Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Message from Trade Unionist in Iran - Haft Tapeh workers

Dear comrades in the Committee in Defense of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers of Iran

I am writing on behalf of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, FWCUI.
We have received your statement about the struggles of the Haft Tappeh workers, which reveals the brutal policies of the Islamic Republic toward the workers.
The struggles of the Iranian workers reflect their heroic position in opposition to the policies of the authorities, such as lay off, privatization, reducing the salaries, delaying the payments, banning independent organizing, imposing the puppet organizations… etc.
At this time, we are stand side by side with the movement of the Haft Tappeh workers. We call for the workers unions and activists in the world to support the demands of the Sugar Cane factory "Haft Tappeh" workers.
We call on to the Iranian authorities to answer the workers' demands, and to stop pressuring the activists and chasing them, to stop jailing and arbitrary judgments of the workers' leaders.

In solidarity,
Falah Alwan
Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq, FWCUI, President
August 17, 2008

Falah Alwan

20th Anniversary of 1988 Prison Massacre in Iran

Iran: The 20th anniversary of 1988 "prison massacre"

Amnesty International documents the 20th anniversary of the massacre of prisoners in Iran. It notes that no one has been held accountable for this atrocity. Full text at link.

Twenty years after the then Iranian authorities began a wave of largely secret, summary and mass executions in September 1988, Amnesty International renews its call for those responsible for the “prison massacre” to be held accountable. There should be no impunity for such gross human rights violations, regardless of when they were committed.

Amnesty is also calling on the present Iranian government not to prevent relatives of the dead from visiting Khavaran Cemetary in south Tehran, on or about 29 August to mark the anniversary and demand justice for their loved ones. Hundreds of those summarily executed are buried in unmarked mass graves.

In all between 4,500 and 5,000 prisoners are believed to have been killed, including women. Those responsible for the killings should be prosecuted and tried before a regularly and legally constituted court and with all necessary procedural guarantees, in accordance with international fair trial standards.

Article from Guardian - threat on Iran not gone away

Attacking Iran via South Ossetia

Could the conflict between Russia and Georgia be the excuse the Bush administration has been looking for to bomb Iran?

An editor I once worked for told me that when his parents and grandparents discussed the day's news over dinner, they would inevitably finish by asking each other: "Is it good for the Jews?"

"Whether it was a war or an earthquake or men landing on the moon, it would always come down to that," he recalled. "They saw everything through that lens."

This year, I've developed a comparable pathology. I am terrified that the Bush administration is going to attack Iran sometime before it leaves office on January 20. Whenever there is a new tremor in Washington or the wider world, I ask myself: Does this make an American strike against Iran more or less likely?

So it is with the recent dustup in Georgia. I fear it has increased the chances that the United States will bomb Iran.

If there is a single principle that underlies the Bush-Cheney view of the world, it is that all countries must accommodate American interests and none may be allowed to emerge as what the 2006 Quadrennial Defence Review called a "near-peer power". This is a recipe for conflict, since many countries will naturally try to increase their power whether or not the US wants them to.

"Let Hercules himself do what he may," that insightful geo-strategist William Shakespeare observed, "the cat will mew, and dog will have his day."

Russia's day is once again dawning. That is not necessarily bad. A multi-polar world shaped by balances and equilibrium is, in the end, safer and more secure for everyone.

This view, though, is abhorrent to the Bush administration. It remains caught in the post-cold war fantasy that America's brief "uni-polar moment" can last indefinitely.

In recent years, the Bush administration has sought at every turn to challenge Russian interests. It has worked to cut Russia out of energy pipelines, expand Nato up to Russia's borders, build missile defence bases near those borders, promote the independence of Kosovo and encourage former Soviet states like Georgia to spit in Russia's strategic eye.

This approach worked while Russia was prostrate. It was inevitable, though, that Russia would eventually begin to re-emerge as an influential power. Now it has.

Washington protested Russia's crushing of Georgia with howls of outrage. President Bush declared with a straight face that "bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century."

Mouthing such pious hypocrisy is about all the US can do to reverse Russia's recent gain. The US and Russia need to cooperate on a host of strategic issues, and Georgia is not a vital interest to the US. The logical thing for the US to do now would be to take this hit and move on.

President Bush and vice-president Cheney, however, may have another idea. I'm reading their minds, and this is what I fear they are thinking:

"We're on our way out of office. The way things look now, the last confrontation between us and the bad guys will have been one that they won. We can't let our term end that way. This can't be the last word. We have to go out in a blaze of glory. Where should we set off that blaze? Iran, of course. No country has taunted us more relentlessly. By bombing Iran, we will send the world a defiant farewell message: Forget Russia - We Still Rule!"

For years before the September 11 terror raids, a clique of millenarian ideologues in Washington had been urging a US attack on Iraq. The raids gave them their excuse. Now I fear the same may be happening with Iran. Georgia could be the excuse.

American policy toward Iran has for decades been shaped by emotion, not rationality. Emotions are now running hot in Washington. Iranians have nothing to do with the Russian invasion of Georgia. I hope they do not soon have to pay a bloody price for it.