Tag Archives: iran

Utah vs. Axis of Evil: A Utah bill would ban investment in companies doing business in Iran

Tom is quoted in this article:

From last week’s City Weekly:
Utah vs. Axis of Evil: A Utah bill would ban investment in companies doing business in Iran

By Eric S. Peterson
Posted 12/27/2007

One Utah legislator has decided the state is ready to get off the sidelines and join the rumble against global terror by prohibiting the Utah Retirement System (URS) from investing in companies doing business in Iran.

While the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Julia Fisher, R-Fruit Heights, thinks it’s time for Utah to flex its muscle with Iran, some experts think Utah doesn’t have muscle worth flexing on the issue and shouldn’t try even if it did.

“The bill is intended to help undermine the economy of Iran, which has provided weapons to insurgents and al Qaeda operatives in Iraq and Afghanistan for use against our forces,” Fisher says of the proposed bill, which recently passed a legislative interim committee.

News broke earlier this month of a national intelligence report that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program four years ago. The findings directly contradicted President George W. Bush’s repeated statements that Iran was ramping up its nuclear capabilities and ignoring U.S. warnings to stop. But Fisher still agrees with the Bush administration that Iran supports terrorist organizations.

At the November interim meeting, Fisher invited Utah Highway Patrolman Chamberlain Neff to describe his service in Afghanistan. Neff, then a U.S. soldier, described routinely encountering Iranian weaponry in the hands of al Qaeda combatants during his tour of duty. “My friend Dustin Allison was five days in country when he got IED’d [injured by an improvised explosive device],” Neff said.

The bomb was made in Iran, Neff said, and not only injured his friend but killed the soldier who was training Allison to be his replacement. The trainer had been in Afghanistan for two years and, had he lived, would have returned home the following week.

By having URS divest from any foreign companies with Iranian connections, Fisher hopes to strike an economic blow to Iran. Some fear, however, that the legislation will merely contribute to the Bush administration’s bellicose posturing against Iran.

“It’s disturbing that people in our Legislature are focusing on questionable ‘outside’ enemies,” says Tom King, of Utah’s People for Peace and Justice. King worries this bill just puts Utah in lockstep with national war hawks readying for conflict with Iran.

Fisher doesn’t see it that way. In fact, she sees her legislation as a peaceful means of influencing Iran to change its policies. “Putting pressure on the government of Iran through economic pressure makes military conflict less likely, not more,” Fisher says.

While it seems a stretch to imagine Utah forcefully becoming a power player in the international diplomatic showdown between the United States and Iran, Fisher argues Utah’s role is crucial as part of a larger multistate campaign. Last October, California passed a similar divestment bill.

“As a smaller state alone, we cannot make a huge impact. However, we can contribute to a unified effort with the other states,” Fisher says.

Still, some experts doubt Utah will have much impact on Iran even as part of a larger coalition.

“In many cases all over the world, such economic boycotts have not produced any definitive results,” says Ibrahim Karawan, director of the University of Utah’s Middle East studies program. “I doubt the punitive actions of Utah will make Iran tremble.”

This concern was echoed by Dan Andersen, counsel for URS. “There’s just a question of this being pragmatically effective,” Andersen says. “If there is money to be made in Iran, then there is an endless reserve of global capital out there. If we pull our investments out, there will be plenty of willing investors who will buy up those interests.”

The fact that other foreign interests will pick up the slack of any investments Utah yanks out of Iran applies equally whether Utah acts alone or with larger states like California, Andersen says. He notes that implementing the bill would also be too costly for URS in trying to determine which companies invest in Iran.

Andersen says the exact cost of implementation hasn’t been determined. But he doubts the costs of implementation are worthwhile. “Of course, no one wants to promote terrorism, but if you’re not accomplishing anything, why are you spending so much?”

9/11 – “Safe” vs. “Dominated”

Today is the 6th anniversary of the assault on the World Trade Center in New York City which killed thousands of people.  It was a day that will be remembered throughout history no doubt.  But not JUST for the incident itself.  It was a day that began a dark chapter in U.S. history.

Normon Solomon, author of the newly released Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State”, has written the piece Six Years of 9/11 as a License to Kill

It evokes a tragedy that marks an epoch. From the outset, the warfare state has exploited “9/11,” a label at once too facile and too laden with historic weight — giving further power to the tacit political axiom that perception is reality.

“Sept. 11 changed everything” became a sudden cliche in news media. Words are supposed to mean something, and those words were — and are — preposterous. They speak of a USA enthralled with itself while reducing the rest of the world (its oceans and valleys and mountains and peoples) to little more than an extensive mirror to help us reflect on our centrality to the world. In an individual, we call that narcissism. In the nexus of media and politics, all too often, it’s called “patriotism.”

What happened on Sept. 11, 2001, was extraordinary and horrible by any measure. And certainly a crime against humanity. At the same time, it was a grisly addition to a history of human experience that has often included many thousands killed, en masse, by inhuman human choice. It is simply and complexly a factual matter that the U.S. government has participated in outright mass murders directly — in, for example, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Panama, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq — and less directly, through aid to armies terrorizing civilians in Nicaragua, Angola, East Timor and many other countries.

Today should serve as a reminder that our world is not any safer than before September 11, 2001.  The U.S. government has seen to that.  “Safer” isn’t the word.  “Dominated”, yes.

Easter Surprise Attack on Iran?

There have been articles and posts in various sources that indicate a  U.S. Military engagement against Iran could happen soon.

Bullying the World

That’s exactly what the U.S. is doing:

US Considers Naval Build-up as Warning to Iran.

The Bush administration is weighing options for a naval build-up in the Gulf as a show of force and a warning to Iran on its nuclear programme and its support for Shia militias in Iraq, it emerged yesterday.
Outgoing UN secretary general Kofi Annan said yesterday that military intervention in Iran would be “unwise and disastrous”, as the Security Council debated a resolution that would impose sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme. “I believe that the council, which is discussing the issue, will proceed cautiously and try and do whatever it can to get a negotiated settlement,” he said.
The latest draft resolution would order all countries to ban the supply of specified materials and technology that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear programmes.