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The Race for Iran


Watch Could U.S. Accept Iran Having Some Nuclear Technology? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Flynt went on PBS’ NewsHour tonight to talk about the Iranian nuclear issue; see here or click on the video above.  The other panelist was Ray Takeyh, formerly of the Obama Administration and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.  The discussion focuses on what we believe remains the critical issue in the P5+1 dialogue with Tehran—whether the United States and its Western partners are prepared to accept the principle and reality of safeguarded uranium enrichment on Iranian soil. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. WTF says:

    nothing is certain

  2. Arnold: “The discussion of invading Iraq was very different from the current discussion of attacking Iran. I don’t think I ever heard from any current or retired military or policy official that invading Iraq would be harmful to US interests.”

    Irrelevant. Iraq was expected to be a “cakewalk” and that was how it was sold.

    Iran is obviously different because Iran is both stronger militarily than Iraq and larger in population and geography. Clearly an attempt to convince people Iran will be a “cakewalk” isn’t going to work, especially after Iraq and Afghanistan.

    So it’s not surprise to me that the war mongers are trying to cover their butts by warning of the risks. Nonetheless, the vast majority of propaganda is that Iran has to be stopped by any means.

    And when military types are asked about things like closing the Strait, they invariably proclaim there is little problem they can’t handle.

    But in general, this is still a ridiculous argument. It’s irrelevant whether anyone is warning of the risks because as I’ve said repeatedly, it’s not those people who are calling the shots. This is something you’ve ignored for five years.

    “Five years ago I saw no indication that war was imminent, you disagreed and were wrong, but weren’t making arguments much different from your arguments now.”

    On the contrary, I was not wrong. I never said there would be a war in five years. We made a bet concerning whether there would be a war within Bush’s time. But I never said it was a guarantee it would occur in Bush’s time. I hedged that bet every way to Sunday.

    And I still don’t claim we’ll see a war this year. But the odds of it occurring within the next two to five years have increased enormously. I would now be very surprised to not see the war start within five years, and mildly surprised to see it not start within two years, especially if a Republican President gets in this year. I might still be off based on what kind of time it will take to ratchet up the naval blockade, but I doubt it. It also may depend partly on how the Syria/Lebanon situation resolves itself, and as I’ve said before whether some other crisis derails the timetable.

    But as it stands, we’re looking at an Iran war almost certainly within five years and very likely within two.

  3. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Yes, the Rise of Masses and their subsequent Revolt makes such things inevitable.

    Like the mullah in Iran who stated a few years back that earthquakes are caused by poor conformance to hejab by women.

    One wonders, in that case, why God does not obliterate Denmark; where nubile young women are sun-tanning bare-chested in Copenhagen city parks.

  4. James Canning says:


    I suppose “Evil” is in the eye of the beholder. Rick Santorum thinks “Satan” is promoting birth control. Many of us see the need for containing population growth in many countries, and that it is “Evil” to do nothing about uncontrolled population growth.

  5. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    The conception of Evil is somewhat different in Islam vs. in Christianity.

    I think very many Christians view Evil as an active principle.

    In Islam, on the other hand, Satan is the great tempter; feeding men false ideas in order to persuade them to commit Evil Acts.

    So, in Islam, Evil is caused by Men, and not the Devil.

  6. James Canning says:

    Four years ago, Rick Santorum told an audience that “Satan” had toppled “mainline Protestantism”. Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, are being eroded in America by “Satan”?

  7. James Canning says:


    Syria has significant problems selling its oil, even with price discounts.

  8. James Canning says:


    Yes, that was the “biggie” by General Dempsey – – that the Iranian government was “rational”. Small wonder the Wall Street Journal attacked Dempsey yesterday, for having said that.

  9. James Canning says:

    I recommend “In new book, ex-senator says fear clouded judgment after 9/11”, in The New York Times today. The writer, Carl Hulse, cites key passages of Russ Feingold’s new book. Feingold notes that American intelligence professionals seemed to embararassed when pressed about the G W Bush administrations claims Iraq was on the verge of possessing nukes. But Democrats were afraid to vote against the war, with 2002 elections coming up soon.

  10. James Canning says:


    I agree. I was just about to post a comment on Richard Haass’ article in today’s Wall Street Journal (“How to talk down Iran’s nuclear ambitions”).

    Haass says Iran has produced “five years worth of medium-enriched uranium” for the TRR.

    Quote: “No Iranian government could forfeit the ‘right to enrich’ amd survive.”

  11. Empty says:

    Re; Mr. Rohani’s confessions…..

    Hassan Rohani has made similar statements recently asserting that “they” (i.e. President Khatami’s administration) were much tougher negotiators and did not compromise Iran’s independence compared to the current administration of President Ahmadinejad. Now that the elections have neared and they know the majority of the public in Iran would not look too kindly on Iran compromising its rights, some particular groups are reformatting themselves to appear to have been much “tougher” foreign policy negotiators than they were in reality. The facts of the case do not support their position. They actually brought enrichment to a halt (technically and financially, this was an extremely costly act). Enrichment process is not some sort of a kitchen faucet that you could easily turn it on and off without critical set backs. President Khatami’s administration did exactly that and Mr. Rohani played a key role. What he is doing is like someone who has passed gas and now trying his best to make all sorts of nois to retroactively mimic/camouflage the embarrassing sound.

  12. Empty says:

    Re; Hillary Mann-Leverett’s panel discussion on Aljazeera

    Key fact-based points were hit by Hillary Mann-Leverett while the other two resorted rhetorical statements. Also, when Hillary spoke of specific events during late 1990s and early 2000s, the lady via satellite dismissed it as “history”. Yet, she herself spoke of some allegations (without foundation) from the same period. Now, that’s what I call a solid double standard.

  13. Karl says:


    Your last quotation bring me to mind Rumsfeld’s tirade of nonsense.

    Donald Rumsfeld Unknown Unknowns !

  14. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Rostam Qasemi, the new Minister of Oil, is a very capable administrator. It was under his tutelage that the Khatam ol-Anbiya group of companies became one of the largest in the middle east and is capable of taking on multi-billion dollar projects. He has gone after laggard companies (Chinese, Russian, and others) in a big way, terminating their contracts, subdividing them and awarding them to local companies. He has access to shitloads of money, and will undoubtedly increase local technological know-how in upstream infrastructural development in a big way.

  15. Fiorangela says:

    Karl, agree. Why do they lie? It’s the most obvious question to ask.

    The lies are so blatant, do they actually believe what they are saying? Rubin seems not to care; the other woman — Abad? — had more integrity and was concerned with the intellectual honesty of what she was saying.

    “What you think is what you say and what you say is what you are.”

  16. Karl says:

    Found a link myself for those interested:


    But there was no October 24 interview, this was back in 2006. An the context have been left out.

  17. Karl says:

    It always strike me how incompetent people in such high places are, take Rubin for example. Keep using usless argumentation about Iran cant be trusted while seemingly ignoring western refusals, ignorings of iranian offers. Also (the woman on video link) spinning that Iran “kept its facilities secret” is a fallacy on 2 points.

    1. They had no obligation to declare sites before bringing nuclear material in right?
    2. Even if her argument was true, why keep using that in a argumention in 2012? It seems that these people doing everything to paint everything black.

    Although I want to see that interview Rubin is refering to that what he said, iranian just used the talks for delay. Anyone have seen this interview?

  18. Fiorangela says:

    h/t to Pirouz & BiBiJon

    BiBiJon says:
    February 22, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Hillary Leverett takes no prisoners; Michael Rubin’s face explodes

    Did anybody catch what Rubin said after he said “We can’t trust Iranians because they don’t think like Westerners, they are not Enlightenment thinkers?”
    My hair caught fire and I was distracted.

  19. Pirouz says:

    I was thinking about the cause of Rubin’s animation when confronted by Hillary’s good sense.

    Last week, we had Rear Adm. Troy Shoemaker, commander of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Force, state of the Iran military surveillance efforts in the Persian Gulg:

    “We would do the same things off the coast of the United States … It’s more than reasonable. We’re operating in their backyard,”

    Then last Sunday came the bombshell for the Israel-firsters like Rubin, when General Dempsey, head of CJCS, stated:

    “We also know, or we believe we know that Iran has not decided to make a nuclear weapon…”

    and the biggie…

    “We are of the opinion that Iran is a rational actor.”

  20. fyi says:

    Cyrus_2 says: February 22, 2012 at 5:13 am

    There is a fundamental understanding that I have about the global oil market and that is if you put oil on that market, it will be bought; provided one prices it approporiately.

    Answer to your first question is “yes”.

    Answer to your second question is “yes”.

    Answer to your third question is “yes” but over a much longer period of time – say 7 years as global oil demand outstrips supply.

    Answer to your fourth question; “yes” for Chinese investments, “no” to Indian ones.

    Answer to your fifth question is “no” since the semi-socilaist policies of the Iranian state since the Islamic Revolution has seriously hindered capital formation in that country.

    [The financial sanctions of EU finally has forced the Iranians to face up to their Islamic Economics Fantasy when it comes to banking and insurance.]

    In the meantime, there is a lot of capital available in the Persian Gulf that could be invested in Iran – if the Arabs and the Iranians could come to agreement on the modalities of such investments.

    Iranins can survive on $ 10 per barrel of oil by suspending almost all their construction/development projects for the duration.

  21. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Excellent post, Empty-san. I agree with you about God’s gentle hand in guiding us away from oil dependence. And so does our hard-working and duly-elected President, Dr. Ahmadinejad.

    Cyrus 2-san: Great questions. Wish I knew the answers, but I don’t. But here are a couple of comments anyway:

    1. My guess is that the 10% cut has its origins in some bullshit hasbara website like Debka, just like the business with India paying Iran in Gold. China and India have already told the US to take a hike. That is unlikely to change. They flew it up the flagpole, and it didn’t fly.

    2. I think you have to distinguish between long-term contracts (wholesale K’s) and short-term ones (sales on the spot market). I think that with the appetite of the brics for oil production capacity will not remain idle. In other words, Iran will still be able to sell at its production capacity, but possibly not all of that will be in long-term K’s, some being sold on the spot market, which I think is actually more profitable (??)

    3. Thanks to its recent 33 year history, Iran remains one of the very few countries with huge natural resources including minerals, metals and oil and gas that is hugely underdeveloped and has not benefited even from surveys using the latest surveying technologies. It has huge development potential as a result. I suspect that if the current stalemate continues, China will continue to drag its feet on upstream infrastructure development, and Iran’s new oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, will continue to terminate their contracts and award them to local firms. My guess is that Iran will continue to announce big breakthroughs in oil and gas extraction technology.

    4. As fyi and I have pointed out earlier, Iran was able to manage just fine with oil at $9 to $20 per barrel throughout most of the past two decades. With oil even at $85, we are swimming in money compared to the Rafsanjani years, where we HAD to spend money on infrastructure AND to service debt. Now, all that investment is in the “bahreh-bardari” phase (reaping the rewards), and we are debt free.

    5. Last but by no means least, during those years when oil income was at $9 to $20 per barrel, our oil and gas export capacity was smaller, and our non-oil export sector was non-existent. And we had rolling blackouts cause our ability to produce electricity was inadequate for out domestic needs. Now we export a huge amount of electricity to practically all our neighbors. And our non-oil exports have risen exponentially thanks to the restless efforts of our president and his team. They anticipate non-oil exports to reach $50 billion in the new fiscal year (1391). I think it will pass even that great number. And I think that it will approach $100 billion in the next 3 to 5 years.

    The economy is humming along nicely. Stuxnet put a huge dent in the credibility of American technology products in the eyes of the rest of the world (“If they did it to Iran, they might embed something similar in technology they export to us”. India in particular will be thinking about this with their nuclear power technology from the US, and might decide to develop it themselves). The threatened SWIFT action will have the same effect on the credibility of the reliability and security of Western banks. The scramble and rigamarole it will put Iran through in order to compensate is nothing compared to the loss of confidence, which in banking is everything. In 1973 when SWIFT was founded, the technology for wire transfers and the telephony protocols were beyond state of the art: they were state secrets. Now, with internet protocols commonplace, I imagine it is simply a matter of a good encryption program, and a new bank to bank intranet can be established with relative ease for Iran, its allies, and trading partners.

    The Zionist Jews have torn down Western civilization institution by institution – which of course has always been their goal.

  22. BiBiJon says:

    Pirouz says:
    February 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    “By pure chance, caught Hillary on Aljazeera TV today. Rubin sure got animated!”


  23. Rehmat says:

    On Sunday evening, Christians visiting the Baptist House church in central Jerusalem were greeted with anti-Christian graffiti painted in Hebrew on the outside wall. The graffiti, when translated in English, means “We will (Jesus) crucify you” and “Death to Christians” – and crude insults against Jesus and his mother Saint Mary (reported by AFP). In addition to the gaffiti, tyres of three cars parked near by were slashed………


  24. Empty says:


    Re; your post on February 22, 2012 at 5:13 am, you’ve chosen to focus on an area that is very critical. To see through the media fog, it is important to learn about the actual facts surrounding oil production, the producing countries’ capacity to produce and export oil, the transportation of oil, and the refining capacity and needs of the importing countries. That way, you could figure out who is blowing out smoke and who is going to be proven correct at the end.

    Here are some factual and extremely important considerations:

    1. All crude oils are not created equal. The most important rate-limiting step in production of crude oil is the quality of the oil. In general, the lighter and sweeter the crude oil (less dense, less viscous –i.e. closer to LNAPL type – light non-aqueous phase liquid), the easier and cheaper it is to extract it, to transport it, to refine it, and to transform it to the needed forms (gasoline, etc.). The heavier the crude oil (high density, more viscous and of more DNAPL (dense non-aqueous phase liquid), the more difficult and costly it is to extract it, to transport it, to refine it, and to transform it to needed forms.

    Saudi Arabia’s light crude capacity was about 65% of its total extractable crude oil capacity more than a decade ago when it started to see a decline. By 2008, SA spent more than $28 billion dollar (pocketed by an American “expert” corporation–talk about pulling and “economic hit man”) to increase its capacity to make up the difference caused by the decline by extracting more heavy and extra heavy crude. It planned to reach 12million barrels a day by 2009. Not only they were not able to produce to that level, they were not even able to make up the full 700,000 bpd loss caused by a decline. The laws of physics and chemistry are NOT on the side of those sanctioning Iran’s oil. As the times goes by, it just gets costlier for them. We need to exercise “active patience” (صبر توام با جهاد).

    2. Refining heavy and extra heavy crude oil is many fold more expensive, worse quality product is produced that, among other things, includes far more carcinogenic (cancer-causing) additives. The extraction and refining process are heavily taxing on the machinery. Which means, to produce a unit volume of an oil product, more crude, more cost (repairs, erosion, processing, etc.) are incurred. For the importing countries, it’s not as simple as saying, “okay, we’ll replace X barrels of crude oil from Iran with an equal amount of that crude oil from Saudi Arabia.” No. They have to replace X barrels of a given type of crude oil from Iran with 4-5 times X’ barrels of crude oil from S.A. to produce 1/4 of Y type of needed product for 4 times the cost. AND they have to reconfigure their techniques and machinery. This means, their overall cost goes up AND the importing countries have to reconfigure their refining capacities to fit a different type of crude (sweet, sour, light, medium, heavy, extra heavy, etc.).

    3. In a post some months ago, I also wrote about the issues of maritime transportation routes and their capacity (or lack thereof) to handle the transportation traffic and high costs (more risks) associated with pipelines.

    4. For Iran, exporting its oil is not the best way to manage its resources, to progress, and to generate income. Rather, it is the easiest and the fastest way. Thank God, the Almighty, for guiding Iran through a different path.

  25. Sassan says:

    New Iran-linked terror plot uncovered in Azerbaijan
    By YAAKOV LAPPIN 02/22/2012 01:42

    Azerbaijani Ministry of National Security announces it had foiled another plot to attack the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish cultural center.

    The wave of Iranian efforts to attack Israeli interests abroad appears to be continuing, following an announcement by Azerbaijan on Tuesday that it had foiled another plot linked to Tehran and Hezbollah in Baku.

    The conspiracy involved a cell linked to the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force and the Lebanese terrorist organization, the Azerbaijani Ministry of National Security said, according to state television.

    Authorities detained the cell’s members and seized firearms and explosives, according to the Azerbaijani TV report.

    While some news agencies cited the TV report as saying that the targets were “foreign,” a Baku-based reporter for Bloomberg quoted AzTV as saying that the terrorists planned to attack the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish cultural center.

    Channel 10 cited Azerbaijani media as saying that two Iranian Quds Force members were arrested. In addition, around 20 people, mostly from the same family, were arrested in connection with the planned attacks, in a village on the outskirts of Baku, according to the report.

    The suspects received narcotics from Hezbollah to sell in order to fund the attacks, Channel 10 added.

    The Quds Force is headed by Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who reports directly to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

    It is tasked with operating outside of Iranian territory, assisting and arming proxies such as Hezbollah and orchestrating terrorist attacks. The Quds Force has been linked to the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people were killed and more than 300 were wounded.

    The Quds Force spent years training Hezbollah’s fighters and building up its arsenal of rockets in south Lebanon, as well coordinating activities with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

    Secular Azerbaijan’s ties to Israel and the US have stoked tensions with neighboring Iran, which protested alleged Israeli intelligence activity in the oil-rich former Soviet republic, the state-run Iranian Students News Agency reported recently.

    Azerbaijan said last month it thwarted a terrorist plot against the Israeli ambassador in Baku by a group linked to Iran. Two men were suspected of plotting to attack the ambassador and a rabbi.

    Azeri authorities said the two suspects had been helped by an Iranian linked to Iran’s intelligence services, who supplied them with guns and explosives.

    On February 12, Iran’s Foreign Ministry accused Azerbaijan of aiding Israeli intelligence in the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist blown up last month, according to the Fars news agency.

    Terrorists in India and Georgia, which neighbors Azerbaijan, targeted Israeli diplomats last week, planning bombings of the embassies in New Delhi and Tbilisi.

    While Georgian sappers defused the bomb in Tbilisi, an Israeli diplomat’s wife and her Indian driver were wounded when a bomb attached to their vehicle exploded.

    Israel blamed Iran for the attack.

    Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report.


  26. Cyrus_2 says:


    Ramin Mehmanparast is doing a very good job as spokesperson.
    Ali Salehi also is a very eloquent and thoughtful speaker.

  27. Cyrus_2 says:

    Unknown Unknowns, FYI, others …

    If you don’t mind, I would like to discuss the consequences of the EU oil embargo and US pressure on other states to cut their imports.

    According to the EIA, these are Irans main oil importers:

    China 543
    EU 450
    Japan 341
    India 328
    South-Korea 244
    Turkey 182
    South-Africa 98
    Sri-Lanka 39
    Taiwan 33
    Others 22
    Total 2280

    Starting in July, EU direct oil imports from Iran will normally be completely halted: 2280 – 450 = 1830.
    From what I have read so far, China, India and Japan will cut their oil-imports from Iran with 10%.
    Let’s assume the others will cut their imports as well with 10% in order to receive an exemption from the US.
    Then Irans oil exports will be at 1830 – 183 = 1647 thousand barrels/day.

    I ‘ve read somewhere (I thought here) that in the current fiscal year Iran needs to sell its oil at 81 USD/barrel to break-even, bringing total Iranian oil sales at 184 680 000 USD.

    If we assume Irans oil exports drop to 1647, it needs to sell its oil at an average price of 112 USD/barrel if it wants to retain its total oil sales from last year.
    Of course, the income loss from oil discounts and barters is not included here, so realistically speaking Iran perhaps needs to sell its oil at 120 USD/barrel.

    Given the current price of Brent Crude (121 USD), all the fuzz about Iran, rising demand from especially China and India, and current Saudi oil production and exports, I don’t believe oil prices will drop to less than 112 USD averagely this year.

    So, although an export drop to 1647 barrels is indeed a setback, the EU oil embargo and cuts from other importers are from dramatically, in my view.
    Especially if you know that Irans oil production will fall anyway due to its ageing infrastructure and lack of (foreign) investments.

    My questions:

    1) Is 1647 a realistic export number, or do you think it will be significantly less or more?
    2) If 1647 is realistically, can Iran cover its domestic needs with oil prices at 112 USD?
    3) Apart from a war, do you believe oil prices will keep rising anyway, to 125 or more for Brent Crude?
    4) Do you envisage Chinese and Indian investments in Irans depleted oil infrastructure in the middle term?
    5) Can Iran, with its own know-how and technology, significantly improve its oil production levels with investments of its own?

    I thank you.

  28. hans says:

    James Canning says:
    February 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Yes, absolutely. Huge pressure on Colin Powell, to go before the UN. And too bad Saddam Hussein did not have a good PR firm on retainer to rebut Powell’s presentation immediately.

    Most of Iranian’s forward facing west spokespersons are even worse. Iran has many pretty, photogenic, intelligent women give them an opportunity. I guess it will never happen will it?

    With regards to war, As I have mentioned unless silver crosses the $35 mark no attack will happen on either Syria or Iran, yesterday it crept pretty close but fell quickly. Let’s see Monday after the silly conference.

  29. Arnold Evans says:

    James Canning says:
    February 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    You need to try to convince the leaders of every Arab country, who of course have concluded Israel is here to stay, within its pre-1967 borders.

    You’re taking a lot of comfort in the positions pro-US colonies such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE and Kuwait have taken to serve the US.

    We’ll see what Egypt’s position is after its first elections and more importantly after subsequent elections where Israel is a subject for presidential debates.

    Iraq and Lebanon do not accept Israel, as the most representative governments in their region.

    Also, Israel is not inside of the 1967 borders. So a statement “they accept Israel if it retreats to the 1967 borders” is meaningless. Somebody says “if my grandmother had a penis, she’d be my grandfather”.

    When the post-colonial era reaches Israel’s region, you’ll be the one who has to convince the governments of the region to accept your position that there should be an enforced majority Jewish state. We both doubt you’ll have much luck.

    In the meantime you are an advocate for the subjugation of the Arab people on behalf of Israel – which makes you a typical westerner, but also makes you profoundly evil, even according to Western values.

  30. Fiorangela says:

    “They’re doing exactly the same thing they did in the run up to the Iraq war on Germany and there are any number of people in the antiwar movement who have called them on it repeatedly for the last several years.”

    -First they starved Germans — 750,000 to 800,000 German civilians died between 1916-1917 due to illegal blockade imposed by Allies under the leadership of Winston Churchill and with the cooperation of Woodrow Wilson’s zionist-influenced administration. Persuaded — some say blackmailed — by Samuel Untermyer to appoint zionist Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Brandeis became a close counselor to Wilson as did zionist leader and financier Bernard Baruch. The “two” world wars are really one campaign, just as the first and second war on Iraq were parts of the same campaign. FDR and Churchill collaborated to wage war on Germany in the 1930s. Samuel Untermyer was a major zionist agent in both parts of the war on Germany, and Dennis Ross was a major zionist agent in both parts of the war on Iraq. Untermyer died in his own bed in one of his palatial homes before he could harvest the full fruits of his labors; Dennis Ross is still alive and working to do unto Iran what Untermyer did unto Germany and Ross helped to do unto Iraq.

    -Then they — zionists, with complicity of British and American bankers and governments — destroyed the German economy, causing further civilian suffering, starvation, and social instability.

    -Hitler led a formidable and largely nonviolent resistance, and with the help of Hjalmar Schacht maneuvered Germany into financial stability and, drawing upon common German cultural pride, unified the German people. Against this “granite wall” of national cultural resistance and pride, the zionists and the warrior states they controlled moved in for the kill. In spite of the offers of German leaders to make peace with the British and French, as in spite of Saddam’s submission to weapons inspectors of detailed dossiers on Iraq’s nuclear activities and prolonged inspections on Iraqi territory, US invaded Iraq after having starved the Iraqis into submission, destroyed Iraq’s economy and defense forces. The zionist-prodded coalition of the willing destroyed the birthplace of civilization, looted their museums, even as zionist-prodded Allies firebombed Dresden, Frankfurt, Berlin in a bid to destroy German culture. The same campaign is being carried out by the same zionists and the governments they have infiltrated and suborned. It is not rational to believe that this monster machine that has waged war on the world for over one hundred years will stop short of its goal. Carthago delenda est

  31. kooshy says:

    Jodi Rudoren, Another Member of the Family

    Meet the New York Times’ New Israel-Palestine News Chief



  32. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    All this talk of war with Iran is making my head spin like Linda Blair. There is my quandary of escalation or de-escalation. There is my cognitive dissonance of not wanting a hair on any one of my five thousand family members displaced . Then, I’m constantly told that “there will be war” in this forum. So, I’ve decided I’m  going to name this phenomenon of what I’m feeling. Ready for it? Here it comes… wait… Iran is: “Too Big to Fight.”
    Pheeeyoo, I for one feel a lot lighter with that off my chest. Now back to regularly scheduled program. 

  33. Dan Cooper says:

    The American people need to know the truth.

    Recently, President Obama imposed new sanctions on Iran which according to reports have been very effective, causing a sudden major devaluation of Iran’s currency. The Iranians correctly understand that they are under attack, and have threatened to respond by closing the strait of Hormuz, through which a large percentage of oil from the Mideast flows to the global economy.

    If the crisis deepens and Iran makes good on its threat to close Hormuz, there is little doubt that the US will intervene to reopen the strait. This will lead to a shooting war for which Iran will be blamed, even though the recent US sanctions were tantamount to overt aggression.

    I believe the US will exploit the situation to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. But, even more importantly, the US will target Iran’s conventional missiles. Indeed, I believe this is the real reason for US sanctions in the first place, and for the buildup of tensions in recent days. Despite public perceptions, and all the rhetoric about nukes, the present crisis has nothing to do with Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. In my opinion, that is just a cover story.

    The real issue is the fact that Iran has upgraded its medium range conventionally-armed missiles with GPS technology, making its missiles much more accurate. This means Iran can now target Israel’s own nuclear, bio and chemical weapons stockpiles, located inside Israel, as well as the Dimona nuclear reactor.

    In short, Iran has achieved a conventional deterrent to Israel. Therefor, statements by Iranian officials that Iran has no nuclear weapons program are in my view probably correct. Presently, Iran does not need nukes to deter Israel. It can do so with its GPS-guided medium range missiles. The Israelis are no doubt gnashing their teeth over this, because they now find themselves threatened by their own WMD stockpiles, and by their own nuclear reactors, especially Dimona, all of which have become targets.

    A few direct hits by Iran could cause a toxic plume, killing thousands of Israelis. A worst case might signal the end of the Jewish state.

    It is important to realize that Iran would never launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel because the Iranians know that the US/Israeli response would be devastating. However, if Iran comes under attack first, all bets are off. Iran will defend itself. A counter attack on Israel cannot be ruled out because Iranian leaders understand clearly (even if the American people do not) that the crisis has been manufactured, on Israel’s behalf.

    From the Israeli standpoint, the present Iranian deterrent (though conventional) is simply unacceptable. Israel’s military strategists have always insisted on total freedom of movement. This is why Israel refused a US offer many years ago to sign a defense pact with the US. Such a treaty would have limited Israel’s freedom of movement, and this was unacceptable. Israel’s leaders preferred to remain independent. Israel has always insisted on the “freedom” to intimidate its neighbors, whenever and howsoever it chooses. Iran’s conventional missiles now curtail that “freedom.” Israeli officials probably worry, for example, that Iran’s conventional missiles would limit its freedom to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon, in a future conflict. Hezbollah is closely allied with Tehran.

    I believe the present crisis has been manufactured to create the pretext for a US air campaign to take out Iran’s conventional missile sites. The US will also target Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the primary target will be Iran’s conventional missiles. The US will be doing Israel’s bidding. The Zionist tail will be wagging the servile US dog.

    Obviously, you can’t generate public support for such a bombing campaign, on Israel’s behalf. Hence the cover story about nukes and the alleged Iranian threat to wipe Israel off the map, all of which is untrue but very effective propaganda nonetheless.

    The problem for the US is that depriving Iran of its conventional deterrent will not be easy to accomplish. Indeed, it will be even more difficult than taking out all of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran’s conventional missiles are probably dispersed widely. If they come under attack, the purpose of the air campaign will be transparently obvious to the Iranian leadership. Faced with the prospect of losing their deterrent, the Mullahs may well decide to fire their conventional missiles. If they do and manage some direct hits on Israel’s nuclear-bio-and chemical weapons stockpiles, the ensuing disaster will prompt an Israeli response. Israel may even resort to the Samson Option, and attack Iran with nukes. Words cannot describe the horrific scale of such an outcome. Unfortunately, it is all too possible.

    Early in the war, US naval forces in the Gulf will also come under attack. No mistake, Iran has enough anti-ship cruise missiles to pose a grave threat to the US naval presence in the Gulf. Thousands of US sailors are now in harm’s way, and at risk.

    We must rally to prevent such a war. Peace activists must now marshal every asset for peace that we possess. The American people need to know the truth. This is a phony crisis. Yet the danger is very real. Now is the time to speak out with all of our strength. Tomorrow could come too late.


    By Mark H Gaffney

  34. Arnold Evans says:


    They’re doing exactly the same thing they did in the run up to the Iraq war and there are any number of people in the antiwar movement who have called them on it repeatedly for the last several years.

    The discussion of invading Iraq was very different from the current discussion of attacking Iran. I don’t think I ever heard from any current or retired military or policy official that invading Iraq would be harmful to US interests.

    I don’t know what will happen five years from now, but don’t expect to see a war. Five years ago I saw no indication that war was imminent, you disagreed and were wrong, but weren’t making arguments much different from your arguments now.

    Before war comes we’ll see a different assessment of the most likely outcome of an attack than we see now from public officials.

  35. Arnold Evans says:

    fyi says:
    February 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I think the most likely course of events is no agreement and no war in the near future.

    Are you defining war differently than I am? If by war you mean the kind of sanctions we already have, then yes, there will be war unless there is an agreement now.

    If you think the sanctions will inevitably grow into a shooting war, then I disagree. I think that is less likely than not for this and the next US Presidential term.

  36. Photi says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Fiorangela, thank you for your book recommendation. Based on reading the Amazon reviews (there are only 3 plus a couple editorial snippets), the biography of Hitler does look important. Given your own belief this may be the book of the decade, i may end up buying the kindle version tonight. thanks again;)

  37. Pirouz says:

    By pure chance, caught Hillary on Aljazeera TV today. Rubin sure got animated!

    The price for regular gas in the SF Bay Area is now $4.20 a gallon. I take premium so it’s now approaching $4.50 a gallon. Really hard to accept, especially as we knew this would be the result of the latest Iran sanctions drive.

  38. Castellio says:

    James writes: “But it is not an “American” project, since all the settlements are illegal in the view of the US gov’t.”

    James, did you miss the Wikipedia document in which Secretary of State Rice actually discusses where to put the ousted Palestinians, and considers South America?

    Are you telling me that after all the US vetos, all the tax supported money to the settlements, all the armaments and cash, all the support and adulation for Bibi in the Congress, all the silences in light of Israeli expansion, that the US government is against the occupation of the Palestinian territories?

    Do you really believe that?

    I mean it might be a consolation to say that it is the administration’s position… but that position is merely old rhetoric well passed it’s due date. It was rhetoric meant to slowly lapse, as if by fate or magic.

  39. Rehmat: “Israeli TV Channel 10 aired Thursday night a request received by Israeli radical Jew prime minister Benji Netanyahu from a senior member of the US-Qatar funded Wahabi rebel group ‘Syrian National Council (SNC)’ – seeking Jewish military help to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus.”

    That doesn’t surprise me at all. While Israel is probably wary of helping Sunni Islamists take over Syria, and of course at least some of the more Al Qaeda types would probably be very unhappy to work with Israel, there IS a common ground there.

    I suggested earlier in my scenario for upcoming events that Israel’s military forces might be used to assist the insurgents, at least as far as helping to weaken Syria’s military – because that and the weakening of Hizballah is the point of the entire Syrian crisis.

    Exactly how this will come about is not clear due to the political aspects I’ve mentioned. But it’s a definite possibility once things go further downhill in Syria and in Lebanon as a result of the spillover. The US, NATO and Israel can probably come up with an excuse for Israel to engage Syria’s military as part of the attack on Hizballah.

    There are plenty of “false flag” possibilities, such as Syrian insurgents faking an attack by Hizballah on Israel to justify an Israeli attack on Lebanon, which as I’ve said will require Israel to enter Syrian territory. In that situation, it would be entirely logical for Israel to engage Syrian forces in order to protect the forces attacking the Bekaa Valley, and in turn would give Israel an excuse to seriously weaken Syria’s forces. The fact that this would aid the insurgents might be something Israel is willing to go along with.

    The bottom line for Israel is that by weakening Syria’s military the short term effect of an Assad overthrow would mean LESS military threat by Syria, not more, regardless of the long term effects of an Islamist takeover. Since the main goal is Iran, the short term effect is all Israel needs to worry about.

    After all, the goal is to get the US to attack Iran. Since Iran is the major supporter of both Syria and Lebanon, once Iran is bombed into the Stone Age, Israel will have much less to worry about Syria and Lebanon regardless of who is in charge in those countries, since Iran will be unable to supply those countries in the middle of a hot war.

    So I view it as quite likely that once things heat up further in Syria that Israel will find a way to get involved directly, even if as nothing but an offshoot of the attempt to take down Hizballah.

  40. Fiorangela: “C Span Wash Journal that fairest and bestest of all media available to Americans, will give Matt Kroenig an hour this morning, 9:00-10)) EST, to explain to the sheeple why it is a good idea to kill Iranians.”

    Yeah, but Arnold says the MSM isn’t supporting a war on Iran…So I guess we don’t have to care…

  41. Not to mention the fact that Arnold taking anything these people say as representing what they actually believe or what they intend is almost unbelievable in itself…

    There’s a sucker born every minute…

  42. Kooshy: “By the way Andrea Mitchell, is the wife of Alan Greenspan former chairman of Federal Reserve Bank and presumably one of the “ruling elites””

    Not even close. She’s just one of the PR people for the ruling elites. The fact that Arnold has to base his argument on one of her interviews is just pathetic.

    Keep grasping…

  43. Kooshy: “If you don’t see any civilian cloth retired generals it’s because it’s not time yet.”

    And how long before a war are such generals paraded out?

