The coming war with Iran: The fix is in.
Sure, it's probably a safe bet that for the moment most sane people in Washington are seeing this document for what it is; a cynical attempt orchestrated by a bunch of fringe nut-jobs to intimidate already gun-shy intelligence analysts into going along with the neocon/Israel agenda. I wouldn't just assume, however, that just because this one report is being greeted with skepticism that this means we're out of the woods yet. The same people who brought you the Iraq war remain in their positions of power. Once again they're attempting to manipulate the evidence, bully the opposition and define the debate.
In the aftermath of the Lebanese war and Hezbollah's ascendancy to mythic status in the Middle East the neocon's relentless message on the imminent danger of an Iran has only been strengthened. It's not too far fetched to think that perhaps a year from now the most ridiculous assertions made by these provocateurs won't wind up being faithfully repeated again and again as gospel by the media.
Getting suckered into another war?
At the moment, it appears the military is resisting the idea of a strike on Iran's nuclear infrastructure, but as the neocon message machine ramps up its pressure tactics this will likely change. If a small group of Iraqi exiles led by a charlatan like Ahmad Chalabi could convince the United States to launch a war against a country that most Americans couldn't find on a map, imagine what the Israel Lobby in league with former members of the Shah's regime, including his son, can do.
The FT had a story back in May about an Iranian exile, Amir Taheri, who wrote in an opinion piece that the Iranian government was going to pass a law that would "require Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians to wear colored badges to identify themselves as non-Muslims." AIPAC immediately jumped on this and circulated "this truly disturbing report" to reporters as did Iranian ex-pat opposition groups. Of course, the story was totally bogus, but they'll just keep throwing this stuff up on the wall and see what sticks.
We've already seen the power of the Lobby to mobilize rallies at a moments notice around the country in support of Israel. Congress has fallen right into line passing a resolution 345-8 in support for Israel and if anyone doubts what all this warmongering for Israel is really all about one need look no further than the Intelligence Committee report itself. The cover page of the report has a picture of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad standing at a podium that says "A World Without Zionism." Page three lists several quotes from Ahmadinejad including the most infamous one, "Israel must be wiped off the map." I wonder who is Iran more of threat to, the US or Israel?
Don't ignore the neocon behind the curtain:
To me the really significant part of this story is who was behind it. The WaPo reported that "Jamal Ware, a spokesman for the committee, said three staff members wrote the report, but he did not dispute that the principle author was Frederick Fleitz, a former CIA officer and special assistant to John R. Bolton." Fleitz, needless to say, is a rabid neocon who worked at Foggy Bottom with Bolton strong-arming and intimidating State Department employees not on board with the phony Iraq threat into drinking the Kool-Aid. At the same time he was also working at the CIA's Weapons Intelligence Proliferation and Arms Control (WINPAC) office, which provided some of the worse intelligence about Iraqi's WMD. Fleitz is also known manufacturing the bogus report on Cuba's WMD factories, his strong backing of Ahmad Chalabi's drunken fabricator "Curveball" and his involvement in digging up information on Joe Wilson's trip to Niger, which Libby leaked to Robert Novak. Fleitz' position made him one of a very few who would have known Plames name, according to the Last Hurrah.
Fleitz is right at home as a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, where the inmates run the asylum. The subcommittee's chairman Peter Hoekstra is a good buddy of crazy rep. Curt Weldon (R. Pa.), recently in the news for the "Able Danger" flap that went nowhere. Weldon convinced Hoekstra to accompany him on a tax-payer funded trip to Paris to meet his "source" for many of his more outlandish conspiracy theories, an Iranian ex-pat codenamed "Ali." Ali is really Fereidoun Mahdavi, formerly the shah's minister of commerce, who according to The American Prospect is a "cipher for Manucher Ghorbanifar, the notorious Iranian arms dealer and accused intelligence fabricator -- and the potential instrument of another potentially dangerous manipulation of American policy in the Persian Gulf region. "
Boy, with former Iran/Contra types doing business with neocons and Israel, this war is a no-brainer.