March 08, 2005

"People Power" in Lebanon

Posted by Alireza

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan at a White House press conference yesterday:

We want to see the complete and immediate withdrawal of all Syrian military forces and all intelligence services in Lebanon. This [the Syrian decision to redeploy troops along the border] is a half-measure that simply does not achieve that objective. We stand with the Lebanese people. The Lebanese people are the ones who want a country that is sovereign and independent and free from outside interference. And that's who we stand with.
Below are some photos of various protests in Beirut, some from last week, some from today. Some of the protesters are calling for Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon. Others are calling for them to stay. The numbers are apparently quite comparable (if not tilting more toward the pro-Syrian side, which has particularly strong support among the Shi'a community, which now comprises 40 percent of Lebanon's population).

Will the real Lebanese "people" please raise their hands?



Update: Juan Cole has some interesting comments about the pro-Syrian demonstrations.

March 8, 2005 06:17 PM | TrackBack
Comments

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GC08Ak02.html

Although the anti Syrian opposition portrayed as the will of the Lebanese people, and in line with Ukrainian velvet revolution, can be corroborated in the following article that should clarify the fiction surrounding the velvet revolution.

One for oil and oil for one
http://www.antiwar.com/spectator2/spec615.html

Nevertheless the sycophantic western media obligingly have reported the rerun of the 1960 hippy festivals of sex, rock (well the eastern interpretation of it anyway) , and drugs as the Lebanese velvet revolution, with close camera shots reminiscent of the fall of the Saddam statue lies, portraying the anti Syrian protests in Lebanon as a blown out of all proportion affair, with respect to the numbers of the protesters, as well as their motives!

Meanwhile today CNN reported the numbers of protesters today as 60,000, while Fox news enlisting the help of one of the AIPAC assets from the Amen Corner (US Senate) was debating the terrorists in Hezbollah , and BBC went on to talk about Hezbollah as Lebanese Militia, which of curse was reported in MSNBC as half million protesters that in fact is closer to on million people!

Posted by: NUM at March 8, 2005 11:01 PM

This article would be of some interest to those observers of the developments in the area!

Iran pulls Syria's strings over Lebanon
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GC08Ak02.html

Posted by: NUM at March 8, 2005 11:03 PM

I think the shi'a comprise closer to 50% (even 55% by some estimates)of the Lebanese population, though i have seen this 40% figure in lots of other good sources as well. I'm guessing that the discrepancy may come from how shi'a are classified, perhaps the dominant 12ers keep the title of Shi'a proper and the Ismailis, for example, just get called Ismailis and not Shi'a. I had heard that in post war Lebanon the notion of a census (a reliable one anyway) was anathema to the delicate balance they've been trying to keep for the next 15 years. If I remember correctly, the CIA factbook used to have a break down of the muslim poulation of lebanon, with the Shi'a in the clear majority, but i just checked now and saw that the recent version has all of the muslims in one big chunk. I had a point i wanted to make here about the statistics and the role they play in forming discussions that take place during times of crisis like the one that Lebanon seems to be on the verge of, but I think my comment is already too long. Thanks for posting these pics, though, since the US media seems to be hardly taking notice.

Posted by: Niki at March 9, 2005 08:50 AM

The contrast between the two occupations is quite revealing. In the case of Lebanon, hundreds of thousand of people demonstrated in favour of the "occupation" by the Syrian army. The Syrian army did not go into Lebanon to occupy. It went to put an end to a bloody civil war. We know what is happening in the case of the other occupation. There is a growing insurgency against the occupation. Bush can say what he wants about the spread of freedom in the middle-east, but as long as he supports the criminal client states in the region, nobody buys his argument. Freedom is on the march, sure but not where it should be.

Posted by: Mohamad at March 9, 2005 01:38 PM

Only time will tell. Whether Syria stays or whether Syria leaves should be up to the people of Lebanon. The Lebanese people should hold a freely debated campaign followed by a freely held election (which, unlike Iran, should have ballots that include candidates from both sides). The US position is always to respect the results of a freely held election that offers all candidates with proper levels of transparency and accountability. Believe it or not, we hold deep respect for the Iranian elections and think that they are only flawed because of the candidate list is controlled. If Iran held elections in which all candidates were allowed, you would find that America would no longer hold any animousity towards your leadership. Let us hope that Lebanon gets the chance to freely express their desire through a ballot that offers all opinions.

