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Is Bush planning an attack on Iran in March?


Douglas Caddy
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Do you get most images of your images of Tehran via the LMM*?

Here's a pleasant, thoughtful audio-visual corrective

_____________________

* Lying Mainstream Media

**************************************************************

:huh:

UPDATE FROM truthout.org

400,000 Converge on Capitol Hill

January 27, 2007

FOCUS | Hundreds of Thousands of Protesters Converge on Capitol Hill

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/012807Z.shtml

Hundreds of thousands of protesters converged on the National Mall on

Saturday to oppose President Bush's plan for a troop increase in Iraq in

what organizers hoped would be one of the largest shows of antiwar

sentiment in the nation's capital since the war began.

VIDEO | Peace Movement to March on Washington

By Scott Galindez and Geoffrey Millard

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/012507R.shtml

Organizers of the January 27th March on Washington expect hundreds of

thousands of people to converge on our nation's capital. On Wednesday,

January 24th, a press conference was held to announce plans for the

mobilization.

VIDEO | Active-Duty Military Petition Congress to End War

By Geoffrey Millard, Arin Williams, Troy Page and Scott Galindez

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/012307B.shtml

Military members opposed to the US involvement in Iraq gathered on

January 15th to demand the withdrawal of American troops and prepared to

present their appeal to Congress. More than 20 active-duty service

members and about 100 supporters appeared at an event for Appeal for Redress,

which calls for Congress to end the war. More than 1,000 military

members have added their names to the appeal's list.

VIDEO | Bill Moyers: Life on the Plantation

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011807B.shtml

Bill Moyers, speaking to the National Conference for Media Reform,

states: "Our democracy is now put to a vital test, for the conflict is

between human rights on the one side and on the other, special privilege

asserted as a property right. The parting of the ways has come."

Video Interview | Ehren Watada's Parents Speak Out

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011707A.shtml

Truthout's Geoffrey Millard interviews Lieutenant Ehren Watada's

parents on the eve of his court-martial. They spoke about their son and his

courage as he faces the fight of his life.

_____________________________________________________

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH

Music and lyrics by The Buffalo Springfield Copyright 1966

There's something happening here

What it is ain't exactly clear

There's a man with a gun over there

Telling me I got to beware

[chorus]

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn

Nobody's right if everybody's wrong

Young people speaking their minds

Getting so much resistance from behind

[chorus]

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

What a field-day for the heat

A thousand people in the street

Singing songs and carrying signs

Mostly say, hooray for our side

[chorus]

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep

Into your life it will creep

It starts when you're always afraid

You step out of line, the man come and take you away

[chorus]

We better stop, hey, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

Stop, hey, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

Stop, now, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

Stop, children, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

Edited by Terry Mauro
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Do you get most images of your images of Tehran via the LMM*?

Here's a pleasant, thoughtful audio-visual corrective

_____________________

* Lying Mainstream Media

Looks like a nice country inhabited by normal people going about their business.

Sid, I'm confused. According to the western media, especially the Murdoch media, Iran is a nation of unspeakable evil, whose people, whipped into a frenzy by crazy mullahs, spend every waking moment dreaming of destroying the west and wiping Israel off the map. This is why America and Israel must strike first to save all our ungrateful hides. Most of the west doesn't understand the dire peril we are in. America and Israel know best. Iran plans to blow up the world and luckily we have those two superhero nations--Israel and the US--to save us.

That pleasant little montage of yours must be phony.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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Do you get most images of your images of Tehran via the LMM*?

Here's a pleasant, thoughtful audio-visual corrective

_____________________

* Lying Mainstream Media

Looks like a nice country inhabited by normal people going about their business.

Sid, I'm confused. According to the western media, especially the Murdoch media, Iran is a nation of unspeakable evil, whose people, whipped into a frenzy by crazy mullahs, spend every waking moment dreaming of destroying the west and wiping Israel off the map. This is why America and Israel must strike first to save all our ungrateful hides. Most of the west doesn't understand the dire peril we are in. America and Israel know best. Iran plans to blow up the world and luckily we have those two superhero nations--Israel and the US--to save us.

That pleasant little montage of yours must be phony.

I know what you mean Mark.

What made me suspicious was the nice looking women and smiling childrens' faces.

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It's a chillingly plausible scenario, Douglas.

I posted a similar article from Robert Parry the other day but I can't seem to find it on the Forum. Anyway, here it is:

http://www.alternet.org/story/45852/

Parry suggests a plan has been hatched by Bush, Blair and Olmert for Israel to attack Syria and the Iranian nuclear sites, with America providing logistical support. The three leaders have had a round robin of meetings over the last two months.

The unholy haste in executing Saddam Hussein is highly suspicious, as Alexandrovna alludes to. I suspect it was an action designed to provoke a response from America's enemies in the region as a pretext for further action. I thought he was originally scheduled to be executed in late January, so there must be a reason for bringing it forward, since my faith in the good intentions of the US/Israel axis has long ago evaporated. I have read several articles suggesting that the US Administration refuses to rule out the possibility of utilising bunker-busting nuclear weapons in its campaign against Iran. Nothing can be ruled out, as I believe this US Administration, supported by unseen forces of apparently limitless evil, is the most dangerous in living memory.

The chess analogy is a good one. As in 2003, the Bush alliance may open with a few bold moves. However, as we have seen, their end game stinks. A baboon has more chance against Kasparov. The pawns in this game are us, of course, and the Bush regime is prone to gladly sacrificing pieces in order to achieve their unachievable goal--control of the entire Middle East.

Jan. 30, 2007 17:39

US strike group transits Suez Canal

By

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ISMAILIYA, Egypt

A US Navy strike group led by the assault ship USS Bataan steamed through the Suez Canal on Tuesday on its way to join the buildup of American forces in the Middle East.

The Bataan, which entered Egyptian waters Monday, spent the night at the Mediterranean harbor of Port Said and was expected to leave the Egyptian part of the Red Sea later Tuesday, a Suez Canal official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The seven-vessel Bataan group includes 2,200 US Marines and sailors, helicopters and Harrier fighter jets, the Navy said in Bahrain.

The US Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, will be overseeing around 50 warships in the Mideast after the arrival of the Bataan and an American aircraft carrier group in February, said US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown.

The Fifth Fleet normally commands a fleet of about 45 ships, about a third of them from US-allied navies, Brown said.

The Navy is in the midst of a regional buildup, with the group of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on its way as well as 21,500 US soldiers being sent to Iraq. The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is already in the region.

The United States has not had two carriers in the Mideast since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Bataan will join a second amphibious assault ship, the USS Boxer, which was on port visit in Dubai on Tuesday.

Brown said the Pentagon recently extended the tour of duty of the Boxer's US Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is in Iraq.

The Bataan is on a routine six-month deployment to the region to conduct "maritime security operations" which includes boarding and searching ships suspected of carrying terrorists or nuclear components to Iran, the Navy said.

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It's a chillingly plausible scenario, Douglas.

I posted a similar article from Robert Parry the other day but I can't seem to find it on the Forum. Anyway, here it is:

http://www.alternet.org/story/45852/

Parry suggests a plan has been hatched by Bush, Blair and Olmert for Israel to attack Syria and the Iranian nuclear sites, with America providing logistical support. The three leaders have had a round robin of meetings over the last two months.

The unholy haste in executing Saddam Hussein is highly suspicious, as Alexandrovna alludes to. I suspect it was an action designed to provoke a response from America's enemies in the region as a pretext for further action. I thought he was originally scheduled to be executed in late January, so there must be a reason for bringing it forward, since my faith in the good intentions of the US/Israel axis has long ago evaporated. I have read several articles suggesting that the US Administration refuses to rule out the possibility of utilising bunker-busting nuclear weapons in its campaign against Iran. Nothing can be ruled out, as I believe this US Administration, supported by unseen forces of apparently limitless evil, is the most dangerous in living memory.

The chess analogy is a good one. As in 2003, the Bush alliance may open with a few bold moves. However, as we have seen, their end game stinks. A baboon has more chance against Kasparov. The pawns in this game are us, of course, and the Bush regime is prone to gladly sacrificing pieces in order to achieve their unachievable goal--control of the entire Middle East.

Jan. 30, 2007 17:39

US strike group transits Suez Canal

By

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ISMAILIYA, Egypt

A US Navy strike group led by the assault ship USS Bataan steamed through the Suez Canal on Tuesday on its way to join the buildup of American forces in the Middle East.

The Bataan, which entered Egyptian waters Monday, spent the night at the Mediterranean harbor of Port Said and was expected to leave the Egyptian part of the Red Sea later Tuesday, a Suez Canal official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The seven-vessel Bataan group includes 2,200 US Marines and sailors, helicopters and Harrier fighter jets, the Navy said in Bahrain.

The US Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, will be overseeing around 50 warships in the Mideast after the arrival of the Bataan and an American aircraft carrier group in February, said US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown.

The Fifth Fleet normally commands a fleet of about 45 ships, about a third of them from US-allied navies, Brown said.

The Navy is in the midst of a regional buildup, with the group of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on its way as well as 21,500 US soldiers being sent to Iraq. The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is already in the region.

The United States has not had two carriers in the Mideast since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Bataan will join a second amphibious assault ship, the USS Boxer, which was on port visit in Dubai on Tuesday.

Brown said the Pentagon recently extended the tour of duty of the Boxer's US Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is in Iraq.

The Bataan is on a routine six-month deployment to the region to conduct "maritime security operations" which includes boarding and searching ships suspected of carrying terrorists or nuclear components to Iran, the Navy said.

Once the fleet assembles in the Persian Gulf, only the tiniest spark will be required.

In possibly the greatest blame shifting exercise of modern times, Bush and the neocons are openly blaming Iranian 'interference' for the debacle in Iraq.

It seems the US/Israel axis has intimidated most European leaders into acqiescence. All except Jacques Chirac, who momentarily spoke the truth, before being quickly silenced:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/2...hirac-iran.html

ASSOCIATED PRESS

11:00 a.m. February 1, 2007

PARIS – Did French President Jacques Chirac misspeak? Is he, at age 74 and in the waning months of his second and likely last term, losing his political touch, even his mental vigor? Or did he simply voice a fear that a nuclear-armed Iran may be a foregone conclusion?

An astounded world asked those questions after the French leader asserted it would not be “very dangerous” if Iran had one or two nuclear weapons, and that its capital, Tehran, would be “razed” if it used them on Israel – assertions that forced Chirac into an embarrassing retraction.

Chirac, who was hospitalized for a week in 2005 for a suspected minor stroke, appeared distracted at times, grasping for names and dates, during an interview Monday, according to the International Herald Tribune, the New York Times and a French magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur.

The newspapers said his hands shook slightly and that he read from prepared, large-print notes when discussing climate change, the interview's planned main focus.

Chirac's office switched to damage-control Thursday, as foreign governments asked for official clarification, opposition politicians howled in protest and experts speculated he was either joking, being brutally honest, irresponsible or simply speaking off the cuff.

The president called reporters back a day after the interview to try to have his quotes retracted. The three publications said the interview was tape-recorded and on the record.

“I should rather have paid attention to what I was saying and understood that perhaps I was on the record,” Chirac said in the second interview, according to transcripts the publications posted on their Web sites.

“Sometimes one can drift off, when one believes there are no consequences ... I honestly believed that the questions aside from the environment were off the record.”

The scrambling was all the more unusual because Chirac, a fixture of the French political scene for more than four decades, has long dealt with reporters. Most observers expect he will not seek a third term.

Leading candidates to replace Chirac in presidential elections in April and May quickly sought to distance themselves from the president.

Jack Lang, spokesman for Socialist candidate Segolene Royal, said Chirac had committed an “unforgivable” error. Nicolas Sarkozy, candidate for Chirac's governing party, said through spokeswoman Rachida Dati that he “does not want Iran to have nuclear weapons.”

Chirac's office took the unusual step of asking the reporters to come over in person to hear a clarification Thursday morning.

In the afternoon, it issued a statement saying that “France, along with the international community, cannot accept the prospect of an Iran equipped with a nuclear weapon.”

“There should not be a controversy on such a serious subject,” it said. It urged Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment in return for a suspension of U.N. sanctions and renewed negotiations.

France joined the United States and allies in supporting the sanctions imposed in December to punish Iran for defying demands that it suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fissile material to fuel nuclear reactors or, at purer concentrations, the core of nuclear weapons.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, an allegation Tehran denies, insisting it only wants to produce energy. U.S. administration officials have said diplomacy was the focus of their policy on Iran but have never ruled out attacks.

France's allies, publicly at least, played down the importance of Chirac's comments.

“It is not a sentiment I share and from what I understand, the French president doesn't share it anymore either,” said British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

White House press secretary Tony Snow reiterated that Iran “should not have any nuclear weapons” and should suspend uranium enrichment. “That is not only the stated position of the United States but also its allies, including France,” he said.

