Extraordinary rendition

The Iranians are saying that the US abducted one of their nuclear scientists while he was, presumably, on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis don’t seem to be answering Foreign Minister Mottaki’s letters. Oh dear. Are such things possible in 2009?

Dove-face of nationality

Dove-face of nationality

Shahram Amir is the missing boffin. Mr Amiri and “three other Iranians in recent years” are mentioned. I thought it was only the North Koreans who were liable to kidnap visiting Japanese and hold them for decades.

Rape? What rape?

Now we have the official version ─ again:

Iranian police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam told the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) Wednesday that it has been proven that no one was raped at the now closed government detention center of Kahrizak. He did admit, however, that “some offenses were committed” at Kahrizak, but refused to go into detail.

So that’s alright then. Apart from one statement of the obvious:

Reza Moini of Paris-based Reporters Without Borders insists that the Iranian police chief’s denial of rape allegations Wednesday, “have no legal value” because he denied the same allegations even before any investigation took place.

Women do kick-boxing

Women do kick-boxing

Well, needless to say, we are dealing here with a priori reasoning, reasoning from axioms that are incontestable, such as no allegations against the moral purity of the Islamic Republic are admissible. What a pity, then, for the Republic that the allegations are a dead certainty ─ wholly established, comprehensively documented, universally publicised. You can even read this story in Myanmar and Tajikistan.

Any colour you like, so long as it’s not green

It is said that football matches in Iran are broadcast now in black and white, so as to filter out the many eruptions of green in the crowd. Green balloons, green velvet headscarves, green shawls, green gloves ─ you name it. These now appear as a sort of streaky yellow or plain grey.

Women sing in choirs

Women sing in choirs

Grey is the colour of my true love’s beard, as he gleefully watches green footballs streaking around, the colour of desert vomit. It seems the dictatorship does care, after all, about what we see and think, about how it appears. Suppress dissent, suppress the appearance of dissent.

Forlorn cause!

Backwardness, backwardness, backwardness

This blog has never been able to distinguish between different varieties of backward-looking morality as expressed in Saudi Arabia, the Taliban, Hamas, jihadist groups in Indonesia or Iranian jails. Here they are at it again:

The Hamas government has banned motorcycle riders from carrying women on the back seat — the latest in the militants’ virtue campaign in Gaza. The ban … seeks “to preserve … the stability of Palestinian society’s customs and traditions” … Its other efforts have included breaking up mixed couples on the beach and obliging female lawyers to wear headscarves in court.

Women play football

Women play football

Surely, it all comes down to the same thing – the ineluctable poverty, intellectual deprivation and inhumanity of Islamic societies, rooted in Islam itself. Surely they need to get themselves a decent religion. Can anyone point me to an Islamic society that is peaceful, democratic … or even happy?

Backwardness, backwardness, backwardness.

Long live the Shah

It is being reported that one Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani, “who belongs to the Association of Monarchists,” has been sentenced to death by hanging for taking part in the June demonstrations. He made various confessions at his trial, was not allowed a lawyer (who is?), and according to a biased source,

Iran’s Mehr news agen

Women run in athletics teams

Women run in athletics teams

cy reported, during the trial, that Zamani was an active member of a “terrorist” monarchist group, and had fought against the country’s Islamic regime … Iranian monarchists have long attracted the ire of the government, which has accused them of responsibility for a number of bloody mosque bombings in recent years.

Of course if Zamani has really thrown bombs and taken innocent lives for the sake of the Shah, then Green support will be muted. But such is the lack of credibility of the Iranian legal system in these, its final days, one is entitled to treat all this with the greatest scepticism.

As a matter of interest,

A number of prominent Iranian clerics have ruled that the Revolutionary Court’s trials of opposition activists “have no legal value,” since “involuntary confessions made by defendants are void according to Shi’ite jurisprudence.”

Left hand, right hand? Sounds like chaos to me.

What has Yahoo been up to?

