In August 2004, the FBI and the US Justice Department
counter-intelligence bureau announced that they were
investigating a top Pentagon analyst suspected of spying for
Israel and handing over highly confidential documents on US
policy toward Iran to AIPAC which in turn handed them over
to the Israeli Embassy. The FBI had been covertly
investigating senior Pentagon analyst, Larry Franklin and
AIPAC leaders, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman for several
years prior to their indictment for spying. On August 29,
2005 the Israeli Embassy predictably hotly denied the spy
allegation. On the same day Larry Franklin was publicly
named as a spy suspect. Franklin worked closely with Michael
Ledeen and Douglas Feith, then Undersecretary for Defense in
the Pentagon, in fabricating the case for war with Iraq.
Franklin was the senior analyst on Iran, which is at the top
of AIPAC's list of targets for war.
As the investigation proceeded toward formal charges of
espionage, the pro-Israeli think tanks and neo-con
ideologues joined in a two-prong response. On the one hand
some questioned whether "handing over documents" was a crime
at all, claiming it involved "routine exchanges of ideas"
and lobbying. On the other hand, Israeli officials and media
denied any Israeli connection with Franklin, minimizing his
importance in policy-making circles, while others vouched
for his integrity.
The FBI investigation of the Washington spy network deepened
and included the interrogation of two senior members of
Feith's Office of Special Plans, William Luti and Harold
Rhode. The OSP was responsible for feeding bogus
intelligence leading to the US attack of Iraq. The leading
FBI investigator, Dave Szady, stated that the FBI
investigation involved wiretaps, undercover surveillance and
photography that document the passing of classified
information from Franklin to the men at AIPAC and on to the
The Franklin-AIPAC-Israeli investigation was more than a spy
case. It involved the future of US-Middle East relations and
more specifically whether the '",neo-cons' would be able to
push the US into a military confrontation with Iran.
Franklin was a top Pentagon analyst on Iran, with access to
all the executive branch deliberations on Iran. AIPAC
lobbying and information gathering was aggressively directed
toward pushing the Israeli agenda on a US-Iranian
confrontation against strong opposition in the State
Department, CIA, military intelligence and field
Franklin's arrest on May 4, 2005 and the subsequent arrest
of AIPAC foreign policy research director Steve Rosen and
Iran specialist and deputy director for foreign policy,
Keith Weissman on August 4, 2005 was a direct blow to the
Israeli-AIPAC war agenda for the US. The FBI investigation
proceeded with caution accumulating detailed intelligence
over several years. Prudence was dictated by the tremendous
political influence that AIPAC and its allies among the
Conference of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations
wield in Congress, the media and among Fundamentalist
Christians and which could be brought to bear when the
accused spies were brought to trial.
The first blow was struck on August 29, 2004, when CBS
publicized the FBI investigation just when Franklin
confessed to have passed highly confidential documents to a
member of the Israeli government and began cooperating with
federal agents. He was prepared to lead authorities to his
contacts inside the Israeli government. Subsequently
Franklin stopped cooperating. The Anti-Defamation League's
(a leading Jewish pro-Israeli lobby) Abe Foxman called for a
special prosecutor to investigate "leaks" of the FBI
investigation, because they were "tarnishing" Israel's
Then Attorney General Ashcroft intervened to try to
apply the brakes to the investigation, which spread into the
neo-con nest in the Pentagon: Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle, and
Rubin were "interviewed" by the FBI. Neo-con Michael Rubin,
former Pentagon specialist on Iran and resident "scholar" at
the American Enterprise Institute, blasted Bush for
"inaction in the spy affair" and called the investigation an
"anti-Semitic witch hunt" (Forward Sept. 10, 2004). AIPAC
launched a campaign against the spy probe and in support of
its activities and leaders. As a result scores of leading
Congress members from both parties vouched for AIPAC's
integrity and pledged their confidence and support of
Never in the history of the United States had so many
leading Congress members from both parties pledged their
support for an organization under suspicion of spying, based
only on information supplied by the suspect and in total
ignorance of the federal prosecutor's case. Contrary to the
bipartisan Congressional support for AIPAC, a poll of likely
voters found that 61 per cent believed that AIPAC should be
asked to register as an agent of a foreign power and lose
its tax exempt status. Only 12 per cent disagreed. Among
American Jews, 59 per cent were not sure, while 15 per cent
strongly agreed and 15 per cent strongly disagreed (Zogby
International, Sept. 25, 2004). Clearly many Americans have
serious doubts about the loyalty and nature of AIPAC
activities, contrary to their elected representatives. The
federal spy investigation proceeded despite Executive and
Congressional opposition, knowing that it had the backing of
the great majority of US citizens.
In December 2004, the FBI subpoenaed four senior staffers at
AIPAC to appear before a grand jury and searched the
Washington office of the pro-Israel lobby seeking additional
files on Rosen and Weissman.
AIPAC continued to deny any wrongdoing, stating: "Neither
AIPAC nor any member of our staff has broken any law. We
believe any court of law or grand jury will conclude that
AIPAC employees have always acted legally, properly and
appropriately" (AIPAC December 1, 2004). Nevertheless a few
months into the investigation and with the arrest of the two
top leaders, AIPAC terminated their employment and after a
few months cut off paying their legal defense bills.
Likewise Israel's categorical denials of espionage,
evaporated, as video and transcripts of their intelligence
operative receiving classified documents surfaced.
A Grand Jury was convoked in early 2005. As the FBI's spy
investigation extended into AIPAC-Pentagon's inner recesses,
self-confessed spy Franklin's superiors Paul Wolfowitz and
Douglas Feith announced their sudden resignation from the
number 2 and 3 positions in the Pentagon. In February 2005,
Bush announced that former convicted felon, defender of
Central American death squads and long-term Zionist fanatic,
Elliott Abrams, would be in charge of Middle East policy in
the National Security Council.
Abrams would serve as a channel for directing Israeli
policies to the White House and as day-to-day source of the
most essential policy decisions and discussions. Apparently
Abrams was smart enough to keep his distance from the
Franklin/Feith and AIPAC/Embassy operations and deal
directly with Ariel Sharon and his Chief of Staff, Dov
Weinglass. In April 2005, AIPAC dismissed Rosen and
Weissman, saying their activities did not comport with the
organizations standards. On May 4, Franklin was arrested on
charges of illegally disclosing highly classified
information to two employees of a pro-Israel lobbying group.
On June 13, 2005 an expanded indictment explicitly named
AIPAC and a "foreign country" (Israel) and its Mossad agent,
Naor Gilon, who had, in the meantime, fled to Israel.
Despite AIPAC being named in a major espionage indictment
involving Steve Rosen, head of its foreign policy department
and Keith Weissman, head of its Iran desk, US Secretary of
State, Condoleezza Rice gave the keynote address at AIPAC's
convention (May 22-24, 2005). Leaders from Congress and the
Republican and Democratic parties also spoke, declaring
their unconditional support for AIPAC, Israel and Ariel
Sharon. The list included Senator Hillary Clinton, Senate
Majority Leader Bill Frist (Republican) and Senate
Democratic leader Harry Reid. Based on previous year's
attendance, more than half of the US Senate and one-third of
US Congress members were in attendance.
Clearly AIPAC, with 60,000 wealthy members and $60 million
annual budget, had more influence on the political behavior
of the US executive, political parties and elected
representatives than a federal indictment implicating its
leaders for espionage on behalf of Israel. Could there be a
basis for charging our political leaders as "accomplices
after the fact" of espionage, if the AIPAC leaders are
On August 4, 2005 Paul McNulty of the Justice Department
formally indicted AIPAC leaders Steven Rosen and Keith
Weissman of receiving and passing highly confidential
documents via the Israeli embassy to the State of Israel.
Their trial is set for April 25, 2006. Franklin's trial was
set to begin on January 2, 2006 but has been postponed.
Franklin has been co-operating with the FBI and Justice
Department in its investigations of AIPAC and the Pentagon's
'Israel Firsters' in the run up to the invasion of Iraq and
the further plans to attack Iran. The indictments are based
on a prolonged investigation. AIPAC was targeted for
investigation as early as 2001, while the indictment of
Rosen and Weissman cites illegal activities beginning in
After Rosen and Weissman came under intensive federal
investigation as co-conspirators in the Franklin spy case,
AIPAC decided to cut its losses and cover its backside by
throwing them overboard: AIPAC fired them on March 2005,
arguing that their "conduct was not part of their job, and
beneath the standards required of AIPAC employees" (Forward,
December 23, 2005). In effect AIPAC was making Rosen and
Weissman the "fall guys" in order to shake off a deeper
federal probe of AIPAC's activities. Moreover AIPAC stopped
payments to Rosen's and Weissman's lawyers sticking them
with almost a half-million dollars in legal fees. AIPAC does
not intend to pay the fees before the trial is over -
not for lack of funds (they raised over $60 million in 2005
and are tax-exempt) but for political reasons. AIPAC wants
to see how the trial goes: if they are acquitted, it will be
safe to pay their lawyers. But if they are found guilty
AIPAC will refuse to pay (citing the organization's by-law
technicalities) in order to avoid being implicated with
convicted spies. AIPAC leaders are putting their
organizational interests and their capacity to promote
Israeli interests in Congress and the media over loyalty to
their former officials.
