FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Despite Thin Intelligence Reports, the US Plans to Overthrow Iranian Regime

by JASON LEOPOLD

Here we go again. While postwar Iraq continues to crumble, the Bush administration is now setting its sights on a new target–Iran–in its so-called effort to reshape most of the Middle East and bring democracy to countries ruled by vicious dictators. But the Bush administration is again relying on flimsy evidence and thin intelligence information in claiming that the Iran poses an immediate threat to the United States.

The U.S. still hasn’t uncovered any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which was the prime reason for launching an attack against the country. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview reported by CNN Tuesday that it’s possible the WMD in Iraq may have been destroyed prior to the war. So, right now, the Bush administration has a credibility problem similar to that of The New York Times, which is still reeling from a spectacular scandal that one of its reporters fabricated dozens of national stories.

In taking a hardline stance against Iran, the Bush administration is going to have to do better than “trust us” and this time offer some hard evidene that countries like Iran pose an immediate threat to U.S. interests.

Still, if the rhetoric coming out of the White House this week is any indicator, the U.S. is gearing up for war, again. The reasons, however, are based on accusations, not tangible evidence.

Ari Fleischer, Bush’s press secretary, said during his daily press briefing Tuesday that Iran hasn’t taken the appropriate steps to round up al Qaeda terrorists allegedly hiding out within its borders, a claim disputed by the CIA. Moreover, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons puts the U.S. in grave danger. Therefore, regime change is in order.

“The future of Iran will be determined by the Iranian people, and I think the Iranian people have a great yearning for government that is representative of their concerns,” Fleischer said.

Fleischer also said Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is designed to produce fuel for civilian nuclear reactors is a “cover story.”

“Our strong position is that Iran is preparing instead to produce fissile materials for nuclear weapons,” Fleischer said. “That is what we see.”

An Iranian opposition group says the Iranian government is building two secret nuclear sites that might already be partially operational, producing enriched uranium that could be used in nuclear weapons.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, claims the Iranian government has “planned it” so that it can “be able to get the bomb by 2005.”

The NCRI provided detailed information about the previously undisclosed sites — Lashkar-Abad and Ramandeh, about 25 miles west of Tehran, but offered no direct evidence.

Iranian officials have denied harboring al-Qaeda operatives and said the country would vigorously defend itself against any U.S. threat, which in the eyes of the Bush administration, could set the stage for another war and further increase anti-American sentiment and put the U.S. in more danger of terrorist attacks, according to several Democratic lawmakers.

However, the real cover story is the one the Bush administration is spinning in order to win public support for what was already planned for Iran months ago, well before “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Before the United States military decimated Iraq, the neocons at the highly influential think tanks the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century were already advising Bush administration officials, like Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on how to overthrow the ruling parties in Iran, Libya and Syria after the war in Iraq was over.

Many of AEI and PNAC’s former members are now working in Bush’s administration. PNAC’s influence on Bush’s foreign and defense policies are so powerful that many of its recommendations on how to transform the military have already been adopted by the Pentagon.

But unlike Iraq, using military force in these other countries to replace the rulers wasn’t being considered as a way to oust the regimes, according to former Bush administration officials. Whether or not that becomes the course of action now is debatable, but even if military force isn’t used for regime change in Iran or other Middle Eastern countries the reasons for engaging in political warfare in that region is just as troubling as the reasons the U.S. launched a military attack on Iraq: intelligence information that suggests these countries pose an immediate threat to the U.S. is thin and possibly non-existent.

Still, the Bush administration has its agenda and it seems that Iran is indeed its next target. Instead of military action, the Bush administration will encourage a “popular uprising” in its effort to overthrow Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and lend financial support to Iranians to get the job done.

To get Iranians to rise up against its government, U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, has drafted an amendment to the Senate Foreign Authorization bill titled The Iran Democracy Act that calls for using the new Radio Farda to host programming from Iranian Americans who communicate with their families inside Iran about the desire for an internationally monitored referendum vote on what form of government Iran should have.

The amendment would also provide grants for private radio and TV stations in the U.S. that broadcast pro-democracy news and information into Iran. The amendment also provides funds to translate books, videos and other materials into Persian – specifically, information on building and organizing non-violent social movements.

Moreover, Brownback introduced legislation that would establish an Iran Democracy Foundation to provide grants to the Iranian-American community and for the radio and TV St! ations in the U.S. that broadcast directly into Iran.

This is the type of political warfare the Bush administration believes will force Iran’s government from power. But the Bush administration will have a hard time convincing Iranians that it can follow through on its promise. For one, anarchy is running amok in postwar Iraq and many critics have accused the Bush administration of abandoning its goal of democratizing the country. Furthermore, Iranians remember how the first President Bush encouraged the Kurds to rise up against Saddam Hussein during the 1990s only to be abandoned by that administration and ultimately slaughtered by Hussein.

But that doesn’t stop the think tanks from believing that it can’t be done.

“For Iran, the approach might be compared to the approach the United States and other democratic states took to Poland in the 1980s,” said David Frum, President Bush’s former speechwriter, who is credited with coining the phrase “axis of evil,” in an April 5 presentation at AEI. “In Poland, as in Iran, an economically incompetent authoritarian regime ruled over an increasingly angry population. In Poland, as in Iran, a mass opposition movement rose up against the regime: Solidarity in Poland, the student democratic movement in Iran. Back in the 1980s, the United States and its allies never confronted the Polish communists directly. Instead, they imposed stringent economic sanctions on the regime–and contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for its covert newspapers and radio stations and to support the families of jailed ! or exiled activists…as the regimes economy disintegrated, the Polish communists were compelled first to open negotiations with Solidarity, next to permit Solidarity to compete in semi-free elections, and finally to step aside for a Solidarity government. Fourteen years later, Poland is a democratic state and a staunch NATO ally.”

Richard Perle, who sits on the Defense Policy Board, a group that advises Rumsfeld, is more blunt in the reasons for going after Iran and he is not shy about suggesting that military force be used if necessary.

“The idea that our victory over Saddam will drive other dictators to develop chemical and biological weapons misses the key point: They are already doing so. That’s why we may someday need to preempt rather than wait until we are attacked,” Perle said in a letter to AEI members earlier this month.

Michael Ledeen, another influential AEI scholar, claims that the U.S. ought to “bag” Iran’s regime because of its anti-American views.

‘The Iranian people have shown themselves to be the most pro-American population in the Muslim world, but the Iranian regime is arguably the most anti-American on Earth. Let’s support the people, and help them bag the regime.”

JASON LEOPOLD can be reached at: jasonleopold@hotmail.com

 

More articles by:

JASON LEOPOLD is the former Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires where he spent two years covering the energy crisis and the Enron bankruptcy. He just finished writing a book about the crisis, due out in December through Rowman & Littlefield. He can be reached at: jasonleopold@hotmail.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
Peter Crowley
The Groundhog Days of Terrorism
Norman Solomon
Behind the Media Surge Against Bernie Sanders
Pauline Murphy
Friedrich Engels: a Tourist In Ireland
David Swanson
The Unifying Force of War Abolition
Louisa Willcox
Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Tom Udall Back Tribes in Grizzly Fight
John Stanton
Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States
Robert Fisk
Did Trump Denounce Qatar Over Failed Business Deals?
Medea Benjamin
America Will Regret Helping Saudi Arabia Bomb Yemen
Brian Addison
Los Angeles County Data Shows Startling Surge in Youth, Latino Homelessness
Native News Online
Betraying Indian Country: How Grizzly Delisting Exposes Trump and Zinke’s Assault on Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights
Stephen Martin
A Tragic Inferno in London Reflects the Terrorism of the Global Free Market
Debadityo Sinha
Think Like a River
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail