UQ Wire: Iran Next, by way of Charleston?
Iran Next, by way of Charleston?
By Peter Hollings
August 16, 2005
In the summer of 2002 . . . I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He . . . told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
- "Without a Doubt," Ron Suskind, New York Times Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004
Last January an article appeared in the New Yorker by noted investigative journalist Seymour Hirsch. In his article, "The Coming Wars," Hirsch quotes a intelligence official as saying:
"This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone," the former high-level intelligence official told me. "Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah-we've got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism."
The hawks in the Administration believe that it will soon become clear that the Europeans' negotiated approach cannot succeed, and that at that time the Administration will act. "We're not dealing with a set of National Security Council option papers here," the former high-level intelligence official told me. "They've already passed that wicket. It's not if we're going to do anything against Iran. They're doing it."
Hirsch's report about the war on Iran was confirmed elsewhere. For example, Scott Ritter, the former Marine officer and head weapons inspector in Iraq (ridiculed in the US media for insisting in 2002 that there were no Iraqi WMD), reports in "Sleepwalking to Disaster in Iran " that a deadline of June, 2005 had been established for the invasion. The Israelis were concerned that after the Iraqis received nuclear reactor fuel from the Russians, as scheduled for June, that there would be no stopping their progress toward nuclear weapons.
In another article ("The US War with Iran has Already Begun"), Ritter reports that, as in Iraq, hostile actions against Iran were begun far in advance of any public decision for war. Ritter states that, "The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities." In addition to this, the US currently has special operations forces as well as MEK operatives active in Iran. (The MEK previously worked for Saddam Hussein and is reportedly skilled in bomb assassinations and on the State Department list of banned terrorist organizations.) Also, in preparation for an attack, the US is constructing military facilities in Azerbaijan just to the north of Iran. And a Wayne Madsen Report appearing on August 10 states that the "U.S. [is] prepared to grab Iran's southwestern majority Arab and oil-rich province after saturation bombing of Iranian nuclear, chemical, and command, control, communications & intelligence (C3I) targets. According to sources within the German Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst - BND), the Bush administration has drawn up plans to hit Iran's nuclear, other WMD, and military sites with heavy saturation bombing using bunker buster bombs and tactical nuclear weapons. . . . The German intelligence comes from classified briefings provided by elements within the CIA that are concerned the neocons in the Bush administration will, in attacking Iran, set off a chain of events that will lead to world war."
However, despite all these intense preparations, June has come and gone without an invasion or major bombing campaign. The apparent holdup might not come as a surprise. With Cindy Sheehan on the front page, political and military conditions that were favorable after 9-11 don't presently permit starting another war, certainly not with troops for a land invasion. There would be massive public opposition and further erosion of Bush's standing in opinion polls. With current manpower shortages and all available forces committed in Iraq, our military does not have the troops. Diplomatically, it would be very difficult because the WMD rationale is not supported by facts (Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb, reports an article in the Washington Post based on a leaked CIA National Intelligence Estimate) and the American public as well as world opinion has grown wary of the war in Iraq and "fixed" intelligence. A potential route, UN Security Council approval, would likely be impossible due to a Russian veto. The Russians are, after all, constructing the Iranian nuclear plant and they are vitally interested in protecting their southern border and threatened, as is China, with the US military presence there. The only other legitimate causus belli would be for the US to be responding to an Iranian attack. Despite these obstacles to war, the US leadership is comprised of very powerful, secretive, determined and resourceful men, they claim to be "history's actors," and Bush remains committed to the Iranian mission. Bush is quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (August 14, 2005) as saying "'all options are on the table'. Bush, in an interview on Israeli TV, said the United States and Israel 'are united in our objective to make sure that Iran does not have a weapon.'" Despite the obstacles faced by the administration, they appear to be committed, but the only legitimate pretext would be as a response to Iranian aggression.
A possible vehicle for war against Iran came to light recently. It might also address these obstacles, but it is a contingent one. American Conservative magazine published a report by former CIA officer Philip Giraldi on August 1 stating that Cheney had directed STRATCOM to prepare a plan to attack Iran with bombs, including tactical nuclear weapons. Significantly, this attack would come "in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States." Justin Logan of the Cato Institute has the following comment on his personal blog:
What Is the Plan If There's Another 9/11?
According to Philip Giraldi, writing in the new issue . . . of the American Conservative < http://www.amconmag.com/> , it's to nuke Iran:
The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.
Umm, could the Emm Ess Emm [Main Street Media] pick this up? Especially considering that several of the hardened suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites are in the middle of Tehran? So does this mean we are going to nuke the capital of Iran? And in this case would we parachute in exiles to run the place afterward, or attempt a colonial administration? What effect would the radioactive fallout have on our decision?
The Bush administration's obstacles to initiating overt war are resolved in the STRATCOM plan contingent on another 9/11-type attack. Another 9/11 event could create a "new reality" with potentially immense public support for war; and a bombing campaign wouldn't require troops unless one were concerned about civil order and reconstruction in the aftermath. (Which have not been addressed with even modest success in either Afghanistan or Iraq.) The Bush administration skillfully used the tragedy of 9/11 to create public support for its policies as shown in the documentary, "Hijacking Catastrophe " (1). Public support would also take political pressure off the administration, restore Bush's political capital, and it might be possible to fire the special prosecutor in the Rove case without a large public outcry as occurred when that was done during Watergate. (The recent appointment of Bush's Yale classmate and fellow Skull and Bonesman to oversee the DOJ Special Prosecutor might facilitate this.) Still, the STRATCOM plan is contingent. It requires a 9/11-type trigger to create the "new reality," but, would Iran be foolish enough to attack the US? Or, as the STRATCOM officers feared, is Iran being "set up"?
In a seemingly unrelated incident, Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes, a four-star general was abruptly relieved from his command this past week. In a comment on the incident, the Washington Post reported that it was "apparently the only such demotion of a four-star general in modern times" and went on to state that "if there is a justification, it had better involve national security at the very highest level". There has been a lot of speculation about the cause for Gen. Byrnes demotion because the stated reason, adultery, seems insufficient as pointed out by the Post when compared with crimes such as torture. Byrnes, then separated and now divorced, was having an affair with a female civilian and only months away from retirement. However, he headed the Army's Training and Doctrine Command which has a nuclear incident drill in process in Charleston, SC. According to the NORTHCOM website
, "Here's the scenario. A seafaring vessel transporting a 10-kiloton nuclear warhead makes its way into . . . Charleston, S.C. Terrorists aboard the ship attempt to smuggle the warhead off the ship to detonate it. Is this really a possibility?" Several journalists have now implicated this planned nuclear drill in Gen. Bynes demotion.
Other sources however have offered a different explanation for Byrnes' dismissal which ties in with the Bush administration's unpopular plan to attack Iran and the staged nuclear attack in the US which would provide the pretext to do so.
According to reporter Greg Szymanski, anonymous military sources said that Brynes was the leader of a faction that was preparing to instigate a coup against the neo-con hawks in an attempt to prevent further global conflict.
And reporter Leland Lehrman is quoted saying that "army sources, including a former Captain in intelligence," told Lehrman that the imminent Northcom nuclear terror exercise based in Charleston, S.C, where a nuclear warhead is smuggled off a ship and detonated, was originally intended to 'go live' - as in the drill would be used as the cover for a real false flag staged attack.
[One hopes that "originally intended" means cancelled, but, still, another incident could easily be planned.]
Lehrman and others point out that military exercises provide convenient staging grounds for false terrorist attacks. For example, there were several air defense exercises in process on the morning of September 11, 2001. Some contend that the diversion of defensive resources, creation of false targets, and standing orders for a drill -- do not shoot -- created unusual conditions favorable to the successful attack. This line of reasoning may have led to speculation among these journalists' sources or others that led to identifying the drill in Charleston with a 9/11-type event. However, the words "originally intended" imply a more direct knowledge of a plan. Another issue is the natural human resistance to believing that our nation's leadership would even contemplate such a crime against their own citizens. However, there is contrary evidence in US history, and the notion that our leaders would not do this may unfortunately be considered naive, wishful thinking. The Northwoods Project, for example, provides striking evidence of fake attacks and terror incidents in the US being proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to justify an invasion of Cuba (2).
A lot depends on these reports. Some, like the reported Charleston plot, might be considered speculation. But the facts are that, for some reason, a cover story is being used to justify Gen. Byrnes' removal (3), we have evidence from multiple reliable sources that an attack on Iran is planned and evidence that the plan would require a 9-11-type event in the US. A new 9/11 would also remove the political obstacles to war and restore Bush's popularity. Moreover, the Washington Post reports that the US military has recently developed plans for martial law to be implemented within the US also following a 9-11-type incident. If such plans are being prepared only as a wise precaution in the event of another 9/11, why are they being prepared now, rather than back in late-2001 or 2002?
We may be headed for a crisis more grave than Watergate if an attack on US soil occurs. In addition to the immediate losses domestically, the incident would apparently trigger a nuclear attack on Iran and martial law domestically. As this progressed, we could expect massive popular opposition and a wave of actual terrorist attacks within the US. While most other nations would not likely oppose us openly, some would have both means and an incentive to covertly furnish terrorist groups with WMD. Given president Bush's nature and statements on Israeli TV, it looks as if this plan will go forward with "history's actors" manufacturing a "new reality" in the form of a new 9/11. Otherwise, within the current political environment, his Iranian plan cannot be executed. I am not alone in sensing that war is coming(4). Our predominantly Republican Congress is our last, best hope.
1) For an excellent commentary on the use of public fear to promote the Iraqi war, see "Is a Predatory Elite Shaping the War Scare of 2002 " on the Defense and the National Interest website - http://www.d-n-i.net/ .
2) It's true that Robert Kennedy had Northwoods cancelled, but any supposition that the Bush administration would do likewise assumes that they operate on the same moral plane. "False flag" plans are not ordinarily declassified, but, under Clinton's less-restrictive declassification and FOIA policies, documents related to the Northwoods Project were released. The National Security Archive provides the following summary - http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20010430/ :
This document, titled "Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba" was provided by the JCS to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962, as the key component of Northwoods. Written in response to a request from the Chief of the Cuba Project, Col. Edward Lansdale, the Top Secret memorandum describes U.S. plans to covertly engineer various pretexts that would justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba. These proposals - part of a secret anti-Castro program known as Operation Mongoose - included staging the assassinations of Cubans living in the United States, developing a fake "Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington," including "sink[ing] a boatload of Cuban refugees (real or simulated)," faking a Cuban airforce attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a "Remember the Maine" incident by blowing up a U.S. ship in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage.
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba [includes cover memoranda], March 13, 1962, TOP SECRET, 15 pp. http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/news/20010430/northwoods.pdf
3) It is interesting to note that Gen. Byrnes has been told by the Army that he is subject to further prosecution (as if his punishment for adultery has not been enough). There is a possibility that the motivation for this is to enforce a gag order.
4) Niall Ferguson, a Harvard history Professor and specialist in imperialism, addressed a Merrill Lynch conference in Europe recently. The event was covered in the Wall Street Journal Europe in an article, "The Big Picture: Circa 1914 --- Historian Sees Similarities In Today's Investment Risks And Pre-World War I Era":
As for geopolitics, the first era of globalization was marked by "a dominant but financially overstretched global power, rival powers that defined themselves only in opposition to the dominant power, new regional powers with global aspirations, the Great Game in Central Asia [then over access to India, now to oil], a proliferation of `failed states' and state-sponsored armed groups," Mr. Magnus [George Magnus, senior economic advisor at UBS] says. Then the global power was the U.K., now the U.S. Sound familiar?
Add in anti-Western armed organizations -- in the 19th century, they followed the teachings of Karl Marx, today Osama bin Laden -- and "there is a striking resemblance between what is happening now and what was happening 100 years ago," Prof. Ferguson says.
Of course, any parallels go only so far and no one is saying investors should dive under the bed. Still, in the years preceding the First World War, investors chose to ignore the threats that were brewing. The well-oiled global economic and financial machine had fostered a "sense of exaggerated security," Prof. Ferguson says. That's a valuable lesson to remember today.
In fact, back then the mood was so complacent that the first mention of the possibility of even a small war the Harvard academic could find in the financial press was an article in The London Times of July 22, 1914. That was just seven days before the Austro-Hungarian artillery began bombarding Belgrade and less than two weeks before Britain declared war against Germany. Major European financial markets closed for the rest of the year.
"Everybody thinks the biggest financial crisis was the  Wall Street crash and its aftermath," Prof. Ferguson says. "But 1914 was far, far worse . . . if they had allowed the markets to reopen, there would have been a complete wipeout."
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