Sunday, June 29, 2008

The covert war on Iran

In my last post regarding allegations of U.S. support for the anti-Iranian terrorist group, Jundullah, I noted that since the likes of Senate Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) were unable to -- or more likely, unwilling to -- investigate the charges, it would probably be best to rely on The New Yorker's Sy Hersh for information on what's really going on. As it would happen, Hersh has a new article out today that finds:
Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations.


The Democratic leadership’s agreement to commit hundreds of millions of dollars for more secret operations in Iran was remarkable, given the general concerns of officials like Gates, Fallon, and many others. “The oversight process has not kept pace—it’s been coöpted” by the Administration, the person familiar with the contents of the Finding said. “The process is broken, and this is dangerous stuff we’re authorizing.”
When I asked Senator Rockefeller about these allegations last year, he responded that, gosh darn it, he just couldn't do anything about it. Of course, if Hersh's reporting is right, then Rockefeller has not only failed to adequately exercise his oversight responsibilities -- you know, basic things like actually issuing a subpoena over credible allegations of U.S.-backed terrorism -- but has been actively complicit in the ongoing covert war on Iran.

But should anyone be surprised? If the United States or Israel attacks Iran, it will be because there is broad, bipartisan support in Washington for such an attack. While Democratic partisans can go ahead and try to convince themselves that an attack on Iran will be the fault of all those dastardly neocons in the White House, it's increasingly obvious that the Democratic Party -- which took control of Congress based on broad antiwar sentiment in 2006 -- fully embraces the same imperial foreign policy objectives of the Bush administration. It was, after all, Democrat Harry Truman who dropped two nukes on Japan, fought a war in Korea without congressional approval, and ushered in the Cold War (and the accompanying military-industrial complex), so it's not as if Republicans have a monopoly on militarism and the willingness to commit war crimes.

A wide number of Democrats are also backing a resolution that calls for a de facto war on Iran -- a complete naval embargo and prohibition on the movement of Iranian officials -- for its "pursuit of nuclear weapons", despite the fact that the IAEA and all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies have come to the conclusion that Iran is, in fact, not pursuing nuclear weapons. But in Washington, people don't let little things like the "facts" get in the way of America's implacable demand for foreign enemies.


For those interested, Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio fame aired a portion of my exchange with Senator Rockefeller during a recent interview of former CIA intelligence analyst Melvin Goodman. Go here to listen -- the discussion of Rockefeller begins around the 16:30 mark.

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