A dovetail joint of news, art, science, politics, philosophy & global affairs

Grasping the currency true to our time

"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"







August 19th
2:33 PM
CIA Finally Admits Role in 53’ Iran Coup
DSWright  |  Firedoglake »

Well that only took 60 years. The CIA has finally admitted to its role in the coup that overthrew Iran’s democratically elected leader and replaced him with the Shah – a tyrant whose brutality set the stage for the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The revolution involved the storming of the U.S. embassy in Iran leading to a prolonged hostage crisis.

"The National Security Archive on Monday published evidence of the CIA’s long-known role in the 1953 Iran coup that helped pave the way for the Islamic revolution 26 years later.
The newly declassified material is believed to contain the CIA’s first public acknowledgment of its role in deposing democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq after he nationalized the country’s oil industry. The move – and Iran’s broader lurch to the left under Mosaddeq – infuriated Great Britain and the United States, which pressed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to depose him in 1953.”

The information released to the National Security Archive proves what most observers have long known – that the antagonism between the United States and Iran stems from U.S. malevolence in the country.

"The 1953 coup remains a topic of global interest because so much about it is still under intense debate. Even fundamental questions — who hatched the plot, who ultimately carried it out, who supported it inside Iran, and how did it succeed — are in dispute.
The issue is more than academic. Political partisans on all sides, including the Iranian government, regularly invoke the coup to argue whether Iran or foreign powers are primarily responsible for the country’s historical trajectory, whether the United States can be trusted to respect Iran’s sovereignty, or whether Washington needs to apologize for its prior interference before better relations can occur.”

But why do they hate us?
Perhaps Americans should consider how they would feel if a foreign country was intimately involved in overthrowing its democratically elected leader and then helped install a brutal tyrant. And then, to add insult to injury, that foreign country spent the better part of three decades criticizing America for not being democratic enough after the American people overthrew the tyrant. Just saying.

CIA Finally Admits Role in 53’ Iran Coup

DSWright  |  Firedoglake »

Well that only took 60 years. The CIA has finally admitted to its role in the coup that overthrew Iran’s democratically elected leader and replaced him with the Shah – a tyrant whose brutality set the stage for the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The revolution involved the storming of the U.S. embassy in Iran leading to a prolonged hostage crisis.

"The National Security Archive on Monday published evidence of the CIA’s long-known role in the 1953 Iran coup that helped pave the way for the Islamic revolution 26 years later.

The newly declassified material is believed to contain the CIA’s first public acknowledgment of its role in deposing democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq after he nationalized the country’s oil industry. The move – and Iran’s broader lurch to the left under Mosaddeq – infuriated Great Britain and the United States, which pressed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to depose him in 1953.”

The information released to the National Security Archive proves what most observers have long known – that the antagonism between the United States and Iran stems from U.S. malevolence in the country.

"The 1953 coup remains a topic of global interest because so much about it is still under intense debate. Even fundamental questions — who hatched the plot, who ultimately carried it out, who supported it inside Iran, and how did it succeed — are in dispute.

The issue is more than academic. Political partisans on all sides, including the Iranian government, regularly invoke the coup to argue whether Iran or foreign powers are primarily responsible for the country’s historical trajectory, whether the United States can be trusted to respect Iran’s sovereignty, or whether Washington needs to apologize for its prior interference before better relations can occur.”

But why do they hate us?

Perhaps Americans should consider how they would feel if a foreign country was intimately involved in overthrowing its democratically elected leader and then helped install a brutal tyrant. And then, to add insult to injury, that foreign country spent the better part of three decades criticizing America for not being democratic enough after the American people overthrew the tyrant. Just saying.

August 4th
9:14 PM
Juan Cole »

I will never again have to hear some uninformed pundit or politician drone on about how Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the map, which he did not.  >continue<

Juan Cole »

I will never again have to hear some uninformed pundit or politician drone on about how Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the map, which he did not.  >continue<

May 16th
11:52 PM
Rafsanjani into the Breach
Ian Black and Saeed Kamali Dehghan&#160;&#187;   

