John Bolton’s Fake Applause 222

The Oxford Union has dubbed fake applause onto the videos of John Bolton’s address to the Union. It has not done this for any other speaker.

If you listen to these videos of Bolton itching for war with Iran, you can hear precisely the same burst of ultra enthusiastic applause at the start, fading “naturally” as he begins to speak.

This dubbing in of applause is not used for any other speaker on the Oxford Union website, either before or after Bolton.

Everyone else just gets the actual applause that really existed.

Contrast the presentation of these question answers from Bolton with this from Julian Assange:

One futher interesting feature of the Bolton video is that the students asking questions – who were mostly hostile – are all edited out in favour of fake applause.

I was involved in heated negotiations with the Oxford Union on the transmission of Assange’s address, against attempts not by the students but by the Board of Trustees to block it “on legal grounds”. These conversations were not pleasant. When Assange’s address was finally put out, the sound was completely messed up and remained so for a fortnight, with this comment from the Oxford Union posted underneath:

Thanks for your feedback. We are aware there are issues with the audio when playing on mobile devices and we are working on getting this fixed as quickly as possible. The audio can be heard on desktops or with headphones on laptops.

I am therefore fascinated by the skill with which the Oxford Union have merged the dying of the fake applause over the start of Bolton’s speaking, when they were technically incapable of a simple straight sound feed of the Assange address.

Bolton is not only banging the drum for neo-con war, he is a war criminal with a direct role in launching the illegal role of aggression in Iraq. His address to the Union was the day before Assange’s speech to the Sam Adams Award at the same venue. Yet not a single one of the students who demonstrated against Assange demonstrated against Bolton.

To take the issue of rape, which was ostensibly the subject of the protest, Bolton’s Iraq War directly caused innumerable rapes. Nobody can know the exact figure, but certainly tens of thousands of rapes, and very many of them were fatal or had the most devastating consequences for the women who suffered. Read this excellent article

Rape is a common weapon of any war; no one knows how many Iraqi women have been raped since the war began in 2003. Most crimes against women “are not reported because of stigma, fear of retaliation, or lack of confidence in the police,” MADRE, an international women’s rights group, wrote in its 2007 report about violence against women in Iraq. Some women, like Khalida, are raped by Iraqi security forces. A 2005 report published by the Iraqi National Association for Human Rights found that women held in Interior Ministry detention centers endure “systematic rape by the investigators.”

They did not demonstrate against Bolton because the mainstream media and establishment have whipped up no hysteria about him. But they were directed to outrage against Assange, a man who has done a great deal to expose war crimes and try to prevent war, because the mainstream media and establishment pushed the useful idiots in that direction with some extraordinarily unconvincing accusations.

I said most of this IN my owN speech to the Sam Adams awards. Strangely the Oxford Union have not posted that speech at all…..


With thanks to Herbie, there is a history of Bolton and false applause. Perhaps this is insisted upon by his minders – who presumably know he doesn’t get real applause outside the Republican Party!

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222 thoughts on “John Bolton’s Fake Applause

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  • Mary

    No irony.


    18 February 2013
    Barack Obama to receive Israel’s presidential medal of distinction
    President who is often criticised over Israel policy set to be honoured during March visit to the Middle East


    19 February, 2013
    Tzipi Livni appointed Israeli justice minister
    Leader of Hatnuah party will join Netanyahu’s coalition to take on responsibility for reviving Palestinian peace process

    Within the latter piece by Phoebe Greenwood you can read ‘In contrast to Netanyahu’s scepticism, Livni has dedicated her political life to the peace process, often at significant personal cost.’ This is the butcher behind Cast Lead and other atrocities committed on the Palestinians.

    Ed Murray on Medialens writes to Greenwood.

    Ms Greenwood,

    In your Guardian piece: “Tzipi Livni appointed Israeli justice minister” (19th Feb), you state:

    “Livni has dedicated her political life to the peace process, often at significant personal cost.”

    Well, that’s one way to describe a vicious war criminal and you just did!

    I have read some turning reality on it’s head hackery in my time but that just about takes the biscuit.

    I am at a total loss as to how anyone can say that about Livni while ignoring that she was a key figure in the bombing of Lebanon is 2006 and a prominent member of the Israeli War Cabinet and implicated in war crimes for being up to her neck in Operation Cast Lead in 2008/9.

    Do you remember Operation Cast Lead? It’s where Livni and her crew ordered an assault on the densely populated tiny Gaza Strip by land, sea and air. Up to 1400 people were killed by the Israelis, hundreds of them children, and the Strip left in smouldering ruins.

    Indeed, she would have been arrested in Britain for war crimes if the Foreign Office had not intervened and gave her diplomatic immunity.

    To whitewash a record like that is to enable war crimes and is almost as bad as committing them.

    Read what you wrote again:

    “Livni has dedicated her political life to the peace process, often at significant personal cost.”

    It’s unbelievable, sickening and very sad!

    Why do it?

    Ed Murray.

  • KarimovaRevengeFantasist

    Note to all: I will try to deal with your responses in order, one at a time. Sorry it is a lot of work. Although I am unemployed, I do not have endless time. I am very busy. I also am more challenged than you lot, who are presumably all journalists, to fashion beautiful sentences the same way you lot do seem to do so effortlessly for a living.

    Here is the interiew with Livia Liu Agosti, the Swiss ambassador.

    If European diplomats ever lie, I expect her response to Jill Dougherty’s question “. Are you feeling more tension, now, in Iran?” is the nearest they get to it with her response “It is possible” (she becomes all serious when answering that question: she maybe does not want to upset the Iranian leadership?

    On the issue of Iranians being liars, the thing that chimes with my experience there is this answer she gives:

    “They don’t always necessarily communicate everything to us so you have to also be (slight pause) er (change of tack) use our own analysis, which is, by the way, very interesting, [speaking] as a diplomat.” (a diplomatic way of saying it?)

    Some of the effect of the interview is conveyed through describing how things aren’t in Iran, leaving one free to imagine how things are. Maybe that is why, on reflection, the interview appeals so much to me, and maybe why it won’t necessarily change your view. The time of the interview was when the American hitchhiker hostages were released (2011?).

    They were hostages in my view because a) they didn’t have time to start spying (arrested on border) and b) you do not lock up illegal immigrants for as long as they were, and normally the fines for alleged violation of immigration rules are not fines of the order of $0.5m per person (Sarah Shourd’s bail payment was that much from memory). The problem in my mind (perhaps not in yours) given the problem of Iranian lying is that the hitchhikers may not have actually been in Iran: the border is not marked clearly at every point between Iraq and Iran. My reading of the whole affair for what it is worth is it was a dispute with the USA about something else we are not privy too. A lot of arguments are about money. The payments made to the Iranians via Oman more than covered the cost of the hitchhikers’ imprisonment. I know from how just witnessing the Iranian revolution has marked me, so their unjust imprisonment will probably have a dramatic effect on them for life. It is possible they may never quite get over it, given the length of their incarceration.

    I hope to deal with all the outstanding posts today, if you still want to hear from me.

  • KarimovaRevengeFantasist


    I think you are intelligent from the quality of your posts, so I am sure you understand why there were problems with PressTV. It interviewed someone under duress. I stopped following the story after that: I thought they were going to be fined for that. They did tend to go on the worst Council estates and portray Britain in a very unattractive light. Our worst Council estates are part of our story for Iranians, but they are not the whole story of Britain. I wonder if it was the satellite carrier that stopped broadcasting them rather than our Government? Payment problems with the sanctions might have been the reason. Incidentally if they didn’t like the size of the fine, all they have to do is seize a Brit and keep him in prison on false charges and demand the same bail requirements as they did for Sarah Shourd. The French lady Claudin somebody who wrote reports on the Green protests for the French embassy was released around the same time as Shahpour Bakhtiar’s murderer was released from jail in France. Hostage taking is very much one of their tools of diplomacy, IMO.

  • Arbed

    @ Karimova

    I thought the reasons given by Ofcom for withdrawing Press TV’s UK licence – that it had broken the terms of the licence because its ‘head office’ was not in Britain – were very, very flaky indeed. Surely that means CNN and the like are equally guilty of infringing their licences to broadcast in the UK?

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free


    LastBlueBell, 5.19p

    Thanks for the links. Steven Pinker seems interesting.

    I think the downward trend of violence is, of course, important and desirable, but I don’t think that it factors into our response to new incidents of violence except in terms of response capabilitites (eg police numbers). Nor should it distract us from being alert to socio-political developments that lay the foundations of future violence. We are responsible for carefully thinking through the potential long term consequences of implementing public policies and laws that are intended to shape community behaviour and attitudes.

