Thursday, July 22, 2010

Perpetual motion machine

Obama a “Socialist”? I Wish!

By Matthew Rothschild

I got an e-mail from a group called 21st Century Democrats, bemoaning the fact that a recent poll shows that 55% of likely voters said that the word "socialist" describes Obama and his policies.

The 21st Century Democrats said, "You and I know [that] is not the case."

I only wish it were!

I wish Obama had pressed for single-payer national health care.

I wish Obama had nationalized Citicorp and Bank of America, rather than bail them out.

I wish he would have favored breaking up the rest of the big banks so they couldn't destroy our economy.

I wish he would have forced any banks taking federal bailout money to freeze foreclosures for at least a year and freeze interest rates on mortgages and credit cards.

I wish Obama would have proposed redistributing income from the wealthy to those who really need it by raising the marginal income tax, and the capital gains tax, and the estate tax.

I wish Obama would have proposed a transaction tax on every stock sale so as to curb speculation.

I wish Obama would have proposed raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, as Ralph Nader has proposed.

I wish Obama would have replaced Ben Bernanke at the Fed with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

I wish Obama would have come out for democratizing the Fed, as Dennis Kucinich has recommended.

I wish Obama would have proposed a public works program to put every American who needs a job to work.

I wish Obama would have ordered every federal building to be installed with a solar panel, and almost every car in the federal fleet to be a hybrid or electric car.

I wish Obama would have proposed opening federal grocery stores in areas that are food deserts.

I wish Obama would have addressed the cruel problem of poverty in America.

I wish Obama would have proposed 12 months of paid maternity and paternity leave, mandatory paid sick leave, and federal child care.

I wish Obama would have advocated the nationalization of the armament companies, as Sen. Robert La Follette did back in 1924.

I wish Obama would have promoted ideas of worker participation in management, as it prevails in Germany, for instance.

No decent socialist would have implemented policies that have left unemployment at over 9 percent and foreclosures at record heights.

No decent socialist would have let the banks get off so easily.

Anarchism and Nonviolence: Time for a ‘Complementarity of Tactics’

More recently, in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant verdict in Oakland, the media fan the flames by blaming the few stray acts of window-breaking and looting on "self-described anarchists," while police officials emphasize that this de facto terrorist segment justifies their conduct vis-à-vis protesters in general. More rifts develop in the streets, and although a tenuous solidarity is at times expressed as well, the lasting images once again are of anarchists acting in seemingly unproductive ways that put the interests and safety of larger movement contingents in jeopardy.

These are but two recent examples of a phenomenon that has been regularly played out in North America since at least the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999. Antipathy toward anarchists seems to have increased steadily since then, not only from corporate elites and law enforcement officials, but from a number of fellow movement participants as well. Ironically, this comes at a time when interest in anarchism among activists has greatly expanded, and likewise when its impact upon American activism in general has seen a strong resurgence in recent years.

Critical voices regularly chastise anarchists without indicating that they fully understand what anarchism actually is. But anarchists as well oftentimes seem to act in contravention of both historical and political senses of what anarchism represents. This is further made problematic by the basic fact that anarchists generally eschew doctrinaire definitions and ideological litmus tests, suggesting that people ought to be free to define their own actions and ideas in the manner of their own choosing. And yet, a kind of orthodoxy that increasingly seems like "fundamentalist anarchism" may be taking hold among some sectors that posture as "real revolutionaries," who denigrate as "pathological" those who would seek to deploy their version of anarchism in less spectacular ways than overtly "smashing the state" by striking at some of its symbolic targets.

Interestingly, this plays right into the hands of the caricature of anarchism as violent, bomb-throwing, chaotic behavior that seems to be the first question one gets asked when their anarchism is presented in mixed company.

A Parliamentary Mob

Dissident Voice: a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice

When I was first elected to the Knesset, I was appalled at what I found. I discovered that, with rare exceptions, the intellectual level of the debates was close to zero. They consisted mainly of strings of clichés of the most commonplace variety. During most of the debates, the plenum was almost empty. Most participants spoke vulgar Hebrew. When voting, many members had no idea what they were voting for or against, they just followed the party whip.

That was 1967, when the Knesset included members like Levy Eshkol and Pinchas Sapir, David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan, Menachem Begin and Yohanan Bader, Meir Yaari and Yaakov Chazan, for whom today streets, highroads and neighborhoods are named.

In comparison to the present Knesset, that Knesset now looks like Plato's Academy.

What frightened me more than anything else was the readiness of members to enact irresponsible laws for the sake of fleeting popularity, especially at times of mass hysteria. One of my first Knesset initiatives was to submit a bill which would have created a second chamber, a kind of Senate, composed of outstanding personalities, with the power to hold up the enactment of new laws and compel the Knesset to reconsider them after an interval. This, I hoped, would prevent laws being hastily adopted in an atmosphere of excitement.

The bill was not considered seriously, neither by the Knesset nor by the general public. The Knesset almost unanimously voted it down. (After some years, several of the members told me that they regretted their vote.) The newspapers nicknamed the proposed chamber "the House of Lords" and ridiculed it. Haaretz devoted a whole page of cartoons to the proposal, depicting me in the garb of a British peer.

So there is no brake. The production of irresponsible laws, most of them racist and anti-democratic, is booming. The more the government itself is turning into an assembly of political hacks, the more the likelihood of its preventing such legislation is diminishing. The present government, the largest, basest and most despised in Israel's history, is cooperating with the Knesset members who submit such bills, and even initiating them itself.

The only remaining obstacle to this recklessness is the Supreme Court. In the absence of a written constitution, it has taken upon itself the power to annul scandalous laws that violate democracy and human rights. But the Supreme Court itself is beleaguered by rightists who want to destroy it, and is moving with great caution. It intervenes only in the most extreme cases.

Thus a paradoxical situation has arisen: parliament, the highest expression of democracy, is itself now posing a dire threat to Israeli democracy.

They're all grovelling and you can guess the reason

by Robert Fisk
It is the season of grovelling.
Only a week after CNN's Octavia Nasr and the British ambassador to Beirut, Frances Guy, dared to suggest that Sayyed Hassan Fadlallah of Lebanon was a nice old chap rather than the super-terrorist the Americans have always claimed him to be, the grovelling began. First Ms Nasr, already fired by the grovelling CNN for her effrontery in calling Fadlallah a "giant", grovelled herself. Rather than tell the world what a cowardly outfit she had been working for, she announced that hers was "a simplistic comment and I'm sorry because it conveyed that I supported Fadlallah's life's work. That's not the case at all".

What is this garbage? Nasr never gave the impression that she supported "Fadlallah's life's work". She merely expressed her regret that the old boy was dead, adding – inaccurately – that he had been part of Hizbollah. I don't know what her pompous (and, of course, equally grovelling) "senior vice president" said to her when she was given her marching orders. But like victims of the Spanish Inquisition, Nasr actually ended up apologising for sins she had never even been accused of. Then within hours, British ambassador Guy began her own self-flagellation, expressing her regrets that she may have offended anyone (and we all know what that means) by her "personal attempt to offer some reflections of a figure who, while controversial, was also highly influential in Lebanon's history and who offered spiritual guidance to many Muslims in need".

I loved the "controversial" bit – the usual "fuck you" word for anyone you want to praise without incurring the wrath of, well, you know who. The Foreign Office itself took down poor Ms Guy's blogapop on old Fadlallah, thus proving – as Arab journalists leapt to point out this week – that while Britain proclaims the virtues of democracy and the free press to the grovelling newspaper owners and grotty emirs of the Middle East, it is the first to grovel when anything might offend you know who.

Vilsack Must Keep Black Farmers On Their Land

One Million and a Half Black-Owned Farm Acres Being Looted by USDA While Farmers Wait for Justice

by Cynthia McKinney

[USDA Secretary] Secretary Vilsack admitted in a press conference today, "I did not think before I acted." It is clear from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's press conference today that he failed to do his job appropriately in his treatment of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) employee, Shirley Sherrod.

Sherrod was fired after her superior, USDA Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook asked Sherrod to pull over on her drive from south Georgia to Athens, Georgia and quit her job after a speech made by Sherrod to the Coffee County NAACP was aired on a Douglas County TV cable access channel and then posted on the internet by Andrew Breitbart, a known conservative, activist blogger.

