Freedom Rider: Iran’s Right to Exist

missile testby editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
President Obama has the uncanny ability to achieve Bush-like ends by much smoother means. He announces a compromise on missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, then moves the weapons elsewhere on the continent. He initially tones down the rhetoric on Iran, then escalates the pressure on that country. “A smooth, intelligent president can be more dangerous than a blustering, boorish one.”
Freedom Rider: Iran’s Right to Exist
by editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Where Bush would be vilified, Obama will be lionized for committing the same acts of aggression.”
Citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran have the right to live without fear of sanctions, military attack, and destruction at the hands of the United States. The Iranian government has the right to enrich uranium, launch satellites, build missiles or even to develop nuclear weapons. It has these rights of self-determination freely exercised by other nations, regardless of American, European or Israeli opinion.
The United States does not have the right to wage or even to threaten war against Iran, or to tell bald-faced lies about nonexistent threats. These lies are particularly egregious given the United States’ long history of invading, destabilizing or occupying many foreign countries, including Iran, all over the world.
This week president Obama announced changes to the Bush era missile defense plan for Europe. Media reports gave the impression that missile defense plans were being scrapped, when instead the number of proposed missile sites will actually expand from central Europe to include southern and northern Europe as well. In typically Obamaesque fashion, the president spoke as though a great positive change was taking place when the threat posed by the American military industrial complex has only increased.
“The premise of an Iranian threat is made up out of whole cloth.”
Obama, sounding like a Bush administration appointee instead of a Democratic president, claimed that Europe was in grave danger from Iranian missiles. He even quoted George W. Bush for good measure.
“As I said during the campaign, President Bush was right that Iran's ballistic missile program poses a significant threat. And that's why I'm committed to deploying strong missile defense systems which are adaptable to the threats of the 21st century.”
The premise of an Iranian threat is made up out of whole cloth. The whole point of this diplomatic sleight of hand is to mollify Russia and make it easier for Iran’s putative ally to march in lock step and support United Nations sanctions or even military action against Iran should America demand it.
It is not Obama-like to openly threaten military action as the Bush administration did, or to engage in provocative acts so clumsy that even the corporate media refuse to go along with the amateurish ruses. Instead Barack Obama proposes a missile defense system that removes the threat from Russia’s back yard and simultaneously whispers sweet nothings about Iran not being so important after all.
Americans should not be fooled into following the Russia-is-our-enemy line. The unipolar world with the U.S. as the only superpower poses a grave threat to world peace.The rights of all humanity are protected when nations like Russia are strong enough to keep Uncle Sam in his place.
“The unipolar world with the U.S. as the only superpower poses a grave threat to world peace.”
Iranians are deeply divided over the direction of their country and it isn’t clear whether the government has the support of a majority of its population or what Iranians see as the issues of contention. In any case, despite the Iranian’s own revelations of human rights abuses and torture of anti-government protesters, the principle of non-interference must still apply.
It is up to Iranians to do the difficult work of determining what kind of government they will have, but concerned world citizens should not be silent when protesters are shot or imprisoned. The right to seek redress of grievances is one of the most treasured among people of conscience all over the globe. It is possible to condemn these abuses without also supporting the American government’s efforts to bully the rest of the world into submission and impose what always turns out to be a disastrous situation in every country it claims to be helping.
Likewise, President Ahmadinejad’s comments regarding the founding of Israel and its connection to the Nazi genocide against European Jews should not be used as a justification for war or as an excuse for American mischief. The use of objectionable words is never as bad as the use of bombs and bullets. Whatever the explanation for his remarks, they do not give the United States the right to overthrow an Iranian government for the second time in history.
“The use of objectionable words is never as bad as the use of bombs and bullets.”
A smooth, intelligent president can be more dangerous than a blustering, boorish one. Obama knows how to make his arguments and pick his fights. Where Bush would be vilified, Obama will be lionized for committing the same acts of aggression. It isn’t hard to imagine Obama successfully making the case for another violation of international law. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine progressives speaking up against him.
The rights of other peoples ought to be respected, instead of deeply ingrained notions about American supremacy. These notions make Americans a very dangerous group indeed, but the sooner they forsake those beliefs, the better off the world will be.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)



Another fine post, but no propaganda, please...

