The Friends of California Libre...

30 June 2009

The Sun Stands Still and Waits

Greetings, friends,
After a mild spring, summer is slowly warming up my City of the Angels.  The furnace has been off for weeks, and the fan is out.  I can sleep on top of the sheets, and sometimes leave the door open all night.  I love it.

I have another favor to ask of this motley collected group...anyone know of a large studio or house where I can show four movies over several nights or weekends?  This year is the 20th anniversary of the four movies I edited for Ray Pettibon.  I'd like to have a party or a free screening where we can enjoy them...and I have contacts with enough of the actors to ensure a fun reunion.  I even have four other films on the same subjects to make for some ripping programming.  I also have access to a video projector that can be hooked up to a laptop or a DVD player.  Let me know.

If you think I'm going to say anything about all the celebrities dropping dead here in LA, wrong.  More dead celebrities are ahead.  I was a little surprised that the high body count included on of the biggest stars in Belgium, Yasmine, who hung herself.  I should also mention that Sky Saxon of the Seeds died last Thursday in Texas, a man and a band that had tremendous influence in Los Angeles and on me; even he, however, pales in comparison to Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, one of the greatest musicians of the last century, who died on 18 June.  Other than his brother-in-law, the Ustad Ravi Shankar, I can't think of a person who had a more personal impact on me than Khan and the sublime virtuosity of Indian music.  If the following YouTube window doesn't open, you can find it here.

I'm a bit nonplussed that all this Farrah/Michael Jackson nonsense has distracted from the recent "election" in Iran.  We can shrug our shoulders and watch what appears to be another hand reach for sky and fall short; just as we are seeing it in Honduras.  But it is no laughing matter to see a great, ancient nation such as Persia struggle for a rightful place, not merely as another country, but one of the leaders of this world, a country that with a true democracy would shame the Turks, Arabs and Afghans who border it.  It is truly terrible to see the obvious aspirations of a people so identical to our own, and see them held back.  Many people might see it as an example that highlights our freedom here in the United States and in Europe; I prefer to think that it shows how far we, too, have to go.  But the tools of our victory are at our command, if you can see it.  I don't want to sound like the booster for Wired, but we are just becoming aware, as a species, how much the instant communications of the Internet has changed our society globally.
Internet Thwarts Iran's Attempt to Clamp Down
Though Tehran has largely shut down communication outlets, protesters are getting out snippets of text and stealthily uploaded photos in a guerrilla-style Internet revolt.
Cairo - Footage of burning cars, masked boys and bloodied protesters in Iran is playing across the Middle East, captivating Arab countries where repressive regimes have for years been arresting political bloggers and cyberspace dissidents.
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I feel a screed coming on...but hold on.

I found it not slightly ironic that I came across these articles to share with you over a month ago, long before the events in Iran proved them quite correct:
10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media

Make the most of them if you can, and create a little revolution in your own life, just as I'm trying to do here in this dark room in LA, fan on, door open...
Embracing the Twitter Classroom

Two weeks ago we shut off analogue television broadcasts here in the US...not a big deal, maybe, but I turned off my digital transceiver and waited see my TV go fuzzy that night...and such pure static, the purest static that anybody has seen in sixty years...  But within that static I saw something else...I saw the one real hope of globalization that makes we believe, like other geeks, that the Earth may survive after all.  We like to think in America that we thought everything up, that we invented science and technology and democracy, but really we are just one of the first to throw ourselves into the possibilities of CAPITALISM.  By definition a country with new "capital" has an edge on one, like us, with a Constitution over two centuries old and a crumbling infrastructure.  We all learned in school that Europe and the Far East boomed after World War II, partly because of the need to rebuild their huge economies (and feed the need over here in the US), but also they had access to the latest technology.  Indeed, China's greatest advantage over the rest of the world is that so much is still rural...they can learn from the mistakes of the West and enjoy the most recent advances in technology and energy efficiency.  This is even more true for the rest of Asia and Africa.  In this country we junked millions of TVs to convert to digital; but in Africa, there are so many cell phones now it is actually a status symbol to have a phone with a cord attached to a pole.  Think about it.

