Iran’s state-run media outlet PressTV, which broadcasts in English, on Tuesday carried a story blaming Israel for the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. PressTV has a well-earned reputation for incendiary anti-Israel stories and for wild conspiracy theories, but even this seems a far stretch for the organization, which maintains a bureau office in the District.
PressTV portrays Adam Lanza as a “patsy” – their word – who is taking the fall for an Israeli special forces squad sent to punish President Obama for not better supporting Israel. The ongoing investigation is in fact, they argue, a concerted U.S. government “cover-up.” It’s not clear why the United States would cover-up an attack against the U.S. government, but if you think that’s the most glaring inconsistency in this story then I have bad news for you: it gets a lot worse.
The outlandish theory is not very clear, but it appears to argue that the attack would have been retribution for Obama’s diplomacy during Israel’s recent clashes with Gaza and for his potential selection of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary, a move opposed by some pro-Israel groups. The story’s evidence largely relies on an interview with an Arizona one-time gubernatorial candidate named Mike Harris who publicly associates with neo-Nazi groups, a series of fatuous questions (i.e., implying that the school was filled with Israeli troops, “Why were so many children told to close their eyes while leaving the building?”), and, I am not making this up, anonymous e-mail forwards.
TEHRAN — Iranian’s national police chief fired the commander of Tehran’s cybercrimes police unit on Saturday for negligence in the death of a blogger in prison.
The dismissal of the commander, Gen. Saeed Shokrian, follows investigations by Parliament and Iran’s judiciary into the unexplained death of the blogger, Sattar Beheshti, 35, who died in early November just a few days after being arrested by the cybercrimes police unit, known here as FATA.
“Tehran’s FATA should be held responsible for the death of Sattar Beheshti,” said Iran’s national police chief, Ismael Ahmadi-Moqaddam, according to the Iranian Labor News Agency.
It is unclear whether General Shokrian will also face judicial charges over the blogger’s death.
The public nature of his dismissal suggests that he will bear most of the responsibility for the death. In similar cases in the past, officials have been punished, but it is rare for them to be named and publicly dismissed on the same day.
Mr. Beheshti’s Web site, My Life for My Iran, criticized Iran’s financial contributions to the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon. Mr. Beheshti posted pictures of Lebanese youths having parties alongside images of Iranians living in poverty.
The exact cause of Mr. Beheshti’s death remains murky. Mr. Ahmadi-Moqaddam said Tuesday that investigations had ruled out torture as a cause of death, saying it was possible that Mr. Beheshti, who in pictures looks big and strong, died of “psychological shock.”
Iranian activists and bloggers say Mr. Beheshti died of injuries following beatings. Iran’s judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hussein Mohseni-Ejei, recently admitted that Mr. Beheshti — while in prison — had lodged a written complaint against an interrogator, in which he accused the man of having beaten him during his detention in Tehran’s Evin prison.
“I, Sattar Beheshti, was arrested by FATA and beaten and tortured with multiple blows to my head and body,” read the document, published by the opposition Kalame Web site. He added, “If anything happens to me, the police are responsible.”
This is a regime on the edge. The only thing the hardliners can hope for at this point is an Israeli attack or a Romney victory and impending US war to rally the people behind them.
—Andrew Sullivan on Iran’s Collapsing Economy
GOP Senator Lindsey Graham echoes a long line of US policymakers: Iran must not be allowed to deter US aggression
“In the Washington Post today, Richard Cohen expresses surprise that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is “starting to make some sense” and “wax rationally”. Cohen specifically cites this statement from the Iranian president last week:
“Let’s even imagine that we have an atomic weapon, a nuclear weapon. What would we do with it? What intelligent person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb?
Cohen’s surprise notwithstanding, numerous Iranian leaders, including Ahmadinejad, have long made the same point. And it’s a point so obvious it should not even need to be made. No rational person takes seriously the claim that Iran, even if it did obtain a nuclear weapon, would commit instant and guaranteed national suicide by using it to attack a nation that has a huge nuclear stockpile, which happens to include both the US and Israel. One can locate nothing in the actions of Iran’s regime that even suggests irrationality on that level, let alone suicidal impulses.
That Iran will use its nuclear weapons against the US and Israel is rather obviously the centerpiece of the fear-mongering campaign against Tehran, to build popular support for threats to launch an aggressive attack in order to prevent them from acquiring that weapon. So what, then, is the real reason that so many people in both the US and Israeli governments are so desperate to stop Iranian proliferation?
Every now and then, they reveal the real reason: Iranian nuclear weapons would prevent the US from attacking Iran at will, and that is what is intolerable. The latest person to unwittingly reveal the real reason for viewing an Iranian nuclear capacity as unacceptable was GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the US’s most reliable and bloodthirsty warmongers.”
Gwenyth Todd, a former American political adviser, now lives in Australia.
Gwenyth Todd had worked in a lot of places in Washington where powerful men didn’t hesitate to use sharp elbows. She had been a Middle East expert for the National Security Council in the Clinton administration. She had worked in the office of Defense Secretary Dick Cheney in the first Bush administration, where neoconservative hawks first began planning to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
But she was not prepared a few years later in Bahrain when she encountered plans by high-ranking admirals to confront Iran, any one of which, she reckoned, could set the region on fire. It was 2007, and Todd, then 42, was a top political adviser to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
(Photo: Handout / Reuters)
Overcrowded hospitals in northwestern Iran struggled to cope with thousands of earthquake victims on Sunday and rescuers raced to reach remote villages after two powerful quakes killed nearly 300 people.
Thousands huddled in makeshift camps or slept in the street after Saturday’s quakes in fear of more aftershocks, 60 of which had already struck. A lack of tents and other supplies left them exposed to the night chill, one witness told Reuters.