Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Kleptocrats

By Paul Iddon

'The 1%' doesn't even begin to describe how small the minority that have stolen Persia's vast wealth for themselves are.

It's relatively rare that one encounters something so profoundly stupid that one actually has to stand in abject awe. However if one thing over the past year had me stand back in abject awe it would be those American academics who went on an official state visit to Tehran last year to hold lectures on the economic inequality the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement in the United States has held numerous rallies in protest against.

That incident was a fitting microcosm of the profound ignorance exhibited by not only large parts of American society when it comes to the repressive state of Iran today, but also by what we sometimes call American academia. The idea that the regime ruling Iran at present is somehow one that sympathizes with those opposing economic inequality is absurd. It's also a very sinister idea when it is propagated by such professors and people in academia who really do know better – unless of course they really are 'that' stupid.

Other attendants of the regimes arcane little conference included, among others, Abdul Alim Musa the fanatical imam of the Masjid Al-Islam mosque in Washington DC. A man whose outspoken pronouncements are notorious for there anti-Semitic and conspiratorial nature. He has asserted that 9/11 was a conspiracy orchestrated by the United States and that the Occupy Wall Street Movement was spearheading a fight against "global Zionism". He said, with a straight face, at that particular conference in the "Islamic Republic" of Iran that "there is no democracy and human equality in the [United States] country."

Didactic dolts with ceaseless casuistry doesn't even begin to describe these people. The blithesome disregard they have for the negation of the most basic rights of the Iranians who are repressed by a clerical cabal of elites who have plundered their country is very salient.

That conference was a wholly shameful affair, and one that still makes me feel sick when I think about it. Whilst ordinary Iranians are struggling to stay above water the country cannot, as it seems, import enough Porshes for the “pious”. This represents in its own right a creepy hark back to how nasty the situation was in Iraq in the 1990's when Saddam's son Uday couldn't get his grubby hands on enough shiny new sports cars to amuse himself whilst large swaths of the Iraqi population starved to death. 

Any business that brings in considerable capital is controlled or largely owned by members of the regimes Revolutionary Guard or Basiji paramilitary forces. Forces which seek out anyone voicing any form of dissent to the way their country is run and their destiny decided by those who proclaim that they hold ownership over them.

Nevertheless the attitudes of those at the 'inequality' conference reflect a general trend that is beginning in the west amongst academics and former politicians who package and sell their apologist arguments of totalitarianism and oppression as 'radical'. George Galloway for example has his own show on Press TV. Each episode of this call-in show consists of him shouting abuse and cheap slogans at callers, bellowing like an idiot and consistently exculpating the crimes of the Iranian regime whilst simultaneously claiming he cares about human rights. He has in the past fawned in person on both Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad, the latter of whom he is trying to distance himself from as of late. He described the Baathist Hussein family rule of Iraq as revolutionary in the same way Mao's 'Cultural Revolution' was for China. He also had a personal relationship with that heinous and criminal regime, particularly with its spokesperson Tariq Aziz.

Speaking of personal relationships and tyrannical regimes one is reminded of Flynt and Hilary Mann Leverett two analysts who have consecrated their efforts to exculpating the Iranian regime. They assert that the United States “come to terms” with the “Islamic Republic”. As was the case with Galloway they have a friend within the regime, in the form of Mohamed Marandi and we also have good reason to believe they have their own personal business interest in seeing to the United States “coming to terms” with the “Islamic Republic” given the fact that Mrs. Leverett is CEO of the energy and consulting firm called Stratega. It is therefore quite disturbing that all of their research consistently whitewashes the regime when it comes to its domestic repression and foreign support of terrorism.

Today Iranian journalists are once again being targeted and denied free speech in their own country. Many of whom will likely be tortured, humiliated degraded and completely deprived of their human rights as was the case with many before them as this brutal regime undergoes another charade of an election. Another insult to the trod upon and oppressed people of Persia.

'Westerners', particularly Americans, of a certain age who learn about history can prove to be quite naïve or unable to put themselves mentally into a time and place. They seem to have a mental predisposition that insists that, for example, were they Jews being lined up to be gassed they would not 'let themselves' be exterminated. History isn't properly understood in this writers view until the reader of it can fully comprehend that those who 'lost' also thought they were the right and righteous ones. Hence, they didn't go into battle thinking they were wrong and therefore going to lose. This is particularly true of slavery in the United States. One must comprehend the extent to which the advocates of slavery promulgated superficial arguments and logic which convinced many Americans that slavery was justifiable to truly understand the history of slavery in the United States. Of course the pro-slavery arguments look obscene and obscure with so much hindsight. But the challenge of history is to see ahistorical nonsense before it becomes just that in 'enlightened' hindsight.

History is yesterday, it cannot be changed. But tomorrow today will be history. Therefore as members of possibly the freest, most open societies of the world 'westerners' have a special obligation not to make superficial apologist arguments and excuses for the oppression of others. They have an obligation not to relativize the ownership and oppression of an entire nation by a small cabal of clerical criminals. If we forgo this elementary moral obligation future generations will look back at such attitudes and wonder what kind of utterly obscure thought process led us to conclude these criminal characters were the legitimate representatives of the learned and civilized people of Persia.


Mark Pyruz said...

So Paul...

-You've never visited the Islamic Republic of Iran for an extended period of time (unlike those academics you're referring to).

-You haven't bothered to read their book (by the way, they're also former National Security and State Department officials that have had official contacts with Iranian officials).

But even so you know everything you need to know about the Islamic Republic and the Leveretts, right?

Oh, and one more thing: since the time when my great-grandfather was speaker of Parliament, and my grandfather was Minister of Education overseeing the establishment of the University of Tehran, the name of the country has been Iran, not Persia. And for the last 30 or so years, by a popular referendum and the continued majority support of Iranians inside Iran, it is the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It's funny, you remind me of certain Europeans that opined on and on against our American liberal revolution and constitution during the 1780s into the early 1800s, hoping our American revolution would be overturned and the conservative establishment reimposed. Well, that was a fruitless exercise, wasn't it?

Paul Iddon said...

I don't believe the word of my friends who've lived all their lives in Iran are less insightful than the official state visits to a dictatorship by two biased American "academics" when it boils down to what life in Iran is like. But then again I guess most Iranians I and my fellow bloggers here on Uskowi know must have been in North Tehran when they saw with their own eyes the blatantly fascist nature of the repressive paramilitary regime, which you've consecrated your 'efforts' to apologizing for, while Americans who can't speak Persian slummed it in the more open, consensual, democratic downtown.

I read and reviewed Going to Tehran before you did -- if you could realistically call that rather vague promotional fluff piece you advertised as being a review a 'review'.

Oh the irony, what you openly advocate reminds me of what the more conservative elements of Iran sought, and succeeded in garnering, when they collaborated with the Russian and British imperial powers of the day to ensure that the Iranian people were subverted, their wealth stolen and democracy suppressed in order to keep Persia down.

On the topic of referendums that haven't been held in over 30 years you still haven't cited that statistic that says 90% of the people support the regime. Was that statistic simply another one of your lies?

Must be some kind of sordid displaced form of guilt that makes you feel obliged to lash out at me with such nonsensical ad-hominem attacks which never actually address the issue or factually dispute anything I outline. As par usual.

Anonymous said...

Politician all over the world are the same : liars
I have lived most of my life in Iran and I am an atheist so I was thinking that west is much different from Iran so I came here. Now after 3 years living in the sates I do not see much underlying difference between I.R. of Iran and USA, actually, I am thinking to go back after finishing my PhD (unless war starts and the country gets destroyed)

Paul Iddon said...

I think there are more religious fundamentalists in the States than there are in Iran. A fundamentalist clique just have all the power in the latter.

Much success to you in getting your PhD.

Anonymous said...

you're right on that but even the political system is religious (Practically you can't be anything unless you name GOD several time a day in your speech) and two party !! just like Iran. The difference is that here it is much more subtle and so people often think they have political freedom while their choices is limited as is in Iran (In iran at least we now we don't have the freedom) The only good thing about US and the west is social freedom and not being sanctioned (it is the other thing that might affect my decision)

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:40 PM......This defies belief that you as a so-called "PhD" student don't see the deference between a fascist Islamic theocracy and a Free democratic country like America.
Maybe you should go back to Iran because it seems you have already forgotten what is going on in that tortured country and hopefully you will repent what you said about being the same.At least in the US they don't imprison,torture,rape and execute you for voicing your objection of the political system.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I never got tortured nor I know anyone personally who got tortured. According to my experiences (up to 3-4 years ago) as long as you mind your own business no one do anything to you. You can even talk about your thoughts and beliefs if you are careful enough (even at work/school and dorm I never hide my objections but I never tried to be hero or be to bold) so as far as I am concerned, though we don't have speech freedom in Iran but it is not a police state as you are trying to picture it.
For me the major problems are: 1-sanctions which limit the business and the market and does not let me to use my potentials as I wish 2- lack of social freedom which makes things a little more difficult. But the first problem is by far the most important one and if I decide to remain here is mostly because of the sanctions and threat of war nothing else.

B.M.A said...

THE Iranian students waiting to finish his PHD is a free thinking mortal!HIS MIND is free from the usual bigotry and blind hatred from many 'brainwashed 'individuals from IRAN who go to the extent of wishing a violent regime change for their country!THESE INDIVIDUALS talk democracy,and engage in negative reporting,finding every opportunity to portray the country in bad light in front of the world.
but IT IS AN EFFORT IN FUTILITY as the Nation is becoming more and more strong and confident militarily with each passing year!.

Anonymous said...

i can speak from being a knowing an iranian london based economist who isnt pro-government and tell you from common sense anything youve written is total crap just based on hate, farhang morady, type his name

paul idddion has resorted to rants now

how trump this rant of article with common sense as its not based on any facts just emotional diatribe

first common sense if too ask why majority of the working class and lower middle class iranian's love the islamic republic

secondly you can ask whats kahameni doing with his billions that he cant store in foreign accounts and his old man now so if he still hasn't spent his money it kind of pointless,

if the answer is he lives in a simple lifestyle with modest surroundings for being the head of state for so long and none of his family members are significantly wealthy then dont ever ask again and ofcourse ahmednijad he is so rich from being the president he still just has two apartments

Paul Iddon said...

"its not based on any facts just emotional diatribe"

Name one thing I mention in this article that isn't based on fact.

B.M.A said...

YOUR ARTICLE is FULL of nuances,ambiguities,laced with some glaring difficulties !you re only good in articulating some historical stuff on PERSIA or just anywhere,BUT YOUR ATTEMPT TO BLIND YOUR READERS WITH SOME STRANGE SLOGANS ON THE REGIME only makes you look empty and desperate on your anti-regime journalistic war!.
BE SERIOUS PAUL-we want facts and figures and logical reasons in your easily predictable essays on the regime ,-INDEED YOU HAVE A steep mountain to climb in explaining to your readers HOW A-RAPIST,GANGSTER,CRIMINAL,regime sitting on the necks of its citizens,with nothing to offer except denying the masses basic human rights ruling the Nation with a barbaric cult, earning Persia a new tittle from you as 'the world's most backward NATION'!
but at the same time lead the NATION on the first position in the world -in girl to boy ratio in high school and collage enrollment ,beside other cultural,and scientific achievements that have placed the NATION AT THE first position the world over!.