[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Pure Evil

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pure Evil

That's right. I said it.

The individuals running the Iranian government are pure evil. Too bad President Bush is one of the few world leaders with the guts to call a spade a spade.
Lined up against a dank stone wall, the captured British naval team steeled themselves for the end as masked guards cocked their weapons.

"Someone said, I quote: 'Lads, lads, I think we're going to get executed'," Royal Marine Joe Tindell said Friday, recounting events on the second night of what turned into a 13-day ordeal in Iranian custody.

The 21-year-old said the prisoners had believed they were being taken to the British Embassy in Tehran to be released, but were instead herded into a cell.

"We had a blindfold and plastic cuffs, hands behind our backs, heads against the wall. ... There were weapons cocking," Tindell told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

One shaken sailor became sick. In his own fright, Tindell mistook the sound from his crew mate. "As far as I was concerned he had just had his throat cut," Tindell said.

Remember those "honest confessions" made by the British sailors? Yeah right.

And, yes, remember that Iran "pardoned" the sailors for entering their waters, despite data which indicate that the sailors were in Iraqi waters when captured.

In the end, diplomacy worked this time. Maybe.

How many more times will Iran continue to provoke, incite and push the boundaries?

Better yet, how many more times will we have to put up with it?



Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

Actually this past Thursday it was revealed that this group of British soldiers were "right by the buffer zone with Iran." They were in trying to get intelligence about Iran within that disputed area. They seemed to understand that they were in putting themselves at risk.

This doesn't justify what Iran did. There's no excuse to detain anyone without evidence of wrongdoing which should be presented at a fair trial. But, neither does the event justify the any ultimatum given by the British or the US. The British patrol soldiers, and the British government have the burden to explain the purpose of why those soldiers were near disputed territory.


5:03 PM, April 07, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

Apparently the Iranians and you like to play with horseshoes and hand grenades. Come to think of it, so does fidel (see Brothers to the Rescue).

Big difference between "near" and "in". I don't think I have to explain the difference to you.

Bottom line: you don't snatch another country's military personnel just because they are close to your boundaries. Remember, Kuwait was pretty damn close to Iraq when it was invaded back in 1991.

8:58 PM, April 07, 2007  
Blogger Rick said...


You mean to tell me that torture doesn't work?!?!?


11:47 PM, April 07, 2007  
Blogger vbspurs said...

Oyeme, Robert, you are missed over at Sundries...

And here is wishing you and your little family a Feliz Pascua. :)


2:51 AM, April 08, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

I am actually more inclined to believe that these British soldiers did cross into Iranian waters.

And, just like Brothers to the Rescue, such risks may carry grave consequences.

2:36 PM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...



That's all I can honestly say.

4:17 PM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

I can sense the false assumptions you must be making. All operations (militaristic or not) must be justified in order to ACCEPT the attached risks and consequences.

If any operation is aimed at Iran, then all available options must be weighed and the best decision made. The best being that which carries the best results with minimal physical/health risks to those who directly operate, and those who are affected by the operation.

I have yet to hear from the British government an argument that justifies the operation of the British soldiers, and the risks they took, as the best option among other forms of intelligence gathering.

The same applies to the BTTR. Was the repeated flying near (and in some occasions inside) Cuban airspace, the BEST option available to spread the word about Cuban government repression, and whose operational risks were justified?

I personally don't think it was. What do you think?

4:53 PM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger Jonathan said...

What do you think?

I think you're awfully quick to give our enemies the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you're on their side.

What kind of regime shoots down a plane for dropping leaflets? Jeez.

Iran makes genocidal threats, kills hundreds of Americans in terrorist attacks over many years (and continuing now in Iraq) and is building nuclear bombs. They kidnap our allies in a carefully planned operation, yet you look for reasons to blame our allies.

Thug: "I had to hit that little old lady! She provoked me."

Judge Mambi Watch: "Case dismissed!"

