Thousands of government stormtroopers confront protesters in Iran; Netanyahu’s Newspeak on “Meet the Press”; Foreign intervention in Lebanon’s recent elections; NAACP rallies for Troy Davis; Maureen Dowd wastes more space in the “paper of record.
Thousands of riot and secret police (the Basiji “militiamen” backed by government) lined the streets of Tehran. CNN’s reported hospital sources confirming 19 dead and other sources (unconfirmed) reporting 150 dead after yesterday’s defiance to Iran Supreme Leader Khamenei’s orders to not assemble. Primary opposition to the election results, Mir Housein Mousavi, wants the Guardian Council to “cancel the election nationwide“. Former President Mohammad Khatami (once thought of as the front-runner to oppose the incumbent before dropping out to support Mr. Mousavi) has called for a “fair, professional, impartial and brave team” probe the election results where there were more votes than voters. In combing a lot of sources, the best coverage has been The Guardian‘s live blog ,CNN, and Roger Cohen of the NYT usually has solid reporting as he did today. (al Jazeera seriously needs to step it up on the web content, but watching it live has been informative.) The Iranian gov’t has detained a Newsweek journalist, expelled a BBC journalist and shut down the BBC Tehran bureau. The Persian BBC has been releasing a lot of video circulating around YouTube. Tens of thousands rallied in Paris — as far as I know — the largest rally outside of Iran. Robert Fisk of The Independent describes the regime as “worried“.(Sayyid)
“The Unrest in Iran Makes Me Green With Envy” by Gideon Levy (Ha’aretz): “The scenes from Iran prove that some nations are trying to take their fate into their own hands. Some nations are not floating on the surface in sickly indifference, some are not looking around in endless complacence. And some are not following their leaders with the blindness of a herd. There are moments in the histories of certain nations when the people say enough. No more…. A democracy is not tested only with elections. A democracy is measured in everyday life” If you’re unaware, Mr. Levy reports from Israel for the daily Ha’aretz and provides a great criticism of Israel’s “democracy” with admiration of those standing up in Iran.
“Can the world we want ever be expressed simply by a vote?” writes Anonymous on InfoShop News. “Their ‘politics’ are always more of the same. Some wear green like they wear the ‘Yes We Can’ in America…. This is not about an identity, a minority, an issue, or a stolen election. It’s about everything!… They have no future to offer us; the democratic lie can’t hide this.”
“A Struggle for the Legacy of the Iranian Revolution” by Robert Worth (NYT) is a great analysis of what Iranian loyalists and “reformers” want.
Fareed Zakaria interview on the “fall of Islamic theocracy”. (CNN)
Iran has doubled its U.S. imports from January to April of 2009 from the same perios in ’08.
Israel PM Bibi Netanyahu said a lot crap on “Meet the Press” this morning. The whole interview was nothing but factless fearmongering against Iran. He did make it clear that any military strike on Iran is up to the U.S. David Gregory asked softball questions, but pointed out that historically Israel has acted unilaterally and Mr. Netanyahu responded, “Israel has the right to defend itself.” Iran isn’t a threat to Israel, so were Israel to strike, it’s not with the consent of the U.S., but by U.S. orders. Mr. Netanyahu also stressed that’s he’s only in favor of a “demilitarized Palestinian state along side Israel as a Jewish state” — a state where the Israel army occupies its land and air space, doesn’t have the security to prevent Israel from stealing Palestinian homes, and imprisons Palestinian in ghettos confined by the roads connecting the settlements that would be Israeli property. Acknowledging Israel as Jewish state concedes Palestinians as second-class citizens within Israel and allow for them to be treated like animals using Israeli infrastructure in the West Bank. I uploaded the video to VodPod here and we’ll be putting more on that channel. Just learned of the site, so subscribe to it if you’re a member. You’ll see a lot of great stuff from the insane amount of new sites we track that has videos we can’t directly embed on WordPress. (Sayyid)
Israel Defence Minister Ehud Barak reiterated this “Jewish state” tyranny with Egypt while negotiating a possible to end to Israel’s blockade on Gaza that NGO’s continue to scream about. Israel is setting to appropriate $250m to expand settlements in the West Bank in the 2009-10 budget.
