Friday, March 11, 2011

Interview with Fredrick Toben

Kourosh Ziabari - Dr. Fredrick Toben is a unique man. You can find a certain tranquility and serenity in his words and actions which make him an unparalleled academician, author and political analyst. While talking to him, you can make sure that you enjoy a fruitful, comprehensive and informative conversation. He always speaks as if he is in a university classroom and wants to teach something to his students. This is the prominent aspect of his personality. He wants to teach and to learn, as well. He loves sharing new experiences with you, and this is another feature of his personality. He has scientifically denied Holocaust and paid the cost: five times in prison in five countries.

He was born on 2 June 1944, Jaderberg, north Germany, into a farming family, which immigrated to Australia in 1954. His father and mother farmed in Australia. His father died in 2003 and his mother passed away in 2008 while he was serving a three-month prison term for 'contempt of court'. His parents were married for 63 years.

Toben received his tertiary education in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Rhodesia-Zimbabwe and he taught secondary and tertiary level German, English, sociology and philosophy in all these countries and Nigeria, as well.

He had a major policy difference with the Victorian Education Department in Melbourne, Australia, which dismissed him from his teaching post on grounds if incompetence and disobedience, and for almost ten years he fought the case and had his dismissal declared invalid.

In 1994, Fredrick Toben founded the Adelaide Institute and became its director. The aim was to research matters relating to 'Holocaust-Shoah' and other related 'taboo topics' that mainstream research institutes did not dare investigate for fear of financial and social sanction. In 1998 Adelaide Institute held the first-ever Revisionist Symposium in Australia. In 1997 and 1999 he went on a world revisionist fact-finding tour that took him to Eastern Europe in particular to Auschwitz where allegedly millions of Jews were gassed. He found that the technicality of the gassing assertion could not be sustained.

Since 1999, Toben made visits to Iran on a regular basis to attend scientific congresses and news conferences on various social and political issues.

Fredrick Toben joined me in an exclusive interview and talked to me about his viewpoints regarding Iran, the Persian culture, the Islamic solidarity, the impacts of Iran's Islamic Revolution on the global order and the current position of Iran in the international community.

Here is the complete text of interview with the Australian-German philosopher, Fredrick Toben.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

KOUROSH ZIABARI: From the Axis of Evil to the Least Popular Country

Kourosh Ziabari - A poll recently conducted by the BBC World Service in 27 countries shows that Iran is considered to be the least popular country of the world, followed by North Korea, Pakistan and Israel.

Iran which was dubbed a part of the Axis of Evil by the former U.S. President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, is now under the merciless spates of psychological attack by the world’s mainstream media over its controversial nuclear program.

To the Western mainstream media, Iran can only be defined in the framework of its contentious nuclear program and a number of stereotypes which seem to be inseparable from the West’s depiction and portrayal of Iran.

What we usually encounter while pursuing Iran’s coverage in the Western media is the claim that the Iranian people are religiously extremist, fundamentalist, terrorist, anti-American and intolerant. I’ve personally encountered several cases in which the American people have conflated Iran with Iraq and called Iran an Arab country. Many others have told me that they’re simply unable to locate Iran’s position on the world map and the only thing which they know about this country is that it wants to acquire nuclear weapons and wipe Israel off the world map.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Who is running the Western media?

Kourosh Ziabari - Press TV: We usually hear the boastful assertions of the leaders of the Western mainstream media that their media outlets are ideologically, financially and politically independent of their respective governments and what they put forward as packages of information to be consumed by the readers or viewers are unbiased, realistic, unprejudiced and objective.

The Western mainstream media conventionally boast of being professional and attached to the morals of journalism; however, the only thing which is missing in the coverage of these media of the international developments is ethical values, honesty and straightforwardness.

One of the most striking examples of the Western media's indifference towards the aptitude of their audiences was their coverage of the 2008-2009 Gaza Massacre. From BBC to Reuters, from CNN to Sky News and from Washington Post to New York Times, all of them tried to put a lid on the felonies of Israeli regime and by astutely playing with the words, downgraded the scale of atrocity and violence exercised by the Israel Defense Forces. They refused to admit that what Israel was committing was an all-out massacre, so they simply eliminated the term "massacre" from their reports and in one of the most controversial cases, the state-run BBC, which we are used to hearing of its deceitful tricks, refused to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee's humanitarian appeal for Gaza under the growing pressure of the Israeli lobby.

