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‘Trial of Saddam Hussein was victor’s justice’ – Ex-tribunal judge

RT | April 9, 2016

The former chief judge that presided over Saddam Hussein’s trial told RT in an exclusive interview how the tribunal, which was dependent on the US, lacking in legitimacy, and overshadowed by the killing of lawyers, sentenced the Iraqi strongman to death.

In November of 2006, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging three years after a US-led “coalition of the willing” invaded Iraq, removing him from power as the country’s leader. The hanging itself was carried out at the US’ Camp Justice military base – an act that has been criticized by a number of governments and described by rights groups as cruel and unfair.

The tribunal leading to the death sentence was also regarded by many as a “political show” and “vengeful action,” with international law experts questioning its legitimacy and fairness.

Former Chief Judge Rizgar Amin, who oversaw the trial of Hussein and seven former members of his government, shared details regarding the notorious trial with RT. Amin, the only judge whose name was made public at the trial’s opening in October of 2005, resigned in January of 2006 following pressure from the government to speed up the proceedings, according to Reuters.

“The trial was, to a larger extent, of a political nature. Ruling circles as well as various political forces had impact on it,” he said.

Amin pointed out that the Iraq Special Tribunal (IST), which conducted the trial, had been created in 2003 by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), a body set up by the occupying forces to administer the country following the US invasion.

The CPA operated on Iraqi soil as a Pentagon division. It had executive, legislative, and judicial authority in the defeated country, and the Authority’s head, Lewis Paul Bremer, was the de-facto governor of Iraq until mid-2004. His first decrees disbanded the Iraqi army and ruling Ba’ath party, and created an Iraqi Governing Council. Its members were handpicked by Bremer from groups and persons that welcomed the 2003 invasion.

“The United States’ role has been instrumental to create and finance the trial,” Amin added. “They also provided it with everything necessary to operate. Even trial-related expenses have been adopted by Iraqi Governing Council.”

Dependence on the US-led occupation authority wasn’t the only factor influencing the trial’s impartiality and fairness. “To my utmost regret, I must admit that the trial of Saddam Hussein had been victor’s justice, rather than manifestation of principles it used to serve. A thirst for revenge dominated the hearings.”

Apart from the spirit of the trial, the competence of the judges and the statutes authorizing the tribunal have been called into question by international observers. Human Rights Watch said in 2003 that the law did not require the tribunal’s judges and prosecutors to have experience in complex criminal cases, such as that of Saddam Hussein, nor did it require that guilt be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which is regarded a cornerstone of any criminal trial.

The ability of the defense counsel to vigorously represent their clients without fear of reprisal or retaliation, another key issue for any fair trial, was also missing. “In theory, according to a law on court proceedings, lawyers’ rights have to be ensured, but unfortunately, it was not the case in reality,” Amin said.

“As we know, [Saddam Hussein’s] chief lawyer was abducted and killed after the first hearing. Other lawyers have been intimidated or even murdered. The lawyers’ security was inadequate which made fairness of the court’s judgments doubtful.”

On June 21, 2006, Khamis al-Obeidi, Saddam Hussein’s defense counsel, was abducted from his home in Baghdad and shot dead. Lawyers representing other defendants were either abducted, found dead, or forced to flee the country for their lives.

Despite the entire trial falling into disarray, the judges sentenced Saddam to death by hanging on November 5, 2006. As Chief Judge Ra’uf Abdel Rahman, who had replaced Judge Amin, read the verdict aloud, a defiant Saddam shouted, “Long live the people! Long live the Arab nation! Down with the spies!”

According to media reports, he was executed by hanging on December 30, 2006 at approximately 6 am local time at Camp Justice, a US military base in the northern part of Baghdad. Even the execution time violated the law. “Pursuant to Article 290 of Iraq’s Criminal Procedure Code, death penalty cannot be carried out on official holidays, as well as holidays relating to religion of an indicted person,” Judge Amin said.

Saddam was executed on the first day of an important Sunni Islamic holiday, Eid ul-Adha, “obviously a breach of the above article,” Amin added, and “a mandatory 30-day period between final verdict and execution – set out in Article 27 of the Code – was not respected”.

April 10, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Hillary Clinton: Playing a Dog-Eared “Hitler” Card

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By Norman Solomon | War is a Crime | March 7, 2014

The frontrunner to become the next president of the United States is playing an old and dangerous political game — comparing a foreign leader to Adolf Hitler.

At a private charity event on Tuesday, in comments preserved on audio, Hillary Clinton talked about actions by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in the Crimea. “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s,” she said.

The next day, Clinton gave the inflammatory story more oxygen when speaking at UCLA. She “largely stood by the remarks,” the Washington Post reported. Clinton “said she was merely noting parallels between Putin’s claim that he was protecting Russian-speaking minorities in Crimea and Hitler’s moves into Poland, Czechoslovakia and other parts of Europe to protect German minorities.”

Clinton denied that she was comparing Putin with Hitler even while she persisted in comparing Putin with Hitler. “I just want people to have a little historic perspective,” she said. “I’m not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.”

Yes indeed. Let’s learn from this tactic that has been used before — the tactic of comparing overseas adversaries to Hitler. Such comparisons by U.S. political leaders have a long history of fueling momentum for war.

“Surrender in Vietnam” would not bring peace, President Lyndon Johnson said at a news conference on July 28, 1965 as he tried to justify escalating the war, “because we learned from Hitler at Munich that success only feeds the appetite of aggression.”

After Ho Chi Minh was gone, the Hitler analogy went to other leaders of countries in U.S. crosshairs. The tag was also useful when attached to governments facing U.S.-backed armies.

Three decades ago, while Washington funded the contra forces in Nicaragua, absurd efforts to smear the elected left-wing Sandinistas knew no rhetorical bounds. Secretary of State George Shultz said on February 15, 1984, at a speech in Boston: “I’ve had good friends who experienced Germany in the 1930s go there and come back and say, ‘I’ve visited many communist countries, but Nicaragua doesn’t feel like that. It feels like Nazi Germany.’”

Washington embraced Panama’s Gen. Manuel Noriega as an ally, and for a while he was a CIA collaborator. But there was a falling out, and tension spiked in the summer of 1989. Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said that drug trafficking by Noriega “is aggression as surely as Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland 50 years ago was aggression.” A U.S. invasion overthrew Noriega in December 1989.

In early August 1990, the sudden Iraqi invasion of Kuwait abruptly ended cordial relations between Washington and Baghdad. The two governments had a history of close cooperation during the 1980s. But President George H. W. Bush proclaimed that Saddam Hussein was “a little Hitler.” In January 1991, the U.S. government launched the Gulf War.

Near the end of the decade, Hillary Clinton got a close look at how useful it can be to conflate a foreign leader with Hitler, as President Bill Clinton and top aides repeatedly drew the parallel against Serbia’s president, Slobodan Milosevic. In late March 1999, the day before the bombing of Kosovo and Serbia began, President Clinton said in a speech: “And so I want to talk to you about Kosovo today but just remember this — it’s about our values. What if someone had listened to Winston Churchill and stood up to Adolf Hitler earlier?”

As the U.S.-led NATO bombing intensified, so did efforts to justify it with references to Hitler. “Clinton and his senior advisers harked repeatedly back to images of World War II and Nazism to give moral weight to the bombing,” the Washington Post reported. Vice President Al Gore chimed in for the war chorus, calling Milosevic “one of these junior-league Hitler types.”

Just a few years later, the George W. Bush administration cranked up a revival of Saddam-Hitler comparisons. They became commonplace.

Five months before the invasion of Iraq, it was nothing extraordinary when a leading congressional Democrat pulled out all the stops. “Had Hitler’s regime been taken out in a timely fashion,” said Rep. Tom Lantos, “the 51 million innocent people who lost their lives during the Second World War would have been able to finish their normal life cycles. Mr. Chairman, if we appease Saddam Hussein, we will stand humiliated before both humanity and history.”

From the Vietnam War to the Iraq War, facile and wildly inaccurate comparisons between foreign adversaries and Adolf Hitler have served the interests of politicians hell-bent on propelling the United States into war. Often, those politicians succeeded. The carnage and the endless suffering have been vast.

Now, Hillary Clinton is ratcheting up her own Hitler analogies. She knows as well as anyone the power they can generate for demonizing a targeted leader.

With the largest nuclear arsenals on the planet, the United States and Russia have the entire world on a horrific knife’s edge. Nuclear saber-rattling is implicit in what the prospective President Hillary Clinton has done in recent days, going out of her way to tar Russia’s president with a Hitler brush. Her eagerness to heighten tensions with Russia indicates that she is willing to risk war — and even nuclear holocaust — for the benefit of her political ambitions.

March 7, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 5 Comments

US, Israel aim to divide and conquer Middle East

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By Brandon Martinez | Press TV | January 20, 2014

In a recent broadcast, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes denounced the sordid attempts of 16 leading Democratic lawmakers who, under the influence of the Israeli lobby, are pushing to impose new economic sanctions on Iran, which is designed to sabotage Obama’s rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.

Although this condemnation of the Zionist lobby’s implacable warmongering is admirable, in the strictly confined discourse we see on the mainstream media presenters of this caliber refuse to state the obvious, which is that the United States has no right whatsoever to tell any country what to do on any matter, either foreign or domestic. Economic sanctions are an act of war, yet the US has imposed crippling economic sanctions on dozens of countries around the world, strangling the life out of them like a deadly python suffocating its victims.

The US has utilized sanctions to neuter nations that are not compliant with Washington’s hegemonic agenda. In turn, Washington is driven by Israel’s imperial desire to subjugate its foes, keeping them weak and divided. Using America as its proxy, Israel aims to fragment and destabilize the Arab/Muslim world.

In 1980 the US backed Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran. They provided him with material and diplomatic support. They gave him weapons and intelligence assistance. When it became apparent that Iran was going to win that war, the US dispatched a war ship off the coast of Iran called the USS Vincennes. On July 3, 1988, the Vincennes deliberately shot down an Iranian civilian airplane, killing all 290 passengers, including 66 children. This act of state-sponsored terrorism was a “message” from Washington designed to intimidate the Iranians into entering peace talks with a nearly defeated Saddam, instead of seeing the war out to the bitter end. The US has never apologized for this act of barbarism.

The Iran-Iraq war was part and parcel of the US-Israeli divide and conquer strategy in the Middle East. In 1982 an Israeli geo-political thinker named Oded Yinon penned a report entitled “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties.” In the document Yinon outlined a diabolical scheme whereby Israel would neutralize its adversaries by instigating internal ethnic and religious conflicts in the Arab/Muslim world. Yinon called for the dissolution of the Arab states surrounding Israel. He envisioned the break up of countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan into smaller, weaker statelets, thereby undermining their ability to resist Israeli domination.

