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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Iran and the Bomb, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Facts
As our Nobel laureate President ascended to the podium on September 25 at the United Nations for his last international speech before the election, we again were the recipients of fine oratory and rhetorical flourish about America’s problems in the world. Focusing on the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa—what’s often misleadingly termed, “the Muslim world”—Obama singled out Iran’s treaty-entitled uranium enrichment activities, saying “make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.”
Obama’s remarks were dutifully transcribed by our stenographer class, as can be expected, despite intelligence-community conclusions to the contrary and the historical precedent of containment as Cold War policy. This follows the latest media scare concerning Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and the recent tiff between the U.S. and Israel over it. Like Obama’s speech (and because of similarly unchallenged statements by politicians), many media reports are awash in misleading narratives, incomplete histories, and outright fiction about Iran and its nuclear program.
Given how easily the American public and media were manipulated into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, this moment should give us some pause. The disastrous effects of that $3 Trillion Dollar War are still being felt across the world. For those not interested in seeing a much-bloodier, costlier sequel, I offer this introductory course in intellectual self-defense. The only way to rebuff and dismantle propaganda is to be aware of the truth on which it claims to comment.
Lesson #1: Iran is not building nuclear weapons
Lesson #2: Iran is not a threat to the US
Lesson #3: Iran is not an existential threat to Israel
Lesson #4: Iran’s leadership is not fanatical or suicidal
Lesson #5: Politicians and media stenographers have been claiming Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons since the mid-1980’s
Lesson #6: The American and Israeli security establishments are against it
Lesson #7: The American and Israeli people are against it
Lesson #8: An Iranian nuclear weapon will be all-but-assured if the U.S. or Israel attack
Assange to UN: US is trying to build a 'regime of secrecy'
Big Brother Surveillance: House votes to extend Foreign Surveillance Act (FISA) in Derogation of US Constitution
On Wednesday, September 12th, the House of Representatives voted 301-118 to extend the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for another five years, despite continuing secrecy, unanswered questions, and concerns from across the political spectrum about its sweeping invasions of privacy.
When originally passed, FISA was meant to curtail the federal government’s surveillance practices. Over the years, provisions for dragnet surveillance have been expanded, particularly since 2002. During the Bush administration, the National Security Agency began a warrantless wiretapping scheme hatched in secret, and in such clear violation of FISA that Attorney General John Ashcroft refused to authorize it and Justice Department officials threatened to resign en masse.
When the program was first revealed to the public in 2005, by New York Times journalists who risked prosecution to reveal state secrets, it caused an earthquake in Washington. However, in 2008, Congress amended FISA to essentially permit what the original statute prohibited. Since then, the program has continued to operate in secret, drawing widespread concerns as the NSA has escalated its war on privacy and the Constitution.
In response to questions from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the Director of National Intelligence has even admitted that the NSA’s activities violated the Constitution, and the incredibly permissive limits of FISA, on at least one occasion.
The House’s vote to reauthorize the 2008 FISA amendments is beyond troubling. Many legislators and concerned Americans have called for greater transparency in the interpretation of this law, and how it has been applied. Yet the NSA has continuously denied requests to reveal information about how many Americans have been monitored.
In such a potentially tumultuous situation, the president and his people are committed to a perilous high-wire act without a net. It involves bringing to bear all the power and savvy left to the last superpower on Earth to prevent some part of the world from spinning embarrassingly out of control, lest the president’s opponent be handed a delectable “October surprise.”
Keep in mind that, despite the president’s reputation as a visionary speaker, in global terms his has distinctly been an administration of managers. The visionaries came earlier. They were the first-term Bushites, including George W., Dick, and Donald, each in his own way globally bonkers, and all of them and their associates almost blissfully wrong about the nature of power in our world. (They mistook the destructive power of the U.S. military for global power itself.) As a consequence, they blithely steered the ship of state directly into a field of giant icebergs.
Think of that wrecking crew, in retrospect, as the three stooges of geopolitical dreaming. The invasion and occupation of Iraq, in particular — as well as the hubris that went with the very idea of a “global war on terror” — were acts of take-your-breath-away folly that help explain why the Bush administration was MIA at the recent Republican convention (as was, of course, the Iraq War). In the process, they drove a stake directly through the energy heartlands of the planet, leaving autocratic allies there gasping for breath and wondering what was next. Since 2009, the managers of the Obama administration have been doing what managers do best: fiddling with the order of the deck chairs on our particular Titanic. This might be thought of as managing the Bush legacy.
The problem was that in much of the world an older order, linked to the Cold War scheme of things, was finally coming unglued. A combination of the Bush invasions of the Eurasian mainland and the way the U.S. financial sector stormed the planet with a vast Ponzi scheme of bogus financial derivatives did much to promote the process, especially in what neoconservatives liked to call “the arc of instability” (before they offered a striking demonstration of just what instability was really all about). In a sense, what they dubbed their “democracy agenda” — though it had little enough to do with democracy — played a distinct role in unifying much of the Arab world in opposition to its Washington-backed one-percenters. In this way, the Arab Spring was launched against Ben Ali-ism, and Mubarak-ism, against, that is, an American system of well-armed regional autocrats. (The unraveling of Syria is just a reminder that what we are watching is the disintegration of the full Cold War set-up in the Middle East, including the less significant Soviet part of it.)
Back in 2004, Egyptian diplomat Amr Moussa warned the Bush administration that its invasion of Iraq had opened “the gates of hell.” Of course, Washington paid him no heed. He was neither an autocrat nor a soldier, but the secretary-general of the meaningless Arab League, so what were his credentials to explain reality to them? As it happened, he couldn’t have been more on the mark and they more in the dark. Unfortunately, it took some time, two minority insurgencies, much chaos, millions driven into exile, a bitter sectarian civil war (now being repeated in Syria), and morgues filled with dead bodies before the Arab Spring would be launched. Though that movement was named for a season of renewal, its name was apt in another sense entirely: a whole system that had long held in place a key region of the planet was being sprung loose.
In France where people are sent to jail for "Holocaust denial," considered by law a religious hate crime, it seems strange then that well timed, raunchy cartoons designed solely to insult and inflame hate against and amongst Muslims worldwide would be defended vigorously by French politicians who claim, according to the Christian Science Monitor, that "freedom of the press should not be infringed."
With Neo-Conservative warmongers behind a recent inflammatory film titled, "The Innocence of Muslims," and their counterparts amongst radical sectarian extremists leading violent protests across the Middle East and North Africa, it would almost seem as if the publication of insulting cartoons by a French paper, "Charlie Hebdo," was part of a grander strategy to create a manufactured conflict between Islam and the West, setting the stage for more overt military operations to take over faltering covert operations in Syria and beyond.
France (and the West) Are Playing Both Sides
It is a fact that France itself has provided state sponsorship of terrorism from Libya to Syria, arming, funding, and politically backing the very groups taking to the streets, burning Western consulates, and killing bystanders, diplomats, and security forces alike. France had armed, trained, funded, and provided air support for the UN-listed terrorist outfit, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) last year in Libya, in their bid to overthrow the government of Muammar Qaddafi.
Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), addressing fellow terrorists in Syria. Harati is now commanding a Libyan brigade operating inside of Syria attempting to destroy the Syrian government and subjugate the Syrian population. Traditionally, this is known as "foreign invasion." France is one of a handful of nations currently leading state-sponsorship of terrorist groups like LIFG in Syria.
LIFG had merged officially with Al Qaeda, according to a US Army West Point Combating Terrorism Center report in 2007, long before the French knowingly aided and abetted these terrorists in their bid to overthrow and overrun Libya. Currently, the government of France is funding and arming these very same terrorists, who promptly transferred weapons, cash, and fighters to Syria to begin terror operations there.
Mark Dankof’s recent agreement with Dr. Alan Sobrosky of the U. S. National War College on Press TV/Iran, that 9-11 was a false flag operation conducted by the Israeli Mossad, prompted an invitation to Mr. Dankof from globe-trotting international journalist Kourosh Ziabari to further discuss some of the specifics of the case that have prompted the suspicions and conclusions of the last 11 years.
Kourosh Ziabari: Mark, in your writings and broadcasts about 9/11, you’ve talked about the Israeli foreknowledge of the attacks. Is there compelling evidence to verify this? Do you mean that Israel was somehow involved in the attacks or may have benefited from them in one way or another?
Mark Dankof: I will reiterate what I said on Press TV. I believe Dr. Alan Zabrosky of the U. S. Army War College is correct. The Israeli Mossad pulled off the 9-11 attacks. They had the motive, the means, the opportunity, and the network in the domestic United States to keep their involvement from public exposure. As Dr. Zabrosky puts it, “It is 100% certain that 9-11 was a Mossad operation. Period.”
It was my broadcast colleague, Mark Glenn of The Ugly Truth, who did the initial exclusive interview on the air with Zabrosky, when the Good Doctor finally went public with what he knew. That single broadcast was the pivotal event on the airwaves internationally which began the process of unraveling the essence of what really happened and why, on September 11, 2001.
Consider just a few of the facts discussed by Dr. Robert Sungenis in his two-part series for Dr. E. Michael Jones’ Culture Wars (July/August 2012 edition and the current September 2012 edition available online). The Sungenis series is an extended review of Christopher Bollyn’s book, “Solving 9-11: The Deception That Changed the World.” Many of these facts are also accessible online through Wikispooks through their dossier entitled, “9-11: Israel Did It.”
The murder of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other US diplomats at the hands of rioters probably wasn’t just another case of Islamists-gone-wild. The circumstances surrounding this horrific incident — the riot was in reaction to a “film” supposedly made by a mysterious Israeli-American director under what is probably a pseudonym — point to a carefully staged and well-thought out event. The question is: staged by whom?
Let’s take a look at the film itself, entitled Innocence of Muslims. Media accounts of the movie’s content universally describe it as “crude,” “insulting,” “amateurish” — in short, not exactly a candidate for the Academy Awards. Yet this fails to really capture the spirit of the film, which can only be described as leering: there is an exhibitionistic quality to the “script,” which dwells on matters sexual. The movie, which claims to portray the life and times of the prophet Mohammed, consists of a series of sexualized vignettes interspersed with scenes of violence. News accounts refer to the “wooden” acting, and I think this is literally true: the actors come off like puppets in a Punch & Judy show. There is the same slapstick quality to their actions and particularly the bantering that passes for dialogue. It’s all centered on sex — Mohammed’s alleged pedophilia, how he and his followers raped the villages they conquered, and naturally accusations of homosexuality loom large.
My favorite scene is when two of Mohammed’s followers are having a conversation about “did you know Mohammed is gay?” “Well, I knew about” Mohammed’s alleged sex partner, “but Mohammed? Is he submissive or the dominant one?” Mohammed, who has been sitting there listening to the conversation, leans over and says: “Both!”
Innocence of Muslims is the Grand Guignol of the Islamophobes: viewing it is like reading the comments section of Pam Geller’s blog, or Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch. On a somewhat higher level, the excerpts we have seen resemble nothing so much as a dramatization of the “theories” of one Raphael Patai, a cultural anthropologist who averred in his 1973 book, The Arab Mind, that Arabs are peculiarly susceptible to sexual humiliation. As Seymour Hersh put it in his 2004 investigation into the horrors of Abu Ghraib:
“The notion that Arabs are particularly vulnerable to sexual humiliation became a talking point among pro-war Washington conservatives in the months before the March, 2003, invasion of Iraq. One book that was frequently cited was The Arab Mind, a study of Arab culture and psychology, first published in 1973, by Raphael Patai, a cultural anthropologist who taught at, among other universities, Columbia and Princeton, and who died in 1996. The book includes a twenty-five-page chapter on Arabs and sex, depicting sex as a taboo vested with shame and repression. ‘The segregation of the sexes, the veiling of the women . . . and all the other minute rules that govern and restrict contact between men and women, have the effect of making sex a prime mental preoccupation in the Arab world,’ Patai wrote. Homosexual activity, ‘or any indication of homosexual leanings, as with all other expressions of sexuality, is never given any publicity. These are private affairs and remain in private.’ The Patai book, an academic told me, was ‘the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior.’ In their discussions, he said, two themes emerged —‘one, that Arabs only understand force and, two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation.’”
In August, Brian Loftus, commercial fisherman and member of Oathkeepers, was harassed by local police for purchasing “a few boxes of ammunition.”
The local shop keeper contacted the police because he was concerned Loftus “wasn’t going to do something crazy” with the ammunition. Without probable cause, police checked his criminal background – finding no further cause for questioning, however, they continued to question Loftus as to why he purchased the ammunition.
As things are progressing in the country, this is becoming more prevalent and as someone who has swore an oath to defend the Constitution like I have and these officers have, they have to wonder how many people are they gonna call? Are they gonna call their brother in law next time he goes to buy some ammunition or their brother or sister or son – where does it end? The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have indicated to owners of gun shops and gun ranges the US government’s new definitions of domestic terrorist that coincide with their demonization of US veterans and propaganda claims that domestic terrorists are more of a threat than their manufactured insurgent groups like al-Qaeda and the Free Syrian Army.
Last month, John Whitehead, constitutional attorney for former US Marine Brandon Raub, told Glenn Beck in an interview that veterans all over the country have been disappearing.
No one believed the vote on the “God and Jerusalem” wording in the Democratic platform was conducted fairly or democratically: a two-thirds vote was required to restore the deleted words and that clearly — and audibly — didn’t happen. Neither the audience nor the news media was convinced by Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s ruling that the amendment passed. But no matter. As he told the Los Angeles Times, the Mayor has the good opinion of those who really count:
“I can tell you this — the president of the United States said, ‘Wow.’ The president said, ‘You showed why you were speaker of the California Assembly. The president, the vice president, Mrs. Obama, all of them acknowledged the decisive way I handled that.’”
Democracy shemocracy! Who cares when the Supreme Leader claps you on the back and congratulates you for a job well done? In that Villaraigosa moment, the true contours of power in the world’s greatest democracy were revealed.
The little people — i.e. the delegates, the voters, and those who have stopped voting for precisely this reason — are irrelevant pawns, to be moved about the chessboard by these giants.
“It was a lot of ado about nothing,” said Villaraigosa, misquoting and well as misusing Shakespeare:
“When reporters told him after the vote that they did not clearly hear two-thirds support, he responded, ‘That’s nice to know. I was the chairman and I did, and that was the prerogative of the chair.’”
What is the world’s most powerful and violent “ism”? The question will summon the usual demons, such as Islamism, now that communism has left the stage. The answer, wrote Harold Pinter, is only “superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged,” because only one ideology claims to be non-ideological, neither left nor right, the supreme way. This is liberalism.
In his 1859 essay, On Liberty, to which modern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mills described the power of empire. “Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians,” he wrote, “provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.” The “barbarians” were large sections of humanity of whom “implicit obedience” was required. The French liberal Alexis de Tocqueville also believed in the bloody conquest of others as “a triumph of Christianity and civilization” that was “clearly pre-ordained in the sight of Providence.”
“It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are the peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers,” wrote the historian Hywel Williams in 2001, “but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open-ended nature — its conviction that it represents a superior form of life [while denying its] self-righteous fanaticism.” He had in mind a speech by Tony Blair in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks, in which Blair promised to “reorder this world around us” according to his “moral values.” At least a million dead later – in Iraq alone – this tribune of liberalism is today employed by the tyranny in Kazakhstan for a fee of $13 million.
Blair’s crimes are not unusual. Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – 69 countries – have suffered some or all of the following. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted and their people bombed. The historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions.
This has been principally the project of the liberal flame carrier, the United States, whose celebrated “progressive” president John F. Kennedy, according to new research, authorized the bombing of Moscow during the Cuban crisis in 1962. “If we have to use force,” said Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State in the liberal administration of Bill Clinton, “it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.” How succinctly she defines modern, violent liberalism.
Chris Hedges worries that outright revolt may soon be the only option available to those fighting against the despotism of the Establishment.
This sentiment seems consistent with the following statement of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, knows something of the abuses and usurpations by those in power.
Hedges has sued the Obama administration fearing that as a result of his work in the Middle East, the specter of indefinite detention loomed within the shadows of vagueness cast by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The principal allegation made by Hedges and his co-plaintiffs is that the vagueness of critical terms in the NDAA could enable the federal government to interpret the law in a way that authorizes them to label journalists and political activists who interview or support outspoken critics of the Obama administration’s policies as “covered persons” who have given “substantial support” to terrorists or other “associated groups.”