This refusal to air an appeal for the humanitarian aids for the crisis-hit Gaza was something which even the British public complained about. On January 23, 2009, Douglas Alexander, the international development secretary, writes a letter to the BBC, Sky and ITV, expressing his "disappointment" that the appeal would not be broadcast. On Sunday, January 25, The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams calls on the BBC to air the appeal, along with Scottish first minister Alex Salmond and justice minister Shahid Malik.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Human rights in Bahrain in grave stage

Kourosh Ziabari - Press TV: It's categorically demonstrable by facts and figures that Bahrain has one of the blackest human rights records among the Arab countries surrounding the Persian Gulf.

Bahrain has a population of less than 800,000, 70 percent of them practicing Shias; however, this tiny Arab country is renowned for its longstanding tradition of suppressing the Shia majority, exercising inhumane methods of torturing, imprisoning the political activists, putting restrictions on the mass media and exploiting foreign workers for various purposes.

When Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa assumed the throne as the king of Bahrain in 2001, the situation of human rights in this country was quite deplorable and alarming. According to a report by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, several people were incarcerated during anti-government demonstrations or public gatherings and sent to prisons for lengthy periods of time, tortured by loathsome methods such as sleep deprivation or sexual assault. “On 17 December, 2007 on Martyrs' Day aimed at paying tribute to past victims of torture, members of the Special Security Forces began a wave of arrests targeting more than 60 individuals, among them over 10 activists. Within the month of February 2009, several key human rights defenders in Bahrain were arbitrarily arrested and detained including Abbas Abdul Aziz Al-Umran, Sayed Sharaf Ahmed, Ali Hassan Salman, and Jaafar Kadhim Ebrahim," the report says.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Interview with Geoge Katsiaficas

Kourosh Ziabari: George Katsiaficas is a renowned university professor, sociologist, author and activist. He is a visiting American Professor of Humanities and Sociology at Chonnam National University, Gwangju, South Korea where he teaches and does research on the 1980s and 1990s East Asian uprisings.

Katsiaficas has a Ph.D. of sociology from the University of California, San Diego. Since 1990, he has taught sociology at the Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. During the period between 2006 and 2008, he was an Associate in Research at the Harvard University and Korea Institute.

He specializes in social movements, Asian politics, the U.S. foreign policy, comparative and historical studies and has written numerous books in these fields.

In 2003, he won the American Political Science Association’s Special Award for Outstanding Service and in 2008, received the Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Fellowship.

Among his major books are “The Battle of Seattle” by the New York’s Soft Skull Press, “Liberation, Imagination and the Black Panther Party” by New York’s Routledge Press and “South Korean Democracy: Legacy of the Gwangju Uprising” by London’s Routledge Press.

What follows is the complete text of interview with Dr. George Katsiaficas on the recent uprising in the Arab world, its impacts on the international developments and its implications for the United States and its European allies.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The renaissance of the Arab world?

Kourosh Ziabari - Press TV: The unprecedented wave of protests which has engulfed the Arabian states of the Middle East and North Africa over the past few weeks is being extended ever more.

After Tunisia and Egypt in which millions of revolutionary protesters succeeded in ousting the western-installed puppets Zainal Abidin bin Ali and Hosni Mubarak, several nations of the Middle East, including Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman and Libya joined the communal movement of the Arab world to put an end to the longstanding U.S.-backed autocracy in the region.

The Arab uprising in the Middle East which seems to have been inspired by Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979 has only one unequivocal and unambiguous objective: the obliteration of tyranny and despotism and the establishment of democracy and freedom.

As one looks back at the sequence of events and incidents, which led up to the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, one can clearly figure out that the stance of the White House concerning its allies in the Middle East has always been the same. When the people of Iran first took to the streets of Tehran en masse to call for the abolition of Mohammad Reza Shah's monarchy, Jimmy Carter assertively backed his stalwart ally, the "Gendarme of the Persian Gulf", unconditionally assuring him that the United States would stand by him and his government; however, as the demonstrations and rallies overwhelmed the whole country and the people began to call for the homecoming of their exiled, charismatic leader, Imam Khomeini, Carter gradually found out that it was time to change direction and leave the unfortunate Shah alone.

Continues here

US losing power game in Middle East

Kourosh Ziabari - Press TV: The popular uprising in the Middle East which set off from Tunisia and Egypt is steadily encompassing the whole Arab world.

This indicates the fact that the United States and its European cronies are losing their last hopes in the region and approaching a dead-end which brings them nothing but disappointment and regret.

Following the dissolution of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's government which was an unexpected shock for the White House, the awakened people of Egypt ousted the unflappable dictator Hosni Mubarak who had long served as a stooge of the United States in the Middle East, implemented the plans and policies of Washington and Tel Aviv and suppressed the Palestinian nation in a brutal way.

The victory of Tunisian and Egyptian people provoked the other Arab nations in the region to rise against the dictators that have been irresponsibly ruling them for so long and confiscating their inalienable rights tyrannically. This was what made the White House fearful and flabbergasted, because in less than one month, it lost two of its most strategic allies in Northern Africa and what could have been more tragic and catastrophic than this unanticipated loss?

The United States and Tunisia have had bilateral relations for more than 200 years and the White House has maintained an official representation in Tunis since 1795. The American Friendship Treaty with Tunisia was signed in 1799 and since that date, the two states cooperated closely on several joint financial, economic and diplomatic projects. So, it's clear that Tunisia has been an important and pivotal friend of the US in Northern Africa and the ouster of Ben Ali following the pro-democracy revolution of Tunisian people seriously jeopardized the interests of Washington in the region.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Somebody must stop this terrorist!

Kourosh Ziabari - Press TV: The term "dictator" seems to be quite tender and mild for describing someone who has been ruling a country for more than 41 years and 178 days without assuming any responsibility before the international community for the felonies which he had been committing during these years.

The uncompromising tyrant of Libya Muammar Gaddafi who has just staged an all-out bloodbath in the big and small cities of his country, relentlessly opened fire against the defenseless citizens and unarmed civilians of Libya and killed more than 1,000 people in less than one week is seemingly approaching the ending days of his uncontested monarchy.

Muammar Gaddafi has just set the record of the longest serving non-royal leader of the world, followed by Cameroon's Paul Biya and Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh; however, it seems that the flamboyant dictator will not be able to celebrate the 42nd year of his government without trouble.

The American journalist Melissa Bell recently allude to an interesting point regarding Gaddafi's controversial and dishonorable life which may connotatively reveal the West's disagreement on how to deal with this notorious leader. "The Washington Post uses "Mammar Gaddafi." The Associated Press opts for "Gadhafi." The New York Times uses "Qaddafi." In 2009, ABC News reported 112 variations on [the spelling of his] name." And the Associated Press' Tom Breen hits the point, "will the Libyan leader lose power before the West agrees on how to spell his name?"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interview with Prof. Craig LaMay

Kourosh Ziabari - Craig LaMay is an associate professor of journalism at the Northwestern University. He is a former editorial director of the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center and editor of Media Studies Journal; and a former newspaper reporter. LaMay’s articles and commentaries have appeared on New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Communication and the Law and a number of other media outlets.

LaMay has published several books on journalism and mass media of which we can name Journalism and the Problem of Privacy (2003), Commercial Transformation of the Nonprofit Sector, with Burton Weisbrod (1998) and Abandoned in the Wasteland: Children, Television and the First Amendment with Newton Minow (1995).

Prof. LaMay joined me in an exclusive interview to discuss the constraints of journalism in the United States, freedom of speech in the EU, the performance of local magazines as opposed to the national news outlets and the gradual disappearance of traditional media with the emergence of new internet-based technologies.

What follows is the complete text of my interview with Prof. Craig LaMay of the Northwestern University.

Continues here

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Crusade of Western Media Against Islam

Kourosh Ziabari - As the Western governments add fuel to the fire of Islamophobic sentiments in their societies with inflammatory and rabble-rousing actions and statements, the Western media mischievously try their best to portray a lopsided, biased and prejudiced image of Muslims in an attempt which should be interpreted as an incontestable crusade against more than 25% of the world population.

