As everyone knows, the NIE (“National Intelligence Estimate”) advised that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Bush was aware of this as far back as August, 2007, and probably sooner, if the truth be known.
Nonetheless, nothing has stopped him from continuing his rant about how dangerous Iran is to us and the world. And in December, 2007, and this month, January, 2008, his efforts increased.
His trip to the Middle East of January 8, 2008, supposedly predicated on a wish to help the peace effort between Palestine and Israel, and a meeting with both leaders (for the first time), also included Kuwait to meet with U.S. troops [to prep them?], Amb. Cocker and Gen. Petraeus and [hold onto your seats] to hold round-table discussion on democracy with Kuwaiti women, Bahrain for meeting with King Hamad and visits with U.S. Navy 5th fleet, United Arab Emirates, to meet with Pres. Sheikh Khalifa and deliver a speech in Abu Dhabi, then to Dubai and to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah, then meetings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and then to Sharm el-sheikh, Egypt, to meet with Pres. Hosni Mubarak and then return to the U.S. on Jan. 16th.
. . . . Bush hopes to spur negotiations among Israeli and Palestinian leaders vowing to make peace and lay the ground work for two independent states by year’s end. . . . .
and this is the best:
. . . . Bush, also touring several Arab nations, will address more than the role they can play in encouraging reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. He also will explain his vision for democracy in Iraq and his concern about the potential security threat posed by Iran. . . .(emphasis mine)
The article goes on at great length about the so-called efforts Bush hopes to make toward the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and peace negotiations. Doubt as Bush set to visit Mideast — Chances called slim for breakthroughs as final year begins.
And, then, miraculously, on January 8th”An Iranian fleet of high-speed boats charged at and threatened to blow up a three-ship U.S. Navy convoy passing near Iranian waters” Actually, the Strait of Hormuz.
Now it seems this may all have been the efforts of Sensationalist Media Did Pentagon’s Bidding in Fake Naval ‘Provocation’ with Iran
The United States has lodged a formal diplomatic protest against Iran for its “provocation” in the Strait of Hormuz on January 6. But new information reveals that the alleged Iranian threat to American naval vessels may have been blown out of proportion. Democracy Now! spoke with investigative historian Gareth Porter.
Gareth Porter is interviewed by Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now.
. . . . Amy Goodman: Gareth Porter is a historian and national security policy analyst. His latest article for IPS News analyzes how the official US version of the naval incident has begun to unravel. He joins us now from Washington, D.C. Can you talk about everything that happened from Sunday, what President Bush said, what the Pentagon was alleging, and now what we understand?
Gareth Porter:: Well, this alleged crisis or confrontation on the high seas is really much less than what met the eyes of the American public as it was reported by news media. And the story really began from leaks from the Pentagon. I mean, there were Pentagon officials apparently calling reporters and telling them that something had happened in the Strait of Hormuz, which represented a threat to American ships and that there was a near battle on the high seas. The way it was described to reporters, it was made to appear to be a major threat to the ships and a major threat of war. And that’s the way it was covered by CNN, by CBS and other networks, as well as by print media.
Then I think the next major thing that happened was a briefing by the commander of the 5th fleet in Bahrain, the Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, which is very interesting. If you look carefully at the transcript, which was not reported accurately by the media, or not reported at all practically, the commander — or rather, Vice Admiral Cosgriff actually makes it clear that the ships were never in danger, that they never believed they were in danger, and that they were never close to firing on the Iranian boats. And this is the heart of what actually happened, which was never reported by the US media.
So I think that the major thing to really keep in mind about this is that it was blown up into a semi-crisis by the Pentagon and that the media followed along very supinely. And I must say this is perhaps the worst — the most egregious case of sensationalist journalism in the service of the interests of the Pentagon, the Bush administration, that I have seen so far.
And then, the threats, supposedly by the Iranians, seem to be controversial, as well.
Gonzalez: And there have been some reports about the apparent splicing of audio onto the actual video that appear to be from two different sources. Could you talk about that?
Porter:: Well, that’s right. I mean, we don’t yet know exactly what the sequence of events was in this incident. We don’t know exactly when the voices that we hear making what appear to be a threat to the American ships, where–when that occurred in the sequence of events in this incident. And it seems very possible that indeed the Pentagon did splice into the recording, the audio recording of the incident, the two bits of messages from a mysterious voice in a way that made it appear to occur in response to the initial communication from the US ship to the Iranian boats. And it seems very possible that, in fact, those voices came at some other point during this twenty-minute incident.
So this is something that really deserves to be scrutinized and, in fact, investigated by Congress, because of the significance, in the larger sense, of a potential major fabrication of evidence in order to make a political point by the Bush administration.
Innuendously, above I mentioned the timing of this incident and Bush’s visit, which comes up in this interview, as well.
Goodman: What about the timing of this, on the eve of President Bush’s visit to the Middle East?
