Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 1:44 am Post subject: MORE WAR FOR ISRAEL COMING WITH BOMBING OF IRAN
|US support of Israel PRIMARY MOTIVATION for US terror problem:
Stop War on Iran Petition
Anti-Muslim Cartoons Tied to Neo-Con Fanatic:
Doesn't the following sound so very familiar to what we heard in the run up to Iraq - Iran will be attacked next for Israel (NO DOUBT ABOUT IT from my perspective):
Bush accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism:
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update - 05:18 25/02/2006
Iranian advisor: We'll strike Dimona in response to U.S. attack
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
If the United States launches an attack on Iran, the Islamic republic will retaliate with a military strike on Israel's main nuclear facility.
Dr. Abasi, an advisor to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, said Tehran would respond to an American attack with strikes on the Dimona nuclear reactor and other strategic Israeli sites such as the port city of Haifa and the Zakhariya area.
Haifa is also home to a large concentration of chemical factories and oil refineries.
Zakhariya, located in the Jerusalem hills is - according to foreign reports - home to Israel's Jericho missile base. Both Israeli and international media have published commercial satellite images of the Zakhariya and Dimona sites.
Abasi, a senior lecturer at Tehran University, was quoted in the Roz internet news site, identified with reform circles in Iran.
Iranian affairs experts believe Abasi's statements are part of propaganda battle being wages by all sides - including Israel and Iran - in the lead up to next months United Nations Security Council debate on Iran's nuclear program.
At this stage, the possibility that sanctions will be leveled at Iran are extremely low.
Iran in Neo-con Cross hairs:
The Caricatures in Middle East Politics:
To read more about the 'A Clean Break'/war for Israel agenda, scroll down to pages 261-269 from James Bamford's 'A Pretext for War' book at the following URL:
Neocons after war with Iran (for Israel):
Momentum, Headed For Iran
JINSA Israel firsters: IRAQ DOWN, IRAN LEFT TO GO:
NATO planning strikes on Iranian nuclear sites:
Iran threatens to close Straights of Hormuz in retaliation:
Will Americans really support aggression against Iran (just how stupid are we?):
Iran: A Bridge too Far:
Bush: US would defend Israel against Iran:
A high-risk game of nuclear chicken:
MORE WAR FOR ISRAEL COMING WITH BOMBING OF IRAN:
What a double standard when the rogue state of Israel has some 200-300 nuclear bombs and treacherously attacked the USS Liberty and murdered Americans in the process ( http://www.ussliberty.com ):
Subject: Jewish lobbying groups now beating the war drums for Iran
Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at:
Groundhog day in Washington
Mustafa El-Labbad analyses the context of a time of reckoning for Iran while Emad Mekay catalogues efforts of Washington's right-wing lobbyists and think tanks to prepare the way for war
After Iran decided last week to resume research at a nuclear facility following a two- year moratorium, the mood in Washington looked eerily reminiscent of the months preceding the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, though with two differences. The first was that the word "Iraq" was replaced by "Iran". The second is that the high-riding rhetoric of the US establishment before March 2003 was absent, the administration speaking in restrained terms without clear threat of military action.
Nonetheless, reading between the lines, efforts towards winning over a war-weary US public for a possible confrontation with Iran are well underway. The strategy was clearly at work this week with the spate of condemnations of Iran's nuclear programme drumming up fears among Americans. "This is an increasingly significant problem that the world is going to have to address," Vice President Dick Cheney told the Tony Snow radio programme on 11 January.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Iran "crossed the threshold" by reactivating its research work and threatened Tehran with isolation -- à la Saddam Hussein -- while not forgetting to sympathise with the Iranian people. "I would hope that seeing the very powerful reaction of the international community, Iran would now take a step back and look at the isolation that it is about to experience," Rice told reporters on 12 January. "The Iranian people, frankly, deserve better."
Speaking in a joint press conference with conservative German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President George W Bush said a nuclear Iran was unacceptable and he singled out Israel for special US concern. "I want to remind you that the current president of Iran has announced that the destruction of Israel is an important part of their agenda, and that's unacceptable," Bush said. "And the development of a nuclear weapon, it seems likely to me, would make them a step closer to achieving that objective," he added.
A number of influential US lawmakers soon flamboyantly joined the foray. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News Sunday that military intervention shouldn't be ruled out while Senator John McCain, another influential Republican, told CBS television's Face the Nation the same day that "the military option is the last option but cannot be taken off of the table."
Behind this tough line from US decision makers came an array of cheerleading from think tanks, lobbying groups and media organisations -- the same network that was instrumental in rallying public support for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Pro-Israel groups and organisations have been particularly vociferous in their lobbying for a more hard-line US position against Tehran. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which had only a month ago criticised the US position towards Iran as too lenient when the administration accepted a Russian proposal to defuse the crisis with Iran, has called for renewed effort to stop Tehran gaining nuclear technology. The group now fronts a special file on Iran entitled "Decades of Deception: Iran's Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons" on its Web site. Visitors are greeted with the lobbying group's pledge: "Iran must be stopped before it develops nuclear weapons."
AIPAC is credited for pushing Congress and the administration towards a number of legislative initiatives hostile to Iran and for placing Tehran's nuclear programme at the top of the international agenda.
Another pro-Israel group, the American Jewish Congress (AJC), says it too is intensifying efforts to convince the international community of the need to stand up against Iran. "The resumption of their nuclear programme is an affront to the international community, and a threat to Israel, and to every other nation in the range of their missiles," AJC President Paul Miller, said in a statement. "The international community must take the steps necessary to prevent Iran form developing nuclear weapons," he added.
The American Jewish Committee, a third group, launched a new campaign this year to push world leaders to adopt a set of measures penalising Iran, some of them borrowed from policies buttressed by Israel and the United States on Saddam Hussein's regime for years under UN sanctions. These include convincing countries to recall diplomatic envoys to Tehran, expelling Iranian diplomats, suspending Iran from a range of international organisations, and imposing economic sanctions.
Like the Iraq invasion scenario, a number of think tanks whose experts flood television stations and newspaper columns back this lobbying-cum-professional political activism sold to the US public as analysis. The Brookings Institution, for example -- an integral part of the intellectual padding of US foreign policy and whose Middle East programme is now increasingly pro-Israel -- devoted its email alert on Monday to what it calls "Iran's defiance".
Some of the Washington-based institution's media-savvy activists, who had previously preached a military invasion of Iraq, have now urged Washington to consider military strikes against Iran. Kenneth M Pollack ( http://itszone.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?p=185814#185814 ), director of research at the Saban Centre on Middle East Policy told a Congressional hearing in September that the US should study the possibility of waging a targeted air campaign aimed at Iran's nuclear facilities as a last resort.
The Saban Centre is funded by a grant from Haim Saban ( http://tinyurl.com/crys7 ), an Egyptian-born Israeli American billionaire who made his money in the entertainment business. Martin Indyk, a staunchly pro-Israel former US diplomat who once served as US ambassador to Israel, directs it.
More obvious, perhaps, is the work of the American Enterprise Institute, a bastion for neoconservatives, and that of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an offshoot of AIPAC now advised by former US Middle East Envoy Dennis Ross ( http://www.IRmep.org/jm.wmv and http://representativepress.blogspot.com/2005/08/gorilla-in-room-is-us-support-for.html ). The two organisations cooperated in publishing a book last week: Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos by Michael Rubin, a researcher at the AEI, and Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Institute for Near East Policy. The book, an archetypal work of pro-Israel activism in Washington, urges the West not to take the Islamic republic's stability for granted and refuels Western concerns over ethnic and religious minorities, conditions for women in Iran, as well as the country's nuclear programme.
Rubin has written in neoconservative publications such as the New Republic, The Wall Street Journal and The Jerusalem Post and Middle East Quarterly while Clawson hasn't shied in his media appearances from advocating military action against Syria and Iran.
Similar to events preceding the Iraq war, the campaign is crunching up media space in America also. The right-wing editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal responded to Iran's resumption of nuclear research by drawing a vague link between Saddam Hussein and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "As we learned in dealing with Saddam Hussein, so too with Mr Ahmadinejad: Eventually, there's a price to be paid for trafficking in unserious consequences," the editorial read.
More indicative of all is how William Kristol, editor of the neo-conservative ( http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html ) publication The Weekly Standard, entitled in his column: "And now Iran."
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Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at:
January 7 / 8, 2006
Them or Us
AIPAC on Trial
By JAMES PETRAS
In August 2004, the FBI and the US Justice Department counter-intelligence bureau announced that they were investigating a top Pentagon analyst suspected of spying for Israel and handing over highly confidential documents on US policy toward Iran to AIPAC which in turn handed them over to the Israeli Embassy. The FBI had been covertly investigating senior Pentagon analyst, Larry Franklin and AIPAC leaders, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman for several years prior to their indictment for spying. On August 29, 2005 the Israeli Embassy predictably hotly denied the spy allegation. On the same day Larry Franklin was publicly named as a spy suspect. Franklin worked closely with Michael Ledeen and Douglas Feith, then Undersecretary for Defense in the Pentagon, in fabricating the case for war with Iraq. Franklin was the senior analyst on Iran, which is at the top of AIPAC's list of targets for war.
As the investigation proceeded toward formal charges of espionage, the pro-Israeli think tanks and neo-con ideologues joined in a two-prong response. On the one hand some questioned whether "handing over documents" was a crime at all, claiming it involved "routine exchanges of ideas" and lobbying. On the other hand, Israeli officials and media denied any Israeli connection with Franklin, minimizing his importance in policy-making circles, while others vouched for his integrity.
The FBI investigation of the Washington spy network deepened and included the interrogation of two senior members of Feith's Office of Special Plans, William Luti and Harold Rhode. The OSP was responsible for feeding bogus intelligence leading to the US attack of Iraq. The leading FBI investigator, Dave Szady, stated that the FBI investigation involved wiretaps, undercover surveillance and photography that document the passing of classified information from Franklin to the men at AIPAC and on to the Israelis.
The Franklin-AIPAC-Israeli investigation was more than a spy case. It involved the future of US-Middle East relations and more specifically whether the '",neo-cons' would be able to push the US into a military confrontation with Iran. Franklin was a top Pentagon analyst on Iran, with access to all the executive branch deliberations on Iran. AIPAC lobbying and information gathering was aggressively directed toward pushing the Israeli agenda on a US-Iranian confrontation against strong opposition in the State Department, CIA, military intelligence and field commanders.
Franklin's arrest on May 4, 2005 and the subsequent arrest of AIPAC foreign policy research director Steve Rosen and Iran specialist and deputy director for foreign policy, Keith Weissman on August 4, 2005 was a direct blow to the Israeli-AIPAC war agenda for the US. The FBI investigation proceeded with caution accumulating detailed intelligence over several years. Prudence was dictated by the tremendous political influence that AIPAC and its allies among the Conference of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations wield in Congress, the media and among Fundamentalist Christians and which could be brought to bear when the accused spies were brought to trial.
The first blow was struck on August 29, 2004, when CBS publicized the FBI investigation just when Franklin confessed to have passed highly confidential documents to a member of the Israeli government and began cooperating with federal agents. He was prepared to lead authorities to his contacts inside the Israeli government. Subsequently Franklin stopped cooperating. The Anti-Defamation League's (a leading Jewish pro-Israeli lobby) Abe Foxman called for a special prosecutor to investigate "leaks" of the FBI investigation, because they were "tarnishing" Israel's image. Then Attorney General Ashcroft intervened to try to apply the brakes to the investigation, which spread into the neo-con nest in the Pentagon: Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle, and Rubin were "interviewed" by the FBI. Neo-con Michael Rubin, former Pentagon specialist on Iran and resident "scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute, blasted Bush for "inaction in the spy affair" and called the investigation an "anti-Semitic witch hunt" (Forward Sept. 10, 2004). AIPAC launched a campaign against the spy probe and in support of its activities and leaders. As a result scores of leading Congress members from both parties vouched for AIPAC's integrity and pledged their confidence and support of AIPAC.
Never in the history of the United States had so many leading Congress members from both parties pledged their support for an organization under suspicion of spying, based only on information supplied by the suspect and in total ignorance of the federal prosecutor's case. Contrary to the bipartisan Congressional support for AIPAC, a poll of likely voters found that 61 per cent believed that AIPAC should be asked to register as an agent of a foreign power and lose its tax exempt status. Only 12 per cent disagreed. Among American Jews, 59 per cent were not sure, while 15 per cent strongly agreed and 15 per cent strongly disagreed (Zogby International, Sept. 25, 2004). Clearly many Americans have serious doubts about the loyalty and nature of AIPAC activities, contrary to their elected representatives. The federal spy investigation proceeded despite Executive and Congressional opposition, knowing that it had the backing of the great majority of US citizens.
In December 2004, the FBI subpoenaed four senior staffers at AIPAC to appear before a grand jury and searched the Washington office of the pro-Israel lobby seeking additional files on Rosen and Weissman.
AIPAC continued to deny any wrongdoing, stating: "Neither AIPAC nor any member of our staff has broken any law. We believe any court of law or grand jury will conclude that AIPAC employees have always acted legally, properly and appropriately" (AIPAC December 1, 2004). Nevertheless a few months into the investigation and with the arrest of the two top leaders, AIPAC terminated their employment and after a few months cut off paying their legal defense bills. Likewise Israel's categorical denials of espionage, evaporated, as video and transcripts of their intelligence operative receiving classified documents surfaced.
A Grand Jury was convoked in early 2005. As the FBI's spy investigation extended into AIPAC-Pentagon's inner recesses, self-confessed spy Franklin's superiors Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith announced their sudden resignation from the number 2 and 3 positions in the Pentagon. In February 2005, Bush announced that former convicted felon, defender of Central American death squads and long-term Zionist fanatic, Elliott Abrams, would be in charge of Middle East policy in the National Security Council. Abrams would serve as a channel for directing Israeli policies to the White House and as day-to-day source of the most essential policy decisions and discussions. Apparently Abrams was smart enough to keep his distance from the Franklin/Feith and AIPAC/Embassy operations and deal directly with Ariel Sharon and his Chief of Staff, Dov Weinglass. In April 2005, AIPAC dismissed Rosen and Weissman, saying their activities did not comport with the organizations standards. On May 4, Franklin was arrested on charges of illegally disclosing highly classified information to two employees of a pro-Israel lobbying group. On June 13, 2005 an expanded indictment explicitly named AIPAC and a "foreign country" (Israel) and its Mossad agent, Naor Gilon, who had, in the meantime, fled to Israel.
Despite AIPAC being named in a major espionage indictment involving Steve Rosen, head of its foreign policy department and Keith Weissman, head of its Iran desk, US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice gave the keynote address at AIPAC's convention (May 22-24, 2005). Leaders from Congress and the Republican and Democratic parties also spoke, declaring their unconditional support for AIPAC, Israel and Ariel Sharon. The list included Senator Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Republican) and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. Based on previous year's attendance, more than half of the US Senate and one-third of US Congress members were in attendance.
Clearly AIPAC, with 60,000 wealthy members and $60 million annual budget, had more influence on the political behavior of the US executive, political parties and elected representatives than a federal indictment implicating its leaders for espionage on behalf of Israel. Could there be a basis for charging our political leaders as "accomplices after the fact" of espionage, if the AIPAC leaders are convicted?
On August 4, 2005 Paul McNulty of the Justice Department formally indicted AIPAC leaders Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman of receiving and passing highly confidential documents via the Israeli embassy to the State of Israel. Their trial is set for April 25, 2006. Franklin's trial was set to begin on January 2, 2006 but has been postponed. Franklin has been co-operating with the FBI and Justice Department in its investigations of AIPAC and the Pentagon's 'Israel Firsters' in the run up to the invasion of Iraq and the further plans to attack Iran. The indictments are based on a prolonged investigation. AIPAC was targeted for investigation as early as 2001, while the indictment of Rosen and Weissman cites illegal activities beginning in April 1999.
After Rosen and Weissman came under intensive federal investigation as co-conspirators in the Franklin spy case, AIPAC decided to cut its losses and cover its backside by throwing them overboard: AIPAC fired them on March 2005, arguing that their "conduct was not part of their job, and beneath the standards required of AIPAC employees" (Forward, December 23, 2005). In effect AIPAC was making Rosen and Weissman the "fall guys" in order to shake off a deeper federal probe of AIPAC's activities. Moreover AIPAC stopped payments to Rosen's and Weissman's lawyers sticking them with almost a half-million dollars in legal fees. AIPAC does not intend to pay the fees before the trial is over not for lack of funds (they raised over $60 million in 2005 and are tax-exempt) but for political reasons. AIPAC wants to see how the trial goes: if they are acquitted, it will be safe to pay their lawyers. But if they are found guilty AIPAC will refuse to pay (citing the organization's by-law technicalities) in order to avoid being implicated with convicted spies. AIPAC leaders are putting their organizational interests and their capacity to promote Israeli interests in Congress and the media over loyalty to their former officials.
Facing up to 10 years in federal prison, up against detailed, well-documented federal charges based on wiretaps, videos and the testimony of self-confessed spy and Pentagon contact Franklin, fired and denounced by their former colleagues and current leaders of AIPAC, Rosen and Weissman are striking back with unexpected vehemence.
The defense attorneys are expected to argue that receiving information from administration officials was something the two were paid and encouraged to do and something AIPAC routinely does (Forward, December 23,2005). In other words, Rosen and Weissman will say that pumping top US government officials for confidential memos and handing them over to Israeli officials was a common practice among AIPAC operatives. To bolster their case of "just following AIPAC orders", Rosen and Weissman's defense lawyers will subpoena AIPAC officials to testify in court about their past access to confidential documents, their contacts with high-placed officials and their collaboration with Israeli Embassy officials. Such testimony could likely bring national and international exposure to AIPAC's role as a two way transmission belt to and from Israel.
If Rosen and Weissman succeed in tying AIPAC to their activities and if they are convicted, that opens up a much larger federal investigation of AIPAC's role in aiding and abetting felonious behavior on behalf of the State of Israel.
In the almost two years since Rosen and Weissman came into the public limelight as spy suspects, AIPAC has successfully fended off adverse publicity by mobilizing leading politicians, party leaders and senior members of the Bush Administration to give public testimonials on its behalf. It dumped Rosen and Weissman and pushed ahead with lining up the US Congress with Israel's pro-war agenda against Iran. And then out of the blue, Rosen and Weissman threaten to blow their cover "as just another influential lobby" working to promote US and Israeli mutual security interests.
Rosen and Weissman's defense will certainly bring out the fact that AIPAC at no point informed their employees about what the law states regarding the obtaining and handing over of highly confidential information to a foreign power. Weissman and Rosen will argue that they did not know that receiving confidential information from administration officials and handing it over to Israel was illegal since everybody was doing it. They will further argue that their alleged spy activity was not a 'rogue operation' carried on by them independently of the organization, but was known and approved by their superiors citing AIPAC's employee procedures for reporting to superiors.
According to one former AIPAC employee with connections to the organization's current leadership, Rosen and Weissman are perceived as acting "like Samson trying to bring the house down on everyone" (Forward, December 23, 2005).
"Everyone" that is involved in exploiting US wealth, power and military forces to serve Israel's expansionist interests. What started out as a small scale spy trial, no different from other recent cases, is growing into a major cause celebre, involving the most powerful lobby influencing the entire direction of US Middle East policy. If Rosen and Weissman are convicted and they effectively make the case that they were following orders and informing AIPAC of their felonious activities, it is possible that it will drive away many wealthy Jewish donors and activists, and perhaps put some shame into the politicians who kow-tow and feed at the AIPAC trough. With a weakened AIPAC and its allies in the government wary of continuing to "liaison" with Israeli intelligence on Middle East policy, it is possible that a free and open debate based on US interests can take place. With a public debate relatively free of the constraints imposed by the Israel First lobbies and ideologues, perhaps the US public's opposition to Middle East Wars and occupations can become the dominant discourse in Congress if not the Executive. Perhaps the $3 billion dollars plus annual foreign aid to Israel more than $5 billion, all told -- can be reallocated toward rebuilding all the industrially ravaged cities and towns of Michigan, upstate New York and elsewhere.
James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50 year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in brazil and argentina and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed). His new book with Henry Veltmeyer, Social Movements and the State: Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina, will be published in October 2005. He can be reached at:
Thinking about Neoconservatism:
Bush administration finalizes military attack on Iran:
Treason at a high level: Pentagon Zionists, AIPAC and Israel:
Israel and the Neocons, The Libby Affair and the Internal War:
Last edited by Alpha on Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:20 pm; edited 20 times in total
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 2:13 am Post subject:
|AIPAC Fifth Columnists Pushing US to Attack Iran for Israel:
Please click and see the " dignitaries" that AIPAC is planning to bring to Washington, DC to gather support for the Israeli aggression against the innocent civilians in Palestine.
REGISTRATION INFORMATION HOTEL & TRAVEL INFORMATION PROMOTIONAL VIDEO
Now is the time to ensure that Iran is referred to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear weapons program. In March, while the IAEA is deciding whether to finally act, the pro-Israel community will be mobilizing to demand that Iran be referred immediately in order to keep the world's leading state sponsor of terror from acquiring the world's deadliest weapons. Do your part to help stop Iran. Join AIPAC as we mobilize in March and enlist the support of our leaders before it's too late.
Learn more about the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program.
What is AIPAC’s Policy Conference? Top U.S. & Israeli Political Leaders Address Conference
AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference is a blockbuster event that attracts over 4,000 pro-Israel activists from all 50 states. Delegates participate in three jam-packed days of programming featuring addresses by America’s and Israel’s top leaders and scores of workshops and forums led by top experts in their fields. Top political leaders from the United States and Israel appear every year at the AIPAC Policy Conference. Last year featured addresses by top policymakers including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the leadership of Congress.
Read the Transcripts or Listen to the Speeches
Highlights of the AIPAC Policy Conference
At the AIPAC Policy Conference banquet, Washington’s premier political gala, delegates dine and mingle with scores of lawmakers, administration officials and diplomats. Policy Conference 2005 featured addresses by the top Republican and Democratic House and Senate leaders.
Penetrating forum sessions explore the most pressing issues related to America’s Middle East policy. Last year’s conference featured sessions such as Today and Tomorrow: The Parties and Their Approach to Foreign Policy and Nuts and Bolts: How Israel Will Implement Disengagement.
Meetings on Capitol Hill promote the U.S.-Israel relationship. Last year, more than 450 meetings took place between AIPAC activists and members of Congress at the culmination of the Policy Conference.
Delegates mingle with fellow pro-Israel activists from around the country at the AIPAC Policy Conference–the pro-Israel community’s seminal event.
Exclusive events for AIPAC club members bring them face to face with leading policymakers and experts. At Policy Conference 2005, Club members had books signed by author Natan Sharansky and attended private events with political leaders including DNC Chairman Howard Dean, Republican insider Ari Fleischer, former Israeli Justice Minister Tommy Lapid and others.
Specially designed programming for campus activists–AIPAC campus activists take part in sophisticated seminars and training sessions designed to further develop leadership skills and encourage involvement in the political process.
For more information and to register, contact the Conference Registration Desk at 202-639-5363 or e-mail .
January 14, 2006
Iran Air Strikes 'Under Consideration'
by Sanjay Suri
LONDON - Western powers are already planning use of the military option in the face of Iran's insistence that it will go ahead with what it calls its nuclear research program, a leading expert says.
''The military option is being considered already, they are just not talking about it because it would be deeply unpopular,'' Dr. Ali Ansari a leading Iran expert at The Royal Institute for International Affairs in London told IPS.
''Certainly, what they are considering is air strikes, I don't think they will carry out an invasion,'' Dr. Ansari said. After the Iraq experience that is not likely, he said.
But air strikes will not win international support, and will not be an option that could be domestically popular either, Dr. Ansari said.
''I think it would be a mistake,'' he said. ''It will not achieve what they want to achieve, and I think it will make matters a whole lot worse in the Middle East.''
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that the military option is not being ruled out. He said the referral of the matter to the United Nations Security Council was only a first step. ''Then we have to decide what measures to take, and we obviously don't rule out any measures at all,'' he said.
Holding out such options puts Britain and the United States back in a position similar in many ways to that before the invasion of Iraq. If the Security Council fails to deliver what some Western governments want, they have held open the right to act on their own.
