Top Pieces of Evidence that the Iranian Presidential Election Was Stolen
1. It is claimed that Ahmadinejad won the city of Tabriz with 57%. His main opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is an Azeri from Azerbaijan province, of which Tabriz is the capital. Mousavi, according to such polls as exist in Iran and widespread anecdotal evidence, did better in cities and is popular in Azerbaijan. Certainly, his rallies there were very well attended. So for an Azeri urban center to go so heavily for Ahmadinejad just makes no sense. In past elections, Azeris voted disproportionately for even minor presidential candidates who hailed from that province.
2. Ahmadinejad is claimed to have taken Tehran by over 50%. Again, he is not popular in the cities, even, as he claims, in the poor neighborhoods, in part because his policies have produced high inflation and high unemployment. That he should have won Tehran is so unlikely as to raise real questions about these numbers. [Ahmadinejad is widely thought only to have won Tehran in 2005 because the pro-reform groups were discouraged and stayed home rather than voting.)
3. It is claimed that cleric Mehdi Karoubi, the other reformist candidate, received 320,000 votes, and that he did poorly in Iran's western provinces, even losing in Luristan. He is a Lur and is popular in the west, including in Kurdistan. Karoubi received 17 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections in 2005. While it is possible that his support has substantially declined since then, it is hard to believe that he would get less than one percent of the vote. Moreover, he should have at least done well in the west, which he did not.
4. Mohsen Rezaie, who polled very badly and seems not to have been at all popular, is alleged to have received 670,000 votes, twice as much as Karoubi.
5. Ahmadinejad's numbers were fairly standard across Iran's provinces. In past elections there have been substantial ethnic and provincial variations.
6. The Electoral Commission is supposed to wait three days before certifying the results of the election, at which point they are to inform Khamenei of the results, and he signs off on the process. The three-day delay is intended to allow charges of irregularities to be adjudicated. In this case, Khamenei immediately approved the alleged results.
I am aware of the difficulties of catching history on the run. Some explanation may emerge for Ahmadinejad's upset that does not involve fraud. For instance, it is possible that he has gotten the credit for spreading around a lot of oil money in the form of favors to his constituencies, but somehow managed to escape the blame for the resultant high inflation.
But just as a first reaction, this post-election situation looks to me like a crime scene.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
by Juan Cole: President of the Global Americana Institute
Top Pieces of Evidence that the Iranian Presidential Election Was Stolen
You know by now that in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, an elderly white supremacist and anti-Semite named James W. von Brunn allegedly walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with a .22-caliber rifle and killed security guard Stephen T. Johns before being brought down himself. He's 88 years old, with a long record of hatred and paranoid fantasies about the Illuminati and a Global Zionist state. How bitter the bile that has curdled for so many decades.
You will know, too, of the recent killing, while ushering at his local church, of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country still performing late term abortions. Sadly, this case was proof that fatal violence works. His family has announced that his Wichita, Kansas, clinic will not be reopened.
You may be less familiar with the June 1st shootings in an army recruiting office in Little Rock that killed one soldier and wounded another. The suspect in question is an African-American Muslim convert who says he acted in retaliation for US military activity in the Middle East.
Soon, however, these terrible deeds will be forgotten, as are already the three policemen killed by an assault weapon in Pittsburgh; the four policemen killed in Oakland, California; the 13 people gunned down in Binghamton, New York; the 10 in an Alabama shooting spree; five in Santa Clara, California; the eight dead in a North Carolina, nursing home. All during this year alone.
There is much talk about hate talk; hate crimes against blacks, whites, immigrants, Muslims, Jews; about violence committed in the name of bigotry or religion. But why don't we talk about guns?
We're arming ourselves to death. Even as gunshots ricocheted around the country, an amendment allowing concealed weapons in national parks snuck into the popular credit card reform bill. Another victory for the gun lobby, to sounds of silence from the White House.
