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Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons

Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who in 2002 accurately debunked the Bush administration’s case for war in IRAQ, sheds light on this year’s campaign to incriminate IRAN using the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Here are a few excerpts from Hersh’s interview on DemocracyNow earlier this year (6/3/11):

“What the IAEA said is something it’s been saying repeatedly, even under ElBaradei. And I must say, the new director general, Mr. Amano, is, I think, more willing to please us than ElBaradei was, just in terms of speculating more.

“…The word ‘evidence’ was nowhere in the report. It’s been going on a long time… the IAEA has put out… report after report that say one thing, that’s the most important thing: NO EVIDENCE of any diversion of enriched materials, NO EVIDENCE that they’re squirreling away enriched uranium to make a secret bomb. They have a lot of uranium enriched, the 3.7 percent, yes, but there’s NO EVIDENCE they’re doing anything more than storing it up to run a civilian nuclear reactor… And so, it’s the same thing that’s been going on. You can look at the questions raised and lead your story with that, or you can look at the fact they say consistently that there’s been no diversion.”

Regarding the mysterious, electronic (not original) documents fed to the IAEA late in the Bush years — the same SECRET-SOURCE, unauthenticated junk that’s been recycled for today’s warmongers (now that there’s a Western stooge at the agency’s head) — here’s an excerpt from an IAEA press release in September 2009:

“…the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran. At the Board of Governors´ meeting on 9 September 2009, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei warned that continuing allegations that the IAEA was withholding information on Iran are POLITICALLY MOTIVATED AND TOTALLY BASELESS.”

So now, in 2011, eleven days prior to the publication of the newly politicized IAEA’s much ballyhooed (if already discredited) report, we have the National Security Council holding secret meetings with the Neocons’ preferred IAEA director, Mr. Amano — meetings the Obama administration declines to confirm. Evidently, the politicians and MSM are again on the brink of plunging the world into chaos and putting millions of lives at risk — again based on a pack of lies.

And the evidence supporting that unfortunate conclusion is both abundant and transparently documented (providing a study in contrast).

My comment — unprinted — responding to the following New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/sunday-review/the-secret-war-with-iran.html

To the editors of The New York Times:

With this article it seems the Times has reverted to its 2002-03 mindset: blithely peddling Neoconservative claptrap that doesn’t remotely stand up to scrutiny. (Why don’t you just tell us again that “we can’t have the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud?” The Beltway crowd bought it, even if the experts didn’t.)

But you never quote the experts — the vindicated naysayers of eight short years ago — in fluff pieces like this one. The Times apparently can’t spare a line for Juan Cole, Sy Hersh, or Mohammed El-Baradei; you’re too busy regurgitating Neocon nonsense.

Anyone halfway familiar with U.S. foreign policy over the past decade knows that the so-called “Iranian plot” to kill the Saudi ambassador absolutely REEKS of a frame-up (was Rocco Martino involved in this one, too?).

We also know that Mr. El-Baradei (the Nobel Prize-winning former head of the IAEA who had the integrity to refute 2003’s warmongers) has repeatedly cast doubt on the SECRET-SOURCE “evidence” that today’s IAEA, under its new “leadership,” is about to present in its report. According to the Times, that alleged evidence “suggests” (your word, as opposed to “reveals”) an Iranian weapons program — but it is apparently the same junk that was met with derision a few years ago, merely recycled for the present confrontation we’re forcing with Iran.

Although you allude to the U.S./Israeli campaign of assassination in Iran, you say nothing of America’s open support for the MEK, the State Department-designated TERRORIST organization that’s been killing Iranian civilians for years with U.S. funds.

And you consistently fail to mention the vital historical context the rest of the world knows all too well: the 1953 CIA coup that replaced a globally-celebrated democratic leader, Mossadeqh, with the torturing, secret police-employing Shah (you also neglect to mention that after the Iranians overthrew the Shah the U.S. elevated Saddam and sicced him on his neighbor, launching a war that cost over a million lives).

I know there was real regret at the Times after it became clear that your 2003 editorial policy amounted to selling Bush’s lies. PLEASE, eight years later, don’t sell Obama’s.

————————– ADDENDUM 1 (submitted to the Times once it became apparent that they had censored the above comment — which, to be fair, they consistently do when comments are critical of their paper):

I’m not sure why the NYT is willing to print Comment #95 and refuses to publish mine. It is hardly controversial to state that the Times routinely peddles Neoconservative propaganda (the bogus case for war on Iraq being only the most notorious example).

I’m getting awfully tired of this publication censoring comments that are NOT abusive, use NO profanity, and are precisely on point. While you may print THIS comment (because it goes into no detail about egregious errors in the article by Mr. Sanger or the NYT’s past abuses), I would really appreciate if you printed my first submitted comment in its entirety. I have, after all, been a faithful reader for more than a decade.

Please try to remember that you’re supposed to be the “newspaper of record” in an alleged democracy — and stop screening comments as if you were the House Un-American Activities Committee, so terrified of articulate dissent that you refuse to permit such dissent to ever see the light of day.

————————– ADDENDUM 2 (excerpted from my corrective to claims in the 2008 bill, H.Con.Res.362, in the U.S. House of Representatives which, had it passed, would have authorized an act of war against Iran; this excerpt references the “SECRET SOURCE” evidence that today’s IAEA is using to allege the appearance of an Iranian weapons program):

2) “Whereas” (No. 3) states that “the IAEA has confirmed… importation of designs to convert highly enriched uranium gas into metal and shape it into the core of a nuclear weapon.”

This assertion is FALSE. H. Con. Res. 362 falsely attributes this claim to the IAEA.  It is actually from the 18 electronic documents (not original documents) supplied to the IAEA by various states favoring strong action against Iran.  The IAEA’s June 2008 report refers to such documents as “alleged” and “purported,” stating explicitly that they have not been authenticated.

Of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, the IAEA report states:  “The Agency currently has no information… on the actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear material components, or of other key components, of a nuclear weapon. Likewise, the Agency has not seen indications of the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies.”

Regarding the alleged documents, the IAEA was not provided with original copies of the documents, but only electronic versions which they were not authorized to share with the Iranians in order to prevent Tehran from responding to the alleged evidence.

It appears that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are remotely familiar with basic economics, U.S. history, or the damage already wrought by Paul Krugman’s aptly named “Confidence Fairy.” If either party DID have a clue, they’d know that we can’t shrink our way to growth, we SPENT our way out of the Depression, and austerity is about as good for the present economy as the Iraq War was for American prestige.

Over the past few years the public sector has shed millions of jobs and state budgets have been repeatedly slashed — sparing corporate welfare and tax cuts for the top 1%, of course — and the economy continues to stall.

While the GOP persists in behaving like spoiled brats — incapable of reasoning, fair dealing, or considering the nation’s well being — Obama and the Dems continue to BEG for a “Bargain” that plunders Medicare and Medicaid while locking in the permanent contraction of our economy.

Has no one in D.C. read Naomi Klein’s essential “The Shock Doctrine?” If they had, they might realize that the deficit hawks are demanding precisely the measures that our international banks have classically used to break the spines of nations we wished to enslave: drastic cuts to social spending; downward pressure on wages; an all-out assault on organized labor; and privatization, privatization, privatization (with thrice the waste, fraud, and abuse of government — and none of the irksome transparency).

Solutions are obvious: invest heavily in our crumbling infrastructure (creating J-O-B-S), transition to sustainable energy (earning economic competitiveness, energy independence, and crucial environmental benefits), and embrace single-payer healthcare, saving over $400 billion per year and yielding far better health outcomes than under our present, horribly broken and cruel, system.

The problem is our elections are so corrupt that neither party is capable of proposing obvious remedies, even with America’s future on the line. We’re divided and nearly conquered, but there’s still time for the Tea Party to “Occupy” America with the rest of us. Last call, folks: Raise a ruckus or join the Third World. Don’t wait for Obama or Mitt to do it. They represent merely two brands of the same lousy product.

IT’S ABOUT ECONOMIC INJUSTICE: America was born fighting the kind of inequality and imperial government — secretive, tyrannical, and catering to the whims of an elite few — that today distinguishes the United States. Over the last 35 years, wages have fallen or stagnated for the vast majority of workers, while 90% of wealth has been gobbled up by the top 1%. Entire industries have relocated to lands with captive workforces, degrading labor conditions everywhere. The pensions of yesterday’s American workforce and the public institutions they built are being relentlessly sabotaged and pillaged.

IT’S ABOUT ECONOMIC VALUES: Farms, shops, foundries, universities, and factories have been replaced by usurious and reckless financial giants, extortionate insurance monopolies, mass surveillance and data mining, for-profit incarceration, government-corrupting lobbies, and war profiteering. The resulting wealth gap has yielded an unambiguous OLIGARCHY. Titanic economic powers now dictate policy to our government regardless of the wishes of THE PEOPLE, the majority of whom clearly want: the rich taxed; the crimes of the powerful to be punished; the wars and assault on our civil liberties ended; the trade pacts to be renegotiated (with worker and environmental protections, leveling the playing field); universal healthcare; strong schools; and our elections, especially our campaign finance system, reformed.

WHEN THE “MAINSTREAM” MEDIA ASKS WHY YOU IDENTIFY WITH THE 99%, HERE ARE SOME FACTS YOU MIGHT WANT TO SHARE WITH THEM:

1. According to the Government Accountability Office, the true cost of the bailout of Wall Street has topped $16 TRILLION; 

2. Per Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, the collapse of the global financial system due to Wall Street shenanigans has eliminated $40 TRILLION of wealth worldwide (and now they’re imposing austerity, which aside from the cruel injustice of it, ignores the primary economic lesson of the Great Depression: we SPENT our way out of a deeper hole than the one we’re in today);

3. “The wealthiest 1% of Americans already have a greater net worth than the bottom 90%, based on Federal Reserve data” (6/5/11, Nicholas Kristof, NYT);

4. Nine months after it was revealed that the big banks were ILLEGALLY “robo-signing” Americans out of their homes, the Obama administration had failed to open a single serious investigation into the practice (7/17/11, Paul Krugman, NYT);

5. The Securities and Exchange Commission ILLEGALLY destroyed “at least 9,000 files” related to 20 YEARS of investigations into wrongdoing on Wall Street, without taking any of those investigations past the initial inquiry (8/17/11, NYT);

6. According to Physicians for a National Health Program, a single-payer healthcare system would save America over $400 billion annually and erase our annual budget deficit – and Pres. Obama is too busy cutting backroom deals with AHIP to even consider such a program;

7. Per the Government Accountability Office, TWO-THIRDS of U.S. corporations paid ZERO taxes from 1998 to 2005 (8/12/08, CNN);

8. The Roberts Court in “Citizens United” has ruled that corporations can influence elections from the shadows, making our campaign finance system as opaque as any in the world;

9. The American Society of Civil Engineers says our infrastructure is crumbling (overall grade of D for our roads, dams, bridges, and waterworks), desperately in need of $2.2 TRILLION in investments – and all our politicians can propose is MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH;

10. According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the price tag of the Iraq War will exceed over $3 TRILLION (in addition to recruiting thousands for al-Qaeda);

11. From 1979 to 2005, income growth for middle-income Americans rose just 21%, while income growth for the top 100th of 1% grew 480%, according to the CBO, thanks to a massive shift of taxation, sparing WEALTH and taxing WORK (9/22/11, Paul Krugman, NYT);

12. Barack Obama has cut (with the ACA) and proposed to cut a total of over $800 BILLION from Medicare & Medicaid (9/19/11, NYT), while extending the regressive Bush tax cuts (at a cost of $4 TRILLION over ten years unless Obama stops giving the GOP 98% of what they want).

13. Per Simon Johnson (1/9/11), former Chief Economist at the IMF and co-author of the acclaimed “13 Bankers,” SIX BANKS went from 17% of GDP in 1995 to 64% of GDP in 2010, thanks to the financialization of our economy;

14. Between 1980 and the early 2000s, CEO pay went from 42 to 531 times average worker pay, and 80% of income growth went to the top 1% (11/6/10, Nicholas Kristof, NYT);

15. The average cost of winning a seat in the U.S. House went from $56,500 in 1974 to $1,250,000 in 2006, as our elections have become auctions (“13 Bankers” by Johnson & Kwak);

16. The privatizing predators destroying public education with over-testing and charter schools have also set the U.S. Postal Service up for failure, getting a law passed in 2006 that forces the USPS to fill a 75-year pension fund over ten years (9/27/11, DemocracyNow).

17. Outsourcing to private contractors costs taxpayers more than twice as much as the government using its own resources, per the Project on Government Oversight (9/13/11, NYT);

18. According to Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett, federal taxes are at a 60-year low; and our current large deficits can largely be attributed to “trickle down” or “voodoo” economics (5/31/11, NYT);

19. Per CNN (4/16/10) General Electric made nearly $11 BILLION in profits in 2009 and paid ZERO in taxes (like many others on the Fortune 500, including Bank of America); and

20. According to billionaire Jimmy Buffet, he is taxed at a rate of 17% while the working-class people in his office are taxed at an average rate of 36%.

WE ARE THE 99%!

I’ve been reading comments across the Web today, reacting to the news of Moammar Qaddafi’s death, and I have to say that this generation of Americans deserves everything it has coming to it. Most of the comments I’ve seen articulate mere bloodlust and barbarism — and not a shred of concern for the Rule of Law.

Qaddafi, like Saddam Hussein before him, has been brutally lynched by a gang of thugs partnered with the U.S. They disarmed the 69 year old and paraded him through the streets on the hood of a truck, pulling at his hair, bashing him with their fists and rifle butts, and tearing at him like a pack of wild dogs as he begged for mercy. Per the initial forensic analysis, the killers administered the coup de grace with a few bullets into his brain at close range.

How could anyone confuse this outcome with civilized justice?

Worst of all, the circumstances of his death point ENTIRELY to successors of the same moral caliber (or worse) as the man they just deposed. After all, many of them were Qaddafi’s lieutenants just a few short months ago — and the bulk of the remaining “resistance fighters” are veterans of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, renowned for their extreme ruthlessness in mass killings of civilians in Iraq.

How “democratic” and “enlightened” are these allies of ours? Members of the Transitional National Council have openly admitted their responsibility for Qaddafi’s murder (an outcome the Obama administration repeatedly suggested it favored, which is grotesque in itself).

There was a time when Americans would’ve recognized this kind of conduct for what it is: bloody, ill-fated anarchy. Appalling.

But that time has passed. Today, the Constitution is just a bunch of pretty words our corporate masters use to wipe their backsides. Today’s pathetic Americans sit idly by while our pensions are looted and public services we built over decades are sabotaged, privatized, and dismantled. We cheer as the Bill of Rights is flushed down the toilet. America is failing and few seem to understand that it is our UNAMERICAN VALUES (our torturing, civilian-slaughtering, rights-quashing oligarchy) that are doing us in.

And that is why I can’t celebrate the gory murder of this bad man — because as we cheer his death, we’re also embracing his values and chasing our own demise.

Americans Cheer a Barbaric Murder