Podcast Show #115: Obama, Putin, Prince Bandar & the Looming War on Syria

The Boiling Frogs Show Presents Pepe Escobar

Roving journalist and author Pepe Escobar joins us to discuss the latest developments on Syria. We delve into the facts and sources on the latest chemical weapons allegations. We discuss Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar, Russia, the Kurd’s stand, the greater geopolitical implications of the nearing war on Syria and much more. Do not miss this riveting episode of the Boiling Frogs Show.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. He is an investigative journalist with three decades of experience in covering politics and conflicts around the globe. He’s been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Mr. Escobar is the author of three must-read books: Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War, Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge, and Obama Does Globalistan.

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Corbett Report- Sibel Edmonds on Gladio Part III: Turkey-Iraq, the Hood Event, Israel & Gladio B

Sibel Edmonds of BoilingFrogsPost.com joins us for the third part of our series on Gladio B, the NATO-directed effort to radicalize, enable and protect Islamic terrorists to further their own geopolitical ends. In this edition we discuss the Hood Event, the Gladio A / B transition, Israel’s role in funding both sides of the regional conflict, and how the Kurds have been used and abused by every would-be regional power in the area. Sibel also takes questions on Ayman al-Zawahiri and begins to discuss Huseyin Baybasin (aka “Europe’s Pablo Escobar”) and the NATO-protected heroin operations in Europe.

 

 

Listen to the Podcast Here

 

 

To listen to the previous installments in this series: CLICK HERE FOR PART ONE and CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO

Podcast Show #92: The Latest on Syria-Iran-Turkey, and the rarely discussed Kurdish Factor

The Boiling Frogs Show Presents Pepe Escobar

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Roving journalist Pepe Escobar returns to our show to discuss the latest on Syria and Iran. He provides us with his take on Russia’s position, Turkey’s real intentions and internal debate, and the seldom discussed Kurdish factor.

PEPepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He is an investigative journalist with three decades of experience in covering politics and conflicts around the globe. He’s been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering stories and cases from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was in Afghanistan and interviewed the military leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Masoud, a couple of weeks before his assassination. Mr. Escobar has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of three must-read books: Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War, Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge, and Obama Does Globalistan.

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Here is our guest Pepe Escobar unplugged!

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Back Story on Syria: Sibel Edmonds & Journalist Pepe Escobar

Peter B. Collins Podcast Show Interview

TurkeySyriaCutting through the disinformation and spin, Sibel Edmonds and Pepe Escobar reveal back stories about the conflict in Syria that are not reported in the mainstream media.

Edmonds has deep sources in Turkey, Iran, Syria, and the US policy community, and has broken a number of recent developments at Boiling Frogs Post.  Pepe Escobar has also done great enterprise reporting and analysis at Asia Times.  Together, they add a great deal of information about the players who are fighting the Assad regime, the increasingly shrill calls for Assad’s removal from Washington and Paris, and recent reports of likely NATO-aligned fighters assembling near the Jordan-Syria border. 

Escobar sees this as a proxy battle between US/NATO/Israel and a growing alliance between Russia and China, with all eyes on the oil and gas reserves of the Caspian basin.  We discuss Turkey’s role in some depth, and its desire to crush the Kurds of northern Iraq and southern Turkey; we talk about Iran’s intentions toward Syria and Iraq after the US withdrawal, and Iran’s own “Kurdish problem”.  Escobar predicts that 2012 will be a year of “creative destruction”, and sees a return to pre-9/11 dynamics in the region.  He also describes the House of Saud as the international center of the counter-revolution in response to the “Arab Spring”. 

Edmonds, who lived in Iran at the start of the Islamic revolution, talks about Iran’s interests and Jordan’s billions of dollars in US military aid since 2007.  It’s best to look at a map of the region as you listen, so you can appreciate the geographical and resource ties of the various neighbors.

Listen to the interview here @ the Peter B. Collins Show: Click Here

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Gulenists’ & the Turkish Government’s Fraudulence War on the KCK

A Masterpiece of Propaganda with the Real Goal of Getting Rid of the BDP Kurdish Party

By Dr. Aland Mizell

gulenIn his latest speech broadcast on the Herkul.org website, Fethullah Gülen commented on his grief over the deaths of the security members during the PKK attacks in the country‘s Southeast region. He was disappointed that “the Turkish military failed to kill a group of bandits in the mountains over the last 30 years,” Gülen said.

