December 18, 2014
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Skeptical of stories to promote U.S. sanctions of wars

To the Editor:

Most American elected officials are afraid to disobey AIPAC, the Israeli lobby. And AIPAC is targeting Iran. 

So Barack Obama and Congress are conducting economic warfare via sanctions against Iran. Under the sanctions, average Iranians see their savings being wiped out by inflation. And Iranians who need medication for cancer, heart disease, hemophilia, MS or diabetes face crises.     

Fatemeh was running out of the life-saving pills she must take daily for her heart. So an Iranian friend in the U.S. ordered the medication for shipment directly to Iran for her. But his order was rejected because of the U.S. ban on trade with Iran. A diabetic woman in Tehran cannot get the insulin she needs and a cancer patient cannot continue his chemotherapy. An Iranian man desperately went from pharmacy to pharmacy in vain seeking a critical injection for his niece’s heart condition.  

Thousands of Iraqis died from sanctions – even before we bombed and invaded their country. Today, Iranians are dying from sanctions. But AIPAC demands still more punishment of Iran.  

Moves to further punish Iran are even under consideration in the RI General Assembly. Bill 521 (by Senators Miller, Ruggerio, Goldin, DaPonte and DiPalma) and bill 5260 (by Representatives Ackerman, Blazejewski, Ferri, Silva and Tanzi) were introduced at the request of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. Kilmartin says he learned about Iran from Israeli President Shimon Peres, but he could not recall who wrote the actual bills. (They bear the hallmarks of AIPAC.)

The Israeli Consul General and other AIPAC spokesmen traveled to Rhode Island to testify for these bills at recent hearings. They declared that Iran supports international terrorism, is seeking nuclear weapons and violates human rights.

They didn’t mention the fact that it has been more than 200 years since Iran attacked another country, while Israel bombs or invades its neighbors at will (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and – most of all – Palestine).  

The AIPAC spokesmen didn’t acknowledge that Iran has no nuclear weapons, or that its program for nuclear energy began openly with U.S. sponsorship in 1957. They didn’t mention that Iran is a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has accepted numerous international inspections. (Iran has repeatedly renounced nuclear weapons and has called for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.) They also didn’t mention that Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons, it refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to allow international inspections. 

While Iran does not attack other countries and does not have nuclear weapons, it does have a poor human-rights record. 

But Israel will not be outdone. Israel steals Palestinian land, destroys Palestinian homes and crops, and denies Palestinians the right to travel in their own country – even for vital medical care. It arrests, tortures or kills Palestinians daily – including children. Such Israeli offenses (even including the murder of U.S. citizens) get little mention in the U.S. media. 

If we’ve learned anything from the disastrous Iraq war, we should be skeptical of stories designed to promote U.S. sanctions or wars. Remember George Bush’s fabrications about “aluminum tubes for centrifuges” and about Iraq buying “yellowcake from Niger.” And remember Colin Powell’s disgraceful performance before the U.N. Security Council.

On Aug. 23, 2006, Bush confessed that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. But he admitted this only after a million human beings had died. 

The people who promoted sanctions and war against Iraq are now the ones leading the charge for sanctions and war against Iran.

Most of the alarmist stories about “Iran’s nuclear weapons program” originate with the AP’s George Jahn. Jahn has repeatedly revealed “secret evidence.” Each of his tales has been thoroughly debunked, but the media still publish them as though they were valid. A recent example was “AP Exclusive: Graph suggests Iran working on bomb,” Nov. 27, 2012 (bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-exclusive-graph-suggests-iran-working-bomb). 

A high school student with a good grasp of arithmetic will find that Jahn’s graphs are absurd. One contradicts the other by a factor of 50,000. (See my letter in the Providence Journal, Dec. 17, 2012.) But newspapers a-cross the country published Jahn’s story without showing the “graphs.” So it was not easy for readers to discover how ridiculous the story was.

Rod Driver

Richmond


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