Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

The Iranian Threat That Never Was

By Sheldon Richman | Future of Freedom Foundation | March 26, 2014

If you take politicians and the mainstream media seriously, you believe that Iran wants a nuclear weapon and has relentlessly engaged in covert efforts to build one. Even if you are aware that Iran signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, you may believe that those who run the Islamic Republic have cleverly found ways to construct a nuclear-weapons industry almost undetected. Therefore, you may conclude, Democratic and Republican administrations have been justified in pressuring Iran to come clean and give up its “nuclear program.”

But you would be wrong.

Anyone naturally skeptical about such foreign-policy alarms has by now found solid alternative reporting that debunks the official narrative about the alleged Iranian threat. Much of that reporting has come from Gareth Porter, the journalist and historian associated with Inter Press Service. Porter has done us the favor of collecting the fruits of his dogged investigative journalism into a single comprehensive and accessible volume, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.

A grain of truth can be found at the core of the official story. Iranian officials did indeed engage in secret activities to achieve a nuclear capability. But it was a capability aimed at generating electricity and medical treatments, not hydrogen bombs.

Porter opens his book by explaining why Iran used secretive rather than open methods. Recall that before the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran was ruled by an autocratic monarch, the shah. The shah’s power had been eclipsed in the early 1950s by a democratically elected parliament. Then, in 1953, America’s Eisenhower administration sent the CIA in to foment civil discord in order to drive the elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, from office and restore the shah’s power.

During his reign, the shah, a close ally of the United States and Israel, started building a nuclear-power industry — with America’s blessing. Iran’s Bushehr reactor was 80 percent complete when the shah was overthrown.

When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became Iran’s supreme leader in 1979, he cancelled completion of the reactor and stopped related projects. But “two years later, the government reversed the decision to strip the [Atomic Energy Organization of Iran] of its budget and staff, largely because the severe electricity shortages that marked the first two years of the revolutionary era persuaded policymakers that there might be a role for nuclear power reactors after all,” Porter writes.

The new regime’s goals were “extremely modest compared with those of the shah,” Porter adds, consisting of one power plant and fuel purchased from France. Take note: the Iranian government did not aspire to enrich uranium, which is the big scare issue these days.

Iran brought the IAEA into its planning process, Porter writes, and an agency official, after conducting a survey of facilities, “recommended that the IAEA provide ‘expert services’ in eight different fields.” Porter notes that the IAEA official said nothing about an Iranian request for help in enriching uranium, “reflecting the fact that Iran was still hoping to get enriched uranium from the French company, Eurodif.”

Had things continued along this path, Iran today would have had a transparent civilian nuclear industry, under the NPT safeguard, fueled by enriched uranium purchased from France or elsewhere. No one would be talking about Iranian centrifuges and nuclear weapons. What happened?

The Reagan administration happened.

Continuing the U.S. hostility toward the Islamic Republic begun by the Carter administration, and siding with Iraq when Saddam Hussein’s military attacked Iran, the Reagan administration imposed “a series of interventions … to prevent international assistance of any kind to the Iranian nuclear program.” Not only did President Reagan block American firms from helping the Iranians; he also pressured American allies to participate in the embargo. This was in clear violation of the NPT, which recognizes the “right” of participating states to acquire nuclear technology for civilian purposes.

No wonder Iran turned to covert channels, most particularly A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani who “was selling nuclear secrets surreptitiously.” This would have been the time for Iran to buy weapons-related technology — however, Porter writes, “there is no indication that [Khan’s Iranian contact] exhibited any interest in the technology for making a bomb.”

This is indeed a manufactured crisis.

March 27, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers attempt construction of new access path at Tel Rumeida

CPTnet | March 27, 2014

Attempt by settlers to begin construction of walking path on Tel Rumeida.  The blue fence is on the
settlement, and the new stake on right is in a washed out area that would link the settler path to
an existing path along the outside of the fence surrounding the settler archaeological dig.

On 24 March 2014, settlers attempted to begin construction of a walking path outside the fenced “archaeological” dig near the Abu Haikal home on Tel Rumeida.  The settlers pounded in metal stakes in an area just below the fence erected by Israelis around what was once the orchard of the Abu Haikal family, and is now an archaeological site to which Palestinians, including Palestinian archaeological experts, are denied access.  The stakes are a first step in an apparent attempt to link the settlement of Tel Rumeida to the fenced area of the archaeological dig.

Palestinians living in the building adjacent to the land on which the settlers were trespassing called the police, who ordered the settlers to stop.  However, the following day, 25 March, soldiers arrived at the home of the Abu Haikal family and threatened them with arrest.

Feryal Abu Haikal had just finished hosting a group of neighbors, along with the Palestinian Liaison Officer and an officer from the Hebron Governor’s office, when soldiers arrived at her home and began to dispute the ownership of some of the land on Tel Rumeida, showing her a map that contained false information.  The soldiers told Feryal Abu Haikal that no visitors are allowed on the land surrounding her home, and threatened to arrest and deport any internationals there, including members of the Abu Haikal family.

For background on the settler archaeological dig on Tel Rumeida click here 

To see a map of multiple land-grab efforts by settlers in Hebron click here.

March 27, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Anti-Defamation League’s Deceit Helps Sink a Judgeship

By David Boyajian | Dissident Voice | March 26, 2014

After two fair and lengthy hearings, the eight elected members of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council, in a 4-4 tie vote on March 5, refused to confirm attorney Joseph Berman to be a Superior Court judge. It was a defeat for Governor Deval Patrick, who had nominated Mr. Berman. But the Council took its responsibilities seriously and rendered a well-considered judgment.

Councilors voiced many concerns about the nominee. Foremost was a lack of truthfulness.

Berman, under oath, was asked three times whether he had requested anyone to lobby the Council to advance his nomination. Each time, he replied no.

Later, after some stumbling, he admitted to another Councilor that he had phoned State Senator – now Congresswoman – Katherine Clark to lobby Councilors.

Mr. Berman’s meager criminal trial experience also troubled Councilors. Another concern was Berman’s scant knowledge of drug abuse. And some worried that Berman, politically active and a national leader in the heavily political Anti-Defamation League (ADL), would promote those viewpoints as a judge.

Several Councilors questioned Berman’s $100,000 in campaign contributions, including to Governor Patrick, since being turned down for a judgeship in 2004. They saw this as a possible attempt to advance his judicial ambitions.

At his second hearing, Mr. Berman tried to deflect these criticisms. He claimed, for example, to have misunderstood the Councilors’ questions about lobbying them. He also said he had been studying up on drug addiction and criminal law.

Berman’s being a 19-year member, and since 2006 a National Commissioner, of the ADL also caught the attention of some Councilors and media.

Recall the ADL scandal that broke out in mid-2007. It exposed that organization’s decades-old hypocrisy in denying the Armenian genocide and colluding directly with Turkey, a major human rights violator, to defeat U.S. Congressional resolutions on that genocide.

Shocked at the ADL’s stance, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which represents every city and town, then dropped its sponsorship of the ADL’s so-called “No Place for Hate” anti-bias program. So did Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Lexington, Medford, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Peabody, Somerville, Watertown, and Westwood. The ADL scandal quickly became national and international news.

Naturally, the Governor’s Council quizzed Berman about his ADL leadership role. He claimed that after the scandal erupted in 2007 he and some New England ADL members tried to convince the National ADL to change its position on the Armenian genocide. But there is no hard proof of that. And surely Berman knew long before 2007 of the ADL’s anti-Armenian stance. Yet he never spoke out publicly or resigned. Even after 2007, Mr. Berman remained publicly silent about the ADL’s indefensible assault on Armenian Americans.

