Aletho News


It’s Pretty Easy Being Green in Iran

By Nima Shirazi | WideAsleepInAmerica | February 12th, 2011

Claims that the Iranian government attempted to ban the color green (which had been appropriated by those opposed to the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) have yet to disappear completely from the public discourse. Just this week, a comment posted on Cyrus Safdari’s excellent Iran Affairs blog asked,

“If the Green Movement was not a real movement that posed a fundamental threat to this regime then why did they BAN THE COLOR GREEN FROM THE FLAG? The continuing concern about the Green Movement by the regime PROVES the green movement’s relevance and importance.” (emphasis in original)

In addition to being patently absurd in its conception, the accusation that Iranian officials would feel so threatened by the protests and demonstrations which followed the June 2009 election that they would resort to chromatic censorship is completely devoid of fact.

Nevertheless, the claim was repeated again and again, but never more ridiculously than by career warmonger Michael Ledeen. In early March 2010, during a debate at the Atlantic Council alongside Flynt Leverett, Ledeen suggested that the prime example of the Iranian government’s “charming wackiness” was that it “is now committed to the obliteration of ‘green.’ Very bad for Kermit the Frog.”

Seemingly making it up as he went along, Ledeen continued:

“And so green is now banned from Iran. The opposition was writing revolutionary slogans on the money in green ink – that is banned. You can’t wear green. I’m wearing green today as a sign of solidarity with them.

“But the funniest is that there are streets in Tehran – as I’m sure you’ve seen – which have green stripes on them to tell you where you can park and where you can’t, and there are now teams of people out spraying black on top of the green because you can’t have green. That is not a self-confident and stable regime, Flynt. These are people who are scared to death even of a bit of colored paint on a sidewalk.”

Quite simply, Ledeen, who currently lends his aggressive Islamophobia and Israel-apologia to the neoconservative D.C. think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies as its “Freedom Scholar” (whatever that means), was lying. During the debate, Ledeen referred to himself as “an historian” and claimed that “the Islamic Republic is based on hatred of America; a desire to destroy or dominate us along with all the other infidels,” neither of which are true, but demonstrate clearly both Ledeen’s high opinion of himself and contempt for Iran and its revolution.

To his credit, Flynt Leverett, who had recently returned from a trip to Iran, addressed Ledeen’s bogus assertions. “I can tell you, just back from Tehran, I don’t know where these stories about green being banned in Iran come from,” he said. “Excuse me, green is one of the colors of the Iranian flag. There is no shortage of green in Tehran or in the Islamic Republic. We can tell stories; we can take comfort in certain kinds of stories; but look at facts. Look at on-the-ground reality.”

Less than a month after that debate, I was lucky enough to explore that very on-the-ground reality myself when I spent three outstanding weeks traveling around Iran that Spring. To say that there is “no shortage of green” in Iran is a gross understatement. The color is ubiquitous, as is seen in some of the pictures I took in various Iranian cities.

A Photographic Rebuttal to Michael Ledeen’s Lies:

The claim that the green stripe of the Iranian flag was removed (or replaced by a blue one) is so silly that it should be discounted out of hand.

Ledeen’s claim that Iran’s green-striped curbs were being blacked-out? A lie.

Even the highway signs in Iran are green, just as they are here in the United States. Uh oh, creeping Sharia!

The same goes for city employees like street-cleaners and lawn-mowers, all of whom wear green jumpsuits with light green reflectors.

Apparently, even some city buses hate Ahmadinejad…

…as do most of the taxis.

It comes as no surprise to longtime Iran-watchers that the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran should subvert the color boycott by sporting green borders on its murals.

This building in Shahriyar is undoubtedly the scourge of Iran’s ruling clerics:

And this mosque, outside the holy city of Qom, must surely watch its back for using banned lightbulbs:

Check out the dome of this mosque in the city of Varamin, south of Tehran. Despite the mosque’s clear allegiance to the Green Wave, official election results show that Ahmadinejad won this town with 73% of the vote.

In the beautiful Iranian city of Shiraz, a statue of the revered poet Sa’adi at the famed Qu’ran Gate, is lit with alternating colored lights. One of them is a particularly dissident shade of green.

Even more sinister is Tehran’s Azadi Tower.

Nothing says “Death to the Dictator” more than wearing a “banned” green wedding dress on your special day…

…except perhaps donning that slinky Karroubi-inspired piece of outlawed lingerie on your wedding night!

Finally, if Ledeen’s claim were actually true, my own young cousin should be hailed for her brazen defiance and stalwart bravery in sitting on a stoop in public, courageously brandishing her mother’s badminton racket.

Constantly having to fabricate absurd falsehoods about Iran in order to consistently fear-monger and advocate regime change is no small feat. As such, it ain’t easy being Ledeen.


All photographs and video ©Nima Shirazi 

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 2 Comments

TEPCO now confirms nuclear meltdown in Fukushima reactor No. 1

By Mike Adams | NaturalNews | May 12, 2011

TEPCO has now publicly admitted it wasn’t telling the truth about the severity of the damage to Fukushima reactor No. 1. We’re now being told what we’ve suspected all along — that nuclear fuel rods in that reactor are totally exposed and have suffered a nuclear meltdown, releasing vast amounts of radiation comparable to Chernobyl. As Bloomberg now reports, the water level in reactor No. 4 is one meter below the fuel assembly itself. This means, of course, that the water isn’t high enough to cover the fuel rods, which is why those fuel rods have suffered a nuclear meltdown. (…)

The Associated Press is also reporting that “other fuel has slumped to the bottom of the pressure vessel and is thought to be covered in water.” This statement is astonishing all by itself because it means the fuel rods were in a total meltdown hot enough to cause their metal containment cylinders to “slump” and melt their way down to the lower levels of the coolant pools. Notably, AP carefully avoids using the term “melt” and instead says the fuel rods “slumped.” This is all part of the AP’s determined downplaying of the Fukushima catastrophe (see below).

Not surprisingly, as AP now reports, “The findings also indicate a greater-than-expected leak in that vessel.” But the laws of nuclear physics don’t care what you “expect,” you see. They don’t care about media spin or power company B.S. The laws of physics simply follow their natural course, regardless of what you hope they do.

And in the case of Fukushima, the laws of physics led directly to a core fuel meltdown that now even the mainstream media cannot deny (although they still aren’t calling it a “nuclear meltdown”). As AP reports:

Nuclear Industrial and Safety Agency officials said the new data indicates that it is likely that partially melted fuel had fallen to the bottom of the pressurized vessel that holds the reactor core together and possibly leached down into the drywell soon after the March 11 quake and tsunami that struck Japan’s northeastern coast.

Undeniable meltdown

What AP is describing, of course, is a nuclear meltdown. It doesn’t get any more obvious than this: The fuel reached melting temperature and melted down. Along with this, there would have had to be a massive release of radiation into the containment vessel, which just happens to have numerous holes in it that allow highly radioactive water to leak directly into the environment. No wonder TEPCO discovered its radiation detectors had all maxed out there and become non-functional. No wonder TEPCO had to selectively stop reporting radiation releases — it was in the middle of a Chernobyl-like core fuel meltdown!

The Telegraph in the UK is refreshingly printing the truth on this story: “One of the reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant did suffer a nuclear meltdown, Japanese officials admitted for the first time today, describing a pool of molten fuel at the bottom of the reactor’s containment vessel.” (…)

But the mainstream media in the U.S. has obviously been instructed by the White House to avoid using the term “nuclear meltdown” in describing what happened at Fukushima. There is a rather blatant downplaying of the facts going on behind the scenes at the media giants.

Some of this spin can only be called blatant lies, by the way. In the same story linked above, AP claims “Unit 4 contained no fuel rods at the time of the earthquake…”

Huh? No fuel rods in reactor No. 4? This what on Earth is this video showing?…

I love how the media admits it has been misreporting the truth of the situation all along, and then it comes up with new fairytale spin stories in practically the same sentence. They might as well just report, “There was no nuclear fuel in Fukushima at the time of the tsunami, and that’s why governments have stopped monitoring radiation levels.”

TEPCO once again meets Murphy’s Law

In any case, this sudden revelation that reactor No. 4 has already experienced a nuclear fuel meltdown is, not surprisingly, causing considerable setbacks to TEPCO’s plan to have the whole facility deactivated by Christmas. Just as NaturalNews publicly predicted, the Christmas shutdown plan was little more than a combination of fantasyland thinking and industry spin.

“What this means is this is probably going to be a much more difficult cleanup than they originally planned for,” said particle physicist Paul Padley in a Bloomberg story (…). The government and Tepco “have consistently appeared to be underestimating the severity of the situation.”

And that’s the story of modern science: Arrogant in its confidence over the laws of nature, yet utterly dishonest in reporting the truth when its Tower of Babel crumbles to the ground. No wonder the reputation of the conventional scientific community continues to plummet as people realize just how dangerous these people really are.

Sources for this story include:………

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science | 4 Comments

The West is Trapped in its Own Propaganda

Hillary Clinton Needs a Mirror

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS | CounterPunch | May 12, 2011

One of the wishes that readers often express to me came true today (May 11). I was on the mainstream media. It was a program with a worldwide reach–the BBC World Service. There were others on the program as well, and the topic was Hillary Clinton’s remarks (May 10) about the lack of democracy and human rights in China.

I startled the program’s host when I compared Hillary’s remarks to the pot calling the kettle black. I was somewhat taken aback myself by the British BBC program host’s rush to America’s defense and wondered about it as the program continued. Surely, he had heard about Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo detainees, CIA secret torture prisons sprinkled around the world, invasion and destruction of Iraq on the basis of lies and deceptions, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya. Surely, he was aware of Hillary’s hypocrisy as she demonized China but turned a blind eye to Israel, Mubarak, Bahrain and the Saudis. China’s record is not perfect, but is it this bad? Why wasn’t the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs criticizing America’s human rights abuses and rigged elections? How come China minds its own business and we don’t?

These questions didn’t go down well. None of the other interviewees or guests thought that Hilary had made a good decision, but even the Chinese guests were not free of the common mindset that frames every issue from the standpoint that the West is the standard by which the rest of the world is judged. By pointing out our own shortcomings, I was challenging that standard. The host and other guests could not escape from the restraints imposed on thought by the role of the West as world standard.

What has happened to the West is that it can see itself and others only through the eyes of its own propaganda. There was a great deal of talk about China’s lack of democracy. As the BBC program was being broadcast, the news intruded that Greeks had again taken to the streets to protest the costs of the bailout of the banks and Wall Street–the rich–being imposed on ordinary people at the expense of their lives and aspirations. The Irish government announced that it was going to confiscate with a tax part of the Irish people’s pension accumulations. It simply did not occur to the host and other guests that these are not democratic outcomes.

It is a strange form of democracy that produces political outcomes that reward the few and punish the many, despite the energetic protests of the many.

Political scientists understand that US electoral outcomes are determined by powerful moneyed interests that finance the political campaigns and that the bills Congress passes and the President signs are written by these interest groups to serve their narrow interests. Such conclusions are dismissed as cynicism and do not alter the mindset.

While the program’s host and guests were indulging in the West’s democratic and human rights superiority, the American Civil Liberties Union was sending out a bulletin urging its members to oppose legislation now before Congress that would give the current and future Presidents of the United States expanded war authority to use, on their own initiative, military force anywhere in the world independently of the restraints imposed by the US Constitution and international law.

In other words, in the great American “democracy,” the president is to become a Caesar.


Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at:

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | 14 Comments

Extensive Human Rights Abuses noted in B’t Selem report

Middle East Online | May 12, 2011

JERUSALEM – Israel has systematically exploited the resources of the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, favouring settlers over Palestinians, a report by Israeli rights group B’Tselem found on Thursday.

Entitled “Exploitation and Dispossession,” the report found Israel dominated the land, water resources and even tourist sites along the strip of land which runs along the eastern flank of the West Bank, in what appeared to be a prelude to a de facto annexation of territory.

“Israel has instituted a regime that massively exploits the resources of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea, far more than elsewhere in the West Bank, demonstrating its intention: to de facto annex the area to the state of Israel,” the rights group said.

“Israel has taken over most of the water sources in the area, allocating almost all derived water to settlements,” it said, charging that such actions violated international law, which prohibits the exploitation of natural resources within an occupied territory.

B’Tselem said the 9,400 Jewish settlers living there were able to develop intensive agriculture because they received an annual water allocation of 45 million cubic metres — almost a third of the quantity accessible to the West Bank’s 2.5 million Palestinian residents.

“This generous water supply has enabled settlements to develop intensive-farming methods and to work the land all year round, with most of the produce being exported,” it said.

At the same time, Israel’s control of water sources in the area had depriving Palestinian farmers who had been forced to cut back.

“Due to the water shortage, Palestinians have been forced to neglect farm land that used to be cultivated and switch to growing less profitable crops,” the report’s authors wrote.

The study reviewed various measures used by Israel to take control of 77.5 percent of land in the Jordan Valley by declaring large swathes to be military firing zones, nature reserves or to be under state control.

Israel had also taken over most of the major tourist attractions in the area, such as the northern shores of the Dead Sea, the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and the springs on the Ein Fashkha reserve, allowing private Israeli businesses to profit from mineral extraction and tourism.

The report was hailed by Dr Shadad Attili, head of the Palestinian Water Authority who said the disparity in water allocation was a clear example of the “systemic inequalities” taking place under Israel’s occupation.

“The Jordan Valley serves as a microcosm of what is going on across the occupied Palestinian territory when it comes to Israel’s systematic exploitation of Palestinian water resources in violation of international law,” Attili said in a statement, accusing Israel of using water “as a weapon to target some of the most vulnerable” Palestinians.

“Restrictions imposed by Israel on the amount of water Palestinians can access are part of a deliberate policy designed to put additional pressure on struggling Palestinian communities to leave their land,” he charged.

The Jordan Valley, which was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War along with the rest of the Palestinian territories, spans 1.6 million dunams and makes up 28.8 percent of the West Bank.

Statistics in the report show it is home to 65,000 Palestinians living in 29 communities, and around 15,000 Bedouins, while 9,400 settlers live in 37 settlements in the area (seven of them wildcat outposts).

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told AFP the Jewish state would insist on maintaining troops in the Jordan Valley in any peace agreement with the Palestinians, saying it would be crucial for Israel’s future security.

But Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas completely rejected the idea, telling AFP last month that such a troop presence would torpedo the possibility of an independent state, and would effectively destroy his Palestinian Authority.

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | Comments Off on Extensive Human Rights Abuses noted in B’t Selem report