NYC debut screening: IRAN (Is Not the Problem) - Thursday, Sept 4th

NYC Debut screening:

IRAN (Is Not the Problem)

Iran is not the problem graphic

Thursday, Sept. 4th @ 6:30 PM

MLK Labor Center/1199,
310 West 43rd Street

(between 8th and 9th)

IRAN (is not the problem) is a new feature film responding to the failure of the American mass media to provide the public with accurate information about the standoff between the US and Iran, as happened before with the lead up to the invasion of Iraq.

We have heard that Iran is a nuclear menace in defiance of the international community, bent on "wiping Israel off the map", supporting terrorism, and unwilling to negotiate. This documentary disputes these claims and puts them in the context of present and historical US imperialism and hypocrisy with respect to Iran.

It looks at the struggle for a more just society inside Iran, the consequences of the current escalation and the potential US and/or Israeli attack, and suggests some alternatives to consider.
This 79 minute documentary features Antonia Juhasz (The Bu$h Agenda), Larry Everest (Oil, Power, and Empire), and other activists and Iranian-Americans.


After the screening, people are encouraged to stay for discussion, inclouding organizing many more screenings around the NYC-NJ-Long Island-Westchester County area, future "Freeze" actions, and other ideas about mobilizing to stop a U.S. attack on Iran.

Copies of the DVD will also be available for $15.00. Teachers and students, especially, should know that the DVD also contains a 20-minute preview version, ideal for showings in classrooms. Please contact us about organizing shows in high schools and colleges around the area.

Basic Facts about Waterboarding

1) Waterboarding is NOT an “enhanced interrogation technique.” It is torture. It is not a slick way to beguile people into talking. It is the application of unbearable physical suffering and terrifying panic to compel a desired behavior.

2) Waterboarding is NOT “simulated drowning.” It IS drowning. Water is forced into the lungs and breathing made impossible in a controlled manner, producing a slow motion suffocation. That is not simulation. News media that perpetuate the description “simu-lated drowning” are accomplices after the fact.

3) Waterboarding IS illegal under U.S. and international law, and no quantity of Presidential signing statements or memoranda from the Office of Legal Counsel can change that fact. Following World War II the United States prosecuted as war criminals the Japanese officers responsible for waterboarding captured U.S. servicemen.

4) Waterboarding has the “advantage” of leaving no physical scars. It is part of an arsenal of U.S. psychological torture methods that include sensory deprivation, stress positions, extreme cold, loud incessant music, sleep deprivation, and disorientation through the manipulation of meal times, light, and lack of human contact.

5) The excuse has been offered that if Judge Mukasey were to admit that waterboarding is torture, then U.S. operatives might be subject to criminal or civil penalties. If U.S. operatives have committed acts of torture, then they SHOULD be subject to criminal and civil penalties. After World War II, were war criminals granted retroactive immunity?

6) All students at the Navy’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego are required to undergo waterboarding and become completely familiar with this technique. This school is used by Navy SEALS and other special forces.


Waterboarding is a form of torture that our government has admitted authorizing for use on military detainees. The practice involves tying a person down to a board, covering their face with a cloth, and pouring water into their nose and mouth, causing suffocation as the victim’s lungs fill with water. It leaves no physical scars, which is one reason why governments and militaries throughout history –including ours—have employed it.

Malcolm Nance, a former U.S. Navy instructor who witnessed, supervised, and led waterboarding hundreds of times as part of a naval training program, has said:

“In the media, waterboarding is called ‘simulated drowning,’ but that's a misnomer. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning….Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.”
[NY DAILY NEWS, Oct 31, 2007]
The history of waterboarding is long and brutal. University of Pennsylvania historian Ed Peters has said the practice was used to extract confessions as far back as the 1300s. In any event, over the centuries, the use of waterboarding has been documented: Against accused “heretics” during the Spanish Inquisition ; at the turn of the 19th century, by the U.S. military in its war against the Phillipines; in the 1960s, again by the U.S. military, this time during the Vietnam War; under the Pinochet Regime in Chile; and in 1983, by Texas Sheriff James Parker, who sought to force confessions from prisoners.
Following World War II, the United States filed war crimes charges against a Japanese officer, accusing him of waterboarding a U.S. civilian. The officer, Yukio Asano, was convicted and received a 15-year-sentence.

While the use of waterboarding dates back centuries, a government openly acknowledging authorizing it is a new phenomenon. But that is exactly what the Bush Regime has done.
*On February 5, 2008, CIA Director Michael Hayden stood before Congress and admitted CIA officers waterboarded three detainees: Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim Nashiri.

