Jeffrey Goldberg’s claim that Iran’s Supreme Leader wants to kill Israeli Jews is based on shoddy sources

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 23 Comments

To take the Iranian government at its word is folly. With the zeal of a conservative religious revolution that rocked the country more than three decades ago, the Islamic Republic reserves its most egregiously, immediately and consistently malevolent behavior not for the Great Satan in America or the Zionist regime in Israel, but its own people, whom it harasses daily, hangs in droves for offenses not more than suspicion of homosexuality, and shoots to kill when democratic demands are taken to the street in peaceful, often silent marches. 

But it’s difficult to read a document coming from that government, like the op-ed issued in the Washington Post on Friday April the 13th — in which Iran’s foreign minister declares that his Supreme Leader “issued a religious edict — a fatwa — forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons” — and not wonder: Is a non-violent resolution to Iran’s nuclear crisis with the West actually possible? 

The document, given its venue, is designed for American consumption, to be sure. Yet in condemning nuclear weapons, Iran’s leaders have deployed the only cachet they seem to muster with their own internal followers (who number in the millions despite robust opposition): that same zeal of a conservative religious revolution. Few of the Serious Washington Liberals could be not heartened. And among them stands tallest Jeffrey Goldberg, Jeffrey Goldberg who harps on this same religious zeal when it comes to the threats inherent to Iranian nuclear weapons development. 

“Oh, and by the way,” Goldberg glibly writes at the end of a blog post. “I haven’t written about the upcoming P5 + 1 talks with Iran over its nuclear program mainly because I don’t think anything will come of them.” The journalist who dedicates so much of his effort to the story of the Iran crisis refuses to cover this news. His blog might as well be one of the American Enterprise Institute satellite websites cataloguing Iranian transgressions, building–as we know from the last movie with same players– a case for war. 

And those Iranian transgressions he does cover with vigor. Take, for example, Goldberg’s February blog post on what his headline accurately describes as “Iranian Website Calls for Murder of All Jewish Israelis.” The journalist has spotted some big news, and he seeks to amplify it. Fair enough. The blog post in question, a nasty one, does call for what Goldberg would label a pre-emptive strike on Israel (really, it’s a preventative one). It games out ways to kill Israeli Jews, but not their Muslim, Arab Palestinian adversaries. And worse: the blogpost, by a 27-year-old no name, garnered republication by Alef, a conservative website associated with the views of the Supreme Leader.

But association is not enough for Goldberg. To close out his first paragraph — the lede, in journalistic parlance — of his piece, he writes (link in original): “The author, Alireza Forghani, is linked to office of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and the article’s release coincided with Khamenei’s latest ‘Israel is a cancerous tumor‘ speech.”

Wow. A coordinated propaganda move by the office of the Supreme Leader. Or so you’d think, if you believed Goldberg about the links between the no-name blogger and the office of the Supreme Leader.

As I said, the website that reprinted the post, Alef, toes the line of the Supreme Leader, and that’s is no small thing in police state like Iran. It may as well be a direct link to the office of the Supreme Leader. But that does not make this blogpost a policy statement, as Goldberg asserts. The link to the office of the Supreme Leader appears to be one Goldberg lifted from the conspiracy theory site WND, best known for (still to this day) promulgating “birther” nonsense. Goldberg does not hyperlink the claim — or even its republication, with credit to WND, by the only-slightly-less-noxious Daily Mail.

The pro-Zionist translation site MEMRI served as Goldberg’s source in reprinting sections of the offending blog post. But MEMRI does not link the author directly to the office of the Supreme Leader and in fact asserts [emphasis mine], “While Forghani, who notes that his article expresses his own views and not necessarily those of the regime, states that Iran must take it upon itself to annihilate Israel, Khamenei has avoided pitting Iran as an active combatant against Israel, keeping his country in a supportive role of assisting other forces against Israel.” MEMRI claims, with some sourcing, that the author is a “staunch supporter of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,” not that he’s linked to the Leader’s office. And this other measured take on the issue from a real Iranian scholar, Shaul Bakhash, reports the blogpost but pointedly does not ascribe that thinking to the office of the Supreme Leader. 

The idea that pro-regime websites pick up this garbage is bad enough. Why embellish by tying it to the Supreme Leader?

