ACT NOW to expose/oppose: ominous new drum beats for a U.S. attack on Iran

Friday, June 6th: Press Conference/Rally/March
Begin at 11:00 am in front of United Nations,
First Avenue between 42nd & 43rd.
Noon- march to Times Square

Sudden new suspicious “evidence”
It was reminiscent of the build-up to the war on Iraq. This week, the New York Times and other major U.S. media outlets have pounced on references in a new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to 18 alleged secret documents, which the Times suggests shows that Iran had made significant advances towards developing a nuclear weapon before its program was ended in 2003.

Enboldened by this IAEA report, Tuesday, Condoleeza Rice accused Iran of secretly pursuing nuclear weapons and opposed diplomatic talks with Iran. As Associated Press noted: “The Bush administration long claimed Iran was hiding a bomb program, a view shared by Israel and presumably the rationale for any military attack either country might launch against Iran. Rice’s words were striking because U.S. officials have backed off pointed accusations since the publication in December of a declassified intelligence report that concluded Iran once had an active warhead program but had shelved it in 2003.”

The primary source of these alleged secret documents is the United States. Why should proven liars on Iraq now be trusted around Iran? Bush’s longtime former Press Secretary Scott McLellan’s memoir charges Bush with using a “political propaganda campaign” and “manipulating sources of public opinion” to prepare for Iraq war. The Center for Public Integrity documents 935 false statements by Bush and his seven top administration officials leading up to the Iraq war.

Bush/Mushroom cloud graphicWho’s the real nuclear threat?
Not quoted in the major media is El Baradei’s statement last week: “We haven’t seen indications or any concrete evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons and I’ve been saying that consistently for the last five years.”

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter said last week that the U.S. has more than 12,000 nukes and Israel has 150 or more. The U.S. is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons.

The New York Times on June 2 expressed alarm about possible future capabilities of Iran’s missile program. Yet nothing is said about the intercontinental ballistic weapons that the U.S. already has, poised and ready to deliver nuclear weapons. Hillary Clinton threatened to use them to “obliterate Iran” and the remaining presidential candidates refuse to take the option of use of nuclear weapons against Iran “off the table”.

The danger of a U.S. attack on Iran is real and growing – we must act now!
There are numerous other recent reports pointing to a growing danger of an U.S. attack on Iran.
Go to and for more information, mobilization plans & source material - it will be posted over the next few days.

Mobilize and come to the Press Conference/Rally/March on Friday, June 6th.
Download, print and distribute widely the flyer for it.

and the night before...
Come World Can't Wait Meeting
Thursday, June 5th

6:30 PM, @1199/MLK Labor Center, 310 West 43rd Street, 7th Floor

Our main topic will be:

Mobilizating to STOP an attack on Iran

Our work began two weeks ago. Out of that meeting and some followup discussions the following action plan has developed which would include:

  • Organize educational events in your school, community or a “house party”, to discuss this growing danger, and make plans to respond.

World Can’t Wait is assembling a kit for teachers and organizers for this, including a 10-minute preview version of excellent forthcoming movie: Iran is Not the Problem.

  • Be part of emergency response network

With every step towards an attack, we must be immediately in the streets. Join with World Can’t Wait in creating a text-message alert network. In the event of any new incident, escalation, etc., when news is received, we will send you a text message:

"Converge at Times Square in front of Recruiting Center (43rd & Broadway) TODAY beginning at 4:00"

Set up a “group” and forward the text message to 10+ friends, call others, and come to protest.
(In the event of news of an escalation/attack coming in the evening, our protest would be on the following afternoon.)

  • Join in efforts to organize major town hall meeting, and a city-wide coalition, against an attack on Iran.

We urgently need to move forward will all of these plans (and more). That will be the focus of this meeting.

A 10-minute preview of forth-coming documentary movie: Iran is NOT the Problem will be shown. (This was supposed to have been shown at our last meeting, but we ran into technical difficulties, which have now been resolved.)

Come, bring your friends, if you are part of an organization, bring representatives to be part of building this from the ground up and fast. Every person's action and every day counts!

Rumors of War: Is Bush Gearing Up to Attack Iran?

By Conn Hallinan, Portside
Posted on June 5, 2008, Printed on June 5, 2008

The May 8 letter from U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to George W. Bush received virtually no media coverage, in spite of the fact that it warned the president that an attack on Iran without Congressional approval would be grounds for impeachment. Rumor has it several senators have been briefed about the possibility of war with Iran.

Something is afoot.

Just what is not clear, but over the past several months, several moves by the White House strongly suggest that the Bush administration will attack Iran sometime in the near future. According to the Asia Times, "a former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community" said an air attack will target the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force garrisons. Not even the White House is bonkers enough to put troops on the ground amid 65 million Iranians.

There is a certain disconnect to all this, particularly given December's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluding that Iran had abandoned its program to build a nuclear weapon. The NIE is the consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence services. At the time, the report seemed to shelve any possibility of war with Iran.

However, shortly after the intelligence estimate on Iran was released, the old "into Iraq gang" went to work undermining it.

According to Newsweek, during his Middle East tour in January, Bush "all but disowned the document" to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. A "senior administration official" told the magazine, "He [Bush] told the Israelis that he can't control what the intelligence community says but that [the NIE's] conclusions don't reflect his own views."

Neither do they reflect the views of Vice President Dick Cheney or Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

In an interview with ABC during his recent 10-day visit to the region, Cheney downplayed the NIE: "We don't know whether or not they've [the Iranians have] restarted." Cheney also said Iran was seeking to build missiles capable of reaching the United States sometime in the next decade.

On April 21, Gates said that Iran was "hell-bent" on acquiring nuclear weapons, and that, while he was not advocating war with Iran, the military option should be kept on the table.

A month before Gates' comment, the White House quietly extended an executive order stating that Iran represented an "ongoing threat" to U.S. national security. The Bush administration claims that the 2002 resolution that led to the war in Iraq gives it the right to strike at "terrorists" wherever they are. Last September, the Kyl-Lieberman Sense of the Senate resolution designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "terrorist organization."

The administration has sharply increased its rhetorical attacks on Iran in a way that is disquietingly similar to the campaign that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Take the current charge that the Quds Force is arming anti-American groups in Iraq and providing them with high-tech roadside bombs and sophisticated rockets.

Gen. David Petraeus, the new head of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Committee on Armed Services that "special groups" are "funded, trained, armed and directed by Iran's Quds Force. … It was these groups that launched Iranian rockets and mortar rounds at Iraq's seat of government" in the Green Zone.

Patraeus replaced Adm. William "Fox" Fallon, who had openly opposed a military confrontation with Iran.

But the United States has never presented any evidence to back up those charges. U.S. officials say the rockets pounding the Green Zone have Iranian markings on them, but they have yet to show any evidence to that effect. And, as for the special roadside bombs, or the explosively formed penetrators (EFP), the evidence is entirely deductive.

The United States argues that the copper cores used in these bombs requires using a heavy machine press and that Iraq has no such presses. But before the invasion, Iraq was the most industrialized Arab country, with a sophisticated machine tool industry, and a study by Time magazine says the cities of Basra, Karbala and Najaf "may indeed have such presses."

The Time article, "Doubting the Evidence Against Iran," concludes, "No concrete evidence has emerged in public that Iran was behind the weapons [EFPs]. U.S. officials have revealed no captured shipments of such devices and offered no other proof."

The lack of evidence has hardly cooled down the rhetoric. Bush said in a speech at the White House that "two of the greatest threats to America" were Iran and al-Qaeda.

U.S. preparations for war, however, have been more than rhetorical.

According to the Israeli website DEBKAfile, Cheney's trip to the Middle East in March was seen in the region as a possible harbinger of war. "The vice president's choice of capitals for his tour is a pointer to the fact that the military option, off since December, may be on again," DEBKA concluded. "America will need the cooperation of all four [countries he visited] -- Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey."

There has also been a steady buildup of naval and air power in the region. A new aircraft carrier battle group has been assigned to the area, Patriot anti-missile missiles have been deployed, and U.S. Naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean have been beefed up.

What would likely happen if the United States did elect to attack?

Militarily, there is little Tehran could do in response.

Iran's army is smaller than it was during the Iran-Iraq war, and in a recent "show of force," its air force mustered a total of 140 out-of-date fighters. It navy is mostly small craft, and while it has anti-ship missiles, Tehran would probably think twice about trying to shut down the Gulf. The current regime depends on the sale of oil and gas to shore up its fragile economy.

While the White House portrays the militias in Iraq and Hezbollah as Tehran's cat's-paw, that is nonsense. The militias in both countries will act on the basis of what is in their own interests, not Iran's.

There is talk that Iran might target Israel, but the Israelis have made it clear that any such attack would be met with a massive retaliation, probably nuclear. "An Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel," National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned, "which would destroy the Iranian nation."

In any case, it is far more likely that Israel would attack Iran than vice versa.

Any U.S. attack would further isolate the United States in the Middle East. Ethan Chorin, of the conservative Center for Strategic and International Studies, says U.S. threats against Iran are running cross-current to efforts by other nations in the Gulf region to establish a détente with Tehran. "The U.S. seeks to defend the Arabs from Iran, but they are increasingly trying to defend themselves from the U.S. efforts to defend them against Iran," he wrote in a recent commentary in the Financial Times.

All the war talk, says Chorin, "is translating into increasing open sympathy on the part of many Gulf Arabs for Iran and increasing skepticism about U.S. efforts to isolate the country."

A U.S. war would deeply divide Europe as well, and might lead to a German withdrawal from Afghanistan. What Russia's, China's and India's responses would be is not clear. China and India are major clients for Iranian natural gas.

Domestically, the Bush administration may see this as its only opportunity to hold on to the White House. The Republicans know they are going to lose seats in the House and the Senate, but at this point the race for the presidency is still tight. Might a new war against the demonized Iranians make voters stick with "war hero" John McCain? It's a long shot, but this administration has always had a major streak of riverboat gambler about it.

All this talk of war, of course, could be sound and fury signifying nothing. But it might also be the run-up to a limited conflict, maybe one set off by a manufactured incident.

Once unleashed, however, no one controls the dogs of war. As hard as it is to imagine, war with Iran might top the Iraq War as a foreign policy disaster.

Conn Hallinan is a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus.

© 2008 Portside All rights reserved.

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