    Who said it was this week? If it happens NEXT week or next YEAR, will you change your mind – or just make up another excuse as to how it’s all “propaganda” and nothing will happen?

    I’ve never said the Iran war is going to happen this month or this year. There is plenty of time for the ruling elites to parade their flunkies before the war starts.

    This is just another “grasping at straws” due to an inability to emotionally accept that the US is on course for another war.

  44. Arnold: “Maybe one day US news organizations will favor attacking Iran based on what they are told by US generals, the way they did Iraq and Afghanistan. Until then the US will not attack Iran.”

    You’re seriously arguing that the MSM is not in favor of attacking Iran? Seriously? Based on the fact that they routinely point out somewhere down deep in the article that it might be costly?

    The MSM clearly demonstrate their position by repeatedly distorting the facts in favor of an anti-Iran position. They’re doing exactly the same thing they did in the run up to the Iraq war and there are any number of people in the antiwar movement who have called them on it repeatedly for the last several years.

    To suggest that is not the case is just bizarre.

    Not to mention that ONCE AGAIN you IGNORE the fact that the ruling elites DO NOT CARE about the expected costs. You have REPEATEDLY ignored that fact. It was true in the Afghan war, it was true in the Iraq war, and it is true for the Iran war. Yet all you “war is impossible” types continue to ignore the direct motivations clearly expressed by both the war mongers and the analysts who have explored those motivations. You have zero reason to do so except an emotional antipathy to considering another war as being possible.

    A couple years ago, everyone was saying an Iran war was utterly impossible. Today everyone is saying an Iran war is “likely” if for no other reason than Israel will start it. I’d say we’ve come a long way past your suppositions.

    Yet you continue to manufacture one excuse after another to explain why things have progressed rapidly and directly to a military confrontation.

    Well, within another couple of years my guess is there will be no excuses available. Until that time, you may remain smug – and wrong.

  45. James Canning says:

    “2013 budget: ‘difficult cuts’ for Americans, jackpot for Israel”:


  46. Cyrus_2 says:

    Bad news if true:

    China, India and Japan are planning cuts of at least 10 percent in Iranian crude imports as tightening U.S. sanctions make it difficult for the top Asian buyers to keep doing business with the OPEC producer.


  47. James Canning says:


    Yes, absolutely. Huge pressure on Colin Powell, to go before the UN. And too bad Saddam Hussein did not have a good PR firm on retainer to rebut Powell’s presentation immediately.

  48. James Canning says:

    “We’ve seen the threats against Iran before”, by Phyllis Bennis:


  49. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: February 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    You are not disagreeing with me.

  50. Cyrus_2 says:


    Yes, but there was huge pressure on Powell as well to make the case in the UNSC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N294FMDok98 (from 37:00).

  51. Karl says:

    Apparently people have been arrested in Azerbadjian for terrorplots.


  52. James Canning says:


    You need to try to convince the leaders of every Arab country, who of course have concluded Israel is here to stay, within its pre-1967 borders. But delusional Zionist expansionists may succeed in destroying the project, provided the stooges of the Israel lobby in the US Congress continue to encourage them.

  53. James Canning says:


    No? Maybe? Try it. Date was Feb. 21st.

  54. James Canning says:


    Colin Powell was deceived by George Tenet, the head of the CIA (at that time). But Tenet clearly was a pawn of the warmongering neocons, who intentionally lied to the US Congress and the American public.

  55. James Canning says:

    “Israel irked by top US officials’ opposition to Iran attack”:


  56. Arnold Evans says:

    fyi says:
    February 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    The scuttling of the new P5+1-Iran negotiations – no matter the mechanism of that scuttling – means war.

    I disagree. These new negotiations are going to be scuttled. Iran will not suspend enrichment to move from “talks” to “negotiations” and the US will not move away from that demand this year.

    But the war doesn’t start until somebody fires a weapon, which does not have to happen this year, or really ever.

    Whoever is inaugurated in January 2013, whether Obama or not, may well be the US president that either accepts Iran having legal nuclear capabilities, or attacks Iran, starts a large and damaging Middle East war and then accepts Iran having either legal nuclear capabilities or actual nuclear weapons, depending on Iran’s preference.

  57. Cyrus_2 says:


    “The Lobby will have gone too far if they do try to smear Dempsey.”

    Not so sure.
    They managed William Fallon to leave.
    And Chas Freeman.
    Stanley McChristal was also forced out for speaking a tat too frankly (though here the Lobby had little to do with it).
    They pressured the highly popular Colin Powell to give that shameful presentation in the UNSC in 2003.

    In each case there was some fuzz the next days, but in the end everyone moved on.
    Most Americans simply don’t care or don’t know about it.

  58. Arnold Evans says:

    Agent 20%:

    What if Zionism itself is the fantasy project?

  59. Karl says:

    James Canning

    Do one have to be registred on FT to read it?

  60. James Canning says:


    If you haven’t read Gideon Rachman’s Feb. 20 piece in the Financial Times, don’t miss it. (ft.com)

  61. James Canning says:


    My understanding is that Panetta and Dempsey will be vocal (re opposing any Israeli attack on Iran), but they obviously need to avoid damaging Obama.

  62. James Canning says:


    The “fantasy project” of the Jews, in the West Bank, obviously gets a good deal of support from the many stooges of the Israel Lobby in the US Congress. But it is not an “American” project, since all the settlements are illegal in the view of the US gov’t.

  63. Karl says:

    James Canning.

    Yes I agree that Dempsey and Panetta have done a positive deed by vocally protesting. Hopefully that will encourage others to step forward too.
    What Dempsey and Panetta tommorow we dont know, although their stance paused the warmongering from the highest rank for some time, making people think.

  64. James Canning says:


    Yes, a good laugh all round, from Ralph Peters’ fantasy map of the Greater Middle East (2006 “proposal”). One might surmise Peters was taken in by one Kurdish faction or another.

  65. James Canning says:


    General Dempsey and Leon Panetta have taken pains to tell Israel the US does not want an attack on Iran.

    Joe Biden told Obama that increasing the US military presence in Afghanistan would cost colossal sums and only enlarge the war. Too bad Obama did not listen to him.

  66. James Canning says:

    The editors of the Wall Street Journal today attacked General Dempsey for saying that Iran’s leaders are rational. No, I am not inventing this. In “Containing Israel on Iran – – General Dempsey sendsa message of weakness to Iran’, the WSJ claims Iran obviously is not rational because the government “refuses to compromise on its nuclear plans. . .” The WSJ fails to mention Iran’s offer to compromise, made this past September. What a surprise.

  67. Karl says:


    Not sure how this would be settled through the UN with US support.

    An attack by Israel could come anyday too, which US will jump into with the support by the congress and no dependence on the UN.

    US policy is pretty much driven on pride. Thats why they still fight a endless war in Afghanistan, pulling out all will signify that US arent that powerful and they had to admit that pretty much everything they did for all these years didnt lead to any good. At the same time US cant reject their stance now even if many thinks that deep inside, panetta, dempsey are among the more realistic in this group. They dont want war but they cant say that to the american people or Israel.

  68. fyi says:

    Nasser says: February 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Their dream – for that is the most charitable way to describe it – was to carve out a mini-state for Palestinians so they would go away and thus enable Israelis digest the West Bank.

    On the plane of Reality, it was just a deranged person’s (or collection of persons) nefarious plans – a nightmare.

    Here is another fantasy:


    cookedup by retired American officer.

    Americans have indulged in their fantasy projects in the Middle East at the point of bayonets.

    They never succeeded in building anything, just like Russians in Afghanistan.

  69. fyi says:

    kooshy says: February 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Yes, so this what the Republic has come to; its salvation must be sought within her Armed Forces.

  70. Nasser says:


    – Why would the West want to partition Lebanon? For precedent?

    – No one wants to partition Pakistan. Both China and US will keep propping up Pakistan if they are to hedge against India. I sure hope Indian leaders aren’t delusional or stupid enough to believe US promises of strategic partnership against China. They should realize that first mode of US warfare is always economic destabilization and they keep trading with China.

  71. fyi says:

    Castelliio says: February 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    The Lobby will have gone too far if they do try to smear Dempsey.

    The late Senator McCarthy’s reign came to and inglorious end when he hinted at going after the members of the US Armed Forces.

    We shall see how far the attachment to the cause of Israel is going to be pursued by Protestant Christians and Jews in the United States.

    Will they go so far as to cause the United States be maimed in a hundred-year war with Islam?

  72. fyi says:

    Karl says: February 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    You are correct that US Government cannot resolve her problems with Iran within the US Government.

    But US Government can still settle the nuclear stand-off with Iran at the United Nations.

    That does not require approval by US Congress or US Champions of Israel.

    We shall see.

    In my estimation, US leaders will have to make this deal.

    If they do not, that means that their polity is thoroughly and completely corrupted by their Affaire de Coeur with Israel.

    Which means that we have to wait for the post US-Iran War settlement for resolution of any and all differences between the 2 states.

    The scuttling of the new P5+1-Iran negogiations – no matter the mechanism of that scuttling – means war.

  73. Castelliio says:

    James mentioned “Canada”.

    What’s that… Canada? Rings a bell, but can’t quite place it.

    Used to exist as an independent state, didn’t it? A bit like England?

  74. Karl says:


    I find it very impossible for the united states to somehow reject their current path against Iran. The problem isnt Obama which I share dempsey, and leon’s more realistic assessments, the problem is the unified congress that keep pushing their hostility for every day that goes by. Also a aipac conference is to start this weekened which will fill those heads with even more propaganda that spells more sanctions in the coming week or even beyond that. Netanyahu is going to be there and hes going to meet with Obama. We know the usual lines:

    “Iran must be stopped”, “Holocaust”, “Islamic cult”, “Sabotage the peace process”, “irresponsible regime”, “This is a regime that have threatened to wipe Israel off the map”, “Iran is secretly building nuclear weapons”

    add some applause, add some puppy-eyes.

  75. Castelliio says:

    It’s ineresting… at least. The Lobby has “greatly influenced” the Secretary of State, the Justice Department, and the workings of the White House for quite awhile. It has not owned the Pentagon in the same way. What happened last time was the implementation of the Office of Special Plans group, godfathered by Cheney, circumventing the regular channels of command within the intelligence/military.

    There must be attempts (plural) to do the same thing now, godfathered by a different person or persons. I wonder who and where.

  76. kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    February 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    The reason that the JCOS general wanted and indeed bluntly went public with military’s posture on a war with Iran is amazing, especially since for sure he knows he doesn’t have the backing form the legislative or the media, and only a limited backing from the realist in executive branch, therefore he essentially is making a case of US military vs. the lobby. This shows that the military is perhaps the only body of the system that is not fully penetrated yet. It is possible inside military the lower rank and the young officers are fed-up with supposedly short wars that naturally become long, which they have to fight and loose and at the end get blame for. (There was an officer who also went public on Afghanistan a few weeks back). This was a blunt no. from the real military personnel and not the lobby’s armed chair generals in media and congress.

  77. fyi says:

    kooshy says: February 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    One would hope that Israeli lobby in US would go after General Dempsey; trying to smear him.

    It damages the lobby, no doubt.

  78. kooshy says:

    Here are a few words from BiBI for “the few the proud” or is it for the Elites

    Israeli newspaper Haaretz (“The Land”) is reporting that PM Netanyahu had harsh words for the JCOS commander, saying that his on-the-record comments over postponing any strike are remarks that “served the Iranians.” We will see if the lobby can take the general out.

    Netanyahu calls top US general a servant of Iran
    Published: 21 February, 2012, 22:49

    “The Iranians see there’s controversy between the United States and Israel, and that the Americans object to a military act. That reduces the pressure on them,” a senior Israeli official adds to the paper.”


  79. James Canning says:


    Any mention of Cuba, and the extremely stupid US policy toward that country, should perhaps mention that virtually all European countries have contempt for America’s treatment of Cuba. Canada too, for that matter.

  80. James Canning says:


    A primary driver of American media attention on Iran, Iran, Iran, Iran, is very simple: Bibi Netanyahu wants to continue this ethnic cleansing programme in the West Bank, and to do it in media darkness (in US). Helps give cover to fools in the US Congress who aid and abet the ethnic cleansing programme.

  81. James Canning says:


    Yes, I very much agree the US should have made a major course correction in 2007, after NIE on Iran. Gross incompetence of Condoleezza Rice played a key role in this blunder by the G W Bush administration.

    The Iraq STudy Group had it right in 2006: make deals with Syria and Iran, and pull all US troops out of Iraq asap. Here again, gross incompetence of Condoleezza Rice played key role in Bush’s rejection of this excellent programme.

  82. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: February 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Without Punjabis, Pakistan would not have has its current anti-India posture.

    No doubt.

    The confrontation is not driven by Sindhis or the Muhajir.

    Baloch and Pashtuns are Iranian people that are outside of the borders of the present Iran.

    I actually feel sorry for them; since without Iran and the “Idea of Iran” they remain a marginalized and uncouth people that cannot participate in any meaningful way with the wider world.

  83. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    That is the optimal course of action that Americans and Europeans have.

    Whether they will take it or not is going to become clear in the near future.

    Otherwise, they will be in a worse situation with Iran than with North Korea at the DMZ; war could breakout at any time and on short notice.

    One wonders what the situation would have been if US-EU had chosen a different path in 2007 after the NIE.

    [Status quo ante of 2007 is also no longer possible between US and Iran or between EU and Iran.]

  84. kooshy says:


    A few days back me and RSH were debating on the issue of a possible war between Iran and US, Richards’s argument is that a group of (political, financial) elites will want war since they make money off of wars, which is fine and understandable, my argument was that there would be no war ( short on an incident) till US military is willing to participate no matter how much the elite and the media bark, there are political, financial and media groups that think of Israel first, then there are those who think of themselves first, but it would be dishonest to think that the body of US military is not after the US’s best interests first and foremost and will blindly fallow whatever the political sides demands, It’s under this context that in past few days we saw that current working military and security personality rushed out to stop the escalation and provide a credible cover for those in the administration
    who want to block the Israeli firsters. Basically is NIE 07 all over again, here is an interesting article by Pepe which in humorously is confirming our position.

    Real cowards go to Tehran
    By Pepe Escobar


    “The problem is neither the Obama administration nor key Pentagon generals are convinced this is a good deal.
    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E Dempsey, thinks, “It would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us.”
    And Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Congress last Thursday, “Iran is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict.” No wonder; Dempsey himself admitted that the leadership in Tehran – contrary to relentless neo-con media spin – “is a rational actor”.
    Does this all matter for the neo-cons and their legion of media shills? Not really. Until they find a sucker to fight a war for them – as in a Republican US president – real cowards will keep going to Tehran, all day and all of the night, in their wettest of wet dreams.”

    Till then we will watch and read pundits trying to trigger a war whichever way possible even in a Tonkin way if permitted.

  85. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    When the Civil War was triggered in Lebanon in 1973, the aim was brakup of Lebanon.

    Palestinians (and Armenians, and Chechens) initially declared neutrality.

    But there was repeated provocations against Palestinians until a bus full of Palestinian refugees was stopped by the Cathlolic Christains and all the passengers were murdered.

    That is what caused the Palestinians to enter the Civil War.

    The Shah of Iran and other Middle Eastern leaders were not going to let anyone group win in Lebanon or to partition Lebanon.

    So Axis Powers failed and Arabs eventually got their act together and saved Lebanon.

    But in 1982, they resurrected their plans – but this time they had to intrvene directly through their local allie – Israel.

    That plans was also defeated by Arabs and Iranians.

    So Axis Powers have repeatedly failed in their re-drawing-of-borders attempts.

    But their security and war-driven agenda has prevented the natural development of the Levantine and Persian Gulf states – as weall as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    There are sound strategic resons for the removal of the malignant US-EU power and influence from the Middle East.

    May be they could go and cuddle their “Jewish Fantasy Project” in Palestine while beating their chests about Shoah.

  86. James Canning says:


    I agree with you the US could, and should, retire the nuclear dispute with Iran. Political reality suggests this means accepting Iranian control of nuclear fuel cycle for Bushehr and other nuclear power plants.

  87. James Canning says:


    Let us also remember that Cyrus Vance lied to the American people, to help the US Congress cover up the intentional Israeli attack on the most sophisticated US intelligence vessel possessed by the US Navy.

  88. fyi says:


    Dr. Cordesman’s latest paper:


    Note that, at the very last page, it calls for persistent confrontation with Iran by the United States.

    This is a realistic position for US as no accomodation with Iran, under the current degenerated state of US dometic politics, is to be expected.

    What US could do, is to retire the Nuclear Confrontation with Iran.

    The reason being that the confrontation, in effect, is making it possible for any other state to scuttle US pivot to East Asia (or anywhere else) at a monemt’s notice.

    That is, any other state, including Israel, could cause US to be sucked into an endless religious war in the Middle East.

    This is the strategic choice for the United States.

    In the coming weeks, we shall see where US is going.

  89. James Canning says:


    Bravo. Yes, US aircraft were enroute to the aid of the USS Liberty, while that ship was under intentional attack by Israeli warplanes, when Lyndon Johnson order those planes to return to the carrier. My understanding is that Mossad blackmailed LBJ. The Krims may well have helped to convey the message: let Israel continue killing your sailors, or else.

  90. Fiorangela says:


    Iranian American scientist Ms. Professor Afsaneh Rabiei, creates metal foam. “If we start showing kids what science can be, we can have a better future.”

  91. James Canning says:


    I assume Iranian banks bought little or no Greek government debt. This was a good thing. Two banks in Cyprus are in trouble for having bought a large amount.

  92. James Canning says:


    I do not expect Iran to test a nuclear weapon, so the Saudi contingency plan will not come into effect.

  93. James Canning says:


    Are you actually claiming the UK, France and Germany wanted Lebanon broken into pieces?

    Why did Ronald Reagan withdraw US marines from Lebanon in 1983 if the US was seeking the break-up of Lebanon?

  94. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I am sure that the Iranian leaders are shaking in their boots, learning of that.

    So, the idea is that Saudi Arabia will have operational control over a number of nuclear weapons aimed at Iran.

    In the event of their lauch – against Iran or anyone else – the Pakistani state will be held accountable nonetheless.

    I do not believe that, given the ramifications, there will be no transfer of such weapons to Saudi Arabia.

    In fact, there will be no transfer of any nuclear technologies to any Arab state that does not currently have it from US, EU, Russia, China, or even Pakistan in the foreseeable future (next 20 years).

  95. James Canning says:


    The EU is the largest economy on the planet. And European countries spend far less on “defence” that does the US.

    True, European countries are being obliged to raise the retirement age, in many cases. That this would be necessary was predicted years before the current crisis with the euro, banking etc.

  96. James Canning says:


    My understanding is that the Saudis are producing 12 million per day, and could go higher if they wish.

  97. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Financial Times today, Gideon Rachman says Pakistan is understood to be the source of any nukes the Saudis would buy “off the shelf” if Iran tests a nuke.

  98. Cyrus_2 says:

    Unknown Unknowns

    Thanks for the information.

    After a quick google search the Saudi’s apparently told a few months ago they have ceased their attempts to increase production levels to 15 MBD, leaving even more doubts about their self-proclaimed excess capacity of 2,5 MBD.

    Saudi Arabia has been making excuses for years for their inability to produce more than 10 million barrels of oil per day. This is the latest, and seemingly, the most definitive. They’re publicly stating — for the first time, I think — that they aren’t going to keep up the pretense anymore. Their exploration and drilling program is over, and 10 million barrels is as good as it’s ever going to get.

    Perhaps the more important question is how fast Lybia and Iraq will increase their oil production to pre-war levels.

  99. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: February 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    It certainly is entertaining to watch how all these state actors are knocking themselves out in the periphery of Iran while Iranians are – being isolate and shunned – are carrying out their agenda forward.

    I expect Paksiatn to aide Iran during a war with US, Israel, or both.

  100. Fiorangela says:

    re fyi @ 11:17 am Feb 21 2012

    A PAKISTANI court has issued an arrest warrant for former President Pervez Musharraf over the assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

    Musharraf lives in London and Dubai.
    Dubai seems to be the place to be these days, where the rich go to sequester their ill-gotten assets and hope they have stolen enough to continue to protect their lives from assassins.

    Geo Bush bought a hundred thousand acres in Paraguay, where the livin’ is easy and extradition-free :http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/oct/23/mainsection.tomphillips

  101. Fiorangela says:

    Photi –.

    R H S Stolfi’s biography of Hitler, “Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny” may be THE most important book of this decade.

  102. Rehmat says:

    fyi – lying about Pakistan, again eh!

    It’s Sindhis and not Punjabis who are ruling Pakistan these days. President Asif Ali Zardari is a Sindhi Shia. PPP government in Islamabad has Urdu-speaking MQM from Karachi (Sindh).

    The great majority of Pakistani Baloch are Sunnis while the majority of Iranian Baloch are Shias. The leaders of Pakistan Baloch who are sleeping in Tel Aviv are Sunnis.


  103. Rehmat says:

    kooshy – you’re right. Both the US and EU are bankrupted by continuous imperial wars and greedy 1% fatcats. In the meanwhile, Russia, China, India and Iran are the rising world economic powers. The European realize that EU sanctions will destroy their economies further.

    In America, people are waking-up against aid to Israel and the fatcats in the Wall Street. It’s the social revolution which is hardly reported by the Zionist-controlled mainstream media without villification.


  104. fyi says:

    Castellio says: February 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Iranians had shared with Turkish officials evidence of US help to Kurdish separatists several years ago (2008, I think).

    Repeated Axis Powers to break-up Lebanon and turn a part of it into Palestinian states were defeated – at great cost – by regional states, including Arab states and Iran.

    Likewise in Iraq and now in Syria.

    In regards to Pakistan, Punjabis will crush Balochistan spearatists; I have no doubt.

    By the way, the Bolochi that are being murdered in Balochistan of Paksiatn are mostly Shia Muslims.

  105. Castellio says:

    FYI at 11.17

    Yes, the concept of breaking the middle east into weakened ethnic enclaves continues unabated, and is the driving force of those who are the driving force behind US foreign policy.

    Even as the central US “Federal” government runs roughshod over states rights, and the Israeli government claims to organize and speak for world Jewry, so the obverse policy is pursued for the Islamic peoples.

    The policy of divide and conquer continues. It is called the Lebonization of the Middle East.

  106. fyi says:

    kooshy says: February 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    The Soviet Union also colaapsed rather quickly.

    What you are witnessing now is the economic analogue of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    20 years later and the other pole of the Cold War has disintegrated.

    $ 700 trillion worth of securities cannot be dealt with within a $ 43-trillion (annual) sized world economy.

    Every state on the planet is on its own now.

    Iranians have been very very lucky indeed that US-EU sanctions aimed at destroying their economy were imposed precisely at the time that the UE-US Finance-based economies disintegrated.

  107. kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    February 21, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Is amazing to see, that the speed of decent away from the world fiat currency is getting faster and more rapid, I easily could understand Iran, Russia, China, India, wanting to do away from the dollar trade, but Turkey a NATO semi sovereign state changing her trade and financial behavior with her largest trade partner in defiance and against her own hegemon, and financier is alarming, especially considering that Turkey’s national debt is over 300B denominated in US dollar. May be this her way to pressure down the actual value of her national debt.

  108. fyi says:

    kooshy says: February 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

    This is a sympton of the collapse of the Finance-based economies of US and EU in 2011.

    The US-EU states have sold $ 700 trillion worth of financial instruments to finance their standards of living and other states finally realized that there was nothing there within US-EU to back much (%80 at the very least) if any of all this debt.

    So they are acting to protect themselves.

  109. Fiorangela says:

    Hello Photi.
    Yes Kroenig did his homework and memorized the talking points. He may have gotten the last word but the audience did not throw bouquets.

    Two calls/responses were especially noteworthy: to the woman who mentioned that the British had controlled Iran’s oil, and when Mossadeqh sought to nationalize it and use it for the good of the Iranian people, he was overthrown, Kroenig replied, That’s deep history. Fuggetaboutit. (pssst. Israel’s claim to Palestine is based on a 3000 year old divine land grant. Fuggetaboutit??)

    The second call — devastating, I thought, was the Navy vet who said he was aboard the USS Liberty when Israel attacked it. He said, Israel is no ally, we should cut the strings, let Israel fend for itself.
    In response to this caller Greta relied on her stock “good journalist” response: “What do you know about this? What is the evidence?
    Kroenig had memorized the talking points to respond to USS Liberty questions and fluffed his way through. He did, however, fail to mention Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson’s relationship with the Krims, who were house guests at the White House when the attack occurred:

    “Arthur Krim oral history / LBJ Library (pdf)

    Krim and her husband are implicated in conspiracy circles as having been responsible for the order for US planes to turn back during the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. “Krim has been the chief lobbyist in Washington for the major film companies for many years; he is also a principal fund raiser for the Zionist agitprop network. As a fund raiser, he was also a close friend of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Krim and his wife were house guests of Johnson’s at the White House when the Israelis attacked the U.S. ship of the line, U.S.S. Liberty, killing many of her crew. When other American ships sent planes to aid the Liberty, immediate orders were sent from the White House for the planes to turn back. The Israelis were free to continue their attack for several more hours in a desperate attempt to sink the Liberty, to destroy the radio evidence it had gathered that the Israelis had started the Six-Day War. Although it is generally believed that Krim issued the orders for the U.S. planes to turn back, no investigation was ever made. Johnson is now dead, and they are the only living witnesses in this horrendous example of high treason from the White House. The CIA had known for twenty-four hours that an attack was planned against the Liberty, in the hopes of bringing the U.S. into the war on the side of Israel; faked evidence had already been planted that the attack would come from the “Egyptians.” (Eustace Mullins. Murder by Injection. The Story of the Medical Conspiracy Against America, 1988. “The Profits of Cancer,” pp 92-93.)” http://www.smokershistory.com/AIDSconx.htm

  110. Fiorangela says:

    a little background on Matt Kroenig


    apparently Kroenig fancies himself ‘hot.’ the photos of him on a google search page suggest that he shares the assessment. the google search page shows a photo of the professor and warmonger accompanied by Kate Michael, but on his page concerning his professorship at Georgetown Univ, he posts a photo of himself with Daniela Helfet, with whom, he notes, he is engaged to be married. Compare and contrast — Flynt Leverett’s Penn State Univ. page displays only Flynt’s own mug, no damsel in a black strapless gown. Old school I guess.

    this guy Kroenig’s got issues.
    Interesting that C Span introduced him and ‘labelled’ him on-screen only as member of Council of Foreign Relations, nothing about being a Georgetown professor.

    Maybe the guy is or was about to get the boot from Georgetown & figured he could rake in some easy money to keep well-botoxed women on his arm by pandering to the Saban-Adelson-Dennis Ross mindset. He’s a flash in the pan.

    nb. Greta Woedele Brawner travels — or did travel– in the same set of “beautiful people.” Like Kroenig, Greta Woedele appeared on the cover of a Washington society magazine before her marriage to a junior member of the Brawner family, developers of luxury apartments, high-end housing complexes , and heavy duty road construction in DC area– same portfolio the bin Laden family carries out in a different power center of the world. Greta has one child and appears to be bearing another. Both Brawner & Kroenig are intellectual fly-weights.

  111. kooshy says:

    “Center can’t hold” or as the great American strategist Donald Rumsfeld once said “Stuff happens” now, throwing so much stuff in the center is becoming obvious it no longer can hold

    China, Turkey Signs Currency Swap Deal

    By SELCAN HACAOGLU Associated Press
    ANKARA, Turkey February 21, 2012 (AP)

    “China and Turkey on Tuesday set aside differences on how to deal with the raging violence in Syria and signed a three-year currency swap deal worth $1.6 billion (euro1.2 billion) to enable bilateral trade in local currencies.”

    “The purpose of Xi’s visit to Turkey was to discuss bilateral, regional and international issues, but he was not required to attend any news conference where questions about Syria would no doubt have been asked.”


  112. Photi says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Fior, it seems during the second hour the American sheeple still didn’t get the hint that we are supposed to see Iran as the evil one. Caller after caller identified Israel as the one stoking this fire. Matthew Kroenig is skilled and precise in his talking points, so careful not to step on Israel. He thinks a military attack on Iran can remain “surgical”. Why is someone so young helping to lead this nation into a major war everyone will regret? Does he really have the wisdom to weigh in on these dense matters?

  113. Dan Cooper says:

    The idea that the US is a democracy when it most definitely does not have a free watchdog press is laughable.

    But the media is not laughing. It is lying. Just like the government, every time the US mainstream media opens its mouth or writes one word, it is lying.

    Indeed, its corporate masters pay its employees to tell lies. That is their job. Tell the truth, and you are history like Buchanan and Napolitano and Helen Thomas.

    Last week in one fell swoop the last two remaining critics of Washington/Tel Aviv imperialism were removed from the mainstream media. Judge Napolitano’s popular program, Freedom Watch, was cancelled by Fox TV, and Pat Buchanan was fired by MSNBC. Both pundits had wide followings and were appreciated for speaking frankly.

    Many suspect that the Israel Lobby used its clout with TV advertisers to silence critics of the Israeli government’s efforts to lead Washington to war with Iran.

    Regardless, the point before us is that the voice of the mainstream media is now uniform;

    Americans hear one voice, one message, and the message is propaganda.

    As a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy. IAEA inspectors are permanently in Iran and report no diversion of nuclear material to a weapons program.

    In other words, according to the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the US National Intelligence Estimate, and the current Secretary of Defense, there is no evidence that Iran has nukes or is making nukes. Yet, Obama has placed illegal sanctions on Iran and continues to threaten Iran with military attack on the basis of an accusation that is contradicted by all known evidence.

    Very good article By Paul Craig Roberts


  114. Rehmat says:

    Israeli TV Channel 10 aired Thursday night a request received by Israeli radical Jew prime minister Benji Netanyahu from a senior member of the US-Qatar funded Wahabi rebel group ‘Syrian National Council (SNC)’ – seeking Jewish military help to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus.

    In his message, SNC member in Turkey Khaled Khoja considered that the Zionist entity’s benefit lies in toppling the Syrian regime which “works for Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas”.

    Khoja stressed that keeping the Assad regime is a victory to the Islamic Republic, and is an implementation to its constant threats to wipe the Zionist regime off the map.

    The SNC rebels are being armed and trained in Turkey by French, Israelis with financial support provided by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

    The anti-Assad rebels are losing ground due to the active support Damascus regime is receiving from Russia, China, Iran and Hizbullah. Renowned French columnist, author and anti-war activist, Thierry Meyssan, on Monday appeared on a leading Russian television saying that West’s eleven-month-long proxy war in Syria is doomed to failure.

    The Zionist-controlled mainstream media has been falsely portrayed to the Western public as a political revolution crushed in blood by a ruthless dictatorship. Of course, this lie has not been universally accepted. Russia, China and the Latin American and Caribbean member states of ALBA repudiate it. They each have a historical background that allows them to readily grasp what is at stake. The Russians have Chechnya in mind, the Chinese think of Xinjiang, and the Latin Americans of Cuba and Nicaragua. In all these cases, beyond ideological or religious appearances, the methods of destabilization by the CIA were the same.

    All it took to turn “terrorists” into “democrats” was for Western secret services to arrange for the puppet “Syrian National Council” to enter the scene, with a Sorbonne professor as President and as spokesperson the mistress of the former head of the DGSE. In a sleight of hand, the lie has become a media reality.

    However, the low intensity war that the Western press and the Gulf have hidden behind this masquerade has come to an end with the double veto by Russia and China on 4 February 2012. NATO and its allies were ordered to cease fire and withdraw, at the risk of sparking a war on a regional, or even global, scale.

    On February 7, 2012 – at the presidential palace, the Russian delegation joined those of other states, including Turkey, Iran and Lebanon. A series of agreements were reached to re-establish peace. Syria has returned 49 military instructors captured by the Syrian army. Turkey intervened to obtain the release of the abducted Iranian engineers and pilgrims, including those held by the French (incidentally, Lieutenant Tlass who sequestered them on behalf of the DGSE was liquidated). Turkey has ceased all support for the “Free Syrian Army,” closed down its facilities (except the one on the NATO base at Incirlik), and turned over its commander, Colonel Riad el-Assad. Russia, which is the guarantor of the agreements, has been allowed to reactivate the former Soviet listening base on Mount Qassioum.

    The next day, the US State Department informed the Syrian opposition in exile that it could no longer count on its military aid. Realizing that they have betrayed their country to no avail, the Syrian National Council members went in search of new sponsors. One of them even went so far as to write to Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to invade Syria.


  115. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: February 21, 2012 at 7:18 am

    In fact, no oil producing state’s claims of oil reserves can be trusted.

  116. fyi says:


    The unilaterla moment and the Siege War against Cuba:


    Cuba lives in spite of the sanctions that aimed to kill her people by preventing her from importing food or medicine.

  117. Fiorangela says:

    well well well
    C Span Wash Journal that fairest and bestest of all media available to Americans, will give Matt Kroenig an hour this morning, 9:00-10)) EST, to explain to the sheeple why it is a good idea to kill Iranians.

    Greta Brawner did her best to swing the first 34 minutes of the Washington Journal program to a “blame Iran for high gas prices” forum, but people who called failed to get the message! One after another callers pointed out that
    a) US has plenty of gas and oil — US = #1 in oil reserves, etc.;
    b) speculators are bidding up the prices;
    c) very little of US consumed oil comes thru Straits of Hormuz — only about 5%; most oil that transits Straits goes to Europe, Japan
    d) US has enough oil, in fact, it exports oil.

    So few people would follow Cheerleader Greta Brawner’s “Iran is evil and causing gas prices to rise so we should kill Iranians” chant that even after she repeated it four or five times, still callers sang another tune: “speculators on Wall Street are driving up prices; they did it before; throw the bums out.” Brawner is quick to cut off any callers who seem to make too much sense or whom (one can only speculate) mention that the first time we experienced a major gas shock was when US intervened to save Israel’s bacon and OPEC retaliated by constraining oil supply — all OPEC states except IRAN, that is. The Shah continued to supply oil to the markets, a move that the Iranian people reacted to by protesting in the streets.

    Eager to hear what callers will say in the 9-10 hour with Matt Kroenig.

  118. Unknown Unknowns says:


    Its good that you keep up with that stuff. Were you aware that the government’s budget for fiscal 1391 increased defense spending by 127%? I suspect that a lot of that increase will go toward sustained hi-tech programs. Also, with it looking like the price of oil is only going to go up from its current level of $100 – $120/ barrel, and with Iranian non-oil exports skyrocketing (China, India, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Latin America), I suspect that the high-tech sectors including nanotech and biotech and pharma will get the funding they need, inshallah.

    That is kinda why the US can’t afford to attack Iran, but in the medium term (10 to 20 years) it can’t afford NOT to attack Iran.

  119. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Cyrus 2:
    If you look at this chart


    you will see that the figure for December, which is indeed lower than Novembers, is still higher than most of the other months of the previous year, as November’s was a peak month. However, I think your question is a very important one (has Saudi production capacity peaked?). And you are right: many (“peak oil”) analysts have claimed that Saudi has indeed peaked, is fudging its numbers, and certainly does not have any excess capacity.

    I don’t know whether the peak oil advocates are right or not (I know William Engdhal does not believe in the theory, and he is a lot more knowledgeable that I will ever be on the subject), but I do know that the US economy has been in “recession” since at least 2007/8 and probably since as far back as 2000, and that the Japanese economy and European economies have been dragging along at a snail’s pace. So then what explains oil prices being sustained at an incredible $100/ barrel? Simple supply and demand would tell you that if demand is steady or down and the price is up (and way up), that supply must be down. So far so good. But the numbers do not show world supply as contracting. So I have no idea.

    This page probably gives as good a picture as you’re gonna get on the status of Ghawar, the world’s most important and most productive oil field, which is of course located in Arabia.


    Nugget: almost a decade ago,

    “Saudi Aramco is injecting a staggering 7 million barrels of sea water per day back into Ghawar, the world’s largest oilfield, in order to prop up pressure. It accounts for 30% of Saudi oil reserves and up to 70% of daily output.” “Doubts grow about Saudi As Global Swing Producer,” Aberdeen Press & Journal Energy, April 5, 2004, p. 15

  120. masoud says:

    I didn’t know until quite recently that there are people out there in the current age who lionize Yezid ibn Muawiyah. But then I googled ‘illeterate saudi’ hoping to find a humorous compliation video I saw posted somewhere a couple of days ago. And I saw this:


    I really couldn’t beleive my eyes. Not only do these people exist, they sound a whole lot like Obama supporters justifying drone strikes.

    Imagine my surprise when I learnt next that in Syira, it turns out there’s a whole batallions of them:


    Maybe the that battalion of marines in Afghanistan who posed whith that SS flag just needed someone to make the seem reasonable?
    This is cartoonishly insane. Things are going to get worse in Syria before they get better.

  121. Arnold Evans says:


    Mitchell’s name didn’t bring that association to me, but she was not advocating a war. She brought up the US government assessment that Iran has not made a decision to actually make a weapon, which her guest claims not to be able to know.

    Maybe she’ll have a different message next year or two or five years from now, but for now she, in her communication with US policy-makers, does not believe war would serve US or Israeli interests.

    As long as that is the case for most of the active and retired generals who speak on the issue publicly, war is not plausible.

    Only when people like her begin to change their message, and begin claiming that an attack on Iran would be useful, will there be a serious concern that a US attack on Iran may be taking shape. For now, no.

  122. kooshy says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    February 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    By the way Andrea Mitchell, is the wife of Alan Greenspan former chairman of Federal Reserve Bank and presumably one of the “ruling elites” (who will make more money asking for fresh new wars instead of keep making money on current ongoing ones) as well as being a very high caliber Jewish media personality.

  123. WTF says:

    Despite tough talk on Iran, Israeli homefront could be pummeled by devastating counterattack


    Skepticism about Israel’s ability to defend itself runs deep here. Israelis still remember Iraqi Scuds landing in the center of the country 20 years ago. In 2006, the Lebanese Hezbollah militia seemed able to rain rockets at will during a monthlong conflict with the Jewish state. A scathing government report issued months ago suggested the homefront is still woefully unprepared.

    In a questionably timed move, the Cabinet minister in charge of civil defense in recent days resigned to become the ambassador to faraway China.


    Experts believe the experience of the 2006 war against Hezbollah, in which the guerrillas rained 4,000 rockets onto Israel, is just a small taste of what could lie ahead. The chief of military intelligence recently said that Israel’s enemies now have some 200,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.

    Leaders believe that Israel’s main cities would be targeted by more sophisticated, longer-range missiles.

    The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a sensitive security matter, said intelligence reports indicate that Tel Aviv military headquarters will be targeted and an alternative site for military headquarters is being prepared.

    Defense Minister Ehud Barak has estimated that an Iranian attack would claim fewer than 500 Israeli casualties — a statement intended to calm the nation, but which has achieved the opposite effect.

  124. WTF says:

    Iran Warns U.S. as Syria Intensifies Crackdown


    “The presence of Iran and Russia’s flotillas along the Syrian coast has a clear message against the United States’ possible adventurism,” said Hossein Ebrahimi, a vice chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, Fars reported.

    “In case of any U.S. strategic mistake in Syria, there is a possibility that Iran, Russia and a number of other countries will give a crushing response to the U.S.,” said Mr. Ebrahimi, according to Fars.

    Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican who was in Afghanistan on Sunday, told reporters there that he was in favor of arming the Syrian opposition, while stressing that no direct American involvement was necessary. In Cairo on Monday, he repeated that position.

  125. Photi says:

    *what i meant to say was that he gives us some of his anti-Iran propaganda at the end, the entire piece on his part is propaganda.

  126. Photi says:

    i am not sure if the following CNN story (via mondoweiss for me) has already been highlighted here, so here it is. The main part of the interview is well worth watching, but at the end Regev spurts off a few hasbarist soundbytes to feed his war machine. Much respect to the anchor woman. Her line of questioning is not an easy one to pursue without getting all flustered (or fired!).

    As a quick response to Mr. Regev, I have not seen what Iran has been doing over the last week, but I have seen what Israel and the Zionists have been doing in the region for well over 60 years. Anyone with over a book of knowledge on the Middle East knows who the real culprits are. Idiots you are for taking on the Muslim world. Count yourselves as lucky the peace-loving Muslims have been so restrained. My guess is this restraint will not obtain forever.


  127. kooshy says:

    Reza Esfandiari says:
    February 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Reza, I don’t think you should take Ray serious he’s running out of arguments to justify his position, so he’s dusting off and taking out old 03 justifications for why Iran not needing to even have civilian nuclear power program, after 9000 centrifuges spinning and first fuel plates are placed in TRR, so he likes to thinks what goes up can come down, one needs to tell him so can the western demands however ridicules they might be.

  128. Arnold Evans says:


    If you don’t see any civilian cloth retired generals it’s because it’s not time yet.

    Well another thing is that they are not lying. The active and retired generals who supported attacking Iraq thought that attacking Iraq would help the US. So did the generals who supported attacking Afghanistan.

    This is not a situation where they expected the US’ position to be harmed but advocated it anyway.

    When the active and retired generals think attacking Iran would help the US’ position, then a US attack becomes plausible. But that has not happened yet. Maybe one day it will be the case, we’ll know by what the generals are saying in public. For now, a US attack on Iran is not plausible.

  129. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Takeyh is such an idiot. He claims Iran doesn’t need a nuclear energy program because its uranium ore reserves are insufficient to maintain it. Does he not realize that a country like France , which relies heavily on nuclear power for its energy needs, possesses hardly any uranium of its own and has to import yellowcake?

    But he is right to point out the paranoia of the administration towards enrichment. Apparently, the United States wants to prevent the South Koreans from pursuing their own enrichment program even though they have every right to do so:


    So even a U.S ally is being warned and threatened.

  130. kooshy says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    February 20, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Precisely, threat of war becomes more credible once you start to see the paid retired generals are hired and brought back by the news channels obviously on military’s recommendation to prepare the public for a military undertaking. If you don’t see any civilian cloth retired generals it’s because it’s not time yet.

  131. Arnold Evans says:

    Andrea Mitchell, a well known US journalist and her guest Aaron Miller, a former State Department negotiator, both express the opinion in an interview that sanctions and military strikes would both fail to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons capabilities.

    The only reason to push sanctions is that they have low cost to Americans, other than higher gas prices. Attacking Iran, with its more visible costs of lost lives, deteriorating strategic position, and long term strategic damage to Israel if Israel’s population centers come under fire is understood by both to be a bad idea.

    Hack: The US media favored, by large margins, both the attacks on Afghanistan and on Iraq before they happened. Maybe one day US news organizations will favor attacking Iran based on what they are told by US generals, the way they did Iraq and Afghanistan. Until then the US will not attack Iran.


  132. Al-Qaeda may be fueling violence in Syria

    Note that they’re saying this to complain about pulling out of Iraq “too soon”…

  133. Upon return to Israel, Druze students say Syria crisis isn’t all that it seems


    “We’re neither journalists nor inspectors,” answered one female student, before getting into her parents’ car. “We have nothing to say.”

    Others had something to say, but it wasn’t what one might have expected.

    “There was a feeling of uncertainty, people are very confused,” said Nadar Khalabi, who studies Arabic literature.

    “I went out to the street when I heard there was a demonstration, but I didn’t see anyone,” he said. “A large part of the pictures and reports from Syria are not reliable, at least that was our impression.”

    Another student, Wissam Safdy, agreed. “I went to the al-Mazzah neighborhood in Damascus when there were reports of demonstrations, but I didn’t see anything,” he said. “We don’t know what’s happening, but in Damascus things are calm, and the prevailing feeling is that in the end Syria will come out of this crisis.”

    End Quote

  134. Arnold Evans says:

    All I see is “0 comments” at Haaretz.

  135. Rehmat: “Mossad agents came to Jordan to train al-Qaeda officials”

    That last part I don’t buy at all. There is no way Al Qaeda personnel will work with Mossad – unless they didn’t know they were Mossad, which is possible but unlikely.

  136. US threatening Latin America with sanctions now…

    ‘LatAm nations looking for Iran ties, playing with fire’

  137. No evidence provided, but it sure wouldn’t be a surprise if true…

    Reports reveal Saudi-US anti-Syria plot devised in 2008

  138. Syria’s sectarian war goes international as foreign fighters and arms pour into country

    This raises a question I raised before: to what degree is the Syrian military having trouble defeating the insurgents? One report said that the military are expending too much time on Homs which leaves other areas of the country to organize and arm. Supposedly it is because the military cannot leave Homs “in its rear” – which makes no sense to me since by definition the whole country is “in its rear”.

    But it does suggest that Assad is between a rock and a hard place – unable to defeat the insurgents definitively without creating more of them and in addition creating more international pressure as a result of such a crackdown. While in the meantime the insurgents are getting stronger by the addition of foreign fighters and arms.

    There is no solution to this situation. It has a momentum of its own and cannot be stopped.

    The issue now is how will it develop. Will Assad commit more and more forces and kill more civilians in collateral damage like his father? And if so, how fast will this turn into what the West already views as a “humanitarian crisis” demanding explicit US/NATO intervention?

    In Libya, there was zero evidence of any “massacres” being committed and yet the US and NATO intervened with the result of some 30,000 dead. The Syrian situation appears to be much worse at this point after many more months of violence.

    Despite the Russia/China UNSC veto, a UN General Assembly vote passed overwhelmingly against Syria. This provides the political cover if not legal authorization for the US and NATO to move against Syria.

    At the moment, observers suggest that the US is more interested in arming the insurgents than in direct military intervention. Which is why the question to me is whether the insurgents have any chance of actually tying down the Syrian military and thus prolonging the violence. Because the longer the violence goes on, it means one of two things: either the Syrian military is losing, or the insurgents are NOT losing.

    This is the usual situation in insurgencies in history. As long as the insurgents do not lose, they win. As long as the government forces do not win, they lose. Thus, in the long run, the insurgencies usually win – as long as they have sufficient popular support to not actually lose. It would appear in Syria that they do have sufficient popular support to not lose – and in addition they are being supported from foreign sources.

    And in this case, the longer the violence goes on, the more likely there is for a direct foreign intervention.

    I remain convinced that the US and NATO will be bombing Syria before or during the summer. Either that or the insurgents will be reinforced with sufficient foreign covert intervention as to make it impossible for the Syrian military to win.

    In the latter case, all this changes is the timetable for regime change in Syria. And since the whole point of Syrian regime change is to weaken Hizballah in Lebanon and allow Israel to attack Hizballah to weaken them further, I don’t see this going on much longer without direct foreign intervention.

    Israel doesn’t want to wait another year or two years for Syria to be weakened enough to allow the Iran war. So the Syria situation has to be resolved this year.

    Another reason is that a US election year, while not necessarily ideal for Israel to attack Iran, is definitely ideal for Israel to 1) attack Gaza again, and/or 2) to attack Hizballah again. But the latter needs the cover of a US/NATO bombing campaign in Syria otherwise the IDF will be forced to engage both Hizballah and Syrian forces.

    Israel knows that if it attacks Gaza or Lebanon in an election year, neither of the US parties will complain about it without risking the other party taking advantage of it. In 2008, Israel attacked Gaza immediately after the elections and closed the operation down prior to Obama’s inauguration. A similar situation may obtain this year.

    It may be, however, that the US has told Israel or that Israel has figured out that 1) the Syrian insurgency will pin down Syrian forces enough by summer to enable an Israeli attack on Lebanon without a direct US/NATO bombing campaign, and 2) that Israeli forces, as part of the Lebanon operation, can be used to engage Syrian forces in support of the insurgencies in order to achieve regime change in Syria.

    In any event, it seems clear that the “two birds with one stone” operation is the end game.

  139. Nice map of US interventions since WWII. Mostly the US hasn’t bombed itself! And a handful of African countries…and one country in South America…and Canada…Otherwise the US has either bombed or assassinated people or overthrown governments just about everywhere else in the world.

    So now we’re NOT going to bomb Iran? I don’t think so…

    US Interventions in the World since WW II

  140. Top Ten Ways Iran is Defying US, EU Oil Sanctions and How You are Paying for It All

    Juan Cole also mentions the China deal based solely on Iran’s report.

  141. Can Iran Defeat US, Zionist Regime in Psychological War


    US has always used Zionist regime as a pressure tool in case of military threat against Iran…

    In addition to the remarks by US, Zionist regime officials, changes in Zionist regime army and replacement of a warmongering commander Major General Ido Nehushtan with a moderate one Major-General Amir Eshel last week as the new head of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) showed that Tel-Aviv is trying to take distance from the hawkish tactics. International observers look upon this change as a strategic shift because Nehushtan was one of the advocates of military attack on Iran and on the contrary, Eshel is against such actions.

    End Quotes

  142. Rehmat says:

    Turkey and Israel united against Syria

    Iranian FARS news agency reported this weekend that 49 Turkish intelligence officers have been captured by the Syrian army and that Turkey has been conducting intensive negotiations with Syria in order to secure the intelligence officers’ release. Seven of the captured Turkish officers have confessed that they were trained by Israel’s Mossad and given instructions to carry out bombings to undermine the country’s security. According to the Syrians, one of the Turkish officers said that Mossad also trains soldiers from the Free Syrian Army and that Mossad agents came to Jordan to train al-Qaeda officials to send to Syria to carry out attacks. On February 4, Nasser al-Ariqi, a Saudi Arabian spy was also arrested in Homs.


  143. Maybe we’ll find out exactly how the UK comes down on Iran, ignoring Canning’s nonsense:

    John Baron MP secures House of Commons debate on Iran


    John Baron MP has secured a House of Commons full-day debate on Monday (20th February) on Iran. John has tabled a motion calling on the Government to rule out the use of force and to redouble diplomatic efforts in order to reduce tensions. He intends to divide the House to test the view and will of Parliament. This will be the first specific debate on Iran for many years.

    End Quote

    Read the rest – this guy gets it.

  144. Eric: My understanding of the articles I’ve posted is that China will take 240,000 barrels on one side and somewhat less than 260,000 barrels on the other side, but the exact cut is not known.

    I think where the 500,000 figure comes from is an Iranian official saying it could ramp up to that. In any event, the two figures above come close to that. In other words, I suspect the Iranians are spinning the amount of the cut, and indeed it’s not clear how big the cut actually is.

  145. Eric: On the China oil deal, I’ve found this, which is equally unclear…It also references the Iranian Mehr report as to the 500,000 figure.

    UPDATE: National Iranian Oil Co., China Reach Agreement On 2012 Crude Supply

    This article says it will definitely be less for at least one Chinese company but remain the same for the other:

    UPDATE 2-China’s Unipec to take less Iran oil in 2012

    Meanwhile China and Iran make deals for new oil refineries:

    Iran woos China for oil, gas cash

  146. Brett says:

    Israel is getting angry that US dont follow their demans and aims on Iran.


    Just imagine if US had the power to say, “Israel, we wont support you in any attack, in fact we will cut economic aid off if you do that, you are on your own”. That would have solved all this in one day because Israel wouldnt have attacked unless US give its acceptance.

  147. China can also cut deals with Iran on arms shipments and technology transfer to offset the actual price paid for its oil. China tells Iran, “Cut us some slack on the oil price, and we’ll cut you some slack on these arms or missile plans over here.”

  148. Gash: “Angelina Jolie’s father is of course John Voight which is pro Israel”

    Yeah, but Angie and her father don’t get along. They haven’t spoken in years.

    She’s visited Palestinian refugees in Jordan in the past.

    Angelina Jolie gives voice to Palestinian refugees in Jordan

  149. Brett says:

    To all.

    I would encourage all to email columnists, journalists and alike that spread disinformation about this issue (if you not already are doing that). Atleast then we could perhaps move a few people in the right direction and to show that you dont accept reckless warmongering and prove them that they are wrong with facts. Everyday I see more and more outrageous claims that will not be established as facts if people like us counter them.

  150. James Canning says:


    You are welcome.

    Philip Stephens has an excellent review in Feb. 20th Financial Times, of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s new book. Article: “The US can learn to live with chaos”. (ft.com)

  151. Brett says:

    James Thank you very much for checking Haaretz, I also see 0 comments and that 47 one. So I guess there is some trouble at Haaretz.

  152. James Canning says:

    A piece on Saudi Arabia’s effort to pressure Israel to get rid of its nukes:

    “Saudi Arabia may need nuclear weapons to fend off threat from Iran and Israel, says former intelligence chief”


    American newspapers do not like to print stories about Saudi efforts to get rid of Israeli nukes.

  153. James Canning says:


    I saw “0 comments” below five stories on Haaretz, and “47 comments” below one story.

  154. Nasser says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    “Further to Nasser and fyi’s discussion re: Russian technology transfer, today the Russian Hi-Tech Fair opened in Iran with the participation of 53 Russian companies. I don’t know if any jet engines are being offered, but I did hear today also that it was announced in Iran’s Aerospace Conference that Iran has developed its own first small jet engine.”

    – I have followed this issue with great interest for quite some time. The engines you are referring to is called Tolou 4/5, I believe. This happened done a LONG time ago, in 1998, I believe. It is a reverse engineered small turbojet engine called MicroTurbo TRI 60. These are what used to power their cruise missiles and UAVs. I have very good reason to believe that it was China and not Russia that taught Iran how to do this.

    – To this day I haven’t seen Iran make a small (let alone large) turbofan engine. This is something Iran needs if they are to reverse engineer the Kh-55s they obtained from Ukraine.

    – But in recent years, I have seen Iran make some great strides in precision engineering and propulsion science.





    This technology was obtained from the Europeans and South Koreans and not from the Russians. Now this is not the same as creating jet engines but a lot of it is …you guessed it, America’s favorite word, dual use. But Iran never got the wherewithal together to put this technology into making jet engines. That would require large steady funding. Iran wants to accomplish great things and do it on the cheap. That is simply not possible.

  155. Brett says:

    Couldnt just anyone check if they see comments on Haaretz


    or if it say “0 comments”?

  156. Rd. says:

    Eric A. Brill says:

    Rd. says:
    February 20, 2012 at 10:41 am
    Can you give us a link to the article reporting the 500,000-barrel Iran/China oil deal? Thank you.

    Sorry, I just had the article from bhadrakumar , however, WJS has this;

    “Unipec’s latest agreement with NIOC indicates that a decline in Iranian crude exports to China earlier this year was due to a commercial dispute rather than political reasons. The deal is another sign that China has no immediate plans to obey U.S. sanctions, which were tightened late last year to increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear activities. “


  157. James Canning says:


    I would add, that foolish attacks made against Saudi Arabia, hardly help the Saudis with their programme of pressuring Israel to get rid of the nukes.

  158. James Canning says:


    You apparently fail to bear in mind American newspapers do not report Saudi efforts to force Israel to get rid of its nukes.

  159. James Canning says:


    Have you forgotten the conference in Vienna late last year, on ways and means of achieving a Middle East free of nukes? And how to pressure Israel to get rid of its nukes?

    What would you propose the Saudis do?

  160. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Financial Times (European edition) today, Edward Luce noted that Bibi Netanyahu will be in Washington in two weeks. Netanyahu is “Mr Obama’s least-favorite foreign leader”. Luce quotes Daniel Levy, a former adviser to Ehud Barak: “Netanyahu is a Republican.” Luce notes that Israelis see Sheldon Adelson as one of Netanyahu’s closes allies. Adelson has given Newt Gingrich many millions of dollars.

  161. kooshy says:


    This is from the Forbes article I linked earlier (bellow) looks like Iran exported 560k BPD last year if 500k correct looks like the sales remains around the same, I originally read the story today in Persian but I can’t find it now, it did say a team from Iran is due in China this week to sign the final contract. If you notice looks like there are two numbers a 240K and a new 220K adding to 460k PBD and I think there is a 60K NG PD as well. Looks that the two sides are making different presentation one to show the total which looks like an increase and the other side braking the numbers down to support a decrease. Like my professor of architecture use to say the devil is in details.

    “China also has no plans to join the EU and U.S. embargo on Iranian oil exports. On Monday, Reuter’s reports that Iran has agreed to sell 240,000 barrels per day to China’s state oil trader Zhuhai Zhenrong in 2012. Just this past Thursday, Iran’s National Iranian Oil Co. agreed with its largest Chinese buyer, a division of state-controlled Sinopec, to supply 220,000 barrels per day to its Unipec subsidiary. Iran exported about 560,000 barrels a day to China last year, a big chunk of Iran’s daily oil production of 4 million barrels per day, and 20% of all Iranian oil exports.”

  162. Pirouz says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Eric, that claim was was also made by PressTV:


    Admittedly, that doesn’t pass your requirement as a confirmation.

  163. Nahid,

    The link you gave me was to a blog. The blog, in turn, referred to “Dow Jones newswires” reports, but gave no link. The “Dow Jones newswires” reports I found on my own, as they appeared in the Wall Street Journal, don’t confirm the 500,000-barrel-a-day number, though they do mention, as do several other articles, that this quantity has been reported in Iranian news sources.

    Bottom line, I’m still not finding any confirmation of this 500,000-barrel-a-day number from non-Iranian sources, and I’m reading a number of accounts about the Iran/China contract that say quantities were not mentioned. Nor have I read any story, even from Iranian sources, stating that the Iranian government has confirmed this 500,000-barrel-a-day number, or mentioned any quantity at all.

    If this this 500,000-barrel-a-day contract report is true, it strikes me as important. That is why it surprises me that more people here don’t seem terribly concerned about figuring out whether such reports are reliable. Blog entries are fine for many purposes, but the reporting of details about long-term Iran/China oil supply contracts is not one of them.

    So that other readers can judge for themselves, I’m quoting below what the “Dow Jones newswires” reports in the Wall Street Journal:


    BEIJING (Dow Jones)–National Iranian Oil Co. has reached an agreement in principle with China International United Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Unipec, for a long-term supply contract to supply crude oil in 2012, a person familiar with Iran’s oil sales said Thursday.

    The deal paves the way for the resumption of imports by China’s largest buyer of Iranian crude, which had already skipped orders in January and February due to deadlock over a new contract.

    Unipec’s latest agreement with NIOC indicates that a decline in Iranian crude exports to China earlier this year was due to a commercial dispute rather than political reasons. The deal is another sign that China has no immediate plans to obey U.S. sanctions, which were tightened late last year to increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear activities.

    The European Union already has agreed to completely ban imports of Iranian crude from July, but Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea are still deciding whether to cut their orders. India has said it will continue to import crude from Iran as it abides by U.N. sanctions only and not sanctions by any country or bloc.

    Although terms of the new contract between NIOC and Unipec are unclear, last year’s contract was for 220,000 barrels a day of crude and 60,000 barrels a day of condensate, a light crude that can be used to make premium fuels such as kerosene and naphtha, from Iran’s South Pars field.

    The volumes represented about half of Iran’s crude exports to China in 2011, which totaled about 560,000 barrels a day.

    Sinopec Corp., the parent company of Unipec, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

    Iran’s state-run Mehr news agency reported Wednesday that the country’s deputy oil minister, along with an Iranian delegation, traveled to Beijing earlier this week to negotiate a new crude supply contract and other joint projects in oil, gas and petrochemicals.

    Although crude sales to China fell by as much as 250,000 barrels a day earlier this year, shipments will likely rise back to above 500,000 barrels a day in the next few weeks, Mehr reported.

    Beijing has steadfastly defended its relationship with Iran, the third-largest supplier of crude to its energy-hungry economy. China, meanwhile, is Iran’s largest customer, consuming roughly one-fifth of its oil exports.

    -By Wayne Ma, Dow Jones Newswires


  164. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: February 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    If Iranians have to, absolutely have to, they could use the spent fuel from TRR to separate out plutonium.

    There is 40 years of spent fuel there in Tehran.

  165. Gash says:

    Arnold Evans

    I think there could be some actions that could change Iran.

    More assassinations or even “secret” bombings of facilities or that the economy goes to the bottom.

  166. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: February 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Dr. Abbasi has publicly stated that Arak will fueled before 2015 is out.

  167. Kooshy and Unknown Unknowns,

    On the sources of the story about the Iran/China 500,000-barrel-a-day contract:

    The article Kooshy cited was published in China, but its only stated source is an article in the Tehran Times.

    The Bhadrakumar piece that UU mentioned was just a blog entry. Its only stated source was a link to another blog entry, apparently one in China, but it didn’t give any source for its claim and stated near the end of the blog entry that official reports of the new Iran/China contract did not disclose quantities. This naturally begs the question: What makes the writer believe the quantity is 500,000 barrels a day?

    I don’t mean to suggest that Iranians sources are making this up, but I’d find it more persuasive if the reports came from someone for whom this would be bad news rather than good news (i.e. the Western press). When an anti-Iran story appears, I always find it much more convincing when the story has been confirmed by a reputable Iranian source, rather than merely appearing as an unsourced statement in some New York Times article.

  168. nahid says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    lI did copy with blank bitween

  169. Arnold Evans says:

    James Canning says:
    February 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    The Saudis are also keen on Israel’s being pressured to sign the NPT and get rid of Israeli nukes.

    Keen enough to do what? Nothing?

    That is what you would expect from a colony, but not from a representative government of a country that is almost entirely devout Muslims.

  170. nahid says:

    ,http://blogs. rediff. com/mkbhadrakumar/ category/diplomacy/

  171. Arnold Evans says:

    It seems like we’ve almost reached if we have not already reached the enrichment endgame.

    I agree with fyi that there’s nothing Iran wants from the US or EU that they could trade for giving up enrichment. And sanctions don’t change that.

    The next question is when will Iran be able to put its heavy water reactor on line?

    If I had to guess, based on nothing except that Iran is a relatively small country that will have to produce all of the components domestically because of US international pressure, Arak will not be able to produce separated plutonium at Arak until 2020.

    Long before then Iran will have produced plenty of 3.5% and 20% LEU and may well have unilaterally frozen or slowed LEU production just because more would not be helpful.

  172. Gash says:


    Well of course its not realistic because they wont put pressure on Israel to do it. Even if there was two states Israel/Palestine, Israel wouldnt give up its nukes and US wouldnt do anything about it, just using the same rhetoric used today.

  173. James Canning says:


    The Saudis are also keen on Israel’s being pressured to sign the NPT and get rid of Israeli nukes.

  174. James Canning says:


    I would not expect Hugh Tomlinson to disclose this. He was told, in Riyadh this month, the Saudis would do this within weeks. I personally would hope buying nukes off the shelf is not easily accomplished.

  175. kooshy says:

    Eric here you go

    Iran to rev up oil exports to China
    By He Shan, February 20, 2012


  176. James Canning says:


    I suggest you review some of the comments made by Ellen Tauscher, who is Obama’s lead person in this area. Or comments by Malcolm Rifkind, who helps to form British policy in this area. Both say that it is unrealistic to expect Israel to get rid of its nukes before Israel/Palestine problem is resolved.

    Personally, I agree with you that Israel should be pressured to sign the NPT and get rid of its nukes. Most Israelis apparently are willing.

  177. James wrote to fyi:

    “Are you claiming the Saudis are lying when they say they will buy nukes “off the shelf” within weeks of any Iranian test of a nuclear device?”

    I didn’t know one could buy nukes “off the shelf.” Whose shelf might that be?

  178. Gash says:

    James Canning

    Sure they could if they want push Israel to denuclearize.

  179. James Canning says:


    “Jealousy and loss of power”, as reason for confidence in Pakistan? Interesting. But this does not explain A Q Khan’s activities of a few years ago.

  180. James Canning says:

    The front page of The Times (London) Feb. 10th had an important story: “Wafic Said’s secret peace mission to Syria”, by Laura Pitel. Wafic Said for years tried to improve Syria’s relations with the UK. Last July, Said sent a top British lawyer to Syria to meet with Bashar al-Assad, who had expressed interest in obtaining advice on how to work toward opening the government of Syria to wider participation.

    Quote: “The meeting last year was the latest in a long-line of British attempts to reach out to President Assad since he succeeded his father to the presidency in 2000.” The lawyer sent by Said was Sir Jeffrey Jowell. QC, a leading expert in public law.

  181. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Jealousy and loss of power.

  182. James Canning says:


    Do you have any grounds for confidence in Pakistan?

  183. James Canning says:


    How often have I condemned the US Congress for being collective stooges of Aipac and other extremist elements of the ISRAEL LOBBY?

    I too thought Ahmadinejad was quite right to seek to initiate negotiations with the “six parties” last September.

  184. kooshy says:

    Don’t you dare to blame US/EU for any increase on the price of oil, it’s all China and Iran’s fault not us, on a goodwill proposes we decided to embargo import of Iranian oil in turn the monster Iranians with the help of China flatly increased your price at the pump.

    Blame Iran and China for Rising Gas Prices

  185. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Who will sell them such weapons?


    You are truly living in a dream world.

    I supported Mr. Ahmadinejad’s initiatives.

    But pay attention here:

    US-EU have brought the world – through their policy of escalation – to the verge of:

    1- Generalized war in the Middle East
    2- Global economic disaster
    3- World War III

    Is there somewhere where we can go and have these people arrested and brought to trial?

    Potentially, tens of millions of people could die or suffer because of the policies of the US-EU leaders?

    Truly, they have made the world a more dangerous place.

  186. Nahid,

    Can you give us a link to the article reporting the 500,000-barrel Iran/China oil deal? Thank you.

  187. Brett says:

    James Canning – since you are a frequent user here on RFI, could you please check if you can see the comments on haaretz below the articles? I just see “0 comments” on every article, just want to make sure if the problem stems from me or not.

  188. Cyrus_2 says:

    @ all
    What do you make of this:


    The world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, appears to have cut both its oil production and export in December, according to the latest update by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), an official source of oil production, consumption and export data.

    The OPEC heavyweight saw production decline by 237,000 barrels per day (bpd) from three-decade highs of 10.047 million bpd in November, the JODI data showed on Sunday.



    Is Saudi-Arabia’s oil excess capacity indeed a pipe-dream, as some analysts claim?

  189. James Canning says:


    Do you think “the West” can expect Israel to get rid of its nukes, when Israel/Palestine problem is unresolved?

  190. James Canning says:


    Did you support Ahmadinejad’s effort to initiate negotiations with the “six parties” last September?

  191. James Canning says:


    Are you claiming the Saudis are lying when they say they will buy nukes “off the shelf” within weeks of any Iranian test of a nuclear device?

  192. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm


    If it would stablize the situation.

  193. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The Pentagon and the CIA, and Obama, do not want war with Iran. They are not playing “good cop, bad cop”, with Israel as the “bad cop”.

  194. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I am suggesting to you that nuclear proliferation in ME is not credible; it is another piece of propaganda by Axis Powers.

    They clearly have persuaded you.

  195. James Canning says:


    George W. Bush was simply too lazy to learn what he needed to know about the Middle East, to avoid taking the US into disaster. Being extremely lazy intellectually, he preferred to “go with his gut”. He claimed he sought divine guidance in part to conceal his gross incompetence.

  196. kooshy says:

    Eric, Jay

    Other phrases often used in western dictionary of political terms (which should be added to the dictionary) are the Donald Rumsfeld’s favorite
    “Enhanced Interrogations”, and Condi’s “Carrots and Sticks”

    Enhanced interrogations = Obtaining information by using torture in a human way in western countries.

    Carrot and sticks = asking a nation to submit to western demands while publicly insulting them like they are animals

  197. James Canning says:


    Are you opposed to the Iranian foreign minister’s wish to engage in negotiations with the “six parties” (P5+1) asap?

  198. James Canning says:


    Russia strongly opposes any Iranian nuclear weapons programme. For very good reasons. You think nuclear proliferation in the Middle East would be a good thing. The Russians do not agree with you.

  199. James Canning says:


    The US very stupidly tried to prevent Palestine from being admitted to Unesco. Without success.

  200. James Canning says:


    So, R. Nicholas Burns is unhappy India will continue to import oil from Iran. What a surprise. In his article (that you linked), Burns failed to mention that India’s oil refineries that process Iranian oil are not suited to refining different oil (without expensive changes).

    Financial Times advised against sanctioning oil or gas exports of Iran, or other countries for that matter.

  201. Brett says:

    In march netanyahu will come to the US, this period will probably witness the most overwhelming war rhetoric ever.


