East Ghouta: Obama’s Last Stand In Syria?

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America Has Become a Nation of Incompetents

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George Bush remains the ultimate symbol of ascendant stupidity

A once-proud nation which was the envy of the world now suffers from a kind of omni-present dementia

Having grown up during the second half of the 20th century, I don’t recognize my country today. I experienced life in a competent country, and now I experience life in an incompetent country.

Everything is incompetent. The police are incompetent. They shoot children, grandmothers, cripples, and claim that they feared for their life.

Washington’s foreign police is incompetent. Washington has alienated the world with its insane illegal attacks on other countries. Today the United States and Israel are the two most distrusted countries on earth and the two countries regarded as the greatest threat to peace.

The military/security complex is incompetent. The national security state is so incompetent that it was unable to block the most humiliating attack in history against a superpower that proved to be entirely helpless as a few people armed with box cutters and an inability to fly an airplane destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon itself. The military industries have produced at gigantic cost the F-35 that is no match for the Russian fighters or even for the F-15s and F-16s it is supposed to replace.

The media is incompetent. I can’t think of an accurate story that has been reported in the 21st century. There must be one, but it doesn’t come to mind.

The universities are incompetent. Instead of hiring professors to teach the students, the universities hire administrators to regulate them. Instead of professors, there are presidents, vice presidents, chancellors, vice chancellors, provosts, vice provosts, assistant provosts, deans, associate deans, assistant deans. Instead of subject matter there is speech regulation and sensitivity training. Universities spend up to 75% of their budgets on administrators, many of whom have outsized incomes.

The public schools have been made incompetent by standardized national testing. The purpose of education today is to pass some test. School accreditation and teachers’ pay depend not on developing the creativity or independent thinking of those students capable of it, but on herding them through memory work for a standardized test.

One could go on endlessly.

Instead, I will relate a story of everyday incompetences that have prevented me from writing this week and for a few more days yet.

Recently, while away from my home, a heavy equipment operator working on a nearby construction site managed to drive under power lines with the fork lift raised. Instead of breaking the wire, it snapped the pole in half that conveyed electric power to my house. The power company came out, or, as I suspect, an outsourced contractor, who reestablished power to my home but did not check that the neutral wire was still attached.

Consequently for a week or so my house experienced round the clock surges of high voltage that blew out the surge protection, breaker box, and every appliance in the house. Expecting my return, the house was inspected, and the discovery was that there was no power. Back came the power company and discovered that high voltage was feeding into the house and had destroyed everything plugged in.

So. Here we have a moron operating heavy equipment who does not understand that he cannot drive under power lines with the lift raised. We have a power company or its outsourced contractor who does not understand that power cannot be reconnected without making certain that the neutral wire is still connected.

So every appliance is fried. Glass everywhere from blown out light bulbs. We are talking thousands of dollars.

This is America today. And the incompetents ruling incompetents want war with Iran, Korea, Russia, China. Considering the extraordinary level of incompetence throughout the United States, I guarantee you that we will not win these wars.

Christian Zionist whackos for israel

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It would be funny if the consequences weren’t so dire

War is more important to these “Christians” than Jesus

There are millions of these people in the US and they’re one of the biggest voting blocks in the US.

The Pentagon loves them because they can always be counted on to cheer for war.

It would be funny if the consequences weren’t so dire

The Real Syria Story No One Wants You to Know About

RSFP

The conflict in Syria and the flashpoint of Daraa, a town near the Syria-Jordan border where the CIA, working with the Muslim Brotherhood, attacked police and set the stage for a conflict that has so far claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Syrians. The proxy war is designed to take down a secular government and replace it with a Salafist principality controlled by the Brotherhood, a longtime CIA and British intelligence asset. ~ Notes HERE

Yes, the israel Lobby drives U.S. policies. The parasitic enemy within

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aipac

IF AMERICANS KNEW – Every US president since Richard Nixon, with the Rogers Plan in 1969, has made an effort to get Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967, not out of any love for the Palestinians, but because Israel’s continuing occupation of those lands, from the Sinai to the Golan Heights, was creating unnecessary problems in a region where maintaining stability of the regions’ oil resources was and remains a necessity. Every one of those plans was undermined by the lobby.

Yes, the Israel Lobby drives U.S. policies

 When reports of Israel’s siege of Beirut were becoming too much to ignore, Reagan asked Sharon to call a halt. Sharon’s response was to bomb the city at 2:42 and 3:38 the next afternoon, those hours, coincidentally, being the numbers of the two UN resolutions calling on Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Territories. When Reagan, like Carter, also publicly called on Begin to halt settlement building, the Israeli prime minister announced the building of new settlements and sent the president a “Dear Ronnie,” letter letting him know who was making those decisions.

By Jeffrey Blankfort

Excerpted from “Yes, Blame the Lobby,” published by Dissident Voice, April 11, 2006

In March 2006, the London Review of Books published “Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” an article by Professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Steven Walt, Academic Dean of the Kennedy Center at Harvard University, two nationally known academic figures with impeccable credentials. (The authors afterward wrote an even more thorough book on the same topic.)

This article, critical of the Israel lobby in the US, propelled into the mainstream an issue that had long been confined to the margins. This issue had been avoided not only by the efforts of the Israel lobby itself, but also by those on the Left who prefer to view US foreign policy as being determined by corporate elites and who had long worked to prevent public awareness of the Israel lobby and its role in driving U.S. policies. 

Jeffrey Blankfort provided a detailed response to claims minimizing the role of the Israel lobby. Below are some of the facts that he provided:

Israel lobby critics do not deny US imperialism

Critics of the Israel lobby have no illusions about the evils of US imperialism that have and will continue to exist, irrespective of the lobby… Serious critics of the Israel lobby do not in any way exonerate the US from responsibility for its actions; however Middle East policies were formed under immense Israeli pressure. Israel and its lobby have pushed the US to launch policies that not in its own interest; US support for Israel has generated serious problems in the region, and has been costly in lives and money.

All presidents told Israel to end the occupation

Every US president since Richard Nixon, with the Rogers Plan in 1969, has made an effort to get Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967, not out of any love for the Palestinians, but because Israel’s continuing occupation of those lands, from the Sinai to the Golan Heights, was creating unnecessary problems in a region where maintaining stability of the regions’ oil resources was and remains a necessity. Every one of those plans was undermined by the lobby.

Gerald Ford

In 1975, Gerald Ford, upset because Israel was refusing to disengage from areas it had taken in the Sinai during the 1973 war, halted aid to Israel and publicly let it be known that he was going to make a major speech that would call for a downsizing of US-Israel relations and demanding that Israel to return to its 1967 borders. Within three weeks, AIPAC presented Ford with a letter signed by 76 senators, from liberal Democrats to extreme right wing Republicans, warning him not to take any steps that would jeopardize Israel’s security. Ford did not make the speech.

Jimmy Carter 

Ford’s successor, Jimmy Carter, was repeatedly in conflict with both Israel and the lobby. Neither wanted the Camp David treaty but Carter doggedly pushed it through, although it required a multi-billion dollar bribe to get Begin’s signature. In 1978, before the treaty went into effect, Begin invaded Lebanon, hoping, some speculated, that Egypt would react and the treaty would be nullified since Israel did not want to give up the Sinai. Carter further angered Israel and the lobby by demanding that Begin withdraw Israeli troops from Lebanon three months later.

When UN Ambassador Andrew Young violated an Israeli demand and lobby-enforced rule that prohibited US officials from meeting with the PLO, (much like the lobby imposed rule about US officials meeting with Hamas officials today), he was forced to resign.

Andrew Young – When he told Begin, publicly, to halt settlement building, the Israeli prime minister responded by announcing the start of 10 new settlements while the lobby criticized Carter for bringing up the subject. When UN Ambassador Andrew Young violated an Israeli demand and a lobby-enforced rule that prohibited US officials from meeting with the PLO, (much like the lobby imposed rule about US officials meeting with Hamas officials today), he was forced to resign. When Carter, like Ford, was considering giving a televised speech in 1979 in which he planned to outline the divergence of interests between the US and Israel and denounce Israeli intransigence on the Palestinian issue, he was warned by the lobby, as one Jewish leader put it, that he would be the first president to “risk opening the gates of anti-Semitism in America.” Carter decided not to give the speech.

Donald McHenry – There was an exception to all those US vetoes and it came during the Carter administration. In March 1980, Young’s successor, Donald McHenry, also an African-American, voted to censure Israel for its settlement policy, including Jerusalem. The lobby was outraged and Carter was forced to apologize. The last straw for the lobby was when Carter called for an international conference in Geneva to settle the Israel-Palestine question that would include the Soviet Union. It didn’t matter that he was forced to apologize for that, too. In 1980, he received 48% of the Jewish vote, the poorest showing of any Democrat since they began counting such things.

Ronald Reagan

When Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982, both houses of Congress roared their approval, it being, after all, an election year. When the reports of the siege of Beirut were becoming too much to ignore, Reagan asked Sharon to call a halt. Sharon’s response was to bomb the city at 2:42 and 3:38 the next afternoon, those hours, coincidentally, being the numbers of the two UN resolutions calling on Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Territories. When Reagan, like Carter, also publicly called on Begin to halt settlement building, the Israeli prime minister announced the building of new settlements and sent the president a “Dear Ronnie,” letter letting him know who was making those decisions.

In Reagan’s second term, he tried again to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict with what came to be known as the Shultz Plan, named after his Secretary of State, George Shultz. It called for an international conference to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who had replaced Begin, was having none of it. One cartoon of the day depicted Shamir sitting in a chair, cutting up pieces of paper while Reagan and Shultz looked on. “How cute,” said Reagan, “he’s cutting up paper dolls.” “Those aren’t paper dolls,” responded Shultz. “That’s our peace plan.” Another showed Reagan and Shamir sitting in armchairs across from one another with Shamir holding a smoking gun in his hand while a dove falls from the sky. Reagan says, “You didn’t have to do that.” Shamir’s intransigence finally provoked 30 senators, including some of Israel’s biggest supporters, into sending him a letter asking him to be more cooperative. They were hardly prepared for the firestorm from the lobby that followed that sent each of them stumbling to apologize. The Shultz Plan was effectively dead.

George Bush Senior

When George H. W. Bush succeeded Reagan, he made it clear that he wanted a halt to the settlements and for Israel to get out of the OT, as well. He arranged for the Madrid Peace Conference over the objections of the obstinate Shamir, making concessions as to the composition of the Palestinian delegation to appease both Israel and the lobby. Was this conference, like the one called for by Carter, like the one planned by Reagan just a charade? Before the conference took place, Shamir asked the US for $10 billion in loan guarantees. Bush made compliance with that request contingent on Israel agreeing to halt all settlement building, its agreement not to settle any Russian immigrants in the West Bank, and to wait 120 days, to see if the first two requests had been complied with. An enraged Shamir decided to go over his head to the lobby-controlled Congress.

After receiving a letter signed by 242 members of Congress urging the swift passage of the loan guarantees, Bush realized that the Lobby had enough votes to override his threatened veto of the request. This led him to take the unprecedented step of calling a national press conference on the day when an estimated thousand Jewish lobbyists were on Capitol Hill pushing for a swift passage of Israel’s request. In the press conference, Bush denounced the arrogance of the lobby and told the American people how much aid each Israeli man, woman and child was getting from the US Treasury. The polls the next day showed that 85% of the American public was with him and a month and a half later only 44% of the public supported giving any aid to Israel at all while over 70% supported giving aid to the former Soviet Union.

AIPAC, in the face of Bush’s attack, pulled back, but then launched a steady attack against him which began to be reflected in the US media where even old friends like the NY Times columnist William Safire would eventually desert him for Bill Clinton. Under tremendous pressure and with the election approaching, Bush finally consented to the loan guarantees, but it was too late. The Lobby blamed him for Shamir having been defeated by Rabin and his goose was cooked.

Pro-Israel Neocons

It is no secret that pro-Israel Jewish neocons have been heavily involved in creating the structural adjustment policies of the World Bank and the IMF. Indeed, Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the Gulf War, is now the head of the World Bank.

Starving and then invading Iraq, threatening to invade Syria, raiding and then sanctioning Libya and Iran, besieging the Palestinians and their leaders must also be blamed on the Israeli lobby and not the US government.

While it was not well known, but no secret, that the Lobby played a key role in getting the votes for the first Gulf War, the reporting of which resulted in the firing of the Washington Jewish Week’s Larry Cohler at the behest of AIPAC inductee Steve Rosen, the orchestration of the current war by a handful of Jewish Likud-connected neocons with the support of the Israel Lobby was widely reported in the mainstream press. If there was a question as to who was the chief architect, it was a choice between Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Scooter Libby.

Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9-11 commission, admitted that the war in Iraq was for “the security of Israel”: but that would have been a “hard sell” to the American people.

The “Clean Break” paper that Perle, Feith, and Meyrav Wurmser wrote for Netanyahu in 1996 called for the overthrow of Iraq, Syria and Iran, which Mearsheimer and Walt mention. The “Project for a New American Century,”  was another document drawn up by pro-Israel Jewish neocons. The Office of Special Plans, set up by Feith and run by another Jewish neocon, Abe Shulsky, was directed to provide the phony intelligence that would justify the invasion when the CIA staff was not prepared to do it. Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9-11 commission, admitted that the war in Iraq was for “the security of Israel”: but that would have been a “hard sell” to the American people. And, as for implementing and maintaining the sanctions, the advocacy of the lobby was equally evident.

Lebanon, Iraq, Syria

In 1958, Pres. Eisenhower sent the Marines to Lebanon to prevent what was thought to be a radical nationalist move against the status quo, but the US has only invaded Arab countries twice, Kuwait in 1991, to oust the Iraqis and in 2003. The first required the assistance of the Israel lobby capped by the phony incubator story that was orchestrated by Rep. Tom Lantos, an author or co-sponsor of numerous Iraqi and Syria sanction bills and anti-Palestinian legislation. (According to the Jerusalem Post, Lantos represents Israel in countries where it has no diplomatic recognition.)

Israel and the lobby had anticipated that the Senior Bush would remove Saddam as called for in the Clean Break and when he didn’t they started criticizing him and planning for a future administration that would do the job and the record on that is very clear. AIPAC took credit for writing the anti-Syrian legislation that led to the withdrawal from Lebanon of the relatively small number of Syrian forces that were in the country and more recently the Lobby has been the only sector of US society actively calling for what is unmistakably an armed confrontation with Iran.

Weapons industry does not drive the policy

The Middle East is the only region where a stable environment is required to maintain the oil that fuels much of the world’s economy, including our own. The Middle East is also the only region where there is continued instability. The US has sought political stability, the kind of stability that provides a ready source of raw materials and an outlet for US products.

From the end of the Vietnam War to the beginning of the first Gulf War, the profits of the weapons industry continued to soar, proving that an actual shooting war was not necessary for the arms manufacturers to make windfall profits or the capitalist system to survive. Given that both US political parties are committed to what is euphemistically called “national defense,” there is no debate in Congress over the size of the military budget.

Other countries too prioritize national defense, and buy US-made weaponry, some of which may be used to quiet domestic rebellions, and some, like fighter jets, for national pride and kickbacks on both sides. It is only in the Middle East where a stable environment is required to maintain the oil that fuels much of the world’s economy, including our own, where there is continued instability, and this is the fault of Israel and its lobby.

Cuban Lobby

The Cuba lobby which is, in fact, more properly called the anti-Cuba lobby, not coincidentally, has a strong working relationship with AIPAC for their mutual benefit, but it doesn’t begin to compare with the Israel Lobby’s power although it has seen to it that Florida will stay in the Republican column. Of course, if Israel was a communist or anti-imperialist country, the Jews in the US would no doubt be like the anti-Castro Cubans, calling on the US to liberate it.

Support for Israel endangers Americans

Regarding the families of the marines, soldiers and sailors killed in the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, as well as American diplomats who have been targeted in the region over the years: Had Israel not invaded Lebanon, these American servicemen killed in their barracks might still be alive, as well the members of the CIA who were wiped out in an earlier bombing of the US embassy in Beirut. Furthermore, without getting into the serious questions that remain unanswered about the 9-11 attack, it has been accepted by those who believe the official narrative that US support for Israel was one of the reasons behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. If the authors and others, including this writer have argued are correct, a significant portion of the responsibility for the dead and wounded on both sides in Iraq can be laid at the feet of Israel and the Israel Lobby, but the latter, in particular.

The US, as a country, is not loved or well liked anywhere except, perhaps, Israel. Much depends, of course, on an individual’s political consciousness, but most of the peoples of the world have had a love-hate relationship with the US, despising its policies but colonized by its materialism. The war on Iraq and the US voters’ re-election of Bush have put more weight in the “hate” column, and in Latin America, Bush has proved to be the most unpopular US president since they started taking polls. It is not unlikely that as the war continues and the US continues to make threats against Iran, again pressured by the Lobby, the degree of antagonism towards the US and US products is certain to increase.

Egypt

Israel has never seen the US as its master. Not a single Israeli soldier has shed a drop of blood for US interests and as Ariel Sharon said on Israeli army radio several years ago, the US knows that no Israeli soldier ever will. At the time of Israel’s attack on Egypt in 1967, France was the major arms supplier and the certain sectors of the US government were engaged with members of Egypt’s military. To describe the defeat of Nasser as a service done by Israel for the benefit of the US, is a both an oversimplification as well as a distortion of history. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1973 war, when Israel, under attack by Egypt and Syria, threatened to use its nuclear weapons unless the US came through with a massive conventional arms airlift, that US support for Israel really took off. So did the oil prices as an Arab oil boycott was implemented in response. Was the very real threat of a nuclear war, which would have brought in the Soviet Union, in the US interest? Was the Arab oil embargo?

Latin America and South Africa

Israel’s arms sales in Latin America and South Africa were done to benefit Israel’s arms industry and that they were useful to the US was a secondary factor. What the Lobby was able to do was keep members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including the notable Ron Dellums, from publicly condemning Israel’s arms sales to South Africa in violation of international sanctions, and to silence those members of Congress who were quick to condemn US actions in Central America but afraid to do so when Israel was the malefactor. That fear is no less prevalent in Congress today where any member can get up to criticize George Bush but none dare say a negative word about the Israeli prime minister, irrespective of who holds that office.

Jordan & Syria

Israel’s role in the Jordanian-Palestinian conflict in 1970 is always raised by those who argue for Israel’s usefulness. We are told that Israel was acting at the behest of the US when it threatened to intervene if Syrian tanks moved south to defend the Palestinians under attack by Jordan’s King Hussein and that this prevented the possible overthrow of the US-friendly Hashemite regime. This fits neatly fits into the client state scenario, except it is missing a key element. What was crucial in that situation was the refusal of Hafez Al-Assad, then head of the Syrian air force, and not a supporter of the PLO, to back up the Syrian tank force that had entered Northern Jordan. Shortly thereafter, Al-Assad staged a coup against the pro-Palestinian president Atassi and proceeded to throw hundreds of Palestinians and pro-Palestinian Syrians in prison and break up the radical Syrian-supported militia group, Al-Saika. This bit of history has apparently now been written out of history.

