Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gary Sick, A sick Leftover from Carter's Administration

The first time and only time I ever met Gary Sick, I was inches away from punching him on the chin. Sick was justifying the Islamic Republic's massacre of political prisoners in 1988 by saying "those who were executed were MeK members who had sided with Saddam and invaded Iran".  Having lost three of my dear friends in the 1988 massacre, who were not MeK, and were imprisoned well before Saddam invaded Iran, I felt this deluded old fool deserved to have his dentures knocked down his gullet. Fortunately for him however, I don't have it in me to hit senile octogenarians, but Sick really ought to shut up and retire.

So with some regret, rather than punching the lights out of him, I just reminded Sick that MeK members were not the only victims of the 1988 massacre, many of those who were executed were kids, mere teenagers who had been imprisoned for just handing out leaflets or selling newspapers well before Saddam declared war on Iran. Many of those executed in the 1988 Massacre had even finished serving their sentences and should have been freed. In fact what determined whether the prisoners faced summary executions by the Kangaroo courts, set up to wipe away any remnants of the opposition for the post-war era, was not whether they were MeK or not, as Gary Sick wanted to believe, but whether they answered Yes to one of these questions:

1- Do you believe in God?
2- Are you prepared to publicly denounce your affiliated organisation?

And when they were asked these questions, they had no idea what the consequences of their answers would be. Those who answered 'No' to one of the above were taken out of the room and executed and all this was justifiable for Gary Sick, Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser.

I recommend watching the film, The Tree that Remembers or reading reports of the recent symbolic tribunal of the 1988 massacre to find out more about the subject for those who want to know more about the subject.

Since that irritating encounter with Gary Sick, I had been urged by many friends to join Sick's Gulf2000 forum. I was told Islamic Republic lobbyists and apologists are very active in this forum and sadly many policy makers are influenced by the information posted there. Frankly however, I had no spare time to get into endless cyber forum discussions with people who either have vested interests or people who just don't want to wake up. Debating with these people is a waste of time and I rather spend my precious little spare time with my loved ones.

It did worry me though every time I was reminded that journalists and policy makers were members of this forum too. Finally, a few weeks ago, I succumbed to requests by friends to join the forum. I thought if I can have even a small contribution to stop some hapless Western politician repeating the Andrew Young syndrome, it may have been worthwhile. Andrew Young was Jimmy Carter's ambassador to UN, who perceived "Ayatollah Khomeini as being Iran's Gandhi".

After some initial resistance and delay by Gary Sick, I was finally given an account to post my stuff on the forum. It was obvious from start that Gary Sick was reluctant to include me. The first thing that became obvious was that Gary Sick himself was the sole moderator and Supreme Leader of G2K, who decided what got circulated to the mailing list and what didn't.

I had posted the recent Times articles on the medicine crisis in Iran, which described how luxury cars and other non-essential items are being imported to the country with government subsidised currency, while the incumbent Iranian health minister at the time, complained how the Central Bank of Iran denied the health ministry the much needed currency for importing medicine with. I also posted  the Times article that exposed the lie which was printed in the Guardian about a haemophiliac boy having died as a result of the hospital not having his drug because of the sanctions - the boy had in fact died in a tragic hiking accident before he even got to the hospital. I also posted my own recent post on this subject. Yet none of these posts were being circulated to the G2K members. Instead what was being circulated was one side's arguments only, the side that claimed sanctions are killing Iran's sick.

The Times articles had also told of a concerted effort by IR to blame the medicine crisis on the sanctions in order to vamp up a grass root campaign in the West against the sanctions and on the G2K forum, I was seeing the regime lobbyists and apologists, hard at work,  doing everything they could to induce the people in the West into thinking that it was the Western sanctions which were killing the sick in Iran.

When the Guardian came up with yet another cock and bull story about the medicine crisis which completely ignored their previous lie about the haemophiliac boy tragedy, Sick was quick to circulate the article again. I complained strongly and cc'd some other members on the forum asking why Gary Sick is just circulating one side of the story to his mailing list?

Sick made up an excuse that the Times articles were protected by a pay wall and he did not have subscription to the Times. It was of course a feeble excuse, my blog posts were not protected by a pay wall and they were not circulated either and in any case, I had copied and pasted the entire content of the Times articles. At the end of a lot of wrangling and emailing, Sick was forced to circulate just one of the Times articles I had posted, which resulted in this reaction against the Times journalist Hugh Tomlinson, by one of the Forum members, Grant L. Hopkins:

"Mr. Tomlinson should get a grip & consult a medical professional-- or spend some of the Times quid and buy an opinion on Harley Street..And check his emotions at the door. Or perhaps should have called the midwife.Lying is a matter of state practice. Hypocrisy inbred from a 100 year gruel of "royal" dna. Cowardice and intellectual dishonesty a matter of daily behavior.Let us all remember that 15 year old Kuwaiti Ambassador's daughter testifying in front of Congress about rape of Kuwaiti nurses by Iraqi troops.Grant L. Hopkins"

The G2K forum rules stipulate "comments or materials that are offensive, demeaning or ad hominem" will not get posted, yet Grant Hopkins's reply seemed to be just those thing and yet were ignored by the Supreme Moderator, Gary Sick.

Grant Hopkins's reply was followed by Michael Metrinko, who said "The effects of sanctions can really only be understood by people on the ground" to which I replied "Exactly! and one of the people who was on the ground until a few days ago, was the former Iranian health minister who repeated time and time again that sanctions were not the reason for the medicine crisis but that
the Central Bank of Iran was instead giving the money that should have been allocated to import medicine with to non-essential and luxury goods like cosmetics, shovel handles and horse saddles. Yet some people who are NOT on the ground, but have a vested interest, insist that the medicine crisis in Iran is because of sanctions!!"

Then came Farid Marjai, who seemed to think everything written by the Guardian was the gospel truth . This was Farid Marjai's reply which was circulated by Gary Sick:
"I wonder if Mr. Azarmehr would include the Guardian newspaper as part of the Western elements that have vested interest?  The article by Julian Borger, titled "Iran unable to get life-saving drugs due to international sanctions"

So, I replied :
"Dear Seyyed Farid Marjai

I don't think the Guardian have a vested interest other than they try
to please their  readers and to appeal to their niche market, but the
people who have manipulated Saeed Kamali and Julian Borger to write
these articles certainly do have a more sinister vested interest. In the latest Guardian article that you
refer to, one of the sources mentioned is, Siamak Namazi (AKA Atieh
Bahar :) ), who certainly has vested interests and connections to the
Rafsanjani faction.

In fact propagating the myth which blames sanctions for the medicine
crisis in Iran, all seem to originate from sources who have
ties/connections to Fatemeh Rafsanjani. Readers may be interested to
know that Fatemeh Rafsanjani has been in charge of importing specialised
medicine into Iran since 1995.

For example, the Guardian lie about the haemophiliac boy dying as the
result of sanctions on Iran, was propagated by Ahmad Ghavidel, former
class mate of Manouchehr Mottaki and now a crony of Fatemeh
Rafsanjani. Similarly, Atieh Bahar, which has conducted the "on the
ground" research :)),  is well known for its connections to

In fact this lobbying and manipulating of Western media to blame the
drugs crisis in Iran on sanctions, for me has become a litmus test to
see who is connected to the Rafsanjani clan.

Manoto TV, which is the most popular Iranian TV watched in Iran, did
an excellent news VT on the day the Guardian article you refer to was
printed. They talked to people "on the ground", health workers and
companies concerned, who clearly indicated the medicine crisis was
nothing to do with sanctions as explained by the former Iranian health

I am new to this forum,  but I am told a lot of policy makers are
here. I sincerely hope they don't consider newspapers like the
Guardian as Gospel, as Seyyed Farid Marjai seems to do, and base their
information on Guardian articles."

and gave just one example of how wrong the Guardian have been in the past:

"Just one example on how wrong the Guardian can be, is the Haystack
hoax which the newspaper extensively publicised. Haystack was a
non-existent software that claimed to be used by Iranians to by-pass
the Islamic Republic internet filtering. Guardian was full of praise
for this non-existent product and even awarded the fraudster, Austin
Heap, who was spearheading the Haystack project, with their Technology
Innovation Award :)). Even the gullible US state department people
were fooled and issued special export exemption for this
anti-filtering tool that did not exist. At the end, the whole saga was
so embarrassing that the US State Dept had to carry out a damage
limitation exercise by saying there were "security holes" found in
Haystack's software. THERE WAS NO Haystack and I am proud that I was
the one who proved Guardian wrong by exposing the fraud. At the time
people similar to Seyyed Farid Marjai must have also been saying "but the Guardian
can't be wrong!"

I had told Guardian's Saeed Kamali about Haystack and Austin Heap too,
but sadly he ignored me and featured the fraudster in his HBO
documentary about Neda. He is very embarrassed when I remind him of

Well that was it! This reply was somehow too much for Gary Sick and I was removed from his G2K forum immediately without my reply to Farid Marjai being circulated to the forum. The sick leftover of Carter's administration who naively continues to recommend diplomacy and dialogue with the Islamic Republic has no stomach for hearing an opposing view to his deluded misconceptions of the Islamic Republic, in particular when something is mentioned about the Rafsanjanis. Gary Sick seems to be more concerned about protecting Rafsanjani than the interests of his own country, perhaps he thinks Rafsanjani is the new Gandhi of Iran :))


Mehregan said...

You do such good work Potkin. I take my hat off to you and appreciate all
your efforts.

However there has been a couple of bells ringing at the back of my mind somewhere; for quite some time now and I haven't been able to pin point what has been nagging at me.

For some reason, I kept remembering an old friend of mine who had similar
age children to mine. Whenever her little boy behaved badly, the father used to say to the mother
"Tell Tom to stop banging on the table." or "Tell Tom to stop hitting his sister". The father never ever addressed the child directly; it was always
indirectly through the mother. How effective can this approach be? As far as I know the child is an adult now and is still misbehaving! What has this
got to do with your article you may ask?

We know that there are plenty of people or organisations such as Mr.Sick who promote the Iranian regime and want to paint an agreeable picture packaged
in gift wrap to present to the world and to the policy makers. The list of such people is endless, from CASMII, to NIYAC to Stop the War Coalition, to
George Galloway, to Race for Iran and the list goes on.

Mehregan said...

You say that the US/UK/European governments or policy makers listen to them and hence the regime is sustained. But we know that foreign policy of
Western countries are long-term policies which do not fundamentally change
with successive changes of governments and leaders.

The real issue is that it is NOT that the governments and policy makers are "listening" to these "useful idiots" as you call them. Rather it is the case that the governments and policy makers have already made their plans way before and then set about putting the infrastructure to support their

Part of this infrastructure is establishing "independent" organisations which will provide information, help, support and PR to enable their plans
to be carried out smoothly. Of course Mr. Sick has no obligation to answer to you. Why is that a surprise? Mr. Sick has a higher remit. He is serving his country and his government by providing a service. Of course they say that is not the case and that they are "independent". It is the
oldest trick in the book. We know that governments carry out vast majority of their policies via such "independent" organisations.

It is hardly likely that President Obama himself would be seen taking sides with the Islamic Republic or that David Cameron would personally promote the mullah regime as a legitimate and peace loving government with whom they
should do business. The bulk of the work is done through individuals and organisations appointed to carry out the leg work, level the field and
smooth the way.

Mehregan said...

When we address the likes of Mr. Sick or when we protest against the work of Race for Iran, CASMII and such like we are merely addressing the symptoms
and not the cause of the problem. These people are not answerable to us and will just ignore us. For this reason it is futile for us to waste our time.

We know that the West has sold the technology to the Iranian regime to track and spy on its citizens. We know that that they have sold weapons and even
parts/machinery and raw materials to enable them to develop nuclear
capabilities. We know that time and time again they have taken sides with
the Mullah regime against the people of Iran. This was made quite clear after the 2009 elections.

We know,through some the work of Iranian opposition figures such as Hassan Dai, that Members of Congress at highest levels have been negotiating and
taking part in secret meetings with the Mullah regime for the past 34 years.
We know that despite sanctions, the leaders of the Mullah regime have been active in large scale trade and business activity in total oblivion.

My point is that what the Iranian opposition should be doing is to unite in condemning the Western governments for propping up and supporting the dictatorial regimes, and the Islamic Republic is not the only one here,
rather than wasting precious time and effort on going after their little stooges.

I remember when just a few days after the 2009 elections in Iran and the massive demonstrations in the streets, I watched a brief interview on the BBC with Tony Blair. The interviewer said something like "it is likely that
with such huge numbers of demonstrators and if the unrest is sustained, that the government is likely to fall." The camera was on Blair and I saw him visibly change colour; he went white as a sheet and it was as if he just
stopped himself from saying "well we're not going to let that happen"; he checked himself and said " Well, we don't know what is going to happen yet"
and something to the effect that "the Islamic Regime is still in control etc".

I think the facts are clear now and we do not need to pussy foot around here and ignore the realities. The kings are feasting at the table while we are
going after the scullery maids.

William said...

Dear Potkin
Despite your disagreement with Gary Sick you should not describe him as a deluded old fool or a senile octagenarian


William said...

Whatever the substance of the disagreements between Potkin Azarmehr and Gary Sick, it is unacceptable that Potkin should call Gary Sick “this deluded old fool” and a “senile” octogenarian

William said...

Whatever the substance of the disagreements between Potkin Azarmehr and Gary Sick, it is unacceptable that Potkin should call Gary Sick “this deluded old fool” and a “senile” octogenarian

Anonymous said...

Dear William.

Potkin is absolutely right in calling Gary Sick "this deluded old fool."

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing to attention who Gary Sick is and what he has done. I think if one day the US government declassifies some of those internal discussions that Carter's team was having during the revolution, it will become quiet clear that Sick was Khomeini's biggest cheerleader.

Anonymous said...

You lost me when you started using the Murdoch rag as your evidence, you might as well use Fox News

Anonymous said...

Still hinting at violence, eh Potsy?

Long and tiresome read.

'Anonymous' because you're more violent and unreasonable than you are reasonable and civilised.