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April 19, 2016 0

The Iranian Regime Has Not Changed

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This blog orig­i­nally appeared on Medium

Iran Deal-condensed

Talks in Geneva over the Iran Deal in 2015.

A lit­tle over a year ago, the Anti-Defamation League reacted to the newly announced para­me­ters of the agree­ment between the world pow­ers and Iran, say­ing it left us with “many unan­swered ques­tions” about Iran’s nuclear pro­gram and the Islamic Republic’s inten­tion to fully and trans­par­ently uphold its com­mit­ments. “The Iran­ian regime has not changed, “ADL said then, “and we do not expect a change in its behavior.”

A year later, and months into the imple­men­ta­tion of that agree­ment, there is no clear evi­dence that Iran is vio­lat­ing its com­mit­ments, although our ques­tions on Iran’s true inten­tions regard­ing its long-term nuclear ambi­tions remain.

These ques­tions are more impor­tant than ever with ongo­ing debate tak­ing place in Wash­ing­ton over whether the Obama Admin­is­tra­tion should take more steps to facil­i­tate inter­na­tional bank­ing trans­ac­tions and trade between Iran and other states.

With this dis­cus­sion under­way, it’s timely to review the pre­dic­tions made by some experts that the agree­ment would lead to a more mod­er­ate and con­struc­tive Iran. Some opined that the deal would usher in a new approach, mak­ing it a fit­ting mem­ber of the com­mu­nity of nations. The steady pace of com­mer­cial and diplo­matic del­e­ga­tions vis­it­ing Tehran might lead one to believe that there is a glas­nost afoot.

Yet while there may be improved p.r., the regime has changed very lit­tle. It con­tin­ues to dis­play lit­tle regard for the human rights of its own cit­i­zens. It main­tains its poli­cies of regional aggres­sion includ­ing weapons devel­op­ment and test­ing. And it has not slowed its sup­port of ter­ror­ism and spread of base hatreds against Israel and its Jew­ish peo­ple. Indeed, just this week the sup­pos­edly reformed minded Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani called for vig­i­lance “against the dan­ger of the Zion­ist regime” and accused it of “con­tin­ued massacres.”

So much for change.

Unceas­ing Human Rights Vio­la­tions

Iran’s fail­ure to change, despite hopes for greater “open­ness” and “mod­er­a­tion” is most evi­dent in its abysmal human rights record. As the Spe­cial Rap­por­teur for Human Rights in Iran, Ahmed Sha­heed, recently told the U.N. Human Rights Coun­cil, there “is an alarm­ing surge in the rate of unlaw­ful exe­cu­tions in the coun­try, and ongo­ing arbi­trary arrests, deten­tions and pros­e­cu­tions of indi­vid­u­als for the exer­cise of their fun­da­men­tal rights.“ In 2015, accord­ing to offi­cial gov­ern­ment records at least 966 peo­ple were exe­cuted — the high­est num­ber since 1989, and 10 times as much as a decade ago. Grass­roots reports pro­vide higher rates.

Amnesty Inter­na­tional reports that Iran is the world’s lead­ing execu­tor of juve­niles — and at least 160 indi­vid­u­als under the age of 18 are cur­rently on death row. The Spe­cial Rap­por­teur reported that just since Jan­u­ary, “at least 47 jour­nal­ists and social media activists were report­edly detained in the coun­try …and over 272 inter­net cafe busi­nesses were report­edly closed in 2015 for their alleged ‘threat to soci­etal norms and values.’”

Iran con­tin­ues to per­se­cute reli­gious minori­ties, par­tic­u­larly the Baha’i com­mu­nity, restrict­ing their rights, as the Spe­cial Rap­por­teur said, to “openly man­i­fest their beliefs, to edu­cate their chil­dren, and to earn a liv­ing.” One recent exam­ple: Iran impris­oned a young Baha’i woman whose sole crime was protest­ing the poli­cies that pre­vented her from pur­su­ing higher education.

A legal sys­tem estab­lished by a gov­ern­ment that accords sec­ond class sta­tus to a spe­cific cat­e­gory of its own cit­i­zens, restrict­ing their access to basic ser­vices like edu­ca­tion and shrink­ing their basic civil rights is unacceptable.

Push­ing the enve­lope on aggres­sive weaponry

Pres­i­dent Obama recently said that while “Iran, so far, has fol­lowed the let­ter of the (nuclear) agree­ment” it is under­min­ing the “spirit of the agree­ment” with its “provoca­tive” actions. Most egre­giously, Iran thumbed its nose at the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity with its March launch of long-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles — an action restricted by UN Secu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 2231.