Well, the answer should be obvious to anyone keeping track of how Iran works — or of Goldberg’s writing. It’s not enough for Goldberg for pro-regime websites to tread this ugly ground. It needs to be shown that the man with the ultimate power in Iran is directly linked to it, to establish that there is indeed an “existential threat” to Israel. See, if Iran does get a bomb, it will never be launched without the Leader’s approval. Neither the website Alef, nor the semi-official Fars News, nor some blogger, will be making this decision — ever. It will be the Supreme Leader’s final say. And so the Supreme Leader is drawn in by Goldberg, based on the shoddiest of sources. 

A conspiracy website may be only slightly better than the sources employed by Goldberg back in 2002. That was when he visited a prisoner of the notoriously unreliable Kurdish intelligence service in Iraq, a prisoner who told him of direct dealings between Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat and Al Qaeda. And never mind that the prisoner could not describe Kandahar, where he claimed to have dealt with Osama Bin Laden’s group.

Dick Cheney twice waved around that prisoner’s story in Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece in the New Yorker  on Sunday talk shows in late 2002. The journalist spotted some big news then, and he sought to amplify it.

About Percy Sykes

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23 Responses

  1. sciri21
    April 13, 2012, 3:39 pm

    I read the blog post about “annihilating” the Israeli people when it was first published. There’s nothing linking the blogger or his views to Khamenei. I think the reason that Alef published the blog post may be its detailed discussions of Iran’s military capabilities, not b/c it represents Iranian policy.

    The WND article was written by “Reza Kahlili”, the pseudonym for someone claiming to have been a CIA spy in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. “Kahlili” the propagandist has a long track record of scaremongering and lying about Iran. Even U.S. intelligence officials reportedly have debunked some of his claims about Iran’s nuclear program.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 13, 2012, 4:51 pm

      sciri, i noticed the same thing about ‘Reza Kahlili’. an anonymous person who claims he is a cia spy..i don’t know, pretty flaky. plus, not one links to this site. wonder why? it’s so flaky.

      also, from goldberg’s current post:

      One official in the region just told me this: The Ahmadinejad visit might have been an attempt to “rally nationalist pride before the nuclear talks,” which are to start shortly. “It could be many things,” the official said. “But whatever it is, it is being interpreted in one way in the region, as a clear provocation and escalation.”

      One official in the region? might that be one official in israel? goldberg says “The proximate cause of this dramatic move is the visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to an Iranian-occupied island in the Persian Gulf that the UAE claims as its own.”

      why frame it as a proximate cause?

      and this”The Arab states, with the exception (for the moment, at least) of Syria, look upon the Iranian regime with fear and loathing.

      oh please.

  2. Charon
    April 13, 2012, 4:45 pm

    Israeli sociopathic paranoia and manipulative racist leaders (who are also war criminals and terrorists) wants to attack Iran for invented reasons. Shoddy evidence from shoddy sources. The same neocon media hawks who brought us aluminum tubes. US military intelligence along with Israel’s own intelligence already agrees there is no evidence Iran’s nuclear program will be weaponized. And even if it is, it wouldn’t happen for years.

    The information to the contrary is coming from public opinion manipulators. Ben Stein saying that Iran intends to cause another holocaust. Ben Stein himself being best friends with banksters and foreign policy think tanks.

    Let’s say that Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facility. Retaliation is plausible. I believe that Israel’s hand will be ‘forced’ into using one of their nukes, probably on Tehran. There is a very good scenario that upwards of 10,000,000 casualties would result from such an attack.

    So Israel, out of paranoia, poorly interprets ‘erased from the pages of history’ as ‘wiped off the map’ and takes offense to the little jabs from their powerless president. They poorly assume Iran’s nuclear program is for weapons despite evidence to the contrary. They believe that Iran wants to cause a holocaust. So, the build-up to attacking Iran is completely unfounded, not based on reality, and is totally delusional. If carried out, it’s plausible that they would murder 10 million people. They would cause a nuclear holocaust to prevent a holocaust threat that only exists in their imagination.

