By James Petras
Special to PalestineChronicle.com
“The most important thing (sic) that should be said about Bush is that had I told him that I was opposed to this move (Annapolis meeting), he wouldn’t have embarked on it. I could have blocked the move. Had I been unwilling to co-operate with him, Bush wouldn’t have coerced me….I spoke to the President with unparalleled sharpness about these matters (bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities) and my comments were extremely well received – regarding the freedom (to bomb Iran) we are reserving for ourselves and what we will and won’t do. — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Haaretz November 29, 2007.
During and immediately after the Annapolis meetings to discuss peace, Israel abducted the student president of Beir Zeit University for dissent, launched over 50 attacks on Gaza killing and wounding over 50 Palestinian civilians, police and militia, set in motion a vast building project of 250 new apartments in Palestinian East Jerusalem, projected permanent Israeli military posts in the West Bank, rejected any time limits or specific goals in their negotiations with the PLO and launched a virulent dismissal of the major US intelligence report (National Intelligence Estimate) on the non-existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Israel’s presence at Annapolis had absolutely nothing to do with peace or promises to negotiate in good faith: Their purpose was to deflect attention from their meat-grinder style genocidal policies in Gaza and their relentless drive to savagely dispossess all Palestinians of any territory or semblance of autonomy, literally turning off the lights (energy), gas and water to 1.4 million Palestinians residing in Gaza. Since September 11, 2001 the Israeli state, Zionists inside the US government and the entire leadership of the Major American Jewish Organizations have been entirely devoted to pushing the US into Middle East wars on behalf of Israel. In the run-up to the Iraq War, Zionists in top strategic decision-making positions in the Pentagon, the Vice President’s Office, the White House and the National Security Council designed and executed war policy, fabricated evidence, wrote Presidential speeches, organized press conferences and presidential agendas, purged critics in the military and intelligence agencies and altered intelligence reports to suit their purposes.
Israeli and Zion-Con success in destroying Iraq however was secured at an enormous cost in US military casualties, demoralization and one trillion dollars (and counting) in cost to the US taxpayers. As a result, public opinion dramatically shifted against the war, despite the intervention of the Israeli regime in shaping US public opinion via its army of ‘Israel-First’ academic and journalistic scribes and propagandists with broad access to the US mass media.
As I pointed out in an earlier article, the devastating effects, which the Israeli-Zioncon-promoted Iraq War has had on the US military, and intelligence agencies, led to widespread opposition within the US state to the Israeli-Zionist push for mounting a new war against Iran. This historic struggle over Iran policy split the top echelons of the Washington policy making. On the one hand, the Israeli Firsters controlled or influenced the White House, the majority of Congress and key Congressional committee chairpersons, the financing of both major political parties, the leading presidential candidates and the bulk of the mass media. The opposition was led by senior active and retired military officers, backed by the great majority of middle level officers and ground troops, especially the reserves. The entire range of top intelligence officials were disgusted by the ‘Israel Firsters’ in the Pentagon because of their distortion of their previous reports and fabrication of ‘intelligence’ via newly invented agencies and their reliance on Israeli disinformation over US intelligence.
This monumental struggle within the government was not merely about US military policy toward Iran (which is crucial) but also about who rules the US, who commands the US military and who formulates intelligence reports that inform policy, and more basically whose interests are being served. The military command in the Middle East, led by Admiral William Fallon, came out publicly opposing the Israeli-Fifth Column policy to bomb Iran. The active commanders were meekly backed by the rubber-spined Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, and surreptitiously (at first) by the top intelligence chiefs. The Zion-Cons retaliated by launching the White House and Congress in a crusade to escalate economic sanctions and to ‘keep the military option’ on the table. Every major Israel-First academic and propaganda think tank followed up the Israeli war planning with a wave of op-ed articles and interviews throughout the mass media about Iran’s immediate nuclear threat. The President, who does nothing contrary to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (as trumpeted by Olmert himself), pronounced an apocalyptic message to the world in October 2007 (six weeks before the National Intelligence Estimate was finally released) proclaiming the advent of ‘World War Three’ against Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the threat of a nuclear attack (a ‘holocaust’) by Iran against the people of the US and Israel.
The White House was privy to the findings in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran at least 9 months before they were made public, as witnessed by President Cheney’s frequent interventions to alter their content and conclusion and repeated efforts to postpone their publication because it undermined the basis for their push to attack Iran. The Israeli government and its US Fifth Column, well aware of the forthcoming publication of the findings of sixteen top US intelligence agencies, did everything in their power to precipitate a US war with Iran, from issuing hair-raising tales of the ‘existential threats to Israel’s survival’ to encouraging, rousing bellicose speeches by AIPAC, Zionist and Jewish community leaders. Israel went to war with Iran’s ally (Hezbollah) in Lebanon, bombed Syria which has a mutual security pact with Iran, escalated Israeli-trained Kurdish terrorist attacks across the Iranian border in order to provoke Iranian retaliation – to no avail. AIPAC and its Congressional allies led by Israeli-US Senator Lieberman pulled all stops to force a conflict, increasing sanctions against bankers and corporations dealing with Iran and even labeling the Iranian military special force, the ‘Republican Guards’ as an illegal ‘terrorist organization’ and thus an automatic target of US military attacks under the doctrine of the ‘War against Terror’. The hyper-activity, the vicious military attacks, the strident rhetoric against all critics of the military option, and the urgency, with which the Israelis and their US supporters acted, was not due to any imminent Iranian nuclear threat but a desperate effort to precipitate the war before the US NIE became public and undermined their entire war propaganda campaign and military preparations for an attack.
The NIE findings temporarily closed the book on the White House-Israeli-Zionist Big Lie that Iran was engaged in developing weapons to launch a nuclear war. The NIE report refuted its own previous conclusions of 2005, which were heavily influenced by the White House and its Zionist-Israeli backers. The reversal of conclusions was not based on ‘new data’ or information techniques as is claimed. The change resulted from a dramatic shift in the balance of forces within the US government and in particular the strengthening of the US military elite versus the pro-war Zionist Power Configuration, a shift shaped by the enormous and unending American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A key factor in pushing the US intelligence agencies to break with their past subjugation to White House manipulation and Israeli-Zionist fabricated intelligence was the repeated failures and incredible stupidity of the Israeli intelligence agencies – leading to a loss of their credibility. Israeli intelligence blundered and miscalculated on Hezbollah’s strength and organization which led to a debacle when Israel invaded Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Israeli estimates on Iraqi capacity to resist invasion and foreign occupation (so eagerly accepted and propagated by top Zionist Pentagon officials in the lead up to the invasion) led to the now 6 years of a US war of attrition in Iraq with no end in sight. Israel’s intelligence totally underestimated Hamas’ electoral strength in the run-up to their electoral victory over the PLO. Israeli intelligence overestimated the PLO’s military capacity to defeat and destroy Hamas in Gaza. Israel’s claim to have detected a nuclear facility in Syria, which it bombed, was an international joke – as even Moses could not have destroyed a (fictional) nuclear facility without producing a speck of radioactive dust! Learning from Israeli intelligence agencies’ tendency to feed disinformation to its clients in the US Government in order to further Greater Israel’s claims to Mid-East hegemony at the expense of Washington’s long term interests, the US national intelligence community asserted its independence and published its report denying each and every Israeli-Zionist-White House assertion concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons program and, in particular, pointing to the end of research into nuclear weapons as far back as the fall of 2003.
Israel Rejects the US NIE
While governments, the United Nations and experts around the world recognized the rigorous, systematic, comprehensive methods used to compile the data leading to the report declaring that Iran was free of nuclear weapons programs, one and only one state objected: The Jewish State of Israel. And in the USA only one nationwide configuration of organizations refused to reconcile itself to the absence of any Iranian military threat to Israel (not to speak of the US, a distant secondary consideration) and that was predictably the Zionist Power Configuration, specifically the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations.
Speaking for the Israeli Government, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, with the predictable arrogance and contempt that Israeli officials treat any US policy analysis or statement that doesn’t pass their editorial approval and toe their line, dismissed the NIE: ‘We cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the earth (sic) even from our greatest friend’. (Guardian of London, December 4, 2007). Though the NIE may weaken the White House drive to war, the fact that Israel rejects the report means that its war preparations will continue and that means that its entire Zionist Power Configuration in the US will continue to pursue Israel’s interest in destroying Iran.
Following Orwellian logic AIPAC twisted the NIE report to fit Israel’s rejectionist lead (as it never fails to do) by arguing that the NIE report bolsters the case for continued confrontation, belligerency and isolation (Jewish Telegraph Agency, December 4, 2007). In fact according to the perverse argument of AIPAC spokesman Josh Block, the absence of any Iranian nuclear weapons threat should result in greater pressure on Iran! ‘All in all, it’s (the NIE) a clarion call for additional and continued (my emphasis) effort to pressure Iran economically and politically to end its illicit nuclear program.’(Jewish Telegraph Agency, December 4, 2007).
Once again the Israel Firsters – embracing all the major Zionist organizations and community councils – defy all logic, and the most comprehensive and in depth empirical intelligence report of the US in favor of the propaganda emanating from the failed Israeli intelligence agencies and the Israeli regime. In a continuous barrage of articles and television interviews, the entire Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) buried the NIE report, refocusing attention on themes like ‘Iran’s nuclear program still a threat’ (Daily Alert, December 7, 2007). During the entire week (December 3-7, 2007) the Presidents of the Major American (sic) Jewish Organizations – covering the entire range of financially powerful Jewish organizations in the USA – published an average of nine articles (nearly 50) propagating the Israeli line. The articles disparaged, distorted and dismissed the NIE and continued to push for the ‘military option’ (euphemism for launching a massive attack on Iran) as well as new economic sanctions to destroy the Iranian economy and the livelihood of its 70 million citizens. The euphoria of anti-war critics who claim the NIE report laid to rest the threat of a new US war with Iran is premature, as is their idea that the ‘Israel Lobby’ was dealt a decisive blow. The ZPC never lost a beat: Israel Firster and Zion-Con fanatic, US Treasury Undersecretary, responsible for terrorism and financial intelligence, Stuart Levey, succeeded in convincing China to tighten trade credit, making trade more difficult and costly for Iran’s private sector. (Financial Times, December 6, 2007, p. 1).
Internationally, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary David Millband – a long-time supporter of Israel with close family ties to the Zionist state – predictably followed the Bush-Israel-ZPC line in all but dismissing the NIE report and emphasizing the need to ‘keep the pressure on Iran’. Millband, who on his recent visit to Israel, refused to even pass a glance at Israel’s shutdown of electricity and fuel to the 1.4 million Palestinians caged up in Gaza, spent an entire evening exchanging pleasantries with his settler relatives in Tel Aviv. He accused the non-nuclear Iran of being a major threat to the international community because it produces what he called ‘fissile material’ and ‘missiles’. Every large and medium size country in the world produces enriched uranium and possesses missiles; to impose a sinister construction on Iran’s civilian and defense projects is laughable. (Financial Times, December 6, 2007) Millband dismisses out of hand their civilian application and parrots word for word his Israeli mentors’ line about ‘hidden programs’ and other such unsubstantiated Zionist propaganda. Recent revelations of large-scale, long-term Zionist financing of the highly indebted Labor Party’s electoral campaigns by millionaire moguls and self-proclaimed ‘Labor Friends of Israel’ (Independent, December 6 2007) suggests that Millband’s rapid rise to head the Foreign Ministry had less to do with his minimal international affairs experience and more to do with the ‘special relations’ between millionaire Zionist fundraisers and past and present Labor Party leaders, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
In France President Sarkozy appointed Zionist zealot Bernard Kouchner, (a fervent supporter of humanitarian intervention including the US invasion of Iraq), to head the Foreign Ministry after ‘consultations’ with leading French Jewish organizations, which had rejected an earlier candidate, deemed not pro-Israel enough. Bernie Kouchner and Nicky Sarkozy immediately picked up the Israeli line, dismissing the NIE Report and calling for new economic sanctions even as the original justification (Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons program) was found to be a lie. Nicky and Bernie called for a new UN National Security Council resolution adding greater sanctions against Iran (AFP, December 7, 2007). The Bush-Millband-Kouchner-Israeli logic parallels Stalinist-Nazi logic — the more the intelligence reports demonstrate the absence of a nuclear weapons program, the greater the nuclear threat; the lesser the present threat, the greater the future threat; the lesser the empirically verifiable threat, the greater the secret threat. The NIE report made liars of the White House and Congressional Democrats and the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations who ‘knew’ Iran had a nuclear weapons program. Even more revealingly, it demonstrates that for the same war mongers, Iranian nuclear weapons is not the motivating force for their drive to attack Iran. Leaving out the weapons motive, it is abundantly clear that attacking Iran through sanctions and military threats is deeply rooted in the Israeli priority of destroying Iran as an adversary to its Middle East power grab and its assault and territorial dispossession of Palestinians.
The ZPC, Millband, Kouchner, Olmert, and the White Houses’ efforts to push for a third round of UN sanctions is likely to be rejected. On December 4, China’s UN Ambassador, Wang Guangya, announced that the NIE report called into question the need for new sanctions, ‘I think we all start from the presumption that now things have changed. I think council members will have to consider that.’ (Al Jazeera, December 5, 2007). China, with $17 billion dollars in direct trade with Iran and up to $30 billion via Dubai, and with Iran as a major Middle East oil supplier and with no Zionist lobby to reinforce Israeli diplomatic pressures, is free to pursue its own national interests. The case can be made that Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, will follow China’s lead and object to new sanctions. Nevertheless, the US Congress and in particular its influential Committee chairpersons continue to blindly follow Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s pronouncement post-NIE: ‘It is vital to pursue efforts to prevent Iran from developing a capability like this (sic) in the United States’. Leading Congressional Israeli-American zealot, Thomas Lantos, convoked a congressional hearing on the NIE Report and invited two top ex-government advisers and ultra-Zion zealots, David Wurmser and Martin Indyk to testify.
There is no question that the anti-(Iran) war groups in the US military and intelligence agencies struck a serious blow to the ongoing war plans of the White House, Israel and their agents in the ZPC. The setback includes a temporary defeat of its massive war propaganda and their fabrication of an ‘existential threat’ to the world community (Israel)’. Nevertheless the publication of the NIE hit the headlines for only a few days, followed by a barrage of hostile propaganda in all of the US mass media which called into question the peaceful intentions of Iran and even twisted certain probabilistic phrases to contradict the main findings.
From the vantage point of Americans trying to free their government and the American public of Israeli and ZPC tyrannical monopoly of opinion, the NIE Report struck a blow against the credibility of the White House and Zionist spokespeople in the Congress, National Security Council, Homeland Security and the Justice and Treasury Departments regarding Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons program. But the quickness, depth and scope of the Israeli response especially magnified by its representatives in the US, the French and British foreign offices, demonstrates that the pro-war Israel Firsters are still deeply embedded in positions of political power and willing to defy the US intelligence and military establishment. Without shame or substance, with aggressive outbursts and manipulative semantical skills, the ZPC moves forward toward new sanctions, despite the systematic empirical refutation of its principle argument. Only a blind, irrational tribal-ethnic loyalty to Israel can account for the ready denial of the NIE report and automatic embrace of Israel’s continued fabrications. As in the thirties when overseas Nazi sympathizers defended Hitler’s’ lies about Communists torching the Reichstag and Communist fellow travelers defended Stalin’s purges as exemplary judicial processes, our Zionists continue to deny every systematic empirical report (like the NIE) which contradicts Israel’s lies and fabrications about Iran’s nuclear weapons programs.
Beyond the important issue of dual loyalties (very much in evidence in the ZPC’s response to the NIE report) there is the re-emergence of the question of a US-backed Israeli war with Iran. The military option will be buttressed by an Israeli military intelligence propaganda report dismissing the NIE. It will claim secret Iranian nuclear weapons programs buried somewhere near the center of the earth and therefore undetected by US intelligence informants, satellite photos, UN inspectors, defecting (or kidnapped) Iranian Generals or any other US source. Only Israel’s superior intelligence agencies (which failed in Lebanon, Iraq and the Gaza Strip), based on its Chosen People (with their unassailable intelligence hot-line to the ‘Omniscient One’ – the same ‘One’ who does the ‘Choosing’) can be right – even if they have to once again ‘cook the data’ to make the case to the uninitiated.
The NIE and the US Military have struck a blow against the planners of World War III. Will this lift the US Congress off its collective knees to finally address US interests in the Middle East? Will it re-awaken a currently moribund peace movement, terrified to confront the most virulent organized warmongers? Will it allow Congress and the US public to challenge the ZPC’s stranglehold on US-Middle East policy?
Will the British public and peace movement dare to challenge a Labor Government and Foreign Office bought and paid for by the ‘Labor Friends of Israel’? Will the French public and intellectuals of Paris recover their republican credentials and reject its first and foremost Israel First regime?
Two weeks after the Annapolis Meeting, Israeli Housing Minister Zeev Boim gave US Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice the ‘bristly cucumber’ (a Mediterranean style ‘slap in the face’) when she pleaded with the Jewish state to stop building new settlements in Palestinian East Jerusalem because, ‘it doesn’t help to build confidence’. Boim went on to say, ‘Secretary of State Rice should be congratulated for her efforts in re-launching the peace process (sic)…but this cannot be constantly linked to the cessation of construction in Jerusalem…There is thus nothing to prevent construction anywhere else in Israel.’ (Al Jazeera, December 8, 2007).
Just as the Jewish state can dismiss its vague promises to the Bush regime on the so-called ‘peace process’ in short order, so does Israel reject the NIE report on the absence of a nuclear weapon program in Iran and prepare for war – backed by the entire ZPC.
Surprisingly it is not liberal or leftist opinion leaders who have raised the relevant issues pertaining to the questions of war and peace in the Middle East, the Israeli-White House threats of starting World War III. It is the spy agencies in the US and their allies in the US military, the paragons of past wars and present destabilization campaigns (read – Venezuela). It is an irony of history. But just the same, this is the real world in which we live, where Western intellectuals and cultural heroes have abdicated their responsibility to challenge the Zionist Power Configuration operating on behalf of an aspiring Middle East colonial power.
– James Petras ‘latest books are The Power of Israel in the United States(Clarity Press 2006) and Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers ,Zionists and Militants(Clarity Press 2007)