Sunday, December 25, 2011

Troll and Response: A Follow-Up

In response to my recent article1 about Alan Dershowitz's continued warmongering and lying about the legality (and morality) of an unprovoked first-strike on Iran by Israel, an internet troll often identifying himself as "Hamid" has posted identical comments on a number of websites where my article appeared, including Foreign Policy Journal2 and Media With Conscience3.

Though the comments themselves are quite unimpressive, I am flattered that my writing is deemed troll-worthy by Zionist apologists and Dershowitz defenders. Hilariously, at one point, the troll's overzealousness betrayed his own manufactured authenticity. In response to a comment by Foreign Policy Journal editor Jeremy Hammond, the troll posted three identical comments in quick succession, using three different generic Iranian names:


Not one to let silly nonsense go unaddressed (though I really should), I replied to "Hamid" and will, for posterity, post both the original troll comments and my response below. I have left "Hamid"'s comments exactly as they appeared on Media With Conscience, where I first read them. My own comment, first posted at MWC, has been edited ever so slightly for clarity and to more attractively embed source links.


Hamid - December 23, 2011

Dershowitz, is realistic. As I said earlier this
article is loaded with misrepresentations, and venom. Dershowitz is not
wrong on Israel’s right to defend herself from the evil axis, Iran
Ayatollahs, and the Jishadist everywhre. Dershowitz is right on target.
See this link and understand what this author,Nima Shirazi, is
defending: “Death to America” chants in Iran this recent Dec. 15, 2011 video:Jordanian
Sheik Nader Tamimi, Mufti of the Palestinian Liberation Army, to the
West: We Will Restore the Caliphate and You Will Pay the Jizya “or Else
We Will Bring the Sword to Your Necks”

Hamid - December 23, 2011

This article does not have only a slew of misrepresentations and
falsehoods but also is out of context and misleading. It also shows a
vicious intention to demolish Dershowitz because one of his expertises
is criminal defense and criminal defendants thus sought his advice.
Dershowitz in all the cases cited by Shirazi was hired as a consultant
not as their attorney. And he has never “worked tirelessly” to defend
real criminals or child rape. Adolf Eichman too had Robert Servatius as
his defense lawyer. All the prosecuted neo-Naziz in Canada found in
Doug Christie a very effective defense lawyer. Why doesn’t Shiraz blame
Christie and Servatius for defending obvious criminals? By focusing on
Dershowitz, Shiraz shows his naked bias, which surely weakens his case,
if he ever had one.
However, this whole false characterization of
Dershowitz have nothing to do with the statement of Dershowitz
regarding Israel’s legal, moral and political right to defend her
citizens from vicious mad men, killers/terrorist Hamas/Hizaballah
proxies of Iran who for years openly proclaim statements that their goal
is to ‘wipe Israel of the Map’ conveniently omitting the fact that
these terrorists hide behind children, old man and women and stoop to
Further this statement “one can simply read his
justifications for the murder of civilians, as long as they’re Arabs
and/or Muslims.” is false. Check Shirazi’s own citation. And to cite the
Dersh, is beyond the pale! And “preemptive attack” is legal, only
logical and has always been so. Who is in the right mind would wait for
an enemy to attack knowing so? You? On “preemptive strikes” Shiraz
doesn’t know what he is talking about. There is a customary right of
“anticipatory self-defense” under international law. This goes well
beyond Article 51 of the UN Charter and finds its sources in the 17th
and 18th century, with the words of Hugo Grotius and Emmerich de Vatel.
Article 51 of the UN Charter does not overrise the customary rights of
anticipatory self-defense. With the advent of nuclear threats and
Islamic terrorism, anticipatory self-defense has a far greater
importance now than it had then because, simply stated, “international
law is not a suicidal pact” in the words of Louis René Beres.
addition, while it is true that the world raised hell when the Israelis
erased the Osiraq nuclear reactor in Iraq, the author fails to mention
that when the smoke evaporated and a few years later, the world couldn’t
have enough good words to thank the Israelis for doing so including
rational, kind, informed and peaceful Arabs and or Muslims!
would note that one can only deduce that it is apt to call Shirazi’s
diatribe and it seems this website too: “The Warped Morality of
Warmongers” since what he et al herein do is precisely defend terrorism
and hatred. Lumped in the same hornet’s nest with Richard Falk and
others, you lose all credibility.
Anybody who’s walking on clouds is apt to be carried away. — Franklin P. Jones (1906-????)
ONE CAN SAY a lot MORE, BUT THIS WILL SUFFICE. Indeed as long as
Shirazi uses fake references about Dershowitz, it is not worth the time
and attention of anyone who cares for truth and peace.

Here's my response:
Thank you for the dazzling tutorial in hasbara, Hamid, I'm sure readers here appreciate it as much as I do.

Your reliance on silly terms like "evil axis," "jihadists," "vicious mad men" and "killers/terrorist Hamas/Hizaballah proxies of Iran" and promotion of nonsense by well-known Likudnik propaganda outlet MEMRI4 condemns your entire discourse to absurdity - your 'clash of civilizations' worldview is as embarrassing as your racism and ignorance.

[As a side note, before I continue, MEMRI's Board of Directors and Board of Advisers reads as a veritable Who's Who of warmongering NeoCons, career Islamophobes, and Zionist apologists, including Elliott Abrams, Steve Emerson, Bernard Lewis, Elie Wiesel, Michael Hayden, Donald Rumsfeld, James Woolsey, John Ashcroft, John Bolton, Ehud Barak, Mort Zuckerman, Michael Mukasey, Norman Podhoretz, Paul Bremer, Natan Sharansky, Edgar Bronfman and - guess who?! - Professor Alan M. Dershowitz, esquire himself.]

You write that "'preemptive attack' is legal, only logical and has always been so" and that I don't know what I'm talking about, yet your reference for such a claim is the lunatic rambling of Louis René Beres, who you fail to properly credit with providing the supremely faulty source material for your argument, choosing instead to essentially plagiarize his call for an illegal assault on Iran while giving him only a passing mention in your comment.

First, let's examine Beres. According to the right-wing "International Analyst Network", he has lectured at the "BESA Center for Strategic Studies [Bar-Ilan University], the Dayan Forum, the Likud Security Group, the Likud Chamber, the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies and the National Defense College (Israel Defense Forces)."5

In addition to working on projects for the U.S. Department of Defense, he has also coordinated with the hawkish Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), is on the Advisory Board of Israeli think tanks such as the NATIV Center for Policy Research and the Ariel Center for Policy Research, and was the Chair of "Project Daniel", an Israeli commission formed in 2003 to advise then-Israeli Prime Minister/war criminal Ariel Sharon on how best to attack Iran, among other appalling recommendations.6

In short, he is a right-wing ideologue who serves almost exclusively as a shill for Israeli warmongering.

His weird obsession with justifying "anticipatory self-defense" as a valid and legal doctrine to be used by Israel or the U.S. to bomb Iran relies solely on fabricated alarmism, the willful dismissal of factual information, and a wholly false representation of both the reality of the Iranian nuclear energy program and Iran's own defense doctrine.

Most of what you write, and which you fail to directly attribute to Beres, is taken from his July 24, 2005 article in The Washington Times entitled, simply, "Anticipatory self-defense."7 This piece is just a rehash of Beres' own previous writing and utilizes a few constantly repeated canards of his own creation, phrases with which Beres is obvious proud of himself for. One is the snappy straw man, "International law is not a suicide pact" (he uses this twice in this very article); the other is that "There can never be any stable balance of terror in the Middle East" (this actually doesn't mean anything at all, since it relies on defining "terror" only in the way Beres himself does).

In his Washington Times article (as he has elsewhere), Beres argues - shamefully unconvincingly, I might add - that based on the writings of 17th Century Dutch scholar Hugo Grotius and 18th Century Swedish jurist Emmerich de Vattel, international law grants nations the individual authority to attack another country "pre-emptively" if "the danger posed is 'instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation.'"

As I discussed in my own piece, this idea of "anticipatory self-defense" - which relies on the concept that an attack is imminent, explicit, and unavoidable - is in no way applicable to Iran with regards to Israel, let alone the United States, for myriad reasons, among them: Iran has no active nuclear weapons program nor has any decision been made within the Iranian government to activate such a program; even by the most stark predictions, based on a faulty premise of an active push for such weaponization of its nuclear program, an imaginary Iranian nuke would still be years away from a reality - an allegation that has been made repeatedly for nearly three decades now;8 Iran has consistently denied any intention of building nuclear weapons9 or attacking any foreign country10.

Naturally, one can believe Iran isn't telling the truth and has sinister intentions (despite the fact that there is literally no evidence to back up this assertion), but claiming that Iran has "openly" threatened any nation - including Israel - with aggressive, military force is totally and categorically false. For instance, Hamid's allegation that Iran has "for years openly proclaim[ed] statements that their goal is to ‘wipe Israel of the Map’" is demonstrably incorrect. It is a lie that has been debunked over11 and over12 and over13 and over14 and over15 and over16 and over17 and over18 and over19 again. Even the Washington Post finally agreed this year that this lame, repeated propaganda point isn't accurate.20 No amount of appealing to Hamid's beloved MEMRI will turn this lie into a truth (and actually, MEMRI itself translated Ahmadinejad's 2005 comment this way: "Imam [Khomeini] said: 'This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history'" and makes clear, unequivocal parallels to the toppling of other entrenched regimes such as the Shah's Iran, the Soviet Union, and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.21 My condolences.

Beres' own argument in favor of "anticipatory self-defense" rests not on the dubious legality of such an action, but instead on the hasbaric assumption that Iran is a suicidal martyr state that is willing to see itself destroyed in order to obliterate (to use Madame Secretary Clinton's genocidal parlance) Israel. This argument too is overused, overwrought and totally ridiculous. (It's also been addressed and debunked endlessly; see my own piece & Matt Duss' over at Foreign Policy, for example.)

Even taken at face value, the contention makes no sense. Why would a supposedly fanatical Islamist government that has acted in its own best interest and its ultimate interest of survival and maintenance of sovereignty, stability, and power for thirty years, sacrifice itself and its 74 million citizens - about 98% of whom are Muslim - in order to exterminate 6 million Israeli Jews and destroy the State of Israel, home to the third holiest site in Islam, centuries of Islamic history, and millions of Palestinians? Furthermore, if the Iranian government would go to such insane lengths just to kill some Jewish people and ensure its own destruction, why wouldn't it first set its sights on an easier target: the 25,000 Iranian Jews living right there in the Islamic Republic? Oh right, because the entire premise of this argument is irrational and stupid. (See here for further discussion of Jews in Iran: Jonathan Cook in The Guardian & Roger Cohen in The New York Times).

Without the premise of what Beres describes as "a suicide-bomber writ large — a state willing to 'die' to achieve certain presumed religious obligations," none of his supposed "legal" arguments hold any water or make any sense. (Even with the premise, "pre-emptive" and "anticipatory self-defense" is still completely and totally illegal until an Iranian army is amassed on the Green Line or an extant nuclear weapon is pointed at Tel Aviv - neither of which is ever going to happen.)

Beres, and the uncritical, ignorant parrots like Hamid who promote his work as anything other than complete garbage, has but one objective: to completely invert reality in a never-ending effort to portray Iran as a nuclear aggressor (one without a single nuclear bomb or means to deliver one, mind you) and Israel as a perpetual underdog victim (one with an arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons and which has a historical track record of ethnically cleansing an indigenous population, actively engaging in colonial expansionism, invading and occupying foreign lands, committing war crimes, institutionalizing apartheid and which continually22 threatens23 to attack Iran).

One wonders, if Beres (and Hamid) actually believe Israel has a "right" to "pre-emptively" attack Iran, why do they not grant this very "right" to Iran itself? Since Israel consistently threatens Iran with an unprovoked assault, shouldn't Iran claim the "anticipatory self-defense" doctrine to launch a "pre-emptive" strike on a country dedicated to aggressive confrontation and with the military means to actually engage in such an act? The answer is obvious to people like Beres and Hamid: only Israel or the U.S. has the "right" engage in illegal assaults on sovereign nations; conversely, Iran, not being Israel or the U.S., has no such right to defend itself under seemingly similar circumstances.

As such, Hamid's contention that he is someone who "cares for truth and peace" would be shameful, if only it weren't so laughable.

Merry Christmas and better luck next time,

Nima Shirazi

P.S. Incidentally, despite claiming that "Dershowitz in all the cases cited by Shirazi was hired as a consultant not as their attorney," Hamid happens to be wrong. Dershowitz was indeed Claus von Bulow's lawyer (not simply an adviser) and has also defended war criminals such as Johan Tarculovski.24 It is true, though, that lawyers are often in a position of defending abhorrent characters and such defense does not indicate a lawyer's own personal connection to his or her client's guilt, innocence, motives, or ideology. Actually, Dershowitz - who has spent most of his legal career as a professor rather than a litigator - generally takes on cases that pay well and increase his own celebrity and public visibility, not necessarily clients he ideologically agrees with.

Hamid is however correct to note that the single half-sentence I dedicated to Dershowitz's resume is largely irrelevant to the other 2,800 words in my original article.



December 26, 2011 - "Hamid" continues the hilarity. In answering my own response, he has posted the following comments (again on multiple sites):

click to enlarge



a long time nima supporter said...

Nima, you're great man.i love the fact you got these people squirming in their seat.

Mohsen said...

Hey Nima, isn't it strange when we are in a party with our Iranian friends one never so much venom being poured on Iran, but when we get on the internet and browse through Iranian websites one sees so much anti Iranian comments in the comment section with Iranian names. Isn't it a little obvious who is posting these comments and why. I have read so many news reports about how israel has thousands and thousands of hasbara agents sitting behind keyboards pretending to be Iranians (or Arabs on Arab website) trying to divert the discussions in favor of Israel and to brain wash the masses. Only a fool believes a word of what they have to say.