As always, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed here by Margaret. The hullabaloo over Iranian nuclear weapons is 100% media driven, and we all should know by now who the ultimate source for this is.

The only complaint I have about this posting is the inference that democrat presidents are somehow held to a higher standard than republican ones, in the phrase:

"Obama, sounding like a Bush administration appointee instead of a Democratic president ..."

There is no difference between the parties, except for the rhetoric, Margaret. They both fully support an imperialist agenda, which means that is perfectly acceptable to kill as many people (mostly in foreign lands) as possible in the furtherance of that agenda.

Take a long look at the body counts for democrat vs. republican presidents. Not much of a difference.

As a people, we HAVE to get past the phony democrat=good, republican=bad meme. It is entirely erroneous, and it has now led us to the ruinous Obama presidency. Once Black people understand that both parties are equally bloodthirsty and power-hungry, and that neither are looking out for the "little guy" then perhaps some political maturity will result.

You do your readers a disservice with any allusion to some supposition that democrats are better. They aren't, and I'm sure you know that.

I am embarrased about voting for Obama

This is my first time here and I am an "activist" academic;have been all my life from university years way back in Malaysia. I have always felt that the two parties are the same (wrote an article in a campus magazine at the Univ.of Malaysia on this mere "tweedle dee and tweedle-dum difference" between the two way back in 1967 knowing a lot less of American politics then) as they have the same corporate sponsors. It was tough to say this even some years back but now that the people have been screwed right, they listen better. 9/11 was bad not only for the damage to lives at the towers but more for what it did to silence opinion. Everybody became a red-neck in NJ where I then lived. The oppressive atmosphere "coerced" us all to exhibit American flags somewhere to show loyalty and as a foreigner the pressure was even more intense. I chose to live here and owe this place my sincere and frank opinion, not what you want to hear and so rejected this pressure to pin the flag somewhere "on me" or my car. A lot of foreigners caved in to the "red-neck" demands in the air.
All the comments are valid on the way Obama has lied his way to the top. I am disgusted that I fell for his rhetoric, but then again times were tough and we needed to make a radical choice more than a racial statement.
The man has since winning surrounded himself with Wall Street crooks, doled out our money to them and continues the wars we are hated for, but with a "kinder voice". We were fooled by his "cool" responses to challenges as strength. Now I think  that it is really an indication that nothing bothers him including what we now think of his volte-face. Michelle and Obama are in a hurry to become a part of the system (including the Bilderburger group) and are saying and doing the "right things". It is as if they are already posturing for their next jobs,million-dollar ones. I did not vote for this man for small cosmetic changes to fool people into thinking he is with us.
It is clear who he is beholden to and why he seeks to escalate the war further into the Middle east, especially with Iran. They way Iran is being vilified reminds me of what was done to the North Vietnamese ("Gooks" etc) and more recently our ex-friend against Iran Sadam Hussein.
Think of this for a moment. Sadam Hussein used chemical bombs against Iranian villages in the Iran-Iraq War killing en-masse right? Did Iran retaliate with chemical weapons? NO, but there is "war with Iran" in the air even if we have to borrow Chinese money to engage in it.
Obama fooled us all with his skillful rhetoric about history being made, when in reality he has so soon already proven to be a vile opportunist. The man is an opportunist by nature who will compromise all of our important interests away before his first term is over.

Obama lied again about Iran's nuclear program.

And the lies just keep on coming. When Iran announced the existence of its second nuclear site, something the U.S. has apparently known about for years, Barack Obama once again followed Bush-Cheney policy by lying about Iran's nuclear activities.