Progress is always just a way to accommodate more people in the same space, of course.  Tell that to the people who plunged into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a new Airbus A330, probably because a piece of ice covered the end of a tube the size of a baseball bat.  I bring this up because this terrible air crash was the best proof I've had in a while that there is NO GOD.  Why, you ask?  I noticed that, among all the other quite innocent people who died in this crash, there were 10 salespeople and their spouses, twenty middle class French, who had won this trip to Brasil as a company prize.  That was too much irony for me.  Either your god is so nonresponsive as to let that cosmic joke proceed, and thus a useless god, or else your god is completely, sadistically SICK.  I prefer to believe neither, just that there is no god, and only a fallible European airline manufacturer is to blame.

It was also people, boring hipster artists at that, who destroyed my favorite bookstore in Chinatown, and it was people, not some malevolent spirit, who finally burned down Barker Ranch, the place where Charles Manson and his "family" were caught near Death Valley.  That freaks didn't destroy this California landmark decades ago is something of a demonic miracle; still, it is sad, as it was a nice old ranch and the only decent building to camp at for many miles in every direction.

Anyway, it is no joke that this state is going to hell in a handbasket.  It is so bad that Okies, who migrated here in the 1930s, are finally going home.
McClatchy Washington Bureau
California's hard times driving people back to the 'Dust Bowl'
By Phillip Reese
OKLAHOMA CITY ­ Fleeing the Great Depression and a drought unprecedented in American history, a vast wave of Oklahomans and Texans dubbed "Okies" loaded everything they could onto crowded vehicles during the 1930s and headed west for California. Today, in huge numbers, their grandchildren are moving back.

But the rest of the country is snapping out of it, right?  Thanks to Obama, at least the rest of the world doesn't think of us as greedy trash, right?

Americans, Feeling the Love

By Mary Jordan
LONDON, Jan. 15 As Micha Wyatt plans an inaugural bash at the Chicago Rib Shack in London, she is basking in the new warmth toward Americans overseas.

Slowly, ever so slowly, we're rejoining the forward progress of the world...right?
Historic Signing of Cluster Munitions Treaty
Armaments: In Oslo this morning, a hundred countries - including Switzerland - affixed their signature to a Convention that prohibits cluster munitions. A major landmark for humanitarian law.
This was the result of an extraordinary mobilization of state and non-state actors. In Oslo's City Hall this morning, at 10 o'clock on the dot, over 100 countries signed the Cluster Munitions Convention. Notably absent were producers, such as the United States, Russia, China, Pakistan and even Israel.
Click here to read more on our site
Banning Cluster Bombs: Speedy Ratification of the Treaty
You can access it at the following URL:

Yeah, don't bet on it:
Global weapons spending hits record levels
Richard Norton-Taylor
To see this story with its related links on the site, go to
Worldwide spending on weapons has reached record levels amounting to well over $1tn last year, a leading research organisation reported today.  Global military expenditure has risen by 45% over the past decade to $1.46tn, according to the latest annual Yearbook on Armaments, Disarmament, and International Security published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).  Though the US accounts for more than half the total increase, China and Russia nearly tripled their military expenditure over the decade, with China now second only to the US in the military expenditure league table.  "China had both the largest absolute and the largest relative increase," says the Sipri report. The increase "has roughly paralleled its economic growth and is also linked to its major power aspirations," it adds.  Other regional powers, including India, Brazil and Algeria, also substantially increased their spending on arms, the report says.

We'll just find something better to kill with.
Will robot killers be allowed to fire on their own?

And we, natch, are the driving force...thanks, 2nd Amendment!
United States Re-emerges as Leading Arms Supplier to the Developing World
On Oct. 23, 2008, the Congressional Research Service released the most recent version of its annual arms transfer report, "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2000-2007." According to the report, U.S. arms agreements to both developed and developing countries increased from 2006 levels, re-establishing the U.S.
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Not that nobody noticed...

U.S. Policies Criticized by U.N. Rights Watchdog

By Colum Lynch
UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- The United Nations' top human rights advocate, Navanethem Pillay, on Wednesday appealed to the Obama administration to release Guantanamo Bay inmates or try them in a court of law, and said officials who authorized the use of "torture" must be held accountable.

Secret UN-NATO Cooperation Declaration
You can access it at the following URL:

The next President (or maybe this one) could bring the house of cards DOWN.
Article at
OpEdNews » The 45th President
Article at
OpEdNews » Land of the Weak and Home of the Wussy

Sure, there are signs of progress...and they're real, let's not forget that.

U.S. to Return Ambassador to Syria After 4-Year Absence

By Scott Wilson
President Obama has decided to return a U.S. ambassador to Syria after an absence of more than four years, marking a significant step toward engaging an influential Arab nation long at odds with the United States.

But there are still plenty of disasters waiting to ambush us.

Sudan Ousts Aid Groups After Court Pursues President

By Stephanie McCrummen and Colum Lynch
NAIROBI, March 4 -- Reacting swiftly to the International Criminal Court's decision to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the government of Sudan on Wednesday expelled at least 10 foreign aid groups that provide food, water, medical care and other assistance to ...
"Expulsion of aid workers drives Darfur to brink of catastrophe"
Nearly two months after Sudan kicked out 13 foreign relief agencies, remaining workers are trying to stave off a humanitarian disaster
< >
The Hypocrisy in the Arab and Muslim World Regarding the Darfur Conflict
You can access it at the following URL:
Indian warship destroys suspected pirate ship off Somalia
India says the military vessel opened fire after coming under attack and that some of the pirates escaped on high-speed rafts as their boat sank.
By Borzou Daragahi
Reporting from Beirut - An Indian warship patrolling the treacherous waters off the Horn of Africa destroyed a suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, at least the second time in a week that India's armed forces have unleashed military force to combat piracy amid a surge in maritime lawlessness.
The complete article can be viewed at:,0,4294151.story

But 70 years of continuous war are starting to erode the basic nature of our economy, to say nothing of our ideals.
America's Wars of Self-Destruction
War is a poison. It is a poison that nations and groups must at times ingest to ensure their survival. But, like any poison, it can kill you just as surely as the disease it is meant to eradicate. The poison of war courses unchecked through the body politic of the United States. We believe that because we have the capacity to wage war we have the right to wage war.
Click here to read more on our site

Now that the war against Iraq is coming to an end ( years later?) and we enter a relative lull while only some tens of thousands (instead of hundreds of thousands) of Americans are fighting against Afghanistan...the harvest is ready for the reaper.  Those of you, like me, who remember the damaged men of the 1970s and the early 1980s, stuck on the streets, have an inkling of what's coming.
Two Wars, 400,000 VA Patients
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) bring the horrors of the battlefield home. Twenty-six percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who seek care at the VA have PTSD. (Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
Click here to read more on our site
Crisis at the VA as Benefits Claims Backlog Nearly Tops One Million
Marine Corps veteran Aaron Hudson waits to receive help with his disability claim. A severe VA backlog in processing such claims persists. (Photo: Rex Larsen / The Grand Rapids Press)
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Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Facing PTSD Join the Homeless
Ethan Kreutzer joined the Army at the age of 17 and fought with the 19th Airborne in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. When he retuned home, he had no money, no education and no civilian job experience. He soon became homeless. He slept in an alley off Haight Street, behind two trash cans.  June Moss drove from Kuwait to Iraq as an Army engineer in a truck convoy. When she returned to the United States, she lost her home, and drove her two young children from hotel to hotel across Northern California.
Click here to read more on our site

If you think they have support from the VA, consider this:
Panel: Gulf War Illness Confirmed
A federal health panel released conclusions Monday that evidence strongly and consistently indicates hundreds of thousands of US troops in the first Gulf War contracted long-term illnesses from use of pills, given by their own military to protect them from effects of chemical weaponized nerve agents, and from their military's pesticide use during deployment.
Click here to read more on our site

Gee, that only took 18 years.

Well, maybe there's hope in the leadership...
McClatchy Washington Bureau
VA nominee Shinseki vows to clean up agency
By Chris Adams
WASHINGTON ­ The retired general selected to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs pledged Wednesday to modernize and overhaul the veterans' disability and health-care system, which is straining to serve soldiers back from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as those who served in previous wars.  Before a friendly audience at the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, retired Gen. Eric Shinseki told lawmakers that he'd transform the department by making it more efficient and better able to serve veterans.  His confirmation is expected to proceed without problems. Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka, a Democrat from Hawaii, hopes to have the nomination to the full Senate floor for a vote after President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in Tuesday.

But unfortunately, these Feds speak with the same forked tongue as the last bunch.
Obama will end 'don't ask' policy, aide says
The original article can be found on here:
Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle Staff Writer -- President Obama will end the 15-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy that has prevented homosexual and bisexual men and women from serving openly within the U.S. military, a spokesman for the
president-elect said.  Obama said during the campaign that he opposed the policy, but since his
election in November he has made statements that have been interpreted as
Obama Partially Rescinds Promise to "End the War"
Washington - On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to "end the war" in Iraq.  But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making it clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.
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And as it has been for thousands of years, there is no shortage of people with nothing better to do than kill.
US Soldiers Re-enlisting Because of Poor Economy
Fort Riley, Kansas - Sgt. Ryan Nyhus spent 14 months patrolling the deadly streets of Baghdad, where five members of his platoon were shot and one died. As bad as that was, he would rather go back there than take his chances in this brutal job market.  Nyhus re-enlisted last Wednesday, and in so doing joined the growing ranks of those choosing to stay in the U.S. military because of the bleak economy.
Click here to read more on our site

Because if you refuse, the people at the top will make you wish you'd gone...and died:
War Resisters Held in Legal Limbo
At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, AWOL soldiers find themselves detained for months under difficult conditions in an extended legal limbo they cannot escape.  Dustin Stevens is one of about 50 soldiers being held at Fort Bragg awaiting likely AWOL and desertion charges that seem like they will never arrive, he says.
Click here to read more on our site

Like it or not, the war is almost over.  There is no going back.  The last of our allies are leaving...
British Forces End Combat Operations in Iraq
British Forces have formally ended combat operations in Iraq today in a move that means they are finally returning home after more than six years. The drawdown of the bulk of the 3,700 UK troops remaining in Iraq will now speed up in the coming days.  Britain formally passed authority for operations in southern Iraq to US forces.
Click here to read more on our site
Twelve Coalition Force Contingents Leaving Iraq
Baghdad - The Tongan marines left with a song, their vowel-rich war choruses echoing in the marble halls of a palace built for Saddam Hussein but now occupied by the U.S. military.  Fifty-five of them had spent the past four months guarding Camp Victory, a base that sits on a plush estate near the Baghdad airport. It was the fourth rotation in Iraq for the marines from the tiny Pacific island nation.
Click here to read more on our site

Our elite troops have business elsewhere...
Marines will come out of Iraq by spring 2010

And our neighbors, the citizen-soldiers, are well-past broken:
States Push to Take Back National Guard
Going on its seventh year, the Iraq war has taken its toll on not only the US military, but also on the states's National Guard units, which were called up when Congress passed the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq. Now a growing state-level movement is working to keep the Guard at home.
Click here to read more on our site

Maybe we will use our troops against the financial wizards who nearly bankrupted the country...
Lehman Brothers sitting on a stockpile of uranium 'yellowcake'
Andrew Clark in New York
To see this story with its related links on the site, go to
The rump of the bankrupt bank Lehman Brothers is sitting on a stockpile of 450,000 lb of uranium "yellowcake" which could be used to power a nuclear reactor or, theoretically, to make a bomb.  Lehman's potentially explosive asset is a hangover from a commodities trading contract undertaken before the Wall Street bank went bust in September. The substance, yellowcake, is a solid form of mined uranium which is yet to be enriched.  Liquidators have been trying to offload the stuff for months. But the price of uranium has been dropping steadily, leaving Lehman's yellowcake languishing in a variety of secure storage facilities, some of which are in Canada.  Bryan Marshal, Lehman's chief executive, who was appointed to salvage value for creditors, told Bloomberg News that the stockpile, which is worth about $18m, would be sold responsibly.  "We plan on gradually selling this material over the next two years," he said. "We are not dumping this on the market and have no fire-sale mentality."  The price of uranium has slumped from $65 per pound to $40.50 over the last six months as pressure on recession-hit commodity investors to liquidate their assets has eased.  Yellowcake can be purified and enriched to fuel nuclear reactors or, notionally, weapons. A lively financial market in uranium trading has developed in recent years.

Or more likely, we'll turn our guns on each other:
Neocon Group Calls for Military Strikes on Media
Posted By Jeremy Scahill On May 21, 2009 (9:00 pm) In Uncategorized
Article taken from Original -
URL to article:

Not surprisingly, the Iraqis are overjoyed to see the likes of us go: - Iraqis take control of Baghdad's Green Zone - U.S.-installed Iraqi ex-PM says Bush "utter failure" 
Iraq Declares Holiday to Mark US Pullback From Cities
Baghdad - The Iraqi government on Tuesday declared a public holiday to mark next week's withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Baghdad and other cities.  American forces already have begun pulling back from outposts inside the cities ahead of a June 30 deadline, the first phase of a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.
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It's a mystery what will happen to the agreements they made with Bush...
In Final Days, Bush Pushes for Iraq's Oil
As the Bush administration rumbles to an end, it is pushing with increasing urgency for a commitment to a long-term US presence in Iraq. Though the military aspect of this "commitment" has garnered substantial publicity, the administration is equally invested in the economic aspect: securing US control over Iraqi oil before Bush leaves office, according to experts in the field.  A leaked version of the US-Iraq status-of-forces agreement (SOFA), supplied and translated for Truthout by American Friends Service Committee Iraq consultant Raed Jarrar, states that the US will indefinitely "continue to protect Iraq's natural resources of gas and oil and protect Iraq's foreign financial and economic assets."
Click here to read more on our site
Iraqi Cabinet Approves Accord Setting US Troop Withdrawal
Baghdad - Iraq's cabinet on Sunday approved a security pact that sets a timetable for the nearly complete withdrawal of American forces within three years, but the agreement faces an uncertain outlook in Iraq's parliament.  The largest Sunni party in Iraq, the Iraqi Islamic Party, wants the agreement to go to a nationwide referendum. Its affiliated parties complain that their efforts to amend the plan to require the release of detainees
Click here to read more on our site
Experts: SOFA Faces Legal Uncertainty
The Bush administration's push to nail down a bilateral agreement governing the future US presence in Iraq faces serious stumbling blocks. Despite the agreement's near-unanimous passage in the Iraqi cabinet, fueled by deepening pressure from the Bush administration, it faces firm opposition from legal scholars and US Congress members, who say it undermines President-elect Barack Obama's powers and illegally bypasses Congress, and from Iraqi parliamentarians, who are not satisfied with its withdrawal provisions.
Click here to read more on our site

I predict one thing:  we will not do any better in Afghanistan.
'Witness for Jesus' in Afghanistan
( )
Who Are the Taliban?
Resurgence of the Taliban near Kabul.
Just three years ago, the central government still controlled the provinces near Kabul. But years of mismanagement, rampant criminality, and mounting civilian casualties have led to a resurgence of the Taliban and other related groups. (Photo: uruknet)
Click here to read more on our site
Taliban shoot dead Afghan politician who championed women's rights
Jon Boone in Kabul
The Guardian
To see this story with its related links on the site, go to
A leading female Afghan politician was shot dead yesterday after leaving a provincial council meeting in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, which her colleagues had begged her not to attend.  Sitara Achakzai was attacked by two gunmen as she arrived at her home in a rickshaw - a vehicle colleagues said she deliberately chose to use to avoid attracting attention.  The Taliban claimed responsibility for the murder. The two gunmen were apparently waiting for Achakzai, a 52-year-old women's rights activist who had lived for many years in Germany when the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan.  Officials said she returned in 2004 to her home in Kandahar, which is also the birthplace and spiritual home of the Taliban.  One of Achakzai's friends, speaking anonymously, said colleagues had begged her not to attend the meeting, which takes place twice a week.  "She knew the danger she was in. Just a couple of days ago she was joking about the fact that she had a 300,000 rupee price on her head," she said. "Like other women she would always travel in a rickshaw rather than a big armoured Humvee because it's less conspicuous, but it also made her easier prey."  Achakzai's life was in danger because she was not only a women's rights activist but also as a local politician. Taliban militants target anyone associated with the government of Afghanistan and last month launched an audacious assault with four suicide bombers on the provincial council building in Kandahar city, killing 17 people.  There have been many other attacks on women in the province, including the assassination in 2006 of Safia Amajan, the head of the province's women's affairs department.  Malalai Kakar, a top policewoman in the city, was killed last September, and schoolgirls have had acid thrown in their faces as punishment for attending school.

Just a few months ago everything was looking up...Iraq evacuated, a new understanding in Afghanistan, a sudden push by Pakistan to reclaim their secular nation, and then a new opening with Iran...
Iran, NATO in First Talks in 30 Years
Brussels - Iran and NATO have held their first talks since the Iranian revolution 30 years ago, officials at the military alliance said Thursday, in a new sign of a thaw in Tehran's ties with the West.  At allied headquarters in Brussels last week, an Iranian diplomat and a senior NATO official had an "informal contact" focused on Iran's neighbour Afghanistan, where the alliance is battling a stiff Taliban-led insurgency.
Click here to read more on our site
Obama promises to move swiftly in adopting new approach to Tehran
Ed Pilkington in New York and Julian Borger
The Guardian
To see this story with its related links on the site, go to
The US president-elect, Barack Obama, said yesterday that he would act swiftly once in power to confront Iran, vowing to take a new approach focused on dialogue but warning Tehran that there were limits beyond which it should not go.
Mohammad Khatami to run in Iran's presidential election
After weeks of rumors, the former president, considered a moderate, made the formal announcement that he will run against incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim
Reporting from Tehran - Iran's former president, Mohammad Khatami, a moderate, announced Sunday that he would run against incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a critical election in June that is shaping up as a referendum on the performance of the current conservative government.
The complete article can be viewed at:,0,6230697.story

How quickly the worm turns....
Challenging Ahmadinejad's "Win"
After Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was proclaimed the winner of a presidential election widely believed to be rigged, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei deemed the results a "divine assessment." However, after 48 hours of intensive protests throughout Iran, Khamenei backtracked, calling for an investigation into election complaints. The probe is to be conducted by the Guardian Council, a 12-member body of clerics and Islamic law experts.
Click here to read more on our site
Hundreds of thousands in Iran protest vote result
The supreme leader orders the hard-line Guardian Council to examine challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi's claims of fraud in the vote reelecting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Seven protesters are killed.
By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim
Reporting from Tehran - Hundreds of thousands of Iranian protesters defied authorities Monday and marched to Tehran's Freedom Square, as the Islamic Republic's supreme leader ordered an investigation into allegations of vote fraud, a move the opposition described as little more than an attempt to dampen anger over the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The complete article can be viewed at:,0,5600560.story
Iran's Women Protest: Shoulder to Shoulder With Men
Note: Iranian authorities have barred journalists for international news organizations from reporting on the streets and ordered them to stay in their offices. This report is based on the accounts of witnesses reached in Iran and official statements carried on Iranian media.  Shoulder to shoulder with men, wearing headscarves, armed with rocks.
Click here to read more on our site