There is a rumour – more than a rumour – that

Women play American football

Women play American football

Yahoo collaborated with the Iranian regime during the election protests, providing to the authorities the names and emails of some 200,000 Iranian Yahoo users. This is according to a post on the Iranian Students Solidarity (Farsi) blog. My sources indicate the information comes from a group of resisters who have infiltrated the administration and are leaking out important information.

This ailing ex-giant will suffer a massive reaction if this is proved to be true (there is some doubt at present). A boycott would deliver it into the hands of its enemies. But maybe Google and Microsoft started the rumour themselves!

Yahoo representatives were asked to provide Iranian authorities with the names (data) on all Iranian Internet account holders in exchange for removing the block/filter on the Yahoo website … the Yahoo representative agreed to provide such a list within a matter of hours. Upon the receipt of such a list, which included approximately 200,000 emails, by the Iranian authorities, the regime immediately unblocked access to the Yahoo.com website. The list went back as far as five years and included active and inactive accounts and blogs.

It is imperative, as we enter the uncharted waters of global intimacy afforded by the internet (the Overmind), that repellent and repressive regimes are eased out by human rights morality, nonviolence and unanimity. Internet Service Providers, dizzy entrepreneurs all, have a special responsibility in this situation. They are in the forefront of political change ─ very much to their own surprise!

Venerating hot air

It is announce

The handshake

The handshake

d today that Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace prize. The Swedish committee apparently pays more attention to symbols than to substance. Obama’s Cairo speech was well-judged, and has had a constructive effect, but this is all he does: he speechifies (like all politicians). Verbal gestures extend in the air like curlicues.

Is the world a safer place since he became President, only nine months ago? Not noticeably. Has it become a more warlike place? Quite possibly, but we do not consider awarding him a Nobel Prize for War. So far, he has not earned himself the Peace Prize, unless good intentions, symbols and hot air are all the substance that can he hoped for in the cause of peace.

Marxist viridian

I am delighted to acknowledge some fellow-feeling with the Iranian Marxists who are watching what is going on. This one (Babak Kasrayi) is very observant and appears able to interpret the esoteric choreography of this appalling regime. Rat and Co. are reactionaries, of course, rather than the revolutionaries they style themselves, a title he would deny them. Kasrayi is particularly good on disappointment in the ‘leadership’ (Rafsanjani, Mousavi).

Women build tall buildings

Women build tall buildings

I have long suspected that Marxism is rather like all the bad medicines, cigarettes and outdated economics that we export to the Third World, where they enjoy a sort of afterlife. Otherwise it must defy belief that the dogmas of Marxism have any continuing currency in today’s world? What is “US imperialism”? This is something that is taken for granted and need not ─ on the basis of shared prejudice ─ be explained. The American ‘Empire’ is a contested, controversial term, as should surely be acknowledged, yet it is used like a blunt instrument in every paragraph.

Then we have to talk about ‘classes’ (as many still like to do). But people cannot be graded for quality, like eggs – small, medium, large. Even if we strain to accept the existence of a ‘proletariat’ (or ‘working’ class – and who does not work?), then it is sadly apparent that is the middle class that makes revolutions and the working class who, if you are lucky, joins them. In fact, in today’s Iran (and I accept the analysis that this is a revolution that, since June 12, is continuing) we see a broad-based popular movement counted in millions – by far the majority in the country – that sweeps up middle and working classes alike. If “strikes are growing everywhere in Iran”, well and good.

Green nosed Rat

Green nosed Rat

Where we part company is in the understanding that the Green Movement is largely one of mentality, not industrial or street power, of nonviolence, poetry and human rights, of social mores, rejection of Islamic identity, of equal rights for women and a humane spirituality. (The chunterings of Lenin from the early twentieth century are as irrelevant as some sort of Disney routine.) The Greens need to understand, not that

All genuine Communists, Socialists and Marxists in Iran should be working towards building what is missing, a revolutionary party of the working class

but that Israel and the civilised nations are their allies and friends, and they have been brainwashed to believe otherwise.

As for Khamenei, Larijani, the other Khatami, Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad and all the other little cockroaches ─ something tells me they have not very long to live.