Archive for the ‘IAEA’ Category

Loving the Bomb for Seven Decades: Are You With Us … or Against Us?

November 19, 2007

Loving the Bomb for Seven Decades: Are You With Us … or Against Us?
The road from Washington to Karachi to nuclear anarchy. Jonathan Schell
November 14 , 2007

[Introduction by Tom Engelhardt]

Before I met Jonathan Schell, I already knew him in the best way possible: on the page. Even in his days as a neophyte journalist in Vietnam, he committed a writer’s greatest act of generosity. First in the pages of The New Yorker, and then in his books, he took readers to places most of us never could have gone on our own—to The Village of Ben Suc, for instance, as American troops cleared it of its 3,500 peasant inhabitants and destroyed it in what was, in 1967, the largest military operation of the Vietnam War to date; and, not so long after, in The Military Half—from the back seats of tiny Forward Air Control planes—to two South Vietnamese provinces where Americans were wreaking utter havoc. (In that book, he offered a still-unmatched journalistic vision of what war looks like, up close and personal, from the air.) In the 1970s, in The Time of Illusion, he would seat us all front-row center at the great Constitutional crisis that preceded our present one, the Nixonian near coup d’état that we now call “Watergate.”

In The Unconquerable World (for which I was the editor), looking back from a new century, he considered several hundred years of growing state violence that culminated in a single weapon capable of destroying all before it—and the various paths, violent and nonviolent, by which the people of this planet refused to heed the wishes of a seemingly endless series of putative imperial masters. I needed to know no more to feel sure, in March 2003, that the shock-and-awe fantasies of the Bush administration would be just that. In other words, he made me seem prophetic at Tomdispatch.

But if one subject has been his, it’s been the nuclear issue. Like me, he came into this world more or less with the Bomb (a word which, back when it represented the only world-destroying thing around, we tended to capitalize) and its exterminatory possibilities have never left his thoughts. In his bestselling The Fate of the Earth, as the 1980s began (and an antinuclear movement grew), he approached the subject in print, beginning famously: “Since July 16, 1945, when the first atomic bomb was detonated, at the Trinity test site, near Alamogordo, New Mexico, mankind has lived with nuclear weapons in its midst.” And so, sadly, we continue to do, despite his best efforts. He returned to the subject (when critics claimed he had no “solution” to the nuclear conundrum he had so vividly laid out) in The Abolition in 1984, and again in the post-Cold War 1990s, in The Gift of Time, The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, when the vast arsenals of the two superpowers were still sitting there like great unmentionable embarrassments, mission-less and yet going nowhere fast. (It was, of course, a time when people largely preferred to pretend that the nuclear danger was a thing of the past.)

Now 62 years old, the bomb (which, long ago, lost its capital B) is no longer an embarrassment, no longer mission-less. The old Cold War arsenals are being updated; possession of the weaponry has spread; and the Bush administration, which drove the American people to war partly with nuclear fantasies, has made such weapons, whether real or imagined, the heart and soul of its imperial policies—and again, there is a Jonathan Schell book to guide us. Think of The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger as a brilliant intervention, an essential guidebook to a world gone mad in a new way.

It begins: “The nuclear age has entered its seventh decade. If it were a person, it would be thinking about retirement—reckoning up its pension funds, weighing different medical plans. But historical periods, unlike human lives, have no fixed limit, and the nuclear age is in fact displaying youthful vigor.” From there on, short as it is, it never slows down. So consider Jonathan Schell’s latest on nuclear Pakistan below and then pick up The Seventh Decade, which is officially published today. Tom Engelhardt

Loving the Bomb for Seven Decades: Are You With Us … or Against Us?
The road from Washington to Karachi to nuclear anarchy.
By Jonathan Schell

The journey to the martial law just imposed on Pakistan by its self-appointed president, the dictator Pervez Musharraf, began in Washington on September 11, 2001. On that day, it so happened, Pakistan’s intelligence chief, Lt. General Mahmood Ahmed, was in town. He was summoned forthwith to meet with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who gave him perhaps the earliest preview of the global Bush doctrine then in its formative stages, telling him, “You are either one hundred percent with us or one hundred percent against us.”

The next day, the administration, dictating to the dictator, presented seven demands that a Pakistan that wished to be “with us” must meet. These concentrated on gaining its cooperation in assailing Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, which had long been nurtured by the Pakistani intelligence services in Afghanistan and had, of course, harbored Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda training camps. Conspicuously missing was any requirement to rein in the activities of Mr. A.Q. Khan, the “father” of Pakistan’s nuclear arms, who, with the knowledge of Washington, had been clandestinely hawking the country’s nuclear-bomb technology around the Middle East and North Asia for some years.

Musharraf decided to be “with us”; but, as in so many countries, being with the United States in its Global War on Terror turned out to mean not being with one’s own people. Although Musharraf, who came to power in a coup in 1999, was already a dictator, he had now taken the politically fateful additional step of very visibly subordinating his dictatorship to the will of a foreign master. In many countries, people will endure a homegrown dictator but rebel against one who seems to be imposed from without, and Musharraf was now courting this danger.

A public opinion poll in September ranking certain leaders according to their popularity suggests what the results have been. Osama bin Laden, at 46% approval, was more popular than Musharraf, at 38%, who in turn was far better liked than President Bush, at a bottom-scraping 7%. There is every reason to believe that, with the imposition of martial law, Musharraf’s and Bush’s popularity have sunk even further. Wars, whether on terror or anything else, don’t tend to go well when the enemy is more popular than those supposedly on one’s own side.

Are You with Us?

Even before the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq, the immediate decision to bully Musharraf into compliance defined the shape of the policies that the President would adopt toward a far larger peril that had seemed to wane after the Cold War, but now was clearly on the rise: the gathering nuclear danger. President Bush proposed what was, in fact if not in name, an imperial solution to it. In the new dispensation, nuclear weapons were not to be considered good or bad in themselves; that judgment was to be based solely on whether the nation possessing them was itself judged good or bad (with us, that is, or against us). Iraq, obviously, was judged to be “against us” and suffered the consequences. Pakistan, soon honored by the administration with the somehow ridiculous, newly coined status of “major non-NATO ally,” was clearly classified as with us, and so, notwithstanding its nuclear arsenal and abysmal record on proliferation, given the highest rating.

That doctrine constituted a remarkable shift. Previously, the United States had joined with almost the entire world to achieve nonproliferation solely by peaceful, diplomatic means. The great triumph of this effort had been the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, under which 183 nations, dozens quite capable of producing nuclear weapons, eventually agreed to remain without them. In this dispensation, all nuclear weapons were considered bad, and so all proliferation was bad as well. Even existing arsenals, including those of the two superpowers of the Cold War, were supposed to be liquidated over time. Conceptually, at least, one united world had faced one common danger: nuclear arms.

In the new, quickly developing, post-9/11 dispensation, however, the world was to be divided into two camps. The first, led by the United States, consisted of good, democratic countries, many possessing the bomb; the second consisted of bad, repressive countries trying to get the bomb and, of course, their terrorist allies. Nuclear peril, once understood as a problem of supreme importance in its own right, posed by those who already possessed nuclear weapons as well as by potential proliferators, was thus subordinated to the polarizing “war on terror,” of which it became a mere sub-category, albeit the most important one. This peril could be found at “the crossroads of radicalism and technology,” otherwise called the “nexus of terror and weapons of mass destruction,” in the words of the master document of the Bush Doctrine, the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States of America.

The good camp was assigned the job not of rolling back all nuclear weapons but simply of stopping any members of the bad camp from getting their hands on the bomb. The means would no longer be diplomacy, but “preventive war” (to be waged by the United States). The global Cold War of the late twentieth century was to be replaced by global wars against proliferation—disarmament wars—in the twenty-first. These wars, breaking out wherever in the world proliferation might threaten, would not be cold, but hot indeed, as the invasion of Iraq soon revealed—and as an attack on Iran, now under consideration in Washington, may soon further show.

…Or Against Us?

Vetting and sorting countries into the good and the bad, the with-us and the against-us, proved, however, a far more troublesome business than those in the Bush administration ever imagined. Iraq famously was not as “bad” as alleged, for it turned out to lack the key feature that supposedly warranted attack—weapons of mass destruction. Neither was Pakistan, muscled into the with-us camp so quickly after 9/11, as “good” as alleged. Indeed, these distinctions were entirely artificial, for by any factual and rational reckoning, Pakistan was by far the more dangerous country.

Indeed, the Pakistan of Pervez Musharraf has, by now, become a one-country inventory of all the major forms of the nuclear danger.

*Iraq did not have nuclear weapons; Pakistan did. In 1998, it had conducted a series of five nuclear tests in response to five tests by India, with whom it had fought three conventional wars since its independence in 1947. The danger of interstate nuclear war between the two nations is perhaps higher than anywhere else in the world.

*Both Iraq and Pakistan were dictatorships (though the Iraqi government was incomparably more brutal).

*Iraq did not harbor terrorists; Pakistan did, and does so even more today.

*Iraq, lacking the bomb, could not of course be a nuclear proliferator. Pakistan was, with a vengeance. The arch-proliferator A.Q. Khan, a metallurgist, first purloined nuclear technology from Europe, where he was employed at the uranium enrichment company EURENCO. He then used the fruits of his theft to successfully establish an enrichment program for Pakistan’s bomb. After that, the thief turned salesman. Drawing on a globe-spanning network of producers and middlemen—in Turkey, Dubai, and Malaysia, among other countries—he peddled his nuclear wares to Iran, Iraq (which apparently turned down his offer of help), North Korea, Libya, and perhaps others. Seen from without, he had established a clandestine multinational corporation dedicated to nuclear proliferation for a profit.

Seen from within Pakistan, he had managed to create a sort of independent nuclear city-state—a state within a state—in effect privatizing Pakistan’s nuclear technology. The extent of the government’s connivance in this enterprise is still unknown, but few observers believe Khan’s far-flung operations would have been possible without at least the knowledge of officials at the highest levels of that government. Yet all this activity emanating from the “major non-NATO ally” of the Bush administration was overlooked until late 2003, when American and German intelligence intercepted a shipload of nuclear materials bound for Libya, and forced Musharraf to place Khan, a national hero owing to his work on the Pakistani bomb, under house arrest. (Even today, the Pakistani government refuses to make Khan available for interviews with representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency.)

*Iraqi apparatchiks could not, of course, peddle to terrorists, al-Qaedan or otherwise, technology they did not have, as Bush suggested they would do in seeking to justify his war. The Pakistani apparatchiks, on the other hand, could—and they did. Shortly before September 11, 2001, two leading scientists from Pakistan’s nuclear program, Dr. Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, the former Director General of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, and Chaudry Abdul Majeed, paid a visit to Osama bin Laden around a campfire in Afghanistan to advise him on how to make or acquire nuclear arms. They, too, are under house arrest.

If, however, the beleaguered Pakistani state, already a balkanized enterprise (as the A.Q. Khan story shows) is overthrown, or if the country starts to fall apart, the danger of insider defections from the nuclear establishment will certainly rise. The problem is not so much that the locks on the doors of nuclear installations—Pakistan’s approximately 50 bombs are reportedly spread at sites around the country—will be broken or picked as that those with the keys to the locks will simply switch allegiances and put the materials they guard to new uses. The “nexus” of terrorism and the bomb, the catastrophe the Bush Doctrine was specifically framed to head off, might then be achieved—and in a country that was “for us.”

What has failed in Pakistan, as in smashed Iraq, is not just a regional American policy, but the pillars and crossbeams of the entire global Bush doctrine, as announced in late 2001. In both countries, the bullying has failed; popular passions within each have gained the upper hand; and Washington has lost much of its influence. In its application to Pakistan, the doctrine was framed to stop terrorism, but in that country’s northern provinces, terrorists have, in fact, entrenched themselves to a degree unimaginable even when the Taliban protected Al-Qaeda’s camps before September 11th.

If the Bush Doctrine laid claim to the values of democracy, its man Musharraf now has the distinction, rare even among dictators, of mounting a second military coup to maintain the results of his first one. In a crowning irony, his present crackdown is on democracy activists, not the Taliban, armed Islamic extremists, or al-Qaeda supporters who have established positions in the Swat valley only 150 miles from Islamabad.

Most important, the collapsed doctrine has stoked the nuclear fires it was meant to quench. The dangers of nuclear terrorism, of proliferation, and even of nuclear war (with India, which is dismayed by developments in Pakistan as well as the weak Bush administration response to them) are all on the rise. The imperial solution to these perils has failed. Something new is needed, not just for Pakistan or Iraq, but for the world. Perhaps now someone should try to invent a solution based on imperialism’s opposite, democracy, which is to say respect for other countries and the wills of the people who live in them.

Jonathan Schell is the author of The Fate of the Earth, among other books, and the just-published The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger. He is the Harold Willens Peace Fellow at The Nation Institute, and a visiting lecturer at Yale University.

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This article has been made possible by the Foundation for National Progress, the Investigative Fund of Mother Jones, and gifts from generous readers like you.

© 2007 The Foundation for National Progress

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Iran hands over uranium blueprint

November 16, 2007

EU diplomat Javier Solana, right, will give a parallel report on dialogue efforts with Tehran [AFP]
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In a separate development, Tehran on Wednesday accused Hossein Mousavian, a former nuclear negotiator, of passing classified information to foreigners including to the British embassy.

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“From the viewpoint of the intelligence ministry, he is a criminal… this is definite and provable. But the decision rests with the judge,” Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, Iran’s intelligence minister, said.

 

On Monday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, decried critics of his nuclear policies as “traitors” and accused them of spying for Iran’s enemies.

 

Iran has been under intense international scrutiny for its nuclear policy.

 

IAEA report

 

Some diplomats said the IAEA report due this week was likely to say Iran has improved co-operation with a long-running inquiry into its nuclear programme.

 

The timing and toughness of any further UN sanctions against Iran will hinge on world powers’ interpretation of the report and a parallel report by Javier Solana, the EU’s chief diplomat, on recent dialogue with Tehran.Solana is expected to confirm that Iran remains unwilling to suspend uranium enrichment, which it says is to generate electricity but Western leaders claim is to make atom bombs.

A senior diplomat close to the IAEA said a senior Iranian nuclear official turned over the uranium metals document at a meeting in the agency’s headquarters in Vienna last week.

‘Unsolicited’ blueprint

IAEA inspectors came upon the document accidentally in 2005 while examining Iranian nuclear facilities suspected to have military dimensions. Iran had allowed inspectors to look at but not make copies of the document for investigative purposes.

Tehran has said it did nothing with the document, which it said it received unsolicited from the former nuclear smuggling network of Pakistan’s AQ Khan, which helped lay the groundwork for Iran’s programme.

IAEA experts have said the document’s instructions could have uses other than developing nuclear weapons.

Iran’s concession of the blueprint, noted by some diplomats as a sign of Iranian transparency, could spur Russia and China to persist in delaying new UN sanctions.

They could argue for more time for the IAEA process to reach fruition and against steps to isolate Tehran, which they regard as a slippery slope towards war.

Iran said on November 3 that it had given the IAEA all information needed to remove ambiguities about the extent of its work to develop centrifuges which enrich uranium, and that there would be no more discussions about it.

 
 
Source: Agencies

Israel urges removal of ElBaradei

November 8, 2007

Shaul Mofaz said Iran’s nuclear programme  posed an immediate danger [AFP]
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ElBaradei is expected to issue another report on November 22 on the progress of Iran’s nuclear programme.

 

The findings will be a key part of further discussions at the United Nations on whether to impose a third set if sanctions on Tehran.

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Mofaz said: “The policies followed by ElBaradei endanger world peace.

 

“His irresponsible attitude of sticking his head in the sand over Iran’s nuclear programme should lead to his impeachment.”

 

Threat row

 

ElBaradei angered Israeli officials by telling France’s Le Monde newspaper earlier this week that Iran would need “between three and eight years” to develop a nuclear bomb and that there was no immediate threat.

 

The Egyptian UN nuclear chief said: “I want to get people away from the idea that Iran represents a clear and present danger and that we’re now facing the decision whether to bombard Iran or let them have the bomb.

 

“We’re not in that situation at all.”

 

Mofaz said there was no excuse for that view in the face of intelligence estimates.

 

“ElBaradei says he has no proof regarding Iran’s nuclear programme when he has intelligence reports gathered by several countries and he heads an organisation responsible precisely for that,” he said.

 

Iran deadlock

 

The comments coincided with an Israeli newspaper report that quoted Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, as telling confidants in private conversations that ElBaradei, an Egyptian, was “no lover of Zion”.

 

Mofaz, who heads “the strategic dialogue” between Israel and its main ally, the United States, held talks on Wednesday in Washington with Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state.

 

Tehran rejects accusations it is seeking to develop a nuclear bomb, saying it wants nuclear technology for peaceful purposes such as power generation.

 

Iran has refused to heed UN Security Council demands to halt enrichment.

New Cold War: Great Game for Supremacy in the New World Order? by Andrew G. Marshall

October 31, 2007

New Cold War: Great Game for Supremacy in the New World Order? by Andrew G. Marshall

Dandelion Salad

by Andrew G. Marshall
Global Research, October 31, 2007

Imperial Playground:

The Story of Iran in Recent History

PART 4:

There has been much talk in recent months of a return to the Cold War, as increasingly there is growing disparities and tensing relations between the West, namely the Anglo-Americans, and the Russian Federation, the former Soviet Union, as well as China. ‘Is the Cold War Back?’ as the headline of a Reuters article asked, stating, “Russia has revived its Soviet-era practice of continuous long-range bomber patrols, sending 14 aircraft on such missions in the latest in a series of moves apparently designed to show off Russia’s new-found assertiveness,” and that “Russia’s military is now receiving a major injection of cash to modernise ageing equipment — including new planes — after years of under-funding and neglect since the Soviet Union ceased to exist.”1 Recent plans made public that the United States is building missile shields in Eastern European countries has sparked equal controversy over a revival of a Cold War. As the Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos stated in late August of 2007, “That the United States are installing a defense shield in eastern Europe is a provocation in my view,” and that, “The U.S. has chosen the wrong path in my opinion. There is no point in building up a missile defense shield in Europe. That only unnecessarily rekindles old Cold War debates.”2 The article continued in saying, “The United States plans to deploy elements of its shield — designed to intercept and destroy missiles from ‘rogue states’ like Iran and North Korea — in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia sees the initiative near its borders as a threat to its own security. On Tuesday Russia’s military chief told the Czech Republic that hosting the shield would be a ‘big mistake’. Darabos said he saw no danger from Iranian long range missiles and the United States should try for a different solution.”

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is largely controlled by the Anglo-American establishment, has also been stepping up Cold War actions. NATO was created as a treaty during the early years of the Cold War as a method of forming an alliance against the Communist powers of the world, which had a parallel treaty organization, known as the Warsaw Pact. So if the near entire life span of this organization was in containing communist countries, namely the Soviet Union, it does not seem unlikely that it would return to what it does best. As the Sunday Telegraph reported in late August of 2007, “NATO vessels are closely monitoring the sea trials of Russia’s latest submarine, following Moscow’s increasingly provocative tests of Western airspace. In the latest twist to worsening East-West relations, Nato submarines and surface ships, which may include Royal Navy vessels, are trying to gather information on the new Amur class boat being tested in the Baltic,” and that, “The greater-than-normal scrutiny is, in part, a response to Russia’s decision to resume long-range bomber flights close to Nato airspace which has revived memories of Cold War confrontation between the two blocs,” and it further mentioned that, “Twice this summer, Russian Tu-95 nuclear bombers have been spotted heading towards British airspace off Scotland, prompting the RAF [Royal Air Force] to send intercepting aircraft to warn them off. On another occasion, Russian planes came within striking distance of the US Pacific airbase of Guam.”3

The article continues in explaining, “Apart from the threat it [the Russian submarine] poses as part of the Russian navy, Moscow is believed to have won contracts to export it to other states such as Venezuela, which is challenging the United States’ influence in Latin America. Russia also exports weapons to Iran and Sudan, although there is no sign yet that either country plans to buy an Amur class submarine. The fact that President Vladimir Putin’s regime is testing a powerful new addition to the Russian navy – after its fleet went through years of decline – shows a new military build-up is underway.” The article further stated, “Russia’s neighbour Georgia claimed yesterday that it, too, was being intimidated by Moscow. Russian jets, the government said, had twice entered its airspace this week. Earlier this month, a Russian warplane had fired a missile at a village on its territory. But Russia protested its innocence yesterday, accusing Georgia of inventing the charge to stir up tensions. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations said that the bomb fragments produced as evidence were of foreign origin.”

On this growing issue between Russia and Georgia, Press TV reported that, “Georgia’s aim to accelerate its joining the NATO by playing risky power games with Russia can stretch Moscow’s patience too far, observers say. ‘There is a threat’ that rising tensions between the two former Soviet republics could provoke a confrontation, said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent Russian defense analyst,” and that, “During the 2006 winter, Russian gas supplies to Georgia were cut off for prolonged repairs on a pipeline. A few months later, Russia banned the import of wine and mineral water from Georgia. Then, in September 2006, Georgia arrested four Russian officers charged for spying. This prompted Russia to suspend all direct transport and postal links, as well as to deport hundreds of Georgian immigrants from Russia. Russia has also given political and economic backing to two Georgian separatist regions.”4

It was also reported that, “The Russian ambassador to the Court of St James’s rejects US statements over the controversial Missile Defense project to be exclusively against Iran. ‘There is no convincing explanation for the installation of the US Missile Defense in eastern Asia,’ said Yuri Viktorovich Fedotov in an interview with BBC Radio. ‘Despite what US calls a missile defense shield against Iran, the project is a threat for Russia and other countries,’ Fedotov added,” and that “The statements are made as recent diplomatic conflict between Britain and Russia over the missile defense project and the verbal war for the extradition of a Russian agent accused of being involved in the murder of Alexander [Litvinenko] in London has escalated.”5

In early September of 2007, it was reported by the BBC that, “The UK’s Royal Air Force has launched fighter jets to intercept eight Russian military planes flying in airspace patrolled by Nato, UK officials say. Four RAF F3 Tornado aircraft were scrambled in response to the Russian action, the UK’s defence ministry said. The Russian planes – long-range bombers – had earlier been followed by Norwegian F16 jets.”6 Also in early September it was reported by the Financial Times that, “The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defence department, say American –officials. The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defence secretary, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack. Current and former officials have told the Financial Times an internal investigation has revealed that the incursion came from the People’s Liberation Army [of China].”7

As well as this, it was reported that, “Taiwan’s cabinet agreed Wednesday to hike military spending by nearly 15 percent in next year’s budget in an apparent signal of its resolve against rival China. Under a draft budget, which has to be confirmed by parliament, the defence ministry is setting aside 345.9 billion Taiwan dollars (10.5 billion US), up 44.6 billion Taiwan dollars, the cabinet said in a statement,” and that, “The rise in spending is mainly aimed at financing procurement of military equipment, including US-made P-3C submarine-hunting aircraft. Washington, the island’s leading arms supplier despite not having formal diplomatic ties, has repeatedly asked Taipei to display its determination to defend itself by boosting military spending. The Chinese government had in May announced the biggest increase in its military budget in recent years, saying its spending in 2007 would rise 17.8 percent from last year to 350.9 billion yuan (about 45 billion dollars),” and the article continued in stating, “Reunification with Taiwan is one of China’s long-term strategic objectives, and analysts have said Beijing is beefing up its military partly to enable it to take the island back by force if necessary. China and Taiwan have been separated since the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still considers the island part of its territory. Taiwan has been led since the turn of the century by independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian, exacerbating fears in Beijing that the island could break away for good.”8

The above mentioned issue is extremely important, as it was reported back in 2005 by the Financial Times that, “China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday. ‘If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,’ said General Zhu Chenghu. Gen Zhu was speaking at a function for foreign journalists organised, in part, by the Chinese government. He added that China’s definition of its territory included warships and aircraft,” and the General continued in saying, “If the Americans are determined to interfere [then] we will be determined to respond,” as well as stating, “We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destrucion of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”9 The article further mentioned, “Gen Zhu is a self-acknowledged ‘hawk’ who has warned that China could strike the US with long-range missiles. But his threat to use nuclear weapons in a conflict over Taiwan is the most specific by a senior Chinese official in nearly a decade.” So, essentially what this is suggesting is that in the case that China attempts to take back Taiwan, which it consistently threatens to do, even if it requires military force, and the US responds militarily in any way, which they have said they would in such an event, even if the act is firing on a Chinese ship, then the response of China would be to engage in nuclear war with the United States.

In early September of 2007, it was reported by the BBC that, “Britain has privately complained to Beijing that Chinese-made weapons are being used by the Taleban to attack British troops in Afghanistan. The BBC has been told that on several occasions Chinese arms have been recovered after attacks on British and American troops by Afghan insurgents.”10

Russia has extremely close ties with Iran, as it was reported back in 2005 that, “Russia has agreed to sell more than $1 billion worth of missiles and other defense systems to Iran,” and that, “The Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies cited unidentified sources in the Russian military-industrial complex as saying that Russian and Iranian officials had signed contracts in November that would send up to 30 Tor-M1 missile systems to Iran over the next two years.”11 In January of 2007, the Jerusalem Post reported that, “Voicing extreme concern over Russia’s recent sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, senior diplomatic and defense officials warned Moscow Tuesday that the deal could have serious security implications that would even ‘get back to Russia.’ Senior officials in Jerusalem said they ‘were not pleased’ with the sale of the anti-aircraft missiles, but that Russia was a sovereign country and they could not intervene. They did, however, issue a warning: ‘We hope they understand that this is a threat that could come back to them as well.’ Earlier Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Moscow had sent air defense missiles to Teheran, the first high-level confirmation that their delivery took place despite US complaints. Ivanov did not specify how many missile systems had been delivered.”12

On top of military agreements, Russia and Iran also have close ties economically and politically, and Russia is even helping Iran build a nuclear power plant. It was reported in September of 2007 that, “The Bushehr nuclear power plant that Russia is building in Iran will be commissioned no earlier than the fall of 2008, a source in the Russian nuclear sector said. The date for commissioning the $1 billion project in the south of the country, the Islamic Republic’s first NPP built by Russia, was postponed due to delays in Iranian payments to the contractor.”13 So, clearly, Russia has vested interests inside Iran, and has even gone so far as to help in building a nuclear power plant inside Iran, in a sign of a growing relationship between the two countries, and a very apparent signal that Russia is supporting Iran’s efforts to nuclear power, thusly, taking a position in opposition to the Anglo-American Alliance, and even the Franco-German Entente.

This is evident in as much as Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, back in 2006 had advised “to act without delay to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, saying that Iran had ‘blatantly crossed the line’,” and that “The chancellor compared Iran’s nuclear policy to the Nazi party’s rise to power in Germany, warning that in the past the nations of the world refused to take a stance against concrete threats, enabling some of history’s greatest catastrophes.”14 The newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated in August of 2007, that, “a diplomatic push by the world’s powers to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program was the only alternative to ‘an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran’,” and that, “In his first major foreign policy speech, Sarkozy emphasized his existing foreign policy priorities, such as opposing Turkish membership of the European Union and pushing for a new Mediterranean Union that he hopes will include Ankara,” and the article went on to report that, “Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and that major powers should continue their policy of incrementally increasing sanctions against Tehran while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities.” The article then quoted Sarkozy as saying, “This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran,” and he continued, “Russia is imposing its return on the world scene by using its assets, notably oil and gas, with a certain brutality,” of which the article continued, “Energy disputes between Russia and neighbors such as Belarus and Ukraine have raised doubts in Europe about Moscow’s reliability as a gas exporter. It supplies Europe, via its neighbors, with around a quarter of its gas demands. Sarkozy had warm words for the United States, saying friendship between the two countries was important. But he said he felt free to disagree with American policies, highlighting what he called a lack of leadership on the environment.”15 I find it comical that Sarkozy talks of Russia saying that, “When one is a great power, one should not be brutal,” yet he had ‘warm words’ for the US, of which I know no other country that is so brutal as a great power.

The Washington Post reported in early September of 2007, that, “U.S. plans to site parts of a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic are ‘politically dangerous,’ former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Saturday. ‘From my point of view the missile defense system is politically dangerous. It is perceived as an attempt to isolate Russia, which is not in Europe’s political interests,’ said Schroeder, who is a personal friend of President Vladimir Putin,” and that, “The United States wants to base interceptor missiles and a radar system in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying it needs protection against missile attacks from what it terms ‘rogue states’ like Iran and North Korea. Russia has reacted furiously, saying the plan will upset a delicate strategic balance between major powers and poses a threat to its own security. Schroeder said the plan was not in the European Union’s interests either.” The article continued, “Although trade and investment are booming, diplomatic relations between Russia and the European Union have deteriorated sharply over the past year. This is partly because of Russia’s squabbles with the Union’s new members such as Poland, which were once part of the Soviet bloc and are now wary of Moscow’s rising influence.”16

Remember Zbigniew Brzezinski? The Trilateral Commission founder, architect of the Afghan-Soviet War and ‘Arc of Crisis’ Strategy, who wrote the geo-strategic blueprint for American global hegemony, The Grand Chessboard, in which he stated, “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘antihegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc.”17 Well, within ten years of writing his book, Brzezinski’s predictions became quite true, as an alternative strategic bloc to the NATO countries has been set up, called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]. It was officially founded in 2001 [after initial agreements in 1996] by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 2006, it was reported that, “Six member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Wednesday agreed to stage a joint anti-terror military exercise in 2007 in Russia, according to a joint communiqué,” and that, “Except Uzbekistan, other five countries of the SCO held their first-ever joint anti-terror exercise within the framework of the SCO in August 2003, with the first phase in Kazakhstan and the second in China. As new threats and challenges, such as terrorism, separatism, extremism and cross-border crimes, are becoming increasingly prominent, the regional and international cooperation are required.”18

In 2003, it was reported that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), “signed a multilateral economic cooperation Framework Agreement in Beijing on 23 September to ‘deepen’ their mutual economic connections and ‘improve the investment environment’. At the meeting, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made three proposals. He wanted members to set as a long-term objective the establishment of a free trade area within the SCO; elaborate a series of more immediate measures such as improving the flow of goods across the member-states and reducing non-tariff barriers such as customs, quarantine, standards and transport services; and create large projects on economic and technological cooperation, giving priority to those in transportation, energy, telecommunication, agriculture, home appliances, light industry and textiles.”19

Apart from the main members of the SCO, there are also countries which are permitted Observer Status, meaning they won’t take part in the war games, but will be official observers of them and still develop closer ties with the SCO. As the Guardian reported in 2006, “At the one day annual summit of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on June 15, more limelight fell on the leader of an observer country than on any of the main participants. That figure happened to be the controversial president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Despite the lowly observer status accorded to his country, Ahmadinejad went on to publicly invite the SCO members to a meeting in Tehran to discuss energy exploration and development in the region. And the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, proposed that the SCO should form an ‘energy club’. While making a plea that his country should be accorded full membership of the SCO, the Pakistani president, Parvez Musharraf, highlighted the geo-strategic position of his country as an energy and trade corridor for SCO members. ‘Pakistan provides a natural link between the SCO states to connect the Eurasian heartland with the Arabian Sea and South Asia,’ he said,” and the article continued, “Founded in 1996 primarily to settle frontier problems between China and its post-Soviet neighbors – Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan – the SCO expanded three years later to include Uzbekistan, which does not share common borders with China or Russia, the two countries at the core of the SCO. Since then SCO has developed as an organization concerned with regional security, thus focusing on counter-terrorism, defense, and energy cooperation. Energy-hungry China has its eyes fixed on the large oil and gas reserves that Russia and Kazakhstan possess, and even the modest gas reserves of Uzbekistan.” The article further mentioned that, “Iran applied for full membership; as did India,” as well as the fact that, “Last year [2005] when the SCO accorded observer status to four countries, it rejected a similar request from the United States,” and it continued, “The rising importance and coherence of the SCO worries Washington – as well as its closest Asian ally, Japan. ‘The SCO is becoming a rival block to the US alliance,’ said a senior Japanese official recently. ‘It does not share our values. We are watching it very closely’.”20

Further, it was reported in April of 2006 by the Asia Times that, “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which maintained it had no plans for expansion, is now changing course. Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan, which previously had observer status, will become full members. SCO’s decision to welcome Iran into its fold constitutes a political statement. Conceivably, SCO would now proceed to adopt a common position on the Iran nuclear issue at its summit meeting June 15,” and that, “Visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi told Itar-TASS in Moscow that the membership expansion ‘could make the world more fair’. And he spoke of building an Iran-Russia ‘gas-and-oil arc’ by coordinating their activities as energy producing countries. Mohammadi also touched on Iran’s intention to raise the issue of his country’s nuclear program and its expectations of securing SCO support.”21 Although, to this day, Iran’s membership has not been made official, making it a de-facto member of the SCO, much in the same sense that Israel is a de-facto member of NATO.22

In August of 2007, it was reported that, “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the proposed US missile defense shield in central Europe would pose a threat to Asia. At a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Ahmadinejad said such a plan goes beyond threatening one country and it is a source of concern for most of the continent. Washington is planning to station a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. Ahmadinejad added the six SCO member states, including China, are among those countries who are threatened by the US plan. He also criticized the US military attack on Iraq, which has destabilized the entire region. Iran has observer status in the SCO, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.”23

As for the relationship between China and Iran, it was reported in 2006 that, “Chinese President Hu Jintao called Friday for closer ties with Iran as he met his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the first time, while the United States followed events in Shanghai warily,” and that, “China and Iran have long had close economic ties, especially in the oil and gas fields, and are in negotiations over an energy deal that was tentatively inked in 2004 and could be worth more than 100 billion dollars. As part of the initial memorandum of understanding, Sinopec, China’s largest refiner, would buy 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas over 25 years, which alone could be worth more than 100 billion dollars. However, despite a series of Chinese delegations going to Tehran, the deal has yet to be finalized. Ahmadinejad arrived in China on Wednesday to participate in the leaders’ summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional forum that is increasingly being seen as a counterweight to US influence in Central Asia.”24

As we can see, this is not simply a strategy of Anglo-American interests at play in the region, as it is always necessary to take a look at the broader geopolitical implications of this region, especially in relation to the European Union, dominated by the Franco-German Entente, and most notably Russia and China. A competition for control of the region is very much underway, as whomever, or whichever powers control Central Eurasia (the Middle East and Central Asia); those same powers will then have control over the world’s primary oil and gas reserves and transportation, and thusly, will exert hegemonic influence over the entire world. With Russia, increasingly gaining strength and influence like never before since the fall of the Soviet Union, China, a rising world power whose thirst and demand for oil is the fastest growing in the world and whose future as a great power depends upon getting its hands on such resources, and with the European Union, a close ally of the Anglo-American Alliance, yet still has its own interests at heart so it, too, is increasingly attempting a relationship with Russia, which has massive natural gas reserves itself. The EU hopes to balance its relationships, so as to always remain on the winning end, however, as time goes forward, it may have to choose sides. Relations between the West, especially the Anglo-Americans, and the former Soviet Union grow tense, the EU may be caught in the middle and China forced to make strategic alliances.

It is clear that future military operations in Central Asia and the Middle East will not be like the previous occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, whereas Afghanistan remains under NATO control (the Anglo-American Alliance in collaboration with the Franco-German entente), and Iraq under Anglo-American occupation, but with little more than rhetorical opposition from observing countries around the world. The world accepted the occupation of Afghanistan under the guise of retribution for the 9/11 attacks, and the world stood by as Iraq was put under imperial control. But now the pieces have been set, the world sees the strategy, even though the general public may not, and other great powers have their fates vested in the region, such as Russia, China, the EU and most of the world at large, so to stand idly by now and do nothing as Anglo-American imperial expansion envelopes the entire region would be suicidal. It is in the interest of survival for Russia, China and the EU to maintain influence and control in the region. To do this, each will have to make strategic alliances, as is currently being done.

These activities have caused recent exclamations of a return to the Cold War era, however, I see it as something much more sinister and dangerous. Remember, the Cold War was referred to as “Cold” because it involved no actual fighting between the two main enemies, the United States and the USSR, or the NATO countries against the Warsaw Pact countries. In actuality, I would argue that what we are seeing take place is in fact a return not to the Cold War, but to the Great Game, which was the competition between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia from the early 1800s arguably up until the end of World War 2, when the Cold War began. One of the major theaters of war between Britain and Russia during the Great Game was Afghanistan, where the first Anglo-Afghan War began in 1838, the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1878, a brief alliance occurred between Russia and Britain in the early 20th Century, then the Third Anglo-Afghan War occurred in 1919, otherwise known as the second phase of the Great Game. During the Cold War, or the third phase of the Great Game, Afghanistan was the major theater of operations between the United States (Anglo-Americans) and Russia (Soviet Union) from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, ultimately leading to a collapse of the Soviet Union and an end to the ‘Cold War’. Now, after another brief alliance between the Anglo-American Alliance and Russia, just as occurred in the early years of the previous century starting in 1907, leading up to World War 1, it seems that now, in 2007, the fourth phase of this 200-year long Great Game for dominance over Central Asia has begun. Now made all the more dangerous with other great power interests such as the European Union and rising China, not to mention the existence and discussion of the use of nuclear weapons.

Rising Tensions and Quiet Mentions of War

Lately, there has been a significant increase in tensions between the West, predominantly the Anglo-Americans and Iran, and its respective allies, namely, Syria. These escalations in tension and conflict suggest a rapid strategy of progression to an all out war on the Islamic Republic of Iran, and possibly a wider array of countries in the region, leading to a full region-wide war.

In late August of 2007, the Sunday Telegraph reported that, “The White House’s plans to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organisation are intended to give the Bush administration cover if it launches military strikes on the Islamic republic, according to a prominent former CIA officer. Robert Baer, who was a high-ranking operative in the Middle East, said last week that senior government officials had told him the administration was preparing for air strikes on the guards’ bases and probably also on Iran’s nuclear facilities within the next six months,” and the article continues, “But among President George W Bush’s closest advisers, there is a fierce debate about whether to take unilateral military action independently of any UN security council moves. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is set on diplomacy, Vice-President Dick Cheney is understood to favour air strikes. The justification for any attack, according to Mr Baer, would be claims – denied by Iran – that the guards are responsible for the sophisticated armour-penetrating improvised explosive devices that are exacting a heavy toll on US forces in Iraq.”25

On September 2, 2007, the Sunday Times reported that, “The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert. Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for ‘pinprick strikes’ against Iran’s nuclear facilities. ‘They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military’,” and it continued, “President George Bush intensified the rhetoric against Iran last week, accusing Tehran of putting the Middle East ‘under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust’. He warned that the US and its allies would confront Iran ‘before it is too late’.”26

A September 3 article in the Sunday Telegraph stated, “In a nondescript room, two blocks from the American Capitol building, a group of Bush administration staffers is gathered to consider the gravest threat their government has faced this century: the testing of a nuclear weapon by Iran. The United States, no longer prepared to tolerate the risk that Iranian nuclear weapons will be used against Israel, or passed to terrorists, has already launched a bombing campaign to destroy known Iranian nuclear sites, air bases and air defence sites. Iran has retaliated by cutting off oil to America and its allies, blockading the Straits of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf bottleneck, and sanctioned an uprising by Shia militias in southern Iraq that has shut down 60 per cent of Iraq’s oil exports. The job of the officials from the Pentagon, the State Department, and the Departments of Homeland Security and Energy, who have gathered in an office just off Massachusetts Avenue, behind the rail terminus, Union Station, is to prevent a spike in oil prices that will pitch the world’s economy into a catastrophic spin.” The article then said, “The good news is that this was a war game; for those who fear war with Iran, the less happy news is that the officials were real. The simulation, which took four months, was run by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with close links to the White House. Its conclusions, drawn up last month and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, have been passed on to military and civilian planners charged with drawing up plans for confronting Iran. News that elements of the American government are working in earnest on how to deal with the fallout of an attack on Iran come at a tense moment.”27

A report in the Sunday Telegraph stated that, “Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail. Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran,” and that, “Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action. In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq – arming and training militants – would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories. A prime target would be the Fajr base run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force in southern Iran, where Western intelligence agencies say armour-piercing projectiles used against British and US troops are manufactured.” The article continued, “US action would provoke a major Iranian response, perhaps in the form of moves to cut off Gulf oil supplies, providing a trigger for air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities and even its armed forces. Senior officials believe Mr Bush’s inner circle has decided he does not want to leave office without first ensuring that Iran is not capable of developing a nuclear weapon.”28

The New Yorker Magazine reported in late August of 2007 that, “If there were a threat level on the possibility of war with Iran, it might have just gone up to orange. Barnett Rubin, the highly respected Afghanistan expert at New York University, has written an account of a conversation with a friend who has connections to someone at a neoconservative institution in Washington,” which revealed that, “They [the source’s institution] have ‘instructions’ (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President [Dick Cheney] to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this—they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is ‘plenty’,” and it continued stating, “It follows the pattern of the P.R. campaign that started around this time in 2002 and led to the Iraq war. The President’s rhetoric on Iran has been nothing short of bellicose lately, warning of ‘the shadow of a nuclear holocaust’.”29

On September 10, Reuters reported that, “The Pentagon is preparing to build a military base near the Iraq-Iran border to try to curtail the flow of advanced Iranian weaponry to Shiite militants across Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday in its online edition. Quoting Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, the Journal said the Pentagon also plans to build fortified checkpoints on major highways leading from the Iranian border to Baghdad, and install X-ray machines and explosives-detecting sensors at the only formal border crossing between the two countries.”30 On the same day, the Sunday Telegraph reported that, “Iran has established a sophisticated spying operation at the head of the Arabian Gulf in a move which has significantly heightened tensions in its standoff with the United States. The operation, masterminded by the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard, includes the construction of a high-tech spying post close to the point where Iranian forces kidnapped 15 British naval personnel in March. The move has forced British and American commanders to divert resources away from protecting oil platforms in the Gulf from terrorist attack and into countering the new Iranian threat,” and it continued, “The US military says that the spying post, built on the foundations of a crane platform sunk during the Iran-Iraq war, is equipped with radar, cameras and forward facing infra-red devices to track the movement of coalition naval forces and commercial shipping in the northern Arabian Gulf. Commanders fear that one of the main purposes of the Iranian operation is to enable the Revolutionary Guard to intercept more coalition vessels moving through the disputed waters near the mouth of the Shatt al Arab waterway south of the Iraqi city of Basra.”31

Incidentally, two days later, Raw Story ran an article stating, “As tensions between the United States and Iran increases, military action along the Iran-Iraq border intensifies. The latest moves come from America’s primary ally in its invasion of Iraq: Britain. Ostensibly to guard against importation of Iranian weapons and fighters targeting Western troops in Iraq, the UK is sending up to 350 troops to the Iranian border instead of bringing them home, The Independent of London reports Wednesday.” This follows much discussion recently that the UK, under the new unelected Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was preparing to withdraw from Iraq, leaving the US alone. In fact, the announcement had been made that British troops were to be returning home from Basra, the British-controlled Iraqi city, and as Raw Story pointed out, “The troop move was requested by US commanders, the paper says, and it will delay — perhaps indefinitely — the homecoming of 250 British troops who were told just days ago that they would be returning to the UK as part of a drawdown of forces in Iraq,” and that “Prime Minister Gordon Brown initiated the drawdown, and about 500 British troops completed their withdrawal from Basra Palace, their last remaining base in the city, to an airport on the city’s outskirts. The move was expected to be the final stage in Britain’s complete extraction from Iraq. Wednesday’s report follows on the heels of news that US troops would be establishing a base on the border to guard against Iranian-imported weapons.

Tensions between the US and Iran have gone from bad to dismal in recent years, with some fearing all-out war will erupt between the two countries, and the top US commander in Iraq has refused to rule out that possibility. US Army Gen. David Petraeus demurred Tuesday when he was asked by Sen. Joseph Lieberman whether the war should be expanded ‘in Iranian territory.’ And Petraeus ‘strongly implied’ that action against Iran would be necessary soon, The Independent reported.” On top of this, it was further pointed out that, “Along with British and US troops, Georgia recently sent about 1,200 extra troops to Iraq to patrol the border with Iran.”32

Further, Press TV reported that, “Britain is planning to increase its naval presence in the Persian Gulf by next year, a top British naval commander in the area has revealed. Deputy Combined Force Commander Royal Navy Commodore Keith Winstanley said Monday that Britain has a range of capabilities deployed at various times in the region ranging between submarines, frigates, and destroyers, and that it plans to increase its naval presence by 2008,” and that, “Winstanley, speaking onboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, added that strategic and economic interests had brought about a policy of engagement by Britain in the region,” and the article said at the end, “The last time there were active mine counter-measures in the region was in March of 2003,”33 which, coincidentally, was the same month that the war in Iraq began.

Not only are the Anglo-Americans fully on board and preparing for a possible attack on Iran, but even the Franco-German Entente seems to be steadily leaning that direction. French President Nicholas Sarkozy made headlines recently when he “called Iran’s nuclear ambition the world’s most dangerous problem,” and further, “raised the possibility that the country could be bombed if it persisted in building an atomic weapon,” as reported by the Sunday Times. The article continued, “The biggest challenge to the world was the avoidance of conflict between Islam and the West, President Sarkozy told the annual gathering of French ambassadors. Iran was the crossroads of the Middle East’s troubles and its nuclear aims ‘are without doubt the most serious crisis that weighs today on the international scene,” and that, “A nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and the world must continue to tighten sanctions while offering incentives to Tehran to halt weapons development, he said. ‘This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran,’ he said. He did not say who would carry out such an attack, which has been suggested by policy experts in Israel and the US.”34 Further, it was reported that, “French Defence Minister Herve Morin warned on Sunday that Iran’s nuclear programme posed a ‘major risk’ to the stability of the Gulf region. ‘It is necessary to make Iran understand that the nuclear risk creates a major risk of destabilising the region,’ Morin told journalists as he wrapped up a visit to the Gulf state of Qatar.”35

On September 14, it was reported that, “Germany denied on Friday that it wanted to hold off on sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. The government dismissed a report on the US TV channel Fox that it had broken ranks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and wanted to delay any sanctions to allow a deal struck between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on August 21 to take effect,” and it continued, quoting the German foreign ministry spokesman, “Germany is prepared to take the necessary steps against Iran, if necessary,” and that, “The five permanent Security Council members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany are due to meet to discuss a new draft UN resolution on sanctions against Iran on September 21 in Washington. Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity but the United States accuses Tehran of covertly developing atomic weapons.”36

Another conflict, which is directly related to the growing Iranian conflict, has been accumulating significance in the region, as it was reported that, “Syria accused Israel of bombing its territory on Thursday [September 6] and said it could respond to the Jewish state’s ‘aggression and treachery’,” and further, “Israel declined to comment on the charge by Syria, which said no casualties or damage were caused. The Syrian accusation was partly responsible for triggering a rise in world oil prices of more than $1.40 a barrel.”37 Another report stated that, “Syria is mulling a ‘series of responses’ after Israeli warplanes violated its airspace this week, Vice President Faruq al-Shara said in an interview with an Italian newspaper published Saturday. ‘I can say now that in Damascus a series of responses is being examined at the highest political and military levels. The results will not take long in coming’.”38

Press TV reported that, “Syria says Israel is planning to wage another war in the region after the Israeli army staged military exercises on the Golan Heights. The state-run Syrian daily al-Thawra said on Sunday that a recent war game by the Israeli military on the occupied Golan Heights has sent a clear message reflecting Israel’s intention for waging a new war in the region.”39 Another report states that, “Tehran has announced its readiness to assist Damascus by all means to counter the violation of Syrian airspace by Israeli warplanes. Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Mohammad-Hassan Akhtari said the Zionist Regime’s provocative moves had prompted Tehran to offer help to the Syrian government. Earlier Thursday, Syria’s official News Agency reported that several Israeli fighter jets had bombed Syrian territories. However, the Syrian army successfully forced the Israeli warplanes out of the Syrian airspace.”40

A September 12 report stated that, “Israel recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea, The New York Times reported Thursday. A US administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria, the Times reported,” and it quoted an unnamed official, stating, “The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” and the article further said, “A US defense official confirmed Tuesday that Israel carried out an air strike well inside Syria last week, apparently to send Damascus a message not to rearm Hezbollah in Lebanon. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not know the target of the strike, which was conducted Thursday, but said the US military believed it was to send a message to the Syrians.”41

The Sunday Times later reported that, “It was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way,” and that, “Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea,” and it continued, “The Syrians were also keeping mum. ‘I cannot reveal the details,’ said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. ‘All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.’ The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.

Andrew Semmel, a senior US State Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from ‘secret suppliers’, and added that there were a ‘number of foreign technicians’ in the country. Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: ‘There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that’,” and further, “According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.”42
It was then reported that, “An official Syrian daily warned on Sunday that US ‘lies’ over nuclear cooperation with North Korea could serve as a pretext for an attack on Syria following an Israeli violation of its airspace,” and that, “Syria has said its air defences fired on Israeli warplanes which dropped munitions deep inside its territory in the early hours of September 6, triggering intense media speculation about the action. Israel has not confirmed the incident and kept up a policy of official silence, with the only details on the mysterious attack coming from foreign media reports citing anonymous officials.”43

Call It What You Want, It’s All Just a Game

As the prospect of a US-led war on Iran increases by the day, it is vital to understand the history of such actions. This was my intent in writing this essay, as to understand current crises and conflicts evolving in the region, it is important to examine the historical context of such crises over the past 200 years. Dating from the Great Game between the British and Russian empires for control of Central Eurasia, namely fighting for control in Afghanistan and Iran, the reasons behind the Great Game were simply stated as for maintaining hegemonic control. With brief alliances generating between Britain and Russia, formed for strategic conveniences, namely to counter rising German influence in the region in the lead up to World War 1 and during World War 2, the Great Game continued after the Second World War under a different name, the Cold War. For a new century, it was necessary to give a hundred year old strategy a new name, as especially after World War 2, the concepts of hegemony and expansion of control, imperialism in general, were not well received, considering the world just came out of Hitler’s attempt at such a strategy. In 1947, India gained independence from the British Empire, instigating the collapse of its imperial hegemony across the globe.

It was at this time, however, that the United States was now in the most pivotal position to exert its hegemony across the globe. With its extensive ties to Great Britain, the British latched onto the Americans in the Anglo-American Alliance, allowing not only for the US to protect US hegemony and interests abroad, but also British. To do this, however, there needed to be an excuse, as the world would not accept another global hegemon for the sake of hegemony. Thus, the Cold War came into being. Under the guise of deterring the spread of Communism under the auspices of the ‘Domino Theory’, the US managed to expand and protect Anglo-American hegemony around the globe. The Cold War was simply the third phase of the Great Game, as it applied the same strategies used for the previous hundred years, just under a new name and justified under a new threat.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, bringing an end to the Cold War, a New World Order began to form, the birth pangs of which were felt in the Middle East. This New World Order of creating a new global structure, of a more integrated global society, still has many conflicts arising out of it. After World War 1, the League of Nations was created in the hopes of securing a more integrated global community, which ultimately failed with the start of World War 2, after which the United Nations was created to serve the same purpose. Out of each world war, we see the move to create a more global society. Now, after the Cold War ended, we have a new conflict arising between the West and the East. This new conflict is about gaining supremacy in the New World Order, as many great powers seek to sway the balance away from a US-dominated New World Order, and towards a Russian or Chinese New World Order.

In the year 2000, then Chinese President, “Jiang Zemin called for joint efforts of the people of all countries to establish a fair and equitable new international political and economic order,” and he further stated, “With the collapse of the centuries-long colonialist system and the end of half-a-century Cold War, it has become increasingly difficult for hegemonism and power politics to go on and for the very few big powers or blocs of big powers to monopolize international affairs and control the fate of other countries.”44 In 2005, both China and Russia “issued a joint statement on a new world order in the 21st century, setting forth their common stand on major international issues, such as UN reforms, globalization, North-South cooperation, and world economy and trade. The statement was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao after their talks. During their talks, the two leaders discussed ways to further enhance the strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Russia, and exchanged views on major regional and international issues,” and that “The joint statement said the two countries are determined to strengthen their strategic coordination in international affairs.”45 More recently, in 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin called “for a radical overhaul of the world’s financial and trade institutions to reflect the growing economic power of emerging market countries – including Russia. Mr Putin said the world needed to create a new international financial architecture to replace an existing model,” and as the Financial Times further reported, Putin’s “apparent challenge to western dominance of the world economic order came at a forum in St Petersburg designed to showcase the country’s economic recovery. Among 6,000 delegates at the biggest business forum ever held in post-Soviet Russia were scores of international chief executives including heads of Deutsche Bank, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Nestlé, Chevron, Siemens and Coca-Cola. Business deals worth more than $4bn were signed at the conference – including an order by Aeroflot for Boeing jets – as executives said they were continuing to invest in Russia despite deteriorating relations with the west. Mr Putin’s hosting of the forum capped a week in which he dominated the international stage. He warned last Monday that Russia might target nuclear missiles at Europe if the US built a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic,” and Putin’s “speech on financial institutions suggested that, along with an aggressive recent campaign against US ‘unilateralism’ in foreign policy, he was also seeking to challenge western dominance of the world economic order.”46

So clearly, from this last statement especially, we can see that both China and Russia are not opposed to forming a New World Order, which would be largely based on international institutions and integration, both economically and politically, but they are opposed to the West’s dominance of such a world order, and instead, seek to challenge that dominance with their own. Ultimately, the goals are similar, but the methods of getting there is where the West and the East differ. As the above Financial Times article mentioned, large global corporations are still investing in Russia, despite recent setbacks in certain areas, which shows the support for the process of globalization, which has thusly shaped the current world order. International corporations have no allegiance to people or national identities, but rather seek to exert their control across the entire globe, and will support any nations with great influence, so that with the battle for control in shaping the New World Order, the corporations will always be on the winning side. As the multinational corporations seek a more integrated global society, they must first gain control of the world markets, integrating the economies first. With economic integration, political and cultural will follow. The challenge for the great powers of the world is which ones will be dominant in this process, and thusly, which ones will have dominant control over the New World Order.

Out of conflict, comes societal reorganization. We seem to rapidly be heading toward another World War, which would have its starting point with an attack on Iran. Talk of a ‘new Cold War’ is misleading, as if any conflict occurs with Iran, if the US attacks the Islamic Republic, there will be nothing Cold about it. This new conflict, the fourth phase of the Great Game, will give rise to competition between the great powers for control over the Middle East and Central Eurasia in order to achieve hegemony in the New World Order. It is likely that a New Great Game will lead to a New World War, out of which will rise the New World Order. Whichever great powers come out of the next war as the victors, if indeed there are any, it is likely that it will be that power which will lead the New World Order.

As I have mentioned Zbigniew Brzezinski much in this essay, as his relevance to American hegemonic strategy is almost unparalleled, apart from other figures like Henry Kissinger, I feel it is relevant to end with a discussion on testimony that Brzezinski recently gave to the US Senate. In February of 2007, Brzezinski, “the national security adviser in the Carter administration, delivered a scathing critique of the war in Iraq and warned that the Bush administration’s policy was leading inevitably to a war with Iran, with incalculable consequences for US imperialism in the Middle East and internationally,” and Brzezinski was quoted as saying about the Iraq war, “Undertaken under false assumptions, it is undermining America’s global legitimacy. Its collateral civilian casualties as well as some abuses are tarnishing America’s moral credentials. Driven by Manichean principles and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability,” and he continued, describing what he termed a “plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran”, of which he said would involve, “Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks, followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure, then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran, culminating in a ‘defensive’ US military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” [Emphasis added].47

Brzezinski’s startling warning should not be taken for granted. Even though many factions of the ruling class are divided, for example someone like Brzezinski, who is very much opposed to the neo-conservatives, they are all still playing the same game. The game is hegemony and empire, the only difference is that some people and some countries have different methods of playing. In previous centuries, the battle for control of Central Eurasia was called what it was, the Great Game, a game for control, a game for power. The difference between two hundred years ago and today, is that we are in a much more globalized, integrated society, which has turned this Great game into, as Brzezinski aptly named his blueprint for American hegemony, the Grand Chessboard. It’s no longer simply just a great game, but is now simply a board game for the global ruling class. Sacrificing pawns, a simple act for them, can be seen in the eyes of the moral society as the destruction of entire nations and peoples.

There’s only so many players in this game, and they all have the same aim, just different methods of getting there. The unfortunate aspect of this, is that the people of the world are being tossed around like pawns in a chess game. The world is meant for all people, not just a select few, to inhabit and have a say in. So, if these people want to play games, let’s put them back in the playground, because their mentality has yet to surpass that of children during recess.

Mahatma Gandhi, the man who led India to independence from the British Empire, once said, “Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, ALWAYS.”

Notes

Andrew G. Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Andrew G. Marshall

see
Imperial Playground: Marching East of Iraq by Andrew G. Marshall

Imperial Playground: The Story of Iran in Recent History by Andrew G. Marshall

The New World Order, Forged in the Gulf by Andrew G. Marshall

Attacking Iran for Israel? By Ray McGovern

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Turning truth on its head By Abbas Edalat and Mehrnaz Shahabi

October 31, 2007

Turning truth on its head By Abbas Edalat and Mehrnaz Shahabi

By Abbas Edalat and Mehrnaz Shahabi
ICH
10/30/07 “
The Guardian

Condoleezza Rice’s declaration of Iran’s complicity in terrorism looks like another step on the White House’s march to war.

The US has opened up a new front in its now sharply accelerated war drive on Iran. The announcement last week by Condoleezza Rice, branding Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organisation, and imposing the strongest sanctions yet since 1979 Iranian Revolution, alarmed several democratic presidential candidates who described it as an indication that the White House had begun its “march to war”.
In his article in today’s Guardian, Max Hastings correctly predicts that within six months these sanctions could only lead to a military attack on Iran, a prospect that he opposes. However, he plays right into the hands of warmongers by giving unequivocal support to the two main US accusations against Iran:

“Few strategists dispute either that Iranian revolutionaries are playing a prominent role in frustrating the stabilisation of Iraq, or that Iran is doing its utmost to build nuclear weapons.”

These are precisely the allegations that are used by the neoconservatives and Israel to demonise the Revolutionary Guards and the government of Ahmadinejad, justify the latest sanctions and pave the way for a military attack.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is an army of 125,000 and an indispensable part of the Iranian military. It was formed during the eight-year war waged against the Islamic Republic by Saddam Hussein, who was at the time fully supported by the US and its European allies. With this historic role in defeating foreign aggression, the Corps occupies a special place in the Islamic Republic, has a large domain of operation and runs a significant part of the economy.

The US designation is the first time in international relations that a military body of a sovereign state is branded as terrorist. Given the Revolutionary Guards’ credibility in defending the country, the US measures will be seen in the eyes of ordinary people as an attack by the US on Iran’s sovereignty, along the lines of the US-UK engineered coup against the democratically elected government of Dr Mossadegh in 1953.

As a justification for the new sanctions against Iranian banks, companies and individuals, Rice accused the Revolutionary Guards of being “proliferators of WMD”. This accusation has been repeatedly contradicted by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr ElBaradei’s unambiguous assertions that there is absolutely no evidence of a nuclear weaponisation programme in Iran. In August, the IAEA cleared Iran of its plutonium experiments and confirmed the peaceful nature of all of Iran’s declared enrichment activities.

“We have not come to see any undeclared activities or weaponisation of their programme”, Dr Mohammad ElBaradei said in September, “Nor have we gotten intelligence to that effect.” This Sunday, he repeated the same assertion in a CNN interview.

But Rice’s accusation against the Revolutionary Guards is not only totally unfounded, it turns the truth outrageously on its head. Throughout its eight-year war of aggression, the Iraqi army used chemical weapons on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, soldiers and civilians. The US was complicit in both the proliferation and the use of WMD against the Revolutionary Guards, who were amongst the 52,000 Iranian victims of this war crime.

In response to the latest US measures against Iran, Vladimir Putin, who along with the Chinese, has refused to back further sanctions against Iran, saying: “Running around like a mad man with a blade in one’s hand is not the best way to solve such problems.”

Also, Rice’s accusation against the Quds force, a division of the Revolutionary Guards, of support for terrorism in Iraq and beyond, is in sharp contrast to British government’s own evidence. David Miliband, the foreign secretary, in an interview with the Financial Times in July admitted that there was no evidence of Iranian involvement in the violence and instability in Iraq. Afghanistan’s foreign minister has recently contradicted the US accusations against Iran by pointing out that there is no evidence for Iran arming the Taliban forces. Prime Minister Maliki and President Karzai too have repeatedly stressed Iran’s positive role in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The unfounded allegations by the US and Rice’s declaration to the Congress that Iran was “perhaps the single greatest challenge” for US security, is part of the unmistakable chorus of war from the US administration, following Bush’s invocation of the “World War III” and Cheney’s threat of “serious consequences” for Iran, the week previously. It is an ominous indication that the voices of dialogue have been decidedly drowned by the war camp who are pushing for a military attack on Iran.

In Britain, Gordon Brown has been quick to support the latest US measures and refused to rule out the military option. The new sanctions will not avert the military option by the US, as a number of leading politicians in the UK, France and Germany claim, but would only be the prelude to a military attack. Brown is placing Britain in the path of another unprovoked and illegal war with catastrophic consequences for the people of Iran, the region and the whole world.

Seymour Hersh wrote in a recent article in the New Yorker that this summer in a closed circuit video discussion between Bush and Ian Crocker, the US ambassador in Iraq, Bush said that he wanted all along the border inside Iran to be bombed and that “the British were on board”.

The British public should wake up to the disastrous foreign policy the UK government is continuing to pursue after the invasion of Iraq and urgently demand their MPs to table an emergency motion in the House of Commons to oppose sanctions and any military attack on Iran

Abbas Edalat is professor of computer science and mathematics at Imperial College London and founder of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran. Mehrnaz Shahabi is a journalist and executive editor of www.campaigniran.org

An Indispensable Irritant to Iran and Its Foes

September 17, 2007

An Indispensable Irritant to Iran and Its Foes

VIENNA — Late in August, Mohamed ElBaradei put the finishing touches on a nuclear accord negotiated in secret with Iran.

The deal would be divisive and risky, one of the biggest gambles of his 10 years as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran would answer questions about its clandestine nuclear past in exchange for a series of concessions. With no advance notice or media strategy, Dr. ElBaradei ordered the plan released in the evening. And then he waited.

The next day, diplomats from the United States, France, Britain and Germany marched into his office atop a Vienna skyscraper to deliver a joint protest. The deal, they said, amounted to irresponsible meddling that threatened to undermine a United Nations Security Council strategy to punish, not reward, Tehran.

Dr. ElBaradei, an Egyptian-born lawyer, was polite but firm. “If Iran wants to answer questions, what am I supposed to do, tell them it can’t?” he asked.

Then, brandishing one of his characteristic mangled metaphors, he dismissed his critics as “living room coaches who shoot from the hip.”

Almost five years after he stood up to the Bush administration on Iraq and then won the Nobel Peace Prize for his trouble, Dr. ElBaradei now finds himself at the center of the West’s turbulent confrontation with Iran, derided yet relied upon by all sides.

To his critics in the West, he is guilty of serious diplomatic sins — bias toward Iran, recklessness and, above all, a naïve grandiosity that leads him to reach far beyond his station. Over the past year, even before he unveiled his deal with Tehran, Western governments had presented him with a flurry of formal protests over his stewardship of the Iran case.

Even some of his own staff members have become restive, questioning his leadership and what they see as his sympathy for the Iranians, according to diplomats here.

Yet the Iranians also seek to humiliate him and block his inspectors.

“He is the man in the middle,” said Lee H. Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman long respected for his foreign affairs acumen. “The United States and Iran simply do not believe one another. There is deep distrust.” And, he added, that makes the situation “very difficult” for any go-between.

Even so, while Dr. ElBaradei’s harshest detractors describe him as drunk with the power of his Nobel, what keeps him on center stage is a pragmatic truth: He is everyone’s best hope.

He has grown ever more indispensable as American credibility on atomic intelligence has nose-dived and European diplomacy with Tehran has stalled.

For the world powers, he is far and away the best source of knowledge about Iran’s nuclear progress — information Washington uses regularly to portray Tehran as an imminent global danger.

Even the Iranians need him (as he likes to remind them) because his maneuvers promise to lessen and perhaps end the sting of United Nations sanctions.

Dr. ElBaradei, who is 65, seems unfazed, even energized, by all the dissent. He alludes to a sense of destiny that has pressed him into the role of world peacemaker. He has called those who advocate war against Iran “crazies,” and in two long recent interviews described himself as a “secular pope” whose mission is to “make sure, frankly, that we do not end up killing each other.”

He added, “You meet someone in the street — and I do a lot — and someone will tell me, ‘You are doing God’s work,’ and that will keep me going for quite a while.”

It is precisely that self-invented role that enrages his detractors. They say he has stepped dangerously beyond the mandate of the I.A.E.A., a United Nations agency best known for inspecting atomic installations in an effort to find and deter secret work on nuclear arms.

“Instead of being the head of a technical agency, whose job is to monitor these agreements, and come up with objective assessments, he has become a world policy maker, an advocate,” said Robert J. Einhorn, the State Department’s nonproliferation director from 1999 to 2001.

In particular, Dr. ElBaradei is faulted for his new deal with Iran, which has defied repeated Security Council demands to suspend its enrichment of uranium. Critics say the plan threatens to buy Iran more time to master that technology, which can make fuel for reactors or atomic bombs.

Despite Iran’s long history of nuclear deception, Dr. ElBaradei’s supporters cite his vindication on Iraq — no evidence of an active Iraqi nuclear program has been found — as reason to listen to him now.

“He could have saved us a disastrous war if we had paid attention to him,” said Thomas M. Franck, an international law professor emeritus at New York University Law School, who taught Dr. ElBaradei there decades ago and has remained a close friend.

After the Iran accord became public, The Washington Post published an editorial branding Dr. ElBaradei a “Rogue Regulator.” His wife, Aida, who is his closest political adviser, came up with a response — T-shirts that succinctly frame the ElBaradei debate: “Rogue regulator” will be stenciled on the front, “Or smooth operator?” on the back.

Ambitious, but Reserved

When Dr. ElBaradei received the Nobel Prize in December 2005, he used his acceptance speech to lay out an ambitious agenda — helping the poor, saving the environment, fighting crime and confronting new dangers spawned by globalization.

“We cannot respond to these threats by building more walls, developing bigger weapons, or dispatching more troops,” he said. “Quite to the contrary, by their very nature, these security threats require primarily international cooperation.”

Yet Dr. ElBaradei’s expansive view of himself is a striking counterpoint to his personal style.

That Nobel night, he was celebrating with friends in his suite at the Grand Hotel in Oslo when thousands of people appeared on the street below, holding candles and cheering. Unsure of himself, he froze.

“He was clearly nonplused and adrift at what to do,” Mr. Franck recalled. “His wife told him to wave back.”

A tall, shy man with a salt-and-pepper mustache, Dr. ElBaradei is so averse to small talk that he refuses even superficial conversation with staff members in the agency’s elevators, aides say.

Rather than venture into the dining room or cafeteria, he brings lunch from home and eats at his desk. He must be arm-twisted to make even the briefest appearance at important agency functions.

“He is very reserved, very aloof,” Mrs. ElBaradei said recently over tea in their apartment, filled with rugs from Iran and the awards and other baubles that come with her husband’s persona as a campaigner for world peace. “He thinks these diplomatic receptions and dinners are a waste of time.”

He shares confidences with only a handful of associates. “He doesn’t have meetings where he seeks input,” said one former agency official, who like some others would speak about Dr. ElBaradei only on the condition of anonymity. “It’s, ‘Here’s what I want to do.’ ”

He has become a compulsive name-dropper, diplomats say. “He remains a shy man, but one who is somehow dazzled by his own destiny,” said one European nonproliferation official who knows him well. “He’s always saying, ‘Oh, I talked to Condi last week and she told me this,’ or ‘I was with Putin and he said this or that.’ He’s almost like a child.”

The eldest of five children from an upper-middle-class family in Cairo, Dr. ElBaradei grew up with a French nanny and a private school education. At 19, he became the national youth champion in squash. “You have to be cunning,” he said of the sport.

His father, a lawyer, was the head of Egypt’s bar association. The son studied law and joined the foreign service, eventually serving in New York. Living there in the late 1960s and early ’70s was so transforming, he said, that today he feels greater kinship with New York than Cairo, more comfortable speaking English than Arabic.

While working on his doctorate on international law at New York University, he went to New York Knicks basketball games and to the Metropolitan Opera, and stayed up late talking American politics and drinking wine in Greenwich Village bars. His first girlfriend, he said, was Jewish.

Moving up the diplomatic ladder, he eventually settled in Vienna, where he became the nuclear agency’s legal counselor and then head of external relations. His ascent to the top job, in 1997, was a surprise.

After none of the proposed candidates received the needed votes, the American ambassador to the agency at the time, John Ritch, led a quiet campaign for Dr. ElBaradei, a close friend. In a cable to Washington, Mr. Ritch recalled, he said the United States could do no better than backing “an Egyptian who is a passionate Knicks fan.”

Dr. ElBaradei started out with the modest goal of reorganizing the agency, which today has about 2,300 employees. Then came Iraq. Before the war, the Bush administration repeatedly warned of Saddam Hussein getting the bomb, and called on atomic inspectors to confirm that view.

Instead, in March 2003, Dr. ElBaradei told the Security Council that after hundreds of inspections over three months, his teams had found “no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program.” And while President Bush charged that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa, Dr. ElBaradei dismissed the underlying intelligence as “not authentic.”

The invasion, 13 days later, was “the saddest day of my life,” he said.

Even as American troops found no unconventional arms, the Bush administration waged a quiet campaign against Dr. ElBaradei and his agency, barring his inspectors from Iraq and working behind the scenes to keep him from a third term.

He said he had been “99 percent decided” against running until he learned that John R. Bolton, then Washington’s United Nations ambassador, was determined to block him.

Dr. ElBaradei recalled “a sense of revulsion” that such a personal decision should be made “by anybody else.”

His wife said she had told him, “Mohamed, you run — tomorrow!”

Ultimately, with no candidate of its own and no international support, the United States backed down.

In October 2005, a month into his new term, the Nobel call came.

Breaking the Seals

The standoff with Tehran entered its current phase on Jan. 10, 2006, when Iran broke the I.A.E.A.’s protective seals on equipment at its underground site at Natanz and resumed efforts to enrich uranium.

When the West began imposing sanctions, Iran retaliated by cutting back on its cooperation with Dr. ElBaradei’s agency and barring dozens of its inspectors. As the Iranians ramped up enrichment, the agency and the rest of the world were steadily going blind to aspects of Iran’s nuclear program.

Dr. ElBaradei himself was humiliated on a rare visit to Tehran in April 2006. Two days before his arrival, the Iranians announced a breakthrough — industrial-level enrichment.

Still, Dr. ElBaradei hoped to meet the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Instead, he spent much of his time cooling his heels in a hotel room.

Critics say Dr. ElBaradei has responded to such provocations by going soft on Tehran — glossing over its violations, caving to its demands and writing reports that bend over backward to be conciliatory.

For instance, they say he has added to inspection woes by moving a half-dozen top investigators off the case, which the agency defends as normal rotations. The agency’s chief Iran inspector, Christian Charlier, who spoke out publicly about Iran’s evasiveness, was assigned to the agency’s Brazil file.

“He’s naïve and idiosyncratic and that amounts to being dangerous,” Mr. Bolton said. “His argument for years was that he could talk Iran out of being a nuclear threat. Then it was, ‘O.K., we’ll just let them experiment.’ Now it’s, ‘You’re never going to get them to give up.’ ”

But Dr. ElBaradei’s supporters say he is engaged in a balancing act that deals as much with Washington’s excesses as with Tehran’s.

In May, after Vice President Dick Cheney warned from an aircraft carrier off Iran’s coast that the United States was ready to use its naval power to keep Iran from “gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region,” Dr. ElBaradei offered a quick response: he declared that Iran had achieved “the knowledge” of enrichment — implying that it was too late for military action or other Western punishment for refusing to stop its atomic efforts.

“The fact of the matter,” he said, “is that one of the purposes of suspension — keeping them from getting the knowledge — has been overtaken by events.”

His remarks outstripped the analyses of his own inspectors, who were reporting technical problems at Natanz, and contributed to suspicions that he was exaggerating Iran’s progress as a political maneuver. Even so, that argument — that Iran has already crossed an important line — is the tacit assumption behind the new accord.

The plan, released Aug. 27, sets a firm timetable for Iran to clear up a half-dozen controversies about past secret activities, while also improving access for I.A.E.A. inspectors.

The diplomats who marched into Dr. ElBaradei’s office the next day shredded the plan point by point.

They expressed dismay that the accord, negotiated with no diplomatic input, omitted any stipulation that Iran suspend enrichment. One envoy noted that the plan forces inspectors to ask questions on only one issue at a time, leaving the most delicate topics until the end.

There was general alarm that the document suggested treating Iran like a “routine” case, instead of a country that had lied repeatedly, and, according to some governments, harbors a secret nuclear-arms program.

Dr. ElBaradei’s response, paraphrased by a Western official, was that “all you are doing is being suspicious; the agency cannot judge Iranian intentions.”

In the days that followed, representatives of other countries hammered Dr. ElBaradei with sharp criticism. But a week later, many governments had begun to believe that their strategy was backfiring. They decided to try to co-opt Dr. ElBaradei rather than isolate him.

The new thinking went like this: he and the Iranians had won this round. Much of the world would consider the agreement on a timetable a step forward. By contrast, Western diplomacy was hopelessly stalled.

On Sept. 7, envoys from the four Western powers again visited Dr. ElBaradei’s office. This time, though, they offered support for his effort to clear up the past, and said they welcomed his renewed support in pressing Iran to suspend enrichment and let inspectors conduct wider inquiries.

“We told the Americans it would do no good to criticize ElBaradei, that it would only make him look even more like a hero,” said one senior European official.

In the interview, Dr. ElBaradei called the shift “a complete change” — a result of his explaining and “standing firm.” He called his accord a sound step toward defusing the Iran confrontation.

“I have no qualm that some people have distrust because of Iran’s past behavior,” he said.

But sanctions alone, he added, would solve nothing. “You need to sit together and talk about it and try to work out mechanisms to build confidence.”

And if the Iranians do not keep their promises, he said: “I told them very openly that it will backfire. Absolutely.”

Weighing the Risks

Early in September, when the agency’s board gathered here in Vienna and discussed the new plan, the American envoy, Gregory L. Schulte, stunned colleagues by praising Dr. ElBaradei. He told the board that the deal was “a potentially important development and a step in the right direction.”

Even so, diplomats and visitors say that in unguarded moments, Dr. ElBaradei has expressed the conviction that a lasting accommodation with Iran must wait until the Bush administration is gone.

The danger, some analysts say, is that by then, Iran might have acquired the ability to make a bomb. American intelligence analysts put that date at anywhere from 2010 to 2015.

Even if Iran begins to deliver on its latest promises, Dr. ElBaradei faces a potential deal breaker. As part of the accord, he is demanding that the United States give Tehran copies of American intelligence documents related to suspected secret Iranian military work on nuclear warheads. As a lawyer, he said, he was determined to give Iran the access it deserved.

And if it turns out that Iran did, in the past, make secret moves toward nuclear arms? “Many countries had ambitions in the past,” Dr. ElBaradei said, raising the prospect that, in theory, Iran, too, might “have to make certain confessions.”

He added that the most important thing “is for them to come clean.”

Elaine Sciolino reported from Vienna, and William J. Broad from New York.

Bush administration to “ratchet up pressure” on Iran by Peter Symonds

September 6, 2007

Bush administration to “ratchet up pressure” on Iran by Peter Symonds


Dandelion Salad

by Peter Symonds
Global Research, September 6, 2007
wsws.org

The Bush administration’s abrupt dismissal of last Thursday’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear programs is one more sign that Washington has no interest in a diplomatic resolution to its confrontation with Tehran. Following Bush’s bellicose denunciations of Iran last week, the US has reiterated its intention to push for tougher UN sanctions against Tehran this month.

The IAEA report, which is due to be discussed at its board meeting beginning next Monday, sets out its latest assessment of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including the construction of a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water research reactor at Arak. The report also includes details of an agreement reached with Iran for a timetable to resolve by December all the questions raised by the UN agency over the past four years.

IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei told the media: “This is the first time Iran is ready to discuss all outstanding issues which triggered the crisis in confidence. It’s a significant step. There are clear guidelines, so it’s not, as some people are saying, an open-ended invitation to dallying with the agency or a ruse to prolong negotiations and avoid sanctions.”

Washington quickly dismissed the IAEA-Iran agreement as inadequate and insisted that Tehran comply with US demands for the suspension of all nuclear enrichment programs. US State Department spokesman Tom Casey declared last Thursday: “There is no partial credit here. Iran has refused to comply with its international obligations, and as a result of that the international community is going to continue to ratchet up the pressure.”

This response underscores the hypocrisy of US allegations that Iran is covertly seeking to build nuclear weapons. Tehran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and continues to allow IAEA inspection of the Natanz enrichment plant, which it maintains is to provide fuel for its planned nuclear power reactors. As it has repeatedly insisted, Iran has the right under the NPT to build an enrichment plant, as Brazil for instance is also doing, and to construct research reactors for peaceful purposes.

Bush officials have highlighted Iran’s failure to clarify the IAEA’s outstanding issues as “proof” of Iran’s lack of transparency and of its nuclear weapons’ plans. Some of these “issues” are based on dubious evidence supplied to the IAEA by US and Israeli intelligence. Far from welcoming Iran’s willingness to provide the documentation and access to officials required to deal with the issues, the Bush administration has branded the IAEA agreement as an Iranian ploy to gain time and implied that the IAEA is an Iranian dupe.

The US reaction recalls the lead-up to its invasion of Iraq in March 2003 when Bush officials summarily dismissed the reports of the IAEA and other UN weapons inspectors, which stated that no “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) programs had been found and called for more time to carry out searches, as a ruse by the Hussein regime. The lies that were used as the pretext for war were quickly exposed following the invasion when the US military’s own teams failed to find any evidence of Iraqi WMDs.

Responding to the latest US criticisms, ElBaradei declared last week: “My responsibility is to look at the big picture. If I see a situation deteriorating… [and] it could lead to war, I have to raise the alarm or give my advice.” Prior to the previous IAEA board meeting in June, he frankly told the BBC: “I have no brief other than to make sure we don’t go into another war or that we go crazy into killing each other. You do not want to give [an] additional argument to the new crazies who say ‘let’s go and bomb Iran’.”

Last week’s IAEA report found that Iran’s progress in installing the gas centrifuges required to enrich uranium at its underground hall at Natanz had slowed considerably. Since the previous report three months ago, Iranian technicians had only gotten several hundred new centrifuges up and running. As of August 19, the IAEA reported that 1,968 centrifuges were operating with another 656 in various stages of assembly or testing. The IAEA verified that the level of enrichment was that required for nuclear fuel—well short of the highly enriched uranium required to build a bomb. The IAEA also reported that one outstanding issue related to plutonium experiments was already “closed” after Iran provided access to a key expert, documentation and other data.

Next week’s IAEA meeting promises to be another exercise in US bullying and arm-twisting as the Bush administration prepares for a diplomatic offensive in the UN to demand tougher punitive sanctions on Iran. The White House has already leaked plans to brand the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) as a “specially designated global terrorist” organisation. Criminalising the IRG, a major part of the country’s armed forces, would clear the way for unilateral US penalties not only against Iran, but any foreign corporation or bank that had relations with any of the IRG’s many businesses.

The US threat to brand the IRG as a “terrorist organisation” is in the first instance aimed at intimidating other UN Security Council members into passing new sanctions against Iran. Russia, China and the European powers all have substantial investment and economic interests in Iran, which could be subject to American penalties if any links were demonstrated to IRG businesses. The UN Security Council, including its permanent members—the US, Britain, France, China and Russia—has previously imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran, but Russia and China in particular have expressed reluctance to impose harsher penalties.

US preparations for war

Iran’s disputed nuclear programs are just one element of the White House’s mounting propaganda war against Tehran. In a belligerent speech last week, Bush denounced Iran as “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” and declared that “Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons” placed the region “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust”. He condemned the IRG’s alleged training and arming of Shiite militias in Iraq, saying he had authorised the US military to “confront Tehran’s murderous activities”. In an ominous warning, the US president concluded: “We will confront this danger before it is too late.”

A lengthy commentary entitled “Will President Bush bomb Iran?” published yesterday in the conservative British-based Telegraph noted that the US had advanced preparations for military strikes. The article began by pointing out that top US officials, including from the Pentagon and State Department, had recently completed a four-month exercise, held under the auspices of the right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank, designed to simulate the impact of a US war with Iran.

The computer modelling found that if Iran closed the Straits of Hormuz, oil prices would double, $161 billion would be wiped off the US GDP in a single quarter and a million jobs would be lost. The Heritage Foundation nevertheless concluded that the study’s policy proposals “virtually eliminated all of the negative outcomes from the blockade.”

The Telegraph article noted that Bush’s speech was “designed as a threat not just to Iran, but to America’s Western allies, along with Russia and China, who have been slow to support—or who have opposed—UN sanctions against Iran.” James Phillips from the Heritage Foundation told the newspaper: “It [the speech] is simultaneously a shot across Iran’s bows and an appeal for the international community to do more to stop or slow Iran’s nuclear program.”

The article reported that European observers, and some in the American government, believe that Bush has resolved to “do something” about Iran before he leaves office. A State Department source said: “If we get closer to the end of this administration and we are not seeing suitably tough diplomatic actions at the UN… then people will start asking the question: how do we stop our legacy being a nuclear-armed Iran?”

The Telegraph noted that “credible reports” indicated that “the US has stepped up clandestine activities in Iran over the past 18 months, using special forces to gather intelligence about military targets—nuclear infrastructure and airbases, and Revolutionary Guard command centres.” The article pointed out that US military plans to strike Iran with B2 bombers and cruise missiles included “up to 400 sites, only a few dozen of which are linked to the nuclear programs… first in the crosshairs would be the main centrifuge plant at Natanz.”

Yesterday’s British Sunday Times reported the comments of Alexis Debat from the conservative Nixon Centre who told a gathering last week that the Pentagon had drawn up plans for a three-day aerial blitzkrieg against 1,200 targets inside Iran. US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against nuclear facilities, but for “taking out the entire Iranian military,” which Debat described as a “very legitimate strategic calculus”.

As the Telegraph noted, opinion polls reveal that just one in five Americans currently support the bombing of Iran. Moreover, the CIA has told the Bush administration that it has not come up with a “smoking gun” that would create domestic or international support for such a war. “Last autumn, the CIA told the White House that while it believes Iran is running a clandestine nuclear weapons program, it does not have conclusive proof. Radioactivity detention devices placed near suspect facilities did not find the expected results,” the article explained.

None of this will stop the Bush administration from using the IAEA and UN meetings this month to accuse Iran of secretly producing nuclear weapons and backing “terrorists” in Iraq and the region. Washington is once more seeking to stampede public opinion and create the conditions for another criminal military adventure.

Peter Symonds is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Peter Symonds

US-Iran Policy Dynamics By Noam Chomsky

August 23, 2007

US-Iran Policy Dynamics By Noam Chomsky


By Noam Chomsky
08/22/07 “ICH

IN CRUDE and brutal societies, the Party Line is publicly proclaimed, and it must be obeyed, or else. What you believe is your own business, of lesser concern. In societies where the state has lost the capacity to control by force, the Party Line is not proclaimed. Rather, it is presupposed, and then vigorous debate is encouraged within the limits imposed by unstated doctrinal orthodoxy.

The crude system leads to natural disbelief. The sophisticated variant gives the impression of openness and freedom, and serves to instill the Party Line as beyond question, even beyond thought, like the air we breathe. In the ever more precarious standoff between Washington and Teheran, one Party Line confronts another. Among the well-known immediate victims are the Iranian-American detainees Parnaz Azima, Haleh Esfandiari, Ali Shakeri and Kian Tajbakhsh. But the whole world is held hostage to the US-Iran conflict, where, after all, the stakes are nuclear.

Unsurprisingly, President Bush’s announcement of a “surge” in Iraq — in reaction to the call of most Americans for steps toward withdrawal, and the even stronger demands of the (irrelevant) Iraqis — was accompanied by ominous leaks about Iranian-based fighters and Iranian-made IEDS in Iraq aimed at disrupting Washington’s mission to gain victory, which is (by definition) noble.

Then followed the predictable debate: The hawks say we have to take violent measures against such outside interference in Iraq. The doves counter that we must make sure the evidence is compelling. The entire debate can proceed without absurdity only on the tacit assumption that we own the world. Therefore interference is limited to those who impede our objectives in a country that we invaded and occupy.

What are the plans of the increasingly desperate clique that narrowly holds political power in the United States? Reports of threatening, off-the-record statements by staffers for Vice-President Cheney have heightened fears of an expanded war. “You do not want to give additional argument to new crazies who say, ‘Let’s go and bomb Iran,”‘ Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the BBC last month.

“I wake up every morning and see 100 Iraqis, innocent civilians, are dying.”

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, as against the “new crazies,” is supposedly pursuing the diplomatic track with Teheran. But the Party Line holds, unchanged. In April, Rice spoke about what she would say if she encountered her Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki at the international conference on Iraq at Sharm el Sheikh. “What do we need to do? It’s quite obvious,” Rice said. “Stop the flow of arms to foreign fighters; stop the flow of foreign fighters across the borders.” She is referring, of course, to Iranian fighters and arms. US fighters and arms are not “foreign” in Iraq. Or anywhere. The tacit premise underlying her comment, and virtually all public discussion about Iraq (and beyond) is that we own the world.

Do we not have the right to invade and destroy a foreign country? Of course we do. That’s a given. The only question is: Will the surge work? Or some other tactic? Perhaps this catastrophe is costing us too much. And those are the limits of the debates among the presidential candidates, the Congress and the media, with rare exceptions. That’s part of the reason the debates are so inconclusive. The basic issues are not discussable.

Doubtless Teheran merits harsh condemnation, certainly for severe domestic repression and the inflammatory rhetoric of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who has little to do with foreign affairs). It is, however, useful to ask how Washington would act if Iran had invaded and occupied Canada and Mexico, overthrown the governments there, slaughtered scores of thousands of people, deployed major naval forces in the Caribbean and issued credible threats to destroy the United States if it did not immediately terminate its nuclear energy programs (and weapons). Would we watch quietly? After the United States invaded Iraq, “Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy,” said Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld.

Surely no sane person wants Iran (or anyone) to develop nuclear weapons. A reasonable solution to the crisis would permit Iran to develop nuclear energy, in accord with its rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but not nuclear weapons. Is that outcome feasible? It would be, under one condition: that the United States and Iran were functioning democratic societies, in which public opinion has a significant impact on public policy, overcoming the huge gulf that now exists on many critical issues, including this one.

That reasonable solution has overwhelming support among Iranians and Americans, who agree quite generally on nuclear issues, according to recent polls by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, at the University of Maryland. The Iranian-American consensus extends to complete elimination of nuclear weapons everywhere (82 per cent of Americans), and if that cannot be achieved, a “nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East that would include Islamic countries and Israel (71 per cent of Americans).” To 75 per cent of Americans, it is better to build relations with Iran rather than use threats of force.

These facts suggest a possible way to prevent the current crisis from exploding, perhaps even to World War III, as predicted by British military historian Correlli Barnett. That awesome threat might be averted by pursuing a familiar proposal: democracy promotion — at home, where it is badly needed. Although we cannot carry out the project directly in Iran, we can act to improve the prospects for the courageous reformers and oppositionists who are seeking to achieve just that. They include people like Saeed Hajjarian, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and Akbar Ganji, and those who as usual remain nameless, among them labour activists.

We can improve the prospects for democracy promotion in Iran by sharply reversing state policy here so that it reflects popular opinion. That would entail withdrawing the threats that are a gift to the Iranian hardliners and are bitterly condemned for that reason by Iranians truly concerned with democracy promotion. We can act to open some space for those who are seeking to overthrow the reactionary and repressive theocracy from within, instead of undermining their efforts by threats and aggressive militarism.

Democracy promotion, while no panacea, would be a useful step towards helping the United States become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international order (to adopt the term used for adversaries), instead of being an object of fear and dislike throughout much of the world. Apart from being a value in itself, a functioning democracy at home holds promise for a simple recognition that we don’t own the world, we share it.

Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author, most recently, of Hegemony or Survival Americas Quest for Global Dominance.

Cheney Determined To Strike In US With WMD This Summer: Only Impeachment, Removal or General Strike Can Stop Him

July 27, 2007

Cheney Determined To Strike In US With WMD This Summer: Only Impeachment, Removal or General Strike Can Stop Him

Cheney Determined To Strike In US With WMD This Summer
Only Impeachment, Removal or General Strike Can Stop Him

By Webster G. Tarpley
7-21-7

“The greatest threat now is ‘a 9/11’ occurring with a group of terrorists armed not with airline tickets and box cutters, but with a nuclear weapon in the middle of one of our own cities.”
— Dick Cheney on Face the Nation, CBS, April 15, 2007

A few days ago, a group of lawyers from western Massachusetts met with the local congressman, Democrat John Olver. Their request was that Olver take part in the urgent effort to impeach Bush and Cheney. Olver responded by saying that he had no intention of doing anything to support impeachment. He went further, offering the information that the United States would soon attack Iran, and that these hostilities would be followed by the imposition of a martial law regime here.

According to reports in the British press, the Cheney war party has gained the upper hand in the secret councils of the Bush White House, pushing aside the purported hesitations of Miss Rice, Secretary Gates, and the NATO allies to chart a direct course towards war with Iran:

‘The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned. The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: “Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo.” at a meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with him. “The balance has tilted. There is cause for concern,” the source said this week. “Cheney has limited capital left, but if he wanted to use all his capital on this one issue, he could still have an impact,” said Patrick Cronin, the director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.’ (“Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran; Military solution back in favour as Rice loses out; President ‘not prepared to leave conflict unresolved'”, Guardian, July 16, 2007.)

Deluded supporters of the Democratic Party may soon have to throw away their pathetic countdown clocks, those self-consoling little devices that remind them of how much time remains until noon on January 20, 2009, the moment when it is thought that Bush will finally leave office. These countdown clocks make no provision for the Cheney doctrine, which calls for a new super 9/11 with weapons of mass destruction in the US, to be used as the pretext for a nuclear attack on Iran and for martial law at home. Those who think the Republicans cannot hold the White House in 2008 have forgotten that neocons always prefer a coup d’etat to an election. As Cheney told Bob Schieffer of CBS’s Face the Nation on April 15, 2007:

‘The greatest threat now is “a 9/11 occurring with a group of terrorists armed not with airline tickets and box cutters, but with a nuclear weapon in the middle of one of our own cities.”‘

Pelosi and Reid need to toss out their fatuous countdown clocks, and get out their impeachment stopwatches fast.

CHERTOFF’S GUT FEELING FOR TERRORISM

could cite, Chertoff called his “gut feeling the nation faces a heightened chance of an attack this summer.” “I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk,” said Chertoff. “Summertime seems to be appealing to them. … We worry that they are rebuilding their activities.” The desperate demagogues of the Republican Party are facing a hecatomb at the polls in November 2008. Their idea seems to be that of the fascist Prime Minister Aznar of Spain in March 2004: if you are sure to lose an election, stage a terror attack, declare martial law, and perpetuate your power that way. Aznar was stopped by a general strike of about one third of the entire Spanish people. If all else fails, would Americans be capable of a mass strike against war and dictatorship? We may soon find out.

Chertoff’s troubled gut has already given rise to a White House interagency group of top intelligence and law enforcement functionaries that meets every Friday afternoon at 1PM. Will this committee run the coup? Reports followed of dozens of FBI agents fanning out to pursue a “worry list” of some seven hundred alleged leads, including 100 in the New York area. Some of these derived from the recent British terror stunts in London and Glasgow used by MI-5 and MI-6 to smooth the transition from the Tony Blair quasi-police state to the Gordon Brown version of the same thing. MI-5 and MI-6 displayed the same mixture of comic ineptitude and phlegmatic homicide which was their hallmark during the long years when London was the prey of bombs by the “Irish Republican Army,” now revealed to have been top-heavy with government intelligence agents who called the shots. The Glasgow airport event consisted of a burning car crashed into a building, the films of which were shown all afternoon the by the US cable news networks. One was tempted to propose a caption: “Only one burning car a good day on the Cross-Bronx Expressway.” Yet for one burning car, the world was supposed to stop. These British events had been preceded by several weeks of hysteria about allegedly looming terror attacks against US installations in the Rhein-Main area of Germany, featuring the Wiesbaden spa, all based on CIA claims made to the government in Berlin and relentlessly trumpeted through the controlled media.

A NEW 9/11 THE KEY TO BOLSTERING WESTERN RESOLVE

Chertoff’s rationale was illuminated by an interview with Lt. Colonel Doug Delaney, the chair of the war studies program at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, a NATO intelligence center. Delaney was addressing the problems raised by the rising Canadian losses in Afghanistan, but he provided a valuable window into the minds of military planners when he observed, in the words of the interviewer: “It may well be that the key to bolstering Western resolve is another terrorist attack like 9/11 or the London transit bombings of two years ago, he says. If nothing happens, it will be harder still to say this [Canadian meddling in Afghanistan] is necessary.” In other words, it may be time for a new false flag synthetic terror operation to gin up hysteria in North America to permit the present bankrupt elites to retain power and further grind down any spirit of popular resistance to such irrational rule. Chertoff’s fear-mongering was backed up by ousted Republican senator and notorious scoundrel Rick Santorum, who told a radio interviewer that “between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public is going to have a very different view of this war.” Chertoff’s reckless and inflammatory ventriloquism was the harbinger of the new US National Intelligence Estimate issued on July 17.

THE BOOZ ALLEN NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE: “AL QAEDA” THREAT TO USA LOOMS

This pitiful NIE ranks with the lying NIEs issued before the attack on Iraq in 2003 as a tissue of lies and prevarications. The main thesis is that al Qaeda branches around the world are striving to infiltrate more operatives into the US for terror attacks on the US “homeland:” “Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al Qaeda senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here,” opines the declassified summary of the underlying secret screed. “As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment.” (cnn.com, July 17) The new faked NIE has been produced under the supervision of Admiral Michael McConnell, the current US intelligence czar, whose credentials include ten years at Booz Allen Hamilton, the premier private military firm. Some analysts have asked what was going on at Booz Allen on September 11, 2001, and in the days leading up to that event, and what McConnell personally might have been working on. Back on January 7, 2007, Raw Story had portrayed the newly-nominated McConnell as a Cheney asset, and quoted CIA old boy Vince Cannistraro calling the McConnell nomination “a disaster.” In the same article, CIA vet Larry Johnson predicted that McConnell, a weak manager, would cave in to Bush-Cheney on key issues. The fabrications of the new NIE have been assisted by Cheney’s office, by convicted Iran-contra felon Elliot Abrams (now a dominant personality inside the Bush White House), by Abrams’ military aide Gen. Kevin Bergner, and by other neocon assets.

Intelligence community veteran Philip Giraldi of the CIA has dismissed the new NIE with its talk of “high impact plots” against the US as “a tour de force of misinformation disguised as fact.” Giraldi also noted: “It is possibly no coincidence that there has been a significant increase in the anti-Iran rhetoric emanating from both the Bush administration and Congress over the past few weeks, mostly seeking to establish a casus belli by contending that Iran is masterminding lethal attacks against US troops in Iran and NATO forces in Afghanistan.” ( antiwar.com, July 17)

CHENEY’S PERSIAN ADVENTURE

A nuclear attack on Iran remains the central obsession of the George Shultz-Rupert Murdoch-Cheney faction. On July 10, the Pentagon announced that it would be sending another aircraft carrier battle group, this time that of the USS Enterprise, to the waters off Iran. This means that whenever that carrier joins the two already there, three US attack carriers will be within striking range of Iranian targets. The Pentagon followed up shortly thereafter with another statement, assuring the world that soon only one carrier would patrol off Iran. But that was only a dubious promise, and in the meantime the three carriers would shortly be ready to attack.

On July 10, the Washington Post and Reuters stoked international hysteria with reports that mysterious and sinister tunnels were being built by the Iranian authorities near one of the suspected nuclear facilities of Natanz. These reports were accompanied by aerial photographs and satellite imaging that has been gussied up with labels to make them look as much as possible like the famous U-2 photographs of Soviet medium-range missiles in Cuba back in October 1962. The claim was that the supposed tunnel “could be used to hide and protect key nuclear components.” The implication was that the Iranian atomic bomb could not be far off, a notion for which there is no proof.

In the late winter, Pelosi, House Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer and Reid had bowed to the demands of AIPAC, the subversive pro-Israeli lobbying organization whose employees have been implicated in espionage, and removed from the defense bill a provision warning Bush that he was required to consult Congress before attacking Iran. A similar provision pushed for a while by Senator Webb of Virginia has also disappeared from view. As for the Republican presidential candidates, on June 7 they with the solitary exception of maverick Ron Paul outbid one another in enthusiasm for a nuclear attack on Iran. These ultra-Hitlerian outbursts occurred in response to manipulation by Wolf Blitzer, an obvious asset of the war party. For the good of the American people, the warmonger GOP candidates, along with Blitzer, should have been hauled away at once in a net by burly orderlies in white coats.

CHENEY’S BREAKAWAY ALLY CHARADE

A key component of Cheney’s argument is that Israel may soon strike unilaterally against Iran with a sneak attack deploying nuclear weapons, breaking the post-1945 taboo on atomic bombs. This would represent the old “breakaway ally” scenario, by which Israel presents the US with such an attack as a fait accompli, and then expects Washington to enter the war on the side of the Israeli aggressors. Cheney’s talking point is that the US must be ready to strike because the Israelis are going to act on their own anyway. The lying nature of Cheney’s line is shown by Bush’s remark to Chirac at the St. Petersburg G-8 summit in July 2006, when Bush was adamant that the Israeli aggression against Lebanon then ongoing was not an Israeli-conceived war, but rather a US war which had been assigned to Israel as a proxy and surrogate for the US. According to Will Thomas, a dress rehearsal for the breakaway ally charade occurred on January 7, 2007 when Israeli warplanes flew over Iraq and manifested the intention to “go downtown” meaning an apparent nuclear strike into Iran. At some point the Israelis were allegedly told by the US to go back, and they desisted from the attempt. This reported incident came shortly before the US raided the Iranian consulate in Irbil in northern Iraq, illegally arresting Iranian diplomats. Around the same time, reports that an Iranian missile had hit a US ship caused a stir on Wall Street, while Iran reported shooting down another US drone over its territory. ( infowars.com, willthomas.net)

The Israeli war party is represented first of all by Avigdor Lieberman, the Minister of Strategic Threats who is himself a strategic threat. On Friday July 13, a day of ill omen, Lieberman boasted before a group of NATO and European Union officials that Israel had received a green light from the U.S. and Europe for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. “If we start military operations against Iran alone, then Europe and the U.S. will support us,” said Lieberman. According to Israel Today magazine, Lieberman argued that ongoing hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan are “going to prevent the leaders of countries in Europe and America from deciding on the use of force to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities,” so they are telling Israel to “prevent the threat herself.”

Another Israeli incendiary is Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, the former head of the Research Division of Israeli Military Intelligence. On July 10, Kuperwasser told the Jerusalem Post that economic sanctions alone will not stop Iran, and that the window of opportunity to launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations was running out. Kuperwasser claimed that Iran is “very close” to the technological threshold for enriching uranium at an industrial level. The Iranians will then be able to manufacture a nuclear device within two to three years, according to Kuperwasser. “The program’s vulnerability to a military operation is diminishing as time passes,” Kuperwasser said, “and they are very close to the point that they will be able to enrich uranium at an industrial level.”

EL BARADEI WARNS AGAINST NEOCON “NEW CRAZIES”

This kind of thinking in the US, UK, and Israel was what Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had in mind when he issued his famnous June 2, 2007 warning about a coming attack on Iran: “I wake every morning and see 100 Iraqis innocent civilians are dying …I have no brief other than to make sure we don’t go into another war or that we go crazy into killing each other. You do not want to give additional argument to new crazies who say ‘let’s go and bomb Iran.’ ” And who are the “new crazies”? “Those who have extreme views and say the only solution is to impose your will by force.” It is not possible to “bomb knowledge.”

A grave doubt casts its shadow over any scenario of US nuclear attack on Iran: as William Thomas reported last February, the fuses of cheap Chinese silicon chips now being used by the US military in ships, tanks, planes, and other applications may be too weak to resist the high levels of electromagnetic pulse (emp) which would be unleashed by a nuclear bombardment of the Iranian nuclear sites. The outsourced chips, coherent with the Rumsfeld “war on the cheap” strategy, could cripple a large proportion of the US Central Command’s military hardware, with disruptive effects that would reach back to the command’s Florida headquarters and possibly to the Pentagon. ( rense.com, February 21, 2007, and willthomas.net) If these report are correct, US nuclear bombers might crash, the the carriers that launched them might suddenly find themselves dead in the water, quite independent of what the Iranians might do.

CHENEY’S LEBANON-SYRIA GAMBIT

In addition to the hypothesis of an attack on Iran, there is also the immediate threat to Iran’s ally, Syria. According to a UPI dispatch dated July 9 under the byline of Claude Salhani, numerous signs currently point towards hostilities between Israel and the Damascus government, with a renewed Israeli attack on Lebanon a likely element in this strategy. According to former State Department official Dennis Ross, “there is a risk of war” between Syria and Israel in the summer. Ross told YnetNews, Yedioth Ahronoth’s Internet edition: “no one has made any decisions, but the Syrians are positioning themselves for war.” The neocon exoteric New York Sun claimed to cite a supposed Syrian official saying that added that, by allegedly pulling Syrian nationals out of Lebanon by mid-July, “Damascus is preparing for Israeli retaliation following Syrian guerilla attacks and for a larger war with the Jewish state in August or September.” “If Israel doesn’t vacate the strategic Golan Heights before September, Syrian guerillas will immediately launch ‘resistance operations’ against the Golan’s Jewish communities,” the alleged Syrian added. These remarks reflect scenarios being developed by the Israelis.

But the Masada party of national suicide is not the only game in town for Israelis. On July 11, an anonymous leaker from inside Israeli Military Intelligence warned his associates to remember their ignominious defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in last summer’s war. According to this source, “war with Syria would be ten times worse than with Hezbollah.”

THE ATTACK ON PAKISTAN: MIDSUMMER OF NEOCON MADNESS

Cheney also has the option of attacking into Pakistan. Cheney had visited Pakistan at the end of February with an obvious ultimatum to General Musharraf to get ready to mount a land war against Iran this summer. Equally and immediately obvious was the fact that Musharraf, who considers himself the heir to the great Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey, had told the Vice President to go Cheney himself. With Pakistan refusing to attack its neighbor, Cheney suddenly discovered that Osama bin Laden was being protected by Musharraf! The US-UK destabilization of Pakistan began in grand style, with the New York Times helpfully publishing lists of generals whom Washington would be delighted to see take power in a putsch in Islamabad. Pawns of the destabilization included the Chief Justice of Pakistan, reputed to be a British agent, and riots by lawyers in business suits. Then came the slaughter at the Red Mosque, staged by the usual CIA/MI-6 fundamentalists. Pakistan, under tremendous pressure from the US, has announced a military crackdown on so-called Taliban forces in the northern tribal areas of Waziristan, an enterprise sure to stir up a hornet’s nest of resistance even if none had been there before. The neocons demanded that the US invade Pakistan, under the pretext of looking for Osama bin Laden. On July 12, neocon fascist madman William Kristol told Fox News: “I think the president’s going to have to take military action there over the next few weeks or months…. Bush has to disrupt that sanctuary. I think, frankly, we won’t even tell Musharraf. We’ll do what we have to do in Western Pakistan and Musharraf can say, ‘Hey, they didn’t tell me.'” Ironically, bin Laden’s second in command, reputed MI-6 speaking tube Ayman al Zawahiri, at around the same time issued a fatwa declaring jihad against Musharraf’s Pakistani regime. If Musharraf was haboring Osama, why would al Qaeda declare war against Musharraf? The answer is what it has always been: “al Qaeda” is a troupe of agents provocateurs founded by the CIA and the British, and remains so until this day. As for the neocon plan to attack Pakistan, it is the very midsummer of madness: if Iran has three time the population of Iraq, Pakistan with 164 million is more than five times more numerous than Iraq. If the neocon plans succeed, the US would soon be at war with almost 300 million people far too many for the hollow US force of 10 divisions, whatever technology they might possess.

WARNINGS: RON PAUL, PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, CINDY SHEEHAN, PAT BUCHANAN

Among other authoritative voices across the political spectrum warning of an imminent Bush-Cheney attack on Iran:

Republican Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul commented to Alex Jones: “I think we’re in great danger of it. We’re in danger in many ways, the attack on our civil liberties here at home, the foreign policy that’s in shambles and our obligations overseas and commitment which endangers our troops and our national defense.”

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under the Reagan Administration, wrote in his latest column: “Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran. Bush has put in place all the necessary measures for dictatorship in the form of ‘executive orders’ that are triggered whenever Bush declares a national emergency. Recent statements by Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, former Republican senator Rick Santorum and others suggest that Americans might expect a series of staged, or false flag, ‘terrorist’ events in the near future.” (Paul Craig Roberts, “Impeach Now or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy,” Counterpunch, July 16, 2007) In a July 19 interview with Thomm Hartmann of Air America, Roberts cited Bush’s July 17 executive order, which allows the US regime to seize the property of anyone found to be interfering with the reconstruction of Iraq. This radio warning was reported by the RIA-Novosti news agency of Moscow in numerous languages. The Moscow summary, dated July 20, begins: “A former Reagan official has issued a public warning that the Bush administration is preparing to orchestrate a staged terrorist attack in the United States, transform the country into a dictatorship, and launch a war with Iran within a year.”

Pat Buchanan is convinced that the danger of a new war provocation by Bush-Cheney will come in August, when the Democratic Congress will conveniently be out of Washington and on vacation. Buchanan asks important questions:

Is the United States provoking war with Iran, to begin while the Congress is conveniently on its August recess? One recalls that it was in August 1964, after the Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater, that the Tonkin Gulf incident occurred.

Has Bush secretly authorized covert attacks inside Iran? Are U.S. and Israeli agents in Kurdistan behind the attacks across the border to provoke Iran? On July 11, Iranian troops clashed with Kurd rebels inside Iran, and the Iranians fired artillery back into Iraq.

Is this yet another abdication by Congress of its moral and constitutional duty to decide when and whether America goes to war?

Why is Congress going on vacation? Why are a Democratic-controlled House and Senate not asking these questions in public hearings? Why is Congress letting Bush and Vice President Cheney decide whether we launch a third war in the Middle East? Or is Congress in on it?” (“Tonkin Gulf II and the Guns of August?,” World Net Daily, July 17, 2007)

Based on the John Olver remarks, the Democrats are in on it. As for Buchanan, he should say these things on MSNBC.
Also warning of new war provocations was Cindy Sheehan, who was traveling towards Washington DC to declare her challenge to failed House Speaker Pelosi. She commented that there was a “distinct possibility” that America will be hit with another staged terror attack that will allow Bush to enact the martial law provisions he recently imposed by executive order. These measures allow Bush to declare a domestic state of emergency in response to virtually any minor incident anywhere in the world. (Paul Joseph Watson, Prison Planet, July 12, 2007, “Sheehan: Distinct Chance Of Staged Attack, Martial Law; Peace Mom warns of false flag terror as she prepares to take on sell-out Pelosi.”)

BUSH ANTICS STUN REPUBLICANS FROM THE HILL

This past week, the tenant of the White House showed new signs of mental instability by barging in to a routine meeting between White House communication director Ed Gillespie, spokesman Tony Snow, and a group of Republican congressional leaders. Bush was there to insist that everybody stay the course of Iraq.
“It was stunning,” said one GOP aide who attended the meeting. “We couldn’t believe he came in.” “We kept looking at each other, amazed he came in,” said another Republican colleague. According to one press account, “Bush was described as folksy, adamant and mildly profane as he interrupted the meeting. His message: the policy on Iraq isn’t changing. He is not backing down and no one on Capitol Hill should be confused into thinking he is letting up.”

A new threat to US policy comes from the formidable Turkish military establishment, which is sick and tired of constant cross-border attacks by PKK Kurdish terrorists operating from the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq. The US, UK, and Israelis are using the PKK for terror operations into Kurdish territories of Iran. These PKK terrorist are paid and armed directly by the US military, bringing any notion of a US “war on terror” to a new nadir of absurdity. For some time, the Turks have been lobbing shells and raiding into Kurdish Iraq. 140,000 Turkish troops are massed along the border in question, and if Turkish patience runs out, the Kurds will be crushed.

US IRAQ SUPPLY LINES IN GRAVE DANGER

Washington still cultivates delusions of grandeur: the moment of truth for Iraq will be in mid-September, or perhaps in November or December. But, as one British writer once put it, what if the bear blows first? What if US forces in Iraq experience catastrophic military defeat at some point in the future? What if it takes the form of pocketing or encirclement, the “Dunkirk if you’re lucky, Stalingrad if you’re not so lucky” outcome?

It is not clear whether or when Iraqi resistance forces will move decisively to attack the Achilles heel of the US occupation forces, the 400-mile truck convoys between Kuwait City and Baghdad, but the longer the US forces continue their present futile efforts, the more likely this tragic outcome will become. These are trucks driven by Pakistanis, Turks, Bangladeshis, and Filipinos, and protected by private military contractors by poorly armed mercenaries. A recent report by Jim Michaels in USA Today indicates that the strategy most dangerous to the US forces is indeed gaining ground among the resistance: Michaels writes that “attacks on supply convoys protected by private security companies in Iraq have more than tripled as the U.S. government depends more on armed civilian guards to secure reconstruction and other missions. There were 869 such attacks from the beginning of June 2006 to the end of May this year. For the preceding 12 months, there were 281 attacks.” Of all the news coming out of Iraq, this is perhaps the most ominous. Any military debacle by the US forces in Iraq would be immediately blamed on Iran, and would infallibly be seized upon by Cheney as a pretext for massive retaliation against Iran.

DOLLAR HYPERINFLATION A FACTOR

An important contributing factor in the Cheneyac war hysteria is the beginning of dollar hyperinflation. Two Bear Sterns hedge funds have blown up, wiping out $9 billion of capital in a few days, and Helicopter Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve says that the subprime mortgage bubble meltdown will lead to $100 billion in losses by US banks, and this is clearly a lowball figure. Two analysts quoted by the Toronto Globe and Mail on July 19 suggest that the entire US banking establishment may now be looking at a 15% to 20% devaluation because of mortgage-related losses. Only frenetic pumping in of new dollar liquidity by Helicopter Ben and his men is staving off big bankruptcies, but this sloshing liquidity spells hyperinflation . The Dow has passed 14,000, but the dollar has also reached an all-time low of almost $1.40 to a euro, with a 26-year low against the British pound. With oil well above $75 and gold above $680 per ounce, while raw materials and food prices skyrocket, the US may soon resemble Germany of 1923, when people took their money to the grocery store in a wheelbarrow, and brought home their purchases in their pocket. Small wonder that the worldwide dumping of the bankrupt US dollar continues apace, with Iran now asking Japan to pay for oil transactions in yen, cutting Wall Street out of another lucrative commodity flow.

US SITUATION TRAGIC

These points bring into sharp relief the dire predicament of our tragically drifting country in the summer of 2007, a summer which Cheney’s backers and controllers are determined to transform into the Summer of Fear. Skeptics may object that they have heard all this before in the spring and the autumn of 2004, in the late summer of 2005, and in March-April of 2007 and that so far the general war with Iran had not occurred. This is true, but it is no argument against the urgency of the warnings that the present writer and others have issued from time to time over the last three years. It only shows that the world has been lurching and careening along the edge of a much wider war in the Middle East since about May of 2004 at the latest. For much of this time we have lived in the shadow of the Cheney doctrine, which calls for a nuclear attack on Iran in the wake of a new super 9/11 terrorist provocation (coming from the bowels of the US intelligence community) as revealed by Philip Giraldi in The American Conservative in August of 2005. Each time some combination of internal US institutional resistance and inertia, objections by NATO allies, and foreign threats or pressure have somehow avoid the worst. So far we have muddled through. But Cheney’s backers and controllers the ones designated as the Cheneyacs in this analysis have unfailingly pulled themselves together after each rebuff, and have marshaled their forces for a new drive over the brink of the abyss. As long as Bush and Cheney are in power, as long as the 9/11 rogue networks in the US intelligence community continue their work unpurged and undisturbed, we will face one war emergency after another, until the likely moment when humanity’s luck runs out. Under any political system committed to its own survival, each of the Cheneyac war drives over the past three years should have lead to the impeachment, removal from office, and indictment of the dour and snarling old reprobate himself, and a general mop-up of his followers. It is the fact that the corrupt and cowardly parliamentary cretins of the Democratic Party have failed to impeach and oust Bush-Cheney over the last six months since they took power which represents the most immediate cause of the fix we are now in. Congressman Kucinich has introduced the needed articles against Cheney, but the Pelosi-Reid opportunists have been hostile to this needed measure. It is time for honest activists to join with the Philadelphia Platform to get on with the business at hand before martial law is imposed by these neocon fascist madmen, since by then it may be too late.

BRZEZINSKI: “A TERRORIST ACT IN THE US BLAMED ON IRAN”

The Democratic Party Congressional leadership has known all about Cheney’s plans for six months or more, as can be shown from the public record. On February 1, 2007, Zbigniew Brzezinski warned the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of ongoing machinations designed to procure war with Iran and beyond: “A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks, followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran; culminating in a ‘defensive’ US action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.” Over the past half year, events have followed Brzezinski’s scenario closely. Blaming Iran for the missed benchmarks in Iraq is now the daily stock in trade of the Bush administration and the US Central Command, who whine continuously about Iranian interference in Iraq. There have been several military provocations in Iraq which the US has tried to pin on Iran, most notably March 23, 2007 incident involving 15 British Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel who were taken into custody by the Iranians. This incident was a part of Cheney’s winter-spring war drive, which peaked with two US B-1 bombers deliberately violating Iranian airspace over the city of Abadan in oil-rich Khuzestan province on March 31. This crisis was defused by a mobilization of persons of good will around the world, with Russian President Putin and the RIA-Novosti news agency playing a critical role. In particular, a pointed March 28 warning from Putin to Bush about attacking Iran created enough uncertainty in Washington about how Moscow might respond to nuclear aggression against Iran so that cooler heads than Cheney’s prevailed.

FIGHT BACK WITH THE PHILADELPHIA PLATFORM

That leaves us with Brzezinski’s third scenario point: a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran. What Brzezinski is talking about here is high treason, insurrection , genocide, high crimes against humanity under US law and the Nuremberg Code. Why has he not been called upon to tell all he knows about this sinister plot, so obviously operating through the Cheney-Addington office, and through Eliot Abrams at the White House? Because the Democrats who heard that warning Senators Biden, Dodd, and Obama on the committee, plus Hillary Clinton have done nothing to raise a hue and cry, hold hearings, issue subpoenas, demand documents, or begin impeachment hearings against those involved. The Democratic Party must therefore be seen as fully complicit under the Nuremberg Code in any future crimes by Cheney regarding a wider war in the Middle East. The Democratic Party has failed, and the viable peace movement must now organize independently on a multi-issue basis including 9/11 truth, as called for in the July 4, 2007 Philadelphia Platform, which can be seen at actindependent.org.

Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran

July 16, 2007

Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran

· Military solution back in favour as Rice loses out
· President ‘not prepared to leave conflict unresolved’

Ewen MacAskill in Washington and Julian Borger
Monday July 16, 2007
The Guardian

George Bush, right, with Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice
While Dick Cheney, left, favours military threats, Condoleezza Rice, centre, prefers diplomacy. George Bush, right, has sided with Cheney. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.

The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: “Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo.”

Article continues
The White House claims that Iran, whose influence in the Middle East has increased significantly over the last six years, is intent on building a nuclear weapon and is arming insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The vice-president, Dick Cheney, has long favoured upping the threat of military action against Iran. He is being resisted by the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence secretary, Robert Gates.

Last year Mr Bush came down in favour of Ms Rice, who along with Britain, France and Germany has been putting a diplomatic squeeze on Iran. But at a meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with him. “The balance has tilted. There is cause for concern,” the source said this week.

Nick Burns, the undersecretary of state responsible for Iran and a career diplomat who is one of the main advocates of negotiation, told the meeting it was likely that diplomatic manoeuvring would still be continuing in January 2009. That assessment went down badly with Mr Cheney and Mr Bush.

“Cheney has limited capital left, but if he wanted to use all his capital on this one issue, he could still have an impact,” said Patrick Cronin, the director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Washington source said Mr Bush and Mr Cheney did not trust any potential successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with Iran decisively. They are also reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway.

“The red line is not in Iran. The red line is in Israel. If Israel is adamant it will attack, the US will have to take decisive action,” Mr Cronin said. “The choices are: tell Israel no, let Israel do the job, or do the job yourself.”

Almost half of the US’s 277 warships are stationed close to Iran, including two aircraft carrier groups. The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise left Virginia last week for the Gulf. A Pentagon spokesman said it was to replace the USS Nimitz and there would be no overlap that would mean three carriers in Gulf at the same time.

No decision on military action is expected until next year. In the meantime, the state department will continue to pursue the diplomatic route.

Sporadic talks are under way between the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, on the possibility of a freeze in Iran’s uranium enrichment programme. Tehran has so far refused to contemplate a freeze, but has provisionally agreed to another round of talks at the end of the month.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, has said that there are signs of Iran slowing down work on the enrichment plant it is building in Natanz. Negotiations took place in Tehran last week between Iranian officials and the IAEA, which is seeking a full accounting of Iran’s nuclear activities before Tehran disclosed its enrichment programme in 2003. The agency’s deputy director general, Olli Heinonen, said two days of talks had produced “good results” and would continue.

At the UN, the US, Britain and France are trying to secure agreement from other security council members for a new round of sanctions against Iran. The US is pushing for economic sanctions that would include a freeze on the international dealings of another Iranian bank and a mega-engineering firm owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Russia and China are resisting tougher measures.

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