SFD Short—Grand Theories


Well, like I can’t remember if but might have said last week, we’re back from hiatus and onto regular production again, which means a show for you this Monday.

It’s kind of an experimental one today, with a whole lot of half baked but interesting thoughts and an intermediate but definitely no final or satisfying conclusion.

So let me know what you think. If it’s a total zero, in the future I’ll make sure to keep everything under my hat until it’s done through. In either case, maybe more than on anything I’ve done so far, this is an episode that calls for feedback. So give it to me.

I’m on Twitter.

Iran V: The White Revolution


Here we are, the absolute last episode (I promise) before we get to the Iranian Revolution and, I think, the Iran-Iraq War.

In this episode, we’re covering the Shah’s White Revolution, the new liberal, socialist Shi’ite theologians like Shariati, and the dark reign of SAVAK in 1960s and 1970s Iran, along with the Shah’s famous birthday party for Iranian monarchy.

The Shah rang in the decade with a poorly-dated extravaganza attended by most of the ‘Free World’ heads of state, catered by Maxime’s of Paris and funded to the tune of anywhere from $17 to $200 million in 1970s dollars.

Complete with parades of Medes and ancient Persians

The party was supposed to mark, for the Shah, his assumption, finally, of full control, and of an authority equal to his father’s, and, presumably, the ancient kings of kings.

The party was, unfortunately for the Shah, also an indication of his total disconnect with his people. And to them, another example of the Iranian monarch’s profligate spending of what could, or might, have been the people’s share of Iranian petrodollars.

The knock-on effects of the Shah’s White Revolution, combined with distaste for American conduct, culture, and imposition, were beginning to create pervasive discontent with the Shah’s regime, both inside Iran and among its emigres in Europe and the United States. That Mohammad Reza Pahlavi failed to catch wind of that dissent was no surprise, as his brutal secret police, the Organization of Intelligence and National Security, or SAVAK, had been disappearing and torturing everyone who crossed the political line in the country, even in private, since the late 1950s.

 

The agency’s much-feared emblem

Set up with the help of the CIA and Mossad, SAVAK operated first with the help of the American General Herbert Norman Schwartzkopf, the father of the General Schwartzkopf you know from Desert Storm. Once the General died in 1958, a team of CIA advisers took over his role with SAVAK, which effectively repressed nearly all political expression in Iran and did its best to silence the expatriate communities overseas as well.

But this man, in exile in Najaf, was waiting in the wings. And it would only be a matter of time before the grand edifice the Shah had built would come tumbling down.

And last but never least, references.

Abrahamian, Ervand. The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations. New Press, 2013.

Abrahamian, Ervand. A History of Modern Iran. Cambridge, GB: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Abrahamian, Ervand. Iran: Between Two Revolutions.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982.

Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1974-1975 — Iran. 1 January 1975: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/pol10/001/1975/en/

Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1974-1975 — Iran. 1 June 1976: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/pol10/001/1975/en/

Axworthy, Michael. Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Baraheni, Reza. “Terror in Iran.” The New York Review of Books, 28 October 1976.

Byrne, Malcolm. “The Secret CIA History of the Iran Coup.” The National Security Archive, last modified 29 November 2000, http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/.

The Cambridge History of Iran: From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic. Edited by Peter Avery, Gavin Hambly and Charles Melville. Vol. VII. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Fanon, Franz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Weidenfeld1963.

Fatemi, N. S. 1985. “The Anglo Persian Agreement of 1919.” Encyclopaedia Iranica Vol II: 59.

Katouzian, Homa. The Political Economy of Modern Iran: Despotism and Pseudo-Modernism, 1926-1979. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1981.

Kinzer, Stephen. All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. Wiley, 2003.

Roosevelt, Kermit. Countercoup: The Struggle for Control of Iran. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1979.

Rothschild, Emily. “The Boom in the Death Business.” The New York Review of Books, 2 October, 1975.

Steel, Ronald. “Impossible Dreams.”  The New York Review of Books, 12 September 1968.

 

Audio Acknowledgements

Doctor Turtle. “Grow Grotesque.”

Doctor Turtle. “King Thumbscrew the Third.”

Interview with the Shah.” From “Shah of Iran,” BBC Documentary. Youtube.

IranAir TV Commercial in America 1970s.” Mardetanha. YouTube.

Iran, SAVAK, and the CIA: Financial Support and Training.” The Film Archives. YouTube.

 

Persian Folk Music.” Traditional Music Channel. YouTube.

 

President John F. Kennedy’s ‘Peace Speech’ at American University.” C-SPAN. YouTube.

Shah of Iran on the Issue of Torture.” Clip from “Crisis in Iran,” from the History Channel. YouTube.

