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Member since: Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:13 PM
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"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." James A. Baldwin

Journal Archives

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran ready for nuclear talks with US

Source: The Guardian.

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Sunday that he is ready to have talks with United States if the West stops pressuring his country. His remarks constituted the latest in a series of hints from leaders in both Washington and Tehran about the prospect of direct bilateral negotiations over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program. However, Washington is highly unlikely to relax sanctions on Iran and Tehran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on key state decisions, says that his country won't negotiate under threat. This makes it hard to envision how talks could take place.

Ahmadinejad is in his final months of his term of office and his followers are weakened by a feud with the Islamic Republic's clerical establishment. His latest statement, which implies that he is an equal player with Khamenei in foreign policy matters, may simply be an attempt to appear as though he is still politically relevant.

"You pull away the gun from the face of the Iranian nation, and I myself will enter the talks with you," Ahmadinejad said at a ceremony marking the 34th anniversary of the 1979 revolution that toppled a Western-backed monarch and ushered in the Islamic Republic.

He said the West had recently taken a "better" tone toward Iran a nod to statements made by vice president Joe Biden last week, in which he said the United States was prepared talk directly to Iran. But the Iranian president said this was not enough. The West claims Iran's nuclear activities are aimed at developing weapons. Iran denies it seeks atomic arms, saying its nuclear fuel is only for energy-producing reactors and medical applications, and insists that its operations will continue.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/10/mahmoud-ahmadinejad-iran-nuclear-talks-us

It's an Iranian version of "Good Cop, Bad Cop?"
Posted by another_liberal | Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:31 AM (22 replies)

Iran's president begins historic Egypt visit

Source: Al Jazeera

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in Cairo, marking the first visit to Egypt by an Iranian president since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Ahmadinejad flew into the capital, Cairo, to attend a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC), which begins on Wednesday. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi kissed the Iranian leader as he got off the plane on Tuesday. Ahmadinejad will also meet with Egyptian officials and politicians during his three-day visit, the official IRNA news agency reported. "I will try to pave the ground for developing co-operation between Iran and Egypt," Ahmadinejad said ahead of the trip. Without elaborating, he said the visit would "definitely influence the bilateral ties" between Tehran and Cairo.

Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reporting from Cairo said "We have not seen a full restoration of ties between the two countries... in the words of the Egyptian foreign minister, the crisis in Syria is the main sore point in present time relations between Egypt and Iran. Any transformation in relations between the two countries is dependent on developments in Syria."

Egypt has responded cautiously to Iranian efforts to revive ties since Morsi took power in 2012, with the two nations adopting opposing positions on the Syrian conflict.Iran supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Egypt has been a leading voice in urging his departure - along with regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.

"If Tehran and Cairo see more eye to eye on regional and international issues, many [issues] will change," Ahmadinejad was quoted by IRNA as saying. Tehran severed ties with Cairo in 1980 in protest at a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel by then Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. Ahmadinejad also expressed interest in visiting the neighbouring Gaza Strip.

Read more: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/02/20132585923942211.html

World famous Sonny Bono look-alike visits Egypt. What could possibly go wrong?
Posted by another_liberal | Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:04 AM (8 replies)

'Most lethal sniper in US history': Chris Kyle shot dead on Texas gun range.

Source: The Independent.

A famous American marksman and author was shot dead yesterday on a Texas rifle range. Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who claimed to have been the most prolific sniper in American history, had a bounty put on his head by insurgents in Iraq, who dubbed him "The Devil of Ramadi."

He was at Rough Creek Lodge's shooting range near Forth Worth, Texas, with another man. Both were fatally shot. Witnesses said a gunman opened fire on the men at around 3:30 yesterday afternoon before fleeing in a pick-up truck belonging to one of the victims, according to a local newspaper. The newspaper said a 25-year-old man was later taken into custody nearby and that charges were expected. The motive for the shooting is unclear.

Kyle, 38, wrote the best-selling book, "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History," about the 150-plus insurgents he killed between 1999 and 2009. He was being sued for defamation by Jesse Ventura, former Governor of Minnesota, over the book's claim that Kyle punched Ventura in a 2006 bar fight over unpatriotic remarks. Ventura said the punch never happened. Kyle had asked that Ventura's claims of invasion of privacy and "unjust enrichment" be dismissed, saying there was no legal basis for them. But a federal judge said the lawsuit should proceed. The suit was set to begin in August.

