Archive for the ‘IRAN’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENTS: TO AN ARTICLE BY PATRICK COCKBURN ON AMERICA’S COMING DECLINE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PATRICK COCKBURN

 

“The US Has Faced Decline Before – But Nothing Like What’s to Come”

 

I regard this as one of Mr. Cockburn’s more perceptive columns.

He has definitely captured some important truths here.

They are hard ones for Americans to accept.

I find it remarkable how well China is handling matters like information and assistance to the world.

It comes at a time of tireless misinformation and blundering from American leadership.

And the whole world can plainly see that.

Also, despite all the pain and suffering now and in the coming months, the US busies itself still with pointless, unnecessary hostilities in Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and many other locations, making yet more people more miserable.

By contrast, there’s China offering cooperation, partnership, and help.

Xi’s intelligence and mild manner couldn’t be in more contrast to the grimaces and stream of noisy errors from Trump.

Putin very much also is making an effort abroad but Russia’s resources are considerably less than China’s.

We are fortunate to have two such gifted leaders to help offset some of the chaotic rumblings of Washington.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NEW SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON IRAN   Leave a comment

 
JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

 

Hillary Clinton has steadily moved down from “crippling” to tamer language, and the simple reason is that at first she was nodding to the Israel Lobby and now she is dealing with the reality of other Security Council members who do not view things the same way.

I believe sanctions rarely work, and rightly so: they are an inappropriate interference, invariably by America, into the economic affairs of others.

The interests of others, especially China and Russia, are not the same as the interests of the United States. Others have incentives to go around sanctions – after all, that kind of effort is the essence of capitalism at work.

There is a very great deal of hypocrisy and hubris in all such efforts as that against Iran.

I would love a world in which nuclear weapons either did not exist or were effectively neutralized by a new technology.

But we do not have such a world, and I am not comforted by the United States – a nation with the world’s worst record of aggression and overthrows and imperial expansion over the last fifty years – claiming for itself the role of God in international affairs.

And I am equally disturbed – as we all should be – by Israel’s aping the American attitude in its area of the world, playing the role of miniature geo-political replica of a superpower, determining everything that happens within a thousand miles of its borders and doing so with an illicit stock of nuclear weapons.

I cannot stress enough that Iran’s entire modern period is one without its ever attacking anyone. Indeed, it fought the aggression of others – egged on by the same United States – and in the 1950s had its democratic government overthrown by the CIA complicit with British oil interests.

And then America supported for many years, and armed to the teeth, a soulless dictator whose secret police, Savak, used to pull out the fingernails of victims in their basement torture chambers.

And today on Iran’s border, Americans, who do not belong there, occupy a neighboring country. Israel is reported to have two or three of its German-supplied Diesel submarines, armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, off the coast. America also has an armada there.

How does that look from the Iranian perspective, the world’s two biggest bullies waving weapons and harsh rhetoric at them regularly? Again, an Iran which has no record of aggression?

I’d want nuclear weapons too, and so long as others are free to brandish them, it is the correct response.

It is almost certain that the rise of another nuclear power in the region will stabilize, rather than de-stabilize, things. Europe reached a peaceful state under MAD, and there is every reason to believe the same would be true in this region.

It would, of course, mark the end of Israel’s mini-reign of terror over the region, but that would be a good thing. As we can plainly see in the Israeli case, bullies do not make peace, and well-armed bullies with no one able to resist them, are downright dangerous and continuously de-stabilizing.

The example of North Korea is extremely important. If ever there were a government which has behaved in odd ways, it is the world’s last Stalinist state. Yet clearly North Korea is not going to use its nuclear weapons to attack anyone: that would be national suicide. But clearly too, America does not treat North Korea with the same contempt it does some other states, and it is not going to invade the place any time soon.

All the Israeli propaganda about Iran is of the poorest kind, effective propaganda always being based on some truth. Iran threatens no one. President Ahmadinejad’s statements in the past have been deliberately mistranslated, and, besides, the President in modern Iran has absolutely no military authority. The man likes to poke fun at the West’s shibboleths, but that makes him neither a criminal nor a danger.

At any rate, when a country like Israel – which has attacked every neighbor that it has, many twice, occupies the land of others for over forty years, imposes whatever rules it pleases such as blockades or check points or identity cards or Berlin walls – shouts continuously about a country with Iran’s peaceful record, it would be laughable, were it not dangerous. In any event, it is not credible in the least.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT IRAN HAS A SECOND NUCLEAR ENRICHMENT PLANT: SO WHAT?   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Even if Iran were working towards a weapon – something that is not at all clear – why would that be so terrible?

Israel has had a nuclear weapons program since about the 1960s.

That program is totally illegal and has always been hidden. Only gradually, with bits and pieces of information, do we understand the Israeli program.

Israel has abused its nuclear weapons status in several ways over the years.

It has frequently threatened its neighbors, using its weapons to intimidate virtually the entire Middle East. For example it has fitted its small fleet of German Diesel-powered submarines with American Harpoon missiles adapted to carry a nuclear warhead.

Israel participated in proliferation, a case as bad as anything done by Pakistan’s renegade scientist, in its strategic agreements with former apartheid South Africa, which briefly became a nuclear power thanks to Israel.

Israel has used secrets around nuclear weapons, stolen by spies from the United States, to trade with places like the former Soviet Union. That’s why Jonathon Pollard likely will die in prison, the American intelligence and military establishment considering him the worst spy in American history.

Israel has initiated wars and conflicts with every neighbor that it has.

Iran’s entire modern history is peaceful. It was forced to fight a bloody war with Saddam Hussein who was helped by the United States – and possibly secretly Israel – in that terrible war.

Iran is surrounded by nuclear powers, including of course America’s occupation of Iraq after killing a million people there.

Europe grew for decades under MAD, and today represents a great and thriving set of societies.

A form of MAD in the Middle East would also help peace.

I see only two likely scenarios for Israel ever to agree to what the rest of the world calls peace, to stop attacking everyone, to cease its apartheid, and to treat its neighbors with respect.

One is for the United States to stop subsidizing Israel and make some demands. This is a virtually fantasy scenario. Israel’s carefully-groomed influence in Congress makes it impossible.

The other scenario is for Israel to have a competitor that reduces its ability to behave the high-handed bully that it now is. A large state like Iran having nuclear weapons could have just that effect. MAD in the Middle East would be beneficial, not harmful – at least from the viewpoint of anyone other than Israeli Imperialists and their supporters.

And with all the noisy propaganda we read and hear around Iran’s extremists (this is actually if anything a very conservative government) everyone should remember that the only country ever to use nuclear weapons was the one represented by Obama, using them twice, both times on civilians.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HARPER’S IDEALOGUES GET UP AND LEAVE WHEN AHMEDINEJAD SPEAKS AT THE UNITED NATIONS   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

George Bush was allowed to speak.

He killed a million people in Iraq and made refugees of another two million.

Ahmadinejad has killed no one.

Bush killed many tens of thousands in Afghanistan – at least 50,000 just in Kabul.

Ahmadinejad has killed no one.

Israel just killed 1400 people in Gaza and still keeps them penned up like animals.

Ahmadinejad killed no one.

Israel killed 1400 people in Lebanon, including a Canadian officer doing his duty.

Ahmadinejad killed no one.

Israel steals more homes and land and water every day in the West Bank.

Ahmadinejad has stolen nothing.

I do think it fair to ask whether we indeed live in a rational world or one governed by mindless ideologues like Harper?

The game that is being played here with the “agree” and “disagree” buttons couldn’t tell us more clearly.

A gang of mindless supporters of Israel’s every bloody excess works the buttons to create large and meaningless numbers.

And just so with the general behavior of Israel and her mindless supporters like Harper. The tide of world opinion is so clearly against them and growing more so in the face of so much injustice and brutality, yet they insist on shouting against the wind.

As the CIA has reported, Israel has maybe another 20 years before its own contradictions collapse it.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PROPAGANDA POSING AS ANALYSIS – THE CASE OF TOM FLANAGAN AND GENOCIDE   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY TOM FLANAGAN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

When I read this piece by Tom Flanagan, I can only wonder at the basis of tenure in our universities, for, truly, here are bits of weak observation, clichés, and half-truths pasted together and offered as analysis. Worse, there is a thread of partisan propaganda holding the bits together like a string of beads.

“Harper announced that his Conservative government would adhere to the national interest in formulating Canada’s foreign policy…”

I am sorry, but anyone who genuinely understands the history and foreign affairs knows that that has, everywhere and always, been the basis of foreign policy. To say anything else is a declaration of just plain ignorance.

Genuine national interests do change over time – after all, your interests are different when you are exporting, say, fighter planes than when you are exporting wheat. But also, and very importantly, yet something Flanagan conveniently leaves out, people’s and government’s perceptions of what are the national interests change, often for no more reason than political ideology.

The authors of the report Flanagan pretends to analyze are “not mushy-headed idealists obsessed with soft power…” so they deserve some attention. Is it usual for a professor intending to be taken seriously in what follows to use the kind of pejorative language and straw-man argument we’d get from Rush Limbaugh?

Yes, if you are a neo-con propagandist.

“These people deserve our attention when they talk about genocide.”
Good God, “genocide” is one of the most over-worked words in our contemporary language, and, far more importantly, concern about it is always used by people like Mr. Flanagan as a tool for other purposes. This is no small point.

No power or great power ever goes to war over perceived genocide.

Most importantly, has the US, a Frankenstein of military power if ever there was one, ever opposed genocide, other than in words? It is the US which holds political and economic sway over international agencies like the UN, and it is the US which has the military power to do something.

We have had several authentic genocides in the modern period.

We had a genocide in Rwanda (around a million killed). The US simply refused to use the word internally so that they could ignore it.

We had a genocide in Cambodia (over a million killed), caused by America’s de-stabilizing of the once peaceful country with its bombing and secret invasion. When tough little Viet Nam went in to do something, the US stood back and said, ‘See, we told you, the domino theory at work!’

We had a genocide in Indonesia with the fall of Sukarno. Five hundred-thousand people, vaguely identified as communists, had their throats cut and their bodies dumped into rivers.

Not only did the US not react, there were officials at state department phones late into the night transmitting names of candidates.

I would argue, too, that America’s slaughter in Vietnam was a genuine genocide. About three million were killed, mostly civilians, for no reason other than embracing the wrong economic system.

Many aspects of Bush’s “war on terror” have assumed aspects of genocide. Ever heard of the three thousand prisoners in U.S. care who were driven out to the desert in sealed vans to suffocate by General Dostum’s men while American soldiers watched, picking their noses? This came after Secretary Rumsfeld publicly declared Taleban prisoners should be killed or walled-away for life.

‘Never again’ is a slogan – we’ve proved that – and, like all slogans, it is selectively applied to sell something, just as Flanagan does here.

Great standing armies have virtually no record of doing worthy things.

They do, very much, have a record of fighting pointless wars, intervening where they do not belong, and even intimidating or overthrowing governments.

Flanagan’s “beyond our power to fulfill” is nothing but a plea for more militarism and closer association with a United States which has overthrown governments in Iran, Guatemala, Chile, and a dozen other places as well as killing millions in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq for absolutely no good purpose.

Great power like that is something to be very wary of, not to embrace.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ANSWERS TO SOME ILLOGICAL RESPONSES TO CRITICISMS OF AMERICA AROUND LOCKERBIE RELEASE AND THE CAUSES OF 9/11   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Good God, what a lack of logic we see below.

Saying something was vengeance does not communicate approval, but how rarely we see the word “vengeance” used in all discussions of this matter. Americans prefer to play the innocent victim, and it is an act that has grown tired, unconvincing, and even offensive.

The point is clearly that the constant bellowing about mass murder from America completely ignores America’s own blood-soaked record of murder.

Indeed America’s record is unquestionably the bloodiest of any state or organization since the death of Stalin. Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Iran, Chile, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and so many other, perhaps lesser, horrors over the last half century.

America has killed millions and millions with its Frankenstein military, almost all of it to no good purpose, and Americans accept that all this carnage is for their defense and thump their chests when anyone questions it.

For the writer who seems not to understand the attack of 9/11, it had several completely obvious causes (and, please, causes are not the same as justifications), all of which, from the perpetrators point of view, represent an aggressive assault on the Muslim world.

What’s more, these were all avoidable. They reflect that poisonous cocktail of American arrogance, ignorance of others, bullying, and bombing those they don’t like.

First, there was the US moving its troops into territory viewed as sacred by conservative Muslims. Putting women in army fatigues into Saudi Arabia was the rough equivalent of having a naked go-go dancer on the stage at a Baptist revival meeting.

America’s horrific past treatment of Iraq everyone seems to have forgotten.

The first Gulf War was engineered, Hussein having got a wink and a nod about reclaiming the territory of Kuwait, much as Israel’s Six Day War was engineered, and the locals understand that even if our press treats these events differently.

The U.S. assault with B-52s killed a vast number of poor Iraqi conscripts in their pitiful sand castles. The bodies on the desert were in such huge piles they reportedly resembled the discoveries of the first Nazi death camps.

Concerned about public relations, the US hid the facts, bulldozing the bodies into mass graves (much as was done, by the way, when 3,000 prisoners were murdered and buried in Afghanistan by the bloodthirsty General Dostum under U.S. approval and control).

Still, with the end of the brief but bloody war, Iraq’s agony was not over.

The heavy restrictions the US heartlessly kept on Iraq killed a vast number of innocents over a decade, thousands and thousands of children. The details were largely suppressed in the Western press, but hardly in the Middle East.

The CIA’s secret war against the Russians in Afghanistan played a major role. All knowledgeable intelligence people use the term “blowback” to describe what happened in 9/11. Local fighters were equipped and given intelligence to the tune of several billion dollars, all the while feeding the conservative Muslim fighters with propaganda that the Russians were infidels invading their lands.

The CIA’s connection with some of these people continued right up until 9/11. That is why the men who destroyed the buildings had legitimate U.S. visa, again something never emphasized in our press. There was a complex, unknown program of training certain of these people in the U.S., and it backfired.

Unquestionably America’s one-sided support of Israel and its bloody excesses – Israel behaves as an exact geo-political miniature of the US in the Middle East, having attacked, often more than once, every neighbor it has – contributed to immense anger and frustration.

The horrors of Israel’s big invasion of Lebanon were also downplayed here, but not in the Middle East.

Of course, in the background, there was the overthrow of Iran’s democratic government, a joint American-British project, and the installation of that torturing vampire, the Shah, whose Savak used to pull prisoners’ finger nails out in their basement torture chambers, something we never heard any complaints about from that human-rights loving land of America.

And later, the U.S. actively encouraged the Iran-Iraq War so that Iran would be worn down (they lost a million men), assisting Iraq with weapons and intelligence.

Later, of course, the U.S. invaded a neighbor with a major border with Iran and still occupies it.

The U.S. has never stopped bashing Iran, and today allows Israel to threaten this country that has never in its modern era attacked anyone.

There is a far more complex record than I can summarize here, but any clear-thinking person knows exactly why 9/11 happened.

They also know that the U.S. has taken such savage revenge – killing more than a million people and ignoring all international law and order – that the original crime is fading in significance.

How immensely uninformed, or just plain dishonest, it is for anyone to claim they do not understand what caused 9/11.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ISRAEL AND MIDEAST PEACE AND IRAN   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE TIMES

Israel has always been the main obstacle to a fair peace, and the reason for that is its desire to absorb the West Bank and Gaza without the people living there, as well as its desire to control events for a thousand miles around.

Israel’s idea of negotiations – under every government, left or right – has been that the other side should make every major concession before “talks” can even begin, a rather ridiculous position for any negotiation.

With the threats against Iran, Israel’s desire to control events everywhere for a thousand miles around has reached its most dangerous period.

An attack on Iran, a country which has attacked no one in its entire modern history, would be absolutely destabilizing to the world. In constantly threatening this, Israel is beginning to resemble a black hole absorbing everything around it.

It has attacked at one time or another every neighbor it has. It has violated international law and agreements again and again, including building its own threatening nuclear force and, in the past, assisting nuclear proliferation through its arrangements with apartheid South Africa.

It isn’t satisfied that Bush destroyed Iraq, in large part for Israel’s benefit, it wants a list of other places neutralized or destroyed. Sharon asked for attacks on Iran and Syria too.

A nuclear Iran would actually benefit peace in the region, just as MAD kept peace in Europe through decades of turmoil. Israel would lose its absolute threat over all its neighbors and might even become amenable to a realistic peace.