Dennis Ross gets a bump up in the Obama Administration to manufacture consent for war with Iran; Obama to grant more power to the Federal [sic] Reserve; the ACLU releases a report analyzing the effects of racist anti-terror [sic] laws on private charities; Democrats unite to fund more war out of ‘loyalty to the president’; Russia, China, India, and Brazil begin talks to end dollar hegemony.

U.S. Iran envoy and Israel lobbyist, Dennis Ross, will now have a “more active role in shaping Iran policy at the White House”, according to a U.S. official. Mr. Ross suggests talks with Iran are for the purpose of ‘easier selling’ war with Iran in his new book, Myths, Illusions & Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East, co-authored by David Makovsky: “Tougher policies — either militarily or meaningful containment — will be easier to sell internationally and domestically if we have diplomatically tried to resolve our differences with Iran… Such an approach may build pressures within Iran not to forgo the opportunity that has been presented, while also ensuring that the onus is put on Iran for creating a crisis and also for making conflict more likely.”

Iran having nukes would “get that recognition to power and prestige and… an insurance policy against what they heard in the past about regime change, axis of evil,” says IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei to BBC. “[Iran] wants to send a message to its neighbors, it wants to send a message to the rest of the world: yes, don’t mess with us, we can have nuclear weapons if we want it.” This is exactly what Iraq did. Intimidation is a self-fulfilling prophecy from superpowers. Nowhere has Mr. ElBaradei ever said that Iran does have these capabilities after 14 snap inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities over the last six years. Iran’s nuclear program has always been within the guidelines of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which all signatories allow for the purposes Iran has shown — peaceful energy purposes. That said, posturing breeds posturing. Iran’s well aware that it would be obliterated the moment it began a nuclear weapons program, making the actions self-defeating and contrary to the motives of any “message” sent: to preserve and empower itself as a State, which can’t be done if it’s obliterated. For more, read Gordon Prather any day of the week.

“Power tends to consolidate. It tends to want to defend itself, and that’s a really insidious tendency and that’s, I think, what we’re seeing  [with the Obama Administration],” Chris Hayes, editor of The Nation, told Keith Olbermann regarding the continuity of secrecy after promising transparency. “I don’t even know what motive there is, other than this basic raw institutional prerogative of, you know, protecting oneself and accruing the maximal amount of power and latitude.” (video) Maybe, Mr. Hayes will stop being a fascist and become a libertarian now…. Probably not.

The Federal [sic] Reserve will receive more unchecked powers to “regulate” the financial industry in a proposal Pres. Obama will present Wednesday: “[C]urrent and former Fed officials worry that the central bank is setting itself up for failure.”

“Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity,” is the “first comprehensive report that documents the serious effects of Bush administration terrorism finance laws on Muslim communities across the nation”, says the ACLU in a press release. The report can be viewed on the web or downloaded in a .pdf format. Ali Gharib wrote a good analysis on the report at IPS.

$106bn war bill narrowly passes in the U.S. House with only five Republican votes (226-202). The GOP was holding out because of the $5bn to the IMF slipped into the bill. Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) statement here. Jeremy Scahill wrote a scathing piece at AlterNet today slamming the so-called “Anti-War Democrats” saying, “What once Democrats could argue was “Bush’s war,” they now officially own.” Glenn Greenwald commented as well on Democrats’ blind “loyalty” to the president. This is the War Party in full effect. They’re all a bunch of terrorists.

42 million people were displaced by war in 2008, according to a U.N. study. Marina Litvinsky’s article for IPS goes more in-depth.

Iran has banned media coverage of the protests following its election. Iran’s Guardian Council will be conducting a recount (video). No matter what the result, Pres. Obama will engage in “tough diplomacy… with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States”. Government-backed militiamen have reportedly fired hundreds of live rounds in the air and at crowds of protesters. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets again today. Thursday a rally will be held in memoriam of those who’ve died in the protests — BBC reporting eight dead, the LAT reporting “at least twelve” dead by midday Wednesday in the U.S.

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri says that “no one in their right mind can believe” the results of Iran’s presidential election, adding that “a government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy”.

A gutwrenching story from another brave blogger in Iran who Yossi Melman keeps anonymous for the blogger’s safety at Ha’aretz today.

