America’s Lead Iran Negotiator Misrepresents U.S. Policy (and International Law) to Congress

Last month, while testifying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Wendy Sherman—Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and the senior U.S. representative in the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran—said, with reference to Iranians, “We know that deception is part of the DNA.”  This statement goes beyond orientalist stereotyping; it is, in the most literal sense, racist.  And it evidently was not a mere “slip of the tongue”:  a former Obama administration senior official told us that Sherman has used such language before about Iranians.    

If a senior U.S. government official made public statements about “deception” or some other negative character trait being “part of the DNA” of Jews, people of African origin, or most other ethnic groups, that official would—rightly—be fired or forced to resign, and would probably not be allowed back into “polite society” until after multiple groveling apologies and a long period of penance. 

–But a senior U.S. official can make such a statement about Iranians—or almost certainly about any other ethnic group a majority of whose members are Muslim—and that’s just fine

Of course, it’s not fine.  But that’s the America we live in. 

Putting aside Sherman’s glaring display of anti-Iranian racism, there was another egregious manifestation of prejudice-cum-lie in her testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that we want to explore more fully.  It came in a response to a question from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) about whether states have a right to enrich under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  Here is the relevant passage in Sherman’s reply: 

It has always been the U.S. position that Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty does not speak about the right of enrichment at all [and] doesn’t speak to enrichment, period.  It simply says that you have the right to research and development.” 

Sherman goes on to acknowledge that “many countries such as Japan and Germany have taken that [uranium enrichment] to be a right.”  But, she says, “the United States does not take that position.  We take the position that we look at each one of these [cases].”  Or, as she put it at the beginning of her response to Sen. Rubio, “It has always been the U.S. position that Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty does not speak about the right of enrichment at all” (emphasis added). 

Two points should be made here.  First, the claim that the NPT’s Article IV does not affirm the right of non-nuclear-weapons states to pursue indigenous development of fuel-cycle capabilities, including uranium enrichment, under international safeguards is flat-out false

Article IV makes a blanket statement that “nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.”  And it’s not just “countries such as Japan and Germany”—both close U.S. allies—which affirm that this includes the right of non-weapons states to enrich uranium under safeguards.  The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries and the Non-Aligned Movement (whose 120 countries represent a large majority of UN members) have all clearly affirmed the right of non-nuclear-weapons states, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, to pursue indigenous safeguarded enrichment

In fact, just four countries in the world hold that there is no right to safeguarded enrichment under the NPT:  the United States, Britain, France, and Israel (which isn’t even a NPT signatory).  That’s it. 

Moreover, the right to indigenous technological development—including nuclear fuel-cycle capabilities, should a state choose to pursue them—is a sovereign right.  It is not conferred by the NPT; the NPT’s Article IV recognizes states’ “inalienable right” in this regard, while other provisions bind non-weapons states that join the Treaty to exercise this right under international safeguards.       

There have been many first-rate analyses demonstrating that the right to safeguarded enrichment under the NPT is crystal clear—from the Treaty itself, from its negotiating history, and from subsequent practice, with at least a dozen non-weapons states building fuel-cycle infrastructures potentially capable of supporting weapons programs.  Bill Beeman published a nice Op Ed in the Huffington Post on this question in response to Sherman’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony, see here and, for a text including references, here.  For truly definitive legal analyses, see the work of Daniel Joyner, for example here and here.  The issue will also be dealt with in articles by Flynt Leverett and Dan Joyner in a forthcoming special issue of the Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs, which should appear within the next few days.        

From any objectively informed legal perspective, denying non-weapons states’ right of safeguarded enrichment amounts to nothing more than a shameless effort to rewrite the NPT unilaterally.  And this brings us to our second point about Sherman’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony. 

Sherman claims that “It has always been the U.S. position that Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty does not speak about the right of enrichment at all [and] doesn’t speak to enrichment, period.”  But, in fact, the United States originally held that the right to peaceful use recognized in the NPT’s Article IV includes the indigenous development of safeguarded fuel-cycle capabilities

In 1968, as America and the Soviet Union, the NPT’s sponsors, prepared to open it for signature, the founding Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, William Foster, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—the same committee to which Sherman untruthfully testified last month—that the Treaty permitted non-weapons states to pursue the fuel cycle.  We quote Foster on this point:   “Neither uranium enrichment nor the stockpiling of fissionable material in connection with a peaceful program would violate Article II so long as these activities were safeguarded under Article III.”  [Note:  In Article II of the NPT, non-weapons states commit not to build or acquire nuclear weapons; in Article III, they agree to accept safeguards on the nuclear activities, “as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”]    

Thus, it is a bald-faced lie to say that the United States has “always” held that the NPT does not recognize a right to safeguarded enrichment.  As a matter of policy, the United States held that that the NPT recognized such a right even before it was opened for signature; this continued to be the U.S. position for more than a quarter century thereafter

It was only after the Cold War ended that the United States—along with Britain, France, and Israel—decided that the NPT should be, in effect, unilaterally rewritten (by them) to constrain the diffusion of fuel-cycle capabilities to non-Western states.  And their main motive for trying to do so has been to maximize America’s freedom of unilateral military initiative and, in the Middle East, that of Israel

This is the agenda for which Wendy Sherman tells falsehoods to a Congress that is all too happy to accept them.     

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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72 Responses to “America’s Lead Iran Negotiator Misrepresents U.S. Policy (and International Law) to Congress”

  1. Smith says:

    Leveretts,

    Racism is without a doubt alive and remains the basis of lots of policies of colonial imperialists. Her statements should not be a surprise.

    Iran is being demonized and dehumanized in preparation for a total war on this country. Such statements in addition to the most negative propaganda and even “biblical prophesies” are being used to hack into minds of western population that Iranians are evil and non-human and condition the western public for the coming mass slaughter of Iranians. This will be no Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. It will be total war on all Iranians. This can not get anymore clear than this.

    As for NPT, I for one, believe it is dead. Forever. The only portion of NPT that remains partially animate (due to its nature), is the article (10). The right to withdraw at will. The rest of the articles are dead jokes. No body even laughs at anymore. Iran should have never signed this colonial humiliation “treaty” to begin with. A “treaty” that is enforced by military threats is not a “treaty”, it is a surrender document. Iranians after their withdrawal, will certainly look back on this dead “treaty” as an unfortunate indentureship which taught them to never trust the West again. Not after Iran was robbed in Rossing uranium mine, Eurodif and Germany/France refused to honor their obligations in Bushehr and Darkhovin nuclear power plants.

  2. Empty says:

    Thank you for the article. Regarding the concluding remark, “This is the agenda for which Wendy Sherman tells falsehoods to a Congress that is all too happy to accept them”, it is not that they are happy to accept lies, their minds have been reformatted and programed in such fundamental ways that they no longer recognize the truth. Should any of the members of the congress malfunction and begin to show signs of recognizing the truth, s/he will be repaired immediately by a reboot (it’s a good thing that planned obsolescence is part of the election process).

  3. Empty says:

    Fiorangela,

    Thank you for the document in the previous thread (An Appraisal of Technologies for Political Control). Very informative.

  4. Empty says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    My brother, since I’ve understood that you believe in امر به معروف and نهی از منکر (both in giving and receiving), I’d like to kindly use one of your posts as an example to do both at once. In previous threads you have written “Kos-khol,……” to address a couple of people. This act is definitely “منکر” and I’d like to “نهی” you from doing so. On a daily basis I work with so many Basiji (now for a long time), never have I ever heard even one who would utter a course word (even close to this one that you use).

    You do excellent analysis on many issues and your humor and sarcasm are very cleverly intertwined. This allows for a more fun way to understand various complex issues. This is act of yours is معروف and I’d like to “امر” you to doing more of them. I hope you take this امر به معروف and نهی از منکر in the spirit that I meant them.

  5. Empty says:

    That is “curse” word….sorry

  6. Sammy says:

    Sherman :“We know that deception is part of the DNA.”

    Well for what we know the ‘GRAND’ Masters of Deception are ‘by very far’ the Zio-Fascists in Washington and Tel Aviv .
    If the Iranians supposedly have ‘deception’ in their DNA , then the Zio-Fascists agenda for the world is the incarnation of ‘pure & genuine’ DECEPTION , ‘By way of deception , thou shalt do War ‘ as they claim themselves !!
    Now what could be stated about Iran with regard to deception is the fact that the IRI is ‘by very far’ the most formidable power in the world to expose those ‘double-dealers’ in Washington and Tel Aviv with the ugly face of Sherman and the Baroness as their mouthpieces.
    In this sense the Leader of Iran yesterday expressed what the Zio-Fascists really are , namely ‘Harumzadeh’ = BASTARDS ! , another brilliant ‘Anti-Deception’ move.

  7. Karl.. says:

    Good post Leverett’s.

    “Its in their dna” and thats coming from a jew?
    Would Sherman accept that if people said the same about jews?

    Well if its part of their dna I guess we must kill all iranians, isnt that so Sherman?

  8. nico says:

    Sammy says:
    November 4, 2013 at 1:43 am

    “Now what could be stated about Iran with regard to deception is the fact that the IRI is ‘by very far’ the most formidable power in the world to expose those ‘double-dealers’ in Washington and Tel Aviv with the ugly face of Sherman and the Baroness as their mouthpieces.”

    Well said.
    But you should not forget Bolivarians in Southern America or other political movements.

    It is pretty ironic for Sherman to call Iranian deceptive while the entire unilateral NPT mis-interpretation by the US is the biggest deception. As well as the alleged studies of Iranian weaponization provided to IAEA. Or the overall US position regarding the Iranian nuclear case after the NIE release.
    Truly digusting.

    Mr Canning words about good relations are totally empty of meaning.
    What is important is Respect.
    The US has no respect for others.

  9. Don Bacon says:

    The idea that the US government confers rights is not isolated to the sovereign rights of other countries, but is also applied to its citizens as with the case of abortion, for one example, but in others also where the government (and others) wrongly speak of “constitutional rights.”

    Citizens’ rights, as with sovereign rights, are inherent, and are not conferred by government, neither its bureaucrats nor its elected representatives.

    So its a pattern. We’re in the US government so we know what’s best for you.

  10. Don Bacon says:

    The US has determined that the Republic of Korea (South Korea), even though it builds nuclear reactors for itself and other countries, should not enrich uranium. So, being a good little puppet, it doesn’t.