Although it is arguable that the 9/11 attacks played in the hands of the United States and its European cronies to spread an all-encompassing wave of Islamophobic sentiments in the world and introduce the Muslims as the number one threat to the global peace and security, one should bear in mind that Muslims have been conventionally considered as the villains of the fables of the Western governments and despite their unquestionable and treasured services to the world, they never received a fair, justifiable and humane treatment by the superpowers, either from the deceitful, fraudulent and warmonger Russia that massacred some 50,000 innocent Muslims in Chechnya, or from the arrogant, bullying United States that incarcerated scores of innocent Muslims in its illegal, underground detention centers in Guantanamo bay and Abu Ghraib following the 9/11 attacks.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

UNSC: An Organization for Injustice

Kourosh Ziabari - Since its very inception in 1946, the United Nations Security Council demonstrated that it cannot be trusted as a podium of justice for the world countries, specially the oppressed and defenseless nations which eye the assistance and patronage of the powerful and economically influential nations for tackling their political predicaments and crises, and showed that it merely pursues the interests of its small bloc of five permanent members and undemocratically discriminates against a multitude of countries who don't have a say in the policies which directly affects them.

United Nations Security Council is said to be one of the principal organs within the operative system of the United Nations and is "allegedly" charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. The authorities possessed by UNSC are the establishment of peacekeeping missions, imposition of international sanctions and authorization of military actions whenever necessary.

UNSC has five permanent members: China, Russia, Britain, France and the United States. What's the reason? Why should the UNSC have permanent members which cannot be removed from power and must wield an unyielding and resolute authority to make decision over the international affairs? The answer is simple: these five countries are the victorious powers of the Second World War. Their victory in a war which took place and was concluded more than half a century ago minimally accounts for the eternality and endlessness of the power which they possess.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Failures of US champion of "change"

Kourosh Ziabari - Press TV: Barack Obama will be marking the seconding anniversary of assuming office as the 44th President of the United States next week.

Being the first African American who becomes the United States chief executive, Obama came to power thanks to his alluring electoral pledges which appealed to millions of Americans who were furious at the outlandish, hawkish policies of George W. Bush and didn't want to bring to power somebody who would follow Bush's trajectory.

So, the former Illinois democrat senator won the votes of more than 69 million Americans who had sought their ideals in Barack Obama's slogan of "Change."

One year after taking office as the US President, the Nobel Academy granted its Peace Prize to Obama, hoping that he could serve as an inspiring model for the leaders of the world to work for the establishment of change.

However, after less than 2 years since the beginning of his presidency, it gradually became clear that Barack Obama was not the unbeatable champion whom the American nation had imagined.

The statistics released by the St. Petersburg Times indicate that of more than 500 promises which Barack Obama made during his presidential campaign, only 132 ones were completely fulfilled, the rest being either stalled by the congress or broken by Obama himself. A number of other promises are in the progress of being fulfilled.

Continues here

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gun ownership in the United States

Kourosh Ziabari - Adopted on December 15, 1791, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution rules that the possession of firearms and ammunition for the purpose of self-defense is legitimate and legal under US law.

This amendment, which was ratified along with the rest of United States Bill of Rights, emphasizes the right of people to keep and bear arms.

According to a 2006 Gallup survey, some 34 percent of the citizens of the United States possess firearms. Thus there seem to be more than 200 million firearms in private hands.

Based on the statistics released by Reuters, from 1993 to 2000, the United States was the leading supplier of conventional arms to the developing world. In 1999, more than 4 million firearms were manufactured in the United States for domestic sale or export. The Reuters' report added that more than 300 US companies produce arms and ammunition annually; a fact that is incredible and mind-boggling.

What drew the attention of the international community to the issue of gun ownership in the United States once again was the heartrending murder of the assistant principal of Millard South High School, Vicki Kaspar, who was mortally shot by Robert Butler, a 17-year-old student of Lincoln (Nebraska) Southwest High School on January 5. The student was earlier suspended by Ms. Kaspar for driving a car across a Millard South athletic field. After killing the assistant principal, Butler committed suicide as he had previously announced.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Azeri govt. on path of deviation

Kourosh Ziabari - Press TV: Over the past weeks, global news websites and media outlets published reports from the Republic of Azerbaijan which did not appear pleasant and acceptable to more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

In Azerbaijan, where 93 percent of the population is Muslim, the restriction of the secular government on the Islamic headscarves being worn by the Muslim girls in schools and universities did not appeal to the people and sparked protests all over the country.

This controversial action follows similar anti-Islamic measures which the European countries have been adopting in line with their Islamophobic policies. The harassment of Muslims, attacking Islamic cultural centers, removing Muslims from key positions in the governmental offices, creating dissension and animosity between the Muslims and Christians in Muslim countries and banning Islamic dressing are among the measures which the European states have taken.