Green activists are setting up Facebook pages to mobilise support for Rafsanjani&#8217;s campaign. Mousavi and fellow reformist Mehdi Karroubi remain under house arrest and are banned from political activity.
Mohammed, Karroubi&#8217;s son, said Rafsanjani would now win the support of those who voted for change in 2009 but instead got Ahmadinejad for a second term. &#8220;The majority of the Green movement feel they now have a voice in this election,&#8221; he told the Guardian.
Speaking on Thursday to Tehran University students, Rafsanjani struck a confident note. &#8220;I entered the race to perform my religious and national duty given the country&#8217;s situation … and its problems at home and abroad,&#8221; the Mehr news website reported. &#8220;Certain people and movements have resorted to lying and falsification and slurs to discredit others. These people, intentionally or unintentionally, are harming the Islamic revolution.&#8221;  &gt;continue&lt;

Rafsanjani into the Breach

Ian Black and Saeed Kamali Dehghan »  

Green activists are setting up Facebook pages to mobilise support for Rafsanjani’s campaign. Mousavi and fellow reformist Mehdi Karroubi remain under house arrest and are banned from political activity.

Mohammed, Karroubi’s son, said Rafsanjani would now win the support of those who voted for change in 2009 but instead got Ahmadinejad for a second term. “The majority of the Green movement feel they now have a voice in this election,” he told the Guardian.

Speaking on Thursday to Tehran University students, Rafsanjani struck a confident note. “I entered the race to perform my religious and national duty given the country’s situation … and its problems at home and abroad,” the Mehr news website reported. “Certain people and movements have resorted to lying and falsification and slurs to discredit others. These people, intentionally or unintentionally, are harming the Islamic revolution.”  >continue<

February 28th
6:26 PM
Via
globalvoices:

VIDEO: In Burning Rage for Water, Iran Farmers Take On Security Forces
An anonymous video on YouTube shows angry farmers from eastern part of Isfahan in Iran on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 among burning busses in ongoing protests against water shortages. There are credible reports of clashes with security forces, but detailed information is limited and official media is silent. Another video shows that only days earlier, farmers busted open a water pipe carrying water from Zayanderood to Yazd as part of their protest for access to water which is vital to the survival of their crops. Iranglobal reports that the farmers had been protesting for at least one month about their lack of resources, but received no official response to their demands.
Read more.

globalvoices:

VIDEO: In Burning Rage for Water, Iran Farmers Take On Security Forces

An anonymous video on YouTube shows angry farmers from eastern part of Isfahan in Iran on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 among burning busses in ongoing protests against water shortages. There are credible reports of clashes with security forces, but detailed information is limited and official media is silent. Another video shows that only days earlier, farmers busted open a water pipe carrying water from Zayanderood to Yazd as part of their protest for access to water which is vital to the survival of their crops. Iranglobal reports that the farmers had been protesting for at least one month about their lack of resources, but received no official response to their demands.

Read more.

February 27th
2:19 PM
Via
crisisgroup:

New Talks on Iran Nuclear Program Offer Slim Hope | TIME World
By Lara Jakes and Peter Leonard
World powers began a new round of high-level talks with Iranian officials Tuesday, trying to find a way out of a yearslong tussle over Tehran’s nuclear program and its feared ability to make atomic weapons in the future.
Few believe the latest attempt to forge a compromise will yield any major breakthroughs, but negotiators are optimistically casting it as a stepping stone toward reaching a workable solution.
Officials described the latest diplomatic discussions as a way to build confidence with Iran as the country steadfastly maintains its right to enrich uranium in the face of harsh international sanctions.
FULL ARTICLE (AP via TIME World)
Photo: yeowatzup/Flickr

crisisgroup:

New Talks on Iran Nuclear Program Offer Slim Hope | TIME World

By Lara Jakes and Peter Leonard

World powers began a new round of high-level talks with Iranian officials Tuesday, trying to find a way out of a yearslong tussle over Tehran’s nuclear program and its feared ability to make atomic weapons in the future.

Few believe the latest attempt to forge a compromise will yield any major breakthroughs, but negotiators are optimistically casting it as a stepping stone toward reaching a workable solution.

Officials described the latest diplomatic discussions as a way to build confidence with Iran as the country steadfastly maintains its right to enrich uranium in the face of harsh international sanctions.

FULL ARTICLE (AP via TIME World)

Photo: yeowatzup/Flickr

2:17 PM
Via
"

“Stuxnet 0.5 was submitted to a malware scanning service in November 2007 and could have begun operation as early as November 2005,” Symantec notes in a report. It may have been submitted to see whether Symantec’s defences would recognise it as malware – in which case it would have been useless. One key to Stuxnet’s success was that it was not detected by conventional antivirus systems used in corporate and state computer systems.