“In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us,” Yinon wrote. “Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation,” he continued, “will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon.”

Skipping ahead to 1991, Iraq entered into another conflict, this time with Kuwait. The US gave Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait, and then stabbed its ally in the back. America’s entry into that conflict was predicated on a monstrous lie. Tom Lantos, a Jewish-American congressman from California, spearheaded the effort to galvanize public opinion behind an American intervention in the Iraqi-Kuwaiti territorial dispute. He set up a “human rights” front group called the “Congressional Human Rights Foundation.” Working in cahoots with the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, Lantos put on a televised hearing where several people claiming to be “witnesses” to Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait gave testimony.

The star witness was a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl who appeared at the hearing under the assumed name “Nayirah.” She gave a tearful testimony about how she saw Iraqi troops enter a hospital in Kuwait City, whereupon they removed hundreds of babies from their incubators, leaving them to die on the cold floor. “While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the children to die on the cold floor,” she said.

The story spread like wildfire across the mass media and President George H. W. Bush trumpeted it from the Oval Office pulpit. Soon after the atrocity story reached critical mass, the US deployed warplanes and ground troops to “punish” Saddam. American forces killed tens of thousands of Iraqis in the war.

Some time after that war, the incubator babies atrocity story was exposed as an out-and-out hoax. “Nayirah” and her compatriots posing as downtrodden victims of Iraqi aggression were all actors reading from a script prepared for them by the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton. Nayirah was the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to the US, Saud Nasir al-Sabah, and she had lived in the US most of her life. She was never even in Kuwait when Saddam invaded.

Tom Lantos’ propaganda production helped push America into a war for Israel’s interests. The second US war against Iraq in 2003, which was also based upon malicious lies about Saddam’s non-existent “weapons of mass destruction,” was similarly engineered by Zionists to facilitate the removal of the Iraqi “threat” to Israeli power. “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 — it’s the threat against Israel,” said Philip Zelikow, a former Bush administration insider.

In 1996 several leading neoconservatives wrote a strategy paper for Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud regime entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” In the report they talked about “rolling back Syria” and argued that deposing Saddam Hussein in Iraq was “an important Israeli strategic objective.” Among the authors of the dastardly document were the Israel-first partisans Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, all of whom became high-ranking members of the Bush administration in 2003, leading the drive for a war against Iraq.

Shortly before the 2003 invasion, the Israel-first champion Tom Lantos assured his Israeli counterparts that Saddam Hussein would soon be ousted and an US/Israeli-backed puppet dictator would be installed in his place. “You won’t have any problem with Saddam,” the Jewish congressman told MK Colette Avital of Israel’s Labour Party. “We’ll be rid of the bastard soon enough. And in his place we’ll install a pro-Western dictator, who will be good for us and for you.”

In 1996 Madeline Albright, the former secretary of state under Bill Clinton, unveiled her utter inhumanity on a CBS News 60 Minutes broadcast. When informed that the genocidal US economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after the 1991 [Persian] Gulf War caused the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children, Albright remarked that it was “worth the price.” In that twelve-year period from 1991 to 2003 more than a million Iraqi children as well as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men and women died as a result of US sanctions.

Alongside Israel’s political leaders, Israeli religious leaders were jubilant at the prospect of Iraq’s demise. Yona Metzger, Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi, thanked President Bush for invading Iraq and killing millions of Iraqis. “I want to thank you for your support of Israel and in particular for waging a war against Iraq,” the rabbi told President Bush in a brief verbal exchange at Ben-Gurion airport.

Believing their war of annihilation against the Arab/Muslim world is sanctioned by god, the Jewish-Zionist elite of Israel and the United States will stop at nothing to bring doom upon millions of innocent people who stand in the way of their grandiose dream of a “Greater Israel.” In 1962 Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion made a striking prediction. He candidly outlined his vision of the future, forecasting that the nations of the world would become “united in a world alliance, at whose disposal will be an international police force. All armies will be abolished, and there will be no more wars.”

He further declared that in Jerusalem “the United Nations … will build a Shrine of the Prophets to serve the federated union of all continents; this will be the seat of the Supreme Court of Mankind, to settle all controversies among the federated continents, as prophesied by Isaiah.” Ben-Gurion also once remarked that the ideals of the United Nations are consistent with Jewish ideals. “We consider that the United Nations’ ideal is a Jewish ideal,” he said.

In his eerie presage Ben-Gurion referenced the Jewish prophet Isaiah. The book of Isaiah in the Old Testament of the Bible contains some interesting passages that illuminate the supremacist mindset of Ben-Gurion and his co-religionists. Isaiah 60:5 says, “Ye shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings.” Isaiah 61:5 speaks of how “Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.” Isaiah 60:5 explains how “The wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.” “And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast,” it says in Isaiah 61:6.

Isaiah 60:12 decrees the destruction of nations not subservient to the chosen people: “For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.” Isaiah 49:23 foresees kings and queens becoming slaves of the chosenites: “Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet.”

“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth,” it says in the book of Deuteronomy (7:6). Driven by religious fanaticism and ethnic chauvinism, the Jewish Zionists and their puppets are pursuing mad policies that will only cause bloodshed and misery.

It is now up to people with a conscience, however many there are left in the world, to recognize this evil for what it is and confront it with the truth.

Brandon Martinez is a freelance writer in Canada with a specialty in foreign policy and international affairs.

January 20, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sanctions, War and the Policy of Dual Containment

The United States and Iran

By SASAN FAYAZMANESH | March 17, 2008

It is now nearly three decades since the Unites States adopted the policy of dual containment of Iran and Iraq. While much has been written about the containment of Iraq, there has been very little in-depth analysis of this policy when it comes to Iran. In a book that is going to be released on March 31, 2008, entitled The United States and Iran: Sanctions, Wars and the Policy of Dual Containment (Routledge), I attempt to address this shortcoming by investigating when and why the US policy of containment of Iran came about, how it evolved, and where it stands today.[1] To the extent that Israel has been involved in US policy making, the study will also include the role that Israel has played in the containment of Iran. Also, since the fate of Iran has been inextricably linked to that of Iraq, occasionally the investigation will overlap with the containment of Iraq.

The policy of dual containment of Iran and Iraq originated during the Carter Administration, but it was not until the Clinton Administration that the expression “dual containment” became popular. Despite its widespread use, the meaning of the expression is not crystal clear; different individuals have had different interpretations of “containment” of Iran and Iraq. For some, it has meant keeping the two countries militarily, economically, and politically in check. This was the case with Iraq between 1990-when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and United Nations sanctions were imposed on Iraq-and 2003-when the US invaded Iraq for the second time and occupied the country. In the case of Iraq, it was hoped initially that economic pressures through extensive United Nations sanctions, as well as some limited military actions, would create discontent and lead to “regime change.” But since sanctions did not result in the overthrow of Hussein, Iraq was not exactly contained. The 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq showed that containment could go beyond sanctions and limited military operations; it could involve outright invasion of a country to achieve the desired goals.

To this day, the US military adventure in Iraq has not been successful, and the future of Iraq and its government remains uncertain. In this sense, some may argue that Iraq has not been contained. But a few might disagree with this conclusion. For these individuals Iraq has already been contained, since the country has been economically ruined, militarily shattered, and politically disintegrated. For decades to come, Iraq will not be able to rise from the ashes and challenge the US and Israel; and this, in the opinion of these individuals, is a successful containment. Such a view might appear to be too cynical to be held by anyone. But, as I have argued in my book, the attitude of many US and Israeli officials toward the Iran-Iraq war indicates that this view did actually exist. Some American and Israeli officials wished to see Iran and Iraq destroy one another in a costly and protracted war. They helped to prolong the war and make sure that neither side had a decisive victory. The horrendous eight-year war, which resulted in a massive loss of human life and severe economic losses, was therefore viewed as a kind of containment. The same view of containment seems to exist today among many so-called neoconservatives who, after pushing for the Iraq invasion, show no remorse for the resulting carnage and advocate bombing Iran.

Whatever the interpretation of the dual containment of Iran and Iraq, one aspect of this policy has been to use war, or threats of war, to bring about the desired change. Another has been to rely on sanctions. US unilateral sanctions against Iran started shortly after the 1979 Revolution and continued throughout the Iran-Iraq war. In this period many of the imposed sanctions were intended to prevent Iran from winning the war against Hussein’s Iraq. But it was also hoped that sanctions would bring about popular dissatisfaction in Iran and result in the overthrow of the new government. Such sanctions continued and became even more intensified after the Iran-Iraq war, particularly in the 1990s. Yet, even though these sanctions did harm the Iranian economy, they did not bring about the intended “regime change.” The failure was attributed to the unilateral nature of these sanctions, and therefore multilateral sanctions, imposed through the United Nations, were sought. So far three such sanctions have been passed against Iran. Whether these sanctions will have the desired results and, eventually, would do to Iran what has been done to Iraq is hard to predict. But it is even harder to make any predictions about the future without knowing the past. It was in the spirit of documenting the history, in order to better understand the present and the future, that The United States and Iran Sanctions, Wars and the Policy of Dual Containment was written. An outline of the book is as follows.

The origin of the dual containment policy, as mentioned above, goes back to the Carter Administration. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that individuals within the Carter Administration, contrary to their denials, gave Hussein the green light to invade Iran and assisted him after the invasion. It was hoped that the war would not only lead to the resolution of the so-called hostage crisis, but that it might lead to the overthrow of the Iranian government and the restoration of the old order, where the Shah of Iran maintained a symbiotic relationship with the US and Israel. However, assisting Hussein in his war against Iran did not mean that the US was planning to establish a long-term relationship with him. Befriending Hussein was temporary; and while the US was helping the Iraqi government, the Israelis were selling arms to Iran with the full knowledge of the US. Indeed, the Carter Administration itself was considering the possibility of providing Iran with military spare parts as well. This was the beginning of the policy of dual containment, when the US, playing the role of a double agent, tried to make sure that neither side would achieve a decisive victory in the Iran-Iraq war.

The dual containment policy continued in the 1980s under the Reagan and George H. W. Bush Administrations. But while the US assisted Hussein covertly during the Carter period, it did so overtly during the Reagan Administration, despite the official US policy of remaining neutral in the war. The support also became more vigorous. US officials tried to prevent Iran from winning the war against Hussein by providing him with intelligence, weapons, and extension of credit. They also established full diplomatic relations with Hussein’s government, lifted trade sanctions against Iraq, and imposed new economic sanctions against Iran. In addition, the Reagan Administration closed its eyes to the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in the war, and, indeed, supplied Saddam Hussein with chemical compounds that had multiple uses, including making poison gas. Subsequently, with the Iranian military victories, the US entered the war against Iran directly to assure that Hussein was not defeated. With this direct US intervention, in 1988 Iran was forced to accept a humiliating ceasefire, especially after the USS Vincennes affair. In the end, the Reagan Administration had managed by means of indirect and direct war to defeat Iran for all practical purposes and contain it. Yet the policy of dual containment demanded that not only Iran but also Iraq be emasculated as a potential challenger. Therefore, while helping Hussein, the US also sold arms to Iran, mostly with the help of the Israelis, in what came to be known as the “Iran-Contra scandal.” Furthermore, the US administration provided both Iran and Iraq with deliberately distorted or inaccurate intelligence data on the other’s capabilities. More importantly, with the end of the Iran-Iraq war-and the emergence of Iraq militarily stronger at the end of the war than at the beginning-the US turned its attention toward containing Iraq. This was accomplished through manufactured sensational news and incidents, as well as a sudden US interest in the “gross violation of international law” by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. The final incident was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait after the US gave confusing messages to Hussein. Following this invasion, the US tried to contain Iraq by means of a war, UN economic sanctions, and limited military operations.

The US policy of the dual containment cannot be understood without understanding the role that Israel has played in it. Following the 1979 Revolution in Iran, which ended a cozy and symbiotic relation between the Jewish state and the Shah, Israel started a campaign against the new Iranian government. However, once the Iran-Iraq war started, Israel began to sell arms to Iran. This was not because Israel was against the US policy of dual containment and the devastation of Iran and Iraq in a costly and protracted war, but because Israel wished to see Iraq contained before Iran. As a result, while the US was aiding Iraq, Israel was selling arms to Iran, and, eventually, got the US to sell arms to Iran in the infamous Iran-Contra scandal. When put in historical context the Iran-Contra affair does not appear as an aberration or isolated incident. It was part of the policy of helping to contain both countries. At the end of the Iran-Iraq war, however, Israel, like the US, largely concentrated on containing Iraq. In so doing, Israel contributed greatly to the propaganda campaign against Saddam Hussein before Iraq was invaded by the US. After the imposition of UN sanctions against Iraq in 1990 and the first US invasion of Iraq, Israel turned its attention toward containing Iran. With the help of its lobby groups in the US, particularly the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel concentrated on strengthening US economic sanctions against Iran. In this pursuit, Martin Indyk, the head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an AIPAC affiliate, became instrumental. The meteoric rise of Martin Indyk to power in the Clinton Administration allowed him to carry on the policy of dual containment-which he took credit for devising-primarily by means of increasing sanctions against Iran. In this policy Iran was accused of three misbehaviors: sponsoring terrorism worldwide; opposing Middle East peace efforts; and developing weapons of mass destruction. Once formulated, these alleged misbehaviors became the rationale for maintaining and strengthening US sanctions against Iran. Indeed, during the Clinton Administration Israeli lobby groups became the major underwriters of US foreign policy toward Iran.

Besides Martin Indyk there were other individuals in the Clinton Administration who helped develop the Iran sanctions policy. One such individual was Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who had a particular animosity toward Iran since his hostage negotiation days. This animosity came in handy for Indyk and the Israeli lobby groups in implementing their sanctions policy against Iran. But this was not all; there was also a competition between a predominantly Republican Congress and a Democratic Administration as to which was more hostile to Iran and thus faithful to Israel. In this competition, the role of Senator Alfonse D’Amato in trying to pass sanctions acts against Iran is examined in my book. One major act, the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA)-which imposed secondary sanctions on foreign companies that would make new investments of at least $40 million in Iran-becomes a focus of my study. With the passage of ILSA, however, the US sanctions policy started to fall apart. Not only did many countries around the world defy it, the US corporate lobbies, too, began to organize to oppose various Israeli lobby groups. In this regard, I examine the role of some heavyweights that the corporate lobby brought forth to oppose the sanctions-such as two former national security advisors, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft-the formation of an umbrella lobby organization called USA*ENGAGE, various individuals or lobbyist groups working with the Iranian government who started to organize, and a number of US Congressmen who were lobbied by the corporations to oppose the passage of further unilateral sanctions against Iran. All this, as well as the appointment of a new Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who tilted more toward the corporate lobby, resulted in an incoherent and inconsistent US policy toward Iran at the end of the Clinton era, a policy that tried to reconcile the irreconcilable aims and interests of Israel and the US corporations. It is worth noting that during the Clinton Administration the Mujahedin-e-Khalq-e-Iran (MEK), an Iranian exile group, became a convenient tool in the hands of strange bedfellows-namely Iraq, the US, and Israel-in a campaign to overthrow the Iranian government. Even though in 1997, as a result of some shifts in US foreign policy, the US State Department put MEK officially on the list of terrorist organizations, the group operates relatively freely in the US to this day.

The end of the Clinton era ushered in a new phase in the US policy of containment of Iran. The 2000 US presidential election brought uncertainty concerning the future policies of the Bush Administration toward the Middle East in general and Iran in particular. The fact that the new administration was top heavy with former oil executives added to this uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the uncertainty, Israel correctly perceived that the policy would be made more by the neoconservative forces within the new administration-such as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle-than anyone else, including those in the State Department. Wolfowitz and Perle-who were on the Board of Advisors of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an offshoot of AIPAC-had advocated, at least since 1992, the use of military force against Iraq. But Israel was more interested in containing Iran rather than Iraq and was hoping that the neoconservative forces, particularly those within the administration, would achieve that goal. The events of September 11, 2001 played a determining role in both containments. The neoconservative forces got what they had wished for when it came to invading Iraq. But as far as Iran was concerned, the initial reaction of the US State Department after 9/11 was to start a courtship dance with Iran, a dance that Israel, its lobby groups, and its neoconservative allies, in and out of the administration, watched with a great deal of trepidation. A concerted campaign was waged by Israeli officials, including Binyamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, to end the dance. The US was warned by these officials not to cozy up to Iran. Such warnings, as well as the puzzling Karine-A affair, managed to end the US State Department’s attempt to approach Iran. The death of the rapprochement was made official by President Bush in his “axis of evil” speech on January 29, 2002, a speech in which Iran was accused, along with Iraq and North Korea, of aggressively pursuing weapons of mass destruction and exporting terror. In the end, Israel, its various lobby groups, and its neoconservative allies changed the direction of US policy toward Iran as conceived by the US State Department. A case had to be made as to why Iran should be targeted. Israel put forward a list of allegations against Iran that included everything from Iran’s involvement in the Karine-A affair to pursuing missiles capable of striking Israel with chemical and biological weapons, dispatching its Revolutionary Guards to foment anti-Israel activity in Lebanon, and being on schedule to develop a nuclear bomb by 2005. Yet even though Israel had made its case for targeting Iran, and wished to see Iran attacked before Iraq, it had to settle for second-best: wait until after the invasion of Iraq to contain Iran. Thus, in an interview with The Times (London) on November 5, 2002, Sharon stated that he considered Iran to be the “centre of world terror,” and “that as soon as an Iraq conflict is concluded, he will push for Iran to be at the top of the ‘to do’ list.”

How was Iran pushed to the top of the US’s “to do” list? As in the case of Iraq, Iran’s alleged development of weapons of mass destruction became the rallying point for targeting the country. The first step in the process came in late summer 2002, when, in a dramatic press conference, a representative of MEK revealed the construction of a uranium enrichment facility and a heavy water production plant in Iran, neither of which had been reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The actual source of the revelation appears to have been Israel, which passed the information to MEK. Once these constructions were disclosed, the US and Israel started to build a case for reporting Iran to the United Nations Security Council and for the imposition of sanctions. How the case proceeded is narrated in my book. Before that, however, the origin of Iran’s nuclear program is discussed. It is argued that the US and Israel had no problems with Iran’s nuclear program when the Shah of Iran was in power. Indeed, the US helped the Shah with nuclear technology and encouraged him to build nuclear power plants. Subsequently, the Shah signed an agreement to purchase two reactors from Germany to be installed at Bushehr. The construction of these power plants began in 1975, but after the 1979 Iranian Revolution the Germans left the country without completing the project. In 1995 Iran signed a formal agreement with Russia to finish the Bushehr reactor. But Russia continuously postponed the completion of the reactor and delivery of nuclear fuel. Given Russia’s foot-dragging, as well as the numerous US sanctions imposed on Iran, it appears that Iran had engaged in a number of nuclear-related activities not reported to the IAEA, including building the two structures that were disclosed by MEK. Even though, technically speaking, the construction of these facilities did not violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)-to which Iran is a signatory-it provided the perfect excuse to the US and Israel to argue that Iran was clandestinely developing nuclear weapons. Such claims, however, were not new. They were heard as early as 1984, when a neoconservative argued that Iran might be only two years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. Following this claim there were numerous others concerning the impending development of nuclear weapons by Iran. Indeed, in the 1990s a number of sources associated with Israel claimed that Iran had already purchased three or four nuclear warheads from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. That allegation and subsequent assertions concerning Iran developing nuclear arsenals all proved to be false. But the guessing game continued well into the late 1990s and early 2000s. With each day passing and no nuclear weapons or even evidence of development of such weapons showing up, the ever-changing prediction of doomsday appeared to attract little attention until the revelation of the two unreported nuclear-related facilities in Iran. Once this revelation was made, Israel could push for Iran to be at the top of the US’s “to do” list.

The road was being paved to report Iran to the Security Council. The 2003 IAEA report mentioned certain failures by Iran to disclose information. It also encouraged Iran to sign the “Additional Protocol” to the IAEA Safeguards Agreements. But the report did not show any smoking gun and, therefore, was not the report that the US and Israel needed to contain Iran. Nevertheless, the report left a number of open questions that made the US and Israel hopeful about taking Iran before the Security Council. For example, why was Iran developing a facility to produce heavy water, building a uranium enrichment facility, manufacturing uranium metal, hesitant to allow IAEA inspectors visit an electric workshop and take environmental samples? The last question, in particular, made the US and Israel contend that Iran was hiding something, and this could be an indication of a nuclear weapons program. In the end, this allegation proved to be incorrect. However, such allegations continued to be made until Iran was reported to the Security Council. In addition to making false claims, the US and Israel intensified their psychological warfare against Iran, threatening a preemptive military strike on her nuclear facilities. Such threats made the Europeans, particularly France, Britain, and Germany (EU 3), worry and start negotiating with Iran in October of 2003 to sign the “Additional Protocol,” stop nuclear enrichment, and provide full disclosure of its nuclear program. The Iranian government capitulated and signed an agreement in December 2003, even though the Iranian parliament refused to ratify the “Additional Protocol.” The US and Israel, however, continued their pressure on Iran by making false claims and portraying Iran as a threat to Israel and the world at large. Pressure mounted in summer of 2004 to report Iran to the Security Council. The EU 3 made a last-ditch effort to stop Iran’s enrichment activities. The result was the November 2004 Paris Agreement, which asked Iran to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities voluntarily and temporarily in exchange for some vague and, for all practical purposes, undeliverable economic promises. The US gave this agreement guarded approval but made it clear that it was a kind of “good-cop, bad-cop arrangement,” where the Europeans and Americans were working together but playing different roles.

