Saturday, March 03, 2012

New York Times Promoting War on Iran

New York Times Promoting War on Iran


by Stephen Lendman


Longstanding Times policy supports imperial US wars against nonbelligerent countries posing no threats.


It backed American-led NATO aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Using scandalous language like "Assad's butchery," it wants killer gangs armed and greater Western intervention.


A Syrian (unnamed for his safety) emailed this information:


It's believed "the National Syrian Army caught 12 French Officers and one high-ranking officer in Homs. The French Ambassador came back to Syria to re-negotiate. Reports suggest 22 Jihadists from Afghanistan had been caught in Idlib yesterday."


"A christian friend of mine ran away to Damascus because they informed him within 2 days to go out of Hama before they start slaying his family."


"Another person's sister was kidnapped. The gang asked for 2 million SYP to return her. They paid. She's home now but they raped her."


"They use Kidnapping Strategy to earn more money because the Syrian National Forces are attacking the weak points on the border of Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon. We should never forget Daraa on the border of Jordan."


"I saw a couple of times "Free Syrian Army" members when I was visiting a friend of mind in Damascus. They are totally RUBBISH, UNEDUCATED OUTLAWS!"


He also mentioned a spurious Arabic language video circulating. It alleges Syrian army force attacks on peaceful demonstrations. "Activists explain lying in this video using unequivocal evidence."


New York Times and other major media scoundrels suppress these reports.


For months, The Times also stoked spurious fears about an alleged Iranian threat and need to confront it. On January 5, it claimed “a recent assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency (says) Iran’s nuclear program has a military objective.”


In fact, no such report exists. Too bad Times readers don't know it.


Its January 12 editorial said:


"The United Nations Security Council demanded that Iran stop enriching uranium more than five years ago."


Fact check


Unsaid was that doing so complies fully with Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT) provisions. Other countries operating nuclear reactors do it. It's entirely legal.


"Iran claims it only wants access to nuclear technology for electricity and other peaceful purposes. But that excuse is hollow."


Fact check


Hollow? It's true. US intelligence and IAEA say no evidence suggests an Iranian nuclear weapons development program.


"The major powers have said that power generation would be guaranteed if Iran abandons its weapons ambitions. Instead, Iran is still enriching uranium and mastering other technologies that would allow it to build a nuclear weapon."


Fact check


No evidence whatever corroborates these claims. However, repeating them often enough gets most people to believe them. A recent Pew Research Center poll cited 58% of those surveyed saying America should use military force to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Only 30% want confrontation avoided.


"According to the latest report from United Nations inspectors, Iran has created computer models of nuclear explosions, conducted experiments on nuclear triggers, and completed advanced research on a warhead that could be delivered by a medium-range missile."


Fact check


No such IAEA report suggests Iran is advancing warhead research to be delivered by short, medium, or long range missiles. Saying so is inflammatory to stoke fear and call for intervention belligerently to stop what doesn't exist.


On February 29, The Times gave feature op-ed space to Amos Yadlin. He's a former Israeli intelligence head, now director of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies.


Giving him space for any reason was disgraceful. His outrageous commentary showed why. It was headlined: "Israel's Last Chance to Strike Iran," saying:


"Today, Israel sees the prospect of a nuclear Iran that calls for our annihilation as an existential threat."


Fact check


Iran poses no threat to any nation anywhere, including Israel, and Yadlin knows it. So does Obama and other top officials in both countries.


"An Israeli strike against Iran would be a last resort, if all else failed to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program."


Fact check


Yadlin, Obama and officials in both countries know no weapons program exists. Yet they hype fears for what's really at stake - replacing an independent regime with a pro-Western one by any means, including war.


Deciding on whether to attack "will occur when Iran is on the verge of shielding its nuclear facilities from a successful attack — what Israel’s leaders have called the “zone of immunity.”


Fact check


Iran is by far the world's most intensively inspected country. IAEA inspectors visit regularly, and nuclear sites are monitored round the clock by intrusive cameras watching everything.


In contrast, America and Israel, known nuclear powers, refuse inspections anywhere. They also maintain first strike nuclear attack options against any nation based on spurious threat allegations.


Some "claim that an attack on the Iranian nuclear program would destabilize the region. But a nuclear Iran could lead to far worse: a regional nuclear arms race without a red phone to defuse an escalating crisis, Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, (a) more confident....Hezbollah, and the threat of nuclear materials being transferred to terrorist organizations."


Fact check


Only America, Israel, and its rogue regional allies pose threats. With no known military nuclear capability or intention to develop one, these nations alone threaten a destabilizing and potentially catastrophic regional arms race.


"Ensuring that Iran does not go nuclear is the best guarantee for long-term regional stability."


Fact check


Iran urges stability, threatens no one, and supports peace in contrast to imperial America allied with Israel waging permanent regional wars and threatening more, no matter the death and destruction caused.


On Monday, when Obama and Netanyahu meet, "What is needed is an ironclad American assurance that if Israel refrains from acting (on its own) and all other options have failed to halt Tehran's nuclear quest - Washington will act to prevent a nuclear Iran while it is still within its power to do so."


Unless Obama guarantees it, "Israeli leaders may well choose to act while they still can."


These comments, and others like them, reveal the deplorable state of America's media. Those following them for news and information remain hopelessly misinformed, in the dark, and easy prey to support self-destructive policies.


Other Anti-Iranian Propaganda


Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's (FAIR) Peter Hart headlined a March report, headlined "Upping the Ante in Iran Propaganda," saying:


Major media scoundrels treat spurious allegations as fact. They're repeated in numerous reports. On February 6, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley said:


"The president, as you know, has been trying to force Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program."


On January 11, a Washington Post editorial claimed Iran's "drive for nuclear weapons continues."


"At the end of January," said Hart, "another provocative claim emerged: Iran was ready to unleash terrorism against the United States."


On January 31, ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer falsely said that "America's top spy warns that Iran is willing to launch a terrorist strike inside the US. We'll tell you his evidence."


There's none. National intelligence director James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee he found no evidence of an Iranian threat. He said: "We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons," but no evidence suggests an ongoing program. "We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons." (It's) technically feasible, but unlikely."


At the same Senate meeting, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA director General David Petraeus, and Joint Chiefs head General Martin Dempsey concurred with Clapper. The alleged Iranian threat is bogus.


Other high US, European and Israeli officials also believe Iran has no ongoing military nuclear program and poses no threat. But major media scoundrels don't report it. Instead they hype baseless accusations.


On January 31, CNN's Wolf Blitzer (a former AIPAC lobbyist) claimed "Key US intelligence officials now warning Iran may be preparing to launch a terrorist attack right inside the United States."


NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams reported the same lie, headlining "Iran's threat. Not just the nuclear program. Tonight, US intelligence warns Iran may be prepared to strike on American soil."


On February 13, Newsweek's Niall Ferguson promoted war as "a lesser evil than a policy of appeasement. The people who don't yet know are the ones still in denial about what a nuclear-armed Iran would end up costing. It feels like the eve of some creative destruction."


On February 3, ABC's Martha Raddatz said "it's up to Iran" to avoid war. Israel has to see something concrete. They have to see Iran shutting down its nuclear weapons program."


Hart commented:


"Iran must, in other words, give up the thing they claim does not exist."


A Final Comment


In March 2009, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) reported on a "Possible Israeli Strike on Iran's Nuclear Development Facilities," saying:


It's "not known whether Iran has some secret facilities for nuclear weapons development." CSIS acknowledged Israel's nuclear weapons capability. It said it's "recognized as possessing a very sophisticated arsenal of nuclear weapons," and intent to use them if threatened.


Besides Dimona's Negar Nuclear Research Center, reactor, enrichment and reprocessing facilities, other sites include:


  • possible assembly and dismantling at Yodefat;


  • reported nuclear design and assembly at Haifa's Rafael-Israel Armament Development Authority;


  • possible weapons design and research facility at Soreq's Nahal Soreq Nuclear Research Center;


  • possible storage facility at Tirosh;


  • possible storage facility at Eilabun; and


  • Negar Phosphates Chemical Company uranium mining from phosphate deposits at Mishor Rotern.


For over six decades, Israel's nuclear weapons program remained ongoing. It's now one of the world's most sophisticated. Its submarines have nuclear-armed cruise and/or ballistic missiles.


It's believed to have hundreds of nuclear weapons, as well as short, medium, and intercontinental ballistic missile delivery systems.


No evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program exists. Claims about one are speculative at best. "We judge with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015."


If it wishes, Tehran has the "scientific, technical, and industrial" capability to do so, but no evidence suggests intent.


The environmental damage of an Israeli attack on Iran's Bushehr facility would be disastrous. In addition, immediate retaliation would follow. Israeli military and civilian centers, as well as known and suspected nuclear sites would be targeted.


Regional instability and terrorism would increase. Asymmetric attacks on US and allied interests would follow, including against Gulf shipping and efforts to disrupt oil flows.


Arab states don't condone Western WMD double standards. Nor do they accept attacking Iran on the pretext of a spurious existential Israeli threat.


"Any realistic resolution to the Iranian nuclear program will require an approach that encompasses Military, Economic, Political interests and differences of the West vs Iran. There will be no lasting resolution to the Iranian nuclear program until the broader interests of Iran, the US, the region and the world are addressed."


"Iran should be engaged directly by the U.S. with an agenda open to all areas of military and non-military issues that both are in agreement or disagreement."


"The Palestinian – Israeli negotiations and the Syrian – Israeli (ones) should be given highest priority as the whole Arab world will not be convinced that the U.S. is interested in establishing Peace, Stability and Security in the region by just addressing the Iranian Nuclear Programs."


"In fact, it is believed in the region that Peace Agreements with the Palestinians and Arab Countries would deprive Iran of any political context in which to confront Israel."


"The ultimate aim is to create a 'Cooperative Security Framework' under which disputes and conflicts can be resolved in a peaceful manner. If all methods fail then a 'Collective Security' action can take place under the UN Charter. It can be envisioned that regional 'Conflict Prevention Centers' can be established within which security cooperation and negotiations can take place on a continuous basis addressing military and non military related issues that can impact regional and international security."


CSIS produced its report before Arab League states supported US-led NATO aggression on Libya and Syria. It extends up to but not exceeding what potentially harms their own security and other regional interests.


Attacking Iran and full-scale war on Syria may overreach their level of tolerance for good reason. The entire region would be inflamed. Russia and China might intervene. Their own regimes would be jeopardized.


Regional leaders won't risk it. Suicide's not one of their options. American and Israeli agendas leap too far. They're making more enemies than friends.


If the balance tips in time, perhaps disaster can be avoided. Otherwise, expect the worst, especially if nuclear weapons are used.


Given high-level extremist US and Israeli officials, don't count it out. The next shock and awe might include them and their horrific fallout.


A March 1 DEBKAfile report heightens the possibility headlined, "Pentagon prepares 'aerial refueling' for Israeli planes striking Iran," saying:


"In a dramatic U-turn to show Israel that Washington is serious about its military option against Iran’s nuclear program, Pentagon officials disclosed Thursday, March 1, that 'military options are being prepared (to provide) refueling for Israeli planes and include attacking the pillars of the clerical regime. They include the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its elite Quds Force, regular Iranian military bases and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security."


On Friday, Netanyahu and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper met in Ottawa. Monday, Obama and Netanyahu meet in Washington to discuss Iran and other issues. On Sunday, he and President Shimon Peres will meet, the same day Obama and Netanyahu address AIPAC's annual conference opening session. Their comments will be closely monitored.


Last Wednesday, Israel's Defense Minister met with Leon Panetta. He failed to enlist support for an attack. However, Obama said all options are possible. Conditions remain fluid and dangerous.


The region's a tinder box. Nothing can be ruled out. That's today's menacing reality able to explode out-of-control any time.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.