    By the way, any article I click on on Haaretz say “0 comments”, I would be pleased if anyone could check if someone else also encounter this or if you actaully see comments?

  202. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Further to Nasser and fyi’s discussion re: Russian technology transfer, today the Russian Hi-Tech Fair opened in Iran with the participation of 53 Russian companies. I don’t know if any jet engines are being offered, but I did hear today also that it was announced in Iran’s Aerospace Conference that Iran has developed its own first small jet engine.

    In other news, I had an interesting discussion with a basiji gentleman today.After answering his question as to my opinion regarding the probability of war, I asked him what he thought. “Bring it on!” he said, “We look forward to it.”

  203. nahid says:

    China steps up Iran oil imports
    The western speculations that China might cut down oil imports from Iran against the backdrop of the sanctions by the United States can now be conclusively buried. The National Iranian oil Company [NIOC] reached an agreement with China’s UNIPEC to increase Iranian oil exports to China to 500000 barrels per day. The last year’s contract between NIOC and UNIPEC provided for only 220000 bpd of crude and 60000 bpd of gas condensate. Evidently, a substantial increase in Chinese imports from Iran is envisaged this year.

    The NIOC-UNIPEC deal indicates three things: a) the drop in China’s import of Iranian oil in January was due to commercial reasons pending the negotiation of the present agreement; b) China is ignoring the US sanctions against Iran; c) China has independent policies toward Iran and the GCC states.
    Iran’s deputy oil minister visited Beijing this week to negotiate the new crude supply contract and other projects in the oil, gas and petrochemical sector. This is in line with the statement by China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai’s during a briefing in Washington on Vice-President Xi Jinping’s visit to the US that Beijing intends to pursue its “legitimate economic interests” with Tehran. Cui was dismissive about the US sanctions against Iran.
    Again, Chinese Vice FM Zhai Jun arrived in Damascus on Friday as a special envoy and met President Bashar Al-Assad today. Following the meeting, Zhai extended China’s support for Bashar’s reform programme, especially the constitutional referendum planned for next Sunday. Zhai underscored that only in a peaceful enviornment can reform be implemented in Syria. Zhai also met representatives of Syrian opposition in Damascus who are against foreign intervention in Syria.
    Significantly, People’s Daily featured a commentary drawing similarities in the situations around Iran and Syria and China’s “constructive” role. It rejected “arbitrary judgment” by the West regarding the regimes in Iran and Syria, which is used as justification for “traditional tough measures such as the economic sanction and military intervention.”
    The message from the UNIPEC-NIOC deal and Zhai’s mission to Damascus — both coinciding with Vice-President Xi Jinping’s tour of the US — is that much as China recognised the need to resolve the Iran nuclear issue and to reform the Syrian political system, it won’t cave in to western pressure.
    China’s Middle East policies are indeed shifting gear. The Global Times in a commentary mocked at the “lack of confidence… [and] unease of some Chinese” regarding western criticism and asserted that “China must act confidently and proactively” and should have the courage to calmly stand its ground to secure national interests on the world stage. It was applauding China’s vote in the UN GA on Syria on Thursday. GT editorial is here.

    Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.

    Tagged with China Syria, China-Iran, US’ Iran sanctions.

    By M K Bhadrakumar – February 18, 2012

    share this

  204. Unknown Unknowns says:

    and i still can’t be bothered to install anti-filtering software…

  205. Unknown Unknowns says:

    BiBiJon says:
    February 20, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Good one! Made me chuckle.


    Eric: just search for Bhadrakumar on Google blogs (not the web). I’d do it for you but blogs are still verboten here (system has not rationalized yet).

  206. nahid says:

    fyi and RD

    Thanks very much for response as always appreciative.

  207. Rd. says:
    February 20, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I haven’t looked thoroughly, but the sources I’ve checked show the 500,000 barrel a day contract coming only from Iranian news agencies. Most Western sources still claim the opposite, though the Wall Street Journal mentions that a new long-term contract has been struck between Iran and China but adds that the quantities are unknown.

    I have little doubt that China’s recent reduction in oil orders from Iran owes to the sensible reason that China itself gave a few weeks back: China wanted to wait and see how recent turmoil would affect oil prices. Translated: it was hoping that Iran would be sufficiently desperate to find a buyer to replace European customers that China could strike a better deal with Iran. And who can blame China for that? It’s not a charity, after all.

    Sooner or later, though, it was inevitable that the price picture would clear up and China would make its move. This 500,000-barrel a day contract (assuming reports of that are accurate) suggests China has done so.

    It doesn’t say anything about price, but I have a feeling both China and Iran are happy about that term of the deal. One prediction I’ll make with considerable confidence: Going forward, China will be paying less for its Iranian oil than European countries will be paying for their oil.

  208. b says:

    The consequence of U.S. sanctions. Iran will make the same amount of money as it did before. Oil for the “west” will become more expansive, oil for the “east” will become cheaper. With this policy the “west” is pushing itself into another deep recession.


  209. Rd. says:
    February 20, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Can you give us a link to the article reporting the 500,000-barrel Iran/China oil deal? Thank you.

  210. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/world/middleeast/mccain-and-graham-suggest-helping-syrian-rebels.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=syria&st=cse

    “Two Senators Say U.S. Should Arm Syrian Rebels”

    “The Syrian state news media said that three people — a senior prosecutor, a judge and their driver — were killed by an ‘armed terrorist group’ in Idlib Province.”


    When “armed terrorist group” is placed in quotation marks in an article, the reader is expecte to understand that they weren’t really “terrorists” at all. They were merely “gunmen,” which might be good or might be bad, depending on one’s point of view. From the point of view of the families of the murdered driver, judge and prosecutor, the gunmen who gunned them down in cold blood, for no stated reason, might be considered “bad gunmen.” From John McCain’s point of view, however, it appears that any gunmen is a good gunman, even if he kills entirely innocent civilians, unless he works for a government of a country McCain doesn’t like.

  211. fyi says:

    Pirouz says: February 20, 2012 at 2:40 am

    You are observing, in the Western coast of the United States, the fullfilment of the prediction of the Black Elk; that the “White Tide” will hit the ocean and turn back on itself.

    Things will get ugly.

  212. fyi says:

    nahid says: February 20, 2012 at 6:27 am

    The Uskoi site and the FT report might be true but the context is that Irani is in trouble, the sanctions are biting etc.

    In 1990s, under Mr. Khatami, Iranians continued their existence (and indepedence) on less than $ 9.00 per barrel of oil.

    They could do so again.

    And this thing about no being able to sell oil and storing it in tankers is not new; every producer of oil has done that from tim eto time, including Iran.

    Since Iranians almost certainly will suspend oil shipments to Europe, they will be selling their oil on the spot market and EU states will also be buying it on the same market.

    All it does is that it adds to price volatility and makes millde-men and tanker-owners richer.

    The hope of US-EU strategists was to reduce Iranian oil income by as much as 15% to 18%.

    We shall see if they can reach that goal.

    And even if they did, still will not make an iota of change to the current state policy of Iran.

  213. Rd. says:

    nahid says:

    Iran Struggles to Find New Buyer for Its Oil – FT

    from Ambassador Bhadrakumar

    China steps up Iran oil imports

    The western speculations that China might cut down oil imports from Iran against the backdrop of the sanctions by the United States can now be conclusively buried. The National Iranian oil Company [NIOC] reached an agreement with China’s UNIPEC to increase Iranian oil exports to China to 500000 barrels per day. The last year’s contract between NIOC and UNIPEC provided for only 220000 bpd of crude and 60000 bpd of gas condensate. Evidently, a substantial increase in Chinese imports from Iran is envisaged this year.  
    The NIOC-UNIPEC deal indicates three things: a) the drop in China’s import of Iranian oil in January was due to commercial reasons pending the negotiation of the present agreement; b) China is ignoring the US sanctions against Iran; c) China has independent policies toward Iran and the GCC states.  
    Iran’s deputy oil minister visited Beijing this week to negotiate the new crude supply contract and other projects in the oil, gas and petrochemical sector. This is in line with the statement by China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai’s during a briefing in Washington on Vice-President Xi Jinping’s visit to the US that Beijing intends to pursue its “legitimate economic interests” with Tehran. Cui was dismissive about the US sanctions against Iran. 
    Again, Chinese Vice FM Zhai Jun arrived in Damascus on Friday as a special envoy and met President Bashar Al-Assad today. Following the meeting, Zhai extended China’s support for Bashar’s reform programme, especially the constitutional referendum planned for next Sunday. Zhai underscored that only in a peaceful enviornment can reform be implemented in Syria. Zhai also met representatives of Syrian opposition in Damascus who are against foreign intervention in Syria. 
    Significantly, People’s Daily featured a commentary drawing similarities in the situations around Iran and Syria and China’s “constructive” role. It rejected “arbitrary judgment” by the West regarding the regimes in Iran and Syria, which is used as justification for “traditional tough measures such as the economic sanction and military intervention.” 
    The message from the UNIPEC-NIOC deal and Zhai’s mission to Damascus — both coinciding with Vice-President Xi Jinping’s tour of the US — is that much as China recognised the need to resolve the Iran nuclear issue and to reform the Syrian political system, it won’t cave in to western pressure. 
    China’s Middle East policies are indeed shifting gear. The Global Times in a commentary mocked at the “lack of confidence… [and] unease of some Chinese” regarding western criticism and asserted that “China must act confidently and proactively” and should have the courage to calmly stand its ground to secure national interests on the world stage. It was applauding China’s vote in the UN GA on Syria on Thursday. GT editorial is here. 

  214. BiBiJon says:

    Having stretched credulity to breaking point, Israel announces temporary halt to false-flag operations.


  215. BiBiJon says:

    The eye of the BRICS has left the alpha dog’s harem, aka the ‘international community’

    So says Nicolas Burns, the former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs:

    “India’s decision to walk out of step with the international community on Iran isn’t just a slap in the face for the US — it raises questions about its ability to lead,”



    UU for “alpha dog”
    Eric for “international community”

  216. nahid says:

    Iran Struggles to Find New Buyer for Its Oil – FT


    Dear fyi
    Is this true or just west hype ?

  217. Gash says:

    Richard Steven Hack,

    Angelina Jolie’s father is of course John Voight which is pro Israel, he also have a naive and even a netanyahu-type-of-argumentation.


  218. Pirouz says:

    My mode of transportation is a high performance vehicle. I purchase high octane fuel here in the SF Bay Area.

    The price of fuel per gallon is now $4.25, at what is usually the low price time of the year.

    And here we are attempting to remove Iran’s oil from the world market at the dictates of a foreign interest group that holds sway over our elected leaders.


    We Native Americans have seen a lot over the centuries but this takes the case. I ran into a Navajo last week, and in typical humor he expressed to me:

    “First they put we Native Americans in reservations, then later the Japanese Americans. Now they’re putting everyone here in one big reservation!”

    I laughed.

  219. And I just discovered that just reloading the page appears to fix the posting problem. No need to close out the site.

    I wonder if they’re trying to limit the number of posts made by this mechanism of a timeout between displaying the page and the page being able to accept posts. Or is it just a bug in the forum software…

  220. Much as I love Angelina Jolie, she’s not exactly politically knowledgeable as to the consequences of foreign intervention in Syria. You’d think she’d get a clue from the mess in Iraq – which she visited some years back – as well as the current Libyan situation. But these “humanitarian” types aren’t realistic.

    She’s not stupid, she’s just overwhelmed by humanitarian impulses and not enough cynicism. I suspect one can’t be a cynic and a humanitarian at the same time.

    She’s still got a face that belongs on an Egyptian sphinx or something, though! Hot mama! :-)

  221. Jay: “And, while both US and Israel, particularly Israel, will suffer large losses, the unpredictable variable is the damage to the world economy – where the elites have the majority of their financial “nest egg”.”

    This is a nice general observation – but what is it backed up by?

    “and a model similar to that used by the Economic Cycle Research Institute, we performed a simulation (as an exercise)”

    I have to tell you I’m not a fan of economic models. I have some knowledge from years past of the limits of computer modeling. No where is it more true that the motto “garbage in, garbage out” applies.

    I recall the ridiculous “Club of Rome” models back in the ’70’s with their “Unit of Pollution” which predicted total catastrophe by the year 2000. And here we are a decade on… Computer experts who understood the limits of computer modeling ridiculed those studies while the rest of the world bought the hype.

    “Our studies could not be comprehensive because we did not have enough power to run the complete simulations.”

    Right there you blew your entire argument even without taking into account my points below.

    “the mean economic and strategic loss for the US/EU was consistently unacceptable”

    To WHOM? That’s the point I keep bringing up. If you don’t know who’s in charge, how do you know what they find “acceptable”? They apparently found Iraq and Afghanistan acceptable. They apparently find ratcheting up an Iran war acceptable. Yet you claim they won’t find the war itself “acceptable”. Based on what?

    “As a rational actor, the US will not engage in military action at this point because in the current trajectory of events Israel is the major looses – not the US.”

    First of all, the US is NOT a “rational actor” in the absolute sense. Just as Iran has its goals in terms of national identity, history, its revolution, etc., the US has goals which are oriented around factors such as hegemony and war profiteering which are not “rational” in the strictly economic sense. If that were the case, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would never have been undertaken because there can be no doubt those wars over the last ten years have severely damaged the US economy.

    You also would never have seen the financial collapse if the people behind it were “rational actors” – instead of greed monsters – running econometric models. Instead, they ran models that showed a worldwide Ponzi scheme could make them billions – and it did. The fact that it cost millions of other people billions turned out to be irrelevant.

    Second, Israel isn’t going to lose much in the Iran war. Iran can do very little militarily to damage Israel (unless they get lucky with a Dimona hit that causes catastrophic radiation release.) If you have some specifics on how Israel could lose economically, that might be relevant – but apparently not to Netanyahu because he’s still pushing for war.

    The problem with running models of the sort you reference is that they do NOT model the motivations and intentions of the main actors. Working backward from outcomes to a “rational actor” never works. You have to work forward from a psychological and social model of the actors and the influences on them as well as their network of connections. Frankly it isn’t feasible to do this with ANY computer model because computers are really bad at modeling human motivations, certainly in an aggregate of many actors.

    And finally, there is the issue I continue to bring up which everyone has ignored, including you in your post: How do you know the ruling elites are running the SAME models you’re running? Who says that even if they are that the ruling elites either believe those models or care whether the models are accurate as opposed to their desires?

    My model is based on fifty years of observing humans screw up on a daily basis on both a local and a global scale. I also have a very good model of basic human motivations and the degree to which it distorts rational behavior. I tend to think my predictions are better than yours based on that lifetime of experience.

  222. Unknown Unknows: Ah, that could be it. It DID seem to me as if it depended on whether I’d posted within a certain amount of time. Multiple posts didn’t seem to have a problem.

  223. Sassan says:

    ‘Sad’ Jolie condemns slaughter

    February 19, 2012 2:56AM

    Speaking out: Angelina Jolie, who is in Eastern Europe for the premiere of her film “In the Land of Blood and Honey”, has called for action against Syria’s brutally oppressive regime.

    HOLLYWOOD star Angelina Jolie says the world should intervene to stop the violent crackdown in Syria.

    She condemned powers that have vetoed a UN resolution against the regime.

    “I think Syria has got to a point, sadly, where certainly some form of intervention is absolutely necessary,” Jolie told Al Jazeera Balkans in an interview shown on the channel’s Internet site.

    “It’s so sad, it’s so upsetting, it’s so horrible what’s happening,” Jolie said. “At this time we just must stop the civilians being slaughtered.

    “When you see that kind of mass violence and murder on the street, you must do something,” added Jolie, who has served for years as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    Jolie recently made her directorial debut with “In the Land of Blood and Honey”, a wartime love story in Bosnia, a film she has called a “wake-up call” to prevent atrocities like those now happening in Syria.

    Without naming China and Russia, she condemned “these countries that are choosing not to intervene” in Syria despite “global efforts”.

    “I feel very strongly that the use of a veto when you have financial interest in the country should be questioned, and the use of a veto against humanitarian intervention should be questioned,” Jolie said.

    Moscow and Beijing have twice blocked UN resolutions condemning the ongoing repression in Syria that has left thousands of people dead since March 2011, according to human rights activists.


  224. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Nasser says:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Yes, it certainly seems that what has obtained in the post-Gorbachev interregnum is the Law of the Jungle, with the US as the alpha male and all the other countries as his bitches: those who are not brow-beaten are bludgeoned bloody with his fists.

  225. Nasser says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    “Call me stupid, but why doesn’t Iran table a resolution at the UN for the world to impose sanctions against Israel in the event that it attacks Iran without UN approval?”

    – Did you not notice how the US prevented Palestinian entry into UNESCO. I am not even talking about member state status in UN, but UNESCO! The international community seems willing to let the US get away with anything.

  226. Jay says:

    fyi says:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Possibly optimistic as you say. Certainly wrong on the assumptions!!

  227. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Call me stupid, but why doesn’t Iran table a resolution at the UN for the world to impose sanctions against Israel in the event that it attacks Iran without UN approval? Surely the West’s veto would show the institution’s bankruptcy if nothing else. I don’t understand the mechanics of that institution, but even if the measure does not even make it to the Security Council, the message would be the same.

  228. fyi says:

    Jay says: February 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    The results of your simulations are almost certainly too optmistic now; after the collapse of US-EU Finance-based economies.

  229. Jay says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Richard, it seems to me that you may not have fully digested the thread of discussion between Fiorangela and myself before you wrote your response.

    Although what you suggest, speculate, and observe in your posts is a possibility, I am not in agreement with your analysis.

    Nothing is “laid out and locked in”. Nothing is immutable.

    In every complex decision process, contingencies are planned, each contingency is scored and reevaluated at the time of the decision. A system, like the American system, makes decisions perceived as those promoting the elites of the system.

    Subsequent to the published study of Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Leif Eckholm (Sep 2011), there has been two other scenario-theoretic studies which has confirmed the results of all earlier studies. The US military must plan for war, but the US must avoid war. A sustained military campaign is achievable and will severely damage Iran’s industrial and economic infrastructure. And, while both US and Israel, particularly Israel, will suffer large losses, the unpredictable variable is the damage to the world economy – where the elites have the majority of their financial “nest egg”.

    Without becoming technically boring, I think it is useful to share a bit of quantitative forecasting with you. In November of 2011, based on EU’s economic documents (Oct 2011), and a model similar to that used by the Economic Cycle Research Institute, we performed a simulation (as an exercise) under a number of plausible scenarios (unpublished). We ran all scenarios with the goal of minimizing the average economic loss to Europe and the US, and minimizing the strategic gains by China and Russia (as measured by economic factors). Our studies could not be comprehensive because we did not have enough power to run the complete simulations. Nonetheless, in the case of conflict, the mean economic and strategic loss for the US/EU was consistently unacceptable (threshold economic collapse in numerous countries) in most scenarios. In a conflict-based approach, a positive outcome (as measured by the US/EU optimal state), would not be reached until certain positive growth rates and energy supply parameters were met (both conditions). Although the energy supply cushion may be reached in the late 2012, the economic growth factors are not expected to be achieved until late in 2014 by the earliest.

    As a rational actor, the US will not engage in military action at this point because in the current trajectory of events Israel is the major looses – not the US. In a war, US/EU will be the looser and so will Israel. Until this dynamic changes (for example, a reshaping of the alliances – possibly Syria), nothing is locked in.

    Having said that, I am not a soothsayer – anything is possible!

  230. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm


    The Third World War will start when US attacks resupply vessels of Russia across the Caspian Sea, as they ferry matriale to Iran to prevent Iran’s collapse as she fights the United States.

    There is no chance – zero in fact – of an arms race in the Middle East.

    UAE, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen do not have the know-how and the wherewithall of that.

    Some are outright dependencies of larger powers.

    Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon do not have what it takes and are on the Iranians’ side anyway.

    Turkey will not be able to so, she is too dependent on NATO and EU for too many things to go that route.

    Leaves Egypt, that has a distant possibility of doing so.

    The Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East, just like WMD in Iraq, is a red hrring for gulliable people in the West to endorse war against Iran for geopolitical reasons.

    I wish EU ill, I hope they freeze this winter and I hope that the Iranians shut-off the oil suppky to Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal in next few days.

    They should be hurt and taught to mind their own business.

    God Willing!

  231. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I’m using Firefox and I have the same issue. It started three or four days ago, I think. I think it has something to do with a timer. If I refresh the page and post immediately, there is no problem. Probably some “security” measure introduced into the blog’s software. Moon of Alabama has always been like that: if you leave a page on for more than x minutes, you have to refresh it before you can post.

  232. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fior-san: Your Wiki article contradicts itself in the very next sentence:

    “Following the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor in 1933, IG Farben cooperated with the Nazi regime, profiting from guaranteed volumes and prices, and from the slave labor provided by the government’s concentration camps. IG Farben also achieved notoriety owing to its production of Zyklon-B, the lethal gas used in Nazi extermination camps.”

    You can have slave labor camps or you can have extermination camps, but they can’t be both at one and the same time. Of course, they were slave labor camps.

    Fiorangela says:
    February 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Interesting reading. Made me think of the distinction between the dichotomy of the identity of a minority of people within a greater nation primarily with that nation, or with their religion, and how that depends on one’s understanding of religion: whether IT is the foundation, or merely a branch off the trunk, and how this definition in turn has gone through a transformation, in the West in any event, from the former to the latter (the impetus of separation of church and state being Luther’s revolt against Rome), and how this transition – of the separation of the soul of the community (its religion) from its body politic – dilutes the social viscosity or cohesion of community, a sort of slow motion social hemophilia that is the harbinger not of individuation as such but of an atomized, alienated individuation that disenfranchises rather than being empowering, as would be a natural growth path. The issue of minority rights (say, those of the Bahai “religion”/ “sedition”) must be looked at through the prism of these dual dichotomies and placed in the context of the social cohesion factors which obtain in the society in question (rather than on the false assumption that normaly obtains in the orientalist lens, namely, that of projecting one’s own (hemophiliac, dysfunctionally individuated) norms as the context that applies universally and specifically to a community that is radically different in terms of the integrity of its community.


    Cstellio-san says, “Why doesn’t the good man suggest sanctioning Turkey, Russia, India and China while he’s at it?”

    Because he is a bully and preys on the weak. The fabric of Western civilization is unraveling one stitch at a time, thanks to the ZOG, and everyone is dancing in the ballroom of SS Titanic in a haze of pride.

  233. Photi: “Richard, the other day when i posted something the same thing happened where i had to open a new tab before the post would go through.”

    Thanks for confirming that 1) I’m not crazy, and 2) it’s not just my machine.

    “i am using chrome as well.”

    I did a quick Google search and it appears this sort of thing does happen to Chrome with regard to various blogs and forums. There’s some kind of bug in Chrome or some aspect of Chrome that doesn’t work well with certain Web site software, I think.

    I just don’t know why it just started happening lately.

    “sometimes i have multiple RFI tabs open, maybe that has something to do with it.”

    Not if it’s multiple RFI tabs, I don’t do that. I do have multiple tabs open but it’s usually just iGoogle, Google Reader (where I get my articles to post here from), and one RFI tab.

    “(when it happened i assumed it was the typical funny behavior the website displays when the topic approaches being a week old or so with a thousand or more comments.)”

    Might be some sort of overflow effect in the Chrome buffer. But that still doesn’t explain why it just started happening to me lately.

    It seems to have started from the other night when I couldn’t get into the site hardly at all. I could open the RFI home page, but couldn’t open the previous very long thread. So maybe that is the issue – some sort of damage to the buffer control system.

    After that happened, I renamed the Chrome profile to make it a backup and then reinstalled Chrome and copied over most of the stuff from the old profile. Maybe something is still corrupted as a result of what I copied over.

    I hate browsers! :-) I switched from Firefox to Chrome a couple months ago because of some stupid behavior on Firefox’s part. You just can’t win – all software sucks.

  234. Jay: “The question is: why wait a few months for an attack? The US has enough assets in place. And, every war time president gets a bump in the polls.”

    It’s a bit more complicated than that.

    First, the US has its own time table for the war. There may be disagreement between the US ruling elites and Israel over whether Israel should “jump the gun”.

    Second, while Obama may get a bump in the polls if the US starts the war, the Republicans can blame him if Israel starts the war. A lot of analysis suggests that Netanyahu wants Obama out because he’s not aggressive enough on both Iran and the Palestinians (for reasons I’ve suggested relate to Obama’s status as the “plantation foreman”.)

    Third, if Israel starts the way once the election campaigns are underway – which generally won’t be until late summer – it is more likely to get Obama to support an Israeli strike (although I don’t ascribe any likelihood to Obama NOT supporting an Israeli strike at ANY time) or at least not complain about it.

    Fourth, as I’ve suggested, I don’t think Israel intends to strike before the situation in Syria has developed itself to allow Israel to attempt to take out Hizballah. So Israeli suggestions that it might strike in the next couple months are unlikely and more likely to be efforts to keep up the pressure on Obama and the EU as well as supporting the Republicans.

    Once again, it’s NEVER a situation where a President – of either Israel or the US – can just say, “Start the war!” without having their ducks in a row domestically and internationally.

    “According to Israel, we are then in the so-called zone of immunity! It is not good to wait then…”

    Israel’s talk about “immunity” is so much BS. Israel can’t damage the Iranian program sufficiently – only the US can do that. And the US can do that regardless of Fordow. So that’s all irrelevant. It’s just more Israeli propaganda.

    “Unless you want to walk that dog back!”

    There will be no “walking back”.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t undoubtedly a lot of pressure on Obama from sources OTHER than the military-industrial complex, the oil companies, etc., to NOT start a war due to the impact on the rest of the world economy. Of course there is.

    But it’s not the deciding factor.

    Every time these “negotiations” come up, we hear all this talk about how things are looking up. This happened in 2009, too. Nothing came of it. Nothing came of the last round of talks. Nothing will come from this round.

    When we see an ACTUAL AGREEMENT between the US and Iran to do something CONCRETE that ACTUALLY REDUCES TENSIONS, THEN you can start talking about “walking back”.

    And even then, you STILL have to deal with Israel – who isn’t going to walk anything back regardless of what the US does.

    I repeat – it’s a pipedream. A fantasy. The war is plotted, laid out and locked in. The only question is when and how.

  235. Humanist: “We both agree on issues such as dishonesty of politicians, on corruption of corporations etc etc However you sound as an angry man while I sort of try to ignore the pains of living by acting as a (suprficial?) curious observer.”

    Of course I’m angry. I’ve never liked assholes and I’ve suffered because of them (or more precisely because I wasn’t smart enough to outwit them.) Now that I’m a radical Transhumanist, however, I’m more interested in outsmarting them and taking them for every dime they’ve got for my benefit.

    “2- You are often more assertive in your estimations (such as quoting year 2050 or year 2075 for start of transhumanism in the world). I am always more cautious. I remember reading about a debate in 1850s between pro Darwin Huxley and Bishop of Canterbury. After the debate Huxley predicted something like ‘in 30 or 40 years all the churches are here no more or are replaced by libraries’. Over one and half centuries are gone by and still so many new churches are under construction (especially in USA and Russia!).”

    I’m speaking of technological progress, not social progress. The former usually exceeds the latter by a large margin. And it’s the former that matters to me. Technological progress will increasingly come to dominate over social forces, as per Ray Kurzweil’s exponential growth model.

    “3- You knowledge on military issues tells me you might’ve served in US military. I am un uncompromising pacifist thus we are the two opposite shores of a large see.”

    I’m definitely not a pacifist, although that has nothing to do with why I was in the US Army from 1968-1970. I joined “to avoid the draft” as we used to say. In other words, it was either go to Canada and be a deserter (which would have been smarter since they all got pardoned in the ’70’s) or enlist and avoid being sent automatically to the infantry.) If you were drafted, you were infantry – and I wasn’t that stupid even then.

    “4- You sometimes brand those who do not agree with you with harsh labels. I try to respect opposing views unless they are expressed by schizophrenics or by very young children.”

    I disrespect views which are devoid of logic and are willfully so due to emotional reasons. Plenty of examples here. I only respect those who attempt to argue logically and with the support of actual facts.

    “You are in favor of ‘free enterprise’. I have no objection for such a system in any technologically underdeveloped society. I think however, since similar to fact that ‘one in every million is a serial killer’ quite a few are born overly exploitative, they can use any unregulated fee enterprise system for their advantage creating a primitive capitalist system which in time can evolve to the monster the world is witnessing today.”

    You can’t create a system like today without the state being involved. The real issue is always whether a system of control exists which can be exploited by those who achieve wealth by whatever means. The state provides that. One can’t be in favor of “free enterprise” without being an anarchist since there is no such thing as “free enterprise” under a state – there is only “state capitalism” wherein the state and corporations together exert control. “Free” by definition means NO control other than market forces.

    This is not to say that a “free enterprise” system would always work perfectly. Humans aren’t perfect and no system they create is perfect (at least none created directly by humans). But in general market forces tend to self-correct whereas state intervention in the markets almost always fails badly. And especially so when the state is being controlled by the sort of people running Wall Street these days…

    “I have no idea about your religious beliefs. I am atheist….do u believe in god?”

    I am most definitely an atheist. One might say a more or less rabid one. I view religious belief as one of the primary causes of the world’s problems. The ascendancy of Transhumanism will result in the elimination of religion – one way or the other.

    “Most probably there are many more stuff that are, in varying degree, different in our two mind-sets.”

    I can guarantee that. Almost no one thinks like I do. :-)

    “Despite all that, whenever I log in RFI , I’ll read your comments with varying degree of eagerness and enthusiasm.. You views in RFI are outstanding even if don’t agree with them.”

    Thanks for the compliment. I merely try to be logical and correct at all times. This is my fundamental approach to life in general.

  236. Photi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Richard, the other day when i posted something the same thing happened where i had to open a new tab before the post would go through. i am using chrome as well. sometimes i have multiple RFI tabs open, maybe that has something to do with it. (when it happened i assumed it was the typical funny behavior the website displays when the topic approaches being a week old or so with a thousand or more comments.)

  237. Humanist: Netanyahu is what I refer to as a “freak show”. That’s easier than listing all the psychopathic and religious terminology.

    But he’s just the “front man”, just as Bush was just the “front man”. Neither of these guys could do anything if they didn’t have the support of the people with the real money and the real political power that real money gives them.

    Look at this thought experiment: Someone assassinates Bush in 2002. Does anyone doubt we’d still have a war in 2003 under Cheney? Does anyone doubt that if Obama was assassinated that Joe “I’m a Zionist” Biden wouldn’t be pushing Iran into a war, even more than Obama?

    The freak shows are put into power for the benefit of the public. But they don’t have any real power, defined as the power to oppose the people who put them into office. If they try, they get assassinated like the Kennedys. There are countries and politicians who have that sort of power but most countries don’t follow that path.

    In a smaller country like Israel, Netanyahu may have more influence than in a country like the US. He might even be something more than a front man. But he’s still not the guy who can just say, “Start the war!” He – or his backers – still has to convince the other members of his party and his government to go forward (not that it should be that hard a task given the Zionist crazies running the country.)

    Netanyahu’s history over at Wikipedia reveals a large connection with the US, both in terms of his living here, going to college here, but does not reveal who either in Israel or the US are his primary political connections and supporters. It would be interesting to find out who in Israel and in the US has been supporting him, overtly or covertly.

    I don’t view either Bush or Netanyahu as the sort of charismatic leader such as Hitler who could personally dominate everyone around him to the point of hypnosis. So I can’t buy that Netanyahu is the most serious threat to a war with Iran. He’s a demagogue for sure, but he’s not the real threat.

    The real threat is the SYSTEM which produces people like him.

  238. Humanist says:


    Problem is Bush is not unique, neither is Netanyahu. If we study history we can find myriad of leaders who carried out ‘organized thefts’ in the name of God. I wonder how long it will take so that the majority of people become informed enough not allowing these crazies occupy the thrones of critical decision making.

  239. Jay says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm
    US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely..

    The comments by Fiorangela (February 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm) are nearly clairvoyant!

    Keeping the line of thought outlined in the article…The question is: why wait a few months for an attack? The US has enough assets in place. And, every war time president gets a bump in the polls.

    Unless…. the consequences sends the world economy into a tail spin. But a few months won’t change that — EU forecast is 2+ years. Then, why wait a few months?! Maybe you mean until after the election. According to Israel, we are then in the so-called zone of immunity! It is not good to wait then…

    Unless you want to walk that dog back! There is need to talk for real!! Could that be why certain quarters are going nuts, gnashing teeth, making threats…? Let’s see what happens in the next round of talks.

  240. Humanist says:


    On messages we interchanged in previous thread I just posted a note for you there.

  241. Something really strange going on either with this site or my Google Chrome browser.

    I come on the site, I read some stuff, maybe I post something, then I go down, fill in a new reply, hit Submit – and the page goes white and nothing happens.

    But if I copy my reply text, close the page, go back into the site, past my text into the reply and then hit Submit, it posts fine.

    Anyone seen anything like this with Chrome or any browser? It just started happening a few days ago after the one night I couldn’t even get the site to load properly. It’s really irritating. Doesn’t happen all the time, but enough to bug me.

  242. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that the US and Israel are playing “good cop – bad cop” in terms of their back and forth on the upcoming Iran war.

    Which of course by definition means BOTH of them want the war to happen. Because the two cops in any such interrogation method both have the same goal. It’s merely a trick to behave differently.

    By engaging in this technique the US and Israel achieve several goals:

    1) They keep the idea of an Iran war in the public’s mind until the public accepts it as inevitable, just as the MSM did with the Iraq war.

    2) They continue to put pressure on the other countries involved to support the process of going to war, supposedly to avert war – but the net effect of the other countries supporting the sanctions “to avert war” in face improves the course toward the war.

    3) They get to play the “blame game”, alternatively shifting the blame for the war between themselves. The US gets to claim that Israel is too aggressive, while Israel gets to claim the US is too passive. The end result is that no one is to blame, the war will “just happen” – and the blame will inevitably be shifted on to Iran, just as Saddam today is blamed for the Iraq war because he allegedly tried to “fool” the West into thinking he HAD WMD’s (which is complete BS.)

    4) They get to confuse the enemy as to who will attack first and when. If Iran is smart, it will not be fooled and will understand that both countries want war.

    There are probably other benefits I haven’t figured out yet.

    The bottom line is that the whole process is a propaganda ploy and does not indicate any real divisions between the US and Israel over Iran. There may be some divisions between the military sorts, over issues of timing with respect to the security of US forces in the region should Israel launch a truly surprise attack (and Israel’s military couldn’t care less if US forces in the Persian Gulf get attacked by surprise as a result of an Israeli surprise attack – remember the Liberty), but there are none between the ruling elites of each country.

  243. Ken says:

    James Canning > Yes I did. Check my post when the clock was 2.32. So please provide us with your links.

  244. James Canning says:


    I might add that Israel’s security problems are largely of its own making. Arab countries have offered peace for past nine years. US Congress foolishly encourages Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing programme in the West Bank.

  245. James Canning says:


    I agree completely that George W. Bush’s religious delusions brought disaster to the US, to Iraq, and beyond. Tony Blair is also afflicted with religious delusions, and they contributed significantly to bring about the idiotic invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  246. James Canning says:

    At ForeignPolicy.com Feb. 14th, Gideon Rachman (of the Financial Times) wrote: “I believe that we are witnessing a serious erosion of US power”. Robert Kaga, one of the neocons advising Mitt Romeny, argues that the US can maintain its strength by spending more money on weapons. Abusrd.

  247. Humanist says:

    The religious readers of RFI might find part of the following remarks condescending or insulting. I assure them no ridicule and no belittlement of any sort was intended. This post is just the reflection of my personal thoughts which, with reluctance, I considered should not be concealed anymore.

    Flynt Leveret was calm, rational and convincing……but was he assertive enough? Considering the importance of the removal of the condition of ‘stopping enrichment’, one might think maybe this is not the time to be aggressive or assertive. Or..maybe not…

    I think in the progressive US media, the important issue of Israel’s unrelenting drive to dupe US / NATO into its war with Iran is not analyzed in strong terms and ‘assertive’ ways.

    At the moment missing is a fact based scientific style appraisal of the issue where the constituents of the conflict, the historical data, the material components and the individual culprits etc are all identified, categorized and evaluated and then forcefully publicized leaving no room for any negation of the presented arguments.

    In the following I refer to just one ‘un-kosher’ item which I believe deserves ardent attention of all antiwar activists. I pick only one feature of the personality of the likes of Bibi Netanyahu and briefly discuss its immense dangers..

    According to Jeffery Goldberg and Gareth Porter (gurus from left to right) Netanyahu believes, Israel is in a critical historical crossroad and he has a ‘divine messianic’ duty to decisively ‘cripple or eliminate’ Iran, Israel’s number one adversary.

    Unless Netanyahu lies about his religious convictions he, according to his propaganda videos, must be a devout Jew. He has said he reviews Old Testament every Sabbath with his teenager son (who is more proficient than he is in the understanding of the holy book). It is highly probable that Netanyahu is not lying since no one with the right mind subjects his beloved children to indoctrinations of dubious ideologies.

    Old Testament? It is an utterly amazing holy book. How anyone possessing analytical cognitive skills can describe Old Testament? According to ‘Renascence’ written by Shojaeddin Shafa (in Farsi, downloadable free from efsha.co.uk> ketabsara > tavallodi digar), the absurdities inscribed in ancient holy books like the Old Testament are bewilderingly unconscionable.

    Shafa refers to many verses in the Old Testament that in no way can fit to our modern time mind-set. In one verse, God descends from heaven to earth, orders the Jewish prophet of the time to spread human excrement on his bread and eat it. In another verse God wrestles with Jacob, Jacob beats God and God is forced to promise Jacob what he asks for his win.

    On the subject of the above mentioned God, Richard Dawkins in his ‘God Delusion’ asserts:

    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”.

    If, in these days of undeniable superiority of scientific findings over ancient ideas, Dawkins can prove the relevance of every word in the above strong allegations, then the sanity of those powerful ‘believers’ whose decisions can start colossal wars is definitely a critically vital concern.

    Similarly according the following article Netanyahu refers to Iran as Amalek.


    God’s instructions for destroying Amalek are spelled out in the holy book as:

    “Go now and fall upon the Amalekites and destroy them, and put their property under ban. Spare no one; put them all to death, men and women, children and babes in arms, herds and flocks, camels and donkeys”. (1 Samuel 15:3,4)

    Total obliteration is an appalling barbarous way for solving the disputes with the adversaries. It is in the category of sadistic ways of torturing all to death or collective mass starvation.

    Ancient primitive war atrocities have no place in present day evolved world. Even thinking or talking about them is utterly appalling.

    One can safely assume that the above types of horrendous religious convictions for intense revenge are not limited to Netanyahu alone. Some of the very powerful and extremely wealthy Likudniks who are instrumental in pulling the strings of war definitely share Netanyahu’s pathologically crazed ideas.

    The above wound on humanity is amplified by another wound which is the the existence of immensely powerful corporations who jointly with Likudniks are concocting the plots of war against Iran.

    G.W.Bush was a delusional religious man who forced his advisers to pray in the sessions of Situation Room. He brought about immense amount of suffering and destruction not only to Middle East but also to the US. Netanyahu and Likudniks, in my view are way more alarming and pose a real danger to our fragile humanity than the Bush congregation.

    With very high probability the Likud bunch can not pass the recent tests of psychopathy using fMRI. They are not only apathetic and totally indifferent to the sufferings of other human beings but they could be so delusional believing in their own lies such as the gross lie of ‘Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map’.

    One wonders how the historians of future are going to characterize the travesty of last year’s frequent standing ovation in the Congress of USA for someone who is viewed by antiwar analysts as being utterly deceptive, crazy and dangerous….as someone who consistently blocks the civilized paths of diplomacy and negotiation while relentlessly trumpets the barbarous route of Amalek style annihilation.

  248. This is almost certainly a total lie…

    U.S. military chief dubious about arming Syrian rebels

    Remember: When a senior serving US general opens his mouth, he’s lying…

    Who has been flying in planeloads of Libyan arms into Turkey if not the CIA? Why have British and French Special Forces been supporting the Syrian insurgents? Does anyone believe they’re doing this without US backing?

  249. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    Thats correct, west dont push Israel to end its nuclear weapons program.

  250. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    Thats why you didnt read my text (“for arguments sake”).

  251. James Canning says:


    And you complained the US, UK et al were not forcing Israel to get rid of its nukes. Even if they want Israel to get rid of them.

  252. James Canning says:


    You appear once again to be arguing Iran should build nukes.

  253. James Canning says:

    “Uncle Sam, global gangster”, by Andrew Bacevich:


  254. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    Of course west doesnt want anyone to have nukes but themselves and their partners if its required.

  255. James Canning says:


    I think the US and the UK would much prefer that India and Pakistan did not have nukes. And they want Israel to get rid of its nukes.

  256. James Canning says:


    What “power in the Middle East” do you see “the West” as fearing the loss of?

  257. James Canning says:

    Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akhbar Salehi, says Istanbul good site for talks with “six parties”, and they should begin as soon as possible. (rt.com)

  258. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    I dont see how you could make that conclusion.
    When I said “for arguments sake”.


  259. James Canning says:


    You appear to be claiming Iran in fact is building nukes, and doing so because Israel has them. True?

  260. James Canning says:


    You did not make anything clear. Do you contend Britain did not try to improve relations with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas after new government came in?

    In fact, the UK has tried to improve relations with Syria for the past decade – – until very recently. Have you heard of Wafic Said?

  261. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    “European countries do not worry about civil war in Israel, leading to the theft of nukes by insurgents with wild ideas.”

    They dont worry about Israel at all, which give rise to amongst many things, nuclear race.

  262. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    “Ergo, Israel/Palestine needs to be resolved.”

    Same here, you dont see west pushing Israel on this conflict neither. Which means, west are not concerned at all, they are simply concerned of loosing their power in the middle east.

  263. James Canning says:


    And bear in mind that Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan all got rid of their nukes.

  264. James Canning says:


    European countries do not worry about civil war in Israel, leading to the theft of nukes by insurgents with wild ideas.

  265. James Canning says:


    Would you expect Israel to get rid of its nukes, prior to making peace with Syria, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries? Malcolm Rifkind says this is not a realistic expectation. Ergo, Israel/Palestine needs to be resolved.

  266. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    “European countries are concerned Iran would help trigger a Third World War by setting off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. This concern is valid.”

    Ridiculous, if they are concerned they would have pressured Israel long time ago, either you are not aware of it but you are just spreading israeli, american fear and warmongering now. You are doing a great benefit to the warmongers in Israel and elsewhere.

  267. Fiorangela says:

    Taibbi on Friedman — (old stuff but funny)

    “Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you a Thomas Friedman metaphor, a set of upside-down antlers with four thousand points: the icing on your uber-steroid-flattener-cake!

    Let’s speak Friedmanese for a moment and examine just a few of the notches on these antlers (Friedman, incidentally, measures the flattening of the world in notches, i.e. “The flattening process had to go another notch”; I’m not sure where the notches go in the flat plane, but there they are). Flattener #1 is actually two flatteners, the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the spread of the Windows operating system. In a Friedman book, the reader naturally seizes up in dread the instant a suggestive word like “Windows” is introduced; you wince, knowing what’s coming, the same way you do when Leslie Nielsen orders a Black Russian. And Friedman doesn’t disappoint. His description of the early nineties:

    The walls had fallen down and the Windows had opened, making the world much flatter than it had ever been — but the age of seamless global communication had not yet dawned.

    How the fuck do you open a window in a fallen wall? More to the point, why would you open a window in a fallen wall? Or did the walls somehow fall in such a way that they left the windows floating in place to be opened? Is there no God?”

  268. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    “The US and the UK want Israel to get rid of its nukes.”

    Yes and Stalin and Hitler wanted peace.

  269. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    You failed to respond to my question, will west sanction or threat to invade Saudi in case they go nuclear?

  270. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    Who cares what Russia and China thinks? The conflict is runned by US and Israel. Of course Russia and China or any other partner will accept US demands if they get something back.

  271. James Canning says:


    I think there is no reason to assume Iran gets nukes, and then to see what the West would do about Saudi nukes.

  272. James Canning says:


    The US and the UK want Israel to get rid of its nukes.

  273. James Canning says:


    European countries are concerned Iran would help trigger a Third World War by setting off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. This concern is valid.

  274. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    Thats illogical, if west are concerned about nukes, why then do you think they approve them for every partner they have? India, Pakistan, Israel?

    For arguments sake, let say Iran get nukes, west would fully support a saudi nuclear program. Or do you think west would initiate sanctions and threat to invade saudi arabia? Of course not. I think you miss the whole point, west want to scarmonger that Iran will trigger nuclear race.

  275. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says:
    February 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    James, are you aware that USA is selling Westinghouse technology to UAE to build a nuclear plant? If US has vendors lined up to sell in UAE, Saudi Arabia is just a matter of extending the supply chain a few miles.

  276. Fiorangela says:

    When Matt Taibbi dies I get first dibs on his brain. or funny bone.

  277. James Canning says:


    Bear in mind that India, China, Russia and Turkey all oppose any Iranian nukes. Maybe you regard those countries as part of “the West”?

  278. James Canning says:


    The West does not want Saudi nukes. That is the whole point. Saudi nukes would be more dangerous than Iranian nukes.

  279. James Canning says:


    Yes, I too favor informed discourse, citing the historical record where possible.
    (Re: 12.49pm comment)

  280. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    Why then would west accept saudi nuclear weapons do you think? A hint would be why west accept israeli nukes. You have a western viewpoint of how things should be, should be for the west. Thats not realistic.

  281. James Canning says:


    I have said a number of times Israel should get rid of its nukes. No need for them. Full stop.

  282. Smith says:

    Love Presstv!

    How Iran Changed the World:


    ** MUST READ !!!

  283. James Canning says:


    Saudis want Middle East free of nukes. They want Israel to get rid of its nukes.

  284. James Canning says:


    UK, for Hague. US, for Dempsey. Opposing any Israeli attack on Iran.

  285. James Canning says:


    William Hauge did take pains, did he not, to make clear the US opposed any attack on Iran at this time?

  286. Gash says:

    James Canning,

    You are too rooted in a western viewpoint.
    You assume that the Saudi have a right to have nukes if Iran get them. You fail to recognize that Israel started the nuclear arms race, you and western leaders want to portray that Iran started this.

  287. James Canning says:


    Have you decided whether you think it was a good idea for Ahmadinejad last September, to seek to initiate negotiations with the west, by offering to have Iran stop enriching to 20 percent?

  288. Gash says:

    Richard Steven Hack,

    Interesting to note that warmongers are as most alive when facts getting repeated over and over again dissapproving their arguments.

    Many in the military, intelligence and other analysts in the US have said that Iran is not seeking this weapon/they dont have it, still it is during these times the warmongers are as loud as it gets.

  289. James Canning says:


    You have claimed the Saudis have no ability to build nukes, so no need to worry about nuclear proliferation. The Saudis themselves say that if Iran tests a nuke, they will immediately go into the market and buy nukes off the shelf. See Times (London) report by Hugh Tomlinson in Riyadh, Feb. 10th.

    The UK does not want Iran to build nukes. You have from time to time said Iran should do just that.

  290. BiBiJon says:

    How to conceive of 3 dimensions, if you live in a 2 dimensional world? Get a perspective.

    Iran, Israel and the west: some home truths

  291. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    The statement of Mr. Hague, today, is a testament and a witness to a foolish policy that had made war cheap and peace expenive.

    Instead of taking the sensible approach of Mr. Straw, who never insulted Iranians by the constant refrain of “All options on the table”, US-EU leaders went for a discourse not informed by Reason but by Thuggery.

    Now, late in 2011, their policy perscription brought them to the verge of a very real possibility of war, initiated by Israel. Such a war, needless to say, would destroy US-EU position in the Middle East and have a probability of triggering World War III and US could join Israel in her war against Iran.

    The US-EU policy, now, has come to point of “Peace is Expensive but War is alo Expenive”.

    I suppose in some circles that could be called progress.

    How can one characterize leaders that have brought the world – in case of the Iranian nuclear program – to the edge of economic disaster, if not outright global war?

    My readers will note that Mr. Canning will almost certainly state that US-EU leaders meant no harm to Iran.

  292. US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely


    Officials in key parts of the Obama administration are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme, and believe that the US will be left with no option but to launch an attack on Iran or watch Israel do so.

    But there is a strong current of opinion within the administration – including in the Pentagon and the state department – that believes sanctions are doomed to fail, and that their principal use now is in delaying Israeli military action, as well as reassuring Europe that an attack will only come after other means have been tested.

    “The White House wants to see sanctions work. This is not the Bush White House. It does not need another conflict,” said an official knowledgeable on Middle East policy. “Its problem is that the guys in Tehran are behaving like sanctions don’t matter, like their economy isn’t collapsing, like Israel isn’t going to do anything.

    “Sanctions are all we’ve got to throw at the problem. If they fail then it’s hard to see how we don’t move to the ‘in extremis’ option.”

    “We don’t see a way forward,” said one official. “The record shows that there is nothing to work with.”

    If Obama were to conclude that there is no choice but to attack Iran, he is unlikely to order it before the presidential election in November unless there is an urgent reason to do so. The question is whether the Israelis will hold back that long.

    Earlier this month, the US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, told the Washington Post that he thought the window for an Israeli attack on Iran is between April and June. But other official analysts working on Iran have identified what one described as a “sweet spot”, where the mix of diplomacy, political timetables and practical issues come together to suggest that if Israel launches a unilateral assault it is more likely in September or October, although they describe that as a “best guess”.

    The presidential election is also a part of Israel’s calculation, not least the fractious relationship between Obama and Netanyahu, who has little reason to do the US president any political favours and has good reason to prefer a Republican in the White House next year.

    There is a school of thought – a suspicion, even – within the administration that Netanyahu might consider the height of the US election campaign the ideal time to attack Iran. With a hawkish Republican candidate ever ready to accuse him of weakness, Obama’s room to pressure or oppose Netanyahu would be more limited than after the election.

    “One theory is that Netanyahu and Barak may calculate that if Obama doesn’t support an Israeli strike, he’s unlikely to punish Israel for taking unilateral action in a contested election year,” said Kahl. “Doing something before the US gives the Israelis a bit more freedom of manoeuvre.”

    Thirty-two senators from both parties introduced a resolution on Thursday rejecting “any policy that would rely on efforts to ‘contain’ a nuclear weapons-capable Iran”. The measure was dressed up as intended to protect the president’s back, but it smacked of yet more pressure to take a firmer stand with Iran.

    One of the sponsors, senator Joe Lieberman, said that he did not want to discount diplomatic options but if the president ordered an attack on Iran he would have strong bipartisan support in Congress. Other senators said there needed to be a greater sense of urgency on the part of the administration in dealing with Iran and that sanctions are not enough.

    Others are critical of sanctions for a different reason. Congressman Dennis Kucinich said this week he fears sanctions are less about changing Tehran’s policy than laying the ground for military action. He warned that “the latest drum beat of additional sanctions and war against Iran sounds too much like the lead-up to the Iraq war”.

    “If the crippling sanctions that the US and Europe have imposed are meant to push the Iranian regime to negotiations, it hasn’t worked,” he said. “As the war of words between the United States and Iran escalates it’s more critical than ever that we highlight alternatives to war to avoid the same mistakes made in Iraq.”

    End Quotes

  293. U.S. official: Signs pointing to increasing likelihood of Israeli strike on Iran
    U.S. wants Israel to wait a few months in order to give the international sanctions against Iran a chance before deciding on an attack.

    Note that second lede: US wants Israel to “wait a few months”!

    Even while US officials admit the sanctions will not work. So WHY are we to believe that the US REALLY wants Israel to wait – and only for a few months at that? Is it because the US doesn’t want Israel to attack Iran – or is it more likely that the US doesn’t want Israel to attack Iran before the *US* is fully ready to attack Iran?

  294. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    My point was that a position regarding this or that issue ought to be based on a disocurse informed by Reason which takes into accont historical and (if applicable) scriptural evidence for that position.

  295. fyi says:

    nahid says: February 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm


    When did Iran harm any European state over the last 500 years?

    Was she not instrumenta in defeat of the NAZIs?

    Did not the Polish refugees make a temporary home in Iran during World War II?

    Let this be a lesson to you; when a country is weak and cannot retaliate, others will walk all over her.

    And fundamentally, they do so because they can – and not because of some persumed geolpolitical reasons.

    After all, if the EU states do not try to harm a rising power such as Iran, what are they good for?

  296. IDF to deploy Iron Dome anti-missile system in central Israel
    Army spokesperson says positioning of missile interceptor in Tel Aviv area is part of yearly drill, and will only be deployed for several days.

    Notice they had to say it was for several days only, otherwise everyone would take it as a sign Israel is about to attack Iran.

    And of course the problem is: we don’t KNOW if the system is being deployed for that or if it’s being deployed as a “threat” only.

  297. Fiorangela says:

    appropos of nothing and disjointed to boot —

    1. last week a friend and I enjoyed Gotterdammurung,performed by Metropolitan Opera in NYC and simulcast in a neighborhood theatre. Very enjoyable — tho, the gazillion dollar technology designed for the presentation was a waste of money. Curtains and plain old scenery would have been just as effective and less distracting.

    2. I’m working my way through Shahnameh. The Death of Rostam has numerous similarities to the slaying of Siegfried. Wagner read great epic poetry.

    3. As one would naturally expect, my friend could not resist announcing that Wagner’s opera evoked shades of Hitler. Any evil deed in the opera was, therefore, inspired somehow by Nazis.

    4. Just started reading “Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny,” by R H S Stolfi. Stolfi is peeling the onion — (based on the few pages I’ve read and 3 or reviews), Stolfi’s emphasis is on “BEYOND” evil and tyranny — put aside the moral revulsion that every other biographer in a long, long line of Hitler biographers and try to understand what the man was really about. Stolfi asserts that Hitler was the most important person of the 20th century — he did more to shape the world we live in today than any other person. For that reason, Stolfi argues, we ought to understand him in full, not as an “unperson” as Kershaw writes Hitler, and not with the pre-condition of evil that is ineluctably associated with the word Hitler. In attempting to flesh out Hitler the Person, Stolfi describes how Hitler spent years of his young life, in the company of friends, attending operas and comparing interpretations and performances. Stolfi writes that among Hitler’s accomplishments were making opera available to the masses. And creating the superhighway system (that Eisenhower observed in Germany & brought to the US to contribute to the prosperity US enjoyed post-WWII). Hitler introduced autos for the masses, manufactured on the model of Ford Motor assembly line. Through political rather than violent means he made clear Germany’s needs — room to expand in the East — and offered France a 25 year pact — boundary lines around Alsace Lorraine in exchange for space for Germany to expand in the east. Without violence.

    Reviewers of Stolfi’s “Hitler” range from the information-free “fail” bestowed by Kirkus Review to a predictably pseudo-intellectual hoity toity high-brow left-handed panning at the pen of an unknown college teacher from podunk U. who says he can understand Stolfi’s goal and even appreciate it, after all, he’s read Susan Sontag, but, the podunk prof says, “I’ve been to Auschwitz. Twice.”

    Col Lonnie O. Ratley III, USAF, Retired, wrote the most comprehensive review (of those I read), and concluded that “This biography not only contains many newly uncovered historical gems, it also allows us to see Hitler for what he was and not for what previous biographers would have us believe of him in an ethical context. The research and documentation of Professor Stolfi’s work is untainted by personal or societal bias, it is intellectually pristine, and it will be the standard by which all serious future Hitler biographies are judged.”
    Ratley’s assessment might be a tad enthusiastic, and inasmuch as Stolfi fails to cite any of David Irving’s research, it is not as “thoroughly researched and documented” as Ratley claims earlier in the review. Nevertheless, it is a hopeful sign that someone has approached Hitler from an anti-anti-hagiographic standpoint, in the context of the situation Germany experienced at the time, and wonder of wonders, including in the context the existence of zionism.

    Stolfi’s narrative traces the emergence of Hitler’s antipathy toward some characteristics of Jews. Anyone who has carefully read Mein Kampf knows that Hitler thought of Jews as “characterized by nothing but religion, and therefore, on grounds of human tolerance, I maintained my rejection of religious attacks in this case as in others.” Further, Hitler rejected the arguments of numerous antisemitic pamphlets and press abroad in Vienna at the time as “products of anger and envy” and “unworthy of the great Austrian culture.”

    One of Stolfi’s themes about Hitler is that his finely tuned artistic imagination combined with his perhaps overly-disciplined and intense habits of studying an issue, produced a “solution that would be inspiring in its lack of sense of proportion and its finality.” Hitler brought just those habits to bear on his study of the “Jewish question,” and sometime between 1904 and 1908, arrived at “two great insights into Jewry.” Stolfi writes, “In Hitler’s words, “I could no longer very well doubt that the objects of my study were not Germans of a special religion, but a people in themselves” [remarkably, the precise words Abba Eban uses to describe Jews in his “Heritage: Civilization and the Jews”]. Hitler came to this conclusion almost reluctantly; he writes: “Whatever doubts I may still have nourished were finally dispelled by the attitude of a portion of the Jews themselves.”

    Stolfi’s next words are astounding. Here we go:

    “With discerning precision, [Hitler] confirmed the national rather than religious character of the Jews through the Zionist movement centered coincidentally at that time in Vienna. By 1909 a World Zionist Organization was coordinating the establishment of Jewish settlements in the Ottoman Turkish Empire that were intended to become a modern Jewish political state. The organization centered settlement in the overwhelmingly Arab administrative divisions of the Sanjaq of Jerusalem and the southern part of the Vilayet of Beirut, an area that would become part of the British Mandate of Palestine and Transjordan in April 1920 after the British conquest of the area earlier in 1917. Hitler would accurately note the development of a debate in world Jewry among Zionist and Liberal Jews over such a formulation but claim that the debate was a sham because “the so-called Liberal Jews did not reject the Zionists as non-Jews but only as Jews with an impractical . . .way of avowing their Jewishness.”

    Hitler thereby put together a coldly objective but politically coherent group of human beings. The picture became more subjective when Hitler proceeded in his analysis to formulate a conspiracy theory and “now linked the Jews with every evil he perceived.” Even in this subjectively tainted theory, however, in which he would blame the Jews for the disintegration of cultural life and the business of prostitution, the demonstrable presence of the Jews in tightly coherent communities in virtually every economically significant part of the world lent credence to such a theory. . . .

    As concerns evil in Hitler’s formulation, we see little of it in the fundamental tenet, as it were, the granite foundation, in which the Jews were discovered to be a people apart, camouflaged behind a religion. . . .We see a frustrating mix of objectivity with subjective, and to compound the frustration, we see little evil in the objective foundation of Hitler’s antisemitism in contrast with the potential for considerable evil in the subjective superstructure. What we see here is not the usual picture of an evil, banal Hitler presented retrospectively by hostile “biographers,” but an extraordinarily thoughtful and intense young provincial projected into fin de sciecle Vienna.

    With earnestness and seriosness beyond ordinary comprehension, he had embraced a German world, German heroes [through absorption in opera and German literature and history] and German tribunes saving great peoples all set within impossibly expansive architectural visions.” “

    That an author of some stature has seen fit to commit these impressions to print is important to me because of a snatch of a conversation I had about six years ago with a neighbor. At the time, I was trying to understand a book by Gertrude Stein, “Wars I Have Seen,” and mentioned to Jim, my neighbor, some puzzling passages (“Wars I have Seen” might be Stein’s most accessible writing; it’s also more revealing of Stein-the-person than her ‘autobiography,’ “Alice B. Toklas.”) He exclaimed, “Stein thought Hitler should have gotten the Nobel prize for peace!” My neighbor was disgusted with me, as if I had nominated Hitler for the Nobel (rather than, say, Obama), and that feeling of discombobulation has clung to me. Why did Gertrude Stein even think that Hitler should get the Nobel peace prize? Drones weren’t invented until well after Hitler’s death. Stolfi’s book peels away one more layer of the onion that is Hitler that Stein may have seen.

  298. Castellio says:

    Not that Bill Hague isn’t trying….

  299. Castellio says:

    Next to actually coming to an accomodation with Iran, the best thing that could happen globally would be the US sanctioning South America.

    Talk about cutting off your nose because you don’t like your face.

    Why doesn’t the good man suggest sanctioning Turkey, Russia, India and China while he’s at it?

  300. nahid says:

    ‘LatAm nations looking for Iran ties, playing with fire’

    Countries in this [Western] hemisphere that, for political and financial gain, have courted Iran’s overtures proceed at their own risk: the risk of sanctions from the United States.”

    Democratic Senator Robert Menendez


    no kidding me

  301. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning says:February 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    ”I think the people of Iran are fortunate you do not control Iranian foreign policy.”

    Yes James, thank goodness for that! And, thank goodness neither is (Yessum Massa!) William Hague.

  302. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James, answer the question yourself. Will the negotiations bring an end to 30+ years of sanctions? Was Iran sanctioned before the enrichment came to light?
    fyi has detailed all of this for you in the past. Negotiations are not going to go anywhere. It’s kind of like the peace process, more process than peace.
    Pay attention James. I beg you.

  303. Ken says:

    James Canning > I made that clear earlier, now I want to see links proving the claims of yours.

  304. James Canning says:


    I think the people of Iran are fortunate you do not control Iranian foreign policy.

  305. James Canning says:


    Are you claiming Britain did not seek to improve relations with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, after the new goverment came in? Easy question. If this is news to you, please make that clear.

  306. James Canning says:


    So, in your view Iran should not negotiate with the P5+1?

  307. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Yes James, William Hague is not the master of Iranian sand niggers, to “allow” them.
    Iran can enrich to whatever percentage, and even build a bomb if she needs to. As I’ve said many times before, this is not about enrichment. Hegemony yes!
    Please pay attention James.

  308. Ken says:

    James Canning > Please provide the links.

  309. James Canning says:


    Do you actually think William Hague sees the Iranians as niggers who need to obey the owner of the plantation?

  310. James Canning says:


    You clearly think Iran can enrich uranium to whatver degree it wishes? No problem?

  311. James Canning says:

    Harriet Sherwood and Jill Trainor, writing in the Guardian Feb. 19th, noted the papers’s previous report that “there is a strong current of opinion in the [Obama] administration that the sanctions are unlikely to deter Iran” from continuing to enrich uranium.

  312. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning says:February 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm
    James, like UU says, you’ve got to get past the plantation mentality. Who is “the West” to “allow” Iran to enrich to 5% or 20%? Iran has been, is, will be her own master, free of “the West’s” shackles.
    “allow?” puh-leeez!

  313. Cyrus_2 says:

    From ZeroHedge: Iran Stops Oil Sales To British, French Companies


    Needless to say, it is now time for Saudi Arabia to step up or shut up. And if many are correct, stripping away all the posturing about Saudi’s near infinite excess supplies, may reveal a very ugly picture. And a $10 spike in brent in short order.

    Surely, when it comes to shooting itself in the foot, Europe truly has no equal.



  314. Ken says:

    James Canning > No I was not aware of that, thats why I want you to present links proving these claims.

  315. James Canning says:


    the Financial Times this weekend said that “the West” will have to decide in effect whether Iran will be allowed to enrich to 5%, or 5% and 20%. That Iran is unlikely to give up all enrichment. You should applaud this clear thinking by the most important English-language newspaper in the world.

  316. James Canning says:


    Of course the focus was on the situation today.

    One weakness in Josef Federer’s report that you linked, was his statement: “Both Israel and the West believe Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb.” This statment is false because the US and the UK have made clear they do not believe Iran is building nukes now or getting ready to build them soon.

  317. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning says:February 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm
    Yes James, Hague was white enough to include “at this moment” in that statement.

  318. James Canning says:


    I should say that the UK’s new government tried to reach out to Syria and Iran, and improve relations with Hamas and Hezbollah. Were you aware of this?

  319. James Canning says:

    On the PBS programme, McLaughlin Group, this past week, Pat Buchanan said he did not think Iran is building nukes. Mort Zukerman made his usual pitch for support of Israel because it faces an “existential threat” from Iran.

  320. Fiorangela says:

    from the Boston Globe article that Sakineh Bagoom linked:

    “ONE BY one, the disciplines of science have lost their innocence. For chemistry, the defining moment came during World War I, when the Germans unleashed an asphyxiating wall of chlorine gas on French troops. (1) For physics, it was the 1945 obliteration of Hiroshima in a bright flash of nuclear fission. Knowledge brings power, and power can mean new ways to kill.”

    (1) :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Haber
    “Fritz Haber (9 December 1868 – 29 January 1934) was a German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives. Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid. He has also been described as the “father of chemical warfare” for his work developing and deploying chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I. . . .Haber was born in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland), into a Hasidic Jewish family. His family was one of the oldest families of that town.[1] Haber later converted from strict Judaism to Lutheranism. His mother died during childbirth. His father was a well-known merchant in the town. From 1886 until 1891, he studied at the University of Heidelberg under Robert Bunsen, at the University of Berlin (today the Humboldt University of Berlin) in the group of A. W. Hofmann, and at the Technical College of Charlottenburg (today the Technical University of Berlin) under Carl Liebermann. He married Clara Immerwahr during 1901. Clara was also a chemist and an opponent of Haber’s work in chemical warfare. Following an argument with Haber over the subject, she committed suicide.[2] Their son, Hermann, born in 1902, would later also commit suicide because of his shame over his father’s chemical warfare work.[3] Before starting his own academic career, he worked at his father’s chemical business and in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich with Georg Lunge.”

    “The development of the Haber process from 1908 to 1912 made it possible to synthesize ammonia (a major industrial chemical as the primary source of nitrogen), and, after acquiring exclusive rights to the process, in 1913 BASF started a new production plant in Oppau, adding fertilizers to its product range. BASF also acquired and began mining anhydrite for gypsum at the Kohnstein in 1917.[5]
    [edit] IG Farben

    As a result of this monopoly, BASF was able to start operations at a new site in Leuna in 1916, where explosives were produced during the First World War. On September 21, 1921, an explosion occurred in Oppau, killing 565 people. The Oppau explosion was the biggest catastrophe in German industry. Under the leadership of Carl Bosch, BASF founded IG Farben with Hoechst, Bayer, and three other companies, thus losing its independence. BASF was the nominal survivor, as all shares were exchanged for BASF shares prior to the merger. Rubber, fuels, and coatings were added to the product range. Following the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor in 1933, IG Farben cooperated with the Nazi regime, profiting from guaranteed volumes and prices, and from the slave labor provided by the government’s concentration camps. IG Farben also achieved notoriety owing to its production of Zyklon-B, the lethal gas used in Nazi extermination camps. In 1935, IG Farben and AEG presented the magnetophon – the first tape recorder – at the Radio Exhibition in Berlin.[6]”

    “Humanity has reviled the use of poison gas since its first use in the trenches of the Western Front during World War I, a horror which, in 1925, led to the first international treaty banning the use of gas in warfare. Even Nazi Germany refrained from employing gas on the battlefield during World War II, despite the fact that it had large stocks of sarin on hand.

    The most notorious use of poison gas since World War I occurred in Iraq — a signatory to the 1972 convention — where Saddam Hussein employed it against both ethnic Kurds and Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq war.

    As of 2005, the number of signatories to the convention stood at 171 nations, with Israel being perhaps the most notable holdout.”

    –> History STILL can’t force itself to acknowledge that Iranian civilians were subjected to chemical attacks by Saddam Hussein who used American made helicopters guided by American-supplied intelligence to drop German-made Treaty-banned poinson chemicals on Iranian towns and villages.

  321. James Canning says:


    Clearly you are not even aware of the efforts made by Britain to reach out to Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria, since the new government came in?

  322. Ken says:

    James Canning > Yes U.K. demands, of course U.K. have no reason to establish ties with parties that U.K. themselves consider terrorists.

    But feel free to post links where U.K. say they want better ties with Hamas, Hezballah.

  323. Fiorangela says:

    Danny Ayalon and the implication that Israel — which “has used assassination since it was established, and more than Saddam Hussein and Stalin” — and the US — whose jurists argue in favor of torture and use lies to overthrow the sovereign governments of others– are the arbiters of “what is right and what is wrong, what is decent and what is not.”

    Ayalon gave this speech at Chatham House in January 2012: Israel in a Changing Strategic Environment

    “So we may be very cautious of what we wish for when we use the term the Arab Spring. I do not see a spring yet in the Middle East – quite the contrary. It is no doubt that what we have seen whether it is in Tunisia, Egypt or anywhere else was quite spontaneous and authentic by real people. Maybe a younger generation who are technology savvy or information savvy and who don’t want to take orders from the top that explains to them that they don’t have a job, a good education, a good livelihood, let alone dignity, human rights or respect because of some exogenic threats. Some have used for too many years the Palestinian conflict but I do not think that these people buy the fact that they don’t have jobs because of the Palestinian conflict.

    Now the danger I see is that once these first waves of real democratic forces have been exhausted, we see a second wave of more disciplined forces which are well organised and which are very much dedicated to their cause. These are very much more radical forces that have waited in the wing for the first wave to take down the regimes and then they come forward, front and centre to do what they believe in.
    We have an example – a very bad example – from 1979 Tehran. Recall the spontaneous and quite authentic people’s revolution against a very tyrannical Shah? For weeks a democracy was in place in Tehran with the government of Mr Bakhtiar at the time. Khomeini came, and the rest is history.
    I think the danger that we face today is that the Iranian Revolution may be replicated all over the Middle East and none of us – and I’m not just talking about Israel – none of us in the international community can afford another Iran in the Middle East. So this is something that has to be quite understood and emphasised.
    On the other hand of course we have an opportunity. We were just talking about the downside; the upside of course is that if we will see real democratic forces that in the immediate interim and long run take over. And here we have to remember that democracy doesn’t start, nor does it end, with an election. Democracy foremost is a frame of mind, it is a set of values, it is an understanding of the individual and as a society as a whole about what is right and what is wrong, what is decent and what is not. And I think they are usually accepted, I think, what are the norms for democracy and its values. This is something which is very important to understand.”

  324. James Canning says:


    That was a good report, by Josef Federman (in the Boston Globe) that you linked. William Hague is quoted (in Feb. 19th piece): “I don’t think a wise thing at this moment is for Israel to launch a military attack on Iran.” Very true.

  325. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    February 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    The 200,000 would represent a 20% enrichment of the population, Gav.


    VoT: the news stated regarding the new metro hub in Tajrish that there are 31 escallators, 16 of which are operational in this first phase.(The depth of the station is the equivalent of half a football field, and comprises 6 stories.) A few days ago it was also announced that dozens of new metro cars had just arrived from China and were on their way to being installed. That’s what the system really needs right now: trains every 2 minutes instead of every five, as the cars are so crowded. But it looks like that problem is well under control too.

    By the way, I couldn’t help but notice that the chelow-kababs are sitting well with you friend, Mrs. Hashemi.


    BiBiJon re Truthers: exaaaaaactly! Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose…

  326. James Canning says:


    Doesn’t the New York Times own the Boston Globe? Explains a lot.

  327. James Canning says:


    What are “UK demands for the region” you believe Iran cannot accept? New government in Britain sought better relations with Hezbollah, and Syria. Surely this posed no problem for Iran. UK sought better relations with Hamas. Here again, surely no problem for Iran.

  328. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Washington Post today (“Why Iran thinks it needs the bomb”, Ray Takeyh states: “The intense international pressure on Iran has seemingly invited an interest in diplomacy.”

    Seemingly invited.

    Surely Takeyh is aware that Ahmadinejad last September in New York offered to have Iran stop enriching to 20 percent. Wasn’t this an obvious effort to engage in diplomacy? Months before the latest round of sanctions.

  329. Ken says:

    James Canning > When made U.K. made clear that? Rather U.K. will accept Iran when Iran have accepted U.K. demands for the region, and thats not possible with the current leaders in Iran.

  330. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    BiBiJon says:February 19, 2012 at 8:57 am


    And now this from the paper of your home state of Massachusetts, the Boston Globe, for a people addicted to killing, on how to have soldiers that could kill free of guilt by having their brains altered.

    And also this from the same paper. The US and UK are on their knees asking Israel not to attack Iran.

  331. James Canning says:


    Let’s remember that the moron in the White House in 2001 allowed four warmongering neocon Jews, closely connected to the Israeli right wing, to take control of the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon. Their mantra was deception of the public (“cheating”), was morally correct.

  332. James Canning says:


    For Israel, “cheating” is the name of the game, and its industrial espionage in the US is protected by a number of corrupt US Congrressmen.

  333. James Canning says:

    I recommend Philip Giraldi’s “Feeding the frenzy over Iran”:


    Ray Takeyh has a piece in the Washington Post about why Iran wants nukes, and the piece is trumpeted on the front page!

  334. Fiorangela says:

    James, I would change one word in your comment —

    “Iran is unlikely to “overtake” Israel in technology for the simple UNJUST reason Israel is able to make deals in the US and other countries that Iran cannot make. Additionally, Israel conducts industrial espionage in the US with little fear of prosecution.”

    I grew up in the Midwest US, where football is a sacrament. All the wisdom of all the popes and mullahs and rabbis and sacred texts can be boiled down to the affirmation that our high school principal drilled into us before every football game: Winners never cheat and cheaters never win.

  335. kooshy says:

    Once again Prof. Ismael Hossein-Zadeh perfectly describes the real dispute between Iran and the west which is Iran being an independent actor as a rule model an exemplary danger to the western hegemony, a very well written article.

    The Assassination of Iranian Scientists: In What Way is Iran a Threat to Israel?
    By Prof. Ismael Hossein-Zadeh

    “What frightens Israel and its allies most is the example of the Iranian revolution of 1979, and its subsequent national independence from external powers. Contrary to the distorted image of Iran in the West, the country’s resistance to the Zionist-imperialist pressure is quite popular in the Arab/Muslim world. This is clearly reflected in a number of public opinion polls (taken by well-known pollsters of the United States and other Western countries) that consistently rank President Ahmadinejad of Iran (and Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Lebanon’s Hezbollah) above the corrupt and cringing rulers of Arab countries—despite the fact that Iran is neither Arab nor Sunni, as most Arab countries are.

    Not surprisingly, many observers of the recent social upheavals in the Arab/Muslim world, known as the Arab spring, argue that these revolutionary movements may have in subtle and roundabout ways been inspired by the Iranian revolution. Nor is it surprising that, to put an end to these revolutionary upheavals, Israel and its allies have gone all out on a relentless mission to destroy the Iranian example of national sovereignty through policies of destabilization and regime change”


  336. James Canning says:


    Iran is unlikely to “overtake” Israel in technology for the simple reason Israel is able to make deals in the US and other countries that Iran cannot make. Additionally, Israel conducts industrial espionage in the US with little fear of prosecution.

  337. Voice of Tehran says:


    This station is the biggest in the MENA region and connects south of Tehran to the north ( 39 km )


    Development of subway stations and lines continues unabated in Tehran and Tajrish Square station, as the last and the deepest station of the first subway line, is getting ready for final inauguration.
    Construction of the station is final and it can accommodate 40,000 passengers per hour. Its inauguration will increase Tehran subway passengers by 50,000 per day. The station is 51 m underground with an area of 150,000 sq. m. behind the slopes of Alborz Mountains.
    The station will have 16 escalators with 8 elevators. To prevent passengers’ tiredness when entering or leaving the station, the middle hall of the station has been colored differently from other parts.
    Construction of the station was done without causing traffic jams. It is close to Qods Square and district 1 municipality and is expected to see a large number of daily trips.

  338. James Canning says:


    The UK made clear it welcomes a rich and powerful Iran, living in peace with its neighbors.

    You are dead wrong about the issue of enriching to 20 percent.

  339. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    You make an interesting point, that Israel is concerned an Iran with normal relations with the US and prospering, would potentially attract 200,000 Iranian Jews to return to Iran.

  340. Fiorangela says:

    Jay —
    “So, I will not be asking for your first born! Keeps me in one piece — which I prefer!”

    very wise. My first born is not the son of a king, but thinks he is, or should have been.

  341. James Canning says:


    William Hague took pains in his interveiw with the Daily Telegraph to make clear the UK did not seek a military resolution of the nuclear dispute.

  342. James Canning says:


    Papal States in Italy were less than a quarter of what is Italy today. Tension between the Pope in Rome and various kings, emperors, etc was fairly continuous.

  343. nahid says:

    Dear fyi

    Is it right thing to do not to sell oil to these countries?

  344. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: February 19, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I believe Mr. Broujerdi ought to be free to publish his ideas and opinions.

    In fact, I personally would like to read his arguments regarding the compatibility of the doctrine of separation of power – as is – between State and religion in Islam.

    For in Christianity, that doctrine of separation finds its root in the famous statement of Jesus, the Immaculate Perferct Man, who said: “Give that which is the Ruler’s to the Ruler and that which is God’s to God”.

    However, this, by-and-in-itself, was not sufficient to effect separation of the Church and State in the Christian states of the Western Eurasia.

    In fact, for centuries the Bishop of Rome acted both as a temporal and a spiritual rulers and no one questioned that.

    What brought it about, in my opinion, was Reformation and the rise of Emprical Sciences.

    For the Empirical Sciences, by creating reliable and precie knowledge, rendered claims of the Churchmen to such knoledge false and limited the authority of the Church – in effect – to non-material Universe.

    The Prophet, the 4 Early Khalifs, the Omavids, the Abbasids, the Safavid, and the Ottomans all claimed to be both Spiritual and Temporal Rulers.

    This is the body of Islamic historical tradition and one must be able to answer to it – in the plane of ideas – if one wishes to support an analogous doctrine of the Separation of Religion and the State.

    Furthermore, on the philosophical side (such as it is in Islam at the present time) there is no conceptual separation between knowledge derived from separation and that which is obtained from empirical sciences. That is, n the Islamic Philosophical tradition, as far as I know of it (admittedly only a little bit), Revelatory, non-Revelatory, and Mystical knowledge are treated within the smae monistic framework; as oppose to the Westrn Philosophical Tradition since 1500.

    [One could look at the late Allameh Tabatabi’s Tafsir to see this point demonstrated clealry.]

    So, I would like to see how Mr. Broujerdi replies to such consideration in a reasonable and consistent manner in Liberty and without fear.

  345. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: February 19, 2012 at 10:14

    You forgot to write about the persistent spitting on the priests of Orthodox and Catholic Churches in Jerusalem by the Ultra-Orthox Jews.

  346. Jay says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 19, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Thank you! I think you are being generous — I merely summarized a view you had already expressed.

    So, I will not be asking for your first born! Keeps me in one piece — which I prefer!

  347. Fiorangela says:

    Iranians surely know this better than I — In Iran, Armenians, who are usually Christians, are NOT required to conform to many Islamic religious rules; Armenians use and sell liquor, for example. The Armenian quarter in Isfehan is vibrant with numerous coffee bars and restaurants. At the Armenian Cathedral in Isfehan, the Armenian genocide is commemorated openly, and young people who are members of the community learn about what happened to their ancestors and ensure that their memory is respected.

    Contrast to Israel, where Jerusalem’s city fathers approve Jews-only parking lot in Old City
    For decades, the parking lot was open to all, though Jewish Quarter residents paid far less for a parking sticker than their Armenian neighbors.

  348. Fiorangela says:

    hans —

    Where is the Jewish Israeli Ayatullah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi who preaches separation between state and religion?

    Jerusalem’s Armenians outraged as city approves Jews-only parking lot in Old City
    For decades, the parking lot was open to all, though Jewish Quarter residents paid far less for a parking sticker than their Armenian neighbors.

  349. Fiorangela says:

    Jay says: February 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    thanks, Jay, or should I say Rumpelstiltskin, for spinning my pile of straw into gold.

    I’m a quilter — I enjoy collecting exquisite fabrics and textiles (She who dies with the biggest stash wins) and I’m accomplished at very fine needle work. I can sew a quilt but I cannot for the life of me design a quilt. Writing is the same, alas; when I see a paragraph that expresses an important thought, I scoop it up for my stash, and occasionally try to ‘sew’ it into an essay, but I most often fail to design a coherent, well-framed composition. So thanks.

  350. hans says:

    Ayatullah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi preaches separation between state and religion

    I do not know about a noble peace prize for him but I definitely support what he preaches. I thought it was hilarious when Ahmadinejad refused to shake the hand of Pakistan’s foreign minister during his recent travel there. A woman of course. Bigots!

  351. BiBiJon says:

    Reverse Robin Hoodism for Dummies

    Yesterday it cost me $60 to fill up a tank in Massachusetts, after shopping around and finding the lowest price in town at $3.55(.9) a gallon.

    So, I wondered if this is how it works:

    William Hague gives a scarey interview to the Daily Telegraph, in cahoots with other western/Saudi/Israeli fearmongers. The unreasonably high crude oil prices ($120 p/b for Brent) is thus supported and sustained on a foundation of contrived fears, and deliberately manufactured instability. Whatever the oil companies’ original return on investments calculations is now thrown out the window. The investments are now fully paid for. At these prices, ROT will be over a 1000%. Arab Sheikdomes return most of their gains by buying British/American weapons. Pouring arms into the mideast further supports the high price of oil, by further destabilizing the region.

    I cannot help but think it is me paying $3.55 a gallon that has concentrated enormous profits in the exclusive hands of the already-flush oil and arms industries who use the extra profits to ‘influence’ politicians. Which means I am influencing William Hague every time I fill up a tank of gas. This is a very well oiled wheel of democracy at work.

  352. Rehmat says:

    Jewish Senator: ‘Ayatullah Boroujerdi for 2012 Nobel Peace Prize’

    Last week, I saw love pouring from anti-Muslim Zionist Jews for Iranian people. First, Israeli President Shimon Peres sent a fake peace message to Iranian nation, asking it to rise against its popular President Ahmadinejad. Then came a letter from an unelected Canadian Jewish Senator, Linda Farum (sister of Dubya Bush’s Jewish speech-writer David Farum). She wrote a letter to Thorbjorn Jagland, Chairman Nobel Committeee in Oslo, Norway – asking him to nominate Iran’s jailed Ayatullah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.

    Lind’a Jewish love for a discredited Iranian cleric whose nation is about to be slaughtered by a nuclear Holocaust for the pleasure of Zionist Jews in Israel – is nothing but a ‘Chutzpa’. However, beneath western love for the Ayatullah lies his hatred toward Islamic Revolution (1979), and the Islamic State.

    Ayatullah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi preaches separation between state and religion which is against the Islamic tenets. This is a secularist concept and was rejected in the true messages of prophet Moses and Jesus. The Ayatullah’s other attraction to anti-Muslim Zionist Jews and Christians – is that the Ayatullah never forget greeting Jews and Christians on their religious holidays. He has written letters to Israel-Firsters Hillary Clinton and Ki-Moon.

    Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi was sentenced to 11 years in jail in June 2007 following a trial behind closed doors that found him guilty of 30 charges including acting against national security and having links with anti-revolutionaries and spies.

    His supporters say the charges stemmed from his opposition to the involvement of religious clerics in politics and his public criticism of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Boroujerdi, an outspoken Shia cleric has repeatedly called the concept of political leadership by the clergy unlawful and has described Tehran’s regime as a “religious dictatorship”.

    The 54-year-old cleric, who is currently held in Tehran’s Evin prison in a ward designated for dissident clerics, was initially given a death sentence before an appeals court reduced it to 11 years in jail. He was found guilty of insulting the supreme leader, spreading propaganda against the regime and moharebeh or waging war against God, a charge that carries the death penalty under Iranian law.


  353. BiBiJon says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    February 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    “Iranian papers are reporting that Indian and Thai police are having their forensic efforts frustrated by Israeli intelligence who has “taken over” the crime scene(s) and refuses to allow the police to do basic forensic work for “diplomatic” reasons.”

    And thus arose the ‘Valentine’s Day Truther’ movements in India, Georgia and Taiwan, historians will record.

  354. Unknown Unknowns says:


    I’m glad you caught it and passed it on. Keep us posted with what Mr. Hibbs and the other “savants” over there have to say. Frankly, it is hard for me to keep visiting that site knowing that their political consciousness regarding the Iran nuclear issue is still at the point that they have not reached a consensus or near consensus that its not about weaponization but about breaching technological thresholds (and the capabilities that follow therefrom). The Plantation, in other words. And the Uppity Niggers, of course, who have gathered at Massa Bwana Dik’s doorstep (or threshold, if you will) in numbers, tar torches in hand. Still, I haven’t spent a lot of time there in a long while, so maybe things have changed.

  355. Pirouz says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    February 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks for highlighting that post of Richard’s. I would’ve missed it.

    I forwarded the URL to Mark Hibbs at ACW, asking if this retired DOE official’s claims are accurate (my hunch is they are, given the man’s experience).

  356. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Ah, if only Scotty Boy were back so I could rub this in his face. More on the “Economy Humming Along Nicely” story from the excellent piece VoT linked from Veterans Today:

    I only hear shrill desperation when politicos now parrot the “sanctions are biting” line. Here’s a juicy tidbit for those rolling their eyes right now: Goldman Sachs – America’s premier investment bank and Wall-Street God – has identified the Islamic Republic as one of the “Next 11” growth drivers of the global economy after the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations. BRIC was a term coined by Goldman Sachs, if you recall, and boy, were they right about that one.

    Thirty years of “biting” sanctions and sanctions “with teeth” have achieved the following: “Strong or improving growth conditions,” said Goldman Sachs just last year, “combined with favorable demographics, form the foundation of the N-11 growth story.” The investment bank, furthermore, estimates “a measurable increase in the N-11’s share of global GDP, from roughly 12% in the current decade to 17% in 2040-2049.”

    It’s a bad global economy we are facing right now, but Goldman Sachs’ charts illustrate that Iran is still one of five nations in the N-11 pot whose “productivity and sustainability of growth” is above average.

    [And this explains why US pressure on India will not work, and why the Iran-Pakistan pipeline will eventually snake its way into INdia as well.]

    The new trade deal inked between Iran and India ensures Rupee payment for 45% of Iranian oil imports, with the balance remaining in Indian banks to pay for exports to the Islamic Republic. This achieves two important things that are an unintended consequence of US sanctions: firstly, it eliminates the Dollar as the trading currency (note that oil prices have traditionally been priced in US Dollars); secondly, it significantly accelerates economic integration between Iran and one of the four largest emerging economies in the world.

    D.S. Rawat, head of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India, says of the agreement: “The potential of trade and economic relations between the two countries can touch the level of $30 billion by 2015 from the current level of $13.7 billion dollars in 2010-11.”

  357. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Jay says: “The fear about Iran’s rise is rooted in future intellectual, economical, and technological advantage.”

    What Israel fears in an resurgent Iran with normalized relations with the US with sanctions lifted is the return of 200,000 Iranian Jews back to their homeland.


    BiBiJon: Iranian papers are reporting that Indian and Thai police are having their forensic efforts frustrated by Israeli intelligence who has “taken over” the crime scene(s) and refuses to allow the police to do basic forensic work for “diplomatic” reasons.


    Richard: Excellent find on that interview with the nuclear expert.

  358. Pirouz says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Fio, it’s all about regime change for these Iranian-Americans. And they are quietly hoping for war.

    Richard, my initial hunch was correct, it’s IRINS Shahid Naqdi corvette and IRINS Kharg replenishment ship, comprising the 18th Task Force.

  359. Jay says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    The broader framing of your analysis is spot on!

    The fear about Iran’s rise is rooted in future intellectual, economical, and technological advantage.

    Having vast resources, a highly educated workforce, population balance, and developing infrastructure, Iran is posed to become a major powerhouse. This is not simply a threat to Israel. Such prominence would be a threat to regional competitors, as well as trans-regional competitors (including Britain). This is the crux of it all – not the 20%, not the nukes, not the regime,…

    Understandably, no insider in this game will acknowledge (never mind admit) that this is what it is all about.

    The high stakes poker game has come down to this: does the west believe that Iran can sustain several years of (4+) this pressure without cracking? If Iran can sustain its status, the west has lost all its levers of pressure with one exception: conflict. What then? In point of fact, this is not entirely correct!

    The dilemma and disarray in the west stems from this Gordian knot created by the wishful, aggressive, and zealot-motivated thinking that has gotten the west to this point. If the sanctions dream fails for the west, and conflict with Iran is not a viable option, the ground in the mideast will shift drastically – a scary prospect for a certain segment of Israeli policymakers and Israel’s stakeholders in the US.

  360. Fiorangela says:

    The brief article introducing Flynt’s appearance on PBS noted that the discussion “focuses on what we believe remains the critical issue in the P5+1 dialogue with Tehran—whether the United States and its Western partners are prepared to accept the principle and reality of safeguarded uranium enrichment on Iranian soil.”

    Flynt did make that point several times, and quite effectively. Takeyh did not have anything to contribute to a strategic understanding of Iran’s position, the US position, whether an improved US-Iran relationship is desirable, possible, or how it could be achieved. Rather, Takeyh, echoing the man who is likely his paymaster, Dennis Ross, merely gloated over how much suffering US led sanctions are causing Iran and Iranians. Such ghoulish behavior does not make me proud to be an American.

    But I was interested in another area Flynt touched upon.

    Relative to Iran’s quest for 20% enrichment and its apparent achievement of that goal, Flynt responded to Ray Suarez’s question whether Ahmadinejad’s announcement of a technological breakthrough was an “indication that they want to continue to enrich while continuing to talk.”

    Flynt responded:

    “I think it certainly is a demonstration of [that] point. I think it also in a sense it does put the lie to some of the charges that people have made about the nature of the Iranian program; that when, for example, they started to enrich to the 20% level that this was clearly meant to take them closer to a weapons capability because they couldn’t possibly make fuel plates with 20% enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor. Well, now they’re making fuel plates for this research reactor which produces medical isotopes for cancer patients.

    You know, they keep advancing their program and they keep putting it to use for what are basically peaceful purposes.”

    THIS is what drives Israel crazy. THIS is why Israel is afraid that “if Iran gets ‘a nuclear bomb’ ” [read, surpasses Israel in technological achievements] “200,000 Israeli intellectuals will leave the country.” Because Israel will no longer have a competitive advantage.

    Israel is jealous of such accomplishments and, unfortunately, is prone to gaining an advantage in competition by destroying the Other or even killing the scientists of the competition.

    This is not a unique historical situation. Centuries ago, when Italian city states vied with each other for control of ports, commerce, and trade routes, one other prize was control of the universities. When Padua was conquered by an adversary, the adversary gloated that it had acquired the most advanced university in the Mediterranean region.
    Israel enjoys boasting of its technological accomplishments, and many Israelis consider their medical discoveries and practitioners to be the gold standard. Israelis are NOT so bold in acknowledging the extent to which partnerships with US funders and researchers have assisted Israel in its technological achievements. For example, in 2006 a JPost article boasted, “Israeli human embryonic stem cell research is 2nd in world,” and one of the feted researchers said:

    “”I am very happy that Israel has such a prominent role in hESC,” he said. “It is a big compliment to Israeli science, and we have great potential. Our prominence is due to the fact that we were pioneers in the field, there is a moral commitment to it and Judaism is so supportive. The government, especially the Science and Technology Ministry and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, has provided money for hESC research, but there is a need for more.”
    The researcher failed to mention, however, that the United States provides funding and shares research with Israel and has done so since the 1980s —
    http://www.birdf.com/_Uploads/dbsAttachedFiles/BinationalFoundationsReportPrestowitzDec2011.pdf BARD and BIRD programs to share in US technological research and discoveries.

    (nb. Iran has made groundbreaking discoveries in embryonic stem cell research and has achieved world-class status through its OWN efforts — no, more than that — through Iran’s own efforts IN SPITE of all the efforts of Israel and the US to strangle and stifle Iran’s creative genius.) :http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/15/iran-at-forefront-of-stem-cell-research/?page=all

    In addition, the Israeli government has created consulates and “binational agreements” between Israel and numerous US states — that’s right; Israel, which disdains registering its many US agents as foreign agents, also carries on foreign policy exchanges and agreements between the Israeli state apparatus and numerous US states. These arrangements, many of which have lucrative commercial components, ensure that state senators and representatives will NOT enforce rules on Israel that everybody else is expected to comply with.

    I learned this from some comments on Mondoweiss the other day; here’s the exchange, quoted in full:

    1. :http://mondoweiss.net/2012/02/leading-zionist-historian-and-president-of-brandeis-was-first-to-say-israel-firster-in-1960.html/comment-page-1#comment-423477

    “Israel’s By-Pass Foreign Policy

    The right-wing government of Israel has embarked on a novel foreign policy, one that seeks to develop close relations with sub-national state and provincial governments, thus by-passing national governments and avoiding the increasing hostility of national foreign ministries and local grass roots movements to Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

    The establishment of state-to-state relations between Israel and such sub-national governments as American states, Canadian provinces, and even Native American tribal nations has increased under the ultra-nationalist Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The new aggressive policy by Israel to seek allies at sub-national levels results in internal pressure on national governments to take a less critical approach to Israeli policies on the West Bank and Gaza. . . .

    State to State Agreements between Israel and US states
    Alabama, California Colorado Connecticut District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii
    Illinois Indiana Louisiana Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri Nebraska
    New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Vermont Virginia Washington

    How many states in the US union have Israel consulates? How many states have Chinese consular offices or formal business agreements — those are contracts, which, if a state sought to act in opposition to some Israeli behavior, could possibly subject that state to a lawsuit that you just know Israel firsters would make extremely costly to prosecute.
    screwed again.”

    2. :http://mondoweiss.net/2012/02/leading-zionist-historian-and-president-of-brandeis-was-first-to-say-israel-firster-in-1960.html#comment-423657

    “American says:
    February 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm
    This has been on a long time. Created by the Israel firsters and congress. It’s about diluting or splitting US Federal grants to US states by two programs BIRD and BARD so that Israel gets half of what would go to the states.
    It’s also a way for Israel to siphon off or get credit for any US work or discoveries in research by so called “joint development”. For example in a federal grant for some research at Duke Univ Hosp half has to go to Israelis for shared “collaboration” in that research.
    Same thing goes for business ventures.
    An example of how ridiculous this is…..a federal health grant to NC to study end of life questions for the elderly was shifted to Israel cause the Israelis sharing the grant said NC population was too ‘homogeneous’ to be studied.
    So we have a ‘federal grant given specifically to study NC elderly attitudes’ homogenous or not, that was shifted entirely to Israel.
    What good does the studying the non homogenous elderly in Israel do for the homogenous elderly in NC that the grant was given for? None.
    Just more money for Israelis benefits.

    The Israel -firster parasites at work….in every single organ of the US.”

    In attempting to cripple Iran, Israel is protecting its competitive edge — in the most unsportsmanlike way possible, by killing the competition. That sucks.

  361. BiBiJon says:

    Repeat warning

    Guns with a U-shaped barrel should not be fired too frequently

    “After last week’s explosions it’s important to take an objective look at the evidence as the story unfolds rather than putting blind faith into the anti-Iran spin from Washington and Tel Aviv”

    Read more at http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/280524/don-t-rush-to-judgement-over-valentine-day-bombs


    On the bright side of things, the crescendo of anti-Iran propaganda is beginning to have a fingernail-on-chalkboard quality to it which is waking up the docile happy-go-lucky folks.

  362. James Canning says:

    “Dennis Ross’ legacy continues at Winep”, by James M. Wall (Nov. 19, 2011):


    Winep, of course, is an off-shoot of Aipac (which controls the US Congress).

  363. James Canning says:

    The New York Times Feb. 18th quoted Dennis Ross: “They’ree the ones [Iran’s leaders] who have to demonstrate they are actually prepared to engage seriously on steps that would matter.”

    Anyone remember what reaction Dennis Ross voiced last September when Iran offered to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent? Was that a “step that would matter”, in Ross’s opinion? If it is indeed a “step that would matter”, perhaps Ross will tell us why Obama failed to respond to that offer.

  364. James Canning says:

    “US thinks it can use al-Qaeda temporarily in Syria”:


  365. James Canning says:


    There are of course many Persian rugs and carpets available at auction, imported years ago.

  366. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning, Yes indeed, it is nearly impossible to buy a Persian carpet in the US, but I’d stake a month’s wages that Israel is importing them hand over fist. When the shah was in the process of falling, Jews who left Iran for Israel chartered several planes and loaded them with Persian rugs.

  367. James Canning says:


    Bravo. And let’s remember the stooges of Israel in the US Congress try to prevent the imnportation of Persian carpets!

  368. James Canning says:

    We should remember that Edward Luttwak was an agressive promoter of the illegal and idiotic invasion of Iraq, to benefit Israel.

    I recommend “Zionist influence on the US war machine”:


    Small wonder the Wall Street Journal gives him space to promote an insane attack on Iran. To benefit Israel.

  369. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning — as you are probably aware, <a href = "http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/Freud_Sofa.JPG&imgrefurl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Freud_Sofa.JPG&h=1536&w=2048&sz=1945&tbnid=hqfoZdbFJw-eCM:&tbnh=92&tbnw=122&zoom=1&docid=nKBL5jZqwzsjFM&sa=X&ei=7zBAT7jWOoiv0AHi65TiBw&ved=0CDoQ9QEwAQ&dur=3450&quot;? Freud's sofa was piled with Persian/Turkish rugs. Iran the was recognized as the soul and source of high culture in the days before propagandists overtook the world.

  370. James Canning says:

    The Wall Street Journal today has more pro-war propaganda (“The president has been given a false choice on Iran”, by Edward Luttwak.

    Quote: “The debate continues inconclusively while Iran’s nuclear efforts persist – – along with daily threats of death to America, Israel, Britain, Saudi Arabia’s rulers, and more.”

  371. James Canning says:


    One of my distant uncles was a “Turkey merchant” based in Constantinople during early Jacobean period.

  372. James Canning says:


    Do you have an opinion to offer on the merits of Ahmadinejad’s effort last September to head off a new round of sanctions by stopping enrichment to 20 percent?

  373. James Canning says:

    The front page of the Sunday Times (London) Feb. 12th had interesting story: “Bin Laden told his children: Go to US and live in peace”.

    Quote: “Osama bin Laden urged his younger children to go to university in the West and live peacefully rather than embrace terrorism, his brother-in-law said this weekend.”

  374. James Canning says:


    Interesting post (English interest in Persia in 16th-17th centuries). In paintings of the period, “Turkish” rugs often are draped over a table.

  375. Sassan says:


    Execution of web programmer in Iran may be imminent
    By the CNN Wire Staff
    updated 5:46 PM EST, Sat February 18, 2012

    Saeed Malekpour wrote a computer program to upload photos to the internet
    Iranian authorities claim someone else used the program to upload pornography
    Rights groups call for the programmer’s release

    (CNN) — A computer programmer from Canada faces imminent execution in Iran for the actions of another person, which he had no control over, a human rights group says.

    Saeed Malekpour wrote a program to upload photos to the Internet, an accomplishment that could cost him his life, Amnesty International reported Friday. Authorities in the Islamic Republic claimed his program was used by someone else to upload pornography and charged him with “insulting and desecrating Islam.”

    Malekpour, who is a Toronto resident, was arrested in October 2008 while visiting relatives in Iran. He was convicted in a short trial and was sentenced to death in October 2011, according to Amnesty International.

    Iran’s Supreme Court confirmed the sentence on January 17. Malekpour’s lawyers have been unable to ascertain the whereabouts of his court files since Tuesday and fear this could be an indicator that an executioner could carry out the sentence soon, Amnesty said. A court official suggested to the lawyers that the file had been sent to the Office for the Implementation of Sentences, according to Amnesty.

    Malekpour sent a letter from prison detailing beatings and other mistreatment at the hands of Iranian prison officials to obtain a confession, said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

    “A large portion of my confession was extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture, threats to myself and my family, and false promises of immediate release upon giving a false confession to whatever the interrogators dictated,” the letter says.

    Malekpour’s supporters have created Facebook pages and websites in his support dating to at least 2009.

    Amnesty International has requested on its website that concerned individuals write Iranian authorities inside and outside the country to demand that Malekpour not be executed.


  376. I appear to have double cut and pasted one of the sections of the MSNBC article. Sorry about that. Reading that drivel once was bad enough, I’m sure…

  377. Meanwhile, the propaganda continues totally unimpeded, as witness this prime example:

    Iran poised for big nuclear jump, diplomats say.


    Iran is poised to greatly expand uranium enrichment at a fortified underground bunker to a point that would boost how quickly it could make nuclear warheads, diplomats tell The Associated Press.

    While saying that the electrical circuitry, piping and supporting equipment for the new centrifuges was now in place, the diplomats emphasized that Tehran had not started installing the new machines at its Fordo facility and could not say whether it was planning to.

    Still, the senior diplomats — who asked for anonymity because their information was privileged — suggested that Tehran would have little reason to prepare the ground for the better centrifuges unless it planned to operate them. They spoke in recent interviews — the last one Saturday.

    The reported work at Fordo appeared to reflect Iran’s determination to forge ahead with nuclear activity that could be used to make atomic arms despite rapidly escalating international sanctions and the latent threat of an Israeli military strike on its nuclear facilities.

    Fordo could be used to make fissile warhead material even without such an upgrade, the diplomats said.

    They said that although older than Iran’s new generation machines, the centrifuges now operating there can be reconfigured within days to make such material because they already are enriching to 20 percent — a level that can be boosted quickly to weapons-grade quality.

    Their comments appeared to represent the first time anyone had quantified the time it would take to reconfigure the Fordo centrifuges into machines making weapons-grade material.

    The diplomats’ recent comments came as International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are scheduled to visit Tehran on Sunday. Their trip — the second this month — is another attempt to break more than three years of Iranian stonewalling about allegations that Tehran has — or is — secretly working on nuclear weapons that would be armed with uranium enriched to 90 percent or more.

    Diplomats accredited to the IAEA expect little from that visit. They told the AP that — as before — Iran was refusing to allow the agency experts to visit Parchin, the suspected site of explosives testing for a nuclear weapon and had turned down other key requests made by the experts.