The success of Stuxnet – in both forms – is reckoned to have averted a planned military strike by Israel against Iran’s reprocessing efforts in 2011. During 2010 it had seemed increasingly likely that Israeli jets might target the heavily-armoured plant to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

But the computer virus, one of the most visible forms of a cyberwar that is increasingly raging between nation states, made that unnecessary, and is reckoned to have put Iran’s plans back by years.

The 1.0 version of Stuxnet is reckoned to have infected Iranian computers after being copied onto USB sticks which were left in locations in India and Iran known to be used by Iranian nuclear scientists and their contacts. It then spread into computer systems and took over the connected Siemens control systems, spinning centrifuges to dangerous speeds in order to damage the systems.

"
12:02 PM
Stuxnet “beta’s” devious alternate attack on Iran nuke programVersion 0.5 shows cyberweapon development began two years earlier than thought
Dan Goodin  |  arstechnica&#160;&#187; 

Researchers have uncovered a never-before-seen version of Stuxnet. The discovery sheds new light on the evolution of the powerful cyberweapon that made history when it successfully sabotaged an Iranian uranium-enrichment facility in 2009.
Stuxnet 0.5 is the oldest known version of the computer worm and was in development no later than November of 2005, almost two years earlier than previously known, according to researchers from security firm Symantec. The earlier iteration, which was in the wild no later than November 2007, wielded an alternate attack strategy that disrupted Iran&#8217;s nuclear program by surreptitiously closing valves in that country&#8217;s Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Later versions scrapped that attack in favor of one that caused centrifuges to spin erratically. The timing and additional attack method are a testament to the technical sophistication and dedication of its developers, who reportedly developed Stuxnet under a covert operation sponsored by the US and Israeli governments. It was reportedly personally authorized by Presidents Bush and Obama.  &gt;continue&lt;

related: Symantec discloses earlier version  |  Stuxnet in the news
Olympic Games  

Stuxnet “beta’s” devious alternate attack on Iran nuke program
Version 0.5 shows cyberweapon development began two years earlier than thought

Dan Goodin  |  arstechnica » 

Researchers have uncovered a never-before-seen version of Stuxnet. The discovery sheds new light on the evolution of the powerful cyberweapon that made history when it successfully sabotaged an Iranian uranium-enrichment facility in 2009.

Stuxnet 0.5 is the oldest known version of the computer worm and was in development no later than November of 2005, almost two years earlier than previously known, according to researchers from security firm Symantec. The earlier iteration, which was in the wild no later than November 2007, wielded an alternate attack strategy that disrupted Iran’s nuclear program by surreptitiously closing valves in that country’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Later versions scrapped that attack in favor of one that caused centrifuges to spin erratically. The timing and additional attack method are a testament to the technical sophistication and dedication of its developers, who reportedly developed Stuxnet under a covert operation sponsored by the US and Israeli governments. It was reportedly personally authorized by Presidents Bush and Obama.  >continue<

related: Symantec discloses earlier version  |  Stuxnet in the news

Olympic Games  

December 3rd
9:09 AM

The mother of all worst-case assumptions about Iran

Stephen M. Walt  |  Foreign Policy »

The debate on Iran and its nuclear program does little credit to the U.S. foreign policy community, because much of it rests on dubious assumptions that do not stand up to even casual scrutiny. Lots of ink, pixels, and air-time has been devoted to discussing whether Iran truly wants a bomb, how close it might be to getting one, how well sanctions are working, whether the mullahs in charge are “rational,” and whether a new diplomatic initiative is advisable. Similarly, journalists, politicians and policy wonks spend endless hours asking if and when Israel might attack and whether the United States should help. But we hardly ever ask ourselves if this issue is being blown wildly out of proportion.  >continue<

And, moreover, whether failing critical faculties here may in fact work to drive Iranian thinking towards nuclear armament.

Since having made a similar point two years ago, hardly a week goes by that I don’t become aggravated over the ever ratcheting probability of war with Iran - and a nightmare of both human and geopolitical proportions based off of a concoction myopic conceits and lazy premises. If you figure we need less of this in the world today, please raise a voice.

November 4th
3:16 PM

Urge to Bomb Iran

Introducing Jeremiah Goulka’s "The Dogs of War Are Barking", a great long read on an increased probability of war with Iran under a Romney administration, Tom Engelhardt remarks:

The Obama administration has engaged in a staggering military build-up in the Persian Gulf and at U.S. and allied bases around Iran (not to speak of in the air over that country and in cyberspace).  Massive as it is, however, it hasn’t gotten much coverage lately.  Perhaps, after all the alarms and warnings about possible Israeli or U.S. military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities this election season, it’s become so much the norm that it doesn’t even seem like news anymore.  Still, two recent stories should jog our memories.

Barely a week ago, the commander of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John C. Stennis was temporarily replaced and called home to face an investigation into “inappropriate leadership judgment.” What this means is unclear, but it happened while the Stennis and its attending strike group including destroyers, guided missile cruisers, and other ships, were deployed in the Persian Gulf.  We forget just what an “aircraft carrier” really is.  It’s essentially a floating U.S. airbase and small town with a crew of about 5,000.  As it happens, the Stennis was sent back to the Persian Gulf four months early to join the U.S.S. Eisenhower, because Washington wanted two such strike groups in the area.  Even if there were no other build-up, this would be impressive enough.

At about the same time, what might be thought of as the creepy story of that week surfaced.  Behind the scenes, reported the Guardian, the British government had rejected Obama administration requests for access to some of its bases as part of preparations for a possible war with Iran. (“The Guardian has been told that U.S. diplomats have also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyprus, and for permission to fly from U.S. bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories.”) The rejection — “the government does not think military action is the right course at this point of time” — was not, of course, the creepy part of the story. For some strange reason, British officials don’t feel that war is the optimal approach to Iran and, stranger yet, don’t want to be dragged into a potential regional conflagration.  The creepy part of the story was the request itself, given the traffic jam of bases Washington already has access to in the region.   >continue<

October 23rd
5:04 PM
Via

Running Chicken: Drones R Us

kohenari:

Watching last night’s debate, I was struck by one thing:

A lot of progressives and libertarians must not understand either presidential elections or American public opinion. I say this based on the reaction I saw on Twitter and Tumblr — but not Facebook, tellingly, which is less of an echo chamber for me — to the candidates’ brief discussion of drone warfare.

There was general outrage at the way in which the moral problem of drones was dismissed, brushed aside based on a quick utilitarian calculation that places virtually no value on the lives of non-Americans, who are simply presumed to be militants.

This is good outrage. Our use of drones — specifically, our willingness to target American citizens abroad and our callousness with regard to innocent people caught up in the carnage — is a major problem.

The mistake is in the thinking that accompanies the outrage, which seems to be that these politicians know drone strikes — or, perhaps, the use of force in general, depending on your persuasion — are immoral and continue to support them because they are themselves immoral monsters. To demonstrate that they are virtuous — and thus deserving of our vote — the candidates ought to have taken a stance against drone strikes or warfare in general.

But I think this is a misunderstanding of how presidential elections work and it’s a misunderstanding of America itself. It would be political suicide to speak out in opposition to drone strikes, or to a military option in general, at this stage in the election … and that presumes that the candidates actually oppose these things (which they do not). Why suicide? In their support for drones, for backing up Israel against Iran, and for acting aggressively on the world stage in general, the candidates are very much an embodiment of the American people themselves. Americans support the use of drones … and by a wide margin. It’s odd to think that the presidential candidates would take this moment to disagree with the electorate.

This misunderstanding reminds me of a very long argument I had with a good friend back in 2000 about the moment in the Bush/Gore debate when the death penalty came up and was quickly dismissed. My friend argued that both Bush and Gore were equally awful with regard to the death penalty; my argument was that they might not be equally awful — since Bush signed 152 death warrants — and that we shouldn’t expect a serious debate about the death penalty from the presidential candidates. When it comes to controversial topics, especially ones that touch on issues of justice and vengeance, we should, instead, expect meaningless platitudes that pander to the majority.

When it comes to drone warfare or saber-rattling about Iran, the majority wants to hear that there will be even more to come. The majority is wrong about this, as they are about many things, but it’s not clear why people are so surprised that the presidential candidates agree with the majority.

Last thing:

If you think the majority is wrong about something that’s very important, it doesn’t make any sense at all to keep expecting politicians to get out in front of the issue and tell people that they’re wrong. Instead, it’s a far better bet for the minority — who are sure they’re right — to employ reasoned arguments or sad, sentimental stories to change Americans’ hearts and minds. In the long run, this is likely to be far more effective than simply complaining that the candidates aren’t spending more time defending or refuting a policy that enjoys broad public support.

A good point. One I had to remind myself of when both candidates echoed the groupthink fixation on Iran. Great leadership dares to puncture dangerous collective fantasies, but almost never at this juncture in an American election.