The US and Israel intensified their threats of a preemptive strike against Iran in 2005. By now the argument had changed from not allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons to not even tolerating Iran having knowledge of nuclear enrichment. At the same time there were reports that the US might support EU negotiations with Iran and accept the so-called carrot and stick approach. Even though this was no more than the bad cop joining the good cop, Israel and its lobby groups were opposed to any shift in US policy and waged a campaign against it. In Iran, too, there was opposition to the Paris Agreement, especially after the US gave the agreement its tacit blessing. The opposition became stronger with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of Iran, a man who was demonized by a massive US and Israeli disinformation campaign as soon as he took office. After protesting that the Paris Agreement was turning a voluntary and temporary halt in uranium enrichment activities into a permanent freeze and that the EU had not kept its part of the bargain, Iran ended the agreement. The campaign to report Iran to the Security Council by the IAEA gained momentum and a resolution to this effect was passed; however, the question of the timing of when the matter would be referred to the Security Council was left open. A number of events speeded up the process of referral. One such event was Ahmadinejad quoting Ayatollah Khomeini as saying that the occupying regime of Jerusalem must disappear from the page of time. The statement was translated in both Israel and the US as “wipe Israel off the map,” and was used in a massive campaign to portray Iran as Nazi Germany and Ahmadinejad as another Hitler poised to commit a holocaust. Another was the claim by American intelligence officials that they had discovered a stolen laptop showing Iran’s attempt to design a nuclear warhead. The contents of the laptop were shown to IAEA inspectors, but, IAEA officials doubted the authenticity of the material, and believed that much of the intelligence provided by the US and other intelligence services had proved to be wrong. Numerous assertions, even though false, made any compromise solution impossible. In the end, a relentless effort by the US and Israel to bring Iran before the Security Council and impose UN sanctions against her paid off in early 2006. The IAEA was forced to issue an early update brief followed by a full report on Iran’s compliance with the earlier resolution. But even before the full report was issued, the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany reached an agreement, and soon afterwards the US obtained the necessary vote to refer Iran to the Security Council. Iran, in turn, ended all voluntary cooperation with the IAEA.

Accusations and threats by US and Israel continued against Iran even after Iran’s referral to the Security Council. As the US allocated more funds to bringing “democracy” to Iran, AIPAC mounted another “largest ever policy conference” aimed at bringing about the harshest possible sanctions against Iran. Frantic efforts by those uneasy about imposing UN sanctions, including the Director General of the IAEA, failed as most US policy makers followed the lead of Israel and its allies in the US. The Security Council issued in late March 2006 a draft statement asking Iran to halt all enrichment activities, and ordered the Director General of the IAEA to report in 30 days on Iran’s compliance. This was not exactly the harsh resolution that the US and Israel were hoping for. The US pushed for the passage of a UN Chapter 7 resolution against Iran that could result in the use of military force against her. In this effort, parallels were continuously drawn between Iran and Nazi Germany and Ahmadinejad and Hitler. Iran’s alleged hidden nuclear programs were reported and talks of pre-emptive military attacks by either the US, Israel, or both were heard. In this atmosphere even the most outrageous tales would become credible news. One such story was an alleged new law in Iran that would force the Iranian Jewish population to wear yellow insignia. Even though the “news” proved to be a complete fabrication, it for some time and enabled many political figures around the world, particularly Americans, to condemn and demonize Iran. The US, however, still had to get the reluctant Russians and Chinese on board to impose sanctions against Iran. A new strategy was adopted: the US would join the EU 3 in negotiating with Iran if Iran halted all enrichment activities. The Bush Administration knew full well that this offer would not be accepted by Iran and was, indeed, worried about a possible positive response by Iran. The US gambit paid off, and the “carrot and stick” package offered was ultimately rejected by Iran. The US wielded more sticks, including financial sanctions to paralyze the Iranian banking system. Security Council Resolution 1696 was passed in July 2006, demanding that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and that the Director General of the IAEA give a report by the end of August 2006 on Iran’s compliance. If Iran did not comply, according to Resolution 1696, UN sanctions would be imposed. The stage was set for the imposition of the first set of UN sanctions against Iran.

The August 2006 IAEA report indicated that Iran was not complying with UN Resolution 1696. The report was followed by Iran’s adversaries calling for immediate imposition of sanctions. Any compromise offered, including a temporary suspension of uranium enrichment by Iran, was ruled out by the US and Israel. The US further tightened its financial sanctions against Iran, and Israel raised, once again, the specter of Iran becoming another Nazi Germany determined to commit another holocaust. The campaign to impose UN sanctions against Iran was beginning to bear fruit. Draft resolutions for such sanctions began to circulate in November 2006. War drums beat intensely and there was again talk of a possible military strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities. US pressure mounted for adopting a sanction resolution. The push resulted in Security Council Resolution 1737 in December of 2006, the first UN sanction resolution against Iran. The resolution demanded that Iran halt all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and suspend work on all heavy water-related projects. It asked all states to take the necessary measures to prevent the supply, sale, or transfer of all items, materials, equipment, goods, and technology which could contribute to Iran’s enrichment related, reprocessing, or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. It also asked all states to exercise vigilance regarding the entry into or transit through their territories of individuals engaged in Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. In addition, the resolution provided a list of certain Iranians and asked all states to freeze their funds, other financial assets, and economic resources.

Moreover, the resolution established a sanctions committee to monitor Iran’s compliance with the resolution and collect information from countries about their trade with Iran. Finally, the resolution asked the Director General of the IAEA to provide a report in 60 days on Iran’s compliance. Resolution 1737 was the crown jewel of the US-Israeli policy of containment of Iran. More than a quarter of a century of US unilateral sanctions against Iran, many underwritten by forces close to Israel, had not contained Iran. Even though this resolution was too weak to contain Iran, it was hoped that future resolutions would do the job. Iran shrugged off the sanctions and reduced its cooperation with the IAEA. The US levied more accusations against Iran and engaged in more provocative acts. Israel continued to call Iran an existential threat. In early 2007 there were fears that a war with Iran might become inevitable. In the end, however, the threats of war were used to set the stage for the second round of UN sanctions against Iran.

After an IAEA report indicating Iran’s non-compliance with Resolution 1737, the US and Israel pushed for another resolution. The result was Security Council Resolution 1747 in March 2007, which extended previous sanctions. The resolution called upon all states to exercise vigilance and restraint regarding the entry into or transit through their territories of certain Iranians engaged in or associated with Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities. In addition, it provided another list of Iranian entities involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities and entities whose funds or assets shall be frozen. Among these was one of the largest banks in Iran. Resolution 1747 also stated that Iran shall not supply, sell, or transfer any arms or related materiel. Furthermore, it called upon all states to exercise vigilance and restraint in the supply, sale, or transfer of any battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles, or missile systems. Finally, the resolution asked all states and international financial institutions not to enter into new commitments for grants, financial assistance, and concessional loans to the Iranian government. As in the previous case, the resolution asked the Director General of the IAEA to prepare a report within 60 days as to whether Iran had complied with the demands of Resolutions 1737 and 1747. Iranian officials were defiant and shrugged off the effect of the resolutions. Yet Resolutions 1737 and 1747 put great pressure on Iran economically and politically, setting the stage for further, and harsher, resolutions to follow.

The next Security Council sanction resolution against Iran did not materialize until nearly a year after Resolution 1747. On March 3, 2008, the Security Council passed its third sanction resolution against Iran, Resolution 1803.[2] The new resolution tightens two previously passed sanction acts by 1) asking states to exercise “vigilance and restraint” against a new set of Iranian nationals purportedly involved in “proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or the development of nuclear-weapon delivery systems”; 2) extending the freezing of the financial assets of persons or entities allegedly “supporting” the above mentioned activities; 3) calling upon states to “exercise vigilance over the activities of financial institutions in their territories with all banks domiciled in Iran, in particular with Bank Melli and Bank Saderat”; and 4) continuing to block the import and export of allegedly “sensitive nuclear material and equipment.”

Resolution 1803 also added a new provision to the previous sanction acts: it called upon states to “inspect cargo to and from Iran of aircraft and vessels owned or operated by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line, provided ‘reasonable grounds’ existed to believe that the aircraft or vessel was transporting prohibited goods.” This new provision is one of the most dangerous provisions in all the resolutions that have been passed so far by the Security Council against Iran. The term “Reasonable grounds” is ambiguous. What is reasonable or unreasonable is in the eye of the beholder. Thus, theoretically, any adversary of Iran can now stop an Iranian aircraft or vessel to inspect it because it is “believed” there is “reasonable grounds” for such an inspection. If the Iranian vessel refuses inspection, all hell could break loose.

The new provision was probably one of the reasons why four non-permanent members of the Security Council, Indonesia, Libya, South Africa and Vietnam, tried in vain to stop, revise or at least slow down the passage of Resolution 1803. At the end, however, under pressure from the US and its allies, three of the four countries caved in and went along with the resolution. The fourth, Indonesia, abstained. US and its allies, who wanted unanimous vote against Iran in the Security Council, and wished for a much harsher resolution, declared victory nevertheless. But this was not enough. A day after, US, France and Britain tried to introduce another resolution against Iran at the meeting of the IAEA. This time, however, Russia, China and a number of countries belonging to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) stopped the effort and argued that given the action by the Security Council a day earlier, a new resolution against Iran would be superfluous.

All this happened against the backdrop of two major reports undermining the necessity of passing a third sanction resolution against Iran. The first was the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report, entitled “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities.”[3] The “Key Judgments” portion of the report that was made public stated:

We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran’s announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.

The report, of course, claimed that Iran had exerted “considerable effort from at least the late 1980s to 2003 to develop such [nuclear] weapons.” But the assertion that such efforts had been halted in 2003 not only removed the rationale for the US and Israel to wage a military campaign against Iran but it apparently slowed down the attempt to pass a third sanction act through the Security Council. Indeed, the resolution which passed recently was supposed to have been passed in early summer of 2007. But almost immediately after the conclusion of the NIE report became public the US government, as well as its allies, belittled or even dismissed its value, and, in so doing, made the passage of a new sanction resolution against Iran appear to be urgent.