Alongside the Council’s other concerns, Berman’s ADL record raised doubts about his worthiness to be a judge.

On August 21, 2007, the National ADL tried to squirm out of the scandal with a press release that used deceptive and legalistic wording about the Armenian genocide. It implied that the Armenian genocide was a mere “consequence” of wartime events, which meant it wouldn’t qualify as genocide under the United Nation’s official definition. The dishonest ADL declaration was widely rejected.

Nearly 20 countries, such as Canada, France, and Argentina, the European Union Parliament, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and the Polish Jewish lawyer who coined the word “genocide” in the 1940s, Raphael Lemkin, have recognized the Armenian genocide of 1915 -23 committed by Turkey.

Many American human rights, ethnic, and church organizations have supported the Armenian genocide resolution. These include the American Jewish World Service and the Jewish War Veterans of the USA.

But not the ADL nor, reports the Jewish media, the American Jewish Committee, AIPAC, and B’nai B’rith. They adhere to a long-standing arrangement among themselves, Turkey, and Israel to deny the Armenian genocide. See “History of Lobbying” at NoPlaceForDenial.com.

The ADL professes to defend the human rights of all ethnic groups, not just Jews. It insists that the American people acknowledge and pass legislation on the Holocaust. Yet the ADL tries to prevent recognition of a Christian genocide. The hypocrisy is astonishing.

Meanwhile, a significant precedent has been created: Members of the ADL, or similar organizations, who aspire to a higher post, particularly in government, may now be asked what they knew of their organization’s genocide hypocrisy, when they knew it, and what they did about it. Such are the bitter fruits of deceit.

David Boyajian is a freelance journalist.

March 27, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | | Leave a comment

Israeli forces shut down Palestinian conference in Jerusalem

Ma’an – 27/03/2014

JERUSALEM – Israeli forces on Wednesday prevented Palestinian human rights organizations in Jerusalem from holding a conference in opposition to Arab enlistment in the Israeli military, organizers said.

Israeli special forces and police reportedly stormed the headquarters of the Yabous Cultural Center immediately prior to the beginning of the conference and shut down the building until the evening.

Organizers said that the police hung a notice signed by the chief of police banning the proceedings from moving forward because the conference was organized by activists associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israeli authorities consider a terrorist organization.

Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center director Rami Saleh denied the allegations, noting that the conference was organized by JLAC, St. Yves, Kanaan Project, and in cooperation with the Baladna organization’s Haifa branch.

Saleh said the conference aims to raise awareness in the Arab community of Jerusalem about “civil service,” a form of service in the Israeli army that the Israeli state has increasingly enjoined Arab youth to enlist in.

The conference was intended to encourage opposition to “civil service” and all kinds of military service in the Israeli army, which is not mandatory for Muslim and Christian Palestinians in Israel, unlike for Druze and Jewish Israelis.

Dozens of Jerusalem youths aged 18-21 had joined the program, Saleh said.

Yabous institute director Rania Elias condemned the closure of the institute from 2-8 p.m, adding that the institute will continue to provide service and organize events for Palestinian organizations.

March 27, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

US bullying UK on Iran: British politicians

Press TV – March 27, 2014

Senior British politicians say the United States is “bullying” UK banks and is hampering legal exports from Britain to Iran.

The politicians, including former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and former Chancellor Lord Lamont, made the remarks at a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday.

British parliamentarians say the US threatens British banks with heavy sanctions and hampers the legal exports of food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices from the UK to the Islamic republic. They add that Washington is hindering UK’s legal trade with Iran.

Lamont said Britain “should not be bullied by the American authorities.”

Straw noted that as British banks fear US sanctions, they do not provide UK companies with banking services for legal exports to Iran.

“The pressure on our banks is intense,” Straw said, adding, “The impact of this unilateral, extraterritorial jurisdiction of the US is discriminatory, especially against UK-based financial institutions, given their multinational nature.”