    Persians are made of sterner stuff, apparently.

  11. Karl.. says:

    Don Bacon

    Actually South Korea did enrich high-enriched uranium in secret some years ago, but the puppetmaster US took care of it therefore, no sanctions.

    http://www.spacewar.com/2004/041001172449.j3gk0cc3.html

  12. Jay says:

    This is an excellent post! The penultimate paragraph is particularly informative and indicative of the roots of conflict – an attempt to rewrite a treaty by a select few!

  13. Fiorangela says:

    Empty, you are welcome.

    Thank you to the Leveretts for a necessary and powerful refutation of Wendy Sherman’s outrageous comments/attitude in Senate Foreign Relations hearing. Senators Bob Menendez, chair of the committee, holds the distinction of being the first Latino to chair a Senate committee, and his legislative history indicates his activism on behalf of his ethnic community. For that I commend him. However, the framers of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights did not envision a nation that played a zero-sum game; the rise of one should not and need not require the diminishment of another.

    = = =

    Recommend to readers this hour-long conversation between the great Stephen Kinzer and Brian Lamb. They discuss Kinzer’s new book, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War . Kinzer explains that the Dulles brothers brought their elitist and Calvinist Presbyterian upbringing into the political sphere and created, beginning in the 1950s, the notion that the US has the right and duty to reshape other nations in the image and likeness of the Dulles brothers’ Calvinism. Kinzer draws a further connection between their ‘religious’ persuasions and their professional activities as partners in a law firn that represented wealthy entities whose interests were directly impacted by the political events that the Brothers effected. This ideology as well as the influence of financial interconnections have persisted to this day, Kinzer argues.

  14. Jay says:

    Fiorangela,

    your referenced document in the last thread is an excellent find! Thank you for sharing.

  15. Jay says:

    Jame Canning,

    you asked regarding inconsistencies. You also asked about the relationship between Britain’s duplicity regarding nuclear weapons and Iran’s nuclear processing.

    I have already given you examples of Mr. Obama saying one thing and doing the opposite – domestically, right here in the US of A.

    Mr. Cameron has done much the same – time after time – in the House of Commons.

    It is an inconsistent position to suggest that words of serial misrepresenters should be taken at face value, particularly while at the same time the actions of the misrepresenter run counter to his/her words.

    The relationship between Britain’s development of more advanced nuclear weapons and her position on the development of peaceful nuclear technology is duplicitous. This fact, were it standalone, would not stand in the way of a diplomatic deal. However, given the history of duplicity and deceit, it is difficult to accept a nuclear apartheid policy that is being advanced by a select few.

  16. James Canning says:

    Bravo. And yes, if Wendy Sherman said that Jews had deception in their DNA her career would be over before the light of the next day.

  17. James Canning says:

    Does one assume that Wendy Sherman’s obvious willingness to make knowingly false statements to the US Congress assists her in her career? She helps provide cover to Aipac and its many stooges in the US Congress.

  18. James Canning says:

    I recommend “Oil majors eye benefit of return to Iran”, in today’s Financial Times. (Report by Guy Chazen)

  19. James Canning says:

    “As of last month, more than 9 million people from the five [former Soviet] republics, close to 14 percent of their combined population, were in Russia.”
    – - Kathrin Hille, writing in the Financial Times today

  20. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    November 4, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Not going to happen.

    The negotiations have failed; from all appearances.

  21. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    You personally do not find it easy to accept “nuclear apartheid”? Meaning, possession of nukes by P5 while they are preventing Iran from possessing nukes?

  22. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Shahpour Saba (oil analyst) is quoted in FT tday: “If there is no foreign involvement in Iran’s upstream, its [oil and gas] production will stay flat and could start declining in the medium to long term.” Production of oil has dropped to about 2.5 million barrels per day. Iran thus is losing about 130 million dollars per day in lost export oil sales. If no deal, Iran’s oil exports likely will be cut to near-zero.

  23. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    It is no accident that US Secretaries of State often are corporate lawyers.

  24. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    John Foster Dulles was anti-British. This fact often is forgotten. Presbyterians in the US often were anti-British, as a holdover from religious grievances dating back to early 18th century in Ireland.

  25. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    November 4, 2013 at 11:58 am

    From all appearances, Mr. Khamenei has been proven prescient that there would be no deal due to Axis Powers inflexibility.

    We will know more by the end of this week, I suppose, but it does not look good.

  26. James Canning says:

    Peter Jenkins has perceptive assessment of state of nuclear talks:

    http://www.lobelog.com/whither-nuclear-talks-with-iran/#more-21607

  27. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    By “inflexibility” do you mean the US and other powers are not willing to give sufficient relief from sanctions, sooner rather than later? Or an unwillingness to allow Iran to be able to build nukes quickly? Big difference, in my view.

  28. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Cordesman mentions uncontrolled population grown in a number of Middle Eastern countries, as a source of instability and potential civil war. Very true indeed.
    Syrian civil war in part was caused by huge growth in population and lack of growth in Syrian economy.

  29. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    November 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    In Mr. Jenkins’ assessment we read:

    “A failure to recognise these two points, and an avaricious hoarding of oil and banking-related sanctions to some undefined point in a distant future, will lead inexorably to the collapse of the talks and to the loss of the best opportunity to end this dispute in a long time.”