    Compromising a fundamental principle such as freedom of speech in order to accomodate the dissent of a self-interested group is problematic when that dissent comes with an implied threat of violence. It does not matter if the majority of a given group disapprove of violence employed by the minority if they stand to benefit from the effects of that violence in the long term. The whole group is responsible. In other words, the minority do the dirty work of the majority just like our soldiers do the dirty work of killing for our benefit. A scapegoat, which can often be found, might then be sacrificed to placate the collective conscience of the majority, thereby absolving them of guilt as they continue to enjoy those benefits.

    Despite the abhorrence of violent crime felt by the British at the time, we in the colonised territories of the West, have enjoyed the benefits of violent invasion and dispossession of the lands of indigenous peoples. These days it’s about resources, but the game is the same. So we are all responsible for what violence is perpetrated in our name including the growing threat to invade Iran and replace it with a Western sponsored secular regime.

    All muslims are correspondingly responsible for whatever violence is perpetrated in their name and resulting in their collective benefit. Sadly, you won’t find many of them protesting the burning down of churches in Indonesia or anywhere else, perhaps because they fear being the target of violence themselves.

    I am putting the case that this paradigm of strategic dispossession and conquest is not a monopoly of the West, Christianity, Islam, nation state or of the multinational corporation. I am saying that violence, and more effectively, the threat of violence by a minority of people is an effective method of spearheading the stages of embedding, expanding, dominating and eventually displacing an existing culture. The dispossessed people might even be subsumed, their bodies snatched and minds washed clean of their former identity to ensure that the conquest is irreversible. Whatever happened to the North American native peoples? Converted to Christianity under threat of love? Or violent death?

    My long post about freedom of speech on the previous page of this thread attempts to raise the issue of current efforts to subvert it by selectively redefining it as a crime to suit the disparate agendas of a political alliance of demopathic minorities. Like in the classic prisoner’s dilemma, cooperation and betrayal are mixed with uncertainty in this alliance and ultimately, only one group will prevail when it achieves the critical mass necessary to instigate the next stage. Do we want it to get to that stage? I certainly don’t.

    Islamophobia vs Criticism –

  • KarimovaRevengeFantasist

    @Doug SCorgie

    “You don’t cite any examples, you don’t give references and you don’t supply links.”

    “…the regime in Iran can’t survive without invoking a common enemy…” “…That fact may be the reason why it is difficult to build trust between the two countries…”
    So it is a “fact” not your opinion then.”

    I concede your point. It is my opinion, but it is, I hope, a well reasoned opinion. The evidence is as follows:
    1. Iran is a semi-democracy (you are not seriously disputing that are you?)
    2. The leadership is using force to impose an unattractive ideology (hell on earth to go to heaven). The sight of Basij thugs (during the Green movement protests) beating up Iranians chanting “God is great” is a bit of a contradiction.
    3. Appointments to Government posts are for loyalty not for competence reasons
    4. There is press censorship, so no tradition of investigative journalism
    5. Points 3 and 4 mean the quality of decision making on the economy is very low. (High unemployment and high inflation are one result of that, although both of those are also caused by the sanctions)
    6. The basket case state of the economy and the issue of privileged elites – the Revolutionary Guard own a lot of businesses and get awarded contracts – means there are a lot of people who have not benefited economically from the country’s immense wealth in natural resources)
    7. A lot of groups have issues: women are shut of some courses at universities – often the courses that get you good jobs, women suffer from disadvantageous rights in inheritance and divorce; various regional and religious minorities have issues: the Baluchis, the Azeris, the Kurds, the Iranian Arabs, the Armenian and Assyrian Christian communities, the Bahai, Iranian Jews, etc.

    Having consideration for points 1 to 7, and especially for point 1, it is reasonable the only way to unite the country in pursuance of this ideology is to have a common enemy. They invoke the religion to sustain the West=evil and Iranian Regime=good dogma.

    If point 1 is hard to cope with imagine Arthur Scargill as prime minister and declaring all election candidates must have a record of condemning capitalism, private healthcare and private education.

    “Burying vast numbers of centrifuges…”
    Considering the fact that Israel has openly threatened to bomb the nuclear processing plants, it makes sense to keep them buried don’t you think?

    They know we know they have far more centrifuges than they need to make medical isotopes and feedstock for the power station. They also know we know it uneconomic for them to make their own enriched uranium. They do not have the benefits of economies of scale. I don’t think even South Korea with many more nuclear power stations does its own enrichment. There is perhaps is no problem with South Korea doing their own but they don’t do it because it is cheaper to buy it in. The cost of burying it all only makes it more uneconomic. Then when you add in the cost of the oil sales foregone (billions of $ every month) and you add in the lost output due to factories closing due to high interest rates to defend the rial, you start to realise just how badly they want the know-how to be, in the words of Karim Sadjadpour “one screw-turn away from having a nuclear bomb. The number and efficiency of the new centrifuges means that the break-out time from 20% enrichment to 90% enrichment to make one bomb is now about 4 weeks. The Iranians will probably reduce that to 2 weeks, and they we will have to even less time to decide whether to use force to stop them. It makes a botched decision more likely by our Govt.

    On your point about much of the fuel having been converted to peaceful purposes recently (the NY Times article)

    I agree. But if they hadn’t converted it, I am sure they would have been attacked by now. That is perhaps is the reason they converted it.

    I’ve provided the link to the interview with Livia Leu Agosti, the Swiss ambassador, in an earlier post.

    “Doesn’t Iran have a right to exist?”

    Yes. But the regime is not entitled to run a coach and horses through the NNP treaty they have signed.

    “You’re having a laugh aren’t you; Israel unlikely to behave irresponsibly?”
    No. Most of Israel’s soldiers (from the figures you provide) are on call, rather than full time soldiers. If they were full time, the Israeli economy would be unviable. You ommitted my mention of the Persian Jews (a community in Tel Aviv). It maybe electorally insignificant, but you would think, since they speak Persian, they would be upset about attacking Iran. Israel is not a semi-democracy like Iran. The Government is accountable to its people for its actions, so it is more likely to behave responsibly than the leadership in Teheran.

    What about Operation Cast Lead; murder on the Mavi Marmara; political assassinations and the Samson Option?

    I don’t know about this, but I accept your point (I know some Israelis in the very distant past were once terrorists like the Palestinians they now call terrorists). I did hear about one Israeli assassination in Tunis. However, Iran has had some very nasty terrorist attacks. The assasination of Sharpour Bakhtiar – the murderers didn’t even bother to carry a weapon – they stabbed him with his own kitchen knife. Also one Iranian in America was dispatched by an Iranian posing as a parcel delivery man on the orders of the regime. Then there was an attack in a restaurant in Germany. Of course the biggest alleged ones are the Beirut barracks bombing and the Argentine Jewish Centre.

    If you don’t know [about the Beirut barracks and the Argentine Jewish Centre, why mention it?

    I suppose because it fits a pattern. I wasn’t present, so of course I can’t be sure. Iran has enough issues with the USA and Israel to make me think they did do it. Ditto the Bulgaria bus bombing. The evidence for the Delhi and Bangkok attacks is of course much more compelling – I don’t think Iran can deny those two attacks.

    “You admit to not knowing much about Mossadegh, you haven’t followed the story of Iran Air flight 655 or the whereabouts of Iran’s assets stolen by the late Shah and his regime. Yet you like to portray yourself as some sort of expert in Middle East affairs particularly relating to Israel and Iran.”

    I think that is unfair. I lived there for one year during the revolution. It is hard not to take an interest in all stories to do with Iran. I don’t have time to read a lot about Mossadegh, although I have seen an interview with a relative of his. It is impossible to spend a year in Iran without them bringing up Mossadegh in conversation. Ditto Anglo-Persian oil. I have no qualifications in Middle Eastern studies, but can read perso-arabic script (only simple stuff and not the fancy caligraphy that is sometimes used in newspaper headlines – the nastliqeh??? style or whatever it is called is too difficult for me. I did mention the Iranian passenger plane full of pilgrims the Americans shot down. Of course I don’t remember the Flight no. Did you look it up, before posting?

    “…they [Iran] would seek to destroy the economic viability of Israel…”
    Isn’t that what Israel, the EU and the USA are trying to do to Iran?

    I think they want to demonstrate to the world how much Iran wants nuclear know-how it does not need to have nuclear power stations. It is uneconomic for Iran to operate that part of the fuel cycle in Iran unless it has an ulterior motive. The sanctions are hurting middle class Iranians (just the sort who would support America according to Bolton). I think they also hurt the poorest too.
    If the sanctions are removed (as you wish) the next step would be for Iran to demand a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. I am not opposed to stronger representation of Shias, but not when the regime is as it is now. Turkey is the model to follow: democracy, modernism, and Islam: they’ve managed to cope with all three. Iran has botched it.

    “I’m sure you are academic enough (if you want to be) but you are merely playing games on this blog.”
    Disagree. These are my honest views.

  • doug scorgie

    20 Feb, 2013 – 12:03 pm

    You say

    “Iran is a semi-democracy (you are not seriously disputing that are you?)”

    I think you have the impression that I am supportive of the Iran regime and its political system; I am not. But if the regime and the system are to be changed it is entirely up to the Iranian people to affect that change not to be imposed from outside as the US and other western countries have a long history of doing.

    For example: A brief history of US interference in other people’s countries:
    Syria became an independent republic in 1946, but the March 1949 Syrian coup d’état, led by Army Chief of Staff Husni al-Za’im, ended the initial period of civilian rule. Za’im met at least six times with CIA operatives in the months prior to the coup to discuss his plan to seize power.
    In 1953, the CIA worked with the United Kingdom to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran led by Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. (Note democratically elected).
    The CIA supported the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Guatemala led by Jacobo Arbenz.
    1959 onwards.
    The Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations approved initiatives for CIA-trained Cuban anti-communist exiles and refugees to land in Cuba and attempt to overthrow the government of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The CIA made a number of attempts to assassinate Castro, often with White House approval, as in Operation Mongoose.
    In February 1960, the United States planned a coup against the government of Iraq headed by Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim, who two years earlier had deposed the Western-allied Iraqi monarchy.
    The CIA backed a coup against President Ngô Đình Diệm of South Vietnam. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
    The democratically-elected government of Brazil, headed by President João Goulart, was successfully overthrown in a coup in March 1964. President Johnson authorized logistical materials to be in place to support the coup-side of the rebellion as part of U.S. Operation Brother Sam.
    1965. Congo.
    Joseph Mobutu seized power from President Kasa-Vubu with the help of the CIA. Mobutu had the political and military support of Western countries, who saw him as an ally against communism in Africa. He established a one-party state, banning all other political organizations except his own.
    Kwame Nkrumah helped Ghana gain its independence from British colonial rule. While he was on a state visit, his government was overthrown in a military coup. Several commentators, including former CIA officer John Stockwell, have alleged the CIA’s involvement in the coup
    The election of Marxist candidate Salvador Allende as President of Chile in September 1970 led President Richard Nixon to order that Allende not be allowed to take office. The CIA destabilized Chile and helped create the conditions for the 1973 Chilean coup d’état, which led to years of dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet.
    1979. Afghanistan
    The supplying of billions of dollars in arms to the Afghan mujahideen militants was one of the CIA’s longest and most expensive covert operations
    1980. Turkey.
    Military coup of 12 September 1980. Support of the coup was acknowledged by the CIA’s Ankara station chief, Paul Henze.
    1981 onwards. Nicaragua.
    From 1981-90, the CIA attempted to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.
    2002. Venezuela.
    Washington is claimed to have approved and supported a coup against the Venezuelan government. Senior officials, including Special Envoy to Latin America Otto Reich and convicted Iran-contra figure and George W. Bush “democracy ‘czar'” Elliott Abrams, were allegedly part of the plot.
    2006 Somalia.
    Although the United States has had an ongoing interest in Somalia for decades, in early 2006 the CIA began a program of funding a coalition of anti-Islamic warlords.
    2005. Iran.
    President George W. Bush authorized the CIA to undertake black operations against Iran in an effort to destabilize the Iranian government.
    2011. Libya.
    the Obama administration sent in CIA Special Activities Division paramilitary operatives to assess the situation and gather information on the opposition forces. President Obama issued a covert action finding in March 2011 that authorized the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and support to the Libyan opposition
    2012. Syria.
    President Barack Obama authorized U.S. government agencies to support forced regime change in Syria.

    This is not an exhaustive list.

    My advice to you is to stop watching Fox news and seek alternative news media for a better understanding of the wider world.

    As for Iran being a semi-democracy, I agree, but look closer at the UK and USA and you will find that they are really no better from a democratic point of view.

    All the other points you make could be said about some western countries and more so of the likes of Saudi Arabia et al. Countries you don’t seem to criticize.

  • KarimovaRevengeFantasist


    “But Germany was the aggressor, we didn’t just decide to declare war on Germany, it was a result of German imperialism, Germany invaded Poland.”

    I agree it is not imperialist in that sense (although they have had claims on Bahrain in the past, and perhaps still do?). But it does have an agenda to be a greater force in the world. The steps to that are different: they are to outwit the IAEA in the first instance, and those steps have been going on for ten years or so. (See Wikipedia about Taqqiyah (sp??) and the permissibility of lying to preserve Islam, not that I am saying Khamanei is lying – he perhaps is not, but others might ignore his fatwah – and for me it is less easy to trust him than say a more relaxed jovial type like the Dalai Lama – I think the fact Khamenei has a closed mind puts me off – he sees no point in negotiating with the U.S.; maybe he knows he is finished if he accedes to America’s demands having wasted (unscientific ball park estimate method) say $100bn so far on pressing, as he sees it, their “rights” to acquire 1950s uranium enrichment know-how. I suppose it is not our business which Iranians paid the most for this acquisition, but if the money has got them no extra clout in world affairs, it is hard to see how Iranians can respect their leader.

    “Iran isn’t imperialist, they haven’t invaded anyone, it is we in the west who are imperialist. It is we who invaded Iraq, it is we who invaded Afghanistan and it is we who have our sights set on Iran so we can start putting hotels on them.”

    Not imperialist; they just want revenge because they don’t like having their hypocrisies displayed and their legitimacy challenged and they don’t like being deprived of friends. They want respect, and they are not getting it. They could get the latter by abolishing censorship; by establishing diplomatic relations with the USA, UK and Canada; by stopping their nuclear enrichment program and by doing all the right things to become a top ten country in the world by per capita GDP (a different, more benign way to project power like Japan chose to after the War?), but that would require a leadership with a different skill-set, and the mullahs are not going any time soon if they have any say in it. By the way, I don’t know what will end the regime: it could be an Act of God (rather than a cruise missile) that does it e.g. if an earthquake causes a radioactive leak at Bushehr: I think many more Iranians might want to get rid of the Islamic Republic and its questionable decision to have a nuclear power station in (near?) an earthquake zone. You mentioned USA before having nuclear power stations, but I bet none of them are near the San Andreas fault.

    Iran already has hotels from the Shah’s day; I agree they must need refurbishing/rebuilding. Iran was an upmarket tourist destination then, and they don’t have a tourist industry from the West any more. As you said it is none of our business how they run their internal affairs (improving human rights and the business climate so that both we AND they benefit are not relevant to the decision whether to use force to ensure compliance with the NNP Treaty). Allowing them to get away with a lie about past nuclear trigger experiments only serves to bolster a hateful ideology that is set to hurt the West. I don’t know if they have lied, but that is the whole point: we must be allowed to find out if they have. Parchin access matters, as does interviewing the scientists we want to interview. (I agree if they start cooperating properly someone must restrain whoever it is who is blowing up Iranian nuclear scientists, and that the interviews, if they are done properly, should not be abused to find out who to blow up).

    We are not going to be attacking Iran to occupy it or to take control of its natural resources. Rather I imagine we would be attacking them for non compliance with the NNP treaty in the first instance. If the leadership didn’t react appropriately (agree to have a completely transparent nuclear power program and stop enrichment), then I assume we would help to engineer regime change, and that that would involve depriving the existing regime of control of their natural resources and transfering control to the new Government (like we did in in Libya and Iraq). Where is the imperialism in that? We are not benefiting from their resources in such a resource transfer from old regime to new regime: we will be paying the market price for their oil, surely?

    “Iran had a democratic government, we overthrew that government and installed a dictator for no other reason than they nationalised their oil.”

    Agreed. In a country that is between Europe and the Indian subcontinent, you might expect there would be problems with a clash of marriage traditions (arranged versus each choosing one’s own partner). Mossadegh would surely have hit problems sooner or later, and of course the issue of lying is not conducive to Westminster style democracy. It depends if he would have fostered an independent press? An apology is probably due from us but the Iranians also owe America one for the incarceration of the diplomats all that time in 79, 80 and 81.

    “Take a look at the Collateral Murder video released thanks to Wikileaks, those are American troops sent to Iraq to murder Iraqi civilians including children.”

    I don’t think any American troops were sent to murder Iraqi civilians and children (they weren’t given orders to murder, surely?) . Some rogue soldiers (both British and American) have behaved badly, I agree. It has happened in other wars too.

    “Take a look at the photos from Abu Ghraib, those are American troops torturing Iraqi people in Iraq.”

    I did get a sense of how bad they were from what I assume were sanitised pictures in our press.

    “It is we who are the Germany, we who have the Gestapo, we who are the aggressors.”

    I disagree. All they have to do is operate a civilian nuclear power project program transparently, and then we do not have any grounds whatsoever to use force, and then the regime can happily preach its hate-dogma and its “hell on earth for all Iranians (except for the leadership who are allowed to skip the hell bit) in return for a good after-life for all”, and no one outside Iran will need to fear them any more once they are without of their nuclear ambiguity weapon. (I think I’ve covered the unfairness issues about others having nuclear weapons in other posts). Of course in this situation the regime will be vulnerable to be toppled from within.