When Israel neutralized the PLO in 1982, it was appreciated in the beginning by many Lebanese, particularly in the south who found some elements of the PLO heavy-handed and were tired of having a liberation war fought on their soil – until they began to experience Israeli occupation for themselves and began to resist. The Israeli attack violated an 11-month cease-fire that had been negotiated by Ambassador Philip Habib and to which the PLO had strictly adhered. The Senior Bush, then vice-president, opposed the Israeli invasion and wanted Israel to be censured and was overruled by Reagan and Alexander Haig. A year before Bush Sr. was angered by Israel’s attack on Iraq’s Osirak reactor and wanted Israel censured at that time, but was again overruled.

Israel did provide training to US troops on the techniques used to occupy and repress a hostile Arab population, only too pleased to have the US join it as the only foreign occupier of Arab soil which may have been one of the reasons the Israeli government (as well as the lobby) wanted the US to invade Iraq. With the US taking the same kind of harsh measures to repress the Iraqis, it would be less likely to complain about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and this has proved to be the case. Israel has been called by Chomsky America’s “cop on the beat” in the Middle East, but when military intervention has been thought necessary it has always been American soldiers that have done the fighting. In fact, US soldiers were sent to Israel during the first Gulf War to operate the Patriot missile batteries to defend the Israelis.

AIPAC 

Read our history and see what has befallen those politicians who have challenged the lobby and were subsequently targeted and defeated beginning with Sen. J William Fulbright who in the early 60s sought to restrict the lobby’s growing power. There are several books written by both supporters of the lobby and its critics that clearly demonstrate its influence as well as the tales of former members of Congress who were its victims.

Edward Said on the Israel lobby

“What explains this [present] state of affairs? The answer lies in the power of Zionist organizations in American politics, whose role throughout the ‘peace process’ has never been sufficiently addressed…”

Every two years, one hears or reads, regarding some issue that deals with Israel, that “the president” or “Congress” “is not likely to act [against Israel] due to domestic political considerations in an election year.” To a great extent, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is a domestic US issue. That the Palestine solidarity movement has ignored that fact is a primary reason that to this point in time it has been an utter failure. This should be a source of embarrassment and reflection, but it so far there is no sign of it.

There was another Columbia professor who had a more profound understanding of the situation who is sorely missed and, perhaps, never more so than at this moment. I refer to the late Edward Said. In his contribution to The New Intifada, entitled, appropriately, “America’s Last Taboo,” he did not mince words:

What explains this [present] state of affairs? The answer lies in the power of Zionist organizations in American politics, whose role throughout the “peace process” has never been sufficiently addressed — a neglect that is absolutely astonishing, given the policy of the PLO has been in essence to throw our fate as a people into the lap of the United States, without any strategic awareness of how American policy is dominated by a small minority whose views about the Middle East are in some ways more extreme than those of Likud itself. (Emphasis added)

And on the subject of AIPAC, Said wrote:

[T]he American Israel Public Affairs Committee – AIPAC — has for years been the most powerful single lobby in Washington. Drawing on a well-organized, well-connected, highly visible and wealthy Jewish population, AIPAC inspires an awed fear and respect across the political spectrum. Who is going to stand up to this Moloch in behalf of the Palestinians, when they can offer nothing, and AIPAC can destroy a professional career at the drop of a checkbook? In the past, one or two members of Congress did resist AIPAC openly, but the many political action committees controlled by AIPAC made sure they were never re-elected… If such is the material of the legislature, what can be expected of the executive?

Although it is trying, the Israel Lobby does not yet control our academics. On the critical issue of the lobby’s power, it is time they stop acting like it does.


Jeffrey Blankfort is former editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin, long-time photographer, and has written extensively on the Israel-Palestine conflict. He can be reached at: jblankfort@earthlink.net

The Sordid History Of State Sponsored Terrorism Against Iran

The Sordid History Of State Sponsored Terrorism Against Iran

For decades, Western empires have waged a silent war against Iran, using tactics ranging from supporting known terrorist groups to deposing the country’s leaders and leveraging regional rivalries. The war continues today, even as the U.S. condemns Iran for sponsoring terrorism itself.

With blood still fresh on the streets of Tehran after last week’s deadly terror attack, the U.S. was quick to condemn the attacks. But in a sadly predictable move, President Donald Trump’s White House also blamed the victim, condemning Iran as a sponsor of terrorism.

While this may seem like merely the latest instance of insensitivity on Trump’s part, it is, in fact, emblematic of the strategy of supporting terrorism against Iran that Washington has employed for decades.

The official White House statement, while expressing grief over the attacks, was noteworthy for implying that Iran itself was responsible for the tragedy. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote,” reads the second sentence of the statement.

Aside from the sheer tastelessness and callous disregard for the victims of the attack, the irony of the official statement was obviously lost on Trump. Perhaps if Trump would’ve chosen to pull his head out of the posteriors of Saudi oil executives, he might realize that it is the U.S., not Iran, that has a long history of sponsoring terrorism to which it later falls victim

Moreover, if Trump had a sense of history beyond having watched all ten seasons of Ice Road Truckers, he would know that Iran has, for decades, been the victim of a terror campaign backed both directly and indirectly by the United States in the hopes of bringing regime change to the Islamic Republic, returning the country to its place as energy footstool of the West.

The recent history of terrorism against Iran

The subject of terrorism directed against the Islamic Republic of Iran would likely need a dissertation-length analysis well beyond the scope of this article. However, even a cursory examination of the use of terror against Iran reveals a number of worrying trends, with all roads leading West.

Put another way, terrorism against Iran is as American as apple pie; as British as shepherd’s pie; as Israeli as stolen Palestinian pie.

For instance, take the oft-touted “freedom fighters” of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK; also known as MKO), a terrorist group hailed as heroes by the U.S. neoconservative establishment, despite having been officially recognized by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization from 1997 through 2012.  Indeed, so warm and cozy were these terrorists with policymakers, including key government officials, that through an intensive lobbying campaign, including advocacy from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the MEK was officially removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Senator John McCain has meets with the head of the US-designated terrorist organization, Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), Maryam Rajavi, in the Albanian capital, Tirana, April, 2017.

Never mind the fact that MEK was implicated by the Obama Administration itself as having colluded with Israel in assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, a blatant violation of international law. But of course, this was nothing for MEK, whose history is one of assassination and terror against Iran.

As Anthony Cordesman and Adam C. Seitz noted in their book “Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Birth of a Regional Nuclear Arms Race?”:

“Near the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, Baghdad armed the MEK with heavy military equipment [provided by the US] and deployed thousands of MEK fighters in suicidal, mass wave attacks against Iranian forces…In April 1992, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian embassies and installations in 13 countries…In April 1999, the MEK targeted key Iranian military officers and assassinated the deputy chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff…The pace of anti-Iranian operations increased during “Operation Great Bahman” in February 2000, when the group launched a dozen attacks against Iran.”

It should also be remembered that the U.S. opened its military base in Iraq to MEK, which used Camp Ashraf (also known as Camp Liberty) as a safe haven and staging area until it was closed (and MEK members killed) by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Perhaps a hundred other examples of MEK terrorism against Iran, sponsored and backed by the U.S., could be provided. Suffice to say that the removal of MEK from the U.S. government’s official terror organization list was the result of a well-funded and well-orchestrated lobbying campaign with many key allies on Capitol Hill and the Beltway, including some of the most influential neoconservative figures, such as Max Boot, Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz and Rudy Giuliani.

Another way of looking at this relationship would be to say that the U.S. has been the principal sponsor of one of the most violent and prolific anti-Iranian terrorist groups. And they are certainly not alone.

Washington has long been seen by many as a backer of, and potential handler for, the organized crime and terror organization known as Jundallah. This notorious terror organization, which has operated on both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border in the region of Sistan-Baluchestan, has been led for decades by the Rigi family, a well-known anti-government crime family, and has been linked a number of high-profile terror attacks in recent years, including a deadly October 2009 bombing that killed over 40 people, including 15 Iranian Revolutionary Guard members.

During a funeral ceremony, people mourn next to flag-draped coffins of victims of two bomb blasts in the city of Zahedan, Iran, July 17, 2010. Jundallah, which has carried out several other bombings in southeast Iran over the past few years, claimed responsibility for the blasts, which killed 27. (Fars/Ali Azimzadeh)

Counterterrorism experts have long been aware of Jundallah’s historic ties to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence.  As Foreign Policy reported in 2012, Israeli Mossad and U.S. CIA operatives essentially competed with one another for control of the Jundallah network for years. The report noted that:

“The [U.S. government] memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel’s recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel’s ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.”

Consider for a moment the reality of what the report illustrated: U.S. intelligence officials were livid that their Israeli counterparts would meet with Jundallah while posing as CIA agents. Not only does this signal a turf war between the two ostensible allies, it indicates a much deeper and more intimate relationship between Western intelligence agencies and the anti-Iranian terror group. Considering Jundallah became the battleground between the CIA and Mossad, it’s not a stretch to say that the organization is, to some degree, influenced or even directly controlled by the U.S.

Like Jundallah, Jaish al-Adl is a terror group operating in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, as well as Pakistan’s Balochistan Province. The group has carried out numerous attacks against Iranian government institutions, including one infamous incident in March 2014 in which five Iranian border guards were kidnapped, with one being executed later.

According to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium:

“[Jaish al-Adl is] an extremist Salafi group that has since its foundation claimed responsibility for a series of operations against Iran’s domestic security forces and Revolutionary Guards operating in Sistan and Balochistan province, including the detonation of mines [link added] against Revolutionary Guards vehicles and convoys, kidnapping of Iranian border guards and attacks against military bases… Jaish al-Adl is also opposed to the Iranian Government’s active support of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which they regard as an attack on Sunni Muslims…Jaish ul-Adl executes cross-border operations between the border of Iran and Pakistan and is based in the Baluchistan province in Pakistan.”

Jaish al-Adl is certainly not riding alone on the terror train, as their cousins Ansar al-Furqan – a fusion of the Balochi Harakat Ansar and Pashto Hizb al-Furqan, both of which have been operating along Iran’s eastern border with Pakistan – have entered the anti-Iran fray in recent years.

According to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium:

“[Ansar al-Furqan] characterize themselves as Mujahideen aginst [sic] the Shia government in Iran and are linked to Katibat al Asad Al ‘Ilamiya; Al-Farooq activists; al Nursra Front (JN), Nosrat Deen Allah, Jaysh Muhammad, Jaysh al ‘Adal; and though it was denied for some time, appears to have at least personal relationships with Jundallah…The stated mission of Ansar al Furqan is ” to topple the Iranian regime…”

Here one sees the intersection of the war against Iran and the ongoing war in Syria.  Sunni extremist organizations such as Jaish al-Adl and Ansar al-Furqan see their war against Iran as an extension of the war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, itself part of the broader jihad against Shia Islam.

Weaponizing Iraq’s Kurds against Iran?

Thanks to WikiLeaks, it is well-documented fact that Israel, as well as the U.S., have long attempted to use Kurdish groups such as PJAK (an Iraqi Kurdish terror group) to wage continued war against Iran for the purposes of destabilizing its government.  At the same time, however, both Washington and Tel Aviv have been involved on the ground with the Kurdish Special Forces by attempting to use them against Iran.

As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh noted in 2004:

“The Israelis have had long-standing ties to the Talibani and Barzani clans [in] Kurdistan and there are many Kurdish Jews that emigrated to Israel and there are still a lot of connection. But at some time before the end of the year [2004], and I’m not clear exactly when, certainly I would say a good six, eight months ago, Israel began to work with some trained Kurdish commandoes, ostensibly the idea was the Israelis — some of the Israeli elite commander units, counter-terror or terror units, depending on your point of view, began training — getting the Kurds up to speed.”

Ethnic Kurdish Israelis protest outside the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 8, 2010.

Iran’s leaders have been keenly aware of the presence of Israeli special forces and intelligence on the ground in Kurdistan, knowing that ultimately it is Tehran in the crosshairs. And indeed, that has been the recent history of relations between Israel and the Barzani/Talabani-led Iraqi Kurds.  As pro-Israeli blogger Daniel Bart noted:

During most of that time there were usually some 20 military specialists stationed in a secret location in southern Kurdistan. Rehavam Zeevi and Moshe Dayan were among Israeli generals who served in Kurdistan…The Israelis trained the large Kurdish army of Mustafa Barzani and even led Kurdish troops in battle…The “secret” cooperation between Kurdistan and Israel is mainly in two fields. The first is in intelligence cooperation and this is hardly remarkable as half the world including many Muslim states have such relationships with Israel. The second is influence in Washington.”

Here again one sees the rich diversity of tactics employed by the U.S. and Israel against Iran. And while no one should be surprised that Washington and Tel Aviv would use regional antipathy and rivalries to gain leverage over and ultimately destabilize Iran, the use of terrorist groups as a weapon might come as a surprise to the uninitiated. But indeed, terrorism has been perhaps the most potent weapon in this war.

A new chapter in an old story

For Iran, the last seventy years have demonstrated that so-called “Western democracies” are actually anti-democratic and function as state sponsors of terrorism – precisely the terms hurled at Iran on a near-daily basis in the corporate media. From the CIA and MI6’s “original sin” of deposing Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in a coup d’etat in 1953, to imposing the U.S. puppet Shah with his secret police, torture chambers and forced disappearance of dissidents, the U.S. and its allies have been waging a terror war against the people of Iran for decades.

And what exactly is the great sin of the Iranian people? For one, they had the misfortune of residing in a country that sits atop trillions of dollars in energy reserves, making it a prime target for empires throughout the last century. Additionally, with its large, well-educated population, Iran is a lucrative market for Western corporations, so long as the pesky democratically elected government can be removed as an obstacle. And Iran, strategically located along both the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, bordering the Middle East and South Asia, forms a critical node in the projection of power for all Western empires, including the U.S.

For these reasons, the Islamic Republic is rightly seen by Tel Aviv and Riyadh as a regional rival, a growing power that challenges Israeli-Saudi hegemony in the region. So it should come as no surprise that Iran has been repeatedly victimized by Western-sponsored terrorism.

And so, when the Orange Buffoon currently occupying the White House, or any of the neocons who have held the reins of US foreign policy for years, blasts Iran as a sponsor of terror at precisely the moment the country is reeling from a national tragedy, it is rather revealing. Because, indeed, it is the US and its closest allies that have the long and sordid track record of sponsoring terrorism, not Iran.

So when Trump or any of the neocons who have held the reins of U.S. foreign policy for years blasts Iran as a sponsor of terror at precisely the moment the country is reeling from a national tragedy, it is rather revealing.

It is the U.S. and other Western powers that have allowed the ISIS (Daesh) to proliferate, backed al-Qaeda, and sponsored myriad terror groups in waging war against Iran. It is Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh that have cast Iran as the villain and painted terror groups as legitimate resistance against the “mullocracy.”

Here again, when it comes to terrorism and U.S. foreign policy, we see the pot calling the kettle black. However, given Iran’s unwillingness to be cowed by terror, no one should be surprised if the kettle finally boils over.  

Written by Eric Draitser

Democracy in America Is Pure Fantasy

Democracy in America Is Pure Fantasy: Stephen Lendman

By Stephen Lendman

“I’ll never live to see 9/11 justice,” says Stephen Lendman. The 9/11 attacks have changed the course of humanity, even so for sixteen years have not been minimally clarified but turned the world in a place full of fear and hate as the United States spreads its military bases all over the world, having 737 and more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet. 

Stephen Lendman, one of the world’s most respected analysts, speaks with Pravda Report on the consequences of those attacks, and President Trump’s denial of his promises during the presidential campaign to investigate the day that has killed more than one million people all over the world, and up to now bring innumerable contradictions and evident lies.

Edu Montesanti: Stephen Lendman, I’d like to thank you so very much for this interview. So what has been the consequences of the 9/11 attacks to the US and the world? 

Stephen Lendman: I call 9/11 the mother of all false flags. It was staged to let Washington wage endless wars of aggression against one sovereign independent state after another.

All nations America doesn’t control are vulnerable to wars or color revolutions for regime change. Dark forces in Washington want them all transformed into subservient puppet states, their resources looted, their people exploited.

EM: The current crisis of a nuclear war between Washington and Pyongyang is, in a large part, a consequence of 9/11 as the then-US President George Bush included North Korea in the Axis of Evil”, in his State of the Union address in 2002…

SL: The North Korea situation has been festering since the 1940’s, unconnected to 9/11 except for powers in Washington perhaps including the country among others it calls evil regimes.

America, NATO, Israel and their rogue allies are the only pure evil ones I know.

9/11 let America launch phony war on terror, waging war OF terror on humanity, supporting ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups, using them as imperial foot soldiers.

I’ve written a great deal on North Korea. I deplore wars, nuclear and other powerful weapons, but recognize the DPRK’s right to self-defense.

Throughout its history, it never attacked another country. It genuinely fears possible US aggression, why it’s pursued powerful deterrents to save the nation and its leadership from destruction.

EM: Campainger Donald Trump said that, once elected, he would investigate 9/11, what he has not been doing as president: Why do you think he has given up?

SL: All politicians lie, Trump like all the rest. Further, he’s been co-opted by dark forces in America. He’s an impotent front man for their agenda. The same is true for congressional leadership and most congressional members, along with the courts.

Democracy in America is pure fantasy. None exists. Powerful monied interests run things. People have no say. Elections are farcical when held. Dirty business as usual wins every time.

EM: We see people not willing to face the truth, especially Americans. 9/11 has become a taboo among people. Mike Berger has said me, “I have heard many times: ‘If it is true [an inside job], I just don’t want to know’.” Every 9/11 truther I have interviewed or talked to, mention the mainstream media brainwashing, and psychological barriers as the roots of it. What can you say about it?

SL: Democracy in America is pure fantasy. None exists. Powerful monied interests run things. People have no say. Elections are farcical when held. Dirty business as usual wins every time.

The major media in America are abominable, especially the New York Times, CIA-connected Washington Post, and farcical television news.

EM: Do you still believe in justice for 9/11?

PSL: I’ll never live to see 9/11 justice.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient. His newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” stephenlendman.org Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

Edu Montesanti is an independent analyst, researcher and journalist whose work has been published by Truth Out, Pravda, Global Research, Telesur, 9/11 Truth.org, Brazilian magazine Caros Amigos, and numerous other publications across the globe. www.edumontesanti.skyrock.com Contact atedumontesanti@jornalista.me

This article was originally published by PravdaReport where the featured image was sourced.

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