"Obama joined the leaders of Britain and France in accusing the Islamic republic of clandestinely building an underground plant to make nuclear fuel that could be used to build an atomic bomb. Iranian officials acknowledged the facility but insisted it had been reported to nuclear authorities as required."

Obama should try reading intelligence reports, like 2007's National Intelligence Estimate (the combined consensus report by all sixteen known U.S. intelligence agencies), which stated quite clearly that there is no concrete evidence of a weapons program in Iran. In July and August of this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the lack of evidence although it refuses to state anything definitively. Yet still Obama, the D.C. political establishment, and the corporate media continue to lie to the contrary. We've already been lied into one failed war, lied into ramping up another failed war, are so hurting for fresh soldiers that the Pentagon is now actively accepting white supremacists, yet still the establishment seeks to lie us into another conflict. For THIS we elected a Democrat to the presidency?

Obama is no liberal

Obama isn't really a liberal (not that liberal vs conservative rhetoric really means anything).  I noticed it the moment he uttered praise for Reagan during the campaign season, and stuttered and stammered during the debates instead of ripping them a new one vis a vis falsified reasons for leading the country into an elective war.
Add to that the failure to prosecute Bush/Cheney and Co, and the many moments of backpedaling at the insistence of some outraged white person.
He has no intention of doing healthcare right. He hemmed and hawwed about universal healthcare during the debates.  It actually serves his purpose that there is so much chaos surrounding healthcare reform efforts.  Further if he hadn't publically set an arbitrary deadline for congress to have a bill on his desk, much of the summer's redneck drama could have been avoided.  Congress was already working on several bills, but he effs it up every time with grand pronouncements and speechifying.
The only thing worth admiring is that the brotha continues to show his face on a daily basis knowing a million rednecks, klansmen, paramilitary and so-called regular folk would love to see him on the ground oozing blood. 

US Propaganda is the root of evil

The same common Americans having a hissy fit over Iran, WHICH HAS NO NUCLEAR WEAPONS, are the same one's who want to be able to buy cop-killing bullets, and automatic weapons. These are the "2nd Amendment" acolytes that want the same weaponry as law enforcement. The hypocrisy and intellectual bankruptcy of US "mainstream" thought is breathtaking.

Does anyone of these "critics" know where US nuclear weapon sites are? Or how many bombs we have? Do they know where Israel's nuclear weapons are or how many bombs they have.

While Obama and the US struts the world stage like pompous asses, the "mainstream" ignorant American is blind and oblivious to the fact that the US continues to develop nuclear weapons, in fact, the US official military policy actually CONTEMPLATES THE USAGE of nuclear weapons. Hence we see diabolical discussions of "tactical or bunker-busting nukes" being employed against Iran.

"Soon after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush Administration made a push for new nuclear programs, the most conspicuous of which was the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), designed to destroy deeply buried bunkers. During the first presidential debate this fall, John Kerry made much of his opposition to the program. “Right now the President is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons,” he said. “We're telling other people, ‘You can't have nuclear weapons,’ but we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using. Not this president. I'm going to shut that program down, and we're going to make it clear to the world we're serious about containing nuclear proliferation.”

The US propaganda machine and the god of American Exceptionalism won't permit Americans to see that the invasion of Iraq was the greatest strategic disaster in US history. Instead, the propaganda machine makes us think Petraeus, the man who couldn't keep track of weapons in Iraq, is the second coming of Julius Caesar. As Juan Cole accurately wrote in 2005, "The Winner of the Iraq War is Iran." But our arrogance, stupidity won't allow us to see that. Bush created the (phony) Iranian threat by invading Iraq, but that get's lost in the propaganda mill.

Iran would be a damn fool, NOT to pursue nuclear weapons. Because in the geo-political world they are defensive weapons. The propaganda machine wants us to fear Iran, when a normal person would fear N. Korea more, are they not more irrational? But even as irrational as they are, they have yet to proved they are suicidal.

