrest on June 23 while taking photographs of Evin prison, north of Tehran. Her death led to a diplomatic row between Iran and Canada. But greater still were the reverberations within Iran's media community.
"Murdering Kazemi while she was in jail was so shocking that it spurred Iranian journalists into staging a sit-in protest on August 8," Mashallah Shamsulvaezeen, board member of Iran's Journalist Association, told Inter Press Service. The day is now observed as Journalists' Day in the country.
Fifty years ago Karimpour Shirazi, a journalist famous for his criticism of the royal family, was burned alive in the military camp in which he was jailed. Kazemi, said Shamsulvaezeen, is the second journalist to have been killed in custody in Iran.
Recent weeks have seen harassment of the media by the state intensify. A wave of arrests has swept through the reformist press - the target of the conservative clerical establishment in its tussles with more reform-minded groups led by President Mohammad Khatami - since an outburst of anti-regime protests in mid-June and July.
A daily published by the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), typifies the situation. The Iran newspaper's managing director was charged, after a complaint was filed about an article, with spreading propaganda against the establishment and publishing false news, and then released on bail.
Other publications have also run into trouble. The weekly Nameh-yi Qazvin was shut down on charges of "promoting depravity and publishing lies" after it was accused of discrediting clerics. The managing directors of Iranian dailies Kayhan, Siyasat-i Ruz and Etemad appeared in court on August 13 to face complaints against their publications, according to IRNA reports.
Journalists who tend to support the official line, however, see the events and their significance differently. Ahmad Khorramian, 29, a journalist with a conservative newspaper, said that the Zahra Kazemi case "became controversial thanks to her Canadian passport". Khorramian argued, "European and Canadian diplomats did not move a finger when, five years ago, Mahmoud Saremi, who was the IRNA correspondent in Mazar-e-Sharif [in northeast Afghanistan] was killed by Taliban forces."
The reality on the ground, however, belies the apparent logic of such explanations, critics say. In the past four years, more than 90 newspapers and magazines have been banned, throwing over 2,000 journalists out of work, says Mohammad Hydari, manager of the website Parspejvak.com.
Even so, there are those who soldier on, undaunted by the all-too-regular commute between home and jail or revolutionary courts. "As a journalist I write to defend the basic rights of my fellow citizens to know and participate in the shaping of their country's destiny, and I'm ready to pay the price," said Nader Karimi, 33, editor of the magazine Gozaresh.
Karimi has indeed had to pay a staggering price. Released from jail this month, Karimi has lodged with the authorities a security deposit of a crippling 500 million rials (around US$60,000) to ensure that he appears in court when summoned. Shamsulvaezeen said he "feels very concerned for my fellow journalists in Iran because there is no professional safety for them".
The Kazemi case, he explained, proves how vulnerable Iranian journalists are during political turmoil. "The Islamic regime is suffering from a chronic legitimacy crisis," he said. "That is the main reason for its paranoia and why it reacts impulsively and in panic."
The pattern, said dissident journalist Amir Kavian, is depressingly familiar. Every year, several journalists write or speak about an issue that the regime finds "subversive" or "against Islamic values and national interests". Then, said Kavian, they are jailed until some members of parliament or more sensitive authorities appeal for clemency on their behalf. "Then the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pardons them or commutes their sentences," observed Kavian.
There are signs that dissidence is growing stronger. On August 16, the Journalist Association called for the resignation of the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ahmad Masjedjamei and the public prosecutor of Tehran, Judge Mortazavi, who are seen as responsible for the crackdown on journalists, intellectuals and students.
Among those at the August 8 protest sitin was Arash Pahlavan, a student leader who was representing the support of reformist students. With the start of campaigning for parliamentary seats just seven months away, Pahlavan indicated that the movement was reconsidering its tactics.
"Unless reformist parliamentarians and politicians are ready to pay the price of fighting for freedom of speech and the rights of the people, we will not repeat the blunder we committed six years ago of taking to the streets," Pahlavan said, referring to criticism that pro-Khatami forces were far too timid to push for real change.
The dilemma facing the dissidents and reform-minded among the press is that in the absence of independent parties and political institutions, newspapers and magazines have become political instruments, often representing politicians' interests.
Rival associations of journalists are allied with the reformist group of Khatami and others with his rival, Khamanei. "In this tug of war, nothing changes basically ... there is no room for independent journalism to emerge," said Kavian.
"There are two options open to journalists and writers in Iran - massage the word and doublespeak and lead a low-profile profession, or write unscrupulously and be a martyr for the pen," remarked Mohammad Hydari.
Yet the pressures can be unbearable for those who decide to uphold the principle of freedom of speech and expression. As Dr Mohsen Kadivar, a 46-year-old electronics engineer and theologian who recently led a communal prayer at a jailed journalist's home, said, "The price one pays for engaging in political activities has increased so much that no one dares become involved." http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1932.shtml
posted on 08/26/2003 12:15:51 AM PDT
Havana Says Iran Jammed Satellite
August 26, 2003
The Washington Times
Agence France Presse
Cuba has told the United States that an Iranian diplomatic facility in or near Havana was the source of the jamming that disrupted U.S. Farsi-language satellite broadcasts to Iran last month, the State Department said.
And, in an unusual display of cooperation between the Cold War enemies, Havana appears to have acted on pledges to halt the interference, which had prompted a formal protest from Washington.
"It has ceased," said Jo-Anne Prokopowicz, a department spokeswoman.
After denying responsibility for the jamming but pledging to investigate the U.S. complaints in mid-July, Cuba told the United States that it had found the source, she said.
"Cuba informed us on August 3 that they had located the source of the interference and had taken action to stop it." Miss Prokopowicz said.
"The government of Cuba informed us that the interference was coming from an Iranian diplomatic facility," she said. "We will be following this up with Iran."
On July 15, the U.S. government-affiliated Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) accused Cuba of jamming its programming, as well as that of private U.S.-based Iranian opposition satellite television stations, to Iran.
The jamming, which affected all Farsi-language broadcasts carried by the Loral Skynet satellite, became pronounced amid growing protests in Iran against the Tehran government.
Iran said at the time that the U.S. broadcasts into the country were interference in its internal affairs and accused the U.S.-based Iranian opposition of inflaming the protests.
Shortly after the BBG complaint, which was accompanied by request for a formal diplomatic protest about the jamming, the State Department said the interference appeared to be emanating from Cuba, but could not say exactly who was behind it. http://www.washtimes.com/world/20030825-091756-5295r.htm
Shiite Clerics Clashing Over How to Reshape Iraq
August 26, 2003
The New York Times
NAJAF -- The clerics who hold sway over Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority are locked in a violent power struggle pitting the older, established ayatollahs counseling patience with the occupation against a younger, more militant faction itching to found an Islamic state.
The militants are suspected of carrying out a series of attacks, including one over the weekend, engineered to eliminate or at least unsettle Najaf's religious scholars just as Shiites feel their moment has come. The bloodshed started in April with the murder of a prominent young cleric, Abdel Majid al-Khoei, inside the city's most holy shrine. That slaying remains such a tinderbox issue that the police and prosecutors only reluctantly confirmed for the first time today that some 12 suspects had been rounded up this month and more arrests were pending.
The tense standoff, as described by clerics from both factions, is playing out among the twisting alleyways of this holy seat, a battle for the leadership of Iraq's Shiite community, which accounts for 60 percent of the country's population of about 25 million.
In one corner sit the senior ayatollahs clustered around Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, all betting that it is only a matter of time before the United States delivers a democratic state that the Shiites can dominate through sheer numbers.
Arrayed against them are more activist opponents of the American-led occupation who back Moktada al-Sadr and who believe that Shiites should aggressively pursue an Islamic state modeled on clerical rule in Iran.
"It goes back in history to two distinct lines in Muslim and particularly Shiite thought," said Sheik Shaibani, a 33-year-old cleric who runs the Islamic court in Najaf in defiance of the elder clergy.
"There are those who say you must undertake jihad in times of oppression, and those who say we must stay silent until the reappearance of the Mahdi," he said, referring to the Shiite savior.
Although not calling for an outright holy war, the young clerics hint at the possibility. No one points the finger directly at Mr. Sadr, the descendant of a long line of illustrious clerics, but the police, prosecutors and Americans in Iraq, not to mention ordinary Najafis, single out his group as the font of violence. "Everyone in the city was expecting something like this to happen," Qassim Shabbar, a Najaf merchant, said of Mr. Sadr's possible role in the latest bloodshed. A bombing on Sunday outside the residence of a conservative ayatollah killed three men.
Shadowing the entire discussion about Shiites' power is the question of Iran's role here. Officially, the Iranians have said they want a stable, democratic Iraq, expecting that it will bring Shiite dominion.
But some Iraqis harbor suspicions that Iran wants the United States kept preoccupied by an unstable Iraq, rather than turning its attention next door to the Islamic Republic, and so is supporting Mr. Sadr or worse, the scattered remnants of Ansar al-Islam, a militant Islamic group that American officials believe has been plotting attacks against Western targets in Baghdad.
In the immediate aftermath of the murder of Mr. Khoei, the son of a beloved grand ayatollah killed under Saddam Hussein, residents of Najaf were too fearful to speak about it. But a few weeks ago, they pointedly hung banners in the streets and spoke openly of their suspicions that Mr. Sadr or at least his followers had had a hand in it.
"Disgrace and humiliation to the heretics, the murderers," said one such banner near Mr. Sadr's office. Residents said opponents were also sneaking up to the office door at night to attach pictures of Mr. Khoei.
The possible ramifications of the Khoei investigation are so sensitive that prosecutors and the police refused to discuss it, other than to say they had arrested a dozen or so men whom witnesses identified as having been involved.
Sheik Ahmed Shabani, a Sadr aide, denied that the followers of Mr. Sadr had a role in any violence.
Conservatives in Najaf view Mr. Sadr and his followers as rabble-rousers. The difference between the two groups is readily apparent during any religious event, as stark as the difference between a rave crowd and a group of symphonygoers.
The followers of Mr. Sadr are all coiled fervor, chanting ardently against America, "We are Sadr against the infidels!" while rhythmically jumping and beating their chests with their hands despite the August heat. The followers of the elderly clergy, even the young, politely sit in formation or stand chanting tepid, apolitical slogans.
Among Mr. Sadr's most hotly disputed proposals has been to form a popular militia that his senior aides said would provide greater security in Shiite neighborhoods. It is also envisioned as a kind of morals police, upholding standards of Muslim public behavior.
"It is not an army of destabilization or to undermine security," said Sheik Muhammad Fartousi, one of Mr. Sadr's senior aides in Sadr City, a Baghdad slum with a population of two million that is ground zero for Mr. Sadr's supporters. "It will help the oppressed."
The militants are careful not to risk the wrath of the American forces by singling them out by name, but the threat of engaging them wafts around nearly every sermon, every interview.
"We don't have airplanes or tanks or artillery like our enemies," said Mr. Fartousi, vowing that tens of thousands of volunteers signing up for the Army of the Mahdi will defend Shiite neighborhoods from any attack. "Even if we reach the extent where we run out of stones, we will lay down our bodies."
In Najaf, senior clergymen make sarcastic remarks about the prospect of any kind of popular militia protecting Shiite figures or shrines.
