Thursday, May 10, 2018

The view from Iran: Treacherous America, spineless Europe

The view from Iran: Treacherous America, spineless Europe

US President Donald Trump has a problem with 'Death to America' slogans. Is the widespread desire of ordinary Iranians to end US arrogance, duplicity and hegemony that difficult for The Donald to grasp?
Seyed Mohammad Marandi's picture
Thursday 10 May 2018 8:59 UTC
There's a method to Trump's madness, some Iranians believe - while others see little actual methodology involved in his decision-making process. Before the age of Trump, the conversation in Tehran about relations with the West has almost always involved debate on two key questions: US trustworthiness and EU significance.
The longstanding and prevailing view has been that the United States is politically dishonest and the European Union is inconsequential. During the 2013 election campaign of President Hassan Rouhani, this assessment of the US was publicly challenged while the consensus about the Europeans remained unchanged.

Substantive results

President Rouhani believed that the European Union did not have the capacity, or at least the will, to act as a global player. After all, he spent a considerable amount of time leading nuclear negotiations with Germany, France, and the United Kingdom and concluded that these three countries were ineffectual and that Iran needed to negotiate with the United States for substantive results.
After lengthy deliberations in Tehran, where advocates of direct negotiations insisted that the US had decided to change policy and accept Iran's full legal right to a peaceful nuclear programme, direct US-Iran talks were scheduled.
Despite deep skepticism about US reliability and intentions, the Iranians decided to put their assessment of the Americans to the test. Before the 2013 Iranian presidential election, they accepted a US proposal for secret and direct negotiations in Oman.
Despite deep skepticism about US reliability and intentions, the Iranians decided to put their assessment of the Americans to the test
Further proof that the stars were aligned was that Iran's former ambassador to the United Nations, Dr Javad Zarif, a veteran diplomat with substantial experience dealing with US politicians, think tanks and media, was to lead these negotiations after President Rouhani's inauguration.
In order to open a new chapter in Iran-US relations, Rouhani and his political backers were willing to make significant concessions to close a nuclear deal. The individual in this camp who was probably the most cautious about conceding too much was the foreign minister himself. Meanwhile, those who passionately opposed the deal warned about past experiences, relentlessly reminding the government and the public of the US history of deceptiveness.
After all, they had decades of experience with US "promises" since the 1981 Algiers Accords in which the US committed itself to no longer intervene politically or militarily in the internal affairs of Iran.

American aggressions

Almost from the onset, the Americans repeatedly and flagrantly violated the agreement - through "crippling sanctions", funding terrorist organisations, downing an Iranian civilian airliner, destroying Iranian oil facilities, aiding Saddam Hussein in his use of chemical munitions and providing him with political cover during his devastating eight-year war with Iran.
Still, the Iranians persisted in extending opportunities for goodwill. After the Iran-Iraq war ended, for instance, Iran gave a major oilfield to the US Conoco oil company to develop. Despite the US government being kept abreast of developments during four years of Iranian negotiations with the energy company, Washington blocked the deal immediately after an agreement was reached.
A handout picture provided by the Iranian Parliament on 9 May 2018 shows Iranian MPs preparing to burn a US flag in the parliament in Tehran (AFP)
In the aftermath of terror attacks on September 11, Iran negotiated and cooperated with the United States over Afghanistan, only to be labeled a part of an "axis of evil." Under Obama, the United States imposed "crippling sanctions," punishing ordinary Iranians and killing thousands of people who were unable to obtain live-saving pharmaceuticals until Iran was able to find ways to bypass the sanctions.
Today, due to years of experience and the very recent global shift in balance of power, Iran is much better prepared and positioned to deal with sanctions
It armed Iran's adversaries to the teeth, unleashed armies of Takfiri jihadists inside Iran's geographical "strategic depth," and deployed the world's most potent weapons systems on Iran's borders.
Those aggressions are okay, but Trump has a problem with "Death to America" slogans? Is the widespread desire of ordinary Iranians to end US arrogance, duplicity and hegemony that difficult for The Donald to grasp?
Despite his skepticism about US sincerity, Ayatollah Khamenei gave the go-ahead for President Rouhani to pursue nuclear negotiations, stating publicly that if the United States demonstrates good will other issues could subsequently be discussed.
As expected, the opposite happened. While the Iranian side angered its domestic critics by exercising significant flexibility, the US administration began violating the spirit and letter of the agreement almost immediately after it was announced.
An ugly visa restriction law and the Iran Sanctions Act were passed under Obama, more individuals and companies were sanctioned, but most importantly, behind closed doors, the US was warning banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and others not to do business with Iran - in clear violation of Articles 26 and 29 of the agreement.
The Iranians, meanwhile, not only complied with every expectation of the agreement, in certain instances they beat the clock in delivering their commitments.

Tangible results

Under Trump, the collapse of the JCPOA gained pace and reached a stage where most Iranians believe it to be dead. Over almost three years, they have seen few tangible results from halting their peaceful nuclear programme and meeting every one of their obligations.
Iranians believe that as the US exits the agreement, the US government will be seen by the international community as irresponsible, unreliable and aggressive. In contrast, by delaying its own exit for a few weeks to explore EU spine-growth capabilities, Iran will be vindicated further.
As they were vindicated when incoming US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Iran was not moving towards building a nuclear weapon even before the nuclear deal - unwittingly destroying a 15-year-old dishonest US narrative.
France's Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Angela Merkel will also be viewed as damaged goods for persistently attempting to appease Trump and receiving nothing whatsoever in return. The EU is increasingly seen as ineffectual if not irrelevant, thus creating a greater incentive for Iran to pivot to China and Russia, both economically and politically.
Ironically, this comes as Russia and China are facing similar hostility and pressure, and as a result, have reached similar conclusions.
Today, due to years of experience and the very recent global shift in balance of power, Iran is much better prepared and positioned to deal with sanctions. Unlike a decade ago, it has powerful regional allies and its relationships with rising non-western powers have evolved significantly.
If western countries shut their doors, there are other doors opening to Iran and the ultimate biggest loser in this process will be the US, a weak and submissive Europe, and their erratic regional client regimes. The choice is theirs to make.
- Seyed Mohammad Marandi is a professor of English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran. 
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Photo: An Iranian woman walks past a mural on the wall of the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on 8 May, 2018. (AFP)

Dr. Eowyn: UK Police State: man arrested for carrying potato peeler; another gets 8 months for giving middle finger to traffic camera

UK Police State: man arrested for carrying potato peeler; another gets 8 months for giving middle finger to traffic camera


While we were sleeping, the United Kingdom had morphed into a tyrannical police state.
Here are four recent cases of police tyranny:
(1) Breitbart reports that on April 28, 2018, Scott Walker, 39, was arrested in Dunfermline, Scotland, for carrying a potato peeler in a public place “without reasonable excuse” and faces up to four years in prison.
Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 forbids the carrying of “an article which had a blade or which was sharply pointed, namely a potato peeler”.
Walker was on bail for another unspecified offense at the time of his arrest. Local newspaper the Dunfermline Press And West of Fife Advertiser quotes Walker’s defense attorney (“solicitor”) Selina McKay who said her client “suffers from significant learning difficulties which have been lifelong”.
The unusual arrest comes amid heightened public interest over knife crime, as UK capital London — an official gun-free zone — experiences an unprecedented crime wave with 62 suspected murders in the capital so far in 2018 — leaving the city overtaking traditionally higher-crime New York for the first time in over 200 years. A number of these killings have been shootings, while others have been committed with knives.
(2) Earlier, Scottish comedian/YouTuber Mark Meechan, aka Count Dankula, was fined £800 ($1,085) after a two-year court battle over him filming his girlfriend’s pug dog making a Nazi salute in return for treats.
(3) Meanwhile, in Yorkshire, England, Timothy Hill, 67, was sentenced to eight months jail and banned from driving for a year for “perverting the course of justice.”
Police say that on three occasions in December 2017, Hill drove past North Yorkshire Police’s mobile safety camera vans and was photographed giving the middle-finger salute to the camera.
This apparently angered police who launched an investigation into the senior citizen—not because he was caught harming someone one—but because he raised his middle finger at a traffic camera. Police then found a laser jammer on Hill’s white Range Rover.
Although police were unable to ascertain Hill’s speed because of the laser jammer, they charged him with “perverting the course of justice,” which he pleaded guilty to at court to avoid an even longer prison sentence. The judge who jailed Hill said such actions “strike at the heart” of the justice system and his sentence must act as a deterrent to others.
North Yorkshire Police tweeted this:
Top tip: If you want to stay out of trouble, don’t do what this driver did and swear at our mobile safety cameras while driving past in a car fitted with a laser jammer. Today he’s beginning 8 months in jail for perverting the course of justice.
Shortly after putting the man’s photo out on Twitter, the police department then released video from their camera to further shame the senior citizen.
Traffic Constable Andrew Forth, who led the investigation for North Yorkshire Police, released the following statement:
If you want to attract our attention, repeatedly gesturing at police camera vans with your middle finger while you’re driving a distinctive car fitted with a laser jammer is an excellent way to do it.
It’s also an excellent way to end up in prison. As Hill’s case shows, perverting the course of justice is a very serious charge which carries a custodial sentence.
(4) Lastly, not only must you not give your middle finger to a traffic camera, you must also refrain from making critical comments on social media about how baby Alfie Evans was treated.
Merseyside Police in northwest England has issued a threat that you’ll be investigated “and where necessary will be acted upon”.
UK police threatens anyone critical of how Alfie Evans was treated
H/t Ken R.

