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Is Bush planning an attack on Iran in March?


Douglas Caddy
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Does anyone really imagine Blair feels genuine, deep anxiety or concern for the Britons held in Iran? I can't see it myself. The man is a fraud, dangerously close, in my books, to qualifying as a pyschopath.

I imagine that Blair does feel concern. However, not as much as he should, nor enough to do anything about it, if it means upsetting George Bush.

It would not surprise me to find the prisoners being placed very close to where the Iranian's are developing nuclear energy. Not that this would stop the US and Israel bombing the buildings.

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Does anyone really imagine Blair feels genuine, deep anxiety or concern for the Britons held in Iran? I can't see it myself. The man is a fraud, dangerously close, in my books, to qualifying as a pyschopath.

I imagine that Blair does feel concern. However, not as much as he should, nor enough to do anything about it, if it means upsetting George Bush.

It would not surprise me to find the prisoners being placed very close to where the Iranian's are developing nuclear energy. Not that this would stop the US and Israel bombing the buildings.

John

Why do you "imagine that Blair does feel concern. However, not as much as he should, nor enough to do anything about it". What evidence is there for that?

Wouldn't a PM who was truly concerned negotiate for their release?

I understand a simple apology may well suffice to solve this "crisis". Is that too much a man with such (allegedly) great concern for these poor "hostages"? Must Blair behave like a rather effete parody of Maggie Thatcher chucking a wobbly?

I guess Iran views these British sailors as illegal immgrants and / or spies. Does their point of view count for nothing?

Edited by Sid Walker
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Sid your case is extremely weak

1) You have yet to produce any evidence the British sailors were in Iranian territorial waters. Murry’s argument is disingenuous, since the mid 70's Iran and Iraq have accepted an imaginary line extending out from the middle of the Shatt al Arab and an agreed upon set of coordinates as their maritime boarder. Thus even the Iranians accept that parts of the Gulf closer to Iranian land are Iraqi. The dispute seems to be more over where the sailors were rather than were the boarder lies.

2) Even if it could be shown they were in Iranian waters there is no evidence this was intentional earlier this month 170 Swiss troops accidentally crossed about 1 mile (1.6. kilometers) into Liechtenstein http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2918063 supposedly a similar but more well equipped invasion happened years earlier http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1240901 . The Iranians seem to be claiming they were only 450 meters (500 yards) over the boarder (about 1/4 the distance of the Swiss “invasion”) http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSBLA95560920070329

3) As Evan pointed out international law seems to dictate that the Iranians should have ordered the British to leave rather than or at least prior to arresting them. Even the normally neutral Swedes have called the capture a "kidnaping that can not be accepted" http://www.svd.se/dynamiskt/utrikes/did_14929369.asp* . Can you cite any precedents for one country seizing the crew of another countries warship it was not at war with esp. a casewhere the alleged trespass was less than a kilometer and far from the shore?

Iran’s forcing them to confess on TV and denying them access to British diplomats are violations of the Geneva convention and other agreements. The US esp. under Bush haven’t been very good about respecting international law either but that’s a separate story.

4) According to an English language Arab news service the Iranians had been planning since at least March 18 to seize Britons in order to ‘swap’ them for the captured Iranians http://www.asharqalawsat.com/english/news....n=1&id=8425

5) As to your list of prior “provocations” let’s look at them one by one. Do they serve as justification for Iran’s actions? I don't think so!:

(1) Iranian Diplomats kidnaped in Iraq
There are disputes over whether or not they had diplomatic status, (though admittedly the US case looks pretty weak)

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D38...D019CCAD42D.htm

In any case they were sized by Americans not Brits and Iran doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on to complain about “kidnaping” of diplomats esp. by Americans esp. since that countries current President was identified by a former Iranian president and 6 former hostages as being a leader of the American Embassy seizure (though this is disputed by the President and one of his domestic opponents) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8442940/

(2) An Iranian General spirited away (kidnapped?) in Turkey

There is no evidence he was kidnaped and if so who (let alone the British) might be involved. There are reports he was a western spy and defected http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070311/wl_af...itainiranturkey

(3) Reports that western-funded saboteurs are operating within Iran.
Is there any evidence to back there reports? Any evidence of British involvement? There are also reports that Iranian funded, trained and equipped groups are attacking British and American troops and Iraqi civilians. I’ve also heard reports of Elvis being spotted in McDonald’s (even though he was never know to be a fan of hamburgers let alone that chain).
(4) New sanctions applied after arm-twisting in the UN, punishing Iran for actions quite legal under the NPT

Even Mark said he thinks Iran aims to build atomic weapons, something which few people dispute, few people outside Iran claim their nuclear program is legal

(5) A ramp-up in war chatter in western capitals (Tel Aviv, London, Washinton.)

Chicken or the egg? The Iranians also have not shied away from bellicosity, or do you think hanging banners with “Wipe Israel off the map” or “Remove the Jerusalem occupying regime from the pages of history” or however you want to translate the Iranian president’s phrase from nuclear warhead capable long range missiles a call for peaceful change? Perhaps if they ceased flouting the will of the international community the hawks in America, Britain and Israel wouldn’t have so much to crow about

* A computer translation of the 1st sentence of article results in the folllowing: “the is fairly clear that Iran have devoted itself at kidnappning, the cannot be accepted, said Minister for Foreign Affair Carl Bildt”http://www.systransoft.com/

Edited by Len Colby
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Iran’s forcing them to confess on TV and denying them access to British diplomats are violations of the Geneva convention and other agreements. The US esp. under Bush haven’t been very good about respecting international law either but that’s a separate story.

Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python published this article in today's Guardian.

Terry Jones

Saturday March 31, 2007

The Guardian

I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this - allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world - have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God's sake, what's wrong with putting a bag over her head? That's what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it's hard to breathe. Then it's perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can't be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.

It is also unacceptable that these British captives should be made to talk on television and say things that they may regret later. If the Iranians put duct tape over their mouths, like we do to our captives, they wouldn't be able to talk at all. Of course they'd probably find it even harder to breathe - especially with a bag over their head - but at least they wouldn't be humiliated.

And what's all this about allowing the captives to write letters home saying they are all right? It's time the Iranians fell into line with the rest of the civilised world: they should allow their captives the privacy of solitary confinement. That's one of the many privileges the US grants to its captives in Guantánamo Bay.

The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn't rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it's just invaded. The inmates of Guantánamo, for example, have been enjoying all the privacy they want for almost five years, and the first inmate has only just been charged. What a contrast to the disgraceful Iranian rush to parade their captives before the cameras!

What's more, it is clear that the Iranians are not giving their British prisoners any decent physical exercise. The US military make sure that their Iraqi captives enjoy PT. This takes the form of exciting "stress positions", which the captives are expected to hold for hours on end so as to improve their stomach and calf muscles. A common exercise is where they are made to stand on the balls of their feet and then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates intense pain and, finally, muscle failure. It's all good healthy fun and has the bonus that the captives will confess to anything to get out of it.

And this brings me to my final point. It is clear from her TV appearance that servicewoman Turney has been put under pressure. The newspapers have persuaded behavioural psychologists to examine the footage and they all conclude that she is "unhappy and stressed".

What is so appalling is the underhand way in which the Iranians have got her "unhappy and stressed". She shows no signs of electrocution or burn marks and there are no signs of beating on her face. This is unacceptable. If captives are to be put under duress, such as by forcing them into compromising sexual positions, or having electric shocks to their genitals, they should be photographed, as they were in Abu Ghraib. The photographs should then be circulated around the civilised world so that everyone can see exactly what has been going on.

As Stephen Glover pointed out in the Daily Mail, perhaps it would not be right to bomb Iran in retaliation for the humiliation of our servicemen, but clearly the Iranian people must be made to suffer - whether by beefing up sanctions, as the Mail suggests, or simply by getting President Bush to hurry up and invade, as he intends to anyway, and bring democracy and western values to the country, as he has in Iraq.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/st...2047128,00.html

http://www.terry-jones.net/

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Perhaps the Iranians should have just asked the Brits to leave?

Actually, that is precisely what I think should have happened.

I'm all in favour of peaceful resolution of conflict.

I do wonder, however, how would a boatload of Iranian sailors fare if intercepted off the coast of Christmas Island, Evan?

Would the RAN politely ask them to head north?

If it it was an Iranian naval vessel, then I have no doubt that is what would happen. Followed by a diplomatic protest, no doubt.

This was a regular inspection of a non-Iranian commercial vessel going to a non-Iranian port. The actual location of where the inspection took place is in dispute. The correct action would have been to demand they leave at once.

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Chicken or the egg? The Iranians also have not shied away from bellicosity, or do you think hanging banners with “Wipe Israel off the map” or “Remove the Jerusalem occupying regime from the pages of history” or however you want to translate the Iranian president’s phrase from nuclear warhead capable long range missiles a call for peaceful change? Perhaps if they ceased flouting the will of the international community the hawks in America, Britain and Israel wouldn’t have so much to crow about

Incredible hypocrisy here, Len.

When have Israel or the US ever given a damn about the will of the international community? Do you want to discuss the plight of the Palestinians or is their plight just bad leadership? What is the will of the international community regarding America's presence in Iraq?---and I don't mean the mealy mouthed comments of toadies like Blair or Howard---I mean the international community. What is the will of the international community concerning Gitmo detainees like David Hicks---held for five years without trial.

And since you've managed to shoehorn my name into your post in an attempt to bolster your rhetoric, my position on Iran's nuclear capability vis-a-vis the international community is this:

1. The US has an arsenal of 10,000 nuclear warheads, so it has no right to demand Iran---or any other country---cease development of same. The argument that we are the goodies and they are the baddies doesn't wash. America doesn't behave anything like a good global citizen. The opposite is more accurate.

2. Israel isn't even a signatory to the NPT. In fact, during its development, their entire nuclear program was impudently quarantined from even the slightest international scrutiny (LBJ's sham inspections notwithstanding), so when it comes to commenting on the nuclear intentions of other sovereign nations, Israel doesn't have the right to say a damned thing. Israel's right to speak on behalf of the international community has long expired. Israel's claim that Iran might use nuclear weapons, which I don't believe at all, can be countered by Iran's claim that such weapons may be required as protection from an Israeli attack. This is supported by the fact that Israel have attacked other nations in the region in the past. Was Israel's strike on Iraq's facility in 1981 sanctioned by the international community? What about the invasion of Lebanon in 2006?

Regarding bellicosity, how about Bush including Iran in the axis of evil? Or freezing Iranian assets? Whose naval fleet sits in the Gulf?

FWIW, I think the capture of the British sailors was a mistake and they should be released. The fact that you have aggresively seized upon this issue while dismissing the provocations from the other side proves that your reputation for seeing only one side of the argument is, unfortunately, well warranted.

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Perhaps the Iranians should have just asked the Brits to leave?

Actually, that is precisely what I think should have happened.

I'm all in favour of peaceful resolution of conflict.

I do wonder, however, how would a boatload of Iranian sailors fare if intercepted off the coast of Christmas Island, Evan?

Would the RAN politely ask them to head north?

If it it was an Iranian naval vessel, then I have no doubt that is what would happen. Followed by a diplomatic protest, no doubt.

This was a regular inspection of a non-Iranian commercial vessel going to a non-Iranian port. The actual location of where the inspection took place is in dispute. The correct action would have been to demand they leave at once.

Evan, do you think the allied naval presence in the Persian Gulf is provocative?

Do you think this is relevant in the context of the capture of these sailors?

Do you think Bush plans to attack Iran, or force Iran into provoking an attack?

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Perhaps the Iranians should have just asked the Brits to leave?

Actually, that is precisely what I think should have happened.

I'm all in favour of peaceful resolution of conflict.

I do wonder, however, how would a boatload of Iranian sailors fare if intercepted off the coast of Christmas Island, Evan?

Would the RAN politely ask them to head north?

If it it was an Iranian naval vessel, then I have no doubt that is what would happen. Followed by a diplomatic protest, no doubt.

This was a regular inspection of a non-Iranian commercial vessel going to a non-Iranian port. The actual location of where the inspection took place is in dispute. The correct action would have been to demand they leave at once.

Evan, do you think the allied naval presence in the Persian Gulf is provocative?

Do you think this is relevant in the context of the capture of these sailors?

Do you think Bush plans to attack Iran, or force Iran into provoking an attack?

That's interesting Evan. I think you are so right - that's what the RAN should do. It's good to know there are people in Australia's military who have cool heads and a sense of fair play, like you.

But to be blunt, I find the scenario quite unbelievable. I have no doubt at all that the presence of the Iranian navy anyhwere near Australia would send Howard, Downer, Ruddock, Rudd and the entire Australian mass media into apoplexy.

If Australia's policy on this is truly as you suggest, I think we should let the Iranian military know that we don't mind them in this part of the world, as long as they stay within international waters (and even if they cross that line, no worries - we'll just politely ask them to leave).

Iran's navy must be feeling a little hemmed in closer to home and would probably like to hold defensive exercises somewhere else. Perhaps we should encourage Iran to cut a deal with one of the independent island nations in the south Pacific, so they'd have somewhere to berth as well - like Britain does in Iraq.

Despite our best efforts, Australia has been struggling to keep the peace in the Solomon Islands. Maybe it's time for Iran to have a go? :rolleyes:

Mark's three questions are excellent and go to the heart of this issue, IMO.

I'm looking forward to your answers on them, as well.

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Evan, do you think the allied naval presence in the Persian Gulf is provocative?

In the broadest definition of the word, yes.

Do you think this is relevant in the context of the capture of these sailors?

No.

Do you think Bush plans to attack Iran, or force Iran into provoking an attack?

Do plans exist for the invasion of / attack on Iran? Almost certainly. Does Bush intend to try and activate those plans? No.

Edited by Evan Burton
Expanded on Question 3
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Evan, do you think the allied naval presence in the Persian Gulf is provocative?

In the broadest definition of the word, yes.

Why would you qualify your answer? Unless the allied forces anticipate resisitance from the Iraqi insurgency which would require the presence of a fleet of warships, the naval buildup in the region can serve only one role, imo---to intimidate Iran.

Do you think this is relevant in the context of the capture of these sailors?

No.

Tough judge. I would have cited the allied military buildup and brinkmanship as a mitigating factor---at least partially. I assume that you, being fairminded, also demand that nations such as Britain, Israel and the US can display the same stoic forbearance in the face of provocation which you obviously demand of Iran. Maybe we should watch this space.

Do you think Bush plans to attack Iran, or force Iran into provoking an attack?

Do plans exist for the invasion of / attack on Iran? Almost certainly. Does Bush intend to try and activate those plans? No.

A bet each way is what I would call this answer. Why would plans be drawn up if there was no contingency for their use under certain circumstances?

I think your position is similar to that of Len Colby. ie. vocal criticism of any Iranian discretions coupled with mute silence regarding provocations coming from the US and its allies. One rule for us and another rule for our alleged enemies. That's how it appears to me. Of course, you are entitled to your opinion. Anyway, thanks for answering my queries.

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Larry Chin writing in Online Journal is not optimistic - see Is UK-Iran marine incident part of larger war provocation plan?. He sees a potential leading role for Britain in the threatened assault on Iran and reminds us of British black ops of the recent past in neighbouring Iraq:

The Blair government (MI-6, MI-5, etc.) has been among the most overt “war on terrorism” aggressors in recent years. For example, on September 19, 2005, six British armored vehicles smashed into an Iraqi jail in Basra to free two undercover SAS elite special forces commandos who were engaged in a bungled espionage operation (see the BBC report). Indeed, there are reports that a rescue operation against Iran is being contemplated.

Meanwhile, Dave Lindorff in Counterpunch is keeping an eye on the oil market.

Anyone knowing the date of an attack is poised to make a killing in the market, as they say.

Lucky neocons!

War: the ultimate racket.

Edited by Sid Walker
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Writing in today's Daily Mail, Craig Murray explains: How I know Blair faked Iran map

If the Daily Mail carries on like this, it will confirm my dear grandmother's view that the Mail is the best newspaper in Britain - although it took 50 years to see her vindicated :)

It sounds like Mail readers are on the up as well. Here's a selection of comments posted to Murray's article:

Ha ha yet another dodgy dossier?

- Garry Laine, Maryport

Craig Murray you should be in charge of this fiassco, not half wits like Bliar.

- Richard Partridge, South Ruislip UK

The next job for Blair and his spin team is to go out in a row boat with a pot of paint and paint the boundaries on the ocean. He should make a better job of it, than he is running the country.

- John, Clacton

One thing's for sure - the master of bodge and spin has lost his credibility in middle Britain.

Not enough torque to start a war, Tony?

Back to the Israelis...

Edited by Sid Walker
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Writing in today's Daily Mail, Craig Murray explains: How I know Blair faked Iran map

If the Daily Mail carries on like this, it will confirm my dear grandmother's view that the Mail is the best newspaper in Britain - although it took 50 years to see her vindicated :)

I had dinner yesterday with someone who worked with Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, on his first newspaper (they were both students at Leeds University). He says that Dacre was very left-wing at university. Dacre now has a reputation for promoting right-wing causes such as the campaign against asylum and immigration. Such criticism has come from leading left-wingers such as Ken Livingstone, but also from the general public; for example, listeners to the BBC's Today programme voted Dacre the person they would most like to be expelled from Britain. On the other hand, Dacre's paper was instrumental in the unsuccessful campaign to bring the killers of race-hate victim Stephen Lawrence to justice. He has also played a leading role in exposing corruption in the New Labour government. This includes the death of Dr. David Kelly.

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FWIW, I think the capture of the British sailors was a mistake and they should be released. The fact that you have aggresively seized upon this issue while dismissing the provocations from the other side proves that your reputation for seeing only one side of the argument is, unfortunately, well warranted.

Actually Mark believe it or not our views on the Bush administration aren’t that different, I believe he and his administration intentionally “sex up” and faked the evidence against Iraq to jutify war they had previously decided upon. But just because I don’t like Bush I’m not going to say he is always 100% wrong and people who oppose his are always right, that’s too simplistic. FWIW it was Sid not I who brought the issue up here insinuating (with out any real evidence) this was an intentional provocation of Blair and his perpetual werewolf the dreaded “Zionists”. IF he hadn’t brought it up I wouldn’t have mentioned it.

As in the Cold War I think both sides are to blame you accuse me of being one-sided but that epitaph seems better suited to you.

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