Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: It Has Always Been Oil And Three Wars (One To Go!) The Total Damnation Of The Bush/ Cheney Administration

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Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It Has Always Been Oil And Three Wars (One To Go!) The Total Damnation Of The Bush/ Cheney Administration

It Has Always Been Oil And Three Wars (One To Go!) The Total Damnation Of The Bush/ Cheney Administration

Selling the War with Iran

White House denies Iran attack report

The White House on Tuesday flatly denied an Army Radio report that claimed US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term. It said that while the military option had not been taken off the table, the administration preferred to resolve concerns about Iran's push for a nuclear weapon "through peaceful diplomatic means."

Army Radio had quoted a top official in Jerusalem claiming that a senior member in the entourage of President Bush, who visited Israel last week, had said in a closed meeting here that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for.

The official reportedly went on to say that, for the time being, "the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice" was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic.

The Army Radio report, which was quoted by The Jerusalem Post and resonated widely, stated that according to assessments in Israel, the recent turmoil in Lebanon, where Hizbullah has established de facto control of the country, was advancing an American attack.

Bush, the official reportedly said, considered Hizbullah's show of strength evidence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's growing influence. In Bush's view, the official said, "the disease must be treated - not its symptoms."

However, the White House on Tuesday afternoon dismissed the story. In a statement, it said that "[the US] remain[s] opposed to Iran's ambitions to obtain a nuclear weapon. To that end, we are working to bring tough diplomatic and economic pressure on the Iranians to get them to change their behavior and to halt their uranium enrichment program."

It went on: "As the president has said, no president of the United States should ever take options off the table, but our preference and our actions for dealing with this matter remain through peaceful diplomatic means. Nothing has changed in that regard."

In an interview last week in the Oval Office, Bush told the Post that "Iran is an incredibly negative influence" and "the biggest long-term threat to peace in the Middle East," but that the US was "pushing back hard and will continue to do so."

He noted that "Iran is involved in funding Hamas and Hizbullah, and it's that Iranian influence which I'm deeply concerned about. But there needs to be more than just the United States concerned about it."

Bush said: "We take [seriously] this issue of [Iran] getting the technology, the know-how on how to develop a nuclear weapon."

"All options are on the table," he said, but, "Of course you want to try to solve this problem diplomatically."

Asked whether the Iranians would be deterred from their nuclear drive by the time he left office, Bush told the Post: "What definitely will be done [before I leave office will be the establishment of] a structure on how to deal with this, to try to resolve this diplomatically. In other words sanctions, pressures, financial pressures. You know, a history of pressure that will serve as a framework to make sure other countries are involved."

Days later, in his address to the Knesset, Bush said that "the president of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages" and "America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions."

"Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon," he said.

Letter To Admiral William Fallon (USN ret.), With Respect

Open Appeal for Straight Talk on Iran

by Ray McGovern (May 20, 2008)

Dear Admiral Fallon:

I have not been able to find out how to reach you directly, so I have drafted this letter in the hope it will come to your attention.

First, thank you for honoring the oath we commissioned officers take to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. As you are doubtless aware, that oath has no expiration date; it remains on active duty, so to speak.

You have let it be known that, even though you are now retired, you do not intend to speak, on or off the record, about the looming war with Iran.

You are acutely aware of the dangers of attacking Iran, but seem to be allowing an inbred reluctance to challenge your erstwhile commander in chief to trump that oath, and to prevent you from letting the American people know of the catastrophe about to befall us if, as seems likely, our country attacks Iran.

Two years ago I lectured at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. I found it highly disturbing that, when asked about the oath they took upon entering the academy, several of the "Mids" thought it was to the commander in chief. This brought to my mind the photos of German generals and admirals (as well as top church leaders and jurists) swearing personal oaths to Hitler. Not our tradition, and yet…..

I was aghast that only the third Mid I called on got it right — that the oath is to protect and defend the Constitution, not the president.

Attack Iran: Trash the Constitution

No doubt you are very clear that an attack on Iran would be a flagrant violation of the Constitution of the United States, which stipulates that treaties ratified by the Senate become the supreme law of the land; that the United Nations Charter treaty — which the Senate ratified by a vote of 89 to 2 on July 28, 1945 — expressly forbids attacks on other countries, unless they pose an imminent danger; that there is no provision allowing some other kind of "pre-emptive" or "preventive" attack against a nation that poses no imminent danger; and that Iran poses no imminent danger to the United States or its allies.

You may be forgiven for thinking: Isn't 41 years of service enough; isn't it enough that I resigned in order to remove myself from a chain of command with no conscience or respect for national or international law — that I shuddered at the thought of being charged in some earthly or heavenly court as a war criminal, if I "just followed orders" and helped start an unprovoked war on Iran? Isn't making my misgivings known to journalists last year, realizing fully that this could be a career-ender — isn't all that enough?

With respect, sir, no, that's not enough. The stakes here are extremely high, and together with the integrity you have already shown goes still further responsibility. Sadly, the vast majority of your general officer colleagues have, for whatever reason, ducked that responsibility. You are pretty much it.

In their lust for attacking Iran, administration officials will do their best to marginalize you, but you do not strike me as one likely to be deterred by that. And, prominent a person that you are, the corporate media surely will try to do the same, if you exposed the lies given as justification for attacking Iran.

Indeed, there are clear signs the media have been given their marching orders to support an attack on Iran-to include pre-censorship of factual stories exposing administration hyperbole and fecklessness, as the White House and the Pentagon paint a dubious portrait of the dangers posed by Iran.

Preparing a Captive Audience for War…

At the CIA I used to analyze the Soviet press, so you will understand when I refer to the Washington Post and the New York Times as the White House's Pravda and Izvestiya. Sadly, these days it is as easy as during the days of the controlled Soviet press to follow our own government's evolving line with a daily reading of our own controlled press.

In a word, our newspapers are dutifully revving up for war on Iran, and are even trotting out some of the most widely discredited cheerleaders for war on Iraq — the New York Times' Michael Gordon of aluminum tubes fame, for example, who is again parroting what he gets from administration officials and casting it as news.

In some respects the manipulation and suppression of information in the present lead-up to an attack on Iran is even more flagrant and all encompassing than in early 2003 before the invasion of Iraq.

It seems entirely possible that you are unaware of a recent misadventure that speaks volumes about this — unaware precisely because the media have put the wraps on it. So let me adduce one striking example of what is afoot here. The example has to do with the studied, if disingenuous, effort over recent months to blame all the troubles in southern Iraq on the "malignant" influence of Iran.

Sadly, some of your erstwhile colleagues are among the dramatis personae.

…But Covering Up Fiasco

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters on April 25 that Gen. David Petraeus would be giving a briefing "in the next couple of weeks" that would provide detailed evidence of "just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability." Petraeus' staff alerted U.S. media to a major news event in which captured Iranian arms in Karbala would be displayed and then destroyed.

Small problem. When American munitions experts went to Karbala to inspect the alleged cache of Iranian weapons they found nothing that could be linked credibly to Iran.

News to you? That's because this potentially embarrassing episode went virtually unreported in the media-like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no corporate media to hear it crash. So Mullen and Petraeus live, uninhibited and unembarrassed, to keep searching for Iranian weapons so the media can then tell a story more supportive of the orders they have been given to find ways to blame Iran for the troubles in Iraq. Luckily for them, a fiasco is only a fiasco if folks know about it.

Media suppression of this misadventure is the most significant aspect of this story, in my view, and a telling indicator of how difficult it is to find honest reporting on these key issues.

Meanwhile, the Iraqis announced that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had formed his own Cabinet committee to investigate U.S. claims about Iranian weapons, and to attempt to "find tangible information and not information based on speculation."

Dissing the Intelligence Estimate

Top officials from the president on down have been dismissing the key judgment of the National Intelligence Estimate released on December 3, 2007, a judgment concurred in by the 16 intelligence units of our government, that Iran had stopped the weapons-related part of its nuclear program in mid-2003.

Always willing to do his part, the malleable CIA chief, Michael Hayden, on April 30 publicly offered his "personal opinion" that Iran is building a nuclear weapon-the National Intelligence Estimate notwithstanding. For good measure, Hayden added:

"It is my opinion, it is the policy of the Iranian government, approved to the highest level of that government, to facilitate the killing of Americans in Iraq….Just make sure there's clarity on that."

Voicing his various "opinions," Hayden is beginning to sound like the overly clever lawyers who advised him, orally, that it would be just fine to order NSA to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and like the other attorneys who approved water boarding.

And, please; tell me why we should care about Hayden's "personal opinion?" My neighbor Suzie, who gets her news from FOX, keeps voicing her "personal opinion" that all Muslims want to kill Americans, that generals with blue uniforms are the most trustworthy, and that weapons of mass destruction will still be found in Iraq.

But, seriously, I don't need to tell you about the Haydens and the other smartly saluting, desk-riding headquarters generals here in Washington.

The Price of Silence

What I would suggest is that you have a serious conversation with a real general, Gen. Anthony Zinni, one of your predecessor CENTOM commanders (1997 to 2000). As you know probably better than I, this Marine general is an officer of unusual integrity. Nevertheless, when placed into circumstances very similar to those you now face, he could not find his voice. And so he missed his chance to interrupt-or at least slow down-the juggernaut to war in Iraq. You might ask him how he feels about that now, and what he would advise in current circumstances.

Zinni happened to be one of the honorees at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on August 26,2002, at which Vice President Dick Cheney delivered the exceedingly alarmist speech, unsupported by our best intelligence, about the nuclear threat and other perils awaiting us at the hands of Saddam Hussein. That speech not only launched the seven-month public campaign against Iraq leading up to the war, but set the terms of reference for the Oct. 1, 2002 National Intelligence Estimate fabricated — yes, fabricated — to convince Congress to approve war on Iraq, which it did ten days later.

Gen. Zinni later shared publicly that, as he listened to Cheney, he was shocked to hear a depiction of intelligence that did not square with what he knew. Although Zinni had retired two years earlier, his role as consultant had required him to stay up to date on intelligence relating to the Middle East. One Sunday morning three and a half years after Cheney's speech, Zinni told Meet the Press. "There was no solid proof that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction…I heard a case being made to go to war."

Zinni had as good a chance as anyone to stop an unnecessary war-not a "pre-emptive war," since there was nothing to pre-empt — and Zinni knew it. What he and other knowledgeable officials could — and should — have tried to block was a war of aggression, defined at the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunal as the "supreme international crime."

Sure, Zinni would have had to stick his neck out. He may have had to speak out alone, since most senior officials, like then-CIA Director George Tenet, lacked courage and integrity. In his memoir published a year ago, Tenet writes that Cheney did not follow the usual practice of clearing his August 26, 2002 speech with the CIA; that much of what Cheney said took him completely by surprise; and that Tenet "had the impression that the president wasn't any more aware of what his number-two was going to say to the VFW until he said it."

It is difficult to believe that Cheney's shameless speech took "slam-dunk" Tenet completely by surprise. We know from the Downing Street Minutes, vouched for by the UK as authentic, that Tenet told his British counterpart on July 20, 2002 that the president had decided to make war on Iraq for regime change and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy"

Encore: Iran

Admiral Fallon, you know this to be the case also now with respect to the "intelligence" being fixed to "justify" war with Iran. And no one knows better than you that your departure from the chain of command has turned it over completely to smartly saluting martinets. No doubt you have long since taken the measure, for example, of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. So have I.

I was his branch chief when he was a young, disruptively ambitious, CIA analyst. When Ronald Reagan's CIA Director William Casey sought someone to shape CIA analysis to accord with his own conviction that the Soviet Union would never change, Gates leaped at the chance, proved his mettle, and bubbled right up to be chief of analysis. After Casey died, Gates admitted to the Washington Post's Walter Pincus that he (Gates) watched Casey on "issue after issue sit in meetings and present intelligence framed in terms of the policy he wanted pursued." Gates' entire career showed that he learned well at Casey's knee.

So it should come as no surprise that, despite the unanimous judgment of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran stopped the weapons-related aspects of its nuclear program in mid-2003, Gates is now repeating the party line that Iran is hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons. Some of his earlier statements were more ambiguous, but Gates recently took advantage of the opportunity to bend with the prevailing winds and freshen his own loyalty oath — to the president.

In an interview on events in the Middle East with a New York Times reporter on April 11, Gates was asked whether he was on the same page as the president, Gates replied, "Same line, same word." I imagine you are no more surprised at that than I. Bottom line: Gates will salute smartly and transmit the order, legal or illegal, if Cheney persuades the president to let the Air Force and Navy loose on Iran.

You know the probable consequences; you need to let the rest of the American people know.

A Gutsy Precedent

Can you, Admiral Fallon, be completely alone; can it be that you are the only general officer to resign on principle? And, of equal importance, is there no other general officer, active or retired, who has taken the risk of speaking out in an attempt to inform Americans about President George W. Bush's bellicose fixation with Iran. Thankfully, there is.

Gen. Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush, took the prestigious job of Chairman, President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board when asked by the younger Bush. From that catbird seat, Scowcroft could watch the unfolding of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Over decades dealing with the press, Scowcroft had honed a reputation of quintessential discretion. Thus, it was all the more striking when he did what he decided he had to do to warn Americans about what may be the president's most dangerous fixation.

In an interview with London's Financial Times in mid-October 2004 Scowcroft was harshly critical of the president, charging that Bush had been "mesmerized" by then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "Sharon just has him wrapped around his little finger," Scowcroft said. "He has been nothing but trouble."

Needless to say, Scowcroft was given his walking papers and told never to darken the White House doorstep again. His very troubling observations have been largely shunned in the media, and banned from polite conversation here in Washington, although the insight they provide is worth a thousand erudite op-eds. Testifying before Congress on June 16, 2005, I alluded to Scowcroft's comments, and was widely pilloried in the media the next day for being, you guessed it, "anti-Semitic."

A Bush Commitment?

There is ample evidence that Sharon's successors believe they have extracted a commitment from President Bush to "take care of Iran" before he leaves office, and that the president has done nothing to disabuse them of that notion — no matter the consequences.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum at Sharm el Sheikh on Sunday, Bush threw in a gratuitous reference to "Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions."

"To allow the world's leading sponsor of terror to gain the world's deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."

Pre-briefing the press, Bush's national security adviser Stephen Hadley identified Iran as one of the dominant themes of the trip, adding repeatedly what seemed to be the PR formula of the day; namely, that Iran "is very much behind" all the woes afflicting the Middle East, from Lebanon to Gaza to Iraq, even to Afghanistan.

The Rhetoric is Ripening

In the coming weeks, at least until U.S. forces can find some real Iranian weapons in Iraq, the rhetoric is likely to focus on what I call the Big Lie — the claim that Iran's president has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map." In his controversial speech in 2005, Ahmadinejad was actually quoting from something Ayatollah Khomeini had said in the early eighties. Khomeini was expressing a hope that a regime that was treating the Palestinians so unjustly would be replaced by a more equitable one.

A distinction without a difference? I think not. Words matter. As you may already know (but most Americans don't), the literal translation from Farsi of what Ahmadinejad said is "The regime occupying Jerusalem much vanish from the pages of time." Contrary to what the administration and corporate media would have us all believe, the Iranian president was not threatening to nuke Israel, push it into the sea, or wipe it off the map — or, as is so often heard, "destroy" it.

President Bush is way out in front on this issue, and this comes through with particular clarity when he ad-libs answers to questions. On October 17, 2007, long after he had been briefed on the key intelligence finding that Iran had stopped the nuclear weapons-related part of its nuclear development program, the president spoke as though, well, "mesmerized." He said:

"But this — we got a leader in Iran who has announced he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems you ought to be interested in preventing them from have (sic) the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously."

Some contend that Bush does not really believe his rhetoric. I rather think he does, for the Israelis seem to have his good ear, with the tin one aimed at the U.S. intelligence he has repeatedly disparaged. But, frankly, which would be worse: that Bush believes Iran to be an existential threat to Israel and thus requires U.S. military action? — or that he knows it's just rhetoric to "justify" U.S. action to "take care of" Iran for Israel?

What You Can Do

Admiral Fallon, you can surely speak authoritatively about what is likely to happen — to U.S. forces in Iraq, for example — if Bush orders your successors to begin bombing and missile attacks on Iran. I imagine you have spent more than one sleepless night sorting through the full array of Iranian options for serious retaliation.

And you could readily update Scowcroft's remarks, by drawing on what you observed of the Keystone Cops efforts of White House ideologues like Iran-Contra convict Elliot Abrams, supported by amateurish covert action operatives and Israeli intelligence, to overturn by force the ascendancy of Hamas in 2006-07 and Hezbollah. (Abrams pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts of misleading Congress about the Iran-Contra affair, but was pardoned by the first President Bush on Dec. 24, 1992.)

Clearly, it is the arch-neoconservative Abrams, aided, instructed, and abetted by the vice president, who is running U.S. policy toward the Middle East. And it is just as clear that the status of the secretary state has been reduced simply to "frequent flyer."

It is easy to understand why no professional military officer would wish to be in the position of taking orders originating from the likes of Abrams — not to mention the vice president.

If you weigh in, as I believe your (non-expiring) oath to protect and defend the Constitution dictates, you might conceivably prompt other sober heads and courageous hearts to speak out. I hope you will agree that an attack on Iran can still be prevented, but it seems that this will take more outspokenness and energy than those of us who see what is coming have been able to muster so far. And the controlled press is a huge problem.

Were you to speak out strongly at this stage, the media could not ignore you. I cannot bring myself to believe that you, like so many on the Hill, would be cowed at the prospect of being pilloried by FOX and branded anti-Semitic. And, who knows; perhaps some of those former subordinate officers who admire you for what you have done, will be encouraged to go and do likewise.

And, in the end, if profound ignorance and ideology — supported by a captive corporate press and abetted by political parties supine before the Israel lobby — enable an attack on Iran, and the Iranians, for example, take thousands of our troops hostage in southern Iraq, you will be able to look in the mirror, and at the rest of us, and say at least you tried.

You will not have to live with the remorse of not knowing what you might have made possible, had you been able to shake your reluctance to speak out.

Leadership does not end with retirement; neither do oaths.


Ray McGovern
Steering Group
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Ray McGovern is a veteran Army intelligence officer and a former CIA analyst for 27 years.

Iran spurs arms race: 13 Mideast states have advanced nuclear programs

Russian envoy: Don't push Iran into a corner

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US 'Iran attack plans' revealed

US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.

It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centers.

The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.

The UN has urged Iran to stop the program or face economic sanctions.

But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.

Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has been on a reactionary, imperialist crusade to crush Islamic Fundamentalism, overthrow governments not under its thumb, and forcibly restructure the entire Middle East-Central Asian regions. Today the U.S. is targeting Iran, saying it is one of the biggest problems it faces globally. And in recent weeks U.S. threats against Iran have sharply escalated on many fronts. This points, at the very least, to an intensification of U.S. efforts to bully and isolate Iran—but may also portend preparations for an attack on Iran, perhaps coupled with possible Israeli attacks against Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, even Syria.

Top Bush administration officials have ratcheted up the breadth, vehemence, and strategic character of their charges and threats against Iran.

Defense Secretary Gates claims Iran is “hell bent” on getting nuclear weapons, adding to Israeli claims that Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons and could use them in a preemptive attack. General Petreaus charges that Iran is the main source of instability in Iraq, and on April 30, CIA Director Michael Hayden declared that Iranian policy, at the highest government level, is to help kill Americans in Iraq. A few days later, the New York Times (May 5) added another dimension to these charges by reporting that U.S. interrogators had elicited testimony from captured Shi’a fighters that “Militants from the Lebanese group Hezbollah have been training Iraqi militia fighters at a camp near Tehran.”

The State Department recently labeled Iran the world’s leading sponsor of “terrorism.” Secretary of State Rice says Iran is waging a “proxy war” with Israel via Hamas in Gaza, Pentagon officials recently claimed Iran is arming Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, and on May 9, the Bush administration blamed Iran and Syria for the outbreak of street fighting in Lebanon between pro-U.S. government forces and Hezbollah, which is supported by Iran.

The Bush regime is trying to build a case for possible war on Iran—like what they did with the claims that Saddam Hussein’s regime supported “terrorism” and had WMDs leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

U.S. charges against the Islamic Republic are a mixture of lies, distortions, and exaggerations, along with reflections of the real necessity U.S. imperialism faces. The Iranian government is acting to counter U.S. moves and further its own reactionary interests and ambitions on many fronts. Iran’s influence has grown in the region, and this is intolerable to the U.S. rulers who are bent on unchallenged hegemony. This move-counter move dynamic is intensifying with many potentially explosive “trigger points.”

On April 25, for the first time, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen stated that the Pentagon was actively considering military options against Iran and warned “it would be a mistake to think we’re out of combat capacity.”

On April 29, CBS news reported, “A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran.” (In March the U.S. had dispatched a nuclear submarine.) According to CBS, “Targets would include everything from the plants where weapons are made to the headquarters of the organization known as the Quds Force which directs operations in Iraq.” As the U.S. demands Iran halt its alleged interference in Iraq (this from the country that invaded Iraq in the first place!), the State Department has also, according to CBS, “begun drafting an ultimatum that would tell the Iranians to knock it off—or else.”

On May 2, Andrew Cockburn reported, “Six weeks ago President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, [is] ‘unprecedented in its scope.’ Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area—from Lebanon to Afghanistan—but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines—up to and including the assassination of targeted officials.” Cockburn also reported, “A Marine amphibious force, originally due to leave San Diego for the Persian Gulf in mid June, has had its sailing date abruptly moved up to May 4.”

The Sunday Times of London (May 4) reports, “The U.S. military is drawing up plans for a ‘surgical strike’ against an insurgent training camp inside Iran if Republican Guards continue with attempts to destabilize Iraq.”

The recent U.S.-Iraqi assault on Basra, its current campaign against Shi’ite forces in Sadr City, the renewed fighting in Lebanon (reportedly provoked by the U.S.-backed government’s attempt to remove Hezbollah personnel from their airport positions and close down a Hezbollah-run phone system), as well as the September Israeli strike against a site in Syria may also be linked to military preparations for war on Iran.

These U.S. moves to confront Iran and position itself for possible war are themselves acts of imperialist bullying and aggression. Any U.S. attack on Iran—no matter the scale and scope, no matter the pretext or justification—would constitute criminal aggression and a war crime. The potential consequences for the people of Iran and the region are horrific. It’s urgent that people condemn and protest these U.S. threats and war preparations, and sound the alarm—now!

"US confession: Weapons were not made in Iran after all"

In a sharp reversal of its longstanding accusations against Iran arming militants in Iraq , the US military has made an unprecedented albeit quiet confession: the weapons they had recently found in Iraq were not made in Iran at all.

According to a report by the LA Times correspondent Tina Susman in Baghdad: “A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. A U.S. military spokesman attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin. When U.S. explosives experts went to investigate, they discovered they were not Iranian after all.”

The US , which until two weeks ago had never provided any proof for its allegations, finally handed over its “evidence” of the Iranian origin of these weapons to the Iraqi government. Last week, an Iraqi delegation to Iran presented the US “evidence” to Iranian officials. According to Al-Abadi, a parliament member from the ruling United Iraqi Alliance who was on the delegation, the Iranian officials totally refuted “training, financing and arming” militant groups in Iraq . Consequently the Iraqi government announced that there is no hard evidence against Iran.

In another extraordinary event this week, the US spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, for the first time did not blame Iran for the violence in Iraq and in fact did not make any reference to Iran at all in his introductory remarks to the world media on Wednesday when he described the large arsenal of weapons found by Iraqi forces in Karbala.

In contrast, the Pentagon in August 2007 admitted that it had lost track of a third of the weapons distributed to the Iraqi security forces in 2004/2005. The 190,000 assault rifles and pistols roam free in Iraqi streets today.

In the past year, the US leaders have been relentless in propagating their charges of Iranian meddling and fomenting violence in Iraq and since the release of the key judgments of the US National Intelligence Estimate in December that Iran does not have a nuclear weaponisation programme, these accusations have sharply intensified.

The US charges of Iranian interference in Iraq too have now collapsed. Any threat of military strike against Iran is in violation of the UN charter and the IAEA's continued supervision on Iran's uranium enrichment facilities means there is no justification for sanctions.

CASMII calls on the US to change course and enter into comprehensive and unconditional negotiations with Iran.

For more information or to contact CASMII please visit

Cameron said McCain "suggested Obama is naïve" for Iran stance, but didn't note that Gates also reportedly said the U.S. should "talk with" Iran

On the May 19 edition of Fox News' Special Report, chief political correspondent Carl Cameron
reported that Sen. John McCain "ripped into [Sen. Barack] Obama for suggesting that because the U.S. negotiated with the Soviets during the Cold War, talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are logical now." Later in his report, Cameron stated that McCain "suggested Obama is naïve" for believing that negotiations with Iran could lead to "change from Iran" and aired a clip of McCain saying, "It could very well convince him [Ahmadinejad] that those policies are succeeding in strengthening his hold on power, and embolden him to continue his very dangerous behavior.

The next president ought to understand such basic realities of international relations." Cameron later asserted that "[b]oth campaigns think they gained from a battle over Iran policy. ... McCain thinks it helps him with independent voters and security-minded Democrats who refuse to believe any president should meet with any leader who said the kind of outrageous, hateful, and violent things the Iranian president has about the U.S. and its allies." However, despite stating that McCain thinks Obama's position is "naïve," Cameron did not note that Defense Secretary Robert Gates also reportedly has said that the United States should "sit down and talk with" Iran.

As Media Matters for America has noted, according to a May 15 Washington Post article, Gates said of Iran, "We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage ... and then sit down and talk with them. ... If there is going to be a discussion, then they need something, too. We can't go to a discussion and be completely the demander, with them not feeling that they need anything from us."

Constitution’s Checks, Balances Failing As Bush Prepares Iran Attack

Iran strikes back at "Satanic Bush" as US prepares for war.

The March to War: Israel Prepares for War against Lebanon and Syria

I want it all, I want it now - but then what? - most projections show Peak Oil to be occurring about now, or to be imminent.

We have all heard about “Peak Oil”, which is oil production peaking and then tailing off gradually, due to finite supplies dwindling and remaining reserves being increasingly difficult and costly to both find and extract. The timing of the peak depends on who you listen to but is supposed to occur anytime between a couple of years ago and about 2020 - 2030, but in any event we are historically speaking close to it, and now, with the world population continuing to expand and booming demand from up-and-coming economies with massive populations like China and India, steadily increasing demand for oil is colliding with relatively fixed or even declining supply. The result of this can only be rising prices, which will continue to rise until demand moderates sufficiently to bring about a rebalancing of supply and demand.

The big problem with oil is that it is so central to everything and still so incredibly cheap in relation to the energy it supplies and its sheer usefulness, that prices will have to rise to much higher levels before demand is choked off sufficiently to bring about an enduring state of balance between supply and demand - only in the case of severe global recession resulting in a big reduction in economic activity would this upward price pressure abate, and that, of course, is exactly what a continued steep rise in the oil price may bring about.

The United States, more than any other country, is an economy dependant on an abundant supply of cheap oil. The per capita use of oil in the US vastly outstrips that of most countries in the world, the two principal reasons for this being that the infrastructure of the country has been developed on the assumption that cheap oil will continue indefinitely, and the other reason is that taxes on gasoline are held are much lower levels than in many other nations for political reasons. Back around the middle of the last century the big oil companies in the US, with the collusion of government, set out to intentionally destroy the public transport system in the US, in order to force the population to use automobiles more and thus burn more gas netting more profits for oil companies, and they were largely successful in achieving this objective.

For the same reason they also encouraged massive urban sprawl and the development of suburbia, so that millions of people have to drive huge distances to get to work - a reason why gas taxes have to be held at much lower levels than in other countries such as Great Britain, where they are exorbitantly high. Clearly, if affordable gasoline disappears, then the countless vast tracts of suburbia in the US will become middle class ghettoes. Once you grasp the implications of this you will immediately comprehend why the United States is particularly aggressive about access to oil supplies and will stop at nothing to secure them. The United States is structured geared to the profligate consumption of oil and would collapse without it.

The oil and gas reserves of the planet, which took millions of years to form, have been and are being plundered and burned up recklessly in the space of a mere one to two hundred years. Like greedy children cramming a sudden bonanza of chocolates and sweets into their faces until they have nothing left, individuals - and corporations and governments - have selfishly and thoughtlessly squandered this precious resource without any regard for the needs of future generations.

You only have to look around you at the vast volumes of largely unnecessary traffic - businessmen flying halfway across the world to sign a paper, holidaymakers taking a four hour flight to lay on a sun bed in a gated compound and read for a week, commuters who drive for an hour or two to get to the office and whose work will be viewed by future historians as being of considerably less value than the energy they consumed in getting to their workplace. The scale of unnecessary consumption and sheer waste is mind-boggling, and, of course, it cannot and will not continue indefinitely.

Once the energy that took millions of years to form and only two hundred years or so to burn up is gone, it's gone. The day of reckoning will be upon us and human beings who have bred like flies on the back of this bonanza will face starvation by the hundreds of millions or billions if substantive measures are not taken in time to make good the energy shortfall by means of other fuels. This will be hard luck for the victims but great news for the planet which is groaning under the strain of unimaginable hordes of human beings projected to reach about 11 billion by the year 2050.

Alternative energy sources such as wind and water power, which take a lot of energy initially to create and install, may not be available in sufficient quantity or in time to fill the massive void - it is thought to be only Uranium that has a realistic chance of meeting the enormous energy needs. We are now starting to feel the first winds of this energy - food maelstrom with sharply rising global food prices, caused in part by rising oil prices, already putting a huge strain on the world's poor, many of whom are on the verge of starvation, if not actually starving.

As we entered this unique century, the greatest economic and military power in the world, the United States, still basking in the glory of facing down and defeating the Soviet Union, had the choice of getting together with the other nations of the world and arriving at a common and equitable agreement regarding how to apportion and parcel out the world's dwindling fossil fuel energy supplies in the coming decades. Instead of taking this enlightened route it has decided instead to adopt the primitive “me first” approach and has embarked on an old-fashioned campaign of colonial conquest, with a few sycophants in tow such as Britain hoping to get “a piece of the action”.

This is, of course, very bad news for the planet, not just because of the colonial powers' plans to make off with most of the pie, but because of the vast misuse of resources required to secure a disproportionate share of the pie in the first place, which has involved considerable death and destruction, including a lot of Iraqi civilians and US servicemen.

How you view the invasion of Iraq depends entirely on your perspective - if you are an Iraqi citizen who has lost family members you might fairly view it as a disaster, if you are family of a dead US serviceman you might be very sad, but proud that your young man “died defending his country from terrorists”, if you are an ecologist you would likely be dismayed at the destruction and pollution, such as the leveling of the town of Fallujah and the peppering of areas of the country with depleted uranium, if you have any humanitarian inclinations at all you might be upset by the routine ill-treatment of prisoners and the destruction of the society and way of life of the country, if you are Jewish you might be delighted that one more Arab country has been neutered, if you run a company that supplies skilled mercenaries and technical people you will be rubbing your hands together with glee at all the extra profits rolling in, if you are a senior oil company executive you will be popping champagne corks at the prospect of vast new reserves waiting to be exploited.

Perhaps the greatest irony is that the typical suburban commuter in the US who was all for the war a few years back “to smoke out and kill those goddamned terrorists” is now against it because of the enormous cost and the material damage suffered by the army, not least the dead and injured soldiers. Yet, if you were to sit down and calmly explain to these average folk that the invasion of Iraq has secured such vast oil reserves for the United States, that they will be able to continue their long commute for many years to come and quite possibly continue their profligate lifestyle, their faces would suddenly light up and they would exclaim that the invasion probably wasn't such a bad idea after all.

If Bush came clean and went on television and explained all this in an open and honest way, millions of voters would suddenly adore him and petition Congress to amend the Constitution to allow him to serve a third term and he would doubtless be voted back in a landslide victory.

We know that the US “defense” budget, already enormous as the century started, has ballooned to gargantuan levels, exceeding the military budgets of every other country in the world combined. The reasons for this are not just the resource wars already underway, but the massive increases are also a preparation for squaring up to China and Russia with the intention of forcing them into submission at some point in the future.

We would also be remiss in not pointing out the inclination by numerous US congressmen to sluice vast sums of government money and contracts in the direction of their numerous cronies in the defense and oil industries as an important factor in escalating the defense budget. The corn-methanol industry in the US, which apparently uses more fossil fuel energy in its creation than you get back in energy from the finished product, is growing as quickly as it is because members of government are unwilling to say no to the powerful corn lobby in the mid-west, who are in many cases their constituency. This industry, which diverts food into the production of fuel, is a contributing factor to rising global food prices, and gives a big 2-fingered salute to the world's poor.

The major resource war currently underway involves the United States and its acolytes forcibly invading and taking control of those countries in the Mid-East that are not already client states, which the aim of completely controlling the Mid-Eastern oilfields. The invasion of Afghanistan, which does not have much oil, was a strategic geopolitical move. The invasion of Iraq was designed to secure a major prize, as Iraq is sat on the world's second largest oil reserves. That only leaves Iran, which will prove to be a tougher nut to crack, more about which later, and Syria, which will be a cakewalk, and doesn‘t have much oil and so is of limited interest anyway. A by-product of these military adventures is the elimination or at least neutering of Israel's enemies.

Should the masses rise up and overthrow their feudal overlords in Saudi Arabia, then it may become necessary to invade that country too. Of course, it wouldn't have looked good to the electorate back home if one day George Bush had gone on television and announced “Hey, the world's running out of oil, and so you can continue to drive around in your SUV's and zig-zag around the country on airplanes, we are going to invade Iraq and take their oil”. So they had to come up with something that would make it more palatable, hence the absurdly named “War on Terror” which sounds goofy but is good enough for the masses. The War on Terror is a crude deception, a fig leaf, designed to provide a façade behind which to conduct a good old-fashioned war of colonial conquest.

The only reason it is not questioned more in the mainstream media is that the government controls the mainstream media and they do as they are told. You had to have a reason for the War on Terror, something to lend it some credibility, and that reason was provided by the catastrophic events of September 11th 2001.

Turning now to Iran, this is the only remaining significant country in the Mid-East that is not already either a client state of the United States or big western oil multinationals, like Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states, or already subject to military occupation. It is not in compliance, and can therefore expect to be forcibly dealt with at some point in the future. If it had no oil, and was not perceived to be a potential threat to Israel, it would perhaps be left alone, but it does have oil and Israel, at least, perceives it to be a threat.

Now, it is known that Bush and Cheney would like to “finish the job” and complete their hat trick of 3 invasions before they leave office - Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, but unfortunately the US military has been so worn down by the attrition of Iraq that it is presently in no state to mount a sustainable invasion of Iran. Furthermore, it makes sense to take the time to digest the gains already made before moving on to the next campaign. This will involve straightening out the security situation in Iraq, at least regarding the protection of US military personnel and the oil company operatives who are waiting in the wings to exploit the territories' oil wealth.

Then the military can regroup and prepare themselves for pastures new. In the meantime the “easy” option of heavy bombing of Iran, designed to weaken it militarily and neuter it economically, with the aim, sooner or later, of moving in to seize at least the south-western corner of the country, where the vast bulk of Iran's oil is located, remains on the table. The eventual aim is thought to be to gain control of the country as part of the long-term strategic goal of surrounding Russia, possibly by subverting the government and installing a US-friendly puppet regime, along the lines of the color coded governments such as the orange one in the Ukraine - a new Shah of Iran perhaps?

Even though an attempted invasion of Iran before the November elections is considered most unlikely, for logistical reasons, a bombing campaign remains a possibility. With regard to the timing of this we must look to the mainstream media for clues. The public mind must be prepared to accept such an operation, with clustered news items to the effect that Iran is responsible for attacks on US troops, on The Green Zone, and for arming the insurgents etc.

The consequences of a bombing campaign by the US, and possibly Britain and Israel on Iran are somewhat unpredictable, to say the least, but one thing we can fairly sure of and that is that the price of oil will spike spectacularly. The price has already been climbing steadily for weeks, which may even be due in part to anticipation of such an attack, and a major supply disruption will send it through the roof.

Technically, the oil price has arrived at the top of its long-term uptrend channel, and in the absence of military action against Iran in the near future, or a buildup towards the same, it looks set to react back across its trend channel or at least consolidate for a while. Traders and investors in crude oil and oil stocks should however remain aware of the risk of an attack, which if it does take place can be expected to cause a dramatic spike. Gold and silver would also spike in consequence.

According to their logic the US elites have good reason to feel pleased with themselves following the successful takeover of Iraq, even if the general public in the United States is unable at this stage to grasp what a “glorious achievement” it is. Iraq is known to have over 100 billion barrels of oil reserves. In addition to this the country is still relatively unexplored and there are an estimated 200 to 300 billion barrels more waiting to be discovered. Given that this is largely light crude, the most valuable type of oil, it doesn't take much effort of the imagination to figure that US forces have seized control of one of the world's greatest treasures, whose value dwarfs the cost of the invasion.

The invasion of Iraq would therefore be a strong contender for an entry in the Guinness World Records as the greatest act of piracy in the history of the world. It makes the exploits of Blackbeard and Captain Jack Sparrow look decidedly tame. With this being election year in the US, various politicians try to curry favor with the voters by talking about “bringing the troops home”. So let's be clear about this - the troops are not coming home until the infrastructure has been built to fully exploit Iraq oil resources, and to this end to partition off the local population who might otherwise interfere with production. In fact, a background level of violence is actually desirable at this time, in order to provide the excuse to keep the troops there. We should also not overlook the reality that the US elections are pure spin anyway, a charade.

The United States is not a democracy and has not been for a long time. Its political system is a duopoly of power, with the same plutocratic forces controlling both the Democrat and Republican parties, the election being a 4-yearly circus to fool the masses into thinking that they live in a democracy.

In one sense democracy is an absurd concept anyway - how can you allow ignorant, uneducated people the same vote as intelligent, discriminating people?

The answer is that that you can - and then you program them to do what you want them to anyway via their favorite entertainment and media inputs.

If you spend an hour of your time going down to the polling station to vote, you have just wasted an hour of your life, except that it can be amusing to watch the other fools wasting their time lining up - thinking that they are going to make a difference.

Complete control of the Mid-East, which the United States and the major oil companies are now close to having achieved, of course confers massive power over the rest of world, in particular over rising economic powers such as China and India and the immense leverage that this will in time afford can be used to steer these countries in whatever direction is desired.

The US is believed to be involved in a strategic race against time to corner the bulk of the world's remaining oil reserves, the control of which can then be used to dissuade countries like China from resorting to the wholesale dumping of dollars or US Treasuries, along the lines of “Try it and we'll cut off your oil supply”, which one would expect to be couched in more diplomatic language. Because of its gargantuan levels of debt the US is acutely vulnerable now, but with time it plans to tip the scales back in its favor partly by sales of its recently acquired plunder.

Anyone who has watched those David Attenborough nature programs about seal colonies on beaches will know that the US is like the “beach master”, the huge bull elephant seal, taking possession of all of the females on the beach and jealously guarding them, while China and Russia are the other strong contenders, who don't quite have the strength or size to try to assert dominance and as a result can only make gains when the beach master suffers some drastic reversal of fortune.

The irony is that China now has the power to stop the US in its tracks, by dumping its vast dollar and Treasury holdings, which would send the US economy straight over a cliff, but it is unlikely it will do this because it can't stomach the consequences to itself or its people of doing so.

There are those who believe that the multinational oil companies and US interests will not be left in peace in Iraq to reap the fruits of their exploits. What these people don't understand is that in order to make it possible to develop Iraq's oil infrastructure and actually ship out the oil in quantity an apartheid system will be created across the country, which is scheduled to be partitioned and balkanized.

The indigenous people will largely be confined to their towns and cities and specific rural areas and ruled over by the US installed puppet government - they won't be allowed anywhere near the oil installations, which will be run mainly by imported technicians and service personnel. The country will essentially be run as an oilfield, with the original inhabitants being marginalized and viewed as incidental. The infrastructure for this system of control is currently under construction and as it approaches completion the vulnerability of US and coalition military personnel and consequent casualties will decrease significantly.

1. The resource wars of the 21st century are now well underway, with the US and Britain leading the charge in the Mid-East, behind the façade of the War on Terror. The goal is complete control of the Mid-East oilfields, which will be achieved by a combination of the already existing client states such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, and the forcible acquisition of remaining oil rich countries. Logic dictates that the next country to be appropriated will be Iran, and although they would like to take in addition the oil rich countries around the Caspian Sea, an attempt to do so would result in a direct confrontation with Russia, so instead they will bide their time and likely attempt to subvert these countries politically.

2. Peak Oil is upon us, or very close at hand. The combination of rising population and strong increase in demand for oil from developing countries such as China and India, coupled with inelasticity in demand for oil, at least on the downside, is likely to force a continuing uptrend in the price of oil, although this may be mitigated once Iraq is brought on stream in a big way.

3. As the oil price is an underlying component of the price of food, the price of food is likely to continue to rise, a situation that will be exacerbated by the recently fashionable and rather bizarre practice of turning food into fuel. This can be expected to lead to widespread unrest and possible anarchy in many poorer countries.

4. The seizure of Iraq is widely perceived to be have been a blunder. From the strategic standpoint of the US elites it was no such thing. The oil reserves contained within Iraq are gigantic, and thus its acquisition was a major economic and security leap forward for the United States. In addition its central position within the region and the earlier acquisition of Afghanistan make the eventual appropriation of oil-rich Iran an almost foregone conclusion. In comparison with the US strategic planners, those in the European Union are hopelessly naïve and ineffectual - they can't even organize the trash collection in Naples .

5. The United States is desperately sick economically, with an economy lamed by gargantuan debt, outsourcing and rampant speculation, and yet somehow it manages to spend more on its military machine than every other country in the world combined. This is only possible because the dollar has been, up until now, the world currency, and because the US is living on the rest of the world's savings.

The supreme irony is that the rest of the world is financing the US takeover of the Mid-East, and in a few years countries which have had, and have right now, the power to stop the US in its tracks by dumping dollars and Treasuries, but can't face the dire consequences of doing so, will have to kow-tow to the US for oil. Once that time arrives they won't dare dump US paper and face the retribution of having their oil supply cut off and their economies shut down.

At present the US is only militarily the greatest power on earth, but in a few years it looks set to assume comprehensive hegemony of the planet, as the massive oil revenues from the spoils of the Mid-East campaigns flow in and correct the careening deficits.

China will then comply with US demands or the oil tap will be swiveled in the off direction. Russia, currently blessed by an abundant supply of oil and other natural resources, should do well, but will be surrounded and eventually forced into compliance as its resources dwindle and it becomes increasingly isolated. Britain, as the 1st officer of the US in its wars of acquisition, will enjoy a privileged place at the table in an increasingly resource starved world. Israel will look on with quiet satisfaction at all of this.

6. Now we crystallize the most important point of this article, which is what the whole thing has been leading up to.

As we have already noted, the United States is widely perceived as an economic basket case on account of its astronomic debts and weakened domestic economy, but it is in the process of seizing control of the world's most important remaining oil reserves and bringing them on line.

Once it has achieved this it will not just be the greatest military power on earth but will assume center stage as the greatest economic power on earth as well and be completely unassailable. By that time no other country will dare to, or perhaps even want to, dump dollars or US Treasuries.

The Morning Gold Report by Peter A. Grant

May 05, a.m. (USAGOLD) -- Gold is edging higher within its recent range, underpinned by heightened supply concerns for oil and escalating geopolitical tensions in the Persian Gulf.

Oil has recovered well over 61.8% of the recent corrective pullback, suggesting that the dominant uptrend is re-exerting itself. Brent spot crude has probed back above the 115.00 level, bringing oil back within $2 of last week's record high.

New attacks by militants over the weekend against Royal Dutch Shell facilities in Nigeria have further curtailed exports from Africa's largest producer. An oil tanker off the coast was apparently attacked as well and two people were taken hostage.

Iran has rejected the latest round of incentives aimed at getting the country to halt its uranium enrichment program. Iran maintains that their nuclear program is solely for energy generation, while the west claims they are seeking nuclear weapons.

Tensions between the US and Iran have been ratcheting higher in recent months due to mounting evidence that Iran is meddling in Iraq. Washington has accused Teheran of funding, arming and training Shi'ite militiamen that have participated in attacks against US troops.

The US and Iran have engaged in talks over the past year, geared at reducing the violence in Iraq, but the latest round has been shelved.

"Concerning this situation, talks with America will have no results and will be meaningless," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini.

There were briefly two US carrier groups in the Gulf last week as the USS Abraham Lincoln replaced the USS Harry Truman. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the deployment of the second carrier should be seen as a "reminder" of US military power in the region.

It has also been reported that the Pentagon has ordered new plans for an attack on Iran as the State Department prepares a new ultimatum for the Islamic Republic; essentially stating 'butt out of Iraq, or else.'

Meanwhile, Turkey ramped up its offensive against PKK separatists seeking refuge in Northern Iraq late last week. Turkey bombed militant positions, increasing concerns about supply disruptions in the region.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is also in the Middle East seeking to jump-start Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. Persistent rocket attacks against Israel by Palestinian militants have hindered the peace process. Israeli settlements in the West Bank have been "particularly problematic" as well.

Gold provides a particularly effective hedge against energy inflation and simultaneously serves as protection against rising geopolitical tensions. Higher oil prices should have a supportive effect on gold. A rebound in the yellow metal above 872.25/877.65 would ease short-term pressure on the downside somewhat, encouraging a move back toward $900.

Gold Market Movers: All That Glitters Is Not Gold, Some Things Are Crude Black Or Blood Red!

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