Experts variously praised Chirac for his frankness, criticized an apparent misstep, brushed off the comments as an unintended slip or said they looked like a bad attempt at humor.

“Chirac gave us a moment of honesty,” said Alireza Nourizadeh, chief researcher at London-based Center for Arab-Iranian Studies.

“His comment was basically what I believe to be the position of Britain, the United States and much of the West: If Israel is attacked, there will be no hesitation to bring retaliation and destruction on Iran.”

But Francois Nicoullaud, who was France's ambassador to Tehran from 2001-2005, said Chirac's comments lost political meaning once he formally withdrew them.

“This wasn't one of those controlled slips – one of those little phrases that are dropped to see what effect it produces, then come back if necessary the next day,” said Nicoullaud. “This wasn't a calculation.”

“I don't think he meant to break with Europe or America,” added Stefano Silvestri, president of the Rome-based International Affairs Institute, a foreign affairs think-tank. “It is quite strange that journalists are called back to modify a statement.”

AP writer John Leicester in Paris contributed to this report.

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Do you get most images of your images of Tehran via the LMM*?

Here's a pleasant, thoughtful audio-visual corrective

_____________________

* Lying Mainstream Media

Inconclusive and a strawman similar pictures could have been taken in Berlin 1933 - 40 or Chile 1973 - 90 etc etc and you haven't shown that Western media have presented images of Tehran contradicted by those pictures.

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Do you get most images of your images of Tehran via the LMM*?

Here's a pleasant, thoughtful audio-visual corrective

_____________________

* Lying Mainstream Media

Inconclusive and a strawman similar pictures could have been taken in Berlin 1933 - 40 or Chile 1973 - 90 etc etc and you haven't shown that Western media have presented images of Tehran contradicted by those pictures.

Len,

Your abrupt adversarial comment is unimpressive.

The pictures were merely meant to show that there is another side to the Iran commonly portrayed in the western media. I don't know about you, but the images of Iran I see are always apparently designed to portray a regime hostile to the US. Stern faced mullahs and unpleasant crowds are often seen, backed by commentary of a highly unflattering nature.

And while on the subject of strawmen, could you please enlighten me as to how you equate Iran in 2007 with Berlin 1933-1940 and Chile 1973-1990? Can you show me why you believe Iran in 2007 must be regarded with the suspicion and disdain accorded to the two aforementioned regimes?

I was unaware the three are now 'officially' in the same category.

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Your abrupt adversarial comment is unimpressive.

The pictures were merely meant to show that there is another side to the Iran commonly portrayed in the western media. I don't know about you, but the images of Iran I see are always apparently designed to portray a regime hostile to the US. Stern faced mullahs and unpleasant crowds are often seen, backed by commentary of a highly unflattering nature.

News coverage is by nature normally superficial I’m sure there’s more to life in Australia than shark attacks, kangaroos popping up every once in a while in urban areas, racist mobs attacking immigrants, brush fires and a sycophantic PM who let his crazy Uncle Sam lead him into war in Iraq. There certainly is more to life in Brazil than Carnival, deforestation and drug gang/death squad/police violence. I actually did see a story recently on CNN International or BBC World Service about the hopes and aspirations of middle class Tehranians. You and Sid implied that such images were being intentionally left out of Western media coverage I’ve seen no evidence this is the case. “Iran (or Australia or Brazil) has beautiful fountains” or “Iranians (or Australians or Brazilians) enjoy sports in their free time” isn't newsworthy enough by most media outlets standards. The more distant a country is geographically and culturally the less likely you are to see human interest stories from them.

And while on the subject of strawmen, could you please enlighten me as to how you equate Iran in 2007 with Berlin 1933-1940 and Chile 1973-1990? Can you show me why you believe Iran in 2007 must be regarded with the suspicion and disdain accorded to the two aforementioned regimes?

I was unaware the three are now 'officially' in the same category.

Strawmen indeed! Where did I equate them or say they were “in the same category”? My point was that just because pictures like that were taken in Tehran no way indicates everything is honky dory there. And it isn’t Iran is theocratic dictatorship with numerous human right violations, though certainly not as bad as Nazi Germany and probably not as bad as Pinochet’s Chile.

How exactly was my comment "adversarial"?

Edited by Len Colby
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America's incompetent and corrupt leaders continue to amaze me. In the face of a disaster that threatens to dwarf even our Vietnam fiasco, Bush & co. now want to extend the carnage into yet another country that has done absolutely nothing to us. My sister lived in Iran for nearly 20 years, and she just shakes her head at the notion that this third-world nation is some kind of a threat to Israel, let alone the U.S. We are creating new terrorists every day, and causing more and more of the Arab world to despise us. What's truly sad is that our leaders don't seem to care about that. They'd rather wave the flag and jabber on about how they all "hate our freedom." Yet here at home we are constantly warned to "support our troops," even by the alleged anti-war activists. Support the homo-psycho torture in Abu Grahib? Support the killing of untold numbers of innocent Iraqi civilians? Support the show trial and extremely quick hanging of the former leader of Iraq, who appears to have served his people much more benevolently than we have, in our misrule there? Imho, Islamic followers all over the world have every reason to think we are indeed "the Great Satan." How dare we lecture others about having "weapons of mass destruction," when we have more than all the other nations combined? How dare we lecture "rogue" nations about using nuclear weapons when we are still the only nation to ever use them against others? There is little hope for change in our ridiculous "two party system" here, which is in reality two identical branches of the same rotten tree. Neither of the "leading" democrats (said to be "front runners" when no votes have been cast), Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, oppose the war or its odious offspring the Patriot Act. The American people's passion for war also helps our leaders continue these mad forays into the affairs of other nations. It's truly a bleak situation here in the land of the free.

Edited by Don Jeffries
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Letter in today's Guardian:

The US sabre-rattling over Iran is not only serious and disturbing, but also has uncanny resonance with the lead-up to the Iraq war.

The dossier prepared by the US on Iran's supposed involvement in destabilising Iraq is based on the same imaginary foundations and presumptions as the WMD dossier. The reality in Iraq is complex and evidence shows that the majority of foreign insurgents captured or found dead are Saudis.

What does remain clear is that the Iraqi civilian death toll has reached 600,000, with January recording the highest number of civilian deaths since the invasion in 2003.

As highlighted in a major report launched this week, any attack on Iran would export this misery and disaster on the Iranian people and have economic, environmental and security repercussions worldwide.

We Iranians, MPs and campaigners demand that the British government oppose and condemn any form of military confrontation with Iran.

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Lab, Islington North

Mark Fisher MP

Lab, Stoke-on-Trent Central

Clare Short MP

Independent, Birmingham Ladywood

Harry Cohen MP

Lab, Leyton and Wanstead

Tony Benn

London

Dr Elaheh Rostami-Povey

SOAS, University of London

Dr Ziba Mir-Hosseini

London Middle East Institute

Prof Haleh Afshar OBE

Department of Politics and Centre for Women's Studies, University of York

Prof Reza Tavakol

Queen Mary, University London

Prof Abbas Edalat

Imperial College London

Prof Richard Tapper

SOAS

Prof Saeed Vaseghi

Brunel University

Prof Mehrdad Zanganeh

University College London

Nasrine Alavi

Iranian author

Roudabeh Shafie

anti-war campaigner

Andrew Murray

Chair, Stop the War Coalition

Lindsey German

Stop the War Coalition

John Rees

Secretary, Respect

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The first stage of the military attack on Iran has just been announced. It will be much more difficult for those who follow Bush to pull out of both Iraq and Iran:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6351257.stm

The US military has accused the "highest levels" of Iran's government of supplying increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs to Iraqi insurgents.

Senior defence officials told reporters in Baghdad that the bombs were being used to deadly effect, killing more than 170 US troops since June 2004.

The weapons known as "explosively formed penetrators" (EFPs) are capable of destroying an Abrams tank.

US claims the bombs were smuggled from Iran cannot be independently verified.

The US officials, speaking off camera on condition of anonymity, said EFPs had also injured more than 620 US personnel since June 2004.

They said US intelligence analysts believed the bombs were manufactured in Iran and secretly sent to Iraqi Shia militants on the orders of senior officials in Tehran.

"We assess that these activities are coming from the senior levels of the Iranian government," one official said, pointing the finger at Iran's elite al-Quds brigade, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards, and noting that it reports directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.

The US has claimed in the past that Iranian weapons were being used in Iraq, but it has never before accused Iranian government officials of being directly involved.

Tehran has repeatedly denied any involvement.

The US officials said that as well as bomb-making technology Iran was supplying Shia groups in Iraq with money and military training.

The BBC's Jane Peel attended the briefing in Baghdad, at which all cameras and recording devices were banned.

Examples of the allegedly smuggled weapons were put on display, including EFPs, mortar shells and rocket propelled grenades which the US claims can be traced to Iran.

"The weapons had characteristics unique to being manufactured in Iran... Iran is the only country in the region that produces these weapons," an official said.

A US defence official present said information seized when security forces detained a number of Iranians in Iraq had also added to their knowledge.

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...bet you didn't know the 'gulf of tonkin' was in the Arabian Sea! Some 'such' will soon be invented.

...oh, boy!..a new war, more death, destruction, hate, pain, et al.....based on baseless and trumped-up charges post facto...the decision to do this was made when we overthrew the duely elected democratic and populist government of Iran and put in our CIA-puppet 'the Shah'....this is just a natural [if delayed] extension of that piece of hubris, imperialism, manipulation, anti-democracy and more [ read: less ]. Coming to a TV screen near you soon.....'smart' bombs and all....better brush up on your 'duck and cover' moves....and horde gasoline [petrol]. What a mess this is going to be!.....

along with 'revenge' bombings worldwide - some real, some false-flag

Patriot Act III comin' right up....

Unlike, the Gulf of Tonkin, I expect it is true that Iran and Syria are providing arms to those fighting the occupying forces. What do they expect them to do. It is like Iran having a press conference saying that they have evidence that Israel is using American weapons in the Lebanon and Palestine.

Bush is clearly doing what he can do make it impossible for the Democrats to bring out the troops from the Middle-East. One thing however has changed. The British public will not let its politicians to get involved in a new war in the region. This is a war that the US and Israel will have to fight and lose.

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Guest Gary Loughran

A report on teletext said that senior Democrats were aware of what Bush was trying to do when presenting the 'evidence' of Iranian collusion in Iraq. They have vowed to fight action in/on Iran strongly.

Whether this is another toothless gesture at opposition remains to be seen. Evidence leans toward it being just that though.

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For Neocons, an Attack on Iran Has Been a Six-Year Project

By Larisa Alexandrovna

http://www.alternet.org/stories/47921/

The escalation of US military planning on Iran is only the latest chess move in a six-year push within the Bush Administration to attack that country. While Iran was named a part of President George W. Bush's "axis of evil" in 2002, efforts to ignite a confrontation with Iran date back long before the post-9/11 war on terror.

Presently, the Administration is trumpeting claims that Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon than the CIA's own analysis shows and positing Iranian influence in Iraq's insurgency, but efforts to destabilize Iran have been conducted covertly for years, often using members of Congress or non-government actors in a way reminiscent of the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal.

The motivations for an Iran strike were laid out as far back as 1992. In classified defense planning guidance -- written for then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney by then-Pentagon staffers I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, World Bank Chief Paul Wolfowitz, and ambassador-nominee to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad -- Cheney's aides called for the United States to assume the position of lone superpower and act preemptively to prevent the emergence of even regional competitors. The draft document was leaked to the New York Times and the Washington Post and caused an uproar among Democrats and many in George H. W. Bush's Administration.

In September 2000, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) issued a report titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses," which espoused similar positions to the 1992 draft and became the basis for the Bush-Cheney Administration's foreign policy. Libby and Wolfowitz were among the participants in this new report; Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other prominent figures in the Bush administration were PNAC members.

"The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security," the report read. "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein. ... We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself."

This approach became official US military policy during the current Bush Administration. It was starkly on display on January 22 when Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns noted a second aircraft carrier strike force headed for the Persian Gulf, saying, "The Middle East isn't a region to be dominated by Iran. The Gulf isn't a body of water to be controlled by Iran. That's why we've seen the United States station two carrier battle groups in the region."

The structure

Almost immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Iran became a focal point of discussion among senior Administration officials. As early as December 2001, then-Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and the leadership of the Defense Department, including Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, allegedly authorized a series of meetings between Defense Department officials and Iranian agents abroad.

The first of these meetings took place in Rome with Pentagon Iran analyst, Larry Franklin, Middle East expert Harold Rhode, and prominent neoconservative Michael Ledeen. Ledeen, who held no official government position, introduced the US officials to Iran-Contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. According to both Ghorbanifar and Ledeen, the topic on the table was Iran. Ledeen said last year the discussion concerned allegations that Iranian forces were killing US soldiers in Afghanistan, but Ghorbanifar has claimed the conversation focused on regime change.

In January 2002, evidence that Iran was enriching uranium began to appear via credible intelligence and satellite imagery. Despite this revelation -- and despite having called Iran part of the Axis of Evil in his State of the Union that year -- President Bush continued to focus on Iraq. Perhaps for that reason, throughout 2002 the strongest pressure for regime change flowed through alternative channels.

In early 2002, Ledeen formed the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, along with Morris Amitay, the former executive director of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

In August 2002, Larry Franklin began passing classified information involving United States policy towards Iran to two AIPAC employees and an Israeli diplomat. Franklin pleaded guilty to the charges in October 2005, explaining that he had been hoping to force the US to take a harder line with Iran, but AIPAC and Israel have continued to deny them.

At the same time, another group's political representatives begin a corollary effort to influence domestic political discourse. In August 2002, the National Council of Resistance of Iran -- a front for a militant terrorist organization called Mujahedin-E-Khalq (MEK) -- held a press conference in Washington and stated that Iran had a secret nuclear facility at Natanz, due for completion in 2003.

Late that summer , the Pentagon's Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz expanded its Northern Gulf Affairs Office, renamed it the Office of Special Plans (OSP), and placed it under the direction of Abram Shulsky, a contributor to the 2000 PNAC report.

Most know the Office of Special Plans as a rogue Administration faction determined to find intelligence to support the Iraq War. But that wasn't its only task.

According to an article in The Forward in May 2003, "A budding coalition of conservative hawks, Jewish organizations and Iranian monarchists is pressing the White House to step up American efforts to bring about regime change in Iran. ... Two sources [say] Iran expert Michael Rubin is now working for the Pentagon's 'special plans' office, a small unit set up to gather intelligence on Iraq, but apparently also working on Iran. Previously a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East policy, Rubin has vocally advocated regime change in Tehran."

Dark actors/covert activities

While the Iraq war was publicly founded upon questionable sources, much of the buildup to Iran has been entirely covert, using non-government assets and foreign instruments of influence to conduct disinformation campaigns, plant intelligence and commit acts of violence via proxy groups.

A few weeks prior to the Iraq invasion, in February 2003, Iran acknowledged that it was building a nuclear facility at Natanz, saying that the facility was aimed at providing domestic energy. However, allegations that Iran was developing a nuclear weapons program would become louder in the course of 2003 and continue unabated over the next three years.

That spring, then-Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) opened a channel on Iran with former Iranian Minister Fereidoun Mahdavi, a secretary for Ghorbanifar. Both Weldon and Ledeen were told a strikingly similar story concerning a cross border plot between Iran and Iraq in which uranium had been removed from Iraq and taken into Iran by Iranian agents. The CIA investigated the allegations but found them spurious. Weldon took his complaints about the matter to Rumsfeld, who pressured the CIA to investigate a second time, with the same result.

In May 2003, with pressure for regime change intensifying within the US, Iran made efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution with the United States. According to Lawrence Wilkerson, then-Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, these efforts were sabotaged by Vice President Cheney.

"The secret cabal got what it wanted: no negotiations with Tehran," Wilkerson said.

The US was already looking increasingly to rogue methodology, including support for the Iranian terrorist group MEK. Before the US invasion, MEK forces within Iraq had supported Saddam Hussein in exchange for safe harbor. Despite this, when they were captured by the US military, they were disarmed of only their major weapons and are allowed to keep their smaller arms. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hoped to use them as a special ops team in Iran, while then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and State Department officials argued against it. By 2005, the MEK would begin training with US forces in Iraq and carrying out bombings and assassinations in Iran, although it is unclear if the bombings were in any way approved by the US military.

The Pressure is On: 2004-2006

For a variety of reasons -- ranging from the explosion of the insurgency in Iraq following the high point of "Mission Accomplished" to Iran's willingness to admit IAEA inspectors -- the drumbeat for regime change died down over the summer of 2003. In October 2003, with Iran accepting even tougher inspections, Larry Franklin told his Israeli contact that work on the US policy towards Iran which they had been tracking seemed to have stopped.

Yet by the autumn of 2004, pressure for confrontation with Iran had resumed, with President Bush telling Fox News that the US would never allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. By then, the Pentagon had been directed to have a viable military option for Iran in place by June 2005.

This phase of pressure was marked by increased activity directed at Congress. An "Iran Freedom Support Act" was introduced in the House and Senate in January and February of 2005. Neoconservatives and individuals linked to the defense contracting industry formed an Iran Policy Committee, and in April and May presented briefings in support of MEK before the newly-created Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus of the House of Representatives.

In March 2006, administration action became more overt. The State Department created an Office of Iranian Affairs, while the Pentagon created an Iranian Directorate that had much in common with the earlier Office of Special Plans. According to Seymour Hersh, covert US operations within Iran in preparation for a possible air attack also began at this time and included Kurds and other Iranian minority groups.

By setting up the Iranian Directorate within the Pentagon and running covert operations through the military rather than the CIA, the administration was able to avoid both Congressional oversight and interference from then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, who has been vocally skeptical about using force against Iran. The White House also successfully stalled the release of a fresh National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which could reflect the CIA's conclusion that there is no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

In sum, the Bush Administration seems to have concluded that Iran is guilty until proven innocent and continues to maintain that the Persian Gulf belongs to Americans -- not to Persians -- setting the stage for a potential military strike.

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I couldn't believe that the US and UK Governments would be stupid enough to invade Iraq - sadly I was proved wrong.

I don't believe that the US is stupid enough to invade Iran - I hope I'm not proved wrong again. If they do go ahead (and heaven help us all if that's the case), then I'm assuming it will be on their own - I don't think the UK has the militray resources or political will to go to war in Iran.

Kuwait media: U.S. military strike on Iran seen by April

www.chinaview.cn 2007-01-14 15:19:28

Special report: Iran Nuclear Crisis

KUWAIT CITY, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. might launch a military strike on Iran before April 2007, Kuwait-based daily Arab Times released on Sunday said in a report.

The report, written by Arab Times' Editor-in-chief Ahmed al-Jarallah citing a reliable source, said that the attack would be launched from the sea, while Patriot missiles would guard all Arab countries in the Gulf.

Recent statements emanating from the United States indicated the Bush administration's new strategy for Iraq doesn't include any proposal to make a compromise or negotiate with Syria or Iran, added the report.

The source told al-Jarallah that U.S. President George W. Bush recently had held a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other assistants in the White House, where they discussed the plan to attack Iran in minute detail.

Vice President Dick Cheney highlighted the threat posed by Iranto not only Saudi Arabia but also the whole Gulf region, according to the source.

"Tehran is not playing politics. Iranian leaders are using their country's religious influence to support the aggressive regime's ambition to expand," Dick Cheney was quoted by the source as saying.

Indicating participants of the meeting agreed to impose restrictions on the ambitions of Iranian regime before April 2007 without exposing other countries in the region to any danger, the source said "they have chosen April as British Prime Minister Tony

Blair has said it will be the last month in office for him. The United States has to take action against Iran and Syria before April 2007."

Claiming the attack will be launched from the sea and not from any country in the region, he said "the U.S. and its allies will target the oil installations and nuclear facilities of Iran ensuring there is no environmental catastrophe or after effects."

The source added that the U.S. has started sending its warships to the Gulf and the build-up would continue until Washington has the required number by the end of this month.

"U.S. forces in Iraq and other countries in the region will be protected against any Iranian missile attack by an advanced Patriot missile system," the source noted.

The Bush administration believes that attacking Iran will create a new power balance in the region, calming down the situation in Iraq and paving the way for their democratic project, which have to be suspended due to the interference of Tehran and Damascus in Iraq, according to the source.

Robert David Steele at OSS.net, a former CIA analyst and subsequently the #2 civilian intelligence officer in the US Marine Corps, has posted that Iran is now equipped with Russian-designed and built SUNBURN missiles that are a considerable improvement over America's Cruise missiles in that they can "jig" at Mach-2, making them virtually impossible for Patriot missiles to shoot down. Steele postulates that while Iran may not be able to produce its own nuclear warheads for several more years, Teheran (he argues) doubtless has purchased several nuclear warheads from Pakistan. These, as warheads on the SUNBURN missiles, are believed to be tracking the US aircraft carrier flotillas, and it seems likely that -- if this scenario is true -- at least one SUNBURN would be targeted on Tel Aviv. This would mean the potential destruction of all three flotillas, and effectively the destruction of Israel -- wholly aside from the destruction caused in Iran. Although Israel is said to have over 100 nuclear weapons of various types, it is difficult to imagine how a nuclear exchange would accomplish anything other than what used to be called "Mutually Assured Destruction". The political consequence around the world, assuming this nuclear exchange did not propagate into a global exchange, would obviously not be to America's credit. What price vanity?

Sterling Seagrave

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