Sherrod, a veteran advocate for Black Farmers, who the USDA admits have been discriminated against, was fired because the White House feared that Glen Beck was going to discuss her alleged racist remarks on his TV show that night.  It turns out, however, that the tape of Sherrod's remarks had been badly doctored and the doctored version had been posted on the internet.  Glen Beck and the entire Fox News operation were reacting to the doctored internet posting.  Ms. Sherrod was fired without having an opportunity to explain her side of the story and before the White House and Secretary Vilsack had even bothered to look at her entire speech.  "The White House and Secretary Vilsack threw Shirley Sherrod under the bus before they had the facts," said [2008 Green Party presidential  candidate] Cynthia McKinney, who knows Sherrod and has spoken often at the Coffee County NAACP.

Unfortunately however, Secretary Vilsack has also thrown Black Farmers under the bus. To date, despite abundant headlines to the contrary, Black Farmers, including the named plaintiffs in Pigford v. Glickman (1997), Lucious Abrams and Cecil Brewington have not even had a meeting with USDA, to settle their discrimination claim.  Others who did receive settlements were then harassed by the Internal Revenue Service and had their bank accounts frozen and their Social Security payments offset by any government payments, including stimulus payments.  "The actual so-called settlement of the lawsuit was worse than the discrimination that the USDA has admitted to and discrimination is continuing at this very hour," said Pigford plaintiff Black Farmer Eddie Slaughter.

"The President is meeting with everyone except those who brought forward the lawsuit and those who suffered discrimination and the violation of their Constitutional rights," said Lucious Abrams.  Eddie Slaughter and Lucious Abrams met with Secretary Vilsack and apprised him of the current situation, but the Secretary to date has failed to act.

Iranian Scientist Would Not Play ‘Curveball’

Useful insights often must be seen through a glass darkly. But some can be pulled through the smoke and mirrors shrouding the wanderings of Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, who is now back home in Iran after 14 months in the U.S. as guest of the CIA.

The confusing/amusing spin applied by both countries to L' Affaire Amiri can detract from the real issues. The facts beneath the competing narratives permit a key conclusion; namely, that U.S. intelligence has learned nothing to change its assessment that Iran halted work on the nuclear-weapons related part of its nuclear development program in the fall of 2003 and has not restarted that work.

That twin judgment leaped out of a formal National Intelligence Estimate, "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities," [.pdf] approved unanimously by all 16 U.S intelligence agencies in November 2007. 

That NIE substituted a rigorous evidence-based approach for the knee-jerk premise of earlier estimates that Iran had already decided to develop nuclear weapons and the question was just when, not if, it would eventually acquire them.

The NIE began with these words:

"We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. …

"We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons. …

"Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005."

That is not what President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had been telling the world, preferring to hyperbolize the danger from Iran's nuclear "weapons" program. Indeed, visiting Israel in January 2008, Bush said he did not believe the NIE's key judgments, and actually apologized to the Israelis for the unfortunate Estimate.

But the word was out and it put the kibosh on White House/neocon plans to manufacture/embellish an imminent nuclear threat from Iran, to look the other way as the Israelis attacked, and to then spring to the aid of our Israeli "ally," even though there is no bilateral defense treaty requiring that. 

The timely publication of the NIE's key judgments played a key role in scuttling plans of those in Washington and Tel Aviv to prevent/pre-empt the ostensibly urgent, but actually bogus, threat from Iran.

10 of the Most Crooked Candidates of 2010

This election's crop of the dirtiest, least ethical candidates vying for office in Washington.

Since 2005, the Watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has highlighted the most egregious violators of the public trust in its annual Most Corrupt Members of Congress report.  Now, CREW has begun a list of Crooked Candidates to shine the spotlight on some of the lousy politicians vying for federal office in 2010. Here's their collection of non-incumbent candidates so far:

CREW's Crooked Candidates 2010

Roy Blunt -- Running for U.S. Senate, Missouri

Running for U.S. Senate, Missouri

Roy Blunt is a candidate in the Republican primary for the United States Senate in Missouri. For the last 14 years, Rep. Blunt has served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the state's 7th congressional district. As a member of Congress, Rep. Blunt came under fire for a variety of issues including employing the same corrupt tactics that forced his mentor, former Texas Rep. Tom DeLay, to resign. Rep. Blunt's ethical issues were documented in CREW's 2006 report on the most corrupt members of Congress.

In 2003, Rep. Blunt divorced his wife of 31 years to marry Philip Morris (now Altria) lobbyist Abigail Perlman. Before it was known publicly that Rep. Blunt and Ms. Perlman were dating – and only hours after Rep. Blunt assumed the role of Majority Whip – he tried to secretly insert a provision into Homeland Security legislation that would have benefitted Philip Morris, at the expense of competitors. Notably, Philip Morris/Altria and its subsidiaries contributed at least $217,000 to campaign committees connected to Rep. Blunt from 1996 to 2006.

Also in 2003, Rep. Blunt helped his son, Andrew Blunt, by inserting a provision into the $79 billion emergency appropriation for the war in Iraq to benefit U.S. shippers like United Parcel Service, Inc. and FedEx Corp. Andrew Blunt lobbied on behalf of UPS in Missouri, and UPS and FedEx contributed at least $58,000 to Rep. Blunt from 2001 to 2006.

Family connections have also helped another of Rep. Blunt's sons, former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. Gov. Blunt received campaign contributions from nearly three dozen influential Missouri lobbyists and lawyers when he ran for governor of Missouri in 2004, half of whom had provided financial support to his father. Earlier in 2000, when Matt Blunt was running for Secretary of State, Rep. Blunt was involved in an apparent scheme, along with Rep. DeLay, to funnel money through a local party committee into Matt Blunt's campaign committee.

Rep. Blunt and his staff had close connections to convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In June 2003, Mr. Abramoff persuaded then-Majority Leader DeLay to organize a letter, co-signed by then-Speaker Dennis Hastert, then-Whip Blunt, and then-Deputy Whip Eric Cantor, which endorsed a view of gambling law benefitting Mr. Abramoff's client, the Louisiana Coushatta, by blocking gambling competition by another tribe. Mr. Abramoff had donated $8,500 to Rep. Blunt's leadership PAC, Rely on Your Beliefs.

Charlie Crist -- Running for U.S. Senate, Florida

Governor Charlie Crist is an Independent candidate running for United States Senate from Florida. Charlie Crist is currently the governor of Florida, but has held several public offices over the last 18 years.

Gov. Crist handpicked Jim Greer to head the Florida Republican Party. Despite multiple calls for Mr. Greer's resignation by fellow Republicans, due to extravagant spending at the party's expense, Gov. Crist defended Mr. Greer. Mr. Greer is now facing six counts of grand theft, fraud and money laundering. He is accused of secretly setting up a shell company, Victory Strategies, and signing a deal that would give Victory Strategies 10% of GOP donations – a deal that Gov. Crist allegedly approved.

Prior to serving as governor, Gov. Crist was the state's attorney general. As attorney general, Gov. Crist was criticized for failing to investigate those with whom he had political or financial ties. First, he failed to investigate state contractor GDX for leaking the personal information of 100,000 state employees. GDX had been subcontracted by computer company Convergys to index electronic personnel records but when GDX outsourced the job overseas, the personal information of up to 100,000 state employees may have been exposed. Convergys had close ties to then-Attorney General Crist. The company had hired his advisor as a lobbyist and was a donor to the Republican Party. Attorney General Crist dropped the investigation.

As attorney general, Gov. Crist also failed to fully investigate boy-band mogul Lou Pearlman. Mr. Pearlman, who ran a $300 million investment scam, was eventually indicted by federal authorities and pled guilty of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. A lawsuit brought by investors claimed Gov. Crist and Florida regulators knew about the scheme but turned a blind eye for four years. The suit alleges Mr. Pearlman got a pass from the then-attorney general because he had donated at least $12,000 to Gov. Crist's campaign.

Jeff Denham -- Running for U.S. House, California

Jeff Denham is the Republican candidate for California's 19th congressional district. He has served as a California State Senator since 2003.

Sen. Denham has been accused of supporting the interests of Chukchansi Indian's casino in exchange for the tribe's political support. Sen. Dunham used his influence to oppose construction of a $250 million casino proposed by the North Folk Rancheria of Mono Indians, which would likely compete with the existing Chukchansi casino.

The Chukchansi Indian tribe has been tied to campaign ads and a charity event supporting Sen. Denham. First, the interest group, Californians for Fiscally Conservative Leadership, set up by the Chukchansi Indian tribe, aired radio ads attacking Sen. Denham's opponent just before the congressional primary election.

Additionally, Sen. Denham donated $25,000 and loaned $150,000 from his state senate campaign account to the nonprofit Remembering the Brave. The nonprofit was working in coordination with the Chukchansi Indian Tribe to host a charity concert. Remembering the Brave sponsored radio and television advertisements, prominently featuring Sen. Denham, to promote the concert. Experts agreed that the exposure the ads afforded Sen. Denham likely benefited his run for Congress. By donating and loaning the money from his state campaign account Sen. Denham may have violated rules forbidding the use of state campaign money on a federal race.

Furthermore, the Chukchansi Indian Tribe stated in a marketing memo that the charity concert would "raise funds for Jeff Denham and Joe Alberta campaigns." The tribe later called the memo a misprint.

Lastly, Sen. Denham may have violated federal election law in late March when he traveled on a plane owned by Harris Farms, a California agribusiness. Since 2007 it has been illegal for congressional candidates to fly on corporate planes. Sen. Denham boarded the plane with Karl Rove and Andy Vidak, a Republican candidate from the neighboring 20th district, and flew from Fresno to East Bay and then to Harris Ranch. Local charter operators estimated the cost of the flight to have been at least $750, but Sen. Denham, in his campaign finance disclosures, reported only $150 to Harris Farms for travel expenses.

Alvin Greene -- Running for U.S. Senate, South Carolina

Alvin Greene is the Democratic nominee for United States Senate from South Carolina.

There are major questions about the legitimacy of Mr. Greene's campaign.  When Mr. Greene won the primary he had engaged in no fundraising, had no website and had no organized campaign.  Mr. Greene was discharged from the Army in August 2009, is currently unemployed and lives with his father. In addition, when Mr. Greene was charged with obscenity in November 2009 for showing pornography to a University of South Carolina student, he was assigned a public defender, a service normally provided only to indigent defendants.

Given Mr. Greene's apparent lack of funds, CREW and others raised questions about whether someone had paid the $10,440 fee to file as a candidate with his own money.  The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigated Mr. Greene's finances and found he had used his own savings from the Army to pay the registration fees.  SLED also found Mr. Greene had no intent to deceive the court when he applied for a public defender to defend him against the obscenity charges though he is now being represented by a private lawyer.

Several politicians have criticized Mr. Green including House Majority Whip James Clyburn who claimed Mr. Greene is "someone's plant" from an outside party and called for an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office.

CREW also filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging Mr. Greene violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and FEC regulations by failing to file mandatory disclosure reports prior to the election. CREW's complaint to the FEC alleges Mr. Greene failed to file a Statement of Candidacy and that his campaign committee, Alvin M. Greene for Senate, failed to file a Statement of Organization as well as the April 15th and 12-Day Pre-Primary reports. These reports would have disclosed the campaign's contributions and expenditures leading up to the June 8, 2010 primary.  CREW asked the FEC to refer any knowing and willful violations to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.

Offering an unusual job creation proposal, Mr. Greene suggested someone "make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an army uniform, air force uniform, and me in my suit. They can make toys of me and my vehicle, especially for the holidays and Christmas for the kids.  So you see I think out of the box like that. It's not something a typical person would bring up. That's something that could happen, that makes sense. It's not a joke."   Later, Mr. Greene elaborated, "I am a true American hero and if any of the toy companies want to put something like that forward that would be good." He said he has not received any inquiries, but that it would be "Just a good positive thing for the kids."

The DEA is going to kill someone

Alert Header Leonhart
Alert Image Leonhart
Alert Button Leonhart

Dear Michael Dare:

The DEA has gone rogue. Despite clear guidance from the Department of Justice directing them to do otherwise, agents are conducting raids of homes and businesses where the occupants are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.

These agents are storming onto the property of law-abiding citizens with guns drawn, destroying marijuana plants being grown for patients, stealing computers and cash, and even leaving trash on the floor behind them when they are done.

A recent raid in Mendocino County, California targeted a woman who had filed formal paperwork to grow medical marijuana, had paid a $1,050 application fee under the local ordinance, and whose operation had been inspected and approved by the local sheriff. When informed about this, the DEA agent in charge said, "I don't care what the sheriff says."

It is only a matter of time before one of these raids ends tragically with someone seriously injured or killed.

