Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hegemony And Appeasement

Setting Up the Next U.S.-Israeli Target (Iran) For Another "Supreme International Crime"

By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
Sunday, 28 January 2007

Still digesting their recent and ongoing aggressions in the Middle East, the Bush and Israeli regimes now threaten to attack Iran. As these warrior states cast their long shadow across the region, they find themselves aided and abetted by the Security Council, the other major powers, parties of the opposition, and the media.

The ease with which a supposedly independent media in a supposedly democratic society like the United States can demonize enemies and convert third- and fourth-rate official targets into major threats is almost beyond belief. And the collective amnesia of the establishment media enables them to do the same thing over and over again; they never learn, and most important never have to learn, because the collective amnesia they help instill in the society protects them against correction—an unending series of victories over memory in the exercise of "reality-control" (Orwell).

This enables the media to serve as de facto propaganda agents of their state while still claiming to be independent watchdogs. Less than three years ago, in 2004, the New York Times and Washington Post were hardly alone in offering partial mea culpas for having swallowed and regurgitated Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Powell-Rice lies about Saddam Hussein’s menacing weapons of mass destruction (WMD),2 thereby making a major contribution to the criminal and costly quagmire they now bemoan (but, along with Bush, still declining to urge any quick exit or meaningful withdrawal.) And yet they had barely gotten out their apologies before they eagerly climbed aboard the Bush-Cheney-Rice-Olmert bandwagon on the Iran menace and urgent need to do something about that grave threat.

And what a threat it is! Admittedly, Iran doesn’t possess a single nuclear weapon, and won’t have one for some years even if it is trying to get one, which its religious leaders vigorously deny. If it got a nuclear weapon it couldn’t use it except in desperate self-defense as both Israel and the United States have many nuclear bombs and superior delivery systems, so that any offensive use of its nuclear weapon(s) would entail Iranian national suicide.

It may be recalled that Saddam used his WMD only against Iran and his Kurds, but not even in self-defense during the 1991 Persian Gulf war attack on Iraq by the United States and its “coalition”—the former use was with U.S. approval, the latter case of non-use was because Saddam would have suffered disproportionate retaliation by the United States and his restraint followed. This point is not made in the establishment media, possibly because it would seem to qualify the Iran nuclear menace.

The media also do not draw the further inference that an Iranian nuclear weapon would therefore serve only as a means of self-defense and to give Iran a little more leverage in dealing with the nuclear power states—the United States and Israel—that openly threaten it. Instead, the media, following the official line, talk about an Iranian nuclear weapon as “destabilizing,” when what they really mean is that the Israeli-U.S. continuous war-making, ethnic cleansing, and deliberate and effective destabilization of the Middle East would be made more difficult.

Of course, in the demonization tradition, the media feature the special menace of the evil men who run the Iranian state. In the good old days the trick was to tie them to the Evil Empire (the Guatemalan leadership in 1954, the Sandinistas in the 1980s, and in fact any national liberation movement or uncooperative leader who might have sought arms from the Soviet Union), carefully avoiding any awkward earlier support the United States might have given the evil man when he was doing its bidding (Noriega, Saddam in the 1980s and earlier). The media play this game well and regularly perform in the manner that would fit comfortably into the world of Big Brother, where “any past or future agreement [with the demonized enemy] was impossible.…The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia so short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated.” In the case of the Iraq war the technique has been simply to play dumb and never mention the earlier alliance between “Oceania" (the United States) and “Eurasia”(Iraq).

In the Iran case, its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has done yeoman service in facilitating the demonization process, although the media have distorted his remarks, misrepresented his power, and generally provided a misleading context to meet the demands of demonization. Ahmadinejad allegedly proclaimed that "Israel must be wiped off the map of the world," a threat proving how dangerous Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon would be for Israel; the former Israeli Prime Minister and Likud Party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu currently leads a campaign calling for Ahmadinejad's indictment on the charge of inciting genocide against the Jewish state.3 But it has been shown that Ahmadinejad did not threaten Israel with violence in his October 26, 2005 address before the World Without Zionism conference.

Rather, to commemorate International Quds Day, he quoted a number of passages from Ayatollah Khomeini, and in one of these quotes, Khomeini had predicted the passing or ending or vanishing of the Israeli occupation of Quds (i.e., Jerusalem) from the pages of time.4 Furthermore, Ahmadinejad does not rule Iran and does not have the power to go to war against Israel—that power lies with the Mullahs, as the New York Times and others deign to mention when the Mullahs are criticizing Ahmadinejad and thus points can be scored against him.5

On the other hand, both Israel and the United States have leaderships greatly influenced by religious groups whose principles encourage and welcome violent expansionism and even apocalyptic, “end-time” scenarios. The media do not mention U.S. and Israeli religious fanaticism as posing any kind of regional or global existential threat. Nor do they discuss or express great concern over the fact that whereas a few nuclear weapons would only help Iran to deter other states from attacking it, the United States and Israel could use nuclear weapons against Iran without committing national suicide. And both of these nuclear states threaten and reportedly have very active plans for such an attack.6 In the Kafka Era, while such credible plans and threats disappear, the mythical threat to wipe Israel "off the map" is placed front and center, helping make the real threat politically more feasible.

These media failures are closely related to the power of the pro-Israel Lobby in the United States, which has paralyzed the Democratic Party and made it into an ally of Bush administration hardliners pushing for an attack on Iran. Israeli leaders want a war with Iran, preferably with the United States doing the fighting, and this translates into Lobby pressures and hence Democratic leaders jumping on the war bandwagon, often trying to outdo the Republicans. U.S. Senator John Edwards told a recent conference on the "Balance of Israel's National Security" that the "rise of Islamic radicalism, use of terrorism, and the spread of nuclear technology and weapons of mass destruction represent an unprecedented threat to the world and Israel." He immediately added: "At the top of these threats is Iran. Iran threatens the security of Israel and the entire world. Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons."7

Edwards is far from alone. Prior to winning election to the Senate in 2004, Illinois' Barack Obama told the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune that "launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in. On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse.” Last October, New York Senator Hillary Clinton told the Council on Foreign Relations that "U.S. policy must be unequivocal. Iran must not build or acquire nuclear weapons….We have to keep all options on the table…." More recently, Indiana's Democratic Senator and one-time presidential hopeful Evan Bayh called Iran "everything we thought Iraq was but wasn’t. They are seeking nuclear weapons, they do support terrorists, they have threatened to destroy Israel, and they’ve threatened us, too."8

Coming from the "opposition" party, comments such as these and the assumptions and beliefs which they betray help to reinforce the establishment’s party-line about the "existential" threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to Israel and to the "stability" of the entire Middle East. Thus the rapidity with which Iran has assumed the role formerly occupied by Iraq within the reigning demonology helps to reinvigorate a war-supportive climate just when public disaffection with the Iraq war has sharpened. In the November 2006 elections, the American public voted against the continuation of the Iraq war, and most certainly would oppose their government's expansion of the war to Iran.9 But with the Democrats neutralized and in the absence of a truly mass opposition movement, the public remains irrelevant to this decision-making process: It can be ushered along belatedly, as the bombs begin falling and it is called upon to support "our troops." That worked for some years in the case of the Iraq invasion-occupation.

As With the Iraqi WMD Hoax, Iran's Alleged "Threat to the Peace" Serves To Cover Over the Real Threat Posed to Iran by the United States and Israel.

In retrospect, it is crystal clear that the alleged threat of Iraq’s WMD was a cover, long in the making, for a U.S.-British plan to conquer and occupy Iraq, with WMD selected as the sexiest, most saleable marketing device around which this planned violation of the UN Charter was “fixed.” In that episode, the United States and Britain also clearly used the UN as a means of facilitating their attack. But this recent history, none of it more than five years old, had no effect in preventing a closely analogous rerun of that scenario in a run-up to a planned U.S.-Israeli attack and possible attempt at another “regime change” in violation of the UN Charter.

