Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Googling Sibel Edmonds

Over 24 hours have passed since the video and full transcript of Sibel Edmond's deposition have been made public, giving even the most stupid and lazy journalist the time to either watch the video or read the transcript. This morning, I decided to check what Google News would find for me. I simply typed "Sibel Edmonds" and hit enter. Here are the results:

Now, I cannot say that I was expecting a tsunami of reports, but still, nothing. Almost nothing at all! Take a look for yourself (click on the pic for a higher resolution). What do you see?

The Brad Blog. Well, yes, since Brad Friedman has been following this story from the very beginning and since his blog is, along with Lukery's "Let Sibel Speak", the unofficial "Sibel news" blog.

What else?

Znet, Georgetown News Democrat, kypost, and

That's it. Absolutely nothing from the corporate press. Not a single word, not even on page 23...

Think of some of the possible news headlines which could have legitimately been made with Sibel's testimony:




Surely, if the corporate media is in the business of selling stuff, then such catchy headlines are just any editor's wet dream, no?

Among the many lessons of the Sibel Edmonds case is the incontrovertible proof that the corporate media is not in the business of selling anything, at least not primarily. Selling news is only a subsidiary goal of the corporate press, but its real mission is to make people stupid and ignorant and, once this goal is reached, to keep them this way. Either that, or it is so terrified of the puppeteers which run the official government in the USA that they rather sacrifice a fantastic marketing opportunity than incur the wrath of the US "deep state" and the Nomenklatura which supports it.

But the silence on the Sibel Edmonds case does not stop with the corporate media. Almost the same picture can be observed in the free press, independent press, blogosphere etc.

Yesterday, Amy Goodman found the time to report about "EPA Fails to Inform Public About Weed Killer in Drinking Water" but not about the Edmonds case, not even in the short news section (It would be interesting to compare the number of stories DemocracyNow had about Sibel Edmonds in, say, the past year or two with the number of stories they had about homosexuals and their "rights"). A quick look at this morning also shows nothing about Sibel Edmonds.

Frankly, at this point I intended to list all the "alternative" websites which had nothing about Sibel, but I felt so embarrassed for them, that I decided to refrain from doing so. While some are clearly in the "opposition business", others are the "real thing" and I don't want to offend anybody for what could be an innocent oversight. But still, the bottom line terrible: Sibel's truly heroic efforts are almost totally ignored by the free, alternative or independent press.

I don't believe that it is morally correct to simply accuse everybody of being hypocrites, nor do I believe that nobody really cares. They care, a lot, in fact. No, my explanation for what is going on is very different: the "free, alternative and independent" media is also largely dependent on the corporate press to gather it's news stories. And that, if true, is really frightening.

This is frightening because that means that the Empire can still "shut down" a story when needed and the so called "free, alternative and independent" media is not truly free, alternative or independent.

There are all sorts of possible explanations for this state of affairs, ranging from the simple laziness of some reporters to the way search engines work. Whatever the true reason(s) for this - the case of Sibel Edmonds should serve as a warning to all of us: the Empire can still has formidable means to prevent us from learning the truth about what is happening behind the scenes.

The Saker

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

‘Prolonged diapering’ revealed as ‘enhanced interrogation technique’

By Stephen Webster for the Raw Story

A CIA inspector general report released Monday in a less-redacted version reveals that “prolonged diapering” was on the agency’s list of approved “enhanced” interrogation techniques. The revelation is in Appendix F, included in the IG’s report on page 149, as part of a set of guidelines for “medical and psychological support to detainee interrogations.” The document is dated Sept. 4, 2003.

According to American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Jameel Jaffer, this is the first document released publicly which categorizes diapering as an enhanced interrogation technique. Another ACLU source told RAW STORY that while they are familiar with the use of diapers on clients being transported, this is “news to us.”

The document in Appendix F of the IG report reads: “Captured terrorists turned over to the CIA may be subjected to a wide range of legally sanctioned techniques, all of which are used on U.S. military personnel in SERE training programs. They are designed to psychologically ‘dislocate’ the detainee, maximizing his feelings of vulnerability and helplessness, and reduce or eliminate his will to resist our efforts to obtain critical intelligence.” The list, organized in “ascending degree of intensity,” says the following were approved standard measures “without physical or substantial psychological pressure”:

Shaving Stripping Diapering Hooding Isolation White noise or loud music (at a decibel level that will not damage hearing) Continuous light or darkness Uncomfortably cool environment Restricted diet, including reduced caloric intake (sufficient to maintain general health) Water dousing Sleep deprivation (up to 72 hours)

A second list of “enhanced” measures “with physical or psychological pressure beyond the above” reads:

Attention grasp Facial hold Insult (facial) slap Abdominal slap Prolonged diapering Sleep deprivation (over 72 hours) Stress positions –On knees, body slanted forward or backward –Leaning with forehead on wall Walling Cramped confinement Waterboard

The appearance of diapering on the list seems to contradict an Office of Legal Counsel memo (PDF link) written by former Bush administration lawyer Steven Bradbury in 2005. Bradbury claimed diapering “is not used for the purpose of humiliating the detainee, and it is not considered to be an interrogation technique.” However, in the appendix of the IG’s report, “prolonged diapering” was on the list of approved interrogation techniques (P. 150). While diapering is included on page 149 as a standard technique — along with shaving, stripping, hooding and isolation — it is also listed as one of a number of “enhanced measures,” with an intensity level below waterboarding, but above the “abdominal slap.”

The report does not define “prolonged” as it applies to diapering, nor does it confirm whether it was used on any prisoners. It is also unknown when exactly diapering was authorized as an EIT, and whether or not the order was rescinded before the 2005 Bradbury memo. Describing standard diapering, Bradbury wrote, “The detainee’s skin condition is monitored and diapers are changed as needed so that the detainee does not remain in a soiled diaper.” Bradbury is one of three former Bush administration attorneys — including John Yoo and Jay Bybee — whose legal memos are being probed by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is reportedly in the process of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate instances of CIA detainee abuse.

Spencer Ackerman, reporting for the Washington Independent, speculates that “prolonged diapering” could be the “eleventh” EIT.

“The 2004 CIA inspector general’s report on torture says clearly that in 2002, the CIA proposed to the Justice Department the use of eleven “enhanced interrogation techniques,”’ Ackerman writes. “Ten of them got the approval of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in August 2002 in the infamous Jay Bybee/John Yoo memo declassified by the Obama administration in April: the attention grasp; walling; the facial hold; the facial or insult slap; cramped confinement; insects; wall standing; stress positions; sleep deprivation; the waterboard. But what happened to the eleventh?”

Quoting the memo, he writes, “The Agency eliminated one proposed technique — [REDACTED] — after learning from DoJ that this could delay the legal review.”

“But an appendix to the report written by former CIA Director George Tenet gives an indication as to what that eleventh technique was — and says that it’s permissible,” Ackerman continues. “Take a look at Appendix E, Tenet’s January 28, 2003 memorandum on guidelines for both ’standard’ and ‘enhanced’ interrogations. Tenet’s list of ‘enhanced’ techniques, you’ll notice, number eleven:

These techniques are, [sic] the attention grasp, walling, the facial hold, the facial slap (insult slap), the abdominal slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation beyond 72 hours, the use of diapers for prolonged periods, the use of harmless insects, the water board, and such techniques as may be specifically approved pursuant to paragraph 4 below.

Ackerman adds, “All the others on Tenet’s list were approved by the Office of Legal Counsel in August of 2002. But that diapering technique was never approved by the Justice Department. Tenet considered ‘the use of diapers for limited periods (generally not to exceed 72 hours)’ to be a ’standard’ technique, as I blogged earlier. But it’s at least conceivable that the Justice Department would have thought reviewing prolonged diapering would have delayed the 2002 review, since the humiliation and health issues of forcing someone to remain in their own filth for over three days raise serious legal issues.”

Ron Brynaert contributed to this report.

Sibel Edmonds deposed under oath - transcript and video!


Commentary by Brad Friendman from the Brad Blog:

Just over two weeks ago, FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was finally allowed to speak about much of what the Bush Administration spent years trying to keep her from discussing publicly on the record. Twice gagged by the Bush Dept. of Justice's invocation of the so-called "State Secrets Privilege," Edmonds has been attempting to tell her story, about the crimes she became aware of while working for the FBI, for years.

Thanks to a subpoena issued by the campaign of Ohio's 2nd District Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate David Krikorian, her remarkable allegations of blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, and criminal conspiracy by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials, and agents of the government of Turkey are seen and heard here, in full, for the first time, in her under-oath deposition. Both the complete video tape and transcript of the deposition follow below.

Though there was much concern, prior to her testimony, that the Obama Dept. of Justice might re-invoke the "State Secrets Privilege" to keep her from speaking, they did not do so. Nor did they choose to be present at the Washington D.C. deposition.

The BRAD BLOG covered details of some of Edmonds' startling disclosures made during the deposition, as it happened, in our live blog coverage from August 8th. The deposition included criminal allegations against specifically named members of Congress. Among those named by Edmonds as part of a broad criminal conspiracy: Reps. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Tom Lantos (D-CA), as well as an unnamed, still-serving Congresswoman (D) said to have been secretly videotaped, for blackmail purposes, during a lesbian affair.

High-ranking officials from the Bush Administration named in her testimony, as part of the criminal conspiracy on behalf of agents of the Government of Turkey, include Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, and others.

During the deposition --- which we are still going through ourselves --- Edmonds discusses covert "activities" by Turkish entities "that would involve trying to obtain very sensitive, classified, highly classified U.S. intelligence information, weapons technology information, classified Congressional records...recruiting key U.S. individuals with access to highly sensitive information, blackmailing, bribery."

Speaking about current members of Congress during a break in the testimony, Krikorian told The BRAD BLOG that "for people in power situations in the United States, who know about this information, if they don't take action against it, in my opinion, it's negligence." (More video statements from Krikorian, Edmonds and attorneys from all parties, taped before, during, and after the 8/8/09 testimony, are available here.)

Edmonds' on-the-record disclosures also include bombshell details concerning outed covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson's front company, Brewster Jennings. Edmonds alleges the front company had actually been shut down in August of 2001 --- three years prior to Bob Novak's public disclosure of the covert operative's identity --- following a tip-off to a wire-tap target about the true nature of the CIA front company. The cover was blown, Edmonds alleges, by Marc Grossman, who was, at the time, the third highest-ranking official in the U.S. State Department. Prior to that, Grossman served as ambassador to Turkey. He now works "for a Turkish company called Ihals Holding," according to Edmonds' testimony.

An unclassified FBI Inspector General's report, released on her case in 2005, declared Edmonds' classified allegations to be "credible," "serious," and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI." In 2002, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-NE) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), then the senior members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, co-wrote letters on Edmonds' behalf to Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and DoJ Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, calling on all of them to take action in respect to her allegations. And in a 2002 60 Minutes report on Edmonds' case, Grassley noted: "Absolutely, she's credible...And the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story."

The 8/8/09 deposition was brought by Krikorian as part of his defense in a case filed against him before the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) by Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH). The 2nd district Congresswoman has accused Krikorian, an Armenian-American who ran against her as an independent in 2008, of "false statements" during the campaign last year alleging that she had accepted "blood money" from Turkish interests. Krikorian says that Schmidt, co-chair of the Congressional Turkish Committee, accepted more money from Turkish interests during last year's campaign than any other member of Congress, despite few, if any, ethnic Turks among her local constituency. He has suggested she may have been instrumental in helping to hold off a Congressional vote on a long-proposed, much-disputed resolution declaring the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during WWI as a "genocide" by the Turks.

Edmonds herself happens to be a Turkish-American, though she was recently attacked by the Turkish Lobby, following her long-sought, long-blocked testimony.

(check the Brad Blog updates for the latest news!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Baseless organ theft accusations will not bring Israel to justice

by Matthew Cassel for The Electronic Intifada

On Friday I was invited to appear on Press TV (Iran's international English-language satellite channel) alongside Donald Bostrom, a Swedish journalist who authored the recent article about the Israeli army stealing the organs of young Palestinian men it had killed in 1992 during the first Palestinian intifada. I surprised the producers at Press TV who I don't think invited me to argue the article's legitimacy, but instead reaffirm its claims.

After the show, a producer in Tehran thanked me and told me that it was nice to get someone from the "other side." But I had to make it clear, that I was not from the "other side" as she meant it. I support uncovering human rights violations and war crimes wherever they occur, especially in Palestine, where I have worked for many years. I do believe Bostrom's intentions were to do much the same but that his process was highly irresponsible. The problem is not that he is accusing the State of Israel of wrongdoing, but that he is making accusations of what would amount to extremely serious war crimes while providing absolutely no evidence to support his claims. Rather than advancing the cause of Palestinian human rights, such behavior hurts the many organizations, journalists, activists and others working tirelessly to expose and document Israel's numerous violations of international law committed against Palestinians and people of other Arab nations in recent decades.

Bostrom's article lacks credibility for a number of reasons. In the opening paragraph he tells the story of Levy Rosenbaum, a Jewish man in New York linked to illegal trafficking in human organs with counterparts in Israel. While Rosenbaum has admitted to buying organs from destitute Israelis, until now there has been nothing outside Bostrom's article to suggest that this trade involved the organs of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army.

Rosenbaum has also admitted to being involved in the trade for the past ten years which is well after 1992, when Bostrom claims the organ theft may have occurred in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Other than Israel being involved, there is no evidence to make a direct link between these incidents. It is poor journalism on Bostrom's part to use a timely event and try to connect it to something that happened nearly two decades earlier without offering any evidence.

Bostrom also refers to Palestinians disappearing for days at a time and who have in many cases returned dead. This is known to have occurred before, especially Palestinians being arrested and taken to detention centers without the Israeli authorities bothering to inform the families. This is something that has been reported on and documented by numerous Palestinian human rights organizations. Israel may have even performed autopsies on the bodies without the families' consent, as Bostrom reports. He publishes a horrific photograph of one of these bodies alongside the article, but again, this is not proof that organs in that person's body were removed and sold, or given to Israelis in need, as the author implies.

One must also ask why this story was not covered in 1992, when Bostrom claims the organ theft occurred. It seems this would be a more appropriate time to expose such a story when bodies of those killed by Israel could have been autopsied to determine for a fact whether or not organs from those Palestinians killed by Israel were in fact removed. In the Press TV interview, Bostrom claimed that he did approach many Palestinian, Israeli and international organizations but none, minus the UN, heeded his call for further investigation. Yet, he only makes brief mention of this in the article and says the UN staff was prevented from doing anything about his findings.

Unlike Bostrom's reporting, when most Palestinian human rights organizations or other journalists have uncovered Israeli violations, they are sure to provide well-documented evidence to prove beyond a doubt that such violations were in fact committed. Even though Israel has made it very difficult for both Palestinian and international journalists and human rights workers to practice inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many have risked their lives to see that evidence of Israel's crimes is uncovered and reported.

Many such well-documented violations committed over recent decades include: willful killing of civilians, including children; torture; extrajudicial executions; depriving a civilian population of food and other necessities; blackmailing patients in need of medical care to try to turn them into informers; wanton and deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure; punitive home demolitions; and illegal use of restricted weapons against civilian targets, including white phosphorus and cluster bombs. The list of UN resolutions and international treaties violated by Israel is far too long to list here, although these violations have been carefully documented over many years by human rights organizations that have worked tirelessly for their enforcement.

I am not trying to argue here that Israel or some Israelis could never have trafficked stolen Palestinian organs. In a place like Palestine, however, where evidence of Israeli war crimes has never been difficult to find -- despite Israel's consistent efforts to block investigations -- those concerned with holding Israel accountable should not level allegations of such seriousness without producing some evidence.

Following Israel's winter invasion of Gaza -- during which more than 1,500 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority civilians -- several well-known international human rights groups issued reports containing irrefutable evidence of shocking crimes. Israeli soldiers who participated in the attack on Gaza have been quoted in the Israeli press talking about how they or their colleagues committed atrocities, such as shooting dead unarmed civilians, including children.

The fact that Bostrom did not offer evidence for his organ theft claims has given Israel an enormous propaganda gift. Because he offered nothing more than conjecture and hearsay, Israel has launched a major campaign casting itself as an aggrieved victim of "blood libel." This allows Israel to distract attention from the mountains of evidence of well-documented war crimes, and even to discredit real evidence. If there is no evidence behind the organ theft claims, Israel can argue, then maybe all these other claims about crimes in Gaza are equally dubious.

Predictably, Israel and its supporters launched a ridiculous campaign not only targeting Bostrom and his newspaper, but against all of Sweden and its population of more than nine million. Some have started an online petition calling for the boycott the furniture retailer IKEA, founded in Sweden, while the Israeli interior ministry claims it will freeze the entry visas for Swedish journalists. Furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that the Swedish government declare its "condemnation" of the article. This is a strategy that Israel could not use in response to the Gaza war crimes reports. With each violation clearly documented and coming from a wide range of credible sources and testimonies, Israel could not demand that governments condemn the human rights groups and publications that disseminated them. Israel predictably objected to the reports issued about Gaza, but tried to bring as little attention to them as possible -- understandably, because the reports are irrefutable.

But Israel has done all it can to draw attention and create an international crisis out of the organ theft allegation. Even the president of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden has condemned the response, saying that Israel "had blown the issue completely out of proportion." As Israel does with increasingly little discrimination, it has claimed that the article was motivated by "anti-Semitism." So far, Sweden has withstood Israel's hectoring that its government must take a position on an article published in a free press. But given the record of pandering to Israel, it remains to be seen if Sweden will stick to this position. If Sweden does bow down to Israeli pressure, it would set a frightening precedent for journalists whereby Israel can affect a state's policy of freedom for the press.

Israel's tactics of intimidation are not justified by Bostrom's article, which is nothing more than an example of irresponsible journalism and publishing. The editors at the Swedish daily Aftonbladet who published this piece, should've sent it back to the author and told him to investigate the issue further until he found evidence to corroborate his claims. If there is any basis for the organ theft allegations, diligent reporting would bring it out. As Malcolm X said, "Truth is on the side of the oppressed;" all we need is to collect the evidence to prove it.

Matthew Cassel is Assistant Editor of The Electronic Intifada. His blog is

¿Israel está detrás del tráfico global de riñones?

(please click here for a rough machine translation into English by Google language)

Alfredo Jalife-Rahme para la Jornada

Desde hace más de una década era sabido en los informados círculos médicos y penales el financiamiento por Israel de transplantes de órganos en otros países de forma clandestina mediante una extensa red criminal, como confesó Geldaya Tauber Gady, alto oficial retirado del ejército israelí, ante un tribunal de Brasil: el gobierno israelí está enterado del tráfico de órganos para los pacientes de su país y paga por todas las transacciones (sic) a través del plan 4 de salud (BNET; Transplant News; 30/1/04).

Según Larry Rohter, de The New York Times (23/5/04), el israelí Ilan Peri es el cerebro tratante del mercado negro del transplante global de riñones por conducto de la empresa TechCom, con sede en Tel Aviv. Después de haber sido expuestos en Sudáfrica y Brasil, los traficantes israelíes de órganos trasladaron a China gran parte de sus operaciones.

Rohter arguye que la emergencia de Israel como foco del sindicato (criminal de riñones) no causa sorpresa debido a que por consideraciones religiosas la tasa de donación en Israel (Nota: 8 por ciento) se encuentra entre las más bajas del mundo occidental (Nota: 35 por ciento).

Hace dos años, Zaki Shapiro, cirujano israelí y anterior director de transplantes en el Rabin Medical Center de Israel, fue detenido en medio de una balacera en Turquía por estar implicado en una red clandestina de venta de riñones en un hospital privado de Estambul, según The British Medical Journal (12/5/07)

El rotativo israelí Haaretz (12/12/01) había reportado hace casi ocho años que las autoridades de Rumania buscan posibles vínculos entre las agencias de adopción (sic) israelíes y la ilegal conspiración (¡supersic!) global en la venta de órganos para transplantes. Rumania investiga si los niños rumanos llegaron a Israel con todos los órganos en sus cuerpos. Las parejas israelíes pagan 20 mil dólares por cada infante rumano adoptado. Se teme que varios papeles de adopción hayan sido falsificados, relata pulcramente Haaretz, que ya había señalado que algunos médicos israelíes estaban implicados en transplantes ilegales de riñones en Turquía, Rumania y otros países de Europa oriental.


El pasado 23 de julio, en un operativo espectacular en New Jersey, la policía judicial de Estados Unidos detuvo a 44 personas, incluidos cinco rabinos de Brooklyn, por lavado de dinero, tráfico de riñones y fabricación de bolsas falsas de diseño.

El lavado de dinero del eje Nueva York-Tel Aviv (¿incluirá al México neoliberal?) está ya muy visto, por lo que nos detendremos en el menos conocido tráfico de riñones por los mismos operadores criminales, entre quienes destaca el rabino Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, quien resultó un óptimo financiero al comprar los riñones a los donadores en el mercado negro por 10 mil dólares para venderlos en 160 mil a los urgidos receptores (MSNBC; 24/7/09). ¡Qué buen negocio!

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, profesor de antropología de la Universidad de California en Berkeley, había alertado al FBI desde hace siete años sobre la red de tráfico de riñones en el mercado negro de Estados Unidos por el rabino Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, quien llegó a colocar su revólver en la cabeza de los donadores arrepentidos, en su mayoría oriundos de aldeas pobres de varios países de Europa oriental, en particular de Moldavia (Haaretz; 26/7/09).

En India, la compra de los riñones de los miserables es más barata: 2 mil dólares (Daily News: 27/7/09). ¿Habrá comprado riñones indios el rabino criminal Rosembaum para acrecentar sus jugosas ganancias?

De los casi 70 mil transplantes de riñones que se realizan en el mundo al año,10 por ciento proviene del mercado negro. En Estados Unidos murieron el año pasado 4 mil 540 personas en espera de un transplante de riñón, lo que ha hecho florecer su lucrativo mercado negro en todo el mundo. ¿Tendrá ramificaciones en los hospitales privados de México?

Scheper-Hughes alega que en el hospital Monte Sinai de Nueva York se realizaban los transplantes de los riñones comprados por el rabino financiero Rosenbaum.

Otras fuentes más feroces –que invocan la complicidad del gobierno israelí–, como las de Joseph Cannon (Los carniceros: la verdad oculta sobre el circuito de robo de riñones por Israel; 31/7/09), señalan al Albert Einstein Medical Center.

No puede existir tanta maldad ultraconcentrada en el planeta por lo que tampoco sería improbable que el rabino criminal Rosenbaum haya abusado de sus dotes religiosas para engañar a sus correligionarios médicos de Nueva York y Tel Aviv.

Cannon evoca que en el transcurso de los años, muchos (sic) han acusado a Israel de traficar con los órganos de los palestinos. Entre los muchos descuellan los relatos macabros desde hace 21 años del connotado autor británico David Yallop (8/2 y 30/10 de 1988).

Cannon exhuma los vínculos entre Ilan Peri, presunto tratante del gobierno israelí (en la jerga del Mossad: el Caballo, quien opera la cobertura protectiva de las inmundicias gubernamentales), y el rabino financiero Rosenbaum.

Jane’s (5/3/08), centro de pensamiento militar británico, expone el mercado negro expansivo del tráfico de órganos dominado por tratantes sin escrúpulos y facilitado por las legislaciones nacionales inadecuadas, amplias prácticas corruptas y la ausencia general de alerta ciudadana sobre la extensión de su comercio. Comenta que el comercio ilegal de partes del cuerpo es ampliamente dominado por los riñones debido a su gran demanda y por constituir los únicos órganos mayores que pueden ser transplantados enteramente con pocos riesgos relativos para el donador viviente.

En este contexto barbárico, Aftonbladet, el periódico sueco de mayor circulación, reportó que los soldados israelíes raptan a palestinos para robar sus órganos, lo cual provocó una iracunda reacción del gobierno israelí (Haaretz; 18/8/09). El autor, Donald Boström, vincula el robo de riñones palestinos al circuito criminal del rabino Rosenbaum.

En la tardía, cuan sorprendente exhibición de los rabinos lavadores de dinero y traficantes de riñones de Brooklyn, ¿tendrá algo que ver su pertenencia al grupo ultrarreligioso ortodoxo Chabad-Lubavitch y su alianza con el partido gobernante Shas, aliado del fundamentalista primer ministro del partido Likud, Bibi Netanyahu, quien ha declarado la guerra al plan de paz de Obama?

No se puede olvidar la reciente e indecente declaración de Manis Friedman, el mejor de los rabinos de Chabad-Lubavitch (según Nathaniel Popper del portal hebreo The Forward), quien incitó a los judíos a matar a los hombres, mujeres, (sic) y niños (¡supersic!) árabes durante la guerra: la única manera de combatir una guerra moral (¡supersic!) es al estilo (sic) judío: destruyan sus sitios sagrados. Maten hombres, mujeres y niños (y su ganado). Agregó sin desparpajo: no creo en la moralidad occidental (Haaretz; 9/6/09). Mejor aquí nos detenemos.

Is there a connection between the Israeli and Jewish American organ traffickers?

The Body Snatchers of Israel

Very important article by Kawther Salam for Palestinian Think Tank:

(photo: numbered graves in secret cemetery in Israel) Independently of the recently published article of the Swedish journalist Donald Boström about the Israelis murdering Palestinians in order to harvesting of organs for sale, and independently of the hysteric screeching and born to kill.jpegdenials by the Israelis, I want to present my readers what I witnessed, saw, observed and heard during my 22 years of journalistic work under the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. My personal experience confirms what Mr. Boström wrote: while I do not know the particular case which he describes, it is typical for what the Israelis do in Palestine all the time, what is “normal” since the early seventies.

The Israeli military occupation started in the early 1970s to capture and keep the bodies of the Palestinians who they murdered. Since the early seventies, thousands of Palestinians have been buried in suture02asecret and number graves of the Israeli military. Since the early seventies, thousands of Palestinian victims of the occupation were “autopsied”, and many of their bodies kept in military numbered graves. Most members of the resistance who were killed were taken for “autopsy”, and also those who were wounded were abducted from the hospital by the Israelis. This practice became somewhat less widespread only when the PA came to power, meaning that people murdered in areas controlled by the PA were not “autopsied” any more, but this would still happen to people murdered or wounded in areas controlled by the Israelis.

The Israeli military leadership, the Central Command and the so-called “defense” Ministry cannot hide these well- and widely-known facts: the Israeli military murders people all the time, and most if not all of the murdered are taken for “autopsy”, many of them are buried in Israeli military cemeteries in numbered and secret graves. These facts cannot be hidden by the fancy statements issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, by the deranged terrorist and war criminal Ehud Barak and the corrupt extremist Benjamin Netanyahu.

In many cases, the so-called “civil administration”, military commanders and Didj05.jpgofficers were returning to their families the bodies of Palestinians who they had murdered after the middle of the night, and after a few days “detention” of the bodies. The military officers would call the families of the victim after the middle of the night (usually at 1-3 in the morning), demanding that a few relatives, “not more than 10”, wait on the street for burying the body.

The first condition of the military “civil” administration was that the burial should take place immediately after receiving the body, in the dark of the night, for “security reasons”, the second condition of the Israelis was that women should not participate in the secret funeral, also for “security reasons” (actually they wanted to avoid that the screams of grieving mothers, sisters, daughters of the victim would be heard, so alerting the neighbourhood to the crime). The Israeli officers always used “security reasons” to justify and cover up their criminal activities!

On each such occasion returning the body of one of their murdered victims, the Dibg03_01“civil” military administration officers would follow the funeral procession, driving their armored grey cars and waiting until the end of the burial. A number of other military vehicles filled with soldiers would surround the funeral, watching the burial of their victims, always ready to shoot the small number of participants in the funeral. Of course, the officers would always insistently make it clear to the family that they were doing them a great favor in returning the body of their beloved one and allowing them to bury it.

Empty Bodies, Stuffed With Cotton

What is the reason to bury somebody in middle of the night, with a company of IDF soldiers and the Israeli military “civil” administration officers surrounding the procession? If the burial is normal, and the organs of the victims were not stolen, then why should they be buried in the dark of the night? The families of the victims all knew that they were receiving empty bodies, filled with cotton, to be buried in the middle of the night.

One fact for Ehud Barak: near the end of the first Intifada, after the start of the so-called Oslo peace negotiations, the brother-in-law of one of my paternal uncles was murdered by the Israelis at the Qalandia checkpoint, he was returned to his family stuffed with cotton some days after the incident. My uncles relative, Monzer Naji Rashid Abdullah, was a small transportation entrepreneur; he was not involved in political activities of any kind. He was murdered on 14 April 1991, two days before Eid Al-Adha, a festivity comparable to Christmas. As a result of his to date unpunished murder by Israelis manning the checkpoint, his wife and children were reduced to dependency on charities.

The deranged war criminal Ehud Barak and his corrupt “state” should better ehud-barakstop denying what the Swedish writer Donald Boström published in Aftonbladet. I personally was witness of the Israeli soldiers and military vehicles kidnapping the bodies of dead Palestinians from the emergency rooms of hospitals, in some other cases I saw the soldiers following the Palestinians to the cemetery, to steal the body from the family before the burial. This vile practice became so widespread that many people started carrying the bodies of the murdered to be buried at home, in the garden, under the house or under trees, instead of waiting for the ambulance to take them to the hospital.

The Israelis always murder or gravely injure some people at demonstrations, and first the Israeli soldiers themselves would take the bodies, then they would numbered_gravesbesiege the hospitals where the bodies were taken by Palestinian ambulances – finally people present at demonstrations started taking the murdered and injured directly to their families. Everybody in Palestine knows that the Israeli soldiers besiege the hospitals in order to kidnap the bodies. The most disgusting thing I witnessed was when the criminal soldiers of Barak and Netanyahu were following Palestinian funeral processions to the cemetery to kidnap the bodies.

The issue of stealing the Palestinian organs is known to everybody in Palestine. I reported several times about this crime. In many cases my reports were rejected by the criminal military censorship of the occupation, these reports are until this moment stored at the military censorship office in “Bet Agron” in occupied Jerusalem.

I know that the criminal “state of Israel” was harvesting the organs of Palestinians who were kidnapped by the Israeli military from the emergency suture01arooms of the Palestinian hospitals in Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin, and everywhere in the West Bank and Gaza, and transferred to the Israeli hospital (or rather, butchery) of Abu Kabir in Tel Aviv. The families of the victims know the criminal israeli officers of the so-called “civil administration” who were covering this crime. Everybody knew Captain Eyal, Col. Fuad Hahul, Col. Amnon Cohen (now head of the “infrastructure department” of the “civil” administration in occupied Palestine), Rafi Geoli, “Alex”, and many other officers whose name I don’t know, but who were always present.

Everybody knew the higher commanders, above them brigadier general Gadi.Zohar(res.) Gadi Zohar, (former head of the civil administration, and IDF intelligence officer for 30 years), brigadier general (res.) David Shafi (former head of the civil administration), Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni (former IDF brigade in Hebron and the current head of the central command), Col. Baruch Goldstein (formerly with the IDF “civil” administration in Hebron and currently with the municipality of Jerusalem), Lt.Col. Baruch Nagar (former head of the civil administration and the current head of the water administration for the West Bank and Gaza), Col. Yigal Sharon, (former brigade of Hebron and the current, Coffee Salesman), Brigadier General (res.) Dov Sedaka, (former head of the civil administration and the current head of the zionist Chairman of the steering committee), Maj.Gen. Matan Vilnai, Brigadier General Noam Tivon, Col. Yehuda Fuchs, Lt. Col. Udi ben Muha, the military commander of Hebron, and others. And everybody knew that these people were involved in the harvesting of organs of their victims.

Captain Eyal, Col. Fuad Halhal, Col. Amnon Cohen, Rafi Geoli and sniper_kawthermany of those mentioned above and many others were the ones calling the families of the murdered Palestinians, in the middle of the night to inform them about the bodies of their loved ones. These criminals were telling the Palestinian families that they “had worked hard to make it possible to release the bodies of their relatives from the military headquarter” – implying that it was a favor, and that the military commanders Shamni, Goldstein, Nagar, … had ordered that the bodies should be buried in the dark and that “not more than ten persons” were allowed to be present at the funeral.

Often the relatives of the murdered people were screaming and shouting, as they had received an empty body stuffed with cotton. These criminal officers and their soldiers forced them to shut up.

All this criminal activity is not only a clear violation of the human rights, a horrendous crime against humanity, but a disrespect of the sanctity of life which can only be explained with mental deficiencies of the perpetrators.

If Israel did not steal the ORGANS of the murdered Palestinians, and if Israel did not want to cover up their inhuman crimes, and if Israel respects the Geneva conventions and other humanitarian laws, in peace and in war, then Israel would not kidnap and transfer to the Abu Kabir “hospital” in Tel Aviv hundreds, perhaps thousands of Palestinians bodies of people who were murdered during PEACE demonstrations in the cities of the West Bank.

If it is not true that Israelis are harvesting the organs of murdered Palestinians, then why were they transferring the bodies of their victims to be butchered at Abu Kabir? The reasons of the death were known. The victims all received bullets in the head, or in the chest by Israeli snipers.

After all the whining and screeching of the Israelis after the Swedish newspaper article, the fact stands that hundreds, perhaps thousands of bodies and even people known to have been alive were transferred to the Abu Kabir autopsy center and returned to their families stuffed with cotton. Hundreds of victims who were buried in the dark by their families, and hundreds or thousands more bodies which Israel keeps in their numbered graves.

During the first Intifada and during the so called peace time I personally Occupationwitnessed how the Israeli military were kidnapping Palestinian bodies and gravely injured people from the emergency room of Princess Alia hospital in Hebron. Some years later I also witnessed how the Israeli army kidnapped the bodies of the Palestinian dead from the then new Al-Ahli hospital: All the area would be declared military zone, the hospital surrounded and invaded by troops, nobody was allowed to move inside the building. All these kidnapped bodies of Palestinians, and also people known to have been living, were killed before taken to Abu Kabir for “autopsy”.

Taking in consideration these facts, everything I know, and until Israel comes clean on who are the members of the organ harvesting mafia, the only conclusion is that:

  • All the Israeli officers and civil personnel of the so-called civil administration who served in the West Bank since the early seventies were involved at least covering up the harvesting of organs from Palestinians, at the very least conniving, but probably taking part in the racket for money.
  • All the Israeli doctors and other personnel who worked in Abu Kabir since the early seventies were involved in harvesting and selling organs from Palestinians.
  • All the IDF snipers and other soldiers who shot Palestinian (and foreigners) at peace demonstrations are and were involved with the mafia which harvests and sells the organs of murdered Palestinians, at least some of the involved in the crimes are given money.
  • The IDF central command and most if not all officers in the chain of command until the field fully know what is going on, and they connive with the harvesting of organs from Palestinians they murder, they offer planning and logistics for the commission of the crimes, and make the families of the victims shut up. All the Israeli State and the whole Israeli Nation who accept the continued military occupation are involved in crimes against humanity.
  • Most if not all the Israeli medical establishment knows what is going on, and they keep silence because they either get money, or they are rewarded in other ways for conniving in these crimes. This is confirmed because of repeated complaints of doctors from other countries because Israel is one of the few jurisdictions which does not forbid commerce with human organs and body parts.
  • The Israeli health ministry is fully informed of what goes on. This would be corroborated by reports that organ traffickers captured in Brazil and South Africa in 2003 stated as much as that they had been given “business contacts” by “people from the Israeli government”, and that the Israeli government financed organ transplants.

I think that the Israeli government and all those suspected of being involved have some hard questions to answer, rather than complaining about a well written report in a Swedish newspaper which speaks about only one case among thousands:

  • Where are the bodies of the two brothers Imad and Adel Awad Allah from Al-Bireh in the district of Ramallah, who were murdered on 10 September 1998 on the farm of Akram Maswadeh near Hebron?
  • Where are the bodies of Hani Ahmad Kharboush and Adel Mohammad Hadaideh who were murdered on 6 June 2003 in “Ateel”, a town north of Tulkarem in the West Bank?
  • Where is the body of Sarhan Borhan who was murdered on 4 October 2003 in the Tulkarem refugee camp?
  • Where is the body of Hasan Isa Abbas who was murdered on 9 October 1994, in Jerusalem?
  • Where is the body of Hisham Hamad who was murdered in Gaza on 11 November 1993?
  • Where is the body of Salah Jad Allah Salem who was murdered on 14 October 1994?
  • Where are the bodies of the two Japanese citizens who were murdered in 1972?
  • Can Israel prove that the organs of these people, and those of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of Palestinians which are buried in numbered graves of the Israeli military, were not stolen?
  • Why does Israel bury the victims of their occupation in secret, numbered graves, if their organs were not stolen?

I know the answer of the criminal sophists of Israel in advance: they will say practicing the killing dutiesthat all these people buried their numbered graves were “terrorists or unknown”. But I say that these are LIES and the usual propaganda which Israel uses to cover their crimes. Many people who were buried in these graves were not “terrorists” but legitimate resistance, many of them were peace demonstrators, and none of them were unknown. The only thing unknown or silenced until now is that the israelis are murderers, thieves of organs, a criminal occupational state which commits to all kind of crimes against humanity for fun and profit.

Dr. Yehuda Hiss Butchered Three Teenagers From Gaza

Another issue about which the Israelis have some explaining to do is the story of three teenagers from Gaza. On the evening of Sunday 30 December 2001 the Israeli military occupation fired several artillery shells towards these three north of Beit Lahiya in Gaza. They were Ahmed Mohammed Banat, 15 years, Mohammed Abd El-Rahman Al- Madhoun, 16 years and Mohamed Ahmed Lebed, 17 years.

After murdering them with flechette shells, a military vehicle drove Yehuda_Hissover one of them, and their bodies were delivered to Abu Kabir in Tel Aviv, for “autopsy”, without the consent of their families, and without the issuance of a warrant to conduct an autopsy according to the law. The chief pathologist at Abu Kabir (the so-called “Israeli forensic institute”) Dr. Yehuda Hiss, said that they received the children without knowing their names, they had all been found killed by nails which the tank shell contained (flechettes).

Hiss broke the law Israeli when he accepted the bodies of the children without knowing who are were and without the knowledge of their families, but that is of no concern. The bodies the three were given to the PA stuffed with cotton several days after their murder.

The director of the Jerusalem Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Salim Khalleh, stated that their organization has been able to document 270 cases of Palestinian bodies “reserved” in hands of the Israeli occupation, which are buried in numbered graves in secret military cemeteries, or in numbered compartments of cooling facilities. Among these cases, 24 are of Palestinian citizens of the city of Tulkarem. On 8 April 2009 the families of these persons whose bodies are still in the power of the israelis held a demonstration in Tulkarem. The demonstrators presented a petition to the director of Red Cross, in which they demanded that the international organizations make pressure on Israel to release the bodies of their sons.

Mashur_AroriWhat follows are some of the names of Palestinians published by the Jerusalem Center for Democracy and Human Rights and whose bodies still in the hands of Israel, among other hundreds. The question is, where are these bodies? Are they in the refrigerated facilities, or were they buried in numbered graves after their organs were harvested? Why are they not returned to their families if not because Israeli crimes must be covered up?

  • Abdel-Fattah Mohamed Badir – murdered near Jericho on 15-7-1975.
  • Murad Mohammed Abu Assal – murdered on 30-1-2002.
  • Sarhan Burhan Sarhan – murdered during the invasion of the Tulkarem refugee camp on 4-10-2003.
  • Saif Allah Bashir Badran – murdered near the illegal Mawr colony on 1-1-2003.
  • Adel Mohamed Hadaydeh – murdered in “Atteel”, a town north of Tulkarem on 16-6 -2003.
  • Tarek Samir Sfaqeh – murdered in the illegal Hermesh colony on 30-10-2002 .
  • Faiz Mohammed Awad – murdered in Lebanon on 17-8-1967.
  • Ramzi Fakhri Ardah – murdered on 3-4 – 2004 in the illegal Avnei Hefetz colony.
  • Khalid Ahmed Abul-Ezz – murdered on 30-10-2002 in Zeita near the Apartheid wall.
  • Khaled Subhi Sandjak – murdered in the illegal colony of Sha’ar Ephraim.
  • Muaiad Mahmoud Salah Al-Din – blew himself up on 8-11-2001.
  • Abed El-Basset Mohamed Odeh – blew himself up on 27-3-2002.
  • Ahmed Sami Gawi - murdered in Netanya on 12-7-2005.
  • Mohammad Jamel Faraj.
  • Ahmed Ibrahim Abed Allah – murdered in Jerusalem June 1967.
  • Iyad Naeem Radad – murdered on 15-7-1979 in Al-Zawieh near Salfit.
  • Rami Mohammed Idris – murdered in Netanya on 31-3-2002.
  • Mahmoud Ahmed Marmash – blew himself up on 18-5-2001.
  • Mufed Mohammad Asrawi – murdered at Baqa Al-Garbiah on 21-2-2002.
  • Muhammad Ali Abu Zeneh – murdered in the Jordan Valley on 12-5-1969.
  • Lutfi Amin Abu Saada – blew himself up in Netanya on 25-12-2006.
  • Omani Ahmad Kryosh – murdered in “Atteel” town near Tulkarem on 5-6-2003.
  • Mashhour Aruri - murdered on 18 May 1976 together with other three persons from Lebanon.
  • The bodies of 88 Palestinian from Gaza who are known to be in the hand of Israel (no names given).
  • Abed Allah Kallab and his friends Mohamed Abed El-Qader Abu Al-Zulof and Mohamed Hanafi – all from the Rafah refugee camp, disappeared on 7 March 1988.
  • Fadi Ahmed Al-Amoudi age 22 years from Beit Hanoun – murdered on 17 April 2004 at the Erez military checkpoint

Abed Al-Naser Ferwana, Director of the Department of Statistics, at the abedalnasser2Ministry of Prisoners in the Palestinian National Authority, a former prisoner and researcher about Palestinian prisoners of Israel, a competent speaker for prisoners affairs, said that the number of Palestinian prisoners who were murdered after their arrest and detention in the Israeli jails sharply increased during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. They are in sum the double of the number of people who the Israelis murdered in a quarter of century since they occupied the West Bank and Gaza. The bodies of these murdered prisoners are also kept in the secret Israeli cemeteries, in a few cases the dead are released two weeks after the Israelis murder them. This is a new proof that the Israelis harvest their organs according to Ferawneh.

Sabri AlrojoubThe deranged criminal Ehud Barak, the people from the Israeli Central Command, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the others involved in these subhuman crimes should stop threatening Swedish journalist Donald Boström with criminal complaints, as they are the first persons who should be investigated not only for these monstrosities, but also for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The time of silencing journalists and curtailing freedom of speech is over.

The public opinion of the world is loath the criminality of Israel and the repetitive and stupid screeching of “anti-semitism” whenever one of their crimes is uncovered. Constant and inappropriate invocation of the holocaust is boring to the point where nobody cares anymore, and it does not help anymore to cover up their crimes. The criminal sophists of Israel would better clarify were all these bodies are buried, and were their organs are.

If the Israelis go forward and cause troubles for Donald Boström in court, I will volunteer to testify in his favor about these disgusting crimes of the Israelis, and I appeal to all Palestinians who have such a case in their family, to also offer to testify in favor of Mr. Boström should this become necessary.

Post-scriptum: also check out this interview of the Swedish journalist who wrote the orignial article:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The latest Israeli hysterics - blood "libel" (again)!

Israeli politicians are off their meds again, this time they are infuriated by an article in a Swedish newspaper, the Aftonbladet, reporting that a number of Israeli officials and the IDF were involved in a goulish human organs trafficking scheme (you can get the details, with a translation of the original article, here). Today's issue of Haaretz is full of articles about the indignation of various Israeli politicians:(Netanhahu, Lieberman and even "thousands of Israelis" are having the customary hysterical fit whenever Israel is accused of something: Oy veh! Oy gvald! The anti-Semites are at it again!

This time, however, the protests include something not heard of for a while already: the accusation of "blood libel". That is, I have to say, an amazingly stupid thing for the Hasbara machine to bring up right now.

It's been only two years since Ariel Toaff, a professor of Medieval and Renaissance History, published his book Blood Passover (Pasque du Sangue) only to be forced by a mob Israeli and Jewish pressure groups to withdrawn it from publication (the full English text of this very interesting book can be found here). Even though an expunged version of the new book was published last yea, it is quite clear which of the two versions is the one reflecting Toaff's original findings.

In a similar fashion, Michael Hoffman's seminal book Judaism Discovered (1000+ pages!) was censored by Amazon only a year ago and is now available, in its third printing, directly form the author (a must read for any person interested in the real nature of the "Jewish state"). Amazon, by the way, seems to have now backed down, as the book is available for order on its website) .

In a typically counter-productive way, these attempts to censor those who endeavor to uncover the true nature of what is usually, and erroneously, called "Judaism" (and which should be really called "rabbinical Talmudism" or, even more accurately, "Phariseism") result in an amount of publicity which the authors of these books could never hope for. Just take the two examples above: Toaff's book has been translated into English for free and is now available for free download on the Internet, while Hoffman's book is already in its third edition.

The Hasbara "though police" simply does not get it: censorship never works.

It is also quite amusing to see how deluded the Israeli politicians, and general public, are. They really seem to think that the story about the IDF trafficking in human organs will damage the public image of their country. They are, obviously, utterly oblivious that following the wars in Lebanon, the building of the "Jewish apartheid wall", the bloodbath in Jenin and Gaza, etc. the world public opinion already despises the last overtly racist state on the planet. Still, when Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva, wrote an op-ed in the LA Times calling for the boycott of the Israeli Apartheid state, the Zionist reaction to his piece was predictable: hysterics, ad hominems and threats of reprisals.

Should the Aftonbladet story now be proven true, there is a real risk for the Israelis that the other "libel" will be carefully re-investigated, and this time not only by scholars or academics, but by the general public. Yet, instead of refuting the research made by Aftonbladet reporters, the Israelis reverted to the tactic which has served them so well for many years: hysterics, ad hominems and threats of reprisals. That will do them no good this time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Reflecting on Iran’s Presidential Election

by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh for Middle-East online

1. Questions that Beg to be Asked

US and European corporate media, political pundits and “Iran experts” have spent countless hours discussing the June presidential election in Iran. Yet, they have utterly failed to ask a number of central questions that beg to be asked:

Why did Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main rival of President Ahmadinejad, declare himself the winner while voting was still in progress? Since there are no exit polls in Iran, how could he have known for sure he was the winner when the votes were not yet counted? (According to some accounts he declared victory barely an hour after the polls closed; according to others he did so hours before the polls closed. His own and his campaign’s statements show that, in fact, they declared victory before, during and immediately after the voting. For example, his wife Zahra Rahnavard, one of his major campaigners, told BBC News during an interview the day before the Election Day that her husband would score a big, four-to-one, win against Ahmadinejad; and that the only way Ahmadinejad could win would be through fraud. How did she know that?)

How could this premature announcement of victory be explained? Was it because Mr. Mousavi’s campaign managers led him to become truly delusional, sincerely believing he could not lose? Or, was it a deliberate preemptive measure to replace Ahmadinejad regardless of who actually won at the ballot box?

And why did Mr. Mousavi declare the election stolen the moment he learned he had actually lost? How did he know it was stolen, except for the fact that the official account contradicted his campaign’s wishful projections? For at least three days his claim of “stolen” election remained just that. Even when he was forced to substantiate his allegation, he submitted to the Guardian Council, the body responsible for overseeing the election, a long list of electoral irregularities that, while true, did not constitute a pattern of coordinated or systematic effort at stealing the election [1].

Further, what compelled Mr. Mousavi to go for the jugular—either another election or a “green revolution”—instead of going through the country’s legal and institutional channels, which have administered or presided over ten clean, undisputed presidential elections since the 1979 revolution? Knowing that another election was out of the question, he immediately called upon his supporters to take to the streets and start the projected revolution. Why?

It is often argued that Mr. Mousavi’s rationale for sidestepping the institutional and legal frameworks governing the electoral process was because he did not trust them. But this argument raises even more questions about his mysterious behavior. He was nominated as a presidential candidate within Iran’s electoral laws and procedures. On the basis of those laws and procedures, he was vetted and approved by the Guardian Council, the responsible authority for overseeing the election. The Guardian Council’s screening of candidates before they can run for President is often criticized as undemocratic, and therefore objectionable. But that was obviously not a problem for Mr. Mousavi as he went through and came out of the screening process with flying colors. And he ran a highly successful and well-financed (indeed, extravagant) campaign without any legal or institutional obstacles. Why, then, the sudden about face: the abrupt rejection of and rebellion against the country’s electoral laws and institutions?

Mr. Mousavi used the term “green revolution” to label his campaign. But color-coded revolutions, as carried out in Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics, are synonymous with electoral coups: a scheme of participating in an election process with the intention of not accepting defeat at the ballot box. The question then arises: “Why would there be a 'green revolution' prepared prior to the vote, especially if Mousavi and his supporters were as confident of victory as they claim?” as astutely pointed out by Paul Craig Roberts [2].

2. Electoral Coups as Color-coded Revolutions

Having mulled over these questions long and hard, I can think of only two interpretations of Mr. Mousavi’s assertion of “stolen elections.” The charitable interpretation is that he was led by his campaign architects to honestly believe he could not lose. The more likely interpretation, however, is that he colluded with the powerful interests behind his campaign not to accept defeat. Either way, the inescapable conclusion is that contrary to Mr. Mousavi’s claim that Ahmadinejad stole the election, it seems more likely that, in fact, it was his own campaign architects who were determined to highjack the election.

Although his campaign managers characterize his unsuccessful bid to unseat Ahmadinejad as “green revolution,” post-election revelations indicate, however, that it was more akin to an attempt at a political or electoral coup than a bona fide campaign that is prepared to accept the Majority vote. It is one thing to use the electorate’s discontent with the status to win an election—most politicians running for public office do this. It is quite another, however, to take advantage of their dissatisfaction to defy the election results [3].

Whether by chance or by design or by the logic of objective circumstance on the ground, Mr. Mousavi’s “green revolution” bore an uncanny resemblance to previous color-coded revolutions in Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics. Like the campaigns to bring to power pro-market and pro-Western regimes in Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004), his campaign was engineered and managed by powerful business interests who are known to be pursuing similar objectives. As with the campaign headed by Mr. Mousavi, the campaigns led by Saakashvili in Georgia and Yushchenko in Ukraine styled themselves reformist and democratic while promoting the neoliberal, or trickle-down, economic policies favored by big business and/or transnational capital.

Social forces behind “color revolutions” are rooted in the transnational capitalists’ drive to integrate and unify global markets, more or less after the model of unbridled economic liberalism. The powerful economic interests behind that drive operate from both the core capitalist countries, especially the US, as well as the “peripheral” or less-developed countries targeted for “regime change.” Their activities, formally billed as “non-violent” or “soft-power” operations, are designed to supplement the long-standing globalization mission of multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

On the US side, such activities are carried out by a number of government-funded think tanks like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, Foundation for Democracy in Iran, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and a number of other agencies and NGOs. On the side of the countries targeted for “reform” and “regime change,” architects of “color revolutions” are interchangeably called the oligarchs, the nouveau riche, or the comprador bourgeoisie. Who are these indigenous allies of transnational capitalism?

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, large scale privatization of public enterprises became rampant in Russia and other former republics of the Soviet Union. All kinds of “experts” of nation-building on a capitalist basis, especially neoliberal economic advisors from the United States, played key roles in crafting those highly scandalous privatization schemes. By virtue of privatizing public property on the cheap, many of the leaders of the newly independent states managed to become very rich very quickly—they have since come to be known as oligarchs. (Michael Hudson, Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, calls them “kleptocrats,” denoting corrupt ruling elites that seek power and personal gain at the expense of the public.)

But the newly acquired private fortunes needed freedom from the remnants of the Soviet-era legal and institutional “constraints” such as labor laws (that guaranteed life-time employment), universal healthcare, cradle-to-grave free education, and the like. To break free from these “restraining” laws and traditions, the oligarchs also needed political or state power that would go along with their economic power, i.e., would allow them to conduct their economic affairs according to unhindered market mechanism.

The oligarch’s desire to bring about legal, political and institutional changes to better serve their nefarious economic interests coincided with the globalization designs of US imperialism to bring about “regime change” in those countries in order to carry out pro-American economic and foreign policies. This explains the convergence of the interests of the imperialist and the home-grown bourgeoisies on removing “undesirable regimes” from power.

Most commentators trace the origins of the US doctrine of “color revolutions,” and the concomitant concept of “soft power” or “non-violent struggle,” to the 1990s. But a number of political historians, including Thierry Meyssan, president of the Voltaire Network, trace it back to the 1970s:

This concept appeared in the 90s, but its roots lie in the American public debate of the 70s-80s. After a string of revelations about CIA-instigated coups around the world, as well as the dramatic disclosures of the Church and Rockefeller Senate Committees, Admiral Stansfield Turner was given the task by President Carter to clean up the agency and to stop supporting ‘local dictatorships.’ Furious, the American Social Democrats (SD/USA) left the Democratic Party and sided with Ronald Reagan. . . . After Reagan was elected, he charged them with pursuing the American interference policy, this time using different methods. This is how the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was created in 1982 and the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) in 1984 [4].

Philip Giraldi, former officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, presently a partner in an international security consultancy (Cannistraro Associates), describes the US designs of “soft power” and/or “color revolutions” as follows:

Where regime change coming out of Washington might once have been done covertly by the CIA, it is now done openly by a number of organizations that are ostensibly "private" but are in reality funded by the government, the NGOs and others that Vladimir Putin and others have been complaining about. . . . The money and effort that is being channeled through NGOs is being used to change the way many countries are governed, to make them become more democratic or at least more cooperative with Europe and the United States. The countries on the receiving end are more often than not completely aware of what is going on. Frequently, the western media jumps on the band wagon to complete the job, hailing the arrival of democracy in yet another poor benighted land while carefully ignoring the corruption of the newly minted democratic leaders.

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), with its bipartisan International Republican Institute and its National Democratic Institute wings, is the chief culprit, but the US Agency for International Development also is involved, funded under the Freedom Support Act. The National Endowment for Democracy, which funds changing governments overseas and has virtually no oversight, would in any other guise be proscribed as a dangerous underground group. . . . What do these organizations do when they set out to overturn a government? They would not be so unwise as to appear adversarial or cast themselves as revolutionaries, so they instead describe themselves in the most benign terms while becoming enablers for others who wish to "create democracy." They understand above all that the ability to protest and force the change of governments is not new but that the new technologies have changed the entire game [5].

The degree and details of the US involvement in the Post-Soviet color revolutions may be debatable. There is no question, however, that the US money, media and “expertise” played a significant role in the success of those revolutions [6].

Briefly, here is how color-coded revolutions in Eastern Europe and for Soviet republics such as Georgia and Ukraine were carried out.

1. During the campaign season the oligarchs (in concert with the US media and other agents of “soft power” projection) started extensive and exaggerated negative campaigns against the targeted incumbents in their respective countries. This was designed to frighten the people of the prospects of the re-election of the incumbents.

2. Also prior to the election day, the oligarchs and their external allies circulated exaggerated projections of their candidates’ chances for victory, portraying them as invincible, often with the help of self-serving pre-election polls. (US money, “experts” and media played important roles in conducting such convenient opinion polls.)

3. On the election day, the oligarch’s candidates declared victory either before the polls were actually closed, or before the official accounts of the voting results were announced. This was designed to discredit the official count of the votes cast. The longer the time period between the opposition’s premature, or preemptive, declaration of victory and the time of the official announcement of the voting results, the more plausible the opposition’s claim that the government must have been “fixing” the votes.

4. As soon as the official results were announced, contradicting the opposition’s premature victory announcement, the oligarchs and their candidate cried foul: “we told you they were stealing your votes.”

5. Determined not to accept defeat, the opposition then called upon their supporters (and the public at large) to take to the streets to “defend democracy” and retrieve their “stolen votes.”

If the scenario thus painted seems like a conspiracy theory, it is because those color revolutions were actually conspiratorial designs. “The main mechanism of the ‘color revolutions’ consists in focusing popular anger on the desired target. This is an aspect of the psychology of the masses which destroys everything in its path and against which no reasonable argument can be opposed. The scapegoat is accused of all the evils plaguing the country for at least one generation. The more he resists, the angrier the mob gets. After he gives in or slips away, the normal division between his opponents and his supporters reappears” [7].

Just as the oligarchs in Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics acquired their riches and resources by virtue of their positions within the state apparatus, so too the Iranian rich and powerful have gained their unearned assets by virtue of their positions within the state bureaucracy. Also like their post-Soviet counterparts in Eastern Europe, Iran’s nouveau riche have gradually begun to view welfare-state programs, which were put in place immediately following the 1979 revolution, burdensome and constraining to the unhindered utilization of their ill-begotten capital. Not surprisingly, they too have acquired an appetite for a “color revolution” to unseat Ahmadinejad’s government and remove the “constraints” of welfare-state to the “efficient” operations of unbridled market system.

It follows that economic conditions, or business interests, favoring a “color revolution” in Iran have actually existed or evolved within its own socio-economic circumstances. Although powerful external forces of destabilization may have magnified the impact and the influence of internal forces of “regime change,” the fact remains that tendencies to replace Ahmadinejad also evolved domestically. It is therefore critically important to avoid the simplistic either-or arguments when discussing the destabilizing roles played by external and internal forces in the scheme of “regime change” in Iran. Since there was a convergence of interests between the two forces over the removal of Ahmadinejad from power, their efforts to achieve this goal inevitably reinforced each other—regardless of the existence, or lack thereof, of any active or conscious link between the two.

Contrary to the widespread perception in the West, especially in the United States, the 1979 revolution in Iran was not simply the product of a religious or culturally-driven rebellion against Western values. More importantly, it was the product of a truly national front against the rule of the dictatorial Shah (king) and his imperial supporters from outside. It included both secular and religious nationalists, the socialist groups, and the masses of the poor and working people who were driven by hopes of a better life following the success of the revolution.

Not only did the grassroots demand from the revolution basic political rights such as civil equality and individual liberty, but more importantly, certain economic rights such as universal healthcare and a strong public support for education. The working class, headed by strong and militant unions, developed especially high expectations of better living conditions of the revolution. Not only did they play a crucial role in bringing down the Shah’s regime (by bringing major industries, especially the oil industry, to a standstill), but also managed to run all the major industries—in effect, the national economy—independently for nearly a year, during and immediately after the revolution.

The grassroots’ hopes and expectations that were thus enlivened by the revolution were further reinforced by the 8-year (1980-88) war with Iraq, and the concomitant economics of war. For one thing, the war-time conditions led to an even bigger public sector economy, which provided for the basic needs of millions of the poor and working people. For another, the war was fought disproportionately at the expense of the poor and working classes who made heroic sacrifices in fending off the imperialist instigated invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein. Not surprisingly, those who made the lion’s share of sacrifices in defending the country also expected certain economic rights in terms of employment, education, healthcare, and the like.

Following the war, however, the successive administrations of Presidents Rafsanjani (1989-97) and Khatami (1997-2005) methodically hammered away at the foundations of social safety-net programs (that were put in place by virtue of the early revolutionary years and the war economy) in order to free market forces form the “constraints” of welfare state. President Rafsanjani’s “structural adjustment program,” a neoliberal market liberalization promoted by the International Monetary Fund around the world, which hastened the pace of deregulation and privatization of public enterprises, was bitterly resisted by the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people.

As the 16 years of Rafsanjani and Khatami presidencies gradually deregulated the market and privatized public property, they also facilitated the rise of Iran’ nouveau riche, or oligarchs. Ordinary Iranians resent the nouveau riche (who are sarcastically called agha-zadeh, or the sons and daughters of the corrupt elite) not because they are rich, but because most of them became rich by virtue of what amounts to embezzlement and predatory privatization of public property. Resentment is especially poignant among the ranks of the poor and working classes who not long ago fought valiantly for eight years to preserve both the revolutionary ideals and national sovereignty, but are now witnessing what they view as “betrayal” of those ideals by the former revolutionaries who have become corrupt and compromising elders within the state and other powerful bureaucracies, including many in the clerical establishment.

The 1979 revolution placed many critical issues on the national agenda, but left most of them largely unresolved. This was especially true concerning issues of class or economic justice. In a sense, the revolution left the fate of the Iranian economy in a limbo: neither capitalism nor socialism, in the classic senses of these terms. This explains the persistent tug of war, or class struggle, between proponents of social justice, on the one hand, and those of economic liberalism, on the other. It also explains the continuing or recurring revolutionary atmosphere in Iran. It further explains the rise of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Iran’s presidency as a clear expression of an unmistakable blowback against the rich and corrupt establishment.

3. The Rise of Ahmadinejad

When Khatami’s second term as president expired in 2005, Ahmadinejad entered the presidential race as the candidate of the “voiceless” grassroots, determined to reverse what he called “the revolution’s steady slide to the Right” during the 16 years (1989-2005) of the Rafsanjani and Khatami administrations. After a hiatus of eight years, Rafsanjani too entered the 2005 presidential race. The initially-asymmetrical competition between the well-known and all-powerful Rafsanjani and the little-known Ahmadinejad, one of the seven children of a blacksmith, seemed to resemble a case of David versus Goliath. Apprehensive of Rafsanjani’s big-business solutions to economic problems, ordinary Iranians mobilized behind Ahmadinejad, thereby delivering Rafsanjani the defeat of his lifetime. It is generally believed in Iran that having lost at the ballot box, Rafsanjani and his elite allies set out to sabotage Ahmadinejad’s agenda of economic reform that would favor the poor and working classes.

Contrary to most politicians who renege on their campaign promises after they are elected, Ahmadinejad has proven relentless in pursuing the fulfillment of his campaign promises. His 2005 campaign gave voice to segments of the Iranian people previously shut out from the process. He has since stood firm for them. At a public event in October 2006, Ahmadinejad announced the idea of “Justice Shares,” where the state would divide shares (stocks) to some major state-owned companies among 4.6 million of Iran’s grassroots. These shareholders of national wealth would pay only half of the market price for the stocks they thus received; the other half would be paid over time from the proceeds, or dividends, of those share.

Although his political opponents have occasionally called him a “socialist” (presumably designed to stir up the religious establishment against him), Ahmadinejad is no socialist. Nor are the social safety net programs he advocates as radical as those promoted by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, or Evo Morales in Bolivia. He is neither against private property, nor a market economy. He is for a mixed economy in which state ownership in important industries (such as oil and gas) would coexist side-by-side with a regulated market structure that would not leave anyone unprotected against the woes and vagaries of an unbridled market mechanism. He trusts neither the big, unregulated business, nor the strong, independent workers’ organizations. Although he is sympathetic of the workers’ needs and struggles, he is wary of their independent power; it is a paternalistic, “big brother” or authoritarian kind of support and sympathy.

When Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, he set out to fight and eliminate the “oil mafia,” the powerful private interests (including the Rafsanjani family) that have lucrative stakes in the publicly-owned oil industry, and who have constantly been pushing for privatization of the industry. He tried to wrest control of key ministries, especially oil, replacing the market-friendly officials appointed by Rafsanjani and Khatami with his own choices. It was not until 2007, however, that he was able to install his candidate for oil minister, also head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NOIC), Gholamhossein Nozari. Indeed, for nearly a year, Ahmadinejad did not have a full cabinet because a number of his choices were rejected by powerful opponents in the fiercely contentious parliament.

The oil and gas revenue, which would be profits of giant oil companies in a country like the United States, is instead used to fund most of government investments and expenditures. This is the source of government’s ability to invest in both human capital such as health and education, and physical capital or infrastructure such as roads, bridges, mass transit, dams, and the like—investments that are crucial to the ideals of long-term economic growth and social prosperity. (Ideally, a nation should not be dependent so much on its natural resources for its budgetary needs; but Iran, like many other less-developed countries, has not yet reached the level of industrialization necessary to be less dependent on revenue from oil.)

Budgetary decisions on the allocation of national resources have traditionally been quite centralized in Iran: all national revenues, coming largely from the sale of oil and natural gas, would be collected by and then allocated from Tehran. This mechanism disproportionately favored major metropolitan centers at the expense of the provinces and the countryside. It also unduly favored major government contractors and influential corporate interests at the expense of small, less-competitive enterprises and producers. Since his election in 2005, Ahmadinejad has been fighting hard to bring about a modicum of fairness in the allocation of national resources by trying to somewhat decentralize budgetary decision making, and redirect an equitable share of resources to the grassroots and the countryside.

While his efforts to bring a degree of fairness in the distribution of national resources have been very popular with the grassroots, they have incensed the affluent, economic “experts,” and technocratic or managerial elite. “The president has especially enraged the managerial class with his wildly popular monthly rallies in the provinces, where he orders funding on the spot for the infrastructure needs of common folks. . . . Several of his advisors and cabinet ministers and even a Central Bank's director general have stepped down or been dismissed after challenging the president's "unscientific" intervention in markets. At least one of them, former economic affairs minister Davood Danesh Jafari, campaigned for a rival [presidential] candidate this spring” [8].

Ahmadinejad’s opponents have labeled his spending adjustments in favor of the poor and working classes as “handouts” that, as Rafsanjani put it, would lead to gadaparvari (nurturing poverty). This sinister argument (which, by the way, is typical of the champions of laissez-faire economics) suffers from a number of shortcomings.

To begin with, the rich and powerful who characterize Ahmadinejad’s social spending as “handouts” are not very consistent in their calls for the curtailment or abolition of government subsidies. Following the 1979 revolution and the war economy of the 1980-88 period, the government subsidized many consumer items that benefited all citizens regardless of their income levels! Although some modifications have been made over the years, many such blanket, or “class-neutral,” subsidies remain in effect to this day. These include subsidies for a number of food items, especially bread, as well as sources of energy or fuel, both home-heating and motor vehicle fuels. This means that the wealthy buy such subsidized items at the same prices as do the needy!

Furthermore, because the affluent consume relatively more of the subsidized goods and services, they end up benefiting disproportionately more from government subsidies than the grassroots. “Gasoline subsidies are an example where the rich benefit most because they tend to have bigger, gas-guzzling vehicles, while the poor may not even be able to afford a small car. . . . ‘Currently, subsidies are not useful and have the reverse effect of what was intended,’ he [Ahmadinejad] said in comments carried by the official newspaper Iran, adding that 70 percent of subsidy spending ended up with the country's richest 30 percent” [9].

President Ahmadinejad has been trying hard to bring an end to the insanity of subsidizing the wealthy. “Rationalization of subsidies” (bahineh kardan-e subsidha), as Ahmadinejad has frequently explained, means eliminating price subsidies altogether, and then having the government use the financial resources thus saved for direct assistance to the needy—similar to the use of food stamps or cash payments to the needy in the United States. Not only is this a more sensible system of subsidizing the needy, it will also save the government money because the funds saved by virtue of cutting blanket price subsidies is much more than direct subsidies to the needy, according to both the Ahmadinejad administration and independent financial experts. Ahmadinejad’s efforts to alter a perverse subsidy system, however, have so far been successfully blocked by the powerful interests who oppose them, by the hypocritical forces who label assistance to the needy “handouts” but are unwilling to give up their own subsidies.

Secondly, and more importantly, it is sheer cynicism to characterize social spending and assistance to the needy as “handouts.” While social expenditures include some cash disbursements to the needy, the major bulk of those expenditures can be more appropriately called investment in public capital formation. These include both human capital, such as health and education, and physical capital, such as mass transit, communications systems, transportation networks, dams, and the like.

Thanks to government support there is now guarantee of medical care regardless of the ability to pay. Rural areas have gained electricity, paved roads, running (piped) water, crop insurance, insurance against natural disasters, and access to health and education services. Of course, Ahmadinejad does not get all the credit for these services because most of them came to existence by virtue of the 1979 revolution. He does, however, get credit for expanding and reinforcing them, as they were largely neglected by the previous two administrations, headed by Presidents Khatami and Rafsanjani.

During my recent trip to Iran (mid-March to early May), as I traveled to the countryside, including tribal communities, I learned that the government has in recent years boosted health insurance programs for both farming and tribal communities. Each village now has a full-time nurse, and every cluster of villages has a medical clinic that is built or housed in a centrally-located village. I also learned that family planning and the use of contraceptives are vigorously encouraged by government-sponsored health experts in the countryside.

Government spending on public health has paid off handsomely: according to World Bank statistics, in the three decades since the 1979 revolution, life expectancy in Iran has moved up from 59 to 71; child mortality at birth has gone down from 95 to below 30 per thousand; immunization rate (for Measles and DPT) has gone up from below 40% to 99%; and the average family size has shrunken from nine to four, which of course means the birth rate has gone down from seven to two.

The government also provides free education up to and including the college level for public schools and universities. (Private education institutions, which are quite expensive, do not get public assistance.) Even the children of tribal communities who travel with their live stock along the grazing routes now have access to free education. This is made possible by having (mobile) teachers travel with tribal communities. I have met a number of these teachers during my visits to Iran. One of them is a nephew of mine, who told me that one small tribe had only three school-age kids. Nonetheless, the education authorities of the region had assigned a teacher to the tribe to teach their children. Not surprisingly, according to World Bank statistics, literacy rate in Iran has during the past two decades moved up from 63% to slightly over 80%.

Although women are required to comply with the official dress code, they are encouraged (by both their families and the government) to excel in educational and professional pursuits. The results have been quite impressive. Women now constitute the majority of university students. They are doctors, engineers, teachers, scientists, writers, artists, salespersons, and even taxi drivers. More and more women are joining the workforce, despite the very high level of unemployment, which is largely due to criminal economic sanctions and military threats from abroad.

Characterizing social spending and government assistance to the needy as “handouts” is both cynical and elitist. It is also a disingenuous argument designed to camouflage the pro-capital biases of big-business interests. Proponents of economic liberalism have always used this snobbish argument to cut social spending in order to keep taxes low on the affluent, and deny the poor and working classes a decent degree of living conditions.

Not only is this selfish attitude of the wealthy unfair to those who suffer from the woes and vagaries of an unregulated capitalist economy, it is also short-sighted and counterproductive in terms of their own long-term interests. Instead of viewing social spending on infrastructure as a long-term investment that will help sustain and promote economic vitality, they view it as a burden, or overhead, that must be cut as much as possible. By focusing on the current, short-term balance sheets, they seem to be oblivious to the indirect, long-term returns to social spending. Evidence shows, however, that neglect of public capital formation can undermine long-term health, prosperity and productivity of a people.

Fighting corruption and trying to curtail or retrieve what he calls the “unearned” incomes of the corrupt establishment was one of the major agenda items of Ahmadinejad’s presidential campaign. Not only did this frighten the nouveau riche, but also many of the religious authorities who are not necessarily wealthy but whose comfortable positions of prestige and stature would be threatened by Ahmadinejad’s efforts to whittle down what he has called redundant bureaucracies. The elite had had enough.

Frightened by Ahmadinejad’s crusade-like commitment to fight corruption, waste and costly privileges, champions of economic liberalism poured money into Mousavi’s election campaign to unseat him. The presidential election of last June was their last stand against their clearly populist nemesis, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (It is regrettable, as well as ironic, that while Ahmadinejad and his co-thinkers are at loggerheads with major segments of the clerical establishment, most of the Iranian opposition abroad fail to make any distinction between the two forces. Instead, in a largely emotional approach, they tend to lump all factions of Iran’s ruling circles together as a cohesive or monolithic body that pursues the same political or policy agenda.)

4. Mousavi and His Reform Agenda

The Opposition promoted Mousavi as the reform candidate. In his campaign speeches he frequently complained that Ahmadinejad’s administration was obstructing progress because it resisted reform toward an “efficient” market system. What was his reform agenda?

Although Mousavi never really spelled out his much-celebrated economic reform agenda, the very little that he sparingly and vaguely revealed during the campaign season shows that it was essentially a capital-friendly reform scheme fashioned after the laissez-faire model of economics—often sugar-coated in obfuscationist market terminology such as market efficiency, entrepreneurial ingenuity, meritocracy, and the like. (This economic philosophy is interchangeably or synonymously called neoliberal, neoclassical, trickledown, or supply-side economics; it is also called economic, or classical, liberalism.)

I imagine the reason Mr. Mousavi never clearly explained his economic agenda was that he suspected that his ideas of economic liberalism would not have been very popular with the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people. Iranians had earlier experienced policies of economic liberalism under President Rafsanjani (1980-88), which was called “structural adjustment program.” Judging by people’s reactions to those policies, it is obvious that they did not care much for them.

It is no longer a secret that Hashemi Rafsanjani was the main pillar of Mousavi’s presidential campaign. “Since he was defeated by Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections of 2004,” points out Rostam Pourzal, “Rafsanjani has led a public crusade against the winner's zeal for social spending, which he characterizes as Gadaparvari, or dependency promotion.” Using original (Farsi) documents, Pourzal further explains how Rafsanjani has for years been trying to modify Iran’s Constitution in order to facilitate the drive to deregulation and privatization:

The powerful state Expediency Council, which Rafsanjani heads, led a reinterpretation of Article 44 of Iran's constitution that last June mandated a downsizing of the government in favor of private investors and contractors. The sale of state-owned industries is advancing faster than ever, and the introduction of private banking was followed late last year by the opening of the first foreign bank branch. . . . Yet Rafsanjani's powerful allies complain bitterly in public that Ahmadinejad loyalists in the bureaucracy impede progress towards the competitive economy envisioned in the new law. This year Mousavi adopted Rafsanjani's 2004 campaign pledge to institute "an economic revolution" in which improved efficiency would result from deregulation [10].

Mr. Mousavi expressed his economic agenda in short, cryptic and patchy statements that were scattered throughout his stump speeches and other campaign announcements. I sifted through almost all of those speeches and the one place, perhaps the only place, where I found all of his economic ideas together in one text was an article that appeared in the 25 May 2009 (4 Khordad 1388, Iranian calendar) edition of Jomhouri Eslami newspaper , titled “Mir Hossein Mousavi’s Program for the Improvement of the National Economy.” Briefly, the following are the main points of his economic reform agenda, as I have summarized and translated them from Farsi into English (I am confident my summary reflects his economic reform ideas accurately).

The first and “the key principle for the solution of Iran’s economic difficulties,” according to Mr. Mousavi’s agenda, was “reform and redefinition of the executive branch of the government.” This would include reducing the size of the public sector, curtailing social spending, and bringing transparency and discipline to financial policies of the government.

The second major principle in his economic program focused on ways to open more space for business activities of the private sector, and “to promote the role of this sector in the decision making process of national economic policies.” Among other issues, this principle included adoption of policy measures that would expedite the process of market deregulation and revise constitutional “obstacles” to privatization of public enterprises. Combined with policy measures to curtail the public sector and the economic role of the government, these essential steps toward economic liberalization would be instrumental to the objective of “attracting foreign capital,” his program maintained.

Within these general principles, Mr. Mousavi occasionally (and, again, very vaguely) spoke of reducing poverty and unemployment and increasing homeownership, without explaining how he would achieve these objectives. Judging by his overall philosophy of economic reform, it is obvious, however, that he would rely on market efficiency, managerial knowhow, and individual or entrepreneurial ingenuity to achieve these goals. At one point in his “Program for the Improvement of the National Economy” he writes, “Today most economists believe that, within certain ethical framework, individuals’ pursuit of self-enrichment can lead to the collective well-being at the national level.”

This is, of course, the prima-facie beautiful but actually misleading motto of laissez-faire economic doctrine, and the major justifier of the unregulated, trickle-down economic philosophy. It is ironic at a time when this deceptive economic doctrine, which promotes greed as a virtue, is wreaking havoc in the core capitalist world Mr. Mousavi is trying to promote it in Iran.

A recurring theme in Mr. Mousavi’s economic agenda was bringing down the oppressively high rates of inflation in Iran, which he blamed on Ahmadinejad’s government. Why? Because, he argued, Ahmadinejad’s “out-of-control” social spending and/or subsidies to the poor and working classes gave them a strong purchasing power that, in turn, led to a strong demand and, therefore, high inflation. And what was his solution to bring inflation down? Simple: reduce the size of the public sector, cut social spending, and promote free enterprise and economic liberalism.

Both Mr. Mousavi’s diagnosis of inflation (social spending) and his prescription for fighting it (cutting that spending) are based on major theories of neoliberal economics, which are religiously promoted by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and WTO (World Trade Organization) throughout the world.

While Mr. Mousavi was sparing and ambiguous in terms of a positive policy agenda for change, he was quite openhanded and expansive on negative campaigning. In an unfair and obfuscationist manner, he blamed almost all of Iran’s economic difficulties on Ahmadinejad, thereby overlooking the debilitating effects of economic and military pressures from abroad. A great deal of Iran’s economic problems such as inflation and unemployment are due to the suffocating imperialist economic sanctions and military threats. Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been essentially under both an economic and military siege, ruthlessly inflicted by US imperialism and its allies. These destabilizing policies of economic strangulation have led to capital flight (both human and financial), hoarding and black-market activities by unscrupulous domestic capitalists, known as “economic mafias,” and speculative investment in trade and real estate, instead of long-term investment in productive activities.

A product of the revolution and prime minister for eight years, Mr. Mousavi must be aware of these debilitating consequences of foreign interferences on the Iranian economy. Alas, he seems to be more interested in scoring political points against Ahmadinejad than abiding by the principles of fairness in judgment.

But then he also blamed Ahmadinejad and his “rash” foreign policy for the imposition of economic sanctions and military threats from abroad. Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy has consisted of an uncompromising stance against the United States and its allies on the issue of Iran’s legitimate right to nuclear energy, outspoken opposition to the colonial settler state of Israel, steadfast support for liberation movements in Palestine and Lebanon, and expanding friendly relations with revolutionary and progressive governments around the globe, including those of Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia.

Mousavi and his campaign managers labeled Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy as “adventurous” and “confrontational,” blaming it for Iran’s economic difficulties. Accordingly, they sought “understanding” and “accommodation” with the United States and its allies, presumably including Israel, in order to achieve political and economic stability. While, prima facie, this sounds as a reasonable argument (in terms of neoliberal economic solutions to Iran’s economic problems), it suffers from a number of shortcoming.

To begin with, it is a disingenuous and obfuscationist argument. Military threats and economic sanctions against Iran did not start with Ahmadinejad’s presidency, as argued or implied by Mr. Mousavi’s campaign. They were imposed on Iran nearly thirty years ago, essentially as punishment for its 1979 revolution that ended the imperialistic US influence over its economic, political and military affairs.

Second, it is naïve to think that US imperialism would be swayed by gentle or polite language to lift economic sanctions or remove military threats against Iran. During his two terms in office (8 years), the former president of Iran Muhammad Khatami frequently spoke of “dialogue of civilizations,” counterposing it to the US Neoconservatives’ “clash of civilization,” effectively begging US imperialism for dialogue and diplomatic raproachement between Iran and the United States. His pleas of dialogue and friendship, however, fell on deaf ears. Why?

Because US policy toward Iran (or any other country, for that matter) is based on an imperialistic agenda that consists of a series of demands and expectations, not on diplomatic decorum, or the type of language its leaders use. These include Iran’s giving up its lawful and legitimate right to civilian nuclear technology, as well as its compliance with the US-Israeli geopolitical designs in the Middle East. It is not unreasonable to argue that once Iran allowed US input, or meddling, into such issue of national sovereignty, it would find itself on a slippery slope the bottom of which would be giving up its independence: the US would not be satisfied until Iran becomes another “ally” in the Middle East, more or less like Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the like.

This is not theoretical; nor is it based on a dark or cynical suspicion. It is based on the historical record and the nature of US imperialism, which sees other countries or nations either as its allies or its enemies. It simply cannot see them as neutral, independent or sovereign countries. President George W. Bush bluntly expressed this attitude as “you are either with us or against us.” While other Presidents may not put it so crudely, the policy continues to be a long standing halmark of imperialistic US foreign policy.

It is ironic that Mr. Mousavi’s reformist camp blames Ahmadinejad for the hostile imperialist policies toward Iran. For, US imperialism showed its most venomous hostility toward Iran during the presidency of Muhammad Khatami (1997-2005), while he was vigorously pursuing a path of friendship with the United States. While Khatami was promoting his “dialogue of civilizations” and taking conciliatory steps to befriend the US, including cooperation in the overthrow of the Taliban regime in the neighboring Afghanistan, George W. Bush labeled Iran as a member of the “axis of evil.” This outrageous demonization was then used as a propaganda tool to justify calls for “regime change” in Iran.

In the face of President Khatami’s conciliatory gestures toward the United States, many Iranians were so outraged by its unfair and provocative attitude toward Iran that they began to question the wisdom of Khatami’s policy of trying to appease US imperialism. It is now widely believed that the frustration of many Iranians with Khatami’s (one-sided) policy of dialogue with the United States played a major role in the defeat of his reformist allies in both the 2003 parliamentary elections and the 2005 presidential election. By the same token, it also played a major role in the rise of Ahmadinejad to Iran’s presidency, as he forcefully criticized the reformists’ attitude toward US imperialism as naïve, arguing that negotiation with the United States must be based on mutual respect, not at the expense of Iran’s sovereignty.

Contrary to the claims of Mr. Mousavi and his “reformist” allies, Ahmadinejad is not against (unconditional) negotiation with the US. In fact, his administration has had (for the past several years) an open invitation for dialogue with the US. What he is against is submitting to imperialistic demands and conditions on a number of critical issues that would go to the heart of Iran’s sovereignty.

Mr. Mousavi’s blaming of Iran’s economic difficulties on President Ahmadinjad (instead of imperialism’s relentless economic and military pressures for the past 30 years) is tanatamount to blaming the victim for the crimes of the perpetrator. Not only is this unfair, it also plays directly into the hands of Imperialism. Indeed, this is exactly what US imperialism and its allies have been pursuing (and hoping for) sicnce the 1979 revolution: to exert so much economic and military pressure on Iran that it eventually breaks down, and “cries uncle,” so to speak.

This is, by the way, what US imperialism did to the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s. On the one hand, it supported the opposition to the Sandinistas, including support for the Nicaraguan terrorist organization called Contras; on the other, it strangled Nicaragua economically. The combined policies of destabilizing continued unabated until the US eventually succeeded to bring to power in Nicaragua a regime of its own liking [11].

In it zeal to destroy Ahmadinejad’s record, Mr. Mousavi’s campaign did not hesitate to also distort, tarnish, or downplay Iran’s progress since the 1979 revolution. Despite all the shortcomings, the fact remains that the revolution ushered in significant progress in many social and economic areas of the Iranian society. These include extension of transportation, communication and electrification networks to the countryside; provision of free education and healthcare services for the needy; reduction of poverty and inequality; and more.

Iran has also made considerable progress in scientific research and technological know-how. All the oppressive economic sanctions by US imperialism and its allies have not deterred Iran from forging ahead with its economic development and industrialization plans. Indeed, Iran has viewed imperialism’s economic sanctions and technological boycotts as a blessing in disguise: it has taken advantage of these sanctions and boycotts to become self-reliant in many technological areas.

For example, Iran is now self-sufficient in producing many of its industrial products such as home and electric appliances (television sets, washers and dryers, refrigerators, washing machines, and the like), textiles, leather products, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products and processed food and beverage products (including refined sugar and vegetable oil). The country has also made considerable progress in manufacturing steel, copper products, paper, rubber products, telecommunications equipment, cement, and industrial machinery. “Iran has the largest operational stock of industrial robots in West Asia” [12].

Iran’s progress in automobile and other motor vehicle production has especially been impressive. Motor vehicles, including farming equipment, now count among Iran’s exports. “As of 2001, there were 13 public and privately owned automakers within Iran. . . . These automakers produce a wide range of automobiles including motorbikes, passenger cars, vans, mini trucks, medium sized trucks, heavy duty trucks, minibuses, large size buses and other heavy automobiles used in commercial and private activities in the country. Iran ranked the world's 16th biggest automaker in 2006” [13].

Most remarkable of Iran’s industrial progress, however, can be seen in the manufacture of various types of its armaments needs. “Iran's defense industry has taken great strides in the past 25 years, and now manufactures many types of arms and equipment. Since 1992, Iran's Defense Industries Organization (DIO) has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, guided missiles, radar systems, military vessels, submarines, and a fighter plane. . . . As of 2006, Iran had exported weapons to 57 countries, including NATO members.” Compared with other countries, Iran’s military budget is surprisingly modest. “Iran's 2005 defense budget was estimated to be $6.2 billion (3.3% of GDP) [less than 1% of US military spending]…ranking the 67th largest defense expenditure globally” [14].

Perhaps most important of Iran’s achievements since the 1979 revolution, however, has been its independence from the influence of foreign powers—something that many people in other countries in the region (and beyond) are envious of. Iran is perhaps the only country in the area that determines its own economic, political and military policies independently of foreign powers’ advisors, guidelines and dictates. (This is, by the way, the main reason for US imperialism’s hostility toward Iran. All other alleged reasons such as “weaponization of its nuclear technology, support for terrorism, existential threat to Israel, denial of Holocaust,” and the like are no more than harebrained excuses for its evil plans of “regime change” in Iran.)

Just as Mr. Mousavi was vague and cryptic about his agenda of economic reform, so was he fuzzy on the issues of democracy and human rights. He spoke of individual liberty and human rights in such abstract and general terms as if human rights had nothing to do with the right to basic human needs such as food and shelter, or the right to affordable healthcare and public education. In this respect, too, Mr. Mousavi’s agenda resembled those of the leaders of other color revolutions—for example, of Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia and of Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine. Had he succeeded in carrying out his “green revolution,” his promises of democracy and human rights would have proven as hollow as those of his counterparts in Georgia and Ukraine.

The empty promises of democracy and human rights by leaders of color revolutions stems not so much from their personal traits as they do from the reform agendas they pursue. At the heart of those reform agendas is an economic restructuring program that is based on deregulation, curtailment of social spending and privatization of public enterprises. As such capital-friendly measures threaten the economic safety-net programs of the poor and working classes, they will resist, and sometimes rebel. And that’s where the promised democracy of the “reform” leaders of color revolutions will end; they will not hesitate to call on their “security” forces to quell the grassroots’ resistance to the curtailment of their basic needs.

This is, of course, not limited to the leaders of color revolution; it is in the nature of the so-called bourgeois (capitalist) democracy to bury the more critical economic rights of the poor and working classes beneath the superficial, purely political individual rights, such as, for example, periodically voting to change the faces of politicians who hold public office without really changing their policy agendas in meaningful ways.

To suggest that Mousavi’s projected “green revolution” bore all the major hallmarks of the previous color-coded revolutions, or that the subversive US agencies and policies for “regime change” supported and/or promoted his campaign, is not to suggest or imply that he (personally) collaborated with those agencies. Mr. Mousavi is no pawn of imperialism. But the logic of things, the mechanism of his campaign, or the internal dynamics of his agenda, inevitably led to an unmistakable convergence between the interests of imperialism, headed by the US, and those of Mousavi’s campaign architects over the removal of Ahmadinejad from power. Not surprisingly, the two campaigns to overthrow Ahmadinejad complemented each other conveniently.

Whether this was purely coincidental or by design is hard to judge, unless one has irrefutable proof. Nor is the proof of such a link, or lack thereof, the primary focus of this essay. Rather, the more important point here is that by prematurely claiming election victory, and then recklessly insisting that the contrary voting results meant “stolen election,” Mr. Mousavi was less than honest with his supporters, and the Iranian people in general. Whether he consciously agreed to this scheme of his campaign architects, or was really duped by those architects to sincerely (or delusively) believe he had won the elections, is of secondary importance. The more important point is that by so doing he effectively became the leader and the face of an electoral coup attempt—whether he was mindful of it or not, or whether he liked it or not.

The claim of “people’s votes being stolen” is so loaded and so powerful that not only would the supporters of the opposition promptly rebel against the incumbent, but also many other citizens who may not have been supporters or sympathizers of the opposition but are angered by the thought of their votes being “stolen.” While this scheme of power gabbing succeeded in Georgia, Ukraine and a number of other so-called “emerging democracies,” it failed in Venezuela and Iran.

Part of the reason for the failure of Mr. Mousavi’s “green revolution” was that his unscrupulous negative campaigning backfired—Ahmadinejad did not let him get away with it. To be sure, Mr. Mousavi did get away many falsehoods and distortions in his stump speeches during the campaign season. But when Ahmadinejad confronted him during the famous presidential debate of the week before the election date, Mousavi came up short. He did not offer much in the way of a positive agenda to his audience of more than 45 million Iranians who reportedly watched the debate. As Ahmadinejad successfully pinned him down to the notorious Rafsanjani and other rich and corrupt backers of his campaign, he basically sat there speechless. Although his campaign was increasingly catching up with that of Ahmadinejad during the previous three weeks, the debate effectively turned the tide.

During the debate, Ahmadinejad attacked Mousavi’s affluent backers as leaders of the corrupt elite, now trying to claw back control. He threatened to curtail the waste and inefficiency of many of the redundant monopolistic organizations, as well as re-take the “embezzled” people’s property from the oligarchs. He also bitterly complained about the resistance (by the representatives of the wealthy) to his idea of a progressive taxation system that would reduce Iran’s dependence on oil revenue. Most impressive and effective in terms of winning voters away from Mousavi, however, was his leafing through written documents that he said were evidence of scandalous privatizations, unscrupulous appropriation of public property, and predatory land grabbing by the pillars of Mousavi’s campaign during the presidencies of Khatami and Rafsanjani.

5. The Demonstrators

The suggestion that the Mousavi campaign seems to have planned a “green revolution” in the context of the presidential election, or that the projected revolution was enthusiastically supported by the forces of “regime change” from abroad, is not meant to discount the significance of the large number of sincere protesters who took to the street following the claim that their votes were “stolen.” In light of their huge numbers and their diversity, the protesters cannot be dismissed as simply or only the better-off and the better-educated. But while young protestors from different walks of the Iranian society joined the rallies, the leadership and the management of demonstrations rested largely with the powerful behind-the-scene interests and shadowy agitators [15].

Although the two relatively different types of protesters, the elite and the common folks, shared some grievances regarding social and/or cultural restrictions such as moral or dress codes, their economic needs and aspirations were vastly different. To the extent that young people form lower income strata participated in the protest rallies, they did so because they hoped for better employment opportunities and decent social safety-net programs such as support for public education, public health and other basic economic needs. These folks were largely unaware that a Mousavi victory would have, in fact, meant curtailing, not advancing, such economic safety-net programs.

By contrast, the oligarchs and their elite allies, that is, the leading or managing protestors, participated in protest rallies because they aspired to the consumerism and the life style of their counterparts in the West. They were also seeking free trade and investment opportunities with Western markets and transnational corporations. As Phil Wilayto, author of In Defense of Iran, points out, “They [the wealthy] aren't just opposing the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—they're also objectively opposing millions of working-class Iranians who are trying to defend the social programs that have greatly improved their standard of living, programs that depend on the state ownership of the oil and gas industries” [16].

Contrary to protesters from among the ordinary citizens, the affluent demonstrators had no illusions about Mousavi’s “reform” agenda. They had, indeed, crafted that agenda. A telling indication of this point is the fact Rafsanjani (and his wealthy allies) constituted the backbone, the leading force, and financial benefactors of the Mousavi campaign. In 2005, the German newspaper taz provided a blunt profile of Rafsanjani and his family:

The man of God, who once earned a meager living preaching heavenly redemption for believers, now possesses a fortune estimated at more than a billion US dollars. He is Iran’s largest exporter of pistachios. Together with his family, he owns several tourist centers both at home and abroad. His oldest son Mohsen is constructing the Tehran underground; his second son Mehdi is in the natural gas and oil business; his youngest son owns vast swathes of agricultural land; his two daughters Faezeh and Fatima are active in real estate both in Iran and abroad. Rafsanjani’s cousins, nephews and nieces own a considerable portion of the domestic automobile industry, as well as controlling much of the export of pistachios and saffron, and the import of vehicles, paper and machines. A considerable part of Iran’s black market is controlled by the Rafsanjani clan [17].

It is well known among Iranians that Rafsanjani and other influential backers of Mousavi are not motivated by concerns for the democratic and human rights of the Iranian people. Nor are they motivated by concerns for the plight of their economic conditions. “On the contrary,” points out Bill Van Auken, a freelance reporter and an astute observer of Iranian politics, “they are proponents of a more rapid introduction of free market policies, an opening to foreign capital and closer ties with Washington, all of which they see as avenues for expanding their own wealth. Their indifference to the conditions confronting the broad masses of Iranian working people is expressed in their undisguised contempt for the limited social assistance programs introduced by Ahmadinejad, which they see as a waste of resources” [18].

Not only were many of the young protesters misled by the demagogic promises of the Mousavi campaign, they were also misled by the flood of propaganda that is constantly fed the Iranian people from abroad via internet and satellite media. Farsi-language radio and television propaganda broadcasts from the Los Angeles area by the opposition expatriates are especially deceptive to the Iranian youth. One of the challenges I recently faced during my visit to Iran (as well as during previous visits) was to reason with the young Iranians I spoke with to not believe everything they hear or see on these broadcast systems from abroad. They could not believe that, for example, there is unemployment, poverty and homelessness in the United States. The picture portrayed (by the opposition propaganda from abroad) of the living conditions in the US remains essentially the same as conveyed around the world via the glamorous Hollywood movies of long ago.

Mr. Mousavi and his supporters claim that post-election demonstrations in favor of his “green revolution” were altogether peaceful. Accordingly, they blame the government for the post-election violence and the crackdown on demonstrators. Reports by major Western media from Iran show, however, that it was, in fact, the protesters who started the violence. For example, on 13 June 2009 (the day after the Election Day) The New York Times reported from Tehran:

Farther down the street, clusters of young men hurled rocks at a phalanx of riot police officers, and the police used their batons to beat back protesters. . . . As night settled in, the streets in northern Tehran that recently had been the scene of pre-election euphoria were lit by the flames of trash fires and blocked by tipped trash bins and at least one charred bus. Young men ran through the streets throwing paving stones at shop windows, and the police pursued them.

On the same day (June 13) the Associated Press similarly reported:

Opponents of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad clashed with police in the heart of Iran's capital Saturday, pelting them with rocks and setting fires in the worst unrest in Tehran in a decade. ... The brazen and angry confrontations — including stunning scenes of masked rioters tangling with black-clad police — pushed the self-styled reformist movement closer to a possible moment of truth. . . . Young men hurled stones and bottles at anti-riot units and mocked Ahmadinejad as an illegitimate leader. . . . Thousands of protesters — mostly young men — roamed through Tehran looking for a fight with police and setting trash bins and tires ablaze. Pillars of black smoke rose among the mustard-colored apartment blocks and office buildings in central Tehran. In one side road, an empty bus was engulfed in flames. Police fought back with clubs, including mobile squads on motorcycles swinging truncheons.

“Thousands of protesters — mostly young men — roamed through Tehran looking for a fight with police. . . .” Does this sound peaceful to anyone?

And here is a CNN report, also on June 13, from Tehran: “In the aftermath of the vote, street protesters and riot police engaged in running battles, with stones thrown, garbage cans set on fire and people shouting 'death to the dictatorship.' . . . Later in the evening, an agitated and angry crowd emerged in Tehran's Moseni Square, with people breaking into shops, starting fires and tearing down signs.”

Two days later, June 15, Time Magazine had a similar report from Tehran:

Some of Tehran's main streets have been turned into urban battlegrounds. Groups of mostly young men have set large garbage bins on fire in the middle of streets, torn out street signs and fences, broken the windows and ATM machines of state banks and burnt at least five large buses in the middle of streets.

The June 15, 2009 clashes between demonstrators and the security forces around the Azadi square further escalated, claiming seven lives, the first election-related deaths. Reporting on the tragic confrontation, the Associated Press wrote:

Iran state radio reported Tuesday [June 16] that clashes in the Iranian capital the previous day left seven people dead during an 'unauthorized gathering' at a mass rally over alleged election fraud—the first official confirmation of deaths linked to the wave of protests and street battles after the elections. The report said the deaths occurred after protesters 'tried to attack a military location.' It gave no further details, but it was a clear reference to crowds who came under gunfire Monday after trying to storm a compound for volunteer militia linked to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard. . . . The deaths Monday occurred on the edge of Tehran's Azadi Square. An Associated Press photographer saw gunmen, standing on a roof, opening fire on a group of demonstrators who tried to storm the militia compound.

Commenting on this dreadful shooting of the protestors by the members of the Basij militia, Phil Wilayto, author of In Defense of Iran, writes: “It's terrible that seven people died. But the Basij members were in a building set on fire by ‘protesters,’ who were trying to storm the building. What were they supposed to do?” [19].

These reports by some of the most established news media in the West makes it clear that, by resorting to illegal and vilolent methods of demonstration, the protestors did not leave government’s security forces much choice to react violently. No other government would tolerate such methods of protest. Imagine for a moment that on the day after last November’s presidential election in the United States John McCain’s supporters, following his encouragement, challenged the elections results, took to the streets and began destroying public property, or attacking police stations. It goes without saying that the response of the US security forces would have been more violent and much swifter than that of Iran’s. US security forces would certainly have not waited for three or four days (as did Iran’s) to react; their reaction would have been immediate.

It must be pointed out that reports of violent demonstrators by the mainstream Western media came to a sudden halt after June 19, 2009. Why? Because on that day the US Congress, both the House and the Senate, passed resolutions that condemned the Iranian security forces’ crackdown on demonstrators as unprovoked, thereby effectively characterizing the protests as peaceful. Shamelessly, the corporate media followed the official line through-and-through.

6. Concluding Remarks

One does not have to be a fan of Ahmadinejad to find his opponents’ “green revolution” a dubious—perhaps disgraceful—project. Mr. Mousavi and/or his campaign architects seem to have run a dishonest campaign: pretending to rely on the ballot box to carry out their “reform” agenda but, then, disobeying the will of the majority when they did not garner the majority vote. As noted earlier, it is one thing to use the voters’ dissatisfaction with the status quo to win an election. It is quite another thing, however, to abuse that dissatisfaction and the election process to defy the actual election results when those results turn out to be at variance with what you wishfully projected.

In the absence of irrefutable evidence, it would be unwise to make a judgment on whether Mr. Mousavi personally conspired with his campaign architects on the “green revolution” project, or whether he was led to sincerely believe he could not have lost the election. Likewise, short of concrete evidence, it would be imprudent to make a judgment on whether his campaign consciously collaborated with the external forces of “regime change” in Iran. Nor is the proof (or disproof) of such links germane to the primary intention of this essay. The primary purpose of the essay has, instead, been to show that, regardless of external factors or Mr. Mousavi’s personal proclivities, powerful economic interests, or influential social forces, behind his “green revolution” evolved within Iran’s own socio-economic structure.

As it is increasingly becoming clear that the claim of “stolen election” was a hoax, Mr. Mousavi and his supporters seem to be quietly shying away from repeating that gigantic lie. Instead, they tend to play up the large number of protesters who supported his campaign and the subsequently heavy-handed crackdown on demonstrators as if these would prove that he did not or could not have lost the election. As a way of (quietly) departing from the claim of “stolen election,” as if changing the subject, some of his supporters make arguments like this: “Don’t you see the huge, frustrated and angry number of demonstrators? Doesn’t this show how tired people are of this dictatorial regime? Who cares about the official account of the elections; they are inherently undemocratic in the theocratic Islamic Republic anyway? Don’t you see how thirsty people are for change? Isn’t this proof enough to get rid of Ahmadinejad’s regime? And so on.” Let us briefly examine these arguments.

To begin with, as great as the number of opposition demonstrators were they remained nonetheless a minority of the electorate. Pro-Ahmadinejad counter demonstrations, allowed only a few times, literally dwarfed those who demonstrated in support of Mousavi. (Critics of “color revolutions” point out that one of the strategies of the leaders of these revolutions to create chaos, confusion and instability has been to resort to violence and provoke counter demonstrations. Ahmadinejad’s government seems to have avoided this trap by actively discouraging pro-government counter demonstrations.)

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the problem with Mr. Mousavi’s campaign was not his giving voice to people’s grievances, or trying to affect an agenda of positive change in Iran. Rather, it was his method or strategy of change that was problematic. As if the end justifies the means, his campaign seemed to have followed a less-than honest strategy to achieve its goal of removing Ahmadinejad from power. Mr. Mousavi accepted Iran’s legal and institutional norms when he decided to run as a candidate for President. Indeed, he greatly benefitted from those legal and institutional procedures in running a very effective campaign. Somewhere along the way his campaign decided to disobey those guideline when they became convinced their candidate would lose (or had actually lost) the election. In trying to use the impressive energy of the remarkably galvanized supporters of Mr. Mousavi as a lever to illegally dislodge President Ahmadinejad, his campaign effectively betrayed the trust his supporters had placed in his candidacy.

Not only has the insidious project of “green revolution” paved the way for a lot of unnecessary death and destruction, it has also provided the imperial forces of “regime change” with additional excuses to re-double their brutal efforts of economic sanctions and military threats against Iran, thereby further aggravating the economic hardship and the living conditions of the Iranian people. Mr. Mousavi and his campaign architects simply cannot dodge responsibility for the dire consequences of their “green revolution.”

Ismael Hossein-zadeh, author of the recently published The Political Economy of US Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007), teaches economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.


[1] Please see, for example, Habib Ahmadzadeh: “Mousavi Must Say Which Ballot Boxes He Disputes,” Daily Kos (June 29, 2009); Phil Wilayto, “An Open Letter to the Anti-War Movement,” CASMII (July 9, 2009); “A Review of the Chatham House report on Iran’s 2009 presidential election,” CASMII (August 4, 2009).

[2] Paul Craig Roberts, “Are the Iranian Election Protests Another U.S. Orchestrated ‘Color Revolution’?” (June 20, 2009).

[3] Please see, for example, Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty “The Iranian People Speak,” The Washington Post (June 15, 2009); Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, “Ahmadinejad Won. Get over it,” Politico (June 15, 2009); Jeremy R. Hammond, “The Case of the Fatwa to Rig Iran’s Election,” Dissent Voice (July 22, 2009).

[4] Thierry Meyssan, “Color revolution fails in Iran,” (June 27, 2009); “The Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA,” (4 January 2005).

[5] Philip Giraldi, “Twittering Revolutions,” (July 16, 2009).

[6] Stephen Lendman, “Color Revolutions, Old and New,” (July 1, 2009).

[7] Thierry Meyssan, “Color revolution fails in Iran,” (June 27, 2009).

[8] Rostam Pourzal, “Iran's Business Elite, Too, Is a ‘Dissident’,” MRZine (27 June 2009).

[9] Reuters, “Ahmadinejad to focus subsidies on Iran's poor” (June 25, 2008).

[10] Rostam Pourzal, “Iran's Business Elite, Too, Is a ‘Dissident’,” MRZine (June 27, 2009).

[11] Eric Walberg, “Venezuela & Iran: Whither the Revolution?” (1 July 2009).

[12] Wikipedia, “Economy of Iran—Manufacturing”

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Mazda Majidi, “Eyewitness Iran: What is the true character of the demonstrations,” CASMII (7 July 2009).

[16] Phil Wilayto, “An Open Letter to the Anti-War Movement,” CASMII (July 9, 2009).

[17] Bill Van Auken, “Tensions mount within Iran’s ruling establishment,” World Socialist Web Site (21 July 2009).

[18] Ibid.

[19] Phil Wilayto, “An Open Letter to the Anti-War Movement” CASMII (July 9, 2009).