Any decision in the Security Council could be vetoed by China and Russia. Russia is in fact proposing delivery of nuclear fuel to the Iranian nuclear plant in Bushehr.
The chief diplomatic difference in the planning of an assault on Iran now is the stronger possibility that France and Germany which opposed the invasion of Iraq could back limited military action against Iran. Britain, France and Germany have come together as the "EU3" to restrain Iran's nuclear program over the past two years.
The military option is believed to have strong backing against Israel, which carried out an air strike on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq in 1981. Some reports suggest that Israel on its own may carry out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, with tacit backing from the United States and Britain.
But an air assault is not likely to be a simple repeat of the Osiraq attack. Iran has at least 25 or so nuclear facilities that all would be potential targets. And in anticipation of an attack, Iran would be expected to have taken due precautions.
''But any military strike would be a disaster because it would only strengthen the conservatives within Iran and put an end to the reformist movement,'' Dr.. Zhand Shakibi from the London School of Economics and Political Science told IPS.
There is a real danger that such an attack will be carried out, he said. ''There are people in U.S. circles that will want to attack,'' he said. Sanctions may not be considered as an option because ''sanctions are not effective,'' he said.
The fundamental problem within Iran is a lack of trust in the United States ''because the U.S. has refused to guarantee the security of Iran,'' he said. The United States had made it clear last month that there can be no such guarantees, he said.
''Sitting in Tehran if you see the US going to war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, there are people who will think in Iran that you might want to build a nuclear defense,'' Shakibi said.
But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad provoked alarm as much with his statements as his actions in ordering a resumption of Iran's nuclear program in defiance of conditions laid down by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He has called for Israel ''to be wiped from the face of the Earth.''
Iranian scientists have broken the seals at three nuclear installations that had been closed down in 2004 under an international agreement.
There are signs of political consensus in Iran over the decision. Former leader Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in a statement: ''Even if the Westerners destroy our scientists, their successors would continue to do the job. If they cause any disturbance they will ultimately regret it.''
But any military option is likely to be preceded by a phase of economic sanctions that could develop into sanctions as serious as those slapped on Iraq at the end of the first Gulf war in 1991.
But with some fears that Iran could develop nuclear weapons within as little as six months, the sanctions route may not be an available option.
(Inter Press Service)
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Last edited by Alpha on Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:41 am; edited 2 times in total
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:10 am Post subject: Crisis Over Iran's Nuclear Program Intensifies
Friday, January 13th, 2006
Crisis Over Iran's Nuclear Program Intensifies
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Iran threatened to halt snap inspections of its nuclear sites by the United Nations if its nuclear program is referred to the Security Council. The move came after the United States, Britain, France and Germany said Thursday that nuclear talks with Iran were at a dead end and the issue should be brought before the Council. We speak with Middle East and Iran expert Ervand Abrahamian of Baruch College. [includes rush transcript]
Iran threatened to halt snap inspections of its nuclear sites by the United Nations if its nuclear program is referred to the Security Council. The protocol allows intrusive and short-notice inspections of the country's nuclear sites. The move came after the United States, Britain, France and Germany said Thursday that nuclear talks with Iran were at a dead end and the issue should be brought before the Council.
The crisis over Iran's nuclear program intensified this week after Iran removed seals at three nuclear facilities following a two-year freeze. Iran says its nuclear programs are solely for the peaceful generation of electricity.
Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president of Iran:
"Now the subject is very serious and sensitive and is the top issue. It seems that they, the West, don't want the Islamic country to have the new technology and want them to be backward. But we are determined to have this technology."
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the UN Thursday to confront what she called Iran's "defiance" over its nuclear program.
Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State:
"We also agree that the removal of seals by the Iranian Government, in defiance of numerous IAEA Board resolutions, demonstrates that it has chosen confrontation with the international community over cooperation and negotiation. As the EU-3 and EU have declared, these provocative actions by the Iranian regime have shattered the basis for negotiation.
We join the European Union and many other members of the international community in condemning the Iranian Government's deliberate escalation of this issue. There is simply no peaceful rationale for the Iranian regime to resume uranium enrichment. We're gravely concerned by Iran's long history of hiding sensitive nuclear activities from the IAEA, in violation of its obligations, its refusal to cooperate with the IAEA's investigation, its rejection of diplomatic initiatives offered by the EU and Russia and now its dangerous defiance of the entire international community
This is Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.
Sen. John Kerry (D - MA):
"Ultimately if we are not able to find any diplomatic resolution in the next weeks I don't think we have any choice but to take it to the international community. I think Iran has made a very dangerous and a very silly decision and it is inviting confrontation not with the United States but with the global community that cares enormously about the control of nuclear weapons."
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stressed that diplomatic talks with Iran were still on the table.
Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General:
"First of all, I think we should try and resolve it if possible in the IAEA context and El Baradei is working with the parties doing his best to try to resolve it there. Once that process is exhausted it may end up in the council and I would leave it to the council to decide what to do if it were to come here. I wouldn't wan to preempt that. And my own, I have been talking to all the parties to negotiate a settlement and really keeping people at the table and try to discourage escalation. My good offices are always available if I need to do more and the parties so wish I will do it."
For the latest on Iran we are joined by:
Ervand Abrahamian, Middle East and Iran Expert at Baruch College, City University of New York. He is the author of several books and is the co-author of "Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth About North Korea, Iran, and Syria"
This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
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JUAN GONZALEZ: This is the former president of Iran, Rafsanjani.
HASHEMI RAFSANJANI: [translated] Now, the subject is very serious and sensitive and is the top issue. It seems that they, the West, don't want an Islamic country to have new technology and want them to be backward. But we are determined to have this technology.
AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the U.N. Thursday to confront what she called Iran's defiance over its nuclear program.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: We also agree that the removal of seals by the Iranian government in defiance of numerous I.A.E.A. board resolutions demonstrates that it has chosen confrontation with the international community over cooperation and negotiation. As the E.U.-3 and E.U. have declared, these provocative actions by the Iranian regime have shattered the basis for negotiation.
We join the European Union and many other members of the international community in condemning the Iranian government's deliberate escalation of this issue. There is simply no peaceful rationale for the Iranian regime to resume uranium enrichment. We are gravely concerned by Iran's long history of hiding sensitive nuclear activities from the I.A.E.A., in violation of its obligations, its refusal to cooperate with the I.A.E.A.'s investigation, its rejection of diplomatic initiatives offered by the E.U. and Russia, and now its dangerous defiance of the entire international community.
AMY GOODMAN: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. This is Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: Ultimately, if we're not able to find a diplomatic resolution in the next weeks, I don't think we have any choice but to take it to the international community. I think Iran has made a very dangerous and a very silly decision. And it really is inviting confrontation not with the United States, but with the global community that cares enormously about the control of nuclear weapons.
AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan stressed diplomatic talks with Iran were still on the table.
KOFI ANNAN: First of all, I think we should try and resolve it, if possible, in the I.A.E.A. context. And El Baradei is working with the parties, doing his best to try and resolve it there. Once that process is exhausted, it may end up in the council, and I would leave it to the council to decide what to do if it were to come here. I wouldn't want to preempt them. And my own -- no, I've been talking to all the parties, doing whatever I can to encourage a negotiated settlement and really keeping people at the table and trying to avoid and discourage escalation. And I will continue to do that. My good offices are always available. If I need to do more and the parties so wish, I will do it.
AMY GOODMAN: That's Kofi Annan. For more on Iran, we are joined by Ervand Abrahamian. He is a Middle East and Iran expert at Baruch College, City University of New York, author of several books and coauthor of Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth About North Korea, Iran and Syria. The professor joins us in our Firehouse studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!
ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, can you talk about the latest, what looks like is evolving as a major crisis at the United Nations?
ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN: Yes. I think what we're seeing are beginnings of escalation, escalation which can eventually lead to some sort of military confrontation. Because of the Iraqi war, we have the sort of the premise that wars are done by design, by intention. The Iraqi war was actually very much of an exception. Most wars come out of miscalculation, misjudgment, playing chickens, expecting the other side to climb down. And this is a classic case where the two sides have irreconcilable interests, and the two sides are going to, in fact, play chicken, expecting the other side to back down. And as far as I can see, neither side is going to back down. So along the road, military confrontation is very much likely.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And your sense of the role of China and Russia in the Security Council, if this does move now to the Security Council?
ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN: Well, Iran, in the past, has been hoping, with the help of also India and other countries, but the bottom line is when it comes to who can offer what, of course, the U.S. can offer China and Russia far more than Iran can. So Iran is not really going to get much protection from those countries, and it probably knows that. It's willing to go along, because it feels it has other cards it can play against United States. So, Iran's actually acting from a position of strength, the way they see it. This makes it very dangerous, because they are overconfident about the situation.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And the New York Times is reporting that Israel, behind the scenes, is pressing very hard on this issue of Iran. But the hypocrisy of many of these western countries, raising these issues about Iran's nuclear program, while Israel's nuclear program goes basically unnoticed or not targeted by any of the other major powers.
ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN: Yes. And it's not, of course, only Israel. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. As is often -- Israel constantly says Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood. But actually Iran lives in the same dangerous neighborhood. Although Iran is adamant that it has no interest, intention of building the bomb, clearly what the policy is to have the capabilities of building the bomb, if necessary.
And this is directly related to Iran's experience during the Iraqi war, when the Iraqis were using weapons of mass destruction and the international community didn't lift a finger. In fact, countries like United States helped Iraq use these weapons on Iran, actually sold the materials and looked the other way and denied the fact that Iraq had been using it. And from this experience, the Iranian decision makers have come to the conclusion that they need to be self-reliant. And if they're ever in a situation like that again, they would be able to build a bomb.
But that doesn't mean they want to build a bomb now. In the nuclear business, it's known as the Japanese option. Japan has this option, within a few months, of building a bomb, because it has all the equipment, it has the science, it has the knowledge. And this Japanese option, actually, some 30 countries in the world has it, and I think the strategy of the Iranian leadership is to be in the same position.
AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think it unsealed, pulled the seals now?
ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN: Well, I think this has been building up. I mean, Iran -- voluntary -- it kept on insisting this was a voluntary freeze while they’re negotiating with the Europeans. And those negotiations really went nowhere, mainly because it was -- Europeans were doing it for [inaudible] the United States. The United States was not involved. And since they discovered that basically they were freezing it indefinitely, it was not in their interest. So this is, for them, a time to do it. And, of course, what they see is the U.S. quagmire in Iraq. They feel that United States really can't do anything at the moment, and this is a perfect situation to go ahead.
AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Professor Ervand Abrahamian of Baruch College, has co-written the book, Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth About North Korea, Iran and Syria. In news, the Times of London reported that Israel's armed forces have been ordered by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon -- this was in December -- to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran. Israel has denied the report.
ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN: Yes, it actually doesn’t really matter whether U.S. does the strike or Israel does it, because Iran would obviously retaliate. And it really can't retaliate against Israel, but it could easily retaliate against United States, so if Israel carries out air strikes, it will be the United States that will suffer for it.
And the pain for the United States will come predominantly in Afghanistan and Iraq. In both countries, Iran, to use the jingo language, they have the assets, got a great deal of assets to cause a lot of trouble for United States. And the last thing, I think, the U.S. military wants in Iraq is a Shia revolt while they're dealing with a Sunni revolt.
AMY GOODMAN: You've talked about -- or I'd like to ask you about the President of Iran's comments on Israel, saying the Holocaust is a myth, saying Israel should be wiped off the face of the map, perhaps it should be established in someplace like Alaska. Your response?
ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN: Well, there are actually two explanations for this. One is this type of thinking is pretty current among rightwing in Iran. And the right wing in Iran is no more sophisticated than the right wing elsewhere. They pick up a few things from information about history, and they elaborate to a Holocaust denial, so every time in Europe someone questions a thing about the Holocaust, it's picked up in the rightwing newspapers in Iran as a major fact. So Ahmadinejad very much comes from that perspective, the questions about the Holocaust.
Then, the question is: Why is he being so adamant and insistent on it now? And I think that's a more interesting issue. If you look at it in the Middle East arena, in the Sunni Arab world Iran is seen as a collaborator with United States. This may sound strange in United States, but from their perspective, what's happening in Iraq is the government is set up in Baghdad, is a Shia government, pro-Iranian, but it's also working together closely with United States. I think this is a marriage of convenience that's not going last long, but from the Sunni, especially rightwing Sunni fundamentalist perspective, the Shias and the Iranians are actually in cahoots with United States.
Now, to basically overcome this stigma, the President in Iran is being more anti-Israeli than the Arabs. So if you can come out with these statements, you could say, ‘Well, look, I’m actually more pro-Palestinian, I’m more pro-Muslim, I’m more pro-Arab, I’m more anti-Israeli than you are, because I’m denying the Holocaust, I’m denying the legitimacy of Israel.’ And this is, again, from a rightwing Iranian perspective.
The more moderates, liberals, reformists had for a long time come to the conclusion that a two-state solution was the best thing. And the former president had actually gone on record as saying that anything the Palestinians accepted, Iran would have to accept, too. So if the Palestinians wanted a two-state solution, recognize Israel, it's not really the task of Iran to sabotage that and say, no. But I think here what Ahmadinejad is trying to do is like being more Catholic than the Pope, being more anti-Israeli than the Palestinians and the Arabs, as a way of forestalling the criticism that Iran is working with United States.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And in terms of North Korea, obviously the focus now, once again, on Iran and a nuclear program in Iran has basically forced North Korea out of the news. You hear virtually nothing about it anymore, and the United States policy of bringing this case to the U.N., while continuing to keep North Korea sort of aside in local regional talks there with some of the major powers there. Your perspective on the different approaches of the United States, of the Bush administration?
ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN: Yes. I mean, from the people in Tehran, their perspective is, ‘Look, North Korea has the bomb, and the U.S. is negotiating with it. Saddam Hussein didn't have the bomb and look what happened to him.’ So within, I think, Iranian elite, there is this debate. If, once Iran gets to the point of having the capabilities, should Iran then go that stretch, one lap, and actually build the bomb? And these are sort of questions that would be raised.
In fact, what is surprising is the last few years in Iran there has been much open discussion whether one should have the nuclear capability and the bomb. I don't know any other country that ever actually has such a debate. I mean, United States, when it built the bomb, or Germany or France or Russia or China, they did it secretly. And it became a de facto thing.
But in Iran there's actually quite a sophisticated knowledge about the dangers of going that route, and there's much discussion about it, the pros and cons into it. And there are even military leaders who argue that it's not in Iran's interest to build the bomb. They all agree on it’s important to have the capabilities, but to actually have the bomb is a debated issue. And many, I would say, important people would argue that it's not in Iran's interest to actually have the bomb.
AMY GOODMAN: We only have 30 seconds. But in your book you write, “The United States is on a collision course with Iran. The main casualty could well be the democratic movement in Iran.” What did you mean?
ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN: Well, it's already occurred. I mean, the casualty has been the democratic movement, because under the Carter and the Clinton administrations, there was actually a rapprochement, a détente. The two were pretty -- on good terms. And then you had the neo-cons coming into Washington and the “axis of evil” speech that basically undercut the reformers in Iran, because the reformers by basically -- inevitably were associated with good relations with United States. And here you have someone in Washington calling for the destruction of the Islamic republic, calling it “axis of evil.” That, really a major reason for the undermining of the reformers, so that's already occurred three years ago.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, this is a conversation that we will continue. Professor Ervand Abrahamian is a Middle East and Iran expert at Baruch College at the City University of New York, coauthor of Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth About North Korea, Iran and Syria.
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:49 am Post subject: Israel Urges Sanctions Against Iran
|January 13, 2006
Israel Urges Sanctions Against Iran
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 1:29 p.m. ET
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel on Friday urged the international community to threaten Iran with sanctions if it doesn't abandon its nuclear ambitions, following new threats from Tehran to block U.N. inspections of its atomic sites.
Israeli officials said they remain hopeful that diplomacy can end the crisis, but they warned a military strike led by others against Iranian nuclear facilities may be necessary.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the Iranian regime should be presented with a clear choice: ''Either they totally cease their nuclear weapons program or they endanger their relationships with the entire organized international community.''
''We believe the combination of fanatical ideology together with nuclear weaponry is a combination that no thinking person can feel comfortable with,'' Regev added.
The comments came a day after France, Britain and Germany -- backed by the United States -- said that nuclear talks with Iran had reached a dead end after more than two years of acrimonious negotiations and the issue should be referred to the Security Council.