6:05 PM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

These are cases of responsibility, not necessarily about pointing the finger. In the case of the captured soldiers by Iran, BOTH parties have certain responsibilities to explain and defend their actions. People (especially the citizens of those respective countries) will judge if those actions were the best among other possible actions.

The same applies to the shootdown of the BTTR. In this case, the Cuban government committed an assassination, and the Cuban citizens deserve to know why that action took place. In my opinion it was an indefensible action, but that opinion takes a different shape in Cuba, where the Cuban military is given great deference.

The US too has responsibility in the actions of the BTTR planes and the history of their flight actions. The US government knew and was warned that a shootdown was highly possible. Citizens of the US also deserve to know why the US took such restrained action against the flights of the BTTR.

12:11 PM, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Alex said...

MW, nice job of walking th fence, but it doesn't work. It doesn't matter how much deference the military is given in Cuba (and to what extent that "deference" is based on it being a totalitarian system, how do you know people really don't despise the army/mandatory service?) but facts are facts. The BTTR downing was a murder, plain and simple. It was an excessive show of force just because they can.

Suppose you and I meet on the street, we have a disagreement and you start shouting at me. Not the "BEST option available" to make your point, should I then draw a gun and shoot you? Would that be a reasonable response under any circumstances? I'm given great deference in my house, should that exclude me from a criminal trial?

It's bullshit. Ceaucescu, Saddam, Pinochet, Mugabe, et.al; all were given great deference inside their countries. That's why we have international criminal laws (that's why is also bullshit the US is not recognizing some of them).

10:05 AM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...


If you believe that I am giving any justification to the assassination of the BTTR, then you are wrong. My opinion is that it was a planned murder: assassination. But, I don't believe it was a simple show of force, or some kind of provocation like the recent capture of the British soldiers by Iran.

There's precedence of events that need to be considered and some understanding on how each side views the same event with different perspectives.

Fidel has recently written in Granma that he believes that the British soldiers captured by Iran is a similar story as the BTTR flights: provocation by violation of international boundaries.

Also, many Cuban groups on the island responded publicly in full support of what the Cuban government did for the simple fact that the BTTR planes had a history of violating Cuban airspace, and thus were defending themselves.

The facts are clear: the BTTR planes made flights into Cuban airspace more than once. And, its clear to see how the Cuban government saw it as a provocation. To me, and to other international organizations, the actions of the shootdown were unjustifiable, but not to the Cuban government. They saw it as defense. The same with Iran and the British soldiers. The same with the US and its "preemptive" action on Iraq. Everyone says its defensive.

So, your simple analogy is not totally accurate. If one wants to understand the actions of BOTH parties, then the shootdown of the BTTR planes should be seen as the result of the complex history between the US and Cuba. It cannot be summed up with one sentence. Your analogy also dismisses several important issues, that I am honestly surprised you would view the event with simple logic.

You are correct that the BTTR shootdown was a crime under international law, and the Cuban government should be targeted. But, ask yourself this: why hasn't the US, or anyone else, brought up the issue in the International Criminal Court as stipulated in the Helms Burton Act? Or how about the International Criminal Court?

I'm all for it, I'm sure many are too. So, why hasn't the US done so? Easy. The US would come out looking like a hypocrite. The US has publicly come out against the ICC and the ICJ, and has a long history of violating international law. To grant it any legitimacy would be to put itself in danger and under harsh criticism.

That's why the BTTR shootdown has been deemed a "local crime," and not subject to international jurisdiction, and why the Cuban pilots were indicted in the US and not in an international court.

So I don't know why you boast so much about "international criminal laws." Its obvious that you don't care about them. If you did then you would call out the US on this case. Its called being fair, not being "on the fence."

4:23 PM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger Alex said...

barking up the wrong tree MW. You must have missed the last sentence of my comment (it's the one between parenthesis). Should make clear how much I care about international criminal laws and the lack of endorsement by the US.

But it is a case of simple logic, not tortured rethoric like "deference" -how the crime is viewed by the regime or the history of confrontation doesn't really matter, because it's not a justification. To go back to my "simple analogy" (most times a the simplest analysis is the clearest) you could have been the most annoying person in the world and have a long history of provoking me. That won't be a defense in court if I shoot you.

