September 18, 2006
Propaganda for war against Iran begins
It should be plain to everyone that the Bush White House and its neoconservative inner clique are pushing hard for a war with Iran. They have gone on a relentless offensive, trying to convince the American people that Iran is a rogue state, secretly pushing a nuclear weapons program and that their leader is some kind of mad man who seeks world domination. Predictably, comparisons with Hitler are being invoked again, just as he was with Iraq's Saddam Hussein.
Once again, the media has gone along with the White House, allowing its propaganda to either pass unchallenged, or to bury the facts in the back pages of the papers or deep in related stories. As a result, the warmongers' efforts have had some success. Polls indicate that 77% of Americans believe that Iran can make nuclear weapons soon.
Physicist Gordon Prather, who has extensive knowledge of both the weapons area and international treaties regarding nuclear weapons, tries to clarify the situation:
Three years ago, in deciding to adhere to an Additional Protocol to their Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency in advance of its ratification, the Iranians voluntarily "declared" certain activities many months before they were obligated to do so under their existing Safeguards Agreement.
And, on 27 April, 2006, the Iranians informed the IAEA that it was "fully prepared" to continue voluntarily adhering to the Additional Protocol in advance of its ratification "provided" Iran’s IAEA "dossier" remained "within the framework" of the IAEA.
The IAEA Board ignored the Iranian warning, and directed IAEA’s Director-General, Mohamed ElBaradei, to report the entire Iranian dossier to the UN Security Council, with the expectation that the Council would "determine" under Article 39 of the UN Charter that Iran’s Safeguarded programs somehow constituted "a threat to peace in the region."
Of course, the Security Council has thus far declined to make such a ridiculous determination.
But, as threatened, the Iranians promptly reduced their cooperation with the IAEA to levels not much greater than required by their existing Safeguards Agreement.
It is to that Agreement and nothing more that the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons requires Iran to adhere and looks to the IAEA to verify compliance!
If you carefully read ElBaradei’s quarterly reports to the IAEA Board, you can determine for yourself that for at least the past three years the IAEA has verified total compliance by Iran with that Safeguards Agreement.
And according to the IAEA's latest quarterly report:
ElBaradei once again confirmed that Iran remained in total compliance with its original NPT-required Safeguards Agreement. And that Iran continues to provide cooperation on certain matters beyond that required.
It is beyond doubt that the level of uranium enrichment that Iraq has achieved (close to 4%) is consistent with its use for energy production and is nowhere near the almost 90% needed for weapons grade use, and yet this fact has been consistently under-reported in the media.
The lies put out by the administration and its congressional supporters about Iran's program have become so blatant that according to news reports:
U.N. inspectors investigating Iran's nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran's capabilities, calling parts of the document "outrageous and dishonest" and offering evidence to refute its central claims."
. . .
Privately, several intelligence officials said the committee report included at least a dozen claims that were either demonstrably wrong or impossible to substantiate. Hoekstra's office said the report was reviewed by the office of John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence.
Negroponte's spokesman, John Callahan, said in a statement that his office "reviewed the report and provided its response to the committee on July 24, '06." He did not say whether it had approved or challenged any of the claims about Iran's capabilities.
"This is like prewar Iraq all over again," said David Albright, a former nuclear inspector who is president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. "You have an Iranian nuclear threat that is spun up, using bad information that's cherry-picked and a report that trashes the inspectors."
In fact, Iran is a victim of double standards, that despite its adherence to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it is receiving sustained threats against it based on dubious assertions about its nuclear capabilities and intentions, while countries known to have nuclear weapons and who have refused to sign the NPT (Israel, India, and Pakistan) are left alone. It should be remembered that Iran can detach itself from the NPT any time it wants to, just by giving three months notice.
When pressed, the US government admits that it is using a double standard with Iran.
In fact, it is amazing how similar the current campaign against Iraq is to the earlier campaign against Iraq. The fact that that case was shown to be fraudulent does not seem to have prevented the warmongers from recycling that same plan. The fact that they are able to do this is, of course, because of the nature of the media that was discussed in a series of earlier posts.
The occupants of the influential think tanks funded by the pro-war/pro-business party always have access to the editorial pages of the newspapers and this sets the terms of the debate, so the same wrong-headed arguments get repeated airings, even though events have gone counter to them.. It does not matter if these opinion-makers were wrong about practically everything in Iraq, such as the state of Iraq's weapons, its intentions, the response of the Iraq people to the invasion, the ease of conquering that country.
Those same people (William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Rich Lowry, the list goes on) who were so wrong are still treated as "serious" and "responsible" and "thoughtful" analysts of policy, while those who were right that the Iraq war would be a disaster are treated as frivolous gadflies.
Take a look at Gordon Prather's resume:
Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.
This does not make Prather infallible or even correct, of course. But it surely makes him a more knowledgeable analyst than many of the talking heads who endlessly blather on this issue on TV and in newspaper op-ed pages. Prather is someone who should be taken seriously at least. But you will search vainly for him, or people with similar credentials in the mainstream people. They are not "serious" people.
As Glenn Greenwald says:
But as always with Iraq and terrorism debates, being endlessly wrong is a sign of profound seriousness, and cheering on wars -- no matter how misguided and misinformed the cheering is -- renders one a serious foreign policy expert who recognizes the serious threats we face in these very serious times. That's why, when The Washington Post wants to find someone to counsel us on its Op-Ed page as to what to do in Iraq, it turns to two of the Wrongest People in America.
If we had determined our Iraq policy over the last three years by picking proposals out of a hat, we would have been way more right than we were by listening to Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry. But they favor wars and more wars and put on a grave, serious face when they talk about The Terrorists, so they are Serious Foreign Policy Experts and need to be listened to.
If you want a good example the Chomsky-Herman media propaganda model (see here, here and here) in action, one needs to go no further than in studying how the US was urged into war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is now slowly but surely being dragged into war with Iran.