With the support of Russia and China uncertain, however, they refrained from calling on the 15-nation council to impose sanctions and said they remained open to more talks.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., said Friday: ''Obviously if Iran failed to comply, the Security Council would then consider sanctions.'' But he denied military action was being considered by Britain or the U.S.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed only at generating electricity, but the U.S., Israel and others say Tehran is seeking to develop atomic weapons.
Israeli officials think Tehran is closer to the ''point of no return'' in developing weapons than Western countries do, arguing that point is not when Iran might have a bomb, but when it might have the technology to produce the fissile component of nuclear warheads.
Israeli defense officials have said that once Iran resumes its enrichment of uranium, as it has announced it would do, it would be able to produce fissile materials in six to 12 months.
Other experts say Iran may be up to five years or more away from producing a nuclear weapon.
Israel considers Tehran to be its greatest threat. Recent statements by Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel's destruction and Russia's plans to sell Iran missiles and other defense systems valued at more than $1 billion have only fueled those fears.
Last month, Israel's military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, said he did not believe diplomatic pressure would put a halt to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Still, Israeli officials have continued to say that international diplomatic pressure is the best way to end Iran's nuclear program, with military action considered only as a last resort. Last month, before his stroke, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel wouldn't lead the fight against the Islamic state's nuclear ambitions.
Israeli combat jets knocked out Iraq's unfinished nuclear reactor more than two decades ago in a lightning strike. But military experts have said a similar attack on Iran's nuclear project would be far more complex, because facilities are dispersed and some are hidden underground.
On Friday, Ran Cohena member of the Israeli parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee, said Israel ''definitely is not considering military action because it would only encourage radical (Islamic) groups to increase their power.''
But another committee member, Ephraim Sneh, said while Israel is not preparing to carry out a unilateral military strike, ''it doesn't mean it's not feasible.''
Asked about the possibility of an attack on Iran, the British foreign secretary said, ''I promise you I've never had a single discussion with anybody in the American administration about even the possibility of military action.''
''This can only be resolved by peaceful means. Nobody is talking about invading Iran or taking military action,'' Straw added.
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:11 pm Post subject: US fabricated case against Iraq–now they're moving on Iraq
|US fabricated case against Iraq–now they're moving on Iran
War, Lies, and Videotape
They fabricated the case against Iraq – now they're moving on Iran
January 13, 2006
January 13, 2006
War, Lies, and Videotape
They fabricated the case against Iraq –
now they're moving on Iran
by Justin Raimondo
As the U.S. gets ready to move on Iran, under the pretext of a gathering Iranian nuclear threat, the news that the War Party got creative when WMD were nowhere to be found in Iraq should give us pause. According to a report in Raw Story by Larisa Alexandrovna, the Office of Special Plans (OSP) – a parallel intelligence agency set up by the neoconservatives to do an end run around the mainline U.S. agencies – was sent into Iraq in 2003 in order to cook up phony "evidence" of "weapons of mass destruction." As Alexandrovna relates:
"Three U.S. intelligence sources and a source close to the United Nations Security Council say that the Pentagon civilian leadership under the guidance of Stephen Cambone, appointed to lead Defense Department intelligence in March 2003, dispatched a series of 'off book' missions out of the ultra-secretive Office of Special Plans (OSP). The team was tasked to secure the following in order of priority: fallen Navy pilot Scott Speicher, WMD, and Saddam Hussein."
The Speicher mission was a pretext eventuated by Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi minions, who insisted that the downed American was alive and not so well in one of Saddam's prisons. In addition, authorized teams of operatives were sent in both before and after the invasion, further masking the "rogue" operation launched by OSP, the purpose of which one UN source described thusly:
"'They come in the summer of 2003, bringing in Iraqis, interviewing them,' the UN source said. "Then they start talking about WMD and they say to [these Iraqi intelligence officers] that 'Our President is in trouble. He went to war saying there are WMD and there are no WMD. What can we do? Can you help us?'
"The source said intelligence officers understood quickly what they were being asked to do and that the assumption was they were being asked to provide WMD in order for coalition forces to find them. 'But the guys were thinking this is absurd because anything put down would not pass the smell test and could be shown to be not of Iraqi origin and not using Iraqi methodology,' the source added."
Is it really possible that they would plant fake WMD, in order for the team of OSP operatives to "find" them? The answer, unfortunately, is undoubtedly yes. For this would cloud the issue, irrespective of whether or not the "find" was later debunked, and it would plant, in the public mind, the idea that there really were WMD to be found in Iraq, that Saddam posed a menace to the region and had to be stopped, and, above all, that Bush was right to invade. The news that the WMD had been "found" would be trumpeted from here to Kingdom Come, while critics and debunkers would be depicted as Bush-hatingterrorist-loving partisans. The truth, in this context, is irrelevant. What matters is the public relations effect of such a bold deception.
Well, then, what happened to the ersatz "evidence" of WMD? What became of the work of the small four-to-five man OSP "team" sent into Iraq under such extraordinarily murky circumstances? An article by Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard may represent the fruits of their labors. Hayes, a leading figure in the "Bush-was-right" cargo cult and a regular writer for the Standard, avers:
"Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to the Weekly Standard by eleven U.S. government officials."
Could these mysterious "documents and photographs" be the product of the OSP's creative postwar tactics in Iraq? It wouldn't be the first time the Weekly Standard had somehow gotten its hot little hands on discarded and highly dubious "intelligence" from the OSP's wastebasket.
Hayes' piece is a perfervid tale of raw "intelligence" vacuumed up by U.S. forces from various sites, including in Iraq, that supposedly documents Iraq's links to al-Qaeda. The secret of Iraq's connection to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. is allegedly contained in a veritable treasure trove of "raw intelligence," the Holy Grail of the neocons, described by Hayes as "photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps" that "come from a collection of some 2 million 'exploitable items' captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives."
The point of Hayes' piece is that these "secret" documents and other items are being suppressed by evil forces within the U.S. government who want to see Bush and the War Party discredited. All right then, let's release the hidden "evidence" of al-Qaeda's much-touted "links" to Saddam: I can hardly wait to see the videotape of the Iraqi dictator playing Risk with Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as the three of them chat amiably about how to nuke New York, Washington, and Crawford, Texas.
This is the fallback theory the neocons are pushing in light of the complete collapse of the case for WMD, which only the most die-hard cargo-cultists of Neoconland still uphold. It's much more fluid, and easier to "prove," if only in the minds of the president's supporters. Although an alleged Prague meeting between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent turned out to be a crock, there is an infinite number of similarly tall tales on tap, and I'm sure Señor Hayes and other authors of the neocon school of docudrama will rise to the challenge.
Such a ploy illustrates the three cardinal rules of warfare, both political and otherwise: Buck up the troops and keep firing at the enemy. Above all, stay on the offensive.
This is precisely what the neocons are doing with the current campaign – now reaching a crescendo of righteousness – against Iran's alleged attempts to develop nuclear weapons. Although Israel doubtless has nukes aimed at Tehran, the Iranians are not allowed to defend against or deter the threat of an Israeli first strike – that would be committing the sin of "moral equivalence."
After all, what right have the Iranians got to defend themselves – isn't their newly-elected president a Holocaust-denier, and hasn't he expressed a strong desire to "wipe Israel off the map"? Never mind that he seemed to have mellowed out after due consideration and supplemented his remarks with a suggestion that perhaps Israel might be re-implanted somewhere else – say, in Europe, the scene of the greatest crimes against the Jews. The real point, however, is that once the Iranians get their hands on nukes, the worst thing in the world will have happened. Yet is this really so?
Insofar as it would make all-out war unthinkable, the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Tehran would, ironically, stabilize as much as destabilize a volcanically volatile region. As it stands now, the entire Middle East lives in the shadow of a possible Israeli first strike against a perceived threat – as exemplified by a recent round of speculation about an imminent Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear sites. This is inherently destabilizing, as it means an increase in "fourth generation" terrorist tactics employed by Israel's enemies, and opens up the possibility that a future Israeli prime minister – perhaps an extremist elected by a radicalized Israeli majority – might one day really pull the nuclear trigger.
On the other hand, having leveled the playing field, the Iranians would render the Israeli first-strike strategy inoperable. A war between Israel and its adversaries in the Middle East, rather than ending in the nuking of Tehran, Mecca, and every major Muslim city in the region, would instead have to mean "mutually assured destruction" (MAD) – that old specter of the Cold War that the neocons found so insufferably irritating at the time, and which stood in the way of their dreams of "regime change." (It happened anyway, albeit without their intervention, but that's another story…)
In any case, the neocons, allied with Israel's amen corner in the U.S., are bound and determined that this will not happen, and they have considerable backing, not only in both parties but internationally: the UN Security Council is likely to take up the questions of sanctions soon, and the first notes of a long prelude to another war in the Middle East are now being heard. Rather than defend the indefensible, i.e., the veracity and integrity of the "intelligence"-gatheringmethods that lied us into war in Iraq, the War Party is simply changing the subject – while still employing the same old tried-and-true methods. After all, it worked the last time…
Yet another Raw Story scoop – Larisa Alexandrovna is one busy gal – gives us a preview of what the neocons might have in store for us:
"Several U.S. and foreign intelligence sources, along with investigators, say an Iranian exile with ties to Iran-Contra peddled a bizarre tale of stolen uranium to governments on both sides of the Atlantic in the spring and summer of 2003. The story that was peddled – which detailed how an Iranian intelligence team infiltrated Iraq prior to the start of the war in March of 2003, and stole enriched uranium to use in their own nuclear weapons program – was part of an attempt to implicate both countries in a WMD plot. It later emerged that the Iranian exile was trying to collect money for his tales, sources say."
The source of this neocon fantasy-fiction: Manucher Ghorbanifar, a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, a legendary fabricator, and a key source of much of the wheeling and dealing of phony "intelligence" in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The audacity of this fable is that it kills two birds with one stone – targeting both Iraq and Iran as aspiring nuclear powers deserving of "regime change."
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Penn.) became the tireless champion of Ghorbanifar's guff on Capitol Hill and even wrote a whole book on the subject, Countdown to Terror– a compendium of what amounts to neocon fan fiction, related in the breathless tone of a dime-store spy thriller. According to the official mythology, an Iranian informant code-named "Ali" had information that the Iranians had sent a team to Baghdad to make off with weapons-grade uranium from one of Saddam Hussein's many hidden stockpiles. As Ali tells it, the Iranians had penetrated Iraq before the invasion and filched Saddam's nukes, apparently in the nick of time and just under our noses – albeit not, according to Ali, without coming down with radiation poisoning in the process.
This story has everything: a secret informant, a mission seemingly impossible, and, in the end, a martyrdom. The only problem is that it isn't credible, given its source. As Laura Rozen revealed in the definitive debunking of the "Ali" myth:
"The Prospect has learned that the true identity of 'Ali' is Fereidoun Mahdavi, formerly the shah's minister of commerce and, more importantly, the close friend and business partner of Ghorbanifar, legendary arms dealer, infamous intelligence fabricator, and central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal that almost brought down the Reagan administration. It was 'Gorba,' as he was known back then to Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, the rogue National Security Council officer, who lured the Reagan administration into secretly selling U.S. missiles to the Islamic regime in exchange for the release of Western hostages."
Yesteryear's serial liars are making their encore appearance, with an all-star cast of all-too-familiar neocons seeming to mock us, relentless and brazen. Iraq was yesterday, but Iran is today. So are Syria and Lebanon: the War Party is on the move. The sounds of their war cries are already rebounding, and are heard in that inner sanctum of "peace" and global togetherness, the United Nations.
The Security Council is due to take up the issue of Iran's bid to build a nuclear deterrent, and this time the Americans have their European allies, including France and Germany, on board. The Iranians, for their part, assert that they are acquiring a nuclear capacity purely for the purpose of power generation, and they are trying desperately to wriggle out of the UN inspections vise that once had Saddam in its grip.
Viewed from an Israeli perspective, of course, the existence of an Iranian nuclear deterrent is a strategic disaster and utterly impermissible. After all, those nukes won't be aimed at New York or Los Angeles: they'll be aimed at Tel Aviv – and, perhaps, any number of European capitals, which accounts for the "multilateralist" character of the latest Western crusade against menacing Saracens in the East.
From a purely American standpoint, however, the alteration of the nuclear equation in the Middle East takes on an entirely different aspect, one that is, at the very least, highly ambiguous. To begin with, proliferation of nuclear weaponry is bad in and of itself: we don't want another Pakistan on our hands, in which we nervously await an internal eruption to empower some Islamic nutball to launch a nuclearized jihad. On the other hand, we've endured the Pakistan situation for this long, and its potential consequences in terms of getting nuclear arms directly into the hands of Osama bin Laden & Co. are far more likely – and more horrendously lethal – than the prospect of Tehran acquiring nukes.
Secondly, as I've said above, the evening out of the Middle East playing field might not be such a bad idea after all. With the threat of an Israeli first strike removed, the process of general disarmament – starting with nuclear disarmament – can begin. Let the International Atomic Energy Agency – the UN's official nuclear weapons watchdog – inspect Israel's nuclear sites and make their findings public. Then the Security Council can deal with the allegations against Iran in context – and, perhaps, forge the basis for negotiating the general and complete nuclear disarmament of the entire region, setting in place safeguards and monitoring mechanisms that conduct surveillance on an equal basis.
The acquisition of a nuclear capacity is, for Iranians, a matter of national pride: even the more democratic opponents of the current regime, when asked, assert their nation's "right" to go nuclear. Yet it is also a matter of survival for any nation that takes seriously the American intent to preemptively attack anyone, anywhere, at any time, in order to prevent some alleged future aggression or the coalescence of some formless "threat." Another spoke in the axis of evil, North Korea, didn't need to be told this, and now the Iranians are learning it, too. To anyone who has ever looked at Uncle Sam cross-eyed, the lesson of the Iraqi invasion is that the failure to develop nuclear arms is an invitation for the U.S. to engage in a little "regime change." Our foreign policy of global aggression accelerates the natural inclination of states to arm themselves to the teeth, thus fostering the nuclear arms race: preemption precipitates proliferation.
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Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 9:32 pm Post subject: Hillary Clinton, AIPAC and Iran
January 3, 2006
Hillary Clinton, AIPAC and Iran
By JOSHUA FRANK
President Bush's position on Iran
is "disturbing" and "dangerous",
reads a recent screed written by
(American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
Not long ago the Bush administration
accepted a Russian proposal to allow
Iran to continue to develop nuclear
energy under Russian supervision
and AIPAC is downright pissed.
In a letter to congressional allies,
mostly Democrats, the pro-Israel
organization admitted is was
"concerned that the decision not
to go to the Security Council,
combined with the U.S. decision
to support the 'Russian proposal,'
indicates a disturbing shift in
the Administration's policy on
Iran and poses a danger to the
U.S. and our allies."
Israel, however, continues to
develop a substantial nuclear arsenal,
and in 2000 the BBC
(British Broadcasting Corporation)
reported that Israel has most likely
produced enough plutonium to make
up to 200 nuclear weapons.
it is safe to say that Israel's
bomb building techniques are
light years ahead of Iran's
dismal nuclear program.
Yet the major U.S. ally in the
Middle East still won't admit
they have capacity to produce
such deadly weapons.
And while AIPAC and Israel
pressure the U.S. government
to force the Iran issue to the
U.N. Security Council,
Israel itself stands in violation
of numerous U.N. Resolutions dealing
with the occupied territories of Palestine,
including U.N. Resolution 1402,
which demands that Israel withdraw
its military from all Palestinian
cities at once.
to say the least.
The goliath lobbying organization
wants Iran to be slapped across
the knuckles while the crimes of
Israel continue to be ignored.
And who is propping up AIPAC's
hypocritical position? Senator
Hillary Clinton of New York.
As the top Democratic recipient of
pro-Israel funds for the 2006 election
cycle thus far,
pocketing over $58,000 as
of October 31 last year,
Senator Clinton now has
Iran in her cross-hairs.
During a Hanukkah dinner speech
delivered on December 11, hosted
by Yeshiva University, Clinton prattled,
"I held a series of meetings with
Israeli officials [last summer],
including the prime minister and
the foreign minister and the head
of the [Israeli Defense Force] to
discuss such challenges we confront.