*On April 9, 2008, ABC News reported that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, and George Tenet met regularly in the White House to discuss and approve various forms of torture—including waterboarding—for use on detainees.

*On April 11, 2008, President George W. Bush himself admitted approving these meetings, saying: “And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

Under international law, waterboarding is torture – and thus a war crime:
*Article 1 of The United Nations Convention Against Torture –which the United States ratified in 1994- defines torture as: “Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

There is zero doubt that waterboarding carried out by our government constitutes excruciating mental and physical pain intentionally inflicted in order to intimidate and gain information. Therefore, it is clearly torture.

The Convention Against Torture also makes clear that there are no exceptions – “whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency” in which a country may practice torture (Article 2) and that it is illegal for an individual nation to pass laws legalizing torture (Article 4).

*But if there were somehow any doubt… On February 7, 2008 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour officially declared that waterboarding is torture. She added that those who violate the UN Convention Against Torture should be prosecuted as war criminals.

While a particularly brutal and sickening practice, waterboarding is only one part of an entire package of torture and illegal detention polices approved at the highest levels of our government, and carried out systematically:

*As of December 2007, the U.S. was known to be holding 275 detainees in Guantanamo Bay, (“Gitmo” )Cuba. All but a handful of these detainees have never been charged, and have never received trial. The vast majority of these detainees were turned over to the U.S. by warlords – not captured in battlefield.

The U.S. military only characterizes 8 percent of these detainees as Al-Qaeda fighters.

*As shown in the Oscar-winning documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side”, detainees at Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan are routinely subjected to forms of torture including extreme sensory deprivation, isolation, attacks with dogs, and vicious physical and sexual abuse. All of which is sanctioned by the highest levels of our government.

Waterboarding is torture.
Torture is a war crime and crime against humanity.
It must be brought to a halt, and those responsible held accountable as war criminals.
We won’t live in a torture state.

"Freeze" Action on Aug 6th/Hiroshima Day @ Staten Island Ferry Terminal

"FREEZE" action at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal:

Penn Station freeze photo

"No Attack on Iran!"

Part of nation-wide "freeze" actions on "Hiroshima Day":
Wednesday, August 6th

Meet at 5:00 PM lower Manhattan, under Staten Island Ferry blue sign outside terminal. Take #1 Train to South Ferry. "Freeze" at precisely 5:30.

Our message: NO ATTACK ON IRAN!
U.S. military moves and diplomatic maneuvering have not let up. A campaign of charges and lies reminiscent of the run-up to Iraq war continues. Lies similar to those leading to the attack on Iraq are being put out to convince people in this country that an attack on Iran would be justified.

Why should proven liars on Iraq now be trusted around Iran? Massive new crimes against humanity are in preparation, all as the carnage continues in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must act now to stop it.

"Freeze" actions at Grand Central and Penn Station drew the creativity of 100-200 participants, and was seen directly by thousands, and on You-Tube throughout the world, including Iran. Building on that, on Hiroshima Day - August 6th, we will be part of a national day of "freeze" actions around the country, at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Manhattan.

Bush mushroom cloud graphicWho is the real nuclear threat in the world today?

On the anniversary of the U.S. dropping the atom bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing over a hundred thousand civilians -- we will hold another freeze action - against a possible attack on Iran. Bush, McCain and Obama have all refused to rule out the use of NUCLEAR weapons in such an attack.

Our plan for "freeze" action at
Staten Island Ferry terminal:

Penn Station freeze photoWe cannot carry signs in the terminal, but your shirts will be carrying the message of "No Attack on Iran!" and passersby will see it and witness you standing frozen. The point is to act as if you are a mannequin. This is not an illegal action, and will only be 5 minutes, but we will make an impact. Afterwards, gather nearby at Battery Park. Join us!

We don't want to lose the effect of the "silent protest" - key is all of us acting together with precision. That is why we need to gather outside 30 minutes before the action, to prepare and "synchronize our watches" so that at exactly 5:30 PM inside, everyone will stop exactly where they are and freeze what they were doing and hold that pose for 5 MINUTES. To participate, email: Hope you can make it! This will be determined, but fun.

[photos courtesy of Garry Rissman]


Join World Can't Wait Saturday, August 2nd
March & Rally: No Attack On Iran

beginning at 12:00 pm at Times Square, 43rd Street & Broadway

Volunteers are needed to help make all this happen, as well for organizing "premier" showings throughout the area of the new film "Iran is not the problem" (dates and times to be announced soon) and developing a rapid response textmail network to swifly respond to any major moves towards an attack on Iran. Interested volunteers should email, and please include your telephone or cell number with your message so we can quickly pull organizing teams together.