The second report that undermined the urgency of the 3rd round of UN sanctions was the IAEA report.[4] The summary of the report stated that

The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities. Iran has also responded to questions and provided clarifications and amplifications on the issues raised in the context of the work plan, with the exception of the alleged studies. Iran has provided access to individuals in response to the Agency’s requests. Although direct access has not been provided to individuals said to be associated with the alleged studies, responses have been provided in writing to some of the Agency’s questions.

The summary also stated that the “Agency has been able to conclude that answers provided by Iran, in accordance with the work plan, are consistent with its findings.” But, the summary also added, the “one major remaining issue relevant to the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme is the alleged studies on the green salt project, high explosives testing and the missile re-entry vehicle.” According to the report, the documents related the allegations were only shown to Iran in February, as late as just a few days before the IAEA report. Iran the report states, “maintained that these allegations are baseless and that the data have been fabricated.” The Agency, the report stated, is examining the allegations and the statements provided by Iran.

The allegations apparently refer to the content of the “stolen laptop” that the US had in its possession and supposedly showed Iran’s plans to build a nuclear warhead.[5] The content of this mysterious laptop had resurfaced a number of times before and its authenticity questioned by a number of sources, including IAEA’s own experts. For example, on February 22, 2007, the Guardian reported that, according to “informed sources” at the IAEA, “most of the tip-offs about supposed secret weapons sites provided by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies have led to dead ends when investigated by IAEA inspectors.” The report quoted an IAEA “diplomat” as saying: “Most of it has turned out to be incorrect. . . They gave us a paper with a list of sites. [The inspectors] did some follow-up, they went to some military sites, but there was no sign of [banned nuclear] activities.” The report then referred to the mysterious “stolen laptop” that the US had in its possession and supposedly showed Iran’s “plans to build a nuclear warhead.” As the report pointed out, in “July 2005, US intelligence officials showed printed versions of the material to IAEA officials, who judged it to be sufficiently specific to confront Iran.” But the report pointed out that IAEA officials doubted the authenticity of the laptop. “First of all,” the Guardian quoted one such official as saying, “if you have a clandestine programme, you don’t put it on laptops which can walk away [Moreover, the] data is all in English which may be reasonable for some of the technical matters, but at some point you’d have thought there would be at least some notes in Farsi. So there is some doubt over the provenance of the computer.” A similar report appeared on February 25, 2007, in the Los Angeles Times under the heading “U.N. Calls U.S. Data on Iran’s Nuclear Aims Unreliable.” The report quoted a “senior diplomat at the IAEA” as saying: “Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that’s come to us [by way of the CIA and other Western spy services] has proved to be wrong.” This report, too, pointed out that some IAEA officials doubted the authenticity of the laptop story.

Had IAEA officials changed their minds? Was there more to this report than had been divulged before? Or was the intense pressure exerted on the IAEA by the US and its allies, including repeated calls by the US and Israel to remove the IAEA Director, Dr. ElBaradei, resulted in the IAEA changing its position about the authenticity of the allegations? Given the number of false claims made by the US and its allies-which I have documented in my book-and given the intense pressure that the IAEA has been under to produce results agreeable to Iran’s adversaries, one cannot help but to suspect that story of the mysterious laptop might be another fabrication.

Whatever the nature of the US allegations, one thing is certain: even if the threat of military attack against Iran by the US, Israel or both has subsided for the time being, sanctioning of Iran has not. US unilateral sanctions, as well UN multilateral sanctions, are being intensified. Iran is clearly feeling the pain of numerous sanctions. It is, however, uncertain whether this pain is sufficient for Iran to relinquish its “inalienable right” to “develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,” as guaranteed under Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The fact that after three rounds of UN sanctions Iran is still cooperating with the IAEA shows that Iran is bending under the pressure. But even if Iran does forfeit its right and capitulates, it is uncertain whether the US and Israel would stop their attempts to contain Iran. If containment means the destruction of any country that stands in the way of US and Israel, the fate of Iran might be similar to that of Iraq; ultimately an excuse will be found to do to Iran what was done to Iraq. The advocates of the dual containment policy, particularly those who had argued that Iran should be contained before Iraq, have been relentless. They will not stop until they achieve the ultimate containment of Iran.

Notes

[1] This essay is based on the Introduction of my book: http://www.routledgemiddleeaststudies.com/books/The-United-States-and-Iran-isbn9780415773966
[2] The text of Resolution 1803 is available at: http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/sc9268.doc.htm
[3] The text of the report is available at: http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf
[4] The text of the report is available at: http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2008/gov2008-4.pdf
[5] For more details about the “laptop” see my book, The United States and Iran, and a recent article by Gareth Porter, “Iran Nuke Laptop Data Came from Terror Group,” February 29, 2008: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=41416.

Sasan Fayazmanesh is chair of the Department of Economics at California State University, Fresno. He can be reached at: sasan.fayazmanesh@gmail.com

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December 16, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fighting against peace: Why US doesn’t want an end to wars

By Neil Clark | RT | November 6, 2013

The only surprising thing about the news that the US is sabotaging peace moves in Afghanistan and Pakistan is that anyone should find the news surprising.

As reported on RT, Pakistan has accused the US of sabotaging peace talks between the authorities in Islamabad and the Taliban following last Friday’s drone assassination of the Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

“The murder of Hakimullah is the murder of all efforts at peace,” Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisa said. “Brick by brick, in the last seven weeks, we tried to evolve a process by which we could bring peace to Pakistan and what have you [the US] done?”

The killing of Hakimullah Mehsud comes less than a month after the US effectively wrecked the Afghan government’s efforts to engage with the Taliban by capturing Latif Mehsud, Hakimullah’s lieutenant. Latif Mehsud was the man that the Afghan government hoped would be a go-between for peace talks with the Taliban. Afghan President Hamid Karzai was reported to have been furious about the US operation. Karzai has also said that the drone strike against Hakimullah Mehsud “took place at an unsuitable time.”

The fact is that on several important occasions in the last 30 years or so, the US has wrecked peace efforts and used its power to provoke or prolong conflicts which could have been avoided or solved without further bloodshed.

1. Iraq 1990-1991

From August 1990 to January 1991, there were plenty of chances to achieve a diplomatic solution in relation to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and which would have resulted in an Iraqi withdrawal, but Washington was determined to go to war. When the war started, they rejected diplomatic moves, such as the plan put forward by the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, to end the conflict before ground troops were deployed in Kuwait.

Saddam Hussein’s forces could have been removed from Kuwait without a war in which many thousands were killed, but Washington didn’t want it.

2. Kosovo

That was at the start of the ’90s. Now let‘s fast forward to the end of that decade. In order to complete the destruction of Federal Yugoslavia, Washington aggressively championed the cause of a hardcore terrorist group, the Kosovo Liberation Army, in the late 1990s. The US marginalized Kosovar leaders who wanted to pursue a peaceful path towards independence, such as the politician Ibrahim Rugova, who urged passive resistance. Instead they pushed for a violent solution to the problem of Kosovo’s status: their strategy being to provoke a retaliation from the government in Belgrade, which would then provide the pretext for the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

The Rambouillet Conference of March 1999 was ostensibly about trying to broker a peace deal between the Kosovar Albanian delegates and the Yugoslav authorities. But the terms were deliberately made so onerous – Appendix B allowed NATO forces freedom of movement throughout the whole of Yugoslavia – so as to guarantee its rejection by Belgrade.

“I think certain people were spoiling for a fight in NATO at that time,” revealed Lord Gilbert, a UK minister of state for defense procurement, in 2000. “If you ask my personal view, I think the terms put to Milosevic at Rambouillet were absolutely intolerable. How could he possibly accept them? It was quite deliberate.”

Even Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state and a man who can hardly be labeled a ‘peacenik‘, admitted: “The Rambouillet text, which called on Serbia to admit NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia, was a provocation, an excuse to start bombing.”

Again, Washington had sabotaged a peaceful solution to a dispute and war ensued, with all its horrors.

3. Iraq 2002-2003

In 2002/3 we had the contrived WMD ’crisis’ with Iraq.

If Washington had genuinely been concerned about the possibility of Iraq being in possession of WMDs, they would simply have waited for Hans Blix and his team of UN weapons inspectors to finish their job. However, as we all know, the WMDs issue was merely a pretext for war, with the US knowing full well that the country was disarmed. The Iraqis were desperate to avert an attack on their country, but diplomatic offers from Baghdad in the lead-up to the illegal invasion were dismissed.

The result of the US opting for war and not peace in Iraq has been the deaths of at least 500,000 people since 2003.

4. Libya

In 2011, a UN resolution ostensibly about protecting civilians was used by the US and its NATO allies as a pretext for forcibly removing from power the government of Libya. During this ‘humanitarian’ intervention, which led to a sharp spike in the death toll, Washington and its allies frequently rejected calls for a ceasefire and a diplomatic solution. Today, Libya is – like Iraq – a wrecked country. But it all could have been very different, if Washington, instead of opting for war, had worked to bring warring factions to the negotiating table.

5. Syria

In Syria too, the US has set out since 2011 to prevent a peaceful solution to the country’s internal divisions. While an outright NATO attack on Syria has, at least for the time being, been avoided, it’s been public opinion in Western countries and adroit Russian diplomacy which has prevented World War III from breaking out in the Middle East this year, rather than America’s leaders suddenly turning over a new leaf.

If the US genuinely wanted an end to the terrible bloodshed in Syria they’d be encouraging the so-called ‘rebels’ to halt their campaign of violence and sign up to the political process and contest elections.

The Baathists have made significant reforms in Syria in the past two years, not least ending the party’s near five-decade long political monopoly, but Washington hasn’t been interested in peaceful democratic change, only in the violent overthrow of President Assad and his replacement by someone who will do its bidding. The result of this policy has been catastrophic for the people of Syria who, like the people of Iraq and Libya, watch as their country is destroyed before their very eyes.

While promoting itself as the great ‘peacemaker’, it’s the sober truth that no country has done more to stoke up conflicts and sabotage peaceful solutions to them in recent years than the US, with the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud being only the latest example.

Why does the US act in this destructive way? It’s important to understand that the US government doesn’t act in the interests of the ordinary, decent Americans, who are sick and tired of war and military ‘interventions’, but in the interests of Wall Street and what President Eisenhower famously referred to as ‘the military-industrial complex’.

The very last thing that Wall Street and the military-industrial complex want is peace. They thrive on wars and conflicts. Wars and conflicts mean profits. Nice, big, juicy profits. As Charlie Chaplin‘s anti-hero Monsieur Verdoux put it, “Wars, conflicts – it’s all business.”

Last month a report by the Public Accountability Initiative revealed that many of the leading ‘commentators’ who went on US TV stations to call for military strikes against Syria had undisclosed ties to military contractors. The report “identifies 22 commentators who weighed in during the Syria debate in large media outlets, and who have current industry ties that may pose conflicts of interest. The commentators are linked to large defense and intelligence contractors like Raytheon, smaller defense and intelligence contractors like TASC, defense-focused investment firms like SCP Partners, and commercial diplomacy firms like the Cohen Group.”