But some merchants in Baghdad worry that a violent religious underground has already formed. Practically every liquor store in the city a trade limited exclusively to Christians because Islam forbids alcohol has been firebombed or attacked with rockets overnight during the past few months.
The young clerics around Mr. Sadr argue that alcohol should be banned, but say they are not trying to prevent it through violence.
Officials of the American-led occupation of Iraq recognize that no community is more crucial than the Shiites. One senior coalition official described the tacit consent of the high-ranking ayatollahs to the occupation of the country as a crucial strategic factor in establishing what stability there is in Iraq. "Retaining the support of the Shiites is essential for the success of the coalition," he said.
In general, Shiites are reluctant to discuss factional rivalries. Senior officials from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party both of which have members on the Iraqi Governing Council paint the tension as a natural outpouring following years of oppression.
"After 35 years, people just want to express their ideas, even if it is not always in a responsible way," said Adel Abdel Mehdi, a senior official with the council. "It's a healthy sign of the Shiites coming out of repression. You have a community trying to find its way, which could be dangerous if we are not united."
When asked directly, senior clergymen deny any deep schism, blaming Baathists seeking to destabilize Iraq for the violence. A banner hung by Mr. Sadr's supporters outside his offices today attributed blame for the bombing on Sunday to the the American-led coalition trying to intimidate the Shiite seminary movement in Najaf, which is known as the Hawza. But the more established Shiite groups describe gangland tactics like those used on liquor stores as a sign that the militants are immature and unlikely to retain the faithful.
"This childish movement imposes its ideas on others," said Ali Abdel Mehdi, a senior official with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution. "Its ideas are without thorough knowledge or study by these people who are teenagers, people who have done no religious studies."
There has been little public criticism of Mr. Sadr in Iraq, however. The Shiite establishment appears slightly at a loss over how to challenge him, sensing that his popularity among the most disenfranchised would lose them an important constituency.
Outside the Shiite community, some officials believe that Mr. Sadr serves as a useful tool. While the ayatollahs might fret about the militants, they serve as a vivid example of the holy war that could be unleashed should the occupation fail to deliver.
The question now is whether the older, more established clerics can win over the Shiite rank and file, or whether frustration will spread the appeal of an Islamic state.
The moderate clerics believe that the fastest antidote for radicalism is providing security, jobs and electricity, which they say will sway Shiites away from extremism.
"People fear chaos," said Muhammad Hussein al-Hakim, a son of Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Said al-Hakim, whose house was the scene of the bombing on Sunday. The younger Mr. Hakim suffered injuries in the attack and was himself threatened some weeks earlier. "If the occupation forces could achieve results fast," he said, "that will prevent the calls for this kind of action." http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/26/international/worldspecial/26SHII.html
Do What It Takes in Iraq
August 26, 2003
The Weekly Standard
William Kristol and Robert Kagan
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice gave an important speech a couple of weeks ago, in which she called on the United States to make a "generational commitment" to bringing political and economic reform to the long-neglected Middle East--a commitment not unlike that which we made to rebuild Europe after the Second World War.
It was a stirring speech, made all the more potent by the knowledge that it reflects the president's own vision. President Bush recognizes that, as is so often the case, American ideals and American interests converge in such a project, that a more democratic Middle East will both improve the lives of long-suffering peoples and enhance America's national security.
For all our admiration for this bold, long-term vision, however, there is reason to be worried about the execution of that policy in the first and probably most important test of our "generational commitment." Make no mistake: The president's vision will, in the coming months, either be launched successfully in Iraq, or it will die in Iraq. Indeed, there is more at stake in Iraq than even this vision of a better, safer Middle East. The future course of American foreign policy, American world leadership, and American security is at stake. Failure in Iraq would be a devastating blow to everything the United States hopes to accomplish, and must accomplish, in the decades ahead.
We believe the president and his top advisers understand the magnitude of the task. That is why it is so baffling that, up until now, the Bush administration has failed to commit resources to the rebuilding of Iraq commensurate with these very high stakes. Certainly, American efforts in Iraq since the end of the war have not been a failure. And considering what might have gone wrong--and which so many critics predicted would go wrong--the results have been in many ways admirable. Iraq has not descended into inter-religious and inter-ethnic violence. There is food and water. Hospitals are up and running. The Arab and Muslim worlds have not erupted in chaos or anger, as so many of our European friends confidently predicted.
But the absence of catastrophic failure is not, unfortunately, evidence of impending success. As any number of respected analysts visiting Iraq have reported, and as recent horrific events have demonstrated, there is much to worry about. Basic security, both for Iraqis and for coalition and other international workers in Iraq, is lacking. Continuing power shortages throughout much of the country have damaged the reputation of the United States as a responsible occupying power and have led many Iraqis to question American intentions. Ongoing assassinations and sabotage of public utilities by pro-Saddam forces and, possibly, by terrorists entering the country from neighboring Syria and Iran threaten to destabilize the tenuous peace that has held in Iraq since the end of the war.
In short, while it is indeed possible that, with a little luck, the United States can muddle through to success in Iraq over the coming months, the danger is that the resources the administration is devoting to Iraq right now are insufficient, and the speed with which they are being deployed is insufficiently urgent. These failings, if not corrected soon, could over time lead to disaster. Three big issues stand out.
- WHERE ARE THE TROOPS? It is painfully obvious that there are too few American troops operating in Iraq. Senior military officials privately suggest that we need two more divisions. The simple fact is, right now there are too few good guys chasing the bad guys--hence the continuing sabotage. There are too few forces to patrol the Syrian and Iranian borders to prevent the infiltration of international terrorists trying to open a new front against the United States in Iraq. There are too few forces to protect vital infrastructure and public buildings. And contrary to what some say, more troops don't mean more casualties. More troops mean fewer casualties--both American and Iraqi.
The really bad news is that the Pentagon plans to draw down U.S. forces even further in coming months. Their hope is that U.S. forces will be replaced by new Iraqi forces and by an influx of allied troops from around the world. We fear this is wishful thinking. It seems unlikely that any Iraqi force capable of providing security will be in place by the spring. And as for the international community--never mind whether we could ever convince France and other countries to make a serious contribution. In truth, our European allies do not have that many troops to spare. And consider the possibly unfortunate effects of turning over the security of Iraqis to a patchwork of ill-prepared forces from elsewhere in the world.
That's why calls from members of Congress to "internationalize" the force and give the U.N. a preeminent role are unhelpful, and really beside the point, at this critical juncture. Senator Biden is correct to say that "we have a hell of a team over there, but they don't have enough of anything." But he's wrong to suggest that a meaningful part of the solution would be "to internationalize" this. And when Rep. Mark Kirk says that "every international peacekeeper brought in is a chance to replace an American," he's raising false hopes among the American people. Such calls for "internationalization" also signal to Iraqi Baathists and Islamic radicals an inclination on the part of the United States to cut and run.
It's true that, unfortunately, we don't have many troops to spare, either: We should have begun rebuilding our military two years ago. And it is true that increasing the size of our forces, both in Iraq and overall, is unattractive to administration officials. But this is the time to bite the bullet and pay the price. Next spring, if disaster looms, it will be harder. And it may be too late.
- WHERE IS THE MONEY? The same goes for the financial resources the administration has sought for Iraqi reconstruction. It is simply unconscionable that debilitating power shortages persist in Iraq, turning Iraqi public opinion against the United States. This is one of those problems that can be solved with enough money. And yet the money has not been made available. This is just the most disturbing example of a general pattern. The Iraqi economy needs an infusion of assistance, to build up infrastructure, to improve the daily lives of the Iraqi people, to put a little money in Iraqi pockets so that pessimism can turn to optimism. There has also been a stunning shortage of democracy assistance, at a time when, according to surveys taken by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Iraq is undergoing an explosion of political activity.
We understand the administration's fear of asking Congress for the necessary funds for Iraq. The price tag, which may be close to $60 billion, will provide fodder for opportunistic Democratic presidential hopefuls who are already complaining that money spent in Iraq would be better spent in the United States. But, again, the time to bite the bullet is now, not six months from now when Iraq turns to crisis and the American campaign season is fully underway. If Rice and others are serious about making a "generational commitment" equivalent to that which followed the Second World War, then this is the necessary down payment.
- WHERE ARE THE PERSONNEL? The American military is not alone in facing a shortage of people in Iraq. Everyone returning from Iraq comments on the astonishing lack of American civilians as well. Until recently, only a handful of State Department employees have been at work in Iraq. The State Department, we gather, has had a difficult time attracting volunteers to work in Iraq. This is understandable. But it is unacceptable. If the administration is serious about drawing an analogy with the early Cold War years, it should remember that the entire U.S. government oriented itself then to the new challenge. We need to do the same now. The administration must insist that the State Department pull its weight. Indeed, we need to deploy diplomats and civil servants, hire contract workers, and mobilize people and resources in an urgent and serious way. Business as usual is not acceptable. Getting the job done in Iraq is our highest priority, and our government needs to treat it as such.
These are the core problems the Bush administration needs to address. Success in Iraq is within our reach. But there are grounds to fear that on the current trajectory, we won't get there. The president knows that failure in Iraq is intolerable. Now is the time to act decisively to prevent it. http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/032nchou.asp
"Revolutionary Court`s Claims, Sheer Lies"
August 25, 2003
Islamic Republic News Agency
Deputy Information Minister "Shafie" told IRNA, "Claims made by the prosecutor of Bench 1 of Tehran`s Criminal Court, in which two of the information ministry`s interrogators are accused of `being accomplices` in the `quasi intentional murder` of Ms Kazemi are sheer lies."
He further emphasized, "The Information Ministry has discovered the truth of the matter on the case related to the death of Zahra Kazemi, and is intended to publish it for public information in very near future."
Two interrogators of Ms Zahra Kazemi have been found responsible for her sudden death, Inspector of the Criminal Court had said on Monday.
The inspector described Ms Kazemi`s death as "quasi intentional murder".
He did not reveal the names of the two interrogators, but said that they had been Information Ministry staffers.
The inspector brought judicial justification for not making public the names of the interrogators, but, said that he ordered to detain them to hold the legal proceedings.
Iranian photojournalist Ms Zahra Kazemi working for London-based Camera Press died in custody on July 11 after she had been arrested for taking picture from demonstrators in prohibited area outside Evin prison compound on June 23. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=08&d=26&a=10
Only Half Done, The Future is in Iraq
August 26, 2003
National Review Online
That blood is still being shed in Iraq is stated every day with calculated surprise. Voiced by the media, the Dems and our faux-allies in the U.N., the surprise is a criticism of our termination of Saddam's regime, implying falsely that we promised instant success. What these critics willfully overlook is that while we fight the remnants of Saddam's regime, we are also at war quite literally with Iraq's terrorist neighbors. Iraq is the stage upon which the future of the Middle East is being fought out.
The truth is more than Gen. John Abizaid said last week when he said that Iraq is the center of the global war on terrorism. Though he and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that terrorists are coming into Iraq from Syria, they both stopped short of stating the undiplomatic but terribly clear fact that the governments of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and others have decided to make a stand against freedom in Iraq. In addition, the Sudan, Afghani Taliban, and Palestinian terrorists have all joined the fight. The president almost confirmed this last Friday when he said that there was a "foreign element" moving into Iraq. Sorry, Mr. President. They aren't moving into Iraq. They have been there almost since our campaign began, and more are still coming.
On April 10, Oliver North reported from the frontlines that all of the so-called "Saddam Fedayeen" being caught or killed by the Marines, not one of them was Iraqi. All were Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, Egyptians, Afghanis, and Sudanese. Hezbollah from Lebanon and Syria were there by the hundreds, and more were coming in by the day. Ansar-al-Islam, the Iraqi terrorists known to be linked to al Qaeda (and among whom are Moroccans, Iraqis, Jordanians, and others) were also there, and were being reinforced continuously. Three days later, and weeks before the president declared the major military action over, a Marine was killed at a checkpoint near Baghdad by a terrorist attacker. The attacker, who was also killed in the incident, was found to be carrying a Syrian identification card. As it was then, so it is now.
It is time to remind ourselves that the Iraq campaign is not a war unto itself. It is a chapter certainly the most important so far in the war on terrorism. Iraq holds great promise for its people and the whole Middle East. The promise of freedom for Iraqis is dependent on two things. First, Iraq's final escape from the brutality of Saddam's regime will only be achieved by Saddam's capture or provable death. Second, it is also dependent upon the defeat of Iraq's terrorist neighbors.
None of the despotisms that are among Iraq's neighbors Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria can continue if freedom blossoms in Iraq. So those governments are actively involved in funding, supplying, and reinforcing the terrorists and remnants of Saddam's regime fighting us in Iraq. Iraq cannot be free, and its people finally liberated, unless and until we end the interference of those governments.
The mere thought of further American action in the Middle East gives the Deaniebopper Democrats a case of the vapors. They sing the same song as the EUnuchs and the U.N., who argue that for us to even consider taking further action proves our arrogance and colonial ambitions. They accuse us of wanting to remake the map of the Middle East to suit ourselves. There are three answers to that. The first is: baloney. We are not now, and have never been, a colonial power. Never from WWI France to 2003 Iraq have we tried to keep or exploit for our own purposes any nation we have freed from oppression. The second answer is that we are not about remaking maps. The Brits, Russians, Italians, and French have more than once remade the map of the Middle East for precisely those purposes, and created the environment in which we now have to fight. Third, and most important, is that we have no choice but to end the threat of terrorism from these nations.
Colin Powell went to Syria in May, and extracted promises from Bashar Assad that the terrorist union hall that Damascus has become would be closed down. Before Powell's aircraft reached the end of its takeoff run, Assad was backpedaling. Only Foggy Bottom could be surprised that none of Assad's promises were kept. Now, according to Israel's ambassador to the U.S., the bomb that blew up the U.N. mission in Baghdad last week was made in Syria and smuggled across the border. Syria is one headquarters of Hezbollah, which has more American blood on its hands than any terrorist organization other than al Qaeda. Is there any reason why we should refrain from taking whatever action is necessary to demolish the Hezbollah organization everywhere from the Lebanese border with Israel to downtown Damascus? If there is, I am unaware of it.
The same goes for the other terrorist organizations in the area, and the governments that fund, supply, and turn them to their own purposes. The current choice that these governments have made is to prevent the establishment of democracy in Iraq. If Iraq can be turned into another kakistocracy of mullahs, then the despotisms of Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia have nothing to fear. They will not permit a free Iraq, and will continue their subversive and violent intervention unless we stop it.
In theory, some of those governments should be vulnerable to diplomatic pressure. But that will surely fail for the same reasons that diplomacy failed against Saddam. If the West were to stand united against terrorism and the nations that support it, they could by intense, active covert operations choke the economies of Syria and Iran, destabilize their regimes, and bring them down. Even Saudi Arabia would not be immune. But the West is anything except united, and the same nations that made a shambles of the Security Council will do so again and again. By refusing to stand against these terrorist regimes, they will again remove the diplomatic option.
Given that reality, there is little reason to wait to pursue what other options we have. A military action against Syria would make the Iraqi "elite" Republican Guard look like the Wehrmacht. It wouldn't last a week. Demolishing the terrorists there would be a big step. Iran is a much bigger problem. Its soldiers can fight and we will unless we can bring about a regime change there by covert means have to fight them sooner or later. Global terrorism will go on as long as the mullahs rule Iran. Saudi Arabia will be the last to fall. Its dedication to terrorism runs as deep as its oil wealth and its international support bought over the years remains so strong even we have not yet publicly called them what they are, the bankers and farmers of terrorism.
Our media, supporting the usual suspects of the left, are running the "quagmire" play from their Vietnam playbook. This time they have plausible grounds to say what they are saying. Vietnam became a quagmire because we refused to face the facts that North Vietnam couldn't fight without massive Soviet and Chinese, which they got. We didn't face those facts, and lost. In Iraq, we will face a quagmire if we refuse to deal with the nations that we are fighting there. The Saddamite remnants wouldn't last very long without their allies who have taken the field against us. These nations are the principal problem in Iraq. They are doing what the Taliban did in Afghanistan, without yet achieving the massive number of American casualties al Qaeda caused on 9/11.
The president said, way back on September 20, 2001, that the nations who support terrorism must choose to be with us or against us. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the Sudan, and others have not only chosen to be against us, but to actively engage in the terrorists war against freedom in Iraq. We cannot win against terrorism, we cannot liberate Iraq, until we deal with these nations as their choice demands. We are half done in Iraq. We will never be done in Iraq until we finish the job in Teheran, Damascus, and Riyadh.
NRO Contributor Jed Babbin was a deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush administration, and is now an MSNBC military analyst. He is the author of the novel Legacy of Valor. http://www.nationalreview.com/babbin/babbin082603.asp
IAEA Remains Concerned Over Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Program
August 26, 2003
VIENNA -- The UN nuclear agency remains concerned over Iran's nuclear enrichment program and said several issues need "urgent" resolution, International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said.