    Now, how would the world respond if taken this far? There is, IMHO, a good chance that millions of people will die for absolutely no reason. That the world just say there and allow it to happen. How are the Iranians going to feel about that? Israel will be the ultimate bad guy. Attacking Iran is a suicide mission. At the very least, $40/gallon gas. And at the very worst, nuclear world war. Why even risk that? Why risk putting Americans in harm’s way and causing our economy to plummet further by dragging us into another war? Israel is obviously the only nuclear problem in this world. They are who we should be dealing with, not Iran’s imaginary nukes. Israel’s real ones they made in secret. That they hid in inspections. That they do not admit to existing.

    • sciri21
      April 14, 2012, 2:22 pm

      Speaking of “wiped off the map”, Israel itself has literally wiped Palestine and part of Syria off the map

  3. CTuttle
    April 13, 2012, 5:34 pm

    Continuing with the ‘Fear and Loathing’ meme… Check out Dershowitz, amongst others: Iran’s nuclear programme: legal debate stirs over basis for US or Israeli attack

    …Alan Dershowitz, the renowned jurist and supporter of Israel, has argued that the US and the Jewish state can invoke a long-standing right under customary international law of “pro-active self-defence” as well as article 51 of the United Nations charter.

    • Nima Shirazi
      April 13, 2012, 6:36 pm

      Dershowitz’s claims are totally bogus and unsupported by fact or international law. Shameful, really. For more, read this (self-promotion alert!):

      The Warped Morality of a Warmonger: Why Alan Dershowitz is Wrong on Israel’s ‘Rights’

      Even weirder in that Guardian piece you refer to, however, are the comments from professor Anthony D’Amato, who states (presumably with a serious face):

      Iran says it wants to push the Israelis into the sea and that they are constructing nuclear weapons. That’s enough for me to say that cannot be allowed. If the US or Israel takes the initiative to block that action, it can hardly be said to be violating international law. It can only be preserving international law for future generations.”

      Surreal, to say the least. Has Iran never made such a threat and has absolutely never said that it is constructing nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary.

      Moreover, regarding the absurd “push the Israelis into the sea” line, it should be remembered that in September 2008, The New York Times reported on President Ahmadinejad’s defense of his cabinet minister (a close political ally & family member by marriage) Esfandiar Rahim Mashai’s remarks that Iran was “a friend of Israeli people” and that Iran has “no hostility toward the Israeli people,” and quoted the Iranian president as saying,

      “We are opposed to the idea that the people who live there [in Israel] should be thrown into the sea or be burnt,” reiterating his belief in self-determination of all people based upon elections: “We believe that all the people who live there [in Israel and Palestine], the Jews, Muslims and Christians, should take part in a free referendum and choose their government.”

      But hey, why fact-check or even pay attention when the only negative result is a flagrant war crime against a sovereign nation, the murders of thousands of human beings and the potential for not only a global economic collapse but also a world war?

    • sciri21
      April 13, 2012, 11:54 pm

      Dersh is nothing more than a shill

  4. DICKERSON3870
    April 13, 2012, 6:28 pm

    RE: “Jeffrey Goldberg’s claim that Iran’s Supreme Leader wants to kill Israeli Jews is based on shoddy sources”

    WITH MY SINCEREST APOLOGIES TO “Mayhem”, FROM THE HASBARA HANDBOOK: “Quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be old or out of context.”

    SEE THE HASBARA HANDBOOK (pages 24-25):

    Testimonial [one of the seven propaganda devices]
    Testimonial means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse an ideal or campaign. [As I see it, testimonials by people who are disliked or infamous (i.e. a “boogeyman”) can also be used to besmirch an opposing ideal or campaign. – J.L.D.] Testimonial can be used reasonably – it makes sense for a footballer to endorse football boots – or manipulated, such as when a footballer is used to support a political campaign they have only a limited understanding of. Whilst everybody is entitled to an opinion, testimonial can lend weight to an argument that it doesn’t deserve: if U2’s Bono condemned Israel for something that it didn’t do, thousands would believe him, even though he was wrong.
    Enlisting celebrity support for Israel can help to persuade people that Israel is a great country. Obviously some celebrities are more useful than others. Students are probably a little too sophisticated to be affected by Britney’s opinion on Israel, but those associated with intelligence like professors, actors, radio hosts, sports managers and so on can be asked to offer testimonial. A celebrity doesn’t have to fully support Israel to be useful. Quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be old or out of context. [Similarly, a disliked/ infamous person (i.e. a “boogeyman”) doesn’t have to actually threaten Israel to be useful (in besmirching Israel’s adversaries). According to the Hasbara Handbook, the quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be “old or out of context” (or perhaps have only the most tenuous of connections to the “bogeyman” – Khamenei in this instance – that they are being associated with) – J.L.D.] . . . .