Regarding the demonstrations. Frankly, something doesn't smell right. Too many carefully printed posters, rallying cries that change the subject towards Israel and away from Syria, and too many people with an expression on their face like they aren't really that enthusiastic. Time will tell. America will respect the results of any free election. We may not like it, but we will respect it and abide by it.

Posted by: richard at March 9, 2005 05:51 PM

The Richard above sounds a great deal different than the official US line, that the Islamic Republic of Iran was a collaborator with the Iraqi Ba'athists in an "Axis of Evil". The killers of Syria's critics
in Lebanon and the current US leadership are part of a corrupt personality type that lies and murders to impose their will on smaller nations. The US reverence for democracy applies to Iraq, Syria, Iran
and Palestine while the US subverts democracy on Haiti,in Venezuela and Pakistan.
I hope for both Iran's and America's sake Iran has good quality and mobile anti-air and anti-tank defenses and they let America know it. I would hate to see the closet liar majority and its misinforming
government here tempted to another adventure like Iraq or Vietnam.

Posted by: multisect at March 9, 2005 08:54 PM

Just as you distinguish between American leaders and those whom they lead, America distinguishes between the Syrian government, the Iranian government, and those that they rule.

In neither case does America believe that the government of Syria or Iran represents the people. In the case of Iran, the ruling class had to disqualify seven hundred candidates to retain their grip on power. In the case of Syria, the secret police would have simply arrested or assasinated them.

Now, regarding those governments. Both the Iranian and Syrian government use the Palestinians as pawns to increase their influence in the Gulf and both have deep involvement with non-state groups that engage in terrorism as a political tool. Without Syrian and Iranian intervention the possibilty of peace in Palestine would be greatly enhanced - perhaps a full order of magnitude.

In the case of Syria, perhaps someday the people will rise up and revolt. Until then, they are stuck with what they got. In the case of Iran, the people already rose up and revolted. Unfortunately, in the aftermath, they got fooled into replacing one dictator with another. Although the constitution states that no one, including "the leader" is above the law, the reality of the situation is that the constitution gives the leader full power to chose how the law is interpreted, which laws are ignored, which are enforced, and to hand pick the court system.

Anyway - as much as you distinguish American leadership from Lebanese, Syrian, or Iranian there are two all-important distinctions. First and foremost the American leadership may do nothing to secure their grip on power. No administration is allowed to maintain power for more than 8 years. Second, they were selected by the people from an open ballot which presents the three most popular political positions. As such, they more closely represent the citizens. In international circles, Syria and Iran represent the government - which may or may not represent the people. The populations of these countries are percieved as servants to their government. By contrast, the American government is seen as a servant of her people. Some servants are better than others, but a servant nonetheless.

Speaking of which. The term Islamo-fascist came about because the fascists believed that people served the state. Much as fundamentalists believe that the individual should serve the religion and any who refuse to do so should be beaten into submission or eliminated. Or in the case of the Iranian government, that the people should serve the state by doing what the Ayatollah says. It is a common perception in the west that fascism is evil. Hence, describing Iran and Syria as belonging to an axis of evil is not exactly a giant leap.

Posted by: richard at March 10, 2005 12:21 AM

Well Mohamad, I guess the displaced Christians of Lebanon, now in diasphora, didn't get a chance to turn out on the streets to voice their opinion of your benign Syrian occupation. What do you think they would have said, "We love Syria"? They were in the majority just a few short decades ago. Do you think they should have the "right of return"?

Posted by: nur at March 10, 2005 12:24 AM

Nur: Who's preventing the Christian Lebanese from returning? Not the Lebanese government I'm sure. And I wonder if the Lebanese Christians are unhappy with the unfair and disproportionately large chunk of power that they have in both government and parliament.

Besides, the Maronite Christians were the ones that applauded the Syrian invasion in the first place. Their Phallangist militias were empowered and their dictator reinstated at the expense of many Palestinian and Lebanese lives.

Your points, my friend, are completely irrelevent.