Among the ‘commentators’ supporting strikes on Syria was Madeline Albright, the US secretary of state at the time of the phony ‘peace’ conference at Rambouillet in 1999.

Bombing Yugoslavia, bombing Syria. With the violent destruction of Iraq and Libya along the way, to say nothing of the turmoil US policies have brought to Afghanistan and Pakistan. John Lennon implored us to ‘give peace a chance’, but until the US radically changes its political system and power is returned to ordinary people and away from those with a vested interest in endless war, its stoking up of conflicts and sabotaging of peace initiatives will only continue.

November 6, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Syrian Gambit

James’s blog – WinterPatriot – 09/11/2013

Russia has played a new opening move in the contest with the United States and it could be called “The Syrian Gambit”. In the tradition of chess, a “gambit” is a move whereby a chess player gives away a minor piece to position him or herself better to defeat their opponent. To the beginner chess player, a gambit appears counter-intuitive because their opponent deliberately suffers a loss and the advantage only makes itself apparent later. By which time, if the gambit has been played well, the neophyte player is already suffering a disadvantage.

John Kerry now famously made a rhetorical offer to Syria that if it gave up all its chemical weapons they could avoid an attack from the US. Much to Kerry’s consternation, Sergei Lavrov, the very capable Russian Foreign Minister, said he thought it was a good idea and would discuss it with President Bashar al-Assad. That same day Assad agreed to give up Syria’s chemical weapons in exchange for not being attacked. The Gambit was offered. And now the US is very rattled and nervous about accepting. Contradictory messages from various US administration staff seem to follow each other almost by the hour.

Many commentors on the internet are saying that it is a dangerous move because both Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi got rid of their chemical weapons and both of their countries were subsequently invaded and decimated. They ask, ‘why will Syria not suffer the same fate?’

The reason Syria won’t go the way of Iraq or Libya is because of one fundamental and decisive difference: Russia is standing firmly by Syria’s side (with its warships off the coast of Syria) and has said repeatedly that it will not allow Syria to be attacked by the US or anyone else. Assad, in explaining why he agreed to the Russian initiative, said it was because he had full confidence in Russia’s protection of Syria.

So Syria is offering to give up an asset from amongst its arsenal of weapons. How will it gain from it being accepted?

The chemical weapons (CW) were becoming a liability and their military value is very limited. So not much, if any, value is being surrendered. Assad has said that the idea of CW was to counter the threat of nuclear weapons. But how likely is israel to attack Damascus with nuclear weapons with both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem little more than 210kms (130mls approx) away as the wind blows?

On a battlefield, chemical weapons need to be deployed by specially trained troops and these soldiers need to be in the right terrain at the right time with the right weather conditions for them to be effective and not be harmlessly dispersed, or worse, not blow back on their own soldiers. If the enemy soldiers have gas masks, any advantage quickly dissipates.

Holding CW may have value as a deterrent against the civilian population of a neighbouring country contemplating an invasion. But once they are fired at said population, the deterrent value evaporates while leaving the offending country open to being targeted by other surrounding countries and/or abandoned by their allies. Targeting the enemy’s civilian population does nothing to improve the immediate military situation at hand.

The US is able to say Syria was responsible for the false flag that killed hundreds of Syrian civilians because Syria has a stockpile of chemical weapons. It would be impossible to say that if it was known that Syria no longer had chemical weapons. Indeed, a day or two after this proposal from Russia came news that another CW false flag operation was being planned by the NATO mercenaries against israel. (see video in comments section below)

So making the announcement to surrender the CW nipped that false flag (and any others involving CW) in the bud.

On the plus side, it takes away the excuses of the US to invade. They no longer have to prevent Syria from using them or prevent them falling into the ‘wrong hands’ (assuming those are different hands from the ones that the US and Saudi Arabia are already supplying with CW).

Syria can be seen as serious about working for peace and as an example to all the countries that are condemning Syria who ALL have stockpiles of CW! All these countries and especially the US and israel are now on the defensive.

Syria now has the ‘high ground’ (or centre control) by jettisoning a liability – a pawn that was actually in the way.

September 12, 2013 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US evokes ghost of Hitler as PR campaign against Assad goes crazy

By Robert Bridge | RT | September 03, 2013 

The shock and awe that has greeted President Obama’s decision to get congressional consent to wage war in Syria underscores the problem with US foreign policy, not to mention our mainstream media machine.

Americans somehow think it is standard operating procedure for the Commander-in-Chief to bypass a quaint little place called Congress (Population 535) along the road to war. Perhaps this way of thinking is due to the general atmosphere of fear and loathing now gripping the crotch of the Heartland like a TSA officer. Or maybe it’s just that we’ve been conditioned to believe the president has the right to enjoy dictatorial powers. Whatever the case, the situation demands some consideration.

Up until Friday, it looked all but certain that Barack Obama, America’s Nobel-nominated president, would order yet another military strike on a foreign country without congressional approval (Libya was the first). The Democratic leader’s designs for a “limited” strike on Syria, however, were quickly dashed when British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a historic defeat, as the House of Commons denied him permission to jump on the military bandwagon heading for Syria.

This was the first time since 1782 that the British parliament refused a government request to enter a war. Could it be that British intelligence knew something the Americans did not, like perhaps the truth? After all, Cameron himself admitted that the UK intelligence was not 100 percent certain that the Assad government was responsible for the chemical attack.

Whatever the case, with Washington’s foremost ally suddenly missing in action, Obama had nothing but respect for the US Constitution, which clearly states, Article 1, Section 8, “Congress shall have power…to declare war.”

Thanks to the broadside delivered to Washington by the bumpy car of the British parliament, the American people got a fleeting, jolting reminder of their candidate on the early campaign trail, those bygone days of yesteryear when hope hung like dew on the American prairie and the sweet aroma of change dispelled the noxious vapors of George W. Bush’s fighter jets.

I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that’s why I’ve made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” Obama said Saturday from the Rose Garden.

After the initial shock of those incredible words was fully digested, and the dogs of war were yanked snarling and slobbering back in the house, the PR campaign against the Syrian regime went haywire. The US mainstream media was clearly knocked off its stride, set as it was for an imminent war.

Consider this opening paragraph in Monday’s issue of The Wall Street Journal.

President Obama’s Syrian melodrama went from bad to worse on Saturday with his surprise decision to seek Congressional approval for what he promises will be merely a limited cruise-missile bombing. Mr. Obama will now have someone else to blame if Congress blocks his mission, but in the bargain he has put at risk his credibility and America’s standing in the world with more than 40 months left in office.”

America’s leading business paper somehow believes that seeking congressional approval for war will “risk his credibility and America’s standing in the world.” Indeed, considering America’s basement rankings in the world, seeking such approval as mandated by international law could only have the opposite effect.

And what is one to make of Obama’s (money-back?) guarantee of a “narrow and limited” cruise missile attack on Syria; a Lawrence-esque back-before-dinner jaunt that won’t leave the same kind of trillion-dollar aftertaste that the eight-year Iraq War did? After all, it will only take the firing of a single Syrian missile at a US naval vessel for Obama’s weekend fling to transmogrify into World War III.

The editorial then entered hand-wringing, hysteria mode, trembling at the thought that a single square-mile of real estate in a corner of the empire has not been stamped with the imprint of a US Army boot.

A defeat in Congress would signal to Bashar Assad and the world’s other thugs that the US has retired as the enforcer of any kind of world order… Unlike the British in 1956, the US can’t retreat from east of Suez without grave consequences. The US replaced the British, but there is no one to replace America.”

With some 900 US military bases now straddling a disproportionate amount of the globe, it will take a lot more Congress voting to take a pass on a military scuffle in a Syrian civil war for the US war machine to suddenly go wobbly. Yes, the Obama administration will have to swallow a big slab of humble pie if Congress doesn’t vote in favor of war, but the long-term consequences in the event of such a decision on American power should not be exaggerated.

But exaggerating the consequences is exactly what America does best. Just one day after Obama had his faith miraculously restored in the battered US Constitution, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that a little birdie informed him that sarin nerve gas was used in the Damascus attack. This revelation allowed Kerry to pull out the most-effective ploy in the PR bag of tricks: the noxious Nazi analogy.

“Bashar al-Assad now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein who have used these weapons in time of war,” Kerry told NBC’s Face the Nation. Kerry called the attack an “affront against the decency and sensibilities of the world.”

“In the last 24 hours, we have learned through samples that were provided to the United States that have now been tested from first responders in east Damascus, and hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin,” he continued.

So now, when US Congressmen return from their summer break on September 9, you can guarantee their email boxes will be littered with messages from special interest groups imploring them to support military action against the “world’s next Hitler.”

“This is squarely now in the hands of Congress,” Kerry told CNN, saying he had confidence “they will do what is right because they understand the stakes.”

Meanwhile, the calm voice of reason against a senseless war in Syria has been thrown under the bus.

Ron Paul was branded a “conspiracy theorist” by Salon for suggesting that the Syrian chemical attack was a false flag operation designed to get America into another Middle East war.

Paul pointed to the false intelligence that led to the Iraq War to back up his statement.

“[Syrian President Bashar] Assad, I don’t think is an idiot. I don’t think he would do this on purpose,” Paul told Fox News host Neil Cavuto on the allegation that Assad used chemical weapons on civilians.

Just look at how many lies were told us about Saddam Hussein prior to that (Iraq War) build up. More propaganda. It happens all the time,” Paul said. “I think it’s a false flag.”Full article

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Elites and Media Minimize Dissent and Bury Truth

By Paul Craig Roberts | IPE | May 10, 2013

Over the last several years I have watched the rise of an important new intellect on the American scene. Ron Unz, publisher of The American Conservative, has demonstrated time and again the extraordinary ability to reexamine settled issues and show that the accepted conclusion was incorrect.

One of his early achievements was to dispose of the myth of immigrant crime by demonstrating that “Hispanics have approximately the same crime rates as whites of the same age and gender.” You can imagine the uproar, but Unz won the debate.

Unz provoked and prevailed in another controversy when he concluded that Mexican-Americans have approximately the same innate intelligence as whites, with their lower IQs being due to transitory socio-economic deprivation.

He next surprised by showing the connection between the declining real value of the minimum wage (about one-third less than in the 1960s) and immigration. Americans cannot survive on one-third less minimum income than four decades ago, and the unfilled jobs are taken by Hispanics who live many to the room. A higher minimum wage, Unz pointed out, would cure the illegal immigration problem as American citizens would fill the jobs.

