180 journalists issued an statement re government pressure stopping them from reporting
Laleh Park and Shiroudi Stadium have become the command center to organize anti-riot police and plain clothes
"Frightening reports coming from Tabriz (Mousavi’s hometown); they resemble Saturday’s massacre in Tehran"
England restricts travels to Iran, withdraws embassy families stationed in Tehran
Police Using Gunfire, Tear gas,Electric Bat. Clashes at Enghelab SQ
people:Regime of Coup d'état, abdicate, abdicate!
Maziyar Bahari arrested in Tehran. he was Newsweek reporter
In Enghelab sq. police shooting the air, using tear gas & electric batons
People are gathering near Mellat Park (North Tehran) Near State TV, Trafic Jamm & Lights and Horn
At least 47 killed and 1206 injured from this days!
Kudos and many thanks to Saeed for this difficult and dangerous work.
We in addition to honoring the brave people of the oppressed and under religious despotism country, His Excellency Mr. Mir Hosein Mousavi and the zealous clergy Mr. Mehdi Karoubi also praising the right protests of the people against inattention to the sacred votes of the nation that has shouted the slogan of justice, announce our multilateral support on the divine and national insurrection of the mass of the oppressed people of Iran moreover we point out that the world concern on the gravity of the Human Rights situation in Iran is an usual matter and based on the aware conscience and no body can call it interfering in Iran affairs because Iran government is interfering in the affairs of Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan in an unjustified way by abusing this subject(concern on Human Rights ) with all its equipments.
Today, noble nations have been annoyed for the lack of equality and freedom and the oppression and injustice applied on Iranian nation by the government and are planning to reflect the voice and the groan of millions of the injured people who are tired of this condition.
The followers and devotees of the liberal clergy, Ayatollah Seyed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi who supports the separation of the religion from government
If you are worried by the conduct of the Iranian regime, you have understood the country better than many commentators. What Americans now see is that Iranians are a people with spirit who are not easily broken. For all the claims that Americans are an unsophisticated bunch, they know that a regime and its people are not one and the same. What has happened in recent weeks has confirmed that instinct.
Are those protesting true believers in democracy? We do not know, because they have never been given the chance. What we do know is that they reject the dishonesty of a repressive theocracy. For that reason alone, we should stand with them.
The anxiety that is being felt by pro-Iranian Arab groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and others, is clearly articulated in their overstated defense of Ahmadinejad and their denial of the uprisings seen in Iran. It is only natural for such groups to be overcome by fear as Iran represents the backbone of their existence, and whatever affects the regime in Tehran will undoubtedly affect them twofold.
On the Arab scene, Iran's defenders rushed to desperately defend it in the media, denying what the rest of the world has clearly seen in terms of hundreds of thousands of protestors being led by members of the [Iranian] regime itself [and therefore not influenced by foreign powers]. These Arabs insisted that the images that we are seeing, and the interpretation of what is happening, is nothing more than conspiracies, exaggeration, and lies. However in reality the excuses mentioned above is closer to [describing] their interpretation of what is happening [in Iran]. These Arabs are either in a state of self-denial, refusing to believe what is happening in Iran, or they are aware of the truth but want to paint a different picture for the Arab world, and especially for their own followers, who must be in a state of shock.
Hezbollah supporters - and I am not talking about its leaders or theorists - believed as late as yesterday that Iran was unified, and that the leaders of the Islamic Revolution saw eye to eye. However all of a sudden they began to hear accusations of treason, treachery, and corruption being leveled [from one side at another in Iran], and they witnessed a large-scale rebellion [in Tehran]. ...
The regime has dwindled the internet speed down to a minimum right now. They've disconnected all the phones. All the SMS and text messaging has been disconnected. They've thrown out Western and foreign journalists. They've closed down all Iranian newspapers. They've put filters on all of their opposition websites. They've arrested dozen of activists, human rights and civil activists. They are arresting and beating dozens of people on the streets every day. And, people need to know that if they do not stand by the Iranian people shoulder to shoulder right now, that they themselves will come face to face with this very regime. And if this regime is allowed to have a nuclear weapon it will do the exact same thing with the entire world. This regime does not represent the people of Iran. And, morally the people of the world need to support the people of Iran and not what the regime wants."
This is a huge development. One of the biggest questions I and others have had since the Iranian protests/revolt/revolution began was whether Mousavi would be any different in tangible effect (Hizballah & Hamas support, etc.) than Ahmadinejad and whether Rafsanjani was seeking to sack 'Supreme' Leader Khamenei simply to acquire the powerful position for himself. That question perhaps may have been answered today.
My ears first perked up when word made it through the grapevines over the weekend that Rafsanjani had been meeting with other Ayatollahs and clerics in Qom, and had among them a representative of Iraq's Ayatollah Ali Sistani.
Why? Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in 2007 made two very critical statements: that "I am a servant of all Iraqis, there is no difference between a Sunni, a Shiite or a Kurd or a Christian," and that Islam can exist within a democracy without theological conflict. You will never hear such words slip past the lips of Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei. Ever.
Sistani's presence at the Rafsanjani talks in Qom, Iran, through a representative brings therefore added significance. And the al-Arabiya report above seems to suggest that Rafsanjani is not seeking Sistani's support for superficial reasons. ...
As you surely know by now, today is the day set for the major confrontation between Iran's regime and its people. Gateway Pundit has updates. Michael Ledeen has analysis. The Spirit of Man writes:
Updated @ 9:35 am ET: There seems to be a bad case of news black out from inside of
Iran. I can't access any of my contacts. I have heard confirmed reports of explosion/blast in Khomeini's grave. I'm hearing that the govt has shut down public transit system, possibly to prevent people from commuting to the assembly sites.
In Khosh Street police is attacking people with batons and pepper spray trying to disperse people, shots can be heard around Azadi
They are throwing Teargas constantly people: down with khamene'i
Heavy clashes on azadi street, chants of death to khamene'i,The street is full of rocks and fire!
Voice of shooting in Azadi street...
police using tear gas, water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters in Tehran,They are beating "people" in Enghelab St., not only the protesters!
people are trapped between Behboodi and Enghelaab
people are trapped between Behboodi & Enghelaab. gunshots being fired into the air...
2,000 to 3,000 protesters at Tehran University!
Enghelab street is fulll of people between ghods st. and Enghelab square
So Hard conflict in Azadi ST
Intense clash in Enghelab
Houses in alleys opening doors to injured protestors,hallway is full of beaten people!
Police have closed off Tehran University
Two bomb blasts in Tehran
Many of people arrested
An explosion near the shrine of Khomeini,killing one person and minimum 2 people are injured
metro/subway is closed...
Shooting directly to the people in Azadi ST
Vanak Square reportedly full of civilian-dressed forces
Fars news agency: the blast occurred near the shrine of Iran's revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Amirabad was closed of my plain clothes basij, tear gas was used
50-60 basij bikers were present . the amount of people were 2000 in that area due to blockages of roads
This is a brief letter written by an Iranian woman who is going to attend the anti-regime rally tomorrow:
I'll participate in the rally tomorrow in Tehran. It might be violent. I may be one of those who will die tomorrow. I want to listen to all beautiful tunes that I have heard in my life, again. I want to listen to some cheap Los Angeles made Iranian music. I always wanted to have much narrower eyebrows too. Yeah, I'll check in with my hair-dresser tomorrow before I go to the rally. Oh, there are some excellent scenes in the famous Iranian movie Hamoon I want to see before I leave. And I gotta re-visit my own bookshelf. Iran's poets Shamloo's and Farrokhzad's poems are worth re-reading. I've to see the family photo albums once again.
I'll have to call my friends and say good-bye to them. In this big world, my possession is only two bookshelves. I've already told mom and dad whom to give these books to in case I never come back. There are only two more courses left for me to get my BA degree but to hell with the degree. I'm anxious and excited.
I wrote these scattered words for the future generations so that they know we were not sentimental or uselessly emotional. I'm writing this so they know we did every thing in our power to make this work for them and so that they realize if our forefathers surrendered to the Arab and Mongolian invaders physically, but they didn't give in to their tyranny with their spirits. They resisted it. And I wrote this for tomorrow's children...
People have been trying to reach Azadi Sq in groups of 100-200 but at every crossroad there is heavy riot guard presence. Gun shots can be heard throughout Tehran constantly. Riot guards have used high pressure water canons with boiling water to disperse the crowds. Never before has so much tear gas been used. [video at link]
Tension rose in the Iranian capital Saturday afternoon, June 20, when supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi set fire to the campaign headquarters of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Heavy police forces fired in the air to break up a clash between the two groups.
Earlier, demonstrators making their way to Tehran's Enghelab Square and Tehran University on the eighth day after Iran's disputed presidential election were prevented from forming into a procession by military police, anti-riot police and Basijj militia wielding water cannon, night sticks and tear gas. This was reported by witnesses using e-mail and other means of communication.
Two Iranian news agencies reported that a suicide bomber blew himself up near the tomb of the Islamic Revolution's founder Khomeni, injuring two people. This was not confirmed as independent news organizations are strictly controlled.
The crowds turned out in defiance of warnings of tough action against any attempts to demonstrate from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Friday and later the police. Their numbers could not be independently confirmed but the huge security presence appears to have outnumbered protesters.
According to one of my contacts who was present during today’s protest in Tehran security forces have opened fire on protestors. My contact witnessed the shooting of three (3)protestors. Right now as we speak security forces have attacked protestors in the Amir Abad Area.
There are also Regime helicopters circling the area, they are mostly Sepah helicopters and to a lesser degree police helicopters.
Another eyewitness has seen a young girl shot to death in Jalalzadeh street.
People are also shouting "death to dictator" "Seyed Ali Pinochet, Iran Chili Nemishe" meaning Ali khameni Pinochet, Iran won't be another Chili"
TEHRAN — The Iranian police commander, in green uniform, walked up Komak Hospital Alley with arms raised and his small unit at his side. “I swear to God,” he shouted at the protesters facing him, “I have children, I have a wife, I don’t want to beat people. Please go home.”
The President’s actions suggest that he has finally torn up the draft agreements he had hoped to conclude with the Iranian regime simply because there is no one any longer to send them to. ...
TSOM has an appeal, in Farsi, to the Iranian regular army from a veteran:
به عنوان افسر وظیفه سابق ارتش و کسی که از خانواده ارتشی هستم از کسانی که این مطلب رو در داخل سازمان ارتش مردمی ایران مطالعه میکنند تقاضای عاجزانه میکنم که برادران و خواهران خود در خیابانهای تهران و شهرستانها را در مقابل بسیج نامردمی مسلح تنها نگذارید. از همه افسران و درجه داران و سربازان عزیز ایران بعنوان یک هموطن عاجزانه در خواست میکنم پناه مردم ایران عزیز باشید. مردم ایران همگی برای ارتش جان برکف ایران احترام و ارزش فوق العاده ای قائل بوده و هستند. اجازه ندهید مردم کشته و زخمی شوند. از شما عاجزانه تقاضا دارم به فکر مردم عزیز باشید. مردم بیگناه ایران به ارتش بعنوان پناهگاه خود مینگرند. لطفا مردم رو در این ساعت دشوار تنها و بی دفاع نگذارید. مردم همیشه و هر لحظه به سازمان مقدس ارتش اعتماد داشته و خواهند داشت. بعنوان یک ایرانی از همگی شما میخواهم به یاری مردم بیگناه ایران بشتابید. مطمئن باشید مردم ایران هیچگاه جانفشانی ارتش در طول جنگ تحمیلی و سالهای بعد از انرا فراموش نکرده و نمیکنند. مردم ایران و خانواده های ارتشی همگی شاهد تبعیض علیه ارتش و پرسنل معزز ان بوده اند. اجازه ندهید جماعتی بیگانه مردم ایران را در خیابانها قتل عام کنند. از دوستانی که در ایران این مطلب رو ملاحظه میکنند خواهشمندم از برادران ارتشی خود کمک و راهنمایی بخواهند
What you are watching is a vast classroom in action. This is what used to be called a “radicalizing experience”. All the people you see on the video, for however long they live, will remember where they were this day. Whatever happens outwardly the old Iranian regime can never put things back together in quite the same way again because the interior landscape of the country has changed. It has been said that “what is essential is invisible to the eye.” This date has marked itself; and the calendar has singled out the day as a landmark not of a passage to a place, but of a transition between one idea and another. They are on the other side.
A week ago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of the so-called elections in Iran. Supporters of his rival - and opponents of the regime - staged massive protests. Due to personal obligations and the pace of events, I haven't been keeping up with the Iran situation here, but I'm going to try to catch up a little now.
Pro-Ahmadinejad news websites are already announcing Ahmadinejad as the outright winner. Rajanews says 69% have voted for Ahamdienjad and 28% for Moussavi. Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA, has also announced Ahmadienjad as the certain winner.
The picture shows, club wielding pro-Ahmadinejad supporters are already in the streets intimidating the people. [photo at link]
Thousands of protesters clashed with police after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won an election which his reformist challenger called a “dangerous charade“.
The protests were a rare direct challenge to Iranian authorities. The result and its violent aftermath raised fresh questions about the direction of Iranian policies at a time when U.S. President Barack Obama wants to improve relations with Iran.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranians to respect Ahmadinejad’s victory, which upset expectations that reformist candidate Mirhossein Mousavi might win the race.
To start with, the BBC, long considered a shill for the regime by most Iranian dissidents, estimates between one and two million Tehranis demonstrated against the regime on Monday. That’s a big number. So we can say that, at least for the moment, there is a revolutionary mass in the streets of Tehran. There are similar reports from places like Tabriz and Isfahan, so it’s nationwide.
For its part, the regime ordered its (Basij and imported Hezbollah) thugs to open fire on the demonstrators. The Guardian, whose reporting from Iran has always been very good (three correspondents expelled in the last ten years, they tell me), thinks that a dozen or so were killed on Monday. And the reports of brutal assaults against student dormitories in several cities are horrifying, even by the mullahs’ low standards.
Western governments have expressed dismay at the violence, and Obama, in his eternally narcissistic way, said that he was deeply disturbed by it ...
Before I go on, I want to make a few observations about Mousavi. As some of the more cynical commenters on my Facebook page have correctly observed, Mousavi is not, himself, what we would call a "good guy". That is to say, he is not running on a "freedom, democracy, and secularism" platform and he is no less a part of the establishment than Ahmadinejad. He is simply a rival thug. So, what are we to make of the demonstrations?
I think that many pundits insist on thinking about the Iran-that-was-five-days-ago, instead of the bubbling cauldron that it is today. The same mistake is repeated when people say that Mousavi, after all, is “one of them,” a member of the founding generation of the Islamic Republic, and so you can’t expect real change from him. The president made that mistake when he said that he didn’t expect any real difference in Iran’s behavior, no matter how this drama plays out.
I think that is wrong; at this point, Mousavi either brings down the Islamic Republic or he hangs. If he wins, and the Islamic Republic comes down, we may well see the whole world change, from an end of the theocratic fascist system, to a cutoff of money, arms, technology, training camps and intelligence to the world’s leading terrorist organizations, and yes, even to a termination of the nuclear weapons program.
I think that, whatever or whoever Mir Hossein Mousavi was five days ago, he is now the leader of a mass movement that demands the creation of a free Iran that will rejoin the Western world. And yes, the wheel could turn again, this revolution could one day be betrayed, all kinds of surprises no doubt await the Iranian people. Yes, but. But today, there is a dramatic chance of a very good thing happening in Iran, and thus in the Middle East, and therefore in the whole world.
And Michael Totten at Commentary, June 18:
I do not trust Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. He is part of the Khomeinist establishment, although a crudely sidelined one at the moment. His record as former prime minister isn’t much more attractive than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s record as president.
The democracy movement is rallying around him, but the activists should be careful. Ruhollah Khomeini managed to convince Iranian liberals and leftists to forge an alliance with him to topple the Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979, but he brutally smashed them once the revolution swept the old regime out of power. Alliances between liberals and Islamists is extraordinarily dangerous – for liberals.
At the same time, though, it’s possible that Mousavi has changed. Michael Ledeen seems to think so. “He is not a revolutionary leader,” he wrote, “he is a leader who has been made into a revolutionary by a movement that grew up around him…Whatever plans Mousavi had for a gradual transformation of the Islamic Republic, they have been overtaken by events.” ...
Please go to the link for the rest, including Totten's commentary on an article by Robert F. Worth in the New York Times.
Massive crowds, mourning the martyrs of the protests so far, sing the true national anthem of Iran ["Ey Iran"] and not the official Islamic Republic one [video]...
Protests in Rasht. Young girl is caught badly beaten up, God knows what happened to her afterwards at the hands of those savages. [video]
5:34 am ET: Now calling protesters 'terrorists'? Khamenei wants an END TO STREET RALLIES & threatened the protesters with more consequences.
5:37 am: Khamenei said budging under pressure is dictatorship. He is again threatening the heads of the opposition. He says people should try the 'kinder' way and saying if people go another way, then I'll be more blunt. 5:41 am: He's now taking a jab at the US and EU governments. I think he's trying to link the protests to the foreign governments now.
5:50 am et: Khamenei is saying Iran is no Georgia and there'll be no velvet revolution in this country. Now giving food to the stupid leftists in the western world... saying Iraq war is against human rights. Now criticizing Hillary Clinton and her husband for Waco incident. Khamenei says the Iranian govt is the defender of 'human rights' around the world. 5:51 am ET: He is now basically saying that he is willing to give his life to defend the revolution & Islamic state.
My gut feelings: I predict Tiananmen Square in Iran
One of the fascinating things about a spate of recent articles is that they point to how non-state armed actors acquire information and new, ever-more sophisticated techniques. Two examples are the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the more sophisticated of the Somali pirates.
This shows that these groups talk and learn from other groups, have networks to transfer technologies and "lessons learned" and greatly accelerate the speed of their learning curves. Unconstrained by laws, acquisition regulations and budgetary considerations, these groups can rapidly acquire whatever they can afford. Thanks to the fact that dozens of shipping companies have paid tens of millions of dollars to the different Somali clans and sub-clans that carry out the piracy, they are cash flush.
The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) says the pirates, until recently, had attacked during the day and were relatively unsophisticated in their tactics. Now, however, "pirates have attacked vessels at night and have conducted attacks far off the eastern coast of Somalia," the CMF said. Using "mother ships" as staging platforms and night vision technology, they are able to operate much further from the Somali coast than before.
Read the rest at the link.
Irshad Manji: "There is no outsider." Here's lesbian Muslim reformer Irshad Manji plugging a book by reformist Muslims titled "Critical Thinkers for Islamic Reform":
Reform-minded Muslims invite you to read our message to fellow Muslims through a brand new book that challenges the complacency, passivity and denial of the so-called moderates in our faith.
Hot off the presses is Critical Thinkers for Islamic Reform, a collection of essays to which I’ve contributed and which you can buy on amazon.com. It’s the product of a recent conference naughtily named, “A Celebration of Heresy.” ...
Read the rest at the link, and buy the book here or here.
Most observers and analysts were surprised by the March 14 victory, but I could never figure out where Hezbollah’s additional support was supposedly coming from. Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah strapped a suicide bomb vest around his own country when he picked a fight with Israel in 2006. Mounting an armed assault against the capital, as he did last May, was no way to win the hearts and minds of new voters. Until recently, I was certain Hezbollah and its allies had no chance of winning, but they grew so sure of their own propaganda that they managed to persuade even their enemies that they might come out on top. The March 14 side was rattled, and some of their analysts convinced even me that Hezbollah might pull it off. But Hezbollah lost, and Nasrallah conceded.
Syrian dictator Bashar Assad also lost big when his most powerful proxy in Lebanon was rejected by the majority. “So much for Bashar’s ‘imaginary majority,’” wrote Lebanese political analyst Tony Badran ...
Read the rest to find out what Walid Jumblatt told Michael Totten. Here's Tony Badran:
The victory is impressive in that, despite being written off by most journalists and many analysts, the incumbent "March 14 coalition," renewed its majority after four years on the receiving end of a brutal campaign of intimidation and violence at the hands of Hezbollah and its allies, and systematic assassinations believed to be the work of their regional backers.
The result is not only a defeat for Hezbollah's coalition, but also a failure for Syria, which in the last four years had done everything in its power to topple the March 14 majority, and Iran, whose president had declared that a Hezbollah victory would "open new fronts that strengthen the resistance."
Some say regime's days numbered: Iran "weird and unstable". Canada-based Winston at The Spirit of Man:
I've talked to bunch of people from inside of Iran in the past few days and most tell me the situation in Iran is very weird and unstable. I warned my family and friends to stay away from polls and avoid large crowds due to security reasons. You never know who is going to get hurt one of these days. Me thinks what you're seeing in Iran are all the signs of a dying regime. Every thing I hear sounds bad. From violent crowds to Basijis threatening regular people. Then there'll be this summer when Israelis will have to decide how to deal with the nuclear armed Iran. This is gonna be one crazy year.
Azarmehr detects a note of desperation in the latest pronouncements from the regime cheerleaders at CASMII:
But some on the list did not just ignore what was happening to their countrymen, they even went out of their way to promote the regime. The likes of Elaheh Rostami, Ziba Mir Hosseini and Haleh Afshar even made outrageous cliams that Iranian women were better off now than before the revolution. The likes of Abbas Edalat, Mohammad Kamali and bourgeoise Communists like Ali Fathollah-Nejad, went out of their way to suppress any news of human rights abuses which would portray a negative image of the Islamic Republic in the world.
Suddenly these 'academics' have sensed the desire for change amongst the Iranians. Suddenly the 'eruptions of pent-up rage' of our people against the Islamic Republic's 'empire of lies' has rang their alarm bells and so they have decided to produce a statement asking for the very things they have always refused to highlight in the past when they were asked to do so.
Another Iranada blogger, Toronto's Sayeh Hassan at Shiro-Khorshid Forever, warns that "Canada is not the place to advertise for the Islamic Regime!"
It has come to my attention that certain pro-Islamic Regime elements in Toronto are supporting the sham Presidential [S]election in Iran. The Iranian Student Union of U of T is providing transportation to and from Ottawa for any students who might want to vote in this [S]election.
Perhaps these “students” need a reminder that Canada is a democratic country which has taken a very strong stand against the crimes committed by the Islamic Regime of Iran. Furthermore many of us freedom loving Iranians have fled from the Islamic Regime in fear of our lives, and come to Canada to live in a free and democratic society, away from the threats of the Islamic Regime.
Chastity Bono, daughter of legedary singing duo Sonny and Cher, is no longer Chastity.
TMZ reports that Bono, an author and musician, is changing her gender from female to male -- and, as a transgender male, is now Chaz.
The process began shortly after Bono's 40th birthday.
"Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity," Bono's publicist, Howard Bragman, told TMZ.
Alison Bechdel, the immensely talented cartoonist whose "Dykes to Watch Out For" has featured transwomen, transmen, and even (gasp) a neoconservative lesbian, says simply, "Go Chaz!"
Hezbollah terrorists busted in Azerbaijan.OSINT reports that one of their targets was the Gabala radar station: 'The facility was built by the Soviets and is now leased back from Azerbaijan by Russia. There has been talk of US/Russian cooperation in operating the site for the purpose of monitoring Iranian actions, much to the chagrin of the mullahs.'
Commentary. On Chastity/Chaz Bono's transition, the comments at TMZ are about what we might expect, and for the most part, so are the comments at GayPatriot.
Following the California State Supreme Court's decision two weeks ago to let Proposition 8 stand, Equality California is taking the issue of marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples back to the ballot box, and reinstate the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Win Marriage Back: Make it Real! is a coordinated, grassroots and media effort to build support for the freedom to marry at the local level and over the airwaves. Together, we will introduce ourselves to the people of California, winning their hearts and minds and ensuring that we win marriage back once and for all.
EQCA's goal is to reach out to voters in areas like Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento, and the Inland Empire who may be undecided about the issue, or who may be willing to reconsider their past support of Prop 8. You can donate to this campaign here. This follows a recent campaign in Central California called Meet in the Middle.
Remarks. I had the opportunity to do some canvassing with Equality California here in downtown San Francisco. It was a challenging environment because most people were in a hurry and couldn't stop, but there was a strong sense of support from the people we talked to. Of course, this is San Francisco!
A key aspect of this campaign is that it will aim to get marriage equality passed through the legislative process, as opposed to a court decision. One of the few negative comments I got was from a man who said, "The people have spoken!" And I wonder if some of the original support for Prop 8 might have come from people who weren't necessarily hard-core opponents of gay marriage, but rather small-government conservatives who saw the original State Supreme Court decision as a case of unelected courts overstepping their authority.
The Volokh Conspiracy has a post by Ilya Somin (dated May 25, 2009) addressing the question of whether judicial decisions supporting same-sex marriage are a net liability for marriage equality.
Legal scholars such as Jeffrey Rosen and Gerald Rosenberg have argued that judicial decisions striking down state bans on gay marriage have ultimately set back the cause of gay equality by stimulating an anti-gay marriage political backlash. Back in November, I wrote a post criticizing this view, noting that judicial decisions have led to much faster adoption of gay marriage than would have occurred otherwise. Since November, three more states - Iowa, Maine, and Vermont, have legalized gay marriage and New Hampshire is likely to do so soon, despite some delays. Three of those four states (all but Iowa) have adopted gay marriage through the legislative process (or almost done so, in the case of NH), which suggests that the power of the anti-gay marriage backlash is waning.
These developments provide additional support for my argument that judicial review has been a net plus for the gay marriage movement. It is unlikely that either these four states or the two that adopted gay marriage earlier would have done so as quickly were it not for the momentum generated by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's 2003 Goodridge decision mandating gay marriage equality in that state. Until that point, gay marriage seemed a very distant prospect in virtually every state, even the more liberal ones. ...
Go to the post for links, and some great discussion in comments. It's important to note that some gay activists prefer the legislative approach. Here's Jonathan Rauch writing back in 1999:
I should say that I firmly favor gay marriage, both on humanitarian grounds and because I think it is good social policy. If gay people exist — that is, if we are not just neurotic heterosexuals who need to get our act together — then surely we ought to be encouraged to marry and settle down. It has never been clear to me why discouraging stable gay relationships in favor of sex in parks and porn shops is good for the American family, or anyone else.
Nonetheless, gay marriage is a deeply polarizing issue, to put the case mildly. To impose it judicially on a predominantly hostile country would beg for a backlash — against gays, against the courts, against government broadly.
Same-sex marriage can, I think, shed light on how to understand the tensions in today’s conservatism. The way the country is dealing with same-sex marriage teaches something about the sense in which America is more truly and coherently conservative than are the current leaders of its conservative movement.
The coming debate over the fate of Proposition 8 will provide Californians many opportunities to give this issue the thoughtful discussion it deserves. I am confident that soon - very soon - lesbian and gay Californians will enjoy full equality of marriage rights, won through the assent of the people of California.
Obama Cairo speech reactions.Irshad Manji: 'I’m not suggesting that Obama should have preached rationality over religiosity in Cairo. I do, however, believe that he should have quoted one more verse from the Quran — “God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (13:11).' Ocean Guy: 'I can’t decide if BHO’s misstatements of history are ignorant or malicious… or both. Especially regarding the Middle East his perception is astoundingly inaccurate, seemingly having bought the chimeric Arab narrative completely.' Tom the Redhunter loses patience by the second paragraph: ' I've read more than a little world history, and I don't recall "centuries of co-existence and cooperation" between the Islam and the West. I'm not even sure it adds up to a few decades. More fundamentally, we're off into victimology. Obama seems to be saying that the problems in the Muslim world are the fault of the West. ...' Tom does give Obama credit, though, for the "great stuff" about America's diversity and religious freedom. Go read the rest of Tom's post for some excellent analysis and a great roundup of other commentary on the Obama speech.
After Ahmadinejad dropped names of Rafsanjani and his sons as the corrupt elite who have benefited from the former Islamic Republic presidents, during the debate with Moussavi, everyone expected a serious backlash from Rafsanjani.
Yet on the surface it looks like both are smiling as the two pass a letter to each other through Ayatollah Jannati above and having a friendly chat with each other below. [photo]
In a previous post, Azarmehr notes that Ahmadinejad won the debate "hands down".
Al Qaeda has transferred seven operatives from the Iraq theater to target senior Pakistani leaders. The targets of the planned attacks are President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, General Kiyani, and other senior military officers, cabinet ministers, and provincial leaders.
The seven operatives, who were behind deadly attacks in Iraq, reportedly met in Afghanistan's eastern province of Paktia on May 3 to plan the operations, according to a report in the Daily Times. The al Qaeda operatives are assigned to cooperate with the Pakistani Taliban, led by Baitullah Mehsud.
The operatives were identified as Amanullah Afghani, Shahidullah Khan, Maulvi Khalid Shah, Rehmatullah Khan, Abdul Latif Afghani, Muhammad Saeed Bin Talha, Muhammad Shaheen Kawrai, and Ahmed Ali Tanwancy.
The Pakistani government is targeting the leadership of the pro-Taliban group behind the failed peace agreement in Northwestern Pakistan. Unconfirmed reports indicate Sufi Mohammed and five other senior leaders of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammed [TNSM or the Movement for the Enforcement of Mohammed's Law] have been detained in Dir.
'... the fundamental question about Obama’s address is whether it worked as public diplomacy. On balance, will it make the intellectual and political isolation of Islamic extremists more or less likely? Because the speech makes it more likely, it must be judged a success.'
The Israeli government praised U.S. President Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world Thursday, saying it shared his hopes for Middle East peace, but stressed that Israel's security interests remained paramount.
"We share President Obama's hope that the American effort heralds the opening of a new era that will bring an end to the conflict and to general Arab recognition of Israel as the nation of the Jewish people that lives in security and peace in the Middle East," an official statement said after Obama's address in Cairo.
'President Obama made an earnest effort — as is his way in matters of discord — to split the difference with the Islamic world. His speech essentially amounted to: “We did that, you did this, tit-for-tat, now we’re even, and can’t we all just get along?” He should be congratulated for expressing a desire for peace and for gently reminding the Muslim world of the way to reform, even if he did so while inflating Western sins.
But the problem with such moral equivalence is that it equates things that are, well, not equal — and therefore ends up not being moral at all.'
'This was precisely the moment to let Obama be Obama. For instance: Yes, he is a hypocrite for downplaying his Muslim connections when running for office and then touting them once in office. But such hypocrisy is a small price to pay. If Nixon was a statesman for laying aside his anti-Communism to engage China, then surely Obama can brag about his Muslim father. Obama has a cult of personality in the Muslim street. If he can exploit it for America’s and the world’s benefit, he should.'
I wish I could say that I picked up on this myself, but I must give full credit to New Zealand blogger Darren who writes at The Fairfacts Media Show and the No Minister blog and who emailed me earlier today.
Why did President Obama completely ignore the persecution and pogroms of gays where Islamic law is the rule of the land? It is happening in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and even Egypt. (The list goes on and on actually….)
Gays living under strict Islamic law (whether in a nation or a region) are subject to death. Women(as a group) actually have better lives in the Muslim faith than do gays and lesbians. Although gay men seem to be particular targets of the horrific state/mosque-sanctioned atrocities.
US president Barack Obama stressed the need for mutual respect and tolerance among the world's faiths, denigrated al Qaeda and extremism, said the US "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," will respect all elected peaceful governments provided they respect their peoples, and called for universal human and women's rights to be upheld. His much awaited speech to more than a billion Muslims which quoted extensively from the Koran, but also the Bible and the Talmud, won cheers from the selected 3,000 strong audience in Cairo University's Great Hall Thursday, June 4.
Along with a declaration that US bonds with Israel are unbreakable, President Obama demanded that Israel and the Palestinians uphold their obligations to the roadmap. "America will align its policies with those who seek peace – Israelis, Palestinians or Arabs," he declared and promised to personally pursue the goal of peace and security for breaking the Israel-Palestinian stalemate. Palestinians must be allowed to live a normal life in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, he said, but they must abandon violence.
Rockets on sleeping children or bombs killing old people on a bus are intolerable, but the US does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements and Israel must recognize the Palestinian right to the dignity of a state of their own but so must the Arab world recognize Israel.
According to my esteemed colleague Steven Emerson, (and as I noted yesterday), Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammed has been under investigation in an effort to understand his “possible contacts with extremists overseas.” Emerson believes that Muhammed probably attended “the (Al-Da’awah Center) madrassa in Dammaj, a tribal area of Yemen, run by a Salafi cleric named Yahya Hajuri.” Unbelievably, Hajuri is the designated heir to one Muqbil ibn Hadi, who once launched an attack on Mecca and a war against Christians in Indonesia.
Yemen: What do I recall about Yemen? Osama bin Laden’s father is from Yemen, from a place called Hadramut which, I am told, means “Death has come.”
More important, according to Emerson, Abdulhakim M. Muhammed “was urged by members of the local Muslim community, (in the United States), to travel to Yemen, for more education. The (country) is considered a hotbed for terrorists, and Muhammad may have been exposed to more radical ideas there.” ...
Update: He sought to go to Dammaj to study with Hajoree. (The six Americans arrested in 2008 were coming from Saada to Sanaa when they were arrested but were supposed to go to Maber). He was arrested in Yemen for using a Somali passport.
Its a good idea to keep an eye on anyone who changes their name from Carlos to Mujahid.
The article would be more accurate if it said, “The suspect is a subscriber to the radical jihaddist ideology which advocates the murder of non-believers, converts and those who transgress their interpretation of Shaira law.”
Obama has aroused more curiosity in the Middle East than any previous US leader, partly because of his Arabic-Islamic first and middle names. The choice of the date for Obama's address indicates his attention to detail. It coincides with the anniversary of the start of the first battle between Islam, under Prophet Muhammad, and Christendom in the shape of a Byzantine expeditionary force in AD629. The “address to Islam” also marks the 30th anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini's demise and the appointment of Ali Khamenei as the new “Supreme Guide of the Islamic ummah”. More importantly, it also coincides with the rebuilding of the Ka'abah, the stone at the heart of Mecca, which had been destroyed in a Muslim civil war.
Rich in symbolism, Obama's “address to Islam” is also full of political implications. Obama is the first major Western leader, after Bonaparte, to address Islam as a single bloc, thus adopting the traditional Islamic narrative of dividing the world according to religious beliefs. This ignores the rich and conflict-ridden diversity of the 57 Muslim-majority nations and fosters the illusion, peddled by people such as Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Islam is one and indivisible and should, one day, unite under a caliphate.
By adopting the key element of the Islamist narrative, that is to say the division of humanity into religious blocs, Mr Obama also intends to send a signal to the Middle East's nascent democratic forces that Washington is abandoning with a vengeance George W. Bush's “freedom agenda”.
This Thursday, President Obama will deliver a highly anticipated speech to Muslims — and he’ll be doing it from Cairo.
While many gush and fawn over Washington’s new approach to diplomacy, not everyone’s convinced. Consider this email from Robert, a friend of mine who happens to be an ardent Democrat:
“It is hugely disappointing that [President Obama] is going to Egypt to talk about his outreach to the Muslim world. Who is he going to be addressing as his local audience — Hosni Mubarak? The Muslim Brotherhood?
I wonder if dissidents and reformers who are behind bars will even be able to see or hear the speech (not likely). Such audacious hope our President will be inspiring that day.
And to follow it with a trip to Normandy to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landing, which was the beginning of the end for Hitler and Nazi fascism — liberating continental Europe to allow for democracy. The mind reels.”
Obama’s got other speech problems. Read this email, recently sent to me by Harudin in Malaysia:
“Are you sure you are a faithful Muslim??? Why you are too fear to this religion??? Are you working with white house???”
Translation: Even in the age of Obama, the White House represents a den of oppression to many a Muslim. This, despite the president’s emphasis in his January 20 inaugural address that America will resume its perch as a champion of human rights everywhere ...
Got a call from a friend in Iran who was was very shocked after watching a segment on Persian language service of BBC about some Iranian expats in Canada who support Ahmadinejad's re-election. He was curious to know who these morons are. I had nothing to tell him but all I said was that the Iranian regime in partnership with anti-freedom leftist Iranians in BBC has managed to buy agents of influence around the globe. I told him people he had seen on Islamic regime-friendly BBC Persian TV program are the direct beneficiaries of the Iranian revolutionary regime and the guys in BBC are showcasing these agents of influence for people like him inside of the country so he'd never ever think the regime would go away ...