Facing up to 10 years in federal prison, up against
detailed, well-documented federal charges based on wiretaps,
videos and the testimony of self-confessed spy and Pentagon
contact Franklin, fired and denounced by their former
colleagues and current leaders of AIPAC, Rosen and Weissman
are striking back with unexpected vehemence.
The defense attorneys are expected to argue that receiving
information from administration officials was something the
two were paid and encouraged to do and something AIPAC
routinely does (Forward, December 23,2005). In other words,
Rosen and Weissman will say that pumping top US government
officials for confidential memos and handing them over to
Israeli officials was a common practice among AIPAC
operatives. To bolster their case of "just following AIPAC
orders", Rosen and Weissman's defense lawyers will subpoena
AIPAC officials to testify in court about their past access
to confidential documents, their contacts with high-placed
officials and their collaboration with Israeli Embassy
officials. Such testimony could likely bring national and
international exposure to AIPAC's role as a two way
transmission belt to and from Israel.
If Rosen and Weissman succeed in tying AIPAC to their
activities and if they are convicted, that opens up a much
larger federal investigation of AIPAC's role in aiding and
abetting felonious behavior on behalf of the State of
In the almost two years since Rosen and Weissman came into
the public limelight as spy suspects, AIPAC has successfully
fended off adverse publicity by mobilizing leading
politicians, party leaders and senior members of the Bush
Administration to give public testimonials on its behalf. It
dumped Rosen and Weissman and pushed ahead with lining up
the US Congress with Israel's pro-war agenda against Iran.
And then out of the blue, Rosen and Weissman threaten to
blow their cover "as just another influential lobby" working
to promote US and Israeli mutual security interests.
Rosen and Weissman's defense will certainly bring out the
fact that AIPAC at no point informed their employees about
what the law states regarding the obtaining and handing over
of highly confidential information to a foreign power.
Weissman and Rosen will argue that they did not know that
receiving confidential information from administration
officials and handing it over to Israel was illegal since
everybody was doing it. They will further argue that their
alleged spy activity was not a 'rogue operation' carried on
by them independently of the organization, but was known and
approved by their superiors - citing AIPAC's employee
procedures for reporting to superiors.
According to one former AIPAC employee with connections to
the organization's current leadership, Rosen and Weissman
are perceived as acting "like Samson trying to bring the
house down on everyone" (Forward, December 23, 2005).
"Everyone" that is involved in exploiting US wealth, power
and military forces to serve Israel's expansionist
interests. What started out as a small scale spy trial, no
different from other recent cases, is growing into a major
cause celebre, involving the most powerful lobby influencing
the entire direction of US Middle East policy. If Rosen and
Weissman are convicted and they effectively make the case
that they were following orders and informing AIPAC of their
felonious activities, it is possible that it will drive away
many wealthy Jewish donors and activists, and perhaps put
some shame into the politicians who kow-tow and feed at the
With a weakened AIPAC and its allies in the government wary
of continuing to "liaison" with Israeli intelligence on
Middle East policy, it is possible that a free and open
debate based on US interests can take place. With a public
debate relatively free of the constraints imposed by the
Israel First lobbies and ideologues, perhaps the US public's
opposition to Middle East Wars and occupations can become
the dominant discourse in Congress if not the Executive.
Perhaps the $3 billion dollars plus annual foreign aid to
Israel - more than $5 billion, all told -- can be
reallocated toward rebuilding all the industrially ravaged
cities and towns of Michigan, upstate New York and
James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton
University, New York, owns a 50 year membership in the class
struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in
brazil and argentina and is co-author of Globalization
Unmasked (Zed). His new book with Henry Veltmeyer, Social
Movements and the State: Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and
Argentina, will be published in October 2005. He can be
January 14, 2006
By Sanjay Suri
LONDON - Western powers are
already planning use of the military option in the face of
Iran's insistence that it will go ahead with what it calls
its nuclear research program, a leading expert says.
''The military option is being considered already, they are
just not talking about it because it would be deeply
unpopular,'' Dr. Ali Ansari a leading Iran expert at The
Royal Institute for International Affairs in London told
''Certainly, what they are considering is air strikes, I
don't think they will carry out an invasion,'' Dr. Ansari
said. After the Iraq experience that is not likely, he
But air strikes will not win international support, and will
not be an option that could be domestically popular either,
Dr. Ansari said.
''I think it would be a mistake,'' he said. ''It will not
achieve what they want to achieve, and I think it will make
matters a whole lot worse in the Middle East.''
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that the military
option is not being ruled out. He said the referral of the
matter to the United Nations Security Council was only a
first step. ''Then we have to decide what measures to take,
and we obviously don't rule out any measures at all,'' he
Holding out such options puts Britain and the United States
back in a position similar in many ways to that before the
invasion of Iraq. If the Security Council fails to deliver
what some Western governments want, they have held open the
right to act on their own.
Any decision in the Security Council could be vetoed by
China and Russia. Russia is in fact proposing delivery of
nuclear fuel to the Iranian nuclear plant in Bushehr.
The chief diplomatic difference in the planning of an
assault on Iran now is the stronger possibility that France
and Germany which opposed the invasion of Iraq could back
limited military action against Iran. Britain, France and
Germany have come together as the "EU3" to restrain Iran's
nuclear program over the past two years.
The military option is believed to have strong backing
against Israel, which carried out an air strike on the
Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq in 1981. Some reports suggest
that Israel on its own may carry out an attack on Iran's
nuclear facilities, with tacit backing from the United
States and Britain.
But an air assault is not likely to be a simple repeat of
the Osiraq attack. Iran has at least 25 or so nuclear
facilities that all would be potential targets. And in
anticipation of an attack, Iran would be expected to have
taken due precautions.
''But any military strike would be a disaster because it
would only strengthen the conservatives within Iran and put
an end to the reformist movement,'' Dr.. Zhand Shakibi from
the London School of Economics and Political Science told
There is a real danger that such an attack will be carried
out, he said. ''There are people in U.S. circles that will
want to attack,'' he said. Sanctions may not be considered
as an option because ''sanctions are not effective,'' he
The fundamental problem within Iran is a lack of trust in
the United States ''because the U.S. has refused to
guarantee the security of Iran,'' he said. The United States
had made it clear last month that there can be no such
guarantees, he said.
''Sitting in Tehran if you see the US going to war in Iraq,
in Afghanistan, there are people who will think in Iran that
you might want to build a nuclear defense,'' Shakibi
But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad provoked alarm as
much with his statements as his actions in ordering a
resumption of Iran's nuclear program in defiance of
conditions laid down by the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA). He has called for Israel ''to be wiped from
the face of the Earth.''
Iranian scientists have broken the seals at three nuclear
installations that had been closed down in 2004 under an
There are signs of political consensus in Iran over the
decision. Former leader Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in a
statement: ''Even if the Westerners destroy our scientists,
their successors would continue to do the job. If they cause
any disturbance they will ultimately regret it.''
But any military option is likely to be preceded by a phase
of economic sanctions that could develop into sanctions as
serious as those slapped on Iraq at the end of the first
Gulf war in 1991.
But with some fears that Iran could develop nuclear weapons
within as little as six months, the sanctions route may not
be an available option.
(Inter Press Service)
US fabricated case
now, for Israel they're
January 13, 2006
As the U.S. gets ready to move on Iran, under the pretext
of a gathering Iranian nuclear threat, the news that the War
Party got creative when WMD were nowhere to be found in Iraq
should give us pause. According to a report in Raw Story by
Larisa Alexandrovna, the Office of Special Plans (OSP)
a parallel intelligence agency set up by the
neoconservatives to do an end run around the mainline U.S.
agencies was sent into Iraq in 2003 in order to cook
up phony "evidence" of "weapons of mass destruction." As
"Three U.S. intelligence sources and a source close to the
United Nations Security Council say that the Pentagon
civilian leadership under the guidance of Stephen Cambone,
appointed to lead Defense Department intelligence in March
2003, dispatched a series of 'off book' missions out of the
ultra-secretive Office of Special Plans (OSP). The team was
tasked to secure the following in order of priority: fallen
Navy pilot Scott Speicher, WMD, and Saddam Hussein."
The Speicher mission was a pretext eventuated by Ahmed
Chalabi and his Iraqi minions, who insisted that the downed
American was alive and not so well in one of Saddam's
prisons. In addition, authorized teams of operatives were
sent in both before and after the invasion, further masking
the "rogue" operation launched by OSP, the purpose of which
one UN source described thusly:
"'They come in the summer of 2003, bringing in Iraqis,
interviewing them,' the UN source said. "Then they start
talking about WMD and they say to [these Iraqi
intelligence officers] that 'Our President is in
trouble. He went to war saying there are WMD and there are
no WMD. What can we do? Can you help us?'
"The source said intelligence officers understood quickly
what they were being asked to do and that the assumption was
they were being asked to provide WMD in order for coalition
forces to find them. 'But the guys were thinking this is
absurd because anything put down would not pass the smell
test and could be shown to be not of Iraqi origin and not
using Iraqi methodology,' the source added."
Is it really possible that they would plant fake WMD, in
order for the team of OSP operatives to "find" them? The
answer, unfortunately, is undoubtedly yes. For this would
cloud the issue, irrespective of whether or not the "find"
was later debunked, and it would plant, in the public mind,
the idea that there really were WMD to be found in Iraq,
that Saddam posed a menace to the region and had to be
stopped, and, above all, that Bush was right to invade. The
news that the WMD had been "found" would be trumpeted from
here to Kingdom Come, while critics and debunkers would be
depicted as Bush-hatingterrorist-loving partisans. The
truth, in this context, is irrelevant. What matters is the
public relations effect of such a bold deception.
Well, then, what happened to the ersatz "evidence" of WMD?
What became of the work of the small four-to-five man OSP
"team" sent into Iraq under such extraordinarily murky
circumstances? An article by Stephen Hayes in the Weekly
Standard may represent the fruits of their labors. Hayes, a
leading figure in the "Bush-was-right" cargo cult and a
regular writer for the Standard, avers:
"Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic
terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four
years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to
documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in
postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents
has been confirmed to the Weekly Standard by eleven U.S.
Could these mysterious "documents and photographs" be the
product of the OSP's creative postwar tactics in Iraq? It
wouldn't be the first time the Weekly Standard had somehow
gotten its hot little hands on discarded and highly dubious
"intelligence" from the OSP's wastebasket.
Hayes' piece is a perfervid tale of raw "intelligence"
vacuumed up by U.S. forces from various sites, including in
Iraq, that supposedly documents Iraq's links to al-Qaeda.
The secret of Iraq's connection to the 9/11 terrorist attack
on the U.S. is allegedly contained in a veritable treasure
trove of "raw intelligence," the Holy Grail of the neocons,
described by Hayes as "photographs and documents on Iraqi
training camps" that "come from a collection of some 2
million 'exploitable items' captured in postwar Iraq and
Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed
documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy
discs, and computer hard drives."
The point of Hayes' piece is that these "secret" documents
and other items are being suppressed by evil forces within
the U.S. government who want to see Bush and the War Party
discredited. All right then, let's release the hidden
"evidence" of al-Qaeda's much-touted "links" to Saddam: I
can hardly wait to see the videotape of the Iraqi dictator
playing Risk with Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
as the three of them chat amiably about how to nuke New
York, Washington, and Crawford, Texas.
This is the fallback theory the neocons are pushing in light
of the complete collapse of the case for WMD, which only the
most die-hard cargo-cultists of Neoconland still uphold.
It's much more fluid, and easier to "prove," if only in the
minds of the president's supporters. Although an alleged
Prague meeting between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an
Iraqi intelligence agent turned out to be a crock, there is
an infinite number of similarly tall tales on tap, and I'm
sure Señor Hayes and other authors of the neocon
school of docudrama will rise to the challenge.
Such a ploy illustrates the three cardinal rules of warfare,
both political and otherwise: Buck up the troops and keep
firing at the enemy. Above all, stay on the offensive.
This is precisely what the neocons are doing with the
current campaign now reaching a crescendo of
righteousness against Iran's alleged attempts to
develop nuclear weapons. Although Israel doubtless has nukes
aimed at Tehran, the Iranians are not allowed to defend
against or deter the threat of an Israeli first strike
that would be committing the sin of "moral
After all, what right have the Iranians got to defend
themselves isn't their newly-elected president a
Holocaust-denier, and hasn't he expressed a strong desire to
"wipe Israel off the map"? Never mind that he seemed to have
mellowed out after due consideration and supplemented his
remarks with a suggestion that perhaps Israel might be
re-implanted somewhere else say, in Europe, the scene
of the greatest crimes against the Jews. The real point,
however, is that once the Iranians get their hands on nukes,
the worst thing in the world will have happened. Yet is this
Insofar as it would make all-out war unthinkable, the
acquisition of nuclear weapons by Tehran would, ironically,
stabilize as much as destabilize a volcanically volatile
region. As it stands now, the entire Middle East lives in
the shadow of a possible Israeli first strike against a
perceived threat as exemplified by a recent round of
speculation about an imminent Israeli attack on Iran's
nuclear sites. This is inherently destabilizing, as it means
an increase in "fourth generation" terrorist tactics
employed by Israel's enemies, and opens up the possibility
that a future Israeli prime minister perhaps an
extremist elected by a radicalized Israeli majority
might one day really pull the nuclear trigger.
On the other hand, having leveled the playing field, the
Iranians would render the Israeli first-strike strategy
inoperable. A war between Israel and its adversaries in the
Middle East, rather than ending in the nuking of Tehran,
Mecca, and every major Muslim city in the region, would
instead have to mean "mutually assured destruction" (MAD)
that old specter of the Cold War that the neocons
found so insufferably irritating at the time, and which
stood in the way of their dreams of "regime change." (It
happened anyway, albeit without their intervention, but
that's another story
In any case, the neocons, allied with Israel's amen corner
in the U.S., are bound and determined that this will not
happen, and they have considerable backing, not only in both
parties but internationally: the UN Security Council is
likely to take up the questions of sanctions soon, and the
first notes of a long prelude to another war in the Middle
East are now being heard. Rather than defend the
indefensible, i.e., the veracity and integrity of the
"intelligence"-gatheringmethods that lied us into war in
Iraq, the War Party is simply changing the subject
while still employing the same old tried-and-true methods.
After all, it worked the last time
Yet another Raw Story scoop Larisa Alexandrovna is
one busy gal gives us a preview of what the neocons
might have in store for us:
"Several U.S. and foreign intelligence sources, along with
investigators, say an Iranian exile with ties to Iran-Contra
peddled a bizarre tale of stolen uranium to governments on
both sides of the Atlantic in the spring and summer of 2003.
The story that was peddled which detailed how an
Iranian intelligence team infiltrated Iraq prior to the
start of the war in March of 2003, and stole enriched
uranium to use in their own nuclear weapons program
was part of an attempt to implicate both countries in a WMD
plot. It later emerged that the Iranian exile was trying to
collect money for his tales, sources say."
The source of this neocon fantasy-fiction: Manucher
Ghorbanifar, a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, a
legendary fabricator, and a key source of much of the
wheeling and dealing of phony "intelligence" in the run-up
to the invasion of Iraq. The audacity of this fable is that
it kills two birds with one stone targeting both Iraq
and Iran as aspiring nuclear powers deserving of "regime
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Penn.) became the tireless champion of
Ghorbanifar's guff on Capitol Hill and even wrote a whole
book on the subject, Countdown to Terror a compendium
of what amounts to neocon fan fiction, related in the
breathless tone of a dime-store spy thriller. According to
the official mythology, an Iranian informant code-named
"Ali" had information that the Iranians had sent a team to
Baghdad to make off with weapons-grade uranium from one of
Saddam Hussein's many hidden stockpiles. As Ali tells it,
the Iranians had penetrated Iraq before the invasion and
filched Saddam's nukes, apparently in the nick of time and
just under our noses albeit not, according to Ali,
without coming down with radiation poisoning in the
This story has everything: a secret informant, a mission
seemingly impossible, and, in the end, a martyrdom. The only
problem is that it isn't credible, given its source. As
Laura Rozen revealed in the definitive debunking of the
"The Prospect has learned that the true identity of 'Ali' is
Fereidoun Mahdavi, formerly the shah's minister of commerce
and, more importantly, the close friend and business partner
of Ghorbanifar, legendary arms dealer, infamous intelligence
fabricator, and central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal
that almost brought down the Reagan administration. It was
'Gorba,' as he was known back then to Lieutenant Colonel
Oliver North, the rogue National Security Council officer,
who lured the Reagan administration into secretly selling
U.S. missiles to the Islamic regime in exchange for the
release of Western hostages."
Yesteryear's serial liars are making their encore
appearance, with an all-star cast of all-too-familiar
neocons seeming to mock us, relentless and brazen. Iraq was
yesterday, but Iran is today. So are Syria and Lebanon: the
War Party is on the move. The sounds of their war cries are
already rebounding, and are heard in that inner sanctum of
"peace" and global togetherness, the United Nations.
The Security Council is due to take up the issue of Iran's
bid to build a nuclear deterrent, and this time the
Americans have their European allies, including France and
Germany, on board. The Iranians, for their part, assert that
they are acquiring a nuclear capacity purely for the purpose
of power generation, and they are trying desperately to
wriggle out of the UN inspections vise that once had Saddam
in its grip.
Viewed from an Israeli perspective, of course, the existence
of an Iranian nuclear deterrent is a strategic disaster and
utterly impermissible. After all, those nukes won't be aimed
at New York or Los Angeles: they'll be aimed at Tel Aviv
and, perhaps, any number of European capitals, which
accounts for the "multilateralist" character of the latest
Western crusade against menacing Saracens in the East.
From a purely American standpoint, however, the alteration
of the nuclear equation in the Middle East takes on an
entirely different aspect, one that is, at the very least,
highly ambiguous. To begin with, proliferation of nuclear
weaponry is bad in and of itself: we don't want another
Pakistan on our hands, in which we nervously await an
internal eruption to empower some Islamic nutball to launch
a nuclearized jihad. On the other hand, we've endured the
Pakistan situation for this long, and its potential
consequences in terms of getting nuclear arms directly into
the hands of Osama bin Laden & Co. are far more likely
and more horrendously lethal than the prospect
of Tehran acquiring nukes.
Secondly, as I've said above, the evening out of the Middle
East playing field might not be such a bad idea after all.
With the threat of an Israeli first strike removed, the
process of general disarmament starting with nuclear
disarmament can begin. Let the International Atomic
Energy Agency the UN's official nuclear weapons
watchdog inspect Israel's nuclear sites and make
their findings public. Then the Security Council can deal
with the allegations against Iran in context and,
perhaps, forge the basis for negotiating the general and
complete nuclear disarmament of the entire region, setting
in place safeguards and monitoring mechanisms that conduct
surveillance on an equal basis.
The acquisition of a nuclear capacity is, for Iranians, a
matter of national pride: even the more democratic opponents
of the current regime, when asked, assert their nation's
"right" to go nuclear. Yet it is also a matter of survival
for any nation that takes seriously the American intent to
preemptively attack anyone, anywhere, at any time, in order
to prevent some alleged future aggression or the coalescence
of some formless "threat." Another spoke in the axis of
evil, North Korea, didn't need to be told this, and now the
Iranians are learning it, too. To anyone who has ever looked
at Uncle Sam cross-eyed, the lesson of the Iraqi invasion is
that the failure to develop nuclear arms is an invitation
for the U.S. to engage in a little "regime change." Our
foreign policy of global aggression accelerates the natural
inclination of states to arm themselves to the teeth, thus
fostering the nuclear arms race: preemption precipitates
Find this article at:
January 3, 2006
AIPAC and Iran
By Joshua Frank
Bush's position on Iran is disturbing and dangerous, reads a
recent screed written by
Israel Public Affairs
Not long ago the Bush
administration accepted a Russian proposal to allow Iran to
continue to develop nuclear energy under Russian supervision
and AIPAC is downright pissed.
In a letter to congressional allies, mostly Democrats, the
pro-Israel organization admitted is was
"concerned that the decision not to go to the Security
Council, combined with the U.S. decision to support the
'Russian proposal,' indicates a disturbing shift in the
Administration's policy on Iran and poses a danger to the
U.S. and our allies."
Israel, however, continues to develop a substantial nuclear
arsenal, and in 2000 the BBC (British Broadcasting
Corporation) reported that Israel has most likely produced
enough plutonium to make up to 200 nuclear weapons.
So, it is safe to say that Israel's bomb building techniques
are light years ahead of Iran's
dismal nuclear program.
Yet the major U.S. ally in the Middle East still won't admit
they have capacity to produce
such deadly weapons.
And while AIPAC and Israel pressure the U.S. government to
force the Iran issue to the
U.N. Security Council, Israel itself stands in
violation of numerous U.N. Resolutions dealing
with the occupied territories of Palestine, including U.N.
Resolution 1402, which demands that Israel withdraw its
military from all Palestinian cities at once.
AIPAC's hypocrisy is stomach-turning, to say the least.
The goliath lobbying organization wants Iran to be slapped
across the knuckles while the crimes of Israel continue to
And who is propping up AIPAC's hypocritical position?
Senator Hillary Clinton of New York.
As the top Democratic recipient of pro-Israel funds for the
2006 election cycle thus far, pocketing over $58,000 as of
October 31 last year, Senator Clinton now has Iran in her
During a Hanukkah dinner speech delivered on December 11,
hosted by Yeshiva University, Clinton prattled, "I held a
series of meetings with Israeli officials [last
summer], including the prime minister and the foreign
minister and the head of the [Israeli Defense Force]
to discuss such challenges we confront.
In each of these meetings, we talked at length about the
dire threat posed by the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran,
not only to Israel, but also to Europe and Russia.
Just this week, the new president of Iran made further
outrageous comments that attacked Israel's right to
exist that are simply beyond the pale of international
discourse and acceptability.
During my meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, I was
reminded vividly of the
threats that Israel faces every hour of every day ...
It became even more clear how important it is for the United
States to stand with Israel ..."
As Sen. Clinton embraces Israel's violence, as well as
AIPAC's duplicitous Iran position,
she simultaneously ignores the hostilities inflicted upon
Palestine, as numerous Palestinians have been killed during
the recent shelling of the Gaza Strip.
Over the past weeks Israel continues to mark the occupied
territories (they call 'buffer zones')like a frothing-mouth
K9 on the loose.
Hillary Clinton's silence toward Israel's brutality implies
the senator will continue to support
AIPAC's mission to occupy the whole of the occupied
as well as a war on Iran in the future.
AIPAC's right -- even President Bush appears to be a little
sheepish when up against Hillary "warmonger" Clinton.
Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out!
US senators say military
strike on Iran must be
15 Jan 2006
In WASHINGTON story headlined
"CORRECTED-U.S. Senators say military strike on Iran must be
option," please read in third paragraph ... Bayh of Indiana
... instead of Bayh of Illinois ... (correcting state to
A corrected story follows:
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent
WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Republican and Democratic
senators said on Sunday the United States may ultimately
have to undertake a military strike to deter Iran from
obtaining nuclear weapons, but that should be the last
"That is the last option. Everything else has to be
exhausted. But to say under no circumstances would we
exercise a military option, that would be crazy," Republican
Sen. John McCain of Arizona said on CBS's "Face the
Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, a member of the Senate
Intelligence Committee, said there are sensitive elements of
Iran's nuclear program, which, if attacked, "would
dramatically delay its development."
"But that should not be an option at this point. We ought to
use everything else possible keep from getting to that
juncture," he said on CNN's "Late Edition."
A growing nuclear fracas exploded last week when Iran,
defying the United States and major European powers, resumed
nuclear research after a two-year moratorium.
Iran says it aims only to make power for an energy-needy
economy, not build atom bombs. But it hid nuclear work from
the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency for almost 20 years before
exiled dissidents exposed it in 2002.
On Sunday, Iran said that only diplomacy, not threats to
refer it to the U.N. Security Council, could defuse a
standoff over its nuclear work and warned that any Western
push for sanctions could jack up world oil prices.
The Security Council's five permanent members and Germany
planned talks in London on Monday on a common strategy to
tackle the controversy.
McCain called the nuclear standoff "the most grave situation
that we have faced since the end of the Cold War, absent the
whole war on terror."
"We must go to the U.N. now for sanctions. If the Russians
and the Chinese, for reasons that would be abominable, do
not join us then we will have to go with the (states that
are) willing," he said.
While acknowledging that President George W. Bush has "no
good option," McCain said "there is only one thing worse
than the United States exercising a military option, that is
a nuclear-armed Iran."
"If the price of oil has to go up then that's a consequence
we would have to suffer," he said.
Iran is the world's fourth biggest exporter of crude oil and
the second biggest in the Organization of the Petroleum
Experts and officials say it may be impossible to destroy
Iran's nuclear program because much of it is underground and
dispersed at numerous sites.
In addition, they have said an attack on Iran could further
inflame anti-Americanism in the Middle East and prompt
Tehran to interfere more in Iraq and encourage Islamist
fundamentalist groups to launch new attacks on the West.
Another Senate Intelligence Committee member, Republican
Trent Lott of Mississippi, said that despite a massive
military commitment in Iraq the United States has the
capability to strike Iran but it would be difficult and
other options must be tried first.
Bayh accused Bush of undermining the U.S. national interest
and creating what he called a dilemma by ignoring the
problem of Iran for four years.