In his speech Gülen also spoke of measures that should be taken to help resolve the Kurdish problems including the opening up of five new dormitories in the city of Van, and sending imams into all the Kurdish provinces to indoctrinate Kurds to accept his version of Islam. Teachers are to assimilate the Kurdish children. “If we only could have sent to that region Imams who teach Islam to them, if these measures were taken before, we would not have any Kurdish problem,” Gülen claimed.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at the times of challenge and controversy, according to Martin Luther King. The question for Mr. Gülen is where did you stand for three decades of the Kurdish suffering? [Read more...]

American Conservative Magazine Beats UK Papers in News Delivery

UK-US Media Reports… Only When it’s Safe to Publish?

mediaYesterday this made the headlines in UK:

Britain Held Secret War Talks With US Generals 11 Months Before Iraq Invasion

America's most senior general flew into Britain for top secret talks on the invasion of Iraq 11 months before the attack on Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Details of the classified meeting, held at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, suggest Tony Blair’s Government was involved in detailed discussions about toppling the Iraqi dictator earlier than previously disclosed.American General Tommy Franks flew in to the base in April 2002 to attend a summit meeting called by the then Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

No kidding? And not bothering to cite previous reports on this, hmmmmm, more than a year ago?
 

This is what I’m referring to:

Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?
The American Conservative, November 2009

AmConsThe monitoring of the Turks picked up contacts with Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle in the summer of 2001, four months before 9/11. They were discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country. The UK would take the south, the rest would go to the U.S. They were negotiating what Turkey required in exchange for allowing an attack from Turkish soil. The Turks were very supportive, but wanted a three-part division of Iraq to include their own occupation of the Kurdish region. The three Defense Department officials said that would be more than they could agree to, but they continued daily communications to the ambassador and his defense attaché in an attempt to convince them to help.

Meanwhile Scowcroft, who was also the chairman of the American Turkish Council, Baker, Richard Armitage, and Grossman began negotiating separately for a possible Turkish protectorate. Nothing was decided, and then 9/11 took place.

Scowcroft was all for invading Iraq in 2001 and even wrote a paper for the Pentagon explaining why the Turkish northern front would be essential. I know Scowcroft came off as a hero to some for saying he was against the war, but he was very much for it until his client’s conditions were not met by the Bush administration.

So, what’s the deal? Report only when all is considered safe and sound; sanctioned and blessed by the high & mighty above? Or is it pure ignorance and lack of research in this age and time, and despite their research and search engines? Or maybe it is their superiority complex act surfacing as an inferiority complex when a smaller publication beats them to a story?
 

You tell me. What’s the deal?

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Podcast Show #14

The Boiling Frogs Presents Mizgin Yilmaz

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Mizgin Yilmaz provides us with an overview and background on the Kurdish Issue in Turkey, the origin of the conflict involving the Kurdish minority and Turkey’s central government, and the status and latest developments on the ‘Kurdish Initiative.’ She describes the depth and reach of the influential Turkish lobby in the United States, which is now ranked as the number one foreign group in spending on lobby activities here. She talks about the Turkish Deep State, Gladio, Grey Wolves and the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II, Turkey’s status as the top heroin trafficking nation worldwide, Fethullah Gulen’s Islamic movement and its headquarters here in the United States, and more!

MizginsDesk Mizgin Yilmaz is an analyst and activist who's been covering the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, including events of concern to the the Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği--İHD) in Turkey, the pro-Kurdish DTP (Democratic Society Party/Demokratik Toplum Partisi), and the PKK (Partiya Karkên Kurdistan/Kurdistan Worker's Party). She is fluent in Turkish, has a BA in history, and since 2005 has maintained a blog focusing on Kurdish issues, the Turkish Deep State, Turkey’s lobby in the US, and related developments and activities in Central Asia.

Here is our guest Mizgin Yilmaz unplugged!

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The Gate-Keepers of the Revolving Doors

Shielding our Multi-Daddy Statesmen & Generals

Some of you may be familiar with my past interviews, comments, or writings on the issue of ‘revolving doors.’ I started this blog by emphasizing the importance of separating ‘main causes’ from the multiple ‘symptoms’ we’ve been suffering from. Well, I consider the chronic revolving doors phenomena as one of those main causes leading to many of the ailments we suffer from today.

In November 2006 I wrote a two part series on this issue: ‘The Highjacking of a Nation. ‘In Part Two, ‘The Auctioning of Former Statesman & Dime a Dozen Generals’, I provided a few examples of how certain former statesmen and generals cash in on their connections and peddle their influence to the highest bidders turned clients. One of these cases involved General Joseph Ralston. He is the Vice Chairman of The Cohen Group. He serves on the board of Lockheed Martin, which paid the Cohen Group $550,000 in 2005, according to a Lockheed filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Ralston is also a member of the 2006 Advisory Board of the American Turkish Council (ATC), and one of Turkey’s top advocates and lobbyists.

In late summer of 2006, while serving as the Vice Chairman for the Cohen Group, while serving on Lockheed Martin’s Board, while sitting on the Advisory Board of the Turkish Lobby Group, ATC and lobbying for Turkey, this ‘Dime a Dozen’ General, was appointed to be US Special Envoy for Countering the Kurdistan Workers Party conflict with Turkey. Here is an excerpt from my piece:

    “Our government sent this man, Ralston, as a special envoy to help resolve the highly critical Northern Iraq situation with possible dire consequences in the near future. Considering Ralston’s livelihood and his loyalties, as a member of the board of the directors of Lockheed Martin, as the vice chairman of a lobbying firm with foreign interests, as an advisor and board member for the most powerful Turkish Lobby group, ATC, who did this man represent while in Turkey as the special envoy? What interests did he really represent; Iraq’s situation, Lockheed’s livelihood, which depends on further conflicts and bloodshed; the corrupt and criminal government of Turkey and its representation via ATC; or, the furthering of the Cohen Group’s future pimping opportunities?”

Why am I revisiting Ralston and this major case of conflict of interest now? It is because I intend to re-illustrate it within the framework and as an example in the discussion we’ve been having on ‘Dissecting the MSM.’

While the implications of Ralston’s appointment caused a major stir within the Kurdish community and organizations, pointing to Ralston’s position with the Turkish lobby in the US, and within Turkey’s own communities and pointing to Ralston’s position with Lockheed Martin, our own media and watchdog organizations let this gargantuan conflict of interest pass under the radar.

Also from ‘Hijacking of a Nation: Part Two’

    “Why in the world did no one within the U.S. mainstream media give even the slightest coverage of this conflict of interest? Why haven’t we heard anyone asking Ralston the most important question, in dire need of an answer: ‘Who’s your daddy Ralston; boy?’ Ralston’s position is no different than what is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “A person conceived and born out of wedlock.” With the possibility of any one of four daddies, and without the benefit of a DNA test, how do we go about determining Ralston’s real daddy?”

Ken Silverstein of Harper Magazine wrote a piece on this in November of 2006, titled ‘Lost in the Valley of the Wolves’. He touched the most important aspects of this case:

    “…But it appears that Ralston is representing the interests of the shareholders of Lockheed Martin rather than the interests of the American people.”

    “Then came the mid-September announcement (just weeks after Ralston's appointment) that Turkeywould be purchasing thirty new F-16's from Lockheed Martin. Weeks later, the Turkish government ruled out purchasing any Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes. This leaves only one option—Lockheed Martin's new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. A deal between Lockheed and Turkey would be worth as much as $10 billion.”

... and he asked the ‘real question’ any MSM reporter with even a half of a brain should have asked:

    “Did Special Envoy Ralston lobby on behalf of Lockheed Martin during his encounters with Turkish officials? It seems likely. Ralston sits on the Board of Directorsof Lockheed Martin and serves as vice chairman of The Cohen Group, a lobbying firm that has represented Lockheed since 2004. On August 11 of this year, seventeen days before he was named Special Envoy, Ralston was appointed to The Cohen Group team that lobbies for Lockheed.”

…and he emphasized the unmentionable as far as the US MSM is concerned, the Turkish Lobby:

    “As Kurdish activist and blogger Mizgin Yilmaz has explained in detail , Ralston has close ties to Turkey through his military service and through his seat on the advisory board of the American Turkish Council. Lockheed Martin is a leading member and financial sponsor of this council, which “is dedicated to effectively strengthening U.S.-Turkish relations through the promotion of commercial, defense, technology and cultural relations.””