Posted by: Kambiz at March 10, 2005 02:33 AM

Affluent of the World Unite!
We have a new kind of revolution on the horizon. We saw a glimpse of it earlier when well to do folk tried to impeach the democratically elected president of Venezuela. And we saw it again in Beirut where demonstrators from the better-off sections of Lebanese society with their Armani sweaters and Ray Ban sunglasses gathered in the streets to do away with the Syrian army. We should give these people a real voice. After all they're the ones who created the misery among the poor – read Shiites, indigenous people etc. – and they are really upset with the turn of the events. How could the poor even dare to have a much larger and more meaningful demonstration?

Posted by: Mohamad at March 10, 2005 03:17 AM

You guys seem to forget that Hezbollah is an IRI's creation (with the pictures of Khomeini and Khamenei on the walls of West Beyrouth) and the Syrian the IRI's ally.

As you said the shiites constitute the underprivileged portion of the lebanese society and depend largely on the money distributed by the Hezbollah.

I also suspect some kind of reprisal by the armed thugs of the Hezbollah if they do not show up.

Concerning Venezuala, my recollection was that the US sided with the other Latin and South American States during the coup against Chavez although they disliked him deeply.

Now Num and Co I don't know how effective are these discussions because by reading your posts I have the feeling that you all have developped some kind of third world inferiority complex. You seem to define yourselves by opposition to the US. I still have some trouble to understand what you guys want in the long term for Iran.

Posted by: Ali M at March 10, 2005 08:41 AM

Examining events in Lebanon has led me to have a revelation about the governments of Syria and Iran. Whenever their power is threatened they proceed to illuminate or fabricate a conflict with either America or Israel. No great revelation in itself, but it has led me to understand something deeper.

The view of the west amoung their citizens has been carefully cultivated by the government itself.

The conspiracy theories and paranoia are not some weird coincidence or quirk of the mid-east culture. They are a tool deployed by the governments for the benefit of the governments. Syria played this card beautifully in Lebanon. They assasinated their arch rival and then played the anti-zionist card to silence the opposition. In Iran, we are seeing the same thing with a different twist. The hard-liners are feeling threatened by a combination of reformists and the electoral process in Afghanistan/Iraq. So they create a conflict by refusing nuclear transparency and then propel their citizenry into thinking a US invasion is emminent.

Hmm. It creates an interesting dillema. If Israel and Palestine establish peace, then what do they do? They can ferment civil war in Iraq, but that won't last and they can't get caught with direct involvement. They're actually in a pretty tough spot. Peace in Palestine could actually lead to their demise because it removes the best trump cards from their hands.

Which, relating to this board and it's followers leads me to wonder ... is Num a controller or a controllee?

Posted by: richard at March 10, 2005 04:22 PM

nteresting fact about neocons, is that these suffering from cognitive dissonance believe in their own lies. The lies they have so many times regurgitated, to the extent that they verily believe their own lies, while paying little attention to others incredulous of the the veracity of the the fiction they so assiduously portray as the truth!. Evidently these have little understanding of the adage "some of the people can be fooled some of the time, but all the people cannot be fooled all of the time"!

However as ever their recourse to fat dumb and happy principles compel the neocons to carry on harping about their version of the truth, that in fact are lies, since they find the dumb can easily be fooled by repetition of the same lies, while escaping their attention is the steady credulity deficit in the minds of the not so dumb to the extent of beyond contempt for these serial liars!

With respect to the electoral reform in Iran, the old cliché charity begins at home ought to be applied, and perhaps US electoral reform should be sought in averting the hanging chads of Florida, and or Diebold miracles of Ohio, less said about the dubious selection process for various political actors. However, as ever concerned with the interests of their corporate sponsors, leave neocons very little doubt as to where the electoral reform should be implemented first. The fact that Iranian and or any other sovereign nations internal affairs are the concern of the nation concerned, and non of the business of outsiders somehow is lost in the fog of lies, and deceit! The lies and deceit that are designed to seek, find and enthrone those vassals conducive to further the causes of the same corporate sponsors. Hence the interest in the selection of the potential political candidates, which of course is a plausible lie, for those addled brain dumbs' consumption!

Since Freedom brand peddled by Calamity George, reliant on Gannon don't mention Gukert and Ann Coulter don't mention Arthur Coltrane, in the case of the former a male prostitute with penchant for "seats of power" (speaking in the biblical sense), and in the case of the latter a sex change bald freak, who are at vanguard fighting in the Calamity George's corner! That is in addition to the servile media with their respective stenographers who push out the same line, with varying degrees of sycophancy. However, anytime the real truth starts to seep out from the possible cracks due to the oversight of the media controllers the intrepid journo is either sacked (Dan Rather), and or killed (countless journos in Iraq with the latest attempted murder of Giuliana Sgrena), and in case of those that cannot be coerced by either of these methods (that is the advertising revenues, and or death) then the harangues of biased media abound the denunciations of the various lickspittles vilify the organisation, and or the reporter, as in the case of Aljazeera and or John Pilger, Robert Fisk, etc.

The total immersion virtual reality current affairs in Lala Land may prove sufficient for the consumption of the fat, dumb, and happy hamburger munchers, hence the calibre of the disinformation merchants adorning this blog!

However, the world does not begin and end in US, where five percent of the population consume for the ninety five percent of the global population! The same ninety five percent who are aware of the underlying aims of the US foreign policy designed to feed the veracious appetites of the fat, and the dumb, for these to perceive they are happy!

Therefore those nations under the control of the vassals of the Whitehouse are considered democratic enough, if they attempt to hold town council elections, in which sensibly only men can vote, proving that the winds of Freedom brand are on the march, as in Saudi. While other non aligned nations are held to highest possible Utopian standards and their failure in archiving these are then denounced as totalitarian regimes in need of change of course!

The intended regime change can then be implemented on the cheap, by funding some tents, flags, drinks, and some exotic substances to boot, with rock bands at the ready, and sex of course, all organised by the same mob masters of the eastern block of yesteryears. On the other hand regime change can be expensive as in the case of Iraq, and evidently now Iran, DPRK, Syria, and Venezuela. Although the regime change policy remaining the same, however with different modality of the implementations in the mind (if there is such a miracle) of Calamity George.

Trouble is the worlds only super power which itself is a patent exaggeration, since Iraq adventure has proved the abject failure of the super military power in subjugation of people whom have no intentions of yielding to the foreign invaders will. Regardless of the fake news, and reportage of the various contrived and staged managed events ranging from the rescue of Jessica Lynch, to the toppling of Saddam statue, to the capture of Saddam, which evidently is for the consumption of the the fat, and the dumb, to keep these happy in their certainty that their tax dollars are killing the Iraqis in the most humane fashion, and liberating these from the drudgeries of these difficult times in Iraq, as well as avenging the deaths of those fallen that have so far been killed in their cakewalk to Baghdad, and based on the lies, and deceit that started the wholesale marketing of the Freedom brand in Iraq!

This fact has not gone amiss on the other super powers, as evident in the anti cessation laws passed in China recently, which brings back the reality of the Freedom brand's marketing as foreign policy in fact it is a sure shot certain way for starting world war three, despite the fact that neocons have declared victory in the WWIII sighting the disintegration of the USSR, in an attempt to soften the blow of the world war that is to be fought, since WWIII is a lot more terrifying than WWIV, you see there is the possibility of winning it as before, but no one has let China, India, Russia, and Brazil know that!



Ex-Marine Says Public Version of Saddam Capture Fiction
A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated.


Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.

http://www.wokr13.tv/news/national/story.aspx?content_id=422B960A-26BA-4891-9E60-21C8818788D4




'Anti-Islamist' Crusader Plants New Seeds
"In the long term...the legal activities of Islamists pose as much or even a greater set of challenges than the illegal ones," according to the draft of a grant proposal by Pipes' Middle East Forum (MEF) obtained by IPS.
http://www.antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=4963



The Voice of the White House

I had dinner at the Hay-Adams the other night and a Senator (actually Republican!) told me the following funny story. He said that Air Force One with Bush and Rove on board, accidentally lost a wing over Kansas and crashed into a bean field. He asked me then, "Who was saved?" To my reply that I didn't have the faintest idea, he responded, with a wide grin, "Why the American people!" And the Bush people consider this man to be a stalwart supporter!

