Now that Iran and P5+1 – the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany – have reached a comprehensive long term agreement for limiting Iran’s nuclear program and putting it under strict inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the opponents of the agreement, and in particular Israel and its supporters and lobby in the United State, have intensified their efforts to derail the agreement and force the Congress to reject it. In particular, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cohorts have been spreading lies, exaggerations, and half-truths about Iran in order to demonize it and make it impossible for those who are sitting on the fence to support the nuclear agreement. How much of Netanyahu’s claims are true? Let us examine some of them.
Destruction of Israel
In his joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond on 16 July 2015, Netanyahu claimed that he is astounded by the fact that the agreement with Iran did not address Iran’s wish for Israel’s destruction.
In his press conference of 15 July 2015 President Obama said, “Israel has legitimate concerns about its security relative to Iran. You have a large country with a significant military that has proclaimed that Israel shouldn’t exist.”
The rhetoric about destruction of Israel is unwise and inhumane. But, claiming that the Islamic Republic of Iran wishes physical destruction of Israel is sheer lie. It is not a lie because Iran does not have the military power to destroy Israel, as the United States and Israel have thousands of nuclear warheads to destroy Iran several time over. It is a lie because Netanyahu and others have distorted the unwise rhetoric about Israel’s existence.
Once again reflecting the huge disconnect between Israel’s far-right government and common sense, Israeli MP Michael Oren, who previously served as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, insisted that the US owes Israel unconditional support because God wills it so.
The attempt to equate Jesus to settlers is a particularly bizarre comment, especially since it was made during a caucus focused on courting Christian support for Israel. It’s a transparently ham-fisted effort to shoehorn some of Israel’s worst, most opposed policies on the international community through Jesus.
On the one hand, the argument doesn’t hold water even within the spiritual context, as the Biblical story had Jesus et al. going to Bethlehem for the sake of a census. They were described in the text as living in Nazareth, which is an Israeli town, albeit one far-right parties are constantly trying to “trade” to a future Palestinian state because of all the Arabs that live there.
That’s neither here nor there, though, and the real issue is that Oren seems to believe this is part of a successful strategy to court US and international Christians toward supporting Israel. Oren appears to be dramatically underestimating the amount of work it takes to manipulate the average person, informed by his story of a far-right Texas Congressman promising him unlimited funds for Iron Dome because he thinks Jesus wants those missiles.
This ignores the reality that a far-right Texas Congressman would probably through money at anything war-seeming, and Oren’s four year term as the Israeli ambassador to the US appears to have left him convinced of our extreme gullibility.
July 22, 2015| News | Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) SUBJECT: Releasing an Intelligence Report on Shoot-Down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
It has been a year since the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, resulting in the death of 298 passengers and crew. The initial response by the U.S. government supported the contention that the likely perpetrators were anti-government forces in southeastern Ukraine (the customary media misnomer for them is “separatists”), and that they were possibly aided directly by Moscow.
On July 29, 2014, we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) suggested that the United States Government report publicly what intelligence it actually had relating to the shoot-down lest the incident turn into another paroxysm of blaming Russia without cause. We are still waiting for that report.
On Tuesday, I had the privilege and pleasure of podcasting with Sheldon Richman, as I do these days. Not every episode is about war, but they do tend to lean that way because both Sheldon and I are crazy peaceniks like that. Richman was particularly on fire in this episode. Many antiwar rants were had. Check it out. Sheldon knows his stuff, and I…also know a few things.
You can listen to an audio-only version of the podcast over here. And check out Sheldon and my other chats here. (And while you’re at it, Scott Horton’s “Eye on the Empire” series with Jeffrey Tucker is also a very worthy watch.)
We’ve gone through the paucity of evidence related to who was behind the OPM hack before. FBI officials suggested they were looking into a number of situations, including the possibility of “state actors,” which led some media outlets to say they might be looking at China, which led Congressmen to say they heard on the TV that China did it, which led the media outlets to cite the Congressmen as proof China did it.
The evidence hasn’t been there though, and officials are saying it never will be. Today, US officials announced in the Washington Post that even though they’re pretty sure China did it (likely because they heard that on the TV), they aren’t going to publicly accuse them of doing so, apparently unclear on whether the Washington Post counts as public or not.
Officials are also saying “privately” (again, in a huge circulation newspaper) that they might impose sanctions on China for the hack, but not publicly say the sanctions are because of the hack, even though they literally just did say that.
The OPM hacks breached the data of some 20 million US government employees past and present, and despite the speculation that China did it for some national security purpose, those people have also been advised of the risk of identity theft for credit scams and whatnot in case this was actually a private group that hacked them for all the valuable information.
And what if the whole drama was only an exercise of deception?
What if the wily Persians did not even dream of building an atomic bomb, but used the threat to further their real aims?
What if Binyamin Netanyahu was duped to become unwittingly the main collaborator of Iranian ambitions?
Sounds crazy? Not really. Let’s have a look at the facts.
Iran is one of the oldest powers in the world, with thousands of years of political experience. Once they possessed an empire that spanned the civilized world, including our little country. Their reputation for clever trade practices is unequaled.
They are much too clever to build a nuclear weapon. What for? It would devour huge amounts of money. They know that they would never be able to use it. Same as Israel, with its large stockpile.