    Whatever topples the regime eventually (the ideology is unsustainable in the long run?) whether it be an internal uprising, an Act of God or a cruise missile from the allies for not obeying the terms under which they are allowed to operate a civilian nuclear power project, it is not hard to imagine there won’t be bloodshed as Iranian fights Iranian to grab the country’s resources. In that situation, I can’t see why the USA and its allies should take the blame. Everyone , particularly Iranians themselves, should take some blame (including God!). Just my view.

  • KarimovaRevengeFantasist

    @Doug Scorgie
    “I think you have the impression that I am supportive of the Iran regime and its political system; I am not.”

    I am pleased we both loathe the regime then. It is also possible we agree that its ideology is not attractive if it has to be imposed using censorship, force and human rights abuses. I think we also agree the fact (opinion?) that “the ideology is unattractive” is not a valid reason to use force against Iran (otherwise we should use force against other dictatorships, some of which are “our” (excludes Western people with the type of views commonly expressed by those on the far left of politics) allies e.g. Saudi Arabia.

    But if the regime and the system are to be changed it is entirely up to the Iranian people to affect that change not to be imposed from outside as the US and other western countries have a long history of doing.

    The problem here is being weak with Iran on insisting it obeys the NNP treaty risks allowing “Iran” (by Iran I mean the leadership and all its perceived faults, the greatest of which is it does not represent a broad cross section of Iranian society) to burst on to the world stage with considerably more clout than it perhaps ought to have. (I suspect Iran has been forced to sign additional protocols that other countries like Japan perhaps have not had to sign simply because of a) Iranian past lies to the IAEA (reported to the IAEA Board? (to the Security Council?) several times for lying, actions which were approved not just by the Western powers but presumably also by China and Russia – so it is not just “neocon paranoia” as you all here might want to call it. b) the general lack of trust between Iran and the West (there is no trust problem with an open society like Japan?). The absence of diplomatic relations only makes the lack of trust worse, perhaps, as does shutting out the cultural content (because it competes too well with the leadership’s ideology) out of some foreign language courses in Iran does not help to build trust either.

    We might agree on this: namely the leadership in Teheran has been forced to walk on an ever higher and higher tightrope by the West (by the sanctions) and that there are any number of ways the regime can fall off. You are saying some ways of falling off are okay (Iranians overthrowing their Government and Earthquakes that cause a change of opinion are okay but a cruise missile for non-compliance with the perhaps “unfair” additional protocols is not?).

    I don’t see that non-compliance with the intended spirit of the NNP treaty (to allow countries to have civilian nuclear power projects without the right build nuclear weapons from the knowledge obtaind in doing the former?) as completely synonymous with regime change having to occur at the same time. I am sure the Americans are smart enough after an initial warning shot to offer the regime one last chance to stop thumbing its nose at the IAEA’s requirements. Of course if things get to that stage the humiliation the Iranian leadership will be being asked to suffer will be immense (I vaguely recall Sir Anthony Parsons and Sir Richard Dalton, both former British ambassadors to Teheran, talking about the Iranian tendency to overreach themselves in negotiations. So if things do get to that stage the issue of whether Iranians depose their leadership or we initiate it with a single cruise missile warning shot, I think it becomes a bit academic really about which way the leadership falls off the tightrope. The whole set-up of the frighteningly high tightrope we now have is really the cause of the leadership’s fall (assuming fear of falling off is proportional to height), and its difficult to argue there should be no high tightrope set up because Iran was foolish in the first place to try to have a secret nuclear weapons program back in the 90s (Prof. Abbas Milani, Stamford University, Head of Persian Studies and author of book on Shah, talks about this Iran’s early secret program over which it got reported for lying – the video film clip is somewhere, maybe it was on Fora TV – Prof. Milan was imprisoned by the Shah’s government, so it shocked me to learn he now thinks the Shah didn’t use enough force to stop the revolution!)

    On the matter of Iranian lying, a further example is the Turkish leader’s request to the Iranian leadership to be “more honest”.

