Some studies estimate that close to 1.5 million Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of the brutal American invasion and occupation of their country in 2003. Millions more Iraqis have become refugees and orphans with no future prospects for prosperity, sanctity or stability.
Most of the critical infrastructure of the country was bombed into rubble and dust. American depleted uranium weapons have caused cancer rates in some Iraqi cities to skyrocket, permanently destroying the genes of future generations of Iraqis who are being born with horrific birth defects and diseases.
The culprits responsible for this genocidal campaign to subdue and enslave the Iraqi people are not the CEOs of American oil companies as some disingenuous commentators on the Left have claimed. President George W. Bush’s foreign policy in the Middle East was not his own nor that of the oil lobby, but was the brainchild of the neoconservative conspirators behind the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and other Zionist-oriented think tanks that dominated the Washington Beltway.
Three of Bush’s principal foreign policy advisors who are widely recognized as the prime movers behind the war in Iraq were neocon ideologues Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz, all of whom have well-documented histories of Israeli partisanship. Perle and Wolfowitz, for instance, were both investigated by the FBI in the 1980s for passing classified defence documents to Israel. Perle was once an employee of the Israeli weapons firm Soltam. Writers for the New York Times described Wolfowitz as one of Israel’s “staunchest allies” in the Bush administration and revealed that Wolfowitz “is friendly with Israel’s generals and diplomats” and that he is “something of a hero to the heavily Jewish neoconservative movement.” Feith once ran a law firm in Israel and received an award from the Zionist Organization of America for his “services to Israel and the Jewish people.” The New Yorker revealed that Feith even has a portrait of Zionism’s founder Theodore Herzl hanging on the wall of his home library. It was Feith and his neocon Zionist colleague Abram Shulsky who oversaw the secretive “Office of Special Plans” in the Pentagon where all of the lies about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” were conceived and disseminated.
These Israeli militarists, masquerading as American thinkers, left behind a paper trail that unveiled their true objectives. In 1996, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser – all future Bush administration officials — authored a strategy paper for Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli Likud regime entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” In the paper, these Zionist hawks advocated an aggressive Israeli foreign policy, calling for the removal of all of Israel’s possible military competitors in the region through force. They spoke of “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria” and of removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, calling it an “important Israeli strategic objective.” Also on their hit list was Iran, whose influence in the region they hoped to neutralize as well. By eliminating Israel’s external enemies the Zionist neocons were in turn endeavoring to subdue Israel’s internal foes, the indigenous Arab Palestinians who continue to resist Israeli occupation and apartheid.
Meyrav Wurmser, the wife of neocon David Wurmser, confessed that most of the leading neocons are pro-Israel Jews. Gal Beckerman, a writer for the Jewish Forward newspaper, admitted that the ideology of neoconservatism itself was the brainchild of chauvinistic Jewish intellectuals such as Leo Strauss, Irving Kristol and Albert Wohlstetter. “If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it,” Beckerman wrote. Prominent Israeli journalist Ari Shavit said the Iraq war was engineered by a cabal of 25 mostly Jewish neoconservative intellectuals. Famed American-Jewish journalist Carl Bernstein expressed the same view on MSNBC. The Iraq war was launched on a phony pretext by Bush, Cheney and “the Jewish neocons who wanted to remake the world,” Bernstein opined, much to the chagrin of the pro-Zionist host.
The engine driving the Zionist-led neoconservative war machine is “holocaust” mythology. “For those of us who are involved in foreign and defense policy today of my generation,” explained Richard Perle in a BBC interview, “the defining moment of our history was certainly the holocaust.” Douglas Feith often invokes the holocaust to justify his militarism. In a New Yorker profile, Feith asked, “What’s the answer to the Holocaust?” He answered his own question by suggesting that it is not surprising that this alleged event has caused so many Jews to become militant neocons dedicated to aggressive, unyielding warfare against all those who pose a “threat” to Jews and their interests. In a New York Times profile, Paul Wolfowitz spoke of the holocaust as having a profound impact on his worldview. Another neocon ringleader, Michael Ledeen, revealed his obsession with the subject in an article he authored entitled “The New Holocaust.” Political analyst Kevin Barrett observed that the Israelis and their Jewish neocon patrons in Washington “are fanatical extremists who feel that they are being persecuted everywhere they go and that they have to be extremely harsh, unyielding and aggressive, as well as deceptive and violent with the world” in order to ensure their survival. Somehow it doesn’t dawn on them that maybe it is their unscrupulous behaviour that is the cause of hostility towards them in the first place. Obviously introspection is not exactly a Zionist virtue.
The Zionists’ militarist mindset is evidently motivated by the ethnocentric myths of Jewish victimhood. World-conquering Neocon-Zionist belligerence is driven in large part by the religious adherence to the official propaganda of the victors of World War II. Elite Jews played an important role in bringing about the Second World War as the final phase of their plan to establish the state of Israel. The First World War accomplished several things for the Zionists: it freed up Palestine from Ottoman control (the Ottomans previously rejected Zionist offers to purchase Palestine), it fractured the big empires of Europe who could then be manipulated into future conflicts, and lastly it delivered Russia to the Bolsheviks, a majority of whom were Jewish chauvinists hell-bent on the subjugation of that Christian Empire. With Russia now in the hands of Jewish communist extremists and Palestine falling under British dominion, the Zionist plan for Israel was well on its way.
“It has been repeatedly acknowledged by British Statesmen,” wrote Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann in a 1941 letter to British leader Winston Churchill, “that it was the Jews who, in the last [world] war, effectively helped to tip the scales in America in favour of Great Britain. They are keen to do it – and may do it – again.” Wiezmann went on to ask for British assistance in the formation of a “Jewish fighting force” that would be used to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its Arab population. Wiezmann promised Churchill that if the British would help create a Jewish militia to conquer Palestine, he would do his utmost to mobilize American Jewry to exert their influence to draw America into the Second World War on Britain’s side, as they did in the first great war.
Benjamin Freedman, a former top-level Zionist, exposed the machinations of his brethren relating to the First and Second World Wars and the Zionist conquest of Palestine. In a 1961 speech at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., Freedman explained that the United States was “suckered into the [first world] war merely so that the Zionists of the world could obtain Palestine.” Freedman described how Zionist Jews made a secretive deal with the British leadership during World War I promising to bring America into the war in exchange for Palestine. The result of this agreement was the “Balfour Declaration” of 1917, a British government decree that promised to make Palestine into a national homeland for the Jews. Freedman stressed the absurdity that Britain “should offer [Palestine] as coin of the realm to pay the Zionists for bringing the United States into the war.” The Zionists, said Freedman, “have complete control of our government. … The Zionists and their co-religionists rule this United States as though they were the absolute monarchs of this country.”
In a December 1919 speech in Jerusalem, Chaim Wiezmann boasted about securing the Balfour Declaration from the British government through “persistent propaganda, through unceasing demonstration of the life force of our people.” “We told the responsible authorities: We will establish ourselves in Palestine whether you like it or not,” Weizmann said. “You can hasten our arrival or you can equally retard it. It is however better for you to help us so as to avoid our constructive powers being turned into a destructive power which will overthrow the world.” Threatening the world into approving the creation of Israel was part and parcel of the Zionist project from its inception.
In 1903 an early Zionist leader named Max Nordau conspicuously predicted the outbreak of the First World War, which lends credence to the suggestion that a hidden force of Jewish Zionists, Freemasons and bankers are responsible for instigating the conflict for their own purposes. “Let me tell you the following words as if I were showing you the rungs of a ladder leading upward and upward: Herzl, the Zionist Congress, the English Uganda proposition, the future world war, the peace conference – where with the help of England a free and Jewish Palestine will be created,” Nordau told his compatriots at the sixth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, 11 years before the outbreak of the First World War and 14 years before the British issued the “Balfour Declaration.”
Such predictive powers unveil a plan that was consciously followed and executed during and after World War I. The “peace conference” Nordau envisioned was the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, which resulted in the Treaty of Versailles, a farce that unjustly punished Germany for a war it did not start, thus laying the groundwork for the inevitable outbreak of the Second World War. An international peacekeeping body was established shortly after World War I known as the League of Nations. The League put its stamp of approval on the British seizure of Palestine after the war, an imperial land-grab that had no real legitimacy outside of the self-serving declarations of the political elites, bankers and oligarchs who chaired the League.
The League essentially functioned as a tool of the financial elite and served the geopolitical aspirations of the Zionists. “The League of Nations is a Jewish idea, and Jerusalem some day will become the capital of the world’s peace,” proclaimed Jewish leader Nahum Sokolow at a Zionist conference in Carlsbad, California, in 1922. “The League has recognized our rights to our ancient home,” he said. “We Jews throughout the world will make the League’s struggle our own and will not rest until there is ultimate victory.”
Even with Palestine now in the palm of their hands, the Zionists still had a problem: convincing Europe’s Jews to leave their lives of luxury and embrace Palestine as their new home. Such a task proved difficult, with only a minority of European Jews strongly identifying with Zionism at this time. This reality sheds a different light on the rise of Adolf Hitler and National Socialism in Germany, which proved very convenient from the Zionists’ perspective. While publicly professing scorn and hatred of Nazism, Zionist Jews secretly initiated a deal with Hitler’s government – the “Transfer Agreement” – which saw the transfer of tens of thousands of German Jews and their assets to Palestine. Lasting from 1933 through 1941, the Nazi-Zionist pact proved crucial to the future establishment of the Zionist state. The large amounts of capital and agricultural equipment that was shipped into Palestine by way of this agreement substantially contributed to the creation of Israel. “Through this pact, Hitler’s Third Reich did more than any other government during the 1930s to support Jewish development in Palestine,” opined historian Mark Weber in his article titled “Zionism and the Third Reich.” “[D]uring the 1930s no nation did more to substantively further Jewish-Zionist goals than Hitler’s Germany,” says Weber.
Still, the Transfer Agreement alone did not produce the amount of Jewish emigration necessary to form an exclusivist Jewish ethno-state in Palestine, as the Zionists intended all along. There simply were not enough Jews in Palestine that would be required to replace the expelled Arabs and keep them at bay. Not only that, but there was still not enough global support or sympathy for the creation of a state for Jews. Since the dawn of Zionism in the late 1800s, Jewish-Zionist ideologues had been ravenously promoting the story of “six million” persecuted and oppressed Jews. “We Jews need a homeland of our own because we are persecuted wherever we go” was the traditional Zionist argumentation. But the First World War did not produce the circumstances needed to foist this propaganda on the world. Jews were not singled out for persecution or mistreatment by any belligerent in that war, which is why the Zionists, following the dictates of their founder Theodore Herzl, deliberately aided and abetted Hitler’s forces to corral their fellow Jews into ghettos and concentration camps during the Second World War.
Herzl, in his diaries, advocated making use of “anti-Semitism” to spur Jewish emigration to Palestine. “It would be an excellent idea to call in respectable, accredited anti-Semites as liquidators of [Jewish] property,” he wrote. “The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies. … I have already told you that we want to let respectable anti-Semites participate in our project, respecting their independence which is valuable to us—as a sort of people’s control authority.” Did Hitler not carry out Herzl’s exact mandate? It must be pointed out that Hitler’s “final solution of the Jewish question” was the same procedure outlined by Zionists decades earlier: sequestering all Jews into a single state, isolated from other nations. “The final solution of the Jewish question lies therefore in the establishment of the Jewish State,” said the 1897 manifesto of a German-Zionist group. In an 1899 letter, Theodore Herzl asked the Russian Czar if he would hear out his “Zionist plan for the final solution of the Jewish Question.” In 1936, the Jewish nationalist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky laid out what the Zionist plan would ultimately entail: “It is not our task to establish in Palestine a home for selected people, not even a state for a small portion of our people. The aim of our efforts is to organize a systematic massive Jewish evacuation from all the countries in which they live.”
“The transfer of millions of Jews to their homeland [Palestine] will save the European Jewry from extermination,” declared Jabotinsky in 1940, adding, “Evacuation of the Jewish masses is the only cure for the Jewish catastrophe.” The “extermination” Jabotinsky spoke of was not happening, but that didn’t stop Zionist propagandists from disseminating reckless atrocity stories of systematic genocide in order to win the world over to the Zionist cause. Legends of human soap, skin lampshades, shrunken heads, electric shock chambers, gas chambers and other absurdities were trumpeted from the rooftops by Zionists and their controlled press.
Jewish leaders made numerous public pronouncements designed to provoke Hitler, hoping he would unleash his fury upon Europe’s Jews, and with the help of Organized Zionism spur them to make their way to Palestine. For instance, Organized Jewry made a declaration of war against Germany in March 1933, before Hitler took any serious measures restricting the rights of German Jews. “Judea Declares War on Germany: Jews of All the World Unite in Action,” read the headline of the March 24, 1933, edition of Britain’s Daily Express. The corresponding article declared a Jewish “holy war against Germany.” “The Israeli people around the world,” the article continued, “declare economic and financial war against Germany. Fourteen million Jews stand together as one man, to declare war against Germany.” A year later Jabotinsky made a similarly bellicose pronouncement, stating:
“For months now the struggle against Germany is waged by each Jewish community, at each conference, in all our syndicates, and by each Jew all over the world. There is reason to believe that our part in this struggle has general value. We will trigger a spiritual and material war of all the world against Germany’s ambitions to become once again a great nation, to recover lost territories and colonies. But our Jewish interests demand the complete destruction of Germany.”
As the war drew near, Chaim Weizmann did everything in his power to invite definite reprisals against Jews from Hitler’s regime. In a 1939 letter to British leader Neville Chamberlain, Weizmann declared that “the Jews stand by Great Britain and will fight on the side of the democracies.” Weizmann and his Zionist colleagues made many public statements to that effect, which Hitler referenced in a July 1942 speech. In 1941, an American Jew named Theodore Kaufman made an even more brazen effort to deliberately provoke hostility towards Jews. He authored and published a book advocating the genocide of the whole German people by way of a forced sterilization program. Kaufman’s text, titled Germany Must Perish!, outlined “a comprehensive plan for the extinction of the German nation and the total eradication from the earth, of all her people.” A map illustrating the possible territorial break-up of Germany and the “apportionment of her lands” was also found in the book. “Germany must perish forever from this earth!” Kaufman declared, calling for “a final solution” of German extinction. Hitler’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels was well aware of Kaufman’s hateful screed, and widely distributed it in Germany to bolster his case of a Jewish conspiracy against his country.
Zionist leaders and activists gave Hitler more than enough ammunition to justify interning Jews in camps as a security threat to Germany. The American and Canadian governments imprisoned Japanese, German and Italian citizens in camps during the war with a far weaker rationale. Japanese, German and Italian citizens of the US and Canada had not declared a “holy war” against their adopted countries, but were interned nonetheless. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that these Zionist provocations were a cleverly calculated ruse intended to create an atmosphere in Europe conducive to the Zionist transfer plan. Without the uprooting process initiated by the National Socialists and their Zionist assistants, it is unlikely that any large amount of European Jews would have voluntarily left Europe for an uncertain future in Palestine.
Some Jewish casualties in a devastating war that took tens of millions of lives were inevitable and very much desired by the Zionist leaders seeking a pretext to invade and conquer Palestine for Jewish colonization. “There are 6,000,000 living, bleeding, suffering arguments in favor of Zionism,” declared Rabbi Stephen S. Wise at a meeting of Zionists in New York in 1900. In 1906, a German-Jewish philanthropist named Dr. Paul Nathan publicized the notion that the Russian government had initiated a policy of exterminating its Jews as a “solution” to the “Jewish question” and that six million were in grave danger. Max Nordau, the Zionist leader who predicted World War I, invoked the story of six million persecuted Jews in 1899, 1911 and 1920. At a Zionist conference in 1911, Nordau warned that it was only a matter of time before six million Jews would be “annihilated” by European governments.
This familiar narrative was repeatedly advanced a few dozen times before, during and after World War I. A most interesting example is from October 1919 when the American Hebrew publication carried an alarmist story headlined “The Crucifixion of Jews Must Stop” which alleged that “six million Jewish men and women” were on the brink of a “holocaust of human life.” A New York Times report from the same year headlined “Ukrainian Jews Aim To Stop Pogroms” alleged that six million Jews in the Ukraine and Poland were being targeted in pogroms and massacres. Another report from 1921 titled “Begs America Save 6,000,000 In Russia,” also from the New York Times, said, “Russia’s 6,000,000 Jews are facing extermination by massacre.”
As the Second World War approached, Zionists amplified their atrocity propaganda. In 1936, Chaim Weizmann told a British Commission that “six million Jews” in Europe had “neither hope nor future save in the land of Israel.” In 1940, World Jewish Congress chairman Nahum Goldmann proclaimed that if the German National Socialists achieved victory in the war “6,000,000 Jews in Europe are doomed to destruction.” Amazingly, Zionist newspapers betrayed the pre-meditated and fraudulent nature of the six million myth by proclaiming precisely six million Jewish victims six months before the end of the war. Soviet-Jewish war propagandist Ilya Ehrenburg told his readers that “the world now knows that Germany has killed six million Jews” in March of 1945, two months before the end of hostilities and long before any accurate statistical data of war casualties would become available. “At that time, no demographic figures could have been available to [Ehrenburg],” writes German Rudolf in the preface of The First Holocaust. “Just a year later,” Rudolf continues, “British Historian David Irving emphasized that as early as June 1945, in other words immediately after the end of hostilities in Europe, some Zionist leaders claimed to be able to provide the precise number of Jewish victims – six million, of course – even though the chaos reigning in Europe at that time rendered any demographic studies impossible.”
In an effort to whitewash their own egregious war crimes, the Allied Powers went along with the Zionists’ pre-meditated fictional account of six million dead Jews. At the post-war Nuremberg trials, an Allied-run kangaroo court staffed to the brim by Zionist Jews and their Allied lackeys, the truth was buried underneath a tidal wave of falsehoods. The Zionist motives for the war itself were purposefully obscured and a cartoonish propaganda narrative of “Nazi evil” was foisted upon the world to advance the victors’ post-war aims for Europe and accelerate the Zionists’ ambitions for a Jewish ethno-state in Palestine. American Senator Thomas Dodd, who was a chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials in 1945, revealed in a letter to his wife that the staff at Nuremberg was about 75 per cent Jewish. “Now my point is that the Jews should stay away from this trial — for their own sake,” Dodd wrote in the letter, adding, “For … the charge ‘a war for the Jews’ is still being made and in the post-war years it will be made again and again. The too large percentage of Jewish men and women here [at Nuremberg] will be cited as proof of this charge.”
When the Soviet Union and its communist satellites in Eastern Europe collapsed in 1991, so did the myth of the six million. The Soviet lie of four million deaths at Auschwitz – a monstrous exaggeration accepted as ‘fact’ for decades — was officially reduced to around one million, but revisionist historians doubt even that figure. Revisionist scholarship has determined that somewhere between 100-150 thousand people perished in Auschwitz mainly as a result of disease and starvation, which was not a deliberate act on the part of the Germans but rather the outcome of Allied carpet-bombing of Germany’s infrastructure. For years Zionist propagandists claimed several million Jews had been killed by the Germans at the Mauthausen and Majdanek concentration camps, but recent official revisions place the Jewish death totals there at 74,000 combined. Despite the vast lowering of the death figures at many major camps, Zionists and those they have convinced through incessant propaganda still repeat the erroneous six million number as fact.
Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein outlined Zionist deceptions vis-à-vis the orthodox holocaust narrative in his book The Holocaust Industry. Finkelstein observes that a dogma has been fashioned around the “holocaust” by the Jewish-Zionist establishment as a means of thought control. Shielding Israel from criticism and rebuke, Finkelstein argues, is a primary motivation behind the ceaseless promotion of holocaust mythology, in addition to Zionist shakedowns for reparations money from Germany. This profitable industry is bolstered by the Hollywood entertainment establishment which is “totally run by Jews” according to the Jewish Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein. Not only does the holocaust dogma provide Zionist Jews with psychological cover to commit heinous crimes against the Palestinians and mask them under a façade of victimhood, but it also acts as a perpetual pretext for wars that serve Israel’s interests, such as the war in Iraq.
Gilad Sharon, the son of Israeli war criminal politician Ariel Sharon, vividly unveiled the bloodthirsty and bellicose nature of Zionism in a 2012 op-ed for the Jerusalem Post. Calling openly for the genocidal carpet-bombing of Gaza, Sharon declared: “We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.” Sharon’s remarks are not the ravings of a fringe lunatic — they are completely consistent with the teachings of the pioneers of Zionist ideology, like Dr. David Wolffsohn, the late World Zionist Organization chairman, who told a meeting of Zionists in 1907 that Jews must put aside their differences and unite to “conquer the world.” Vladimir Jabotinsky, the father of the Revisionist strain of Zionism, said candidly, “We want a Jewish Empire.” Zionism is a “death-crazed narcissistic cult,” said Rich Siegel, a former Zionist who saw the light. The inhuman precepts of the Jewish supremacist mentality that is so prevalent in Israel today can only result in more violence and bloodshed, more misery and suffering for the Palestinians and Arabs in general.
While the West bears much shame and responsibility for aiding and abetting the Zionist project and all of its murderous and destructive consequences, bringing history into accordance with the facts is one way to uplift the Palestinians whose struggle for freedom and justice goes on.
Those who claim that the United States went to war for oil seem to assume that since Iraq has huge reserves of oil, gaining control of that resource must have been the reason that the United States invaded the country. As the most prominent intellectual exponent of that view, Noam Chomsky, has put it:
Of course it was Iraq’s energy resources. It’s not even a question. Iraq’s one of the major oil producers in the world. It has the second largest reserves and it’s right in the heart of the Gulf’s oil-producing region, which U.S. intelligence predicts is going to be two thirds of world resources in coming years. 
Operating from that assumption, the proponents of the war-for-oil thesis have endeavored to produce evidence that proves it, at least in their eyes.
I have offered counter-evidence in my book, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, and elsewhere to show that the existing arguments in support of the oil-war thesis just do not provide anything close to compelling proof. 
The fact that Iraq has a large amount of oil does not mean that the oil companies would necessarily push for war; instead, they could seek to exploit that oil in peaceful ways.
Indeed, the companies were pushing for an end to sanctions against Iraq. A Business Week article in May 2001, for example, reported that the easing of sanctions on “rogue” states “pits powerful interests such as the pro-Israeli lobby and the U.S. oil industry against each other. And it is sure to preoccupy the Bush Administration and Congress.” 
In short, an easing of sanctions supported by the oil companies, which would enable them to have access to Iraq’s oil, would serve to strengthen Saddam and make it more difficult to overthrow his regime, which was the goal of the neocons, a leading element of the Israel lobby.
Moreover, the oil companies were quite fearful of the impact of war on oil production. According to oil analyst Anthony Sampson in December 2002, “Oil companies have had little influence on U.S. policy-making. Most big American companies, including oil companies, do not see a war as good for business, as falling share prices indicate.” 
Fareed Mohamedi of PFC Energy, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., that advised petroleum firms, stated that “[t]he big oil companies were not enthusiastic about the Iraqi war,” maintaining that “[c]orporations like Exxon-Mobile and Chevron-Texaco want stability, and this is not what Bush is providing in Iraq and the Gulf region.” 
Despite the lack of solid evidence, and the existence of contrary evidence, the war-for-oil argument just will not die, for various political, psychological, social, and economic reasons.
It fits the prevalent belief in the rapacious nature of capitalist companies, and it is also a safe view to hold — it is doubtful that anyone ever lost a job or a friend for blaming the oil interests, unless one were actually employed by an oil company. In contrast, the explanation involving the neoconservatives and Israel represents a dangerous taboo.
Given the strong attraction of the oil argument, therefore, it is appropriate to examine a prominent piece of purported evidence used by its adherents. Thus, this article will look at the role of the National Energy Policy Development Group, which President George W. Bush created in his second week in office. The group had as its purpose the creation of a national energy policy for the United States. Chaired by Vice President Dick Cheney — who in the war-for-oil scenario is assumed to be an archetypal oil man — it would be dubbed the Cheney Energy Task Force.
As Cheney’s biographer Barton Gellman points out, the task force became, in many respects, a “creature of Cheney’s worldview.”  De-emphasizing conservation and environmental protection, Cheney believed that the United States needed a “near-term boost in domestic energy production,” which had suffered from over-regulation.  In short, Cheney’s view on energy production coincided with that of the producers of fossil fuels. And in developing the energy policy, he would consult closely with leading figures in the fossil-fuels industry while giving short shrift to the opinions of environmentalists, with whom he rarely met.
Perhaps because of the biased nature of the sources of his information, but also in line with his expansive view of the executive branch’s prerogatives, Cheney kept the meetings secret, and only as a result of legal efforts was any information about them revealed to the public; and even then it was far from everything. It was that secrecy that the war-for-oil theorists fell upon in order to substantiate their claim that the oil interest played the leading role in bringing about the U.S. attack on Iraq.
To the adherents of the thesis, it seemed apparent that the secrecy meant that something very ominous had been discussed in those meetings that could not be made known to the public, and the most ominous development in the early Bush administration was assumed to be the planning for the attack on Iraq.
Now, there is plenty of evidence that such planning was underway, and in fact had already been made, by the neoconservatives, with whom Cheney was certainly in league and whom he had actually brought into the Bush administration. However, there is no evidence that an attack on Iraq garnered substantial support from the oil industry. Far from pushing for war, industry representatives publicly supported the elimination of sanctions on Iraq (and elsewhere) so that they could have access to oil.
Moreover, they were concerned about any form of instability in the Middle East, fearing that war would disrupt the extraction and transportation of oil. Thus, ex-President George H.W. Bush and his cronies, who according to the oil-war scenario are associated with the war on Iraq, were at least cool to the war.
Brent Scowcroft, for one, was actively opposed. Scowcroft had been the elder Bush’s national security advisor and during the run-up to the 2003 war sat on the board of Pennzoil-Quaker State. 
