I have a busy day ahead and didn’t plan to write today, but this is just too funny to pass up. It so happens that Hillary we-came-we-saw-he-died Clinton would like to reach out to Iranian citizens via the Internet. Since the State Dept., our arm of diplomacy to the world, does not actually have diplomatic relations with Iran (and hasn’t since 1979), we would like to have virtual diplomatic relations with them.
WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday opened a virtual online embassy to reach out to Iranians despite the absence of official ties, vowing to break through the Islamic regime’s “electronic curtain.”
Iranian authorities have already voiced anger over the virtual embassy, accusing the United States of seeking to interfere in the country after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced plans for the project in October.
The virtual embassy, which went online Tuesday at http://iran.usembassy.gov, offers US policy statements in English and Farsi, information on US visas, news from US-funded Voice of America and links to share views via social media.
In a welcome message on the website, Clinton voiced hope that the platform would provide a way for Americans and Iranians to communicate “openly and without fear.”
“Because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations, we have missed some important opportunities for dialogue with you, the citizens of Iran,” she said in a video message.
“But today, we can use new technologies to bridge that gap and promote greater understanding between our two countries, and the peoples of each country, which is why we established this virtual embassy,” she said.
US officials invested in the website in hopes that it could withstand a cyber-attack, or at least be quickly put back online if it is taken down.
State Department number three Wendy Sherman, introducing the website at a Washington news conference, said that the United States was seeking dialogue with ordinary Iranians despite “very strong differences” with the government…
The virtual embassy will allow Iranians to download applications to start applications for visas to the United States. But Iranians will still need to go overseas, typically to Turkey or the United Arab Emirates, to obtain visas.
Now why any Iranian would want to emigrate to the US is question to ponder. They are no doubt aware that the US tends to regard Muslims and Middle-Easterners in general as “suspects” in the “War on Terror”. Quite simply, we do not treat our Muslim citizens very well. Do we suppose that the Iranian people are as ignorant as people here in the US? Their literacy rate, according to the UN, is 82.3. (As a comparison, Libya’s literacy rate is 86.8.) Ours is listed by the CIA’s global information web site as 99%, but note must be taken that the CIA’s official literacy rate is considered questionable, as it uses poor methodology of data collection based solely on how Americans filled out census forms. In fact, in 2003, the US Dept of Ed found that 1 in 7 Americans were functionally illiterate. [This would mean our literacy rate is 85.71, per the Dept. of Ed.]
“According to the literacy fast facts from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), literacy is defined as ‘using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.’
” ‘One measure of literacy is the percentage of adults who perform at four achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. In each type of literacy, 13 percent of adults were at or above Proficient (indicating they possess the skills necessary to perform complex and challenging literacy activities) in 2003. Twenty-two percent of adults were Below Basic (indicating they possess no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills).’ ” -NAAL [This takes us down to a 78% literacy rate, per the NAAL.]
“Women make up more than 60 percent of Iranian university students with some fields in science and engineering having more than 70 percent of their alumni be women. The opportunities for women education and their involvement in higher education has grown exponentially after the Iranian Revolution. According to UNESCO world survey, Iran has the highest female to male ratio at primary level of enrollment in the world among sovereign nations, with a girl to boy ratio of 1.22 : 1.00.” – wikipedia
Okay, they aren’t illiterate, not even their women, much as we enjoy the mantra that all Middle-Eastern countries suppress their distaff sides. It’s also unlikely that the Iranian citizens are unaware that the US and Israel infected Iran’s scientific computers with the stuxnet virus last year; do we really suppose that they are going to get all interactive with a website that links them to a US computer system on purpose?
President Obama considers sanctions our first “diplomatic maneuver” with Iran in over three decades. I suspect the average Iranian is aware of this as well, and once the financial impact is felt throughout the country, the likelihood of any Persians wanting to personally “diplomatize” with the US will drop to about zero. (Assuming it ever attracts one Iranian citizen in the first place.) Since our Congress just officially referred to Iran as a “money-laundering scheme”, the CIA admits to ever increasing numbers of covert agents in Iran, and we were just caught sending a drone into their sovereign airspace, I don’t think any Iranians would be much interested in having some of this personal attention from the US government.
Particularly since this invitation for personal diplomatic dialogue is issued by Hillary, who has been for years making public statements about bombing, invading, or otherwise taking down Iran. Talk about the Wicked Queen offering Snow White a bite of the apple. “No, no, really. I did not put poison in this fruit. Really. Have a bite. Trust me, my pretty.” (Cackle, cackle.)
And as a postscript to this stupidity, just because this is how we roll now, Congress is currently considering a bill that would make diplomacy with Iran illegal. It’s called the Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 (HR 1905). See: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/12/prepare-for-war-the-insane-plan-to-outlaw-diplomacy-with-iran/249478/
Guess someone forgot to tell Hillary before she got all enthusiastic and shit about baiting the trap.
Update, Friday 9 Dec.
This story just keeps on giving.
“The White House on Wednesday condemned Iran for blocking a ‘virtual embassy’ website the U.S. State Department launched to reach out to people in the Islamic Republic.
” ‘Through this action, the Iranian government has once again demonstrated its commitment to build an electronic curtain of surveillance and censorship around its people,’ the White House said in a statement.”
Guess Congress also forgot to tell the White House that they want to make diplomacy with Iran illegal.
We condemn them because they didn’t trust an American website after we stuffed their scientific computers with a virus. We condemn them because they somehow don’t quite trust Hillary we-can-take-out-Iran-in-a-second Clinton. We condemn them because after we took down their government in 1979 and refused to have diplomatic relations with them ever since, they aren’t somehow grateful that we are trying to implement a “Diplomacy in a Box” easy-bake by-pass. We condemn them because they surveil their internet users.
Uh, FISA Act, anyone? Unified terrorism task forces spying on American citizens deemed “homeland threats” because they belong to anti-death penalty groups or Amnesty International? Indefinite detention of American citizens? President “I can assassinate Americans at my whim” Obama? We condemn them?
It is to retch.