In each of these meetings,
we talked at length about
the dire threat posed by
the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran,
not only to Israel,
but also to Europe and Russia.
Just this week,
the new president of Iran
made further outrageous
comments that attacked
Israel's right to exist
that are simply beyond
the pale of international
discourse and acceptability.
During my meeting with
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
I was reminded vividly of the
threats that Israel faces every
hour of every day ...
It became even more clear how
important it is for the United
States to stand with Israel ..."
As Sen. Clinton embraces Israel's violence,
as well as AIPAC's duplicitous Iran position,
she simultaneously ignores the hostilities
inflicted upon Palestine,
as numerous Palestinians have
been killed during the recent
shelling of the Gaza Strip.
Over the past weeks Israel continues
to mark the occupied territories
(they call 'buffer zones')
like a frothing-mouth K9 on the loose.
Hillary Clinton's silence toward
Israel's brutality implies the
senator will continue to support
AIPAC's mission to occupy the whole
of the occupied territories,
as well as a war on Iran in the future.
AIPAC's right --
even President Bush appears to
be a little sheepish when up
against Hillary "warmonger" Clinton.
Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out!:
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:53 pm Post subject: US senators say military strike on Iran must be option
|US senators say military strike on Iran must be option
15 Jan 2006 19:58:23 GMT
In WASHINGTON story headlined "CORRECTED-U.S. Senators say military strike on Iran must be option," please read in third paragraph ... Bayh of Indiana ... instead of Bayh of Illinois ... (correcting state to Indiana).
A corrected story follows:
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent
WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Republican and Democratic senators said on Sunday the United States may ultimately have to undertake a military strike to deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but that should be the last resort.
"That is the last option. Everything else has to be exhausted. But to say under no circumstances would we exercise a military option, that would be crazy," Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there are sensitive elements of Iran's nuclear program, which, if attacked, "would dramatically delay its development."
"But that should not be an option at this point. We ought to use everything else possible keep from getting to that juncture," he said on CNN's "Late Edition."
A growing nuclear fracas exploded last week when Iran, defying the United States and major European powers, resumed nuclear research after a two-year moratorium.
Iran says it aims only to make power for an energy-needy economy, not build atom bombs. But it hid nuclear work from the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency for almost 20 years before exiled dissidents exposed it in 2002.
On Sunday, Iran said that only diplomacy, not threats to refer it to the U.N. Security Council, could defuse a standoff over its nuclear work and warned that any Western push for sanctions could jack up world oil prices.
The Security Council's five permanent members and Germany planned talks in London on Monday on a common strategy to tackle the controversy.
McCain called the nuclear standoff "the most grave situation that we have faced since the end of the Cold War, absent the whole war on terror."
"We must go to the U.N. now for sanctions. If the Russians and the Chinese, for reasons that would be abominable, do not join us then we will have to go with the (states that are) willing," he said.
While acknowledging that President George W. Bush has "no good option," McCain said "there is only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option, that is a nuclear-armed Iran."
"If the price of oil has to go up then that's a consequence we would have to suffer," he said.
Iran is the world's fourth biggest exporter of crude oil and the second biggest in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Experts and officials say it may be impossible to destroy Iran's nuclear program because much of it is underground and dispersed at numerous sites.
In addition, they have said an attack on Iran could further inflame anti-Americanism in the Middle East and prompt Tehran to interfere more in Iraq and encourage Islamist fundamentalist groups to launch new attacks on the West.
Another Senate Intelligence Committee member, Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi, said that despite a massive military commitment in Iraq the United States has the capability to strike Iran but it would be difficult and other options must be tried first.
Bayh accused Bush of undermining the U.S. national interest and creating what he called a dilemma by ignoring the problem of Iran for four years.
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:19 pm Post subject: US And EU Want Iran To Go Before UN Security Council…
|US And EU Want Iran To Go Before UN Security Council…
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:21 pm Post subject: Are US and Israel planning War against Iran for late March?
|Are US and Israel planning War against Iran for late March?
US And EU Want Iran To Go Before UN Security Council…
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
|Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:57 pm Post subject: Another Undeclared War?
|January 18, 2006
Another Undeclared War?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Is the United States about to launch a second preemptive war, against a nation that has not attacked us, to deprive it of weapons of mass destruction that it does not have?
With U.S. troops tied down in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Pakistanis inflamed over a U.S. airstrike that wiped out 13 villagers, including women and children, it would seem another war in the Islamic world is the last thing America needs.
Yet the "military option" against Iran is the talk of the town.
"There is only one thing worse than … exercising the military option," says Sen. John McCain. "That is a nuclear-armed Iran. The military option is the last option, but cannot be taken off the table."
Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, McCain said Iran's nuclear program presents "the most grave situation we have faced since the end of the Cold War, absent the whole war on terror."
Meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bush employed the same grim terms he used before invading Iraq. If Iran goes forward with nuclear enrichment, said Bush, it could "pose a grave threat to the security of the world."
McCain and Bush both emphasized the threat to Israel. And all the usual suspects are beating the drums for war. Israel warns that March is the deadline after which she may strike. One reads of F-16s headed for the Gulf. The Weekly Standard is feathered and painted for the warpath. The Iranian Chalabis are playing their assigned roles, warning that Tehran is much closer to nukes than we all realize.
But just how imminent in this "grave threat"?
Thus far, Tehran has taken only two baby steps. It has renewed converting "yellowcake" into uranium hexafluoride, the gaseous substance used to create enriched uranium. And Iran has broken the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seals at its nuclear facility at Natanz, where uranium hexafluoride is to be processed into enriched uranium. But on Saturday, the foreign ministry said it was still suspending "fuel production."
However, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared, "There are no restrictions for nuclear research activities under the NPT," the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Iran has signed.
Here, Iran's president is supported by his countrymen and stands on the solid ground of international law. Yet Secretary of State Condi Rice said last week, "There is simply no peaceful rationale for the Iranian regime to resume uranium enrichment."
Is Condi right?
Unlike Israel, Pakistan, and India, which clandestinely built nuclear weapons, Iran has signed the NPT. And Tehran may wish to exercise its rights under the treaty to master the nuclear fuel cycle to build power plants for electricity, rather than use up the oil and gas deposits she exports to earn all of her hard currency. Nuclear power makes sense for Iran
True, in gaining such expertise, Iran may wish to be able, in a matter of months, to go nuclear. For the United States and Israel, which have repeatedly threatened her, are both in the neighborhood and have nuclear arsenals. Acquiring an atom bomb to deter a U.S. or Israeli attack may not appear a "peaceful rationale" to Rice, but the Iranians may have a different perspective.
Having seen what we did to Iraq, but how deferential we are to North Korea, would it be irrational for Tehran to seek its own deterrent?
And, again, just how imminent is this "grave threat"?
"We don't see a clear and present danger," Mohamed ElBaradei of the IAEA has just told Newsweek.
Some put the possibility of an Iranian bomb at 10 years away. Con Coughlin, defense and security editor of the London Telegraph, writes that the 164 centrifuges in the Natanz pilot plant could enable Iran to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single bomb – in three years.
If the threat were imminent, Israel, which invaded Egypt in 1956, destroyed the Syrian and Egyptian air forces on the ground in a surprise attack in 1967, and smashed an Iraqi reactor before it was completed in 1981, would have acted. And with an estimated 200 nuclear weapons, Israel is fully capable of deterring Iran – and of massive retaliation if she is attacked by Iran.
Iran has attacked neither Israel nor our forces in the Gulf, and the Ayatollah Khamenei is said to be reining in Ahmadinejad. So it would seem that Iran does not want a war.
Congress thus has the time to do the constitutional duty it failed to do when it gave Bush his blank check to invade Iraq at a time of his choosing.
Few today trust "intelligence reports," War Party propagandists, or the word of exiles anxious to have us fight their wars. Congress should thus hold hearings on how close Tehran is to a nuclear weapon and whether this represents an intolerable threat, justifying a preventive war that would mean a Middle East cataclysm and a worldwide depression. Then it should vote to declare war, or to deny Bush the power to go to war.
The "Bush Doctrine" notwithstanding, if Congress has not put the "military option on the table," neither George Bush nor John McCain can put it there. That is the Constitution still, is it not?
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