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07 December 2007


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Just Me

Doesn't this article tend to support the Norman Podhoretz contention, which Mr. Yglesias commented on a day or two ago, that the release of this report was a plot by intelligence operatives to undermine the Bush administrations' Iran policy? Mr. Yglesias and many of the commentors called Mr. Podhoretz a nutcase at that time. Apparently, in the Yglesias world, Mr. Podhoretz is a nutcase but Mr. Lang is a reputable commentator.

Posted by SLC | December 9, 2007 11:33 AM

Uh, no. It substantiates the idea that there was a "plot" to tell the truth about the regime's Iran policy. Unlike the chickenhawk neocon draft-dodging armchair warriors like Podhoretz, Cheney and Bush, these people were apparently willing to sacrifice their careers, their freedom, and possibly their lives to get the truth out. In other words, they were patriots. But you don't really understand the meaning of that term, do you?

Clifford Kiracofe

In light of the new NIE, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee should hold hearings on Iran and US energy requirements. A policy review should be included that takes into account the policies of the GHW Bush and Clinton Administrations.

Seems US companies are missing out on some substantial business. Hence, American jobs and energy security are impacted. The price of an "ideological" foreign policy...or narcissistic geopolitics...or or both. The policy is most emphatically NOT solely that of the present demented Decider.

The "dual containment" of Iraq and Iran was set into place during the CLINTON Administration which kept the illegal GHW Bush "no fly zones" imposed on Iraq (by the US, Brits, and French) and dropped some ordnance in operations like Desert Fox (1998). Under Zionist Lobby pressure, Congress and the Administration forbade American companies to become involved in hydrocarbon development in those countries and US businesses lost substantial contracts.

For example, take the billion dollar Conoco-Iran deal of 1994. "WASHINGTON (AP) _ Intervening in a politically charged business deal, President Clinton killed an American oil company's $1 billion oil contract with Iran, accusing Tehran of terrorism and undermining Mideast peace.

Clinton's action delivered the death blow Tuesday to a Conoco deal that already was crumbling under pressure from powerful stockholders and sharp criticism from the administration and Capitol Hill.

The White House said Clinton would issue an executive order in a matter of days to block the agreement, which had called for Conoco to develop a huge offshore oil field in the Persian Gulf.Senate Banking Chairman Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., a leading critic of the deal, praised Clinton's action but said it did not go far enough. He called for a total and permanent trade ban, which he has proposed in a bill that will be considered by his committee Thursday."

So what? For starters in today's press:
"SHANGHAI: China's biggest refiner, Sinopec, and Iran have signed a $2 billion agreement on developing the Yadavaran oil field, strengthening Beijing's links with Tehran despite U.S. calls for sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

The long-awaited agreement signed Sunday in Tehran completes a 2004 memorandum of understanding for Sinopec, which is state-owned, to help develop the huge oil field.

Iran's oil minister, Gholam Hossein Nozari, praised the deal as a vindication of his country's efforts to counter pressures to isolate the country over its nuclear program...."

One can reasonably argue that it is not just the Decider/Cheney Regency who are incompetent, it is the overall US foreign policy establishment itself operating within BOTH political parties.

The significance of an NIE in this situation lies not in whether or not it is "true," but in the fact that Bush can not attack Iran withut the sanction of such a document.

I would also add that that "truth" is not an inherent purpose of an NIE. A primer from the NIE itself that too many seem to skip right past:

We use phrases such as we judge, we assess, and we estimate—and probabilistic terms such as probably and likely—to convey analytical assessments and judgments. Such statements are not facts, proof, or knowledge. These assessments and judgments generally are based on collected information, which often is incomplete or fragmentary. Some assessments are built on previous judgments. In all cases, assessments and judgments are not intended to imply that we have “proof” that shows something to be a fact or that definitively links two items or issues.

Additionally, one must realize these unclassified key judgments are NOT the NIE - they are the unclassified key judgments based on the NIE.

Clifford Kiracofe

<"some other term than "jewish" to describe the AIPAC-lobby?">

Martin K,

Over here we have what are known as "lobbies," a 19th century term stemming from persons actually standing in the lobby outside either the House or Senate chamber promoting legislation and their interests. Some lobbies are "ethnic" lobbies such as the prominent Greek, Turkish, Armenian, and Jewish lobbies. So this is how it is politically on our side of the water.

AIPAC is one of a number of powerful groups within the Jewish "ethnic lobby"/political influence group spectrum. Others are, for example, the influential and old American Jewish Committee, the very powerful Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League (of the B'nai B'rith), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. And of course you have the old European based Jewish Agency and the Jewish Telegraph Agency. All these have websites. Some organizations do use the term Jewish and some do not in their titles.

Professors Mearsheimer and Walt have published their book "The Israel Lobby" which gives extensive background. I understand it will be published in a number of languages in Europe so Europeans should have a better idea of what the situation is over here.

More specifically on AIPAC, a new book by Grant F. Smith entitled "Foreign Agents. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee."(Washington DC: Institute for Reasearch Middle East Policy, 2007)clarifies some issues. For example, Smith shows that the origins of AIPAC go back to a previous "American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs" founded by Isaiah L. "Si" Kenon, who was a duly registered agent for the state of Israel. (Here foreign agents must register with the Department of Justice under the terms of the Foreign Agents Registration Act before lobbying Congress.)

Kenon, the founder of AIPAC, was a registered foreign agent in 1947 with our Department of Justice as an agent of the American Section of the Jewish Agency for Israel. From 1948 through 1951 he was registered as a foreign agent for Israel working with the "Israel Information Services." He changed the name of his American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs to AIPAC in 1959.

Earlier books on the Jewish Lobby are also useful in understanding the political situation in the US. JJ Goldberg, "Jewish Power. Inside the American Jewish Establishment" (Reading MA:Addison Wesley,1996) and Edward Tivnan, "The Lobby. Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy" (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1987). These earlier books got rave reviews in the general press here....so how is it that the Mearsheimer and Walt book is supposedly SOOOO "controversial" a decade later when it rehashes considerable preexisting published data and intepretations?

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