If you were the leader of a country and you discovered that the United States of America had an official policy of regime change with regard to your government, what would you do? If you knew that the CIA was engaged in a secret plan to overthrow you, possibly through assassination, possibly through a military coup, what would you do? If America was committing economic warfare on you and carrying out acts of sabotage within your borders, what would you do?

I had this conversation about Fidel Castro one night with Armando, then of Daily Kos. While he maintained that Castro was always a son-of-a-bitch that was inclined to create a police state and torture his enemies, I suggested that our efforts to invade his country, to kill him, to cause a coup, and to ruin his economy, might just have a little bit of a role in his decision making processes. If he couldn’t trust his generals, or his cook, or his barber, or that his country wouldn’t be bombed or invaded, then he had little choice to take drastic measures to protect himself and his country. Reaching out to the Soviets was one way, creating a brutal internal security service was another way.

Many if not all of the things we did or attempted to do to Castro under Eisenhower and Kennedy’s presidencies are currently being done to Iran. And it is having an effect. Iran is in the midst of a crisis and they are resorting to some serious suppression.

The shift is occurring against the backdrop of an economy so stressed that although Iran is the world’s second-largest oil exporter, it is on the verge of rationing gasoline. At the same time, the nuclear standoff with the West threatens to bring new sanctions.

The hard-line administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, analysts say, faces rising pressure for failing to deliver on promises of greater prosperity from soaring oil revenue.

This next part gets to my point about echoes of Cuba.

[The Iranian government] has been using American support for a change in government as well as a possible military attack as a pretext to hound his opposition and its sympathizers.

Some analysts describe it as a “cultural revolution,” an attempt to roll back the clock to the time of the 1979 revolution, when the newly formed Islamic Republic combined religious zeal and anti-imperialist rhetoric to try to assert itself as a regional leader.

They are sending thugs out into the street to enforce Islamic dress…making hippies drink from jerrycans that the Iranians use to clean their asses. Everytime the U.S. issues another threat against Iran, the government uses it to justify more suppression. The state is, after all, under threat of attack. Anyone can be on the CIA payroll. All dissent is potentially paid for by Americans. No one’s loyalty is beyond suspicion.

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