One woman is responsible for all of this. Her name is Michele Leonhart. She became the acting-administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration under George W. Bush and was shockingly nominated by President Obama to be the permanent head of the agency. She clearly has no respect for authority at the Department of Justice and is equally willing to use federal law enforcement power to trample on states' rights.

Yesterday, MPP and its allies called on President Obama to withdraw this nomination. We are hoping you will join us.

We have set up a page where you can send an e-mail to the White House, urging the President to withdraw the nomination. The pre-written e-mail we provide -- which you can modify -- also mentions that Leonhart has personally obstructed research into the therapeutic benefits of marijuana by denying an application from the University of Massachusetts to cultivate marijuana for this purpose.

Michele Leonhart does not deserve to be DEA administrator. Please take action so that President Obama gets this message.

Thank you,

[object Object]

Steve Fox
Director of Government Relations
Marijuana Policy Project


The Barefoot Bandit: I don't get it

 Crosscut Seattle.

Why is Colton Harris-Moore so popular? Shouldn't we be happy to see the 19-year-old fugitive in chains?

Someone please convince me that I should care about the Barefoot Bandit. Colton Harris-Moore, the 19-year-old man from Camano Island who was recently caught in the Bahamas, has been allegedly breaking laws across the country — stealing planes, boats, cars, and money, and busting into people's homes and businesses. He's eluded the law for a couple of years after escaping from a halfway house. He has a long record and a troubled past.

Somehow, this has made him, according to some, a "folk hero." One with a Facebook fan page.

Perhaps it's his success at living off the grid, though, ironically, it's the Internet that made him a media phenom. Maybe part of the appeal is the reality-show quality of his globe-trotting survival tour.

But we're not talking about a latter-day Robin Hood here. This is not a guy stealing from the rich to give to the poor. There's no political cause, no righteous protest. He's no black-clad anarchist, no rebel, no revolutionary.

The "Free Colton" T-shirts make him sound like Che Guevara. Is the "Barefoot Bandit" a political prisoner? Please.

Terror in Iran: Another Day, Another Atrocity in the World of Dirty War

by Chris Floyd

Perhaps this is America's answer to Washington's embarrassment over the Iranian scientist who got away this week:

At least 21 people, including members of the elite Revolutionary Guards, were killed and 100 wounded in suicide attack at a Shi'ite mosque in the southeast Iranian city of Zahedan on Thursday, Iranian media reported.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the two suicide bombings in front of Zahedan's Grand Mosque, although a lawmaker said he believed the Sunni rebel group Jundollah was behind the attack.

We do know that the United States has been covertly aiding Jundullah -- no doubt as part of the secret armies, militias, terrorist groups and covert operators that the Peace Laureate Administration has recently admitted -- or rather, bragged about in a strategic leak -- running in up to 75 countries around the world.

As I noted last year, after a similar terrorist attack in the same Iranian city:

On Thursday, a suicide bomber walked into a mosque, detonated his explosives and killed and wounded almost 140 people. In the wreckage and confusion afterward, a final death count has not yet been established, but the latest available information puts it at 23.

It is unlikely that you heard about this terrorist attack -- because it took place in Iran. For years, Iran has endured a series of terrorist actions -- suicide bombings, kidnappings, beheadings, open assaults by fanatical gunmen, sabotage, and "targeted assassinations" of government officials, scientists and others. Multitudes have been slaughtered in these operations, whose ferocity and frequency are surpassed only by the atrocities that have been unleashed in the four countries that have been on the forefront of America's Terror War: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. One shudders to think what Washington's response would be to such a sustained campaign on American soil.

Of course, it is no mystery why the attack on the mosque in Zahedan -- a city situated at the strategic point where the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan converge -- attracted so little attention in the Western press. Every day, we are schooled relentlessly by our political and media classes to regard the Iranians -- heirs to one of the world's oldest and most sophisticated civilizations -- as demons and subhumans, whose lives are of little account. This can be seen in the long-running debate over an attack on Iran, which focuses almost entirely on the advantages or disadvantages such an assault would pose for American and Israeli interests -- and not at all on the thousands of human beings living in Iran who would be killed in the operation.

But there is another reason why the terrorist attack in Zahedan has not been greeted with commiserations from the White House or excited coverage from our government-spoonfed media: because it is highly likely that the United States played a role in fomenting the attack, either by direct or by collateral hand...

In Dallas, Texas