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"Folks, We Are Being Set Up Again!"

Iran’s Nuclear "Threat"

by JUAN COLE

Here is what the professionals are saying about the Republican-dominated Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy report on Iran that slams US intelligence professionals for poor intelligence on Iran: The report demonstrates that these Republicans have poor intelligence . . . on Iran. What follows is summaries of things I’ve seen from other experts but I can’t identify them without permission..

First of all, former CIA professionals Larry Johnson and Jim Marcinkowski point out that the Republicans have a lot of damn gall. It was high members of this Republican administration who leaked to the Iranians and the whole world the name of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA operative who spent her professional career combatting the proliferation of WMD and was, at the time she was betrayed by Traitor Rove and his merry band, working on Iran. Had it not been for these Republican figures, none of whom has yet been punished in any way for endangering US national security, we might know more about Iran.

It is being said that the staffer who headed the report is Frederick Fleitz, who was a special assistant to John Bolton when Bolton was undersecretary of state for proliferation issues. Fleitz was sent to the unemployment line when Condi wisely exiled Bolton to the United Nations, where there is a long history of ill-tempered despots who like to bang their shoes on the podium. So this report is the long arm of Bolton popping up in Congress. It is Neoconservative propaganda.

I repeat what I have said before, which is that John Bolton is just an ill-tempered lawyer who has no special expertise in nuclear issues or in Iran, and aside from an ability to scare the bejesus out of young gofers who bring him coffee and to thunderously denounce on cue any world leader on whom he is sicced, he has no particular qualifications for his job.

Nor do the Republican congressmen know anything special about Iran’s nuclear energy program. They certainly know much less than the CIA agents who work on it full time, some of whom know Persian and have actually done . . . intelligence work.

We are beset by instant experts on contemporary Iran, like the medievalist Bernard Lewis, who wrongly predicted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would attack Israel on August 22, based on Lewis’s weird interpretation of his alleged millenarian beliefs. Once the Neoconservatives went so far as actually to make fun of reality in the hearing of a reporter, their game was up.

Pete Hoekstra, who is the chair of this committee, has a long history of saying things that are disconnected from reality. Like when he made a big deal about some old shells with mustard gas found in Iraq left over from the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, and claimed that these were the fabled and long-sought Iraqi WMD over which 2600 of our service people are six feet under and another 8000 in wheelchairs. Nope.

Bolton at one point was exercised about an imaginary Cuban biological weapons program, which even his own staffers wouldn’t support him on, and at one point he was alleging that Iranian mullahs were sneaking into Havana to help with it.

This congressional report is full of the same sort of wild fantasies.

On page 9, the report alleges that "Iran is currently enriching uranium to weapons grade using a 164-machine centrifuge cascade at this facility in Natanz."

This is an outright lie. Enriching to weapons grade would require at least 80% enrichment. Iran claims . . . 2.5 per cent. See how that isn’t the same thing? See how you can’t blow up anything with 2.5 percent?

The claim is not only flat wrong, but it is misleading in another way. You need 16,000 centrifuges, hooked up so that they cascade, to make enough enriched uranium for a bomb in any realistic time fame, even if you know how to get the 80 percent! Iran has . . . 164. See how that isn’t the same?

The report cites the International Atomic Energy Agency only when it is critical of Iran. It does not tell us what the IAEA actually has found.

By the way, here is what IAEA head Mohamed Elbaradei said in early March, 2003, about Iraq:

‘After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq.’

At the same time, Republicans like Donald Rumsfeld were saying he knew exactly where Iraq’s WMD was!

Elbaradei was right then, and Fleitz was wrong. Can’t get fooled again.

And here is what the IAEA said about Iran just last January:

"Iran has continued to facilitate access under its Safeguards Agreement as requested by the Agency, and to act as if the Additional Protocol is in force, including by providing in a timely manner the requisite declarations and access to locations."

Last April Elbaradei complained about the hype around Iran’s nuclear research, and said that there is no imminent threat from Iran.

The only thing that the IAEA knows for sure is that Iran has a peaceful nuclear energy research program. Such a program is not the same as a weapons program, and it is perfectly legal under the Nonproliferation Treaty, which Iran, unlike Israel, has actually signed.

The report allegedly vastly exaggerates the range of Iran’s missiles and also exaggerates the number of its longer-range ones, and seems to think that Iran already has the Shahab-4, which it does not. It also doesn’t seem to realize that Iran can’t send missiles on other countries without receiving them back. Israel has more and longer-range missiles than Iran, and can quickly equip them with real nuclear warheads, not the imaginary variety in Fleitz’s fevered brain.

Folks, we are being set up again.

JUAN COLE is President of the Global Americana Institute. This article is extracted from JUAN COLE’s website.