An aerial view of a heavy-water production plant, which went into operation despite U.N. demands that Iran roll back its nuclear program, in the central Iranian town of Arak, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2006. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared Saturday, after the inauguration of the plant, that his nation's controversial nuclear program poses no threat to any other country, even Israel "which is a definite enemy."  (AP Photo/ ISNA, Arash Khamoushi)

An aer­ial view of a heavy-water pro­duc­tion plant, which went into oper­a­tion despite U.N. demands that Iran roll back its nuclear pro­gram, in the cen­tral Iran­ian town of Arak, Sat­ur­day, Aug. 26, 2006. (AP Photo/ ISNA, Arash Khamoushi)

Four of the six world pow­ers who signed the Iran­ian agree­ment — the U.S., U.K., France and Ger­many — sent a let­ter to the heads of the U.N. and Secu­rity Coun­cil call­ing Iran’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile oper­a­tions “incon­sis­tent with” and “in defi­ance of” the Secu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion which bars mis­siles that could carry nuclear weapons. In an omi­nous wink to the coun­try Iran has most pub­licly threat­ened, the Iran­ian news agency Fars said one of the mis­siles tested on March 6 had “Israel must be wiped off the Earth,” writ­ten along its side in Hebrew.

And it’s not just bal­lis­tic mis­siles. In a recent Iran­ian news report, Brigadier Gen­eral Hos­sein Salami of the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards threat­ened: “The Zion­ist regime will col­lapse in the near future. When Hezbol­lah has stock­piled over 100,000 mis­siles, it means Iran has tens of times more than that. Iran is in pos­ses­sion of dif­fer­ent classes of mis­siles, and this power is unstop­pable.” Around the same time, offi­cials in the city of Lamard held a mil­i­tary train­ing pro­gram for chil­dren with the goal of “con­quer­ing Tel Aviv.”

And the weapons pro­lif­er­a­tion is not just related to Israel. Three times in the last two months, U.S. Naval ships have seized large caches of weaponsbelieved to be sent by Iran intended for Houthi rebels in Yemen. And oth­ers have reported exten­sively on the con­tin­ued train­ing and weapons deploy­ment in Syria in sup­port of the Assad gov­ern­ment whose bru­tal­iza­tion of its own cit­i­zenry insti­gated the civil war that con­tin­ues to wrack the coun­try and desta­bi­lize the region.

Con­tin­ued cam­paign to destroy Israel and its Jew­ish population

Mean­while, even as Iran puts on a pub­lic face to court inter­na­tional busi­ness and invest­ment, its pro­pa­ganda machine churns out base con­spir­acy the­o­ries about Jews and Israel. A recent absurd alle­ga­tion asserted that imports of “genet­i­cally mod­i­fied prod­ucts are a ‘Zion­ist plot’ to infect Ira­ni­ans with dis­eases and a ‘seri­ous exam­ple of infil­tra­tion.’ And, while Pres­i­dent Rouhani has not touted the issue like his pre­de­ces­sor Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad had, it is appar­ent that Holo­caust denial and mock­ery are very much alive and well within Iran­ian soci­ety, with aca­d­e­mic exam­i­na­tions of the issue and car­toon contests.

The Jew­ish fes­ti­val of Purim, which com­mem­o­rates ancient Persia’s Queen Esther and Mordechai’s sav­ing of the Jews from the evil Haman who planned to kill them all, has long pro­vided anti-Semitic fod­der in Iran. Point­ing to the Book of Esther’s telling that after Haman was killed, 75,000 Per­sians were slain, Ira­ni­ans have manip­u­lated this ancient story and pre­sented it as a “holo­caust” and “geno­cide” per­pe­trated by the Jews against Ira­ni­ans, and the real source of alleged Jew­ish hos­til­ity toward Iran.

Iran - Anti-Israel Slogan Blog 2015

In a recent arti­cle enti­tled “Purim: the Iran­ian Holo­caust by Jews, A Cel­e­bra­tion of Half a Mil­lion Iran­ian Mas­sa­cred” in Gha­treh, asserted: “Zion­ists’ hatred and jeal­ousy of the ancient his­tory and glo­ri­ous civ­i­liza­tion of Iran for their sci­en­tific advances and their his­tor­i­cal achieve­ments, par­tic­u­larly after the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion is not some­thing they can hide. The Zionist’s infe­ri­or­ity feel­ing toward the great­ness of the Iran­ian nation has a his­tor­i­cal root. By one glance to the his­tor­i­cal con­text and events that hap­pened between Ira­ni­ans and this peo­ple prove the fact. After Cyrus as a ruler who was a seeker for jus­tice, released cap­tive Jews from Baby­lo­nia, he never imag­ined the same peo­ple after few years would carry out a creep­ing coup against Iran and Ira­ni­ans and respond to the kind­ness of Ira­ni­ans, would be bru­tal slaugh­ter of them.”

It is galling to see the Islamic Repub­lic gain acco­lades for tweets in Eng­lish around Rosh Hashanah while its sup­port­ers use Farsi to issue such anti-Semitic screeds that seem like updated ver­sions of the Pro­to­cols of Zion.

In con­clu­sion, a year after the path was forged to the nuclear agree­ment with Iran much has changed. Pres­i­dent Rouhani trav­eled to Rome and Paris to pro­mote trade and eco­nomic part­ner­ship with Iran. Iran was a key par­tic­i­pant in the talks lead­ing to a cease­fire in Syria — much to the con­ster­na­tion of its Per­sian Gulf rivals. Iran finally released four Amer­i­can pris­on­ers it had been hold­ing, includ­ing Wash­ing­ton Post bureau chief Jason Rezaian.

But when it comes to its inter­nal illib­eral poli­cies, human rights vio­la­tions, the spread­ing of hate against Jews and its con­tin­ued mil­i­tancy against its neigh­bors, the past year has made no dif­fer­ence. As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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March 28, 2016 4

Hacker Claims Credit for Anti-Semitic Flyer Sent to College Campuses

Col­leges around the coun­try, large and small, pub­lic and pri­vate, con­tinue to receive anti-Semitic fly­ers blam­ing Jews for destroy­ing the coun­try “through mass immi­gra­tion and degen­er­acy” and ask­ing peo­ple to “join us in the strug­gle for global white supremacy.” Hacker Andrew Auern­heimer (also known as Weev) has claimed credit for exploit­ing net­work print­ers at these col­leges to print these flyers.

Andrew Auernheimer in a photo posted on the Daily Stormer in 2014

Andrew Auern­heimer in a photo posted on the Daily Stormer in 2014

Auern­heimer, an unabashed racist and anti-Semite wrote a post­ing on Storify on March 25 about how he used a few lines of code to seek out inse­cure print­ers and then caused those print­ers to auto­mat­i­cally print out the anti-Semitic flyer. Auern­heimer elab­o­rated on his moti­va­tion in his post­ing: “The key to mak­ing impact in the world is not being the smartest or know­ing the most. It’s about oper­at­ing asym­met­ri­cally at scale. Expend the least amount of effort for the most amount of things hap­pen­ing.” Auern­heimer chose his mes­sage because “When you’re print­ing on the scale of tens or hun­dreds of thou­sands of print­ers, every increase in com­plex­ity makes more print­ers reject the mes­sage.” He added, “With scale you should pre­fer ele­gance over com­plex­ity, and what could pos­si­bly be more ele­gant than the inher­ent beauty of the swastika?”

Because Auernheimer’s code is rel­a­tively sim­ple and he posted it online, it seems likely that oth­ers will repro­duce what Auern­heimer describes as his “brief exper­i­ment.” He wrote on Twit­ter that “the copy­cats are already here,” not­ing another round of hate­ful fly­ers were printed at UMass– Amherst.

In a March 27 inter­view with Moth­er­board, Auern­heimer defended his actions, stat­ing “I did not hack any print­ers. I sent them mes­sages because they were con­fig­ured to receive mes­sages from the public.”

Anti-Semitic flyer sent to a number of college campus printers

Anti-Semitic flyer sent to a num­ber of col­lege cam­pus printers

Auern­heimer was sen­tenced to 3.5 years in prison in March 2013, report­edly charged with fed­eral crimes for obtain­ing the per­sonal data of more than 100,000 iPad own­ers from AT&T’s pub­licly acces­si­ble web­site.  In April 2014, accord­ing to Arstech­nica, an appeals court reversed Auernheimer’s con­vic­tion and sen­tence because he was “charged in the wrong fed­eral court.”

A sec­ond flyer that attacked the LGBT com­mu­nity appeared on print­ers at the Uni­ver­sity of Mass­a­chu­setts and UCLA over the week­end of March 26. The flyer, which used homo­pho­bic and racist slurs, indi­cated that the mes­sage “has been brought to you by the Gay Ni– –er Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica [GNAA].” GNAA is a loosely affil­i­ated group of Inter­net trolls who have hacked var­i­ous web­sites.  Though it is unclear if Auern­heimer sent this flyer as well, that is the name of a group that Auern­heimer was asso­ci­ated with when he was involved in hack­ing the AT&T web­site, expos­ing the names of thou­sands of iPad users.

Mr. Auernheimer’s anti-Semitism dates back to at least 2009, when he cre­ated sev­eral videos that con­tained anti-Semitic ram­blings and com­ments.  At the time, mem­bers of the Jew­ish com­mu­nity in Port­land, Ore­gon, con­tacted the ADL with con­cern about Auern­heimer, as threat­en­ing calls were made to an area syn­a­gogue at the same time that Auern­heimer released a video in which he said he was going to Port­land. Law enforce­ment believed that Mr. Auern­heimer might have been the indi­vid­ual who made the calls.  A secu­rity aware­ness alert for Jew­ish insti­tu­tions was cir­cu­lated in the Port­land area.

The FBI located Auern­heimer at a hotel in the San Fran­cisco area and warned him not to go near Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tions or agen­cies. Auern­heimer allegedly told the FBI that he was dis­gusted by Jew­ish teach­ings but not Jews. He later spec­u­lated that some sort of impor­tant “kike event” must have been going on in Port­land.  He was never charged with any crimes related to the inci­dent, nor was it deter­mined that he actu­ally had made the threat­en­ing calls.

Auern­heimer, who describes him­self as a “white nation­al­ist hack­tivist,”  does not try to hide his racism and anti-Semitism. In an Octo­ber 2014 piece on The Daily Dot, he is quoted describ­ing him­self as “a long-time critic of Judaism, black cul­ture, immi­gra­tion to West­ern nations, and the media’s con­stant stream of anti-white pro­pa­ganda.” Accord­ing to the arti­cle, he has a “giant swastika tat­too,” and wants the peo­ple who sup­port him as “some­thing of a folk hero” who beat “a con­tro­ver­sial hack­ing con­vic­tion” to know that he is not just a “troll,” but is “incon­tro­vert­ibly racist.”

In Octo­ber 2014, on the white suprema­cist site the Daily Stormer (ref­er­enced on the flyer) Auern­heimer ranted about “the Jews,” whom he says built “an empire of wicked­ness the likes the world has never seen.” He wrote, “They took con­trol of our sys­tems of finance and law. They hyper­in­flated our cur­rency. They cor­rupted our daugh­ters and demanded they sub­ject them­selves to sex work to feed their fam­i­lies. These are a peo­ple that have made them­selves a prob­lem in every nation they occupy, includ­ing ours.”

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March 25, 2016 24

Anti-Semitic Flyer from Neo-Nazi Site Daily Stormer Hits Campuses

Update — 3/28/16: Hacker Andrew Auern­heimer has claimed credit for exploit­ing net­work print­ers at these col­leges to print these fly­ers. More infor­ma­tion avail­able here.

On Thurs­day, March 24, a num­ber of cam­puses around the coun­try received an anti-Semitic flyer that blamed Jews for destroy­ing the coun­try “through mass immi­gra­tion and degen­er­acy.” The flyer asks peo­ple to “join us in the strug­gle for global white supremacy.” While it’s unclear who actu­ally sent the fly­ers to net­work print­ers and fax machines at the schools, it con­tained the address of The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi web­site. The dis­tri­b­u­tion may be the result of a hack­ing effort.

The Daily Stormer openly embraces Hitler and National Social­ism. Every day, the site posts vir­u­lently racist and anti-Semitic arti­cles. Using crude lan­guage, the site dis­par­ages minori­ties and blames Jews for a num­ber of soci­etal ills. The site was cre­ated by Andrew Anglin, a 31-year-old neo-Nazi, in 2013. Anglin said that he started the site “to serve as a hard­core front for the con­ver­sion of masses of peo­ple into a pro-White, Anti­se­mitic ideology.”

Anti-Semitic flyer distributed at campuses

Anti-Semitic flyer dis­trib­uted at campuses

Anglin, based in Ohio, first got involved in the 9/11 “Truther Move­ment”, which pro­motes con­spir­acy the­o­ries about the 9/11 ter­ror­ist attacks. He cre­ated a site called “Total Fas­cism” in 2012 before focus­ing on the Daily Stormer. Anglin has declared that Jews are the “open and pub­lic destroy­ers of soci­ety” and that Jews are the enemy of the white race. In addi­tion to demo­niz­ing Jews, Anglin is an ardent Holo­caust denier, refer­ring to the Holo­caust as a “hoax.”

Anglin has been known to urge sup­port­ers to troll per­ceived ene­mies on Twit­ter. In Novem­ber 2014, Anglin pro­moted a Twit­ter cam­paign to bom­bard Luciana Berger, a British Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, with an anti-Semitic misog­y­nist tweet. Anglin started his cam­paign against Berger after a British anti-Semite was arrested for send­ing her anti-Semitic mes­sages through Twitter.

Regard­less of whether Anglin or one of his sup­port­ers sent the flyer to cam­puses, the Daily Stormer pro­motes vir­u­lent anti-Semitism on a daily basis and attracts thou­sands of vis­i­tors each day to the site.

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