I wrote about some of Unz’s remarkable findings. One of my favorites is his comparison of the responsiveness of the Chinese and US governments to their publics. I found his conclusion convincing that the authoritarian one-party Chinese government was more responsive to the Chinese people than democratic two-party Washington is to the American people.

The person is rare who can take on such controversial issues in such a professional way that he wins the admiration even of his critics. In my opinion, Ron Unz is a national resource. He has established online libraries of important periodicals and magazines from the pre-Internet era, information that otherwise essentially would be lost. I have not met him, but he donates to this site and is an independent thinker free of The Matrix.

Unz’s latest article, “Our American Pravda,” http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/our-american-pravda/ is a striking account of the failure of media, regulatory, and national security organizations and subsequent coverups that leave the public deceived. Unz uses the Iraq war as one example:

“The circumstances surrounding our Iraq War demonstrate this, certainly ranking it among the strangest military conflicts of modern times. The 2001 attacks in America were quickly ascribed to the radical Islamists of al-Qaeda, whose bitterest enemy in the Middle East had always been Saddam Hussein’s secular Baathist regime in Iraq. Yet through misleading public statements, false press leaks, and even forged evidence such as the “yellowcake” documents, the Bush administration and its neoconservative allies utilized the compliant American media to persuade our citizens that Iraq’s nonexistent WMDs posed a deadly national threat and required elimination by war and invasion. Indeed, for several years national polls showed that a large majority of conservatives and Republicans actually believed that Saddam was the mastermind behind 9/11 and the Iraq War was being fought as retribution. Consider how bizarre the history of the 1940s would seem if America had attacked China in retaliation for Pearl Harbor.

“True facts were easily available to anyone paying attention in the years after 2001, but most Americans do not bother and simply draw their understanding of the world from what they are told by the major media, which overwhelmingly—almost uniformly—backed the case for war with Iraq; the talking heads on TV created our reality. Prominent journalists across the liberal and conservative spectrum eagerly published the most ridiculous lies and distortions passed on to them by anonymous sources, and stampeded Congress down the path to war.

“The result was what my late friend Lt. Gen. Bill Odom rightly called the “greatest strategic disaster in United States history.” American forces suffered tens of thousands of needless deaths and injuries, while our country took a huge step toward national bankruptcy [and a police state]. Economics Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and others have estimated that with interest the total long-term cost of our two recent wars may reach as high as $5 or $6 trillion, or as much as $50,000 per American household, mostly still unpaid. Meanwhile, economist Edward Wolff has calculated that the Great Recession and its aftermath cut the personal net worth of the median American household to $57,000 in 2010 from a figure nearly twice as high three years earlier. Comparing these assets and liabilities, we see that the American middle class now hovers on the brink of insolvency, with the cost of our foreign wars being a leading cause.

“But no one involved in the debacle ultimately suffered any serious consequences, and most of the same prominent politicians and highly paid media figures who were responsible remain just as prominent and highly paid today. For most Americans, reality is whatever our media organs tell us, and since these have largely ignored the facts and adverse consequences of our wars in recent years, the American people have similarly forgotten. Recent polls show that only half the public today believes that the Iraq War was a mistake.”

Unz covers a number of cases of criminality, treason, and coverups at high levels of government and points out that “these dramatic, well-documented accounts have been ignored by our national media.” One reason for “this wall of uninterest” is that both parties are complicit and thus equally eager to bury the facts.

Unz is raising the question of the efficacy of democracy. Does the way democracy works in America provide any more self-rule than in undemocratic regimes? He offers this example:

“Most of the Americans who elected Barack Obama in 2008 intended their vote as a total repudiation of the policies and personnel of the preceding George W. Bush administration. Yet once in office, Obama’s crucial selections—Robert Gates at Defense, Timothy Geither at Treasury, and Ben Bernake at the Federal Reserve—were all top Bush officials, and they seamlessly continued the unpopular financial bailouts and foreign wars begun by his predecessor, producing what amounted to a third Bush term.”

In an article not long ago, I raised the issue whether Americans live in The Matrix with their perceptions and thoughts controlled by disinformation as in George Orwell’s 1984.

Unz adds to this perspective. He tells the story of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky’s plan to transform Russia into a make-believe two-party state complete with heated battles fought on divisive and symbolic issues. Behind the scenes the political elites would orchestrate the political battles between the parties with the purpose of keeping the population divided and funneling popular dissatisfaction into meaningless dead-end issues. In such a system, self-serving power prevails. After describing Berezovsky’s plot, Unz asks if Berezovsky got his idea from observing the American political scene.

Thinking further about the propagandistic nature of the US media, Unz writes:

“Individuals from less trusting societies are often surprised at the extent to which so many educated Americans tend to believe whatever the media tells them and ignore whatever it does not, placing few constraints on even the most ridiculous propaganda. For example, a commentator on my article described the East German media propaganda he had experienced prior to Reunification as being in many respects more factual and less totally ridiculous than what he now saw on American cable news shows. One obvious difference was that Western media was so globally dominant during that era that the inhabitants of the German Democratic Republic inevitably had reasonable access to a contrasting second source of information, forcing their media to be much more cautious in its dishonesty, while today almost any nonsense uniformly supported by the MSNBC-to-FoxNews spectrum of acceptable opinion remains almost totally unquestioned by most Americans.” http://www.theamericanconservative.com/american-pravda-reality-television/

Unz’s view of the US media as propagandists for power is consistent with that of John Pilger, one of the last remaining real journalists who refuses to serve power, and with Gerald Celente, who sums up the sordid American media in one word–”presstitutes.” I know from my own media experience that an independent print and TV media no longer exists in the West. The American media is a tightly controlled disinformation ministry.

Those few Americans who are free of the constraints imposed by dogmas on their ability to think and to process information have a huge responsibility for their small number. The assault on the rule of law began in the last years of the Clinton regime, but the real destruction of the US Constitution, the basis for the United States, was achieved by the neoconservative George W. Bush and Obama regimes. Wars without declarations by Congress, torture in violation of both US and international law, war crimes in violation of the Nuremberg standard, indefinite detention and assassination of US citizens without due process of law, universal spying on US citizens without warrants, federalization of state and local police now armed with military weapons and uniforms, detention centers, “your papers, please” (without the Gestapo “please”) not only at airports but also on highways, streets, bus terminals, train stations, and at sporting events.

On May 5 Obama gave the commencement address at Ohio State University. No doubt that the graduates thought that they were being honored by being addressed by the world’s greatest tyrant.

Obama told the graduating class, to applause, that their obligation as citizens is to trust the government. Outdoing George Orwell’s Big Brother, Obama said in public to a graduating class of a great university without shame: “You have grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as . . . some sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”

Listen to my propaganda, not to those constitutional experts, legal authorities, and critics of me, the First Black President, who tell you to beware of unaccountable government. Due process is decided by the demands of the war on terror. If there is a war on terror, do you want a fair trial or do you want to be safe? I am going to make you safe by not giving defendants accused of terrorism, who some liberal-pinko-commie judge would set free, a fair trial.

Making you safe by enveloping you in a police state is a nonpartisan undertaking. Just listen to Lindsay Graham and Peter King and John McCain. These Republican leaders are demanding the police state that I am providing.

As my own legal department, The US Department Of Justice, decided, the Dictator, I mean, elected president, has the power to save the country from domestic and foreign terrorists by abrogating the US Constitution, an out-of-date document that binds our hands and prevents us from keeping you, our serfs and minions, I mean our cherished citizens, safe.

Trust me. That is your obligation as a US citizen. Trust me and I will make you free, happy, employed sometime later in this century when the Amerikan Empire controls the world.

The US Constitution was written by people who opposed Empire. These people were misguided, just like the Roman Republicans who did not understand the need for a Caesar. The American Empire, as the neoconservatives have made clear, is what keeps you free from terrorism. We have to kill them over there before they come over here. And those who are over here will be killed too. We tolerate no dissent. That part of the Constitution is gone, along with the rest of it.

Now give me my honorary doctorate, another sign of approval of my usurpation.

~

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.

May 13, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Washington Post Prints Iraq Lies, 2013 Edition

By Peter Hart | FAIR | March 22, 2013

How long can media keep printing lies about the Iraq War? Today’s Washington Post (3/22/13) provides one answer, since they printed an 0p-ed by former Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley where he argued this:

After Hussein was deposed, we did not find the stockpiles of WMDs that all the world’s major intelligence services, the Clinton and Bush administrations and most members of Congress thought that he had. It was less an intelligence failure than a failure of imagination. Before the war, no one conceived what seems to have been the case: that Hussein had destroyed his WMD stocks but wanted to hide this from his enemy Iran. The U.S. team charged with searching for WMDs concluded that Hussein had the intention and the means to return to WMD production had he not been brought down. (With Iran pursuing nuclear weapons, it is a good bet that he would have.)

This is complete, utter nonsense; a serious newspaper would be ashamed to print it.

Long before the war, the government had intelligence from the most famous defector from Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law Hussein Kamel. The government publicly claimed that what Kamel told them confirmed their threats about Iraq’s WMDs.

In fact, what Kamel actually told IAEA inspectors in 1995 was that the weapons stockpiles had been destroyed. This was reported right before the invasion by Newsweek magazine.

So it is 100 percent false to talk about “a failure of imagination.”

It is also false to talk about how “all the world’s major intelligence services” were in agreement on Iraq intelligence. Some remained quite skeptical about the analysis being promoted by the Bush administration. As a matter of fact, the Washington Post (3/18/03) printed an article to the effect right before the before the war started:

 As the Bush administration prepares to attack Iraq this week, it is doing so on the basis of a number of allegations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that have been challenged—and in some cases disproved–by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S. intelligence reports.

So the Post is publishing something that flies in the face of what its own reporters documented at the time.

What about the idea that Iraq was hiding its absence of WMDs from Iran? If they were, they weren’t do a very good job of it. Before the war, Saddam Hussein went on CBS with Dan Rather (60 Minutes II, 2/26/03) and stated quite clearly that he had no such weapons: “I think America and the world also knows that Iraq no longer has the weapons,” he told Rather. You can watch the video here.

To top it all the off, the parenthetical at the end–which stands as a final justification for the war–is completely unsupported; there is no evidence to suggest that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Does the Post factcheck op-eds? By the looks of it, they do not. But something tells me that if you submitted a column that made completely factual observations about Iraq–saying, for example, that there was clear evidence before the war that Iraq had destroyed its WMDs, and that Iraq had done its best to make clear that it didn’t possess any–you would have little chance of getting it published. And if, by some miracle, it did make through the early editing process, someone would demand that you substantiate these accurate claims.

No such burden would appear to have been placed on Stephen Hadley, who was part of the team that told the lies that took the country into war. Thanks to the Washington Post, he is still doing so.

March 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Iraq, Iran, Red Lines and Headlines

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | February 6, 2013

Could this repeated history be any more obvious?

This was August 5, 2002:

And this was November 8, 2011:

This was September 9, 2002:

And this was October 9, 2012:

This was also September 9, 2002:

This was September 17, 2002:

And this was May 9, 2006:

This was September 22, 2002:

And this was November 6, 2011:

This was September 10, 2002:

And this was November 9, 2011:

This was September 17, 2004:

And this was January 27, 2009:

This was October 6, 2004:

And this was January 25, 2010:

This was April 25, 2005:

And this was October 8, 2012:

This was September 6, 2007:

And this was February 4, 2013:

*****

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Reporters Who Got Iraq So Wrong

By Peter Hart | FAIR | February 6, 2013

Ten years ago today, Colin Powell made the Bush administration’s case for going to war against Iraq. Much of what he said about Iraq’s threats to the United States was false. But the media coverage gave the opposite impression, and most of the pundits and journalists who promoted the justifications for the war paid no price for their failures.

As FAIR reported at the time, even before the Powell address there were reasons to be skeptical of the administration’s claims.  On February 4, 2003, FAIR published “Iraq’s Hidden Weapons: From Allegation to Fact,” which made the point that “it has not been demonstrated that Iraq continues to hold unconventional weapons.”  FAIR criticized coverage like that of the New York Times (2/2/03), which asserted that “nobody seriously expected Mr. Hussein to lead inspectors to his stash of illegal poisons or rockets, or to let his scientists tell all.”

As the FAIR release concluded:

The media convey to the public the impression that the alleged banned weapons on which the Bush administration rests its case for war are known to exist, and that the question is simply whether inspectors are skillful enough to find them.

Powell’s address was instrumental in pushing a faulty media line on Iraq’s WMDs further. That much was clear in the coverage right after his appearance at the United Nations, as FAIR documented on February 10 in “A Failure of Skepticism in Powell Coverage.”

In Andrea Mitchell‘s report on NBC Nightly News (2/5/03), Powell’s allegations became actual capabilities of the Iraqi military: “Powell played a tape of a Mirage jet retrofitted to spray simulated anthrax, and a model of Iraq’s unmanned drones, capable of spraying chemical or germ weapons within a radius of at least 550 miles.”

Dan Rather, introducing an interview with Powell (60 Minutes II, 2/5/03), shifted from reporting allegations to describing allegations as facts: “Holding a vial of anthrax-like powder, Powell said Saddam might have tens of thousands of liters of anthrax. He showed how Iraqi jets could spray that anthrax and how mobile laboratories are being used to concoct new weapons.” The anthrax supply is appropriately attributed as a claim by Powell, but the mobile laboratories were something that Powell “showed” to be actually operating.

Commentator William Schneider on CNN Live Today (2/6/03) dismissed the possibility that Powell could be doubted: “No one disputes the findings Powell presented at the U.N. that Iraq is essentially guilty of failing to disarm.” When CNN‘s Paula Zahn (2/5/03) interviewed Jamie Rubin, former State Department spokesperson, she prefaced a discussion of Iraq’s response to Powell’s speech thusly: “You’ve got to understand that most Americans watching this were either probably laughing out loud or got sick to their stomach. Which was it for you?”

If you turn to FAIR’s “Iraq and the Media: A Critical Timeline” (3/19/07), you see that February 6 Washington Post op-ed page had Mary McGrory writing: “I don’t know how the United Nations felt about Colin Powell’s ‘J’accuse’ speech against Saddam Hussein. I can only say that he persuaded me, and I was as tough as France to convince.” She added that she “heard enough to know that Saddam Hussein, with his stockpiles of nerve gas and death-dealing chemicals, is more of a menace than I had thought.”

And Richard Cohen (2/6/03) announced that the debate was over:

 The evidence he presented to the United Nations–some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail–had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool–or possibly a Frenchman–could conclude otherwise.

Obviously, the fools and Frenchmen were correct. And as FAIR documented, independent-minded journalists were reporting that some of the administration’s claims did not stand up to scrutiny. The Associated Press had a detailed look at the state of Iraq intelligence on January 18. The skepticism and good judgment of those reporters (and others) should have been the rule, not the exception, if journalists had been doing their jobs.

But most journalists did a different job. And most of them faced no consequences whatsoever for being so disastrously wrong.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Remember Iraq?

By Philip Giraldi | December 14, 2012

Most Americans would prefer to forget that we are approaching the first anniversary of the expulsion of U.S. military forces from Iraq. The Republican Party, which rallied behind George W. Bush to invade the country and occupy it, has suffered from a short memory relating to that misbegotten war even as it agitates for new and similar military interventions.

Much of the silence on the subject is certainly due to the fact that most Democrats and nearly all the media were also on board, though perhaps for reasons that did not completely coincide with the Bush neocons’ imperial vision. And after the war began and the occupation took on its misbegotten form under Jerry Bremer, Dan Senor, and a host of neocon acolytes brought on board to reshape the country, the saga ran on and on. As Iraq broke down into its constituent parts due to Bremer’s inept proconsulship, a development that might normally lead to a rethink of the entire project, Pentagon-based neoconservatives instead regrouped, doubled down and contrived the 2007 “surge” to fix things. That the surge was a poorly conceived and executed military dead end and a complete failure to do anything but deepen the divisions within Iraq seemed irrelevant, political partisanship inevitably rushing in to interpret it as a success to provide cover for the foolish politicians, generals and bureaucrats in Washington who had conceived it. As recently as the Republican presidential debates earlier this year the “surge” in Iraq was cited by several candidates as a litmus test for those who believe in the “right kind” of foreign policy. Those who did not believe in the myth of the surge as a subset of American Exceptionalism were outside the pale, most notably Representative Ron Paul.

Iraq, correctly labeled the “worst mistake in American history,” has to be remembered because of what it should have taught about Washington’s false perception of the U.S. vis-a-vis the rest of the world. One of America’s poorest secretaries of state of all time, Madeleine Albright, once said that the U.S. is the only “necessary nation” because it “sees far.” She could have added that it sees far though it frequently doesn’t understand what it is seeing, but that would have required some introspection on her part. Albright’s ignorance and hubris have unfortunately been embraced and even expanded upon by her equally clueless successors and the presidencies that they represented. Iraq should be an antidote to such thinking, a prime lesson in what is wrong with the United States when its blunders its way overseas as the self-proclaimed arbiter of the destinies of billions of people.

Everyone but the “realist” and largely traditional conservative and libertarian minority that opposed the Iraq venture from day one has turned out to be dead wrong about the war and many continued to be wrong even when the U.S. military was eventually forced to leave the country by the Baghdad government. The Iraq war was born from a series of lies.

The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 based on two alleged threats as defined by the Bush administration and Congress. First, it was claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and also delivery systems that would enable it to strike directly against the United States. Second, it was frequently argued that Iraq had somehow been involved in 9/11 through its intelligence services. Both contentions were completely false, were known by many in the White House to be fraudulent, and, in some cases, were bolstered by evidence that was itself fabricated or known to be incorrect. Many in the Pentagon and CIA knew that the case being made for war was essentially bogus and was being contrived to satisfy United Nations requirements for armed intervention. Though there were a couple of principled resignations from the State Department, almost everyone in the bureaucracy went along with the fraud.

Digging deeper there were other uncited reasons for going to war and some led back to Israel and its lobby. All of the most passionate cheerleaders for war were also passionate about protecting Israel. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had been paying money to the families of Palestinians killed by Israel and there was a perception that he was a potential military threat. When the U.S. took over control in Baghdad one of the first projects to be considered was a pipeline to move Iraqi oil to the Israeli port of Haifa.

Fast forward eight years, to the end of the U.S. military presence. The neocons continued to see a strategic objective in the shambles that they had made. In an op-ed in the Washington Post on the impending U.S. departure from Iraq one year ago, neocons Kimberly and Fred Kagan delusionally entertained five “American core interests” in the region. They were: that Iraq should continue to be one unified state; that there should be no al-Qaeda on its soil; that Baghdad abides by its international responsibilities; that Iraq should contain Iran; and that the al-Maliki government should accept U.S. “commitment” to the region. As the Kagans are first and foremost apologists for Israel, it should be observed that Iraq’s “international responsibilities” would be understood as referring to the expectation that Baghdad not be hostile to Tel Aviv.

But looking back a bit, in 2003 Iraq was a good deal more unified and stable than it is today; there was no al-Qaeda or other terrorist presence; Saddam generally abided by a sanctions regime imposed by the U.N.; and Iraq was the principal Arab front line state restraining Iran’s ambitions. Then, as now, the U.S. was clearly “committed” to the region through the overwhelming presence of its armed forces and one should add parenthetically that Iraq in no way threatened the United States, or anyone else. It was precisely the U.S. invasion that dismantled the Iraqi nation state, introduced al-Qaeda to the country, wrecked the nation’s economy, and brought into power a group of Shi’a leaders who are anti-democratic and adhere much closer to Tehran and Syria than to Washington. Nor are they very friendly to Israel, quite the contrary, and there is no oil pipeline. So none of the “core interests” sought by the United States as defined by neocon doctrine have actually been achieved, or, rather, they have actually been reversed due to the invasion and occupation by the United States arranged and carried out by the Pentagon neoconservatives.

And then there is the cost. The U.S. lost nearly 5,000 soldiers killed plus 35,000 more wounded while the documented Iraqi dead number more than 110,000, though the actual total is almost certainly much, much higher, perhaps exceeding one million. Ancient Christian communities in Iraq have all but disappeared. Columbia economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated that the total cost of the war will be in the $5 trillion plus range when all the bills are finally paid. The U.S. economy has suffered grave and possibly fatal damage as a result of a war that need not have taken place.

The lesson to be learned from Iraq is actually quite simple. Military intervention in a foreign land unless a genuine vital interest is at stake is a fool’s errand due to the unforeseen consequences that develop from any war. And when intervention is actually necessary (hard to imagine what those circumstances would be) it must have an exit strategy that starts almost immediately. Remembering the government chicanery that led to the events of 2003 through 2011 means that the lies that are currently being floated to justify regime change in both Syria and Iran by the same neocons who produced the Iraq debacle should be treated with extreme skepticism and summarily rejected. Iraq also provides the insights that enable one to judge the Afghanistan enterprise for what it really is: a failure now just as it will be five years from now at far greater cost in lives and treasure for Afghans and Americans alike. If the United States cannot learn from the experience of Iraq it is doomed to repeatedly fail in similar endeavors until the last soldier comes home in a body bag and the last dollar is spent, leaving behind an empty treasury and an impoverished American people.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.

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December 15, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments