War party is alive, kickingby Dr Habib Siddiqui
TOM Ridge, the former governor of the state of Pennsylvania and Homeland Secretary under Bush Jr., has his own security consultancy (Ridge Global, LLC) and lobbying firm (Ridge Policy Group). He chairs the US Chamber of Commerce’s national security task force and sits on the boards of at least one military contractor (TechRadium, Inc.) and one company (Geospatial Corporation) that serves the oil and gas industry. Townsend chairs an industry association for intelligence contractors (the Intelligence and National Security Alliance) and is the head of lobbying for a holding company (MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.) that owns the military contractor AM General. Giuliani, the ex-mayor of New York City, has a security consulting firm (Giuliani Partners) and is a partner in a law firm with prominent oil and gas and lobbying practices (Bracewell & Giuliani). He used to own a private equity fund that teamed up with Bear Stearns to invest in security companies. Louis Freeh, the 5th director of the FBI, has a security and investigations consulting firm (Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC) and a law firm (Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP), where he represents, among other clients, a Saudi prince in a bribery investigation involving an arms deal. Shelton has served on the boards of directors of several military contractors, such as L-3 Communications, CACI International, Inc, and Protective Products of America, Inc, Bolton, Mukasey, Rendell, and Dean are affiliated with major law firms whose clients include not just standard military contractors but many other more mundane corporations, that benefit from military largesse. (Bolton served as Bush’s representative at the UN; he is also affiliated with several pro-war think tanks.)
It is no-brainer that for people in the national/homeland security business, war with Iran would be a cash cow. They and their clients stand to benefit handsomely. Just stoking fears of war can get money flowing, from studies to retrofitting naval vessels. As Goulka noted, ‘Bombing would be better ... But full-on war, that’s the mother lode. An invasion followed by an Iraq-style lingering occupation and reconstruction would open up hundreds of billions and possibly even trillions of taxpayer dollars for the grabbing.’
There are tell-tale signs everywhere that the war party is winning. And this, in spite of the dire warning last year from Robert Gates, the outgoing US defence secretary of state who told army cadets that ‘any future defence secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should “have his head examined!”.’
Hillary Rodham Clinton made clear last Saturday that time is running out for diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear programme and said talks aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon would resume in mid-April. With speculation over a possible US and/or Israeli military attack adding urgency to the next round of discussions in Istanbul set for this week, Clinton said Iran’s ‘window of opportunity’ for a peaceful resolution ‘will not remain open forever.’
She also expressed doubt about whether Iran has any intention of negotiating a solution that satisfies the US, Israel and other countries that believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.
This kind of loose war talks is rather disconcerting given the fact that both American and Israeli intelligence say that Iran has neither started to build a nuclear weapon nor even decided to do so in the future. Both also regard the Iranian government as a ‘rational actor’.
Already the Obama administration has imposed the worst kind of economic embargo on Iran that is making the daily lives of average Iranians miserable.
The pro-war party in the media is also doing its part to beat up the drums of the war. They are blaming Iran for every thing that is going wrong with American occupation forces in Afghanistan and Iraq including the Qur’an burning incident where she is accused of fuelling ‘the flames of violence’ by supporting the Afghan insurgency. Iran has denied any government-backed effort to foment unrest in Afghanistan, but American officials see a pattern of malign meddling to increase Iran’s influence across the Middle East and South Asia.
Günter Grass, Germany’s most famous living author and the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature, has seen it all. He recently published a 69-line poem, ‘What must be said’, in which he assailed Israel for its threats to attack Iran over its nuclear programme. ‘Why did I wait until now at this advanced age and with the last bit of ink to say: The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile?’ Grass writes in the poem. Grass is absolutely right in his assessment of Israel.
The 84-year-old Grass also criticised the planned delivery of submarines ‘from my country’ to Israel, a reference to Germany’s plan to deliver Dolphin-class submarines to Israel that are capable of carrying nuclear-armed missiles. Germany risks being complicit in a crime, Grass observed.
In the poem, published by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and other European dailies on Wednesday, Grass also called for an ‘unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear potential and Iran’s nuclear facility through an international entity that the government of both countries would approve.’ It is widely believed that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, although the IAEA has never been allowed to inspect Israel’s nuclear arsenal.
The Israeli government is very upset with Grass and declared that he is unwelcome in Israel. In response to the publication, the Israeli embassy in Berlin issued a statement offering its own version of ‘What must be said.’ ‘What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder,’ the statement reads. Others have also reacted. The Central Council of Jews in Germany has called the poem an ‘aggressive pamphlet of agitation.’ Grass, however, has found support from the head of the German PEN chapter, Johano Strasser, who also warned against exporting German weapons to Israel on Wednesday in a radio interview.
This is not the first time Grass has come out with critical views of Israel. In a 2001 interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he offered a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ‘Israel doesn’t just need to clear out of the occupied areas,’ he said at the time. ‘The appropriation of Palestinian territory and its Israeli settlements are also a criminal activity. That not only needs to be stopped – it also needs to be reversed. Otherwise there will be no peace.’ Again, Grass is right. But who is listening to him and who will stop Israel? Surely not those who could have made a difference to bring a peaceful solution to the problem!
As I have noted many times, peace cannot be attained in our world with policies that are outright hypocritical. The US and other nuclear Brahmins of our world cannot have one set of rules for goyim nations like Iran, and another set for the ‘master race of chosen people’ – the rogue state of Israel. The latter is the only country in the Middle East which has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and yet, the US and her western allies have failed in demanding that Israel accede to the NPT and throw its nuclear facilities open to IAEA oversight. With a Khazarite control of the citadels of power in the US, UK and France, the sad reality is we shall not realise a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, which has been a long-standing legitimate demand of the entire Arab world and peace-loving people of our planet. While the NPT conferences have been held every year since 1970, so far Israel has refused to budge on its nuclear policy.
In its dealings about matters relating to Iran’s nuclear programme, the Obama administration has been keen on buying the necessary support within the UN. It played a big role in making sure that its stooge Yukiya Amano was chosen as the chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, IAEA, when the term for Dr Mohamed ElBaradei ended in November 2010. The recent IAEA report uncritically purveying dubious ‘member state intelligence’ in the name of the IAEA to support a flimsy argument that Iran is building nuclear weapons should come as no surprise after the release a year ago by WikiLeaks of secret diplomatic cables in which US diplomats congratulated themselves on ‘the very high degree of convergence between [new IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s] priorities and our own agenda at the IAEA,’ as reported in November 2010 by the London Guardian.
In a cable in October 2010, the U.S. mission in Vienna went as far as describing Amano as ‘D.G. of all states, but in agreement with us.’ ‘Amano reminded [the] ambassador on several occasions that he would need to make concessions to the G-77 [the developing countries group], which correctly required him to be fair-minded and independent, but that he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.’
Amano has disgraced the impartial image of the IAEA and should step aside for the good the agency and our planet that is tired of war based on deceptions and lies. We need a nuclear weapons-free zone not just in the Middle East but also in the entire world. For all this to happen, we can start with a couple of things: elimination of massive stockpiles of nuclear arms (so that nobody feels threatened) and democratization of the UNSC taking away veto-wielding powers from the nuclear Brahmins (that are responsible for abusing their power for their own selfish reasons and not true peace).
Of course, none of these is going to happen. After all, such would be too much to ask of when the warmongers are controlling the levers of American government and media power! They are defiantly flaunting it, which, when you think of it, is quite a comment on our impotence and sad existence.
Dr Habib Siddiqui, a peace and rights activist, writes from Pennsylvania.
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