• 30 August 2011
  • Posted By David Shams
  • MEK

Louis Freeh offers FBI tour for Rajavi

“No one except the regime in Iran opposes the de-listing of the MEK,” Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI under two Presidents, said Friday at a rally in front of the Department of State supporting de-listing the MEK.

Excuse me? I am no fan of the current regime—nor are my parents, my Iranian friends, or the millions of Iranians who took to the streets after the June 2009 elections.  But for just about all of us, it’s beyond comprehension as to why delisting the MEK is even being discussed.

Yet Freeh writes us all off as regime supporters.

Freeh then promised to personally give a tour of FBI headquarters to MEK leader Maryam Rajavi if the MEK gets delisted.  It makes me wonder: if Hamas or Hizbollah started paying former officials $25K per speaking engagement, would they be able to tour the Hoover Building too?

It’s a shame that former public servants–Patrick Kennedy, Ed Rendell, and John Sano all spoke at the rally– have taken to promoting a cult-like organization with little to no support among Iranians, both inside and outside Iran. If these officials were to ask other Iranians, they’d find a deep seeded disgust for the MEK and the current regime.  They’d find that the Green Movement views de-listing of MEK as a gift to the regime.

There’s no correlation between dislike of the MEK and support for the regime.  They’re mutually exclusive positions; one doesn’t mean the other.

I dislike the regime because their paranoia keeps me from experiencing the land of my father’s birth—I’ve written too many unfavorable things about them to even remotely consider visiting now.  More than that, they’ve turned the country and its people, into hostages of their own sordid political game.

But the MEK isn’t any better.  They use the people at Camp Ashraf—and their members outside of Ashraf for that matter–as pawns to serve their own dreams for power. Any attempts at trying to close Ashraf, by allowing the people there to apply for refugee status, have been rebuffed by the MEK leadership.

One would think officials like Freeh would at least get all sides of the story before opening their mouths, but I guess $25,000 per pro-MEK appearance is enough to ignore the rest of us.  Or perhaps these guys are getting tripped upon their own twisted logic—if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then I guess the enemy of my enemy’s enemy is my…enemy?

Posted By David Shams

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7,350 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.



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