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Commentary Last Updated: Nov 14th, 2007 - 00:25:32

US seeks fodder for war with Iran
By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Nov 14, 2007, 00:19

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We're being taken for another ride folks! Washington and Tel Aviv want us to believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and fuelling the insurgency in Iraq. Never mind that there is absolutely no solid evidence to support either contention.

They know we fell for their fabrications over Iraq's non-existent stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and they think they can pull the wool over our eyes yet again. The sad thing is they may well succeed.

When we know they lied to us over Iraq why on earth would we believe them now? As the late British foreign secretary, Robin Cook, revealed in his recently published memoirs neither Tony Blair nor the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, John Scarlett, believed Saddam had WMD prior to the 2003 invasion.

Cook believed Blair didn't want the UN weapons inspectors to give Iraq a clean bill of health and "deliberately crafted a suggestive phrasing" to convince the public that the Iraqi government had links to al Qaida.

While they are making progress this time in making a case for war, besides the absence of a "smoking gun" there are certain obstacles in their path that were absent prior to the run-up to Iraq.

Firstly, the director-general of the nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammad Al Baradei isn't playing ball.

He recently told a French newspaper that Iran poses no immediate danger. Earlier, he assured CNN that there is no evidence of a "concrete, active" Iranian nuclear programme.

You might think such reassurance from a man who knows what he's talking about would quell the fears of those in high places; that's if such fears are genuine. But instead they have elicited ire.

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has smeared Al Baradei by calling him "an apologist for Iran" who "needs to learn that he works for the member governments of his agency, not the other way around."

Last week, the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz called for the nuclear chief to be removed from his post. "The policies followed by Al Baradei endanger world peace," he said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has accused Al Baradei of "muddying the message to Iran" prompting the latter to respond by saying he was sick of "backseat drivers." In truth, Rice's true position on the issue is misleading.

It is generally thought that although her heart lies in the diplomatic camp she is under severe pressure from the hawks in her administration.

Indeed, last Sunday she denied the US was readying for war and offered to talk with Iran in the event it abandoned uranium enrichment.

Why are the warmongers so confident that they know better than a nuclear expert with a specialist team in the country? Do they have intelligence information to which Al Baradei isn't privy?

Apparently not says Gareth Porter, writing for the Inter Press Service (IPS). A US "National Intelligence Estimate on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme" thus making "the document more supportive of US Vice President Dick Cheney's militarily aggressive policy."

The way the government cooks up scenarios to manipulate public opinion was recently highlighted in a Washington Post article exposing a series of memos written by the former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld to members of his staff.

In one he writes of the need to "keep elevating the threat, link Iraq to Iran," and develop "bumper sticker statements" to rally support for the war. Another reads "Make the American people realise they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists" in the hope they will "rally" to sacrifice.

On the nuclear issue, Washington is enjoying little success in garnering hard evidence and thus far has been blocked from securing UN sanctions against Iran by Russia and China. And so they struggle to secure another pretext.

The US regularly shows journalists in Iraq caches of weapons supposedly made in Iran but as David Smith, writing in last Sunday's Observer, notes, "US military officials are putting huge pressure on interrogators who question Iraqi insurgents to find incriminating evidence pointing to Iran."

A military intelligence official told him, "The message is 'got to find a link with Iran, got to find a link with Iran.' It's sickening." A privately contracted interrogator working for the US military told him, "Information on Iran is gold."

Active assistance

It's a set-up. Tehran is in the process of being framed by the US with the active assistance of other Western nations, in particular, France and, of course, Israel.

Let's face it. If the US manages to hobble Iran it controls the entire region and its resources. Hezbollah will be defanged. Hamas will shrivel away.

Iraqi Shiites will have to toe the line. Russia will lose influence and China access to crucial oil and gas. Israel, which views Iran as an existential threat, will then become even more powerful and unwilling to deal.

That's the crux of the matter. That's the real reason the Bush administration wants to bomb Iran but, naturally, it can't come clean as to its true goals.

Incredibly, 52 percent of Americans would support a strike on Iran to curtail its nuclear ambitions, according to a recent Zogby poll.

"Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level" was one of the principles of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, who also believed the truth is the greatest enemy of the state. He must be chuckling in his grave.

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

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