Nuclear weapons

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Response to issues raised in ‘Sub-Imperial State, Australian Dirty Work’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/01/2021 - 3:02am in

Clinton Fernandes’ review of Brian Toohey’s book Secret: The Making of Australia’s Security State published in Arena (no. 2, 2020) is uncritically enthusiastic, sometimes wrong, and fails to detect major errors in those parts of Secret on which he concentrates.

Toohey’s range is so broad that few reviewers could match his breadth of field and properly assess Toohey’s writing on all these topics. This has left most reviewers in the understandable but not helpful position of repeating a selection of Toohey’s many startling stories of appalling Australian government behaviour.

Toohey’s best work has usually come from leaks, and documents off the back off a truck, and for that many of us remain in his debt. He has the skill to cut through government deceit and technical complexity to give the reader an accessible account of the multiple threatening aspects of what he rightly calls the Australian national security state. 

In his review Fernandes concentrates on Toohey’s approach to the US-Australian bases at North West Cape and at Pine Gap. However, the review contains an important error of fact and problems of interpretation. 

First, when introducing Toohey’s account of the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap outside Alice Springs, Fernandes says, ‘the base also serves as a site for a US space-surveillance radar and an advanced space-surveillance telescope’. While it is indeed true that the United States built such a space-surveillance radar and space-surveillance telescope, these two new important facilities linking Australia to US plans for space war are not located at Alice Springs but at North West Cape in Western Australia. 

More seriously, Fernandes appears not to be aware of any difficulties with Toohey’s treatment of Pine Gap, which he reproduces, drawing principally from Toohey’s chapters ‘The men who spread the fairytale about arms control’ and the ‘The men seduced by the secrets’. 

Toohey’s main target in both chapters is Desmond Ball, who over four decades told us in authoritative detailed research and collaboration with journalists and activists about Pine Gap and the other US bases that he saw as so dangerous to both the Australian national interest and the global human interest. 

By selective quotation and ignoring context, Toohey presents Ball as a useful idiot seduced by the allure of access to secrets into facilitating US and Australian deceptions about Pine Gap.1

Since it always takes longer to correct cherry-picked quotations taken out of context than to write them, and Pine Gap is complicated to begin with, the note to this sentence summarises my extended account of the problems and misrepresentations in Toohey’s treatment of both Pine Gap and Ball, which is available online, together with Toohey’s response, at nautilus.org.2

The key background to Toohey’s attack on Ball is that for many years Ball argued that while Pine Gap was at least as dangerous as Nurrungar and North West Cape, and just as assuredly a Soviet nuclear target, he reluctantly accepted that Pine Gap had the potential to supply the means of verification of certain arms-control agreements. 

At the height of the New Cold War of the Reagan years, with no politically plausible nuclear-abolition movement in sight, the only restraints on nuclear next use were US-Soviet agreements to limit the numbers of certain types of weapons. But US Senate approval of such agreements depended on assurances that the US had reliable means of detecting cheating by the Soviet Union, including, in certain cases, US signals intelligence capacity, and Pine Gap in particular. Ball was well aware that the US and Australian governments seized on his reluctant acceptance of Pine Gap to blunt the impact of the 1980s peace movement. 

In fact, those of us working closely on campaigns to close Pine Gap in those years received considerable help from Ball, who documented its dangers more than anyone else. Unprecedented mass anti-nuclear campaigns built on Ball’s studies and his accessible and popular accounts, such as his American Bases in Australia, written for the Victorian Association of Peace Studies in 1982. For the first time, campaigners had confidence they were equipped with reliable information for a comprehensive understanding of issues that were otherwise a matter of government secretive silence or shallow journalism.  

By the early 2000s, Ball had begun to change his mind about his position on Pine Gap and arms control, as the vastly expanded role of Pine Gap in US global military operations, nuclear and conventional, became clear, and as serious arms-control initiatives became an endangered species. In August 2014, as Ball, Bill Robinson and I were about to release a flood of new research on Pine Gap, Ball told The 7.30 Report’s Dylan Welch of the shift in his views about Pine Gap: 

I’ve reached the point now where I can no longer stand up and provide the verbal, conceptual justification for the facility that I was able to do in the past. We’re now linked in to this global network where intelligence and operations have become essentially fused and Pine Gap is a key node in that whole network, that war machine, if you want to use that term, which is doing things which are very, very difficult, I think, as an Australian, to justify.3 

I will point to four main problems with Toohey’s account. 

1. Toohey opens his chapter on the ‘arms control fairytale’ by saying ‘The biggest secret about Pine Gap is that it is essentially irrelevant to verifying compliance with arms control agreements’. He cites two sources as his foundations for this claim. The first is a 2010 quotation from US Defense Secretary Robert Gates testifying to Congress about the New START treaty: 

The US does not need telemetry from Russian missile flights to verify Russian compliance with the New START treaty.4

The problem is that Gates’ statement, repeated later in the chapter, simply does not support the claim Toohey wants to make. In fact, depending on the weapons systems to be regulated by any given agreement, signals intelligence, such as Pine Gap may supply, may—or may not—be necessary or even useful for verification purposes. In the case of the New START treaty there was a fairly simple reason that Gates dismissed the relevance of missile telemetry. As the State Department wrote concisely in support of Gates’ remarks, the objects of arms reduction in New START differed from those of earlier treaties such as the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II), which did require test missile telemetry for verification of compliance:  

The obligations in the New START Treaty are different from those in START. None of the new Treaty’s specific obligations, prohibitions, or limitations requires analysis of telemetric information to verify a Party’s compliance.5

On this occasion, the State Department was right, and Toohey’s opening claim about ‘the biggest secret about Pine Gap’ is wrong.

2. Toohey’s problems with selective quotation and historical inaccuracy to buttress his case against Ball continues in the ‘fairytale’ chapter. Fernandes reports: ‘Toohey shows that “the central figure for arms control agreements” is the total number of missiles and warheads, which is verified by photographic images from low-orbiting satellites’.

Toohey supports this claim using a single source, a 1979 article by Herbert Scoville, a former CIA deputy director for research. Scoville was making a public case for Senate ratification of SALT II, which after years of negotiation had been signed by Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev on the same day that Scoville’s article appeared. The Iranian Revolution earlier that year had led to the closure of two CIA listening stations in Iran.

Scoville was aiming to assuage congressional fears that the loss of the CIA’s Iran listening posts would undermine the ability of the United States to verify Soviet missile-limitation commitments in the new treaty. America’s overhead photographic reconnaissance satellites would do the job even in the absence of the Iranian stations, Scoville wrote, together with the infrared sensors on the early-warning satellites (for which Nurrungar was a ground station). Nowhere did Scoville discuss space-based signals intelligence in general or the satellites that served Pine Gap. 

There are two problems with Toohey’s SALT II account based on Scoville. The first is that until 1996 the US government formally regarded the simple fact of collection of signals intelligence from space as top secret, until the Clinton administration declassified ‘the fact of’ overhead signals intelligence satellites. Scoville knew a great deal about CIA and National Security Agency (NSA) signals but was severely constrained in what he could say in public. And as Toohey rightly notes elsewhere, informed official sources had no compunction about misdirection in public statements. Scoville was leading senators well away from any embarrassing questions that might have led to public admission of the capabilities of the RHYOLITE satellites and Pine Gap.

