• 15 October 2009
  • Posted By Matt Sugrue
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

The Michael Ledeen Rumor Mill

The perennially incorrect Michael Ledeen has once again reported that Supreme Leader Khamenei is in a coma and on the verge of death. His most recent blog post is a rehash of his 2006 and 2007 reports. In a post that reads like a poorly-conceived screenplay, Ledeen claims that he has a very good source in Iran that has given him this information.

Ledeen’s continual reports that Ayatollah Khamenei is dead are starting to make him sound as though he is participating in a one-man version of Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch. Michael Ledeen: “Khamenei is dead; he is deceased; he is no more; he is bereft of life; he has shuffled off this mortal coil; he’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible; he is an ex-Khamenei.”

Ledeen has a long history of incorrect and false reporting. The Guardian points out that he was involved in spreading the incorrect report that Saddam Hussein attempted to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger. On the subject of Khamenei’s health, Robert Tait, the Guardian’s Tehran correspondent, said that:

Discussions about Khamenei’s health problems are legion. He has prostate cancer; he has lung cancer; he is an opium addict; he has lymphatic cancer; he has a mouth full of false teeth since a bomb attack 28 years ago that also cost him the use of an arm; doctors have given him at most two years to live. I don’t know how much, if any, of this is true. The fact that it’s going around at all is a measure of the hysteria surrounding the Iranian political scene.

Below is an abbreviated version of what Ledeen claims his source told him:

Here is what he/she says:

“Yesterday afternoon at 2.15PM local time, Khamenei collapsed and was taken to his special clinic. Nobody – except his son and the doctors – has since been allowed to get near him. His official, but secret, status is: “in the hands of the gods”…His condition had already seriously deteriorated over the last months, aggravated by his nervous condition due to [1] his inability to solve the problems created by his manipulation of the election results and the refusal of [a large part of] the population to accept this, plus [2] his loss of religious authority by means of the repeated condemnations of events by senior clerics…If he dies it is expected that immediately a bloody clash will develop between the powers behind Rafsanjani, who will immediately claim temporary religious authority and overall control, and the powers behind Achmadinejad who will scramble in order to regain control and ensure their survival.”

Posted By Matt Sugrue

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Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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