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Neo-Fascists Still Gunning For Iran

Various | 07.02.2006 18:15

The people who brought us to disaster in Iraq are seeking to justify their long-planned invasion. We seek to justify when we know what we are engaged in is wrong. Since we know these War Criminals planned this Act of Aggression before being installed to power, NOTHING will now legitimize it.

Why are these criminals still in power anyway ... ?
Reclaiming the “Orange Revolution”
by Jordan Thornton

U.S.: Iran sanctions without UN backing would be legitimate

By Reuters

Imposing economic sanctions on Iran without United Nations backing would be legitimate if other efforts failed to convince Tehran to halt uranium enrichment, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Monday.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Volker said diplomacy may yet culminate in a UN consensus to apply sanctions, an option which at present splits the five members of the UN Security Council.

"If we don't do that (reach that consensus), we will face questions about what we do," Volker told a news briefing on a trip to Brussels to see European Union officials.

"I don't believe there is a question of legitimacy for Europe, the United States or others to apply sanctions."

Russia and China, which along with the United States, Britain and France are permanent members of the UN Security Council, are keen to preserve energy trade with Iran and currently oppose moves towards punitive sanctions.

Volker said Washington wanted to build broad international consensus over Iran's case, and hailed Saturday's vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to report Tehran to the Security Council as a sign of a convergence of views.

The UN's top body has agreed that no Council action will be taken before IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei issues his next report on Iran in March.

U.S. senators called over the weekend for a "coalition of the economic willing" to impose travel bans and asset freezes on senior Iranian officials even if there was no Security Council agreement on how to deal with Tehran.

Washington tried and failed to win Security Council authorization of military action against Iraq() before invading in 2003.

Hawks have warplanes ready if the nuclear diplomacy fails
By Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor

IT IS the option of last resort with consequences too hideous to contemplate. And yet, with diplomacy nearly exhausted, the use of military force to destroy Iran’s nuclear programme is being actively considered by those grappling with one of the world’s most pressing security problems.
For five years the West has used every diplomatic device at its disposal to entice Iran into complying with strict conditions that would prevent its nuclear programme being diverted to produce an atomic bomb.

Those efforts, however, are now faltering. US leaders are openly discussing the looming conflict. A recent poll showed that 57 per cent of Americans favoured military intervention to stop Iran building a bomb.

Tehran scoffs at threats by the West, has pledged to press on with its nuclear progamme and defend itself if attacked.

The military option may be the only means of halting a regime that has threatened to annihilate Israel from developing a bomb and triggering a regional nuclear arms race.

Experts agree that America has the military capability to destroy Iran’s dozen known atomic sites. US forces virtually surround Iran with military air bases to the west in Afghanistan, to the east in Iraq, Turkey and Qatar and the south in Oman and Diego Garcia. The US Navy also has a carrier group in the Gulf, armed with attack aircraft and Tomahawk cruise missiles. B2 stealth bombers flying from mainland America could also be used.

The air campaign would not be easy. The Iranians have been preparing for an attack. Key sites are ringed with air defences and buried underground. Sensitive parts of the Natanz facility are concealed 18 metres (60ft) underground and protected by reinforced concrete two meters thick. Similar protection has been built around the uranium conversion site at Esfahan.

“American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osiraq centre in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq,” said the Global Security consultantcy.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sam Gardiner, a former US Air Force officer, predicted that knocking out nuclear sites could be over in less than a week. But he gave warning that would only be the beginning.

Iran has threatened to defend itself if attacked. It could use medium-range missiles to hit Israel or US military targets in Iraq and the region. It could also use its missiles and submarines to attack shipping in the Gulf, the main export route for much of the world’s energy needs. “Once you have dealt with the nuclear sites you would have to expand the targets,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Gardiner. “There are another 125 to deal with including chemical plants, missile launchers, airfields and submarines.”

While this huge US offensive is underway Iran would almost certainly deploy its most powerful weapon. It would unleash a counter-attack through proxies in the region. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia, would attack Israel. Moqtadr al-Sadr, the militant Iraqi Shia religious leader, could order his Mahdi Army to rise up against American and British forces in Iraq. Iranian-backed groups could wreak havoc against Western targets across the world.

What began as a military operation to maintain a balance of power in the Middle East, could instead plunge the region into another conflict.

“It will have to be diplomats, not F15s that stop the mullahs,” said Joseph Cirincione, an expert on non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “An air strike against the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan would inflame Muslim anger, rally the Iranian public around an otherwise unpopular government. Finally, the strike would not, as it often said, delay the Iranian programme. It would almost certainly speed it up,” he wrote in an article.


‘All options — including the military one — are on the table’

Donald Rumsfeld, US Defence Secretary

‘There is only one thing worse than military action, that is a nuclear armed Iran’

John McCain, Republican senator for Arizona and US presidential hopeful

‘We are not seeking a military confrontation, but if that happens we will give the enemy a lesson that will be remembered throughout history’

Abdolrahim Moussavi, head of Iran’s joint chiefs of staff

‘Give another year to make HEU (highly-enriched uranium) for a nuclear weapon and a few more months to convert the uranium into weapon components, Iran could have its first nuclear weapon in 2009’

David Albright and Corey Hinderstein, Institute for Science and International Security

‘There isn’t a military option. There certainly isn’t one on the table, let’s be clear about that.’

Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary

‘Obviously we don’t rule out any measures at all’

Tony Blair,,3-2027979,00.html

Juggernaut Gathering
Momentum, Headed For Iran

By Ray McGovern

What President George W. Bush(), FOX news, and the Washington Times were saying about Iraq three years ago they are now saying about Iran. After Saturday's vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to report Iran's suspicious nuclear activities to the UN Security Council, the president wasted no time in warning, "The world will not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons."

The next IAEA milestone will be reached on March 6, when its director, Mohamed ElBaradei, makes a formal report to the Security Council regarding what steps Iran needs to take to allay growing suspicions. The Bush administration, however, has already mounted a full-court press to indict and convict the Iranian leaders, and the key question is why.

Iran signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and insists (correctly) that the treaty assures signatories the right to pursue nuclear programs for peaceful use. And when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claims, as she did last month, "There is simply no peaceful rationale for the Iranian regime to resume uranium enrichment," she is being, well, disingenuous again.

If Dr. Rice has done her homework, she is aware that in 1975 President Gerald Ford's chief of staff Dick Cheney and his defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld bought Iran's argument that it needed a nuclear program to meet future energy requirements. This is what Iranian officials are saying today, and they are supported by energy experts who point out that oil extraction in Iran is already at or near peak and that the country will need alternatives to oil in coming decades.

Ironically, Cheney and Rumsfeld were among those persuading the reluctant Ford in 1976 to approve offering Iran a deal for nuclear reprocessing facilities that would have brought at least $6.4 billion for US corporations like Westinghouse and General Electric. The project fell through when the Shah was ousted three years later.

It is altogether reasonable to expect that Iran's leaders want to have a nuclear weapons capability as well, and that they plan to use their nuclear program to acquire one. From their perspective, they would be fools not to. Iran is one of three countries earning the "axis-of-evil" sobriquet from President Bush and it has watched what happened to Iraq, which had no nuclear weapons, as well as what did not happen to North Korea, which does have them. And Iran's rival Israel, which has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty but somehow escapes widespread opprobrium, has a formidable nuclear arsenal cum delivery systems.

Israeli threats to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities simply provide additional incentive to Tehran to bury and harden them against the kind of Israeli air attack that destroyed the Iraqi nuclear facility at Osirak in 1981. Although the US (together with every other UN Security Council member) condemned that attack, Dick Cheney and other senior officials do not disguise their view that it was just what the doctor ordered at the time ... and that the same prescription might take care of Iran.

Who Is Threatened by Iranian Nukes?

The same country that felt threatened by putative nuclear weapons in the hands of Iraq. With at least 200 nuclear weapons and various modes of delivery at their disposal, the Israelis have a powerful deterrent. They appear determined to put that deterrent into play early to pre-empt any nuclear weapons capability in Iran, rather than have to deal with one after it has been put in place. Israeli leaders seem allergic to the thought that other countries in the region might be able to break its nuclear monopoly and they react neuralgically to proposals for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

Bending over backwards to such sensitivities, the US delegation to the IAEA delayed the proceedings for a day in a futile attempt to delete from Sunday's report language calling for such a zone. The final report called for a "Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction." This is the first time a link has been made, however implicitly, between the Iranian and Israeli nuclear programs.

The argument that the US is also threatened directly by nuclear weapons in Iranian hands is as far-fetched as was the case before the war in Iraq, when co-opted intelligence analysts were strongly encouraged to stretch their imaginations - to include, for example the specter that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction could be delivered by unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs) launched from ships off the US coast. No, I'm not kidding. They even included this in the infamous National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 1, 2002.

That canard was held up to ridicule by the US Air Force, which was permitted to take a footnote in the NIE. The scare story nonetheless provided grist for the president's key speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002 - three days before Congress voted to authorize war. That was also the speech in which he also warned, "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

While Congress was voting for war on October 10, more candid observations came in highly unusual remarks from a source with excellent access to high-level thinking at the White House. Philip Zelikow, at the time a member of the prestigious President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and confidant of then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice (and later Executive Director of the 9/11 commission), said this to a crowd at the University of Virginia: Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat is and actually has been since 1990 - it's the threat against Israel. And this is the threat that dare not speak its name ... the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.

More recently, in the case of Iran, President Bush has been unabashed in naming Israel as the most probable target of any Iranian nuclear weapons. He has also created a rhetorical lash-up of the US and Israel, referring three times in the past two weeks to Israel as an "ally" of the US, as if to condition Americans to the notion that the US is required to join Israel in any confrontation with Iran. For example, on February 1 the president told the press, "Israel is a solid ally of the United States; we will rise to Israel's defense if need be." Asked if he meant the US would rise to Israel's defense militarily, Bush replied with a startlingly open-ended commitment, "You bet, we'll defend Israel."

In repeatedly labeling Israel our "ally," Bush is following his own corollary to the dictum of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels that if you repeat something often enough, most people will believe it. In an unusual moment of candor in a discussion of domestic affairs last May, Bush noted: That's the third time I've said that. I'll probably say it three more times. See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.

Why No Treaty?

The trouble is that, strictly speaking, allies are not picked by presidential whim - or by smart staffers like the top Bush aide who bragged that he and his colleagues are "history's actors ... creating new realities." Bush's speech writers are acting as though the "new realities" they create can include defense treaties. But unless they've changed the Constitution, in our system nations become allies via treaty; and treaties have to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

There is no treaty of alliance with Israel.

But why? Earlier, I had had the impression that it must be because of US reluctance - despite widespread sympathy for Israel - to get entangled in the complexities of the Middle East and gratuitously antagonize Arab countries. Comparing notes with Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) colleagues with more experience in the Middle East, however, I learned that the Israelis themselves have shown strong resistance to a US-Israel defense treaty - for reasons quite sound from their perspective, and quite instructive from ours.

The possibility of a bilateral treaty was broached after the 1973 Yom Kippur war as a way to reduce chances of armed conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors. But before the US could commit to defending Israel, its boundaries would have had to be defined, and the Israelis wanted no part of that. Moreover, the Israelis feared that a defense pact would curb their freedom of action - as would signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty. They were aware that in a crisis situation, the US would almost certainly discourage them from resorting to their familiar policy of massive - often disproportionate - retaliation against the Arabs. It became quite clear that the Israelis did not want the US to have any say over when they would use force, against whom, and what (US or non-US) equipment might be employed.

Aside from all that, the Israelis were, and are, confident that their influence in Washington is such as to ensure US support, no matter what. And, as President Bush's rhetoric demonstrates, they are correct in thinking they can, in effect, have their cake and eat it too - a commitment equivalent to a defense treaty, with no binding undertakings on Israel's part.

That is a very volatile admixture. Congress would do well to wake up to its Constitutional prerogatives and responsibilities in this key area - particularly now that the juggernaut to war has begun to roll.

Preparing the Public

One major task is to convince the public and, as far as possible, our allies that the Iran-nuclear problem is critical. This would be an uphill task, were it not for the success of our domesticated media in suppressing the considered judgment of the US intelligence community that Iran is nowhere near a nuclear weapon.

Washington Post reporter Dafna Linzer, to her credit, drew on several inside sources to report on August 2, 2005, that the latest NIE concludes Iran will not be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon until "early to mid-next decade," with general consensus among intelligence analysts that 2015 would actually be the earliest. That important information was ignored in other media and quickly dropped off the radar screen.

In the Washington of today there is no need to bother with unwelcome intelligence that does not support the case you wish to make. Polls show that hyped-up public statements on the threat from Iran are having some effect, and indiscriminately hawkish pronouncements by usual suspects like senators Joseph Lieberman and John McCain are icing on the cake. Ahmed Chalabi-type Iranian "dissidents" have surfaced to tell us of secret tunnels for nuclear weapons research, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld keeps reminding the world that Iran is the "world's leading state sponsor of terrorism." Administration spokespeople keep warning of Iranian interference on the Iraqi side of their long mutual border - themes readily replayed in FOX channel news and the Washington Times. This morning's Chicago Tribune editorial put it this way: There will likely be an economic confrontation with Iran, or a military confrontation, or both. Though diplomatic efforts have succeeded in convincing most of the world that this matter is grave, diplomatic efforts are highly unlikely to sway Iran.

On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist insisted that Congress has the political will to use military force against Iran, if necessary, repeating the mantra " We cannot allow Iran to become a nuclear nation." Even Richard Perle has come out of the woodwork to add a convoluted new wrinkle regarding the lessons of the attack on Iraq. Since one cannot depend on good intelligence, says Perle, it is a matter of "take action now or lose the option of taking action."

One of the most influential intellectual authors of the war on Iraq, Perle and his "neo-conservative" colleagues see themselves as men of biblical stature. Just before the attack on Iraq, Perle prophesized: If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war ... our children will sing great songs about us years from now.

Those songs have turned out to be funeral dirges for over 2,250 US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis.


Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the
ecumenical Church of the Saviour. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and
is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for
Sanity (VIPS).

'Iran is world's most serious threat since WWII'

Israel's Ambassador to the United States Danny Ayalon said on Tuesday morning that Iran is the biggest problem facing the world since World War II.

He said the UN Security Council must force Iran to accept real supervision that would prevent the further development of its nuclear program.

If they continue with their plans, Ayalon warned, Iran may have the know-how needed for the production of nuclear weapons by the end of the year.

Ayalon, in an interview to Reuters, stated that he believed Iran's nuclear program would be blocked by diplomatic, not military means.