against the death plans for iran
by Sander Hicks
And the Activist of the Year Award goes to… Medea Benjamin!
On Wednesday, September 19, the CodePink co-founder grabbed the podium and gave an uninvited, impromptu speech at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. She seized the moment right after U.S special envoy to Iran Brian Hook gave a speech full of the same old bias against Iran.
Brian Hook concluded his remarks by saying, “It is time for all nations to join us in holding Iran to a new level of accountability for its destructive behavior, especially its lawless pursuit of ballistic missiles. Thank you.”
But the event was far from over. Medea Benjamin pounced on the mike and said, “That is the most ridiculous thing I have seen. The world community wants to keep the Iran nuclear deal. Our allies—the Germans, the French, the British—they want to keep in this deal. The world community wants to keep the deal. Let’s talk about normal countries. Let’s talk about Saudi Arabia. Is that who our allies are? They are the biggest threat to the world community.”
At this point, Benjamin was grabbed by Hudson Institute security, but she protested that they were hurting her. She then continued, “Do you think these sanctions are hurting the regime, or are they hurting the Iranian people?...You are making a case for war with Iran. How did the war with Iraq turn out? You’re doing exactly the same thing we did in the case of Iraq. We don’t want another war in the Middle East...How did Libya turn out? We have the people of Syria suffering. And how dare you bring up the issue of Yemen? It’s the Saudi bombing that is killing most people in Yemen. So let’s get real. No more war! Peace with Iran!”
Let’s Get Real
The U.S State Department and President Trump have recently increased sanctions and pressure on Iran, after withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal, or J.C.P.O.A. When Hook accuses Iran of “destructive behavior” really, what he is describing are Iran’s efforts to stabilize the region.
Iran supports Shia forces in Iraq that are fighting I.S.I.S and trying to hold the country together. In Syria, Iran supported the secular Syrian government as it fought a wave of Al Qaeda linked extremists, often backed by the U.S.A. Hezbollah has also played a key role in helping to drive I.S.I.S out of Syria. Iran’s role in the region is not defined by some fanatical desire to spread terrorism, but rather by an effort to secure itself and keep the region from becoming even more chaotic.
Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States, have a different agendas in the Middle East, and have been working to support uprisings and “regime change” against governments they dislike. The result has been the strengthening of terrorism and a mass refugee crisis.
Journalist Caleb Maupin told the Megaphone, “Recent maneuvers from the White House, such as recognition of Jerusalem, indicate almost a desperation to prove Trump’s loyalty to Israel. As Trump is constantly called fascist and accused of being anti-Semitic or Hitleresque, held in absolute contempt by C.N.N and most mainstream American T.V networks, his efforts to hold on to key allies like the Likud Party and the Christian Zionists have increased. Trump’s excessive rhetoric against Iran isn’t exactly strategic, but it is what a key group among his supporters really likes to hear.”
“The Trump administration seems to be constantly pandering to specific minority factions among the rich and powerful in the United States. These groups have specific short terms interests, and unlike the banking elite and the intelligence community, are not thinking about long term strategy or geopolitics” said Maupin.
the most dangerous man
"John Bolton was by far the most dangerous man we had in the entire eight years of the Bush administration," Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, tweeted on March 16, 2018. "Hiring him as the president's top national security advisor is an invitation to war, perhaps nuclear war."
John Bolton Loves Terrorists
Brian Hook, special envoy to Iran, has worked with White House national security advisor John Bolton on past Iran sanctions, when Bolton was the U.S Ambassador to the United Nations. Today, Bolton is the White House’s chief advocate for war on Iran. And he’s not afraid of using terrorists to do it. John Bolton in May was widely reported to have taken paid speaking engagements with the M.E.K, aka “Mujahedeen Khalq.”
During the 1970s, the M.E.K. was suspected of being behind the assassination of six Americans in Iran. The group is in exile, and is widely hated in Iran. Its aim is to the overthrow the current regime. It has recently experienced a serious make-over from scrappy band of 300 into a well-funded operation.
The M.E.K are Iranian, but they took Iraq’s side when Iraq invaded Iran. That makes some sense, when you realize that the USA secretly took Iraq’s side as well, in that conflict. The USA secretly backed the psychotic, chemical weapon-using Saddam Hussein.
Around 2003, the M.E.K group’s core members were for many years confined to Camp Ashraf in Iraq, particularly after the M.E.K and U.S. forces signed a cease-fire agreement of “mutual understanding and coordination” according to Wikipedia. The group was later swept up and relocated en masse to Albania. Maybe the C.I.A realized they were too weird to work with to destabilize Iran. But other people had big plans for them.
The M.E.K’s rehabilitation began in 2012, when it was taken off the U.S Terrorism Watch List, by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Today, the mainstream media has taken the bait. Stories about the M.E.K don’t mention its history. Instead, the videos online show a professional group of 10,000 members, holding professional conventions, with highly paid speakers, like John Bolton or Rudy Giuliani.
Live In Mashhad, Iran
This New York Megaphone reporter was privileged to attend the “New Horizons” conference of international activists, writers, and dissident government officials, in Mashhad, Iran, this past May. I addressed the gathering, regarding a little-known report to Congress called the “Shea Memo.” Meanwhile, Israeli snipers opened fire on non-violent protestors in Gaza, eventually killing over 60, on live television. The protest was against Israel moving its embassy to the international city of Jerusalem.
Miko Peled is the author of The General’s Son: The Story of an Israeli in Palestine. He is an Israeli intellectual who grew up in Jerusalem. In Mashhad, Iran, he told the Megaphone, “The recognition of Jerusalem is giving more legitimacy to the state of Israel, which lacks it dearly. The violence has increased since the Jerusalem recognition. It has emboldened Israel. Jerusalem is a huge political gift to Netanyahu. It makes him a very important Prime Minister in Israel. In 1967, Israel took East Jerusalem and did ethnic cleansing. The city of Jerusalem has not been recognized, legally, as a part of Israel. The old American consulate in Jerusalem reported directly to DC, not the embassy in Tel Aviv. Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and apartheid. The USA could be legally held guilty of ‘complicity’ with genocide - which is a violation of the Geneva Convention.”
Philip Giraldi, former C.I.A counter-terrorism official was also there in Mashhad, Iran. He stated publicly, “Look at how the relationship with Israel damages the USA. It’s $3.8 billion a year in military assistance, from the USA. $1 billion a year for Iron Dome. Americans don’t have healthcare, but Israelis do.”
US bases surround Iran
Iran has been trading with China since 200 BC. It has had diplomatic relations with Russia since 1521. At its zenith, the Persian Empire extended from what is now modern day Greece and Libya to the borders of India. Persia once extended north into territories that are now regions of the modern-day Russia.
As the Trump Administration descends into chaos, the American people must remain vigilant against being manipulated into a supporting a new war against this ancient culture. The American right-wing is not above using war as a distraction. Trump trashing the Iran nuclear deal is a step in that direction.
What Medea Benjamin at the Hudson Institute last Wednesday was nothing short of heroic. In the future, starting now, there are an infinite number of opportunities for activists to follow her lead: to stand up, and articulate a quick counterpoint to deathly positions based on bias, hate and propaganda.