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Hot time in the old town of Philly in July?: Washington, Alaska and Hawaii Blowout Wins Boost Sanders Nomination Odds
By Dave Lindorff
By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune
U.S. District Judge George Daniels of New York has struck again, ruling that Iran must pay $10 billion to compensate for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. If you have read this story in the United States, it probably came from Bloomberg News, which uniquely failed to note that in fact nobody has ever produced the slightest evidence that Iran had anything to do with the September 11 attacks.
If you read the story in Russian or British or Venezuelan or Iranian media or on sites that used the Bloomberg story but added a tiny bit of context, then you learned that Iran had, as far as anyone knows, nothing at all to do with 9/11 (a point on which the 9/11 Commission, President Obama, and pretty much everyone else are in agreement), that none of the al Qaeda hijackers were Iranian, that most of them were Saudi, that the same judge has exonerated Saudi Arabia and declared that nation to have sovereign immunity, that the ideology of al Qaeda puts it at odds with the Iranian government, that the $10 billion is very unlikely to ever change hands, and that -- in short -- this is a story about a crackpot judge operating within a crackpot culture, not a story about criminal justice.
Criminal justice is actually a much better response to 9/11 than endless war, but first you have to properly identify the criminals!
The same judge has done this before, and has based his decisions each time on the claims of ludicrous "experts" that go unanswered by any defense, as Iran declines to dignify such proceedings by showing up to defend itself. Five years ago, Gareth Porter, preeminent debunker of war lies about Iran, noted that in that year's proceedings, "at least two of the Iranian defectors [appearing as witnesses, had] long been dismissed by U.S. intelligence as 'fabricators' and ... the two 'expert witnesses' who were supposed to determine the credibility of those defectors' claims [were] both avowed advocates of crackpot conspiracy theories about Muslims and Shariah law who believe the United States is at war with Islam."
The power of U.S. judges has packed U.S. prisons with innocents, come down far more heavily on dark-skinned defendants, made money into speech, made corporations people, disenfranchised voters, and made George W. Bush president. It's a bit too generous to suggest that Judge George Daniels' actions are simply a matter of proper procedure. That he has other options than making a laughingstock of his country is illustrated by his very different treatment of Saudi Arabia. Daniels operates within a system that gives judges the powers of gods, and within a culture that demonizes Iran at every level.
The United States government has been promoting anti-Iranian propaganda for decades. This poison takes multiple and contradictory forms. Opponents of the recent nuclear agreement falsely claimed that Iran was building nuclear weapons. And many defenders of the agreement also falsely claimed that Iran was building nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, numerous false claims have in recent years been made about alleged Iranian terrorism, while the United States has in fact been sponsoring terrorism in Iran and openly committing the crime of threatening war on Iran. The recent elections in Iran show positive results of the agreement. The U.S. public, on the other hand, is in a worse place in terms of the credence it gives to anti-Iranian lies than it was prior to the nuclear negotiations. This is a grave danger, because many in Washington have not ceased pushing for war.
We're going to see efforts in Congress to tear up the nuclear agreement, to impose new sanctions, and conceivably even to steal the billions of dollars to pay off this court settlement by "freezing" Iranian assets. Reports Bloomberg: "While it is difficult to collect damages from an unwilling foreign nation, the plaintiffs may try to collect part of the judgments using a law that permits parties to tap terrorists' assets frozen by the government."
Who is a "terrorist" of course is defined in the eye of the government official. The history of U.S. trouble with Iran dates significantly to the 1953 overthrow by the CIA of Iran's democratic president, and the U.S. installation of a brutal dictator. The popular revolution that overthrew that dictator was hijacked by theocrats, and today's Iranian government can be severely criticized in many ways. But Iran has spent decades opposing the use of weapons of mass destruction. When Iraq attacked Iran with U.S.-supplied chemical weapons, Iran refused on principle to respond in kind. Iran has not pursued nuclear weapons, and has repeatedly, prior to this agreement, including in 2003, offered to give up its nuclear energy program. It now subjects its energy program to greater inspections than any other country ever has or the United States ever would, going above and beyond compliance with the nonproliferation treaty that the United States flagrantly violates.
In 2000, as revealed by Jeffrey Sterling, the CIA tried to plant nuclear weapons evidence on Iran. Even as Iran offered to assist the United States, post 9/11, the United States labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil," despite its lack of ties with the other two nations in the "axis" and its lack of "evil." The United States then designated part of Iran's military a terrorist organization, very likely murdered Iranian scientists, certainly funded opposition groups in Iran (including some the U.S. also designated as terrorist), flew drones over Iran, launched major cyber attacks on Iranian computers, and built up military forces all around Iran's borders, while imposing cruel sanctions on the country. Washington neocons have also spoken openly about their intentions to overthrow the government of Syria as a step toward overthrowing the government of Iran. It may be worth reminding U.S. audiences that it is illegal to overthrow governments.
The roots of a Washington push for a new war on Iran can be found in the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, the 1996 paper called A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, the 2000 Rebuilding America's Defenses, and in a 2001 Pentagon memo described by Wesley Clark as listing these nations for attack: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. In 2010, Tony Blair included Iran on a similar list of countries that he said Dick Cheney had aimed to overthrow.
One common type of war lie about Iran that has helped move the U.S. to the brink of war a number of times in the past 15 years is the lie about Iranian terrorism abroad. These tales have grown more and more outlandish. For the record, Iran did not try to blow up a Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., an action which President Obama would consider perfectly praiseworthy if the roles were reversed, but a lie that even Fox News had a hard time stomaching. And that's saying something.
Why do some in the U.S. government think the rest of us will find outlandish war plots believable? Because they in fact engage in them. Here is Seymour Hersh describing a meeting held in then-Vice President Dick Cheney's office:
"There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don't we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can't have Americans killing Americans. That's the kind of — that's the level of stuff we're talking about. Provocation. But that was rejected."
Years later, a U.S. ship was apprehended by Iran in Iranian waters. Iran did not retaliate or escalate, but simply let the ship depart. The U.S. media treated the incident as an act of Iranian aggression.
Let all of this be a lesson -- not of course to reject war lies -- but to make proper accusations. If you're caught robbing a house, accuse the homeowner of attacking your territory. Hope your case if brought before Judge Daniels. And send your legal bills to the Iranian government -- they owe you!
DNC defection: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Surprise Endorsement Gives Sanders a Chance to Change the Whole Primary Game
By Dave Lindorff
Just as the media, in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s landslide win in South Carolina’s Democratic primary Saturday, are predictably writing the obituary for Bernie Sanders’ upstart and uphill campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has handed him an opportunity to jolt the American people awake.
By the latest count, the nuclear agreement with Iran has enough support in the U.S. Senate to survive. This, even more than stopping the missile strikes on Syria in 2013, may be as close as we come to public recognition of the prevention of a war (something that happens quite a bit but generally goes unrecognized and for which there are no national holidays). Here, for what they’re worth, are 10 teachings for this teachable moment.
- There is never an urgent need for war. Wars are often begun with great urgency, not because there’s no other option, but because delay might allow another option to emerge. The next time someone tells you a particular country must be attacked as a “last resort,” ask them politely to please explain why diplomacy was possible with Iran and not in this other case. If the U.S. government is held to that standard, war may quickly become a thing of the past.
- A popular demand for peace over war can succeed, at least when those in power are divided. When much of one of the two big political parties takes the side of peace, the advocates of peace have a chance. And of course now we know which senators and Congress members will shift their positions with partisan winds. My Republican Congressman opposed war on Syria in 2013 when President Obama supported it, but supported greater hostility toward Iran in 2015 when Obama opposed it. One of my two Democratic Senators backed peace for a change, when Obama did. The other remained undecided, as if the choice were too complex.
- The government of Israel can make a demand of the government of the United States and be told No. This is a remarkable breakthrough. None of the actual 50 states expects to always get its way in Washington, but Israel does — or did until now. This opens up the possibility of ceasing to give Israel billions of dollars worth of free weapons one of these years, or even of ceasing to protect Israel from legal consequences for what it does with those weapons
- Money can make a demand of the U.S. government and be told No. Multibillionaires funded huge advertising campaigns and dangled major campaign “contributions.” The big money was all on the side opposing the agreement, and yet the agreement prevailed — or at least now looks like it will. This doesn’t prove we have a corruption-free government. But it does suggest that the corruption is not yet 100 percent.
- Counterproductive tactics employed in this victorious antiwar effort may end up making this a Pyrrhic victory. Both sides in the debate over the agreement advanced baseless claims about Iranian aggression and Iranian attempts to create nuclear weapons. Both sides depicted Iranians as completely untrustworthy and menacing. If the agreement is undone or some other incident arises, the mental state of the U.S. public regarding Iran is in a worse position than it was before, as regards restraining the dogs of war.
- The deal is a concrete step to be built on. It is a powerful argument for the use of diplomacy — perhaps even less hostile diplomacy — in other areas of the globe. It is also a verifiable refutation to future assertions of an Iranian nuclear threat. This means that U.S. weaponry stationed in Europe on the basis of that alleged threat can and must be withdrawn rather than remain as an open act of aggression toward Russia.
- When given the choice, the nations of the world will leap at an opening for peace. And they will not easily be brought back again. U.S. allies are now opening embassies in Iran. If the United States backs away from Iran again, it will isolate itself. This lesson should be borne in mind when considering violent and non-violent options for other countries.
- The longer a war with Iran is avoided, the stronger an argument we have for continuing to avoid it. When a U.S. push for war on Iran has been stopped before, including in 2007, this has not only put off a possible catastrophe; it has also made it more difficult to create. If a future U.S. government wants war with Iran, it will have to go up against public awareness that peace with Iran is possible.
- The nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) works. Inspections work. Just as inspections worked in Iraq, they work in Iran. Other nations, such as Israel, North Korea, India, and Pakistan, should be encouraged to join the NPT. Proposals for a nuclear-free Middle East should be pursued.
- The United States should itself cease violating the NPT and lead by example, ceasing to share nuclear weapons with other nations, ceasing to create new nuclear weapons, and working to disarm itself of an arsenal that serves no purpose but threatens apocalypse.
By Alice Slater, The Nation
A major sticking point for universal support for the Iran deal is the worry expressed repeatedly by doubters and supporters alike, in the plethora of mainstream media coverage, that in 15 years Iran may have the capacity to break out and produce a nuclear bomb only one year after the deal expires. David Petraeus and Dennis Ross, Obama’s former Special Assistant on the Middle East, have actually suggested, in The Washington Post, that we should “put teeth” into the deal by threatening now that “if Iran dashes toward a weapon especially after year 15, that it will trigger the use of force.”
How much better would the public be served if the extensive reporting on the deal also provided the information we need on how we could beat Iran to the punch and honor our own obligations under the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty to negotiate for the elimination of nuclear weapons?
First, we must stop provoking Russia and create a climate for negotiations. The United States should agree to a proposal made by Russia and China to negotiate a space weapons ban instead of continuing to block all discussions of a draft treaty they tabled at the UN in Geneva in 2008 and resubmitted this year. We should dismantle NATO, a rusty Cold War holdover, or at least reverse its eastward expansion which we promised Gorbachev would never happen beyond East Germany after the wall came down. And we should bring home the 300 US nuclear weapons now parked in five NATO countries: Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey. We should reinstate our 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia, which the United States walked out of in 2002 after 30 years, and remove our new missile bases in Turkey, Poland, and Romania. It is ironic that underpinning the deal that Kennedy negotiated with Khrushchev, to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba, was US removal of its missiles from Turkey. Well, they’re back!
Perhaps Russia would then agree to negotiate with us about eliminating our arsenals of 15,000 deadly nuclear bombs out of the 16,000 still threatening the planet. We could then call the seven other nuclear weapons states to the table—the UK, France, China, India-Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea—to give up their combined arsenals of 1,000 warheads in a negotiated treaty for complete nuclear disarmament. Civil Society has already produced a Model Nuclear Weapons Convention, an official UN document, laying out all the required steps for verified, monitored nuclear disarmament. We know how to do it! This is what we promised in 1970 in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which provides that we “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” President Obama has recently proposed that the United States spend $1 trillion over the next thirty years for two new nuclear bomb factories, delivery systems, and warheads. The US just tested a dummy bunker buster nuclear warhead in Nevada in August.
It is sad that we are only hearing about Iran’s obligations under the NPT and not about our own broken promises. With the proper cooperative attitude, the United States could easily accomplish verifiable and monitored nuclear disarmament in 15 years, so we won’t have to demonize Iran when the 15 years are up. As Walt Kelly’s Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
Airing on PBS on September 12 will be an interview I watched taped at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia on August 28 with Wendy Sherman, the U.S. Under Secretary of State who played the key role in negotiating the Iran agreement.
The Miller Center has cut public questions and answers out of the portion of its events that are broadcast, so what will air will only include questions from the host, Doug Blackmon, but he asked I think most of the questions, some reasonable, some absurd, that have been asked by CNN, Fox, and the Associated Press. The elderly, wealthy, white audience asked questions at the end too, and the first one was about supposedly secret side agreements that would allow Iran to build nuclear weapons. My impression was that the audience was won over by Sherman's answers to everything she was asked.
In fact, Blackmon was about to call on me to ask a question when I had to leave to go meet with a staffer of Senator Mark Warner to urge him to oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and the first thing I did was give the staffer Sherman's information and ask him to ask the Senator to call her. Warner is, of course, undecided on whether the Iran deal is preferable to the course toward war that so many of his colleagues openly prefer.
My concern, which I had most hoped to ask about, would not have been a concern for Warner, I suspect. My concern was this: the White House Press Secretary has suggested, and Politico has reported that the White House has been telling Congress, that the agreement will allow the U.S. to learn useful information about Iranian facilities that will make it easier to launch an effective war against Iran in the future if "necessary." Sherman on Friday repeatedly violated the U.N. Charter by stating that the United States could launch a war on Iran, and that she had no doubt President Obama would do so, if "necessary" to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. How is that sort of talk heard in Iran?
Sherman should know. She spent two years getting to know and negotiating with Iranians. She describes friendly moments. Both she and her Iranian counterpart became grandparents during the course of this negotiation. She also describes yelling and walking out. How does she think the Iranians she knows hear threats of war? For that matter, how does she think they hear accusations of having had and desiring to have a nuclear weapons program -- accusations repeated by Sherman on Friday but for which she was not asked for any evidence. For that matter, she accused Iran of wishing death to the United States and Israel -- again, without being asked for any evidence.
Sherman was quite articulate and to-the-point and convincing in arguing every detail of the inspections. Those who want a "better deal" had better avoid listening to her at all costs if they want to maintain their belief system. But pushing for peace while threatening war is a weak sort of advocacy, even if its advocates view it as being tough. Sherman, like her former colleague Madeline Albright, brags about how much damage sanctions have done to people -- in this case Iranians. She wants to be tough. But is she being strategic? What happens when the U.S. changes presidents or Congresses or some sort of incident occurs or is alleged to have occurred? The U.S. public will have been taught to think about Iran in the least helpful manner possible.
Asked if she trusts Iran, Sherman says no way. She goes on at length about how trust is not even part of her profession, doesn't enter into it at all, that these negotiations were aimed at and achieved a regime of verification based on total mistrust. A moment later, asked if she trusts in the good faith of Benjamin Netanyahu, Sherman does not hesitate to exclaim "Oh, of course!" What does that example tell people to think about Iranians? Compared to an openly racist militarist who orders the slaughter of civilians, the Iranians are untrustworthy? If that were so, I'd oppose the agreement myself!
Sherman also says that Iran knows how to make a nuclear weapon. I'd have liked to ask her whether she learned this before or after the CIA gave Iran nuclear weapons blueprints -- for which Jeffrey Sterling sits in prison as the alleged and convicted whistleblower. And how did she learn it?
Sherman says the United States is the one indispensible nation that must lead the global fight against "terrorism." She declares that if needed the U.S. can re-impose not only its own sanctions on Iran but also those of its partners and the EU. I wouldn't be so sure. A stronger, reality-based case for this agreement would recognize that the threat is not from Iran but from the United States, that the world understands that to a huge extent, and that other nations are not going to easily re-impose sanctions on Iran. In fact they're already opening embassies there. For the United States to go back on this agreement, now or later, would indeed isolate one nation from the rest of the world. I wonder, however, if Sherman is able to allow herself to realize which nation that will be.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power wrote this week: "if the United States rejects this deal, we would instantly isolate ourselves from the countries that spent nearly two years working with American negotiators to hammer out its toughest provisions." Power goes on to explain that such isolation would be undesirable because it would prevent the United States from getting other governments to join in new sanctions to harm any other country or new wars against any other countries.
Hey, now that I think about it, I have to wonder whether U.S. isolation would be such a bad thing after all.
Stabenow Yes takes potential No list down to 14. But Blumenthal is still undecided, so it's 15.
This is an update to "Which U.S. Senators Want War on Iran." But Blumenthal is still undecided, so it's 15.
I've found there isn't really any way to touch on this topic without misunderstanding, but here's a try. Iran has never had a nuclear weapons program or threatened to launch a war against the U.S. or Israel. Many opponents of the Iran deal in the U.S. Congress and nearly every, if not every single, proponent of the agreement in the U.S. Congress has proposed war as the alternative. Some examples are here. The White House is even telling Congress that the agreement will make a future war easier -- as a selling point in favor of the deal.
Of course, war is NOT the only alternative to the agreement. The threat of war comes from the U.S. An alternative to that would be to simply stop threatening it. No deal is actually needed. The purpose it serves is to slow down a U.S. push for war.
Of course, many ordinary supporters and opponents of the agreement do not want a war. But with Washington offering two courses of action toward Iran: a deal that imposes tougher inspections than anyone else has to deal with, or bombs, one has to choose the inspections.
That is, a moral person does. The "I want a better deal" argument is cynically put forward by people who want no deal at all, even if supported by well-meaning people who have the misfortune to own televisions or read newspapers.
Of course, the Iranian government can be criticized in many areas, none of which are subject to improvement by bombing.
Here are people who have said they oppose the agreement or can't make up their mind about it yet:
Every Republican in the U.S. Senate plus these Democrats (the first two have said No, the rest Undecided):
This is a much shorter list than what it was when I previously wrote on this topic. In fact, it's at 15, which is almost down to the 13 needed to kill the agreement. Get it down to 12 and the agreement survives. That means two more Democratic senators can come around to the Yes position on the Iran deal and the deal still die. Almost certainly at least those two will. Whether a third does, or more do, is the real question.
When measures voted on are popular with funders but unpopular with the public, they very often pass with no more than exactly the votes needed. Sometimes word leaks out about the deals that have been cut. Senators and House members take their turns giving the unpopular votes demanded by funders and "leadership." The trick here is that the "leadership" is split between Obama's and Biden's YES and (would be Senate leader) Schumer's NO.
The fifteen people named above have had PLENTY of time to conclude that many of their colleagues want to risk a war and to understand that the agreement is preferable to that. It's time for us to let them know we will not stand for them getting this wrong and will never forget it if they do. Here's what I'm asking about my senator, Mark Warner:
Here's what World Beyond War is doing to try to correct the myth that Iran is the origin of the threat of war in this affair:
We must uphold the Iran agreement, but upholding it while pretending that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, or is threatening anyone, will not create a stable and lasting foundation for peace. Upholding an agreement with both proponents and opponents threatening war as an alternative is perilous as well as immoral, illegal, and — given the outcome of similar recent wars based on similar recent propaganda — insane.
More events all over the world, and tools for creating your own are here.
Outside the U.S., people can contact the nearest U.S. Embassy.
This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.
Tell Senator Warner: SECURITY WITH DIPLOMACY! NO WAR WITH IRAN!
WHERE: Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Forum
FOUNDERS INN and SPA
5641 Indian River Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
WHEN: Noon until 2pm
WHY: Warner is ON THE FENCE. Obama needs his support. Without this agreement, we are headed into WAR WITH IRAN. The warmongers are pouring millions into defeating diplomacy.
Sen. Kaine will also attend the forum. He already announces he will support the plan. We can thank him.
HOW: Non-violent peaceful presence outside the forum.
BRING: Signs saying "No War With Iran!", "Thank You, Sen. Kaine!", "Sen. Warner: Do You Want Another War?"
Kim Williams for Norfolk Catholic Worker/
Syria and Iran -- Ghiass Moussa, Ramsey Clark, Margaret Kimberly, Larry Hamm, Joe Lombardo, Sara Flounders, David Swanson,
By Dave Lindorff
I don’t know which is worse: President Obama asserting, in defense of the nuclear deal he and his Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated with Iran, that “The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon,” or the fact that most Americans, and most American pundits, seem to accept that limited choice of options as a given.
Senator Bernie Sanders pushed the false propaganda about needing to prevent Iran from getting a nuke, and even threatened war under the "all options are on the table" euphemism, but did so as part of the following statement supporting the Iran agreement:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today announced that he will support an agreement that the United States and other nations negotiated with Iran to limit its nuclear program.
Sanders issued a statement after a telephone conversation on Friday with President Barack Obama, who addressed some of Sanders’ concerns. The senator first publicly discussed his intention to vote for the agreement in an interview with John Dickerson of CBS News, which will be broadcast Sunday on “Face the Nation.”
“The test of a great nation is not how many wars it can engage in, but how it can resolve international conflicts in a peaceful manner,” Sanders said in the statement.
“The war in Iraq, which I opposed, destabilized the entire region, helped create the Islamic State, cost the lives of 6,700 brave men and women and resulted in hundreds of thousands of others in our armed forces returning home with post-traumatic-stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. I fear that many of my Republican colleagues do not understand that war must be a last resort, not the first resort,” Sanders said in the statement.
“The United States must do everything it can to make certain that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, that Israel is not threatened by a nuclear Iran and that a nuclear arms race in the region is avoided,” he added. “President Obama and Secretary Kerry have worked through a very difficult process with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia and Iran. This agreement is obviously not all that many of us would have liked but it beats the alternative – a war with Iran that could go on for years.
“If Iran does not live up to the agreement, sanctions may be reapplied,” he added. “If Iran moves toward a nuclear weapon, all available options remain on the table. I think it is incumbent upon us, however, to give the negotiated agreement a chance to succeed. That is why I will support the agreement.”
Let's do the count:
Senators rallying and whipping their colleagues to support the Iran agreement: 0.
Senators admitting that Iran has had no nuclear weapons program and has never threatened or been a threat to the United States: 0.
Senators pushing the false idea that Iran is a nuclear threat but indicating they will vote to support the agreement precisely in order to counter that threat: 16
(Tammy Baldwin, Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand, Martin Heinrich, Tim Kaine, Angus King, Patrick Leahy, Chris Murphy, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Bernie Sanders, Jeanne Shaheen, Tom Udall, Elizabeth Warren)
Republican (and "Libertarian") senators indicating they will try to kill the agreement, thereby moving the United States toward a war on Iran: 54.
(All of them.)
Democratic senators inspired during the repulsive Republican debate Thursday night to announce that they will try to kill the deal (and would rather have a war): 1.
Democratic senators who haven't clearly stated a position: 29.
The number of those 29 who would have to join Schumer to kill the agreement and set the United States on a path toward self-isolation, international disgrace, and disastrous illegal immoral catastrophic war that will make Iraq and Afghanistan look like diplomacy: 12.
Can we keep the agreement protected from such a fate? Of course we can. We've been stopping a war on Iran for many years now. We stopped it in 2007. Such things never enter U.S. history books, but wars are stopped all the time. In 2013, the push for a massive bombing campaign on Syria was hard and absolutely bipartisan, yet public pressure played the key role in stopping it.
Now we have the White House on our side for godsake. When Obama wants a horrible corporate trade agreement fast tracked or a supplemental war spending bill rammed through or a "healthcare" bill passed, he twists arms and offers bribes, he gives rides on his airplane, he sends cabinet secretaries to do PR events in districts. If he really wants this, he'll hardly need our help. So one strategy we need to keep after is making clear he knows we expect this of him.
Senator Sanders has a gazillion fans now, and something like all but 3 of them believe he is a hero for peace. If you're a Bernie supporter, you can urge him to rally his colleagues to protect the Iran agreement.
In states like Virginia where one senator is taking the right position and one is keeping quiet, urge the first one (Kaine) to lobby the other one (Warner).
Would-be senators like Alan Grayson who want people to think of them as progressives but who have been pushing to kill the deal since before Schumer slithered out from under his rock, should be hounded everywhere they show their faces.
Schumer himself should not be permitted to appear in public without protest of his warmongering.
Just as in the summer of 2013, most senators and house members are going to be at public events in the coming weeks. Email and call them here. That's easy. That's the least anyone can do. And it had an impact last time in 2013. But also find out where they will be (senators and representatives both) and be there in small or large numbers to demand NO WAR ON IRAN.
The most expensive weapons system they've got ("missile defense") has been using the mythical Iranian threat as a ridiculous justification for picking your pocket and antagonizing the world in your name for years and years. But Raytheon wanted those missiles to hit Syria, and Wall Street believed they would.
The Israel lobby has much of Congress bought and paid for. But the public is turning against it, and you can shame its servants.
In the long run, it's useful to remember that lies do not set us free.
If both proponents and opponents of the agreement depict Iran falsely as a nuclear threat, the danger of a U.S. war on Iran is going to continue, with or without the deal. The deal could end with the election of a new president or Congress. Ending the agreement could be the first act of a Republican president or a Schumerian Democratic Leader.
So, don't just urge the right vote while pushing the propaganda. Oppose the propaganda as well.
Well, he certainly doesn't get every bit right, but he gets the vote right. Now where is his colleague from Virginia, Senator Mark Warner?
By Tom H. Hastings
Do I not effectually destroy my enemies, in making them my friends?
--Sigismund of Luxemburg as quoted in The Sociable Storyteller (1846)
We are SOS in the Middle East. Stuck on Stupid. Can we get unstuck?
Focusing on Iran while keeping the overall region in mind, most scholars in my field of Peace and Conflict Studies would make some version of the following suggestions:
- Quit sending arms to anyone in the region
- Quit telling Iranian people what to do
- Offer to help, but not militarily
- Start lifting sanctions slowly, unilaterally
- Wait for reciprocity and repeat (Rapoport’s tested game theory)
- Start exchange programs to reintroduce Iranians to the US and Americans to Iran
Just as the US will have its Death to Iran or Death to Muslims loudmouths, Iran will have its Death to America blowhards. But let’s think about the Iranian Index:
- number of Iranians on planes as hijackers on 9.11.01: 0
- number of Americans held hostage from November 1979-January 1981: 52
- number of days US hostages held: 444
- number of US hostages killed: 0
- number of US hostages released alive: 52
- number of democratically elected leaders of Iran overthrown by US CIA in its 1953 Operation Ajax: 1
- number of political prisoners in Iran under US-installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi: 2,200
- number of barrels of oil US imports from Iran: 0
- number of Iranian nuclear scientists assassinated by Mossad/CIA operatives: 5
Do Americans recall the 1953 plot and all the military aid that subsequently went to the Shah, with his notorious SAVAK not-so-secret police, trained and armed and advised by the CIA? Just imagine that our country was upended, an Iranian-backed leader installed, and patriots were rounded up as soon as they dissented. Imagine that we endured this nightmare for 26 years. Would we ever forgive Iran? Might a few of us chant Death to Iran once in a while? I’m sure Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and the entire Republican leadership (most of whom are running for president) would be so chanting on the floor of the House, the Senate, or on national television.
Oh—that’s right, they already do. Imagine an Iranian online reading about Ted Cruz’s claim that the nuclear deal makes Obama the biggest financier of terrorism in the world and then watches Cruz’s machine gun bacon video. The new surrealpolitik.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is sounding to the world like the most reasonable party, saying on Iranian TV that hardliners on both sides have it all wrong, “This idea that we have two options before the world, either submit to it or defeat it, is illogical: there is also a third way, of constructive cooperation with the world in a framework of national interests.”
Both the US and Iran are bad boys on the world stage. Both are viewed as states that practice or sponsor terror. We cannot fix that by wild talk by our politicians and neither can Iran.
For the good of the people of the US, of Iran, and of the world, we need to support the Iranian nuclear deal. It’s not perfect, but neither are any humans and humans control technology of weapons that must be perfectly kept from being used, ever. Therefore, the fewer nuclear weapons in the world, the less we have to worry about that human imperfection. It should make us more tolerant of each other and less tolerant of any nuclear weapons anywhere. As Deepak Chopra once said, “Nuclear weapons are always in the wrong hands.”
Dr. Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.
Nukes get all the attention, but the fact is that intense inspections of Iranian facilities will also prevent Iran from developing a ray gun that causes your clothes to vanish and your brain to convert to Islam.
No, there is not the slightest scrap of evidence that Iran is trying to create such a thing, but then there's also not the slightest scrap of evidence that Iran is trying to create a nuclear bomb.
And yet, here are a bunch of celebrities in a video that certainly cost many more dollars than the number of people who've watched it, urging support for the Iran deal after hyping the bogus Iranian nuclear threat, pretending that the United States gets "forced into" wars, making a bunch of sick jokes about how nuclear death can be better than other war deaths, suggesting that spies are cool, cursing, and mocking the very idea that war is a serious matter.
By John Grant
"Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning."
This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.
PUBLIC FORUM ON IRAN DEAL
To be held exactly 70 years after nuclear age opened in Hiroshima (including time zone difference).
7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 5, 2015
At The Haven, 112 W. Market Street Charlottesville, VA 22902
Sponsored by World Beyond War, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, RootsAction.org, and Amnesty International Charlottesville, (more welcome to join).
Video of event to be widely distributed.
Speaker: Gareth Porter, independent investigative journalist and historian who specialises in U.S. national security policy. He is the author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, and the winner of the Gellhorn Prize for journalism in 2012 for exposing lies and propaganda about the Afghanistan War. Porter spent two weeks in Vienna covering the final round of negotiations and is now writing the definitive account of the how U.S. and Iran finally reached agreement.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)
AIPAC's statement on Iran inspires me to make a graphic:
Here's AIPAC's statement:
"AIPAC Statement on Proposed Iran Nuclear Agreement
"AIPAC has consistently supported diplomatic efforts to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program,"
Except when lobbying for ever greater sanctions that would have blocked the negotiations, and even for a US commitment to jump into any Israeli-Iranian war. Here's a brief history in the form of activist opposition to AIPAC.
"and we appreciate the commitment and dedication of President Obama and his administration throughout these negotiations. Unfortunately, this proposed agreement fails to halt Iran’s nuclear quest."
There is no evidence of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapon. Gareth Porter makes this clear in his book Manufactured Crisis.