The military establishment, the banking establishment, the East Coast establishment, a growing number of Congressmen and other members of the so-called power elite, are getting thoroughly annoyed and even frightened by the slavering fascists inside the Oval office. This Gannon incident is only a goad to their rising, and potentially very dangerous, anger. These people tolerate presidents as long as they do not interfere with occupations and profits but this nut is going too far. His global policies, dictated by a group of right wing crazies with total loyalty to the state of Israel, is ruining our foreign relations and, worse, trade. His fiscal policies which sound like something on an Internet nut site have done terrible and very probable long term damage to the US global and domestic economy. His frenzies to Christianize the American government is a raging psychosis that is enraging far more than the 49% who voted against him in the last election.

There is a rumor going the rounds of the Press Corps that in real life Ann Coulter is a man. He/she was once Arthur Coltrane from Pickens County, Georgia, who went to Denmark when he/she was a teenager for a sex-change operation to become a woman, the operation being paid for by his/her wealthy and doting mother, Darlene Coltrane, heiress to a hog-farming fortune. The consensus about "Ms." Coulter/Coltrane in the Press Room is that ONLY a gay man could have such a vicious mouth on him/her. People are saying that his/her stunning blond locks are really a wig, which he/she got in a Copenhagen sex-toys and drag-queen supply shop, when his/her own hair fell out after the hormone shots took effect.
http://tbrnews.org/Archives/a1432.htm

Posted by: NUM at March 10, 2005 10:19 PM

I don't think you are a controller. You are not skilled enough with disinformation. I think you are a controllee who aspires to become one of the ruling class. A word about your propaganda - it must be used sparingly and at appropriate times. Too much of it will inadvertently lead your listeners towards the use of rational thought.

In America, we have a constant barrage of TV, Radio, and newspaper advertisements that are based upon the assumption that the viewers will never take the time to actually think about what is being said. A pretty young woman prances through an English garden and whispers something about a mysterious man ... he turns and looks just as the light catches his strong jaw and glistening eye ... she smiles ... he is captivated ... and a bottle of perfume is shown. I think you would be well advised to realize that selling politics is not like selling perfume. Many people will engage the use of logic and others will have enough interest to listen and analyze for themselves. You should pick your disinformation carefully. Too much of it will allow the cracks in your logic to become exposed.

For example ... your hanging chads as proof that Americas electoral process is more corrupt than Irans. Bad choice. Anyone can realize that an election amoung 250 million people that comes down to 500 votes is not the same thing as disqualifying 700 candidates before the ballots are printed.

You will never become a controller rather than a brainwashed controllee unless you learn to choose your disinformation more carefully.

Posted by: richard at March 10, 2005 10:38 PM

http://www.eluniversal.com/2005/03/09/en_pol_art_09A539691.shtml


Chávez: "Washington has done all it can to topple my government"
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Wednesday said during his visit to France that the US administration has done everything it can to overthrow his government.
In a press conference in Paris, Chávez reminded the audience "how the Bush administration plotted and staged a coup against Venezuela and my government".
The Venezuelan President said he was sure the US had plans to kill him. "If we claim the US administration is plotting against me is because we are sure of what we are saying. We are accusing the US, and this is an alert to the world."

Posted by: NUM at March 10, 2005 10:46 PM

If Hezbollah is IRI's creation, Hamas is Israeli creation (you see the irony)? But the fact of the matter is that they're both very popular among the downtrodden. When Hezbollah or Hamas ask people to support a cause, they show up in hundreds of thousands. In all the news items that I read about this event, I did not see even one mention of the "thugs" coercing people to show up at the demonstration.
As for Venezuela, I stand corrected. The US government was infact 100% behind the Venezuelan population all along, even when they supported the failed coup against Chavez. Just the other day he was saying the CIA is planning to assassinate him. He's either delusional, which I don't think so, or he knows something.

Posted by: Mohamad at March 10, 2005 10:49 PM

One of the tactics of the blathering liars, and wafflers, is to quickly post a rebuttal of some kind, hoping the next reader will skip the older posts and get stuck in the latest load of waffling sermons, about hanging chads that bring about a close election of five hundred votes. Alluding to 250 million voters, while in effect discounting the usurped suffrage of the blacks, and other minorities based on trumped up criminal records, and or out right coercion of the would be voters, along with a whole host of other methods for stopping the voters from casting their ballots that is when their vote is not being apportioned to candidates other than their intended candidate. All the while the photo finish count in the race into the Whitehouse hinging upon 500 votes is restated!

