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Just returned from seeing the new movie Argo. Ben Affleck directs  the story of the CIA-assisted escape of six Americans hiding in Iran at the home of a Canadian diplomat; the six American consular officials slipped out of the American Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979 as it was overrun by militant students. The remaining 52 Americans were held hostage.  

The movie is based on the book written by retired CIA operative Antonio Mendez and journalist Matt Baglio. Ben Affleck plays Mendez. The film uses actual news footage and ends with comments from President Jimmy Carter.

For some viewers, the film -which does take artistic license with details -  is a before-my-lifetime history lesson, but for many who vividly recall this event, the movie reveals one now-declassified story from that horrible violence which lasted 444 days for the Americans left behind.  

President Clinton declassified the information in 1997.  Argo is a story worth telling – a story of immense courage, hope and redemptive imagination.

(S-R archives photo: Former Iranian secret agent Saeed Hajjarian points to a copy of a photograph showing a U.S. hostage and an Iranian during the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.)

Vets: Iran, Afghanistan Not Worth It

America's veterans are proud of their military service, but in a new report published Wednesday, they expressed ambivalence about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.In a new Pew Research Center report on war and sacrifice, half of post-9/11 veterans said the Afghanistan war has been worth fighting. Only 44% felt that way about Iraq, and one-third said both wars were worth the costs.Some of those costs were outlined in the Pew study, which comes out as the United States marks the 10th anniversary Friday of the Afghanistan conflict, the longest-running war in the nation's history/Moni Basu, CNN via KXLY. More here. (AP file photo of soldier in Iraq)

Question: Are you OK with our current level of involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Coming home

After two years in a Tehran prison, two Americans are headed for home after $500,000 bail for each man was posted. 

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested along the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009 and sentenced last month to eight years each in prison. A third American arrested with them, Sarah Shourd, was freed last year on bail. The three were hiking in northern Iraq’s scenic and relatively peaceful Kurdish region when they may have accidentally strayed over the unmarked border with Iran.

They were imprisoned and accused of being spies. During their time in captivity, Bauer proposed marriage to Shourd. She was released last September.

If you were imprisoned, what would you think about to keep your mind focused and your heart/emotions strong?

At the fence wanting in?

Good morning, Netizens…

The nutcase at the fence

While it appears cartoonist David Horsey hit the nail on the head on this caricature of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, much the same could be said for an entire cadre of shadowy terrorist organizations around the world, each of which are, like Iran, at the fence aspiring to obtain nuclear technology capable of building a bomb.

Perhaps Ahmadinejad is much closer to obtaining nuclear weapons than we may believe or know. Of course, I might be wrong.

Either way, he is at the fence looking in on the nuclear disarmament talks, perhaps wanting in, but probably not if he is successful at building a bomb. After all the work and the sanctions against his country, why would he want to disarm?


The missile next time…

Good morning, Netizens…

This cartoon by David Horsey clearly reflects my opinion. It’s just as if he were sitting here in the hovel peering over my shoulder at the screen and sees I have a few personal animosities about Iran that any good journalist should avoid in public.

Then there is the number of historical references which suggest, among other things, that someday we will have a major conflagration in the Middle East. There are lots of historical references which suggest it probably will happen on our watch, and that it is almost inevitable. Anyone wandering around the desert who is developing nuclear weapons is, therefore, suspect.

Now of course I will admit I personally believe that all nuclear weapons should be melted down into slag quietly, with as little waste of time as possible. So long as the world powers possess such vile, abominable weapons, the sheer math suggests sooner or later someone is going to set them off targeting their favorite enemies. That is because no one has ever created a weapon of war that only got used once. Once you have opened this Pandora’s box, how quickly can you quickly close it?

If you think the current economic meltdown is playing havoc with your lifestyle, our kids, the essential goodness we have come to expect from living in America, stop and think about what effects a nuclear conflagration might possess, regardless of how long it lasts. As we saw from Chernobyl, the fallout from just one melted-down power plant, would quickly migrate around the world, sickening perhaps millions, and those would be the fortunate ones, as others, or even gene-damaged descendants would wait for perhaps years to die of radiation-induced sicknesses. An exchange of nuclear weapons could be worse.

We’re going to stand by while this lying, deceitful little Lord Fauntleroy of the desert builds nuclear weapons to further his agenda? If there is even a scintilla of a chance of that happening, take him out as surgically as possible.


Acronym for Islamic…

Good morning, Netizens…

Don’t you just love acronyms? Today’s David Horsey cartoon takes us in a direction which, perhaps, our fearless leaders probably do not want to go, but it seems accurate. Finding the acronym for the word “Islamic” cannot be that difficult, but making it fit the existing conditions in Iran, we’ll, that may be subject to public opinion.

Viewed from our side of the globe, most people look at the Mullahs with a jaundiced eye, perhaps, but to most Iran residents, the byword is “Mullahs rock, dude!

Of course, I always ask the question: which is it? Can you imagine the head of Iran’s mullahs meeting in the White House with Obama? How about a tour group of Mullahs traveling through the United States in a tour bus? Now apply the acronym of your choice to the word “Islamic”.

Then we’ll decide what to do when or if that ever happens. Mullahs on West Second Avenue? Sure, why not!


What’s that smell?

Good morning, Netizens…

In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon we see the logical outcome when Theocracy meets Democracy. Khameini, like most theocratic leaders speaks both for and to God and his people invariably follow his every beck and call. Democracy, on the other hand, suggests that it speaks to and for the voice of the common person. Iran is burning, and it isn’t over yet.


The Big Dog of Iran under fire? It seems so…

Good morning, Netizens…

If you truly are curious about the political strife inside Iran, the ongoing battles between protesters and the factional government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the riot police took to the streets once again yesterday and more bloodshed occurred. However, you might want to read the following piece in detail, http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/06/21/76567.html as it tells of a covert attempt on the part of one of Iran’s principal government leaders, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, to overthrow or possibly force the resignation of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.

This appears to be only the edge of the iceberg, as there are additional rumors circulating in various places on the Internet of a series of covert meetings between Rafsanjani and various other clerics to eliminate the position of Supreme Leader entirely. One source especially deserves close reading as it contains some rumors, and some facts: http://threatswatch.org/rapidrecon/2009/06/regime-change-iran-movement-se/

Thus far, nobody in authority has stepped forward to admit nor deny any of these allegations. However, given we have both major Iranian and several other web sites all stating this to be true, we can be relatively certain that major political unrest in Iran doesn’t start in the streets, but may extend fully to engulf the top of Iran’s government including the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameini.

The election is ostensibly over, and perhaps for the moment Ahmadinejad has won, but it does appear that the battle for the hearts and souls of all of Iran is far from over. It may have just begun.


The Big Dog speaks…

Good morning, Netizens…

(AP) Tehran, Iran

The only vote that matters in the Iran election was just cast, although it remains to be seen by those of us in the world whether that will actually end the contention unfolding in Iran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said protests should cease and the opposition must pursue its complaints within the confines of the cleric-led ruling system.

He said protesters would be “held responsible for chaos if they didn’t end” days of massive demonstrations. The unrest has posed the greatest challenge to the system since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought it to power.

Khamenei said official results showing a landslide for hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were beyond question.

“There is 11 million votes difference, Khamenei said. “How one can rig 11 million votes?”

The Big Dog has just shown his teeth, and despite his promises that the highest electoral authority will pursue election complaints, the instability and political contention unfolding in Iran seems certain to continue. As for the question of how one could rig 11 million votes, the answer is simple: invent votes and voters. We have a history of that here in the States that is enviable.


Tues. a.m. video: Mon. in Tehran

All eyes on Iran Monday as protesters filled the streets of Tehran, and the supreme ruler called for an investigation into the election. Here’s a quick update from TalkingPointsMemo.

Iran: Look what’s happening out in the streets

For  a great photo montage of the post-election protests in Iran, click here for a site called The Big Picture.

And yes, the headline comes from an old ‘60s protest song. Do you remember what the next line is?