Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to meet with Occupy Wall Street in NYC (Updated with OWS response)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in New York City to address the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 25. He has regularly addressed the General Assembly once a year for the last seven years. He represents the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) as its rotating President. His purpose in addition to the speech is to focus on “connecting to mainstream Americans including those who are part of the Occupy Wall Street movement”, according to The Hindu, quoting Fars, the Iran News Agency. He plans on meeting with members of OWS as well as other “students, artists and intellectuals”. He also plans on reaching out to the public through interviews with CBS, CNN and Russia Today (RT). The delegation, guarded by 150 security personnel, will stay in Manhattan’s Warwick hotel, Fars News Agency is reporting.
Iran is just one example of the connection between Occupy/Anonymous and the Middle East, the confluence of some of the left in the US and the Muslim world, a connection which is based on a common enemy, the governments of the United States and Israel. Many elements in Occupy are anti Israel, pro Palestinian for example, like Code Pink. Occupy actually invaded the Israeli consulate in Boston in November 2011, waving Palestinian flags and shouting “Long Live the Intifadah!” The narrator in the video is Occupy and Code Pink member Dennis Trainor, who is also the VP of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) one of the biggest unions in the country.
More on the relationship between Occupy and Israel here.
Iranian government TV, Press TV, has long promoted Occupy in its media as an indication of the general public rising up against the evil US government. In February, there was an Occupy conference held in Iran which Occupy representatives from the United States attended. Attendees included college professors and an Imam from Washington DC. This support was interesting, given the support Occupy and Anonymous lent to the Green Movement, protesting the government in Iran and the election of Ahmadinejad. But Occupy still serves the purpose, in Iran’s mind, of being disruptive to the US governmental entities.
Here is one video from that event:
Since then however, Occupy has lost steam and media, and Press TV, realizing Occupy doesn’t have the numbers or the effectiveness it was hoping for, hasn’t pumped it as much.
Ahmadinejad’s visit also comes at a time when hackers, alleged to be connected with Iran, have been cyber attacking the Bank of America, Chase and the NYSE this week as revenge against the US for sanctions, using the anti-Islam video as a cover. According to some sources, these attacks have been happening since 2011. Those with Occupy/Anonymous connections also appear involved in the recent attacks on the financial organizations.
OWS is now backing off this claim of a meeting. Buzz Feed, in an article by Rosie Gray, who has covered OWS at some length, ran the following statement from one of its members.
“Nobody in their right mind would meet with a fascist dictator like Ahmadenijad,” said Shawn Carrié, a longtime Occupy activist, in a direct message. “I think it’s been blown way out of proportion. There were some emails floating around on listservs about going to *protest* his appearance.”
“Anyway, it must be stressed that no one speaks for OWS,” Carrié said. “Any moron can go say they’re gonna go do something, but to say OWS meets with Ahmadinejad? That’s just ridiculous.”
Well, then he needs to take that up with the Iranian government, since this is part of their official press release of the trip. According to Fars,
Ahmadinejad is also set to meet American university students, artists, intellectuals and elites, including Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalist protestors, despite the ongoing efforts made by the pro-Zionist lobbies to prevent direct link between American people and the Iranian president.
No one speaks for OWS (except apparently Mr. Carrié). The problem with his response is that it doesn’t appear to explain the cosy position that Occupy has had with the Iranian govt news agency, Press TV, or any of the other information we noted above. Moreover, his response is interesting in that everyone in OWS can disclaim any action by another as saying “it’s not an officially approved action” as we have seen in multiple OWS cases, despite the fact of Occupy involvement.
For example, the San Francisco Mission district violence of two nights ago. Organized by Occupiers, sent out over Occupy hashtags, Occupiers participating, on Occupy livestream. But because it might have blow back, “not an Occupy event”.
We shall wait to hear more, and continue to investigate if anyone meets with him or they have backed off.