TIME Magazine correspondent Nahid Siamdoust was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! from Tehran. (video)

“The ‘Bomb Iran’ Contingent’s Newfound Concern for The Iranian People” by Glenn Greenwald (Salon)

American filmmaker James Longley is making a documentary on the 2009 Iran presidential election. Gaza Strip (2002) and Iraq in Fragments (2006) are highly recommended. Mr. Longley’s been live-blogging from Tehran. (h/t: Karina Longworth)

Side note: Iran’s “Twitter Revolution” is getting ridiculous. There’s a lot of bad info out there. Be careful and please read things before you re-tweet. The truth is that we can’t really follow these protests with the media blockade. The Gaza Massacre was difficult and we did the best we could combing through hundreds of sources a day and battling between Newspeak, bad rumors, and facts were difficult. Just attempting to learn about rallies in Iran has been damn-near impossible. For example, yesterday’s largest rally in Tehran was by Mousavi supporters and not covered by any media due to the blockade. That said, Ari Berman links to some good sources on The Nation blog and more great pictures from today’s “silent protest” from the brave, young Amir Sadeghi.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for a “fairer global economic order” and an end to dollar hegemony. See The Blog for more on the economic summit held by Russia with Brazil, India, and China. The U.S. dollar dropped again with this news.

“The American Empire Is Bankrupt” by Chris Hedges on TruthDig displays the significance of a dollar crash. (h/t: Scott Horton) Usually, you see socialists stay from this topic. Who knows? Maybe, Mr. Hedges’ll become a Rothbardian, someday.

“Russia’s laws and practices regulating nongovernmental organizations are stifling independent civic activism and need extensive reform,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in their report: “An Uncivil Approach to Civil Society: Continuing State Curbs on Independent Civil Society Activism” [.pdf]. “Reform” pisses me off. You’re advocates, not politicians. Call for abolition. I plan on reading this study either way before next week. HRW compiles great reports. (Little Alex)

“I have to hold back tears when I see the deliberate destruction that has been wreaked against your people,” said Fmr. Pres. Jimmy Carter during his visit to the Gaza Strip acknowledging Palestinians are treated “like animals”. Mr. Carter’s repeatedly called for Hamas to be removed from the U.S. terror list, in order for the group to be involved in negotiations. Gazans spoke to BBC about how the blockade has terrorized them.

A total settlement freeze is possible, Akiva Eldar reports. Documents contradict the U.S.-Israel claim that freezing all settlements would be “impossible”. No shit.

“Netanyahu wants Palestinians to become committed Zionists,” Hasan Abu Nimah and Ali Abunimah comment at ei today.

“The [EU]… is to put most of the blame for the conflict on Georgian President Saakashvili,” reports RT. “The commission headed by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini has established that the Georgian attack on South Ossetia was pre-planned and was not a response to ‘Russian aggression’, as Saakashvili has been claiming ever since… The final report of the commission is to be delivered in late July. Der Spiegel expects Tagliavini to avoid harsh judgments and probably leave the door open for Georgia as a potential NATO member. The newspaper also says the report will not mention the U.S. and their military support of Tbilisi, despite some members arguing that it may have “inadvertently promoted Georgia’s collision course.” Listen to “The U.S., Russia, Georgia, and the Five-Day War” for more of the Five-Day War between Russia and Georgia last August. It should not be forgotten.

“North Korea has abandoned its own commitments and violated international law,” said Pres. Obama. “Its nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a grave threat to (the) peace and security of Asia and to the world.” Talk about the Black man pejoratively calling the Asian, a “minority.”… North Korea has pledged that were the U.S. to “infringe upon [the state’s] sovereignty even a bit… [it] will launch a one hundred or one thousand fold retaliation with [a] merciless military strike”.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee confessed to “committing hostile acts… out of political motives”, North Korea’s (DPRK) government news agency reports. “During their trial, they admitted that what they did was a criminal act inspired by political motives of isolating and stifling our republic by defiling our human rights situation through fabricated video footage,” the news agency reported. You don’t think the evidence was twisted and the confessions coerced, do you?

Peru’s Congress has launched a probe into a “massacre” which killed 34 this month in a clash between police and indigenous civilians. Why the hell do activists call for sanctions from the U.S. against the civilians with whom these activists claim to be in solidarity?

Former Gitmo detainees are making attempts to enjoy life after being freed. The CSM covers the recently released Uighurs. The men blame the Chinese, not the U.S. for their seven year detention.

Withheld evidence from the case of death row inmate, Mumia Abu-Jamal, was published in a very detailed San Francisco Bay News article Tuesday. The article is reposted on InfoShop News today. See Amy Goodman’s interview with Mr. Abu-Jamal here.

Journalist Florence Hartman went on trial in front of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Monday for using classified material in her 2007 book, Peace and Punishment, used to prosecute former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. Read more from Alecia McKenzie here at IPS.

Qais Azimy and Hameedullah Shah, were released from Afghan custody. The two al Jazeera producers were detained a couple of days ago after airing a report of Mr. Azimy meeting with Taliban leaders. A good guess is that Afghan intel was leaning on the men to reveal details, but they couldn’t go too far with the imprisonments of Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee and they don’t want to come off as worse than Iran in treating media people worse than Iran treated Roxana Saberi…. Not so soon, at least.

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri
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  1. […] Daily Briefing — 16th-17th June 2009 […]

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