Skip to main content

Trump's moves on Iran are from the Iraq war playbook

by Juan Cole

I teach a lot of 18-year-olds, so I am keenly aware that a whole generation has come up that did not live through the Bush propaganda campaign against Iraq of 2002-2003. And, of course, a lot of people who did live through it have forgotten its details or how complicit corporate media were in amplifying the campaign. That is, the charge against social media today that it reinforces extremism by its algorithms could be equally well laid against elements of the U.S. press throughout history. Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst may have not said things like, “You supply the photos, I’ll supply the war,” but they certainly behaved that way in propagandizing for the shameless Spanish-American War. Bill Keller at The New York Times was their 21st century successor.

Here is how the 2003 war was gotten up against Iraq.

1) Conspiratorial groups were formed, like the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which included then Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney and Israel lobby uber-hawks like Bill Kristol, Bob Kagan, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams and Frank Gaffney, who were known as neoconservatives because they had been Blue Dog Democrats but switched to Reaganism when they assessed that there were no Democratic jobs in government to be had for a long time after 1981. The Project for a New American Century and other cells began trying to put pressure on the Clinton administration to take a belligerent stand against Iraq, in hopes of provoking an Iraqi counterstrike that could then escalate. They used their contacts among billionaires like Rupert Murdoch, to enlist his media, and worked their people in Congress against the president. Kristol is now trying out for Conscience of the Nation because he dislikes Trump.

2) Other governments were enlisted. A 1996 white paper, “A Clean Break,” was prepared by neoconservatives for incoming Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu that urged getting up a war on Iraq, re-installing the Hashemite monarchy there, and then using the Hashemites to influence Lebanon’s Shiites toward a more pro-Israeli stance. Completely weird and unbalanced proposals are not the exclusive province of Trump.

3) Expatriate Iraqis were enlisted for dirty tricks and disinformation campaigns. Someone called “Curveball” was given to German intelligence, who appear to have fallen for him. Ahmad Chalabi, angling to come back to Iraq as its U.S.-installed supreme leader, misled journalists, intelligence officials, State Department officials, Congress and virtually anyone he could get hold of. Chalabi once made doggerel verse to insult me, which means I did my job in exposing him. Multiple disinformation modes were established for various Western intel agencies, so that they all reported these sketchy allegations about an Iraqi nuclear and biological weapons program that did not exist.

4) Once Bush came to power, members of the cell like Douglas Feith (someone with ties to Israeli settlers and ideologically aligned with the Israeli Likud Party) were put in positions of power in the government and used their position to establish intragovernmental black ops units like the Office of Special Plans. Since the CIA and State Department often filtered out the wilder intel reports they were being fed by the expatriate operatives, Feith had his people go back through the raw intelligence and cherry-pick the planted reports, then illegally briefed them to the rest of the U.S. government. I was widely attacked by the neocons for saying that having a Likudnik as the third man at the Pentagon was a nightmare for U.S. national security, and for pointing out that an acolyte of Slobodan Milosevic being given such a position would likewise be troubling. Not sure, in light of all we know, why that should have been a controversial statement.

5) PNAC and other hawks pressured Clinton to bomb Iraq in 1998. Clinton told U.N. weapons inspectors to withdraw before the strikes. They were never sent back in. The U.S, press, whether from incompetence or malice or being secretly bribed, continually thereafter said that Saddam “kicked out” the inspectors, which was an unadorned falsehood. Having deprived Iraq of active inspectors who could serve as on-the-ground eyewitnesses that there were no weapons programs, the Iraq war hawks were in a much better position to do propaganda.

6) The Iraq War clique glommed on to George W. Bush, especially once the latter unwisely made Cheney vice president, and inserted themselves into the 10 key political positions in his government, then gradually pushed him toward a war.

7) The neoconservatives and others who wanted to break Iraq’s legs blamed the al-Qaida attacks of Sept. 11 on the secular socialist anti-fundamentalist government of the Iraqi Baath Party, and managed to convince most Americans of the completely ridiculous charge.

8) They made a case for regime change over Iraq’s human rights record or its regional role, though countries like Saudi Arabia or Israel with similar profiles were exempted from criticism.

9) Bush, Condi Rice, Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld tried to scare Americans [by saying] that Saddam was two years or less from having an atomic bomb (he had no program). This campaign convinced Congress to vote for a war.


Why these networks were so invested in an attack on Iraq isn’t clear. The neoconservatives were probably just acting as capos for the Likud Party, breaking the legs of a rival gang in the Middle East. Cheney and his oil circles likely wanted to lift congressional sanctions on Iraqi petroleum and do bids on Iraqi fields (this was before fracking). Evangelicals wanted to open Iraq as a mission field, fondly imagining that the Shiites of Najaf had been yearning to return to the Christianity Iraqis largely abandoned during the first four centuries of Muslim rule, from the seventh through the 11th centuries. The military-industrial complex wanted to make and sell large numbers of weapons and bombs. Various groups had their own motives and they all came together around Cheney.

I probably don’t need to say that people like John Bolton who were part of the original plot have reemerged, or that the People’s Jihadi Organization (MEK) is an Iranian cell that is playing the role of Chalabi and has Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Rudy Giuliani and others in its back pocket. It has strong connections to Israeli intelligence. I don’t need to point out that Iran is being maneuvered into expelling U.N. inspectors so that a propaganda campaign can be waged. The United Arab Emirates, part of the current plot, even had its house organ Alarabiya do a “documentary” monstrously alleging that Iran was behind 9/11.

The stage is set.

Source, links:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Greece is about to become the blueprint for modern feudalism

globinfo freexchange
After almost ten years of an unprecedented crisis, Greece has been trapped into an ongoing, slow motion recession. The economy still struggling hard to recover, with unemployment and national debt being permanently in a red alarm mode.
As has been already pointed out, the result of the recent Greek national elections could be characterized "paradoxical" mainly for two reasons: 
First, the voters gave a clear governmental order to one of the traditional powers of the old political system, which are highly responsible for the Greek crisis that erupted in 2010. Several top names of the new government, and even New Democracy leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, have been accused of being involved in various corruption scandals, in the not so distant past.

Second, the fact that the voters elected perhaps the most fanatically neoliberal government ever. This means that Mitsotakis administration is expected to implement the brutal neoliberal policies imposed by Greece&…

How Joe Biden’s privatization plans helped doom Latin America and fuel the migration crisis

On the campaign trail, Joe Biden has boasted of his role in transforming Colombia and Central America through ambitious economic and security programs. Colombians and Hondurans tell The Grayzone about the damage his plans did to their societies.
by Max Blumenthal
Part 8 - Gutting public healthcare, driving more migration
The Alliance for Prosperity also commissioned the privatization of health services through a deceptively named program called the Social Protection Framework Law, or la Ley Marco de Protección Social.

Promoted by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández as a needed reform, the scheme was advanced through a classic shock doctrine-style episode: In 2015, close associates of Hernández siphoned some $300 million from the Honduran Institute for Social Services (IHSS) into private businesses, starving hospitals of supplies and causing several thousand excess deaths, mostly among the poor.
With the medical sector in shambles, Hondurans were then forced to seek healthcare from …

As Boris Johnson unleashes ultimate threat against Bremain capitalist faction, the British working class is suddenly in front of a unique opportunity

globinfo freexchange

In the merciless endo-capitalist war around Brexit, Boris Johnson decided to unleash the ultimate threat against Bremain capitalist faction. That is, a snap election with the 'danger' of a Labour victory under Jeremy Corbyn, which would be neoliberal capitalists' worst nightmare.
As already pointed out, despite the capitalist civil war, both major factions of the British capital remain deeply neoliberal in their ideological core. And therefore, both factions see a potential Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, as a major threat.
Indeed, as ZeroHedgereported
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces the prospect of his rule being cut short, wealthy Britons have a message for Johnson's most likely successor: A 'no deal' Brexit makes no difference to them. But if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn becomes PM, they will flee in droves, taking their money with them

[...]

The chairman of one Swiss asset manager who helps wealthy Britons shield th…

Tucker Carlson accidentally promotes one of the most anti-capitalist, real-Left positions!

globinfo freexchange 
We wouldn't believe it if we wouldn't have seen it and hear it with our own eyes and ears, but the following phrase came out from Tucker Carlson's mouth:

                    Every minute you are angry about race, is a minute you are not thinking about class, which, of course, is the real divide in this country. Working class people of all colors have a lot more in common - infinitely more in common with each other, than they do with some overpaid MSNBC anchor. And if you are allowed to think about that for long enough, you might start get unauthorized ideas about economics. And that would be disruptive to a very lucrative status quo. So, they whip you into a frenzy of racial fear so that it never enters your mind. It's a diversion. Everyone hates each other, they get to keep their money.
Here's why they're pushing racial division: so you won't notice the real divide, which is economic. pic.twitter.com/ZVLvQn2u9O — Tucker Carlson (@Tuck…

Roger Waters for Julian Assange

globinfo freexchange
On Monday, 3 Sept, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd will perform his classic 'Wish You Here' for Julian Assange outside the Home Office (interior ministry) in Marsham Street in the heart of London. John Pilger will be speaking. Join us at 6pm in solidarity with Britain's political prisoner.

On Monday, 3 Sept, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd will perform his classic 'Wish You Here' for Julian #Assange outside the Home Office (interior ministry) in Marsham Street in the heart of London. I will be speaking. Join us at 6pm in solidarity with Britain's political prisoner. pic.twitter.com/Lytg2GCZVQ — John Pilger (@johnpilger) August 30, 2019


Καταιγίδα επιχειρήσεων αποπροσανατολισμού από το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς με τη βοήθεια της τραπεζομιντιακής χούντας

globinfo freexchange

Ο μηχανισμός του εγχώριου νεοφιλελεύθερου καθεστώτος επιδόθηκε τις τελευταίες μέρες σε έναν καταιγισμό επιχειρήσεων αποπροσανατολισμού προς τέρψιν του πόπολου, το οποίο έδωσε αυτοδυναμία στην πολιτική του συνιστώσα. Δηλαδή, στη χειρότερη δεξιά της μεταπολίτευσης.
Μετά το ταξίδι Μητσοτάκη στη Γαλλία, όπου είδαμε ένα χιλιοπαιγμένο έργο, το σόου του αποπροσανατολισμού ξεκίνησε από το Μάτι. Εκεί είχαμε ένα διπλό χτύπημα. Από τη μια τον Μητσοτάκη να ποζάρει στα καμμένα, διατυμπανίζοντας τη δήθεν αποτελεσματική του κυβέρνηση. Από την άλλη, την διαφήμιση των "καλών ιδιωτών", οι οποίοι ως καλοί Σαμαρείτες, ανέλαβαν δήθεν αφιλοκερδώς (Αφιλοκερδώς ΑΕ, όπως έλεγε και ο αξέχαστος Τζιμάκος), να καθαρίσουν την περιοχή από την επικίνδυνη καύσιμη ύλη.
Αμέσως μετά, απολαύσαμε άλλη μια κωμωδία από τις δυνάμεις καταστολής που έκαναν έφοδο στα Εξάρχεια για να τα "καθαρίσουν" από τους μετανάστες. Οι νεοφιλέλεδες της δεξιάς και τα ακροδεξιά δεκανίκια τους είναι μανο…

Citibank blocks funds for insulin: more than 450,000 Venezuelans affected

The US bank Citibank blocked, in August this year, part of the funds destined to import 300 thousand doses of insulin, a criminal act that affects more than 450 thousand patients, the Venezuelan Ministry of Economy and Finance reported.

On the other hand, the BSN Medical laboratory, based in Colombia, after receiving payment for the purchase of 2 million units of antimalarial treatment, denied the clearance of the drugs.
The ministry indicated that this fact caused the Swiss bank UBS AG to block the transactions made by the country with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), destined for the purchase of vaccines for the immunization program.
Given this circumstance, Venezuela and PAHO sought alternatives with banks from other countries, although this situation led to a 4 month delay in the immunization program.

The national government also revealed that other pharmaceutical transnationals such as Pfizer and Novartis refuse to sell medicines, reagents and supplies to Venezuela.
F…

The untold Socialist history of the United States

globinfo freexchange

Abby Martin spoke with renowned Marxist Economist Richard Wolff to discuss the growing popularity of Socialism under Trump and its historical roots in America, misconceptions about Russia and China’s economic success and Marx’s theory of alienation and monopoly capitalism.

Wolff explains:

A hundred years ago, 1916 to be precise, was the first time that the Socialist Party of America put forward a candidate for president. His name was Allan Benson and he ran for president a hundred years ago and he got 600,000 votes in the United States. That worked out to three percent of the vote.
The Socialist Party thought that was a good beginning, so they ran again four years later, in 1920, little less than a hundred years ago, and they had a different candidate. A man named Eugene Victor Debs, a head of the railway Workers Union, very good orator. And he did better. He got 900,000 votes. That's a 50% increase in four years, four percent of the total vote.
Four yea…

US sanctions on Venezuela are 'sociopathic'

The Grayzone
The Grayzone's Max Blumenthal discusses his heated exchange with a former Obama official and a member of Venezuela's far-right opposition over the basis for crippling US sanctions on Venezuela. Max also recounts his recent reporting trip to Venezuela, where he witnessed the impact of US economic warfare and the Venezuelan people's defiant resistance. 

Ο πραγματικός λόγος που ο Μπόρις Τζόνσον πιέζει για Brexit χωρίς συμφωνία

globinfo freexchange

Το Βρετανικό πολιτικό τοπίο μοιάζει να γίνεται όλο και πιο χαοτικό όσο πλησιάζουμε την 31η Οκτωβρίου, ημερομηνία-τελεσίγραφο που έχει ορίσει ο τωρινός Βρετανός πρωθυπουργός, Μπόρις Τζόνσον, ο οποίος μάλιστα απειλεί με ένα Brexit χωρίς συμφωνία. Ολόκληρη η χώρα φαίνεται να βρίσκεται υπό το καθεστώς μιας γενικής νευρικής κρίσης, με τα διάφορα στρατόπεδα υπέρ και κατά του Brexix, το καθένα για τους δικούς του λόγους, να έχουν λάβει θέσεις μάχης σε μια "όλοι εναντίον όλων" κατάσταση. 
Όπως ανέφερε η Εφημερίδα των Συντακτών:  
«Στις Βρυξέλλες και στο Λονδίνο ένα ερώτημα ακούγεται όλο και πιο δυνατά: Mπορεί να αναχαιτιστεί ο Μπόρις Τζόνσον;»… Καυτή και εύλογη η απορία που μετέφερε χθες το πρακτορείο Associated Press, καθώς εντείνεται ραγδαία η ανησυχία και στις δύο πλευρές της Μάγχης πως ο νέος, σκληροπυρηνικός μπρεξιστής, πρωθυπουργός του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου όχι μόνο δεν μπλοφάρει επιμένοντας πως θα βγάλει τη χώρα από την Ε.Ε. στις 31 Οκτωβρίου με ή χωρ…