    SOURCE, “HASBARA HANDBOOK: Promoting Israel on Campus”, published by the World Union of Jewish Students, March 2002 – http://www.scribd.com/doc/53789685/Hasbara-Handbook-Promoting-Israel-on-Campus

  5. Daniel Rich
    April 13, 2012, 8:39 pm

    Fortunately ‘we’ [the collective west] have never ever sought to meddle in other/foreign countries and the concept of ‘colonies’ is alien to us, hence our ‘right’ to lecture others on how to run their countries. We did not burn witches or heretics, they jumped into the fires themselves… http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ND14Ak05.html

  6. Les
    April 13, 2012, 11:02 pm

    When Corporal Goldberg returned to the US from Israel where he not only served in their military rather than in the US military and where he attained citizenship for his allegiance to Israel, in recognition of his changed status, Goldberg’s US citizenship should have been replaced with a green card granted to other such foreigners.

  7. Hostage
    April 14, 2012, 4:16 am

    The United States and Israel have attempted, with no success, to revive the doctrine of preventative wars waged in violation of the UN Charter, i.e. Article 51. Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs . . . .

    However, if there’s ever been a valid case for a pre-emptive strike (not!), the case for the necessity of such a strike against Israel is much more compelling than the one for such a strike against Iran.

  8. AllenBee
    April 15, 2012, 11:15 pm

    Percy — could you please provide sources for the claims made in your opening paragraph:

    “To take the Iranian government at its word is folly. With the zeal of a conservative religious revolution that rocked the country more than three decades ago, the Islamic Republic reserves its most egregiously, immediately and consistently malevolent behavior not for the Great Satan in America or the Zionist regime in Israel, but its own people, whom it harasses daily, hangs in droves for offenses not more than suspicion of homosexuality, and shoots to kill when democratic demands are taken to the street in peaceful, often silent marches. “

    I’m fighting hard to keep from saying, this is utter bs. Maybe you have facts, extensive data, evidence to support the above. If so, let’s see it; if not, get thee to an editor (who doesn’t sound like Goldberg).

    • subconscious
      April 16, 2012, 2:53 am

      Very ironic for someone who hasn’t bothered to do minimal checking of extensive & readily available sources to be giving out advice on proper documentation to others. Apparently, someone has to carry out the burden of your laziness; so here’s what a few minutes of straightforward web searching yielded.

      — Amnesty International’s 2011 annual report on Iran @ http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/reports/annual-report-iran-2011?page=show
      Synopsis:
      “The authorities maintained severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly. Sweeping controls on domestic and international media aimed at reducing Iranians’ contact with the outside world were imposed. Individuals and groups risked arrest, torture and imprisonment if perceived as cooperating with human rights and foreign based Persian language media organizations. Political dissidents, women’s and minority rights activists and other human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and students were rounded up in mass and other arrests and hundreds were imprisoned. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees were routine and committed with impunity. Women continued to face discrimination under the law and in practice. The authorities acknowledged 252 executions, but there were credible reports of more than 300 other executions. The true total could be even higher. At least one juvenile offender was executed. Sentences of death by stoning continued to be passed, but no stonings were known to have been carried out. Floggings and an increased number of amputations were carried out.”

      — “Amnesty International Says Iran Focused on Covering Up Horrific Abuses Committed During Post-Election Period” @
      http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/iran-amnesty-international-says-iran-focused-on-covering-up-horrific-abuses-committed-during-post-el

      — Says AI, “Iran: The last executioner of children” @
      http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/reports/iran-the-last-executioner-of-children?page=show
      “Iran has the shameful status of being the world’s last official executioner of child offenders … It also holds the macabre distinction of having executed more child offenders than any other country in the world since 1990, according to Amnesty International’s records.”