    This where things stand in fact.

    Nuclear talks, in fact, have failed.

    This was the last stop before Iran leaving the NPT.

  30. Fiorangela says:

    fyi, James, It is also worth remembering that Wendy Sherman is (or was) a partner in Madeleine Albright’s post-secretary of state consulting firm.

    In her consultancy, Albright has been in the sphere of those who are financing and stand to benefit from projects such as the bin Laden family-initiated project to construct a bridge between Djibouti and Yemen. Cities are to be built at either foot of the bridge; American engineering firms are involved in the design of the bridge’s caissons, etc. Persons involved in promoting the project are associated with financial firms whose clients are from some of the United States’s most prominent “old money” families; indeed, the core work of such sponsoring financial firms is the preservation of family wealth of families such as the Mellons.

  31. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    November 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    US alone has sold $ 20 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia over the last 2 years.

    Americans talk from both sides of their mouths.

    They laugh at Iranians’ capabilities and ridicule their navy and air forces and praise the military capabilities of Arabs of Southern Persian Gulf against Iran on the one hand and on the other hand claim Iran poses a formidable threat due to he irregular forces.

    Next, they complain about sectarianism that their own allies Saudis and other created.

    And the war in Syria to boot.

    Strategic incoherence – a.k.a. Madness.

  32. Karl.. says:

    Iran should make a issue of this racist attack by sherman. If the iranian side said the this, it would be all over the media by now.

  33. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says: November 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Kinzer made note of the Dulles’s strident anti-Catholicism, which met its test when Avery Dulles converted to Catholicism — his family disowned him. Avery went on to become a priest and was named a Cardinal.

    = = =

    Speaking of Catholicism and DNA, Michael Hayden is among that group of despicable Catholics (identified based on his upbringing in a Catholic family & graduation from a Catholic university) who seem to have acquired from their years in the military and in spook agencies the ability to distinguish the characteristics of in-group and out-group DNA.

    Hayden frequently mentions the good qualities that are “part of American DNA.”

    In a talk at University of Michigan Hayden disclosed that within moments after the second plane hit WTC (but before the third tower fell), Hayden “knew” it was Al Qaeda and instructed NSA workers to “ramp up” surveillance. Doubtless that knowledge was based on DNA, either Hayden’s or the snap-adjudged perps’.

    = = =

    re Bridging the Red Sea —
    http://www.economist.com/node/11849068
    “. . .Mr Ahmed has worked for DynCorp, an American military contractor. So had one of the project’s main managers, Michel Vachon, before moving to L3 Communications, a contractor often employed by the American government. Another manager, Dean Kershaw, spent 29 years in America’s forces; some others had served in the Bush administration. Armed American special-forces veterans now apparently employed as security guards by L3 chaperoned journalists. All part of an American plan to help secure the Suez shipping lane or to strengthen the hand of friendly forces in Yemen? “Absolutely not,” said Mr Kershaw. “The [American] government has vetted us, but they’re not behind us.”

    Whatever the reality, the presence of arms manufacturers in the consortium, including Allied Defense Systems and Lockheed Martin, will fuel conspiracy theories among Arabs. Mr Ahmed says investors in Djibouti’s Noor City have the chance to “be part of modern humanity” by creating the “financial, educational, and medical hub of Africa”. Africans may wonder why the hub is not being built in a bit of Africa where more Africans live and which has food and water.”

  34. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I think you are well aware Aipac and other groups fanatically “supportive” of Israel, do their best to prevent Obama and Kerry from showing respect to Iran and its leaders. Part of basic gameplan of continuing deception of the American public.

  35. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    In Ulster (Ireland, for those not familiar), Presbyterians fought the Anglicans (Church of Ireland) and the Catholics. This mindset was carried to the New World.

  36. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Nations can work at cross-purposes in their foreign policy, without being “mad”. Selling vast amounts of weapons to Saudi Arabia at least lessens to some small degree, the damage to the US caused by high oil prices. And offsets some of the huge expense incurred in protecting the Saudis et al.

  37. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The true insanity in US policy in ME is its encouragement of illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank. And fostering growth of those illegal colonies.

  38. Jay says:

    James Canning says:
    November 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I accept the position of zero nuclear weapons, but my position does not address nor does it relate to the original question you posed.

    You asked about your “inconsistency” … I will add one more to my list. Are you capable of critically analyzing and rationally processing the actions of your countrymen, race-mates, religious brothers, etc. etc.?

    Your attempts to divert the conversation in the face of “inconsistencies” has not escaped most of us!

  39. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    November 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    So we have a religious war – I am glad that you finally have realized that.

    Since you are from UK, I think it will be a good idea for you to try to persuade your Baron to distance UK from this war.

    It is not your (the English) war.

  40. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    November 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    “Nico,I think you are well aware Aipac and other groups fanatically “supportive” of Israel, do their best to prevent Obama and Kerry from showing respect to Iran and its leaders. Part of basic gameplan of continuing deception of the American public.”

    The US and Israel are one and the same.
    Suffice to see the US history of robbery, colonialim and genocide in the new world.
    The US have been built upon land grabbing and extermination of natives.
    On land acquisition with money (Alaska from Russia and Louisiana from France)
    The US have been built upon imperial war of conquest with Spain, Mexico, etc.

    Does it remind you of some similar events in Palestine ?

    You always imply that Israel and the US are somewhat different and that the US would act in better way (for their own interests) or a more moral way (as if the US are somehow moral) without some kind of jewish conspiracy.
    That notion is totally false and only based on your exceptionlism and deeply embeded racism and antisemitism.

    Somehow, you always imply that the US love affair with Israel is illegitimate.
    While it is historically proven that US prostetant are largely and fully into that religious project for centuries.
    Proof of that is the excerpt of the Melville text I posted here few thread ago.
    Who are you to say what is legitimate or not for the US ?

    At the end of the day the US are after an imperial and religious project and related wars for centuries.
    Suffice to see the the phrase Novus ordo seclorum (Latin for “New Order of the Ages”) appearing on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, first designed in 1782 and printed on the back of the United States one-dollar bill since 1935.
    Which prove the agressive nature and the imperial US project from the very start.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novus_ordo_seclorum

    The US need to be opposed, fought against.
    Israel or the Iranian nuckear case. Nothing good will come out of the US for other countried whithout being extracted and fought for.
    Nothing.

    That is why in the Iran nuclear case, it should it made it clear by the Iranian leadership that the current US policies could only lead to escalation at US expense and ultimately with the US demise.
    If the nuckear case is not closed in the current rounds of negotiation it should be made ckear that Iran will leave the NPT.

  41. Fiorangela says:

    can’t resist this jab at unthinking racism –

    Recently Phil Weiss wrote about a university professor whose request for a sabbatical to write about zionism and propaganda was denied. Weiss concluded the article with this statement: “And this case is another example of how Zionism has dumbed down vaunted Jewish intelligence.” First off, the logic of the statement is absurd: the assumption is that “Jewish intelligence” exists as a preordained quality, thus instances in which dumb decisions are made are deviations from this preordained quality. For that to be true, it seems important for the instances of deviation to be rare. But zionism is not rare, it is pervasive in a large part of certain communities, most particularly, the Jewish community. So what Weiss is arguing is that the zionist Jewish community is simultaneous inherently “intelligent” and “dumbed down.”

    The biggest problem with such a failure of logic is that it makes a realistic assessment of the situation impossible, therefore, the diagnosis and resolution is either impossible or will be “misaligned,” to use a term that Elizabeth Warren used to discuss banker fraud in 2008.

    A more honest assessment would be that the Jewish community conforms to the same normal curve as every other community in nature — some are “intelligent,” some are really, really dumb, some are highly upright, others are scoundrels. It is only by basing assessments upon the fundamental assumption of such a normal distribution that one can begin to arrive at how and why some are dumbed down. It may develop that there is something essentially “misaligned” about the ideology of zionism — like something in the water, but not the DNA– that causes harmful “misalignments”.

  42. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    I can critical scrutiny to statements and actions of British and American leaders, analysts, PR people, et al. I do not always know their race or religion, however.

  43. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    You appear to regret the purchase of Lousiana by the US? The purchase of Florida, by the US?

    The US and Israel are not the “same thing”. However, Aipac and other “pro-Israel” groups would like the American people to see as little distinction as possible between the two countries.

    You appear not to be aware that for a number of years, after creation of Israel, US policy was for the ejected Palestinians to be allowed to return.

  44. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Do you regard the expulsion of Greek Christians from Turkey in the early 1920s, as a “colonial” project?

  45. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I think the people of Iran are lucky you are not making decisions for their country. Leaving NPT would virtually guarantee a total elimination of Iran’s nuclear programme.

  46. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Presbyterians in the US lost their hostility toward Britain, Anglicans, Catholics, etc, some time ago, I would venture to say.

    Is Israel/Palestine a “religious” war? A war on Christians, and Muslims, by Jews? (Aided by typically grossly ignorant Protestants in the US.)

    Clearly you have an animus against Sunnis.

  47. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Empty-jan,

    What can I say brother, nobody’s perfect…

    Given your very nice way of discussing the matter, I will refrain from using that word.

    A couple of points for your consideration:

    1. I don’t really consider it a “curse” word, but if others do, OK. Unlike you-know-who, I respect “community standards” even if different than my personal standards, right?

    2. The meaning of that word in Farsi is a very precise description of that person. If you can suggest another Farsi word with the same meaning that isn’t “offensive”, I would be glad to use that word instead.

    3. I also called him “gooz-pich”. OK or not, in your opinion? I also called him “weasel”. Surely “weasel” is acceptable, or no?

    4. I’m happy you work with basijis, it’s a great blessing. Of course I’m the kind that doesn’t have a “card”, nor did I ever have one, nor do I ever want to have one.
    Also I don’t look what many consider basiji- because it’s about serving God and Islam, not “appearances” as felani says, right?

    I pray to Allah (swt) that even with this foul mouth of mine, I don’t flee when having to clear the enemy minefields by walking over them.

    Inshallah soon brother!

    5. I consider the use of “crude” words in certain cases a legitimate tool of rhetoric, especially polemics. And before you say that “it is against Islam” please have a look at some the revayat- especially some of the letters by Ameerul Mo’meneen. For example, certain things about the mothers of certain people are said very clearly by the Imams which if me and you said it, it would be considered “crude”.

