Targeting Iran

I am going to explain why Gareth Porter’s new book Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare is possibly the most important expose of political corruption and government malfeasance to appear in the past ten years. Investigative reporter Porter’s meticulously documented account tells the tale of how the government lied again and again to make a fabricated from full cloth case, which he describes as a "false narrative," against Iran. While the tale was being spun, the US and Israeli governments both knew that the entire process was completely bogus and that Iran had no nuclear weapons program but they continued to engage in the deception in spite of the fact that it created a crisis where none existed and generated an international confrontation that could have easily been avoided.

Shockingly, Washington participated in the fraud in spite of there being no compelling national interest to do so and in the latter stages of the grand deception it colluded with Israel to disseminate false documents and blatantly misleading assessments made by Mossad, while also feeding inaccurate information and other fabricated intelligence to both US allies and the media. It also aggressively pressured international bodies to force them to lend credibility to the lies in support of a US agenda that was both fraudulent and that made no sense then just as it makes no sense now. Along the way the United States ignored its obligations in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which it is a signatory, a clear violation of Article Six of the Constitution, and eventually brought itself perilously close to an unnecessary war, a trap engineered by Israel and its powerful friends which it is currently trying to disengage from.

The dissimulation by the White House about the threat posed by Iran started with Ronald Reagan, who embargoed the Iranian nuclear program that had begun under the Shah. Reagan’s desire to punish Iran is perhaps understandable in the context of the anti-Iranian sentiment that was still strong in the immediate aftermath of the hostage crisis. This predisposition led to Washington’s pivot towards future enemy Iraq in its war of aggression against the Mullahs between 1980 and 1988.

Iran as enemy number one picked up speed under Bill Clinton, who was and continues to be owned by the Israel Lobby. Clinton made the essentially domestic political decision to align US policy on Iran with that of Israel, which was at that time proclaiming that Iran was the greatest threat to peace in the entire world. Ironically, Israel did not then and does not now really believe the hype. Porter demonstrates that Israel has never had any intention of attacking Iran though it is willing to have Uncle Sam do so. Emphasizing the Iranian threat at every opportunity has been a useful tool to distract foreign critics from other things that Israel was up to, including its illegal colonization of the Palestinian lands.

Clinton’s key foreign policy adviser on the Middle East was Australian born Israel lobbyist Martin Indyk, but even Indyk’s pro-Israel orientation was trumped by the president, who asserted that he wanted to change Iranian behavior or "change the regime." Clinton put in place an Israeli originated policy of "dual containment," seeking to punish both Iran and Iraq through restrictions on trade and finance. US Secretary of State Warren Christopher dubbed Iran an "international outlaw" while the intelligence community began to blame Iran for every terrorist act, including ludicrously dubbing Iranian ally "Hezbollah" the "most aggressive and lethal" terrorist group on earth, with a reach including "every continent except Antarctica."

The bluster and chest thumping all culminated in an essentially contrived and unchallenged perception of an "Iranian crisis" conjoined with an "Iranian nuclear threat" narrative crafted by Israel that eventually became part of America’s foreign policy framework under succeeding presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Along the way, Tehran’s attempts to address outstanding issues with Washington through diplomacy were rebuffed by Washington with Bush opting instead for regime change and sealing the deal by including Iran in his "axis of evil." Even a European brokered deal in 2004-5 that would have eliminated Iran’s ability to create a nuclear weapon was rejected by Bush.

The campaign against Iran inevitably involved American and Israeli intelligence, neither of which found any actual evidence of an Iranian nuclear program. But both were also under unrelenting political pressure to find something relating to WMD and do something about it. This led to deliberate withholding of intelligence that was contrary to the accepted narrative as well as fabrication of incriminating documents, assassinations of Iranian scientists and sabotage of Iranian computers through the introduction of sophisticated worms that also unfortunately escaped to infect software employed elsewhere in the world. The pressure on Iran also has had real world consequences. Increasingly harsh sanctions have done severe damage to the Iranian economy, with the most vulnerable sectors of the population suffering most.

The steady stream of dissimulation by a series of presidents has developed and strengthened the contrived argument that Iran poses some kind of transnational nuclear threat. The false narrative is currently believed to be true by a large percentage of Americans. Both Bush and Obama were, and continue to be, parties to the fraud being perpetrated on the American people, who have been on the receiving end of a steady diet of false information and sleazy innuendo about Iran and its intentions.

Some might reasonably ask whether there is any difference between what has been done by the government regarding Iran and the genesis of the Iraq war, which was also based on lies. The difference is that the fabricated and dubious intelligence on Iraq was a one-off fed into the system from a lower level. Bush and Rumsfeld for all their flaws were not necessarily aware that what they were seeing and being told was either false or of questionable value. You might argue that Colin Powell was more culpable as he reviewed the intelligence and was skeptical about it before deciding to go ahead to make his United Nations speech anyway, which directly led to the military intervention, but that is something that Powell and his conscience (if he has one) will have to wrestle with. Iran is at a whole different level, with successive presidents embracing a series of deceptions that they knew (and know) to be lies because, as Bill Clinton discovered there was political hay to be made by blending foreign and domestic policy in a tight embrace orchestrated by the Israel Lobby.

To find something similar in breadth to the Iran deception you would have to go back to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who conspired with Churchill to draw the US into the European war and who may have had prior knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In my opinion, war is a matter of such consequence for a nation that a leader of a republic or democracy must be absolutely truthful with the citizenry regarding the reality of the situation and what is at stake. The case for going to war must be crystal clear. Anything less, particularly if a pretext is being fabricated in collusion with a foreign power, should well be considered treason.

The United States claims to be a constitutional republic, the oldest one on the planet, but the designation is a joke when the constitution can be ignored at will and laws are flouted. Porter’s book compels one to ask why the political grifters who have been running a rogue nation void of even a shred of normal decency are not only walking around free but are basking in the huge cash windfalls that they have acquired by virtue of being in high office while selling out the interests of the people they are supposed to represent. Some, including Bill Clinton, continue to wield enormous power in the political system even though ex-officio. President Barack Obama ought to develop some regard for the dignity of his office, which he has so abused by abandoning principle and going along with the charade, before either resigning or being impeached. The two Bushes and Clinton should also face the wrath of the Justice Department and of the American people. Gareth Porter demonstrates that they lied and knew they were lying over an issue that could have very well led to a war. There is no higher crime than that.

Author: Philip Giraldi

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and executive director of the Council for the National Interest.