      — Says AI, “”We Are Ordered to Crush You”: Expanding Repression of Dissent in Iran” @
      http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/reports/we-are-ordered-to-crush-you-expanding-repression-of-dissent-in-iran?page=show

      — Says AI, “Iran Determined to Impose Total Information Blackout to Stifle Dissent” @
      http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/iran-determined-to-impose-total-information-blackout-to-stifle-dissent/

      — Says AI: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJybyVNPJ_E

      — Plenty more on Iran @ AI’s site.

      — HRW’s “World Report 2012: Iran” @
      http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-iran
      Synopsis:
      “In 2011 Iranian authorities refused to allow government critics to engage in peaceful demonstrations. In February, March, April, and September security forces broke up large-scale protests in several major cities. In mid-April security forces reportedly shot and killed dozens of protesters in Iran’s Arab-majority Khuzestan province. There was a sharp increase in the use of the death penalty. The government continued targeting civil society activists, especially lawyers, rights activists, students, and journalists. In July 2011 the government announced it would not cooperate with, or allow access to, the United Nations special rapporteur on Iran, appointed in March 2011 in response to the worsening rights situation.”

      — Feel free to go through HRW’s various Iran reports @
      http://www.hrw.org/search/apachesolr_search/iran
      where, just for 2012, you’ll come across headlines such as, “Long Sentences in Newest Convictions of Human Rights Activists”, “Opposition Imprisoned, Barred from Running in Parliamentary Elections”, “Journalists’ Families Targeted in Campaign Against Media”, “Iran: New Arrests of Labor Activists”, “Journalists, Bloggers Arrested ahead of Elections”.

      — Says Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, “All you need to know: a quick breakdown of findings from Dr. Ahmed Shaheed’s UN report” @
      http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/united-nations-reports/un-reports/1000000065-all-you-need-to-know-a-quick-breakdown-of-findings-from-dr-ahmed-shaheeds-un-report.html#.T4uwENne8z4

      — Just browse through http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/

      — Says Reporters Without Borders, “Press Freedom Index 2011-2012” @ http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.html
      “… Syria, Iran and China, three countries that seem to have lost contact with reality as they have been sucked into an insane spiral of terror … In Iran (175th), hounding and humiliating journalists has been part of officialdom’s political culture for years. The regime feeds on persecution of the media.”

      — Sample public execution in Iran (graphic) @
      http://www.youtube.com/v/avEYFhcA5eI
      w/ plenty more on YouTube.

      — Sample crackdown on post-2009-election protests @
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhmY9KdhQd0
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8rRSXAYT-w
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8QZ4iLNFnw
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAfUX3_SNmY
      Tons more of such clips on YouTube for the minimally non-lazy.

      • subconscious
        April 16, 2012, 3:42 am

        As an accompaniment to the AI item I referenced above about Iran’s distinct honor of “being the world’s last official executioner of child offenders,” are the following 2 videos (the lawyer in the 1st video is in exile and the 2nd clip is graphic):
        http://www.amnesty.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=78&gclid=CO_HvcWBha8CFc4LtAod6zbG3Q

      • Annie Robbins
        April 16, 2012, 3:56 am

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_juvenile_offenders_executed_in_the_United_States

        This is a list of juvenile offenders executed in the United States. This list consists of those people executed in the United States for crimes committed while they were juveniles (before reaching the age of majority). Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, 22 people have been executed for crimes committed while they were under the age of 18.

      • subconscious
        April 16, 2012, 6:16 am

        My previous reply has mysteriously disappeared, so I’ll rephrase it. The focus of the comments by AllenBee and me, in repsonse to Percy Sykes, was just the internal human rights record of the IRI. None of us tried to compare it to violations by other countries or draw conclusions in that vein, and child executions is only one instance of such violations. Bringing in US-Israeli (or anyone else’s) crimes was not part of the exchange. In any case, the Wikipedia article you link to, doesn’t contradict what AI is saying about Iran’s child executions. AI refers to child executions in various countries in its detailed article and draws its conclusions about Iran. Another thing to note is that unlike in the US, (as AI points out) many executions of various offenders (possibly including children) are not publicized by the Iranian gov’t, so the known cases may not be providing the full statistics.

