Tag: Israel

Accountability

 Since President Barack Obama announced an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the war hawks have been apoplectic, flooding the airways with fear mongering, demanding a “better deal,” whatever than means. Iran has signed on for a peaceful accord and accountability to the international community.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has been whining for 25 years that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in months, demanding sanctions and the complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. What he never mentions is that Israel, unlike Iran, is not a signature of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the most poorly held secret that Israel has had nuclear weapons for years.

In an op-ed at The Guardian, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has called for the removal of all weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East putting pressure on Israel to account for its “secret” nuclear weapons.

We – Iran and its interlocutors in the group of nations known as the P5+1 – have finally achieved the shared objective of turning the Iranian nuclear programme from an unnecessary crisis into a platform for cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation and beyond. The nuclear deal reached in Vienna this month is not a ceiling but a solid foundation on which we must build. The joint comprehensive plan of action, as the accord is officially known, cements Iran’s status as a zone free of nuclear weapons. Now it is high time that we expand that zone to encompass the entire Middle East.

Iran’s push for a ban on weapons of mass destruction in its regional neighbourhood has been consistent. The fact that it precedes Saddam Hussein’s systematic use of WMDs against Iran (never reciprocated in kind) is evidence of the depth of my country’s commitment to this noble cause. And while Iran has received the support of some of its Arab friends in this endeavour, Israel – home to the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons programme – has been the holdout. In the light of the historic nuclear deal, we must address this challenge head on.

One of the many ironies of history is that non-nuclear-weapon states, like Iran, have actually done far more for the cause of non-proliferation in practice than nuclear-weapon states have done on paper. Iran and other nuclear have-nots have genuinely “walked the walk” in seeking to consolidate the non-proliferation regime. Meanwhile, states actually possessing these destructive weapons have hardly even “talked the talk”, while completely brushing off their disarmament obligations under the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and customary international law. [..]

One step in the right direction would be to start negotiations for a weapons elimination treaty, backed by a robust monitoring and compliance-verification mechanism.

This could, in an initial phase, occasion the de-alerting of nuclear arsenals (removing warheads from delivery vehicles to reduce the risk of use) and subsequently engender the progressive disarmament by all countries possessing such WMDs. It is certainly a feasible goal to start this global project with a robust, universal and really genuine push to establish a WMD-free zone in the Middle East, if the relevant powers finally come to deem it not just a noble cause but a strategic imperative.

The world must demand the Israel account for its nuclear weapons and submit to inspections by the IAEA

Any Excuse for Another War

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Since the accord with Iran over its nuclear program, the airways have been awash with calls for Congress to squash deal, demanding a “better deal.” Most of that is coming from the pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The agreement is also opposed by pro-Israel Christian organizations. While sounding like they want peace, behind the scenes they are actually pushing for a war with Iran. That fact was revealed by The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald:

The fanatical Israel-devoted group Christians United for Israel, which calls itself “the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members,” yesterday held an off-the-record call to formulate strategies for defeating the pending nuclear deal with Iran. The star of the show was the Wall Street Journal’s longtime foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens, who spoke for roughly 30 minutes. A recording of this call was provided to The Intercept and is posted here.

Stephens, who previously served as editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post from 2002 to 2004 (where he anointed Paul Wolfowitz “Man of the (Jewish) Year”), is essentially a standard-issue neocon and warmonger, which is why his mentality is worth hearing. He begins the strategy call with an attempt to sound rational and sober, but becomes increasingly unhinged and hysterical as he progresses. [..]

If the Iran deal is defeated in the U.S., what’s the alternative? The relatively honest neocons admit, as Norm Podhoretz did today in Stephens’ paper, that the alternative is the one they really seek: full-on war with Iran. Here is Stephens’ attempt to answer to that question:

   Look, there is an argument – and I am sometimes tempted by it – that if Congress were to reject this deal and then Iran were to start enriching uranium at huge rates once again, that President Obama would simply sit on his hands out of spite. That’s an option. Knowing the way this President operates, it doesn’t entirely surprise me. That being said, because this deal is effectively giving Iran a legal as well as a covert pathway to the bomb, I would still prefer that. At least it gives the next president more options than he does [sic] now.

This argument is just bizarre. Obama isn’t leaving office until January, 2017: 1 1/2 years away. Neocons have continuously claimed that Iran’s “breakout” time for developing nuclear weapons was measured in months – at the most a year away. If you actually believe that, and really think that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons (a claim negated by the U.S.’s own intelligence analysis), how could you be content to purposely wait 1 1/2 years?

The answer to that question illustrates why the surface “debate” over the Iran deal is so illusory and pointless: as usual with neocons, they are being deceitful about their actual intent. They don’t want a “better deal”: at least not one that’s plausible. They want to keep Iran isolated and demonized and ultimately to depose its leadership through war or other means of aggression. They hate the Iran deal precisely because it’s likely to avert that aggression and normalize the world’s relations with that country, making the war they’ve long craved much less likely.

These people are unhinged supporters of Israel and the Saudis. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are vehemently opposed to the Iran deal because they want the US to fight their war with Iran for them. The more the US talks with Iran the less likely it is that they and their fanatical supporters will get their war.  

The Big Lie: Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In the wake of the agreement with Iran on in nuclear energy program, there has been a lot of shouting from the war hawks that this is a bad deal and characterizing it with hyperbolic rhetoric. Anti-Iran deal lobbies have taken the fight to the airways spending $20 million to $40 million to trash the agreement. The Obama administration has taken to Twitter.

The problem with all of these arguments, whether pro or con, is that they are all based on a false narrative that was created by the Bush administration after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In an article at the Middle East Eye, Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy, has no problem with the Iran accord except one: the Obama administration’s the false narrative that Iran is a rogue nuclear state.

The common assumption about Iran’s nuclear policy is never debated or even discussed because it is so firmly entrenched in the political discourse by now that there is no need to discuss it.  The choice between two hardline views of Iran is hardly coincidental. The Obama administration accepted from day one the narrative about the Iranian nuclear programme that the Israelis and their American allies had crafted during the Bush administration.

The Bush administration’s narrative, adopted after the invasion of Iraq, described a covert nuclear programme run by Iran for two decades, the main purpose of which was to serve as a cover for a secret nuclear weapons programme.  Undersecretary of State John Bolton and Vice-President Dick Cheney, who were managing the policy, cleverly used leaks to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal in 2005 to introduce into the domestic political discussion alleged evidence from a collection of documents of then unknown provenance that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons research programme from 2001 to 2003.

The administration also passed the documents on to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2005, as part of a Bush strategy aimed to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council on the charge of violating its commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Bolton and Cheney were working with Israel to create a justification for regime change in Iran based on the idea that Iran was working on nuclear weapons under the cover of its nuclear programme.

The entire Bush-Israeli narrative was false, however. It ignored or suppressed fundamental historical facts that contradicted it as this writer found from deeper research on the issue:

    source link >Iran was the one state in the entire world that had a history of abjuring weapons of mass destruction on religious grounds.  During the Iran-Iraq war the military leadership had asked Ayatollah Khomeini to approve the manufacture of chemical weapons to retaliate against repeated chemical attacks by Iraqi forces.  But Khomeini forbade their possession or use forbidden by the Shia interpretation of the Quran and Shia jurisprudence.

    http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquistare-viagra-generico-50-mg-pagamento-online-a-Napoli >Iran had begun to pursue uranium enrichment in the mid-1980s only after the Reagan administration had declared publicly that it would prevent Iran from relying on an international consortium in France to provide nuclear fuel for the Bushehr reactor.  

    http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=prezzo-viagra-generico-pagamento-online-a-Napoli >Iran did not inform the IAEA about its acquisition of enrichment technology, its experiments with centrifuges and laser enrichment or its first enrichment facility because of the continued US attempt to suppress the Iranian nuclear programme. Releasing such information would have made it easier for the United States to prevent continued procurement of necessary parts and material and to pressure China to end all nuclear cooperation with Iran.

    follow url >The US intelligence community found no hard evidence, either from human intelligence or other forms of intelligence, of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme.  US national intelligence estimates during the Bush administration concluding that Iran had run such a programme, including the most famous estimate issued in November 2007, were based on inference, not on hard intelligence. That fact stood in sharp contrast to the very unambiguous human and electronic intelligence the CIA had been able to obtain on covert nuclear weapons programmes in Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa and South Korea.

Barack Obama came to the White House with a highly critical view of Bush policy towards both Iran and Iraq and was publicly committed to diplomatic engagement with Iran. But his administration’s acceptance of the Bush line that Iran was a nuclear outlaw can be explained by the continuity of policy that the national security bureaucracy generally maintains in the transition from one administration to another, with rare exceptions.

Bureaucracies create the “facts” about any particular issue that support their interests. Defining the Iranian nuclear threat as a threat to proliferate was clearly in the interests of the counter-proliferation offices in the White House, State Department, and CIA, which wielded strong influence over the issue within their respective institutions.  

When will the media, the US and European governments demand that Israel account for its nuclear weapons and be subjected to the same standards that are being imposed on Iran? Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons and capable of starting a nuclear holocaust.

This aversion to the truth and facts about Iran and Israel by the media, Europe and the US are major obstacles to peaceful resolutions and good relations in the Middle East.

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Gramsci and Gaza–Getting Palestinians Into Our Inner Space by Galtisalie

“We were talking about the space between us all”

George Harrison

“It’s always the same story. For a fact that interests us, touches us, it is necessary that it becomes part of our inner life, it is necessary that it does not originate far from us, that is the people we know, people who belong to the circle of our human space.”

Antonio Gramsci

“Hasta allĂ­ Gramsci. Siempre un adelantado. Siempre con los que sufren.”

Osvaldo Bayer

We all need justice and safety, none more than Jews in the wake of the Holocaust. But apparently those “filthy Arabs” are humans too. An artificial redefinition of space known as “a new nation” can be founded for ostensibly “humane” reasons but use patently inhumane means of achievement.

I thought in a “constitutional” “democracy” acquistare vardenafil online sicuro Sicilia we were supposed to all agree on certain basic organic principles (not including freedom from want and fear, of course) and then work out the details with voting?–unless, of course, source we are Native Peoples, African Americans, or European Americans who happened to be poor in the temperate Atlantic region of North America in the late 1700’s. What could possibly go wrong? For a contemporary answer to this non-academic question, so dependent on militarization and deception, look to the southeastern side of the Mediterranean Sea.

Chris Hedges: Answering Questions

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In Part 7, and the final segment, of a series of interviews by Paul Jay of Real News Network, journalist and author, Chris Hedges answers viewers questions including about the American public’s complicity in the crimes of empire, if there’s any hope for Bradley Manning and whether the U.S. or Israel will attack Iran.

To the question of the American public’s responsibility for the crimes committed in its name, Hedges said:

   I would say very few Americans-and the exception would be probably those in the armed forces and those who work for contractors or the diplomatic service-actually grasp the dirty work of empire. Having spent 20 years of my life on the fringes of empire and seen how empire works, Conrad was right. It’s the horror, the horror. What is it that drones and hellfire missiles do to human bodies? Those images are rigorously censored. We never see them. We don’t understand what is done in our name. Instead, we’re fed this patriotic myth of glory and service and sacrifice and honor and heroism, terms that when you’re actually there on a battlefield become hollow if not obscene.

Transcript can be read here

The Hagel Haggle

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Chuck HagelThe controversy over President Barack Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense are, as Republicans say, he is anti-military, anti-Israel and soft on Iran. The gay Log Cabin Republicans, and a few others from the left, object because of his stand against the 1998 appointment of James Hormel as Ambassador to Luxembourg, who is openly gay. The problem on the left is he’s another Republican. Most of these objections won’t prevent Sen. Hagel from being confirmed.

At The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald discusses the concerns of the GLBT community and the objections of the left in his article:

When it comes to LGBT equality, 1998 is a different universe. Virtually no prominent Democrats (let alone Republicans) supported marriage equality back then, or even equal rights for LGBT citizens. In fact, Hagel’s comment came only two years after the overwhelming majority of Democratic Senators voted in favor of the truly odious and discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act – including Joe Biden, Patty Murray, Pat Leahy and Paul Wellstone – which was then signed into law by Bill Clinton. That law not only defined marriage as between a man and a woman, but barred the federal government from issuing any spousal benefits – immigration, tax, death benefits – to same-sex couples. If you’re going to judge politicians by how they felt about LGBT issues 15 years ago, be prepared to scorn almost every national Democratic Party hero you have as a bigot. [..]

So yes: like virtually every prominent politician in both parties, Chuck Hagel had primitive and ugly views on gay issues back in 1998. But shouldn’t the question be: does he still hold these views or, like huge numbers of Americans, have his viewed evolved since then? Hagel has apologized for what he said, an apology which Hormel accepted, graciously noting: “I can’t remember a time when a potential presidential nominee apologized for anything . . . .Since 1998, fourteen years have passed, and public attitudes have shifted–perhaps Senator Hagel has progressed with the times, too.” Moreover, Hagel last week also vowed that he is “fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.” [..]

Then there’s the issue of Hagel’s party affiliation. The perception that Republicans are more trustworthy than Democrats on military issues – and that Democratic presidents thus had to rely on Republicans to run the Pentagon – was indeed both pervasive and baseless. But that, too, has changed: the outgoing Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, is as loyal and partisan a Democrat as it gets, and nobody objected to his selection.

But much more importantly: when it comes to issues such as war, militarism, defense spending and Middle East policy, isn’t substance much more significant than whether someone has an “R” or “D” after their name? As Obama himself proves – and as Biden and Clinton before him proved – the fact that someone has a “D” after their name is hardly a guarantor that they will oppose policies of aggression and militarism. Indeed, as Clemons said Friday night on MSNBC, most Democrats in the Pentagon are so afraid of being cast as “soft on defense” that they hug policies of militarism far more eagerly and unquestioningly than Chuck Hagel ever would. Is partisan identity so all-consuming that it completely trumps substance, so that a hawkish Democrat is preferable to a war-skeptic Republican?

Just as a reminder, although Sen. Hagel objected to the authorization to invade Iraq in 2002, he still voted for it. So have the feral children of the right turned on him? It would seem that Sen. Hagel did the unthinkable, he told he truth about the real reason for the invasion, oil. He then committed a second “cardinal sin” when he voted for withdrawal.

Then according to the neocon’s he is soft on Iran and not sufficiently pro-Israel and has even been called antisemitic. Those objections are based on Sen. Hagel’s refusal to sign onto a number of AIPAC’s policy pronouncements and objections to military intervention with Iran over a non-existant nuclear weapons program.  Since most of those allegations are exaggerated or just false, the opposition is losing “steam” according to Josh Marshall at TPM:

Nominations lose steam or gain steam. Campaigns against nominations lose steam or gain steam. And at the moment, the campaign against Chuck Hagel’s nomination is losing steam. AIPAC and the ADL have both signaled they do not plan to make a fight of it. Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister is giving Hagel the thumbs up. Now even the Washington Post editorial page has signaled it’s backing off its opposition.

As I noted on Sunday, the prospect of a five seat Democratic majority denying a reelected President the nomination of a former Senator who is blandly unobjectionable anywhere outside the hothouse of DC was always quite unlikely. And these tells are consequential precisely because they signal that the parties in question don’t think it’s a winnable fight.

This is all a tempest in a teapot and ridiculous on its face just as the complaints that Pres. Obama isn’t sufficiently bipartisan. Sen. Hagel is just another in a long succession of right of center nominees, appointments and hold overs from the Bush administration that have been part of Pres. Obama’s neoliberal agenda.  

Al Jazeera’s Darren Jordon goes after Israeli spokesman Mark Regev over attacks on media in Gaza

Israeli missiles hit the building twice, injuring at least six journalists in the process. The strikes were condemned by press freedom groups, though Israel said it was aiming for Hamas communications equipment on the roof of the buildings. On Monday, it killed a member of the Islamic Jihad group in one of the buildings

“Rockets don’t stop at a roof,” Jordon said in response. “You’ve got the intelligence that journalists were all over that building. It’s never going to be precise enough that you can’t stop injuring people below the roof.”

“As far as I know, no foreign journalists were hurt whatsoever,” Regev said. “We were surgical, we took out the target that we wanted to take out.”

“You can’t sit there and say no journalists were injured,” Jordon replied sharply. “One person had their leg blown off. That is a fact.”

“Maybe we have a discussion about who is a journalist,” Regev said. He called Al-Aqsa, one of the outlets targeted in the strikes, a “Hamas command and control facility,” adding, “Just as in other totalitarian regimes, the media is used by the regime for command and control and also for security purposes. From our point of view, that’s not a legitimate journalist.”

Dispelling the Iranian Bomb Myth

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bleating  on Sunday’s talk shows about Iran being months away from having a nuclear weapon, there is no hard evidence that Iran is even seeking to build one. I’ve written three articles since January dispelling this myth, yet here we are again. The right wing war hawks and Bibi are at it propagate this fairy tail. Even Israel’s own intelligence community has agreed with the International Atomic Energy Agency and U.S. defense and intelligence officials who have said that they believe that Iran has not made a decision on whether to acquire nuclear weapons. So once more here are the facts from historian of the modern Middle East and South Asia Juan Cole:

go 1. ..] Netanyahu’s own Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, who admitted that [Iran has not decided to initiate a nuclear weapons program. Israel’s chief of staff, Benny Gantz, has also admitted that Iran has not decided to build a bomb.

follow site 2.  It is often argued that Iran does not need nuclear power. But it uses some petroleum for power generation, and Iranians are driving more and more. [..] Iran’s energy exports provide a crucial financial cushion, allowing the country to remain independent. Other oil giants, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are also building nuclear power plants. There is nothing illogical or unusual about Iran going in this direction.

free cialis price 3. It is alleged that Iran has threatened to annihilate Israel. It has done no such thing. Iran has a ‘no first strike’ policy, repeatedly enunciated by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has expressed the hope that the ‘Zionist regime over Jerusalem” would ‘vanish from the page of time.’ But he didn’t threaten to roll tanks or missiles against Israel, and compared his hopes for the collapse of Zionism to the collapse of Communism in Russia. [..]

pill decription of proscar 4. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has given a formal ruling or fatwa against nuclear weapons.

I skipped to 6

6. No, the International Atomic Energy Agency, on inspecting Iran, did not alleged evidence for bomb-making. It certified that no uranium has been diverted to a weapons program.

The last time that Iran launched a war of aggression was in 1826 when it attacked Russia over disputed territory. Iran, like the United States is a signatory of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Israel is not.

Mr. Netanyahu has been beating this drum since 1992. Iran is no closer now than it was then to having, or wanting, nuclear weapons. Yet, he and the right wing war hawks who took us into the Iraq misadventure, would have the world believe this fantasy. Pushing for another war in the Middle East would have very seriously negative consequences for the entire world.

Letting It All Hang Out

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

One of the latest MSM fixations has been an incident that occurred last year during a Republican junket to Israel. A nighttime swim in the Sea of Galilee by some members of the delegations turned embarrassing when the FBI found the Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took his dip in the sea sans his suit. Oh my! A coed swim with one naked man is now national news. But the question by the press should have been, why was the FBI investigating this trip. Surely, they weren’t interested in who was taking off their clothed and skinny dipping. It turns out that the FBI was only interested in one member of that group and the investigation had nothing to do with that representative’s participation in that incident, clothed or otherwise.

The focus of the FBI is Staten Island’s freshman Tea Party backed House Representative Michael Grimm. The 42 year old former FBI agent who bears a striking resemblance to Rep. Paul Ryan and the other Tea Party clones has been under investigation by the FBI and a federal grand jury investigation into his 2010 campaign finances. The FBI was looking into Mr. Grimm’s side trip to Cyprus that was sponsored by the Cyprus Federation of America.

But FBI agents were actually interested in Grimm’s failure to file paperwork related to his trip to Cyprus following his Israeli junket, which had been paid for by the Cyprus Federation of America. The president of that company was arrested on federal corruption charges in June. Grimm had reported the Israel trip in his initial filing in May but did not list the trip to Cyprus until he amended it in June, one day after Cyprus Federation of America’s president was arrested.

FBI agents may have asked questions about “who went into the water that night, and whether there was any impropriety,” as Politico reported, but sources indicated the dip in the water certainly wasn’t the FBI’s central focus. [.]

Grimm, a former FBI agent, has been the subject of plenty of attention from federal authorities over the past year. On Friday, one of Grimm’s top fundraisers was arrested for allegedly lying about the source of a loan on immigration documents. That man, an Israeli named Ofer Biton, traveled around the New York area with Grimm in 2010 to raise money for his congressional campaign. At least four of Grimm’s 2010 campaign workers have been questioned by the FBI. Federal prosecutors have also interviewed several donors, according to the New York Times.

But heck, what’s more interesting, an skinny dipping congressman or an investigation into possible corruption by a congressman? I think we all know the answer to that.

Clear and Plain and Coming Through Fine

Israeli decision to strike Iran is almost final . . .

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have “almost finally” decided on an Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities this fall, and a final decision will be taken “soon.”

Militarily, an Israeli strike would prompt missile attacks on Israel, attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah from the south and the north, and upheaval on the Arab street, in the leadership’s assessment.  Diplomatically, an Israeli strike would prompt a confrontation with the US, global protests, international isolation for Israel, delegitimization, and a situation in which Israel was seen as the aggressor. But Israel’s two key leaders believe that if Iran got the bomb, Israel would be defeated and humiliated diplomatically, and would become a liability to the US.

Netanyahu is convinced that thwarting Iran amounts to thwarting a plan to destroy the Jewish people.  He considers Iran’s spiritual leader to be acting rationally in order to achieve “fanatical” goals.

So Netanyahu has formulated a foolproof plan to foil Khamenei.  He’s going to act fanatically in order to achieve rational goals.  That’ll show those stupid Persians who’s rational and who isn’t.    

It looks like this is going to go down.  Bebe’s precious bodily fluids are bubbling and foaming with excitement . . .    

Dr. Strangelove, smirk,

That idiot is going to attack Iran, and the shit’s going to hit the fan everywhere.

Iran, Israel and “The Bomb”

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

President Obama assured influential leaders attending American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last week that the Unites States has Israel’s back fighting efforts made  to delegitimize the state. But how will America be positioned against Iran’s potential nuclear threat to Israel? The Up with Chris Hayes panel Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal), contributing writer at Newsweek; Jeremy Ben-Ami (@jeremybenami), founder & president of J Street; Leila Hilal, Middle East analyst at the New America Foundation; and Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder & president of The Israel Project discuss the contentious relationship between Israel and Iran.

The discussion that took place on Up with Chris went a long way to dispelling some myths about Iran’s nuclear energy program and the rhetoric of its alleged quest for a nuclear weapon. Chris Hayes pointed out early that “the big contest” was over whether President Obama would say “nuclear Iran” or “the capability for a nuclear weapon” in his speech to AIPAC, he went with the later. That did not stop the panelists continued false equation with a “nuclear Iran” and an Iran with a nuclear weapon. There is gaping difference between the two. “Capability” has become the code word for “the bomb”. The reality is that capability can also mean peaceful uses for nuclear energy that includes electricity and medical research.

No one, not even Hayes, mentioned that the ruling Ayatollahs have condemned nuclear weapons, as well as, chemical/biological weapons, based on religious and moral grounds. Nor did anyone mention that Iran has signed the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel has not nor has Israel ever allowed inspection of its nuclear facilities by the IAEA and no one has dared demand it.

It was, however, good that Rula Jebreal the misstatements by Jennifer Mizrahi, founder of The Israel Project about Iran’s cooperation with inspections. Middle East analyst Leila Hilal and Mr. Hayes joined Ms. Jebeal had to correct her hyperbolic statements that the Iranians are “different” and not “rational actors” and stop her racist generalization of the Iranians. Ms. Hilal rightfully noted that there is conflation of Islamists saying that Hamas and the Iranians, because they’re Muslims, are going to act to attack Israel. In fact, it’s not Hamas or Iran but the Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Resistance that has been calling for Israel’s destruction and, however lightly, it was mentioned that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has become isolated from the ruling Ayatollahs and increasingly unpopular with Iranians.

It was Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder & president of J Street who made the best observation that the premise of Iran dropping an atomic bomb on Israel, then be wiped out itself, is ridiculous on its face. Yet, here we are with the President of the United States saying that while he wants diplomacy to work but still saying that he has “Israel’s back” and talking about “nuclear capabilty” while Benjamin Netanyahu continues to threaten bombing Iran and right wing US politicians demand it.

The discussion held by Chis Hayes was a step in the right direction to dispel myths and blatant lies and put the facts and reality on the table. The conversation still has a long way to go.

Hurtling Towards a War with Iran

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In his annual speech to AIPAC, President Obama said:



“Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built. Now is the time to heed that timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly, carry a big stick. And as we do, rest assured that the Iranian government will know our resolve – that our coordination with Israel will continue.”

If there is “too much loose talk of war”, perhaps President Obama needs to stop threatening to start one with Iran. The only ones who are driving up the price of oil with loose talk are Obama and the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. The president needs to stop perpetuating lies that his own national security advisors have said are not true and of which there is no evidence:

“A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel’s security interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests of the United States. Indeed, the entire world has an interest in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran would thoroughly undermine the non-proliferation regime that we have done so much to build. There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization. It is almost certain that others in the region would feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in one of the most volatile regions in the world. It would embolden a regime that has brutalized its own people, and it would embolden Iran’s proxies, who have carried out terrorist attacks from the Levant to southwest Asia.”

Iran, like the United States signed and ratified the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

And this statement certainly doesn’t sound like Obama was backing away from banging the drum for a war:

“Iran’s leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment,” he said. “I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I’ve made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.”

Just how legal an attack, or even the threat of one, on Iran would be is discussed on this article by Glenn Greenwald at Salon:

Regardless of how one wants to rationalize these threats of an offensive military attack – they’re necessary to persuade the Israelis not to attack, they’re necessary to gain leverage with Iran, etc. – the U.N. Charter, to which the U.S. is a signatory, explicitly prohibits not just a military attack on another nation, but also the issuance of threats of such an attack. From Chapter II, paragraph 4:

   All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Does this matter at all? Should we even pretend to care in any way what the U.N. Charter prohibits and whether the U.S. Government’s threats to attack Iran directly violate its core provisions? I’m not asking this simple question rhetorically but rather to hear the answer.

The UN was of little concern to George W. Bush; it’s no wonder it’s of little concern for Barack H. Obama

So what are Iran’s leaders saying? From Juan Cole:

“A week and a half ago, Khamenei gave a major foreign policy speech in which he said,

The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.

There is no evidence that Iran is trying to even develop a nuclear weapon. Getting into another war in the Middle East is not in the best interests of the US, Israel or the rest of the world.

Barack are you listening?

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