The second problem with Toohey’s account is that in the case of SALT II, which he chooses to buttress his case of Ball’s ‘fairytale’, Toohey gets the historical facts wrong. The reality is that the NSA, the largest US intelligence organisation, and one of the main US intelligence agencies tasked with ensuring verification of the Soviet treaty, saw the SALT II verification requirements quite differently from Toohey’s account. The NSA’s secret official history described SALT II as ‘one of the most complex [arms control] treaties the U.S. had ever signed, and many of its clauses required verification’. According to the NSA, SALT II was ‘a nightmare for the intelligence agencies expected to verify its terms’. It dismissed in some detail the comforting idea that overhead imagery alone could do the job for SALT II’s complex verification requirements.6 

3. Toohey is dismissive of Ball’s claim that one reason Pine Gap was originally located in the centre of Australia derived from a need to prevent Soviet interception of the signals it was downlinking. Toohey writes:

A quick glance at a map rebuts Ball’s claim that Pine Gap’s isolation in the middle of Australia was essential to preventing adversaries getting close enough to eavesdrop on its satellite down links: the US-UK signals intelligence base at Menwith Hill has links to geo-synchronous satellites similar to Pine Gap’s, yet it is in North Yorkshire in a particularly narrow part of the British Isles that is readily accessible to hostile eavesdroppers onshore and offshore. 

In fact, a quick glance at an actual map shows that Toohey is wrong. A circle 160 kilometres in diameter centred on RAF Menwith Hill almost entirely covers terra firma, except for a few mudflats and shoals well within UK territorial waters. MI5 would have had no trouble finding the big antennas required for interception at that time in the countryside of Yorkshire or in cities like Leeds and Manchester. Soviet spy trawlers just outside territorial waters would worry a ground station on US military colonies like Diego Garcia or Guam, but neither Menwith Hill nor Pine Gap.7 

4. Toohey constructs a straw man in his discussion of Australian cities as nuclear targets. 

Toohey: 

Ball told the parliamentary committee in 1981 he had no doubt whatsoever that the Soviet Union would target Pine Gap, Nurrungar, and North West Cape, and told the committee he didn’t like the idea of nuclear bombs falling on Australia, but that ‘I cannot imagine any scenarios involving nuclear bombs falling on Australian cities’. Ball didn’t mention that the Soviet warheads were far more powerful than the bombs the British had tested in Australia. Yet the radioactive fallout from the British tests spread across large areas of Australia. Unlike Ball, senior intelligence analyst Bob Mathams told the same committee that the JIO considered the Soviets able to target Sydney with a nuclear missile.

Toohey is cherry-picking to prove a nonsense. Who could have denied that in the 1970s or the 1980s the Soviet Union could accurately target a city the size of Sydney? What the probabilities were of the Soviet Union doing so was entirely another matter in 1981, as it remains today regarding Russia and China. 

The real issue was the assessment of the likelihood and priority of direct targeting of Australian cities by the Soviet Union. Ball and Mathams (who worked closely together on related issues) both thought that targeting Australian cities would be a low priority for the Soviet Union. Both testified about the high-priority status of Pine Gap, Nurrungar and North West Cape as Soviet nuclear targets. In their original context, both Ball and Mathams clearly assert, in Mathams’ words, that ‘in a descending order of probability’, cities are the least likely targets after the bases and other defence facilities. Both gave clear strategic reasons for their shared ordering of likely Soviet priorities. Some might have wanted to argue against that order of probability, but contrary to Toohey’s construction of opposition, Ball and Mathams were in agreement on the issue of Australia as a target. 

‘All journalism simplifies’ goes the old saying, ‘but which story gets simplified remains the key issue’. Some things about Pine Gap are straightforward, and others are much more complicated. Why would we expect the analysis of the largest US intelligence base outside the United States, built and maintained by it at fabulous cost over more than half a century, a critical element in its nuclear domination of the rest of the world from its beginning, dependent on the collusion—willing when it is not suborned—of the Australian government, to be readily amenable to short-form explanation? Most journalism about the base understandably struggles with complexity. But we could have expected more from Toohey.

In the end the more serious consequence is that Toohey—and, by uncritical reviewing, Fernandes as well—has further muddied the always murky waters of Pine Gap media commentary, making the government project of mystification of the base a little easier. 

At a time when it is more important than ever to think carefully about Pine Gap, both in relation to US nuclear next use in planning for a war with China, and support for US military operations worldwide, we need informed clarity about arguments for wholesale reform or closure of Pine Gap.8 

1 Full disclosure here: Des Ball and I worked together over many years, intensively from 1999 onwards until his death, on Australian defence policy, Indonesian terror in East Timor, Pine Gap, and Japanese electronic intelligence. Des, Bill Robinson and I worked for over a decade on Pine Gap, publishing eight major papers through the Nautilus Institute on the extraordinary expansion in size, function and capacity of the base in the years before Ball’s death in 2016. The papers are collected online as The Pine Gap Project at https://nautilus.org/briefing-books/australian-defence-facilities/pine-gap/the-pine-gap-project/. Further papers are underway. Ball and I collaborated for over a decade on a second, parallel but related project on Japanese electronic intelligence and US signals intelligence in Japan, collected together as The Japan SIGINT Project at https://nautilus.org/uncategorized/the-japan-sigint-project/. Readers interested can look at Pine Gap papers relevant to these discussions at the project website, especially The Higher Management of Pine Gap and The SIGINT Satellites of Pine Gap,and Australia’s participation in the Pine Gap enterprise, as well as Richard Tanter, The ‘Joint Facilities’ revisited—Desmond Ball, democratic debate on security, and the human interest, Special Report, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, 12 December 2012, at http://nautilus.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/The-_Joint-Facilities_-revisited-1000-8-December-2012-2.pdf, an edited version of which appeared in Arena Journal 2012/2013.)

2 Richard Tanter, ‘Mystifying Pine Gap, Distorting Des Ball: Notes on Brian Toohey’s Secret: The Making of Australia’s Security State’, Nautilus Institute, NAPSNet Policy Forum Online, 11 January 2021 [with a response by Brian Toohey], at https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-policy-forum/mystifying-pine-gap-distorting-des-ball-notes-on-brian-tooheys-secret-the-making-of-australias-security-state/.

3 Dylan Welch, ‘Top intelligence analyst slams Pine Gap’s role in American drone strikes’, 7.30 Report, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 13 August 2014, at https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/top-intelligence-analyst-slams-pine-gaps-role-in/5669322.

4 Toohey gives his source as Amy F. Woolf, The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions, Congressional Research Service, R41219, 13 April 2016. Woolf, an excellent researcher on these matters, does talk about the telemetry issue, but not in regard to Gates, and he does not give this particular quotation. 

5 Dylan Welch, ‘Top intelligence analyst slams Pine Gap’s role in American drone strikes’, 7.30 Report, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 13 August 2014, at https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/top-intelligence-analyst-slams-pine-gaps-role-in/5669322.

6 Thomas R. Johnson, American Cryptology during the Cold War, 1945–1989. Book III: Retrenchment and Reform, 1972-1980, Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 1995, pp. 410–11.

7 Bill Robinson reminds me that Menwith Hill was not a SIGINT satellite ground station until 1978, when the Chalet/Vortex generation started going into space. The first generation of Canyon satellites was operated from Bad Aibling, in West Germany, which was more than 160 kilometres from the Czech border.

8 For my own views on some aspects of these issues, see Richard Tanter, ‘Our poisoned heart: the transformation of Pine Gap’Arena Magazine, No. 144, October 2016; Hiding from the light: The establishment of the Joint Australia-United States Relay Ground Station at Pine Gap, Special Report, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, 2 November 2019; ‘An Australian pathway through Pine Gap to the nuclear ban treaty’, Pearls & Irritations, 5 August 2019; Alice Springs News, 6 August 2019; [extended and footnoted version here]; and Hope Becomes Law: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in the Asia Pacific Region, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, Special Report, 13 December 2020.

Sub-Imperial State: Australian Dirty Work

Clinton Fernandes, Jul 2020

The instruments of statecraft, as exposed by Brian Toohey and Bernard Collaery, are wielded in the interests of those with real power: elite elements in the private sector and the US national-security state, which defends a global order protective of its interests.

Corporate Media Shills For Assassination Of Iranian Scientist

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/12/2020 - 6:29am in

The Trump administration committed another act of war against Iran, and like every U.S. war in the modern era, it began with a lie: that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. It’s a total falsehood we’ve heard get repeated again and again throughout mainstream media and from pundits who personally profit from U.S. aggression.

Jack Keane, who once proclaimed, “Iran with nuclear weapons and missiles that deliver them is absolutely a bonafide existential threat to Israel,” has a cozy relationship with the MEK, an Iranian exile cult that has assassinated Iranian scientists itself and who the U.S. government had listed as a terrorist group until recently. It’s no secret that the MEK pays U.S. officials to advocate on its behalf. Keane is the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War – a think tank funded by arms manufacturers like Raytheon and General Dynamics, which paid Keane more than $200,000 dollars in 2018 alone.

Then there’s the uber-hawkish human walrus John Bolton. Bolton was on the payroll of the MEK too, but CNN didn’t bother to mention that, nor that Bolton famously told a fawning audience at an MEK rally, “that’s why before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran. Thank you very much!”

 

Media shills

It’s not just right-wing fanatics paid by the MEK that are lying about Iranian weapons capabilities. It’s also respectable liberal media outlets.

Sonam Sheth, a political correspondent at Business Insider covering national security issues told MSNBC that, “it’s very unlikely that his [Mohsen Fakhrizadeh] assassination is going to impede Iran’s efforts to continue its producing nuclear weapons.”

ABC News also presented the allegation of an Iranian nuclear weapons program as an undisputed fact, describing Fakhrizadeh simply as, “The scientist believed to be the mastermind behind Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program.” “Believed to be” – what an interesting term. It was used over and over in coverage of the assassination of Fakhrizadeh. Who exactly is doing the believing here?

The New York Times described the operation as being carried out by “U.S. and Israeli intelligence,” which the so-called paper of record said, “are known for their upstanding behavior and honesty.”

 

A broken record

Remember when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swore that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons? “There is no question, whatsoever, that Saddam is seeking and is working, and is advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons. No question whatsoever,” he said in 2002 testimony to Congress.

Whatever happened to those anyway?

George Bush, too, proclaimed that “Those weapons of mass destruction gotta be somewhere.” At the very same hearing pushing for U.S. war on Iraq, he said “Iran was developing nuclear weapons too.”

Of course, all of these outlets conveniently ignore the statement from then-top intelligence official Dan Coats that “we do not believe Iran is currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.” Because that would undermine the drive to war.

But don’t worry. Biden isn’t like Trump. He’s one of the adults in the room. And he’s surrounded by seasoned diplomats who have made it clear they’ll return to the Iran deal that stupid Trump tore up, right? Wrong.

Biden’s secretary of state Tony Blinken said this, “If Iran returns to compliance with the nuclear agreement, we would do the same. But then we would use that as a platform to try to, working with our allies and partners, to try to strengthen and lengthen it.”

And then there’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan, who said Biden would return to the JCPOA (Iran deal)  if Iran “returns to compliance… and is prepared to advance good-faith negotiations on these follow-on agreements.”

So Biden’s Iran policy is basically just Trump lite. But that’s not terribly surprising when you examine his top foreign policy advisor’s record. Jake Sullivan is a favorite of the Foundation of Defense For Democracies, the neoconservative think tank funded by top Trump donor and ultra-zionist Sheldon Adelson which an Israeli official described as acting on its behalf. The FDD crafted Trump’s maximum pressure strategy to achieve regime change in Iran.

So even if Biden doesn’t go to war with Iran, he’s not projecting any desire for real diplomacy or de-escalation of hostilities. He hasn’t even said he’ll lift the crippling sanctions the Trump administration leveled. And what happens when the next administration decides it wants full-on war with Iran?

Just because Trump is out, don’t think for a second that the U.S. is going to fundamentally change. The U.S. is gearing up for war a catastrophic war on Iran, even if Biden doesn’t authorize he’s not going to prevent his successor from doing it.

Feature photo | Graphic by Antonio Cabrera for MintPress News

Dan Cohen is a journalist and filmmaker. He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine. Dan is a correspondent at RT America and tweets at @DanCohen3000.

The post Corporate Media Shills For Assassination Of Iranian Scientist appeared first on MintPress News.

MechaRandom on Israeli Space General’s Claim that the Aliens Really Are Here

Here’s a piece about Israel, which doesn’t involve them maltreating the Palestinians. But are they really in touch, along with the US, with beings from another planet?

MechaRandom42 is a vlogger, who talks about SF/Fantasy film, TV and comics, especially Star Wars, Star Trek and Dr. Who. She’s very critical about recent treatment of these classic series and film franchises, which she and many other fans believe have been ruined for explicitly ideological reasons. For example, popular, long-standing male characters in her view have been deliberately humiliated and undermined in order to give centre stage to poorly written and unlikeable female characters in order to preach an explicit and simplistic feminist message. At the same time gay and trans characters are also included in popular film franchises and TV series, like Batwoman, but the treatment given them is also simplistic. It’s tokenism, and this forced diversity comes at the expense of creating genuinely well-crafted, popular characters or intelligent, coherent and involving plots and stories. She’s also critical of recent Star Trek series, like Star Trek Picard, for abandoning the utopian optimism of previous series, like Classic Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and so forth, for a darker, dystopian future that’s robbed the series of its soul and reduced it to a generic SF show which just uses the settings and characters of Trek. She also laments the series’ decline in their ability to treat issues like racism, sexism and gayness. Previous series of Trek did so intelligently and from the perspective that humanity had already transcended these problems. The series often had an explicit message, but it took the trouble to explain them to the audience and didn’t patronise or insult them if they disagreed. Now their treatment is much cruder, reasoned argument is replaced by shrill preaching and there’s an underlying attitude that everyone who disagrees with the message must be an ‘-ist’ or a ‘-phobe’. This has resulted in these once popular film franchises, TV series and comics losing viewers and readers. And it’s one of the reasons the last series of Dr. Who catastrophically lost viewers.

It’s a controversial view, but one shared by a number of other Youtubers and fans of these genres. Some of this criticism comes from people on the political right, but it has also been expressed by peeps on the other side of the political spectrum. They argue that there have always been a concern with these issues in popular entertainment, and that there hasn’t been a shortage of strong female characters in SF. The Alien franchise’s Ellen Ripley is a classic example. The problem is that these issues aren’t being intelligently handled, but instead have been taken over by creators who are ideologically intolerant and seem intent on alienating their audience rather than winning them other.

In this video, however, she moves away from this to discuss the claims of Haim Eshad, a retired Israeli general, professor and former head of their Space Security Force, that the US and Israel really have made contact with aliens. According to the Jerusalem Post, citing another Israeli paper Yediot Aharonot, the two countries have made contact with the Galactic Federation, and they’re operating an underground base on Mars jointly with the aliens. Donald Trump was on the verge of announcing the extraterrestrial presence on Earth, but was stopped from doing so. The aliens don’t which to cause mass panic, and believe we are not ready for them just yet. He’s also got a book coming out, which he says contains more details and evidence.

MechaRandom compares this with the Star Trek universe and its theme of whether humanity is sufficiently evolved to meet aliens. She believes that we aren’t, and that this is due to the way society has dumbed down so we don’t use our ability to do Maths. This is the area we need to be concentrating on, in her opinion, if we are to meet aliens. She also wonders whether the retired military gentleman really is telling the truth, or if he’s ‘a crazy old guy’. He’s 87.

Aliens & The Galactic Federation Are Real For Reals This Time? – YouTube

To people with more than a superficial knowledge of Ufolore, this is very familiar stuff. Ever since Kenneth Arnold made his sighting of them over the Rockies in the 1947, there have been tales of secret government pacts with aliens, underground bases and so on. And there have been a string of Contactees, like George Adamski, who claimed that they had personally made contact with aliens, who had given them a message for humanity. These aliens also claimed to come from some kind of galactic or interplanetary federation, and their messages reflected the pressing global concerns of the day. In the 1950s this was the threat of nuclear war. In the 1980s and 1990s this was the threat to the environment, mirroring the rise of the Green movement. Whole religions have been built on such claimed contact, like the Raelians, UNARIUS and the Aetherius Society. This was set up in the 1950s by taxi driver George King, who heard a voice in his kitchen one day telling him that he should ‘prepare to be the voice of interplanetary parliament’. The Society claimed that King was in touch with an alien, Aetherius, on Venus, where Jesus was also alive and well, as well as Mars Sector 6.

There have been rumours of underground bases since at least the 1980s, as well as various newspaper and magazine articles and books written by government or military officials like Donald Keyhoe, Nick Pope, and the pseudonymous ‘Commander X’. The British hoax TV programme, Alternative 3, broadcast in the 1970s as an April Fool’s joke, also claimed that the Americans and Russians were secretly operating bases on the Moon and Mars, to which people were being kidnapped for use as slave labour in the event of global environmental collapse and the extinction of terrestrial humanity.

There are also stories that President Truman made contact with aliens when they landed at Holloman AFB in the ’40s or ’50s. JFK is also supposed to have been about to reveal the truth about the aliens, which is why he was assassinated. Ronald Reagan is also supposed to have been privy to this information, as shown by his remark to Steven Spielberg during a screening of ET at the White House: ‘Only five people in this room know how true all this is’.

You get the picture. Nothing Eshad has said, at least according to the Jerusalem Post article, is original. If anything, it’s curiously dated. The Contactee Howard Menger claimed to have seen Americans and Russians cooperating together on a secret base on the Moon when the space brothers took him there on one of his extraterrestrial jaunts. Menger was not a military man, but a barber. Hence the title of one of his books was Hairdresser to the Space People, or something like it.

Is Eshad telling the truth, or is he deluded or actually lying? My guess it’s one of the last two. Age and the pressures of holding such a senior command in the tense, war-torn Middle East could have taken their toll on the old boy’s mental health. It might also be that he may have personally had some kind of UFO sighting or experience, like some of the US astronauts. Or had UFO reports from the service personnel under him passed up for his comments. Researching the subject, he’s come across all the tall tales and rumours, and managed to convince himself they’re true.

On the other hand, he could very well be spinning yarns himself. He could be telling these stories as some kind of personal joke and to make a buck on the side from the sales of his forthcoming book. Or there may be something far more sinister going on here. There’s a large amount of evidence that the US intelligence agencies have been deliberately spreading disinformation about alien contact, crashed spacecraft and secret underground bases for their own purposes. Some of this might be destabilise the UFO community, which they have often viewed as a security threat because of the interest taken in secret aircraft and the air force and other bases, which are supposed to hide alien spacecraft and bodies. Some UFO sightings have been of American spy planes. These were often flown from US airbases in Britain and elsewhere, but were so secret that the Americans didn’t tell their allies in the host nations. It might be that Eshad is telling these tales of alien contact in order to have everyone looking in the wrong direction and so ignoring something that his country is really doing in space. At present the militarisation of space is banned under international law. Trump wants to break this and set up an American Space Force. Perhaps Israel is considering doing the same, but wants everyone to disregard it on the grounds that people think that what they’ve seen are alien spacecraft, and only nutters believe in UFOs and aliens.

And you could go on speculating. We really don’t know he’s telling these stories about secret contact with aliens, and can only guess at his motives. But I’m certain that aliens aren’t here, that Trump wasn’t going to spill the beans about them and that there definitely isn’t a secret US-alien base on Mars.

The ‘Empire Files’ on the Plot to Attack Iran

This is an excellent little video that explains Trump’s and the US state and military’s hostility to Iran and the real reasons behind the latest attacks. This ultimately goes back to western imperial control over the country’s oil industry. From 1908 until 1951 the Iranian oil industry was owned and controlled by a British company, Anglo-Persian Oil, now BP. It was nationalised by the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeq, who was consequently overthrown in a CIA-backed coup. The Shah was installed as an absolute monarch, ruling by terror through the secret police, SAVAK. Which the CIA also helped to set up.

Causes of American Hostility

The Shah’s oppression was eventually too much, and he was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and the American state has resented the country ever since. Iran and Israel were America’s bulldogs in the Middle East, so the US lost an important locus of influence in the region. Iran is now politically independent, and is one of the leaders of the group of non-aligned nations. This was set up for countries that did not wish to align themselves either with America or the Soviet Union, but after the Fall of Communism is now simply for nations not aligned with America. America is also unable to control what Iran does with its own oil, from which American companies are excluded from profiting. Another major cause for America’s hostility may be that Iran and Syria are obstacles to Israel’s territorial expansion and the creation of a greater Israel.

Trump’s Attacks on Iran

The Empire Files is a Tele Sur show dedicated to exposing the horrors and crimes of American imperialism. Presented by Abby Martin, it was originally on RT. In this edition, she talks to Dan Kovalik, a human rights lawyer and author of the book The Plot to Attack Iran. The show was originally broadcast in January this year, 2020, when there had been a series of incidents, including Trump’s assassination of the Iranian general, Soleimani, which many feared would bring about a possible war. As tensions and reprisals increased, many Americans also took to the streets to protest against a possible war. The tensions had begun when Trump unilaterally reneged on an agreement with the Iranians over the enrichment of nuclear materials. Barack Obama had made this agreement with the Iranians, in which they pledged only to enrich it to levels suitable for civilian use but not for the creation of weapons. In return, Obama had agreed to lift the sanctions imposed on them. The Iranians had kept to their side of the agreement, but Trump had abandoned it because he wanted to impose further conditions containing Iran. For their part, it had been a year before the Iranians had reacted to the agreement’s failure. The EU had been keen to keep the agreement, despite American withdrawal, but now were unable or unwilling to do so. Kovalik states that Iran doesn’t want nukes. In the 1950s America and General Electric were helping the country set up nuclear power for electricity production. The Ayatollah Khomeini also issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons, condemning them as ‘unIslamic’. The claim that Iran is now a threat to America is based on intelligence, which claims in turn that Iran had a list of American targets in Syria. As a result American troops, ships, missiles and planes were moved to the Gulf. It was also claimed that the Iranians had attacked three civilian ships. Some of these are very dubious. One of the attacked vessels was Japanese, and the ship’s owners deny that any attack occurred. The attack also makes no sense as at the time it was supposed to have happened, the Japanese and Iranians were in negotiations to reduce tensions. Kovalik states here how devastating any war with Iran is likely to be. According to retired General Williamson, a war with Iran would be ten times more expensive in financial cost and lives than the Iraq War. It also has the potential to become a world war, as Russia and China are also dependent on Iranian oil.

Iran Potential Ally, Not Threat

Trump has also re-imposed sanctions on Iran at their previous level before the nuclear agreement. As a result, the Iranians are unable to sell their oil. They are thus unable to buy imported foodstuffs or medicines, or the raw materials to manufacture medicines, which is naturally causing great hardship. Kovalik and Martin are also very clear that Iran doesn’t pose a threat to America. It doesn’t pose a threat to American civilians, and the country was actually a partner with the US in the War on Terror. Well, that was until George W. declared them to be an ‘axis of evil’ along with North Korea and Saddam Hussein. This disappointed the Iranians, whom Martin and Kovalik consider may be potential allies. America wishes to overthrow the current regime because the 1979 Revolution showed countries could defy America and topple a ruler imposed by the US. Although America may resent the country’s freedom to do what it wishes with its oil, the US doesn’t actually need it. America is an exporter of oil, and so one goal of US foreign policy may simply be to wreck independent oil-producing nations, like Iran, Libya and Venezuela, in order to remove them as competition.

The programme also attacks the claims that Iran is a supporter of terrorism. This is hypocritical, as 73 per cent of the world’s dictatorships are supported by the US. This includes the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia, which in turn supports al-Qaeda and ISIS. Iran does support Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, but most political analysts don’t consider them terrorist organisations. They’re elected. The American state really objects to Iran having influence in its own region, but it is the Iranians here who are under threat. They are encircled by countries allied with the US.

Iran anti-Israel, Not Anti-Semitic Country

Kovalik also personally visited Iran in 2017, and he goes on to dispel some misconceptions about the country. Such as that it’s particularly backward and its people personally hostile to Americans. In fact Iran has the largest state-supported condom factory in the Middle East. Alcohol’s banned, but everyone has it. The country also prides itself on being a pluralist society with minorities of Jews, Armenian Christians and Zoroastrians, the country’s ancient religion. And contrary to the claims of Israel and the American right, it’s got the second largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside Israel, and Jews are actually well treated. Kovalik describes meeting a Jewish shopkeeper while visiting the bazaar in Isfahan. He noticed the man was wearing a yarmulka, the Jewish skullcap, and went up to talk to him. In answer to his inquiries, the man told him he was Jewish, and didn’t want to leave Iran. He also told Kovalik that there was a synagogue, and led him a mile up the road to see it. Despite the regime’s genocidal rhetoric, when polled most Iranian Jews said they wish to stay in Iran. There’s a Jewish-run hospital in Tehran, which receives funding from the government. After the Revolution, the Ayatollah also issued a fatwa demanding the Jews be protected. The status of women is also good. Education, including female education, is valued and women are active in all sectors of the economy, including science.

Large Social Safety Net

And the Iranian people are actually open and welcoming to Americans. Martin describes how, when she was there, she saw John Stuart of the Daily Show. The people not only knew who he was, but were delighted he was there. Kovalik agrees that the people actually love Americans, and that if you meet them and they have some English, they’ll try to speak it to show you they can. Martin and Kovalik make the point that Iran is like many other nations, including those of South America, who are able to distinguish between enemy governments and their peoples. They consider America unique in that Americans are unable to do this. Kovalik believes that it comes from American exceptionalism. America is uniquely just and democratic, and so has the right to impose itself and rule the globe. Other countries don’t have this attitude. They’re just happy to be left alone. But America and its citizens believe it, and so get pulled into supporting one war after another. They also make the point the point that Iran has a large social safety net. The mullahs take seriously the view that Islamic values demand supporting the poor. Women enjoy maternity leave, medicine is largely free and food is provided to people, who are unable to obtain it themselves. In this respect, Iran is superior to America. Kovalik states that while he was in Iran, he never saw the depths of poverty that he saw in U.S. cities like Los Angeles. These are supposed to be First World cities, but parts of America increasingly resemble the Third World. He admits, however, that the US-imposed sanctions are making it difficult for the Iranians to take care of people.

British Imperialism and Oil

The programme then turns to the country and its history. It states that it has never been overrun, and has a history going back 4,000 years. As a result, the country has preserved a wealth of monuments and antiquities, in contrast to many of the other, surrounding countries, where they have been destroyed by the US and Britain. Iran was never a formal part of the British empire, but it was dominated by us. Oil was first discovered there in 1908, and Britain moved quickly to acquire it for its own military. The oil company set up favoured British workers and managers, and the profits went to Britain. This was bitterly resented at a time when 90 per cent of the Iranian population was grindingly poor. People wore rags, and some oil workers actually slept in the oil fields. Conditions reached a nadir from 1917-1919 when Britain contributed to a famine that killed 8-10 million people. Those, who know about it, consider it one of the worst genocides.

The Iranian oil industry was nationalised by Mossadeq, who gained power as part of the decolonisation movement sweeping the subject territories of the former empires. Mossadeq offered Britain compensation, but no deal was made before he was overthrown in a CIA-backed coup. Details of the coup came to light a few years ago with the publication of official records. It was the first such coup undertaken by the intelligence agency, but it set the rules and strategy for subsequent operations against other nations.

CIA Coup

The CIA paid protesters to demonstrate against the government, and they were particularly keen that these were violent. They wished to provoke Mossadeq into clamping down on the protests, which they could then use as a pretext for overthrowing him. But Mossadeq was actually a mild individual, who didn’t want to use excessive force. He was only convinced to do so when the CIA turned the Iranian tradition of hospitality against him. They told him Americans were being attacked. Mossadeq was so mortified that this should happen in his country, that he promptly did what the CIA had been preparing for. The Shah was reinstalled as Iran’s absolute monarch with General Zadegi as the new prime minister. Zadegi got the job because he was extremely anti-Communist. In fact, he’d been a Nazi collaborator during the War. After the restoration of the Shah in 1953, there were some Nazi-like pageants in Tehran. The CIA assisted in the creation of SAVAK, the Shah’s brutal secret police. They gave them torture techniques, which had been learned in turn from the Nazis. By 1979, thanks to SAVAK, Amnesty International and other organisations had claimed Iran was the worst human rights abuser in the world.

Reagan, the Hostage Crisis and Iran-Contra

The attack on the left meant that it was the Islamicists, who became the leaders of the Revolution as revolutionary organisation could only be done in the mosques. The left also played a role, particularly in the organisation of the workers. The pair also discuss the hostage crisis. This was when a group of students took the staff at the American embassy hostage, although the regime also took responsibility for it later. This was in response to the Americans inviting the Shah to come for medical treatment. The last time the Shah had done this had been in the 1950s before the coup. The hostage-takers released the women and non-Whites, keeping only the White men. The crisis was also manipulated by Ronald Reagan and the Republicans. They undercut Jimmy Carter’s attempts to free the hostages by persuading the Iranians to keep them until after the US election. America also funded and supplied arms to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, which left a million people dead. They also supplied arms to Iran. This was partly a way of gaining money for the Contras in Nicaragua, as the US Congress had twice stopped government funding to them. It was also partly to stop Saddam Hussein and Iraq becoming too powerful. Kovalik notes that even in the conduct of this war, the Iranians showed considerable restraint. They had inherited chemical weapons from the Shah, and the Iraqis were using gas. However, Khomeini had issued a fatwa against it and so Iranians didn’t use them.

The pair also observe that Trump is bringing back into his government the figures and officials, like John Bolton, who have been involved in previous attacks on Iran. This raises the possibility of war. Kovalik believes that Trump is a brinksman, which means that there is always the danger of someone calling his bluff. He believes that the American military doesn’t want war, but it’s still a possibility. The American public need to protest to stop Trump getting re-elected as a war president.

Stop War, But Leave Iranians to Change their Regime

This raises the question of how to oppose militarism and support progressive politics in Iran. Iranian Communists, the Tudeh are secular socialists, who hate the Islamicists. They state that it is up to them to overthrow the Islamic regime, not America or its government. They just want Americans to stop their country invading and destroying Iran. External pressure from foreign nations like America through sanctions and military threats actually only makes matters worse, as it allows the Islamic government to crack down on the secular opposition. However, Kovalik believes that the American government doesn’t want reform, but to turn Iran back into its puppet. The video finally ends with the slogan ‘No War on Iran’.

The Plot to Attack Iran – Myths, Oil & Revolution – YouTube

Readers of this blog will know exactly what I think about the Iranian regime. It is a brutal, oppressive theocracy. However, it is very clear that Iran is the wronged party. It has been the victim of western – British and US imperialism, and will be so again if the warmongers Trump has recruited have their way.

Events have moved on since this video was made, and despite Trump’s complaints and accusations of electoral fraud, it can’t really be doubted that he lost the US election. But it really does look like he means to start some kind of confrontation with Iran. And even with his departure from the White House, I don’t doubt that there will still be pressure from the Neocons all demanding more action against Iran, and telling us the same old lies. That Iran’s going to have nuclear weapons, and is going to attack Israel, or some such nonsense.

And if we go to war with Iran, it will be for western multinationals to destroy and loot another Middle Eastern country. The video is right about western oil companies wanting the regime overthrown because they can’t profit from its oil. Under Iranian law, foreign companies can’t buy up their industries. A few years ago Forbes was whining about how tyrannical and oppressive Iran was because of this rule. I think the Iranians are entirely justified, and wish our government did the same with our utilities. I think about 50 per cent of the country’s economy is owned or controlled by the state. Which is clearly another target for western companies wishing to grab a slice of them, just as they wanted to seize Iraqi state enterprises.

And at least in Iran medicines are largely free, and food is being provided to those who can’t obtain it themselves. They’ve got something like a welfare state. Ours is being destroyed. We now have millions forced to use food banks instead of the welfare state to stop themselves starving to death, and the Tories would dearly love to privatise the NHS and turn it into a private service financed through private health insurance. The Iraq invasion destroyed their health service. It also destroyed their secular state and the freedom of Iraqi women to work outside the home.

We’ve got absolutely no business doing this. It shouldn’t have been done to Iraq. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen to Iran.

Why America Really Fears a Nuclear Iran: They Might Be Sane and Responsible

That’s the impression given by some very revealing quotations William Blum includes in his chapter on Iran in his book America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy. One is from the Israeli military historian, Martin van Creveld, who states very clearly that the world can live with a nuclear Iran, but it would be awkward for Israel to admit that. The reason? They use the threat of a nuclear Iran to get weapons from the rest of the world.

Van Creveld said this in an interview he gave to Playboy:

The U.S. has lived with a nuclear Soviet Union and a nuclear China, so why not a nuclear Iran? I’ve researched how the U.S. opposed nuclear proliferation in the past, and each time a country was about to proliferate, the U.S. expressed its opposition in terms of why this other country was very dangerous and didn’t deserve to have nuclear weapons. Americas believe they’re the only people who deserve to have nuclear weapons, because they are good and democratic and they like Mother and apple pie and the flag. But Americans are the only ones who have used them…. We are in no danger at all of having an Iranian nuclear weapon dropped on us. We cannot say so too openly, however, because we have a history of using any threat in order to get weapons …. thanks to the Iranian threat, we are getting weapons from the U.S. and Germany. (pp. 97-8).

And Danielle Pletka, the vice-president for foreign and defence policy of the neo-Conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, said

The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and using it, it’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don’t do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, ‘See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn’t getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately’…. And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem. (p. 99).

This suggests, I think, that Pletka and the other Neo-Cons are afraid that even if Iran doesn’t use nuclear weapons immediately, it may do so in the future. But that’s the danger with all the countries with nuclear arms, including and especially Israel. According to the Samson Option, if Israel is attacked and the majority of the country destroyed, they would launch their missiles not just at their attacker, but also at the rest of the world – Europe, Russia and Islam’s holy places. This would be partly in reprisal for the other nations not intervening on their behalf. Israel seems to be quite prepared to destroy the rest of the world purely for its own security.

If the Iranians have been developing nuclear weapons, I honestly can’t say I blame them. The country has been the victim of first British and then American imperialism, and it seems to me very clear that Washington wants regime change and that this is constant, regardless of whoever’s in the White House.

And American foreign policy actually encourages countries to have nuclear weapons by showing how vulnerable they are without them. Saddam Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass distraction. He made repeated attempts to show the Americans and their allies he didn’t have them, and the international atomic weapons inspectors knew he didn’t. And so the Americans and their allies invaded, causing massive carnage and plundering Iraq of its oil and state industries. The lesson this gives the rest of the world is the precise opposite America wants to teach: you will only be safe from western invasion if you have nuclear arms.

But this will stop the West invading and butchering for the profits of their multinationals and the Israelis getting arms from their panicked and fearful allies. So they have to go on scaring the world with the bogeyman of a nuclear Iran.

Simon Sideways on Israel as Rogue Nuclear State

Despite styling himself ‘Reverend’, I very much doubt that Simon Sideways is a man of the cloth. He’s a right-wing youtuber, who vlogs about immigration, feminism, Islam and the coronavirus lockdown, all of which he opposes. I don’t share his views about these subjects. But in this short video below, he makes some very disturbing points about Israel. The video’s just over five minutes long, and it’s his thoughts about the assassination yesterday of the Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsin Fakhrizadeh. Sideways believes that it’s the work of the Israeli secret service, Mossad, and goes on to discuss their probably responsibility for a virus that attacked the Iranian nuclear programme a decade or so ago.

The virus was originally developed by the Americans, and was intended to disrupt the computer systems controlling the operation of the centrifuges used in nuclear research. The Israelis, however, decided that the virus wasn’t sufficiently destructive, so they took it over and altered it before unleashing it on the Iranians. It didn’t just affect Iran, however. It spread around the world causing havoc in all the computer systems it infected, including our NHS. When the Americans then confronted the Israelis with the chaos they caused, the Israelis just shrugged it off.

Sideways states very clearly that the Israelis do exactly what they want, to whom they want, with a complete disregard for the consequences because they will always defend themselves by accusing their critics of anti-Semitism. America can break one international law in a year, and there’s a global outcry. Israel, however, will break fifty, and there’s no criticism, because everyone’s afraid of being called anti-Semitic.

This cavalier disregard for the immense harm done by them also extends to the country’s nuclear policy. This is the ‘Samson Option’, named after the Old Testament hero. This policy states that in the event of a nuclear attack by another country, Israel will launch its nuclear weapons indiscriminately at the other countries around the world, including Europe. The point of the strategy is to turn Israel into a ‘mad dog’ so that no other nation dares attack it. There is an article about the strategy on Wikipedia, which provides a number of quotes from journalists, military historians and senior Israeli officers about the strategy. It was to be used in the event of a second holocaust, with nuclear missiles targeting Europe, Russia and Islam’s holy places.

See: Samson Option – Wikipedia

Here’s the video.

Mossad Murder inc at it agai. in Iran – YouTube

I remember the virus attack on Iran’s nuclear programme. If I recall correctly, it disabled an underground nuclear testing centre and killed 22 scientists. I also remember the crisis a few years ago caused by a virus infecting the NHS computers. I don’t know whether this was the same virus, but I really wouldn’t like to rule it out. He isn’t quite right about Israel escaping without criticism from the global community for its actions. The UN has issued any number of condemnations of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, which are very definitely in violation of international law. It’s just that Israel takes zero notice of them, and they aren’t enforced with sanctions. And they almost certainly won’t be, so long as Israel has the support of America, Britain and the European Community.

Sideways is right when he says that Israel responds to criticism by calling its accuser an anti-Semite. We’ve seen that in the Israel lobby’s smears against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour party, very many of whom were self-respecting Jews. Israel has been caught several times spying against friendly countries, another violation of international law. When Thatcher caught them doing so, she threatened to throw the Israeli spies out of the country. The Israelis duly issued an apology and amended their behaviour. They were caught doing the same under Blair and then under Cameron or Tweezer. I can’t remember which. Zero action was taken, and the Israelis got away with it.

They’ve also killed innocent people when they’ve tried assassinating Palestinian terrorists. And when I was growing up I remember how the rozzers in either Switzerland or Sweden nabbed a party of these clowns. The Israeli spies were trying to snatch a Palestinian terrorist, who was living in a block of flats. They decided the grab needed to be done in darkness, so turned off the block’s fuse box. Which plunged the entire block into darkness. Then Sweden’s or Switzerland’s finest turned up and grabbed them in turn.

This all shows that the Israeli security services are a bunch of out of control, murderous clowns. And the Samson Option shows that the Arabs and Muslims are right: it isn’t Iran that’s a rogue state. It’s the US and Israel. In his book America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, Blum cites a Zogby poll of global, or at least Middle Eastern opinion, about whether Iran would be a threat if it had nuclear weapons. Most of those polled believed that Iran wouldn’t, and that it had a right to nuclear weapons.

The prospect of a nuclear armed Iran was worrying a few years ago, when Ahmedinejad was president. Ahmedinejad was extremely religious and belonged to a group of Twelver Shia – the country’s major branch of Islam – who believed that the return of the 12th Imam was imminent. The Shi’a believe that leadership of the Islamic community after Mohammed rightly belonged with a line of divinely inspired rulers – the Imams – beginning with Mohammed’s son-in-law, Ali. There are different sects, and Twelver Shia are so-called because, unlike some others, they believe that there were 12 Imams, the last of whom vanished after he went to a well in the 9th century AD. They believe he will return in the last days, when there will be a battle between Islam and the forces of evil. Ahmedinejad’s presidency was frightening because there was a fear that he would launch some kind of war in order to fulfil this prophecy.

But the Iranian president wasn’t the only leader whose apocalyptic beliefs were a possible threat to the world. Ronald Reagan and various members of his cabinet and military advisers also believed that the End was near as right-wing fundamentalist Christians. There was thus also concern that he would launch a nuclear war against Russia, here representing the forces of the Antichrist, to bring about the end.

Well, Ahmedinijad and Reagan have been and gone. I don’t believe that the Iranians have a nuclear weapons programme, as I explained in a post I put up about the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist yesterday. I also think that the Iranians were genuine when they said they were willing to negotiate and reach a deal with America. The refusal to cooperate, in my opinion, comes from the Americans, who really want regime change.

Not that the Iranians are angels in their turn. The regime is a brutal, repressive theocracy and they have been responsible for terrorist attacks against opposition groups. There’s a report on one such attack by the Iranian security services on an Iranian opposition group in Europe in today’s I. It’s just that it now looks to me that Iran isn’t, and has never been, a nuclear threat.

It looks to me like the real nuclear threat and rogue state is Israel. And the Iranians have more to fear from an invasion from America and Israel, than America and Israel have from Iran.

Iranian Nuclear Scientist Assassinated – But Do They Really Have a Nuclear Weapons Programme?

I’ve just seen this report on YouTube from the Beeb reporting the assassination of the top Iranian nuclear scientists, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Reports were confused at first, with the Iranian nuclear authority claiming that Fakhrizadeh had survived, but the country’s defence minister then confirmed that he had died. The Beeb’s Middle East editor for the World Service, Sebastian Usher, states that he was the head of Iran’s cover nuclear weapons programme. This has been extremely controversial for years, and is at the heart of the way Israel and America look at Iran. They see Iran as close to becoming a massive risk all across the region because of its nuclear programme. Fakhrizadeh was the ‘father’ of the nuclear weapons programme, and so the prime target, particularly for anyone trying to send a message by whoever was responsible that action would be taken against their weapons programme.

The head of the Revolutionary Guards said that these attacks had happened in the past and have been revenged in the past, and would be revenged this time. Usher states that was quite true. Between 2010 and 2012 there was a spate of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, four of whom were killed in relatively mysterious circumstances, but Iran blamed the Israelis. Netanyahu hasn’t made any comment on what has just happened. Usher states that we should look at the context of this assassination. Trump was in power with a very overt foreign policy from Saudi Arabia and Israel, which had a very strong attitude and ‘strategy of maximum pressure’ against Iran. Usher says that in the last few weeks there has been speculation what Trump’s administration would do to get its message across and make it more difficult for the president elect, Joe Biden, if he were to try to go back to the Iranian nuclear deal which Trump walked away from in 2018.

Top Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated – BBC News – YouTube

I’m calling bullshit on some of this. I’m not at all sure that Iran has a covert nuclear weapons programme – not after the lies Netanyahu and the Americans have told in the past, and definitely not after the total hogwash we were also fed about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction.

Readers of this blog will know that I despise the Iranian regime. They are a bunch of corrupt mass-murderers and torturers, who oppress and rob their people. But it’s a very good question whether Iran is developing nuclear weapons. As the Beeb report says, concerns about this have been around for years. The Iranians do have a nuclear programme, but denied it was military. They said it was all about supplying domestic power. Some western commenters I’ve read have said that’s probably true. Iran’s economy is heavily dependent on oil exports. They want to increase these, and so it would make sense for them to develop nuclear power to generate electricity for their people, so they can export more to the rest of the world.

I also remember how Netanyahu nearly a decade ago now was screaming that the Iranians were close to developing a nuclear bomb, and that action had to be taken against them soon. It was a lie from a man all to practised in lying. It was contradicted by that mamzer’s own security service and his generals. Unsurprisingly, William Blum has a chapter on Iran and the US’ hostility and lies about it in his book, America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy. He talks about the scare in 2007 when the Israeli state was telling the world that Iran was on the point of developing nuclear weapons and a threat to Israel. But three months before that, Tzipi Livni, the same foreign minister making the claim, had said instead that the Iranian nuclear weapons programme was not a threat to Israel. Blum also quotes Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International, on how cooperative the Iranians were when the Americans negotiated with them in the 1990s.

The one time we seriously negotiated with Tehran was in the closing days of the war in Afghanistan [early 199s], in order to create a new political order in the country. Bush’s representative to the Bonn conference, James Dobbins, says that ‘the Iranians were very professional, straightforward, reliable and helpful. They were also critical to our success. They persuaded the Northern Alliance [Afghan foes of the Taliban] to make the final concessions that we asked for.’ Dobbins says the Iranians made overtures to have better relations with the United States through him and others in 2001 and later, but got no reply. Even after the Axis of Evil speech, he recalls, they offered to cooperate in Afghanistan. Dobbins took the proposal to a principals meeting in Washington only to have it met with dead silence. The then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he says, ‘looked down and rustled his papers.’ No reply was ever sent back to the Iranians. Why bother? They’re mad. (p. 104-5).

Dobbins himself states that it was the Iranians who included the references to democracy and the War on Terror in the Bonn Agreement and insisted that the new Afghan government should be committed to them.

Blum goes on

Shortly after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran made another approach to Washington, via the Swiss ambassador, who sent a fax to the State Department. The Washington Post described it as ‘a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table – including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.’ The Bush administration ‘belittled the initiative. Instead, they formally complained to the Swiss ambassador who had sent the fax.’ Richard Haass, head of policy planning at the State Department at the time and now president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the Iranian approach was swiftly rejected because in the administration ‘the bias was toward a policy of regime change.’ (p. 105).

Blum concludes

So there we have it. The Israelis know it, the Americans know it. Iran is not any kind of military threat. Before the invasion of Iraq I posed the question: What possible reason would Saddam Hussein have for attacking the United States or Israel other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide? He had no reason, and neither do the Iranians. (p. 105).

Blum also has a chapter on Iraq, and how Hussein tried again and again to make a peace deal with the Americans and show them he didn’t have WMDs. And each time he was rebuffed. A little while ago Trump had an Iranian general assassinated in a drone strike, and there are reports that he would have liked to have had others assassinated in the final days of his presidency. He’s frustrated that he couldn’t. We don’t know who was behind this assassination. It could be the Israeli state, or the Saudis, but it may very well be Trump.

And I’m afraid that over the next few days or weeks, we shall hear more about an Iranian nuclear weapons programme and how they’re a threat to America and its allies. And I fear that the hawks are also preparing to demand war with Iran. If they are, then we’ll hear all the same lies we were told about Saddam Hussein and Afghanistan – that the Iranian government is a tyranny oppressing its people, and that we shall go in there to give them democracy and freedom while eliminating them as a threat to the region’s peace.

But any invasion very definitely won’t be for the benefit of the Iranian people, or to give them freedom and democracy. It will be for the same reasons Iraq and Afghanistan were really invaded – for the oil and the maintenance of American geopolitical power. Plus in the case of Iraq, American and western multinationals also wanted to buy up the country’s state industries.

And the results of any invasion of Iran will be the same as Iraq: bloody carnage. There will be ethnic and sectarian violence, the country’s economy will collapse and unemployment skyrocket. Whatever the country has of a welfare state will disappear and the position of women will get worse. Iran is an Islamic theocracy, but it was also one of the most westernised and industrially advanced societies in the Middle East. I think it still is. The Iranian middle class go skiing in the mountains during which they sport the same fashions as the west. Yes, it part of the developing world, but I got the impression that it was also a comparatively rich and sophisticated country.

We’ve got no business whatsoever invading Iran and the other Middle Eastern nations, and so much of what we’ve been told about them, about the threat they pose, is just one lie after another. And it’s utterly disgraceful that our leaders sent our brave young men and women to fight, die or come back maimed and scarred in body and mind, not to defend this country, but simply so the multinationals can see their stocks and their managers’ salaries rise.

We were lied to about Afghanistan and Iraq. And I’m afraid our leaders will lie to us about Iran, and the Beeb will repeat these lies.

For the sake of millions of people, No War!

Nuclear weapons – always inhumane and unacceptable, now illegal

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 30/10/2020 - 12:30pm in

The nuclear weapons ban treaty has achieved the 50 ratifications needed for its entry into force. By Tilman Ruff On Saturday, 24 October, the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, Honduras brought the number of nations to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) to 50. This means…

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Aussies Want Nuclear Weapons Ban - NFP Report

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 02/12/2014 - 7:00am in