According to the latest reports, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Azerbaijan Ministry of Education on December 10, 2010 to protest the recent constraint imposed by the government on the Muslim girls who want to adhere to the Islamic dress code in public places.

This unprecedented and questionable decision by the autocratic government of Azerbaijan implies the state's inclination toward attracting the attention of the Western powers and pleasing them subserviently. It might also indicate Azerbaijan's willingness to lay the groundwork for joining the European Union in which there's no member state with a Muslim majority population. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Turkey are countries with Muslim majority population which have not been given access to the European Union.

Continues here

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

'Brazil; an emerging global superpower'

Kourosh Ziabari - Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva stepped down as Brazil's head of state on New Year's Eve, turning over power to the first female president of the Latin American country, which boasts a 121-year history of democracy.

Under the presidency of Lula, Brazil underwent a dramatic reformation in the areas of economy, education, technology, agriculture, health, science, energy, industry and foreign policy and took remarkable steps to achieve domestic and international breakthroughs and reduce its gap with the world's major economic and political superpowers.

Being the world's 5th largest country, Brazil has now taken the role of a political hub in the southern hemisphere which can be potentially a challenge to the hegemony of United States and its European allies in the north. Now, it is clearly confirmable that Brazil is one of the key players of the global south and can assume the leadership of developing nations and lead them toward a successful future.

Along with his other counterparts in the Latin America who have already demonstrated their firmness in denouncing Washington, Lula audaciously undermined and called into question the hegemonic imperialism of the United States at the same time as developing close ties with the White House and presented a Latin American model of Mahathir Muhammad's diplomacy concerning Washington: denying the tyranny and supremacy of the United States while benefiting from economic ties with her.

During the tenure of Mr. Lula da Silva, Brazil toiled tirelessly to catch up with developing nations and establish durable and sustainable ties with them.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Two years Ago: Israel's Deadly Offensive in the Gaza Strip

Kourosh Ziabari - On the eve of New Gregorian Year, the international community commemorates the second anniversary of Israel's deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the continuous blockade of the coastal sliver which has paralyzed the lives of more than 1.5 million impoverished Palestinians living there.

Two years ago and during the final days of 2008, Israel launched an all-out military attack on the Gaza Strip which, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, claimed the lives of 1,417 Palestinians, the majority of whom were innocent women and children. The military assault of the Israel Defense Forces also wounded 5,303 Palestinians, destroyed more than half of the basic infrastructure of the strip and displaced tens of thousands of defenseless civilians.

According to a report published by PCHR, "tens of thousands of Gaza residents continue to live a life of displacement."

"While the United Nations (UN) agencies and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have had the willingness and resources to support the re-construction of the houses Israel destroyed during the war, Israel continues to restrict the entry of construction materials, denying the victims from meaningful relief and from their right to adequate housing," the report continues.

As said by the PCHR report, the "extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly" is a grave breach of the 147th article of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

"The Ministry of Housing and Public Works in Gaza announced that 51,553 homes were destroyed or damaged [during the Operation Cast Lead]. Of those 3,336 homes were destroyed completely and 4,021 sustained major damages," the report adds.

Moreover, the statistics published by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) indicate that 2,276 Palestinian homes were destroyed completely during the Gaza offensive of which 1776 sustained major damage.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The collapsing hegemony of the West

Kourosh Ziabari - In its path towards becoming a regional and international superpower, Iran is achieving remarkable breakthroughs in science and technology which have started to flabbergast the rivals around the world, from the United States as a self-proclaimed absolute superpower in economy and science to the neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf region which are years from reaching self-sufficiency in meeting their domestic needs.

Historically, Iran has been known as a cradle of civilization and home to a number of leading scientists and scholars in various fields of knowledge and academic endeavor. Many of the world's prominent scientific accomplishments and discoveries were first brainstormed, proposed and realized in Iran and the international community owes to the Iranian scientists its familiarity and acquaintance with a number of outstanding scientific achievements.

In the contemporary age and since the victory of Islamic Revolution in 1979, a growing tendency towards scientific activities and scholarly research began to appear in Iran and the country's scientific developments attracted international attention ever more. Since the victory of Islamic Revolution, a number of high-ranking, prestigious universities were established in Iran and the number of university students increased dramatically. According to the statistics, the number of university students in the year 1978 would not exceed 150,000; however, as of 2009, there are more than 2.5 million students studying in the universities of Iran.