Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Title Match: The Audacity of Hypocrisy vs. Signs from Heaven

Title Match: The Audacity of Hypocrisy vs. Signs from Heaven

By Richard Edmondson

What is one to make of the fact that the fall of the Egyptian dictatorship took place on the same date—February 11—as the fall of the Iranian dictatorship 32 years previously? Is it a mere coincidence, or is it a “sign from heaven,” as they used to say in the ancient world? The fact that both events occurred on the same date does not appear to have registered in Washington. At least it wasn’t mentioned Friday by outgoing White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who coincidentally held his final press briefing just as news was emerging that Hosni Mubarak had skedaddled out of Cairo for his villa at Sharm el-Sheikh. I have to confess I wasn’t even aware of the date’s significance myself until late in the day, when I happened to come across a comment posted by “Alex” at Press TV’s website.

In 54 AD a comet appeared in the sky above our planet. In the ancient world, comets were often viewed as foretelling changes in dynasty. They were also considered portals of evil. Such was this one to be. AD 54 was the year the Emperor Nero came to power in Rome. The comet appeared at the end of the reign of Claudius, who is believed by some historians to have been poisoned to death and who was succeeded by his grand-nephew and adopted son—Nero—on October 13 that year. While the new emperor managed to rack up some worthwhile achievements during his reign, peace with the Parthians (early forerunners of today’s Iranians) being one, he also put numerous people to death, including his own mother, Agrippina. There is also some evidence to suggest he may have carried out history’s first false flag attack. More about which in a moment.

Whether the United States eventually follows ancient Rome into disintegration and oblivion remains of course to be seen. My own personal hunch, however, is that absent some massive change of direction, such as an Egyptian-style uprising with millions of protesters flooding into the streets and refusing to go home, it almost inevitably will. Sooner or later. The political corruption here is simply too massive and widespread. We are rotting from within. But of course until the presumed final fall arrives, the empire may still do a lot of damage; it may still kill a lot of people. The fact that Gibbs was spitting curses at Iran on Friday (once again, see the transcript of the press briefing) certainly bears consideration in light of the unrest we are seeing on the streets of Tehran this week. It’s not hard to imagine a replay of the events of 1953. Does the transcript offer any hint of that? Indeed it does.

In 60 AD, one year after Nero’s act of matricide, a second comet appeared, and on a night that same year, while the emperor was dining at his villa at Sublaqueum, a bolt of lightning struck the table on which his meal had been spread. The table was wrecked. In 61 AD Nero, albeit reluctantly, allowed 400 slaves, none of whom had committed any crime, to be put to death, an episode followed, in 63 AD, in which yet another omen came to pass, this time in the form of an earthquake. The temblor struck the city of Naples while Nero happened to be giving a performance in a theatre (the emperor had a fondness for signing and acting), and though he carried on unruffled, after the show was over and the audience had gone, the building fell down. Then, in 64 AD, came the false flag attack—the Great Fire of Rome—which the Roman leadership blamed on a particular religious group (in this case the Christians), though which some chroniclers of the era, such as Suetonius, assert was started by none other than the emperor himself. In 65 AD, a plot developed to assassinate Nero, and though it failed, the tyrant’s days were numbered. The following year came yet another sign from heaven—the 66 AD perihelion passage of Halley’s comet, and on June 9, AD 68, abandoned by his palace guard and with even the Roman Senate turned against him, the Emperor Nero committed suicide—at a villa, four miles south of Rome, to which he had fled the night before. Interestingly, 66 AD is also the year the first Jewish revolt broke out, leading to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD. (Check out the engraving, here, of Halley’s Comet over Jerusalem in AD 66).

“Exact same day as Iranian revolution,” wrote Alex, rather succinctly, in a comment posted below a Press TV news story on events in Egypt. Hmmm, I thought. That’s interesting. But is it factual? I mean, anybody can post an anonymous comment on a web page somewhere, right? So I scrambled off to see if I could find confirmation. Sure enough, here’s what Wikipedia had to say on the matter: “The Shah left Iran for exile in mid-January 1979, and in the resulting power vacuum two weeks later Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians. The royal regime collapsed shortly after on February 11 when guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting.” The article goes on to mention that the Iranian revolution “was unusual for the surprise it created throughout the world.” History does have a way of repeating itself, doesn’t it?

Patterns of behavior don’t die easily. The same holds true for nations as much as for individuals. It’s hard for the alcoholic to give up the bottle, just as it’s hard for a psychopath to quit being a psychopath. Propped up by the U.S., the Shah remained in power for the next 26 years—until his regime finally fell on February 11, 1979.

I will say it is remarkable to watch in the region how Iran is dealing with this. We saw I think about a week or so ago they made some provocative statements about what these marches meant. We now know what—how they’re responding to the images that we see in Tahrir Square. They are arresting people in Iran. They are blocking international media outlets. They are turning off the Internet.

So for all of the empty talk about Egypt, I think if the Iranian government—I think it’s up to the—the Iranian government should allow the Iranian people to exercise the very same right of peaceful assembly and ability to demonstrate and communicate their desires. I think we’ve all seen, again, their response. The head of the Revolutionary Guard said today, “Seditionists are no more than a corpse. We will severely crush any of their movements.” So I think what you’ve see in the region is the government of Iran, quite frankly, scared of the will of its people.

The hypocrisy here, of course, is that it was the United States, back in 1953, which grew “scared of the will” of the Iranian people and which proceeded to engineer an overthrow of their democratically elected prime minister—just as it is the same United States now scared of the will of the Egyptian people and which most likely will try and sabotage free elections in that country. Here is what Wikipedia says of the 1953 Iranian coup, which toppled Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, replacing him with the Shah, who up to that point, much like the British monarchy, had been mainly a titular figurehead and a rather gutless one at that:

Back to the Gibbs press briefing: Mubarak’s downfall, said the then-presidential press secretary, “is something that started with, was driven by, and will ultimately only be solved by the people of Egypt. I think that is true in the lead-up to the historic announcement today but will be even more important in the days ahead leading to elections.” Will the U.S. meddle in Egyptian affairs and try and influence the outcome of these elections? This question was never asked by any of the sycophantic reporters covering the briefing, but as much of the world knows, the U.S. has a lengthy record of doing just that. But for the journalists present, the main concern Friday afternoon seemed to be “stability.” One of the reporters wanted to know if the revolution would be “helpful or harmful to the interests of the United States,” while another asked “what kind of assurances, if any, can you give Israel and Jordan about how this may affect them and their concerns about stability?”

Q: And the last question, is there a hope in the White House than the example in Egypt could inspire another uprising in Iran?

Mr. Gibbs: Well, as I mentioned earlier, I think there is quite a contrast between the way the government of Egypt and the people of Egypt are interacting, and the government of Iran is threatening its very own people. I think if the government of Iran was as confident as they would have you believe in the statements that they put out, they would have nothing to fear with the peaceful demonstration like those that you’ve seen in Cairo and throughout Egypt. They’re not that confident. They’re scared. That’s why they’ve threatened to kill anybody that tries to do this. That’s why they’ve shut off all measure of communication. I think it speaks volumes about the strength and the confidence that they have in fulfilling the wishes and the will of its people.

How many have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? No one on this earth knows for sure, but the number is probably well up into the millions. How many in Gaza and the rest of Palestine? Less surely, but again we don’t know. Would the same people who planned and carried out those wars now allow genuine democracy to flourish in Egypt? Not likely. Not willingly. Not as the martyrs, even now, continue to pile up—martyrs who were sacrificed, not so much on America’s alter, but upon that of the “synagogue of Satan,” as it were. For in the end it was not in America’s interests, but Israel’s, that these wars were fought, and it was the Zionist state, too, which exacted the Audacity of Hypocrisy from America’s rulers. For what other reason than that have our politicians, one by one, one and all, climbed upon a prostitute’s pedestal and subjected themselves, along with, by implication, 300 million other Americans—who have had no informed choice or say in the matter—to global scorn and ridicule?

And to the list of martyrs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, we can now add those of Egypt and Tahrir Square. But something curious happened here. Even if U.S. officials, at the outset of the uprising, had a hand in manipulating events, as some observers have suggested, things got out of control. The revolutionary spirit caught hold. What took place in Egypt was the equivalent of an earthquake, or a comet passing overhead. Millions of people rose up. Millions. And then came the most improbable outcome of all, the one U.S. officials could not have planned for and would have wanted to avoid: Hosni Mubarak was deposed on the anniversary of the fall of the Shah of Iran. It says to us that there is a force more powerful than the United States, more powerful even than Israel and its lobby. An Aljazeera reporter referred to it as “people power.” But is it maybe even more than that? Can we make the leap and call it a “sign from heaven”? That’s a question each person must look up to the mountain and try to answer for himself or herself. I know what my own answer is. That God is truly great—or—Allahu Akbar, as our blessed brothers and sisters in Tunisia and Egypt would say.

In a transcript of the press briefing published in the Los Angeles Times, there can be found no solid indication that anyone attending the event was aware of the historical significance of the date—although the subject of Iran did come up. And it was brought up not by any of the reporters present, but by Gibbs himself. So perhaps we might infer that at some point during the flurry of last week’s tumultuous events U.S. officials did come to realize that Friday, February 11 was not just any old ordinary day of the week. Gibbs’ remarks on Iran were given in response to the question about how the revolution would affect the “stability” in Israel and Jordan, and his words exhibited the breathtakingly audacious hypocrisy the world has come to expect pretty much anytime U.S. officials open their mouths these days. Here is what he said, again from the transcript:

The Central Intelligence Agency pressured the weak monarch while bribing street thugs, clergy, politicians and Iranian army officers to take part in a propaganda campaign against Mosaddegh and his government. At first, the coup appeared to be a failure when on the night of August 15-16, Imperial Guard Colonel Menatollah Nassiri was arrested while attempting to arrest Mosaddegh. The Shah fled the country the next day. On August 19, a pro-Shah mob, paid by the CIA, marched on Mosaddegh’s residence. According to the CIA’s declassified documents and records, some of the most feared mobsters in Tehran were hired by the CIA to stage pro-Shah riots on the 19th. Other CIA-paid men were brought into Tehran in buses and trucks, and took over the streets of the city.

His collapse, coming the same year Pink Floyd released its groundbreaking album, The Wall, was of course deemed a “major setback,” not only for the U.S. but also for Israel. However, as the American poet e.e. cummings once wrote, “Buffalo Bill’s defunct.” With the despot’s exit another brick in the wall had fallen. But what can you say? Sometimes fate—or the hand of God—may intervene and skewer even the best laid plans. And sometimes “signs from heaven,” almost as if by magic, do indeed appear.

Richard Edmondson is the author of The Memoirs of Saint John: No Greater Love.

No comments: