Justifying War with Iran
By Russ Baker
December 26, 2011
A growing body of evidence points to a concerted campaign to prepare Americans and the world for war against Iran. This is not idle speculation. It fits a pattern that repeatedly preceded previous hostilities.
Here are the recent examples on Iran:
-The claim that Iran is a WMD threat. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the long-term, continuing efforts to paint Iran as some kind of nuclear threat. This ignores the possibility that Iran is telling the truth in contending it is embarked on solely non-military nuclear research (debatable), and serious doubts among many experts that Iran is preparing nuclear weapons. Perhaps most important, it discounts the fact that many countries (including Iran’s arch-enemy Israel) have nuclear weapons, and disregards the undoubted truth that if a country like Iran ever did launch nuclear weapons, it would be wiped out in a nanosecond, creating a very strong disincentive for offensive use. At the same time, by encouraging other countries and internal foes to believe that it has nuclear weapons, Iran creates an inexpensive protective shield for its regime. A dangerous game, to be sure, but without further evidence of Iranian nukes, hardly a reason to launch a war that would surely cause even more death and destruction than the misguided Iraq invasion.
-The claim that Iran tried to hire Mexican drug cartel hit squads to kill a Saudi ambassador on US soil (fizzled). Remember this one? So ludicrous that even ultra-cautious corporate news organizations laughed it out of the spotlight. Still, it may have been a test of what will fly–and likely did impact a percentage of the population, particularly those getting their info from jingoistic outlets like Fox.
-The claim that Iran was complicit in the 9/11 attacks (current). A federal judge, reviewing evidence presented in a lawsuit on behalf of 9/11 victims, concluded this month that it proved Iran “provided direct support to Al Qaeda specifically for the attacks … on September 11, 2001.” This one may gain traction due to powerful lingering emotions on the topic. (For complaints about the general operating style of the judge who ruled in the case, click here.) Because this ruling and the underlying lawsuit are based largely on the claims of defectors (and past experience shows that defectors frequently trade politically valuable assertions for personal benefits), more research is needed on this. (Remember discredited CIA Iraq source “Curveball”?) The cited “NSA intercepts” also bring to mind the intercepts put forward as proof that Saddam had WMDs.
It is further worth noting that the defendant, Iran, was not present to challenge the assertions. In addition, examination of many of the plaintiff assertions shows that they may misrepresent circumstantial evidence. (Example: “Several of the 9/11 hijackers transited Iran on their way to or from Afghanistan, taking advantage of the Iranian practice of not stamping Saudi passports.” This ignores the fact that Iran, which is an enemy of Saudi Arabia, makes a practice of not stamping Saudi passports so that Saudi nationals, especially minority Shiites, do not get in trouble with Saudi authorities on their return–similar to Cuba’s practice of not stamping American passports.)
This story has yet to break big, but count on the ruling to be cited increasingly in the months ahead by those pushing for war.
And here are a few past examples (1990 to 2011). Add your own in the COMMENTS section below (at the source):
-Blame Saddam for Incubator baby deaths and plots against Bush’s father; provoke him by slant drilling from Kuwait, then imply no objection if he takes action; blame him for 9/11 complicity, falsely tie him to Al Qaeda, claim he possesses WMDs and poses an imminent threat, misrepresent claims to make it seem that he did not destroy WMD stocks as ordered.. More here and here and here.
-Blame Qaddafi for Lockerbie bombing, mass rapes, mass murder, fund an uprising, then bomb him for “humanitarian” reasons when he responds in order to assure his survival. Click here and here for more on this.
You don’t have to approve of these regimes to see that these appear to be (and in many cases certainly were) false provocations that reek of ulterior motives (hint: how many of these countries are oil exporters?) In fact, you can abhor these regimes and hope that they will not survive, and still realize how problematical it is for the American government to repeatedly foist big lies on its own people. This kind of thing is beneath any administration claiming lofty ideals and purporting to serve the public interest–and something that none of us should feel comfortable being party to.
If the public interest is defined as “seizing oil wherever it may be found,” then, well, that’s a conversation we need to have … and quick. There are severe consequences of this definition. Among them, the empowerment of those forces, both corporate and governmental, that profit most from the unbridled development of fossil fuels–and that have good reasons to block the development of renewable sources of energy. They’re known today as the One Percent, and they are destroying our world.
Crackpot Anti-Islam Activists, “Serial Fabricators” and the Tale of Iran and 9/11
29 December 2011
by Gareth Porter
Behind a mysterious December 22 Associated Press story about “finding of fact” by a District judge in Manhattan Friday that Iran assisted al Qaeda in the planning of the 9/11 attacks is a tapestry of recycled fabrications and distortions of fact from a bizarre cast of characters.
The AP story offers no indication of the nature of the evidence in the case except that former members of the 9/11 Commission and three Iranian defectors provided testimony. What it didn’t say was that at least two of the Iranian defectors have long been dismissed by US intelligence as “fabricators” and that the two “expert witnesses” who were supposed to determine the credibility of those defectors’ claims are both avowed advocates of crackpot conspiracy theories about Muslims and Shariah law who believe the United States is at war with Islam.
The ostensible purpose of the case brought by families of 9/11 terror attack victims was to win damages from those responsible for 9/11. Dozens of such cases involving different terrorist attacks have been brought to US courts over the years, in which “default judgments” have been made against Iran over various attacks in which Iran was allegedly involved, but there is no chance of getting any money for the families.
The only real effect of the case is to promote right-wing political myths about Iran. One of the peculiarities of such cases is that the witnesses are not subject to cross examination in court. The witnesses have every incentive, therefore to indulge in false testimony, knowing that there will be no one to challenge them.
“A Fabricator of Monumental Proportions”
The lawyers and the “expert witnesses” behind the accusation of Iran in regard to 9/11 hoped to sell the press and public on recycled claims first made by Iranian “defectors” several years ago that they had personal knowledge of Iranian participation in the 9/11 plot. The lawyers produced videotaped affidavits by three such defectors who were identified, with a dramatic flourish, as Witnesses “X,” “Y” and “Z.”
Continued at source.
Oh, and lest we forget …
Iran Gave U.S. Help On Al Qaeda After 9/11
September 4, 2009
(CBS/AP) Iran rounded up hundreds of Arabs to help the United States counter al Qaeda after the Sept. 11 attack after they crossed the border from Afghanistan, a former Bush administration official said Tuesday. Many were expelled, Hillary Mann Leverett said, and the Iranians made copies of almost 300 of their passports.
The copies were sent to Kofi Annan, then the secretary-general of the United Nations, who passed them to the United States, and U.S. interrogators were given a chance by Iran to question some of the detainees, Leverett said in an Associated Press interview.
Leverett, a Middle East expert who was a career U.S. Foreign Service officer, said she negotiated with Iran for the Bush administration in the 2001-3 period, and Iran sought a broader relationship with the United States. “They thought they had been helpful on al Qaeda, and they were,” she said.
For one thing, she said, Iran denied sanctuary to suspected al Qaeda operatives.
Some administration officials took the view, however, that Iran had not acknowledged all likely al Qaeda members nor provided access to them, Leverett said.
Many of the expelled Arabs were deported to Saudi Arabia and other Arab and Muslim countries, even though Iran had poor relations with the Saudi monarchy and some other countries in the region, Leverett said. Iranians are Persian, not Arab, and most belong to the Shiite sect of Islam rather than the Sunni, the majority sect in most Arab countries.
James F. Dobbins, the Bush administration’s chief negotiator on Afghanistan in late 2001, said Iran was “comprehensively helpful” in the aftermath of the 9-11 attack in 2001 in working to overthrow the Taliban militias’ rule and collaborating with the United States to install the Karzai government in Kabul.
Iranian diplomats made clear at the time they were looking for broader cooperation with the United States, but the Bush administration was not interested, the author of “After the Taliban: Nation-Building in Afghanistan,” said in a separate interview.
The Bush administration has acknowledged contacts with Iran over the years even while denouncing Iran as part of an “axis of evil” and declining to consider resumption of diplomatic relations.
“It isn’t something that is talked about,” Leverett said in describing Iran’s role during a forum at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan policy institute.
Leverett and her husband, Flynt Leverett, a former career CIA analyst and a former National Security Council official, jointly proposed that the U.S. president who replaces George W. Bush in January seek a “grand bargain” with Iran to settle all major outstanding differences.
“The next president needs to reorient U.S. policy toward Iran as fundamentally as President Nixon did with China in the 1970s,” Flynt Leverett said. Richard Nixon, a political conservative, opened the U.S.-China relationship by among other things visiting the communist country.
Among provisions of the Leveretts’ recommended new Iran policy: The United States would clarify that it is not seeking change in the nature of Iran’s Islamic government but rather its policies, while Iran would agree to “certain limits” on its nuclear program.
Iran considers most of its neighbors as its enemies. Among incentives for improving U.S. relations, the Leveretts said, is they feel that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would be less provocative with a friendlier U.S.-Iranian relationship.