31 January 2007

Telegraph Comment writers promoting another war of aggression

There is a lot of nonsense in this commentary. Either nonsense or just plain good old propaganda.

"it is easy to sympathise with Washington's irritation over Europe's failure to tighten the economic thumbscrews on Iran"

No it isn't. It seems the Times comment writers have forgotten or just don't give a damn about causing genocide, the genocide caused by the sanctions on Iraq after 1991 when over half a million children died.

"Washington believes an economic squeeze would help foment internal dissent against this bellicose Islamic regime"

How do the Telegraph Comment writers know what Washington "believes"?

One of the main problems of the main stream press in these times is their willingness to take as gospel, utterings by Administration, Defence or Intelligence officials. I say problem because how many times have these officials lied through their teeth since September 2001? It's about time their actions and not their words were examined.

Also who on earth gave the US the right to intervene in a sovereign nation's internal affairs? It is completely contrary to international law.

As for describing the Iranian regime as "bellicose", perhaps the Telegraph would care to back that up with some facts?

How many times has the USA been described as "bellicose" in the main stream media?

Which of the two countries has initiated over 200 military interventions since World War II? Iran? or the US?

"Critics of America will claim it is easy for the Bush Administration to call for an economic squeeze because America does little business with Iran, and so has little to lose."

The Telegraph Comment writers fail to question, exactly where Europe will find its own energy resources. It seems to forget that Europe is an energy competitor to the US, and must therefore look out for its own interests and not sacrifice them for the US.

"But in the real world, we all know if Teheran is to be stopped from developing a nuclear warhead it is to America that the West will ultimately turn"

Again the Telegraph assumes Iran is developing a nuclear warhead in spite of there being no proof.

Why is it that the falsified Iraq Downing St. dossier come to mind along with Colin Powell's false testimony to the UN?

"It will surprise many that Europe is offering such economic succour to a regime whose avowed aim is to use nuclear weapons to dominate the most volatile region on the planet. "

This is a blatant lie. In fact the truth is completely the opposite. The Iranians have never expressed any intention to dominate anyone with nuclear weapons. That is in fact what Israel and the US aims are. The Iranian Supreme Leader even issued a fatwa against the research, production or use of nuclear weapons.

One wonders why the Telegraph Comment writers are so interested in promoting yet another war of aggression? I would remind them that the Nuremburg tribunals sentenced people to death for doing exactly the same...

24 January 2007

Con Coughlin, more MI6 disinformation?

According to Con Coughlin in today's Daily Telegraph, "North Korea is helping Iran to prepare an underground nuclear test similar to the one Pyongyang carried out last year."

He continues: "A senior European defence official told The Daily Telegraph that North Korea had invited a team of Iranian nuclear scientists to study the results of last October's underground test to assist Teheran's preparations to conduct its own — possibly by the end of this year. There were unconfirmed reports at the time of the Korean firing that an Iranian team was present. Iranian military advisers regularly visit North Korea to participate in missile tests."

However, the "senior European defence official " is in all likelihood a "senior MI6 officer " if Coughlin's past form is anything to go by.

David Leigh wrote back in June 2000 in The Guardian that "Black propaganda - false material where the source is disguised - has been a tool of British intelligence agencies since the days of the second world war...readers of the Sunday Telegraph were regaled with with the dramatic story of the son of Libya's Colonel Gadafy and his alleged connection to a currency counterfeiting plan. The story was written by Con Coughlin, the paper's chief foreign correspondent and it was falsely attributed to a "British banking official". In fact, it had been given to him by officers of MI6, who, it transpired, had been supplying Coughlin with material for years."

Annie Machon, David Shayler's partner, in her book 'Spies,Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 and the David Shayler Affair' "alleges that MI6's counter-Iranian section used the Sunday Telegraph (and the journalists Con Coughlin, John Simpson and Dominic Lawson) to try to blame Iran for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, the destruction of flight PA103. MI6 was trying to deflect attention from the fact that it was actually a Libyan retaliation for the US bombing of Tripoli (backed by Thatcher) in 1986."

The fact that another of her allegations in the book - that there was collusion between the Army Forces Research Unit and loyalist terrorists - has been proved true just this week gives her account added credibility:
"15 murders linked to police collusion with loyalists· Special Branch protected paramilitaries, ombudsman finds · Calls for public inquiry over role of senior RUC officers"
Owen Bowcott, Ireland correspondent Tuesday January 23, 2007 The Guardian

So we know that on at least 2 occasions false stories were planted in the Sunday Telegraph with the connivance of Coughlin, both to do with Iran and one at least disguising the source.

We also know that Coughlin, back on 17 March 2003 was of the opinion that "Iran should come before Iraq"
Back on 05 January 2007, writing in The First Post, Robert Fox warned that the "British media appears to be softening us up for an attack on Iran".

Indeed, the plethora of anti-Iranian rhetoric in the press recently is a definite sign that the same model that was used against Iraq, is now being used for Iran: "the preparation of domestic opinion."

"Domestic Opinion
20. Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community. This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action."
Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action The Sunday Times June 12, 2005
"*sensitising the public: a media campaign to warm of the dangers that Saddam poses and to prepare public opinion both in the UK and abroad."
March 8, 2002 memo from Overseas and Defence Secretariat Cabinet Office outlining military options for implementing regime change.
"A Secret UK Eyes Only briefing paper was warning that there was no legal justification for war. So Mr Blair was advised that a strategy would have to be put in place which would provide a legal basis for war. It was also vital that the Prime Minister should be able to persuade the public that war was justified and, just as importantly, convince those among his backbench MPs who were becoming increasingly vocal in their opposition to another US-led war."
Michael Smith, Daily Telegraph Last Updated: 1:21am BST 18/09/2004

16 January 2007

Major investment bank issues warning on strike against Iran

The Raw Story has a scoop dated yesterday 15 January 2007.

Michael Roston of Raw Story reports:

"Warning that investors might be "in for a shock," a major investment bank has told the financial community that a preemptive strike by Israel with American backing could hit Iran's nuclear program, RAW STORY has learned.

The banking division of ING Group released a memo on Jan. 9 entitled

"Attacking Iran: The market impact of a surprise Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities."

ING is a global financial services company of Dutch origin that includes banking, insurance, and other divisions. The report was authored by Charles Robinson, the Chief Economist for Emerging Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He also authored an update in ING's daily update, Prophet, that further underscored the bank's perception of the risks of an attack."

Roston further reports:

"In his Jan. 15 update (p.4), Robertson points to a political reason that could make the assault more likely – personnel changes in the Bush administration may have sidelined opponents of attacking Iran.

Preisdent Bush recently removed General John Abizaid as commander of US forces in the Middle East and John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence, both of whom have said attacking Iran is not a priority or the right move at this time. The deployment of Patriot missile batteries, highlighted in President Bush's recent White House speech on America's Iraq policy, also pointed to a need to defend against Iranian missiles."

The 15 January update also states:

"President Bush's speech included an interesting line ("And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region, to build support for Iraq and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help bring peace to the Middle East. ")
This is a different emphasis from that reported by Bloomberg on 09 January (NI IRAN "Go"), when it cited the State Department spokesman saying that Rice would be going to the Middle East to discuss the "common threat" from Iran and would be "laying the foundations for potential future actions".

I reproduce verbatim the State Department briefing referred to above:

"In terms of the Secretary's travels, this is a trip where I expect that she is going to have some extended conversations with her counterparts and leaders in the region about how to address and confront the various threats that are -- that we face in common in the region"..."I would expect that this is a trip that is more about laying the foundations for potential future actions than actually coming to closure on any particular agreements.

QUESTION: So Iraq will also be part of the discussions?
MR. MCCORMACK: I would expect it will be. Yes, part of the stop in -- all along the way, I would expect that the topics of the Israel-Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq would come up. I would expect also discussions about the perception of a common threat posed by Iran and for other forces of extremism and violence in the region -- violent extremism in the region

14 January 2007

The US-Iran-Iraq-Israeli-Syrian War

Robert Parry, who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek, warns us that "the preparations for a wider Middle Eastern war are very serious and moving very quickly".

Several indicators point to this according to Parry.

1. Bush's recent speech on Iraq in which he stated ""We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria," Bush said. "And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq." He also stated that "Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria"

Parry suggests that the whole troop 'surge' could have a different reason than the one offered in public by Bush, namely, that "Bush’s escalation of troop levels in Iraq would make sense as a way to protect the Green Zone and other sensitive targets" against "pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Iraq seeking revenge against U.S. troops" for any attack on Iran.

He 's not the only one. Paul Craig Roberts also believes the "“Surge” Is A Red Herring".

2. The "deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region" as Bush himself remarked in the same speech, adding “We will expand intelligence sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies.”

Parry comments:

"Militarily, a second aircraft carrier strike force would do little to interdict arms smuggling across the Iran-Iraq border. Similarly, Patriot anti-missile batteries would be of no use in defeating lightly armed insurgent forces and militias inside Iraq. However, both deployments would be useful to deter – or defend against – retaliatory missile strikes from Iran if the Israelis or the United States bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities or stage military raids inside Iranian territory. Iran has a relatively sophisticated arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles. Those short-range missiles could be fired at U.S. bases in Iraq or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf. The medium-range missiles could conceivably hit Tel Aviv. Not only could Patriot missiles be used to knock down Iranian missiles while they’re heading toward their targets, but the fearsome firepower of two aircraft carrier strike forces could deter any Iranian retaliatory strike following a U.S. or Israeli attack. The deployments would fit with Israel or the United States bombing Iran’s nuclear sites and then trying to tamp down any Iranian response."

3. President George W. Bush's choice of a Navy admiral to head Central Command after Gen. John P. Abizaid. As Martin Sieff, UPI's Senior News Analyst, asked recently: "An admiral to command a land war?" He comments " If the Bush administration either plans to launch air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities in the foreseeable future, or if it expects any significant Iranian offensive operations against U.S. forces in Iraq, in the Persian Gulf region, or against U.S allies in the Gulf, then Adm. Fallon's appointment, and his vast experience in directing carrier-borne air strikes makes far more sense."

4. The removal of Negroponte as intelligence Czar. Parry comments: "McConnell is seen as far more likely than Negroponte to give the administration an alarming assessment of Iran’s nuclear capabilities and intentions in an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate. To the consternation of neoconservatives, Negroponte has splashed cold water on their heated rhetoric about the imminent threat from Iran. “Our assessment is that the prospects of an Iranian weapon are still a number of years off, and probably into the next decade,” Negroponte said in an interview with NBC News in April 2006. Expressing a similarly tempered view in a speech at the National Press Club, Negroponte said, “I think it’s important that this issue be kept in perspective.”

5. The fact that the US has sent warplanes to Turkey's Incirlik military base. On 11 January 2007 the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported that "According to Local Cihan News Agency, at least 16 F-16 jets joined by early warning system AWACS airplane, as well as tanker airplanes landed here at Incirlik coming from an American base in Germany." In his speech Bush stated "We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border." Both Turkey and Iraq border Iran.

6. "Pentagon sources tell CBS News the U.S. military has planned covert cross-border raids into Iran — but so far none has been approved."

7. The First Post's Robert Fox has noted that the "British media appears to be softening us up for an attack on Iran,"

You have been warned.