Apr 30, 2006
Just two weeks before Swedish Air Force Wing F17 Blekinge was scheduled to participate in a Nato military exercise 8 months in the planning they were informed that they were to be yanked from participating by the Swedish government - due to the late announcement of Israeli participation in the games.
The sanitized official objective of the exercise was to train for any future international peacekeeping operations. But details of Israeli involvement changed the conditions of Sweden's participation, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Israelis are pissed off and and duly embarrassed. When push comes to shove, Israeli officialdom obviously has more convincing to do if its meticulously cultivated matrix of apologetics de violence and territorial expropriation are to be fully accepted in circumstances beyond the most convenient of such.
The Swedish Ambassador to Israel was summoned by
Israel's Foreign Ministry Director and was treated to an earful for withdrawing from the exercises under the pretext that Israel is not qualified to participate because it is not peace seeking.
Israel's Foreign Ministry Director General Prosor admonished Sweden that "declaring that Israel does not seek peace puts its credibility at risk." He added that, given such a worrisome position, doubt arises as to Sweden's ability to play a significant role in the peace process in future.
What we at SMC find mildly interesting beyond the ironies of Prosor's rebuking seminar on peace processes is that Sweden has already participated with Israel in similar war games without such joint excercises making so much as a blip on the Skankanavian media's radar de convenience.
Last summer Swedish Air Force assets and 10 F-16 fighter jets and about 150 air crew from Israel's Air Force meshed with NATO units in the Maple Flag XXXVIII war games staged in Canada's Cold Lake region of Alberta where such counter-insurgency related vectors as moving and time-sensitive targets were introduced to the exercises.
It is possibly worthy of some shy note that the Isreali Air Force had by the time of the exercises hosted by Canada already an impeccable record of using bombs and missiles against civilians in the occupied territories and against a UN protected camp in Qanaa Lebanon. The Israeli Air Force had already notched up a CV worthy a front row seat at some court in the Hague of extra-judicial assassinations violating various bodies of internationally recognized laws and codes. Superfluous to the discussion is of course the incidental circumstance that last year wasn't an election year in Sweden. This year is.
Apr 28, 2006
That Iran is pursuing ambitious nuclear development is one thing. That Iran in any way, shape or form poses anything resembling a looming military threat is quite another. But be certain, you will be told that one is for all intents and purposes tantamount to the other. Well isn't that special!
Just a few days ago the ISIS (Institute for Science and International Security) presented satellite imagery purchased from Digital Globe's satellite of Iran's nuclear processing plants at Natanz and Ishafan.
ISIS provided a detailed image analysis of what was captured on the commissioned imagery and what would logically comprise the main targets for an attack on Iran should we now choose to take Bush et al at their word of only wanting to knock out a purported nuclear weapons program but months from spewing out WMDs.
Below is an excellent post by a Swedish blogger who acquired older Google Earth satellite imagery of the same processing plants and compared them to ISIS's fresh imagery, demonstrating remarkable developments over the intervening time span.
But again, that developments are taking place is one thing. That developments are taking place that are putting the U.S. in any kind of nuclear peril is quite another. But we will not be told this by the Bush Administration. Instead, the ongoing psy-op targeting the American populace will continue to unfold according to script and guilefully exploit any inherently ambiguous events as prejudiced certainties to further their tendencious designs for the region at large. A deep agenda is at work and everything is now vulnerable to duplictous exploitation to further its progress.
...and now onto the referenced blog post:
Via a Reuters report today, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has released new commercial imagery of Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities taken by DigitalGlobe just a few weeks ago. The images are in a PDF report by Paul Brannan and David Albright, the latter an ex-UN arms inspector and nuclear proliferation expert. (ISIS, whose motto is "Employing science in the pursuit of international peace" has impeccable non-partisan credentials.)
The PDF is fascinating, but the main images lack easy historical comparisons. Luckily, Google Earth already has very high resolution imagery of both the Natanz and Isfahan sites from a few years ago, also taken by DigitalGlobe. What I've done is repurpose the images from the PDF, which are annotated, as overlays on Google Earth, so that we can see the progress in the construction at both sites over the past few years.
Here is the KMZ file.
The best way to compare Google Earth's base imagery with the overlays is to play with the transparency slider at the bottom of the Places panel.
There are two sites covered. Isfahan is where uranium is first processed and where a storage facility is being built underneath a mountain. Here is what it looks like in Google Earth, from a few years ago:
Once the uranium is processed into UF6, it is ready to be enriched at Natanz, 130km to the north. Here, two "cascade halls" have been progressively buried under successive layers of concrete and earth. These facilities are where the thousands of centrifuges are expected to be located that will increase the concentration of the uranium-235 isotope, which is the component needed for both nuclear energy and nuclear bombs. (A concentration of 3.5% is sufficient for nuclear energy. 80% is required for a nuclear bomb.)
ISIS's PDF report also shows smaller images of these halls being covered up progressively over the past few years.
Both these sites will be military targets if diplomacy fails to steer Iran away from its nuclear weapons program — either for US missiles or, failing that, Israeli planes. The spectre raised by the Seymour Hersh article in last week's issue of the New Yorker is that the US may be thinking of using tactical nuclear weapons to get to the facilities.
Some honest questions, then: Couldn't the underground facilities at Isfahan be rendered inoperable by three deftly aimed conventional missiles at each of the tunnels? So what if the stuff inside is intact, if nobody can get to it? And as for the 8 meters of rubble and concrete over the centrifuge halls in Natanz (as reported by ISIS) — it looks like conventional weapons can easily deal with that: The US military's GBU-28 deep penetration bunker buster bomb is advertised as being able to penetrate such depths. There is therefore no need to progress to depleted uranium bombs or tactical nukes. In any case, centrifuges are very fragile; shake them up too much and you can start over.
So, thank you ISIS and Google Earth for providing the transparency that lets the public ask informed questions that governments now need to answer if they want their version of events to be credible.
"Enemies think they can make the Iranians give up their honorable path through propaganda, false publicity, political threats and imposition of sanctions," he said, according to the IRNA news agency. "Iran is a nuclear country. This slogan that nuclear energy is our inalienable right is the outcry of the people and a national demand."
Iran's U.N. ambassador pointed to the fact that nations have the right under international law to pursue nuclear energy programs, and then referred to the Security Council effort to crack down on the Islamic republic:
Javad Zarif, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters in New York that Iran would consider illegitimate any Council resolution calling on Iran to stop uranium enrichment that invoked the so-called Chapter 7 clause, which could open the door to penalties and possibly to military action...
"If the Security Council decides to take decisions that are not within its competence, Iran is not obliged to obey them," Mr. Zarif said, speaking to reporters at the residence of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan...
He also sought to portray Iran's defiant stance as nothing more than a logical response to American threats against Iran
"We're not upping the ante," he said. "We're simply responding to others upping the ante."
"We hope the relevant parties can keep calm and exercise restraint to avoid moves that would further escalate the situation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated Russia's position in support of the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for power generation.
"Iran must have an opportunity to develop modern technologies and peaceful nuclear energy," Putin said Thursday.
As the U.S. Secretary of Defense would quaintly put it, China and Russia are being "unhelpful."
Despite a formal request from the U.N. Security Council, Iran has not provided international inspectors with new information about the country's nuclear program and has accelerated, rather than curbed, uranium-enrichment activities, according to sources familiar with a report the inspectors plan to issue today.
The Iranian program, in any case, appears from the report not to be progressing as successfully as they would probably hope:
Iran announced two weeks ago that it had used a "cascade" -- or array -- of 164 centrifuges to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are expected to confirm in the report that Iran ran the cascade successfully, but several officials with knowledge of the nuclear program said yesterday that the cascade was no longer operating and that a number of the networked centrifuges had crashed during a fairly rushed process.
Inspectors, on their third year of an investigation, have not found proof of a weapons program, but Iran is not fully cooperating and questions remain.
Questions remained about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction until months after the U.S. invasion.
In other words, no proof is going to be necessary this time either.
Apr 27, 2006
Iran's supreme religious leader vowed Wednesday that Iran would retaliate "twofold" if it were attacked by the United States over its refusal to comply with demands regarding its nuclear activities. He made his comments as other senior Iranians traveled to Vienna just days ahead of the deadline for international monitors to report on Iran's nuclear program.
"Iranian people and the Islamic regime will not invade any country, but the Americans should know that if they invade Iran, their interests around the world would be harmed," the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told workers gathered ahead of May Day, the international workers' holiday, the ISNA news agency reported.
"Iran will respond twofold to any attack," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
In escalating rhetoric, a number of Iranian officials have made similar threats in recent days, but the Bush administration has insisted it is pursuing a diplomatic path, even while vaguely holding open the distant option of imposing sanctions or taking military action if diplomacy fails.
For military action being a "distant option", today's Washington Post provides details of a specific nature:
Two main options are under consideration, say people familiar with Air Force thinking. The first would be a quick series of strikes against several dozen nuclear-related facilities, lasting only a few days and followed by a U.S. statement that the bombing would resume if Iran retaliated.
The second option envisions a lengthier, more ambitious campaign of waves of strikes by bombers and cruise missiles aimed at hundreds of targets, hitting not just nuclear-related facilities but also the headquarters of intelligence agencies, the Revolutionary Guard and other key government offices.
Many experts worry that Iran, dominated by Shiite Muslims, would retaliate against U.S. and British forces in neighboring Iraq by mobilizing Iraqi Shiites. It might also attack U.S. and British installations in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain through the help of Shiites in those countries. In other scenarios, Iranian agents would stage terrorist strikes against civilians in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.
During Cold War-era war gaming exercises, nations were officially considered to be "rational actors". This made predicting military moves and counter-moves possible.
The "experts" of the type quoted above are making their forecasts of likely Iranian reprisals based on Iran being a "rational actor." And, all evidence of recent Iranian statements aside, they actually fit the description.
It is the United States that, in the face of worldwide condemnation of the Iraq fiasco--by contemplating starting another war in a larger and more populated Muslim country--does not fit the definition of a "rational actor."
Apr 25, 2006
Prelude (M1) - Dramatic structure lies at the heart of any good psy-op and refers to the narrative components into which it, like any good fable, can be broken down into.
In the initial phase termed exposition, the background information that is needed to understand the story properly is beaten into the heads of the targeted population per incessant repetition. Such information includes basic information such as the protagonist, the antagonist, the basic purported conflict including an overly articulated threat scenario, and the setting.
The exposition ends with the inciting moment, which is the single incident in the story's action without which there would be no story. The inciting moment sets the remainder of the story in motion beginning with the second act.
We now find ourselves at the junction between the exposition phase ending in an inciting moment and the transition into the second act's rising action. This junction revolves completely around culminating Security Council antics - and at that, John Bolton is the right man with the right stuff to ensure a smooth and unimpeded transition into the action phase of this prewritten script. There will be no resolution of any synthetic conflict at this point, no matter what the Iranians do or don't do. Conflict is what we want and what this psy-op is all about. The predetermined agenda to attack and destabilize
As for the Iranians - well, their jig is already up. Sayonara Persia.
The manufactured crisis between the West and the Islamic Republic of Iran is heading into the end of the 30 day period which the UN Security Council gave the Ahmadinejad government to answer questions about it's nuclear programs.
Today brings attention to a second "secret" Iranian nuclear program that some are claiming has dangerous capabilities.
Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it will refuse to answer questions about a second, secret uranium-enrichment program, according to European and American diplomats. The existence of the program was disclosed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this month.
The diplomats said Iran had also refused to answer questions about other elements of its nuclear program that international inspectors had focused on because they could indicate a program to produce nuclear weapons. The diplomats insisted on not being identified because of the delicacy of continuing negotiations between Iran and the West.
The New York Times succinctly gives the main point:
Together, the actions seem to show Iran's determination to move ahead with a confrontation with the West when the United Nations Security Council meets, probably next week, to debate its next steps.
A non-biased observer might point out that it is the West which is pressing for the "confrontation" on the issue of the Iranian nuclear program.
Iran's decision not to answer the I.A.E.A.'s questions was conveyed last week to Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the nuclear monitoring agency. He is required to send a report on Iran to the Council by Friday.
As a result, the diplomats said, Dr. ElBaradei decided to cancel a trip to Iran by top officials of the agency that had been scheduled for late last week, a trip intended to resolve as many of the questions as possible before the report is submitted...
R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, said Monday evening, "We are very confident that the report is going to be negative concerning Iran's refusal to meet the conditions set down by the United Nations Security Council and the I.A.E.A." He added that Iran was in "outright violation" of the Council request.
Dangerous "new" technology is behind the latest alarm over the Iranian nuclear program:
Some of the most important questions concerned an advanced technology, the P-2 centrifuge, for enriching uranium. International inspectors believe that Iran obtained designs for the P-2 from the Pakistani nuclear engineer Abdul Qadeer Khan in the 1990's.
Iran long denied that it was doing anything with the technology, until Mr. Ahmadinejad declared 10 days ago that the country was "presently conducting research" on the P-2, which he said could increase fourfold the amount of uranium the country is able to enrich.
Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement took the inspectors and American officials by surprise. But they seized on his boasts about Iran's programs to press the question of whether the country has a separate set of nuclear facilities, apart from the giant enrichment center at Natanz, that it has not previously revealed...
Dr. ElBaradei's inspectors were pressing other issues as well, many related to suspicions that Iran has been researching or developing ways to produce warheads or delivery systems for weapons--which Iran has denied. So far, Iran has answered few questions about a document in Tehran, apparently obtained from the Khan network, that shows how to form uranium metal into two spheres. Metal in that form can be used to create a basic nuclear device.
I.A.E.A. reports show there are also questions about plutonium enrichment, and a secret entity known as the Green Salt Project, which seemed to suggest that there were what the agency has called "administrative interconnections" between Iran's uranium processing, high explosives and missile design programs.
All of the UN theatrics are leading toward the inevitable plot development strong enough to end the first act:
If Iran continues to refuse to answer the questions, it could bolster the American argument that the Security Council should take action under Article 7 of the United Nations Charter, which could pave the way for sanctions. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking in Shannon, Ireland, said Monday that the credibility of the Council would be in doubt if it does not take clear-cut actions against Iran.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the most powerful man in Iran, built up the drama further yesterday with an intentionally provocative statement:
Iran's supreme leader, meanwhile, said in a meeting with Sudan's president that Tehran was ready to transfer its nuclear technology to other countries.
As soon as the question is decided of whether UN sanctions will be enacted, the curtain will fall on the first act of the play we are watching.
Act two is where things will really start getting interesting.
Apr 23, 2006
Hugo Chavez will be hosting OPEC at the beginning of June. Chavez will be asking OPEC to officially recognize that Venezuela has larger oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. This is monumental.
The U.S. Department of Energy has in their own previously secret estimation put Venezuelas's oil reserves at 5 times that of Saudi Arabia's.
Beyond bragging rights, this will shift power over petro and financial flows from the misogynist grip of Arabian sheik-freaks that George so loves to kiss and hold hands with to the that of one of the U.S.'s favorite latino progressives, and a populist at that.
High oil prices from Bush et al's Persian incursions are making Chavez's extra heavy crude oil reservoirs viable for extraction. Venezuela seems poised to replace Saudi Arabia as the world's swing producer with all the juice such a pivotal role plays.
Tomorrow's oil is Chavez's oil - until of course we take it away from him. Or rather, until we take him away from Venezuela.
Apr 21, 2006
We have been conned again.
The Israeli elections, we are told, mean that the dream of "Greater Israel" has finally been abandoned. West Bank settlements will be closed down, just as the Jewish colonies were uprooted in Gaza last year. The Zionist claim to all of Biblical Israel has withered away. Likud, the nightmare party of Menachem Begin and Benjamin Netanyahu, has been smashed by the Gaullist figure of the dying Ariel Sharon, whose Kadima party now embraces Ehud Olmert and that decaying symbol of the Israeli left, Nobel prizewinner Shimon Peres. This, at least, is the narrative laid down by so many of our journalists, "analysts" and "commentators".
But it is a lie.
Only in paragraph two - or three or four - of the groveling news reports from the Middle East do we read that Olmert's not very impressive election victory will allow him to "redraw" the "frontiers" of Israel, a decision described as "controversial" - the usual get-out clause of newspapers that wish to avoid the truth: that Israel is about to grab more land and claim it to be part of the state of Israel.
Yes, true, the smaller and more vulnerable Jewish colonies illegally built on Palestinian-owned land may be abandoned - stand by for more of the grief and tears that we witnessed in Gaza. But the rest - the great semi-circle of concrete that runs around east Jerusalem, for example - will not be depopulated.
Let's start with the wall. It will soon run from top to bottom of the occupied Palestinian West Bank - and it is going to stay.
It is higher in the long sectors where it has been completed (east of Jerusalem, for example) than the Berlin Wall. Yet journalists go on calling it a "security barrier" or a "fence" - because the as-yet-uncompleted sectors of the wall are still coils of barbed wire.
This is part of the dream world that editors and reporters have constructed for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It exists in the same Potemkin landscape that allows journalists to call the occupied Palestinian territory "disputed territory" - after former US secretary of state Colin Powell ordered his diplomats in the region to use this mendacious phrase - and to call Jewish colonies illegally built on Arab land "settlements" or, my favorites now, "Jewish neighborhoods" or "outposts".
It is the same stage on which Israelis are killed by Palestinians, which they are, but on which Palestinians die in anonymous "clashes". (With whom - and killed by whom - exactly?)
And each of these little lies, of course, contains a kernel of truth. The occupied territories are "disputed" between Israelis and Palestinians, the first claiming that God gave them the land, the second producing land deeds to prove that the law entitles them to their own property.
If illegal colonies such as Maale Adumim are built adjacent to Jerusalem - itself illegally annexed by Israel - then of course they are "neighborhoods". And since the wall - which has gobbled up 10% more Palestinian land for the Israelis - is to prevent suicide bombers (and has been fairly successful in doing so), it is a "security barrier".
I seem to recall that the East Germans called the Berlin Wall - or "Berlin Fence" as I suppose we would have to call it if built by the Israelis - a "security barrier".
Forget the illegality of occupation, then, and the illegality of stealing someone else's home and land, and the illegality of building a wall that thieves yet more property from the 22% of mandate Palestine that the Palestinians are supposed to negotiate for.
Let me be frank. If I were an Israeli I, too, would have built a wall to prevent the suicide executioners of Islamic Jihad and, earlier, of Hamas.
But I would have built it along the international frontier of Israel - not used the wall as a cheap method of stealing more land.
Indeed, under UN Security Council Resolution 242, which is meant to be the foundation of any peace, the acquisition of land through war is stated to be illegal. The wall itself is illegal. The International Court also ruled it to be illegal. And Israel ignored this ruling. So, of course, did the US.
But now the burden of all this post-election theft is to be placed upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
This colourless, helpless man, who presided over the Palestinian Authority's continuing corruption, is supposed to persuade the new Hamas government to accept all of Israel's land-grabs, to pick up where the Oslo process left off (which still left Jerusalem exclusively in Israeli hands), and to abandon all violence - which means to surrender whenever Israeli troops raid refugee camps or cities in the West Bank.
The point is that Hamas members have been as assuredly elected representatives of the Palestinians as Olmert and his forthcoming allies in government are representatives of Israelis.
But this does not allow them to make any "controversial" plans to redraw their "border" with Israel, not even to insist that Israel withdraws - or redeploys - to its internationally recognized borders. (I'm talking about the pre-1967 frontier, not the 1948 one.)
They cannot demand fulfillment of UN Resolution 242 because President George W Bush has already made it clear that the vast Jewish colonies east of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem itself, will remain in Israeli hands.
Sure, 14 of the 24 Hamas ministers have been in Israeli prisons. But what are Palestinians supposed to think when they realize that 15 Israeli generals have been elected to the new Knesset, along with six secret service agents?
Yet even this is not the point. If the Israelis want Hamas to acknowledge the state of Israel, then Hamas should be expected to acknowledge the state of Israel that exists within its legal frontiers - not the illegal borders now being dreamt up by Olmert.
We will have to abandon the idea that Ariel Sharon - an unindicted war criminal after his involvement in the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacres - was really going to give up the major Jewish colonies built illegally on Arab land or the illegal annexation of Jerusalem.
Certainly, Olmert is not going to do that.
He is going to create wider frontiers for Israel and steal - let's call a spade a spade - more Arab land in doing so.
The US will go along with this next illegal land-grab. But will the European Union? Will the UN? Will Russia? Will Tony Blair?
Israelis deserve peace and security as much as Palestinians. But "new" and expanded "controversial" Israeli frontiers will not bring peace or security to either.
by Robert Fisk
Apr 20, 2006
We at SMC find such speculation to be wrong at best.
The U.S. will attack Iran without the assistance of any identifiable Israeli assets. We believe that the Israelis have long been promised an attack on Iran that will at least transform Iran into a nation engulfed in steady state chaos thus rendering it too impotent to project competitive regional influence.
Israel would never have sat idly and uncritically by for as long as they have as Iraq fell into chaos if Israel had not been firmly promised corresponding degradation of Iranian conditions to offset the relative rise in Iran's regional influence given the present absence of an offsetting bulwark in the shape of a functional Iraq.
Oppositional groups within and outside Iran will continue to receive ramped up U.S. support if only to lend credence to the cover story of an attempt at rehabilitory Iranian regime change. The activities of the Iranian oppositional groups will be profiled as being democracy-friendly opportunistic forces awaiting in the wings to promote and seize Iranian power once the present regime is destabilized sufficiently by a massive U.S. air war. Of course, such change will not come to pass.
Instead, the present regime will gain a surer foothold on power consequent to the U.S. attacks. The Iranian regime will become more despotic and Iranian civil society will suffer the double blow of deadly internal and external stressors.
Israeli influence has in all probability convinced American policy drivers that Iran is a world problem and not just a regional problem - and a world problem means that Iran is an American problem which must be dealt with by expending American assets.
Since the purported immediacy of the Iranian nuclear threat is but a fabrication, the sole rationales of the attack on Iran are to appease two complementary bodies of designs on the region; Israeli aspirations for greater economic, military, and political projective powers in the region and petro-industry interests - or vice versa if you so will.
No amount of billboarded negotiations over Iran's civilian and military nuclear activities will change the dynamic of the underlying and driving rationales for the planned destabilizing attack on the physical infrastructure of Iran. Thus all song and dance activities about bringing Iran into nuclear submission are but part and parcel of the major theme of a psychological warfare campaign aimed against the U.S.'s domestic mind spectrum.
This domestic mind spectrum must be sufficiently dominated to allign it to support the coming military expressions of current and decisive deep agendas so that the pending cataclysmic grab for Iran will not set in motion disruptive homeland forces that tear apart the very domestic fabric which still remains critical to financing and harboring the infrastructure of the open phase of the war against Iran scheduled for the 2nd quarter of this year.
We do however project the initiation of major Israeli combat operations that will coincide with the commencement of the open war on Iran. We even think we now know that Israel is in vigorous preparation for what is meant to be a final and decisive attack into the territories it has illegally occupied for 40 years so as to once and for all render them obliterated as a viable locus for any plausible expressions for their independence. They are to be Anschlussed once and for all.
The attack on the territories will be Israel's version of the Final Solution. A succesful field trial of this pending grand putsch can be studied by examining how Israel systematically moved forward it's positions against the occupied territories in the shadows of the start of the second Gulf war. This time Israel will attempt to accomplish once and for all what worked smoothly then, albeit on a smaller scale.
The dream of lebensraum doesn't die easily. But even more people soon will.
Apr 19, 2006
The war game strongly suggested that attacking Iran will in all likelihood prove to provide no solution that corresponds with the Administration's publically declared concerns, motives, and objectives vis-à-vis Iran.
An attack against Iran is almost guaranteed to make things much worse in the Middle East than they already are and will most surely lead to a litany of disasters.
An attack against Iran will not be a solution to the Administration's publicly declared objectives of stabilizing Iraq, addressing the claimed objectives of the so-called War On Terror, or addressing the Administration's incessant declarations of concern over claimed Iranian circumstances.
This however is not at all to say that the disastrous outcome projected by the aforementioned war game will not address publicly undeclared good-enough objectives - that is to say, covert objectives that instead coincide with narrowly defined interests less palatable, and far removed, from general domestic opinion and sentiments at large.
Of course the phrasing disastrous outcomes is only applicable when we compare the results of the Administration's actions with the claims and promises that underpin their publicly stated rationales for their metastasizing pantheon of invasive actions. (Pre-emptive as in pre-emptive war is in fact a word that has a very specific meaning in the laws and language regulating war and as such it in no way qualifies for use to describe the wars of the Bush Administration. The kindest alternative we could come up with was thus invasive)
If however a sufficient objective for the Administration and the interests they champion is to incapacitate the nations of the region by bringing them into a state of chaotic equilibrium that prevents them from furthering any domestic or pan-regional agendas for growth not in lockstep with U.S. interests then a disastrous attack, as defined by a discrepancy between what is promised in selling the war to the public and what is actually achieved, must reasonably be allowed to be considered a significant success.
From this adjusted perspective, Iraq is a success and that success can easily be replicated in Iran. One must acclimatize onself to the paradigm shift in defining successful intervention in the Middle East if one is to reasonably predict the capacity, the will, and the probability for the U.S. to openly engage Iran with overwhelming standoff military resources.
As opposed to attempting the utopian feat of replacing an unfriendly regime with a publicly palatable and subservient regime we can instead, and simply so, throw the whole region into a flux that prevents it and its component parts from asserting themselves inwardly and outwardly both militarily, economically, and politically. And all that chaotic while we will see a soaring of petro-industry windfall profits, Middle East petro-supplies will be conserved thus extending reservoir life cycles, and Israel's neigbouring economies will be burdened with debilitating competitive disadvantages giving it intense leverage on its present capacities to project various vectors of power and influence in the region. For some, a so-called disastrous outcome in Iraq and Iran is a veritable freebee panacea.
It has now been officially documented that the actual decision to take military action - and to actually commence! such military actions against Iraq - occured in July 2002. This was long before we had any semblance of a UN resolution in place or Congress had granted any form of approval, not to mention any public awareness that the war against Iraq had already begun!
In fact the 2002 commencement of actual military operations inside Iraq, named Operation Southern Focus, entailed the initiation of military attacks against Iraq with only one major restraining directive from Rumsfeld and that directive was to keep all the military attacks inherent Southern Focus below the sweep of mainstream Western media. Begin bombing but don't let it appear on the News. The same generic setup seems to be underway now in Iran.
Evidence, which I'm too lazy to outline at the moment, is accumulating that in fact the decision to use military force in Iran has already been made and military operations are apparently well underway against and inside Iran but are being managed so as to stay under the radar of major Western media outlets.
The kick-off for the psy-op directed against the American domestic population in December of last year marked the launch of military operations to achieve sufficient American public opinion spectrum dominance by securing adequate support for military actions and decisions already well underway and slated for nigh and inevitable escalation. The pending escalation will shift the ongoing invisible war against Iran into the visible spectrum where it will conveniently conflate with support retrofitted and aligned to foregone decisions and actions thanks to the massive psy-op program underway. Effwit has been diligently keeping tabs on many of tactical facets of this psy-op program directed primarily at the American domestic population.
Soon there will be a big debate about the constitutional framework under which the U.S. is already conducting military operations against and inside Iran and while that entertaining soap opera once again fogs the line of sight for critics and faux-incensed journalists, the full-scale attack with its disparate fallout will already be a fait accompli.
In 2-3 years time we'll be once again discovering documentation and hearing whistleblowers testify on how this war was railroaded into public acceptance through lies, psy-ops, exaggerated claims, yada yada yada. But that will be then and now will have had its usual tiptoeing way through the tulips of acquiescing and enabling main stream journalism.
Never throw away a winning formula. The game in play isn't to get away without blame. The game is just to get far enough away and ahead so that whatever blame inevitably comes your way comes far too late to make one iota of a meaningful difference.
You just have to win by a crooked inch to win the entire mile
Apr 17, 2006
A former employee of AT&T has provided some details of his company's participation in the extra-legal NSA warrantless eavesdropping program.
The details confirm what had been first reported on this very blog by the intrepid Meatball One.
Mark Klein, who says he was an AT&T technician for more than 20 years, says that the company aids the National Security Agency in "conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the Internet -- whether that be people's e-mail, Web surfing, or any other data," according to a statement Klein released. AT&T has given the NSA extraordinary access to its central switching offices, the nerve centers of its digital networks, Klein contends.
At the NSA's behest, Klein says, the telecom giant constructed a "secret room," off-limits to most of its technicians, that siphoned information from the company's residential Internet service. The secret system also captured information from "peering links," which connect AT&T's infrastructure to other telecommunications networks, potentially giving the NSA access to information traversing "the whole country, as well as the rest of the world."...
With technical specificity, Klein describes how AT&T constructed, at a San Francisco office, a system of "splitter" cables to divert streams from the main network into the secret room, which he says was built after an NSA agent visited the company. Klein's statement lays out a technically plausible scenario and comports with what individuals familiar with the NSA's domestic operations say the agency is doing -- conducting automated analyses of very large streams of telecom traffic in the hopes of finding telltale signs of terrorist activity.
Klein's claims also add another wrinkle to the evolving NSA story. He says that documents instructing AT&T employees how to connect the peering links to the secret room stated that a sophisticated monitoring device was installed there.
Built by Narus, a company based in Mountain View, Calif., the device, which Klein called a "semantic traffic analyzer," collects large amounts of data that can help reveal a message's origin, destination, and meaning...
An AT&T spokesman declined to discuss Klein's allegations or any work the company might do for the NSA. Klein's written statements were submitted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy-rights group, to a federal court as part of the group's lawsuit against AT&T.
That litigation may prompt other telecom carriers and Internet service providers to wonder if they're targets for lawsuits. Telecom executives have told journalists that they have complied with the NSA's requests for access to their networks. One former government official, who is knowledgeable about the NSA's surveillance program, said that AT&T is probably on safe legal ground, particularly if it is acting pursuant to a presidential order.
See also Only All The Meatballs Are Enough.
Apr 15, 2006
Well, here they come: the wannabe Rommels, the gaggle of generals, safely retired, to lay siege to Donald Rumsfeld. This week, six of them have called for the Secretary of Defense's resignation.
Well, according to my watch, they're about four years too late -- and they still don't get it.
I know that most of my readers will be tickled pink that the bemedalled boys in crew cuts are finally ready to kick Rummy In the rump, in public. But to me, it just shows me that these boys still can't shoot straight.
It wasn't Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld who stood up in front of the UN and identified two mobile latrines as biological weapons labs, was it, General Powell?
It wasn't Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld who told us our next warning from Saddam could be a mushroom cloud, was it Condoleeza?
It wasn't Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld who declared that Al Qaeda and Saddam were going steady, was it, Mr. Cheney?
Yes, Rumfeld is a swaggering bag of mendacious arrogance, a duplicitous chicken-hawk, yellow-bellied bully-boy and Tinker-Toy Napoleon -- but he didn't appoint himself Secretary of Defense.
Let me tell you a story about the Secretary of Defense you didn't read in the New York Times, related to me by General Jay Garner, the man our president placed in Baghdad as the US' first post-invasion viceroy.
Read More Of Greg Palast's Article
This report out of The Guardian proves little if anything but it sure as heck doesn't contradict our longheld assertion that a decision to smash Iran in one way or another is a fait accompli. Even we at SMC are quite surprised at how tightly the Crazies have stuck to the choreography in their preparations for this pending summer war. Still on for June!
Apr 12, 2006
Bush's advisers -- and most of all, the president himself -- must keep searching for ways to escape the inexorable logic that is propelling the United States and Iran toward war. -Ignatius, WaPoThe president isn't the victim of any deterministic and obtuse strain of self-replicating logic that is leading us down the path to yet more massive destruction. It is instead the president et al who are attempting to ensnare the tax- and body-paying American electorate with a synthetic logic whose very design is to railroad us into supporting their agenda. Isn't that close to the very deal the Devil offered God?
Ignatius old man, you're either a naive fuck behaving and reasoning like a teenager attending a model United Nations weekend retreat or you're up to something even more sinister like working for the Devil in the guise of an angel.
Looks like we'll be seeing you too in the front row pews at neo-Nuremburg!
Apr 11, 2006
The government was never going to release the tape itself. The myth of the brave Flight 93 passengers was concocted specifically to divert attention from the fact that the U.S. military shot down the airliner on the instruction of Vice-President Cheney.
Get the whole post over at Effwit!
Just because one's tenets are the result of wild speculation, that doesn't necessarily imply they aren't close enough to being worryingly true. Nevertheless, Genocide George has denied nothing in Hersh's report. However, ol Sy ain't speculating and his report is in line with what we already know - Iran is a foregone conclusion as part of a general sewing up of the Middle East and Centeral Asia into our fold of fistable influence. Added to that, the Israelis have been promised unobstructed views stretching to western Afghanistan and that promise was easy enough to make given our petrostrategic designs.
Ask yourself - who was way ahead of the pack when it came to reporting on the war crimes being systematically committed at Abu Graib? Sy be our guy!
President Bush dismissed yesterday talk of military action against Iran as "wild speculation" and emphasized that his doctrine of preempting threats does not necessarily mean the United States has to use force to stop other countries from developing weapons of mass destruction.
Apr 10, 2006
Information operations, one of the core proficiencies of which regular readers of this blog have become expert, are the subject of a front page article in today's Washington Post.
Or, to be more specific, one aspect of the info-op MATRIX, that we have been studying.
The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks...
For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.
Some senior intelligence officers believe Zarqawi's role may have been overemphasized by the propaganda campaign, which has included leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least one leak to an American journalist.
Listen to the understatement of the year:
The military's propaganda program largely has been aimed at Iraqis, but seems to have spilled over into the U.S. media. One briefing slide about U.S. "strategic communications" in Iraq, prepared for Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq, describes the "home audience" as one of six major targets of the American side of the war.
That slide, created by Casey's subordinates, does not specifically state that U.S. citizens were being targeted by the effort, but other sections of the briefings indicate that there were direct military efforts to use the U.S. media to affect views of the war. One slide in the same briefing, for example, noted that a "selective leak" about Zarqawi was made to Dexter Filkins, a New York Times reporter based in Baghdad. Filkins's resulting article, about a letter supposedly written by Zarqawi and boasting of suicide attacks in Iraq, ran on the Times front page on Feb. 9, 2004.
Leaks to reporters from U.S. officials in Iraq are common, but official evidence of a propaganda operation using an American reporter is rare.
Pure WaPo bullshittery here. But I guess their loophole is the term "official evidence", which in this case takes the form of a two images from a MNF-Iraq briefing slideshow.
Regulars here will get a chuckle from explanation number four.
U.S. military policy is not to aim psychological operations at Americans, said Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003. "It is ingrained in U.S.: You don't psyop Americans. We just don't do it," said Treadwell. He said he left Iraq before the Zarqawi program began but was later told about it.
Again, one must refer back to explanation number four from the briefing slideshow for clarification (however opaque for non-regulars here).
With satellite television, e-mail and the Internet, it is impossible to prevent some carryover from propaganda campaigns overseas into the U.S. media, said Treadwell, who is now director of a new project at the U.S. Special Operations Command that focuses on "trans-regional" media issues. Such carryover is "not blowback, it's bleed-over," he said. "There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment."
Ho ho ho.
One internal briefing, produced by the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, said that Kimmitt had concluded that, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date."...
Kimmitt said, "There was clearly an information campaign to raise the public awareness of who Zarqawi was, primarily for the Iraqi audience but also with the international audience."
Interesting isn't it, the many instances that the U.S. television and print media blithely referred to Al Qaeda operating in Iraq. This "bleed-over" (sic) was done to intentionally conflate Zarqawi's group with the real Al Qaeda of Osama bin Laden, in order to tie Iraq to 9-11 in the minds of Americans--thus justifying the (by then failing) U.S. war in Iraq.
The once-mighty Christian Coalition, founded 17 years ago by the Rev. Pat Robertson as the political fundraising and lobbying engine of the Christian right, is more than $2 million in debt, beset by creditors' lawsuits and struggling to hold on to some of its state chapters.
At its peak a decade ago, the Christian Coalition deployed a dozen lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Today, it has a single Washington employee who works out of his home. Its phone number with a 202 area code is automatically forwarded to a small office in Charleston, S.C.
Apr 8, 2006
A new piece by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker says that President Bush is so adamant about denying Iran the ability to develop nuclear weapons that serious plans are being made to pre-emptively nuke that Persian Gulf nation.
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was "absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb" if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do "what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do," and "that saving Iran is going to be his legacy."...
In recent weeks, the President has quietly initiated a series of talks on plans for Iran with a few key senators and members of Congress, including at least one Democrat. A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, who did not take part in the meetings but has discussed their content with his colleagues, told me that there had been "no formal briefings," because "they're reluctant to brief the minority. They're doing the Senate, somewhat selectively."
The House member said that no one in the meetings "is really objecting" to the talk of war. "The people they're briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough?" (Iran is building facilities underground.) "There's no pressure from Congress" not to take military action, the House member added. "The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it." Speaking of President Bush, the House member said, "The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision." ...
One of the military's initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites...
According to a former senior intelligence official:
"These politicians don't have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out"--remove the nuclear option--"they're shouted down."
The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran--without success, the former intelligence official said. "The White House said, 'Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.'" ...
(A Pentagon advisor) also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. "There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries," the adviser told me. "This goes to high levels."
On this blog we have been reporting heavily on the information operation against Iran for months now. Someone may be feeding Hersh material along these lines.
If not, things are gonna get hairy real soon.
Apr 7, 2006
Stiglitz:They thought they were going to walk in, everybody would say thank you, and they would set up a democratic government and leave. Now that this war is lasting so much longer, they constantly have to adapt their budget. It rose from $50 billion to $250 billion. Today, the Congressional Budget Office talks about $500 billion or more for this adventure. The(se) reported numbers do not even include the full budgetary costs to the government. And the budgetary costs are but a fraction of the costs to the economy as a whole. And compare this to Gulf War number one, where America almost made a profit!
This is not like a world war where you're attacked. We were attacked in Pearl Harbor, we had to respond. This time, we had a choice, we had to decide how and who we are going to attack ...
SPIEGEL: Bush would argue it's worth spending that much to decrease the probability of a major terrorist attack on the US.
Stiglitz: Nobody takes that seriously. Instead, most people think the Iraq war has increased the probability of an attack. However, it's difficult to put this aspect into financial terms.
SPIEGEL: How did you calculate the costs of the war?
Stiglitz: The official figures are only the tip of an enormous iceberg. For instance, one of the costs of the war is that soldiers today get very seriously injured but stay alive, and we can keep them alive but at an enormous price.
SPIEGEL: Is this the biggest item in your calculations?
Stiglitz: It's very important. The Bush administration has been doing everything it can to hide the huge number of returning veterans who are severely wounded -- 17,000 so far including roughly 20 percent with serious brain and head injuries. Even the estimate of $500 billion ignores the lifetime disability and healthcare costs that taxpayers will have to spend for years to come. And the administration isn't even generous with veterans, widows and their kids.
SPIEGEL: What does that mean?
Stiglitz: If you're injured in an automobile accident, and you sue the driver, you get much more for your injury than if you're fighting for your country. There's a double standard here. If you happen to put your life at risk fighting for your country, you get a little. If you walk across the street and get injured, you get a lot more. Similarly, payments for a dead soldier amount to only $500,000, which is far less than standard estimates of the lifetime economic cost of a death. This statistical value of a life in the US amounts to circa $6.5 million.
SPIEGEL: How much will a severely brain-damaged soldier cost the US government?
Stiglitz: My moderate estimate is about $4 million. For this group alone there will be a total cost of $35 billion that nobody is talking about. But look at the broader picture: The Veterans Administration originally projected that roughly 23,000 veterans returning from Iraq would seek medical care last year. But in June 2005, it revised this number to an estimated 103,000. No wonder the Veterans Administration had to appeal Congress for emergency funding of $1.5 billion last year.
SPIEGEL: If this is a $1 trillion war, why couldn't the US provide its soldiers with safer body armor and better protected vehicles?
STIGLITZ: Obviously, the US can afford to pay for body armor. Rumsfeld, our Secretary of Defense, said you have to fight with the armor you have, but that's unconscionable. The military is focusing only on the short run costs. If they don't provide appropriate body armor, they save some money today, but the healthcare cost is going to be the future for some other president down the line. I view that as both fiscally and morally irresponsible.
SPIEGEL: This war could have been both safer for the troops and cheaper for the country?
SPIEGEL: Before the invasion of Iraq, the US administration said the best way to keep oil prices in check is a short and successful war. A barrel was at $25 at that time, and now it's over $60. What of this increase is due to Iraq?
Stiglitz: In our analysis about the cost of war, we only assumed a modest $5 to $10 caused by the war. We wanted to keep our study conservative, so no one would dispute our numbers, and no one did. But I believe that's a vast underestimation of the true cost.
SPIEGEL: But why? China and India are increasing their demand, real global growth has been going on. This is driving the prices.
Stiglitz: When demand rises so does supply -- that's how markets usually work. Now we're seeing that demand for oil is rising but we're not getting a commensurate increase in supply. And there's a simple answer, it's Iraq. But it's not just because it production has been down.
SPIEGEL: Why else?
Stiglitz: The Middle East is the lowest cost producer in the world. They can produce oil for $10, $15 or $20 a barrel. Now we have the technology to produce oil elsewhere for $35 to $45. But who wants to develop fields or invest in new technologies elsewhere if they know that in five years' time, the Middle East may be supplying oil at previous prices?
SPIEGEL: In other words, were peace and stability re-established in the Middle East, the oil price would be back to maybe $25, despite the huge global hunger for energy?
Stiglitz: Yes. By the way that's the price level oil traders were speculating on in futures trading before the outbreak of war.
SPIEGEL: There should be huge economic pressure on Bush to end this conflict.
Stiglitz: The only people benefiting in this war are Bush's friends in the oil industry. He has done the American economy and the global economy an enormous disfavor, but his Texan friends couldn't be happier. The price of oil is up, and they make money when the price of oil goes up. Their profits are at record levels.
SPIEGEL: What's your economic view on Iran?
Stiglitz: We are helping the people that Bush says are evil. Teheran couldn't be happier about the high oil prices resulting from the Iraq war.
SPIEGEL: If the UN Security Council votes for sanctions over Iran and its oil exports, what would that mean for the world economy?
Stiglitz: It would mean an enormous disruption, as oil prices might rise over $100. You can increase the price from $25 to $40, and people can absorb it. If the price rises above $60, they become unhappy. They start to adjust, they move to smaller cars, drive a little bit less. At $100 or $120, there are major changes in lifestyle. The sales of cars will plummet. Poor people will be facing real problems of heat versus food.
SPIEGEL: The world can't afford sanctions at this time?
Stiglitz: We talk about not allowing their officials to get visas to visit our countries.
SPIEGEL: That's not a harsh measure.
Stiglitz: It's no sanction. So the answer is, yes, we have no effective sanctions.