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Iran Nuclear Talks in Baghdad
by Stephen Lendman
Previous nuclear talks failed. On April 14 and 15, another round convened.
Istanbul hosted so-called P5+1 countries. They include the five permanent Security Council members - America, Russia, China, Britain, and France - plus Germany.
(Remarks prepared for Richmond Peace Education Center Event in Richmond, Va., May 24, 2012)
I have a friend who's a compulsive liar.
OK it's not a friend. It's my television. And my newspaper.
According to them, the United States, as one among equals, in coalition with most of the world's good countries, is asking the evil nation of Iran for some very reasonable requests, Iran is refusing, and the result, very regrettably and reluctantly -- as an absolute last resort, albeit one we will celebrate with flags and music -- will be war.
An op-ed in the Washington Post last Friday (and you know you can trust the Washington Post, because its fervent push for war on Iraq worked out so well) said:
From the indispensable Just Foreign Policy:
Help Rand Paul Call the Question on War with Iran
Sen. Rand Paul introducing his amendment to S. 2101.
Before we have any military conflict with Iran, the Senate and the House should have at least one debate and vote on it. That’s what the Constitution and the law require; that’s what the public interest requires. And it would be better to start that debate now, when there is still a chance of rational discussion, than in the wake of some Gulf of Tonkin incident, when cable news and talk radio could steamroll Congress.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has called the question, blocking unanimous approval of a new Iran sanctions bill to force consideration of an amendment affirming that nothing in the bill would authorize the use of military force, and that military force would require explicit Congressional authorization.
Urge your Senators and Representative to support amending any pending Iran sanctions legislation to affirm that it does not authorize the use of military force and that any use of military force must be explicitly authorized by Congress.
[Please see the link at Just Foreign Policy to find your representative.]
Heightening Tensions for War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
A previous article discussed two House bills. On May 18, HR 4310 passed. It includes two hawkish anti-Iranian provisions: Sections 1221 and 1222.
So does HR 568. It expressed the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons "capability."
All 535 members of Congress are now on the record declaring that they have not authorized the use of military force against Iran in the latest round of legislation passed in the House and the Senate. This unanimous 'un-declaration' of war by Congress is a crucial victory, with particular significance given its passage on the eve of the U.S.-Iran talks in Baghdad.
The House was the first chamber to 'un-declare war', with its inclusion of a proviso in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that this legislation does not authorize war with Iran. This stipulation that "nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran" is a remarkably sober note of caution and common sense in an otherwise dangerous and reckless piece of legislation. The NDAA allocates billions of dollars of weapons that could be used for an attack on Iran and requires the administration to prepare for war and dramatically escalate the U.S. militarization of the Middle East. Notably, the NDAA exceeds the limitations on Pentagon spending that Congress agreed to in the Budget Control Act by about $8 billion--much of which is allotted for the anti-Iran weaponry.
Rep. John Conyers (MI) championed this amendment to 'un-declare' war with Iran with a bipartisan group of representatives: Rep. Ron Paul (TX), Rep. Keith Ellison (MN), and Rep. Walter Jones (NC). In less than a week, Congress received more than 1,000 calls through FCNL's toll-free number from grassroots activists across the country who support this and other anti-war, pro-peace amendments that FCNL was working on. Partly as a result of your advocacy against war with Iran, the Conyers/Paul/Ellison/Jones amendment was considered so uncontroversial that it made its way into the NDAA as part of a package (called 'en bloc amendments') of non-controversial amendments, rather than going to the House floor for a separate vote.
By Fredrik Dahl
VIENNA, May 22 (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog director said on Tuesday he expected to sign a deal with Iran soon to unblock an investigation into suspected work on atom bombs, potentially brightening prospects for big-power talks with Tehran to stop a drift toward conflict.
Yukiya Amano was summarizing the outcome of rare talks he conducted in Tehran on Monday, two days before six powers meet Iran's security council chief in Baghdad to test Iranian willingness to curb its nuclear program in a transparent way.
Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said his wish for access to Iran's Parchin military complex where nuclear weapons-relevant tests may have occurred would be addressed as part of the accord.
Pushing for War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
Congressional hawks want war. Bipartisan support backs it. Moderates outnumber hotheads. At issue is for how long.
Saber rattling, fear mongering, and bogus accusations persisted for years. Now it's showing up in legislation. More on that below.
May 20, 2012
Hello All – The next round of negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program will take place in Baghdadbeginning on May 23. Following on the first meeting in Istanbul last month, the atmosphere leading up to the Baghdad meeting has exuded optimism. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the official optimism reflected in the US mainstream media is excessive. I’ve indicated some of my reasons for concern and foreboding down below.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 18, 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement after Congress passed H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013.
“In addition to language saber-rattling and preparing for war with Iran, the FY013 NDAA includes language that could undermine our diplomatic relationship with Russia and thwart the implementation of the historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) follow-on. For example, the House accepted an amendment that adds to efforts to delay the implementation of START by preventing any reductions to our nuclear arsenal until the Secretary of Defense reports to Congress on Russia’s compliance with the Treaty.
“Another such amendment, adopted by voice vote in the middle of the night, singles out Russia by limiting the availability of funds for Cooperative Threat Reduction Activities with Russia until the Secretary of Defense ‘can certify that Russia is no longer supporting the Syrian regime and is not providing to Syria, North Korea or Iran any equipment or technology that contributes to the development of weapons of mass destruction.’
”Put simply, these are ploys to delay the Defense Department’s ability to implement the nuclear arms reductions as required by the START Treaty and will only raise tensions with our Russian ally,” said Kucinich.
“We should be working cooperatively with Russia to not only reduce arms but to abolish all nuclear weapons.”
Lee Calls for Cuts to Bloated Pentagon Budget, Swift Withdrawal from Afghanistan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) was one of 120 Members of Congress to vote against H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Lee offered amendments to the bill which would safely and responsibly bring our troops home from Afghanistan, keep Pentagon spending within the limits of the Budget Control Act, and ensure that a meaningful diplomatic option with Iran is on the table.
Lee introduced an amendment to enforce the terms of the Budget Control Act which was signed into law on August 2, 2011, to avert a government shutdown. Congress voted to limit Pentagon spending, but the House Republican leadership proposal spends$8 billion more than allowed under the Budget Control Act. The bi-partisan amendment was not adopted (170-252).
“If you Want Peace, Prepare for Peace. If you Want War, Prepare for War. The NDAA Prepares for War with Iran,” Kucinich.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 18, 2012) – Today the House is expected to vote on H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013. Kucinich took to the House Floor to warn Members of the Congress that the bill prepares the United States for war with Iran. It specifically calls for aggressive deployment of our armed services to begin “credible, visible preparations for a military option.”
See video here. Kucinich’s remarks follow:
“If you want peace, you prepare for peace. If you want war, you prepare for war. The NDAA prepares for war against Iran.
“It calls for pre-positioning planes, bombs, ships, munitions and for naval maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz. [Sec. 1221 (b) and Sec. 1222 (A)] This is not about defense. This is about offense.
“I was a third string quarterback on not a very good varsity football team and I know the difference between defense and offense. We’re preparing to go on offense on Iran which does not have nuclear weapons and has no intention or real capability to attack the United States.
“We're about to make the same disastrous mistake we made against Iraq. This bill does not explicitly authorize war, perhaps, but that's beside the point. It’s licensing it. It sets the stage for it in an election year.
“Wake up, Congress.”
Kucinich has been educating fellow Members about the bill this week. See video of Congressman Kucinich on the House Floor here, here and here. See a flyer that Congressman Kucinich distributed to Members here.
Washington D.C. (May 17, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is urging Members to reject H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act, FY 2013 because it prepares the way for a disastrous war with Iran. Even if the House accepts a proposed amendment by John Conyers (D-MI) to state that the authorization is not a specific declaration of war, the bill still calls for aggressive redeployment of our armed services to begin “credible, visible preparations for a military option.”
Kucinich addressed the House Floor moments ago.
“To start the war in Iraq, Congress was lied to.
“To start the war in Afghanistan, Congress was misled.
“To start the war in Libya, Congress was ignored.
“To start the war in Iran, language has been hidden in the NDAA.
“The NDAA prepares for war against Iran. It has a declaration of policy which includes military action. It has a plan to pre-position aircraft, munitions and fuel for air and sea-based missions. It has a plan for maintaining sufficient naval assets in the region to launch a sustained sea and air campaign against a range of Iranian nuclear and military targets. This bill prepares for war.
“Some will say this bill doesn't authorize for war. This bill prepares for war. Even if it's amended, it prepares for war and we need to vote the bill down because it prepares for war with Iran which would be devastating to this country's interest.”
Thursday, May 17, 2012
By Dave Lindorff
The Iranian military must be enjoying the latest spectacle of Pentagon waste and bungling.
Only a few weeks ago, the US attempted to ramp up the pressure on Iran by deploying to the Persian Gulf at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, just across the gulf from Iran, a squadron of the Air Force’s spanking new and never battle-tested supersonic F-22 stealth fighter-bombers.
Don’t miss the important forum, “Peace Perspectives on Iran: Why Military Intervention is Not the Answer,” scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 24.
The event will explore the roots of the current tensions and the risks and costs of war. It will also shed light on the negotiations between Iran and the west and identify pathways to genuine peace.
This discussion comes as the threat of war with Iran escalates, and the United States and other western powers tighten sanctions. The forum will be held one day after talks are scheduled to begin in Baghdad between Iran and six western powers.
A panel of speakers will address and challenge a number of myths about the “Iran crisis,” including widely repeated but incorrect claims that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program, that military strikes could achieve stated goals, and that Iran poses a direct threat to the United States. Speakers will also discuss Iranian perceptions of U.S. policy and its internal political dynamics, and examine Iran’s nuclear energy program.
“This event will be an antidote to fear-mongering,” says Richmond Peace Education Center director Adria Scharf, who will moderate the discussion. “The speakers will challenge common myths with facts and fresh perspectives.”
The panel includes local scholars Dr. Majid Amini and Dr. Michael Fischbach, and Charlottesville-based author and activist David Swanson.
Dr. Majid Amini is Professor of Philosophy at Virginia State University. He was born in Iran and comes from a family that has had extensive public and political participation in Iranian affairs since the turn of the 19th century. Currently he is working on two projects: one on the limits of religion in the public square and another on divine regret.
Dr. Michael Fischbach is Professor of History at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. He received his doctorate in modern Middle Eastern history from Georgetown University. He researches issues relating to land and property ownership in the modern Middle East. Fischbach frequently addresses international conferences and the media, and has been a consultant for Middle Eastern negotiators as well as the Library of Congress, the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Development Research Center.
David Swanson is a nationally recognized author and peace activist. He currently works with Veterans for Peace and hosts Talk Nation Radio. His most recent books include The Military Industrial Complex at 50 and When the World Outlawed War. Swanson helped to plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., in 2011, and blogs at http://davidswanson.org.
“We can transcend the dynamic of conflict with Iran,” says Scharf. “Learning the facts and coming to a clearer understanding of U.S. involvement in the region are necessary first steps. We must also seek out Iranian views. Ultimately the United States needs to fundamentally rethink its approach to the region, and its nuclear policies more broadly. We simply cannot afford more war.”
“Peace Perspectives on Iran” is part of the Richmond Peace Education Center’s programming on global peace issues. The forum is free and the public is invited to attend.
WHAT: “Peace Perspectives on Iran: Why Military Intervention is Not the Answer,” a public forum.
WHERE AND WHEN: Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, Thursday, May 24, 7:15pm – 9pm. For directions: http://ginterparkpc.org/visitors/directions.htm
CONTACT: Adria Scharf, Executive Director, Richmond Peace Education Center, 232-1002, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 13, 2012
Hello All – With talks between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) and Iran scheduled to resume on May 23, the media blackout on the negotiating strategies and changes (if any) in the positions of the several parties to the negotiations has been nearly complete. As indicated in a statement by the P5+1 chief negotiator Catherine Ashton, “the West” still approaches the issue as one of eliminating an already existing Iran nuclear weapons program, while Iran maintains that its program is for peaceful purposes, and that it has the right to enrich uranium to accomplish this.
Fabricating Lies to Wage War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
Turning Iran into a reliable pro-Western puppet state is a long-sought US goal. All options are considered, including war.
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2012 (IPS) - The U.S. Treasury Department's claim of a "secret deal" between Iran and Al-Qaeda, which had become a key argument by right-wing activists who support war against Iran, has been discredited by former intelligence officials in the wake of publication of documents from Osama bin Laden's files revealing a high level of antagonism between Al-Qaeda and Iran.
Three former intelligence officials with experience on Near East and South Asia told IPS they regard Treasury's claim of a secret agreement between Iran and Al-Qaeda as false and misleading.
May 6, 2012
Hello All – With a second round of negotiations re: Iran’s nuclear program scheduled to take place in Baghdad on May 23, most of the preparatory work is taking place off-the-record and behind-the-scenes. As reported last week, and as reiterated by James Risen’s New York Times article just below, the April meeting in Istanbul was generally interpreted as a “success,” and all parties (except outsider Israel) are speaking optimistically about a negotiated outcome. Yet as Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett state on their website “Race for Iran” (linked below), the Obama administration does not seem to have decided to accept the basic changes in its position that are necessary for a negotiated outcome to succeed.
By Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery looks at how a number of leading hardliners in Israel’s military and security establishments have spoken out against the Israeli government’s plans for an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations and called into question the fitness for office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.
Generals and secret police chiefs get together for an attack on the politicians.
In some countries, they arrest the president, occupy government offices and TV stations and annul the constitution. They then publish Communique No. 1, explaining the dire need to save the nation from perdition and promising democracy, elections, etc.
In other countries, they do it more quietly. They just inform the elected leaders that, if they don’t desist from their disastrous policies, the officers will make their views public and precipitate their downfall.
Such officers are generally called a “junta”, the Spanish word for “committee” used by South American generals. Their method is usually called a “putsch”, a German-Swiss term for a sudden blow. (Yes, the Swiss actually had revolts some 170 years ago.)
What almost all such coups have in common is that their instigators thrive on the demagoguery of war. The politicians are invariably accused of cowardice in face of the enemy, failure to defend national honour, and such.
Not in Israel. In our country we are now seeing a kind of verbal uprising against the elected politicians by a group of current and former army generals, foreign intelligence and internal security chiefs. All of them condemn the government’s threat to start a war against Iran, and some of them condemn the government’s failure to negotiate with the Palestinians for peace.
Only in Israel.
”The stupidest idea I have heard in my life”
It started with the most unlikely candidate to lead such a rebellion: the ex-Mossad chief, Meir Dagan.
For eight years, longer than most of his predecessors, Dagan led the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, comparable to the British MI6. (“Mossad” means “institute”. The official name is “The Institute for intelligence and Special Operations”.)
Nobody ever accused Dagan of pacifism. During his term, the Mossad carried out many assassinations, several against Iranian scientists, as well as cyber attacks. A protégé of Ariel Sharon, he was considered a champion of the most aggressive policies.
And here, after leaving office, he speaks out in the harshest terms against the government’s plans for an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations. Not mincing words, he said: “This is the stupidest idea I have heard in my life.”
This week he was overshadowed by the recently relieved chief of the Shin Bet. (Shin Bet and Shabak are different ways of pronouncing the initials of the official Hebrew name “General Security Service”.) It is equivalent to the British MI5, but deals mostly with the Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories.
For six years, Yuval Diskin was the silent chief of the silent service. His shaved head could be seen entering and leaving meetings of secret committees. He is considered the real father of “targeted eliminations”, and his service has been widely accused of extensive use of torture. Nobody ever accused him of being soft on Arabs.
And now he has spoken out. Choosing a most unusual venue – a get together of some two dozen pensioners in a small-town cafe – he let fly.
By Dave Lindorff
As we slog towards another vapid, largely meaningless exercise in pretend democracy with the selection of a new president and Congress this November, it is time to make it clear that the current president, elected four years ago by so many people with such inflated expectations four years ago (myself included, as I had hoped, vainly it turned out, that those who elected him would then press him to act in progressive ways), is not only a betrayer of those hopes, but is a serial violator of his oath of office. He is, in truth, a war criminal easily the equal of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and perhaps even of Bush’s regent, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Let me count the ways:
April 29, 2012
Hello All – With negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program set to resume in Baghdad on May 23, the broad outlines of a possible settlement have begun to emerge. The terms of an agreement – or at least a suspension of an escalation of the conflict – would include no new sanctions against Iran in exchange for no increase in the scope of Iran’s uranium enrichment programs. Also, Iran would agree to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s “Additional Protocol,” which would allow the IAEA to inspect sites inside Iran in addition to those which Iran has “declared.”
Are you worried about a preemptive Israeli attack on Iran dragging the US and the entire Middle East into yet another war?
Do you feel helpless in the face of our so-called elected officials’ unwillingness to stand up to the Israeli government?
What Can We Do?
The Israeli government is not worried about the US Congress or any western government. However, they are worried about grassroots boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movements that are challenging their impunity. We can use this concern to help raise the cost of an attack on Iran, and thereby help prevent the next war in the Middle East.
By signing the Divest From War Pledge, you commit to boycotting Israel and Israeli products, and divesting from Israeli government bonds if Israel initiates a preemptive attack on Iran.
This is a global campaign, and all peace-loving people around the world are encouraged to sign this pledge.
After you sign the pledge, please spread the word to your friends, family, coworkers, and any mailing list that you are a member of. Click here to download a printable (3 per page) handout in PDF format, great for taking to meetings and leaving in public places.
Review of "Towards a World War III Scenario. The Dangers of Nuclear War"
By Sherwood Ross
U.S. plans to attack Iran with a mix of nuclear and conventional weapons have been in readiness since June, 2005, according to Michel Chossudovsky. a distinguished authority on international affairs.
"Confirmed by military documents as well as official statements, both the U.S. and Israel contemplate the use of nuclear weapons directed against Iran," writes professor Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal.
The plans were formulated in 2004. The previous year, Congress gave the Pentagon the green light to use thermo-nuclear weapons in conventional war theaters in the Middle East and Central Asia, allocating $6 billion in 2004 alone to create the new generation of "defensive" tactical nuclear weapons or "mini-nukes".
April 22, 2012
Hello All – Iran war news this week was focused on last weekend’s talks between the P5+1 and Iran. The P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) reopened talks with Iran, for the first time in 15 months, over Iran’s alleged violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and over Iran’s refusal to obey the UN Security Council Resolutions to halt its uranium enrichment program.
By John Grant
Whore: (verb) To debase oneself by doing something for unworthy motives, typically to make money.
-The New Oxford American Dictionary
It’s a challenge to make adult sense of the absurdities coming out of Colombia right now.