Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Necktie Deep in Hypocrisy

Allen Masterson

A few moments ago I viewed President Barack Obama's address to the Iranian people for Nowruz (the Iranian New Year). The four minute long video appeals to the people of Iran to recognize their ancient culture and the bond that they have with the United States. The President references an Iranian film which won an Academy Award. He talks about Iranian Americans and their many contributions.

After softening up the Iranian people, he then begins to address the “electric curtain” that is draped over Iran that is keeping Iranians from freely expressing themselves. He points a finger at the Iranian government and how it is disallowing its citizens the right to communicate freely by blocking satellite feeds, censoring the internet, and monitoring cell phones.

There has been a “Virtual Embassy” put in place for Iranians to go and find out what the United States is up to through a Farsi language Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. (Google Plus being the site they will have a hard time getting anyone to go to because, let’s face it, it sucks.)

I’m having a very hard time suppressing a knee-jerk reaction to this video. The video happens to drop the day Iran switches its currency of choice for trading oil from the dollar to the Euro which significantly threatens the status of the US Dollar as a reserve currency throughout the globe. My imagination is conjuring World War ll scenarios with bombers flying over populated areas of Europe dropping propaganda leaflets out to land on the populace of the enemy.

Are the Iranians that happen to break through the “electric curtain” going to get a true representation of the United States from heavily monitored social media pages? More importantly, isn’t this hypocrisy at its finest on display for the world to see?

With recent attempts to pass internet censorship in the guise of copyright infringement (SOPA, ACTA) how can our government have the gumption to point fingers at another country’s censorship practices? The only difference I can see is the method. Our censorship will one day soon be done through corporate fascism bought and paid for by our very own tax dollars.

We are still somewhat free to express our individual thoughts, but with recent legislation signed into law that goes by the name the “National Defense Authorization Act” (which allows the President power to detain US citizens indefinitely without due process) how long before once outspoken citizens clamp their mouths shut (or have their mouths clamped shut for them)? Our current president stated he never intends to actually use the law, but he also promised to not have lobbyist appointed to his cabinet…. 

There are several laws and Presidential Signing Statements that have many US citizens on both sides of the political spectrum questioning the direction our president is taking us. Knowing that the position of president is merely a public relations ploy by the true string pullers on Wall St and in London City compounds the paranoia I find myself trying with a Herculean effort to keep at bay. The newest executive order “National Defense Resources Preparedness” is the ultimate “just in case I need to” law. The US congress has now become little more than ceremonial; and if things get too hot on the Hill, and the president wants to put on a show, a “Super Committee” is appointed and everyone gets a free day.

If I were to sell my soul and write a Hollywood movie script, I would write one where George Orwell comes back as a zombie and travels on a lecture circuit explaining to the world the dangers of apathy while feasting on the intellectually deficient brains of reality TV stars. But I digress. 

President Obama’s plea for the Iranian people’s electronic freedom may be an attempt to foment an Iranian Spring to precipitate a military intervention. If the governments of the West truly cared about the Iranian people, we wouldn’t be trying to bankrupt them by initiating sanctions that are having a devastating effect on their economy and infrastructure and was once considered an act of war prior to article 41 of the corporate thug, the United Nations Security Council. 

I also need to reiterate Iran’s going off the US dollar in favor of the Euro for petrol trade. It was not widely reported in the mainstream media that in 2000 Iraq began trading in Euros instead of the Dollar which set a precedent that threatened the hegemony of the Dollar being used as the world’s reserve currency. Our Dollar is on the verge of being defined as counterfeit as it is, so a major economic player jumping ship would cause an economic tsunami that would wash away grocery store shelves filled with high fructose corn syrup laden goodies, and genetically modified good times. 

Do we really want the Iranian people to see us in the light of an electric curtain-less window? We may end up scaring the shit out of them and sending them into the welcoming arms of their Twelfth Imam….

I’ve attached below the full Whitehouse version of President Obama’s video to the Iranian people, and a few links to the legislation I referenced. And a transcript of President Obama's full speech.

Today, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those who are celebrating Nowruz around the world. In communities and homes from America to southwest Asia, families and friends are coming together to celebrate the hope that comes with renewal.
To the people of Iran, this holiday comes at a time of continued tension between our two countries. But as people gather with their families, do good deeds, and welcome a new season, we are also reminded of the common humanity that we share.
There is no reason for the United States and Iran to be divided from one another. Here in the United States, Iranian-Americans prosper and contribute greatly to our culture. This year, an Iranian production — “A Separation” — won America’s highest honor for a foreign film. Our navies have confronted the danger of piracy, with U.S. sailors even rescuing Iranian citizens who had been taken hostage. And from Facebook to Twitter — from cell phones to the Internet — our people use the same tools to talk to one another, and to enrich our lives.
Yet increasingly, the Iranian people are denied the basic freedom to access the information that they want. Instead, the Iranian government jams satellite signals to shut down television and radio broadcasts. It censors the Internet to control what the Iranian people can see and say. The regime monitors computers and cell phones for the sole purpose of protecting its own power. And in recent weeks, Internet restrictions have become so severe that Iranians cannot communicate freely with their loved ones within Iran, or beyond its borders. Technologies that should empower citizens are being used to repress them.
Because of the actions of the Iranian regime, an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran — a barrier that stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country, and denies the rest of the world the benefit of interacting with the Iranian people, who have so much to offer.
I want the Iranian people to know that America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations. That’s why we set up a Virtual Embassy, so you can see for yourselves what the United States is saying and doing. We’re using Farsi on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. And even as we’ve imposed sanctions on the Iranian government, today, my Administration is issuing new guidelines to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services into Iran that will make it easier for the Iranian people to use the Internet.
The United States will continue to draw attention to the electronic curtain that is cutting the Iranian people off from the world. And we hope that others will join us in advancing a basic freedom for the Iranian people: the freedom to connect with one another, and with their fellow human beings.
Over the last year, we have learned once more that suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people are the heirs to a great and ancient civilization. Like people everywhere, they have the universal right to think and speak for themselves. The Iranian government has a responsibility to respect these rights, just as it has a responsibility to meet its obligations with regard to its nuclear program. Let me say again that if the Iranian government pursues a responsible path, it will be welcomed once more among the community of nations, and the Iranian people will have greater opportunities to prosper.
So in this season of new beginnings, the people of Iran should know that the United States of America seeks a future of deeper connections between our people — a time when the electronic curtain that divides us is lifted and your voices are heard; a season in which mistrust and fear are overcome by mutual understanding and our common hopes as human beings.
Thank you, and Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak.

Wikipedia page for the NDAA

Wikipedia page for Executive Order:

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