If you come in my cage I'll eat you too!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

American journalists and Ahmadinajad, just get a room already!

In case you were ignorant of the fact that the employees of American newspapers are, gushing in their knickers, Beatle style fans of President Ahmadinajad, read this article from the San Francisco Chronicle staff reporter Matthew Stannard. He excoriates Tony Blair while calling up all manner of "experts," with Persian names mind you, who are all too willing to testify in the usual manner, that Iran clearly won the battle of wills and wits in the recent British hostage situation. Iran comes out smelling like a rose according to the article. It's pretty typical of Muslims to claim an abject defeat is a victory, because they are always concerned about not losing face, but this was neither a victory nor a defeat for either side . It was an exercise in futility. The American press is so on the side of Muslims, any Muslims, except for moderate Muslims, that is, that it can see only the good in them. It has started to believe that Muslims can do no wrong, or always have a free pass to do wrong. Or a really great reason to do wrong.

Hmm, let's see. Iran took hostages and paraded them on television, forced the female hostage to cover her sinful head, yada yada. The claim of ill treatment on the part of the British hostages was given little attention by the press. It harkened back to the spectacle of Saddam Hussein publicly stroking a terrified little boy he was holding hostage in the start up to the war in Iraq. This incident made the Iranian people look primitve and goofy. Ahmadinajad seems prone to grandstanding and seems to have little understanding of how people behave in a modern world.

The left leaning American press is only too accepting of the kidnapping of Westerners by a religious fundamentalist, woman hating torturer as a cute, funny little incident or a resonable political manuver. If these journalists love Ahmadinajad so much they should go work in Iran in his propaganda department. One hopes they don't overcome their delusions about him and become critical of him, because they might end up in an Iranian jail.

These constant displays of slavish public affection toward the Iranian President are making me feel all squirmy inside. I am of a generation that is uncomfortable witnessing public groping, which is why I rarely visit San Francisco any more. I have said it before and I will say it again, it is a third world dictator's duty to act crazy and be charming. These men fit an archetype.

There is no relationship between how well liked a leader may be and his actual worth as a leader or a human being. Great leaders, like great artists and great musicians are often very unpopular amongst their contemporaries. Lincoln was so despised, well, they killed him. Churchill was voted out of office in a brutal way. You all might remember that when you are raking George Bush over the coals. The now despised leaders Bush is often compared to, were once adored and loved by millions of people.


At 5:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

“We do not release people in orange jump suits”

At 5:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Brown,

Today, the British held in Iran have been released. They were given new suits, shirts and gifts.

President Ahmadinejad may have made political hay in Iran's sunshine, but he made a shaming point along the lines of: “We do not release people in orange jump suits”.

The political howling regarding these sailors humiliates the British people whom you represent. Even down to somehow getting military clothing to them, to appear in at London's Heathrow Airport, seemingly on the British Airways outflight so even the gifts were rejected. How crass, how crude, how shameful. What a time it might have been to build bridges. To show them safe and well on television was condemned. Yes, of course, political games were in play - but when have we seen the untried at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, or the “rendered” across the globe, on television? As for safe and well. Abandoned, tortured, threatened.

Standing in Afghanistan, you called the Iranian holding of fifteen British sailors who it is likely strayed into Iranian waters: “Cruel, callous, inhumane and unacceptable”. Breathtaking. Compared to the behaviour of the UK and US troops, their treatment in Iran is seemingly a health spa.

“Cruel, callous, inhumane and unacceptable” is the total destruction of the country you were standing in. The boiling to death of several thousand prisoners, held in metal trucks in the sweltering summer, under the watch and very possibly at the hands of our American allies (complex accounts differ.) It is the bombing of village after village, of wedding parties and funerals, of goatherders, farmers, shepherds. It is reducing the country to a radioactive nightmare, where families bombed out of their homes have been found living in contaminated bomb craters - and suffering all the signs of radiation poisoning, according to the Uranium Metal Research Project, bleeding from all orifices with other accompanying appalling symptoms.

“Cruel, callous, inhumane and unacceptable” is the prison at Afghanistan's Bagram airbase, where people are “rendered”, disappeared, shackled, forced to wear diapers, their eyes covered, and flown to Guantánamo Bay, “the gulag of our time”, as cited by Amnesty International. Uncharged and untried, with rare access to lawyers, they are left to rot, between bouts of torturing.

“Cruel, callous, inhumane and unacceptable” is Abu Ghraib and the dozens of other prisons across Iraq, which sprung up under “liberation”, where the disappeared also languish, between the odd bit of waterboarding (being held under till near the point of drowning) being stripped naked, having dogs attack, having unspeakable items shoved into bodily orifices (“We need electricity in our homes, not up our asses”, said one eventually released prisoner.)

“Cruel, callous, inhumane and unacceptable” is British troops in Basra pulling kids off the street and beating them up. It is hoisting some mother's son in netting on a forklift. It is beating a young hotel worker to death, over two days – although, as usual, the British Courts find just one person guilty. Other deaths have led to no one being found guilty. Presumably Iraqis have taken to beating themselves to death.

“Cruel, callous, inhuman and unacceptable”, is allied soldiers raping, pillaging, demolishing homes, driving over kids in the road, in case they are “terrorist” kids and terrorist toddlers. It is the gang rape of a child called Aber who was then killed and set alight with the rest of her family. It is the reported hanging of bodies around tanks in Falluja and the sickos who collect Iraqi brain matter as a “trophy”. It is sending pictures of pathetic mutilated, dead, burned Iraqis, to porn sites in exchange for free access to shameful images of another kind.

“Cruel, callous, inhumane and unacceptable” is the abandonment of British residents in Guantánamo Bay and in Iraq, the recently aired fact that torture included chaining prisoners to bedsteads, bolted to walls (the US Army sure employs some impressive psychopaths.) It is the six hundred and fifty five thousand to nine hundred thousand excess Iraqi deaths at the hands of and under the watch of the “liberators” (and that was last year's figure.) It is the four million known to have fled all that is familiar to them, or who are internally displaced. It is Iraqis and their Palestinian guests, not knowing from day to day whether they will be expelled from their host country.

“Cruel, callous, inhumane and unacceptable” is the destruction of an entire civil society, the lynching of its legitimate leaders, the destruction of Baghdad, the “Paris of the ninth century”, of humanity's history. It is the statement, last June, of Colleen Graffy, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, devoid of anything remotely connected to humanity, who said of three prisoners in Guantánamo who committed suicide, rather than live tortured and shackled, without hope, that their deaths were: “a good PR move”.

“Cruel, callous, inhumane and unacceptable” were thirteen years of sanctions which cost maybe one and a half million lives, driven by the US and UK - followed by an illegal invasion, a war of aggression and thus Nuremberg's “supreme crime”, for which there is a growing demand for those responsible to be tried. The sailors too and their colleagues could also be tried.

“Cruel, callous inhumane and unacceptable” on a personal note, is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office diplomats in Baghdad refusing to speak to the possible kidnappers of Margaret Hassan, who called her husband three times on her mobile 'phone. It is the refusal of Ken Bigley's brother's plea to search for Ken via satellite, since he had one leg almost rebuilt with titanium - which can be picked up by satellites, which are pretty abundant in Iraq's skies.

Lastly, it is worth looking at the website of your former Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray ( also former Maritime Head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. “The Iran-Iraq maritime boundary shown on the British government map does not exist. It has been drawn up by the British government.... (it is) a fake map.” Good Lord, surely not another “dodgy dossier”?

Oh and “cruel, callous, inhumane and unacceptable behaviour” was if British arrogance and intransigence had ended up with their sailors being banged up for a long time. Iran offered the release of Faye Turney and British government intemperate language has seemingly scuppered that and increased their time of uncertainty in Iran. A diplomatic disgrace of enormity. Yet again, a government “not fit for purpose” - any purpose.

PS Suggest Foreign Secretary Beckett drives the five minutes to London's Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran with flowers and boxes of mouth watering Middle Eastern delicacies and says thank you and builds the first brick of the bridges - what an opportunity.

Felicity Arbuthnot

At 5:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 5:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


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