You want to know what the shootdown was? It was a provocation by the hardliners in the Cuban government to force Clinton's hand and make him sign Helms-Burton. The embargo sanctions and the hardliners have a symbiotic relationship. Every time there have been signs of aperture between the two countries, Castro goes and do something completely irrational to foil it (Mariel, rafter crisis in 94, etc). At that point it made no sense to act rashly. Clinton had signaled more than once his desire for rapproachement. A few BTTR leaflets were not going to make that much of a difference, so why shoot them down? So you are right, it's not a simple relationship. It's not as one-sided as you paint it either.

8:46 PM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

Alex, the points that I have raised all belong to the case of the shootdown of the BTTR. The same points that were raised by the independent investigation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Yet, you accused me of "walking the fence." If these points are raised by an international court, will you accuse them of being equally non-condemning? A fair trial will weigh the past flights of the BTTR and would draw a decision of punishment based on those past transgressions. No court would just say this was just murder "plain and simple." Take a look at the report by the ICAO, they use equally condemning words for both parties. This is not walking the fence.

Also, you analogies are insufficient to formulate a clear picture of what led to February 24 1996. Yet, I don't have any disagreements with calling the specific act by the Cuban air force as calculated murder. But, in all acts that come before a court, we look at the history of events to make our judgments and not react by simple logic.

Your interpretation of a symbiotic oppositional relationship as a possible causal reason for the shootdown is interesting. Yet, I don't think it applies in this case. For every example that you cited (BTTR shootdown, Mariel, rafter crisis, etc.) the Cuban government always made attempts to the US to settle these events before they had catalyzed.

As far as I know, the Clinton administration was not making any attempts for rapprochement. The administration was told about the BTTR flights over Cuba, and they did nothing. That's not rapprochement. Neither did Clinton make any attempts to settle any other dispute directly with the Cuban government. That's real rapprochement.

12:29 AM, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

Oh and sorry about saying that you don't care about international criminal laws. I may have jumped the gun. Though I haven't seen you write anything about international laws on your posts that I have read. But, one thing that international law is founded on is the principle of universality. In which case, those who have the most responsibility in its application and practice should be the first to be scrutinized. Such as the most developed nations. The US in the case of the BTTR. And the UK in the case of the British soldiers.

12:38 AM, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Alex said...

The ICAO is not a criminal tribunal. The report just establishes the facts (where the planes were), it makes no judgment as to whom is at fault.

As far as Clinton and rapproachement: Clinton started his Cuba policy by fulfilling an electoral promise, signing Torricelli, but then went on to further contacts, weakening or not enforcing embargo provisions such as travel and yes, even direct negotiations (inmigration agreement of 1994). After 1996 (ironically the BTTR shootdown gave Clinton a golden opportunity to act though on Castro and win the CA vote in the elections) it all went down the tubes until 1999, when he allowed food and medicine sale, trade delegations, etc.

Which you know, I don't discard it was part of the plan all along. Castro wants the embargo in place, with the food and medicines excluded, something he was not going to get with Dole. It worked in a perfect way for him.

10:35 AM, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

I know ICAO is not a tribunal. Yet the facts presented by that report would resurface in any international court, as I tried to suggest.

You're correct. Clinton's support for the "Cuban Democracy Act" of 1992 was purely political, as he most likely was against the bill, just as Bush I was. Both overlooked their ambivalence and warnings of its extraterritorial nature so they could win votes. But, then again Clinton's entire Cuba policy was a political game. He basically followed the lead of CANF and other anti-Castro groups. The 1994 immigration agreement was not cordial at all. The US gave in, this is not rapprochement. To this day immigration between Cuba and the US is a disaster.

Your idea of a "plan" is too perfect. It negates all possible options that could've hurt both sides. Too risky, especially for Cuba.

But lets discuss it at another time. Had fun. Last word is yours.

3:54 PM, April 12, 2007  

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