Friday, June 13, 2008

Has Iran Stopped Nuking Its Wife?

Keystone Kondi is back in the news. This time she's helping her boss make boo noise about what the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) calls Iran's "relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons."

On January 8, speaking at an AIPAC conference, Condi said that the Iranians, "continue to inch closer to a nuclear weapon." This despite the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate finding (.pdf here) that stated, "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program."

Condi and AIPAC and the rest of the neoconservative universe have treated the November NIE the way it treats all inconvenient facts; they've ignored it. And once again, the mainstream media, most notably the New York Times, have been their willing partner in crime.

Our Gang

That the NIE even grants Iran ever had a nuclear weapons program at all sounds like the doings of nefarious manipulation. We've seen time and again the consequences of Dick Cheney's influence. When the Cheney Gang goes to work in Washington I can hear fibulas cracking clear down here in Virginia Beach.

I've said this again and again but it demands repeating: The Russians didn't begin building Iran's first reactor until fall of 2002. If Iran halted its weapons program in fall of 2003, it had to have been the kind of weapons program a couple of Revolutionary Guard colonels drew up on a bar napkin at the Fort Farsi officers' club. I can imagine that the program halted when a senior mullah—perhaps Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself—called the colonels in for a private chat and made it clear that they would drop their weapons project like a bad habit or go through life trying to function with hooks at the ends of their arms.

Whatever happened, Iran doesn't have an active nuclear weapons program now, but recognizing that reality doesn't serve the neoconservative agenda. Desperate to create a global villain on whom they can lay fault for the failure of their ideology, the Cheney-centric Bush administration bounces back and forth between blaming Iran for American casualties in Iraq and accusing it of wanting to blast Israel to smithereens and of planning to give terrorists a suitcase bomb that can blow up New York City. When one line of demonizing gets derailed, they switch to the other.

Little Rascals

The latest campaign to convince the world that Iran is directly responsible for killing American G.I.s in Iraq started running out of steam in early May when allegedly Iranian weapons captured in the Iraqi city of Karbala turned out not to have come from Iran, and Iranian weapons supposedly captured in Basra never materialized. Then on June 6, historian and journalist Gareth Porter demonstrated in Salon magazine that the main supplier of weapons to Iraqi militants is none other than General David "Pushups" Petraeus.

It was time for the Bush administration to switch back to the mushroom cloud meme. For ammunition, they reached for the May 26 report on Iran by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency and for support they turned to their old propaganda ally from the Nigergate affair, the New York Times.

The NYT's May 27 headline read, "Atomic Monitor Signals Concern Over Iran’s Work," and the article, by Elaine Sciolino, was a compendium of distortions, out-of-context citations and bald faced fabulism. Sciolino's worst piece of dissembling was that the report "accused the Iranians of a willful lack of cooperation." The report said nothing of the kind.

Key statements in the report not cited by Sciolino include "All nuclear material at [Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant], as well as the cascade area, remains under Agency containment and surveillance" and "The results of the environmental samples taken at FEP and PFEP indicate that the plants have been operated as declared" and " The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran."

In addition, the IAEA report bears the distinct style of coerced language we've seen in U.S. intelligence reports since the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. There is little doubt that Cheney sideman John Bolton's main job at the UN was to bully everyone on the Security Council into parroting the neocons' Iran narrative. Bolton's successor Zalmay Khalilzad looks more presentable and has better social skills than Bolton, but who doesn't? Like Bolton, Khalilzad was a charter member of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century and is a Cheney liegeman, and he's up to no good at the UN. From the sound of things, the velvet knuckle diplomacy Khalilzad conducts in New York transmits directly to Vienna, where U.S. ambassador to the IAEA Gregory Schulte consistently dittos the administration's propaganda on Iran's nuclear program.

Thus the IAEA's May 26 report gave the administration's spin merchants just enough wiggle room to exploit its concerns about yet unresolved issues, and Condi once again stepped up and did her part to foment fear and loathing of Iran.

In her June 3 AIPAC speech, she asked, "Why has Iran rejected, thus far, Russia’s offer of uranium enrichment in Russia?" and " Why…is Iran continuing to enrich uranium, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions?"

"It’s just hard to imagine that there are innocent answers to these questions," she said, which gives you a fairly accurate idea of just how atrophied Condi's imagination is.

The UN Non-Proliferation Treaty grants its signatories, who include both Iran and the United States, the "inalienable right" to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. If Iran gives up its inalienable right to enrich uranium it will likely never get it back. If the Iranians accept an offer from Russia or the U.S. or anyone else to refine their nuclear fuel for them, they'll never have a truly independent energy industry. Having a nuclear energy industry in which you can't make your own fuel is like having an automobile industry in which you have to make your cars overseas and use overseas steel and overseas labor. All you can do with an auto industry like that is buy your own cars from somebody else.

And since the UN resolution forbids Iran to pursue an inalienable right, is the resolution itself not illegal?

At the end of the day, all the scare talk about Iran getting nuclear weapons is a red herring. Today's global power struggle today is about who gets to squeeze the last dime out of the last drop of oil in the planet, and who controls how much the rest of us have to pay for whatever replaces oil as the new energy source.

If, when the last oil well coughs up dust, Iran has a viable nuclear industry and is a full partner in an axis of energy that includes Russia and China, then Dick and Dubya's big oil buddies will be riding bicycles to work.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword . Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books) is on sale now.


  1. Commander, all you Navy guys make sense. I read a book by another Navy guy, (Now a U.S. Senator) that tells what a vacuum we have now created for the Russians and the Chinese to fill, in the Mideast. Like you, the man tells a sensible story.

    The UN resolution on Iran is kinda like maintaining the Chapter 7 on Iraq, years after we decapitated Sadaam.

    :>) at the mental 8 x 10 of Cheney bike riding to anywhere. Hah!

  2. I appreciate your opinion of Navy men, EL, but I'd be wary of them if I were you. ;-)

  3. Thanks Jeff for the excellent summary which I have been linking to. I see from Paul Jay's interview of Wilkerson that he couldn't stand the absurdity any longer and has backed up Leverett and Mann's account of the 2003 strategic bargain and Dick "we don't speak to evil" Cheney's part in scuppering it.

  4. You know, Chris, it truly boggles the mind how much Cheney has gotten away with and that he's still in office and dangerous.

  5. It is ironic (intentional?) that the farce that was the Clinton impeachment has created such a distaste for impeachment as a process that some Congresspersons pursuing impeachment of Cheney and the "W" in the House privately opine that the necessary votes are not on the floor unless something truly notable occurs.

    Given our recent history and the titanic over-reaching of this Administration, what those circumstances might be is difficult for this mere mortal to fathom.

  6. Here's a hopeful piece from Time on the "Iran crisis." Maybe the $12/gallon prospect will make them think twice about pulling the trigger. Fingers crossed, needless to say.

    I'm curious about that aircraft that they identify as belonging to the "elite" (Bill Hicks, where are you when we need you) Revolutionary Guards. It looks kind of scary and, uh, new. Not at all like a "rusty old F-14 Tomcat."

  7. Anonymous1:31 AM

    re: I'm curious about that aircraft that they identify as belonging to the "elite" (Bill Hicks, where are you when we need you) Revolutionary Guards

    it is a sukhoi su-25 i believe (i'm just an amateur though), its a russian ground attack plane


  8. Su-25K Frogfoot. Ironnically, these aircraft were originally purchased by Iraq for use against Iran. They fell into Iranian hands in 1991 at the beginning of the First Gulf War when their pilots (along with a majority of the Iraqi Air Force) voted with their planes and sought internment in Iran over combat with Allied fighters. Apparently, the aircrafts fearsome ground attack reputation led the Iranians to not return them.

    Like the A-10 which has similar specifications, the Su-25K is essentially a heavily armored platform for a heavy cannon and innumerable hardpoints. It first saw action in Afghanistan.

    Unlike the A-10, the Su-25TM (and a follow-on variant, the Su-34) are still in production. The Su-25K is the export variant. Apparently, the Russians don't feel that an aircraft with these sorts of close air support credentials is obsolete; unlike the USAF which shudders to fly anything without afterburners and swept wings.

  9. Yep, Frogfoot. Yep, USAF hates CAS mission, hates CAS aircraft. Fast, expensive, good. Help troops on ground, bad.

  10. Commander, again a reminder. Where I live --- This is Texas. The Republican Party is holding a convention in Houston. One of the main concerns of some members of that party, is the "nakkid" statues that seem to be prevelant in our nation's capitol. (Because we don't have them on our own front porch - is the reasoning. They should not be anywhere.)

    I gotta look for logic, and reason, and common sense --- whereever, and whenever I can find it. (Like on this blog, and in some books, written by people who seem to know the subject matter.) If they both happen to be Navy, I'm sure it's coincidence.

  11. "At the end of the day, all the scare talk about Iran getting nuclear weapons is a red herring. Today's global power struggle today is about who gets to squeeze the last dime out of the last drop of oil in the planet, and who controls how much the rest of us have to pay for whatever replaces oil as the new energy source"

    aaah..thank YOU for saying that. Any of us "librals" making those statements are so easily dismissed as simpletons. I have to tell you, it takes living here to make you cynical. Now my motto is 'follow the money'.. who has something to benefit. Simple, but oh so true.

  12. EL,

    Trust me, it's a coincidence.


    Yes, money seems to be the only thing of value in the US any more.


  13. A Veteran, San Francisco, CA5:40 PM

    Truthout's Matt Renner reports: "A backlog of whistleblower lawsuits against military contractors has been swelling and festering since the early days of the so called war on terror. According to critics, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has blocked the progress of these lawsuits to spare the Bush administration a major political black eye should the truth about ongoing war profiteering be revealed."

    "The money that's gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is outrageous and egregious," Congressman Henry Waxman (D- California) told the BBC, adding, "It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history."

    "The war has been going on now for five years. [The DOJ] is not litigating a single case of contractor fraud against any contractor in Iraq. They have swept the whole thing under the rug," attorney Alan Grayson told Truthout, adding, "They're either stupid or they're liars and I tend to think it is the latter. We have an administration that is only good at managing news and nothing else."

    You can read the whole story at:

  14. Horrible. Thanks so much for the info and links.


  15. "When one line of demonizing gets derailed, they switch to the other."

    How true. Thanks also for reading the IAEA report for us.

    Note to Pen and Sword readers: I did a five-part series on Jeff and Bathtub Admirals. One place you can view it is here:

  16. Thanks for the link, Russ. I'll have to put something up on the sidebar about the series.


  17. Anonymous12:59 PM

    Emergency Alert

    Also see

    urgent warning:

    State of Emergency: The US in the Final Six Months of the George W.
    Bush Administration

    by Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg

    Global Research, June 15, 2008

    In short, we are living in an on-going state of emergency
    whose exact limits are unknown, on the basis of a controversial deep
    event — 9/11 — that is still largely a mystery. - UC Professor
    Emeritus Peter Dale Scott

    Unhindered by a neutered Congress and a compliant Court, President
    Bush has six months remaining to pursue his agenda of expanding the
    war in the Middle East and ensuring the continuation of the Global War
    on Terror (GWOT) beyond his tenure in office.

    The current administration has taken unto itself unprecedented, nearly
    hegemonic powers since the events of 9/11. On that day, George W. Bush
    issued his "Declaration of Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist
    Attacks" under the authority of the National Emergencies Act. This
    declaration, which can be rescinded by joint resolution of Congress,
    has instead been extended six times. In 2007, the declaration was
    strengthened with the issuance of National Security Presidential
    Directive 51 (NSPD-51) which gave the president the authority to do
    whatever he deems necessary in a vaguely defined "catastrophic
    emergency" including everything from canceling elections to suspending
    the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack.

    Despite time constraints, there are clear signs that the president,
    the vice-president and their neocon collaborators are not finished.
    The constant saber-rattling toward Iran, with strong support from
    Israel, should send a chill down the spine of any peace-loving
    American. Military chiefs who oppose the president are "retired," as
    observed most recently with the March dismissals of CENTCOM commander
    Admiral William Fallon and 6th Fleet commander Vice-Admiral John
    Stufflebeem. Public opinion counts for nothing. In a March 24
    interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz, vice president Dick Cheney
    responded to a question about the war weariness of Americans with a
    languid "So?"

    According to J. Scott Carpenter, former deputy assistant secretary of
    state for Near Eastern Affairs, Cheney pushed hard for airstrikes
    against Iranian Revolutionary Guard bases last summer. He was deterred
    by Pentagon officials who insisted that retaliation might be difficult
    to contain. Now, with Cheney ally General David Petraeus poised to
    take over Fallon's command, a significant obstacle has been removed.

    It seems clear that there is a deadly struggle going on within the US
    government, a struggle that could well determine not only the election
    of the next president, but the survival of the republic. On one side
    are the neocons, the fanatics who led us into Iraq and who believe
    they alone possess the strategic acumen to usher in a "new American
    century." On the other is the Republican Party old guard ostensibly
    led by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates was brought into the
    administration at the end of 2006 to replace the disgraced and
    despised Donald Rumsfeld, and generally to ride herd over the neocons.

    The conflict between these factions has broken into the open over the
    past eight months. The first public signal came in October of last
    year, when the sixteen US intelligence agencies issued a consensus
    National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that cut the legs out from under
    the administration's argument that Iran was on the verge of developing
    a nuclear weapon. The NIE stated that the Iranians had stopped work on
    the project in 2003.

    Just before Labor Day last year, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber carrying
    six cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads flew an unauthorized
    mission from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.
    Due to anonymous, high-level tips to the Military Times, the warheads
    were recovered. After several seemingly inconclusive investigations of
    the incident, Pentagon chief Gates fired Air Force Chief of Staff
    Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne last week,
    without revealing the role either man played in the nuke heist. Given
    the volume of evidence that this unprecedented transfer of live
    nuclear weapons was not an accident, the question remains: what
    individual or individuals within the government have the authority to
    commandeer nuclear bombs?

    Conservative pundit Patrick J. Buchanan recently suggested that the
    neocons might be tempted to go to war with Iran in order to improve
    John McCain's chances of winning the presidency. As audacious as that
    seems, we want to go one step further. We believe that this
    administration is so zealous, so determined to hold onto power, that
    they may well stage a "false flag" attack, creating just the kind of
    "catastrophic emergency" to which NSPD-51 refers.

    On April 29 of this year, CIA veteran Roland V. Carnaby was shot dead
    by police officers after a high speed chase through the streets of
    Houston. Carnaby, who had been the CIA's Chief of Station for the
    Southeast Region headquartered in Houston, was involved in conducting
    security surveys of the Port of Houston and had discovered that the
    Department of Homeland Security was tolerating gaping holes in port
    security. Carnaby and Houston intelligence and law enforcement
    personnel were also investigating the presence of "Middle Easterners"
    who were conducting surveillance of the Port of Houston. The "Middle
    Eastern" designator is the term used by the FBI for Israelis
    (typically Mossad agents) in order to avoid "political" problems with

    Former National Security Agency analyst and naval intelligence officer
    Wayne Madsen has been in Houston investigating the Carnaby case at
    great personal risk. Madsen believes Carnaby was involved both in
    heading off a potential war with Iran (by leaking Mossad plans to
    assassinate Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah just days before Carnaby
    himself was killed) and in trying to forestall a potential terrorist
    attack on the port.

    According to Madsen, "federal agents in Houston fear that 'another
    9/11-type part false flag' attack is imminent, perhaps as early as
    July 4." Such an attack along the twenty-five-mile Houston Ship
    Channel, site of more explosive materials, toxic gases, and deadly
    petrochemicals than anywhere else in the country, could create an
    environmental and economic catastrophe that would dwarf 9/11.

    How will the struggle within this administration be brought to an end?
    Will courageous military men like Adm. Fallon speak out before the
    next national tragedy befalls us? Will Congress act decisively to
    remove the president's emergency powers, challenge NSPD-51, and defend
    the Constitution? Will Defense Secretary Gates hold the line?

    With just a half year left in what many believe has been the worst
    presidency in American history the possibilities are many, and some of
    them are truly frightening. As citizens of this country, we must do
    everything in our power to ensure that there is no expansion of war in
    the Middle East, no "false flag" attack at the Port of Houston or
    anywhere else, and a peaceful and constitutional succession to a new

    Lewis Seiler is president of Voice of the Environment, Inc. Dan
    Hamburg, a former US representative, is executive director.

  18. Anonymous6:46 AM

    Oh yes, Khamenei did twist arms. And in 2004 he followed up with the famous Fatwa against nuclear weapons, though this wasn't brought to the world's attention until August 2005. The fatwa clearly said nuclear weapons were forbidden under Islam. Because Khamenei invoked Islam in such an unequivocal manner his religious authority will take quite a hit if he reverses positions. So I doubt there's some kind of subterfuge involved, it's just too strong a card to fool around with.

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