The married father of two, from Odessa, Texas, was president of Craft International, providing sniper and security training for the US military. He saw four tours of Iraq, during which he was shot twice. He received three Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with Valor.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/most-lethal-sniper-in-us-history-chris-kyle-shot-dead-on-texas-gun-range-8478695.html

Yes, guns do kill people, quite a few people.
Posted by another_liberal | Sun Feb 3, 2013, 11:39 AM (101 replies)

ZD30: Hollywood does history.

This opinion piece, by Tarak Barkawi, is a thoughtful and convincing explanation of why the movie Zero Dark Thirty is more about justifying the "War On Terror" than it is about anything that could rightly be called "History."

Pundits and moviegoers across the US are vigorously debating Kathryn Bigelow’s new film Zero Dark Thirty about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Much of the debate concerns whether or not the film is an accurate retelling of history. According to the film, CIA torture was essential to finding bin Laden. Nearly every piece of evidence the film’s hero—a CIA agent named Maya played by Jessica Chastain—collects derives in one way or another from “enhanced interrogation”. As if watching a film amounted to serious research, MSNBC’s conservative talk show host Joe Scarborough concluded that ZD30 shows that the CIA torture program was in fact effective.

Hey, wait a minute there! If you can't trust Joe Scarborough, who the hell can you trust?

Liberal commentators, meanwhile, are appalled that Bigelow and writer Mark Boal have ignored some of the few available facts about the Bush Administration’s global archipelago of gulags. US senators, with access to classified materials, point out that there is serious dispute within the CIA, FBI and other agencies over whether torture played such an important role in finding bin Laden. Bigelow and Boal invited this debate over the historical accuracy of their film. ZD30 begins with the claim that it is “Based on Firsthand Accounts of Actual Events”. As if the film were journalism as well as history, Bigelow has termed it a “reported film”. Boal assured the New York Times that he had no intention of playing “fast and loose with history”. Having shown us just how it really was, Bigelow opines of torture, “I wish it was not part of our history. But it was.” Indeed.

Most astonishing in all this is the very idea that a film can amount to a proper history of anything, much less that of the War on Terror. Two hours in a dark theatre being buffeted by the mesmerising magics of master filmmakers has little in common with sifting documents from departments of state or crafting interpretations of major events. Yet—and here is the really scary thing—it is undeniable that Americans do in fact get their history from Hollywood. Right now, in addition to learning about the hunt for bin Laden, they are also “studying” the US civil war and the emancipation of the slaves in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

This author is clearly on to something important. We do put ourselves at considerable risk of manipulation by the unscrupulous if we allow movies, basically just entertainment, to be our main source for United States and World history. Perhaps taking a few more hours of American History, beyond the three usually required for most bachelor degrees, might be a good idea after all?

The important question then is not whether ZD30 is accurate, but rather just what supposed truths is it purveying? What are Americans learning about their “history” from it? As Rutgers University’s Susan Carruthers notes, ZD30 should be seen as a work of “cultural recuperation”, an effort to supply a happy ending to the War on Terror, and a reinterpretation of Iraq and Afghanistan as something other than “mistakes, catastrophes or abominations.” That is, ZD30 is less a film about the War on Terror than it is part of the war effort itself. For a crucial thing about wars is how they are remembered, what significance they are seen to have had. The greatest and darkest conflagration humanity has ever known—World War II—is remembered in the US as the “Good War”, in part because of Hollywood’s films about it. That memory has consequences: George W. Bush was channelling the Good War when he imagined his troops would be received as liberators in Iraq.

I have to agree with Mr. Barkawi that Zero Dark Thirty is, intentionally or not, a War on Terror propaganda film, and has no more real grounding in the facts about our torture regime under the Cheney/Bush administration than John Wayne's darkly laughable Green Berets had in facts concerning the Vietnam War. To read the complete opinion piece click below:

Posted by another_liberal | Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:35 AM (6 replies)
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