The US and Israel, and EU are nothing but a bunch of goddamn hypocrites and idiots. Right now, not enough troops in the US military but yet we're ginning up another war. An attack on Iran will not only bring back the draft but push gas prices over $6/gallon, all but insuring a true Great Depression. Maybe then the masses will get their wake up call.

Ginning up a war on Iran, Iraq "intelligence failure" redoux ..."The point is, the controversy over the new Iranian facility itself seems to be dying down. Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi offered that IAEA inspectors could visit the facility under construction and ensure there was nothing "secret" about it. Salehi pointed out that the controversy was futile since the new facility wouldn't be operational for 18 months and Tehran was required to inform the IAEA about it only six months before introducing nuclear materials into it. Tehran apparently "pre-empted a conspiracy" by reporting the facility's existence voluntarily to the IAEA much in advance as it estimated that the US and its allies might posit the site as evidence that Iran had a "secret" nuclear program.

To be sure, there has been a cat-and-mouse game involving Western (and Israeli) and Iranian intelligence agencies and Tehran feared a military attack. "Given the threats we face every day, we are required to take the necessary precautionary measures, spread our facilities and protect our human assets. Therefore, the facility is to guarantee the continuation of our nuclear activity under any conditions," Salehi told Iranian television on Saturday."

When will Israel become an IAEA signatory, seems to be working fine for Iran? ABSENT, the phony, contrived "threats." Of course it IS diplomatically acceptable in the Exceptional Empire for the US presidential candidate, now Sec. of State to threaten to "obliterate" Iran. As the lie about Iran threatening to "wipe Israel off the map continues unabated. A country with NO nuclear weapons and whom the US defense establishment outspends by 100 times."

Obama, the "compassion conservative" of Bush's wet dreams.

Share the Scott Ritter interview, an antidote to propaganda

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter discusses the overblown “gotcha” revelation of the “secret” Iranian nuclear facility, how the wonkish debate over IAEA Additional Protocol minutiae turned into accusations that Iran is building nukes, the secret Saudi, U.K. and U.S. funding of opposition candidates in the Iranian election and the likely disastrous results of a war with Iran.

MP3 here. (49:08)

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer and a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq. He writes for and is the author of numerous books, including Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement and Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change.

Since most of your "sheeple friends" are too lazy to read BAR and other alternative news sources, they will listen , so borrow their MP3 or USB and download this. They will tune out your voice, but perhaps they'll hear Ritter loud and clear.

Are we (the US) or Iran doomed? Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- A majority of Americans are skeptical that diplomacy with Iran will succeed and say the U.S. should use military action if necessary to prevent the Iranian government from developing a nuclear weapon. A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey released today found 61 percent of Americans would support a military strike. Twenty-four percent said it is more important to avoid conflict even if that means Iran will end up building nuclear arms. The survey by the Washington-based group found 63 percent support direct U.S. negotiations with Iran to push the country to abandon its nuclear program. Still, 64 percent said such efforts won’t succeed. The poll was conducted last week, when Iran held talks with the U.S. and other United Nations powers and agreed to widen discussions on the nuclear dispute. "

Looks like the propaganda is working. Americans in la la land think an attack on Iran is necessary and apparently w/o consequences. And bloggers complain that the writers on BAR aren't doing enough or that the posters are just keyboard activists. When you look at the number of people in the United States that are willing to attack Iran, the same people who are growing wary of Afghanistan, it's clear that cognitive dissonance defines the average American. African Americans I've talked to are frightened into believing we should attack Iran if "necessary." I can't stress enough the need to get information out, to get discussion going. You are not going to form a march against attacking Iran w/o winning a few battles in the information war.
Apparently an attack on Iran won't interfere with Holiday shopping and episodes of American Idol and Housewifes of Atlanta.

Does one need to muster any more evidence of proof of the US as a rogue, insane nation, infested with delusions of grandeur? 99.999% of the 61% favoring an attack will be shitting bullets when gas hits $8 a gallon.