    Hazrat Ameer also has some “choice words” for Walid which he says to his face. My point is let’s not mix culture with Islam because then some of the justified hatred for so-called Muslims and “Islam” that we see in society happens which is actually a hatred of cultural practices that might have very little to do with Islam or are based on a wrong understanding of Islam.

    I would suggest that Iranian formal culture is oversensitive on this subject in way that exceeds the requirements of Islam- similar to the case of “ta’rof” or things like chand zowjiat.

    “Discussions” with gooz-pich (word in use pending your fatwa on its use) and closet-case are not “logical” discussions with the “normal” rules of logic and normal rules of adab.

    They are emotional and polemical discussions with two people who are filled with ogde, ki-ne, insincerity- and most importantly- an agenda. In that context, a curse here and there might occur and is beneficial.

    Felani saying things like the Prophet (sawas) should have ignored the revelations and lived a “quiet life” are so much more offensive than anything this haqir can ever say.

    Calling this miracle that the Iranian people have created by their sacrifices, hard work, and tavakol in the last 35 years a “disaster”, is by many measures more offensive than words like “kun-kesh, pedar-sag”,”madar-felan” or any other word you and I could say to him.

    What he says are the real “curse” words…or if you prefer, “cursed” words.

    Anyway, be ehteram-e shoma I won’t use that word anymore.

  48. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    November 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    “Leaving NPT would virtually guarantee a total elimination of Iran’s nuclear programme.”

    Do you mean like the Pak the Israeli or the NK program ?
    Or maybe your remark was related to another program and consequences ?
    Or maybe the Irak nonexistent WMD ?
    Or maybe Lybia ?
    Or maybe the US threats for decades against Iran even before the nuclear programme.

    Anyway Iran has smartly created the conditions to leave the NPT if the US does not come go term with the Iranian civilian program. History prove that a country running a nuclear program is not attacked while the opposite is true.
    Sorry.
    In my opinion if Iran leave the NPT then the NPT will become irrelevant with many countries leaving the NPT in a same movement.
    The US are not in a position to do anything to avoid the end of their imperium.
    I mean do you think Russia and China would “allow” an attack on Iran ?

    This is finished and the end of it.
    The US need to accept that.

  49. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    nico,

    Certain people are delusional about the ability of the US/Israel to attack Iran.

    Like I said, let’s leave it at that.

    SL said yesterday that there is no harm for us to talk to US but that he is not optimistic.

    He said that this- like the 2 year enrichment suspension- will be “an experience” for the Iranian nation.

    I think that says it all.

  50. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I would expect Russia and China to give at least tacit support to a blockade of Iranian oil exports. Both countries are adamant that Iran not build nukes.

  51. Karl.. says:

    James

    If UK develop its nuclear weapons more do you support an attack by Iran?

  52. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    I do not think Israel has the ability to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities. I do think that sanctions to cut off all Iranian oil exports would succeed.

  53. Karl.. says:

    James

    Blockade=Act of war

    Do you admit that Iran have the right to attack brittish targets if UK establish the embargo, or are you like ther racist Sherman believing that there is no such rights for Iran?

  54. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    November 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I have no enemies; it is others who seems to have a passion for it.

    90 years ago, the European Jews were at logger heads with the local Arabs – Christian and Muslim – over land and power issues.

    Ramallah used to be a Christian city.

    Americans, by their indulgence of the Jewish Disaster in Palestine have presided over the creation of a religious war between Jews & Protestant Christians on the one side and the World of Islam on the other.

    Your Arab Sunni friends who lost Al Haram Al Sharif on the field of battle in 1967 also bear direct responsibility for contributing to this war.

    US leaders and planners decided to destroy the enemies of Israel – probably during Mr. Clinton’s presidency.

    The rest is history.

    My recommendation to you is to steer clear of the Court of the Mad King – they think there is a margin in war against Islam.

    And they are so deluded as to think they can win a religious war against a world religion.

    At some point there might be a revolt in the Court and the sane courtiers prevail.

    Let us hope for that.

  55. Fiorangela says:

    nico says: November 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    especially: “You always imply that Israel and the US are somewhat different and that the US would act in better way (for their own interests) or a more moral way (as if the US are somehow moral) without some kind of jewish conspiracy.
    That notion is totally false and only based on your exceptionlism and deeply embeded racism and antisemitism.

    Somehow, you always imply that the US love affair with Israel is illegitimate.
    While it is historically proven that US prostetant are largely and fully into that religious project for centuries.”

    (apologies, I did not notice the Melville quote earlier, but would appreciate a link)

    The tree of American ideologies is not a simple one; it is a complex of roots and branches. In the Stephen Kinzer discussion that I linked earlier, he traced the “exceptionalism” that the Dulles brothers embedded in US foreign policy since post-WWII, and which prevails today, to their Calvinist Protestant upbringing.

    If that thought were taken one step deeper, one recognizes that both the Dulles’s ideology and the zionist ideology are rooted in the mythos of Hebrew scripture. The Hebrew mythos that zionism relies upon places heavy emphasis on “chosenness,” and on the inherent right to rule and to extend that rule to all peoples and nations. To be sure, Hebrew scripture is not the only mythos that affirms imperium, the right to rule; when Virgil was commissioned by the court of Augustus, the stated goal was to “reconcil[e] men’s minds to the new order of things”, where that “new order” was the intended reinvigoration of Roman tradition and order. However, to the best of my knowledge, the Aeneid does not strongly advocate proselytizing — converting others to one’s own beliefs. Protestantism, and Calvinism/Presbyterianism, hews closely to “the Bible,” including a strong enmeshment in Hebrew scriptures.

    The US is rather “genetically” — or better yet, genealogically– committed to Hebrew scriptures as those writings came to the US through its mother-country, Britain. As the printing press made scriptures available to a wider audience, King James ordered a translation of the Scriptures that would emphasize that the monarchy was imbued with the right to rule by divine decree, communicated through the scriptures. The goals of Augustus in commissioning Vergil to write The Aeneid were not much different from those of King James. I must say, however, that to my knowledge the Aeneid was not wrapped in divine authority so compelling that deviation from its pronouncements was punishable by death; people valued the thing for its literacy, inspiration, and aesthetics, in contrast to the worshipfulness that is demanded, by some, of Hebrew and New Testament Scripture.

    Thus, a strand of Protestantism as is found in the USA is deeply entwined with Hebrew mythos that informs and validates zionism/exceptionalism/imperialism.

    But in the USA, Protestantism was not the only form of the Christian tradition that was practiced (i.e. Catholicism is far less dependent upon biblicism for its doctrine and practice), and the Protestantism of the Dulles brothers was not the only strand of Protestantism that was practiced.

    To take the second part first — well before the Dulles brothers, the Protestant interpretations Christian-ness of Roger Williams clashed head-long with those of Jonathan Winthrop: Williams was a student of the thinking of Francis Bacon, and had been a protegee of Sir Edward Coke, “once chief justice of England and arguably the greatest jurist in English history,[who], when King James had declared himself ruler by divine right and above the law, Coke had contradicted him to his face. For that, the king …rewarded him with rooms in the Tower of London.” [John M. Barry, Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty.] Williams, an ordained clergyman in Massachusetts in the 1630s, insisted that a man’s relation to his god was absolutely distinct from his relation to the state, and the state had no power to compel or control church practices or any person’s participation or belief in the same.

    On the other hand, Jonathan Winthrop, an accidental representative of the state in Massachusetts at that same time, appears to have less of Williams’ confidence and courage, and relied upon the state’s enforcement of churchly tenets, and of biblical decrees as the basis for critical analysis. It was Winthrop who declared that the newly discovered America was “exceptional,” a “city upon a hill” that would extend its light to the dark nations and peoples of the rest of the earth.

    Thomas Jefferson followed in the footsteps of Roger Williams. Jefferson was most proud of his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. He also collaborated with the Marquis de Lafayette to frame the French Declaration of the Rights of Man.

    Andrew Jackson, whose education was severely limited although he spent many, many hours in church listening to bible-based sermons, took the US on a radically different direction from that contemplated by Williams and Jefferson. For example, while Williams lived with the indigenous peoples of the American continent and respected their culture and traditions; and Jefferson studied their culture and learned some of their languages and generally was respectful toward Indians; Winthrop advocated eradicating American Indians and Andrew Jackson completed the deed, brutally removing the last Indians from the American southeast. In a recent interview, William Galston stated that Andrew Jackson is the exemplar of the Tea Party movement in the US.

    Catholicism in the US is a whole ‘nother story. Michael Barone recently authored a very useful study of the impact of the various waves of immigrants to the USA. He identified the groups by their countries of origin and by some dominant characteristics of the group. For example, he stated that Scots Irish were the largest part of the earliest settlers of the southeastern United States, and they were fighters. They were followed by Irish Catholics fleeing famine in the 1840s, together with some Germans. Having failed at agriculture in Ireland, Barone said, the Irish gathered in urban centers and remained poor and illiterate for some time. Their gift was for political organization, and they formed influential political groups and dynasties. Italians and Jews made up the next wave. Italians especially but also Jewish immigrants were from peasant classes and started out at the bottom of society’s ladder. Phil Weiss has mentioned that Jews — his grandparents, for example — were greatly assisted to migrate and settle in the US by Russian Jewish bankers. I’m not aware that Italians extended that generosity to Italian immigrants.

    Irish Catholicism is almost as different from, i.e. the piety-mixed-with-skepticism of Italian Catholicism as the Puritan Protestantism of Winthrop differed from the Christianity of Roger Williams. Nevertheless, given their superior ability to organize politically (contrasted with the herding-cats tendencies of Italians), Irishmen dominated American Catholicism for many generations. My Italian father never spoke harshly of anyone — EXCEPT the “Irishottes” (sp?) who dominated unions, social clubs, workplaces, etc. in his world of work and worship. His animus was not racist, it was situational. Although some of the fundamental principles of American constitutional republicanism were influenced by Italian Catholic thinkers such as political scientist Gaetano Filangieri who corresponded with Benjamin Franklin, Jefferson’s good friend and neighbor Filippo Mazzei, I’m not aware of any Italian Kennedy.

    Perhaps because they were, as James Canning has noted, so disdained by the dominant Protestant culture in the US, Catholics could be counted on as reliable lap-dogs. For example, in a discussion of Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to run for a third term, author Richard Moe noted that Felix Frankfurter, FDR’s close adviser, realized that stronger support was needed to prevail over Wendell Willkie, so he called upon Catholic leaders to overcome their concern that FDR would most likely take the country to war, and vote for him anyway. History provides the outcome.


    I’m not sure how I got from there to here!

    But one final thought — at least as regards Italian Catholics and Jews who were co-immigrants to US and very close to one another in their shared experience of acclimating to a new nation that was somewhat hostile toward them: it is my strong suspicion that that was another time, and the time is past. Italians have become subsumed in American culture, identified — caricatured, I would say– only by “pizza,” “restaurants,” “mafia,” and “Sopranos.” Jews have carved out a far different space in the American landscape.

    It may be an oversimplification to claim that “the US are somewhat different and that the US would act in better way (for their own interests) or a more moral way (as if the US are somehow moral) without some kind of jewish conspiracy.
    That notion is totally false and only based on your exceptionlism and deeply embeded racism and antisemitism.”
    “American” and “Jewish” ideologies are intertwined at the mythos level, so the notion is NOT “totally false;” but as importantly, the facts of history realistically presented reveal a strong thread of Jewish activity that gained for Jews a state of their own, by influencing the leaders and populations of other nations including not least Americans.

  56. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The “9/11″ attacks opened an opportunity for neocon warmongers, and other rabid supporters of Israel in the IUS (and in other countries), to set up the illegal US invasion of Iraq.

    Without the “9/11″ attacks, I doubt the invasion would have taken place (assuming the Iraqi dictator did not try to build nukes).

    Most American Protestants I know have less than a great deal of love for Israel and its oppression of the Palestinians.

    A primary element of the matter is simply the huge importance of Jews in the funding of national political races in the US.

  57. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think Israel can enjoy peace and security within its “1967″ borders. Do you?

  58. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    As an historical note, the Scots-Irish or Scotch-Irish (predominantly Presbyterian) arrived in America after the initial waves of English (and Dutch, and German)settlers, and they tended to settle in the hills and mountains because “tidewater” lands already had been claimed. They thus were skilled users of weapons on the frontier, and highly important in the war of Independence from Britain.

  59. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Iran indeed would have the right to regard a blockade as an act of war. Excercising this option would likely call for careful thought.

  60. James Canning says:

    Ryan Crocker has a fine piece in The New York Times today: “Talk to Iran, it works”.

    Crocker reminds us of George W. Bush’s foolish inclusion of Iran in the absurd “axis” of “evil”.

  61. Rehmat says:

    Wendy Sherman, the under-secretary of state said in an interview with Channel 10 on Sunday. “Whatever agreement we reach Israel will know about, understand and consulted with us on, because Israel’s security is bedrock and there is no closer security relationship than what we have with each other,” she said.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/11/05/jewish-lobby-gives-obama-60-day-grace-on-iran/

  62. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    November 4, 2013 at 4:51 pm
    And where james would china get the oil it needs if the gulf were blockaded,china relies on gulf oil from iran and saudi,for that fact alone I could never see them agreeing to anything like that.Any blockade would be a unilateral act by the us and whichever among its bootlicks it could bribe or threaten into a “coalition of the willing”
    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    November 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm
    I agree

  63. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    November 4, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    “Nico,I would expect Russia and China to give at least tacit support to a blockade of Iranian oil exports. Both countries are adamant that Iran not build nukes.”

    My take is that Iran can survive without oil export.
    And many here think that that would be good for Iran.
    And I expect Iran to pressure Irak to wind down oil exports one way or another.
    Does the world economy can survive without Iran and part of Irak oil export for few years ?

  64. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Iran probably could bring on a global recession. Likely, even. But would this be in Iran’s best interests? I think you are discounting the enormous difficulty Iran would be faced with, if no oil were exported.

  65. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    My assessment is simply that China would see Iranian nukes as a greater problem than temporarily higher oil prices due to a blockade of Iranian oil exports.

  66. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Wendy Sherman has to make these noises or the Israel lobby would wreck Obama’s hopes of making a deal with Iran without incurring too much domestic political damage.

  67. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    I think Wendy Sherman would make these noises even if she personally believed Israel was undermining the national security interests of the American people by growing the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank.

  68. Neil M says:

    Wendy Sherman’s surprisingly nasty contribution to the anti-Iran twaddle will most likely prove to be a positive thing – in the long term, at least. It will help to focus public attention on the fact that the bald-faced lies of Iran’s detractors and critics are giving Buffoonery a very bad name. Her over-enthusiastic carelessness is particularly noteworthy because Buffoonery was once a relatively harmless, and an exclusively male, domain.

    The calculated dishonesty of Ms Sherman’s throwaway lines brought to mind an epithet coined by Paul Keating who, as Prime Minister of Australia, once described Opposition Leader John W Howard as “Mr Magoo without the good intentions.”

    Mr Howard subsequently went on to become PM and signed Australia up for Bush II’s Fake War on Terror without a moment’s hesitation (or consultation). So, gender aside, the similarities in outlook and ideology are as obvious as they are alarming.