  9. Annie Robbins
    April 16, 2012, 3:31 am

    holds the macabre distinction of having executed more child offenders than any other country in the world since 1990, according to Amnesty International’s records.”

    yep, 24 children since 1990. we both know that number pales in comparison to the children murdered by both the US and israel. states sanctioning the killing of children is wrong no matter who does it. reminds me of something madeline albright said.

    • subconscious
      April 16, 2012, 4:13 am

      Your contrast is specious and outside the logic of the posts. It’s as if in response to blogs about abuse of Palestinian children detained by Israel, someone says “but we all know that pales in comparison to hundreds of thousands of children killed in the Congo in the past several years.” When they posted blogs about Mubarak’s abuse of protesters (or those in Bahrain, etc.), did you respond by belittling the casualties of Mubarak’s forces by comparing them to those of US-Israel or in the Congo or in Darfur or those executed in China? Wouldn’t that have been viewed as anything other than whitewashing?

      Organizations like AI & HRW, from which I quoted, are professional w/ a long-standing record of defending human rights across the globe. They’re aware and have extensively documented the US-Israeli records, among others. So, when they make the above specific reports about Iran, they’re being quite principled.

      Your comment also defies the logic of the posts. The blog started by referring to IRI’s ongoing and sordid human rights record, to which AllenBee objected, demanding documentation. I was just pointing out the extensive and easily-accessible documentation regarding the IRI’s across-the-board internal violations of human rights. It’s strange that you picked one item and (w/o refuting it) made a specious comparison.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 16, 2012, 5:42 am

        i think since my government has imposed sanctions on iran at the behest of another government it is fair to make contrasts with my country, the country who pushes my congress and iran. ( the prez candidates and the congress keep talking about.) it’s what i thought of and you are welcome to not red my comments, anytime in fact.

        you can keep tagteaming with allenbee, don’t let me get in your way.

      • AllenBee
        April 16, 2012, 9:30 am

        thanks 4 dealing w/ subconscious, Annie Robbins.
        subconscious DID establish a ‘comparison’ that you rightly & righteously took down.

        given that Iran enters any and every arena under a cloud of prejudgment, the links to Amnesty International reports and even videos were not that persuasive of whatever point Percy Sykes was trying to make. That’s a huge part of the problem that’s created by the relentless propaganda war waged against Iran — nothing is believable.

        I’m new here. I thought Mondoweiss presented well-sourced information that MSM does not.

        And that’s why I questioned Sykes as I did. I have to say, it took me four or five rewrites to tone down the anger that Sykes’ headline aroused. (I didn’t read the entire article, just the first few para s). Here’s the Giant Outdoor Billboard Headline that hit my eye/subconscious:

        Jeffrey Goldberg’s claim that Iran’s Supreme Leader wants to kill Israeli Jews is based on shoddy sources

        Here’s the true-false balance that headline planted in my subconscious:

        Iran’s Supreme Leader wants to kill Israeli Jews but Jeffrey Goldberg relies on shoddy sources to make that claim. The headline does not suggest that the claim is untrue or even that the sources are absolutely unreliable, only that the sources are shoddy. Goldberg should have gotten un-shoddy sources to make his claim that Iran’s Supreme Leader wants to kill Israeli Jews, but the claim stands.
        When the claim has to do with life-and-death on a mass scale, such sloppy and slanted writing is totally unacceptable.

        The headline having set me up to believe that “Iran’s supreme leader wants to kill Jews,” my brain is too aroused to dig deeper into the article to discover that it’s just a journalist-vs-journalist, or maybe intraJewish community, foodfight.

        I think its crappy reporting and blogging, and if that’s what Mondoweiss stands for, I’m disappointed. There are plenty of blogs that distort news, particularly about Iran. I thought MW was supposed to be different.

        If subconscious wants to get into a more honest discussion of a) how Iran’s system of justice differs from American; b) how Iran’s overall cultural and ‘socio-spiritual cohesiveness’ are never represented in US MSM, in preference to the salacious and hatemongering snapshots that AI prefers to spotlight; and c)why and how the pressures that sanctions place on Iran are calculated to force Iranian leaders into controlling their population — which is well known to the AIPACers who designed the sanctions — then we can have that conversation.

        An example the phenom of b) — in the first video subconscious linked, woman is struck by baton — look and listen more carefully at the way the victim’s companions confronted the perp — there was no fear in the confronter’s voice or body language; it was as if she were chastising her brother who had offended against the family norms and values. He was chastened. He did not react with further bullying, as one witnesses frequently in US & Israel. There is an ineffable community bond among Iranians — listen to the woman’s tone of voice — she was not screeching or enraged, she was quietly but firmly offended: ‘how could you do this to our sister?’ offended.
        These nuances are what Americans should understand about Iran: Iranians have a deeply embedded unifying force that holds their culture together. It is evident even when–or especially when– one Iranian harms another Iranian.
        The tragedy of what US & Israel are doing to Iran is that they are attempting to dissolve that community bond and fracture Iranian society — presumably so that it will be as harsh as is American or Israeli society.

      • subconscious
        April 17, 2012, 1:25 am

        AllenBee,

        Your comments are just plain bizarre. You distort people’s statements as if the readers cannot read the plain English and judge for themselves. E.g., when you say, “subconscious DID establish a ‘comparison’ that you … took down,” it’s obvious that I just listed several documents of IRI’s human rights violations w/o a single comparison to anything. Annie Robbins injected the comparison to the US, but even she didn’t explicitly suggest that I had made any comparisons. I can’t even tell anymore what exactly you’re objecting to in Sykes’ blog. Your first comment, which started this thread, was clearly about Sykes’ initial paragraph, which referred to IRI’s human rights record. Now you’ve shifted the target of the discussion by telling us your state of mind as you read the rest of the article. When you make statements like “the links to Amnesty International reports and even videos were not that persuasive” and “the salacious and hatemongering snapshots that AI prefers to spotlight,” it’s clear that there’s no point in referencing professional and objective documentation by respected organizations in response to you. So I shouldn’t bother w/ that anymore; lets just pull stuff out of thin air and our imaginations as “evidence and documentation.”

        It’s probably beating a poor dead horse but to reiterate, everything Sykes said in his 1st paragraph is valid. “To take the Iranian government at its word is folly.” That’s a no-brainer, since it’s universally true of all gov’ts; by nature, all gov’ts are in the business of producing propaganda for their cause. “The Islamic Republic reserves its most egregiously, immediately and consistently malevolent behavior not for the Great Satan in America or the Zionist regime in Israel, but its own people.” That’s about as controversial as saying that Saddam’s regime reserved its worst crimes for its own people, not the US or Israel, which is what all principled opponents of the Iraq war were saying at the time. Sykes is saying that even though the IRI is an internally tyrannical regime, it’s not an existential threat to the US & Israel, as the warmongers make it out to be. “[The IRI] harasses daily, hangs in droves for offenses not more than suspicion of homosexuality, and shoots to kill [its own population] when democratic demands are taken to the street in peaceful, often silent marches.” Well, I attached plenty of links to support that. But that would only convince people who don’t think AI is a malicious propaganda agency. The rest of Sykes’ article discusses an example of how Western propagandists distort a blog written in Iran to build a case for IRI’s grave threat to the West. I’m not sure if you got that point.

        As for your offer that “If subconscious wants to get into a more honest discussion of a) how Iran’s system of justice differs from American; b) how Iran’s overall cultural and ‘socio-spiritual cohesiveness’ are never represented in US MSM … then we can have that conversation,” the answer is no: I don’t think much of this discussion is honest and it would be hijacking this blog into a different direction to discuss your a) & b).

        Your explanation of the YouTube video that I linked to, in which a woman is clubbed in the head by a security man, and the guy who comes to help her is pulled by the hair and knee-punched in the belly by another security guy, is baloney. The voices we here in the video are of the people who were filming from a distance, not the ones involved in the incident, as you claim. They are expressing their shock at what they’re witnessing from a distance. I also don’t understand these “nuances” you refer to, such as “Iran’s overall cultural and ‘socio-spiritual cohesiveness’”. Rather than preaching here about such “cohesiveness,” you’d do better to explain them at a seminar for the security forces we see in these videos, since they seem to act towards their own population in the same police-state manner that security forces in the territories, Egypt & Bahrain do.

  10. Annie Robbins
    April 16, 2012, 4:31 pm

    allen, i have no idea who Percy Sykes is. your concerns are ones i would write adam and phil about.

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