SYND 7 8 76 THE SHAH OF IRAN AND HENRY KISSINGER AT PRESS CONFERENCE IN TEHRAN.” AP Archive. YouTube.

Unrest in Iran.” National Archives – National Security Council. Central Intelligence Agency. (09/18/1947 – 12/04/1981). – ARC 647011 / LI 263.400. YouTube.

SFD Short—Storming and Norming


Hey folks,

I know I’m running a little late on the next Iran show, but with some law school stuff, a family reunion, and a neat little piece I’m putting together on Ancient Aliens for The Awl all done by the end of this week, I should have that out soon.

In the meantime though, we’ve got this, following up on our last short about the erosion of democratic norms and the death of republics.

Mitch McConnell seems to be doing his level best to tear down what democracy we’ve got, and not in the service of the New Deal or the Great Society, but in an attempt to pry health insurance out of the hands of the poor to give a minuscule number of hyper-rich Americans a marginal tax cut.

History will not be kind to this monster.

Also, check out our Patreon!  We’ve now got at least one patron pledging $5 monthly, which means that SFD will now be producing a monthly news analysis show (which will be something like this short, but with a little more topical focus and a little like a spoken version of the news posts I was trying out for a while) for patrons who’ve signed up for $5 or more.

Conversation with Rob Morris—Iran v Saudi Arabia: Backing the Wrong Horse


Hey folks, does just about what it says on the box.

We’re having another conversation with Robert Morris of the More Freedom Foundation, a YouTube Channel (and a website) dedicated, at the moment, to exploring and exposing the toxic relationship the West has with Saudi Arabia and its poisonous effect on world Islam.

Rob’s a principled conservative. Like with actual principles, for a change

It’s a pretty great conversation, and if after you’ve heard it you’re interested in helping either Rob or me out with these projects we’ve got going, well, the first, easiest, and almost most helpful thing you can do is just to share these shows. Now that I’ve finally got social buttons up, it’s as easy as clicking to the right of your screen.

If you want to go one step beyond, though, both Rob and I (now) have Patreons. For very, very low monthly contributions, you can tap into what are, for Rob, an already extant, and for me, a soon to be blossoming, set of benefits and bonuses.

If you’re considering it at all, try to hop on soon, because for the first month, anybody who signs up on my page will, by way of Patreon’s referral system, also be helping Rob out.

Alright, housekeeping over, enjoy the show.

 

SFD Short—Death of the Republic


Hey everybody, so two things I’ve mentioned coming to fruition this week. First, I’m gonna be having another conversation with Rob Morris of the More Freedom Foundation like the one we did a few weeks ago. That is, if I can find a library study room around here where I’m in Tennessee for a family reunion. This’ll go down on Thursday afternoon, and I’ll let you know on Facebook when  it’s imminent. Get on while we’re doing it live to give us questions or comments, and leave them here or on the Face beforehand and we’ll get to them on Thursday.

The second thing is that we’ve now got a Patreon page at which you can support SFD! Namely, you can sign up to give me regular and very small amounts of cash every time I put up a show. Everybody wins.

Alright, this is about norms and the death of democracy. Enjoy, folks.

SFD Short—Alternate Realities


“Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass


Another SFD short brought to you already by SFD.

I’m going to be starting up a Patreon, probably sometime next week, and when I do, for the first thirty days, signing up with me will result in Patreon sending bonus cash to Robert Morris, the guy I talked to the other week.

So when I get on that, think about signing up for a buck a show so that I can keep making this podcast and keep eating beans and corn and, sometimes, squash.

Also chiles and corn fungus
Tried and true!

Keeping these brief, enjoy the show, tell your friends.

Iran IV: America’s Dictator


Hey folks. We’re getting on with it, but research and length got away from me again, and it’ll be another episode before we’re edging up towards Revolution.

For now, though, we’ve got the reign of the Shah. Here’s our boy at his coronation in ’67 with the incredibly British commentary that Pathé apparently monopolized:

The Shah’s greatest eventual antagonist was already pricking the king in the early 1960s, though. We usually see the Ayatollah Khomeini like this:

But he was a seminary student, once:

And, as soon as he grew the beard out, always bore a striking, striking resemblance to Sean Connery:

But while we’re more-or-less used to Khomeini’s glowering brows and (I’m just noticing now) sensual pout, his more liberal counterparts in the fluid Shi’ism of mid-1960s Iran have pretty much never been on our radar screens.

Here we’ve got Mahmud Talaqani, or Taleghani, depending on who’s doing the spelling, the also-Ayatollah who founded the Liberation Movement of Iran along with Mehdi Barzagan, one of Mossadegh’s proteges.

Talaqani was into liberationist, socialist Islam way before it was cool. Talaqani hammered out the early road with the politician Barzagan, but the guy that (Ervand Abrahamian and Michael Axworthy tell me) was the real ideologue of the Iranian Islamic left and a major part of the ’79 Revolution itself was Ali Shariati Mazinani:

We’ll have a whole host of other figures to get to next time, but for now, listen to the show, share it, tell your friends about it.

And last but never least, references.

Abrahamian, Ervand. The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations. New Press, 2013.

Abrahamian, Ervand. A History of Modern Iran. Cambridge, GB: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Abrahamian, Ervand. Iran: Between Two Revolutions.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982.

Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1974-1975 — Iran. 1 January 1975: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/pol10/001/1975/en/

Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1974-1975 — Iran. 1 June 1976: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/pol10/001/1975/en/

Axworthy, Michael. Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Baraheni, Reza. “Terror in Iran.” The New York Review of Books, 28 October 1976.

Byrne, Malcolm. “The Secret CIA History of the Iran Coup.” The National Security Archive, last modified 29 November 2000, http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/.

The Cambridge History of Iran: From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic. Edited by Peter Avery, Gavin Hambly and Charles Melville. Vol. VII. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Fanon, Franz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Weidenfeld1963.

Fatemi, N. S. 1985. “The Anglo Persian Agreement of 1919.” Encyclopaedia Iranica Vol II: 59.

Katouzian, Homa. The Political Economy of Modern Iran: Despotism and Pseudo-Modernism, 1926-1979. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1981.

Kinzer, Stephen. All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. Wiley, 2003.

Roosevelt, Kermit. Countercoup: The Struggle for Control of Iran. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1979.

Rothschild, Emily. “The Boom in the Death Business.” The New York Review of Books, 2 October, 1975.

Steel, Ronald. “Impossible Dreams.”  The New York Review of Books, 12 September 1968.

 

Audio Acknowledgements

Doctor Turtle. “Grow Grotesque.”

“Eisenhower Speaks about the Murder of JFK.” YouTube.

“Iran Military Assistance Advisory Group, 1962.” The Big Picture. YouTube.

John Foster Dulles Interview“, Longines Chronoscope, 1951thefilmarchive.org. (YouTube).

Persian Folk Music.” Traditional Music Channel. YouTube.

Premier Ali Amini of Iran in His Office.” CriticalPast. YouTube.

President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address.” CBS. YouTube.

President John F. Kennedy’s ‘Peace Speech’ at American University.” C-SPAN. YouTube.

The Shah of Iran and President Kennedy.” YouTube.

 

Conversation with Robert Morris of the More Freedom Foundation


I’ve been telling you folks about and pitching you on Rob Morris, who runs the More Freedom Foundation and its YouTube channel, for a couple of weeks now.

Rob’s a principled conservative. Like with actual principles, for a change

Well, we got together yesterday and sat down to talk about his new essay and video series, Everybody’s Lying About Islam, along with Iran and Mexico and a whole host of other stuff.

This turned out real well, and we’re thinking about doing some more collaborations real soon.

And for everybody who didn’t hear this live or get to participate in the pretty active livechat, if you’ve got any questions or comments you want to let us know about or have us address, leave them here or on the SFD Facebook page or on the video on YouTube itself.

Enjoy, guys.

 

SFD Short—Liberal Arts


This is the fourth short, adapted from something I wrote way back in the day when I was still fighting the good fight.

Back when I was in the Peace Corps. I told you guys I was in the Peace Corps, right? Peace Corps.

I told you folks last week that I’d be having a talk with Robert Morris of the More Freedom Foundation on YouTube Live this week. Well, turns out my internet here in Guadalajara absolutely will not support the Live part of that. So we’re still gonna chat, but we’re gonna record ourselves and I’ll slap the whole thing together afterwards.

In case you missed it last time:

Robert runs a YouTube channel called the More Freedom Foundation and his latest project is a series of short videos called Everybody’s Lying About Islam and it is dynamite. Try the first one on here, and watch the rest of them right afterwards:

Keep one eyeball on SFD’s or my social media and I’ll let you know where and how it’ll be.

SFD Short—Forgetfulness


This is the third short and the first entirely new one, although I’ll get it typed up and post it like any other blog and then link it here sometime this week.

The big news this time though is that sometime next week I’ll be having a long conversation with a guy named Robert Morris on YouTube Live that’ll become, soon after, a talky episode of SFD.

Robert runs a YouTube channel called the More Freedom Foundation and his latest project is a series of short videos called Everybody’s Lying About Islam and it is dynamite. Try the first one on here, and watch the rest of them right afterwards:

Keep one eyeball on SFD’s or my social media and I’ll let you know when the live thing’s going on. Either way, it’ll end up as a podcast and you’ll be able to get it however you normally do.