Dishonest CDC caught hiding data proving that guns are used FAR MORE for self-defense than for crime

J.D. Heyes

(Natural News) One of the Left’s biggest knocks on guns is their claim that very few Americans actually use one for self-defense purposes and that firearms are used far more times to commit murder and other crimes.

Not only is that untrue, it’s very untrue. And what’s more, at least one government agency has known it’s untrue for at least 20 years — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recently discovered statistics from the CDC dating back to the mid-to-late 1990s that were never released to the public indicate that defensive gun uses (DGUs) are much more common than criminal uses of a firearm, The Daily Wire reported.

According to a new report from Florida State University criminologist, Gary Kleck, the agency conducted the surveys in 1996, 1997, and 1998 but neglected — purposefully, most likely — to make public the fact that Americans use guns in millions of self-defense situations every year on average.

But many people — arguably most Americans — believe otherwise. That’s because they’re treated to a steady diet of naysaying from the Left-wing, gun-hating establishment media arguing that Kleck’s research is inaccurate. 

For example, in January 2015 Politico Magazine writers Evan DeFillipis and Devin Hughes (financial industry guys, not researchers with advanced degrees) wrote that such claims are a “tragic myth: that millions of gun owners successfully use their firearms to defend themselves and their families from criminals.” Further, they wrote that such claims have “nearly no academic support in public health literature.” (Related: Why black Americans are demanding their gun rights, even while oppressive liberal mobs are trying to disarm them.)

Well, that’s due in large part because the public health agency that has the correct data never released it.

CLICK HERE to watch Jim Fetzer on GUN CONTROL

As noted by Reason Magazine:

…Kleck conducted the most thorough previously known survey data on the question in the 1990s. His study, which has been harshly disputed in pro-gun-control quarters, indicated that there were more than 2.2 million such defensive uses of guns (DGUs) in America a year.

Now Kleck has unearthed some lost CDC survey data on the question. The CDC essentially confirmed Kleck’s results. But Kleck didn’t know about that until now, because the CDC never reported what it found.

Kleck said he found that the agency asked about defensive uses for guns in its Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) during the aforementioned timeframe.

The CDC survey, which Kleck said was of “high-quality,” asked respondents: “During the last 12 months, have you confronted another person with a firearm, even if you did not fire it, to protect yourself, your property, or someone else?”

Reason noted that the survey instructed respondents to leave out “incidents from occupations, like policing, where using firearms is part of the job.” In addition, the survey does not add instances where guns were used to defend against an animal.

Kleck found in the surveys that 79 percent of those who reported a DGJ “had also reported a gun in their household at the time of the [survey] interview.” Only people who admitted to owning a gun were questioned; for that reason, Kleck said the CDC’s final numbers must be rounded up. 

The gun debate tends to be dominated by false beliefs

The final adjusted prevalence of 1.24 percent of DGU’s implies that in an average year during 1996–1998, 2.46 million U.S. adults used a gun for self-defense.

“This estimate, based on an enormous sample of 12,870 cases (unweighted) in a nationally representative sample, strongly confirms the 2.5 million past-12-months estimate obtained Kleck and Gertz (1995). …. CDC’s results, then, imply that guns were used defensively by victims about 3.6 times as often as they were used offensively by criminals,” The Daily Wire reported.

As to the Politico Magazine article claiming his figures were wrong, Kleck responded (in the same publication) the next month that the writers could not refute any of his or research partner Marc Gertz’s rebuttals, research methodology, or logic in reaching their conclusions.

It’s not like this information is going to get wide play in the gun-hating American Pravda media. But the next time you hear someone say few Americans use guns every year to defend themselves, you’ll know better.

See more of this content at

J.D. Heyes is editor of The National Sentinel and a senior writer for Natural News and NewsTarget.

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