As an aside, let me deal with the implication that the oil companies were advocating war only in secret meetings with high Bush administration officials, with their pro-war views unknown to the media.
That invisible approach is highly unlikely. Any contention that the oil interests primarily work behind the scenes is belied by the fact that they have been quite visible indeed in their public advocacy on many issues: fracking regulations; the termination of restrictions on the export of American-produced crude oil; the Keystone XL pipeline; regulations on refineries; and opposition to limitations on the use of fossil fuels because of “climate change” (anthropogenic global warming). And as mentioned, the oil companies were visible in their public opposition to the existing oil sanctions in 2001. The oil companies have been not only quite vocal in those matters but also far from successful in getting their way.
The war-for-oil theorists’ suggestion that the oil interests could be more successful taking an invisible approach instead of a public one does not seem plausible. The neocons had developed and publicized their Middle East war agenda before 2001; once George W. Bush took office, they openly promoted an attack on Iraq, both in the media and from their key positions in the administration. All of that being so, it is reasonable to believe that it was their efforts that accounted for the U.S. attack. There is no need to posit any undocumented, invisible support from the oil lobby; by the standards of proof in argumentation, the neocon explanation fits the simplicity principle of Occam’s razor. In an example of reverse logic, proponents of the oil thesis deny, ignore, or at least downplay the role of the neocons in bringing about the war on Iraq.
Despite counter-evidence, proponents of the war-for-oil thesis claim to find solid evidence for the coming invasion in the documents produced by the Cheney Energy Task Force. Some war-for-oil proponents, for example, have cited the maps of Iraqi oil fields used by the task force as evidence of plans for how those fields would be divvied up among U.S. companies. As the result of a court order, Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group, obtained a batch of task force-related U.S. Commerce Department papers that included a detailed map of oil fields, terminals, and pipelines, as well as a list titled “Foreign Suitors of Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” But the papers obtained also included a detailed map of oil fields and pipelines in Saudi Arabia and in the United Arab Emirates, as well as a list of oil and gas development projects in those two countries. The U.S. secretary of commerce said there were also maps of other key oil-producing regions of the world, including Russia, North America, the Middle East, and the Caspian Sea region. It seems quite reasonable that a task force on energy would seek clear knowledge about the key global locations of oil production. 
Strategic-Energy-Policy-Challenges-for-the-21st-CenturyIraq is barely mentioned in the final report from the Cheney task force, but it is given more, though still quite limited, attention in a report, “Strategic Energy Policy: Challenges for the 21st Century,” by an Independent Task Force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and the James A.Baker III Institute of Public Policy.
According to the Baker Institute, that task force was “comprised [of] 52 prominent Americans from government, industry, and academia … [and] offered 110 recommendations to the Cheney task force and U.S. Congress regarding steps to build a comprehensive energy policy and national consensus.”
The chairman of the task force was Edward L. Morse, an energy economist and at the time an advisor at Hess Energy Trading Co. During the Carter administration he served as deputy assistant secretary of state for international energy policy, from 1979 to 1981.
Adherents of the oil-war argument have connected the Baker report to the Cheney task force and have interpreted its few references to Iraq as indications of the forthcoming American invasion. 
The Baker group urged four “immediate steps”; one such step, labeled “Deter and Manage International Supply Shortfalls,” was in five parts; the Iraq issue was merely one of those five parts. The “immediate steps” were “to be considered in the very short term to assure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to deal with potential supply disruptions and to buffer the economy from adverse impacts of price volatility.” 
The recommendation pertaining to Iraq read: “Review policies toward Iraq with the aim to lowering anti-Americanism in the Middle East and elsewhere, and set the groundwork to eventually ease Iraqi oil-field investment restrictions.” The report acknowledged that “Iraq remains a destabilizing influence to U.S. allies in the Middle East, as well as to regional and global order, and to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets.” 
The report stated that “[t]he United States should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq, including military, energy, economic, and political/diplomatic assessments.”  The emphasis, however, was not on military action against Iraq but on a sanctions policy toward Iraq that was better-coordinated with other countries, the existing sanctions being perceived as harming the Iraqi people without effectively weakening Saddam’s power and ability to acquire weaponry.
“The United States,” the report thus maintained, “should then develop an integrated strategy with key allies in Europe and Asia and with key countries in the Middle East to restate the goals with respect to Iraqi policy and to restore a cohesive coalition of key allies…. Actions and policies to promote these goals should endeavor to enhance the well-being of the Iraqi people. Sanctions that are not effective should be phased out and replaced with highly focused and enforced sanctions that target the regime’s ability to maintain and acquire weapons of mass destruction. A new plan of action should be developed to use diplomatic and other means to support U.N. Security Council efforts to build a strong arms-control regime to stem the flow of arms and controlled substances into Iraq.” 
The Baker report continued: “Once an arms-control program is in place, the United States could consider reducing restrictions on oil investments inside Iraq. Like it or not, Iraqi reserves represent a major asset that can quickly add capacity to world oil markets and inject a more competitive tenor to oil trade.” 
The report acknowledged that if a diminution of the sanctions led to an increase in Saddam’s oil revenues, he “could be a greater security threat to U.S. allies in the region if weapons of mass destruction (WMD) sanctions, weapons regimes, and the coalition against him are not strengthened.” Nonetheless, it supported making a change since the continuation of the “oil sanctions is becoming increasingly difficult to implement” and “Saddam Hussein has many means of gaining revenues, and the sanctions regime helps perpetuate his lock on the country’s economy.”  A one-sided reading of that passage alone might seem to include war as one alternative to the existing sanctions, but, in fact, the report explicitly prescribed narrowing the scope of sanctions.
The Baker Institute report’s fundamental concern that “energy disruptions could have a potentially enormous impact on the U.S. and world economy, and … affect U.S. national security and foreign policy in dramatic ways”  would suggest that the United States not engage in military adventures that could destabilize the region. The U.S. invasion of Iraq certainly did cause such destabilization and explains why the oil interests and the traditional American foreign-policy establishment in general were cool or opposed to the attack on Iraq. 
Now, once it had become clear that the United States would attack Iraq, and certainly after it actually had invaded, one may assume that the oil companies would want to take advantage of the situation and jockey for a favored position in postwar Iraq. But that does not somehow prove by itself that the oil interests pushed the country into war. And as it happened, the U.S. government did little to guarantee a favorable position for American oil companies after the war. As I pointed out in The Transparent Cabal, the U.S. government never made plans (much less implemented such plans) to dominate Iraq, to the extent of being able to control Iraq’s oil for its own benefit and that of its oil companies at the expense of the Iraq government and people. To exercise any permanent control of Iraq’s oil reserves, Washington would have had to turn the country into a virtual colony (which would have been very difficult, if not impossible).  It was inevitable that an Iraqi government with any type of autonomy would sell oil leases to the highest bidder.
Under the oil argument, the violence and political resistance that sprang up in Iraq during the occupation thwarted the U.S. plan to control oil. The likelihood of such internal violence, however, was fully recognized in a number of pre-invasion government studies.  About the only ostensibly knowledgeable group that claimed otherwise was the neocons, and if their expressed view here is accepted as a candid account, it seems necessary to accept also their public pronouncements about establishing democracy and ridding Iraq of WMDs as reasons for the war.
When Iraq began to sell oil leases to foreign companies in 2009, only a very few went to American companies while a disproportionate number went to America’s major rivals, China and Russia. That could hardly be a goal of American foreign policy. One reason given for those countries’ success has been that their companies were government-owned or government-supported, and thus could better afford to incur risk and accept low profits than their American counterparts, which were strictly private.  Of course, if the U.S. government really fought a multi-trillion-dollar war for the purpose of gaining control of Iraqi oil for its companies, one would expect it to subsidize any oil leases in Iraq by American companies, the cost of which would pale beside the overall war costs.
In sum, there does not seem to be any real evidence that Washington went to war against Iraq to enhance the profits of the oil industry, or control oil for the United States, nor is there any logical reason to think that would be the case. Nevertheless, as I indicated at the beginning, there are strong political, psychological, social, and economic motivations for maintaining that belief, especially as opposed to the non-P.C. and rather dangerous alternative view to which I adhere — focusing on the role of the pro-Israel neocons. In most cases, those concerns are far more important in determining the prevalence of any view in modern America than logic and evidence, even for that very small minority of the population with high intellectual ability who are actually knowledgeable about the issues.
In fact, such people are often far more affected by concerns involving employment and social status than average Americans, and are thus less open-minded and less willing to alter their views in light of the facts. Whatever their actual personal views, the oil argument provides a safe position for those who want to oppose America’s war policies in the Middle East without endangering themselves by expressing a view that could bring on lethal accusations of anti-Semitism.
However, a false view of reality will not serve to effectively solve problems. If we focus on a false culprit, the neocons and the overall Israel lobby are apt to flourish, and American military adventures are apt to continue in the Middle East.
1. Noam Chomsky, interview with Dubai’s Business Channel, “‘Of course, it was all about Iraq’s resources,’” December 2, 2003.
2. Stephen J. Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel (Norfolk, Va.: Enigma Editions, 2008), pp. 333-50; Sniegoski, “War on Iraq: Not oil but Israel,” The Last Ditch, October 22, 2004.
3. “Rogue States: Why Washington May Ease Sanctions,” Business Week, May 6, 2001. Quoted in Transparent Cabal, p. 336; quoted in “War on Iraq: Not oil but Israel.”
4. Anthony Sampson, “Oilmen don’t want another Suez,” The Observer, December 21, 2002. Sampson is author of The Seven Sisters(New York: Bantam Books, 1976), which deals with oil companies and the Middle East; quoted in Transparent Cabal, p. 336; quoted in “War on Iraq: Not oil but Israel.”
5. Quoted in Roger Burbach, “The Bush Ideologues vs. Big Oil in Iraq,” CounterPunch, October 3-5, 2003.
6. Barton Gellman, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency (New York: Penguin Press, 2008), p. 90.
7. Ibid., p. 91.
8. Transparent Cabal; “War on Iraq: Not oil but Israel,” The Last Ditch, October 22, 2004; “Brent Scowcroft,” Sourcewatch.
9. “Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Detail Iraqi Oil Industry,” Fox News, July 18, 2003; “Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Feature Map of Iraqi Oil Fields,” Judicial Watch, July 17, 2003.
10. James A. Baker III Institute of Public Policy, Energy Forum Policy Research.
11. Ritt Goldstein, “‘Oil War’ Questions Surround Cheney Energy Group”; Michael T. Klare, “The Bush/Cheney Energy Strategy: Implications for U.S. Foreign and Military Policy,” a paper prepared for the second annual meeting of the Association for Study of Peak Oil, Paris, France, May 26-27, 2003; Carol Brightman, Total Insecurity: The Myth of American Omnipotence, London: Verso, 2004, p. 190; Jason Leopold, “Eager to Tap Iraq’s Vast Oil Reserves, Industry Execs Suggested Invasion,” The Public Record, July 1, 2009.
12. “Strategic Energy Policy,” p. 42.
13. Ibid., p. 46.
14. Ibid., p. 46.
15. Ibid., p. 46-47.
16. Ibid., p. 47.
17. Ibid., p. 47.
18. Ibid., p. 2.
19. The traditional foreign-policy establishment’s opposition to the neocon position is brought out throughout The Transparent Cabal, but especially see: pp. 59, 270-73, 291-297, 343-350; Sniegoski, “War on Iraq: Not oil but Israel.”
20. Transparent Cabal, pp. 340-42; “War on Iraq: Not oil but Israel,” The Last Ditch, October 22, 2004.
21. Transparent Cabal, pp. 336-38.
22. Mohammed Abbas, “No boon for U.S. firms in Iraq oil deal auction,” Reuters, August 12, 2009.
Dr. Stephen J. Sniegoski, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in American history,with a focus on American foreign policy, at the University of Maryland. His focus on the neoconservative involvement in American foreign policy antedates September 11, 2001. His first major work on the subject, “The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel” was published February 10, 2003, more than a month before the American attack. He is the author of “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel”.
[NATO's goal is] to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.
— Hastings Ismay, first NATO Secretary-General
Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.
— James Madison (1751-1836), fourth American President
The hazards associated with American foreign policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 should appear obvious to all, because it is precisely this policy that has caused the crisis in Ukraine with all its negative consequences for the coming months and years.
President Barack Obama was candid in admitting it on March 3, 2014: “we are indicating to the Russians [that] if in fact they continue on the current trajectory they’re on, then we are examining a whole series of steps — economic, diplomatic— that will isolate Russia.”
Well, it is precisely this desire to expand NATO and to isolate Russia by incorporating all the countries bordering Russia into NATO; i.e., a strategy of geopolitical and military encirclement of Russia, which has provoked that country when it felt threatened in its national security.
This is easy to understand.
For example, what would the United States do if a hypothetical Russian Empire were to incorporate Mexico or Canada into a military alliance? To ask the question is to answer it. Why is it so difficult to understand that the best way to start a war is to threaten a country’s vital interests?
The truth is that NATO should have been disbanded after the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991, and especially after the Warsaw Pact was itself dismantled. Europe should have then moved to build an expanded Europe of nations, large, democratic and peaceful, within a framework of economic and political cooperation and peace. But no! The United States wanted to take advantage of the situation and demanded that everything fell into the military-financial U.S. empire.
That is the source of many problems.
In my book The New American Empire, originally published in 2003, just before the onset of the Iraq war, I pointed out the dangers of the American global imperial ambition and explained the reasons. The Middle East was the first to suffer under this global policy of interventionism. And now, Europe as a whole, most unfortunately, may have to pay the price for this unbridled American hubris, under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, although that policy goes back to George H. Bush and Bill Clinton.
This is why President Obama and his neocon advisers do not think beyond their nose, as was the case for the not-too-bright George W. Bush, when they adopted such a global imperialist ideology.
In 2008, it just happened that I wrote an article in which I advanced the idea that Europe had a vital interest in disbanding that relic of another age: NATO. Indeed, we must blame European leaders not to have understood that the fundamental interest of Europe was not to blend into the American Empire but rather to build an independent and united Europe. Because that reality has not been well understood, Europe is now running the risk of falling prey to a new Cold War with divisive and ruinous conflicts, while the United States will try to pull the chestnuts out of the fire, with the U.K. as its convenient ally from within Europe.
It may be not too late for European leaders to rectify the situation. This would, however, require wisdom and the courage to tell the American neo-cons who have designed American foreign policy for a quarter of a century that they are not masters of the world and that the European Union has no intention to pursue an aggressive policy of military encirclement of Russia. Point to the line.
Rather, on the contrary, Russia should be invited to join an expanded Europe of nations, large, democratic and peaceful within a framework of economic cooperation and peace.
What is needed of them is vision, insight, and a spirit of independence, which currently seems to be lacking badly in many current European governments.
Carelessness and the current European abdication in letting Washington decide European foreign policy may serve the interests of the American empire, but this could lead Europe to disaster.
The author can be reach at: email@example.com
New York – The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it would not hear Center for Constitutional Rights v. Obama, a lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of people within the United States. The suit sought an injunction ordering the government to destroy any records of surveillance that it still retains from the illegal NSA program. The Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement in response to the Court’s decision:
The Supreme Court’s refusal to review this case guarantees that the federal courts will never address a fundamental question: Was the warrantless surveillance program the NSA carried out on President Bush’s orders legal? The Court’s decision also guarantees that the Obama administration, which has for the last five years refused to take any position on that question, will now never have to answer either.
Despite mounting evidence of government spying on attorneys’ privileged communications, the Court yesterday declined to review the lower court’s determination that CCR attorneys’ fears of surveillance under President Bush’s NSA program, which involved no review by judges or Congress and flew directly in the face of express criminal prohibitions, were too “speculative” to allow CCR to challenge the program in court.
The Court’s decision comes as increasing evidence suggests the government has been surveilling attorney-client communications for some time. The New York Times recently reported that in 2013 the NSA surveilled law firm Mayer Brown while it represented the government of Indonesia in trade talks with the United States. In 2008, The Times reported Justice Department officials had confirmed that attorney-client communications in terrorism cases were sometimes subject to surveillance. And a document accidentally released to an Islamic charity in 2004 indicated that the D.C.-based attorneys for the charity had been subject to surveillance while speaking to their clients.
A memo released by whistleblower Edward Snowden indicated that the government only excludes attorney-client communications from collection when the client is under actual indictment in the United States. Communications of attorneys not directly with a client (for example, with expert witnesses or investigators abroad), or with a client not formally charged in the United States (including, for example, the Center for Constitutional Rights’ many Guantanamo detainee clients, none of whom are charged in federal courts) might now be subject to surveillance under broad orders issued under the current FISA statute.
In late September 2001, a couple of weeks after 9/11, the United States was struck with what the Bush regime dubbed a “second wave” of terrorism. Letters laced with deadly anthrax spores arrived in the mailboxes of prominent media figures and two American senators. Five people were killed and 17 others were infected.
A concerted effort was made by the Bush regime and the mainstream US media to present the anthrax attacks as the work of the same people who perpetrated 9/11. They were, in a sense, correct, but the people behind 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax fiasco were not members of al-Qaeda or adherents of the Islamic faith.
A very clear and discernible pattern of propaganda was foisted upon the American public following 9/11. Zionists from Israel and the US took a leading role in assigning responsibility for the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbour. Unsurprisingly, the Zionists immediately pointed fingers at all of their Middle Eastern rivals and adversaries, from resistance groups like Hamas and Hezbollah to countries such as Iraq, Iran and Syria.
Israel’s enemies were being portrayed as America’s enemies too. Together, said the Zionists, Israel and America can defeat “the forces of darkness.” Israel’s crude campaign of innuendo and Orwellian projection manifested within a few hours of the 9/11 attacks. Israeli politicians Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres all made public statements calling on the US and other Western powers to initiate a global “war on terrorism,” a term coined by Likudniks in the 1980s.
Israel’s army intelligence service Aman and the former Mossad chief Rafi Eitan trumpeted brazen disinformation shortly following 9/11, alleging Iraqi involvement in the attacks. In August of 2001 the Mossad delivered a propagandistic “warning” to the CIA alleging al-Qaeda and Iraq were working together and were plotting terror attacks on major US landmarks. The neoconservatives, who are for all intents and purposes emissaries of the Israeli regime in the US, went straight to work in the op-ed pages of the Washington Post, the New York Times and other Zionist-controlled media outlets, attempting to portray Arabs and Muslims generally as the sponsors of 9/11 and the source of all terrorism in the world.
The same pattern of Zionist deception is apparent with the anthrax attacks. Israel’s partisans immediately mobilized a propaganda initiative to link Iraq and al-Qaeda to the anthrax mailings.
On various occasions [former US] president George W. Bush and vice president Dick Cheney told reporters that al-Qaeda was likely involved in the lethal mailings. The docile mainstream media unquestioningly repeated this unfounded assertion. A stunning piece of disinformation appeared in an Oct. 27, 2001, report in the London Times, alleging that an Iraqi official met with 9/11 patsy Mohamed Atta in the Czech Republic in April 2001. The report went on to suggest that during the rendezvous the Iraqi official gave Atta a flask of anthrax. The origin of this dubious claim was noted in the article: Israeli security sources. The chief of Czech foreign intelligence, Frantisek Bublan, later revealed that this supposed meeting never took place and was nothing more than a propaganda invention of interested parties. “Promoting a so-called ‘Prague connection’ between Atta and [the Iraqi official] al-Ani might have been a ploy by U.S. policymakers seeking justifications for a new military action against…Saddam Hussein,” Bublan told the Prague Post.
When the Iraq/al-Qaeda propaganda narrative fell apart, the FBI targeted two… within the US bio-weapons establishment: scientists Steven Hatfill and Bruce Ivins. The FBI began harassing Hatfill and publicly called him a “person of interest” in the anthrax investigation.
Hatfill vehemently denied the charges and was eventually exonerated. He later sued the FBI and other US government agencies, winning a settlement of more than $5 million in damages. Like Hatfill, Ivins was an unlikely suspect for the anthrax attacks as well.
There was no evidence tying Ivins to the anthrax letters and he had no conceivable motive. The FBI launched an intense campaign of innuendo against Ivins in an effort to convict him in the court of public opinion. Ivins allegedly committed suicide while in a Maryland hospital just before he was set to be indicted and stand trial. How convenient.
Ivins worked at a US bio-weapons facility called USAMRIID in Fort Detrick, Maryland. This is where the FBI claims the anthrax used in the attacks originated. Since there is no evidence that Ivins was involved in the anthrax mailings, there is likewise no reason to believe the FBI’s claim that the anthrax spores used in the letters originated from that facility.
Another curious event took place during the anthrax affair that garnered little attention from the mainstream press for obvious reasons. An Arab-American scientist who worked at the same Fort Detrick facility as Ivins was the victim of an attempted frame-up. Shortly before the first known victim of the anthrax attacks was confirmed, an anonymous letter was mailed to the FBI that attempted to implicate Dr. Ayaad Assaad as a “potential biological terrorist.” The author of the letter claimed to have worked with Assaad previously and alleged that Assaad had a vendetta against the US government, urging the FBI to stop him. The letter prompted the FBI to investigate Assaad. The FBI questioned him in early October 2001 and quickly cleared him of any involvement with the anthrax attacks.
Strangely, the FBI seemed uninterested in finding out who sent the anonymous letter implicating Assaad, even though the contents and timing of the letter were amazingly conspicuous, coming just prior to a real bio-terrorist attack. Assaad suspected the letter-writer was involved in the anthrax mailings and opined that his Arab background made him the “perfect scapegoat.”
One possible source of the frame-up letter was a man named Dr. Philip Zack, a microbiologist and Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army. Zack worked at USAMRIID alongside Assaad in the early 1990s. Zack and other employees at the lab formed a clique called the “camel club” to bully Arab co-workers, particularly Assaad. One day in April 1991 Assaad found a poem in his mailbox written by Zack and other members of the “camel club” which mocked his Arabic heritage. Zack and several of his fellow anti-Arab racists voluntarily left the facility when Assaad informed his superiors of the harassment campaign.
In 1992, anthrax spores, Ebola virus and other deadly pathogens went missing from the Fort Detrick facility. An internal investigation discovered that someone was entering the lab late at night to conduct unauthorized research involving anthrax. The inquiry also revealed that Dr. Philip Zack made an unauthorized visit to the lab on Jan. 23, 1992, at a time when he was no longer working at the facility. Despite Zack’s suspicious past behaviour and harassment of Assaad, the FBI made no effort to pursue him as a suspect in the 2001 anthrax investigation.
A very revealing aspect of the whole affair was the fact that the anthrax-tainted letters were made to look like a Muslim who was angry at Israel and the United States authored them. “Death to Israel, Death to America, Allah is Great,” the letters read. Whoever was actually behind the anthrax mailings was evidently attempting to lead authorities to believe a Muslim or group of Muslims was responsible.
So where did the anthrax used in the 2001 attacks come from? Researcher Robert Pate posited a plausible theory in an essay entitled, “The Anthrax Mystery: Solved” In the paper, Pate suggests Israel is the most likely culprit. According to Pate’s research, Israel had the means, motive and opportunity to secure anthrax spores and deliver them to her targets without being detected. Pate demonstrates that Israel has had a sophisticated chemical and biological weapons program since its inception in 1948. Israel has produced biological agents including anthrax at the Israel Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) in Ness Ziona, located a few miles southeast of Tel Aviv.
“With the help of Jewish scientists from the former Soviet Union,” Pate opines, “Israel’s bio-weapons research has probably surpassed that of all other nations. The Soviet Union’s bio-weapons program had 32,000 scientists and staff working in 40 different research and production facilities. Two thousand of these scientists worked exclusively on the Soviet anthrax program. A significant number of these scientists may have immigrated to Israel and become employed in her bio-weapons programs.”
Pate cites a research paper by Dr. Avner Cohen titled “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control” which outlines Israel’s biological and chemical weapons capabilities. Anthrax is certainly in Israel’s biological arsenal. In the paper, Cohen also describes how Zionist militants poisoned Palestinian water supplies with deadly pathogens during the 1948 ‘Nakba,’ wherein Zionist gangs completely destroyed and depopulated more than 500 Arab villages in order to birth… [Israel entity] . Historical examples of Zionist biological warfare noted by Pate, in addition to Israel’s penchant for false flag terrorism against its “allies” such as the Lavon Affair and USS Liberty attack, lead him to believe that Israel was willing and able to commit a biological attack in the US – a classic false flag operation to frame her enemies for political gain.
“A motive for the anthrax attacks would be to blame Arab terrorists or a ‘rogue nation’ for this atrocity and to help launch the United States into war against Israel’s enemies,” writes Pate. “[Israel’s motive] in launching the anthrax attacks would be to bring America into war against Iraq and to remove that country as a potential threat to…[Israel].” As noted earlier, Israeli intelligence contrived a false story to implicate Muslims where they claimed to have observed a meeting between an Iraqi official and alleged al-Qaeda ringleader Mohamed Atta in the Czech Republic in which an exchange of anthrax is said to have occurred. If Israel had nothing to do with the anthrax attacks, then why did they propagate lies with the intent to implicate Iraq and al-Qaeda? American authorities admit that no Muslim or Arab was involved in the anthrax mailings, so who else but Israel and corrupted Americans in the Bush administration could have been behind this obvious false flag?
It can be said without doubt that some members of the Bush administration had foreknowledge of the anthrax attacks. Press reports revealed that White House officials including Bush and Cheney went on a steady regimen of the drug known as Cipro, a powerful antibiotic effective against anthrax infection, weeks before the anthrax-trained letters were first discovered.
The theory that Israel and its accomplices in the Bush administration launched a biological false flag operation as a “second phase” of the overarching 9/11 deception is well within the realm of possibilities regarding 2001’s anthrax attacks in the US. It is certainly far more plausible than the FBI’s flimsy and still-unproven case against Bruce Ivins who conveniently died before any evidence could be aired in the courts.