Porter:: Well, of course, there’s no doubt that the motivation for the Pentagon to blow this incident up was precisely the timing of President Bush leaving on a trip to the Middle East, in which one of his major purposes was to try to keep together a coalition of Arab states, which — a very, very loose and shaky coalition to oppose Iran and to support, hopefully, according to the administration’s policy, the US pressure on Iran through diplomatic and financial means, through the Security Council and through its allies in Europe. So this is definitely part of the reason, very clearly, that what was a very minor incident which did not threaten US ships, as far as we can tell from all the evidence so far, was turned into what was presented as a confrontation and a threat of war.
A likening to the Gulf of Tonkin? Well, that practically goes without saying, but Porter says:
. . . . Porter: Well, you know, this is an incident — the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the policy shenanigans surrounding it are something that I wrote about in my book, Perils of Dominance, about the US involvement in the Vietnam conflict. And what actually happened regarding the Gulf of Tonkin was that the ships, because of anxiety on the part of the crew of these ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, they thought they were under fire originally. They sent back messages saying that. . . .
While it is not clear exactly which Iranian boats (the IRGC or Iranian Navy) were in the waters, Porter had this to say
Porter: . . . . It is the case, however, that the IRGC does have, apparently, the primary responsibility to patrol in this area of the gulf. I heard yesterday a former commander of the IRGC state very clearly that they do in fact have the primary responsibility to patrol in that area. So it’s certainly the — it’s a possibility, a good possibility, that these were IRGC boats.
And now we learn that Bush has cut a deal with his ole’ buddies, the Saudi Arabians, and King Abdullah, for the sale of “smart bombs” to the tune of $123 million, and other deals.
Coinciding with Bush’s arrival, the administration officially notified Congress it will offer Saudi Arabia sophisticated Joint Direct Attack Munitions – or “smart bomb” – technology and related equipment. The deal envisions the transfer of 900 of the precision-guided bomb kits, worth $123 million, that would give Saudi forces highly accurate targeting abilities.
Some lawmakers fear the systems could be used against Israel but Congress appears unlikely to block the deal because of Saudi Arabia’s cooperation in the war on terror and in deterring aggression from Iran. (emphasis mine)
The United States already has notified Congress of five other packages to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, including Patriot missiles. The total amount of eventual sales as part of the Gulf Security Dialogue is estimated at $20 billion, a figure subject to actual purchases.
The sales are a key element in Bush’s strategy to shore up defenses against Iran, which the president has deemed the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, with majority Sunni Muslim populations, harbor deep suspicions about Shiite Iran’s rising power and want to make sure the U.S. remains committed to keeping Tehran’s ambitions in check. At the same time, Arab allies are worried that the world economy would suffer heavily if the U.S. dispute with Iran turns into a military confrontation. (emphasis mine)
Kucinch,* has spoken out on Bush’s attempt to lead us yet into another war.
President’s Deliberate And Calculated Comments Are Setting The Stage For More War
From the Office of Congressman Dennis Kucinich
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 14, 2008) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) released the following statement after President Bush increased his rhetoric against Iran this weekend, labeling the Islamic country as the world’s leading sponsor on terror:
“This is the third time in two months that President Bush has actively and systematically sought to deceive the American public into thinking Iran is threatening security around the world,” Kucinich said.
Yesterday President Bush urged wary Persian Gulf allies to rally against Iran “before it is too late,” even as the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that the country had agreed, yet again, to answer outstanding questions about its nuclear programs within four weeks, reported The New York Times.
“After the lies and deception used to lead us to war in Iraq, the Bush Administration cannot be given leeway with aggressive statements that suggest a preemptive attack on Iran is necessary to avoid a larger war,” Kucinich said.
Kucinich reiterates the findings of the NIE, and the fact that the Pentagon is starting to “back down” on its account of the Iranian boat encounters. And then, states:
“It has been proven time and time again that Iran is cooperating with the international community. But that doesn’t matter to the Bush Administration because they are already intent on starting another war. They refuse to see the writing on the wall.
“Bush’s deliberate and calculated comments are setting the stage for more chaos in the world and in the process, are making the United States less safe. It is time to stop using war as an instrument of foreign policy. It didn’t work with Iraq and it won’t work with Iran,” Kucinich concluded.
Note: worth noting are some of the comments
Of all of the egregious and frightening violations and, on-going by BushCo, the probability of an attack on Iran seems more and more likely and, needless to say, the most horrific of prospects. The ramifications of such an effort are almost too thick to explore totally. And given the current “climate” of this government, what is there to buttress such an effort?
*Kucinich filed a lawsuit against NBC and a Las Vegas Judge has ruled in his favor, so he will be a part of the debates in Las Vegas. rjones2818 has already reported on this
(Note: A glitch prevented me from posting last night, so hoping timing is still good.)