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, wrote - just days before the Holocaust Museum incident - that "rather than propose concrete action that makes it harder for dangerous people to get firearms - while still respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners - all Washington can seem to muster after high-profile shootings are 'thoughts and prayers' for the victims and their families.
"For his part, the President has also included sincere expressions of 'deep sadness' at these tragic losses - though without any call to change any of our policies to prevent those losses.'
Yet, as a presidential candidate, Obama pledged "our determination to do whatever it takes to eradicate this violence from our streets, from our schools, from our neighborhoods and our cities. That is our duty as Americans."
The fact is, neither party will stand up to the National Rifle Association, the best known front group for the arms merchants.
by CenkI'm not a healthcare wonk. Of course, I want the 46 million uninsured Americans to get coverage, but they have not been my primary concern in healthcare reform (even though I have been among the uninsured many times in my life). I have to admit I'm being a bit selfish here because I mainly want to have less expensive health insurance that still gives me decent coverage.
This is why I'm in favor of the public option. I need lower bills. Republicans are saying that the public option is unacceptable because it will be too cheap and too efficient, so private companies cannot keep up with it. Great!
Frankly, I don't give a damn what happens to private insurance companies, I just want less expensive coverage that does the same job (or better). And that's what the Republicans are telling me is going to happen.
Mitch McConnell literally said this weekend on Fox, "The private insurance people will not be able to compete with a government option." Doesn't this prove that the private insurance companies will not be able to do as good a job as the government? Then step aside, Butch.
Here are four indisputable reasons why the public option must be part of the healthcare proposal:
1. The government doesn't have to advertise. No marketing budget means less costs to pass down to the consumer.
2. The government will not take a profit. That is about 10-30% of costs wiped out immediately. Private companies by their nature will add a certain percentage to the product for their own profit. That comes directly out of our pocket. An option that doesn't take profit also doesn't take as much money from us.
3. The government will have enormous negotiating leverage with drug companies and health care providers, so they can drive down the costs to the consumer even more.
4. It is an option! If it turns out that the government option does not work as well or costs more, no problem, just use the private insurance you have now. This is only an option you have in a more competitive market. Who can argue with that?
There are legitimate concerns that progressives have with the public option. It is not single payer. The government does not pick up the tab. You still have to pay a premium and the current system is largely maintained. But I think this is better than single payer. It gives us a choice and allows the market to dictate which system works better in the healthcare industry - public or private.
If in the end, more people choose the public option, then obviously it worked. If they don't, we've lost nothing because they can still get private insurance.
By David Jones
In this deeply disturbing interview, the trailer trash torturer who appalled the world by appearing in shocking 'souvenir' photographs remains utterly unrepentant and says she has 800 MORE torture photos that could rock the White House
Normally, not much happens in Keyser, West Virginia, but today the folks in this quaint little railroad town, nestling in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, are spoilt for choice.
Either they can whoop and holler along to fiddle music at the annual Strawberry Festival or head down to the bookshop, where a local 'celebrity' - as her agent-cum-lawyer describes her - is signing first editions of her new biography.
Arriving at Main Street Books to find a young woman - considerably heavier now, but still grimly familiar - loitering self-consciously beside a pile of unsold manuscripts, it becomes clear that the fiddle players have won hands-down.
When the shop closes, two hours later, Lynndie England has autographed barely two dozen copies, mostly for acquaintances such as her old schoolteacher.
For even on her home territory, few people are willing to line the pockets of this fallen girl soldier; who posed for a stomach-churning series of 'souvenir' photographs that cost countless American lives and brought shame on the nation.
Five years have passed since a U.S. TV station first broadcast those pictures, staged to humiliate and dehumanise Iraqi prisoners - and provide warped amusement for their U.S. Army guards - at Abu Ghraib prison, near Baghdad.
They caused universal outrage, ending any lingering pretence that President George W. Bush was on some moral crusade in Iraq, and sparking a wave of retaliatory beheadings; many of which were videoed to reciprocate the horror and degradation meted out to the Muslim detainees.
Such was their impact that they are still said to be used as recruitment propaganda for Islamic terror groups.
After all, what better way to incite a young fanatic than by showing him a photo of a female American soldier nonchalantly holding a leash, tightened around the neck of a naked and hooded Iraqi prisoner, as he squirms on the floor of his cell?
In another photograph, the waif-like Military Police private casually inspects a line of terrified Iraqi prisoners - again stripped and wearing sandbags over their heads - as they are forced to masturbate.
Grinning broadly with a cigarette clamped in her mouth, England, then just 21 and weighing less than seven stone, added to their humiliation by pointing mockingly at their genitals and giving the thumbs-up sign; a gesture now known as the 'Lynndie salute'.
One of seven U.S. Army reserves jailed for mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib - including her former lover Corporal Charles Graner, a sadistic, camera-obsessed bully who orchestrated the photo sessions - she has served three years in detention and is now on parole.
With a new book to peddle and her appeal against the conviction due to be heard next month, one might have expected the 26-year-old England to express some remorse.
Following Barack Obama's release of CIA torture files which lend credence to her claim that the ritual humiliation of prisoners was a White House sanctioned tactic during the Bush regime, she even consulted her local senator about petitioning for a Presidential pardon
But 'sorry', it becomes clear, is not in Lynndie England's vocabulary.
When we speak, three things strike me: her breathtaking lack of contrition; her unsuitability to have been a serving soldier and her utter indifference towards the horrifically abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib, 90 per cent of whom were later released without charge.
Since no established biographer would touch her life story (it was even dropped by the literary agent who handled O.J. Simpson's widely reviled book, If I Did It) her biography has been penned by a greenhorn local author, Gary Winkler.
For a man whose two previous works were lilting chronicles of Appalachian life, it has proved a chastening experience. Not only has he fallen out bitterly with his subject and her agent-cum-lawyer and confidant, Roy T. Hardy, but he has patently struggled to get the characteristically withdrawn England to open up.
'I just don't think she's a very deep person,' Winkler, a white-bearded former musician in his late 50s, concludes miserably.
'Lynndie only has two moods: bored and p****d off.'
During our first meeting, when she yawns through my questions, I see what he means.
Mr. Padilla was held as an "enemy combatant" in solitary confinement for more than three years in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. Mr. Padilla, who was convicted of supporting terrorism and other crimes, demands that Mr. Yoo be held accountable for actions that Mr. Padilla claims led to his being tortured.
During the time Mr. Padilla was held in the brig, according to his filings in the case, he "suffered gross physical and psychological abuse at the hands of federal officials as part off a systematic program of abusive interrogation intended to break down Mr. Padilla's humanity and his will to live."
In the 42-page ruling, Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco characterized the conflict as one that embodies the tension "between the requirements of war and the defense of the very freedoms that war seeks to protect."
Mr. Yoo, as part of a senior administrative group called the War Council, helped to shape Bush administration policy in the war on terrorism, and as deputy attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003, wrote many memorandums authorizing harsh treatment. Mr. Yoo had argued that he should be immune from the suit because it was not clearly established that the treatment would be unconstitutional.
Judge White, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, rejected all but one of Mr. Yoo's immunity claims and found that Mr. Padilla "has alleged sufficient facts to satisfy the requirement that Yoo set in motion a series of events that resulted in the deprivation of Padilla's constitutional rights."
A mild-mannered professor in Chicago by day, when adventure calls he returns to his Muslim Homelands to discover mythological treasures and say deadpan witticisms to his Arab and Jewish sidekicks. Barack "Barry" Obama must find the legendary Golden Dildo of Destiny, which will destroy what's left of the evil Republican Nazis, as they will all fall down and worship the Golden Dildo when he lofts it over their combovers during Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation ceremony in the Masonic basement of the National Archives.
Cairo, city of the living. And also, more famously, city of the dead mummy kings. No wait, that is further south, where the pyramids and camels live in an uneasy truce with the occult-crazed Nazis. Barry's clownish sidekicks Rahm Emanuel, Reggie Love and spunky ex-flame Valerie Jarrett ride the "Arab gondolas" to the Great Pyramids, where Barry is finding a secret entrance by consulting his loyal Blackberry.
"And add eight more inches to honor the Hebrew god, and also to make fun of Netanyahu's complete lack of a dick …."
(IN UNISON:) "They're digging in the wrong place!"
"I've got a bad feeling about this shit."
Right-Wing Extremism Expert Leonard Zeskind Analyzes the Movement That Nurtures Shooters Like Von Brunn and Roeder
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
I would say there is an increase in interest in the white nationalist movement now, but not necessarily an upsurge in violence that is out of the ordinary. It's something that is always there ...
-- Leonard Zeskind, author, Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream
* * *
BuzzFlash is deeply concerned, yet eager to understand what's behind the recent killings at a Kansas reproductive health clinic and a Washington, D.C. Holocaust museum. Both prime suspects, Scott Roeder and James von Brunn, have had long and active relationships with radical right-wing groups such as the Freemen, Liberty Lobby and the National Alliance. Today we called up a person who has studied extremist groups and the shooters they spawn for decades -- author and anti-racism activist Leonard Zeskind.
In his heavily researched and much lauded book, Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, Zeskind describes two extremist factions among the white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Holocaust-denier and anti-Semitic groups. The mainstreamists, he says, are like David Duke -- they seek a political base and larger numbers. The vanguardists are more interested in going out on their own -- acting on their beliefs in direct, targeted ways.
But as Zeskind told Bill Berkowitz recently: "… these are not a string of disconnected organizations sharing only a common set of hatreds. Rather, this is a single movement, with a common set of leaders and interlocking memberships that hold a complete and sometimes sophisticated ideology. Further, the white nationalist movement today is organized around the notion that the power of whites to control government and social policy has already been overthrown by people of color and Jews, rather unlike the Klan of the 1960s which sought to defend a system of racial apartheid in the South."
Zeskind talked with BuzzFlash about the relationship between the leaders and the shooters who make up a clearly dangerous radical movement. He suggests how America should see them, and how to respond.
* * *
BuzzFlash: You've said, "This is a single movement ... with a common set of leaders and interlocking memberships ..." Who and what are some of them?
Leonard Zeskind: There's been a leadership shift ... during the period covered by most of my book, it would have been two camps. There's Willis Carto's Liberty Lobby, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers. Von Brunn worked for him for a while in the Seventies. William Luther Pierce, former physics professor and author of The Turner Diaries, was founder of the National Alliance. But today there's a shift going on. I think that individual leaders are less important than they may have been several years ago.
The axis of groups includes the Council of Conservative Citizens, the lineal descendants of the old White Citizens' Councils, and American Renaissance, the Council's think tank arm, a player in the pseudo-scientific racism world. The Council was involved in the Confederate flag phenomenon.
David Duke now spends most of his time in Europe, and was arrested recently in Prague for Holocaust denial, which is against the law there.
The skinhead music scene factionalized along similar lines to factions in the United Kingdom, with one faction being the Hammerskins. There are many, many more organizations than just the central axis players.
Upcoming Whistleblower Hearing to Air Corruption in Nevada U.S. Wildlife Services
Washington, DC — A federal agent who reported that his colleagues had illegally used government airplanes to hunt mountain lions was fired in retaliation, according to filings released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The legal complaint filed by Gary Strader, a professional hunter for U.S. Wildlife Services, is one of the first whistleblower cases arising during the Obama administration. How the case is handled may give important clues as to whether civil servants can expect a respite from the heavy-handed personnel practices that characterized the Bush administration.
Gary Strader worked for Wildlife Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as a hunter and tracker, principally of coyotes, out of the agency's Ely, Nevada office. His job was abruptly eliminated after he reported both to his regional office, as well as the FBI, that his agency co-workers had –
- Illegally shot as many as five mountain lions from government airplanes. These actions constitute a felony under the Airborne Hunting Act, as well as violating Nevada state hunting laws; and
- Filed false statements to cover up the offenses.
Mountain lions are difficult to track overland in rugged Nevada terrain. Federal employees in search of trophies (the heads were removed but the animals were not pelted) took the easier course of spotting and shooting mountain lions from the air.
After his supervisors determined that Strader's reports would not likely result in prosecution, he was notified that there were no longer funds to support his position. When Strader asked whether his termination was due to his pursuit of the violations, the Director of the Nevada Office for Wildlife Services, Mark Jensen, responded affirmatively. The Whistleblower Protection Act forbids the discharge of a federal employee in connection with his or her disclosures of crimes or other waste, fraud or abuse.
Strader's whistleblower complaint will be heard this summer by a judge of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, the court system for the federal civil service. His lead attorney is Salt Lake City attorney April Hollingsworth assisted by lawyers from PEER, a national environmental whistleblower defense organization.
"This is a blatant case of reprisal," stated PEER Staff Counsel Christine Erickson. "It is now up to the Obama administration to either defend this crude retaliation against Mr. Strader or to restore him and clean house at Wildlife Services."
Art Spiegelman's graphic novel Maus was hailed as a masterpiece. He's still recovering. As his sketchbooks are published for the first time, he explains all to Angelique Chrisafis
Despite the awful details of his life, Spiegelman's confessional style makes his works almost impossible to put down. His parents were forced into the Polish ghettos in 1941, reluctantly handing their eldest son - Spiegelman's brother - over to relatives to hide him. The little boy was poisoned to death by his aunt during a Nazi raid; she thought it better than letting him go to the camps, and killed herself, too. His grief-stricken parents ended up in Auschwitz, which they survived. Spiegelman was born after the war and raised in New York, an only child with a "ghost brother". His father was brutalized and damaged; his mother took her own life when Spiegelman was 20 and didn't leave a note. All this is laid bare in his work. To him, Maus, published in 1986 and 1992, was, "as a blues musician would say, my crossover hit"; but he sees all his work on a continuum, "made from the same fractured psyche".
Next week, three of Spiegelman's sketchbooks will be published for the first time.
Letter from Jerusalem
By Daniel Estrin
It was on an average Wednesday that a very serious Israeli newspaper conducted a very wild experiment. For one day, Haaretz editor-in-chief Dov Alfon sent most of his staff reporters home and sent 31 of Israel's finest authors and poets to cover the day's news.
The idea behind the paper's June 10 special edition was to honor Israel's annual Hebrew Book Week, which opened the same day, by inviting Israeli authors to get away from their forthcoming novels and letting them bear witness to the events of the day.
This wasn't a Sabbath supplement, a chance to balance the news with extra color. This was a near complete replacement of the newspaper itself. Save for the sports section and a few other articles, all the reporters' notebooks were handed over to poets and novelists, both bestselling and up-and-coming. Their articles filled the pages, from the leading headline to the weather report.
"We really tried to give a real newspaper," Alon said.
For the liberal, Hebrew language Israeli daily — the country's oldest — it was a bold but signature move. From its founding in 1918, Haaretz has distinguished its brand by highlighting Israeli cultural, literary and artistic life with a vigor unmatched by its competitors. That, along with its dense in-depth political and business reporting (achieved with smaller type and far fewer photos than Israel's other dailies) has won it an elite audience, albeit one far smaller than its competitors. Its weekday circulation of some 50,000 compares with 400,000 for Yediot Aharonot, Israel's largest daily, and 160,000 for Ma'ariv, the second largest.
But as the old cliché goes, they are the right readers. "The likelihood of Haaretz readership," Israeli media analysts Dan Caspi and Yehiel Limor write, "rises with income, education, and age." Its elite audience gives it an influence disproportionate to its circulation, as does its internationally read English language Internet edition, which features translations of many of the Hebrew stories. Its readership, along with the paper's dovish political stances, has won it a reputation as Israel's version of The New York Times.
It's hard to imagine the Times doing anything like the June 10 experiment, though. For this edition of the paper, nearly all the rules taught in journalism school were thrown out the window. Writers used the first person and showed up in nearly every photograph alongside their interview subjects, including the likes of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres.
Among those articles were gems like the stock market summary, by author Avri Herling. It went like this: "Everything's okay. Everything's like usual. Yesterday trading ended. Everything's okay. The economists went to their homes, the laundry is drying on the lines, dinners are waiting in place… Dow Jones traded steadily and closed with 8,761 points, Nasdaq added 0.9% to a level of 1,860 points…. The guy from the shakshuka [an Israeli egg-and-tomato dish] shop raised his prices again…." The TV review by Eshkol Nevo opened with these words: "I didn't watch TV yesterday." And the weather report was a poem by Roni Somek, titled "Summer Sonnet." ("Summer is the pencil/that is least sharp/in the seasons' pencil case.") News junkies might call this a postmodern farce, but considering that the stock market won't be soaring anytime soon, and that "hot" is really the only weather forecast there is during Israeli summers, who's to say these articles aren't factual?
Alongside these cute reports were gripping journalistic accounts. David Grossman, one of Israel's most famed novelists, spent a night at a children's drug rehabilitation center in Jerusalem and wrote a cover page story about the tender exchanges between the patients, ending the article in the style of a celebrated author who's treated like a prophet: "I lay in bed and thought wondrously how, amid the alienation and indifference of the harsh Israeli reality, such islands — stubborn little bubbles of care, tenderness and humanity — still exist." Grossman's pen transformed a run-of-the-mill feature into something epic.
So, too, did 79-year-old author Yoram Kaniuk, whose novel "Adam Resurrected" was recently adapted for a movie starring Jeff Goldblum and Ayelet Zurer. He went into the field to write about couples in the hospital cancer ward. The thing is, he's a cancer patient, too. "A woman walking with a cane brings her partner a cup of coffee with a trembling hand. The looks they exchange are sexier than any performance by Madonna and cost a good deal less," Kaniuk wrote. "I think about what would happen if I were to get better…how I would live without the human delicacy to which I am witness?"
"I got more telephone calls today than I have in years past," Kaniuk said in a phone interview. "People were very moved, because I wrote it like a writer and not like a journalist. If you see something beautiful and touching, why not write it?" The masterful articles by Kaniuk and Grossman made it seem like there's actually some hope to be reported in a country flooded with doomsday news bulletins.
The next day, Haaretz's usual staff reporters were back on the job.
The recession that accelerated the newspaper industry's transition is creating new models where local journalism can survive, writes Times Editorial Page Editor Ryan Blethen. One model known as the L3C — for low-profit, limited-liability corporations — could give rise to an era of local and independent ownership of newspapers.
By Ryan Blethen
For nearly 40 years, newspapers have been acquired by publicly traded corporations or ever-expanding privately held, but highly leveraged, companies. The inexorable, greed-fueled feast might finally be coming to an end.
An industry-transforming recession has exposed the decay of decades of corporate and profit-driven newspaper ownership.
In the detritus comes real opportunity. Some of the remaining Bigs are going to have no choice but to get out of the newspaper business or shed a number of what corporate types call "properties." This jettisoning of newspapers and the near valueless Wall Street assessments could give rise to an era of independent and local ownership.
One of the many intriguing ideas that could again place newspapers in the hands of local ownership is a new take on a tested business model: low-profit, limited-liability corporations. The new incarnation is called an L3C.
The L3C might be the perfect pairing for journalism and business. It would permit a company to act as a nonprofit and attract investors but allow for modest earnings. Even better, the overriding reason for an L3C is the public role it endows. This is a model made for the mission of newspapers.
Victor Pickard is examining L3Cs as senior research fellow at Free Press, a national media-reform organization. He said that L3Cs could free up newspapers to focus on serving communities with quality journalism.
"The low-profit model would let newspapers focus on their social good — that is, newsgathering — and not just the bottom line. It takes from the nonprofit and for-profit worlds: giving a return to investors, creating new avenues for philanthropy and focusing on local community service."