Straw also said the US authorities would not accept the way that British banks and companies are treated if they were in the same situation.

“The US Congress and government would not tolerate this for a moment were the situation reversed,” Straw stated, saying the move by the US is a direct challenge to the sovereignty of the UK.

Straw, who is also the British head of Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group, visited Iran at the head of a high-ranking delegation, including Lamont, Conservative lawmaker Ben Wallace and Labor lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn as guests of Iran’s Majlis in January.

The British delegates held meetings with high-ranking Iranian officials. The three-day official visit was the first by a delegation of British politicians since 2008.

Earlier this month, in remarks meant to dissuade foreign countries from planning trade cooperation with the Islamic Republic, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Iran is not an open market for business.

“We have made it crystal clear that Iran is not open for business,” Kerry said, addressing US Senators on Capitol Hill on March 13. He warned that the core sanctions against Iran remain firmly in place.

Several delegations from across the world have visited Iran over the past few months in order to boost trade and ties with the Islamic Republic.

March 27, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Merkel not ready to back economic sanctions against Russia

RT | March 27, 2014

The West has not yet reached a stage where it will be ready to impose economic sanctions on Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, stressing that she hopes for a political solution to the stalemate over Ukraine crisis.

The chancellor said she is “not interested in escalation” of tensions with Russia, speaking after Wednesday meeting with the South Korean president in Berlin.

“On the contrary, I am working on de-escalation of the situation,” she added, as cited by Itar-Tass.

Merkel believes that the West “has not reached a stage that implies the imposition of economic sanctions” against Russia, advocated by US President Barack Obama. “And I hope we will be able to avoid it,” she said.

Berlin is very much dependent on economic ties with Russia with bilateral trade volume equaling to some 76 billion euros in 2013. Further around 6,000 German firms and over 300,000 jobs are dependent on Russian partners with the overall investment volume of 20 billion euros.

Germany is currently the European Union’s biggest exporter to Russia. German car manufacturing companies are likely to suffer first if sanctions against Russia become more substantial, as about half of German exports to Russia are vehicles and machinery.

Volkswagen, BMW, and lorry maker MAN all have Russian operations, with VW willing to inject another €1.8 billion in its Eastern European segment by 2018, the Local reports. Opel, a German car maker which sold over 80,000 cars in Russia in 2013, last week said that the company was “already feeling the stresses and strains from the changing course of the ruble,” Karl-Thomas Neumann, boss of car makers Opel, told Automobilwoche magazine.

On the retail side, German Metro stores wanted to take its Russian subsidiary public this year, but the plan is now imperiled, Der Spiegel reported.

Earlier this month Germany’s KfW development bank canceled a contract with Russia’s VEB bank worth €900 million in investment initiatives for mid-sized companies. Under the deal Germans were to have invested €200 million in Russia.

In addition, Germany is heavily dependent on Russian energy with around 35 percent of its natural gas imports coming from Russia.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov commented on Russia’s economic situation on Wednesday.

“At present, the investors’ worries are connected with the consequences of sanctions. We see ratings agencies lower the outlook on Russia’s ratings. It certainly puts us on alert. There are no basic grounds for changing the general stability of Russia’s economy,” Siluanov told Russia-24 TV channel.

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) global credit rating agency changed the outlooks for Russia’s large energy companies on Wednesday. Gazprom, Rosneft, Transneft and Lukoil ratings were reduced from stable to negative outlook for having “very strong links” with the Kremlin. Last week S&P and Fitch Ratings lowered Russia’s overall creditworthiness. Both companies affirmed Russia at BBB.

Yet Siluanov defended Russia’s economy and trustworthiness saying that foreign investors hope that the any sanctions against Moscow are temporary.

“The measures that were taken regarding certain persons and companies have their effect. The general mood around Russia has become nervous. But we have good conditions for business,” he said, adding that “neither Western companies nor Russia need the sanctions.”

March 27, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment