The American hand in Iran
By Trish Schuh
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GG06Ak03.html

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Like the color-coded terror alert system, the technicolor "velvet invasions"
blink a warning. Despite receiving an ugly bruise in Uzbekistan, the US
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)and its non-governmental organization (NGO)
regime-change industry hope to stage another cardboard coup in Iran. But it
could be a black and blue revolution.

Citing a "mission accomplished" in Iraq, President George W Bush told 25,000
soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas: "The establishment of a free Iraq is a
watershed event in the global democratic revolution. That success is sending
a message from Beirut to Tehran."

Tasked by the Bush administration with sending that message from America to
Tehran, and "winning hearts and minds" is author and "Swiftboat Veterans for
Truth" member Jerome Corsi. On May 16, Corsi's NGO, the Iran Freedom
Foundation (IFF), inaugurated a 12-day "Iran Freedom Walk" from
Philadelphia's Liberty Bell to Washington, DC.

Dipping two fingers in red paint, Corsi waved a peace sign in solidarity
"with the blood of oppressed Iranians" and called on "the spirit of Mahatma
Gandhi and Martin Luther King". He declared, "I love the Iranian people.
America does not hate the Persian people. We love the Persian people. We
want peace and we love the Persian people." Corsi's voice then dropped to a
whisper; "We stand here today and we pray in the name of the gods. I embrace
Jesus Christ as my savior - and we also pray in the name of Allah, Zoroaster
and the B'hai."

But Corsi has expressed very different opinions on Islam in the past.
According to his own postings on FreeRepublic.com, on November 18, 2001
Corsi used a racial slur to define Arabs: "Ragheads are boy-bumpers
[sodomizers] as clearly as they are women haters - it all goes together."

Using the incendiary style he perfected for "Swiftboat veteran" television
attack advertisements, Corsi declares, "Islam is a peaceful religion as long
as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels killed."
Comparing Islam to a disease, he added, "How's this for an analogy? The
Koran is simply the 'software' for producing deviant cancer cell political
behavior and violence in human beings' and Islam is like a virus. It affects
the mind. Maybe even better as an analogy: it is a cancer that destroys the
body it infects. No doctor would hesitate to eliminate cancer cells from the
body." In April 2004 Corsi said, "Let's see why it isn't the case that Islam
is a worthless, dangerous, Satanic religion. Where's the proof to the
contrary?"

Surrounding Corsi at his walk were three dozen Los Angeles Iranian
dissidents and pro-monarchists interviewed by an Orthodox Jewish journalist
and by the CIA-backed Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Farda.
The Los Angeles Times of March 20 revealed that "Tehrangeles" has become a
crucial recruiting ground for Iranian expatriates who gather information for
the US intelligence community. Also providing assistance are various Farsi
language media which broadcast messages against the Iranian government into
Iran.

According to the March 4 Los Angeles Times, the US currently spends US$14.7
million a year on Farsi "opposition broadcasts" into Iran. The Voice of
America's Farsi service reaches an estimated 15 million Iranians with news
programs and websites, and the Bush administration has recently requested an
additional $5.7 million for 2006 to expand the hours of transmission.

Los Angeles Farsi radio station KRSI noted the similarity between current US
efforts and the CIA's 1953 overthrow of Iran's democratically elected
premier Mohammed Mossadeq. When asked if he was CIA-affiliated, Corsi
replied: "No, I'm not. I've never held a government position, never had any
government position at all. I've been in universities. I'm an author. I'm in
business. I'm not related to the CIA. It's just not true."

But when later asked how he became so committed to Iranian liberation, he
explained, "When I was a young man I was an expert in antiterrorism and
political violence. I had a top secret clearance when I was in universities
and I worked to assist the State Department and the government." Corsi's
publisher, Cumberland House, states in his biography that Corsi's top secret
clearance came from the government agency US Agency for International
Development (USAID). USAID has often served as a conduit for American covert
operations funding, under humanitarian auspices.

This writer asked Corsi about the Iran Freedom Foundation's funding. He said
the money came from sales of his book Atomic Iran and from private
donations, adding that the IFF would apply for government funding when it
became available.

That funding may be on the way. On February 11, a promoter of the IFF,
Worldnetdaily.com, announced that Corsi had helped Republican Senator Paul
Santorum write the Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005. The legislation was
to authorize $10 million in assistance to pro-democracy NGOs that challenge
the Iranian regime. Corsi called that figure a "starting point".

It was an accurate projection. In a May 5 Financial Times article, "US
offers grants to help oppose clerics", Guy Dinmore reported that lawmakers
demanded a bill aimed at overthrowing the Iranian government be increased to
$50 million. This did not include the millions of dollars provided by the
State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative. "We have turned
opposition into a profession," commented Ray Takeyh of the Council on
Foreign Relations. "This money is going to go up."

Such "soft power" opposition activities are escalating. The May 29 New York
Times quoted Nicholas Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs,
as saying the Bush team was "taking a page from the playbook" of colored
revolutions where US-funded pro-democracy NGOs helped nonviolently overthrow
noncompliant governments.

The IFF lists several such activities on its website. Corsi's book, Atomic
Iran, is being translated into Farsi for clandestine distribution in Iran,
there is an online petition targeting the mullahs, IFF university
associations are mobilizing college students, and a national speakers bureau
to educate Americans on Iranian atrocities has been deployed.

The IFF is also filming a documentary and has begun running TV ads entitled;
"An Atomic 9-11: When Evil is Appeased", accusing Iran of plans to detonate
a 150 kiloton nuclear bomb in New York City. (When Corsi was reminded that
it was the US that began Iran's nuclear program in the 1970s, and that
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sat on the board of ABB, which sold
North Korea its nuclear reactors in the 1990s, he refused to address the
issue.)

The IFF's efforts are supplemented by an array of related sister
organizations, such as Regime Change Iran, Alliance for Democracy in Iran,
Iran of Tomorrow Movement, the Iranian Opposition Council, and The 70
Million People of Iran, which are organizing an election for a secular
interim government in exile "ready to assume Iran's governmental functions".
The group has also issued an ultimatum letter to world leaders, demanding
they void all contracts with Iran. (Halliburton contracts in Iran were not
mentioned). This small US-backed group, presuming to speak for 70 million
Iranians, even borrowed the State Department lingo by urging "the removal of
the Islamic republic to win the war on terror".

The goal of these strategies, Corsi announced at his event, was to incite
mass protests against Iran's June 17 presidential elections and thus try to
destabilize the regime.

As early as 2003, Reuters printed allegations that the US had infiltrated
several million dollars into the country to bribe officials and pay
protesters. The Economist of June 13, 2003 headlined; "More unrest on the
streets of Tehran. Is America pulling the strings?"

America is pulling strings, with Israeli assistance. The former head of
Mossad's foreign intelligence division, Uzi Arad, told Worldnetdaily.com:
"Support of Iranian opposition by the international community could be an
effective way to handle the current regime" and that "its stability can be
greatly reduced by the people themselves." Pro-Israel lobbyist Michael
Ledeen wrote for the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute, "Mr
Bush is correct that we should actively help the brave Iranians who are
leading demonstrations against the regime ..."

Israel's Student Solidarity Movement and The Jewish Agency recently staged
protests at Iranian embassies worldwide. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz
reported the "AIPAC [American Israel Political Action Committee] spurring
Congress to pass a sanctions bill against Iran". AIPAC is also pressuring
the US to support the Iranian Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) for use against
Iran's mullahs.

MEK has been legally designated a terrorist organization since 1997 for
killing US citizens, for its role in the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy in
Tehran and for attacking coalition troops in Iraq. Human Rights Watch
recently condemned them for use of torture, bombings and assassinations.
Nevertheless, 150 congressmen have petitioned Bush to remove them from the
terrorism list, and several lawmakers spoke at their 2005 convention in
Washington, DC.

The Israeli Communication Ministry's R R Sat provides transponder capability
to the MEK to broadcast programming on its two channels. Iran-interlink.org
even hints that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon personally approved
funding for the broadcasts, because of his alliance with the MEK's
influential Maryam Rajavi.

On May 28, the IFF's walk reached the White House. The closing rally
featured Richard Perle, former assistant secretary of defense and pro-Israel
architect of Bush's Middle East policy. Corsi then phoned the White House,
where Bush congratulated the marchers and offered support. Vice President
Dick Cheney's office also thanked the IFF. Corsi vowed, "If we can find
sufficient monetary resources, we plan to send funds inside Iran to support
those oppressed."

In response, USA Today reported that Iranian ambassador to the UN, Mohammad
Javad Zarif, denounced these types of US measures as a violation of the
Algiers Accords. The accords freed 52 American Embassy hostages in exchange
for a US promise "not to intervene directly or indirectly, politically or
militarily, in Iran's internal affairs". Iran may file a complaint with the
International Court of Justice in the Hague to stop US interference.

According to Reuters, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi
threatened: "Iran has always defended its interests with full power and will
continue to do so. It won't hesitate even for a fraction of a moment to
defend itself" and Iran's government has pledged harsh resistance. If the
CIA and its associated regime change NGOs succeed, it could be very bloody
black and blue coup.

Trish Schuh has worked with ABCnews, al-Arabiya, Tehran Times, MehrNews,
Syria Times, Iran News Daily and Muslim's Weekly. She studied Arabic and
Islam in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, and recently observed the
presidential elections in Iran.