Akbar Ganji

December 12, 2007 at 1:12 am (faux democracy promotion, Faux Iranian Dissidents)

Last week, Akbar Ganji received the annual award from Right and Democracy (or International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development), a Canadian government-funded organisation which is known to be the Canadian version of the American National Endowment for Democracy.

In his speech, he openly called for Western government’s support to spread democracy and human rights in Iran, according to the Persian version of his speech, published by Dutch-funded ‘pro-democracy’ projects, Rooz Online and Radio Zamaneh.

Read more here

See also “Who is Akbar Ganji?”


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US funding of Iranian “dissidents”

June 23, 2007 at 9:38 pm (faux democracy promotion, Faux Iranian Dissidents, Think Tanks)

This article in today’s New York Times Magazine is worth a read because it details the names of faux Iranian dissidents, and the think tanks involved in psyop against Iran. While the article quotes some faux dissidents as not wanting to have anything to do with the US funding — the reason for this refusal has little to do with principles, and a lot to do with the fact that the Iranian government is onto the US sponsored counter-(soft) revolutionary interventions.

As a senior adviser to the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, David Denehy is charged with overseeing the distribution of millions of dollars to advance the cause of a more democratic Iran. Affable, charming and approachable, he is bearlike in stature and manner. His voice is pleasantly rumbly; his smile is so wide that it seems to have been drawn onto his face with a crayon. Over the last two years, Denehy has canvassed dozens of pundits, students, journalists, bloggers and activists across the world about how he might best go about his work — what he calls, echoing President Bush, “the freedom agenda.” He has shaken hands with millionaire exiles, dissidents, monarchists, Communists, self-styled Mandelas and would-be Chalabis. He is the public face of “the democracy fund,” as it has come to be known, or simply “the $75 million.”

click here to read more.

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Reza Aslan

June 23, 2007 at 9:36 am (Faux Iranian Dissidents)

Aslan counts himself as one of the “reform Islam scholars” – who believe, as do the neo-cons, that Islam must be reformed – for the religion to “co-exist” with the American empire (or, as they call it, “civilization” “west” and “democracy”). In this respect, Aslan serves the insidious role of corrupting Islam (the ideology of the Islamic Republic of Iran) from within – re-defining, and providing an interpertational framework that would re-fashion Islam into an empire friendly religion.

Aslan, like his collegue Vali Nar, is a member of the notorious neo-con Council on Foreign Relations.

Aslan got his so-called “education” from Harvard University. Harvard has been at the forefront of advocating “reform Islam” -and has supported some of the more notorious pro-empire Muslim groups such as the (now defunct) Progressive Muslim Union North America.

Aslan is also one of four original participants in meetings with Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, ostensibly to counter “homegrown radicalism.” (Chertoff’s mission, is, of-course, to silence Muslim dissent (and really all dissent) to the US’s imperial project.)

A few comments by Aslan reveals his ideological leanings:

“Despite the apartheid state that has resulted from over half a century of bloody territorial conflicts with its neighboring Palestinian territories, few would deny that the state of Israel is a democracy.” (Perhaps this is one reason why most Muslims now find the word “democracy” to be just another name for hypocrisy).

“And it’s up to us as Muslims in the US to give voice to that (reform-Islam) for our brothers and sisters who don’t have the voice or the same ability to speak out as we do”

Well, yes, so long as you are speaking for an empire friendly Islam, from Harvard, and from the Council of Foreign Relations, yeah you can speak. Try seriously speaking out, and acting against imperialism outside of such institutions, and see how quickly you are first placed under surveillance, with Homeland knocking on your door next.

Aslan has contributed an essay called ‘The Struggle for Islam’s Soul’, in With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty, Will Marshall, ed. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006.

If one takes a look at how these terms are defined – we will find that “jihadism” is resistance to imperialism, and “liberty” is American style “democracy promotion.”

infact the cover of the book says it all:


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democracy promotion funding

June 16, 2007 at 12:09 am (faux democracy promotion, Faux Iranian Dissidents)

This article, from the Financial Times, does a positive spin to the counter-revolutionary activities of the so-called “pro-democracy” groups in Iran.  The reality is that, if one looks at any of these groups even with just a low powered reading glasses, we get to see the real motivations, and loyalties – that are primarily towards making Iran into a pro-US country, with its very own loyal to America puppet regimes. But still an interesting article to read – as it openly admits to the role of American $$$ that are being used to promote puppet groups within the Islamic Republic. 

The US allocated $66.1m (€50m, £34m) in 2006 to promote democracy in the Islamic republic. Most of the money was for organisations outside Iran including the Washington-based Voice of America TV but $20m was earmarked for activities inside the country.

Recipients remained anonymous unless they chose to reveal the funding themselves.Critics in Tehran and Washington, including some within the US administration, allied governments and prominent NGOs, say this secret funding is damaging Iran’s NGO movement and the few US organisations working openly with Iranians, such as the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Open Society Institute.


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Vali Nasr

June 10, 2007 at 4:42 pm (Faux Iranian Dissidents, Think Tanks)

Vali Nasr has become the US media’s new favorite Muslim expert – especially on Shi’a Islam, Iran, and sectarianism. He has also become a favorite of some liberals, who like to quote him authoritatively from a couple of his books, again, especially when discussing Shi’as.

For these liberals, quoting a Shi’a Muslim scholar (i.e. an Ayatullah) on Shi’a Islam, would be anathema, because they are all considered to be “fundamentalists”, and “backwards.” And also because many liberals have adopted the neo-con hatred and Islamophobia for scholars of Islam, so they now have a supposed “liberal” American educated dude, who they can quote safely as a supposed representative of Shi’as.

So, now lets take a closer look at this guy. Who exactly is he? Who is he speaking for, and what are are his affiliations?

The Wikipedia entry on Vali Nasr offers some interesting insights that are worth examining:

First, Nasr, in January, 2006, was named the Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Now, I’ve talked about the awful liberal Brooking Institute.. But, if that is not bad enough, the CFR is like plain rotten – amongst its members are the following:

Dick Cheney
Condoleezza Rice
Paul Wolfowitz
Robert M. Gates
John D. Negroponte
Richard Perle
Leslie Gelb
Colin Powell
Alice Rivlin
Madeleine Albright
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Henry Kissinger

more here

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International Conference on Democracy

June 10, 2007 at 10:05 am (faux democracy promotion, Faux Iranian Dissidents)

Among the participants at Prague’s International Conference on Democracy and Security were Reza Pahlavi, a son of Iran’s autocratic shah who was listed as an “opposition leader to the clerical regime of Iran,” and Farid Ghadry, often referred to as Syria’s Ahmed Chalabi. Many other invitees, including Richard N. Perle, were leading U.S. neoconservatives and Iraq war advocates.

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Parnaz Azima

May 27, 2007 at 10:49 pm (Faux Iranian Dissidents)

Parnaz Azima is a correspondent of the US government’s anti-Iran propaganda outlet: Radio Farda. Azima was recently arrested in Iran, and is presently on bail, and required to stay in Iran.

Radio Farda and RadioFarda.com is a joint project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA). The 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service is produced in Washington, D.C. and Prague, Czech Republic, with audio transmissions to listeners online and via AM, shortwave and satellite. On the air, Radio Farda features fresh news and information at least twice an hour, with longer news programming in the morning and the evening. Radio Farda also broadcasts popular Persian and Western music.

The “radio station” promotes US State Department, and anti-Islamic Republic propaganda on behalf of Iranian exiles.

Radio Farda is a U.S. government-funded radio station that broadcasts to Iran. It was founded in late 2002, and by 2006 was receiving $7 million a year in federal funding. That amount may increase dramatically, as the U.S. becomes more involved in Iran and Iranian politics.

In a recent article, Warren P. Strobel and William Douglas of McClatchey newspapers report that a “…Pentagon unit has drafted a report charging that U.S. international broadcasts into Iran aren’t tough enough on the Islamic regime.” Strobel and Douglas go on to say the report “appears to be a gambit by some officials in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s office and elsewhere to gain sway over television and radio broadcasts into Iran, one of the few direct tools the United States has to reach the Iranian people.” The author of the report is Ladan Archin, a Wolfowitz protege, currently working in the Pentagon’s Iranian Directorate under Abram Shulsky.

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The Case of Shirin Ebadi

May 26, 2007 at 4:53 am (Faux Iranian Dissidents)

Shirin Ebadi is back in the United States and has been, amongst other things, suggesting that Iran is a lawless state “Iran does not observe laws.” Many liberals, who consider Ebadi a “human rights worker,” have not looked into Ebadi’s politics, and statements. While she may, for example, call Iran a “lawless state” on CNN – she has refrained from pointing out how the US has arrested hundreds and thousands without any pretext, without any charges, and are holding them in places such as Guanatanemo, and in other torture gulags.

Ebadi’s political leanings are towards returning to an Iran that was under the “shah” – while she does not advocate monarchy, she is extremely uncomfortable with the anti-imperialist stand of the Islamic Republic, and would prefer to return to an era where Iran was best friends with the US and “Israel.” In this respect, she is a “human rights worker” only in name, and she primarily serves those interests that would prefer an Iran that had a “mutually beneficial relationship” as a puppet of American imperialism.

There was a time when relations between the United States and the Iranian government were mutually beneficial. That honeymoon period began in 1953 when Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran, was in power. A good friend of the United States, the shah purchased U.S. weapons and signed important oil contracts with American companies. He also became a close ally of Israel in the Middle East.

Also see an Open Letter to Shirin Ebadi:

“Dear Ms. Shirin Ebadi:

The appeal you and Mohammad Sahimi addressed to “Western democracies” in the International Herald Tribune on January 19 disappointed this former admirer of yours. Your invitation to the current and previous imperial powers to intervene for human rights in Iran fails precisely on grounds of the noble principles you invoked to construct your argument.

You are used to being adored as a fearless champion who speaks truth to power in Iran. But when it comes to democracy and equality beyond Iran’s borders — the big picture — you stand with the anti-democratic powerful. Therefore, your advocacy for the rule of law, pluralism, and human rights in the International Herald Tribune ends up contradicting these very ideals.

more here

Ordinary Iranians need not be historians to know that advance of the so-called free-market “democracy” is, on the contrary, accomplished by systematic uprooting and brutality in the name of law. They experienced it during the rule of the deposed Shah and they have seen it in Indochina, Indonesia, South Africa, Chile, Nicaragua, Colombia, Yugoslavia, Palestine, Iraq, and dozens of other blood-soaked places. That awareness explains the reluctance of the vast majority of Iranians to join you in decisive action against the current government in Iran.

In 1978-79, Iranians overpowered one of the mightiest police states the world has known with bare hands, against the wishes of global powers. I challenge you to explain why you believe our people could not do the same today, if they wished to, without the foreign help that you advocate.

Iranian reformists focus exclusively on government wrongdoing, conveniently neglecting that today’s world is equally misruled by multinational corporations which lack transparency. You have asked Western investors and their partner, the World Bank, to help correct human rights abuses in Iran. I hate to burst your bubble, Ms. Ebadi, but you are in effect asking unelected entities to teach democracy to an elected government! That is hardly a healthy way to promote transparency, because now the whole world knows that the private sector has corrupted the US government to the bone.”

more here

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Kian Tajbakhsh

May 24, 2007 at 5:55 am (Faux Iranian Dissidents)

Tajbakhsh is the group advisor to the Soros Foundation project of “promoting open Muslim Societies” and is the representative of George Soros in Iran. This is nothing more than a variation of “democracy promotion.”

Note on the website of “promoting open Muslim Societies” – they have listed the neo-con “Freedom House” and claims in their caption:

Since its founding, Freedom House has vigorously opposed tyranny including… religiously-based totalitarian regimes including Sudan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Tajbakhsh was recently arrested in Iran – one can hardly blame the Iranian government, given that he openly affiliates himself with Soros, and indirectly with groups such as “Freedom House.”

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Haleh Esfandiari

May 23, 2007 at 8:28 am (Faux Iranian Dissidents)

The case of Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian citizen who is being held by Iran’s government, on alleged espionage charges and “acting against national security.” is being publicized far and wide in the United States – as if she was an objective scholar.

Esfandiari is, infact, the Director of the Middle East project of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars which is a US government “think tank” whose trustees include major donors to the Bush regime, and whose director is on Bush’s Homeland Security Advisory Board.

Esfandiari, 2004, also gave a presentations at the notorious AIPAC (American Israel Public Action Committee):

(note her co-panelaist is a US State Department individual)

Revolution From Within: Can the Iranian People Reclaim the Republic? (Convention Center – ROOM 144 ABC):

— Mr. Philo Dibble, deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of State

— Ms. Haleh Esfandiari(*), Middle East Project consulting director, Woodrow Wilson Center

Esfandiari’s work at this “center for scholars” appears to be focused on women’s issues in the “middle-east.” An interesting publication is something called “Building A New Iraq” that is focused on “Regional Strategies for Empowering Women.” A cursory look at the publication suggests that it is all focused on how women are working for “democracy” in Iraq. There was not one word about the horrendous loss of life that is due to the American occupation, nor did I find any “strategy” that included a call for American withdrawal from Iraq and the “region.” The very title “Building a New Iraq” should be a give away about what is going on. Who is doing this “building” and what exactly is this “New Iraq?”

read more on Esfandiari here

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