Consider Some Of The Relevant Facts:

1. Iran has never once moved beyond its borders in an act of aggression since the organization of the UN and widespread acceptance of the UN Charter as fundamental international law. This, of course, has not prevented Henry Kissinger from describing the "Iranian combination of imperialism and fundamentalist ideology" as a threat to the "region on which the energy supplies of the industrial democracies depend," a threat for which the counterweight of "American forces are indispensable."10 Nor has Iran's non-aggressive history prevented a wide array of commentators from repeating the views expressed by the Director of National Intelligence in testimony before the Senate on January 11, when he warned of the "shadow" that Iran now casts across the Middle East; by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who warned of an "emboldened and strengthened Iran;" or by George Bush, who, in his two major speeches in January, warned of an Iran "emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons" (January 10), a new axis emerging "out of chaos in Iraq,…an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America" (January 23).11

On the other hand, while despite all this noisy rhetoric Iran has stayed at home, it has been attacked by Iraq in a war of aggression that was actively supported by the United States and Britain. The United States also organized a coup in Iran in 1953 that replaced a democratic with a dictatorial regime. The Security Council stood by and did nothing in the face of these U.S.-supported violations of the UN Charter.

2. The United States and Israel have both engaged in numerous cross-border invasions and occupations in violation of the UN Charter, most recently the United States (and Britain) attacking and occupying Iraq, and Israel bombing and invading Lebanon. The UN Security Council not only failed to do anything punitive in the face of these open violations of the UN Charter, it actually ratified the U.S. occupation—whereas it had quickly forced Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991 as a matter of course, given Iraq’s violation of the UN Charter and the importance of adherence to the rule of law!12

3. Iran has not threatened to attack the United States—which it couldn’t do anyway, any more than Iraq could have attacked this country in 2003—and it has not threatened to attack Israel, although Iran has promised to retaliate for an attack against its territory, and President Ahmadinejad has made hostile remarks about Israel and expressed the wish that Israel would disappear as an apartheid state. As noted, his statement was misrepresented by the Western media as part of the demonization process, the media also failing across the board to note the limits of Ahmadinejad’s power in Iran, and the reasons why any offensive effort by Iran against Israel would be suicidal.

4. In contrast with Iran’s bluster but non-threats, both the United States and Israel have made quite open threats to attack Iran, with U.S. officials speaking regularly of their objective as “regime change” in Tehran. This is normalized in the media, which transform Iran’s bluster and non-threats into very worrisome concerns, while making the quite explicit and realistic U.S. and Israeli threats into reasonable reactions to the politically-constructed threat posed by Iran. In one of Condoleezza Rice's classic expressions, matching her claim that the Israeli invasion of Lebanon marked the “birth pangs of a new Middle East,” Rice treats the open Israeli threat against Iran as a regrettable but understandable consequence of Iran’s refusal to terminate nuclear activities--which have never been shown to be anything but peaceful and permitted under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT): “I think that even talk of such [military operations against Iran] just shows how very serious it would be to have Iran continue its program unabated.”13 That Iran’s nuclear program, on the unproven assumption that it has weapons in mind, might be an understandable response to the Israeli open threat to use nuclear weapons on Iran, is outside her—or the Western media’s—orbit of thought.

Although these U.S.-Israeli threats are splashed across headlines and television screens around the globe, and violate the UN Charter’s prohibition against states engaging in the “threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” and although these threats are made by two states that have committed the “supreme international crime” in Iraq and Lebanon in 2003 and 2006, respectively, the UN and international community take no cognizance of these Charter violations and the threat its authors pose for a further major war. Instead the new Secretary-General speaks of the UN and United States having a “shared objective of promoting human rights, democracy and freedom and peace and security,”14 and the Security Council continues to cooperate actively with the threatening global rogue state as it and its client prepare for a further war of aggression.

5. Beyond mere threats, the United States has already been carrying out provocations and a low-level war of aggression against Iran, on at least two occasions abducting Iranian diplomatic personnel inside Iraq in violation of international law, conducting surveillance flights over Iran's territory, and infiltrating military personnel on the ground.15 It has been transferring deep-earth-penetrating munitions to Israel, and has spoken openly about their possible use against targets within Iran. It has transferred anti-missile systems to neighboring states such as Kuwait and Qatar, and openly made clear their Iran-oriented mission. And it has undertaken the highly provocative placement of two naval aircraft carrier groups off Iran's coastal waters in the Persian Gulf, naming Admiral William J. Fallon the new head of U.S. Central Command, whose theater of operations include Afghanistan and Iraq in a move the New York Times called "classic gunboat diplomacy."16 Or in the words of the U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, "Iran needs to learn to respect us. And Iran certainly needs to respect American power in the Middle East."17 All the United States wants is a little respect!

6. Iran was among the original signatories to the NPT (1968); and though the Islamic Republic of Iran dates only from 1979, it has consistently denounced the nuclear-weapon option, instructing the IAEA that it "considers the acquiring, development and use of nuclear weapons inhuman, immoral, illegal and against its very basic principles."18 Iran has cooperated with the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to an impressive extent. For some years prior to 2003, it did hide aspects of its nuclear program, most notably its early research in the field of uranium enrichment, possibly recognizing that its enemies (the United States and Israel) would give it trouble for any work it did in this area even if it was legal. In order to satisfy the IAEA's ever-changing doubts, however, Iran adopted numerous and sometimes unprecedented "confidence building" measures over the course of 2003-2005, including the voluntary suspension of a uranium enrichment program in which it has every right to engage under the NPT, and the voluntary observance of the stricter Additional Protocol measures, even though Iran never adopted them formally. More important, no IAEA report on Iran's implementation of its non-proliferation commitments has ever determined that Iran diverted its nuclear program away from civilian toward military uses. Nor has the CIA found any evidence of a secret program to develop nuclear weapons.19

7. On the other hand, the United States (along with every other nuclear-weapon state) has violated its commitment under the same NPT “to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control," in the words of the unanimous opinion of the International Court of Justice (July 8, 1996).20 The United States not only refuses to move toward nuclear disarmament, it has recently declared nuclear weapons part of its regular war arsenal, has unilaterally abrogated its NPT promise never to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states, and it is busily modernizing its nuclear weapons to make them more practicable.21 Further, although the NPT requires nuclear states to help non-nuclear states develop civilian technology, the United States not only refuses to do this, it openly denies that right to Iran.

8. Israel remains outside the NPT, and has secretly built up a sizable arsenal of nuclear weapons, giving it unique status as the only Middle Eastern country with nuclear arms. This also has been normalized by the UN and international community, and Israel’s nuclear arms are unchallenged despite its numerous violations of Security Council and International Court rulings, the Geneva Conventions that relate to the behavior of an occupying power, and its recent major aggression against Lebanon. While Israel remains outside the IAEA’s jurisdiction, it threatens to attack Iran with its own nuclear arsenal, or those acquired from the Americans.

Regardless, the Security Council has never adopted sanctions against Israel for building up a nuclear weapons arsenal that constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security. In September 2006, the United States, France, Germany and Britain (among others) blocked a vote at an IAEA meeting that would have declared Israel’s nuclear capabilities a threat. So the double standard is institutionalized and official: Only a U.S. target poses a threat in acquiring nuclear weapons; the United States and its clients pose no such threat, even when they warn of their possible use of nuclear weapons in a further “supreme international crime” of aggression.

In an act of remarkable chutzpah, the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs, and noted racist, Avigdor Lieberman wrote to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to formally request that he "Revoke Iran's membership in the United Nations" for its failures in dealing with the charges against it under NPT rules, to which of course Israel has avoided subjecting itself.22 In the Kafka Era, Iran finds itself "surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons: Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf," as Robert Gates recently remarked, but it has no right to even embark on nuclear activities to which it is entitled under the NPT, because the United States says so.

9. Close U.S. allies India and Pakistan also remain outside the NPT, despite having built-up and tested nuclear weapons, India at least twice (1974 and 1998), and Pakistan once (1998). In December 2006, just days before the Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran, Bush signed legislation that allows the U.S. to sell nuclear fuel and technology to India for the first time since it exploded a nuclear device in 1974. Bush, the Washington Post reported, "reversing three decades of nonproliferation policy,…persuaded Congress to make an exception for India despite its not having signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

Within disarmament and non-proliferation circles, the India-exception is regarded as a nightmare scenario, as it permits India to designate "only 14 of its 22 nuclear reactors as civilian," and open to inspections; the other eight "are considered military and will remain shielded from international scrutiny." This "will allow India to import nuclear fuel for civilian use," while enabling it to "use its own facilities to produce enough fuel for 40 or 50 nuclear bombs per year." But as the Financial Times noted, "US officials hope the agreement will give US companies such as Westinghouse a 'leg up' in contracts for civilian nuclear plants in India…."

One section of the law requires the White House to periodically certify that India is not transferring nuclear material or technology to Iran. Upon signing it, however, the White House issued a statement announcing that it will construe all such requirements as "advisory." As Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns explained, "We don't have any doubts that India also wishes to deny Iran a nuclear weapons capability."23 In the Kafka Era, nuclear-weapons proliferation to India and beyond is acceptable, so long as India (and anybody else) serves U.S. political interests.

10. Instead of trying to curb the aggressions and NPT violations of the United States and Israel, or their allies like India and Pakistan, the Security Council and international community have zeroed-in on the U.S. and Israeli target already under attack and threatened with a more massive aggression. Under U.S. pressure the IAEA has devoted at least 20 different reports to the assessment of Iran’s nuclear program since March 2003. Although Iran has NPT rights to peaceful nuclear activities, the United States has openly declared that it will refuse Iran those legal rights, and it has continuously pressed for a complete suspension of Iran’s enrichment and processing activities as a pre-condition for any negotiations with Iran on any issue. After more than three years of arm-twisting, the UN Security Council has finally gone along with this, twice adopting resolutions in 2006 under Chapter VII's "threat to the peace" articles that demanded, first, that Iran suspend all enrichment and reprocessing activities (1696, July 31), and later that all states withhold assistance to specified aspects of Iran's program (1737, December 23).24 In short, a sanctions regime was imposed on the “defiant” state (i.e., U.S. target).

11. The Security Council adopted these resolutions despite reaffirming the right of all states "to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination" (here echoing Art. IV.1 of the NPT). Despite the fact that ever since the present round of harassment began in 2003, Iran has steadfastly renounced the nuclear-weapon option as anathema to Islamic principles. Despite the fact that no IAEA report on Iran's implementation of its non-proliferation commitments has ever found Iran guilty of diverting its nuclear program away from civilian toward military uses. Despite the fact that Iran advocates the establishment of a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East—as does every other state in the region, with one exception. Despite the fact that in order to satisfy the IAEA's ever-changing doubts, Iran adopted numerous and sometimes unprecedented "confidence building" measures over the course of 2003 - 2005.

Despite the fact that there are as many as 442 nuclear power plants currently operating in more than 30 different countries around the world, with nearly one-quarter of the total located in the United States alone, and zero inside Iran. Despite the fact that Iran long ago declared its intention to develop its own nuclear energy sector to provide electricity to a rapidly growing population, and to free-up its oil sector for desperately needed export earnings—an argument supported by a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.25 And despite the fact that the United States once supported Iran in this objective—though only at a time when a so-called "special relationship" still existed between the two states, Iran then ruled by the U.S.-installed client regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, under whose "great leadership" Iran was regarded as an "island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world" (Jimmy Carter, New Year's Eve 1977).

12. The range of "nuclear"-related material and activities that the U.S. seeks to deny Iran is far more extensive than just those that clearly have a potential weapons or even "dual-use" applications, such as Iran's Heavy Water Reactor Program at Arak. "Iran gets IAEA technical aid for more than 15 projects and dozens more that also involve other countries," Associated Press reports. "Diplomats familiar with the American strategy for the next IAEA board meeting March 5 say Washington wants at least half of the aid projects permanently eliminated." Although 1737 makes exceptions for aid that does not contribute to "proliferation sensitive nuclear activities," specifically if it serves "food, agricultural, medical or other humanitarian purposes" (par. 9), the projects currently under review include those designed "to bolster the peaceful use of nuclear energy in medicine, agriculture [and] power generation"—clearly not military related. Perhaps most strikingly, AP mentions "cancer therapy programs and requests for help in international nuclear licensing procedures."26 Thus the U.S. seeks to exploit the IAEA review process to heighten tension with Iran and to penalize it in a flagrant fashion.27

It is ironic that while the U.S. struggles to prevent Iran from researching even medical projects that make use of nuclear technology, it is able to dispatch nuclear-powered warships to the same region, including two aircraft carrier strike groups and a nuclear-powered submarine that on January 8 rear-ended a Japanese supertanker in the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean. In the Kafka Era, for Iran to develop even a peaceful nuclear program constitutes a threat to the peace, while for seven decades running, the U.S. has researched, developed, and manufactured nuclear-powered weapons and warships, and sent them to any theater on the planet it chooses, as a guardian of the peace.

13. Both 1696 and 1737 state that the "IAEA is unable to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran." Similarly, the IAEA's November 14 report noted that "While the Agency is able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, the Agency will remain unable to make further progress in its efforts to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran unless Iran addresses the long outstanding verification issues"—locutions repeated many times over the course of the IAEA's reporting on Iran.28

In plainer English, the IAEA can verify that there are no serious NPT-violations in Iran. Therefore it has been necessary to seize upon any area of Iran's nuclear program where there are ambiguities, and to use these "outstanding issues" that Iran can never fully satisfy to keep Iran under the gun. In analogous fashion, the regime of Saddam Hussein could never satisfy UNSCOM or UNMOVIC, even when it had no WMD.

Although the IAEA and Security Council would never face a comparable "gap in knowledge" were they to examine the programs and stockpiles of the eight nuclear-weapons states (for the time being, we'd exclude North Korea from this category), it is the repetitive allegation that there are "outstanding issues" in Iran that has transformed Iran's nuclear program into an apparent problem, independently of what Iran's leadership does or does not do. In the Kafka Era, Iran is obliged to prove a negative. Its inability to do so is a threat to the peace.

14. In another triumph of U.S. war-making “diplomacy”—recall the Rambouillet Conference on Kosovo in February 1999, which cleared the ground for NATO bombing29—1696 and 1737 are on the books now, reinforcing the presumption of Iran's "threat to the peace." Both Russia's and China's UN ambassadors explained that a reason their states had voted in favor of sanctions was that 1737 "clearly affirms that, if Iran suspends all activities relating to the enrichment and chemical reprocessing of uranium, the measures spelled out…will be suspended" (Russia's Vitaly Churkin).

"The sanctions measures adopted by the Security Council this time are limited and reversible," China's Wang Guangya added later. "There are also explicit provisions indicating that if Iran suspends its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, complies with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and meets with the requirements of the IAEA, the Security Council would suspend and even terminate the sanctions measures."30 But these testimonies are false and disingenuous. In accepting the 1737 sanctions, surely Russia and China recognize that they have handed the belligerent members of the Security Council a weapon that can be used to punish Iran economically and to facilitate another major war of aggression.

Recalling the history of the U.S. and British manipulation of the UN during the long march towards war with Iraq, common sense tells us that, once having secured the Council's approval of sanctions on Iran, Washington will never surrender them without achieving its ultimate goal. To lift the 1737 sanctions requires Security Council determination "that Iran has fully complied" with its demands. If Iran has not complied the Council will "adopt further appropriate measures…to persuade Iran to comply." Given the U.S. veto and other forms of leverage, this means that the sanctions will remain until U.S. objectives are met.

One of those objectives is “regime change." And since Washington has declared that it will not accept Iran’s right even to civilian uses of nuclear power, "full compliance" may never be recognized by the United States without a military attack. The Iraq “sanctions of mass destruction” were only lifted after the U.S. invasion and occupation. The Iran sanctions are similarly structured to provide the United States with a casus belli—an incident for war. They very well may be lifted only in the ruins of another victim of aggression.


In a statement delivered to the IAEA more than three-and-one-half years ago, Iran still held out hope "that not all international organizations have yet come [to] the state of total domination."31 That hope has not been realized and the performance of the UN and UN Security Council in the Middle East crises has been shameful. To have allowed two global rogue states that have evaded or violated the NPT and committed a stream of major UN Charter and Geneva Convention violations to drag Iran before the Security Council, and to obtain Chapter VII sanctions against it, constitutes a most grave moral and political collapse of any genuine international community worthy of the name. The Iran case is a true throwback to Munich-style appeasement and poses a serious threat to world peace. This is because it bends multilateral institutions to fit the super-rogue state's will, and provides it with a semi-legal basis for attacking its next target, an amazing innovation in the annals of power and lawlessness, given its performance in brushing aside any UN constraints when attacking Iraq just four years ago.


1. According to the Final Judgment at Nuremberg, a ruling that has provided all succeeding generations with the classic pronouncement on the illegality of aggressive war: "War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." See Final Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals (September 30, 1946), specifically "The Common Plan or Conspiracy and Aggressive War," from which this passage derives.

2. "From the Editors: The Times and Iraq," Editorial, New York Times, May 26, 2004; Howard Kurtz, "The Post on WMDs: An Inside Story," Washington Post, August 12, 2004. Also see "Were We Wrong?" Editorial, The New Republic, June 28, 2004. In this last case, the editors expressed "regret…but no shame," adding: "if our strategic rationale for war has collapsed, our moral one has not."

3. Gil Hoffman, "Netanyahu to address Britain on Iran," Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007. Also see the Remarks by Benjamin Netanyahu at the 2007 Herzliya Conference, Lecture Summaries, January 21, 2007.

4. See Anneliese Fikentscher and Andreas Neumann, "Does Iran's President Want Israel Wiped Off the Map?" (Trans. Erik Appleby), Information Clearinghouse, April 20, 2006; Juan Cole, "Hitchens the Hacker," Informed Comment, May 3, 2006; Jonathan Steele, "Lost in Translation," The Guardian, June 14, 2006; and Arash Norouzi, "'Wiped Off the Map' -- The Rumor of the Century," DemocracyRising.US, January 18, 2007.

5. Nazila Fathi and Michael Slackman, "Rebuke in Iran To Its President On Nuclear Role," New York Times, January 19, 2007; Dariush Zahedi and Omid Memarian, "The clock may be ticking on Iran's fiery president," Los Angeles Times, January 21, 2007; and Marie Colvin and Leila Asgharzadeh, "Iran's strongman loses grip as ayatollah offers nuclear deal," London Times, January 21, 2007.

6. See Seymour M. Hersh, "The Coming Wars: What the Pentagon can now do in secret," New Yorker, January 25, 2005; Sarah Baxter and Michael Smith, "Bush plans strike on Iran's nuclear sites," Sunday Times, April 9, 2006; Peter Baker et al., "U.S. Is Studying Military Strike Options on Iran," Washington Post, April 9, 2006; Seymour M. Hersh, "The Iran Plans: Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?" New Yorker, April 17, 2006; Seymour M. Hersh, "The Next Act: Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?" New Yorker, November 27, 2006; and most recently Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter, "Revealed: Israel Plans Nuclear Strike on Iran," Sunday Times, January 7, 2007 (as posted to Truthout).

7. Remarks by Senator John Edwards at the 2007 Herzliya Conference (via satellite), Lecture Summaries, January 22, 2007.

8. David Mendell, "Obama would consider missile strikes on Iran," Chicago Tribune, September 25, 2004; Hillary Clinton, "Challenges Facing the United States in the Global Security Environment," Council on Foreign Relations, October 31, 2006; Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Starting Gate," The New Yorker, January 15, 2007.

9. According to a major poll of more than 26,000 people in 25 different countries, 61 percent of all respondents living outside the United States said they disapprove of the U.S. Government's handling of Iran's nuclear program, as does 50 percent of U.S. respondents. The disapproval rating for the U.S. Government's handling of the war in Iraq is even higher: 74 percent of those living outside the United States, and 57 percent inside the U.S. Were the U.S. Government to extend its Afghanistan and Iraq wars to neighboring Iran, surely these disapproval ratings could only increase—perhaps dramatically. See "World View of U.S. Role Goes from Bad To Worse," Program on International Policy Attitudes, January 22, 2007. Also see the accompanying Questionnaire, pp. 2-3.

10. Henry A. Kissinger, "Withdrawal is not an option," International Herald Tribune, January 18, 2007.

11. John D. Negroponte, "Annual Threat Assessment of the Director of National Intelligence," Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, January 11, 2007; "Statement of Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates," Senate Armed Services Committee, January 12, 2007; "President's Address to the Nation," January 10, 2007; "President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address," January 23, 2007.

12. In another illustration of hypocrisy, the U.S. joined with seven Middle Eastern states (Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and the U.A.E.) in January to issue a statement which affirmed, among other things, that "disputes among states should be settled peacefully and in accordance with international norms, and that relations among all countries should be based on mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, and on the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of other nations." ("Gulf Cooperation Council - Plus Two's Ministerial Statement," U.S. Department of State, January 16, 2007). This accolade to the principles of sovereignty and noninterference was directed not against the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq or a possible U.S.-Israeli military attack on Iran, but rather against Iran and Syria, which have faced the U.S. charge that they are interfering in the internal affairs of the newly liberated Iraq.

13. Condoleezza Rice, "Interview With Chico Menashe of Israel's Channel 10," Jerusalem, U.S. Department of State, January 14, 2007.

14. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Remarks to the press following his meeting with President Bush at the White House, January 16, 2007.

15. See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "The Fourth 'Supreme International Crime' in Seven Years Is Already Underway,", May 16, 2006.

16. John Kifner, "Gunboat Diplomacy: The Watch on the Gulf," New York Times, January 14, 2007.

17. Jay Solomon, "Spillover Feared as U.S. Confronts Iran," Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2007.

18. Statement by Iran before the IAEA, June 6, 2003, p. 4. —This statement continued: "[Nuclear weapons] have no place in Iran’s defence doctrine. They do not add to Iran’s security nor do they help rid the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, which is in Iran’s supreme interests."

19. On the lack of evidence for the charge that Iran possesses a covert nuclear weapons program, including the CIA's assessment that no evidence of such a covert program exists, see Seymour M. Hersh, "The Next Act: Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?" New Yorker, November 27, 2006; and Norman Dombey, "Iran and the Bomb," London Review of Books, January 25, 2007. Dombey notes that "until or unless Iran withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the facilities at Natanz and Arak are safeguarded by the IAEA. Cameras are installed at Natanz (they function continuously), and there are monthly inspections. Similar arrangements will be made for Arak. Any enriched uranium or plutonium made will be under IAEA seal and will not be available for casting into the core of a weapon.

There is no pressing nuclear threat from Iran at the moment; nor does there appear to be a tipping point in sight, beyond which it would be impossible to prevent the country from acquiring weapons." —For a list of Iran's nuclear facilities under IAEA surveillance as of June 2003, including the uranium-enrichment project at Natanz and the heavy-water research reactor at Arak, see the Annex to the report by the IAEA's General Secretary to the Board of Governors, Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (GOV/2003/40), June 6, 2003, p. 9.

20. See The Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, International Court of Justice, July 8, 1996, pars. 98-103.

21. William J. Broad et al., "U.S. Selecting Hybrid Design For Warheads," New York Times, January 7, 2007.

22. "Israeli minister urges UN chief to revoke Iran membership," Agence France Presse, January 3, 2007.

23. Peter Baker, "Bush Signs India Nuclear Law," Washington Post, December 19, 2006; Caroline Daniel, "Bush signs India nuclear pact," Financial Times, December 19, 2006; and "President's Statement on H.R. 5682, the 'Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006'," White House Office of the Press Secretary, December 18, 2006.

24. For the actual texts, see Resolution 1696 (S/RES/1696), July 31, 2006; and Resolution 1737 (S/RES/1737), December 23, 2006.

25. Roger Stern, "The Iranian petroleum crisis and United States national security," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 104, No. 1, January 2, 2007.

26. Mark Heinrich, "Atom watchdog reviews Iran aid amidst UN sanctions," Reuters, January 3, 2007; Mark Heinrich, "Iran's caution under sanctions eases heat at IAEA," Reuters, January 12, 2007; Jean-Michel Stoullig, "IAEA suspends some technical aid to Iran," Agence France Presse, January 18, 2007; George Jahn, "U.N. nuclear agency puts some technical aid projects to Iran on hold, pending review," January 18, 2007.

27. To monitor the evolving lists of Technical Cooperation programs that the IAEA shares with Iran, go to the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation's "Query Asia and the Pacific Projects" search engine, and use it to search for those the IAEA maintains with Iran.

28. Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (GOV/2006/64), November 14, 2006, par. 21.

29. The Rambouillet Conference was held at the Chateau Rambouillet in France from February 6 - 20, 1999. Its ostensible purpose was to negotiate an interim political settlement to the conflict over the Serbian province of Kosovo. But the conference was held under extreme duress, as at no point were the Serb negotiators free from the threat of military attack by NATO, which six days prior to the conference had issued an Activation Order "authoriz[ing] air strikes against targets on [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] territory" (January 30, 1999).

As the former State Department official George Kenney reported shortly after the war, a "senior State Department official had bragged that the United States 'deliberately set the bar higher that the Serbs could accept'. The Serbs needed, according to the official, a little bombing to see reason." See Marc Weller (Ed.), The Crisis in Kosovo 1989 - 1999 (Documents and Analysis Publishing Ltd., 1999), Ch. 15, "The Rambouillet Conference," pp. 392-474, which includes a copy of NATO's Activation Order (p. 416); and George Kenney, "Rolling Thunder: the Rerun," The Nation, June 14, 1999.

30. UN Security Council, "Non-proliferation—Iran" (S/PV.5612), December 23, 2006.

31. Statement by Iran before the IAEA, June 6, 2003, p. 2.

Muslims Fight For Political, Not Religious Reasons

By Salim Lone
Sunday, 28 January 2007

Those Muslims who fight against occupations invoke their religion in order to mobilise the people. That is no different from others invoking freedom, democracy or human rights as rallying cries for war. What should determine our view of all wars are not the rallying cries but whether they are "just."

... It seems a very large number of people are convinced that "Islamists" and "Jihad" are dirty words, connoting a desire to forcibly convert the world to Islam.

When the Islamic Courts Union declared a jihad last month against invading Ethiopian soldiers, that sealed their fate for many Kenyans and the international media.

A grossly illegal action, invasion, became much less important than a word. Jihad, of course, has been portrayed in the media as a "holy war" and reinforces the propagandistic notion that Islam was spread by the sword.

Jihad has many interpretations even for Muslims, but a holy war to convert the enemy is not one of them. Forcible conversion is forbidden by the Qu'ran.

Jihad means struggle, and its many incarnations include a struggle within oneself to rise to a higher spirituality, a struggle of the "pen" to convince others of your religion's authenticity, and, of course, its most commonly used formulation, which is the struggle against tyranny and injustice.

Those Muslims who fight against occupations invoke their religion in order to mobilise the people. That is no different from others invoking freedom, democracy or human rights as rallying cries for war. What should determine our view of all wars are not the rallying cries but whether they are "just."

The vast majority of Muslims who fight such wars do so for political reasons; those who do so for religious reasons are a tiny, tiny minority. That is why the intense conflicts we see are primarily in occupied Muslim countries.

In any event, if unlawful violence is perpetrated by those who are Muslim, or for that matter Christian, Jew or Hindu, that does not mean that we can malign all those who belong to that religion.

Complete Article:

American Detention Centers

KBR Awarded Homeland Security Contract Worth Up To $385M

Courtesy Of: MarketWatch
By Katherine Hunt
Last Update: 12:19 PM ET Jan 24, 2006

News & Commentary

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- KBR, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton Co. , said Tuesday it has been awarded a contingency contract from the Department of Homeland Security to supports its Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in the event of an emergency.

The maximum total value of the contract is $385 million and consists of a 1-year base period with four 1-year options. KBR held the previous ICE contract from 2000 through 2005.

The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs, KBR said.

The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster, the company said.

An Iron Curtain Is Descending

And Most Americans Don't Know

Courtesy Of: CounterPunch
January 30, 2007

"Why are you travelling so often to Canada?" the tough U.S. border guard barked. I was on Amtrak, going from New York to Montreal, as I'd done dozen of times before over several decades. This was my first experience (summer 2006) of the increasingly standard and intrusive "U.S. Exit Interviews" on trains crossing the border. I've been hassled on every train crossing since then, most recently January 2007. The U.S. now has a combined FBI-compiled file of all arrests and charges at all government levels for millions of Americans, and this is instantly viewable by police in many jurisdictions, including border officials of the U.S. and most other countries. In some cities, local police can access this file via one's license plate. The files do NOT show the favorable disposition of arrests that did not lead to charges or of dismissals and findings of innocence. "And what's this entry stamp from Canada, with no country of departure? Was that from Cuba? You know U.S. citizens may not travel to Cuba--you could be imprisoned and fined."

This line of questioning has been part of every exit interview since. The first time, the guard took my passport and kept it for about 30 minutes. Others--Canadians and foreigners as well as U.S. citizens--were getting similar queries, but mine took much longer. "We'll let the Canadians handle this," the guard said as he handed back the passport. Moments later, across the border, I heard a Quebecois immigration agent tell her colleague, gesturing at me, "He's the one." She, too, took my passport for quite awhile. "She came back with information from my FBI file-- I have a long record of political arrests from civil rights and anti-war actions. The Canadians said the FBI file showed a conviction in 1970 for a draft-board sit-in. The agent said I would be admitted only for two weeks and could not re-enter until my file was fully investigated. She told me she understood the conviction was for a political act with which "Canada agreed at the time," but said the Canadians had an agreement with the U.S. to investigate such cases.

Two weeks after I returned from Canada, the Canadian immigration agent called me: "We have fully investigated your dossier--you have been approved and are welcome to return when you wish." Since that time, I continue to be hassled by the U.S. "exit" police, but I am always dealt with quickly and politely by the Canadians. It is clear from my experience--as well as that of U.S. Green Party and peace activists barred from entering Canada during anti-globalization demonstrations two years ago, that a million or more former peaceniks and other radicals will now see more and more attempts to keep them at home.

Most Americans are unaware of the new police state procedures of U.S. officials who seek to keep millions of Americans from traveling--including trips across the border to our North, once thought the least difficult international frontier in the world to cross. There are now regular stops an "internal" checkpoints for cars traveling toward, away from or near the border in states from Maine to Washington. This includes permanent checkpoints on interstates one hundred or more miles from the border in New York and Vermont, as well as moving patrols who stop motorists in all parts of the border states. Some have called these "whiteness checkpoints," since the border guards often pull over dark-skinned motorists and people perceived as Middle Easterners. Civil libertarians and others in the border states--including conservative farmers--have protested this dramatic departure from the assumed tradition of allowing Americans freedom of travel--certainly freedom to leave their own country. Homeland Security, which supervises the "U.S. Customs and Border Protection" squads (CBP), admits that few terrorists (some say none) have been apprehended by this dubious process, but various "sex offenders and other criminals" have been caught, and drugs and other contraband seized. This is in addition to the "exit interviews" of Americans leaving by train or bus, which are now routine.

One group, aside from dark-skinned people and Muslims, targeted by the internal checkpoints, are students and other young people. Persons under 18 cannot cross a U.S. border alone, unless they are with a guardian and have notarized letters from a parent, as well as a passport issued in their own name. Persons between 18 and 21 may be questioned about their intention to engage in behavior (sex or drinking or marijuana use) strongly penalized in the U.S., but either decriminalized or lightly punished in Canada. Up until three years ago, unaccompanied persons over 16 were seldom checked--and longer ago, even younger persons could travel alone or with a non-parental adult. Student groups, including bus tour groups, now report very close scrutiny from the U.S. Exit police. Some bus companies now refuse to take groups of students under 21 across U.S. borders because of hassles they face. Gone are the days when an 18 or over driver could skit across from Burlington to Montreal with a car-full of late-teens hoping to taste the more liberal morals up north.

The big media story about all this has been the new requirement that all U.S. air travelers returning home must now have passports, including those coming from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, and that citizens of those countries must also have passports when coming by air--as of Jan. 23. Similar requirements for passports at land and sea crossings will go into effect sometime after next January 1. (These measures have been strongly protested by Canada and Mexico, to little avail.) Aside from the expense of passports, which puts the usual strain on low-income people, having to have passports even to go and come from Canada or Mexico will limit a very large number of Americans from international travel, period. With the passport requirement, several huge new segments of the American population will be unable to travel abroad, even on day-trips from Detroit to Windsor, Buffalo to Niagra Falls, or Calexico to Mexicali.

One group that gets very special attention are registered sex offenders, of whom there are now just over 600,000 in the U.S. The public generally approves of all measures to limit or control this group of pariahs, never mind the fact that few of these were violent rapists, and that many are forced to register for decades or life, long after minimal offenses--including prostitution and public sex, or in some cases even urinating in public. Beyond sex offenders, though, virtually all the 5 million plus persons who are on parole or probation for state and federal felonies will be unable to keep or get passports. Another large group are the 4 million or so who are "child support delinquents." At the very least, about 2 million (mostly male, but some female) "deadbeats" meet the minimum requirement of being $5,000 or more behind in their payments, which triggers (since 1994) automatic passport cancellation or denial. Among these are at least a half million teenage fathers, mostly very low income school drop-outs, often unemployed and sometimes homeless.

All of these groups who are forbidden international travel are related to class and race discrimination. Of he 5 million on parole or probation, a far higher percentage are black or Hispanic than would be warranted by their prevalence in the overall population. By some estimates, between 13 and 20% of all black men are now in this category, and thus forbidden to hold or keep passports.

Most media attention about new U.S. travel restrictions has focused on harm to tourism and other business--with considerable protest from border communities about across border trade, and from U.S., Canadian and Mexican travel agencies. A Canadian government website dedicated to international trade, Strategis.Ca, estimates that there has already been an 8% reduction of U.S. visitors to Canada and a 7% reduction of Canadian visitors to the U.S., but that this will rise to 14% or more by the end of 2007 for visitors in both directions. Gay tourism to meccas like Montreal and Vancouver is decidedly down--some say as much as 30%. This would reflect the greater likelihood that gay men and women, like non-whites and the poor, would fall afoul of U.S. laws more frequently due to discrimination.

At the beginning of the Cold War, Winston Churchill made his famous comment about an iron curtain descending across Europe. Like many others, I experienced this iron curtain. I faced incessant exit and entry police interrogations in places like East Berlin and at the Soviet borders. In those days, such long waits to get OUT of a country, as well as to get in, were limited to the "Communist" block primarily. Thank goodness, we'd think, this could not happen in America. Now that virtually all travel barriers have fallen throughout Europe--including Eastern Europe, and with travel in and out of China or Vietnam far easier than before, it is around the U.S. that the iron curtain seems to be descending. As in the Soviet or Chinese blocks before (or more recently in Cuba), the elites could travel, but the various dissidents, deviants and ordinary folk could not. This sad fact is becoming increasingly the case for many U, S, citizens today. So far, very few liberals or libertarians have taken note of this chilling trend to limit travel for huge numbers of Americans. Unless protests against these measures grow quickly, it will be too late to stop or even slow them down. America, like Russia and China before it, will become a prison for many of its people.

Pariah lives in Canada.

FBI Conducting Sweeping Internet Wiretaps That Mirror Warantless NSA Surveillance

John Byrne
Published: Tuesday January 30, 2007

"The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed," according to a story posted Tuesday on ZDNet, a technology news website.

Agents engaging in investigations appear to be amassing huge databases of data on thousands of Internet users, rather than eyeing the activities of particular suspects -- similar to the sweeping approach employed by the National Security Agency. The NSA wiretaps program drew congressional uproar after it was revealed the program was taking place without supervision by a court.

"Such a technique is broader and potentially more intrusive than the FBI's Carnivore surveillance system, later renamed DCS1000," ZDNet's Declan McCullagh writes. "It raises concerns similar to those stirred by widespread Internet monitoring that the National Security Agency is said to have done, according to documents that have surfaced in one federal lawsuit, and may stretch the bounds of what's legally permissible."

McCullagh calls it "the vacuum-cleaner approach," a technique used when police have obtained a court order but the suspect's Internet provider can't isolate an individual by their IP address -- the series of digits that identify an individual computer.

"That kind of full-pipe surveillance can record all Internet traffic, including Web browsing -- or, optionally, only certain subsets such as all e-mail messages flowing through the network. Interception typically takes place inside an Internet provider's network at the junction point of a router or network switch," McCullagh writes.


US Plans To 'Fight The Net' Revealed

By Adam Brookes
BBC Pentagon correspondent
Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006,
18:05 GMT

A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks.

Bloggers beware.

As the world turns networked, the Pentagon is calculating the military opportunities that computer networks, wireless technologies and the modern media offer.

From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war.

The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act.

Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it.

Information Operations Roadmap

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The "roadmap" calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military's ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare.

The document says that information is "critical to military success". Computer and telecommunications networks are of vital operational importance.


The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks.

All these are engaged in information operations.

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans.

"Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads.

"Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public," it goes on.

The document's authors acknowledge that American news media should not unwittingly broadcast military propaganda. "Specific boundaries should be established," they write. But they don't seem to explain how.

"In this day and age it is impossible to prevent stories that are fed abroad as part of psychological operations propaganda from blowing back into the United States - even though they were directed abroad," says Kristin Adair of the National Security Archive.

Credibility Problem

Public awareness of the US military's information operations is low, but it's growing - thanks to some operational clumsiness.

Late last year, it emerged that the Pentagon had paid a private company, the Lincoln Group, to plant hundreds of stories in Iraqi newspapers. The stories - all supportive of US policy - were written by military personnel and then placed in Iraqi publications.

And websites that appeared to be information sites on the politics of Africa and the Balkans were found to be run by the Pentagon.

But the true extent of the Pentagon's information operations, how they work, who they're aimed at, and at what point they turn from informing the public to influencing populations, is far from clear.

The roadmap, however, gives a flavour of what the US military is up to - and the grand scale on which it's thinking.

It reveals that Psyops personnel "support" the American government's international broadcasting. It singles out TV Marti - a station which broadcasts to Cuba - as receiving such support.

It recommends that a global website be established that supports America's strategic objectives. But no American diplomats here, thank you. The website would use content from "third parties with greater credibility to foreign audiences than US officials".

It also recommends that Psyops personnel should consider a range of technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial vehicles, "miniaturized, scatterable public address systems", wireless devices, cellular phones and the internet.

'Fight The Net'

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone.

It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system.

"Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads.

The slogan "fight the net" appears several times throughout the roadmap.

The authors warn that US networks are very vulnerable to attack by hackers, enemies seeking to disable them, or spies looking for intelligence.

"Networks are growing faster than we can defend them... Attack sophistication is increasing... Number of events is increasing."

US Digital Ambition

And, in a grand finale, the document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum".

US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum".

Consider that for a moment.

The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.

Are these plans the pipe dreams of self-aggrandising bureaucrats? Or are they real?

The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.

And that the scale and grandeur of the digital revolution is matched only by the US military's ambitions for it.

Related Material:

Battle for public opinion on Iraq 05 Dec 05 Middle East

Bush concern at Iraq 'propaganda' 01 Dec 05 Middle East

US psy-ops play it loud 17 Mar 03 Middle East

Fighting the psy-ops war in Basra 31 Mar 03 Middle East


GWU: National Security Archive

US Department of Defense

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Communist China Sets Up Internet Propaganda Department

The Epoch Times
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

According to reports from China Times, the highest authority controlling all of the CCP's foreign propaganda, the International Communication Office of the Central Committee has set up a new internet communication department to manage internet communications. This organization's authority is higher than the Internet Bureau of the State Council Information Office, indicating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has realized the rapidly increasing and widespread influence of the internet. This has become a threat to the authorities' major propaganda means via television.

By the third quarter of 2006, internet users in China have topped 137 million. These internet users are primarily aged from 18 to 24, making up 35.2 percent of the total population. Students are still the main users of the internet at 32.3 percent. The internet is becoming the most important platform for information dissemination.

According to China Times reports, at the 38th study session of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee held on January 23, Hu Jintao made a speech titled "Strengthening Internet Culture Development and Management with an Innovative Spirit". He said that proper internet management "Concerns the safety of China's cultural information and state stability".

At present, mainland China manages its internet mainly through departments such as propaganda, culture, industrial and commerce, public security etc. Every department develops appropriate policies from its own perspective and responsibilities. In spite of this, due to a lack of coordination and also because these departments are mostly at the bureau level, there is a need for a specialized department at a higher level to carry out centralized control.

Analysts say that judging from recent actions of the authorities, strengthening its media and control over the internet are the current focus of the CCP. With the 17th Party Congress scheduled for the second half of this year the following are believed to be just the beginning of a series of controls:

* the ban on books such as Zhang Yihe's Past Stories of Some Peking Opera Stars
* orders given by the State administration of radio, film and TV to air TV serials that present China in a positive way during prime time viewing hours

In recent years, the CCP has spent a substantial amount of manpower, materials and finances:

* setting up internet police, internet automatic surveillance systems, and internet server intrusion detection devices
* requesting internet service providers to "exercise self control" e.g. yahoo, google
* implanting a trojan horse virus into users' computers to search for information
* establishing a database of key phrases, censorship, etc.

China's Ministry of State Security, Public Security and Electronic Communications Department, had once worked together to set up the Golden Shield Project and even lured top notch electronics experts from the US Silicon Valley with lucrative salary packages.

How Britain Created Ulster's Murder Gangs

By Neil Mackay
January 28, 2007
Sunday Herald

Since the Sunday Herald was founded in 1999, it has led the way in exposing the “dirty war” in Northern Ireland. Today, we report on the most shocking revelations to date. Our investigations show that far from merely “turning” terrorists to work for the state, British military intelligency actually created loyalist murder gangs to operate as proxy assassins. They even cleared areas in which the gangs were operating of police and army, to allow them to carry out their hits and escape.

ON MONDAY, the world was stunned by the release of a report by Nuala O'Loan, the police ombudsman for Northern Ireland, which stated that Special Branch officers in Belfast had "colluded" with loyalist terrorists working for the British state as informers. According to O'Loan, police failed to stop these paramilitary gangs, part of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) from killing an estimated 15 people in the 1990s. While this was seized upon by republicans as proof that security forces had aided a loyalist campaign of sectarian assassination, in reality O'Loan's findings barely scratched the surface of a 30-year history of criminality and murder orchestrated by the British army and the Ulster police.

HE INSISTS on being named only as "JB", a sick, ageing man, who fears that ill-health or a bullet from an assassin wishing to silence him will claim his life before he has the chance to tell the true story of his life and crimes. On Wednesday, JB passed a bundle of papers to the Sunday Herald, making up the bulk of his unpublished memoirs, which paint British military intelligence as a callous, murderous, criminal cabal. JB claims that he - and dozens of other members of the terrorist organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) - were trained and armed by military intelligence.

He also claims select UVF officers were ordered by military intelligence to carry out assassinations against both IRA figures and ordinary Catholics. Such soft targets as innocent men and women were pinpointed by military intelligence in order to psychologically undermine the nationalist population of Northern Ireland and cut the support base from beneath the Provisional IRA.

Martin Ingram, the false cover name for a former member of the covert British military intelligence outfit the Force Research Unit (FRU), has supported the claims made by JB. Ingram eventually turned whistleblower, disgusted at the deaths the FRU had caused by colluding with terrorists in Ulster. He later went on to write a book about the double agent Stakeknife - IRA operative Freddie Scappaticci - who had been "handled" by Ingram's FRU team and exposed by Sunday Herald investigators. Ingram says he is aware of JB's history, and believes his claims are "completely credible". Loyalist sources have also confirmed JB's credibility.

JB, who was convicted twice of terrorist offences, once in the 1970s and again in the early 1990s, says he carried out some 50 UVF operations sanctioned by his handlers in the Military Reconnaissance Force (MRF), the army team which gathered intelligence and ran agents in Ulster. He says he became a "killer, bomber, arsonist and robber". Of the 50 state-sanctioned operations he took part in, "not all were successful".Some, he says, "were aborted". So far he has refused to go into details of the actual murders he took part in on behalf of British military intelligence. Beyond admitting that killings took place, he will only talk about how the British army trained him as a terrorist proxy.

In JB's words, "military intelligence trained, armed and moulded squads of loyalists to put pressure on the IRA to abandon their campaign of bloodshed and carnage". JB was a young UVF member in the early 1970s when first approached by an MRF handler. JB says the military intelligence officer, whom he will name only as "Mike", told him that the then prime minister Edward Heath had sanctioned the "training of loyalists".Mike later added that "nobody, except at the very highest level of the British government and senior officers of the military" knew about the covert counter-insurgency operations.

Mike told JB that "London has ordered the war be taken to the IRA obviously this can't be done openly and must be done covertly. That's why we are looking for people like you ... We are enlisting men from all over the province to co-ordinate attacks, to convince the Catholic people that support for the Provos will only bring death and destruction to their own community."

As well as being trained in firearms at army barracks and firing ranges around Northern Ireland - primarily at Palace Barracks near Holywood in County Down - men like JB were also provided with intelligence on potential targets and given details about which targets to hit. JB knows of at least 30 loyalists who received similar training to him, but believes more than 120 could have been trained as proxy assassins. At times, he was given a British army uniform to provide him with cover while with his handlers. He even drank, on occasions, with his handlers in the Naafi - armed forces bars on military bases.

When proxies like JB were dispatched on a murder operation, military intelligence would impose an Out Of Bounds (OOB) order on the area in which the attack was to take place. In military terms, an OOB means an intelligence operation is under way and army and police are forbidden from entering the area. This gave loyalist murder gangs freedom to operate with impunity during such state-sanctioned attacks. At one stage, claims JB, Mike told him: "Mr Heath and the top brass have given the green light for this."

JB was trained by military intelligence, he says, in how to use a variety of hand-guns, machine guns and rifles, as well as bomb-making techniques. The UVF men working for military intelligence were also given consignments of guns and ammunition by handlers, sent on gruelling fitness courses and schooled in the arts of surveillance, counter-surveillance and intelligence gathering. Other classes included lectures on forensic science, how to avoid leaving incriminating evidence at the scene of crimes and how to steal cars for use in assassination operations.

JB also claims military intelligence instructed loyalists to plant explosives in a Catholic bar to make it look as if the IRA had accidentally set off the bomb. It was hoped such acts would drain Catholic support for republicans.

The bomb was planted in McGurk's Bar in Belfast on December 4, 1971. It killed 15 men, women and children. The immediate blame was indeed placed on the IRA. However, seven years after the bomb, a UVF man received 15 life sentences for the atrocity. JB says he was told about the planned bombing two weeks before the attack and was with his handler at the time it happened. He also claims he saw his handler take pot-shots at republican youths on the streets of Belfast around this time.

A captain in military intelligence spelt out the reasons for the army creating these secret counter-insurgency cells during one discussion with JB. He said: "This type of war can't be won by conventional means. The only solution is to implement a counter-operation, to counteract the violence of the enemy by heaping more violence on them That's why we've chosen men like you to instil trepidation and pandemonium among the Provos and their support base, the Catholic community We will match whatever they do, and outdo them."

In the weeks leading up to the events of Bloody Sunday in Derry, on January 30, 1972, in which the Paratroop Regiment killed 13 people taking part in a civil rights demonstration, JB was informed by his handlers that the British army had been ordered by the Cabinet "to use whatever force and tactics necessary to put these troublemakers down". JB "concludes there were plans for mass murder to be committed that day The Bloody Sunday massacre was sanctioned by the government and top military chiefs." JB is sure that there was a preconceived plan to open fire on the civil rights demonstrators, with the full knowledge this would cause civilian deaths. He believes military intelligence thought this would shake the IRA. Instead, the massacre was a huge boost to IRA support and recruitment.

The day before Bloody Sunday, JB was taken for a training session at Palace Barracks, where he was given a pep-talk by a major who praised him for "having the courage and loyalty to participate in covert actions against the common enemy". The major told JB: "We are hoping to provoke a confrontation with the IRA in Derry, and give them an example of what to expect in future attacks." JB was then offered the chance, he claims, to accompany his military handler, Mike, to Derry to watch the operation to contain the demonstration. Military intelligence sources today say events such as this would help forge a bond, or esprit de corps, between agent and handler.

JB was provided with a British army uniform, a gas mask, camouflage face-paint and a rifle as cover for the time he would spend in Derry with his handler. During the events, JB watched from a military intelligence observation post as soldiers opened fire on civilians. He also claims to have seen members of military intelligence shooting at, and hitting, unarmed civilians from the gun nest in the observation post.

Another killing carried out by loyalists and facilitated by military intelligence by the imposition of an OOB order took place in February 1972 when a bomb exploded in a pub killing, one Catholic man and injuring five others.

Trained proxies such as JB were often taken on "dummy run" assassination operations by handlers to ensure the OOB system wasworking. An OOB order would be given on a specific area of Belfast and JB and his team would enter the area, locate the home of a target, recce it and then leave. If they met with no security force patrols, they knew the OOB system was effective.

Mike at one time told JB: "We don't expect every time an ASU active service unit of the UVF goes out, they will kill somebody. The mere fact an attempt has been made and shots fired, even if they wound or miss altogether, is all part of the terror tactics." The policy was meant to "scare the shit" out of Catholics. Mike also instructed JB on how to "extract information" from Catholics or republicans they kidnapped. The techniques were "gruesome", JB said. Mike made clear that torture should be used, and referred to the victims as "Taigs", a derogatory term for Catholics. Mike also advised on the best shot to use to dispatch a victim of a backstreet execution.

WHILE refusing to give a statement about the actual operations in which he took part, JB said he knew about a number of high-profile loyalist atrocities, sponsored by the MRF. These included the shooting of three members of the Miami Showband, a popular Irish group, in July 1975. The band's bus was flagged down by members of the UVF dressed in army uniforms at a fake military checkpoint. Another MRF-sponsored atrocity, says JB, was the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 17, 1974, which killed 33 people and injured 250.

JB lists a series of killings by loyalists which were facilitated by military intelligence putting out OOB orders on the location where the target lived, including the murder of a taxi driver, an eight-year-old girl, various men walking alone in Catholic areas and a Catholic woman in a bomb blast at public toilets in Lurgan. Referring to the last killing, JB says: "As long as it was a Catholic killed, fear would be creeping into Catholic minds - who would be next?'"When UVF proxies were targeting republicans or IRA men, nearly all the intelligence used in planning hits came from the British army's intelligence wing.

Perhaps the most horrible of all hits facilitated by military intelligence, says JB, was one that involved the infamous Shankill Butchers murder gang. An OOB was put in place, allowing the UVF to put up an illegal roadblock at which they abducted a Catholic man and took him to the head of the Shankill Butchers - a UVF psychopath called Lenny Murphy. The gang tortured their victims for hours with knives before finally executing them. Sometimes the torture
sessions took place in front of baying crowds in loyalist drinking dens. At least 19 people died at the hands of the gang. JB states: "I verify and confirm what I have written is a true and very accurate account of events."

© Copyright Neil Mackay, Sunday Herald, 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Have Arabs Fallen Into A Divide-And-Rule Trap?

Courtesy Of: Arab News
Linda Heard,
Tuesday, 30, January, 2007
(11, Muharram, 1428)

On Sunday five schoolgirls were killed in Baghdad when mortar shells hit their school. In Kirkuk, 11 civilians were blown up by car bombs. The Americans say that they dispensed with 300 "insurgents" planning to launch attacks on their brethren, while 39 bullet-ridden bodies were discovered in the capital.

This translates to Iraq's morgues having received at least 355 bodies of people who had died violent deaths on one day. There were probably many more. Madness!

A similar sectarian sickness has infected Lebanon too. There, a quarrel in a university café last Thursday led to the worst outbreak of Sunni-Shiite fighting since the civil war. Four were shot dead and over 150 wounded. Earlier there were clashes between rival Christian groups. The terrible expression "civil war" is being fearfully whispered on the street.

Gaza is suffering from the same disease. There, Fatah and Hamas supporters are facing off with gun battles, skirmishes, assassinations and kidnappings having become the norm.

What on earth is going on? Why are Arabs killing Arabs? Why are Muslims killing Muslims and Christians killing Christians? All three have been invaded, which normally cements indigenous populations against a common foe.

In fact there is no simple answer. The situations in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza are very different although there are commonalities. The first is occupation.

Everyone knows that Iraq is occupied by the US and Britain but few acknowledge that Gaza is still occupied despite Israel's physical withdrawal. The IDF feels free to come and go as it pleases, assassinate prominent figures and incinerate buildings. Palestinians have no say over their airspace, coastline or borders and their leaders have to take Israel's permission before they can travel.

Lebanon also has a foreign presence on its soil dressed in United Nations garb and is burdened with invasive foreign influences.

The second commonality is weak economy and high unemployment. In the case of Iraqis and Palestinians, they are struggling to survive financially and suffer a lack of basics such as electricity and clean water.

As for Lebanon, it has a $41 billion debt and faces a massive postwar reconstruction bill. Inflation is rising and the government is committed to raising taxes as part of a foreign aid deal.

Occupation, discomfort, insecurity and the inability to feed, clothe and educate one's family would produce feelings of anger, frustration and hopelessness in anyone. Unfortunately, unscrupulous leaders often capitalize on those heightened emotions experienced by their followers by channeling them into the use of force to strengthen their own power base.

So in each case, there are varying combinations of foreign interference, hardship, deprivation and a lack of security. Add to that competing belief systems or ideologies and you get an explosive mix.

The last commonality is a government constrained from doing its job effectively.

Iraq's government is fraught with internal divisions, cut off from the people and out of necessity has to operate from behind high walls. The army and the police force have been infiltrated by militias and death squads while insurgent groups are often allied with foreign fighters.

The pro-Western Lebanese government was undermined when the US and Britain took Israel's side during the war and refused to call for a cease-fire. Its authority was further challenged when six of its Shiite Cabinet members quit to protest the government's agreement to a UN tribunal related to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. It now faces a challenge from Hezbollah-led opposition groups.

As for the democratically elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, it was doomed from the get-go. After congratulating the Palestinians on holding fair and free elections, the West embarked on a systematic campaign to erode the new government's credibility. It was starved of funds, vilified as a terrorist entity, isolated and excluded. At the same time, Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas received support.

In all three countries under discussion, the US and its allies have firmly allied themselves with one side to the detriment of the other. Could this be the key?

In Iraq the Shiite majority is favored by the occupying authority. In Lebanon, the anti-Syrian Sunni-Christian alliance is bolstered by the West. In the Palestinian territories the secular Fatah receives preferential treatment in the form of cash and weapons.

The words of Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist linked to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, written a quarter-of-a-century ago, may cast some light on the issue.

"The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel's primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short- term target".

And this is what he has to say about the Palestinians:

"The solution of the problem of the indigenous Arabs will come only when they recognize the existence of Israel in secure borders up to the Jordan River and beyond it, as our existential need in this difficult epoch, the nuclear epoch which we shall soon enter."

"Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us...," he writes. Remember this was written in 1982.

I don't know where Yinon is today but if he's still around he must be rubbing his hands together with glee. Have Arabs fallen into the divide and rule trap? Was this the plan all along? A chilling thought, isn't it?

Copyright: Arab News © 2003 All rights reserved.