    Diplomats told the AP earlier this month that Iran had added two new series or cascades of old-generation IR-1 centrifuges to its Fordo operation, meaning 348 centrifuges were now operating in four cascades.
    Olli Heinonen, who retired last year as the IAEA’s chief Iran inspector, recently estimated that these machines, and two other cascades at Natanz can produce around 15 kilograms (more than 30 pounds) of 20-percent enriched uranium a month, using Iran’s tons of low-enriched uranium as feedstock.
    The low and higher enriched uranium now being produced “provides the basic material needed to produce four to five nuclear weapons,” Heinonen said.
    But he suggested “an altogether different scenario” — a much quicker pace of enrichment to levels easily turned into weapons-capable uranium if Iran starts using newer, more powerful centrifuges at Fordo. That, said the diplomats, is exactly what Iran appears to be on the verge of doing by finishing preparatory work recently for new centrifuge installations.Diplomats told the AP earlier this month that Iran had added two new series or cascades of old-generation IR-1 centrifuges to its Fordo operation, meaning 348 centrifuges were now operating in four cascades.
    Olli Heinonen, who retired last year as the IAEA’s chief Iran inspector, recently estimated that these machines, and two other cascades at Natanz can produce around 15 kilograms (more than 30 pounds) of 20-percent enriched uranium a month, using Iran’s tons of low-enriched uranium as feedstock.

    The low and higher enriched uranium now being produced “provides the basic material needed to produce four to five nuclear weapons,” Heinonen said.

    But he suggested “an altogether different scenario” — a much quicker pace of enrichment to levels easily turned into weapons-capable uranium if Iran starts using newer, more powerful centrifuges at Fordo. That, said the diplomats, is exactly what Iran appears to be on the verge of doing by finishing preparatory work recently for new centrifuge installations.

    Iran announced last year that it would move its 20-percent uranium production to Fordo from Natanz and sharply boost capacity. It started making higher grade material two years ago saying it needed it to fuel a research reactor.

    But the U.S. and others question the rationale, pointing out that Iran rejected offers of foreign fuel supplies for that reactor and is making more of the higher-enriched material than that small reactor needs.

    End Quotes

    As we all know here, the list of completely inaccurate statements in this report is so long I don’t know where to start.

    The last paragraph is bad enough: Iran NEVER “rejected offers of foreign fuel supplies” for the TRR!!

    This is the level of propaganda that the US MSM has fallen to.

  378. VERY interesting interview with Clinton Bastin who was responsible for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)’s reprocessing of plutonium, and plutonium scrap operations, plutonium-238 production, transuranic materials processing, tritium and deuterium production for weapons programs, radioactive waste management, and related activities at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Plant in South Carolina. He was also involved in the diplomatic side of U.S. international nuclear efforts.

    Iran Has A Nuclear Power, Not A Weapons Program
    PDF file here:


    21st Century: You’ve criticized the IAEA report’s claim on Iran’s nuclear program as incompetent. Can you give some examples of this?

    Bastin: Yes, that’s what’s going on right now. The IAEA director general now—I
    guess he’s a political person, I don’t really know. I’ve looked at some things about
    him, and it sounds like he’s been more like a political person. I think some people come in, as in the Department of Energy, and they accept everything that people tell them. And I think he’s come in, and believes all those inspectors that have seen things, have found things, that they shouldn’t really—they have long trigger lists of things to look for, and it misleads them. The inspectors don’t really know anything about nuclear weapons production, but they have this long list of items that are mostly normal chemical engineering-type processes, used in operations, or similar things that they’ll run into.

    Now, on the drawings: I’m sure in Iran that there are people who are upset about
    everything—you know, they have lots of problems as a country. The drawings, I’m
    sure, are made by people that are sort of ticked off, here, there, and yonder. Drawings for a weapons program: I had all the drawings in the Atomic Energy Commission for all weapons. Nobody ever sees those except people I want to see them. The drawings the inspectors have seen are something that somebody has played with.

    21st Century: So you think that inside Iran, some people have produced drawings that these inspectors find, and the drawings are just manufactured.

    Bastin: Yes. I think some scientists might have played around, but in a realistic manner. Drawings of assembling a hypothetical nuclear weapon with a missile are particularly unrealistic. I’ve watched U.S. nuclear warheads being attached on missiles for the U.S. weapons. You have to know what the weapon looks like. You can’t build a hypothetical weapon in a meaningful way, and put it on a hypothetical missile, or even a real missile, if you don’t know what everything looks like. The whole thing is stupid. It’s sort of stupid, and when I say they’re ignorant, it’s really worse than that.

    21st Century: Is it different now in the IAEA than it used to be? Are inspectors less trained now than they used to be?

    Bastin: They are trained to detect the diversion of nuclear material, and that’s what they do. But they’re also given a list of things to look for, that suggest weapons activities. But the IAEA doesn’t have people who know about nuclear weapons. They don’t build nuclear weapons. I’ve never met anybody—and I’ve been to the IAEA many, many times—and I’ve never met anybody who knows anything about nuclear weapons.

    That’s also the problem in Washington, D.C. For the 25 years I was there, when involved with nuclear weapons business, with interagency and other committees, nobody knew anything about what I was telling them. It was interesting at times. Once I met at the Department of State with a group involved with concerns about nuclear programs in India. I was asked to go to India and take a look and made a report. The representative from the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency said, “We’ve been looking at this problem for four years, and it looks like we now finally know what we’re talking about.”

    Bastin: David Albright and his Institute for Science and International Security. I know him and I know he has an agenda. I’m interested in taking care of this business, and it’s got to be done by people who know what they are doing. Dave does not. I met Dave for the first time after I had testified and shot down something that Representative Markey of Massachusetts was trying to do. But then when I was active in the nuclear weapons freeze campaign, I commended Markey for his support for this campaign.

    21st Century: What are some of the specific technical areas that you think people are being misled on by the so-called experts?

    Bastin: The one I most emphasize is the failure to recognize that a nuclear weapon cannot be made of gas. The gas must be converted to metal, a difficult and very dangerous process because of the high potential for a critical accident (like a nuclear reactor without shielding) that would kill anyone in the room or nearby.
    Iran has no experience with this process, and no facilities to carry it out. Assembly of metal components with high explosives is even more dangerous, because a nuclear explosion would kill those within half a mile. Because of the difficulties, Iran would need 10 to 15 years to make a weapon, after diversion of low-enriched uranium, which would be immediately detected by IAEA inspectors. Iran’s leaders know that their facilities would be attacked following a diversion. So they not only wouldn’t be able to build a weapon—

    21st Century: They’d lose a lot of their country—

    Bastin: Okay, so if nobody bombs, and 15 years later, Iran has a nuclear weapon. Israel has 400 nuclear weapons, tested and deliverable. What kind of idiots would make weapons under those circumstances? It is absolute stupidity to believe that they are that idiotic. They are not.

    21st Century: I think so, and for the reason that all of the so-called experts in the press, as you have pointed out, are really not experts in this technical area. You are.

    Bastin: I mentioned to David Albright that Pakistan’s gun-type weapons require about 50 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, and that the numbers that appear in the newspaper are probably high. He said Pakistan’s weapons are implosion-type, not gun-type, and have solid metal components. I said, “Wait a minute, David, you know better than that.” I laughed. He got mad and cut me off, and we are no longer colleagues.

    End Quotes

  379. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning and All –

    ‘Shakespeare made creative use of Elizabethan contact with Persia’

    ” . . .[This book by Cyrus Ghani, titled] Shakespeare, Persia, and the East brings a truly fresh perspective to [Shakespeare’s] genius. In the three dozen plays he composed between 1590 and 1612, Shakespeare ranged far and wide in his imagination, setting some of his tales in places as varied as Denmark, Venice and Athens—while drawing on a rich array of imagery and lore from lands further east. This remarkable book by a lifelong student of Shakespeare Cyrus Ghani reveals how rich a source of inspiration those exotic Eastern realms were for the playwright.

    Elizabethan England was especially fascinated by Persia, whose deep-rooted culture was then flourishing under the Safavid dynasty. An Englishman first visited there in 1562, two years before Shakespeare’s birth. More contacts between England and Persia followed, prompted by hopes of a lucrative trading relationship and a possible military alliance against the Ottoman Turks. A pair of English adventurers, Anthony and Robert Sherley, spent years attempting to establish these ties, not always scrupulously, and their story was well known to England’s greatest dramatist. . . .”

  380. fyi says:

    Cyrus_2 says: February 18, 2012 at 8:59 am

    SWIFT conducts electronic transactions.

    Iranian can live without them.

    The lack of access to SWIFt is a headache for Iran and her trading partners.

    I think basically what you need to do is to setup another path for money that goes through intermediaries; essentially proxies.

    And since Iranians have something that the world wants, and want othr things that the rest of the world offers; trade will continue.

    It just will not run through US-EU institutions.

  381. Gash says:

    U.S. military chief: Israeli strike on Iran would not be ‘prudent’

    Acknowleding that Iran is a “rational actor”.

    In stark contrast with netanyahu who the other day called Iran:

    “PM says Iran ‘most irresponsible force in the world”


  382. Gash says:

    U.S. military chief: Israeli strike on Iran would not be ‘prudent’

    US even say Iran is a “rational actor”!

    Like we all knew though, great that US atleast verbally recognize the reality. Interesting since war hawk netanyahu just said this the other day. ” PM says Iran ‘most irresponsible force in the world'”

    Indeed Israel is isolated and the party that wants war with Iran.

  383. k_w says:

    @yemi: I’m not bewitched by anyone except, to a certain extend, by my cats :-). He’s a troll, so I think he needs to be entertained a bit, allowing him for exposing his hypocrisy. ;-)

  384. k_w says:

    @Sassan: That is why I called it a small step. You don’t want that, right? You need your martyrs, don’t you?

  385. James Canning says:

    “China capable of relolving Syrian crisis”:


    Reports notes both Russia and China are concerned about al-Qaeda achieving a presence in Syria due to the unrest.

  386. James Canning says:


    Did you decide how you regard Ahmadinejad’s offer last September for Iran to stop enriching to 20 percent? I assume you were sorry he made the offer because you prefer for Iran to appear in the worst light possible?

  387. James Canning says:


    Good point, that if Hillary Clinton wants to say the Iranian offer of this past week is a victory for Obama, let her do it. The Wall Street Journal went after Dennis Ross for claiming Iran wants to negotiate.

  388. yemi says:

    k_w says:
    February 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    It’s very clear you are being bewitched by Sassan.

    I use to tell people on this forum many a times to ignore this moronic Sassan.
    And they did and their lives got better!

    You better ignore it/him/her before you smashed your own screen!

    Thank you.

  389. Voice of Tehran says:

    “Imagine this scenario: A developing nation decides to selectively share its precious natural resource, selling only to “friendly” countries and not “hostile” ones. Now imagine this is oil we’re talking about and the nation in question is the Islamic Republic of Iran…

    by Sharmine Narwani


  390. Gash says:

    Last sentence should be.

    I sometimes wonder if people that use such deceptive languange is really aware of the reality or if they ARE aware but manipulate their audience deliberately.

  391. Gash says:

    Eric Brill,

    True, thats a classic one “international community”.
    Another reason why that phrase is used is also because to portray a bigger support for their cause than they really have in reality. So when US use that phrase like:

    “International community is against Iran” its rather
    “US, UK, Israel, Germany is against Iran”.

    Generally, people dont want to be the minority, so if less-educated people listen to when, lets say Obama use that phrase, they are supposed to think “oh the international community is united against Iran, that must mean they are correct”.

    I sometimes wonder if people that use such deceptive languange is really aware of the reality or if they arent aware but manipulate their audience deliberately.

  392. Sassan says:

    k_w: That’s a pure lie.

    Read here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/13/iran-misleading-death-penalty-claims

    But experts who have studied the new code questioned claims that the country had fully abolished the death penalty for those convicted under the age of 18 or abandoned its use of stoning. They also believe the amendments have complicated some other parts of the law, especially the punishment of homosexuality.

    Sodomy for men was punishable by death for all individuals involved in consensual sexual intercourse, but under the new amendments the person who played an active role will be flogged 100 times if the sex was consensual and he was not married, but the one who played a passive role will still be put to death regardless of his marriage status.

    Under the new code, the death sentence has been removed for juveniles only in crimes whose punishment can be administered at the discretion of the judge (such as drug offences). Under the same law, however, a death sentence may still be applied for a juvenile if he or she has committed crimes that are considered to be “claims of God” and therefore have mandatory sentences (such as sodomy, rape, theft, fornication, apostasy and consumption of alcohol for the third time).

    A decision on whether such a death sentence for a juvenile can be issued relies on the “judge’s knowledge” – a loophole that allows for subjective judicial rulings where no conclusive evidence is present.

    Amnesty International’s Iran researcher Drewery Dyke said: “Let’s not be fooled by this seeming suggestion of improvements to Iran’s penal code. The penal code still allows for stoning to be carried out. Child offenders are still at risk of being placed on death row, and men and women can still be convicted on grounds of consensual extramarital and same-sex relations.”

    “These new amends to Iran’s penal code have done nothing to improve the country’s human rights record.

    Confusion over Iran’s definition of a juvenile has also added to the complexity of the issue, said Raha Bahreini, a fellow at Amnesty International Canada. The country does not provide a clear distinction between the age of majority – when minors cease to legally be considered children – and the minimum age of criminal responsibility, which is 15 for boys and nine for girls under Iranian law.

    “Iran’s penal system has often taken the minimum age of criminal responsibility for the age of majority,” she said, “thus allowing individuals under the age of 18 to be treated and sentenced as adults as soon they reach the minimum age of criminal responsibility.”

    According to the old penal code, people convicted of having an “illicit relationship outside marriage” would be sentenced to death by stoning. The new code, however, still considers “adultery while married” as a crime but has not designated any punishment for it, thus referring the judge to the fatwa of a reliable cleric (the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in this case) for a decision. Khamenei has not yet issued a fatwa for such a crime, but all other clerics in the country order stoning as its punishment. It would be highly unlikely that Khamenei would contradict his fellow clerics.

    “It’s simply a trick,” said Sadr. “They’ve removed death by stoning from the penal code but in reality it remains in place.”

    The new penal code does not mention stoning as punishment for any crime but it does refer to it twice in a section about the criminal procedure rules and conditions under which such a punishment can be administered.

    “The fact that stoning has been mentioned in the criminal procedures of administrating the punishment – it shows they are truly expecting the method to be used in future,” said Sadr, adding there were other discrepancies in the code.

  393. k_w says:

    The death penalty for minors and mentally handicapped persons has been scrapped in Iran. There is no stoning anymore: http://www.irandailybrief.com/?p=6329 A small step, but in the right direction.

  394. Gash,

    Another stock phrase is the “international community.” Whenever you read or hear that one, you can be pretty sure that that “community:”

    (1) represents a fairly small portion of the world’s population, located principally in Western Europe and North America; and

    (2) doesn’t like what Iran is doing — or at least the writer or speaker who uses the phrase will assure his audience that that is the case, even if he has no clue whatsoever about what members of that “community” really think.

  395. James Canning says:


    Israel can smash Gaza again, should it choose to do so. At a huge cost in bad PR world-wide. Israel can smash Lebanon again, but not crush Hezbollah. The fact Iran enriches U to 20 percent has no bearing on either issue.

  396. James Canning says:


    For many years, Einstein did not support the Zionist programme. This was a later development in his life.

  397. James Canning says:


    You do well to underline the gross hypocrisy favored by Israel, to argue that Iran “threatens the world” but to ignore “the world’s” desire that Israel stop oppressing the Palestinians (and get out of the West Bank).

  398. James Canning says:

    Bravo to Flynt Levberett for appearing on PBS’ Newshour programme.

  399. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times today has an excellent leader (editorial): “Time to test Iran’s nuclear intentions – – West must clarify what level of capability it can live with”.

    The FT suggests strongly that sanctions cannot force Iran to “renounce the right to enrich uranium.”

  400. Sassan says:

    “This joyous nonconformity made him recoil from the sight of Prussian soldiers marching in lockstep. It was a personal outlook that became a political one as well. He bristled at all forms of tyranny over free minds, from Nazism to Stalinism to McCarthyism. Einstein’s fundamental creed was that freedom was the lifeblood of creativity. “The development of science and of the creative activities of the spirit,” he said, “requires a freedom that consists in the independence of thought from the restrictions of authoritarian and social prejudice.” Nurturing that should be the fundamental role of government, he felt, and the mission of education. “

  401. Gash says:

    Eric Brill:

    True about the use of specific words that brings negative connotations. Take the usual stock phrase when it comes to Iran compared to well lets say any other nation in the world. If Iran use violence against rioters Iran is instantly condemned by US, EU, UN and often sanctioned. If rioters are suppressed with violence from states like Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Israel/Palestine US, EU, UN if they not ignore it completely which is the usual conduct, they usually use the words “concerned”, “unfortunate”, “closely watching”.

    Another thing I see more and more from the israelis is that they are trying to internationalize the issue with Iran. Israel say “World must impose sanctions on Iran”, “Iran is a threat to the world”. World is of course not on the same page as Israel still though Israel trying to portray something that isnt there.

    Funny thing is that Israel blamed palestinians for doing the same going to the UN recently. And who pushed UN to sanctions Iran was of course Israel.

    “So, where we are now at the beginning of 2012 is the Palestinians trying to internationalize the conflict and going out and trying to do things on an international level to impose something [a solution -ed.] instead of negotiations,” Prosor said.


  402. k_w says:

    @Sassan: “Sorry to break it to you Fiorangela: Israel is the only democratic and pragmatic nation in a region of depots and fascists. I know you are anti-Semitic, but the truth is the truth and your distortions and bigoted biases doesn’t reflect anything but your delusions. As for Einstein, did you know he was offered Israel’s Presidency? He was indeed considered with displaced Palestinians, but he was also a big supporter of Israel and helped campaign for the creation of the Jewish homeland with Chaim Weizmann.”

    Well, … http://jfjfp.com/?p=28425




  403. k_w says:

    @Sassan: Your comment of February 18, 2012 at 6:56 am contradicts the general connotation you wanted to assign to Einstein’s statement. Einstein remained a pacifist although he opposed Nazi Germany. Moreover, his opposition to nuclear arms and to the development of H-bombs proves you’re wrong.

    ‘As long as sovereign states continue to have separate armaments and armaments secrets, new world wars will be inevitable.’

    After the successful test of the Soviet atom bomb he stated:

    ‘Since the death of President Roosevelt our foreign policy has proceeded in the wrong direction, and there seems little prospect at the moment of a shift towards a more reasonable policy.’

  404. Gash writes:

    “4. The word ‘regime’. Always note that states that are oppossed US or Israel politics are labeled ‘regime’.”

    I do notice that, at least in mainstream US publications. Sometimes one does see the word “regime” used to describe a government allied with the US — regardless of how that government happened to come to power. But this is relatively rare.

    How rare?

    I thought it worthwhile to find out, and so I just performed a quick search of some relevant phrases in “Google News” sources over the past 10 years. Bear in mind that there was no practical way to distinguish among sources based on their attitudes toward the US government; my unscientific hunch is that the results would be even more skewed if that distinction were drawn.


    “Saudi Arabian regime” – 1,340 hits.

    “Saudi regime” – 32 hits.

    “Saudis’ regime” – 1 hit.

    “Iranian regime” – 12,400 hits.

    “Iran regime” – 1,110 hits.

    “Iran’s regime” – 812 hits.

    Nevertheless, “regime” pales in this comparison to the word “reform.” No Google search is necessary to reach that conclusion.

    Whenever “reform” appears in a story, it’s “debate over” time. “Reform” means “change” and “change” means “good” — no matter what that change might be. More often than not, the reader is not even told exactly what the “good change” will be. It is enough for him or her to know that “reform” is being sought, and to bear in mind (lest the gentle reader have already forgotten) that that means something or other “good.” When something “good” is being offered, it is impolite to ask, or even to be curious about, exactly what it might be.

    Nor does it matter whether those pressing for an unspecified (but unquestionably “good”) change are themselves good people. Indeed, the reader often is not even told who they are – only that they are “pressing for reform” and so, one may safely assume, must be good people.

    Good people with good motives. Pressing for good change. Good, good, good.

  405. Rehmat says:

    The Myth of Israeli strike on Iran

    Political observers believe that the United States, under Israeli pressure, has remained at loggerheads with Iran mainly over the independent and home-grown nature of Tehran’s nuclear technology, which gives the Islamic Republic the potential to turn into a world power and a role model for the other third-world countries. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants. However, the Zionist regime is worried that Iran with a nuclear “capability” will make it impossible for the Jewish Army to defeat Hamas and Hizbullah.


  406. Free “Syrian” Army stronghold equipped with Milan missiles

    The last part about Libyan insurgents getting Milan missiles is clearly true as this Guardian piece from last April shows:

    Libyan rebels receiving anti-tank weapons from Qatar

    If this is true that Libyan Milan missiles are being transferred to Syria, then clearly it explains why the Libyan military has to fire on insurgent strongholds using ranged fire with a concomitant increase in civilian casualties as the first article states. Not that it justifies civilian collateral damage, but it does explain it.

  407. Peacekeeping déjà vu: Arab League pushes Syria the Libyan way – Lavrov


    A case is being built to justify a Libya-style military intervention in Syria, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The FM warned against attempts to exclude Damascus from international peace efforts.

    Lavrov wondered at the Arab League’s decision to suspend its observer mission in Syria. In January, the Arab League chose to freeze the mission over the resurgence of violence in the Arab country, dubbing their peace attempt “a failure.”

    “Instead of expanding and boosting the mission, they say now that the mission is no use, and they need a joint effort with the UN. And that this should not be an observer mission, but rather peacekeeping forces,” said Lavrov.

    Nothing is wrong with peacekeepers, except for the fact that they will be commissioned to protect civilians and ensure safe passage for relief aid, continued the FM, – which means they will have to be equipped with military hardware.

    “It means a mandate to use force in order to protect civilians, too,” he added.

    “We have had civilians protected in Libya and know the results,” Lavrov noted, referring to the all-out war between NATO air forces and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s troops, which toppled the Libyan regime and led to Gaddafi’s brutal assassination.

    End Quote

  408. Groundhog year: Cooking Syria ‘Libya-style’


    NATO has ‘no intention’ 2.0

    “NATO has no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria. We appreciate very much all the efforts to find a solution to the conflict in Syria. I appreciate the work of the Arab League. I do believe that a regional solution has to be found,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels on Wednesday.

    It would be easy to take these words at face value, if less than a year ago Fogh Rasmussen did not declare that NATO would not intervene in the conflict between Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan opposition:

    “I would like to stress that NATO has no plans to intervene [into Libya] and we have not received any request,” he said in February 2011.

    The Libyan recipe is being followed with utmost care, down to the tiniest detail. Washington has already come up with calls for “Friends of a democratic Syria” to unite and rally against the government of President Bashar Al-Assad.

    In Libya’s case, no sooner had UN resolution 1973 on the “no-fly zone” been adopted, than the National Transitional Council (NTC) approached the French leadership with a tempting offer. France was to get 35 per cent of Libya’s oil sector in exchange for “full and constant support” of the NTC in its fight against Muammar Gaddafi, reported France’s Liberation newspaper.

    Another lucrative option for Western powers was pricey rebuilding contracts. First, bombs tore Libya apart, and later Western companies got paid to put the country back together. According to the UK Department of Trade and Investment, the value of contracts to rebuild Libya in areas ranging from electricity and water supplies to healthcare and education, could amount to upwards of US $300 billion over the next 10 years.

    “Damascus is to be persecuted not exactly for repressing the opposition, but because it is unwilling to sever ties with Tehran,” the head of the Russian national security council, Nikolay Patrushev, told Kommersant newspaper.

    End Quotes

    In short, anyone who believes the US and NATO are NOT planning to intervene militarily in Syria – either directly or by supplying arms and support to the insurgents – is a fool.

  409. Iranian naval ships dock at Syria’s Tartus port: Report

    Someone mentioned on the iraqwar site that in addition to the navy training agreement between Syria and Iran, these ships may be there to assist in counter-SIGINT against US ships in the Med who are supporting the insurgents and possibly to assist in intercepting shops with arms shipments to the insurgents (although I suspect most arms are being flown into Turkey and Lebanon and Jordan.)

  410. Gash says:


    You have already posted this propaganda and stop flooding your message with whole copies of articles, cut a quote and make some contribute instead. By the way, reminds me of the claims that prostitutes/mohammed atta met before the attack.

  411. Sassan says:

    Picture of the Islamic Republic terrorists in Thailand with prostitutes: http://www.bangkokpost.com/media/content/20120217/359887.jpg

    Suspects partied in Pattaya

    PATTAYA : Officials at the Immigration Department’s Chon Buri office yesterday identified a Thai woman in Pattaya who had escorted the Iranian bomb suspects during their stay in the resort town.

    Two Thai women have fun with the three Iranian bomb suspects at a restaurant in Pattaya. Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh, left, was arrested in Malaysia, Mohammad Khazaei, centre, was detained at Suvarnabhumi Airport, and Saied Moradi was badly injured in the bombings. PORNPROM SARTTRABHAYA

    Her account, and photographs taken with her mobile phone, could help authorities confirm whether the suspects know one another.

    The woman, in her twenties, and identified only as Nan, told the immigration officers that she had escorted Mohammad Khazaei, who was detained at Suvarnabhumi airport late on Tuesday after a series of explosions on Sukhumvit Soi 71.

    Mr Khazaei met Ms Nan near the Balihai area in Pattaya. She said the Iranian asked her to escort him during his stay there because he was not good at speaking English.

    Ms Nan later asked two friends to escort Mr Khazaei’s two companions.

    They were later identified from a group photo on Ms Nan’s mobile phone as Saeid Moradi and Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh, the third bomb suspect who was arrested in Malaysia yesterday.

    During their stay in Pattaya, from Feb 8 to 13 according to their hotel’s registration, Ms Nan and her friends hung out with the three men. In one group gathering, shown in a photo, they were winding down in a bar in a hotel. Ms Nan said they had drinks and played snooker together.

    Ms Nan was with Mr Khazaei in his room as well but didn’t detect any irregularities except one time when he barred her from approaching a closet in the room. On the last day, Monday, Mr Khazaei told her that he would go home. So she phoned a taxi to pick him up.

    “What we got from Ms Nan is circumstantial evidence that helps confirm to us that they were here together in Pattaya,” Pol Lt Gol Thawatchai Nongbua, inspector of Chon Buri Immigration Office, said.

    National police chief Priewpan Damapong said police took Ms Nan to the immigration bureau in Bangkok to make Mr Khazaei feel more at ease.

    Earlier, the suspect had showed signs of stress and refused to eat. After he met Ms Nan, he appeared more relaxed and agreed to eat some food, Pol Gen Priewpan said.


  412. Fiorangela says:

    by the way RFI participants — a round of applause for Pirouz who brought Flynt’s appearance on PBS to the attention of the forum even before the Leveretts did.
    Thank you Pirouz.

    This blog is one of the most sophisticated I’ve seen.

  413. Gash says:

    Always interesting to note the MSM use of words when it comes to Iran. Take this article for example.

    Reluctantly, 400 Iran Exiles Move To Home In Iraq

    1. Instead of the word terrorists they use the softer-word ‘exiles’.
    2. The use of the word ‘reluctantly’ prove that the writer of this article seems to be care emotionally, “oh they have to move those poor people”. The article spends a great deal to whitewashing this group that is terrorists according to the US.
    3. Even the wrong-man-on-the-wrong-place UN cheif ban ki moon hail them and doesnt understand that he support terrorism with such claims.


    “Until recently, the exiles refused to go. In December, the group’s Paris-based head, Maryam Rajavi, agreed to move 400 residents to Camp Liberty in a show of goodwill as the U.N. tries to broker a compromise between the two sides. In a statement this week, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said Iraq’s government has agreed to let Ashraf stay open until April 30 to give the exiles more time to move.”


    Note how the UN chief propose that other states should take this persons.

    “Ban’s statement urged member states to help relocate eligible residents of Camp Ashraf who wish to resettle in third countries. Returning to Iran is ruled out because of their opposition to the regime.”

    Did I miss something? If there is terroristgroups first off all you dont collaborate them as a UN chief right? And second you try to disband them, not helping them.

    4. The word ‘regime’. Always note that states that are oppossed US or Israel politics are labeled ‘regime’. The Syrian regime, The iranian regime, the hamas regime. The use of such words instantly set the tone for the debate and clearly show that you arent a objective journalist.

  414. Gash says:

    where are you ms clinton, arent you a feminist? Where are your condemnations? Where are your sanctions?


  415. Jay says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 18, 2012 at 9:36 am
    Sassan says: February 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Sassan’s only mission in life is to advocate increasing misery on the Iranian people in order to achieve his personal mission assigned to him by no other than Cyrus the Great!! He advocates military intervention in Iran. Beyond his numerous assertions backed merely by the very sources that he used to launch the assertion (a circular logic an 8 year old could identify), he has nothing coherent and cohesive to say.

    He lives in a self-righteous world where he holds all the “right” answers – the point of his debate is for you to see the “light”. He is the anointed messenger of his “rational atheist God” – as much of a radical zealot extremist as the rest of the extremists that hold their version of the “truth” to be immutable. He is just another Mc Veigh – a different name, a different mission.

    He is willing to blow things up for his cause. His virtual truck is loaded and on the road to blow up Iranians. Discussion just gets him angrier – more convinced that he should drive his truck to the destination faster.

    I know you are trying to find some good, but looking back at the sum total of what we have seen, I doubt the engagement has been worthwhile. Certainly not so far.

  416. Fiorangela says:

    come to think of it —

    The German video posted the other day — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg0_B4cDa4w&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLD8BC53E26568A4BE
    speculated that United States moved the Enterprise to the Persian Gulf with the (shhh) hope that it WOULD get blown up, and someone else would have to pay for the disposal of nuclear waste — a kind of Building 7, the Sequel.

    Our resident chhheenius sassan got me to thinking —

    Etan Bloom wrote in his dissertation on Arthur Ruppin that Ruppin rushed the construction of Tel Aviv (for the reasons stated in my comment below, & others). Tel Aviv was very badly designed and its construction quality was even worse.

    I wonder if Israel is really EAGER for Tel Aviv to be attacked, so that someone else can pay to rebuild it properly.

    Is that the “creative destruction” Niall Ferguson had in mind?

    naaa, couldn’t be. that would be dishonest. not something the “only democratic and pragmatic nation” in the whole wide place — and one that has used assassination since its establishment, and more than any other country in the globe– would stoop to even thumk about.

  417. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan says: February 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

    “Sorry to break it to you Fiorangela: Israel is the only democratic and pragmatic nation in a region of depots and fascists.”

    interesting that your inner freudenstein brought up “depots.”
    Etan Bloom — you remember him, yes? the guy who wrote a PhD dissertation at TelAviv university that you dismissed as “just a PhD thesis” — how antisemantic of you.

    Anyway, Bloom described how Arthur Ruppin rushed to build TelAviv, adjacent to Jaffa. Jaffa was a major port — depot, if you will — for trade in oranges that Palestinian Arabs had built up over years and generations of work and investment. Ruppin stated that his goal in building TelAviv was to displace Arabs from that trade and take it over for the benefit of European Jews who would come to Palestine. It is a fact that Israel’s major source of revenue in its early years was trade in oranges — trade that European Jews stole from the “depots” of Palestinian Arabs.

  418. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Serves you right, Fior-san, for engaging the Freak Show who doesn’t know the difference between ‘concerned’ and ‘considered’:

    “He was indeed considered with displaced Palestinians, but he was also a big supporter of Israel and helped campaign for the creation of the Jewish homeland with Chaim Weizmann.”

    Physically, this is a 27-year old adult we are dealing with, not an 8-year old child.

  419. Cyrus_2 says:

    @ FYI

    “Iranians were trading before SWIFT; they will do so after it.”

    But how?
    Swift is the worlds sole system for banking transactions.
    If Iran’s banks are excluded from Swift, how can Iran pay others to import the stuff it needs and get the money from its exports?
    Do you think an alternative system will be set up between Iran and its main trading partners?

  420. Sassan says:


  421. Sassan says:

    Sorry to break it to you Fiorangela: Israel is the only democratic and pragmatic nation in a region of depots and fascists. I know you are anti-Semitic, but the truth is the truth and your distortions and bigoted biases doesn’t reflect anything but your delusions. As for Einstein, did you know he was offered Israel’s Presidency? He was indeed considered with displaced Palestinians, but he was also a big supporter of Israel and helped campaign for the creation of the Jewish homeland with Chaim Weizmann.

  422. Fiorangela says:


    WWED? (What Would Einstein Do?)

    ““It must be able “to interfere in countries where a minority is oppressing a majority,” he said, citing Spain Israel as an example.”

  423. Gash says:

    did napolitano raised the obvious raise of tensions related to the fact that Israel assasinations inside Iran have anything to do with the possible rised tensions to this pro-israel group she was speaking to?

  424. Sassan says:

    Fiorangela: Nice try. Obviously he wouldn’t since Iran under the IRI is a rogue state ruled by authoritarian religious madmen. Einstein’s main political credo was individualism and personal freedom. In fact, he did not want other nations to join the nuclear-arms club.

    Actually, Einstein believed in a “Supranational organization” which would have military power to not only control nuclear-arms, but to enforce military control of other nations whom violated the rights of the majority.

    “The only salvation for civilization and the human race lies in the creation of world government,” he said. “As long as sovereign states continue to have armaments and armaments secrets, new world wars will be inevitable.”

    “It is unthinkable that we can have peace without a real governmental organization to create and enforce law on individuals in their international relations.”

    “What Einstein envisioned was a world “government” or “authority” that had a monopoly on military power. He called it a “supranational” entity, rather than an “international” one, because it would exist above its member nations rather than as a mediator among sovereign nations. The United Nations, which was founded in October 1945, did not come close to meeting these criteria, Einstein felt.”

    “It must be able “to interfere in countries where a minority is oppressing a majority,” he said, citing Spain as an example.

  425. Gash says:

    US is apparently not the master of the domain, having to ask Israel what US themselves should do next on Iran. Interesting that the biggest power of this globe still taking orders from this middle east state.


  426. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan, you seldom post sources for your cut-and-pastes. That’s flirting with plagiarism, you know, and in any event the habit undercuts your credibility.

  427. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan at 6:56 am quoted Einstein:

    ““Disarmament cannot be effective unless all countries participate,” he lectured. “If even one nation continues to arm, openly or secretly, the disarmament of the others will involve disastrous consequences.” ”

    It seems obvious that Einstein would urge Iran to continue or even increase its nuclear development in order to avoid “disastrous consequences” from Israel’s heavily nuclear armed status.

    Indeed, Iran is as smart as Einstein; Iran has held several conferences urging for a nuclear disarmed Middle East.

    When Muhammad Javad Larijani spoke with Charlie Rose several months ago he urged that all the states in the Middle East — including Israel — agree to disarm from nuclear weapons. Einstein redux.

    In his comments at Chatham House with UK bureaucrat Jon Davies, Peter Jenkins proposed that Iran agree to the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty on “the day after Israel signs the CTBT, and that the Persian Gulf region agree to regional nuclear disarmament with the goal of nuclear disarmament of the entire Middle East. Another Einstein.

  428. Fiorangela says:

    Eric A. Brill says: February 18, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Eric, Thank you for fighting the good fight with David Goodman at New York Times.

    Richard Steven Hack’s comment on February 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm linked to an item in TomDispatch which in turn linked to Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s passion and project, testing the truth value of media assertions. Her website is http://factcheck.org/

    Have you communicated with Professor Jamieson concerning the relationship of IAEA to UNSC?

  429. Sassan says:

    k_w: He gave up his idealistic pacifism after Hitler took power in Nazi Germany, and particularly after the atrocities committed by the Nazis and even the Soviet Union. He was anti-totalitarian and gave up his idealism which he held earlier in his life (as you cited in your examples). Effectively, he was a “One-Worlder”.

    “When he was asked, for example, to join a campaign to persuade American scientists to refuse to work on atomic weapons, he not only declined, but berated the organizers for advocating unilateral disarmament. “Disarmament cannot be effective unless all countries participate,” he lectured. “If even one nation continues to arm, openly or secretly, the disarmament of the others will involve disastrous consequences.”

    Pacifists like himself had made a mistake in the 1920’s by encouraging Germany’s neighbors not to rearm, he explained. “This merely served to encourage the arrogance of the Germans.” There were parallels now with Russia. “Similarly, your proposition would, if effective, surely lead to a serious weakening of the democracies,” he wrote those pushing the antimilitary petition. “For we must realize that we are probably not able to exert any significant influence on the attitude of our Russian colleagues.”

    He took a similar stance when his former colleagues in the War Resisters’ League asked him to rejoin in 1948. They flattered him by quoting one of his old pacifist proclamations, but Einstein rebuffed them. “That statement accurately expresses the views I held on war resistance in the period from 1918 to the early thirties,” he replied. “Now, however, I feel that policy, which involves the refusal of individuals to participate in military activities, is too primitive.”

    Simplistic pacifism could be dangerous, he warned, especially given the internal policies and external attitude of Russia. “The war resistance movement actually serves to weaken the nations with a more liberal type of government and, indirectly, to support the policies of the tyrannical governments,” he argued. “Antimilitaristic activities, through refusal of military service, are wise only if they are feasible everywhere throughout the world. Individual antimilitarism is impossible in Russia.”

  430. Gash says:

    Another breach of sovereignity and an act of war.

    U.S. drones reportedly monitoring Syria; China wants Syrian sovereignty respected


    This hypocrisy is so absurd. What would US think if China or Syria sent spying drones over their land.

  431. k_w says:

    @Sassan, afa Einstein goes:

    “He wrote letters of pleading to people such as the Finnish minister of defence, law court chiefs in Bulgaria and Poland where people were on trial for anti-war activities, and the High Commissioner for Palestine. (Though a committed Zionist, Einstein was also concerned about the rights of Palestine’s Arabs.)

    He supported active opposition to the militia system in Switzerland, and wrote comfortingly to a war resister there. ‘Let me express my respect for your courage and integrity. A man like yourself acts as a grain of sand in a machine: by such grains the war machine will be destroyed.’

    He sent a message to over 100,000 Belgians on an annual peace pilgrimage: ‘Any pacifist movement that doesn’t actively struggle for disarmament is bound to be powerless’. He gave money to the war resistance movement in Denmark, and helped raise funds for War Resisters International.”

  432. Gash says:


    “William Hague told the Daily Telegraph Feb. 17th that Britain is not taking part in any ’secret war’ against Iran, adding: “It is not our way of dealing with this to have assassinations or to advocate military action.””

    Like UK wasnt involved in 1953 too?
    Please man its because of this nativity that states could go to war on vague or even made-up reasons. UK is of course very complicit. I havent heard UK condemning this terror, I havent heard UK proposing sanctions against Israel.
    Every leader try to whitewash themselves, even Israel say that they dont have anything to do with the terror actions inside Iran. That of course doesnt mean they werent involved. When people clearly say such things, you know they are involved.

  433. Gash says:

    This weekend its time for the UK to keep the scaremongering alive about Iran. W.Hague:

    U.K.’s Hague: Iranian nuclear program will bring ‘new Cold War’ to Middle East


  434. Sassan says:

    “The war resistance movement actually serves to weaken the nations with a more liberal type of government and, indirectly, to support the policies of the existing tyrannical governments”
    -Albert Einstein

  435. Unknown Unknowns says:


    I’m with Richard on this one. There is so much intentional mystification and obfuscation of this issue, that if I was in your place, I would have taken the first question and said that it was the wrong question to ask, and then taken the opportunity to frame the issue correctly, which is, as you know much better than I do, that the sticking point is Iran’s insistence on its right to nuclear technology irrespective of the fact that this will bring it to a break-out threshold. If the US is uncomfortable with that, then it should say so. That in itself would be a big step towards understanding the problem. One has to understand the problem and talk in terms of that understanding if it is to have any chance of being resolved.

    Also: I’m not in your position, but from where I sit, I thought your response to that prostituted shill Ray was weak. Here he is taking the outrageous position that enrichment is not Iran’s right, and that “what goes up can come down”. I would have thought that a response to him on PBS to the effect that his kind of arrogant thinking that arrogates the “right” of the “international” community to tell Iran what it can or cannot do irrespective of international law is exactly the problem, and not Iran’s alleged intransigence… I think that would have done more to clear the fog. Of course, that might only be in the short term. In the medium term, it would probably ensure that you not get invited onto influential programs anymore, I don’t know.

    Anyway, I am thankful that you are out there fighting the good fight. Godspeed to you and your good wife.

  436. Pirouz says:

    Richard, a subsequent Reuters report states the Iran Navy ships did in fact transit the Suez Canal and are now in the Mediterranean. It appears to be IRINS Alvand frigate and IRINS Kharg replenishment ship, the same two ships that made the voyage last year.

  437. I’m often surprised, and always disappointed, that even some Iran analysts who ought to know better, such as Ray Takeyh, seem sincerely to believe that the International Atomic Energy Agency is part of the United Nations – essentially a step-and-fetch-it subsidiary of the Security Council. He referred to the IAEA in tonight’s PBS debate as “the United Nations’ inspection arm, the IAEA.”

    This might strike many as an unimportant distinction, but it does prevent many journalists and even otherwise well-informed analysts – not to mention their credulous audiences – from recognizing several important points about the IAEA/UN relationship:

    1. Although the IAEA is mandated (as I believe it ought to be) by the IAEA Statute and its cooperation agreement with the UN to make certain reports to the UN Security Council, and generally to cooperate with the UN, the IAEA nonetheless is not part of the UN and never has been. The two bodies are entirely separate.

    2. The UN Security Council has no authority to enforce the Non-Proliferation Treaty or any country’s Safeguards Agreement, even if the IAEA “refers” an IAEA member to the Security Council, nor to require that the IAEA take any action or refrain from taking any action. The Security Council’s only relevant authority arises under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which requires that it first determine a country to be a threat to the peace. Even if the Security Council makes such a determination, it still has no power to enforce the Non-Proliferation Treaty or any country’s Safeguards Agreement, nor to require that the IAEA take any action to do so.

    3. The inspectors who monitor nuclear sites in Iran, and other countries, are IAEA inspectors, not UN inspectors. This fact, more than any other, escapes most journalists and even expert analysts, perhaps because of the several years following the first Gulf War when the UN had its own inspection teams in Iraq.

    5. When a country provides confidential information to the IAEA under its Safeguards Agreement, the IAEA is not required, nor even permitted, to disclose any of that confidential information to the UN Security Council. (Whether this nonetheless happens is, of course, a question frequently debated, but there is no question that it is improper.)

    6. Here is probably the most interesting point of all: Despite ambiguous – often intentionally ambiguous, in my opinion – formulations of IAEA and UN Security Council resolutions and other official statements, neither body has ever issued any declaration (to my knowledge, and I’ve looked at length for exceptions) that challenges, or even questions, any of the five points above.

    I pointed all this out recently, albeit in more general terms, to the New York Times’ David Goodman – hardly an Iran analyst of Takeyh’s stature but nonetheless someone who ought to know better (or at least someone whose editors ought to know better). In response, Mr. Goodman wrote back that “I believe our story is correct as is.” His bases? He’d checked the public relations page of each organization’s website, from which he’d learned this:

    “‘As the [IAEA] describes its history: ‘It was set up in 1957 as the world’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ organization within the United Nations family.’ The UN’s own news service calls the IAEA inspectors the UN’s nuclear watchdog.”

    That, apparently, was the extent of his research, or at least all that he mentioned to me. I replied:

    “Thank goodness we live in a free country, David. You’re free to write whatever you like, accurate or not. I’ll confess that I’m nonetheless surprised that you would take issue with what is hardly a debatable point. If you have any lingering doubts, or ever feel a pressing desire to become credible to the small minority of your readers who really understand this stuff, I suggest you head over to the IAEA website and read the governing statute and related agreements and guidelines.”

    I haven’t noticed any subsequent articles by Mr. Goodman on the subject, but I’m hopeful that I’ve instilled enough doubt that he’s taken my advice. If so, presumably he will not make the same mistake again. In the meantime, it’s hard to fault him when even someone like Ray Takeyh, judging from his remark in his PBS debate with Flynt, seems also to think of the IAEA as nothing more than a step-and-fetch-it subsidiary of the UN Security Council.

  438. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: February 18, 2012 at 12:09 am

    There will be no naval blockade of Iran unless US wants war.

    They do not.

  439. Nothing like scaring the US public with “ninjas”…

    Iran’s Female Ninjas

  440. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: February 17, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Americans and Europeans are clearly down to their last bullets on their siege war against Iran.

    Iranians were trading before SWIFT; they will do so after it.

    The world economy is no longer finance-based; US-UK-France are not calling the financial shots.

    That world died in 2011.

    Now only tangible assets carry the day: commodities, a few essential services, and finished/manufactured goods.

    It is truly a case of self-inflicted wounds; these latest EU sanctions on Iran.

    As long as Iranians have oil to sell, they can buy what they want.

    Just that their trade volume will not go through Axis Powers financial firms; depriving them of their cut.

    Those whom gods wish to destroy, they first make stupid.

    Thank God for US and EU sanctions.

  441. Or not… Take your pick of news sources…

    Iran Navy ’18th Task Force’ transits Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea

  442. Yemen intercepts Iranian ship with weapons

    And we get this news at the same time as the other report…building up a case for a naval blockade…

  443. Iran cargo ships operating in EU despite sanctions

    In other words, due to sanctions, once Obama starts lobbying for a naval blockade of Iran’s oil exports via ship, this will also include ALL of Iran’s flagged vessels and probably prevent any other nation’s flagged vessels from delivering goods to Iran…

  444. U.S. will continue to struggle with the violation of human rights in Iran – State Department

    If you can’t start a war over the nuclear issue…work on the “Right to Protect” issue…

  445. Russian envoy: Embassies closure in Syria could mean preparations for military intervention


    Churkin said he believes that is why some media reports say British and Qatari special task forces arrived in Syria.

    End Quote

  446. Want to see who runs the US?

    Tomgram: Ari Berman, The Politics of the Super Rich


    At a time when it’s become a cliché to say that Occupy Wall Street has changed the nation’s political conversation — drawing long overdue attention to the struggles of the 99% — electoral politics and the 2012 presidential election have become almost exclusively defined by the 1%. Or, to be more precise, the .0000063%. Those are the 196 individual donors who have provided nearly 80% of the money raised by super PACs in 2011 by giving $100,000 or more each.

    More than 300 super PACs are now registered with the Federal Election Commission. The one financed by the greatest number of small donors belongs to Stephen Colbert, who’s turned his TV show into a brilliant commentary on the deformed super PAC landscape. Colbert’s satirical super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, has raised $1 million from 31,595 people, including 1,600 people who gave $1 each. Consider this a rare show of people power in 2012.

    Otherwise the super PACs on both sides of the aisle are financed by the 1% of the 1%. Romney’s Restore Our Future Super PAC, founded by the general counsel of his 2008 campaign, has led the herd, raising $30 million, 98% from donors who gave $25,000 or more. Ten million dollars came from just 10 donors who gave $1 million each. These included three hedge-fund managers and Houston Republican Bob Perry, the main funder behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004, whose scurrilous ads did such an effective job of destroying John Kerry’s electoral prospects. Sixty-five percent of the funds that poured into Romney’s super PAC in the second half of 2011 came from the finance, insurance and real estate sector, otherwise known as the people who brought you the economic meltdown of 2007-2008.

    Romney’s campaign has raised twice as much as his super PAC, which is more than you can say for Rick Santorum, whose super PAC — Red, White & Blue — has raised and spent more than the candidate himself. Forty percent of the $2 million that has so far gone into Red, White & Blue came from just one man, Foster Friess, a conservative hedge-fund billionaire and Christian evangelical from Wyoming.

    For now, Gingrich’s sugar daddy Adelson has pledged to stay with his flagging campaign, but he’s also signaled that if the former Speaker of the House goes down, he’ll be ready to donate even more super PAC money to a Romney presidential bid. And keep in mind that there’s nothing in the post-Citizens United law to stop a donor like Adelson, hell-bent on preventing the Obama administration from standing in the way of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, from giving $100 million, or for that matter, however much he likes.

    End Quotes

  447. WAR PLAN IRAN: Dispelling the Lies, Telling the Truth about Western Aggression in the Persian Gulf


    The conquest of Iran’s oil riches is the driving force behind America’s military agenda.

    In Part I, Playing with Fire: Covert Acts of Aggression, Provocation and War, our reports and analyses show how the military build-up in the Persian Gulf has an alarming deliberation and potential for an all-out regional conflict. We also expose Washington’s criminal covert war against Iran, including the assassination of Iranian scientists and the incursion of the country’s territory with spy drones. However, we don’t merely report the occurrence of these events, our writers show how this mainly US-led militarization is part of the wider strategy for American global dominance.

    End Quotes

  448. Dan Cooper says:

    Nial Cole says:
    February 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Where were you in January 2009, when murderous Israeli soldiers massacred more than 700 innocent and defenceless Palestinian women and children in Gaza carnage?

    Israel did not even allow the international press inside Gaza because they knew that their atrocities & genocide would be revealed and their propaganda machine would collapse.

    Israel is without a doubt the biggest excisting terrorist nation and the greatest threat to peace on earth.

    For the past 64 years, Israel has violated international law, human rights and the Geneva Convention.

    Israel leaders together with their backers Mr Bush and Mr Blair, have committed Genocide against humanity and must be brought to the international court of justice and tried as war criminals.

  449. Assassinating Iranian Scientists

    Nice recap of the sort of terrorism Israel has engaged in for decades.

  450. Why Iran is an Unlikely Culprit
    Those Attacks on Israeli Diplomats


    It is hard to imagine that the Iranian government would send Iranian operatives to friendly countries, completely equipped with Iranian money and passports – making the case against them as obvious as possible.

    If the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are as professional, highly trained and politically savvy as we have been told repeatedly by Israeli politicians themselves, if they have successfully trained and equipped the cadres of Hezbollah and other movements with paramilitary wings in the region, then why would they launch such a clumsy and self-defeating operation?

    End Quote

  451. China sits out Syria regime change tango


    But it is unlikely that Assad’s enemies inside the country, in the West, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Turkey will allow the Syrian government to use the referendum to buttress its legitimacy and demonstrate a capacity to guide the nation out of its political impasse.

    As is inevitably the case, any effort by the Syrian regime to gain political-reform traction has been met with determined “it’s too late/atrocity of the day” propaganda pushback designed to pre-empt any impetus toward reconciliation.

    Even as the referendum was announced, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland (the wife of neo-conservative Robert Kagan and previously a national security advisor to vice president Dick Cheney) stated that Assad’s departure was the only viable option; a Washington Institute for Near East Policy pundit dismissed the referendum as “window dressing”; CNN reported “the vast majority of accounts from within the country say that Assad’s forces are slaughtering civilians en masse”; and Western media uncritically passed on the opposition’s idiotic accusation that the Syrian air force had bombed the government’s own diesel pipeline (which somebody, presumably of the aggressively violent opposition that the West refuses to acknowledge exists, apparently blew up). [1]

    Assad’s announcement of the pushed-up date for the referendum (it was originally expected to happen in March) was probably a response to the latest escalation in regime-change activity, the “Friends of Syria” conference to be convened in Tunisia on February 24.

    Assad’s foreign antagonists, deprived by a Russian/Chinese veto of the opportunity to further delegitimize the Assad regime through the UN Security Council, will use the Tunisian conference to formalize a case for humanitarian intervention in Syria – a moral imperative that justifies, even demands disregard for conflicting demands of treaties and international institutions when necessary – under the “responsibility to protect” or R2P doctrine similar to the one used for Libya.

    In a parting gift to the anti-Assad forces, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay raised the specter of an International Criminal Court indictment against Assad, of the sort that complicated the situation in Sudan, closed the door on a negotiated exit for Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and would make any sort of negotiation with Assad virtually impossible.

    Pillay also issued a demand for humanitarian access that could form the cornerstone of West/GCC justifications for Syrian intervention:
    International and independent monitoring bodies, including my Office and the independent Commission of Inquiry must also be allowed into Syria. And humanitarian actors must be guaranteed immediate, unhindered access. [Emphasis in original]
    There will be no “no-fly zone” for Syria; Assad has assiduously and, one would imagine, intentionally, avoided the use of air transport and air support in his security operations, thereby denying a pretext for the West and GCC to come in with a “no-fly zone”, which in Libya quickly morphed into a “no drive zone” and then into an “attack any government target of tactical or strategic value zone”.

    To get around this obstacle, if the French have their way, humanitarian intervention would involve creating a “humanitarian corridor” to deliver food and medical supplies to Homs, thereby driving a stake through the heart of the Syrian regime’s claim to legitimacy and national sovereignty and energizing the opposition … at least that portion of the opposition whose strategy relies on foreign intervention to collapse the Assad regime.

    It seems the main function of the SNC is to vocally implore – and thereby justify – foreign intervention in Syria.

    Contrary to the wishful thinking of Western observers, Wen is not signaling that he is ready to throw Assad under the bus. Rather, China is trying to save Assad – or, more accurately, promote a peaceful, incremental resolution to the Syrian crisis that leaves the current power structure reformed but to a significant degree intact – by positioning itself as an honest broker in the dispute.

    More worryingly, al-Qaeda’s enthusiastic attempt to piggyback on the spiraling unrest in Syria – and the car bombings in Aleppo which, if not the work of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s minions, could probably be traced back to al-Qaeda’s Gulf-funded Sunni Islamist fans in western Iraq – are a warning that backing the feckless SNC in an agenda of regime collapse is not going to be the carefree, Iran-bashing romp so many interventionists are advertising.

    Third, if the US and Turkey are sufficiently squeamish about the possibility of negative outcomes in Syria, they may not facilitate the flood of arms, money and advisors the Gulf states would probably be ready to unleash in order to implode the regime.

    The one observation that can be made about strategies relying on four contingencies is that they rarely work out.

    For the West, the political benefits of posturing against Assad may well outweigh any qualms about the adverse consequences of further empowering the SNC and militarizing the conflict.

    End Quotes

  452. The Syrian National Council agrees to work with the foreign-backed Syrian Free Army…

    Dreaming of a Syria beyond Assad


    In his capacity as part of the SNC’s foreign relations committee, Khoja publicly announced that his SNC and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) had decided it was in their mutual interest to unify their disparate agendas after the SNC’s Ghalioun traveled to southern Turkey’s Hatay province to meet the nominal head of the FSA, Riad al-Asaad and other high ranking Syrian military defectors.

    Khoja told Asia Times Online in an interview that Ghalioun made a second visit to the FSA’s leadership to reiterate the new-found solidarity between the two very different groups.

    When discussing how much longer Assad will continue to stay in power, Khoja loosely speculated that he would be deposed perhaps by the end of 2012. “Syria is heading toward a military solution,” Khoja tells Asia Times Online.

    “The United Nation’s General Assembly Resolution 377 A states that a buffer zone can be created if there is a two-thirds majority vote. This action could legitimate a buffer zone for the FSA,” Khoja said.

    Under the terms of this resolution adopted on November 3, 1950, during the early period of the Korean War, known as the “Uniting for Peace” resolution, member states can circumvent the decisions of the Security Council’s five permanent members, the “P5”. The resolution was created to work around Soviet obstructionism and abstinence on the Security Council while the UN was intervening on the Korean Peninsula.

    A retired Turkish general told Asia Times Online that the ruling party’s allowing of the SNC to maintain such an office was “a mistake”. The general’s view sounds emblematic of the divide between Turkey’s military establishment that sees itself as a vanguard of republican secularism at any cost versus the conservative political religiosity of AK Parti voters.

    End Quotes

  453. Pepe Escobar on US wants SWIFT war on Iran


    When in doubt, slap more sanctions
    Yet the vultures, jackals and hyenas of regime change/war can never be appeased in their sanction lust. The US is now forcing the EU to cut off Iran from Brussels-based SWIFT – the independent telecom mechanism/clearinghouse used by every bank in the world to exchange financial data (its official name is Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications). Iran’s Central Bank itself may become a victim.

    In a nutshell, SWIFT is the wheel that moves global financial transactions and trade. So if this is not an extended, remixed declaration of hardcore economic war against one country – nothing else is.

    Will it work? Hardly. It will certainly represent more devastation unleashed over “the Iranian people” – the vague entity of choice against which the US has “no quarrel”. More than 40 Iranian banks use SWIFT to process financial transactions, and Iranians use it like everybody else in a globalized economy.

    It will drag SWIFT’s carefully maintained reputation for trust and neutrality through the mud; imagine other member countries’ reaction to the fact they can also be totally marginalized according to the US’s whims.

    Not to mention that Washington cannot tell SWIFT what to do; thus it is not so subtly applying “pressure”, Mafia-style, on the Europeans. The “message” was delivered in person by David Cohen, the US Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

    If and when Tehran decides to target Israeli interests, it may be able to do it closer to home, and it has the competent operatives to do it without a trace. The notion that Tehran would send Iranian agents to friendly Asian countries such as India and Thailand – and in the case of the Three Stooges in Bangkok openly displaying their passports and even rials – is ludicrous beyond belief. These are patsies; the question is to find out who’s manipulating them.

    If the Washington/Tel Aviv-promoted hysteria is already at fever pitch, wait for March 20, when the Iranian oil bourse will start trading oil in other currencies apart from the US dollar, heralding the arrival of a new oil marker to be denominated in euro, yen, yuan, rupee or a basket of currencies.

    End Quotes

  454. Arnold Evans says:

    I thought Flynt did great.

    The thing about “assuring the world” especially since the UNSC would have to certify this assurance, is that it effectively gives the US a permanent veto on Iranian enrichment.

    Four things about that:

    1) Iran would accept sanctions before giving the US a permanent veto over its enrichment

    2) Not a single voice anywhere near power in Iran has ever suggested that the US position is reasonable or that Iran should agree to the US’ terms.

    3) As sanctions settle in, they leave open the eventuality that Iran will decide to retaliate for them, even short of war, which would be bad for US interests, but

    4) What Iran would agree to now is much much more than it would have agreed to in 2006, when it was asking for up to ten centrifuges. It is more than it would have agreed to last year and, importantly, it is probably less than it will be willing to agree to next year, two or five years from now. From the point of view of limiting Iran’s technology and materials, it is better to come to an agreement now than to wait for Iran to enter the negotiations with more.

  455. Dan Cooper says:

    Pakistan’s president vows to continue with Iran pipeline deal despite US sanctions warnings:

    The U.S. wants Pakistan to halt the project because it would undercut international pressure to isolate Iran over its nuclear program.

    The issue is an irritant, though by no means the largest, in already badly strained relationship between Islamabad and Washington.


  456. Nasrallah accuses March 14 of arming Syrian opposition


    The Hezbollah chief said arch-enemy Israel sought any system of government in Syria other than one headed by the embattled leader.

    “Israel bets and believes that given the regional strategic environment that is working against it that the Syrian regime should be overthrown,” he said.

    Nasrallah said Assad had come forward with credible reforms to help end the crisis in Syria but that the United States, Western governments, Israel as well as some Arab states did not want a political solution but solely to see the end of Assad’s rule.

    “An Arab peace plan with Israel has been on the table for years now … Arab leaders say the only solution concerning Israel is political but they refuse to offer a political solution in Syria,” he said.

    “There is an Arab, Western, American, and Israeli insistence that there be no solution in Syria and on toppling the regime in Syria,” he added.

    End Quote

  457. Off to beg Netanyahu not to attack Iran? Or to coordinate on WHEN to attack Iran?

    Top Obama aide heads to Israel for talks on Iran, Syria

  458. Iranian naval ships enter Mediterranean via Suez Canal
    Destroyer and supply ship could be on their way to the Syrian coast, says source in Egyptian canal authority.

  459. So why are they pursuing them?

    U.S. officials don’t believe sanctions will stop Iran’s nuclear program, says U.K.’s Guardian


    “The White House wants to see sanctions work. This is not the Bush White House. It does not need another conflict,” the newspaper cited an official who is knowledgeable on U.S. Middle East policy as saying.

    “It’s problem is that the guys in Tehran are behaving like sanctions don’t matter, like their economy isn’t collapsing, like Israel isn’t going to do anything,” the official said. “Sanctions are all we’ve got to throw at the problem. If they fail then it’s hard to see how we don’t move to the ‘in extremis’ option.”

    “We don’t see a way forward. The record shows that there is nothing to work with,” the newspaper quoted another U.S. official as saying.

    One former U.S. official told the newspaper that the question of how serious Israel is about military action is part of the calculus behind U.S. policy toward Iran, the Guardian said.

    “The sanctions are there to pressure Iran and reassure Israel that we are taking this issue seriously,” it quoted one official as saying. “The focus is on demonstrating to Israel that this has a chance of working. Israel is skeptical but appreciates the effort. It is willing to give it a go, but how long will it wait?”

    End Quote

    This is pathetic. “Oh, gee, we really don’t want a war so we have to impose all these sanctions – but they don’t work. So how long can we and Israel wait?”

    “Oh, please, Mr. Man, don’t throw me in that briar patch!”

    Meanwhile Arnold takes at face value the notion that these sanctions are by definition NOT part of a course for war.

    I believe in the Tooth Fairy, too…

  460. Nial Cole says:

    Oh please. The nonsense spewed by these me-two automatons makes me wretch. No, i don’t support an attack on iran but it’s a loathsome regime of medieval murderers who kill any attempts by domestic liberals to dissent from the party line and foster state terrorism, such as the destruction of the Jewish facility in Argentina.

    You people are smoking the same dope. How about some original thinking for a change here?

    No chance of that. Ever.

  461. U.K.’s Hague: Iran nuclear program will bring ‘new Cold War’ to Middle East


    The Iranians “are clearly continuing their nuclear weapons program,” Hague told The Daily Telegraph. “If they obtain nuclear weapons capability, I think other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons.”

    “We are not favoring the idea of anybody attacking Iran at the moment,” he added.

    End Quote

    At the moment… White of him to add that…

  462. Dan Cooper says:

    Off Topic

    Today, another Afghanistan and Iraq beckons in Syria and Iran, perhaps even a world war.

    Once again, voices such as Crooke’s attempt to explain to a media salivating for “intervention” in Syria that the civil war in that country requires skilled, patient negotiation, not the provocations of the British SAS and the familiar, bought-and-paid-for exiles who ride in Anglo-America’s Trojan Horse.

    In the kabuki theatre of British parliamentary politics, great crimes do not happen and criminals go free.

    Advocates such as Peirce, Phil Shiner and Clive Stafford-Smith have ensured the indictment of dominant powers is no longer a taboo.

    Israel, America’s hitman, is now widely recognised as the world’s most lawless state. The likes of Donald Rumsfeld now avoid countries where the law reaches beyond borders, as does George W. Bush and Blair.


  463. Arnold Evans says:

    Is the text of the letter available? I’ve seen the Ashton letter but don’t remember where, it says that the goal of any negotiations would have to be Iran suspending enrichment.

  464. U.N. votes overwhelmingly to condemn Syrian crackdown


    France and Turkey have pressed for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to permit the distribution of assistance to Syrian civilians, a proposal Ban backed on Thursday in discussions with Russian officials.

    Obama administration officials have been pressing for more clarity on the proposal. They have pointed out the complications of distributing aid throughout Syria and protecting such a corridor, as well as convincing Russia that it is not a stalking horse for the regime change Moscow has already rejected.

    End Quote

    In other words, the US, France and Turkey ARE using the “humanitarian corridor” precisely as a stalking horse for regime change while denying that is so.

    Moving right along. Russia and China are sidelined, all the suckers are lined up, time to move ahead with intervention. The US and NATO will be bombing Syria by summer.

  465. Do Americans Support a War on Iran?


    Daniel Larison thinks that support is much weaker than it seems, given the wording of the questionnaire:…

    Yes, the wording seems to make certain fundamental assumptions which may be misleading to the interviewee. Unfortunately, that is sort of the point.

    Update: From Michael Calderone, a case in point: “…public misinformation about Iran’s nuclear project remains exceedingly high: in a 2010 poll, 7 in 10 Americans said they believe Iran already has the weapons. (In the Iraq War’s early days, 81 percent of Americans said they believed the country likely possessed WMD’s, an understandable conclusion given Bush administration statements and the media’s coverage).”

    End Quote

  466. Dan Cooper says:

    Pirouz says

    “Yes, give peace a chance.”

    I hope they do but I am not optimistic at all.

    With Zionist stranglehold of the US foreign policy, there will be no rapprochement with Iran.

    I agree, Flynt did a good job in setting the record straight that Iran must be allowed to enrich uranium on its soil.

  467. Poll: Only 5% in US oppose Israeli strike on Iran

    Pew Research Center finds 51% of Americans think US should stay neutral over Israel military action to sop Iranian nuclear weapons.

    Nearly two thirds of Republicans said it was more important to stop Tehran’s nuclear proliferation even at the cost of war, while a mere 16 percent said it was more important to avoid military conflict even if that resulted in a nuclear-armed Iran. Half of Democrats answered that it was more important to stop a nuclear Iran, while 38% said priority should be placed on avoiding military conflict.

    Mission accomplished as far as getting the public to support an Iran war.

  468. Nice to see Flynt being given time. Would be better if he was able to go one on one on one of the larger news shows.

    In this case, the discussion focused on the possibility of upcoming negotiations. While Flynt worked on that and managed to get the point about domestic enrichment on the table, Takeyh spent his time emphasizing that the whole point of Iranian negotiations was part and parcel of its “nuclear weapons program”.

    So I think the net result for the viewer was still the presumption that Iran has a nuclear weapons program and that negotiations will go no where.

    So a net loss for Flynt in my view.

    If you’re going to debate someone on the Iran issue, you have to start from square one, i.e. as I’ve done repeatedly:

    1) There is a difference between a nuclear energy program and a nuclear weapons program.

    2) There is a difference between a nuclear weapons RESEARCH program and a nuclear weapons development and deployment program.

    3) There is ZERO evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons development and deployment program AT ANY TIME.

    4) There is ALMOST ZERO evidence that Iran ever had a nuclear weapons research program.

    5) Iran has no need for nuclear weapons in terms of its strategic military and geopolitical goals in the region.

    6) Iran has explicitly acknowledged 5) and explicitly renounced nuclear weapons both in geopolitical and religious terms.

    7) Iran’s “nuclear weapons capability” is no different in kind – and less in extent – than Japan’s, South Korea’s or Brazil’s.

    8) Everything Iran has done in its nuclear energy program has been legal under the NPT short of a few technical violations that are not as severe as similar violations done by South Korea or Brazil in the past.

    9) The referral of Iran’s case from the IAEA to the UNSC was, as one analyst put it, discordant with if not necessarily in actual breach of the IAEA’s normal method for handling issues of this sort. The subsequent UNSC Resolutions are thus of suspect legality.

    10) The purpose of the West’s propaganda campaign against Iran is to justify a military attempt at regime change and has nothing whatever to do with Iran’s nuclear program. This is proven by the fact that the nuclear issue is the only issue which could be cited as justification in the UNSC or the General Assembly or to the international community for military action against Iran. No other charges made by the West against Iran could justify military action – although since the Libyan case recently, it’s possible such attempts could be made if the nuclear issue fell through.

    These points are critical and should be made in any discussion of the Iran situation.

  469. Castellio says:

    What a wonderful presentation by Flynt! Relaxed, more modulated than previous exchanges, hopeful, informed, and clearly carrying the stronger argument.

    When one is reduced to talking about “drawing lines” for the sake of “credibility”, and “indications of intentions” as a basis for a major war, one has lost the larger argument, and that’s all that Takehy had left.

    The fact that Clinton is spinning this as a victory for her administration is a hopeful sign. Let her run with that.

  470. Pirouz says:

    By a fluke, I turned this on right when it came on.

    I don’t have much patience with the narratives being peddled these days on TV news. Woodruf and Suarez just about had me going for the channel change. And then I saw that anti-Iran Iranian-American Tayekh and was just about to give up on it when there was Flynt! I was so relieved, expecting the other panel member would be that other anti-Iran Sadjadpour, or the now exposed intellectually corrupt Parsi.

    Flynt did a good job setting the record straight.

    Have to say, PBS can still provide a balanced take, if not in their anchors, at least in their panels. And sometime ago the producer of PBS Frontline came to my aid when my comments were being censored at the TB site, based purely on my critical commentary.

    Yes, give peace a chance.