September 9th
11:11 AM
"You and your running mate are blaming Barack Obama for high gasoline prices. But you demand a stricter blockade on Iranian petroleum! Given that the present blockade has taken perhaps a million barrels a day off the market at a time of increasing demand in Asia, you don’t get to slam President Obama for causing high gasoline prices. Prices, as your MBA courses might have informed you, Mr. Romney, are based on supply and demand. If you reduce Iran supply, and demand stays the same or rises, then prices will go up. Since you want to tighten the blockade, you don’t get to say that!"
August 28th
10:13 AM

Plot to Provoke war with Iran thwarted by Navy analyst

Juan Cole | Informed Comment »

In spring of 2007, someone in the Bush administration (unindicted co-conspirator Richard Bruce Cheney? Neocons?) sends uber hawk Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff to [the Persian] Gulf with instructions to provoke a war with Iran. He allegedly toys with challenging Iran’s claim to half of the Shatt al-Arab. He certainly decided abruptly to bring two aircraft carriers to the Gulf, in hopes of provoking Iran into doing something stupid, and without telling the State Department or the White House.

He also pushes analysis alleging that Bahrain Shiites intend anti-American terrorism on behalf of Iran.

Adviser to the Navy Gwenyth Todd (former National Security Council staffer) rightly challenges this stupid conspiracy theory (Bahrain Shiites are mostly Arab Akhbaris who reject ayatollahs, and would not slavishly obey Persian, Usuli Iran!).

…Todd blows the whistle on Cosgriff, letting State know about his intended insubordination. Word gets back to Neocons or whoever was behind the provocation and Cosgriff that Todd was the leak. She is abruptly deprived of her base pass and security clearance, a trumped up case is made against her with the FBI that she received money from a former boyfriend who did illegal consulting with Sudan (she says she returned the small sum he sent her). Todd’s career is ruined, her inquiries and grievances are ignored, she marries an Austrlian naval officer and goes into exile in Perth. FBI harasses her even there.

Todd’s account is corroborated by Navy sources speaking off the record, according to the Washington Post.  >continue<

June 24th
8:32 AM

Not-So-Crazy in Tehran

Nicholas Kristof »

…we need a dollop of humility and nuance, for Iran is a complex country where we’ve repeatedly stumbled badly. For starters, consider for a moment which nation assisted Iran the most in the last dozen years. Not Russia, not China, not India. No, it was the United States under President George W. Bush. First, we upended the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran’s enemy to the east, and then removed the Saddam Hussein government from Iraq, Iran’s even deadlier threat to the west. Look at the Iraq-Iran relationship today, and it seems we fought a wrenching war in Iraq — and Iran won.

Now we may be heading for another war — perhaps triggered by Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear sites — and this might well help the ayatollahs as well by igniting a nationalist backlash that would bolster their rule.  >continue<

June 19th
4:57 PM
Via
socialuprooting:

U.S., Israel developed Flame computer virus to slow Iranian nuclear efforts, officials say
The United States and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected critical intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage attacks aimed at slowing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials with knowledge of the effort.
The massive piece of malware was designed to secretly map Iran’s computer networks and monitor the computers of Iranian officials, sending back a steady stream of intelligence used to enable an ongoing cyberwarfare campaign, according to the officials.
The effort, involving the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel’s military, has included the use of destructive software such as the so-called Stuxnet virus to cause malfunctions in Iran’s nuclear enrichment equipment.
The emerging details about Flame provide new clues about what is believed to be the first sustained campaign of cyber-sabotage against an adversary of the United States.
“This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,” said one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who added that Flame and Stuxnet were elements of a broader assault that continues today. “Cyber collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.”

related: Curated Stuxnet &amp; Cyberwar stories

socialuprooting:

U.S., Israel developed Flame computer virus to slow Iranian nuclear efforts, officials say

The United States and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected critical intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage attacks aimed at slowing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials with knowledge of the effort.

The massive piece of malware was designed to secretly map Iran’s computer networks and monitor the computers of Iranian officials, sending back a steady stream of intelligence used to enable an ongoing cyberwarfare campaign, according to the officials.

The effort, involving the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel’s military, has included the use of destructive software such as the so-called Stuxnet virus to cause malfunctions in Iran’s nuclear enrichment equipment.

The emerging details about Flame provide new clues about what is believed to be the first sustained campaign of cyber-sabotage against an adversary of the United States.

“This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,” said one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who added that Flame and Stuxnet were elements of a broader assault that continues today. “Cyber collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.”

related: Curated Stuxnet & Cyberwar stories