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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The coming war with Iran: John Pilger

Funny whenever I post about America attacking Iran there is the usual braying from the right that it will never happen, I think Pilger has the best counter to that.

The "threat" from Iran is entirely manufactured, aided and abetted by familiar, compliant media language that refers to Iran's "nuclear ambitions," just as the vocabulary of Saddam's non-existent WMD arsenal became common usage.
The United States is planning what will be a catastrophic attack on Iran. For the Bush cabal, the attack will be a way of "buying time" for its disaster in Iraq. In announcing what he called a "surge" of American troops in Iraq, George W. Bush identified Iran as his real target. "We will interrupt the flow of support [to the insurgency in Iraq] from Iran and Syria," he said. "And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."

"Networks" means Iran. "There is solid evidence," said a State Department spokesman on 24 January, "that Iranian agents are involved in these networks and that they are working with individuals and groups in Iraq and are being sent there by the Iranian government." Like Bush's and Blair's claim that they had irrefutable evidence that Saddam Hussein was deploying weapons of mass destruction, the "evidence" lacks all credibility. Iran has a natural affinity with the Shi'ite majority of Iraq, and has been implacably opposed to al-Qaeda, condemning the 9/11 attacks and supporting the United States in Afghanistan. Syria has done the same. Investigations by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and others, including British military officials, have concluded that Iran is not engaged in the cross-border supply of weapons. General Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said no such evidence exists.

As the American disaster in Iraq deepens and domestic and foreign opposition grows, "neocon" fanatics such as Vice President Cheney believe their opportunity to control Iran's oil will pass unless they act no later than the spring. For public consumption, there are potent myths. In concert with Israel and Washington's Zionist and fundamentalist Christian lobbies, the Bushites say their "strategy" is to end Iran's nuclear threat. In fact, Iran possesses not a single nuclear weapon nor has it ever threatened to build one; the CIA estimates that, even given the political will, Iran is incapable of building a nuclear weapon before 2017, at the earliest.

Unlike Israel and the United States, Iran has abided by the rules of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which it was an original signatory and has allowed routine inspections under its legal obligations – until gratuitous, punitive measures were added in 2003, at the behest of Washington. No report by the International Atomic Energy Agency has ever cited Iran for diverting its civilian nuclear program to military use. The IAEA has said that for most of the past three years its inspectors have been able to "go anywhere and see anything." They inspected the nuclear installations at Isfahan and Natanz on 10 and 12 January and will return on 2 to 6 February. The head of the IAEA, Mohamed El-Baradei, says that an attack on Iran will have "catastrophic consequences" and only encourage the regime to become a nuclear power.

Unlike its two nemeses, the US and Israel, Iran has attacked no other countries. It last went to war in 1980 when invaded by Saddam Hussein, who was backed and equipped by the US, which supplied chemical and biological weapons produced at a factory in Maryland. Unlike Israel, the world's fifth military power with thermonuclear weapons aimed at Middle East targets, an unmatched record of defying UN resolutions and the enforcer of the world's longest illegal occupation, Iran has a history of obeying international law and occupies no territory other than its own.

The "threat" from Iran is entirely manufactured, aided and abetted by familiar, compliant media language that refers to Iran's "nuclear ambitions," just as the vocabulary of Saddam's non-existent WMD arsenal became common usage. Accompanying this is a demonizing that has become standard practice. As Edward Herman has pointed out, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "has done yeoman service in facilitating this"; yet a close examination of his notorious remark about Israel in October 2005 reveals its distortion. According to Juan Cole, American professor of Modern Middle East History, and other Farsi language analysts, Ahmadinejad did not call for Israel to be "wiped off the map." He said, "The regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." This, says Cole, "does not imply military action or killing anyone at all." Ahmadinejad compared the demise of the Jerusalem regime to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Iranian regime is repressive, but its power is diffuse and exercised by the mullahs, with whom Ahmadinejad is often at odds. An attack would surely unite them.

The one piece of "solid evidence" is the threat posed by the United States. An American naval buildup in the eastern Mediterranean has begun. This is almost certainly part of what the Pentagon calls CONPLAN 8022, which is the aerial bombing of Iran. In 2004, National Security Presidential Directive 35, entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization, was issued. It is classified, of course, but the presumption has long been that NSPD 35 authorized the stockpiling and deployment of "tactical" nuclear weapons in the Middle East. This does not mean Bush will use them against Iran, but for the first time since the most dangerous years of the cold war, the use of what were then called "limited" nuclear weapons is being openly discussed in Washington. What they are debating is the prospect of other Hiroshimas and of radioactive fallout across the Middle East and Central Asia. Seymour Hersh disclosed in the New Yorker last year that American bombers "have been flying simulated nuclear weapons delivery missions...since last summer."

The well-informed Arab Times in Kuwait says Bush will attack Iran before the end of April. One of Russia's most senior military strategists, General Leonid Ivashov says the US will use nuclear munitions delivered by Cruise missiles launched in the Mediterranean. "The war in Iraq," he wrote on 24 January, "was just one element in a series of steps in the process of regional destabilization. It was only a phase in getting closer to dealing with Iran and other countries. [When the attack on Iran begins] Israel is sure to come under Iranian missile strikes. Posing as victims, the Israelis will suffer some tolerable damage and then an outraged US will destabilize Iran finally, making it look like a noble mission of retribution . . . Public opinion is already under pressure. There will be a growing anti-Iranian hysteria, leaks, disinformation etcetera . . . It remains unclear whether the US Congress is going to authorize the war."

Asked about a US Senate resolution disapproving of the "surge" of US troops to Iraq, Vice President Cheney said, "It won't stop us." Last November, a majority of the American electorate voted for the Democratic Party to control Congress and stop the war in Iraq. Apart from insipid speeches of "disapproval," this has not happened and is unlikely to happen. Influential Democrats, such as the new leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and would-be presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John Edwards have disported themselves before the Israeli lobby. Edwards is regarded in his party as a "liberal." He was one of a high-level American contingent at a recent Israeli conference in Herzilya, where he spoke about "an unprecedented threat to the world and Israel (sic). At the top of these threats is Iran.... All options are on the table to ensure that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon." Hillary Clinton has said, "US policy must be unequivocal.... We have to keep all options on the table." Pelosi and Howard Dean, another liberal, have distinguished themselves by attacking former President Jimmy Carter, who oversaw the Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt and has had the gall to write a truthful book accusing Israel of becoming an "apartheid state." Pelosi said, "Carter does not speak for the Democratic Party." She is right, alas.

In Britain, Downing Street has been presented with a document entitled "Answering the Charges" by Professor Abbas Edalal of Imperial College, London, on behalf of others seeking to expose the disinformation on Iran. Blair remains silent. Apart from the usual honorable exceptions, Parliament remains shamefully silent.

Can this really be happening again, less than four years after the invasion of Iraq which has left some 650,000 people dead? I wrote virtually this same article early in 2003; for Iran now read Iraq then. And is it not remarkable that North Korea has not been attacked? North Korea has nuclear weapons. That is the message, loud and clear, for the Iranians.

In numerous surveys, such as that conducted this month by BBC World Service, "we," the majority of humanity, have made clear our revulsion for Bush and his vassals. As for Blair, the man is now politically and morally naked for all to see. So who speaks out, apart from Professor Edalal and his colleagues? Privileged journalists, scholars and artists, writers and thespians who sometimes speak about "freedom of speech" are as silent as a dark West End theater. What are they waiting for? The declaration of another thousand year Reich, or a mushroom cloud in the Middle East, or both?

John Pilger


At 20/2/07 1:17 pm, Blogger SamClemenz said...

Today on National Radio, the news of an imminent attack on Iran by the U.S. was announced.
From the sound of the report this attack had been planned and Military excercises had been conducted in preparation for it for some time. Confirming what had been predicted by blogger's and journalists outside the MSM for many months.
It has been reported and accepted as common knowledge that the U.S. has moved 2 Carrier Battle Fleets into position, and are awaiting a green light for their operation to commence with the aerial bombing of Nuclear Facilities, and supposedly Military sites within Iran.
To add to John Pilger's thoughtline of the consequences of such a move, we all saw the world change forever before our eyes on the day the airliners struck the World Trade Center in New York.

The potential for a new chapter in world changing events is once again before us.

Have we become so callussed, and tolerant of war, mayhem, and distruction of life and limb that we can all sit by now without making a sound while a new chapter of death and dominance is borne out upon us?

Just how deeply can we bury our heads in our beaches to escape the reality of this planned carnage?

So what happens after the fall of the middle east? Where does America turn for it's fix? Probably not sleepy little NZ, but it would seem there are many more Nuclear weapons out there to pursue, and the Jet streams far aloft that carry our weather systems around the globe are capable of carrying much more than wind.

At 21/2/07 12:08 pm, Anonymous jr said...

I'd be very surprised personally if Iran was attacked. The US is a rational actor and is out to look after its (percieved) interests. Iran is also a rational actor and not the headcase that is often portrayed in the press.

If as is sometimes claimed on here the "wipe Israel off the map" (and to be honest the subtle difference between that and "the regieme occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" isn't going to reassure many in the US or Israel)was a misquote then what has the States got to worry about?

This repeated deception is directed at the public to whip us into a war supporting frenzy...are they trying to whip themselves into the same frenzy?! Or do they get their news/intelligence and translations from CNN?

I can't see the attack happening for a few reasons, they would have to go it alone, and will struggle to get the suport even at home for that, the result of the mission would be something akin to kicking a hornet's nest result wise, Iran would be able hit back VERY hard, in many different ways. The total success of the mission is unlikely, bunker busting nuclear weapons might well have to be used (ain't gonna happen a political nightmare - THEY NUKED IRAN!!!!)

Iran is in its rights to acquire nuclear energy, and all we have is (already rather discreditted) intelligence reports that Iran wants a bomb. The damage done to the US' reputation overseas would come close to the Iraq war and would enable other nations to practise the "1st strike" excuse with immunity in future.

Iran is a fair way off from making a bomb even if it is already trying, and even if it does acquire one they aren't very easy to move around (and thus give to terrorist groups if that was their aim) and if it lobbed one Israel's way it would cop a few back. Both sides know this and a cosy MAD has existed before in the world, Iran isn't capable of flexible response for it it would be staring at end game.

As for the quote "As the American disaster in Iraq deepens and domestic and foreign opposition grows, "neocon" fanatics such as Vice President Cheney believe their opportunity to control Iran's oil will pass unless they act no later than the spring."

...teehee this guy read too many comics as a child...explain to me how Iran is going to lose control of its oil. Is the US going to invade them too?!? Cor blimey I hope Christian Amanpor has is up to date with her shots!

Bombing certain sites is one thing but gaining control of Iran's Oil. I think even neo-cons cluthing copies of their "New American Century" are not naive enough to think that is even remotely possible.

I can't see how attacking Iran's KNOWN sites will achieve anything. If North Korea can get the bomb then its a matter of time before Iran does if it wants it. Bombing its sites will delay the inevitable and piss it off big time which will hamper the US' efforts in Iraq and elsewhere. There are too many imponderables for them to go ahead. Sabre rattling imho.


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