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Boardman writes: "With absolutely zero good reasons for waging war on Iran, the Trump administration goes on making stuff up to lie the country into yet another war."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (photo: Evan Vucci/AP)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (photo: Evan Vucci/AP)


US Makes Stuff Up to Grease the Skids for War on Iran

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

19 April 19

 

Iran’s retention of archives related to its past covert nuclear weapons program (the Amad Plan), as well as its efforts to keep many scientists and technicians from that former weapons program working together under the continued leadership of the former head of that program, raise serious questions regarding whether Iran intended to preserve the option to resume elements of a nuclear weapons program in the future….

– US Department of State report, “Adherence to and compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments,” April 2019

ith absolutely zero good reasons for waging war on Iran, the Trump administration goes on making stuff up to lie the country into yet another war. The template looks like the Bush administration’s successful effort to lie the US into the Iraq War, the catastrophic effects of which keep unfolding.

The State Department report quoted above garnered some anti-Iran media headlines, but the total fact content is slim. The reports states as facts that Iran has an archive and that it has kept some of a scientific team working together. That’s it. There are no other alleged facts, damaging or otherwise.

There is a lot of speculation in service to fearmongering (nothing yet as egregious as then National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice saying – with no basis in fact – “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

The Trump people are working on it, but some are apparently dragging their heels for the sake of some sort of integrity. The State Department first posted its report online on April 15, then pulled it down, then re-posted it April 17 (the quote above is from that version), without yet explaining what was going on.

According to Reuters, the report “provoked a dispute with U.S. intelligence agencies and some State Department officials concerned that the document politicizes and slants assessments about Iran, five sources with knowledge of the matter said.” Reuters did not report any details of the supposed dispute. As a factual matter, the politicized and slanted assessments of Iran are confirmed by a straightforward reading of the text.

The larger issue in the report is international compliance with the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), to which there are 190 parties. Among the non-parties are nuclear-armed states India and Pakistan, as well as South Sudan. The report does not mention them, but has some sharp words for North Korea, Syria, and Russia. 

The State Department also omitted Israel, another nuclear-armed state that is not a party to the treaty. Besides being non-compliant, Israel is allied with the US in obdurate opposition to the NPT’s primary purpose of nuclear disarmament.

And in a bookend hypocrisy, the report omitted Saudi Arabia and the US suggestion to give them nuclear technology, which would surely be an NPT violation.

The release of the report follows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s April 10 appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of State’s $40 billion budget request. In his written statement, with no supporting evidence, Pompeo submitted an article of faith that is at least partly false:

We know that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s authoritarian regime will continue to use their nation’s resources to proliferate conflict in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and beyond. It will continue to bankroll terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. The United States will therefore work together with our allies and partners to counter Tehran’s aggressive actions to undermine peace and security in the Middle East and beyond.

Last time anyone checked, it was the US that invaded Iraq in a war of aggression that violated international law. It was Saudi Arabia, with US support, that attacked Yemen in a war of aggression that violates international law. In Syria, the country came apart because of multiple factors including a record drought, popular resistance to a dictator, and broad international interference of which Iran was not a major factor. Or, to put it another way, Pompeo lied, in service to his self-proclaimed Christo-fascist ideology.

Republican senator Rand Paul of Kentucky challenged Pompeo on the administration’s apparent march to war on Iran. After trying to sidestep the questioning, Pompeo asserted that the US could attack Iran based on the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed overwhelmingly in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. The only member of Congress to vote against this blank war-making check was Representative Barbara Lee of Oakland.

The AUMF requires some connection to the 9/11 attackers to be invoked. There has never been any credible evidence connecting Iran even indirectly to 9/11, which was carried out by mostly Saudi nationals. Nevertheless Pompeo deceitfully asserted: “There is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaeda. Period, full stop.”

“You do not have our permission to go to war in Iran,” Senator Paul rejoined, ignoring Pompeo’s assertion that the administration didn’t need anyone’s permission.

Two days earlier, on April 8, the Trump administration had advanced its economic war on Iran by designating a part of Iran’s government, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as a foreign terrorist organization. The deliberate provocation was based on little credible evidence. Pompeo cited alleged IRGC involvement in an earlier 1996 attack and a foiled plot in 2011, both of which involved Saudi targets. Another State Department official blamed Iran for American deaths in the Iraq War. The official party line demonizing Iran was parroted nicely in President Trump’s official announcement:

Today, I am formally announcing my Administration’s plan to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft. The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.

This designation will be the first time that the United States has ever named a part of another government as a FTO. It underscores the fact that Iran’s actions are fundamentally different from those of other governments….   

Actually, Iran’s actions are not fundamentally different from those of other governments, starting with the US, which carries out continuing terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and places we have yet to learn about. On April 16, Iran responded to the US terrorist designation by making one of its own against the region’s US Central Command, CENTCOM, whose favored terrorist tactics include death squads and drone strikes.

It gets worse for the US. According to Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, the designation of the IRGC is:

… a complete negation and violation of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 and thus a war crime. It opens us up to reprisals against our own military forces. Under the laws of war, reprisals against military personnel are permissible. This is continuing down the path of Bush Jr. determining that the Taliban and al Qaida are not protected by the Geneva Conventions, which was rejected by the US Supreme Court in the Hamden decision…. Iran could now determine that US Special Forces, Seals, Green Berets, Rangers, etc., are terrorists and thus do not benefit from the Third Geneva Convention. Apparently, for that reason, the Pentagon was against it. [emphasis added]

CENTCOM’s own official description of Iran is free of Trumpish hysteria, while paying lip service to terrorist activities of more than 20 years ago. The detached CENTCOM summary concludes on a somewhat optimistic note:

The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions calling for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and comply with its IAEA obligations and responsibilities, and in July 2015 Iran and the five permanent members, plus Germany (P5+1) signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under which Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. 

This possibility of re-establishing regional peace and normalization was one of the first things the Trump administration needed no permission to try to destroy. The Trump administration violated international law with its action, since the Iran agreement is part of a UN Security Council resolution (that the US approved). The other members of the Iran agreement continue to try to hold it together, since Iran has met all its obligations under the agreement. The Trump administration falsely claims otherwise. Judged by its actions to date, the Trump administration will be satisfied with nothing less than Iranian capitulation, and if that requires genocide, so be it – all part of God’s plan.

Those persuaded that God is on the side of the US may be getting some perverse satisfaction from the brutal weather visited on Iran (also Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria) since the last week of March. Record rains have covered the region. Flooding has killed an estimated 80 Iranians while threatening and disrupting the lives of ten million. In an inhumanitarian triumph, US sanctions on Iran have blocked humanitarian aid to the flood victims. US sanctions are blocking cash support to the Iranian Red Crescent, the equivalent of the Red Cross. Iranian president Hasan Rouhani has called on the US to lift sanctions for a year to help Iran cope with its humanitarian crisis.

This natural disaster of climate change dimensions has been little reported in American media, a Swedish report in CounterPunch being an exception. In Iran, serious flooding has hit 28 of the country’s 31 provinces. The UN has been responding to the need, and as of April 13 reported that “Armenia, Azerbaijan, France, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Vatican have provided relief items to the Government of Iran in support of the response.” The US response has been limited to attacks and threats. Most US allies in NATO or the European Union remain AWOL, perhaps cowed by American threats to enforce US law in their home countries (that’s the way sanctions work). Last fall, the International Court of Justice (IJC) at the UN ruled that the US had to remove sanctions that target humanitarian trade, food, medicine, and civil aviation. The ruling enforced the terms of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the US and Iran.

Secretary of State Pompeo promptly responded that the international court couldn’t tell the US what to do and, anyway, the US was quitting that treaty, “a decision, frankly, that is 39 years overdue.” Pompeo accused Iran of bringing a “meritless case” (that Iran won) and of “attempting to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States.” The Christo-fascist sore loser added that “Iran is abusing the IJC for political and propaganda purposes.”

So it’s no wonder the North Koreans requested that the US remove Pompeo from further negotiations on denuclearization. They blame Pompeo’s “talking nonsense” and being “reckless” and “gangster-like” behavior for the failure of talks in February. The Koreans are looking for someone who is “more careful and mature in communicating with us.”

Surely Iranians would agree with that, and so should Americans.

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William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

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Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+8 # Texas Aggie 2019-04-19 23:25
“There is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaeda. Period, full stop.”

Well, they do have a connection. They hate each other and are constantly fighting each other. The Iranians are Shite while al Qaeda is Sunni. It's like the Protestants in Northern Ireland vs. the Catholics. That's a connection.
 
 
+9 # economagic 2019-04-20 06:18
"Actually, Iran’s actions are not fundamentally different from those of other governments, starting with the US, which carries out continuing terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and places we have yet to learn about."

Indeed. The US has arguably been the world's Number One rogue nation since the closing days of The Great War, Part Two. By the time of Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech (March, 1945), Allen Dulles and his cronies had already laid the foundations for the USian Empire along the lines of the European colonial empires then dissolving, rather than recognize the opportunity provided by the "atom bomb" and the incipient United Nations to set the world on a new course of peace, rejecting the 5,000-year history of testosterone-st oked men beating up on each other while propagandizing to draw all around them into their game.

The current global crisis, which USian misleaders continue to deny, provides one last opportunity to end that foolish and immoral game. It is increasingly looking as if humankind may blow it (sic) one last time.
 
 
+8 # treerapper 2019-04-20 06:50
Deja vu!!! Nothing surprising here as we all know from Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan and on and on. All I can say is follow the money and you will see who or what is pushing the buttons. Add to that the absolute fiendish love for war on the part of Pompeo and Bolton. A twisted duo if there ever was. I can't imagine that either one of them was ever in the infantry in an active war zone. They are both examples of Eichmann - hateful bureaucrats, sitting behind a desk and actively pursuing genocide, ethnic cleansing and the removal of certain peoples / countries from the face of the earth.
 
 
+8 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-04-20 07:55
OFF TOPIC with apologies to WB. I hope he won't mind since he is a regular and one of the best features of RSN.


___________


It is clear from the number of appeals for funding that RSN is desperate for donations. One request asked, “What do we need to do to get some donations.” I’d suggest that this question be published so that Readers can respond to it. Let’s see what Readers think needs to be done.

RSN is sort of in a rut right now. Following Hillary’s loss, it joined the hate Trump bandwagon and threw its fate in with the Mueller Probe. Most of its publications were from the press that took its cues from the Mueller Probe leaks. Now a change needs to be made; not just because of the jaw-dropping reversal that the Report presented but mostly because of the rise really viable Progressives for 2020, especially Sanders. Our politics is moving beyond the Trump-Hillary smack down to the 2020 Progressive Sweep.

The “Note of Caution” that appeared shortly after the Comey/Clapper/B rennan investigation began needs to go. It was always offensive and just plain wrong. There never were any “hardened operatives” or patterns of provocateurs trolling the internet.

Let’s open the changes RSN needs to the readers who support it. There ought to be some democracy in the way RSN is administered. That’s where I would start in order to find a solution to the funding troubles.
 
 
+6 # WBoardman 2019-04-20 13:48
Good idea to open fundraising to public input.
 
 
+1 # revhen 2019-04-21 16:23
Sounds like someone who wants to take over RSN, RR. Learned well from the Russians. Article reminds me of the observation that: "The only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history."
 
 
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-04-22 14:25
Just insane. I only don't want it to go broke and go out of existence. Why would I want to take it over. If I wanted that, I'd start my own website and do what I want.

RSN must change if it is to survive. I have my ideas about change but I think we should hear from others. What do you think?
 
 
0 # economagic 2019-04-23 10:26
It is unfortunate that in three days no one has taken this digression seriously. In my recollection, RSN has been desperate for donations since 2014 if not earlier. Certainly since I retired at the end of 2015, when I began commenting regularly, numerous people including me have pointed out both in the forums and directly that aspects of the approach to fundraising are deeply counterproducti ve. I distinctly recall one person calling it "hectoring," and ceasing to comment shortly thereafter. Browbeating readers five or more times a day, with virtually the same set of slings and arrows from month to month (but one with a far more constructive tone on 4/20) drives people away. I know some of them personally. Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results IS insane, whether Einstein said it or not.

I have suggested to Marc that he enlist the services of a PR professional at least for a one-time tuneup. Every organization trying to survive on voluntary contributions is up against expert grant writers and others who make their living coaching people on the most effective ways to pry money away from strangers ("elevator pitch"). Given the state of the world and of the media, and the rising number of worthy organizations trying to save humankind or some part of it, plus crowdfunding sites with everyone and sundry trying to fund their own pet projects, fundraising is a serious challenge even for the pros. Amateurs hardly stand a chance.
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-04-23 15:55
It is really difficult to run a website like RSN and not support it through advertising. The absence of ads is one of the things that makes looking at RSN a good experience. I really don't like sites that have been taken over by adverts. But they all struggle. I think most of us donate money to several sites. I give to Consortium, Information Clearing House, RSN, and a few others. That dilutes my giving.

To me it is clear that RSN is failing. I look at Consortium and there are sometimes 150 - 200 comments on an article. I comment there. Sometimes at RSN there are only 1 or 2 comments.

Maybe a PR firm would help. But I think it is the freshness of the article selection. RSN started with very good articles from the alternative media. It published very good writers -- Hedges, Greenwals, etc. Now all we get are NYTimes, New Yorker, ThinkProgress, Wapo, and that sort. There's simply no value in those publication if you are a progressive or a left winger.
 
 
0 # economagic 2019-04-24 08:02
"It is really difficult to run a website like RSN and not support it through advertising."

Of course it is difficult, but those web sites and others manage it (struggling), as do other entities. Compare their "asks" with those ofRSN.
 
 
+4 # johnescher 2019-04-20 12:35
What does the term "gaslighting" mean? (https://www.google.com/search?q=gaslight%3A+what+does+this+term+mean%3F&rlz=1C1DIEZ_enUS702US702&oq=gaslight%3A++what+does+this+term+mean%3F&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i58.16192j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8)

Gaslighting is what Trump, his supporters and members of his administration do all the time.
An example beyond Iran is Carter Page calling the Mueller Report "a nothingburger." He may have escaped incrimination in the report but also admitted on MSNBC that he hadn't read it. One only need observe his madman grins and facial tics taking weird solos to understand that he is all surface and no substance-- typical of the Trumpsters ("nothingburger s") everywhere.
 
 
+5 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-04-21 12:23
USA = An Empire in decline. Bolton and Pompeo are the finishing touch to the Trump arrogance.
 
 
0 # janie1893 2019-04-22 00:36
re the addendum "A Note of Caution"!! I do not find it at all offensive. It is a good reminder for us to try to maintain some rationality as we give our opinions on the articles published in this important medium.Rodion, I have to question the validity of your comments. You speak as if you were one of the first readers of RSN and yet I do not recall ever seeing your name in this forum prior to the Trump presidential campaign.
 
 
+2 # WorkingClass 2019-04-22 19:03
"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who set policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Hermann Göring
 

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