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Netanyahu’s ‘smoke-and-mirrors’ performance on the Iranian nuclear deal

Netanyahu tells world leaders things about the Iranian nuclear weapons programme which they have always known

Alexander Mercouris

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A well-established trick of a skilled propagandist is to dress up as a “startling revelation” something which in reality everyone with knowledge of a matter has long known.

We had a masterclass in this technique yesterday from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is someone who is not just a skilled propagandist but who is actually a brilliant one.

Thus we heard from him a technically superb presentation about how Iran has “lied” about its nuclear programme, complete with the perfect prop: a vast archive of documents apparently stolen by Israeli intelligence from Iran, which supposedly confirms how Iran has previously “lied” about its nuclear weapons programme.

Netanyahu then drew from this “revelation” the conclusion that he wanted: that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) between Iran and the world powers whereby Iran agreed to place limits on its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief is based on a “lie”.

Netanyahu has in fact been a relentless critic of the JCPOA ever since it was agreed.  He has campaigned tirelessly to have it rescinded, with all the indications being that because of Donald Trump’s own publicly voiced hostility to the JCPOA that campaign is now about to bear fruit.

Netanyahu’s presentation yesterday was intended to ensure that his campaign against the JCPOA does indeed bear fruit, and that Donald Trump will announce the US’s withdrawal from the JCPOA before it comes up for renewal on 12th May 2018.

Speaking for myself, I have no doubt Netanyahu will get his wish.  The US’s response to his presentation yesterday all but confirms that the Trump administration is indeed going to take the US out of the JCPOA and that all the attempts of the US’s European allies – first and foremost France’s Macron and Germany’s Merkel – to persuade the US to change course have failed.

None of this alters the fact that Netanyahu’s presentation yesterday was an exercise in smoke-and-mirrors.

Obviously I have not read the vast stolen archive which was the presentation’s main prop.  However the key point is that Netanyahu during his presentation said absolutely nothing that I – and everyone else who has followed the story of the Iranian nuclear programme closely – did not already know.

Specifically, Iran did have a nuclear weapons programme before 2003 – just as Netanyahu says – and Iran has not been truthful in its denial about this – as Netanyahu also says – but all the indications are that Iran’s nuclear weapons programme was put on hold in 2003, and has not been pursued since, and nothing Netanyahu said yesterday in any way casts doubt on that fact.

US intelligence publicly reported all this in 2007.

These facts were therefore fully known by all the world powers – including the US – when the JCPOA was agreed in 2015.

In no sense is it therefore true that the JCPOA is based on a “lie”, and Netanyahu’s claim to that effect is wrong.

Nor is there any evidence that Iran has gone back on any of the commitments it took when it agreed to the JCPOA in July 2015, and importantly Netanyahu in his presentation yesterday provided no evidence that it had done so.

That everyone knew at the time when the JCPOA was agreed in 2015 all the facts which Netanyahu presented as “news” yesterday I can prove in the simplest way: by referring to one of my own articles which I wrote for Sputnik on 6th April 2015, ie. before the JCPOA was formally agreed on 14th July 2015.

Iran’s claims that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful are disingenuous. The Iranian nuclear  program was originally military. It was created in the 1980’s in response to a  program to develop nuclear weapons launched by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

That  program came dangerously close to success. Iraq’s acquisition of nuclear weapons may only have been averted by Iraq’s defeat in 1991.

Given the ferocious war Iran fought in the 1980s against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Iran’s decision to seek an equivalent capability is understandable.

Saddam Hussein’s fall in 2003 removed this incentive.

An Iranian nuclear bomb would have balanced an Iraqi nuclear bomb. Against Israel and the US it makes no sense. Were Iran to threaten or use such a bomb against either of these states, it would face an overwhelming retaliation that would put the entire existence of the Iranian nation in jeopardy.

Not surprisingly therefore, following the fail of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iran made peace overtures to the US and (according to the consensus of all US intelligence agencies) suspended work on its nuclear weapons  program at the very latest by 2007.

Iran has however insisted on maintaining a capability to restart its program. This is unsurprising, given that Iran remains threatened by neighbors, led by Saudi Arabia, which might acquire such a capability themselves. In the meantime, however, Iran has abided by its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

All this is well understood in the US.

(bold italics added)

Since I wrote that article on 6th April 2015 the one additional fact which has become known is that Iran put its nuclear weapons programme on hold in 2003, not as I wrote in that article “at the very latest by 2007”.

As a matter of fact Netanyahu confirmed this in his presentation yesterday.

Iran has in my opinion done itself no favours by persisting in the pretence that the nuclear weapons programme which it had before 2003 never existed.

Given that Iran had perfectly valid reasons for possessing a nuclear weapons programme before 2003 – Saddam Hussein, who Iran’s nuclear weapons programme was intended to deter, was not only a relentless enemy of Iran who once possessed a nuclear weapons programme of his own, but he was also someone who in the 1980s had fought a ruthless war against Iran in which he used weapons of mass destruction against Iran on a massive scale – Iran’s decision to go on pretending that it never had a nuclear weapons programme is strange.

Perhaps the Iranians are embarrassed to contradict publicly the edict of their Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei that possession of nuclear weapons is sinful and un-Islamic.  Or possibly they fear that acknowledging the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme before 2003 would would expose them to more demands including for still more intrusive inspections.

Irrespective of the exact reasons for the Iranian denials, by persisting in them the Iranians have exposed themselves to precisely the sort of propaganda exercise we saw from Netanyahu yesterday.

Regardless, Netanyahu’s demarche has no bearing on the validity of the JCPOA, which all countries apart from the US, Israel and Iran’s Arab enemies continue to regard as the best safeguard against a resumption of the Iranian nuclear programme.

President Putin of Russia pointedly reminded Netanyahu of this in a telephone conversation the two leaders had yesterday

The leaders discussed progress of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme, including in the light of Mr Netanyahu’s statement on the issue made today.

Vladimir Putin confirmed Russia’s stance that the Plan of Action, which is of primary importance for ensuring international stability and security, must be meticulously observed by all parties.

President Putin and Prime Minister Netanyahu continued to exchange opinions on the overall situation in the Middle East, including the developments in Syria.

The parties agreed on further personal contacts.

The same stance – expressed in rather more turgid language – was taken by the EU’s Foreign Policy chief Frederica Mogherini

What I have seen from the first reports is that Prime Minister Netanyahu has not put into question Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) commitments, meaning post-2015 nuclear commitments……

[The JCPOA] is not based on assumptions of good faith or trust – it is based on concrete commitments, verification mechanisms and a very strict monitoring of facts, done by the IAEA. The IAEA has published 10 reports, certifying that Iran has fully complied with its commitments….

And in any case, if any party and if any country has information of non-compliance, of any kind, it can and should address and channel this information to the proper, legitimate, recognized mechanisms, the IAEA and the Joint Commission [of the JCPOA] for the monitoring of the nuclear deal that I chair and that I convened just a couple of months ago. We have mechanisms in place to address eventual concerns

(bold italics added)

Similar views have also been expressed by the governments of Britain, France and Germany.

My own views about the JCPOA are the same as those of the former US CIA officer and analyst Philip Giraldi.  Like him I believe its preservation overwhelmingly serves regional stability and world peace as well as the national security interests of the US

Trump’s objection to the agreement is that it is a “bad deal” that virtually guarantees that Iran will have a nuclear weapon somewhere down the road. There is, however, no factual basis for that claim and that it is being made at all is largely reflective of Israeli and Israel Lobby propaganda. It is, on the contrary, an American interest not to have another nuclear proliferator in the Middle East in addition to Israel, which Washington has never dared to confront on the issue. The JCPOA agreement guarantees that Iran will not work to develop a weapon for at least ten years which is a considerable benefit considering that Tehran, if it had chosen to initiate such a program, could easily have had breakout capability in one year……

Ironically, the JCPOA is approved of by most Americans because it prevents the development of yet another potentially hostile nuclear armed power in a volatile part of the world. American Jews, in fact, support it more than other Americans, according to opinion polls. Even the generals in the Pentagon favor continuing it as do U.S. close allies Germany, France and Britain…..

To which I would add that the US’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and its likely re-imposition of economic sanctions on Iran will also force Iran into greater dependence – both military and economic – on Russia, which given that Iran is by far the biggest and most powerful Central Asian state can only further secure Russia’s regional dominance in Central Asia, which is increasingly looking unchallengeable.

Over and beyond this there is the further proof which a US pullout from the JCPOA will provide that the survival of agreements the US enters into with adversarial powers – be they Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Libya or Iran – is hostage to the internal politics of the US, so that no such agreement made by the US even if it is signed by the US President can be guaranteed to survive changes in US domestic politics.

Here is what Philip Giraldi has to say about this

The Iranians for their part have made it clear that no modification of the agreement is possible. They note, correctly, that the JCPOA was not a bilateral commitment made between Tehran and Washington. It also included as signatories Russia, China, France, Britain and the European Union and was ratified by the United Nations (P5+1). They and others also have noted that U.S. exit from the agreement will mean that other nations will negotiate with Washington with the understanding that a legal commitment entered into by the President of the United States cannot be trusted after he is out of office.

(bold italics added)

For the present the reality of US power makes it impossible for countries to avoid dealing with the US.  However they can increasingly see for themselves that they can place no reliance on the US’s word.  Sooner or later that is bound to backfire on the US, and when it eventually does it will likely do so in the most devastating way.

That of course is a lesson that the Russians, with memories of how the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty – signed by President Nixon and ratified by the US Senate – was simply cancelled by the George W. Bush administration when it felt like it, have already learnt and digested.

More and more countries are now learning it also.

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Defeat in Bavaria delivers knockout punch to Merkel’s tenure as Chancellor (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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The stunning CSU defeat in Bavaria means that the coalition partner in Angela Merkel’s government has lost an absolute majority in their worst election results in Bavaria since 1950.

In a preview analysis before the election, Deutsche Welle noted that a CSU collapse could lead to Seehofer’s resignation from Merkel’s government, and conceivably Söder’s exit from the Bavarian state premiership, which would remove two of the chancellor’s most outspoken critics from power, and give her room to govern in the calmer, crisis-free manner she is accustomed to.

On the other hand, a heavy loss and big resignations in the CSU might well push a desperate party in a more volatile, abrasive direction at the national level. That would further antagonize the SPD, the center-left junior partners in Merkel’s coalition, themselves desperate for a new direction and already impatient with Seehofer’s destabilizing antics, and precipitate a break-up of the age-old CDU/CSU alliance, and therefore a break-up of Merkel’s grand coalition. In short: Anything could happen after Sunday, up to and including Merkel’s fall.

The Financial Times reports that the campaign was dominated by the divisive issue of immigration, in a sign of how the shockwaves from Merkel’s disastrous decision to let in more than a million refugees in 2015-16 are continuing to reverberate through German politics and to reshape the party landscape.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning Bavarian election defeat of the CSU party, and the message voters sent to Angela Merkel, the last of the Obama ‘rat pack’ neo-liberal, globalist leaders whose tenure as German Chancellor appears to be coming to an end.

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Via Zerohedge

Voters in Germany’s economically dominant southern state of Bavaria delivered a stunning rebuke to the ruling Christian Social Union, in an election that delivered another crushing blow for the parties in Angela Merkel’s grand coalition in Berlin.

With all eyes on Sunday’s Bavaria election, moments ago the first exit polls showed a historic collapse for the ruling CSU party, which has ruled Bavaria continuously since 1957, and which saw its share of the vote collapse from 47.7% in the 2013 election to just 35.5%, losing its absolute majority and suffering its worst result since 1950, as voters defected in their droves to the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany.

German newspaper Welt called the election “the most painful election defeat of the past 50 years for the CSU”. As predicted in the polls, the CSU experienced a “historic debacle” in the Bavarian state elections, according to Welt. The CSU was followed by the Greens which soared in the election, more than doubling to 18.5% from 8.6% in 2013, the Free Voters also rose to 11% from 9.0%, in 2013.

Meanwhile, the nationalist AfD are expecting to enter Bavaria’s parliament for the first time ever with 11% of the vote, and as such are setting up for their post-election party. Party leader Alice Weidel already is having the first beer in the small community of Mamming in Lower Bavaria.

Establishment party, left-of-center SPD also saw its support collapse from 20.6% in 2013 to just 10% today.

The full initial results from an ARD exit poll are as follows (via Zerohedge):

  • CSU: 35.5 %
  • Grüne: 18.5 %
  • FW: 11.5 %
  • AfD: 11.0 %
  • SPD: 10.0 %
  • FDP: 5.0 %
  • Linke: 3.5 %
  • Sonstige: 5.0 %

The breakdown by gender did not show any marked variations when it comes to CSU support, although more women voted for the Greens, while far more men supported the AfD:

There was a greater variation by educational level, with highly educated voters tending more towards the green GRÜNE (G/EFA) and liberal FDP (ALDE) then the average, while low/middle educated voters tended more towards CSU (EPP) and AfD (EFDD).

This was the worst result for the CSU since 1950.

Zerohedge further reports that alarmed by the rise of the anti-immigration, populist AfD, the CSU tried to outflank them by talking tough on immigration and picking fights with Ms Merkel over asylum policy.

But the strategy appeared to have backfired spectacularly by alienating tens of thousands of moderate CSU voters and driving them into the arms of the Greens.

Meanwhile, as support the CSU and SPD collapsed, the result confirmed the Greens’ status as the rising force in German politics. Running on a platform of open borders, liberal social values and the fight against climate change the party saw its support surge to 18.5%, from 8.4% in 2013. Meanwhile the AfD won 11%, and for the first time entered the Bavarian regional assembly.

“This is an earthquake for Bavaria,” said Jürgen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz.

The CSU had governed the state with an absolute majority for most of the last 60 years. “It was Bavaria and Bavaria was the CSU. That is now no longer the case.”

The latest collapse of Germany’s establishment parties highlights the shaky ground the grand coalition in Berlin is now resting on as all three parties in the alliance, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the CSU and the SPD, are haemorrhaging support. Some are now questioning whether the coalition, already frayed by personal rivalries and near constant bickering over policy, can survive a full term in office.

“This outcome throws ever more doubt on the future of the grand coalition,” said Heinrich Oberreuter, head of the Passau Journalism Institute and an expert on the CSU. “Based on current polls, if an election were held now, the CDU, CSU and SPD would not even command a majority in the Bundestag.”

The CSU will now be be forced to form a coalition government — a humiliating outcome for a party that has run Bavaria single-handedly for 49 of the last 54 years. Its preference is probably for a three-party coalition with the Free Voters, a small party that is mainly focused on local politics. It could also team up with the Greens, though it would be highly reluctant to do so: the two parties are deeply divided over immigration, transport and environmental policy.

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Elizabeth Warren’s DNA ploy backfires big time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 1.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ‘genius’ idea to accept POTUS Trump’s ‘Native American DNA’ challenge. Let’s just say that Warren will never recover from this self-inflicted wound.

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The Cherokee Nation issued a statement crushing Elizabeth Warren for her “continued claims of tribal heritage.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, who ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is prove. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.

– Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr

Zerohedge reports that Elizabeth Warren just owned herself after releasing a DNA test confirming that she’s as little as 1/1024th Native American – about half the percentage of the average white person.

What’s more, the DNA expert she used, Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamente, “used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American” as opposed to, say, DNA from a Cherokee Indian which Warren has claimed to be throughout her career.

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Elizabeth Warren’s got trolled by Trump in the most epic fashion, pushing the Senator to make a blunder that will follow her for the rest of her career.

The Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson exposed Elizabeth Warren’s history of lies in 10 simple tweets…

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Hillary Clinton: Democrats have been TOO CIVIL with GOP (VIDEO)

Civil war becomes more likely as Clinton calls for greater civil unrest after weeks of absolutely insane behavior from leftist activists.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton just called for an end to civil behavior towards Republicans and conservatives. In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN expanded on in a piece by USA Today, the failed candidate had this to say:

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about… That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and / or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”

Clinton said that Senate Republicans under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “demeaned the confirmation process” and “insulted and attacked” Christine Blasey Ford – who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a sexual assault she alleges Kavanaugh committed in 1982 – along with other “women who were speaking out.”

It should be pointed out here that Clinton told a lie. The Senate Republicans did everything possible to hear out Dr Ford’s testimony, and no one has gone on record with any sort of insults or demeaning comments about her. Every Republican Senator who stated anything agreed that something happened to her, but they also agreed that there was no corroboration showing that Judge Kavanaugh was actually involved in any misdoings. USA Today’s piece continues:

Clinton compared the handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to “Republican operatives shutting down the voting in 2000,” the “swift-boating of John Kerry,” attacks on former Arizona Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primary and “what they did to me for 25 years.

“When you’re dealing with an ideological party that is driven by the lust for power, that is funded by corporate interests who want a government that does its bidding, you can be civil but you can’t overcome what they intend to do unless you win elections,” she told Amanpour.

Clinton compared Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Monday to a “political rally” that “further undermined the image and integrity of the court.”

She told Amanpour the effect on the court “troubles” and “saddens” her “because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government.”

“But the President’s been true to form,” Clinton added. “He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign – really for many years leading up to the campaign. And he’s continued to do that inside the White House.”

Here, Clinton told at least two more incendiary whoppers.

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First, no one has been specifically after her, and second, President Donald Trump’s record with women including in the White House has been nothing short of stellar and gentlemanly. Nikki Haley, who supported Marco Rubio in the 2016 campaign and has at times been openly critical of Donald Trump, yesterday announced her full support of his 2020 campaign and her intent to campaign with and for him.

By all accounts, Mrs. Haley is a woman.

The first American Civil War had economic policy and states’ rights as its central focus. Slavery was a part of that issue, though slavery was practiced in the North as well in the South before this war began.

Now a new civil war is coming, but perhaps it should be called the American Social War. It is not about any real policy matter at all. It is hysteria, but it appears to be hysteria with a purpose.

The first American Social War has two apparent sides and allying forces and groups:

The Left:

  • pro-gay marriage
  • pro-death (in other words, pro-abortion)
  • anti-Christian, especially Christianity that says these first two issues are wrong
  • anti-GOP / Republican / Conservative
  • “victim class” – feminists, some millenials
  • supporters of legalized use of mind-altering / mood-altering drugs
  • appears to support overreaching socialist style government, featuring “fair” wages, such as a $15.oo minimum wage
  • anti-traditionalist
  • Mainstream media is strongly allied here
  • George Soros is a supporter
  • social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter are supporters through “scrubbing” of media content
  • anti-white, anti-male, and if you are white, male and Christian, look out. You are Enemy Number One
  • supports and executes violence against all these people they are against, including family members.
  • very zealous, and very monolithic in terms of alignment and energy

The Right:

  • Conservatives
  • people who generally want the government to leave them alone
  • generally favors life, considering abortion tragic and to be avoided, though some consider that it should be made illegal
  • marriage has always been between one man and one woman and it should not be redefined to fit the whims of a few
  • God is sovereign (though many conservatives would never make this connection)
  • No real animus against the left, but at the same time, fed up with being hectored by the left all the time, as we saw in Senator Lindsey Graham’s explosive confrontation against Senate Democrats
  • Generally Republican by party affiliation, though many libertarian and conservatives are also present as well as a number of conservative democrats.
  • seeks to avoid violence. While there do exist a very few neo-Nazi types, their numbers are infinitesimal, and their behavior is rejected by the Right
  •  generally against drug use, though many have unfortunately moderated on the matter of actual illegality

The main characteristic of this approaching war, as stated before, is little more than some sort of outrage over identity politics and perceived victimization. This is something both new and old, as there is always a party in any war that claims that they are fighting because they are in fact the aggrieved party, under the other side’s aggression and suppression.

That factor exists with this war too. However, the reality of that aggression or suppression is that it does not exist, and this makes it very difficult for the “perceived aggressors” to ramp up the zeal needed to carry out the fight.

This factor is often very maddening for conservative people. As a whole they do not wish to fight. They wish to be left alone. The left on the other hand insists that everything must be fought for because the right has somehow managed to take it away from them, or is keeping it away from them.

This is purely fiction but it is almost impossible to convince a leftist that this is so. Tucker Carlson expands on this matter in this report. He makes reference at 6:37 about how Hillary Rodham Clinton is now openly calling for civility to the GOP to end (as if it hasn’t already!), but the entirety of this report begs to be seen to give perspective to the look and feel of this crisis:

This is unfamiliar territory in many ways, and it is unclear how far this will go. But one this is clear: it is testing all available limits, and it may come to real fighting, and real killing, for no reason better than perceived victimization.

It should be understood that the advocates for violence are all people that reject God and traditional values openly. There is certainly a connection.

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