The powers that be in Iran seemed to make one mistake after another, disrupting one of the nascent democracies of Asia, and then made a martyr of a young woman:
Neda Soltan's family 'forced out of home' by Iranian authorities
Parents of young woman shot dead near protests are banned from mourning and funeral is cancelled, neighbours say
A correspondent in Tehran
To see this story with its related links on the site, go to
The Iranian authorities have ordered the family of Neda Agha Soltan out of their Tehran home after shocking images of her death were circulated around the world.  Neighbours said that her family no longer lives in the four-floor apartment building on Meshkini Street, in eastern Tehran, having been forced to move since she was killed. The police did not hand the body back to her family, her funeral was cancelled, she was buried without letting her family know and the government banned mourning ceremonies at mosques, the neighbours said.  "We just know that they [the family] were forced to leave their flat," a neighbour said. The Guardian was unable to contact the family directly to confirm if they had been forced to leave.
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Iranians mourn slain woman as power struggle continues
By a McClatchy special correspondent and Jonathan S. Landay
TEHRAN, Iran ­ Defying an official ban, hundreds of people held a graveside tribute Thursday for the woman who's become a symbol of the Iranian opposition after she was killed while protesting the country's disputed election.  Witnesses said the crowd gathered around 5 p.m. Thursday at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, an hour's drive south of Tehran, for a memorial service for Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old woman who allegedly was shot dead by a member of the pro-government Basij militia during a massive protest in the capital on June 20.  "Her grave was covered with white and red roses," said a young man who was present, but who requested anonymity to avoid government retribution.

Regardless of the rather hopeless conclusion we see now, a great deal has changed under the surface:
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Iran's senior ayatollah slams election, confirming split
By Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay
TEHRAN, Iran ­ Supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his main rival in the disputed presidential election, Mir Hossein Mousavi, massed in competing rallies Tuesday as the country's most senior Islamic cleric threw his weight behind opposition charges that Ahmadinejad's re-election was rigged.  "No one in their right mind can believe" the official results from Friday's contest, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri said of the landslide victory claimed by Ahmadinejad. Montazeri accused the regime of handling Mousavi's charges of fraud and the massive protests of his backers "in the worst way possible."  "A government not respecting people's vote has no religious or political legitimacy," he declared in comments on his official Web site. "I ask the police and army personals (personnel) not to 'sell their religion,' and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before God."
Split deepens among top clerics in Iran
The Guardian Council questions 3 million votes but says they won't change the outcome. Relatives of opposition figure Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani are briefly detained. Western officials say the death toll could be as high as 100.
By Jeffrey Fleishman and Ramin Mostaghim
Reporting from Cairo and Tehran - As the power struggle inside Iran's political class appeared to intensify, with reformist and conservative leaders exchanging sharp statements that blamed one another for last week's deadly street violence, authorities announced irregularities that could affect 3 million votes in 50 cities.
The complete article can be viewed at:,0,2269803.story

In the despair let's find solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Iran, and Iraq, and anywhere that reasonable people try to live.
Tomgram: Dilip Hiro, The Weeks of Living Dangerously

And when you hear the forked tongue...or in this instance, the ultimate case of the pot calling the kettle black...
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Ex-shah's son urges louder protest of Iran rights abuses
By Grace Chung
WASHINGTON ­ The former crown prince of Iran on Monday urged foreign leaders to condemn more forcefully the Iranian regime's crackdown on more than a week of mass protests in his homeland over the alleged rigging of the June 12 presidential election.  While it's "admirable" that they aren't interfering in Iran's internal affairs, world powers can't ignore human rights violations, said Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late former shah.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights "knows no national boundaries," he said in an emotional speech at the National Press Club. "No one will benefit from closing his or her eyes to knives and cables cutting into faces and mouths of our young and old . . . no one but tyrants and their thugs."

Then laugh out loud at evil, and wait for another celebrity to die.  The sun, meanwhile, dips below the horizon and moves south to the Autumnal Equinoxe...

Vive le screed!

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