"There are still a number of outstanding issues, particularly with regard to Iran's enrichment program, which require urgent resolution," Gwozdecky said as a report on Iran's controversial nuclear program was released to the IAEA's board of governors.
"Continued and accelerated cooperation and full transparency on the part of Iran is essential if we are to resolve them," he added. http://www.iii.co.uk/shares/?type=news&articleid=4729302&action=article
Kazemi affair leads to row between regime's institutions
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Aug 26, 2003
The International and Canadian pressures on the Islamic republic regime in reference to the murder of the Canadian-Iranian journalist have created an unprecedented row between the theocratic regime's institutions. The row seems to have been boosted by the publication, by the New York Sun, of an article quoting the "Int.' l Lawyers" investigation team envoy and SMCCDI on some facts related to Kazemi's death.
Rape and the injection of a special substance which increases the decomposition of the body were mentionned by the two sources speaking to Adam Daifallah of the New York Sun. The article was mentionned by most abroad based Iranian radio and TV networks broadcasting for Iran.
Same statements were made to the National Post of Canada which published, yesterday, an article written by Tom Blackwell on the affair.
Many of the regime's officials have started, in the last 72 hours, to take distance from those involved in the scandal and the regime's Information Ministry on Monday night branded the communique issued on Monday by the PR office of the General and Revolutionary Court on Zahra Kazemi`s death, as "Sheer lies."
Deputy Information Minister "Shafie" who spoke to the regime's official news agency, IRNA, stated: "Claims made by the prosecutor of Bench 1 of Tehran`s Criminal Court, in which two of the information ministry`s interrogators are accused of `being accomplices` in the `quasi intentional murder` of Ms Kazemi are sheer lies."
He further emphasized, "The Information Ministry has discovered the truth of the matter on the case related to the death of Zahra Kazemi, and is intended to publish it for public information in very near future."
The regime's Intelligence Ministry denied, yesterday evening, any involvment of his staff in Kazemi's death.
It's to note that the Islamic judiciary guided by the offices of the regime's Supreme Leader intends to save "Jafar Nemati", "Ala-Bakhshi" and "Saeed Mortazavi". The latters are members of the regime judiciary and the Intelligence unit of the Pasdaran Corp. which are related to the offices of the Supreme Ledaer.
Scapegoats have been pressured to make false confessions about their responsibility in the rape-murder affair.
Kazemi is not the first female raped by the Islamic regime's affiliates. It's a well known fact that thousands of young female marxist opponents of the regime were systematically raped by Islamic militiamen the night before their executions and following the reading of a Koran verset on "Temporary Marriage".
The forced ritual was enforced as according to Islamic texts a "Virgin girl has her place in paradise". http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1950.shtml
Crisis Talks Over Iran Envoy Arrest
August 26, 2003
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Ahani will hold the talks with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, during his two-day visit.
The former ambassador, Hadi Solaimanpour, is wanted by police in Argentina in connection with the bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in 1994, in which 85 people were killed.
Iranian leaders have protested strongly against the arrest of Mr Solaimanpour and warned of serious consequences for Iran's relations with London if he is not released soon.
Mr Ahani is trying to defuse this sudden crisis before it is too late.
Mr Straw has taken a special interest in Iran; he has visited the country four times since he took office.
As a former Home Secretary who dealt with the Pinochet extradition, Mr Straw knows more about such cases than most.
But he will find it hard to convince Mr Ahani that the British Government's hands really are tied when it comes to such matters.
Iranian leaders and officials across the board are convinced that the arrest is politically motivated, rather than part of a purely judicial process as British diplomats have tried in vain to insist.
Even the normally mild-mannered reformist president, Mohammed Khatami, issued an unusually robust warning on Sunday that Iran would take strong measures if Mr Solaimanpour was not freed immediately with an apology.
'Out of question'
Iranian officials have said they want the issue resolved by Friday.
If they are hoping the case will be dropped, that is clearly out of the question.
The most that might be feasible, at the discretion of the Bow Street court, would be the granting of bail.
Even that is looking unlikely; it has already been refused and there seems little at this stage to prevent this crisis from gathering pace.
An Iranian Government spokesman has said that Teheran hopes it will not come to the withdrawal of ambassadors.
But he said all the legal and diplomatic options were open.
British diplomats have made it clear that any steps taken against London over this affair would be likely to have wider repercussions for Iran's relations with the European Union as a whole. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3182209.stm
Two Low-level Medical Workers Charged in Canadian Murder Case
August 26, 2003
Two Iranians working for the country's Intelligence Ministry have been arrested and charged with the "semi-intentional murder" of Zahra Kazemi, the Montreal photojournalist who was beaten to death in a Tehran jail.
The two accused were reported yesterday to be low-level medical workers, both female.
The unidentified pair -- one is a nurse, the other a personal caregiver -- were allegedly among the group that interrogated Ms. Kazemi after she was arrested on June 23 for snapping pictures of a local prison.
Iran's official news agency, reading a statement released by the prosecutor's office in Tehran, did not name the suspects.
The pair are thought to have tortured the 54-year-old journalist at various times during her 77-hour incarceration, using unspecified tactics that although extremely painful, are not designed to kill.
In the case of Ms. Kazemi, however, the beatings proved fatal, paving the way for a charge of "complicity in semi-intentional murder."
Bill Graham, the Foreign Affairs Minister, welcomed yesterday's news as "a very positive step," although he stressed his department has yet to confirm the arrests.
"This is what we want," Mr. Graham said in Los Angeles, where he was speaking on joint Canada-U.S. issues. "This is the beginning of understanding why she died, how she died and who will be held responsible."
But Stephan Hachemi, Ms. Kazemi's only son, expressed outrage at the developments, saying the accused women are being prosecuted only to protect the high-ranking officials who actually killed his mother.
"As I said from the beginning," he said yesterday, "the Iranians are going to do it the way they want."
Mr. Hachemi, speaking from his home in Montreal, repeated his belief that Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran's chief prosecutor, was ultimately responsible for his mother's murder. Some reports have said Mr. Mortazavi, known as "the butcher of the press," delivered the fatal blow that eventually killed Ms. Kazemi.
"The two people arrested are from Intelligence," Mr. Hachemi said. "And I know Mortazavi is not from Intelligence."
Iran previously detained five people, including two female guards, in connection with Ms. Kazemi's death, but it is unclear whether the two women now facing trial were among the five.
Mr. Hachemi continues to be unimpressed with the federal government's handling of his mother's case.
Six weeks after her death -- despite Ottawa's pledge to work tirelessly on his behalf -- he is no closer to having her body returned to Canada or seeing her real killers brought to justice.
"Foreign Affairs is getting worse and worse," he said yesterday. "They really don't follow the case. It's obvious."
France Bureau, a spokeswoman for Mr. Graham, said the federal government expects to receive more details about the case today when an Iranian parliamentary commission releases the findings of its own investigation.
A separate judicial inquiry, headed by veteran judge Javad Esmaeili, who filed yesterday's charges, is still not complete.
"We want to get answers," Ms. Bureau said. "We've put in a request to the Iranian authorities to find out exactly what's going on."
Ms. Kazemi, a Canadian citizen of Iranian descent, was working for the London-based Camera Press when authorities found her taking pictures of student protesters in custody at Tehran's Evin Prison.
The next time her family saw her, she was in an Iranian hospital bed, deep in a coma and connected to a life-support machine. She died July 10, the victim of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Iranian authorities -- under intense international pressure for their alleged mistreatment of Ms. Kazemi -- originally said she died of a stroke. But by the end of the month, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Iran's vice-president, admitted what the rest of the world had already suspected: Ms. Kazemi was probably murdered.
Officials in Iran have since pledged to get to the bottom of the case, which has pitted the country's hard-line conservatives against a growing number of reformists, including many media organizations.
It also sparked an ongoing diplomatic row between Iran and Canada, which recalled its ambassador to the country as a way to protest both Ms. Kazemi's violent death and her quick burial, which blatantly defied the wishes of her son.
The case has even attracted the attention of Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, who reportedly said he was "highly concerned" about the circumstances surrounding Ms. Kazemi's death.
Observers worry that such overwhelming attention has prompted Iran to blame anybody for the murder, even if the accused had nothing to do with it.
Hamid Mojtahedi, a Toronto-based lawyer who is observing the case from Iran, said he doubts the two accused women had anything to do with Ms. Kazemi's demise.
"It's quite disconcerting," he said of the charges. "I suspect that these people were not involved in any defining moment that culminated in Ms. Kazemi's unfortunate death. I think that these people may very well be scapegoats here."
Mr. Mojtahedi, who represents Lawyers Without Borders but is tackling the Kazemi case on his own, said officials in Iran told him the nurses applied more force than was necessary during Ms. Kazemi's interrogation.
"Somebody just probably went beyond the call of duty and exerted force," he said in an interview yesterday. "It was the kind of a blow that was intended to exert great force, but not actually be fatal. But in this case, it was fatal."
An Intelligence Ministry official rejected the charges, calling the claims "sheer lies," the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. email@example.com http://www.nationalpost.com/home/story.html?id=039C5972-B477-42D5-A5C3-DE87FFDBBF7B
Iraq's Leaky Border with Iran
August 27, 2003
The Christian Science Monitor
AL MUNTHRIYA - Iraq's border with Iran is an open door for thousands of Iranian Shiite pilgrims being smuggled across the frontier, say Iraqi police. And their numbers may also be swollen by Arab fighters.
Iraqi border police at the northeastern crossing point of Al Munthriya say that members of two leading Shiite parties in Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council are helping the illegal pilgrim trade, unwittingly aiding the passage of terrorists, spies, and saboteurs into the country.
Police say that Arab fighters from Afghanistan and members of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda may also be exploiting clandestine routes through the arid hill country on the frontier, where pilgrims dodge scant border controls with support from members of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and Islamic Dawa.
Col. Nazzim Sherif Mohammed, commander of the Iraqi border police at Al Munthriya, says SCIRI and Dawa members have set up floating border posts in the desert and are providing guides to ferry pilgrims past official border posts to reach the holy Shiite cities of Najaf and Karabala.
Colonel Mohammed and his team say they doubt the parties' leaders are aware of the operations, but express frustration that groups linked to the country's emerging leadership could be inadvertently aiding terrorists.
"It is chaos. Anyone can come in and we can't control this. We can't tell who's a pilgrim and who's a terrorist," says Awat Dawoud, head of customs a Al Munthriya, where several hundred Kurds and former opposition members have joined the new coalition-backed border police force. "We captured some Iranians and brought them here. They told us that people from Dawa and Hakim's party [SCIRI] were taking " to bring people across the border, says Mohammed.
Adel Abdul Mehdi, a spokesman for SCIRI, says he has no knowledge of his party's involvement in the illegal pilgrim trade, which he notes had existed before the war when visits by Iranians were restricted.
But he admits that SCIRI members could be involved in bringing family members over from Iran. Most of the Iranians clandestinely crossing the border on foot or by truck are innocent pilgrims heading for the cities of Karbala and Najaf, to the south of Baghdad. The cities are home to the ornate shrines of Imam Hussein and Imam Ali, descendents of the prophet Muhammad.
None of the pilgrims has a visa as Iraq has not yet resumed its foreign consular services. In Najaf and Karbala, throngs of Iranian pilgrims in Islamic green bandannas and prayer shawls worship at the shrines every day, wielding video cameras and posing happily in groups outside mosques.
In some Najaf restaurants, the clientele are almost exclusively Iranians wolfing down chicken and rice after a long, arduous journey. One pilgrim says proudly he walked six days to reach Najaf from Iran. Others says they drove across in cars. All decline to give details of the crossing. Some estimate that as many as 2,000 people cross the border every day.
Najaf hotel owner Farhan Shibli says his rooms are booked solid with Iranian guests. He welcomes the economic bonanza during such lean times, but voices misgivings about their presence in the country. "They come as pilgrims but some are smugglers and some can be considered spies," he says. "It's quite possible there are saboteurs among them."
He says some of his guests act suspiciously, changing clothes several times a day, dressing as Westerners or Arabs or even foreign journalists. "The coalition should do something about this problem," he says.
Paul Bremer, the top US civilian administrator, said on Saturday that the country's borders are difficult to guard, despite having 2,500 personnel watching them.
"We'd clearly like to have greater control over the borders. We agree there is a problem and we are addressing it," he told reporters. http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0827/p17s01-woiq.html
US asks Iran to sign new IAEA protocol immediately
AFP - World News (via Yahoo)
Aug 26, 2003
WASHINGTON - The United States called for Iran to agree immediately to allow surprise international inspections of its nuclear sites, pronouncing itself unimpressed with Tehran's apparent pledge to negotiate such a deal.
The State Department indicated that Washington was not convinced Iran would actually sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that would allow the inspections despite what the UN's atomic watchdog said was Tehran's willingness to discuss it.
"That's certainly what we've called for and that's what we want to see, but (let's) not get ahead of ourselves now and wait and see what actually comes of this," deputy spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters.
He said Iranian agreement to the new protocol would be "a good thing" but noted that Iran had not been honest about issues related to its nuclear program in the past and therefore could not be trusted to sign on.
"They have clearly not been forthcoming in the past," Reeker said.
"Iran could start rebuilding some confidence by taking immediate and unconditional implementation of the protocol and that's what we've been calling on them to do," he said.
Earlier, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials said Iran had signalled it was willing to move toward signing the additional NPT protocol, calling that a "positive step" in a report on Tehran's program to be presented in September.
Iran then confirmed it was open to signing the protocol but first wanted "total" guarantees that IAEA inspectors would not be given complete freedom of movement and would not violate military secrets.
The United States accuses Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and the IAEA states in its report that signing and implementing an additional protocol is the only way to allay such fears.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is intended only to produce energy.
The IAEA document says Iran has in recent months stepped up cooperation with its inspectors, but that it remains concerned about numerous issues regarding the Islamic republic's nuclear program.
Reeker said Washington fully concurred with that position.
"We think Iran needs to implement immediately this additional protocol and resolve a number of other outstanding questions about their secret nuclear activities," he said.
A diplomat who has studied the report told AFP it confirms that the IAEA had found traces of enriched uranium at or near the town of Natanz, where Tehran is building a uranium processing plant. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1959.shtml
Iran Admits Foreign Help on Nuclear Facility
U.N. Agency's Data Point To Pakistan as the Source
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 27, 2003; Page A17 An Excerpt...
Iran has admitted for the first time that it received substantial foreign help in building a secret nuclear facility south of Tehran that is now beginning to enrich uranium, turning it into a key ingredient in the manufacture of nuclear weapons, according to U.N. documents and diplomatic sources.
While Iran has not yet identified the source of the foreign help, evidence collected in Iran by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency implicates Pakistani companies as suppliers of critical technology and parts, officials familiar with a U.N. investigation of Iran's program said yesterday. Pakistan is believed by many proliferation experts to have passed important nuclear secrets to both Iran and North Korea. Pakistan has denied providing such assistance.
The latest disclosure about Iran came as the U.N. group, the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported that Iran had only partially complied with demands to open its nuclear program to scrutiny. The IAEA, in a confidential report, said Iran had not fully accounted for activities that have spurred fears that it was secretly developing nuclear weapons.
"Iran has demonstrated an increased degree of cooperation," said the report, portions of which were provided to The Washington Post. "However . . . there remain a number of important outstanding issues, particularly with regard to Iran's enrichment program, that require urgent resolution."
The report also noted that Iran had apparently attempted to sanitize one of its nuclear facilities, known as the Kalaye Electric Co., before granting IAEA inspectors access to the site this summer. "Considerable modifications were observed," the IAEA said of the Kalaye site, which had been identified by an Iranian opposition group as a pilot enrichment facility. IAEA officials were barred from the site during earlier visits.... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50470-2003Aug26.html
Iran Ready to Sign Additional Protocol of IAEA Agreement
Japan Today ^ | Wednesday August 27, 2003 00:22 JST | staff report
Posted on 08/26/2003 5:34 PM PDT by prarie earth
VIENNA-Iran is ready to sign an additional protocol of its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Committee, Iran's representative to the IAEA was quoted by Iran's official media as saying Tuesday.
The Islamic Republic News Agency said Ali Akbar Salehi also told IAEA Director General Mohammed El Baradei in a meeting Monday that Iran is ready to discuss all remaining issues after a session of the IAEA Board of Governors slated for Sept. 8-12 ..... http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/970983/posts
The footsteps grow louder by the moment....
Can you not hear it fools? It is freedom, it is comming and there is not a damn thing you can do to stop it....
I will enjoy having your so long repressed culture join us.
To paraphrase a movie "WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU!"
This thread is now closed.
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread
Live Thread Ping List | DoctorZin
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson