Thursday, April 12, 2012

Iran Newsletter #16

OMNI IRAN NEWSLETTER # 16, April 12, 2012, COMPILED BY DICK BENNETT FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE  (#11 Oct. 8, 2011; #12 Jan. 31, 2012; #13 Feb. 22, 2012; #14 Feb. 26, 2012; #15 March 17, 2012).  

Here is the link to all the newsletters archived in the OMNI web site.   These newsletters offer information that enables us to examine morality and judgment of our leaders and their policies, of power.

STOP THE ATTACK ON IRAN. It presents no threat to the US.   Threatening Iran violates the UN Charter.   No peacemaking is as important as opposing and trying to prevent unjust war.  Speak up, write, call, donate, don’t give up on reason and diplomacy; don’t let the warmongers control us.

Contents of #13

US Weapons Ring Iran
Blum, Iran No Threat
Books by Trita Parsi
Weasel Words for War

Contents of #14
Beinart, Crazy Rush to War
Rabbi Lerner’s Ad
Provoking War, the “Northwoods” Ploy
Tomgram, From WWI to Iran, Hochschild on WWI

Contents of #15
Diplomacy not Bombs: Make your Voice Heard
Contribute to Ad in New York Times
Swanson,  Contact Obama
Council for a Livable World
Misleading Corporate Media Coverage of Iran

Reporting Iran vs. Honduras

Dick, Connection with Climate Change


Contents of #16
All Threat from US, Israel, and West
Schell, All Nuclear Powers Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Speak to Congress
Art’s Column
Iran No Threat, Israel Is
Obama May Surprise Us?
WRL Pledge of Resistance
Nuclear Scientists Murdered (2)
Our Taxes to Militarism and Wars

“Uranium Double-Standard: The U.S., Kazakhstan and Iran,” NationofChange, April 12
Allen Ruff and Steve Horn, News Analysis: Iran’s alleged “nuclear threat” has taken center stage among diplomats, military men, and politicians in Washington, Tel Aviv, and the West at-large. Despite the fact that investigative journalists Seymour Hersh, Gareth Porter and others have meticulously documented the fact that Iran, in fact, poses no nuclear threat at all, the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress have laid down multiple rounds of harsh sanctions as a means to “deter” Iran from reaching its “nuclear capacity.” READ  |  DISCUSS  |  SHARE

Jonathan Schell, “Thinking the Unthinkable on Iran
Common Dreams, April 7, 2012
Excerpt: "Nothing would be more effectual in healing the division than a believable commitment - not a vision but a plan - by the nuclear powers to surrender their own arsenals. The double standard, a leftover from the bipolar disguise that the nuclear dilemma wore during the cold war, is an anachronism."

Video: "Want to Prevent War with Iran? Engage Congress!"
Highlights from a panel on engaging Congress to prevent war with Iran and promote diplomacy. Featuring Kate Gould of FCNL and Jamal Abdi of NIAC.

For deterrence and a nuclear-free zone, not war
Art Hobson,   NWA Times, 11 Mar 2012

     If Americans don't start thinking seriously about the current battle fervor in the Mideast, we may soon find ourselves dragged into another foolish and counterproductive war.
     I'm a lifetime supporter of the Jewish people.  I was eleven when World War II ended, and I vividly recall the shocking revelations about the holocaust.  I spent one of the hardest days of my life, a day filled with weeping, at the Dachau memorial.  Jews need a national homeland.  What Israel needs now is a stable peace.  I belong to a smart pro-Israel organization called "
J Street
" (find it on the net) that supports such a peace.
     I've also thought hard about nuclear weapons, a topic of special concern to physicists.  I co-edited and co-authored a study, The Future of Land-Based Strategic Missiles (American Institute of Physics, 1989), authored several nuclear weapons publications, and resided six months at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
     Netanyahu's conservative government is leading Israel and the U.S. toward a disastrous war.  Unfortunately, our nation is supporting him. Everybody of course wants to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb.  Israel wants to attack Iran now to destroy Iran's bomb capability.  The U.S. wants instead to continue pressuring Iran to allow international inspections. 
     Netanyahu came to Washington last week to pressure the U.S. into more aggressive action.  Obama responded by promising to attack Iran before they get the bomb, and by declaring that a deterrence policy against Iran is not acceptable.  These statements were designed to head off an immediate Israeli attack against Iran, but they are bad policy. 
     As a result, our Air Force is gearing up for a unilateral first strike using 30,000-pound "bunker-buster" bombs against Iran's heavily fortified uranium enrichment plant at Fordo.  This would bring retaliation against Israel, but Israeli leaders claim that "Israelis are ready to accept a few weeks of bombing in their cities if they are convinced they got what they wanted." 
     But will an attack destroy the plant?  Will Iran then rebuild?  How will Iran retaliate?  Will we send in ground troops?  How will the Mideast respond?  What's the exit strategy?  Where and when does it end?
     We need some perspective.  There are far better options. 
     Deterrence isn't perfect but it's much better than war.  Iran needs to know explicitly that we will devastate them if they launch a large-scale attack on Israel.  This will deter Iran just as it deterred our mortal enemy the Soviet Union for decades.
     Israel is of course a longtime nuclear power.  Experts have for five decades estimated that Israel has stockpiled 100 to 200 nuclear weapons using plutonium from its Dimona nuclear reactor.  Even a few of these bombs could devastate Iran, providing further deterrence. 
     Obama should not have assured Israel that we'll stop Iran's bomb by attacking pre-emptively.  The way to prevent an Israeli pre-emptive strike is to tell Netanyahu that we won't back such a strike.  Israel is a sovereign nation of course, but so are we, and we cannot allow Netanyahu to make this decision for us.  Israel is not likely to go it alone in a pre-emptive attack. 
     There's hope, if we'll just reach for it instead of reaching for our guns.  The U.N. Non-Proliferation Treaty's 189 nations, including the U.S., voted unanimously in 2010 to convene a conference "on the establishment of a Mideast zone free of nuclear weapons."  This idea came from the Arab nations, including Iran, and was designed to pressure Israel to give up its nuclear weapons.  But Israel refuses to discuss its nuclear program, has refused U.N. inspections, and is one of only four nations--along with Pakistan, India, and North Korea--that don't participate in the NPT.
     The Israeli public is less hawkish than Netanyahu.  Only 43 percent support a strike on Iran, even though 90 percent think Iran will acquire the bomb; 64 percent favor a nuclear-free zone that would include Israel; 65 percent says it's better for neither Israel nor Iran to have the bomb than for both to have it. 
     So the ground is prepared throughout the Mideast for a nuclear-free zone.  This, rather than another war, is the right path for the U.S. and Israel. Israel's nuclear preeminence in the Mideast is ending.  Realistically there is no way Israel can indefinitely maintain its regional superpower status.  If we bomb, Iran will just rebuild with greater fervor and may be joined by other Mideast nations. 
     We should pursue deterrence and peace rather than unilateral pre-emptive war with dangerous and unknown consequences. 

Misreading Arab public opinion on Iran's nuclear program,  Nadim N. Rouhana, Foreign Policy, April 9, 2012, JustForeignPolicy

The vast majority of the public in 12 Arab countries does not believe that Iran poses a threat to the "security of the Arab homeland," according to a survey by the Doha Institute, writes Nadim Rouhana for Foreign Policy. Only 5 percent of respondents named Iran as a source of threat, versus 22 percent who named the U.S. The first place was reserved for Israel, which 51 percent of respondents named as a threat to Arab national security. In this context, the Arab public is likely to view threats of a military strike by Israel or the U.S. against Iran as brute intimidation. If the American threats and policies against Iran's nuclear program are perceived as motivated by Israeli pressures -- a widely held view in the Arab world and elsewhere -- the stature and prestige of the U.S. will inevitably suffer even further in that region.

A Contrarian Optimist View of the Upcoming Iran Nuclear Talks
When President Obama nominated global health superhero Dr. Jim Young Kim to lead the World Bank, Harvard development economist Dani Rodrik remarked, "It's nice to see that Obama can still surprise us." Is it possible that Obama could pleasantly surprise us in the upcoming talks with Iran over its nuclear program? Much of the media coverage would suggest otherwise. Nonetheless, there are actually quite a few positive signs we can point to.

New Year with Solidarity: Iran Pledge of Resistance
On Noruz, the day of the Persian New Year, WRL stands with the people of Iran against war, sanctions, and the abuses of the Iranian regime and the people of Afghanistan in their struggle for an end to the U.S.-NATO occupation and the killings that are "the rule," and not "the exception" in their country.
Take the Iran Pledge of Resistance

The Iran Pledge of Resistance (IPOR) is a coordinated grassroots campaign to build an emergency response network capable of preempting any escalated U.S. intervention in Iran or the Middle East.

Let’s stop this war before it starts.  
Take the Pledge

“If the United States applies increased sanctions, invades, bombs, sends combat troops or drones, or otherwise significantly escalates its intervention in Iran or the region directly or through support of its allies, I pledge to join with others to engage in acts of legal protest and/or nonviolent civil disobedience to prevent or halt the death and destruction which U.S. military actions would cause to the people of Iran, the Middle East, our communities at home, and the planet itself.”Click here to learn more about the Iran Pledge of Resistance.
Solidarity with Afghans

“Training Terrorists in Nevada: Seymour Hersh on U.S. Aid to Iranian Group Tied to Scientist” Killings, JustForeignPolicy, April 10, 2012
New revelations that the Bush Administration provided training to a group on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations since 1997. "The US is still involved…in using the MEK as surrogates…we have continued to provide the MEK with intelligence…"

Seymour Hersh, “Our Men in Iran?”
The New Yorker, April 6, 2012, RSN
Hersh writes: "Five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated since 2007. M.E.K. spokesmen have denied any involvement in the killings, but early last month NBC News quoted two senior Obama Administration officials as confirming that the attacks were carried out by M.E.K. units that were financed and trained by Mossad, the Israeli secret service."

On March 11, a U.S. soldier brutally massacred 16 Afghan people in Kandahar province. On March 12, funeral ceremonies were held for the Afghans killed in the district of Panjwai. 
On March 12, WRL organized a vigil along with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), South Asia Solidarity Initiative, Pakistan Solidarity Network (PSN), and Witness Against Torture (WAT) in NYC.

The NYC organizers sought to bring attention to:

1) the simultaneous vigils held last Monday across California, UK, Canada, elsewhere.

2) the work of soldiers & veterans in IVAW and at the Coffee Strong GI coffeehouse, who see this massacre as part of systemic military injustices and dehumanization.

3) the ordinary Afghans and Afghan civil-society activists who are mourning, speaking out, and protesting war, violence, and dehumanization. Click here to hear WRL supporters talk about the killings and the war in Afghanistan.
Where does your income tax money really go?

Get your copy of the latest version of WRL's pie chart flyer to find out exactly how much of your income tax dollars are going to support U.S. wars and militarism. Order or download copies from the WRL website.

For more information, please email or call 212.228.0450

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Just Foreign Policy is a membership organization devoted to reforming US foreign policy so it reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans. The archive of the Just Foreign Policy News is here:

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