“Which Iran Would Israel Bomb?” by Zvi Bar’el (Ha’aretz) comments that fearmongering against Iran, spreading lies about its nuclear arsenal, and all around warmongering contradicts sympathy for the people of Tehran. Where do Likudniks and Neo-Con’s think they’ll bomb Iran. Who do they think those bombs would kill? This article was published 4-5 hours before Mr. Netanyahu’s interview with David Gregory, but is an adequate comment on it. You’d think it’s a direct response. (Little Alex)
Yesterday’s suicide truck boming in the Kirkuk region of Iraq killed 70 and wounded 182 — according to the LAT — in Taza Khurmatu — a town of Iraqis, Kurds, and Turks. An Iraq official has committed ‘no chance’ for a Kurdish state in the north — established as a no-fly zone after the first Gulf War. No information on the motivation for the attack, but the Kurds have been fighting for independence in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran for decades. Kirkuk is an oil-rich region. the U.S. is blaming “Sunni al-Qa’ida insurgents”.
A January 2003 meeting between then-U.S. Pres. George W. Bush and U.K Prime Minister Tony Blair “outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution, will be an explosive issue for the official inquiry into the U.K.’s role in toppling Saddam Hussein,” reports Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend in the Guardian. “Bush and Blair the U.S. had drawn up a provocative plan ‘to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in U.N. colours over Iraq with fighter cover’. Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes this would put the Iraqi leader in breach of U.N. resolutions.” U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is setting up a probe to investigate the U.K. involvement in the invasion and regime change of Iraq. The probe will be secret to ‘preserve national security interests’, as heavily advocated by Mr. Blair. More documents like these should be leaked and advocacy groups will (no doubt) sue for transparency. Watch Wikileaks and the Guardian.
“What the Lebanese Elections Are and What They Are Not” by Assaf Kfoury (ZNet): “American policies in the average Lebanese voter’s mind are not exemplified by Obama’s pious pronouncements in Cairo on June 4th, but by a long record of unrestricted support for Israel’s meddling in internal Lebanese affairs and oppression of Palestinians, as well as American alliance with despotic Arab regimes, the devastation of Iraq, and aggressive interventions further East…. [I]n the months and weeks preceding the election, the Lebanese public was subjected to vigorous intimidation (and mammoth traffic jams in downtown Beirut) by a succession of high-profile American visitors — including General David Petraeus, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Vice-President Joseph Biden — warning of dire consequences if the “spoilers of peace” won the election. Bullying and threats also came from Israel. Fresh in people’s memory was the devastation resulting from Israel’s putting Lebanon to the torch in July-August of 2006 and again Gaza in January 2009.” (h/t: Norman Finkelstein)
The NAACP rallied for Troy Davis this weekend, a man on death row for killing a police officer. Since his conviction, an eyewitness has recanted, but Mr. Davis has not been allowed a new trial nor has the investigation been re-opened. 2008 Libertarian [sic] Party presidential candidate Bob Barr called Mr. Davis’ case a “disgrace” in his recent NYT op-ed. Mr. Barr should know. His comment is significant because he co-wrote the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act that shortly followed the Oklahoma City Bombing. For more, read the Amnesty International report and Martina Davis-Correia’s (sister of Mr. Davis) comment in the Guardian last month.
Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) held a summit to discuss breaking away from dollar hegemony. The NYT brushed it off, as I commented that day. Russia Today: “[T]he main goal seems to have been to show that there is more cementing BRIC countries than just ambitions.” Yeah, their own perservation. The world is done conceding to the American Empire. China can’t do it anymore and it’s the last lifeline of the U.S. (Little Alex)
Mexican President Felipe Calderon is set to sign a bill decriminalizing drug possession of amounts for “personal and immediate use”. Maximum possession privileges [sic] max at 5 grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of cocaine, 40 milligrams of methamphetamine, 50 milligrams of heroin. (LAT)
The U.S. Navy shadowed a North Korean vessel to Myanmar. The first stalking since the U.N. Security Council resolution bans North Korea trafficking of nuclear and conventional arms. North Korea’s made it clear that any ship interception by a foreign state would be an “at of war” and that state would face “unlimited retaliatory strikes”.
Seth Mydans analyzed the legal defense of Khmer Rouge torturer-in-chief, Kaing Guek Eav (“Duch”), as one of full acknowledgement of the atrocites of which he’s accused with an “I was just following orders” collective responsibility message. (NYT)
“Tibetan Monks Tell Tale of Escape From China” is an article in Sunday’s NYT by Edward Wong of monks detained after the bloody 2008 protest in China.