Sighting 700 candidates in an attempt to propel and leap to the conclusion that these would in fact have had any votes, all the while discounting the reasons for any rejections ranging from criminal records, to lack of standing in the community, as well as history of mental health problems, bankruptcies, etc.

PS an unqualified admission of the total immersion virtual reality Foxaganda should not be going unnoticed bloggers.


Mohamad,

U.S. Called Ready to See Hezbollah in Lebanon Role

WASHINGTON, March 9 - After years of campaigning against Hezbollah, the radical Shiite Muslim party in Lebanon, as a terrorist pariah, the Bush administration is grudgingly going along with efforts by France and the United Nations to steer the party into the Lebanese political mainstream, administration officials say.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/10/politics/10diplo.html?ex=1111122000&en=d4e6b9d3d47f4d44&ei=5070

Dog ate my homework principle Sharon has so far hung on to, along with the policies of denouncing any and all detractors of Israel as anti Semites, and any an all short comings of Israel on invisible enemies are no longer finding buyers!

Posted by: NUM at March 10, 2005 11:21 PM

"The Venezuelan President said he was sure the US had plans to kill him. "If we claim the US administration is plotting against me is because we are sure of what we are saying. We are accusing the US, and this is an alert to the world."

Logic. You really should try it.

No government engages in the assasination of leaders from other nations except in all-out warfare in which case it is known that each government openly wishes to extinguish the other and is willing to risk their own extinction to do so. Many governments will plot the assasination of disidents within their domain, and there is the frequent use of assasinations by internal groups seeking to stage a coup. But, there are no governments that would stage the assasination of another. To do so is equivalent to signing their own death warrant.

There is no government so weak that it could not stage an assasination and there is no government so strong that it can guarantee safety. World leaders are protected from assasination simply by their collective desire not to be assasinated in return. For example, Syria can assasinate Hariri because they control Lebanon - but they would never dare to assasinate Sharon or Abdullah because the reprisal would be the assasination of Assad.

In my life, I have noticed theives are the least likely people to trust another. Fat people are the most concerned about their weight. Men who always get in fights claim to never start them. And those who find conspiracies everywhere are also those most likely to be engaged in one.

Posted by: richard at March 11, 2005 01:02 AM

Major disinformation alert!!!!!!!



Iranian Monarchists Protest on Jetliner


Thursday, March 10, 2005
BRUSSELS, Belgium-A group of unarmed Iranian protesters holed up on a Lufthansa (search) jetliner at Brussels airport, and a spokesman for the group said they were on a hunger strike and were prepared to die for their cause to see the overthrow of the Iranian government.
"We won't be moved from here unless we die and they take our bodies from the airplane," said the man who gave only his first name, Ira, in a telephone interview Thursday with The Associated Press from the plane.
He said the group of protesters numbered 79, including four children and 22 women, and wanted the United States, the European Union and Russia to sign a statement to stop cooperating with the Iranian government.
As the protest entered its eighth hour, Police spokeswoman Els Cleemput said talks were continuing "to try to resolve the protest" without the use of force.
She denied the group's claims they were on hunger strike.
"Around 9:30 p.m. [2030 GMT], several passengers took food and drink, to me that doesn't sound like a serious hunger strike," Cleemput said.
Belgian Interior Minister Patrick Dewael said he was monitoring the situation from Madrid (search), Spain, where he is participating in a conference on fighting terrorism.
"It is a fully peaceful action without violence," he told VRT radio from Madrid.
Police said there were only 59 passengers refusing to the leave the plane, out of the total 103 that took the flight from Frankfurt (search), Germany.
The standoff began shortly after the flight landed at 3 p.m. (1400GMT).
Ira, who said he was originally from Iran and was 60 years old, said the protesters had launched a hunger strike to highlight their support for Iran's late Shah and wanted to draw attention to Iran's problems.
There are "children, women and men, some of them sick, hungry because we reject to eat or drink," he said.
"We are not terrorists, we are messengers of peace," Ira said, adding that his group, which he called Anjoman-E Padeshahi Iran, wanted the overthrow of Iran's government.
"We want the European countries, also the United States and Russia to stop helping the Iranian regime," he said. "We reject any support of the EU, Russia, U.S. or any other foreign country to this Islamic regime of mullahs."
He said the current government in Iran "came to power by European leaders, especially by [then U.S. President] Jimmy Carter's support in 1979."
"We want from these leaders to stop supporting terrorist regimes any longer ... to get rid of this Islamic regime or any kind of radical brutal religious movement from Iran," he said.
Ira said his group had "premeditated" the protest action, adding the group had "video evidence" with them "showing how Iranians were being tortured."
Ira, who said he was an American national and a psychiatrist from New York City, said there were eight American nationals on board, three Swedes and "many English nationals."
"We are just sitting here we are not going to move out unless embassy officials from the United States, English and others come to sign our statement and guarantee us that if we go out of here they don't arrest us," he told the AP.
"We are all educated, we are all professional people working and we are not terrorists; in contrary, we are against the terrorists," Ira said.
Several police vans were parked alongside the plane at the airport terminal, which had shut down for the night. Airport spokesman Paul De Backer said the protest was not disrupting other flights.
Several Belgian Iranian supporters of the protesters were seen in the airport's arrival hall, holding banners and flags.
European Union and NATO officials said the organizations were not involved in negotiations to end the standoff.


http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,150059,00.html




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Passengers occupy plane at Brussels airport
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?c_id=2&ObjectID=10114747




'Iranians' occupy plane in protest
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/printpage/0,5942,12511355,00.html



Well it appears that the wannabe monarch has made his move, and is now in the running for the leadership of Iran, anyone remember the King Ghabous of Afghanistan before Karazai was mentioned? The same as the king of Jordan (Hashemites) was to be enthroned as the king of Iraq?

So the plan "old" is back in action, evidently don't mess with a recipe that works (sort of)!!!!

Iranians must launch a greater effort in bringing the truth to any and all of the people of the world, while at home they get ready for the bloody battle that is being forced upon them!!!

Posted by: NUM at March 11, 2005 03:10 AM

Glad to see that not everyone has lost their sense of humor. This is like a scene from the movie "Dumb and Dumber". I hope they are smart enough to realize when to call it quits.

Meanwhile - there isn't any "bloody battle that is being forced upon them" for Iranians. Let me spell it out for you. The Mullahs are losing their grip on power. They know that the west is sensitive about nuclear weapons and are using it to provoke us so that they can rally Iranians around the flag. They are going to have to be a lot more provocative than that to initiate an invasion. But - they don't want an invasion. They just want people to rally around the Iranian flag and forget about this silly notion of reform. If you sincerely think there is an invasion, then you have been successfully manipulated.

When the next election is held, I want you to think about this. I want you to think about voting for a government that intentionally provoked a conflict in order to manipulate you. I want you to decide if that is the way you want your country to be run. Is that what you think Iranians deserve? Or do they deserve all the freedoms, self-determination, and representation promised in your constitution? And if you think Iranians deserve the things promised to them 26 years ago - then ask yourself why the promises remain unfufilled. Who is responsible? Who has failed to deliver? Don't you think enough is enough? Next time, vote with your mind instead of your emotion. There will have been no invasion. Remember this when you vote.

Posted by: richard at March 11, 2005 03:55 AM


Italian Journalist Has No Credibility


Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena claims that American troops targeted her and intelligence agent Nicola Calipari. This woman's story is not only absurd--it appears that she has a history of making up the news as she goes.

Sgrena had been held hostage by Iraqi terrorists for a month and was speeding toward the airport, when U.S. troops opened fire on her vehicle. Our troops say that they made several attempts to stop the vehicle. However, the driver continued to speed towards the checkpoint. The U.S. soldiers waved their arms, flashed bright lights, fired warning shots into the air, and even fired into the car's engine block.

http://www.americandaily.com/article/7053

validates the earlier contention

Meanwhile back at the airport, the "protesters" have hijacked the plane, but they are not hijacking, since they are only protesting!!

Now with all the anti terror measures, how come these hijackers who are not hijackers have taken over the plane, and demanding to see some one, and or die waiting?

Posted by: NUM at March 11, 2005 05:23 AM

Mohammad,

For the record, I checked the US stance during the coup against Chavez on April 12, 2002. They indeed sided with the other OAS members to ask the respect of the constitution although it took the White House 2 days to spit out.

Posted by: ali M at March 11, 2005 08:56 AM

It is not democracy that's on the march in the Middle East

The first decisive rebuff to this fairy tale of spin was delivered in Beirut on Tuesday, when at least 500,000 - some reports said it was more like a million - demonstrators took to the streets to show solidarity with embattled Syria and reject US and European interference in Lebanon. Mobilised by Hizbullah, the Shia Islamist movement, their numbers dwarfed the nearby anti-Syrian protesters by perhaps 10 to one; and while the well-heeled Beiruti jeunesse dorée have dominated the "people power" jamboree, most of Tuesday's demonstrators came from the Shia slums and the impoverished south. Bush's response was to ignore them completely. Whatever their numbers, they were, it seems, the wrong kind of people.

The claim that democracy is on the march in the Middle East is a fraud. It is not democracy, but the US military, that is on the march. The Palestinian elections in January took place because of the death of Yasser Arafat - they would have taken place earlier if the US and Israel hadn't known that Arafat was certain to win them - and followed a 1996 precedent. The Iraqi elections may have looked good on TV and allowed Kurdish and Shia parties to improve their bargaining power, but millions of Iraqis were unable or unwilling to vote, key political forces were excluded, candidates' names were secret, alleged fraud widespread, the entire system designed to maintain US control and Iraqis unable to vote to end the occupation. They have no more brought democracy to Iraq than US-orchestrated elections did to south Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s. As for the cosmetic adjustments by regimes such as Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's, there is not the slightest sign that they will lead to free elections, which would be expected to bring anti-western governments to power.

What has actually taken place since 9/11 and the Iraq war is a relentless expansion of US control of the Middle East, of which the threats to Syria are a part. The Americans now have a military presence in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar - and in not one of those countries did an elected government invite them in. Of course Arabs want an end to tyrannical regimes, most of which have been supported over the years by the US, Britain and France: that is the source of much anti-western Muslim anger. The dictators remain in place by US licence, which can be revoked at any time - and managed elections are being used as another mechanism for maintaining pro-western regimes rather than spreading democracy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1434183,00.html

Posted by: NUM at March 11, 2005 10:49 PM

If anyone on this blog has connections with people living in Iran,

I'm really curious about how mainstream Iranians perceive the nuclear issue.

What is your feeling about how people would respond to polls asking the following questions:

Do you believe Iran should have or needs nuclear weapons?

If there is a way to develop weapons without violating the nuclear non proliferation treaty should Iran do it?

Should Iran continue its nuclear program if it may lead to European sanctions?

Posted by: John Weber at March 12, 2005 08:56 AM

Attention our monarchist friends. Now there is a web store where you can spend you hard earned money for a worthy cause. Check it out:
Invade Iran Next!

Posted by: Mohamad at March 12, 2005 01:44 PM

John,

All four of us have connections with people in Iran, through friends and relatives in various cities across the country, through frequent visits to these places, and through intellectual and professional links. Additionally, I think that a strict distinction of Iranians "in" Iran and Iranians "outside" of Iran is simplistic. Precisely because of the connections and flows between people inside the country and those elsewhere, it is impossible to draw geographic boundaries around people's opinions, feelings, and actions. On the last issue (action) you have to keep in mind that Iranian citizens anywhere in the world can vote in general elections (like the upcoming presidential election), they can be engaged with the political and intellectual landscape by both reading and writing for newspapers and other publications in Iran (as is the case with many diasporic Iranians) both over the web and in more "traditional" ways (through mail), and they can be (and have been) engaged in various forms of activism (including over the web).

Having said that, western news agencies have sometimes tried to guage public opinion in Iran about the nuclear issue. If you are interested in reading about that, I suggest you look at this earlier post on No War on Iran.

Posted by: Alireza at March 12, 2005 03:28 PM
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