By Stuart Littlewood
Is this what we voted for?
Is this what Western diplomacy has come to in the 21st century?
Thank heaven for Dr David Morrison’s very timely briefing document entitled “Iran hasn’t got an active nuclear weapons program, says US intelligence”. Morrison is the noted political researcher from Northern Ireland. He sets out the position in easy-reading form so that even our dimmest politicians can understand.
As he points out in a covering note, US Intelligence believes Iran hasn’t got an active nuclear weapons program and Israeli Intelligence agrees. “When this became the view of US intelligence in 2007, President Bush had to abandon any thought of taking military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. As he wrote in his memoir Decision Points: ‘How could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?’
“Today, President Obama should be asking himself the same question, since US intelligence is still saying that Iran has no active nuclear weapons program.”
So too should Cameron, Hague and the entire EU.
Dr Morrison’s report boils down to this:
• According to the US intelligence community Iran hasn’t got an active nuclear weapons program and Israeli intelligence agrees.
• The US intelligence community set out this view in a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in November 2007 and it remains their opinion today. Their assessment was that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. “We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007 …” (NIEs express the consensus view of the 16 US intelligence agencies).
• The November 2011 IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear activities did not say that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program despite the impression given by the media and ministerial ranting.
• Iran has declared to the IAEA 15 nuclear facilities (including its uranium enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow) and 9 other locations. These are all being monitored by the IAEA. In its February 2012 report, the IAEA confirmed yet again there was no diversion of nuclear material from these facilities.
• The IAEA on 4 December 2007 noted that the NIE tallied with the Agency’s statements over the last few years that, although Iran still needs to clarify aspects of its nuclear activities, the Agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities.
• On 16 February this year, the present Director of the National Intelligence Agency, James Clapper, reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee: “We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons… We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons… That is the intelligence community’s assessment …”
• On the same day US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, gave the same assessment to another Congressional committee, saying that Iran has not made a decision on whether to proceed with development of an atomic bomb. A month earlier, when asked about Iran’s nuclear programme on Face the Nation on CBS, he replied: “Are they [the Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.”
So why the mis-match between intelligence and the loud clamour for war – economic and military? The answer, presumably, is because war is good.. good for business. Hence war can be highly beneficial to a senior politician’s post-political career.
A Middle East Nuke-free Zone… Really?
The international community, including the US and the EU, says it is committed to a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East. The only impediment, of course, is Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, which menace the whole region and perhaps beyond. Some experts believe that Israel has around 400 nuclear warheads and, naturally, various means of delivering them.
Iran has none.
Iran’s nuclear facilities are open to IAEA inspection; Israel’s are not.
Furthermore, UN Security Council resolution 487, in 1981, called on Israel “urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards”. Israel has ignored it for over 30 years.
Yet the US and the EU choose to impose vicious economic sanctions on Iran, and threaten military action, while taking no such measures against Israel… not even uttering a word of criticism.
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in December at the Conservative Friends of Israel Annual Business Lunch said: “I think Israel is right to identify this [Iran’s nuclear programme] as one of the greatest threats to peace and human life in the world at the moment… Any excuse that Iran had that there was a peaceful purpose for what they were doing has been blown out of the water. There was a report recently from the IAEA which made that clear.”
Did it? Has Osborne actually read the IAEA report or is he mouthing off some Tel Aviv script?
He said he recently authorized the imposition of new sanctions “stronger than any we’ve ever imposed before with a country” cutting off the British financial system from the Iranian banking system.
He added: “David Cameron, myself and other prominent members of the government, as well as the many Conservative MPs who are here are all good friends of Israel.”
And at a dinner of the Community Security Trust in London recently Osborne went so far as to announce his support for the present mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in the coming election, saying that Boris, like him, was a lifelong friend of Israel, and the leader of London should be committed to securing the interests of Israel.
As if any mayor of London should bother himself with the interests of a foreign racist regime! That is not what the people of London elect him to do, nor did the people of Britain elect Osborne to fly the Israeli flag on the roof of the Treasury.
What they say and do make it very clear that prime minister David Cameron, foreign secretary William Hague and Middle East minister Alistair Burt are also Israel’s ardent supporters. Cameron is a self-declared Zionist, Hague a member of the Friends of Israel since he was a juvenile in short trousers, and Burt was not just a member of that fan club but an officer.
Here’s a flavor:
Cameron: “We will not stand by and allow Iran to cast a nuclear shadow over Israel or the wider region” – CST Annual Dinner, 2 March 2011.
Cameron: “I’ve read the reports, and I have had the briefings: they are stockpiling enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon over time. Of course, that’s a huge threat to the world but it’s a particular threat to Israel. Since we came into power we have wasted no time in securing tougher sanctions. We backed tough sanctions in the United Nations – and we championed and led, at meeting after meeting, even tougher sanctions at the European level. Iran needs to know if they continue on this course they will feel international pressure and international isolation”. – CFI Annual Business Lunch, 13 December 2010
Hague: “Iran’s actions not only run counter to the positive change that we are seeing elsewhere in the region; they may threaten to undermine it, bringing about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East or the risk of conflict”. – Middle East Statement, 9 November 2011.
Burt: “Israel’s strength is a regional bulwark for good… Iran does not just threaten Israel. It threatens those who would be Israel’s allies in the Gulf, and in the Arab world who need Israel as part of a common cause against a regime dangerously loose… Israel’s strength is not a regional threat, but an anchor of regional stability. And the world needs Israel’s values, of tolerance and justice…”
– speaking to Bar-Ilan University, Israel, 10 January 2012
Burt: “We share Israel’s determination to prevent Iranian proliferation. Israel is not facing the threat of a nuclear Iran alone…” – same Bar-Ilan meeting.
Burt: “I care as someone who has for decades counted himself as an ardent friend of Israel.” – same Bar-Ilan meeting.
These people at the heart of British government claim Iran is pursuing military objectives through its nuclear programme but provide us with not a shred of evidence. In the circumstances their propaganda offensive linked with Washington’s sounds insane and is unraveling fast because no amount of media lies can hide a crude fabrication. Nobody’s buying it.
If our leaders have trouble understanding the NIE and IAEA reports, help is now at hand. I suggest they get themselves a copy of Dr Morrison’s ‘idiot’s guide’ before they land this country – and indeed the whole West – in more trouble than we can handle and bring down the world’s everlasting hatred on our heads.
Just as I was signing off I skimmed Obama’s annual speech to AIPAC. It’s a regular occasion where the American President has to account for his commitment to the Zionist Project and plead for his job. “Over the last three years, as president of the United States, I have kept my commitments to the state of Israel. At every crucial juncture, at every fork in the road, we have been there for Israel. Every single time.”
“When the Goldstone report unfairly singled out Israel for criticism, we challenged it. When Israel was isolated in the aftermath of the flotilla incident, we supported them… and we will always reject the notion that Zionism is racism. When one-sided resolutions are brought up at the Human Rights Council, we oppose them…”
And so forth. As an exercise in groveling it has no equal, and the theme is always the same: Israel’s security. But for “security” read “dominance”, requiring all the other nations in the region to remain vulnerable and unresisting to predatory Israel’s nuclear and military superiority, and its ever expanding borders.
“I’ve made it clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel’s security concerns are met,” says Obama. “That’s why we continue to press Arab leaders to reach out to Israel… That’s why just as we encourage Israel to be resolute in the pursuit of peace we have continued to insist that any Palestinian partner must recognise Israel’s right to exist and reject violence and adhere to existing agreements.”
If only Israel would do the same.
And who’d have thought Obama would stoop to making mischief with that old Ahmadinejad mis-quote – saying that “no Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that threatens to wipe Israel off the map.”
And what about this gem: “A nuclear-armed Iran would thoroughly undermine the nonproliferation regime that we’ve done so much to build.”
Obama tells AIPAC the only way to truly solve this problem and end the sanctions pain is for the Iranian government to forsake nuclear weapons, although, as he must have been told time and time again, they don’t have any while Israel is bristling with them.
Obama sure does cut a sad figure these days.
– Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine can now be read on the internet by visiting www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.