…and he concluded it with a punch absent in the work (stenography) of all other MSM players:

    “It's hard to understand how the Bush Administration could appoint a special envoy with so many conflicts of interest, but Lockheed's corporate slogan says it all: “We never forget who we're working for.” Neither, it seems, does General Ralston.”

Aside from Harper’s Silverstein, one other publication, the Boston Globe, did an excellent hard-hitting report on this. Kevin McKiernan begins the piece with a great punch line:

    “MOST PEOPLE would agree that it's bad ethics for government officials to invest in companies that they regulate. But what about a US special envoy to a Middle East trouble spot who happens to be a director of an arms company selling weapons to one of the parties in the conflict?”

Here is more from McKiernan’s report:

    “The problem is that General Ralston is on the board of Lockheed Martin, the world's largest arms maker, which just last month finalized a $2.9 billion sale for advanced F-16 fighters that may well be used in the Kurdish region (the State Department acknowledges that F-16 s were involved in human rights abuses in Turkey in the 1990s). This gives the ex-general the appearance of holding a financial interest in his shuttle diplomacy.”

    “General Ralston is on the board of the American Turkish Council, the powerful Capitol Hill lobby, and he is vice chairman of the Cohen Group, a corporation founded by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, with close ties to the Turkish military. Unfortunately, Ralston carries too much baggage to be special envoy, and he should step down before he alienates the Kurds of Iraq, the best -- and perhaps only -- friend the US government has in the country.”

And even a punchier finale:

    “Our new man in Ankara will be seen as an arms merchant in diplomat's clothing. He should be replaced.”

Now, here is a list of links to some of the major news coverage involving Ralston’s bastardization of military honor:

McClatchy

CBS News

CNN

New York Times

NPR

Time Magazine

I can go on and list more, but I’m sure you get the picture. They all went with the transcript faxed to them by the State Department like good little stenographers! Didn’t they have access to Ralston’s background, which is listed even in Wikipedia and his employer’s, Cohen Group, website? Surely they did! Weren’t they given reports and tips by those who’ve been acting as watchdogs on this case? Surely they were!

Here is a statement from ‘Mizgin’ who not only followed the case from the beginning as it was unfolding, but took it upon herself to contact these MSM reporters, supplying them with all the background on Four-Daddy General Ralston, and underlining all the issues of ‘conflicts of interests’:

    At the end of September 2006, a friend in the UK who writes the Hevallo blog had sent me a link to an article in the Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram on the sale of F-16s to Turkey. At the same time, Turkey was considering a purchase of the new Lockheed Martin F-35 but was not scheduled to make a decision on this purchase until the end of 2006. This news came almost one month after former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Joseph Ralston was named by the State Department as the "special envoy" to "coordinate" the PKK for Turkey.

    Since the PKK was preparing to declare a 1 October 2006 unilateral ceasefire, and since I was working on an English translation of Ocalan's statement regarding the ceasefire, I didn't have time to immediately investigate the F-16 story and the connection to Ralston. However, by 1 October, I had completed some initial investigation and noted the conflict of interest that Ralston's appointment created.

    In researching Ralston's background, I found that he was working for The Cohen Group, a lobbying firm founded by former Defense Secretary William Cohen, and that Ralston was one of two vice-chairmen for The Cohen Group. The other was Marc Grossman. I had come across a Washington Post article from May 2006 on Cohen and his firm which was written by David Hilzenrath. The article described the revolving-door syndrome between government and private business. In writing the article, I thought Hilzenrath would have the background to see that there was an obvious conflict of interest with Ralston's appointment and his connection to a private company that was listed with the US Senate, in accordance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, as a lobbyist hired to sell Lockheed Martin tactical fighter aircraft. In fact, Ralston was listed as a lobbyist with the Senate for this very purpose at least as late as 31 July 2006.

    I contacted Hilzenrath with the information I had managed to search out within a couple of days and suggested that he write something about the appointment since he had written about the people involved with The Cohen Group. He was interested initially and asked for a phone number where he could contact me. I gave him a "throw-away" number where he could reach me, but never heard from him again.

    In the meantime and out of frustration with trying to get the mainstream media interested in an appointment that was obviously very wrong, I wrote an article myself with was first published on KurdishInfo and then on KurdishMedia. Hevallo managed to get the article published in the UK's Socialist Worker. A friend from Diyarbakir translated the article into Turkish and I sent it to Ozgur Gundem, where it was published. I also posted the Turkish version on Istanbul Indymedia. Another friend persuaded the Kurdish National Congress of North America to call for Ralston's resignation as "special envoy."

    Before the end of October 2006, Ralston had secured Turkey's purchase of F-35 aircraft for $10 billion and the official announcement of the purchase came in December 2006. This meant that within a matter of a few weeks, Ralston had squeezed some $13 billion out of the Turkish Defense Ministry.

    From the UK, Hevallo had contacted a reporter for the LA Times, Kim Murphy, after she wrote a piece on Ralston and the Kurdish situation while she had been in Iraq. This also looked promising as Murphy appeared interested initially. Hevallo sent her the information that we had collected on Ralston and the Lockheed deals with Turkey and she was going to present the information to her editor in Washington DC. From that point on the information was buried and we heard nothing else from Murphy or the LA Times.

    Did the reporters themselves make the decision to sit on the information about this conflict of interest or did they, honestly, pass it to their editors, who made the final decisions? I don't know. I guess it really doesn't matter because our experience proves that somewhere along the line, someone in the mainstream media is going to sit on this kind of information to keep it from the public.

    Considering that most of Turkey's purchases of military hardware during the Clinton administration were subsidized by up to 80% by the US taxpayer, Americans themselves should have an interest in what happens when retired generals-turned lobbyists are appointed to handle situations that deal in matters of life and death.

    There were those whom we contacted who did take up the pen to write about the Ralston problem and I am grateful to them for their help. Among those were Ken Silverstein at Harper's; Kevin McKiernan, a longtime advocate for the Kurdish people, writing in the Boston Globe; Chris Deliso, who included information about Lockheed Martin's public relations firm, Public Strategies, Inc., who took a great interest in the things I was writing about Ralston and Lockheed--hence the need for "throw-away" phone numbers when you have to deal with these bloodsuckers; and Luke Ryland, who managed to link the Ralston conflict of interest with the Sibel Edmonds case. For all of these, I have nothing but praise and the greatest thanks

So what did they do instead? They all went by the transcript faxed and or e-mailed to them by the State Department like good little stenographers! That’s exactly what they did, and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing when it comes to shielding our multi-daddy Statesmen & Generals.

Is Ralston an isolated case? Of course not! There is an extensive list of these multi-daddy ex government officials who double or maybe even triple dip. Here, check out a few of these dime-a-dozen public servants turned foreign lobbyists:

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert: Here, here, and here.

Former Undersecretary of State & Ambassador to Turkey Marc Grossman: Here, here, and here.

Retired General Brent Scowcroft: Here, here, here, and here.

Iran’s Elections & Selective Coverage

Continuing the Smell Test

I see the previous post I had on conducting a smell test on the latest intense coverage of Iran’s elections got quite a bit of traction, including some retorts from the ‘misinformed’ in a few places. First, let me remind you, I don’t disagree with the view of highly probable election fraud in this case. My main point in this was ‘the selective coverage’ of election fraud throughout the world and the typical riots and government attacks that tend to follow these incidents. Also, I have a real issue with the timing of this media focus. Why don’t we have similar coverage and discussion when identical, or in many cases worse, incidents take place elsewhere? Especially when it occurs in countries we consider allies and friends regardless of how dictatorial, corrupt, or atrocious.

I can provide tens if not hundreds of similar cases of election fraud followed by dictatorial repression of demonstrators/rioters who take a stand against such practices.

Here is an excerpt from the election fraud scandal and the following violence in Egypt as reported by Human Rights Watch in 2006:

    “Egyptian authorities should drop threats to dismiss two senior judges protesting election fraud and investigate the violence and fraud that plagued elections last year, Human Rights Watch said today.
    The organization also expressed grave concern about a police attack against peaceful demonstrators outside the Judges Club in the early hours of Monday morning. An eyewitness told Human Rights Watch that a large number of men, apparently plainclothes police, attacked around 40 persons who had been holding a round-the-clock vigil in support of the two judges threatened with dismissal. They beat 15 demonstrators and Judge Mahmud `Abd al-Latif Hamza, who came out from the club.”

The 2003 presidential election results in Azerbaijan dubiously declared Ilham Aliyev the president. Of course this was cheered by many in Western policy circles since they viewed Ilhan Aliyev ‘critical’ to the stability of billions of dollars of investments in Azerbaijan’s energy sector. This is an excerpt from another report:

    “International and domestic monitors reported widespread irregularities in the Oct. 15 election. The government clearly stole the election, and then brutally beat hundreds of people who poured out in the streets in protest. The day after the election, I watched from the roof of a hotel in Baku as thousands of riot police beat protesters unconscious. Afterward the riot police raised their shields to the sky and turned their batons into drumsticks, celebrating the victory of intimidation.

    Now hundreds have been arrested, while Isa Gambar, the opposition leader, is effectively under house arrest and activists from his Musavat party are being beaten and detained all over the country. Everyone I speak to is scared.”

And here is a further damning quote from Peter Bouckart:

    “More astonishing, however, were the public assessments of the election made by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe. Their election-monitoring missions in Azerbaijan took due note of the violence and election irregularities, but their overall appraisals were alarmingly upbeat.”

Speaking of post election protests and the recent ‘bloody’ pictures in post election Iran that have been circulating, here are some that didn’t make it into our social awareness, since it involved another ally country, thus was avoided by our press:

Click here to watch a protest against election fraud in Agri, Turkey.

And where was the same level of ‘attention’ and coverage in cases like this one reported by Craig Murray, where the dictator government of Uzbekistan (supported by us), whom Murray rightfully calls a ‘fascist regime,’ was (and probably still is) engaged in atrocious human right abuses. Yes, we certainly were closely courting a dictator regime where the dissenters were/are boiled alive.

    “The police repeatedly tortured prisoners, State Department officials wrote, noting that the most common techniques were "beating, often with blunt weapons, and asphyxiation with a gas mask." Separately, international human rights groups had reported that torture in Uzbek jails included boiling of body parts, using electroshock on genitals and plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers. Two prisoners were boiled to death, the groups reported. The February 2001 State Department report stated bluntly: "Uzbekistan is an authoritarian state with limited civil rights."”

And here is how elections are held in Uzbekistan:

    “The Communist Party simply renamed itself the Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, and, after getting rid of

Muhammad Salih, his only rival for power by exiling him, engaging in massive election fraud, and banning his Erk (Freedom) party, Karimov, president of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic and a Politboro member, seized the reins of power and refused to let go. A completely controlled "referendum," in 1995, led to an extension of his term in office, and in January, 2002, a similar farce awarded him 92 percent of vote, with nominal opposition. Political parties that aim to "change the established order" are banned, including the "Birlik" Popular Unity

    movement, which advocates democracy, religious tolerance, and economic liberty, as well as Islamist groups which the Karimov regime blames for the violence.”


And finally, for a bit of deja vu, remember Black Friday of 1978 in Iran? On September 8, 1978, a huge demonstration against the Shah’s regime was staged in Tehran. Thousands of students and progressive activists took part in this demonstration to peacefully express their dissent against the dictator monarch, Shah Pahlavi. The Shah’s military responded with extreme violent force, and even resorted to using tanks and helicopter gunships to respond. While the Shah Regime and Western media put the number of those massacred at around 80 or so, mainly students, other reports put that number in the range of thousands.

Again, I am inviting you all to join me for a ‘collective smelling test.’ I truly appreciated and enjoyed your informed comments and perspectives posted here. As for those people who chose to attack my previous points 'elsewhere': it is okay, unlike the regimes I mentioned above I do indeed welcome dissent. However, please do it with facts and logic, not as some loose lipped incoherent rant. Go buy a map, learn where Iran is located, then read a bit of history (not the ones written by the Neocons, that is), put aside what you are being fed by the propaganda machine and PR spin, take some vitamins and minerals to fortify your mental clarity, check with your grandparents and receive a tip or two on the value of giving respect in order to receive it in return, then come back and put forth your counterarguments and disagreements; I’ll be all ears.