1 March 2007 Edition

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International: Is Iran being set up for an attack?

War on truth

BY SALLY GALLAGHER

Afghanistan was first up, albeit reluctantly. Following the horrific attack on the World Trade Centre, the Bush neocons tried every stratagem to blame Iraq. But the fact that the alleged perpetrators of that horrific attack were very visibly ensconced in Afghanistan, made that con job a little difficult to pull off.
You could almost hear feet dragging as they declared war on terror and boarded flights for Kabul. But then came the Weapons of Mass Destruction roadshow and the Coalition of the Willing, whose membership included (amongst others): Albania, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Latvia and Uzbekistan. Even ‘newly-liberated’ Afghanistan expressed its gratitude and joined up.
It was the coalition that never was and, with the British retreat from Basra, it has become an effective coalition of one. Nonetheless, this has not prevented the Bush Regime from talking up a war and, if latest reports are to be believed, initiating planning for bombing raids on Iran. Of course the greatest irony of Bush’s declaration of war on a noun, is that it has immeasurably strengthened and swollen the ranks of the other fundamentalists in the terror equation.
A fortnight ago, we saw how the US administration had fabricated evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq. Remember Colin Powell’s extravaganza at the UN? These falsehoods were gleefully reproduced by whole swathes of the media in their role as cheerleaders for the war. The now disgraced Judith Miller of the New York Times was but one of a great number of willing neocon ciphers.
And now the Whitehouse is at it again. As the UN Security Council met recently to discuss the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme, it became clear that much of the evidence provided by the US, to the International Atomic Agency (IEA), was just plain wrong. Like a tired rerun, the IEA had asked the US to provide evidence to back up the allegations that Iran was secretly developing nuclear weapons. The US duly provided a list of alleged sites.
“Most of [the intelligence] has turned out to be incorrect,” said a diplomat at the IAEA with detailed knowledge of the agency’s investigations. “They gave us a paper with a list of sites. [The inspectors] did some follow-up, they went to some military sites, but there was no sign of [banned nuclear] activities.”
The US also claims to be in possession of a stolen laptop, supplied by an informant from inside Iran, which contained detailed plans for building nuclear warheads. How convenient. Tehran has consistently denounced the plans as forgeries. Remarkably, the ‘detailed plans’ are in English which, as many (but perhaps not the Bush administration) will be aware, is not the national language of Iran.
It is all reminiscent of a botched attempt (one of many) to smear Cuba, back in the 1980s. Then, the US produced a map showing alleged secret political prisons dotted across the island. A Channel 4 documentary crew duly went in search. In one supposed location they came across a group of men playing cards. They asked about the prison. There was a collective shrug of the shoulders and general looks of bewilderment from the Cubans.
And then of the older men suddenly spoke up (in Spanish, not English): “Ahh, the prison, yes, now I remember. It used to be on the far side of town. But Fidel closed it after the Revolution.”


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