    Ahmadinejad is of course famous for that lie about homosexuals not existing in Iran: I think some students laughed at him. I also spotted one lie when he gave an interview to Charlie Rose on American TV where he worked himself up into a state of false indignation to utter the lie convincingly and then immediately relaxed back in his chair once he had got it out. Sorry I don’t have links for those. Anyway I am in no doubt for a variety of reasons, including Taqqiyah, of the need to be more circumspect than normal, and, as that Swiss diplomat said, to use my own analysis.

    Thanks for the list of countries/regimes you provided where you feel the USA (and the UK in one case) intervened when it had no business to.

    It is certainly very interesting, and it looks quite comprehensive to me with no knowledge on most of the cases. It is not something I’ve studied before.

    I can only make a few comments off the top of my head.

    Libya 2011
    I do think the West has been generally quite restrained in not overthrowing Gaddafi earlier. Public opinion would not have stood for it? Gaddafi committed many outrages (from memory there was the UTA jet, the German nightclub bombing and Lockerbie and then there were IRA funding issues), and the West generally was quite restrained (Reagan’s bombing – a warning shot – was perhaps an exception?, which may have curtailed Gadaffi’s desire to commit overseas acts of terrorism, thus saving lives). Helping the people of Benghazi and deriving satisfaction taking revenge don’t seem to me criminal. I vaguely recall Obama was indecisive to start with – from memory it was Cameron and Sarkozy who took a lot of the lead, but maybe I have a faulty memory on that. And maybe we have to differ on the rights or wrongs of deriving satisfaction taking revenge while apparently doing some good at the same time. Intervention in Libya certainly was not about financial gain (we already had contracts with Gaddafi to extract the oil, etc. did we not?).

    Syria 2012
    It is the Iranians and Russians who have been supplying weapons and expertise to the Syrians. (Yes, I know Qatar and maybe Saudi Arabia have been supplying money and some weapons to the rebels, but Britain, I suspect, has only supplied communications equipment and cartoon stickers that lampoon Bashar Al-Assad. I think we have been relatively restrained, although we want a good outcome so that the Middle East is slightly more stable. Is that such a bad goal to have?

    I can’t think why America would want to fund the terrorists in S.E. Iran (Jundullah – sp?). I think there is a self sustaining cycle of violence there without external involvement: the Iranians hang the perpetrators of an attack and then there is a new attack in revenge. The current sanctions are a sufficient form of revenge for Iran being nasty slagging off America and the dollar while simultaneously hypocritically loving American products (including American films) and loving to be paid for anything in dollars, and yet refusing to have diplomatic relations with a significant culture. This could be the last year the mullahs stay in power, although Iran is not in the Guardian’s top 30 countries most likely to have a coup.

    Generally, I think where America has intervened, there is probably more to it than America allegedly just being aggressive for no reason. Most disputes are about money.

    I do understand Foxnews does not have the cut and thrust of Paxman: the interviewers often agree with their interviewees. I no longer have UK TV: it is a poor value proposition, and anyway I like Iranian belly dancing. Jamileh in the black and white Persian film, Mettress (from French maitresse?) is my favourite.

  • KarimovaRevengeFantasist

    “I thought the reasons given by Ofcom for withdrawing Press TV’s UK licence – that it had broken the terms of the licence because its ‘head office’ was not in Britain – were very, very flaky indeed. ”

    Maybe they just thought they couldn’t discipline PressTV in a more graduated way like they can with other organisations: if you extract payment this end, then they might just help themselves to an oil painting from the embassy in Teheran, or worse take a hostage.

  • KarimovaRevengeFantasist

    @ _N

    “I mean for goodness sake, if you’re going to be a troll, surely you can do better than saying you think Bolton’s a great guy and everything everyone says against him is a load of cobblers, and you haven’t taken your eyes off the guy since he first started appearing on your satan-box, and he’s improved your intellect immeasurable, and he’s the new messiah, etc. etc.?”

    No, I think Mr Bolton’s understanding of the Iranian strategy, as evidenced by all his predictions about their behaviour over the years, can’t be faulted. The Kazakhstan talks will fail. Khamenei is the decision maker but will always use other people to do any negotiating so he can blame them. The tightrope the Iranian leadership is being asked to walk is higher than it has ever been. I am just waiting for them to fall off it. To have no tightrope at all, would be great for the Iranian leadership: they could extend the life the regime by another ten years perhaps and boast a huge victory over the hegemons.

  • Arbed

    “if you extract payment this end, then they might just help themselves to an oil painting from the embassy in Teheran, or worse take a hostage.”

    Same would apply to CNN, I suppose. Ofcom really shouldn’t be allowing any of these cable networks with foreign HQs to broadcast in this country…

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