But it would be foolish to place any hope on President Obama — a committed servant of the Israeli-American empire — to launch a new, independent investigation into any of these troubling matters.
With some people – the really bad liars – it’s easy to spot what criminologists call “guilty demeanor.”
When George W. Bush sat reading to schoolchildren on the morning of 9/11, remaining in the classroom for almost ten minutes after supposedly learning that America was under attack, the guilty look on his face was palpable.
At 9:03 that morning, as schoolchildren chanted “kite plane must hit steel,” Chief of Staff Andrew Card supposedly whispered in Bush’s ear: “A second plane has hit the World Trade Center, America is under attack.” But in reality, Card could not possibly have told Bush that. Whatever Card said required only two seconds. That was not enough time to explain a novel situation outside the President’s usual frame of reference.
In fact, Card must have said something like: “The operation is under way, await further instructions.”
If the Secret Service had really learned that America was under surprise attack, its agents would have immediately grabbed Bush and rushed him – at full speed – to a safe location. Instead, Bush just sat there looking guilty as the children read the book “My Pet Goat” for eight or nine minutes while the Secret Service did nothing.
When the reading session finally ended, Bush remained at the school for another twenty minutes.
After Bush had dawdled nearly half an hour in the classroom, the presidential motorcade took its time following the pre-announced route to the airport. Bush’s plane unhurriedly took off around 10 a.m. – almost an hour after Bush supposedly learned of the 9/11 “surprise attack.”
The whole world knew exactly where Bush was; the school event had been widely publicized in advance. If hijacked planes had really been used as missiles that day, the President would have been considered their number one target. But apparently the Secret Service knew Bush wasn’t in danger. The Secret Service’s complete lack of interest in the safety of the Commander-in-Chief (and in their own safety) proves, all by itself, that 9/11 was an inside job.
New York Times “embedded White House journalist” David Sanger was in the Florida classroom that day. He saw with his own eyes that the Secret Service knew Bush wasn’t a target.
In the twelve-and-a-half years that followed, Sanger never breathed a word about the obvious Secret Service foreknowledge.
That raises the term “embedded journalist” to a whole new level.
A few days ago, Sanger followed in the footsteps of the “Pet Goat President,” and gave the world another lesson in “guilty demeanor.”
During a C-Span interview, Sanger was asked by a 9/11 survivor why the New York Times has refused to cover the obvious controlled demolition of World Trade Center Building 7. Sanger’s response was evasive, obfuscatory, and mendacious.
The C-Span caller asked Sanger:
“Across the street from the New York Times building there’s a billboard asking where your paper’s coverage is of the over 2,000 architects and engineers who are demanding a new investigation of Building 7’s destruction on 9/11, and the overwhelming evidence that pre-planted explosives destroyed it. Since this has everything to do with our national security, can you explain what rational and scientific basis your paper has for failing to fairly and objectively cover this crucial issue?”
Sanger’s demeanor suggested he knew he was lying as he gave this circuitous answer:
“Trust me, the people who work at the New York Times have as much of a critical interest in what happened on 9/11 as anybody else. Because not only are they reporters there, but they live and work within the city. And we’ve devoted a fairly considerable amount of repertorial time over the past number of years to the question of all the different theories – conspiracy theories, regular theories, non-conspiracy theories – about what happened on that day. And you’ve heard the huge variety of them. We have not yet found any convincing evidence to suggest that there was a plot …that there was a plot that the President knew about in advance, which was one of the issues that came up. I was with the President on 9/11 at the school in Florida. I can tell you that he looked pretty shocked by what had happened, and shell-shocked by what had happened. And we have not found any evidence so far. That doesn’t mean that there’s none there. But we have not found any evidence so far to suggest that the building collapses were caused by anything other than the two airplanes that flew into them.”
Sanger blatantly evaded the caller’s question about Building 7. When he blamed the explosive destruction of the Twin Towers, and the smooth free-fall drop of Building 7, on “the two airplanes that flew into them” he was lying in two ways.
First, no airplane flew into Building 7.
Second, Sanger must know that the US government agency NIST admits that the planes and their jet fuel did very little damage to the Twin Towers. NIST blames office fires fueled by burning paper and carpets, not plane crashes or jet fuel, for the explosive pulverization of most of the Towers and their contents.
But whatever happened to the Towers, the destruction of Building 7 was the most obvious – and most perfect – controlled demolition in history. No smoother and more symmetrical near-free-fall implosion of a tall building has ever been recorded. Even Canadian scientist Frank Greening, the most prominent defender of NIST’s account of the destruction of the Twin Towers, has been forced to admit that NIST’s claim that Building 7 “just fell down from office fires” is ludicrous.
If David Sanger is really unaware of any evidence that Building 7 was destroyed by controlled demolition, he should just call up Frank Greening, the most-cited defender of the US government’s position on the destruction of the World Trade Center. Or he could try any of the more than 2000 Architects and Engineers.
Sanger’s bad faith – or his guilt-induced brain-freeze – is obvious when he divides the “different theories” about 9/11 into three categories: “Conspiracy theories, regular theories, and non-conspiracy theories.”
What can this possibly mean?
A “conspiracy” is a plan by a group of two or more people to commit a crime. How could there possibly be a “regular theory” or a “non-conspiracy theory” of 9/11? Is Sanger suggesting that a single individual may have acted alone?
As an embedded national security journalist, Sanger knows that the CIA was responsible for putting the weaponized term “conspiracy theorist” into circulation. The terms “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorist” were virtually unheard-of until the mid-1960s, when the CIA issued a memorandum to its thousands of Operation Mockingbird media assets telling them to attack JFK assassination researchers using those words. That memo is preserved as CIA Document 1035-960, released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by none other than the New York Times.
Apparently the CIA put out a similar memo after 9/11. And Sanger apparently got the memo.
Or maybe he didn’t need to.
Sanger has been a speaker at Foundation for Defense of Democracies – the neocon-Zionist successor to Project for a New American Century, which openly called for a “new Pearl Harbor” exactly one year before 9/11.
Former New York Times journalist Phillip Weiss calls Sanger a “complete insider” and a proponent of the Zionist notion that Iran is a threat to America.
Weiss has elsewhere alluded to another of Sanger’s possible motives for complicity in 9/11: Zionist sympathies. In his article “Do Jews dominate in American media? And so what if we do?” Weiss points out that the majority of his former colleagues and bosses at the New York Times are, in effect, Israeli propagandists: “The Jewish cohort of which I am a part has largely accepted the duty … of supporting Israel.”
David Sanger must know that Zionist billionaire Larry Silverstein, a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, bought the condemned-for-asbestos World Trade Center just six weeks before 9/11, doubled the insurance, then collected double-indemnity due to the “two unrelated terror attacks” (the two planes). Silverstein has confessed twice on television to the controlled demolition of World Trade Center Building 7.
Sanger must know that Netanyahu’s first reaction to 9/11 was “It’s very good!” He must know that Israeli spies were arrested in New York filming and celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center. He must know about the New York Police Department radio recording describing Israelis being arrested on 9/11 near the George Washington Bridge with a truck full of explosives.
Sanger apparently has plenty of reasons for parsing “conspiracy theories” from “non-conspiracy theories” and pretending he doesn’t know that 9/11 was an inside job.
- Tell the NY TImes: The Evidence Isn’t Hard to Find… (911blogger.com)
- Noam Chomsky and the Willful Ignorance of 9/11 (alethonews.wordpress.com)
US intelligence agencies have secretly helped the Colombian government kill at least two dozen leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a report says.
On Saturday, the Washington Post published the report revealing that both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) provided the Colombian government with technology to terminate the rebel leaders.
The report was based on interviews with more than 30 former and current American and Colombian officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity since the program is classified and ongoing, the newspaper said.
According to the report, Washington provided Colombia with Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment that can be used to transform regular munitions into so-called smart bombs.
These explosives can accurately pinpoint specific targets, even if the objects are located in dense jungles.
In addition, the NSA provided “substantial eavesdropping help” to the Colombian government, the report stated.
In one of its operations, Colombian forces killed top FARC commander, Raul Reyes, in March 2008, while he was in a FARC-operated jungle camp in neighboring Ecuador. The newspaper reported that a US-made smart bomb was used in the killing.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos commented on the report, telling the newspaper that the CIA has been “of help, providing Colombian forces with “better training and knowledge.” The CIA, however, did not want to give any comments regarding the revelations.
The report also revealed that the multibillion-dollar program was secretly funded on top of the nine billion dollars in aid that the US has openly provided to Colombia, mostly in military assistance. The covert program was authorized by President George W. Bush and has continued under President Barack Obama.
The Colombian government and FARC have been holding peace negotiations since November last year in Cuba.
The two sides have agreed upon the matter of land reform and rural development, while four others issues still remain unsolved, including FARC’s participation in politics.
FARC is Latin America’s oldest insurgent group and has been fighting the government since 1964.
Bogota estimates that 600,000 people have been killed and more than 4.5 million others have been displaced due to the fighting.
Historic opportunity missed
When Barack Obama, the first black president of America, delivered remarks Tuesday during a South African memorial service for that country’s first black president, he muffed a historic opportunity to right a grave wrong done by the American government – one that helped send Nelson Mandela to prison for nearly 30-years.
Obama, during his remarks at a Johannesburg, SA memorial service for Mandela, who died on December 5 at age 95, recalled how that world-revered leader had endured “brutal imprisonment.”
But the U.S. president conveniently excluded the fact that America’s CIA had helped South African agents capture Mandela, leading to the very imprisonment that Obama and other world leaders were decrying during that service.
A few miles from the soccer stadium where that memorial service for Mandela was held is the house in Soweto where Mandela lived before he went underground in the early 1960s to ramp up the fight in his homeland against apartheid – that racist system modeled on U.S. segregation laws.
That small four-room house on Vilakazi Street in Soweto’s Orlando West section is now a museum commemorating the life and sacrifices of the man credited universally hailed as the ‘Father’ of modern South Africa.
Included among the abundant memorabilia inside that museum is a June 1990 letter sent to then U.S. President George H.W. Bush Sr. by some state legislators in Michigan asking Bush to apologize to Mandela for the U.S. CIA’s role in helping South African government agents capture Mandela in August 1962, leading to his long imprisonment. Mandela was finally been released from prison in February of 1990.
Bush Sr., a former CIA Director, brushed aside that request. His cold-shouldered non-response to that request continued the stance among legions of American governmental and corporate leaders who aided-&- and abetted South African apartheid right up to the negotiated end of white supremacist rule and the 1994 election of Mandela. The U.S. government had backed South Africa’s white minority government economically, militarily and diplomatically for decades.
Obama, during his eloquent memorial remarks, could have apologized specifically for that CIA role in Mandela’s arrest or he could have at least acknowledged America’s decades-long stance on the wrong side of the anti-apartheid struggle. Instead, he took a pass, even at the point when he urged persons who attended that memorial to “act on behalf of justice.”
Obama’s immediate predecessors in the White House – George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – also were on hand for the Mandela memorial service. Neither of them had extended an apology to Mandela for the CIA’s role in his arrest, during their respective presidencies. Bush, in 2008, did sign a measure removing Mandela and ANC leaders from America’s ‘Terrorist Watch List’– a labeling left over from the era of federal government backing of apartheid.
Despite an Obama declaration during his remarks that lauded Mandela for embracing the “moral necessity of racial justice” the failures – real and perceived – of America’s current president to practice what he preaches about justice, is precisely what sparked protests against him when he visited South Africa last June.
On the occasion of that presidential visit, protesters blasted Obama for his arrogant and oppressive foreign policy according to press accounts. Protesters castigated his drone wars, his failure to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and America’s continuing support of Israel in that country’s apartheid-like subjugation of the Palestinians. Protesters included leading members of COSATU (the Coalition of South African Trade Unions) and South Africa’s Communist Party. Those two organizations, along with the African National Congress (ANC), form the tripartite coalition now governing South Africa. Mandela once headed the ANC.
Obama, during his Mandela service remarks, assailed the fact that “around the world men and woman are still imprisoned for their political beliefs.” Yet there too, was an element of hypocrisy, since as president, Obama has not pardoned any of the scores of Americans who’ve spent decades in prison for their political beliefs in fighting against American apartheid during the late 1960s and early 1970s – many of whom were falsely imprisoned under the illegal police-state-style COINTELPRO program once operated by the FBI.
President Obama has exercised his pardon powers less than any U.S. President in modern history. As Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! noted recently, Obama’s has to date pardoned ten turkeys during Thanksgiving but only 39 people during his presidential tenure. None of those pardoned have been America’s political prisoners.
Obama praised Mandela for teaching “us the power of action…” Apparently, though, Obama has not learned a key lesson of Mandela’s legacy: moving beyond symbolic rhetoric to real action.
Obama applauded Mandela as a “giant of history (who) moved a nation toward justice.” Mandela’s death, Obama said, occasioned a “time of self-reflection.”
Ironically, self-reflection would appear to be exactly what this US president needs if he is to improve his record of putting real substance into his too frequent symbolic efforts towards remediating festering wrongs committed by the American government.
After the Aug. 21 chemical weapons incident in Syria, a number of senior U.S. intelligence analysts disagreed with the Obama administration’s rush to judgment blaming the Syrian government, but their dissent on this question of war or peace was concealed from the American people.
The administration kept the dissent secret by circumventing the normal intelligence process and issuing on Aug. 30 something called a “Government Assessment,” posted at the White House press office’s Web site and fingering the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad as the guilty party.
Normally, such an important issue – a possible U.S. military engagement – would be the focus of a National Intelligence Estimate, but that would also cite the disagreements expressed within the intelligence community. By avoiding an NIE, the Obama administration was able to keep the lid on how much dissent there was over the Assad-did-it conclusion.
Once the “Government Assessment” was issued, Secretary of State John Kerry was put forward to present the case for launching a military strike against Syria, an attack that was only averted because President Barack Obama abruptly decided to ask congressional approval and then reached a diplomatic agreement, with the help of the Russian government, in which the Syrian government agreed to dispose of its chemical weapons arsenal (while still denying that it was responsible for the Aug. 21 attack).
Although war was averted, the Obama administration’s deception of the American public – by pretending that there was a government-wide consensus regarding Syrian government guilt when there wasn’t – was reminiscent of the lies and distortions used by President George W. Bush to trick the nation into war with Iraq over bogus WMD claims in 2003.
The behavior of the rest of Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. news media also shows that little has changed from a decade ago. Obvious indications of a deception were ignored and the few voices who raised the alarm were treated with the same mocking contempt that greeted skeptics of Bush’s case for invading Iraq.
Writers for Consortiumnews.com were among the few in the American media who noted the glaring flaws in the Obama administration’s case, including its refusal to release any of its supposed proof to support its conclusions and the curious absence of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper from the public presentation of the administration’s casus belli.
The reason for keeping the DNI on the sidelines was that he otherwise might have been asked if there was a consensus in the intelligence community supporting the administration’s certitude that Assad’s regime was responsible. At that point, Clapper would have had to acknowledge the disagreement from rank-and-file analysts (or face the likelihood that they would speak out).
Similarly, it appears that on-the-ground inspectors for the United Nations had their own doubts about the Syrian government’s responsibility, especially since Assad’s regime had allowed a UN team into Damascus on Aug. 18 to investigate what the regime claimed was evidence of rebels using chemical weapons.
It never made sense to some of these inspectors that Assad – just three days later – would launch a chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus just a few miles from the hotel where the UN inspectors were staying. Assad would have known that the Aug. 21 incident would mean serious trouble for his government, very possibly drawing the U.S. military into the Syrian civil war on the side of the rebels.
The UN inspectors also failed to find Sarin or other chemical agents at one of the two sites that they subsequently examined near Damascus, and they inserted a qualification in their report about apparent tampering at the one area where Sarin was found.
However, instead of noting the many holes in the U.S. “Government Assessment” and the UN report, the mainstream U.S. news media simply joined the rush to judgment, hyping dubious claims from both U.S. government officials and non-governmental organizations favoring U.S. military intervention in Syria.
The New York Times and other major news outlets that swallowed Bush’s false claims about Iraq WMD a decade ago also began reporting Obama’s dubious assertions about Syria as flat fact, not as issues in serious dispute. As I wrote on Oct. 25, one typically credulous Times story accepted “as indisputable fact that the Syrian government was behind the Aug. 21 attack on a suburb of Damascus despite significant doubts among independent analysts, UN inspectors and, I’m told, U.S. intelligence analysts.”
New details of the rebellion among the intelligence analysts have just been reported by former CIA officer Philip Giraldi for the American Conservative magazine. According to Giraldi’s account, a “mass resignation of a significant number of analysts” was threatened if the Obama administration issued an NIE without acknowledging their dissent.
A “hurriedly updated” NIE had reflected the Syrian government’s suspected use of chemical weapons against rebels and civilians, “while conceding that there was no conclusive proof,” Giraldi wrote, adding:
“There was considerable dissent from even that equivocation, including by many analysts who felt that the evidence for a Syrian government role was subject to interpretation and possibly even fabricated. Some believed the complete absence of U.S. satellite intelligence on the extensive preparations that the government would have needed to make in order to mix its binary chemical system and deliver it on target was particularly disturbing.
“These concerns were reinforced by subsequent UN reports suggesting that the rebels might have access to their own chemical weapons. The White House, meanwhile, considered the somewhat ambiguous conclusion of the NIE to be unsatisfactory, resulting in considerable push-back against the senior analysts who had authored the report.”
Demands from Above
When Obama’s National Security Council demanded more corroborative evidence to establish Syrian government guilt, “Israel obligingly provided what was reported to be interceptions of telephone conversations implicating the Syrian army in the attack, but it was widely believed that the information might have been fabricated by Tel Aviv, meaning that bad intelligence was being used to confirm other suspect information, a phenomenon known to analysts as ‘circular reporting,’” Giraldi wrote.
“Other intelligence cited in passing by the White House on the trajectories and telemetry of rockets that may have been used in the attack was also somewhat conjectural and involved weapons that were not, in fact, in the Syrian arsenal, suggesting that they were actually fired by the rebels.
“Also, traces of Sarin were not found in most of the areas being investigated, nor on one of the two rockets identified. Whether the victims of the attack suffered symptoms of Sarin was also disputed, and no autopsies were performed to confirm the presence of the chemical.
“With all evidence considered, the intelligence community found itself with numerous skeptics in the ranks, leading to sharp exchanges with the Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. A number of analysts threatened to resign as a group if their strong dissent was not noted in any report released to the public, forcing both Brennan and Clapper to back down.”
The Obama administration’s “solution” to this analyst revolt was to circumvent the normal intelligence process and issue a white paper that would be called a “Government Assessment,” declaring the Syrian government’s guilt as indisputable fact and leaving out the doubts of the intelligence community.
While this subterfuge may have satisfied the institutional concerns of the intelligence community – which didn’t want another Iraq-War-style violation of its procedural protocols on how NIEs are handled – it still left the American people vulnerable to a government deception on a question of war or peace.
Yes, there was no scene comparable to the positioning of CIA Director George Tenet behind Secretary of State Colin Powell as he delivered his deceptive Iraq War speech to the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003. Both Clapper and Brennan were absent from the administration’s testimony to Congress, leaving Secretary Kerry to do most of the talking with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey bracketing Kerry as mostly silent wing men.
And, yes, one could argue that the Obama administration’s hyping of its case against the Assad regime had a happy ending, the Syrian government’s agreement to eliminate its entire CW arsenal. Indeed, most of the grousing about the Syrian outcome has come from neocons who wanted to ride the rush to judgment all the way to another regime-changing war.
Dogs Not Barking
But Americans should be alarmed that a decade after they were deceived into a disastrous war in Iraq based on bogus intelligence – and the complete breakdown of Official Washington’s checks and balances – a very similar process could unfold that brought the country to the brink of another war.
Besides the disturbing fact that the Obama administration refused to release any actual evidence to support its case for war, there was the gullibility (or complicity) of leading news outlets in failing to show even a modicum of skepticism.
The New York Times and other major news organizations failed to note the dogs not barking. Why, for instance, was there no NIE? Why were the U.S. government’s top intelligence officials absent from public presentations of what amounted to an intelligence issue? It shouldn’t have required a Sherlock Holmes to sniff out the silenced intelligence analysts.
When a government leader refuses to reveal any of his supposed proof for a claim and conceals the professionals who don’t agree with his claim, any reasonably savvy person should draw the conclusion that the government leader doesn’t really have a case.
Though some Americans may cite the work of a few Web sites, like our own Consortiumnews.com, as having challenged the misguided conventional wisdom on Syria as we also did on Iraq, they should not draw too much comfort from this. After all, our readership is tiny when compared to the many sources of misinformation being disseminated to the broad American public.
The dangerous reality is that the United States remains vulnerable to the kinds of stampedes in judgment that can end up crushing people around the world.
[Here is some of our earlier reporting on the Syrian crisis: “A Dodgy Dossier on Syrian War”; “Murky Clues From UN’s Syria Report”; “Obama Still Withholds Syria Evidence”; “How US Pressure Bends UN Agencies.”]
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
On November 6, several news outlets reported that the widow of former Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat announced that the results of a Swiss investigation into her late husband’s death concluded he was poisoned with polonium, a radioactive substance.
In November 2012, Arafat’s body was exhumed in order for medical examiners to take samples of his remains to test for polonium, part of a murder investigation launched by French authorities at the request of Suha Arafat following the discovery last summer of traces of the highly toxic substance on some of his personal effects. In October 2004, after enduring a two-year siege by the Israeli military in his West Bank headquarters, Arafat fell seriously ill. Two weeks later he was transported to a French military hospital where he died. Doctors concluded he died from a stroke caused by a mysterious blood disorder.
At the time, many Palestinians suspected that Arafat was murdered. Over the years, he had survived numerous assassination attempts by Israel, and just six months before his death then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that an agreement he had made with US President George W. Bush promising that Israel wouldn’t kill Arafat was no longer valid, stating: “I released myself from the commitment in regard to Arafat.”
Two years prior to that statement, in an interview published in February 2002, Sharon told an Israeli journalist that he regretted not killing Arafat when he had the chance during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, stating: “I am sorry that we did not liquidate him.” In 2002, current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then in the opposition following his first term as prime minister (1996-1999), told the Likud party Central Committee: “We must completely and totally eradicate Arafat’s regime and remove him from the vicinity… This one thing must be understood: If we do not remove Arafat and his regime, the terror will return and increase. And only if we do remove them is there any chance of turning a new leaf in our relationship with the Palestinians.” When Arafat died, Netanyahu was serving as Minister of Finance in Sharon’s government.
PARTIAL LIST OF ISRAELI ASSASSINATIONS OF PALESTINIANS
2012 – On November 14, two days after Palestinian factions in Gaza agree to a truce following several days of violence, Israel assassinates the leader of Hamas’ military wing, Ahmed Jabari, threatening to escalate the violence once again after a week in which at least six Palestinian civilians are killed and dozens more wounded in Israeli attacks. Although Israeli officials know that Jabari is in the process of finalizing a long-term truce, and that he is one of the few people in Gaza who can enforce it, they kill him anyway, marking the start of a week-long assault on Gaza that kills more than 100 Palestinian civilians, including at least 33 children, and wounds more than 1000 others.
2012 - On March 9, Israel violates an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and assassinates the head of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhair al-Qaisi, sparking another round of violence in which at least two dozen Palestinians are killed, including at least four civilians, and scores more wounded. As it usually does, Israel claims it is acting in self-defense, against an imminent attack being planned by the PRC, while providing no evidence to substantiate the allegation.
Following the assassination, Israeli journalist Zvi Bar’el writes in the Haaretz newspaper:
“It is hard to understand what basis there is for the assertion that Israel is not striving to escalate the situation. One could assume that an armed response by the Popular Resistance Committees or Islamic Jihad to Israel’s targeted assassination was taken into account. But did anyone weigh the possibility that the violent reaction could lead to a greater number of Israeli casualties than any terrorist attack that Zuhair al-Qaisi, the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, could have carried out?
“In the absence of a clear answer to that question, one may assume that those who decided to assassinate al-Qaisi once again relied on the ‘measured response’ strategy, in which an Israeli strike draws a reaction, which draws an Israeli counter-reaction.”
2010 – In January, suspected Israeli assassins kill senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room. As in the past, the Israeli agents believed to have carried out the killing use forged and stolen foreign passports from western countries, including Britain, France, Ireland and Germany, causing an international uproar.
2009 – On January 15, an Israeli airstrike kills Said Seyam, Hamas’ Interior Minister and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
2009 – On January 1, an Israeli airstrike on the home of senior Hamas military commander Nizar Rayan kills him and 15 family members, including 11 of his children.
2006 – On June 8, Israel assassinates Jamal Abu Samhadana, founder of the Popular Resistance Committees and Interior Minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government, killing three other members of the PRC in the process.
2004 – On April 17, Israel assassinates Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a co-founder of Hamas and its leader since the assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin a month earlier. Rantisi is considered a moderate within Hamas.
2004 – On March 22, Israel assassinates the 67-year-old wheelchair-bound spiritual leader and co-founder of Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, as he leaves prayers at a mosque in Gaza, killing nine innocent bystanders in the process.
2003 – On March 8, Israel assassinates Ibrahim Maqadma, one of the founders of Hamas and one of its top military commanders.
2002 – On July 23, hours before a widely reported ceasefire declared by Hamas and other Palestinian groups is scheduled to come into effect, Israel bombs an apartment building in the middle of the night in the densely populated Gaza Strip in order to assassinate Hamas leader Salah Shehada. Fourteen civilians, including nine children, are also killed in the attack, and 50 others wounded, leading to a scuttling of the ceasefire and a continuation of violence.
2002 - On January 14, Israel assassinates Raed Karmi, a militant leader in the Fatah party, following a ceasefire agreed to by all Palestinian militant groups the previous month, leading to its cancellation. Later in January, the first suicide bombing by the Fatah linked Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade takes place.
2001 - On November 23, Israel assassinates senior Hamas militant, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud. At the time, Hamas was adhering to an agreement made with PLO head Yasser Arafat not to attack targets inside of Israel. Following the killing, Israeli military correspondent of the right-leaning Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Alex Fishman, writes in a front-page story:
“We again find ourselves preparing with dread for a new mass terrorist attack within the Green Line [Israel's pre-1967 border]… Whoever gave a green light to this act of liquidation knew full well that he is thereby shattering in one blow the gentleman’s agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; under that agreement, Hamas was to avoid in the near future suicide bombings inside the Green Line…”
2001 – On August 27, Israel uses US-made Apache helicopter gunships to assassinate Abu Ali Mustafa, secretary general of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In response, PFLP members assassinate Israel’s Tourism Minister and notorious right-wing hardliner, Rehavam Ze’evi, who advocated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza.
2001 – On August 15, undercover Israeli soldiers assassinate Emad Abu Sneineh, a member of the Fatah linked Tanzim militia, opening fire on him at close range.
2001 – On August 5, Israeli forces assassinate Hamas member Amer Mansour Habiri in the West Bank city of Tulkarem, firing missiles at his car from helicopter gunships.
2001- On July 29, Israel assassinates Jamal Mansour, a senior member of Hamas’ political wing.
2001 – On July 25, as Israeli and Palestinian Authority security officials are scheduled to meet to shore up a six-week-old ceasefire amidst the violence of the Second Intifada, Israel assassinates a senior Islamic Jihad member, Salah Darwazeh in Nablus.
1997 – In September, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempts to assassinate Khaled Meshaal, the chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, in Amman, Jordan. Israeli agents using fake Canadian passports attempt to kill Meshaal by injecting poison into his ear. The would-be assassins are quickly captured and in the ensuing diplomatic uproar Jordan’s King Hussein threatens to cut off relations with Israel and publicly try and hang the Israeli agents unless Israel provides the antidote to the poison. The Netanyahu government turns over the antidote, saving Meshaal’s life. As part of the deal, Israel also releases Hamas spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin from prison.
1996 – On January 5, Israel assassinates Hamas military commander Yahya Ayash, known as “The Engineer,” detonating explosives in a cell phone he is using. Over the next two months, Hamas responds by launching four suicide bombings that kill more than 50 Israelis. Israeli intelligence later concludes: “the attacks were most probably a direct reaction to the assassination of Ayash.”
1995 – In October, Israeli gunmen assassinate Fathi Shiqaqi, a founder of Islamic Jihad, in Malta, as he leaves his hotel in Valletta.
1994 – On November 2, Israel assassinates journalist Hani Abed, who has ties to Islamic Jihad, using a bomb rigged to his car.
1988 – On April 16, Israel assassinates senior PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir in Tunisia, even as the Reagan administration is trying to organize an international conference to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The US State Department condemns the murder as an “act of political assassination.” In ensuing protests in the occupied territories, a further seven Palestinians are gunned down by Israeli forces.
1986 – On June 9, Khalid Nazzal, Secretary of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is shot dead by Israeli agents in Athens, Greece.
1983 – On August 21, senior PLO official and top aid to Yasser Arafat, Mamoun Meraish, is shot and killed by Israeli agents in Athens, Greece. According to later Israeli press reports, future Foreign Minister (currently Minister of Justice) Tzipi Livni is involved in Meraish’s killing.
1978 – On March 28, Wadie Haddad, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, dies in East Germany from slow-acting poison ingested several months earlier. It is later revealed that Israeli agents were behind his murder.
1972 – On July 8, Palestinian author and intellectual Ghassan Kanafani and his 17-year-old niece are killed in Beirut by a car bomb, believed to have been planted by Israeli agents. A member of the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Kanafani was considered a major literary figure in the Arab world and beyond.
1972 – During the 1970s, Israel carries out a series of assassinations against Palestinians they accuse of being involved with the Black September militant organization, which is responsible for the hostage taking of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, resulting in the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes and officials. On October 16, 1972, Wael Zwaiter, a renowned Palestinian intellectual and the PLO representative to Italy, is shot and killed by Israeli agents in Rome. Israel accuses him of being involved with Black September, a charge strenuously denied by PLO officials and those who knew him, who pointed out that Zwaiter was a pacifist.
“No legal issue arises when the United States responds to a challenge to its power, position, and prestige.” Dean Acheson , 1962, speaking to the American Society of International Law.
Dean Acheson declared 51 years ago that power, position, and prestige are the ingredients of national security and that national security trumps law. In the United States democracy takes a back seat to “national security,” a prerogative of the executive branch of government.
National security is where the executive branch hides its crimes against law, both domestic and international, its crimes against the Constitution, its crimes against innocent citizens both at home and abroad, and its secret agendas that it knows that the American public would never support.
“National security” is the cloak that the executive branch uses to make certain that the US government is unaccountable.
Without accountable government there is no civil liberty and no democracy except for the sham voting that existed in the Soviet Union and now exists in the US.
There have been periods in US history, such as President Lincoln’s war to prevent secession, World War I, and World War II, when accountable government was impaired. These were short episodes of the Constitution’s violation, and the Constitution was reinstated in the aftermath of the wars. However, since the Clinton regime, the accountability of government has been declining for more than two decades, longer than the three wars combined.
In law there is the concept of adverse possession, popularly known as “squatters’ rights.” A non-owner who succeeds in occupying a piece of property or some one else’s right for a certain time without being evicted enjoys the ownership title conveyed to him. The reasoning is that by not defending his rights, the owner showed his disinterest and in effect gave his rights away.
Americans have not defended their rights conveyed by the US Constitution for the duration of the terms of three presidents. The Clinton regime was not held accountable for its illegal attack on Serbia. The Bush regime was not held accountable for its illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The Obama regime was not held accountable for its renewed attack on Afghanistan and its illegal attacks on Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen, and by its proxies on Syria.
We also have other strictly illegal and unconstitutional acts of government for which the government has not been held accountable. The Bush regimes’ acts of torture, indefinite detention, and warrantless spying, and the Obama regime’s acts of indefinite detention, warrantless spying, and murder of US citizens without due process. As the Obama regime lies through its teeth, we have no way of knowing whether torture is still practiced.
If these numerous criminal acts of the US government spread over the terms of three presidents pass into history as unchallenged events, the US government will have acquired squatters’ rights in lawlessness. The US Constitution will be, as President George W. Bush is reported to have declared, “a scrap of paper.”
Lawlessness is the hallmark of tyranny enforced by the police state. In a police state law is not a protector of rights but a weapon in the hands of government. [see Roberts & Stratton, The Tyranny of Good Intentions] The accused has no recourse to the accusation, which does not require evidence presented to a court. The accused is guilty by accusation alone and can be shot in the back of the head, as under Stalin, or blown up by a drone missile, as under Obama.
As a person aware of the long struggle against the tyrannical state, I have been amazed and disheartened by the acceptance not only by the insouciant American public, but also by law schools, bar associations, media, Congress and the Supreme Court of the executive branch’s claim to be above both law and the US Constitution.
As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book about how the law was lost, liberals and conservatives chasing after their favorite devils, such as child abusers and drug pushers, and prosecutors, judges, and police devoted to conviction and not to justice, have gradually eroded over time the concept of law as a protection of the innocent, With the atmosphere of threat created by 9/11, the final destruction of the protective features of law was quickly achieved in the name of making us safe from terrorists.
The fact that we are no longer safe from our own government did not register.
This is how liberty was lost, and America with it.
Can liberty be regained? Probably not, but there is a chance if Americans have the necessary strength of character. The chance comes from the now known fact that the neoconservative Bush/Cheney regime took America and its puppet states to war in Afghanistan and Iraq entirely on the basis of lies. As all evidence proves, these wars were not the results of mistaken intelligence. They were the products of intentional lies.
The weapons inspectors told the Bush regime that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Despite this known fact, the Bush regime sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN with fabricated evidence to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” and was a threat to the world. Even if such weapons had existed in Iraq, many countries have them, including the US and Israel, and the presence of weapons does not under the Nuremberg Laws justify unprovoked aggression against the possessor. Under the Nuremberg Laws, unprovoked military aggression is a war crime, not the possession of weapons that many countries have. The war crime was committed by the US and its “coalition of the willing,” not by Saddam Hussein.
As for the invasion of Afghanistan, we know from the last video of Osama bin Laden in October 2001, attested by experts to be the last appearance of a man dying of renal failure and other diseases, that he declared that he had no responsibility for 9/11 and that Americans should look to their own government. We know as a reported fact that the Afghan Taliban offered to turn over Osama bin Laden to Washington if the Bush regime would provide the evidence that indicated bin Laden was responsible. The Bush regime refused to hand over the (non-existent) evidence and, with support of the corrupt and cowardly Congress and the presstitute media, attacked Afghanistan without any legal justification. Remember, the FBI has stated publicly that it has no evidence that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 and that that is why the crimes for which the FBI wanted bin Laden did not include responsibility for the 9/11 attack.
The war propaganda campaign was well prepared. Yellow ribbon decals were handed out for cars proclaiming “support the troops.” In other words, anyone who raises the obvious questions is not supporting the troops. Still today insouciant Americans sport these decals on their cars unaware that what they are supporting are the murder of foreign women, children and village elders, the death and physical and mental maiming of American soldiers, and the worldwide destruction of the reputation of the United States, with America’s main rival, China, now calling for a “de-Americanized world.”
A country with a population as insouciant as Americans is a country in which the government can do as it pleases.
Now that we have complete proof that the criminal Bush regime took our country to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq solely on the basis of intentional lies, how can the legal institutions, the courts, the American people possibly tolerate the Obama regime’s ignoring of the obvious crimes? How can America simply accept Obama’s statement that we mustn’t look back, only move ahead? If the US government, which has committed the worst crimes of our generation, cannot be held accountable and punished, how can federal, state, and local courts fill up American prisons with people who smoked pot and with people who did not sufficiently grovel before the police state.
Doubtless, the Obama regime, should it obey the law and prosecute the Bush regime’s crimes, would have to worry about being prosecuted for its own crimes, which are just as terrible. Nevertheless, I believe that the Obama regime could survive if it put all the blame on the Bush regime, prosecuted the Bush criminals, and desisted from the illegal actions that it currently supports. This would save the Constitution and US civil liberty, but it would require the White House to take the risk that by enforcing US law, US law might be enforced against its own illegal and unconstitutional acts by a succeeding regime.
The Bush/Cheney/John Yoo neoconservative regime having got rid of US law, no doubt the Obama regime thinks it is best to leave the situation as it is, rid of law.
Without accountability, America is finished. Not only will Americans live in a police state with no civil liberties, but the rest of the world is already looking at America with a jaundiced eye. The US is being reconstituted as an authoritarian state. All it takes is one failure of accountability for the police state to become entrenched, and we have had numerous failures of accountability. Does anyone really believe that some future government is going to make restitution to persecuted truth-tellers, such as Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowdon, as was done for Japanese Americans?
Now that we know for a certain fact that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were based on propaganda and lies, Congress and the world media should demand to know what was the real secret agenda. What are the real reasons for which Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded?
No truthful explanation for these wars exists.
Paul O’Neill, the Bush regime’s first Treasury Secretary, is on public record stating that at the very first cabinet meeting, long prior to 9/11, the agenda was a US attack on Iraq.
In other words, the Bush regime’s attack on Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.
What was the Bush regime’s secret agenda, kept secret by the Obama regime, that required an illegal, war criminal, attack on a sovereign country, an action for which officials of Hitler’s government were executed? What is the real purpose of Washington’s wars?
It is totally and completely obvious that the wars have nothing to do with protecting Americans from terrorism. If anything, the wars stir up and create terrorists. The wars create hatred of America that never previously existed. Despite this, America is free of terrorists attacks except for the ones orchestrated by the FBI. What the fabricated “terror threat” has done is to create a thorough-going domestic police state that is unaccountable.
Americans need to understand that they have lost their country. The rest of the world needs to recognize that Washington is not merely the most complete police state since Stalinism, but also a threat to the entire world. The hubris and arrogance of Washington, combined with Washington’s huge supply of weapons of mass destruction, make Washington the greatest threat that has ever existed to all life on the planet. Washington is the enemy of all humanity.
This week can be a turning point in the troubled history of relations between the United States and Iran. It is greatly to be hoped that President Obama will take the chance of meeting President Rouhani when they both attend the UN General Assembly in New York this week and that this will set the scene for a diplomatic breakthrough between the US and Iran.*
Significantly, President Rouhani was the head of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team in 2003-5 at a time when Iran was actively engaged in negotiations with Britain, France and Germany (aka EU3) about a range of issues including its nuclear programme.
Then Rouhani made a series of proposals that could, and should have led to a settlement – were a deal not blocked by George W Bush.
We know this because, as Britain’s Foreign Minister at the time, Jack Straw took part in these negotiations. Here’s what he said on the Today programme on 3 August 2013, the day that Hassan Rouhani was inaugurated as president:
“I’m absolutely convinced that we can do business with Dr Rouhani, because we did do business with Dr Rouhani, and had it not been for major problems within the US administration under President Bush, we could have actually settled the whole Iran nuclear dossier back in 2005, and we probably wouldn’t have had President Ahmadinejad as a consequence of the failure as well.”
So, according to Jack Straw, these talks could have been successful “had it not been for major problems within the US administration under President Bush”. In other words, the intransigence which stood in the way of a settlement in 2005 lay in Washington and not in Tehran.
This isn’t news to anybody with a passing familiarity with these negotiations – the blunt truth is that they foundered because the US insisted that Iran must not have uranium enrichment facilities on its own soil in any circumstances, and the EU3 bowed to this diktat from Washington.
What is news is that the leading British player in these negotiations, Jack Straw, has now acknowledged publicly that the intransigence that caused the negotiations to founder lay in Washington and not in Tehran. The message we have continually heard from the US and its allies, including Britain, is that Iran was intransigent then on the nuclear issue and continues to be intransigent today – and that is what is standing in the way of a settlement. What Jack Straw is saying is that this message pumped out from Washington and London for the past decade is not the whole truth.
This is a staggering assertion coming from the leading British player in these negotiations. The failure to take advantage of Iran’s flexibility in 2005 and reach a settlement on the nuclear issue (and perhaps a great deal more besides) has had enormous consequences. The conflict between the US and its allies and Iran, ostensibly over Iran’s nuclear activities, has cast a dark shadow over the world for the past decade, with persistent threats of military action against Iran by Israel and the US. This has ended up with ferocious economic sanctions being imposed on Iran by the US and the EU and Iranians dying for want of lifesaving drugs. All this despite the fact that it is universally acknowledged that Iran doesn’t possess any nuclear weapons and, according to US intelligence, hasn’t got an active nuclear weapons programme.
The central message of our new book, A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran  is that this was totally unnecessary, that a reasonable settlement could have been reached with Iran in 2005. Jack Straw’s remarks on Today confirm this.
Unprecedented reassurance measures
Ostensibly, the US and its allies are opposed to Iran having enrichment facilities on their own soil because of concern that Iran would use these facilities to produce high enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.
Almost unknown today because of the woeful reporting of these matters by the mainstream media is that Iran’s nuclear facilities, including its enrichment facilities, operate under IAEA supervision in accordance with Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA, as required by the NPT of which Iran is a signatory.
This makes it virtually impossible for these enrichment facilities to be used to produce weapons grade uranium for even one bomb without the IAEA becoming aware of Iran attempting to do so. That is the current view of US intelligence – the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on 18 April 2013: “… we assess Iran could not divert safeguarded material and produce a weapon-worth of WGU before this activity is discovered”.
Also unknown today is that in 2005 Iran offered to put in place unprecedented measures, in addition to the requirements in its safeguards agreement with the IAEA, to reassure the outside world that its nuclear activities were exclusively for peaceful purposes.
These measures were contained in a comprehensive set of proposals presented to EU3 representatives in the Quai D’Orsay in Paris on 23 March 2005  by Javad Zarif, (whom President Rouhani has recently appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs). The proposals envisaged the continuation of Iran’s enrichment programme, but under arrangements that would have greatly reduced the possibility that Iran could produce either high enriched uranium or plutonium, the fissile material for nuclear weapons. In particular:
- Immediate conversion of all low enriched uranium to fuel rods for power reactors, to make further enrichment to high enriched uranium more difficult;
- No reprocessing of spent fuel rods, thereby precluding the production of plutonium;
The proposals also provided for continuous on-site presence of IAEA inspectors at Iran’s conversion and enrichment facilities.
There is no doubt that in 2005 Iran went out of its way to address international concerns that its enrichment facilities might be used for weapons purposes. Nevertheless, the EU3 negotiators refused to accept the plan even as a basis for negotiation – because it involved Iran continuing to enrich uranium on its own soil.
When the EU3 eventually made proposals in August 2005 , they required Iran to cease enrichment and related activities permanently and to make arrangements for the supply of reactor fuel from abroad, which could be cut off at any time.
Voluntary suspension of nuclear activities
Under the Paris Agreement of November 2004, which established the framework for the 2005 negotiations, Iran had consented to suspend its nuclear activities “while negotiations proceed on a mutually acceptable agreement on long-term arrangements”. This was a voluntary act – Iran was under no legal obligation under the NPT or any other international agreement to do so. Significantly, the EU3 themselves recognised this in the Paris Agreement saying that “this suspension is a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation”.
Iran had agreed to this suspension with great reluctance fearing that the real objective of the US and its allies, who were pushing for suspension, was to have most or all of Iran’s nuclear activities halted permanently. That turned out to be the case.
What happened next was inevitable: over the following six months or so Iran gradually restarted its nuclear activities. The resumption began just before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took over from Mohammed Khatami as Iranian president on 3 August 2005.
Iran referred to the Security Council
Iran came under fierce criticism for resuming its nuclear activities, even though the suspension had been a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation, recognised as such by the EU3. And France and Britain took the lead in persuading the IAEA Board to pass a resolution in September 2005, which for the first time mentioned the word “non-compliance” in connection with Iran’s nuclear activities.
The word is important because Article XII.C of the IAEA statute requires any “non-compliance” to be reported to the Security Council – and Iran was referred to the Security Council in March 2006.
To be precise, the resolution said:
“Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement, as detailed in GOV/2003/75, constitute non-compliance in the context of Article XII.C of the Agency’s Statute”.
GOV/2003/75 is a report by IAEA Director General, Mohamed El Baradei, to the IAEA Board in November 2003  (that is, nearly two years earlier). In other words, the resolution stated that Iran had been in “non-compliance” in November 2003. However, it also stated that, “the Director General in his report to the Board on 2 September 2005 noted that good progress has been made in Iran’s correction of the breaches and in the Agency’s ability to confirm certain aspects of Iran’s current declarations”.
So, Iran was referred to the Security Council, not because of current “non-compliance” that needed to be corrected, but because of past “non-compliance”, which had largely been corrected.
In fact, as Mohammed El Baradei wrote in his book, The Age of Deception, it was referred in order to get the Security Council to stop Iran’s perfectly legitimate uranium enrichment programme:
“What made Iran’s eventual referral a cause for cynicism was that there was nothing new in its ‘non-compliance’, which had essentially been known about for two years. Recent developments had been positive: the agency had made substantial progress in verifying Iran’s nuclear program. The eventual referral, when it came, was primarily an attempt to induce the Security Council to stop Iran’s enrichment program, using Chapter VII of the UN Charter to characterise Iran’s enrichment – legal under the NPT – as “a threat to international peace and security”. (p146-7)
Chapter VII Security Council resolutions
Beginning on 31 July 2006, the Security Council passed six Chapter VII resolutions on Iran’s nuclear programme, demanding, inter alia, that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment.
In theory, before passing a Chapter VII resolution, the Security Council has to decide that a “threat to the peace” exists (or that a “breach of the peace, or act of aggression” has taken place) and that action is required by the Council to “maintain or restore international peace and security” (UN Charter, Article 39). The action may be to impose economic sanctions on a malefactor under Article 41 of the Charter.
But what possible basis can there be for saying that Iran’s nuclear activity constituted even a “threat to the peace” in 2006? Iran had no nuclear weapons and its nuclear facilities were under IAEA safeguards. And the IAEA hadn’t uncovered any attempt to divert nuclear material for military use or any evidence of a nuclear weapons programme.
Furthermore, a couple of months earlier, in May 2006, speaking about Iran’s nuclear activities at the Monterey Institute for International Studies ,Mohamed El Baradei said: “Our assessment is that there is no imminent threat”.
Can there be any doubt that the Security Council has acted outside UN Charter in passing Chapter VII resolutions imposing economic sanctions on Iran?
War in Lebanon ignored
Ironically, when the first Chapter VII resolution was passed on 31 July 2006, Israel’s military assault on Lebanon had been going on for almost three weeks. Hundreds of Lebanese civilians had been killed and Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure had suffered billions of dollars worth of damage. The previous day a large number of civilians, many of them children, had been killed by Israeli bombing in Qana.
From 12 July 2006, when the Israeli assault began, the US and the UK blocked the Security Council even calling for an immediate ceasefire. They did so because they wanted the hostilities to continue – because they supported the Israeli action, hoping that it would seriously damage Hezbollah.
But, on 31 July 2006, having remained silent for three weeks about Israel’s ongoing assault on Lebanon as the death toll rose, the Security Council declared Iran, not Israel, a threat to the peace – because of its nuclear activities.
(A final point: if Iran is a “threat to the peace” even though it has no nuclear weapons and no hard evidence of a nuclear weapons programme, surely Israel with perhaps as many as 400 nuclear warheads must be a “threat to the peace” and deserve to be sanctioned?)
Four of these six resolutions included tranches of economic sanctions. These UN-approved sanctions were rather limited, because Russia and China would have blocked harsher ones. They were directed primarily at individuals and entities allegedly involved in the Iranian nuclear and missile programmes. They didn’t have much impact on the Iranian economy as a whole and therefore didn’t hurt ordinary Iranians.
The US used to make a virtue of this – in January 2010, Secretary of State,Hillary Clinton said:
“Our goal is to pressure the Iranian government, particularly the Revolutionary Guard elements, without contributing to the suffering of the ordinary [people], who deserve better than what they currently are receiving.” 
Times have changed. Sanctions imposed by the US beginning in July 2012 have done, and continue to do, real damage to the Iranian economy. President Obama boasted of this success during his re-election campaign: in a debate with Mitt Romney on 22 October 2012, he said:
“We … organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy. Their currency has dropped 80 percent. Their oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with Iraq 20 years ago. So their economy is in a shambles.” 
No worries there about contributing to the suffering of ordinary Iranians.
These are not UN sanctions – they were not prescribed by the Security Council in a resolution under Article 41 of the UN Charter.
They owe their existence to legislation passed by the US Congress in December 2011 at the behest of the Israeli lobby in the US. The legislation was accepted by President Obama, who was loath to offend the lobby in the upcoming election year.
The legislation requires the US administration to bully other states around the world to stop (or at least reduce) purchases of Iranian oil, by threatening to cut off foreign financial institutions from the US financial system, if they conduct transactions with the Central Bank of Iran or other Iranian financial institutions. Additional sanctions have been imposed since. None of this affects US trade with Iran since it has been negligible since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
As usual, the EU (including Britain) didn’t need to be bullied – they imposed a total ban on oil imports from Iran beginning in July 2012.
At the time of writing, ordinary Iranians are suffering considerable hardship as a result of these sanctions. It is now difficult for Iran to make payments for imports of any kind, because it is cut off from the international banking system. As a result, although pharmaceuticals are not included in the sanctions regime, some life-saving drugs are unobtainable and patients are dying.
See, for example, Iran unable to get life-saving drugs due to international sanctions by Julian Borger and Saeed Kamali Dehghan (Guardian, 13 January 2013, ), which says:
“Hundreds of thousands of Iranians with serious illnesses have been put at imminent risk by the unintended consequences of international sanctions, which have led to dire shortages of life-saving medicines such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer and bloodclotting agents for haemophiliacs.”
Iran doesn’t deserve to be the subject of economic sanctions – it hasn’t attacked another country in the past two hundred years, it isn’t occupying territory not its own, it hasn’t got any nuclear weapons and by no stretch of the imagination can it be regarded as a “threat to the peace” and deserving of economic sanctions.
Britain shares in the responsibility for this appalling state of affairs whereby patients are dying in Iran because of the unavailability of life-saving drugs. To cause the deaths of innocent civilians in a country that has engaged in aggression, and deserves to be sanctioned, is difficult to justify. To cause the deaths of innocent civilians in Iran today is impossible to justify.
All of this could have been avoided. A deal could have been reached in 2005, which would have provided unprecedented measures to reassure the outside world that Iran’s nuclear activities were for exclusively peaceful purposes – if the US and its allies had been prepared to concede that Iran had a right to enrichment.
So, what are the prospects of a deal now? Seyed Hossein Mousavian was the spokesman for the Iranian negotiating team while Rouhani headed it. In his book The Iranian Nuclear Crisis, he reports that at a meeting in Geneva on 25 May 2005, Rouhani warned the EU3 negotiators three times that “any proposal that excluded enrichment would be rejected in advance” (p171).
That was the deal breaker in 2005, when the reformist Khatami was President. It continued to be the deal breaker under his successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It remains the deal breaker today under President Rouhani.
*The meeting did not occur. See US government notes here http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/24/press-briefing-senior-administration-officials. See President Rouhani’s speech at the UN here and notes on his other meetings here. [editor]
By Peter Oborne and David Morrison, September 2013.
Peter Oborne is the chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph and reports for Channel 4′s Dispatches and Unreported World. David Morrison is a Political Officer of Sadaka: The Ireland Palestine Alliance. They co-authored A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran (April 2013). Morrison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Rouhani stresses Iran’s right to nuclear development (thehindu.com)
- West must accept Iran right to enrich uranium – Rouhani (voiceofrussia.com)