FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Protest U.S. Aggression

Should the US antiwar movement be attending rallies sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) claiming to support the opposition movement in Iran?  According to the group Stop War on Iran, this is exactly what United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and other antiwar groups are doing.  If so, are they really supporting the leftist and progressive elements of that opposition or are they naively providing cover for those in the United States power elites who would love to see a regime friendly to Washington ruling in Tehran?  Recently, UFPJ urged its members to attend rallies called by a group that goes by the name of United for Iran on July 25, 2009.  While I believe the intentions of the antiwar organizations calling on folks to join these protests come from a genuine desire to see an end to the Tehran government’s repression, the fact that some of the Iranian dissident groups in Iran and in exile take their money and guidance from the NED and other US-propaganda operations compromises the antiwar groups’ position.

An even closer connection between the NED funds and the group United for Iran is that of the apparent US organizer of the United for Iran rallies, Hadi Ghaemi. Mr. Ghaemi is is the director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. This group is a project of the Dutch Foundation for Human Security in the Middle East. More important as regards his NED connection is Ghaemi’s role as a former board member of the National Iranian American Council, which has received over a quarter million dollars in NED grants. While this is not an indictment of the desire for greater freedoms in Iran expressed by Ghaemi and his organization, one would think these connections would give pause to a US antiwar group whose leadership knows only too well the role groups funded by the NED and other US special funds played in the period leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The last time I wrote a piece regarding the NED, some readers wrote me asking what was wrong with this organization.  To answer them, I quoted former CIA agent Philip Agee, who certainly knew a good deal about the true nature of Washington’s concern for democracy in nations it considers enemies.  “In November 1983,” said Agee. “Congress created the National Endowment for Democracy and gave it an initial $18.8 million for building civil society abroad during the fiscal year ending September 30, 1984…Whereas the CIA had previously funneled money through a complex network of `conduits,’ the NED would now become a `mega-conduit’ for getting U.S. government money to the same array of non-governmental organizations that the CIA had been funding secretly…. There is really nothing private about it, and all its money comes from the Congress. ”  NED and similar organizations are not interested in democracy as much as they are interested in maintaining and expanding US imperialism.

In addition to the NED funds are $20 million in USAID funds provided under George Bush to fund Iranian dissidents that meet Washington’s criteria.  Despite the belief by many US citizens that USAID is a government organization designed to help locals in other countries, it has served as a front for CIA activities from Laos to Venezuela and is part of the effort to rebuild Fallujah into a tightly-controlled hamlet after the US military destroyed the Iraqi city in 2004.  Now, United for Iran may be free of any NED or CIA taint.  There may be no connection between any of its members and the Congressionally-approved funds that Mr. Obama talked about a few weeks ago.  However, given the long term desire of the US government to destroy the Iranian revolution and insure the installment of a regime friendly to Washington back in Tehran should be more than enough to give US antiwar groups pause.

The recent protests in Iran were a hopeful sign.  Indeed, many groups across the political spectrum considered them to be monumental in their impact.  While their actual impact is yet to be determined, the fact that the original protests seemed to have been mostly spontaneous and without the taint of foreign meddling proved that the Iranian people continue to believe in their political power.  As most readers know, later protests were blocked and attacked by the police and other groups.  However, if one reads some commentators, they might come away assuming that this repression was unusual and specific to the theocrats in Iran.  Such an assumption is naturally untrue.  In fact, while I watched the coverage on CNN and the internet, I was reminded of the police response to the protests in Seattle in 1999 against the WTO.  Pictures from those protests certainly rivaled those coming out of Iran in terms of police violence.  For a more recent example, one need only look at the total repression of the antiwar protests in Minneapolis during the Republican Party convention in 2008.  Participants in those protests came back telling stories of police beatings of protesters, preventive detention, and a police presence so intimidating that many protesters decided to stay home.  The only thing missing were the shootings.

It is appropriate that the US antiwar movement should be concerned about the repression of protests in Iran.  However, the bottom line is that the antiwar movement in the United States should be focusing on demanding that the government in Washington end the wars it is currently waging.  Equally important is opposing threats of war against Iran from Washington and Tel Aviv.  By helping to organize protests against the repressive actions of the Iranian government instead of focusing on ending the wars of Washington, UFPJ and other antiwar supporters of the United for Iran rallies are not only minimizing the aggression of Washington, they are tacitly providing cover for that aggression.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

August 16, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare
W. T. Whitney
New Facebook Alliance Endangers Access to News about Latin America
Sam Husseini
The Trump-Media Logrolling
Ramzy Baroud
Mission Accomplished: Why Solidarity Boats to Gaza Succeed Despite Failing to Break the Siege
Larry Atkins
Why Parkland Students, Not Trump, Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize
William Hartung
Donald Trump, Gunrunner for Hire
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Morality Tales in US Public Life?
Yves Engler
Will Trudeau Stand Up to Mohammad bin Salman?
Vijay Prashad
Samir Amin: Death of a Marxist
Binoy Kampmark
Boris Johnson and the Exploding Burka
Eric Toussaint
Nicaragua: The Evolution of the Government of President Daniel Ortega Since 2007 
Adolf Alzuphar
Days of Sagebrush, Nights of Jasmine in LA
Robert J. Burrowes
A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival
August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail