Bolton Trying to Convince Trump to Topple Iran

John Bolton may have backed off wanting to bomb Iran, saying he’s not the one to decide, but he’s hardly given up trying to convince Trump to replace the regime in Tehran, as Gareth Porter explains.

By Gareth Porter

Now that the Trump administration has derailed the Iran nuclear deal, the old issue of regime change in Iran is back again. National Security Advisor John Bolton is obviously the chief regime-change advocate in the administration, and there is every reason to believe he has begun to push that policy with Donald Trump in his first month in the White House. 

Bolton was part of the powerful neoconservative faction of national security officials in the George W. Bush administration that had a plan for supporting regime change in Iran, not much different from the one Bolton is reportedly pushing now. But it was a crackbrained scheme that involved the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) exiled terrorist organisation that never had Bush’s support. 

Bolton may find history repeating itself, with Trump resisting his plan for regime change, just as Bush did in 2003. 

Trump Calls for Change

Trump has appeared to flirt with the idea of Iranian regime change in the past. During the December protests in Iran, he said on Twitter that it was time for a change, noting: “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years.” 

Trump’s killing of the nuclear deal, however, stopped short of rhetoric signalling the aim of overthrowing the Islamic Republic. Instead, Trump suggested that “Iran’s leaders” are “going to want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people”. He added: “When they do, I am ready, willing and able.”

A few days after the Trump announcement, an unnamed National Security Council (NSC) official avoided any hint of regime change, telling the neoconservative Washington Free Beacon: “Our stated policy is to change the Iranian regime’s behaviour.”

Now, Bolton has issued an even more explicit denial, telling ABC

Bolton: Not the ‘decision-maker.’

News: “That is not the policy of the administration. The policy of the administration is to make sure Iran never gets close to deliverable nuclear action.”

And on CNN’s State of the Union, he said: “I’ve written and said a lot of things when I was a complete free agent. I certainly stand by what I said at the time, but those were my opinions then. The circumstance I’m in now is I’m the national security adviser to the president. I’m not the national security decision-maker.”

It’s not difficult to read between the lines: the implied message is that his views on regime change have not prevailed with Trump—so far. 

Bolton: Bomb Iran

Bolton has long been one of the most vocal supporters of such a policy, although he is better known as the primary advocate of bombing Iran. He has been one of the most enthusiastic clients among former U.S. officials who have associated themselves with MEK, which seeks to overthrow the Tehran regime with US backing.

Bolton has not only appeared at MEK rallies in Paris, along with other former U.S. officials on the take from the well-endowed paramilitary organisation. In July 2017, he declared that the Trump administration should adopt the goal of regime change in Iran, calling MEK a “viable” alternative to the regime. And his final line, delivered with his voice rising dramatically, noted that “before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran.”

It appears that Bolton was still pushing the idea within the administration earlier this month. The Washington Free Beacon reported on May 10 that a three-page paper outlining a regime-change strategy from a small far-right organisation called the Security Studies Group, with which Bolton is said to have close ties, was circulated among NSC officials. The quotes from the paper in the story make it clear that the strategy is based largely on seeking to exploit ethnic and religious conflicts in Iran. 

The paper reportedly makes the point that ethnic minorities – such as Kurds, Azeris, Ahwazi Arabs and Baloch – represent one-third of Iran’s population, and argues that the Iranian regime’s “oppression of its ethnic and religious minorities has created he conditions for an effective campaign to splinter the Iranian state into component parts”.

It adds: “U.S. support for their independence movements, both overt and covert, could force the regime to focus attention on them and limit its ability to conduct other malign activities.” 

Those minorities have all had organisations that have carried out violent actions, including bombings and assassinations against Iranian officials, over the past decade, and such a strategy would presumably involve supporting a step-up in such activities – in other words, U.S. support for terrorist activities against Iranian government targets.

‘No Good Terrorist’

But none of this is new. It was the official line of the powerful alliance between the neoconservatives and the Cheney-Rumsfeld axis within the Bush administration. By 2003, Douglas Feith, the uber-neoconservative former undersecretary of defense for policy, had developed a plan for giving MEK, whose army had been captured by U.S. troops in Iraq, a new name and using them for a covert paramilitary operation in Iran. 

Meanwhile, Iran was offering to provide names and other data on al-Qaeda officials it had captured in return for US information on MEK. When former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld sought to protect MEK from such a deal, Bush’s response was: “But we say there is no such thing as a good terrorist.” 

Despite the neocon fixation with supporting MEK, both the CIA and the Israelis have long regarded the idea that it could be an instrument for regime change in Iran as ridiculous. After the organization helped Saddam Hussein’s regime suppress Shia and Kurdish uprisings, it lost any semblance of legitimacy inside Iran. After it relocated to Iraq, moreover, it was transformed into an authoritarian cult.

The former Israeli ambassador to Iran, Uri Lubrani, who was given a free hand to organise a programme for destabilising Iran, recognised long ago, as he told two Israeli journalists, that MEK has no capacity to do anything inside the country. 

It was Lubrani who first advanced the argument that about a third of the total Iranian population were ethnic minorities, and that promoting their anti-Tehran activities could help to destabilise the government. Those groups have carried out terrorist bombings and other armed actions in various parts of Iran over the years, and it is well documented that Israel was supporting and advising the Baloch extremist organisation Jundallah on such operations. But the Israelis have used MEK mainly to put out disinformation on Iran’s nuclear programme.

The policy paper Bolton is reportedly pushing states explicitly that the regime change policy should include the use of military force against Iran if necessary. That was the premise of the Cheney-Bolton plan for regime change in Iran, as former vice president Dick Cheney’s Middle East adviser, David Wurmser, later revealed. And it is the game that Bolton, the enthusiast for bombing Iran, is apparently still playing. 

This article originally appeared on Middle East Eye.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.

76 comments for “Bolton Trying to Convince Trump to Topple Iran

  1. Abe
    May 27, 2018 at 12:38

    “There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs, and that opposition is centered in this room today. I had said for over 10 years since coming to these events, that the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change, and therefore the only solution is to change the regime itself. And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!”

    John Bolton speech at “Grand Gathering of the Iranian Resistance”
    People’s Mojahedin of Iran or Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK)
    and National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
    July 1, 2017 in Paris, France

    • Abe
      May 27, 2018 at 16:00

      In 2012, The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) was de-listed as a “foreign terrorist organization” by the US State Department.

      John Bolton and other prominent former US government officials, most belonging to the pro-Israel Lobby, vigorously lobbied for removing MEK from the terrorist list, despite reports that MEK had actually intensified its terrorism.

      Pro-Israel “voices” such as Holocaust memoirist and Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel, and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, also have been MEK advocates.

      As journalist Gleen Greenwald pointed out that “the best and most efficient way to be removed from the list is to start engaging in terrorism for and in conjunction with the US and its allies (i.e. Israel) rather than against them”.

      Among the lessons the MEK example teaches, says Greenwald:

      “‘Terrorism’ remains the most meaningless, and thus the most manipulated, term in political discourse.

      “The US government did not even pretend that terrorism had anything to do with its decision as to whether MEK should be de-listed. Instead, they used the carrot of de-listing, and the threat of remaining on the list, to pressure MEK leaders to adhere to US demands […] But what does adhering to this US demand have to do with terrorism? Nothing. This list has nothing to do with terrorism. It is simply a way the US rewards those who comply with its dictates and punishes those who refuse.

      “Terrorism, at least in its applied sense, means little other than: violence used by enemies of the US and its allies. Violence used by the US and its allies (including stateless groups) can never be terrorism, no matter how heinous and criminal.”

      Five lessons from the de-listing of MEK as a terrorist group
      Glenn Greenwald

  2. Abe
    May 26, 2018 at 19:41

    The “regime change” strategy paper peddled by John Bolton and National Security Council officials was produced by the Security Studies Group (SSG), a direct spin-off of the Center for Security Policy (CSP) directed by Frank Gaffney.

    Gaffney’s CSP is funded by the U.S. defense industry. For example, in 2013, CSP received donations from Boeing ($25,000); General Dynamics ($15,000); Lockheed Martin ($15,000); Northrup Grumman ($5,000); Raytheon ($20,000); and General Electric ($5,000). The group has also received $1.4 million from the Bradley Foundation.

    The Security Studies Group (SSG) is led by two Center for Security Policy (CSP) executives

    SSG President Jim (“Uncle Jimbo”) Hanson also serves as Executive Vice President at the CSP.

    A writer for a military blog called BlackFive, Hanson is a former U.S. Army Master Sergeant with experience in “Special Operations”. He provides “that boots on the ground perspective” for Secure Freedom Radio, what Gaffney thinks of as “a tour of the battle space in the war for the free world”.

    A long-time guest on Gaffney’s radio forum for the purported “greatest minds in the security policy business, the special forces in the war of ideas”, Hanson also has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, C-Span, and numerous other radio shows.

    Hanson’s bio for 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual political conference hosted by the American Conservative Union (ACU), describes him as a “”seasoned fighter in the war of ideas […] helping lead the Center to an information operations strategy that takes full advantage of the new media environment”.

    SSG Senior Vice President David Reaboi, who handles “strategic operations” for the far-right group, also serves as Vice President for Strategic Communications at the CSP, coordinating “messaging” of “information” in “broadcasting” and “journalism” for Gaffney’s center.

    Reaboi, who describes himself as a “political warfare consultant” on his Twitter page, is a Fellow of the right-wing Claremont Institute advocating a militaristic foreign policy advocacy.

    Gaffney and his Center for Security Policy (CSP) promote a hardline pro-Israel agenda on the Middle East, and an expansive “war on terror” targeting “Islamofascists.” He has long advocated military action against Iran and criticized U.S. efforts at rapprochement with Tehran, including negotiations over its nuclear program.

    Gaffney was a founding member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), formed in 1997 by William Kristol and Robert Kagan to champion a foreign policy based on military strength and an interventionist overseas agenda.

    Gaffney is also a contributing expert for the Israel-based Ariel Center, which maintains a number of close links to rightist pro-Israel groups in the United States, and is a member of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), the hawkish anti-communist Cold War-era group that was revived after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to champion the war on terror. He is an adviser for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, created after 9/11 with the purported mission of “promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism”.

    During the Reagan administration, Gaffney joined the Pentagon, where he served as an aide to then-Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle. Because of his pugnacity, especially toward State Department officials, Gaffney earned the moniker “Perle’s Bulldog.” After Perle resigned in 1987, Gaffney was nudged out of the Pentagon by Perle’s replacement Frank Carlucci.

    Gaffney subsequently created the Center for Security Policy (CSP), which counts among its advisers an impressive list of retired military brass and pro-Israel policy figures.

    • Abe
      May 26, 2018 at 20:12

      In July 2015, Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy (CSP) received pubic attention stemming from Gaffney’s connections to Republican presidential candidates. Attendees a Gaffney-organized conference on national security included former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, former New York governor George Pataki, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and hawkish former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.

      Gaffney initially supported the 2016 campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). In March 2016, many commentators noted that Cruz’s list of foreign policy advisers to his presidential campaign included a number of CSP staff members, including Gaffney, Fred Fleitz, and Clare Lopez.

      However, Gaffney quickly became a vociferous supporter of Trump after he won the GOP primary, claiming that the real estate magnate was “Reaganesque” in his foreign policy vision.

      After Trump’s widely noted mid-August 2016 foreign policy speech in Youngstown, Ohio, Gaffney told Breitbart News: “Having had the privilege of serving with President Reagan, I know it when I see it. What Donald Trump did, in this piece, was lay out both an understanding of the existential threat we’re facing—and this, of course, is something Reagan described as every generation’s task, is to confront existential threats to freedom. And Donald Trump said ours is radical Islam.

      During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Gaffney and CSP received widespread coverage when Trump referred to a debunked CSP poll in demanding “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” The CSP poll purported to show that a large portion of the U.S. Muslim population holds “great hatred towards Americans.”

      A CNN journalist who interviewed Trump told the candidate that CNN “wouldn’t even put that poll on the air. It’s a hack organization with a guy who was dismissed from the conservative circles for conspiracy theories. You know that.”

      After Trump’s executive orders in early 2017 banning immigration from several Muslim-majority countries, many observers drew the connection between Gaffney/CSP and these policies.

      According to one reporter, “In 2015, Gaffney commissioned [Trump aide Kellyanne] Conway’s firm to produce” the poll that Trump cited on the campaign trail, despite its severe flaws. “Conway’s own firm later admitted the data was not ‘statistically representative of the entire U.S. Muslim population.’”

  3. Abe
    May 26, 2018 at 14:54

    The three-page “regime change” white paper being circulated by NSC officials reflects Trump White House collusion with the pro-Israel Lobby.

    The “regime change” plan was “obtained” by the Washington Free Beacon, published by the right-wing Center for American Freedom (CAF) group chaired by pro-Israel Lobby provocateur Michael Goldfarb. Goldfarb is treasurer of the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) super PAC.

    Adam Kredo, a “Senior Writer” at the Washington Free Beacon, claimed that “American policy towards Iran has failed to explicitly support Iranian opponents of the regime who are thirsty for a change”.

    Goldfarb is a former research associate for the now-defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC) founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, Goldfarb served as the opinion editor of the Weekly Standard, the neoconservative propaganda outlet founded by Kristol. He also was vice president of Orion Strategies, a lobbying firm headed by former John McCain adviser Randy Scheunemann.

    The Washington Free Beacon has very close ties to the Weekly Standard. Matthew Continetti, Kristol’s son in law and the former contributing editor at Weekly Standard, currently serves as the Washington Free Beacon’s editor and chief. William Kristol sits on CAF’s board.

    In 2012, Continetti announced that the Washington Free Beacon engaged in “combat” journalism”. The outlet developed an impressive record of attacks on reporters, activists, organizations and officials.

    In late 2012 and early 2013, The Washington Free Beacon ran a series of stories by Kredo dedicated to bolstering the neoconservative-driven claim that then-Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel held anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic views, a campaign that was widely panned outside right-wing media. Kredo was a reporter for the Washington Jewish Week, and his work was featured in outlets such as the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and Politico.

    Kredo has a history of publicity stunts. For example, in June 2015, he cast himself as the victim of State Department press restrictions after being forced out of a briefing held by senior Obama administration figures in Vienna ahead of the anticipated nuclear deal with Iran. Kredo was not credentialed for the event and made no effort to obtain credentials. Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, even accused the State Department of taking “an Iranian-type attitude towards a free press.”

  4. Abe
    May 26, 2018 at 13:52

    “The upcoming period could be tense, fraught with confrontations and risks of escalation through miscalculation by the parties, while in the background, voices are heard in the U.S. and Israel heralding the return of preventive-war scenarios.”

    The case against dismantling the Iran deal: A view from Israel
    By Shemuel Meir

  5. Mark Thomason
    May 26, 2018 at 09:56

    The US could bomb Iran, but it could not topple Iran. In fact any US action is likely to cement into power the current regime in a rally round the flag effect.

    A lot of people could be killed, not just Iranians. A lot of damage could be done, not just to Iran but to the world economy and other regional nations.

    If such a large wars sweeps the region, it could only reduce the current overwhelming position of Israel, since the only possible change from such an extreme top is downward. Think ISIS in the West Bank, the West Bank and Jerusalem soon as Baghdad was so recently.

  6. Mild -ly Facetious
    May 26, 2018 at 09:10

    “It was dark, silent night like the night which had enveloped all my being, a night peopled with fearful shapes which grimaced at me from door and wall and curtain. At times my room became so narrow that I felt that I was lying in a coffin…. Death was murmuring his song in my ear like a stammering man who is obliged to repeat each word and who, when he has come to the end of a line, has to begin it afresh.” — Quote from the book, “The Blind Owl” by Iranian writer Sadegh Hedayat.

    This quote seems to mimic Bolton’s obsession with destroying Iran. …

  7. May 25, 2018 at 22:05

    Richard Engle MSNBC did an entire program on this issue tonight. MEK a (CIA) organization back in the day, were the group that grabbed our embassy people and kept them for over 400 days…this was done during Carter era, and Reagun did a deal with Iran to win his election. MEK was listed as a terrorist organization, but now Bolton, Guiliai et al the alt right are involved with this terrorists. They want to bomb Iran, take the government for themselvex.

  8. DougDiggler
    May 25, 2018 at 15:40

    Wow, between Green Berets supporting the Kurdish YPG and NeoCons supporting the MEK, we have not one, but two Maoist organizations being supported in order for the US to mutilate, sever and degrade foreign states. Maybe those NeoCons really are frustrated Trotskyists after all!

  9. vinnieoh
    May 25, 2018 at 10:13

    Iranian Expat:

    Since your opening paragraph seemed to lift some of the language from my remarks, I’ll respond. First, to be clear, as a human being I do not wish to see the US embark on another aggressive war, anywhere, or against anyone, and I certainly don’t wish to see anyone “crushed.” I do hope that your assessment of Iranian military competence and capabilities for defense are true, and that those that may be contemplating an attack are fully aware of that. That is the best defense – present the likelihood to your enemies that their losses would be unacceptable. And I didn’t mean to suggest that Iran was weak, just not in the same league militarily.

    I agree with your assessment of US military limitations and failures, but unlike those nations we have recently turned into non-functioning states, there are many ideologues here that for whatever cracked reasons nurture a burning hatred for everything Iranian, and may disregard all warning signs. The crustiest of our old guard will forever burn for revenge for the “insult” of being kicked out and told to stay out, and the Israelis help cultivate that disease. What do the US hoi paloi think? Probably all over the board, but here’s what we’re up against: was watching the CBS morning show this a.m. with the sound down and the banner told me the story was about high gas prices this memorial holiday and the video they were playing was scenes of Iranians burning American flags. I’ll leave it to you and others to unpack all that.

    The hopeful speculation that China and the RF would step up and say “not so fast” was imagined of regardless whether Iran asks for their help or not, and the consequences would go far beyond Iran. Support and protection first means financial shielding against US sanctions and penalties for Iranian interests and their foreign business trading partners. That alone would be a seismic shift in global posturing. If it should come to Russian and Chinese troops embedded with Iranians on Iranian soil, we’d know we were near the very end. The Russians might – if Iran would have them, but I doubt very much that the Chinese would. Again all speculation and hopeful thinking; I’m no expert.

    • May 25, 2018 at 22:07

      Israel Bibi, and the alt right in US, are pushing for war with Iran. Israel has F35,and believe they can beat Iran in a war…they wont. Erdogan and other muslim nations will never submit. Former Chief of Mossad on Engles show is worried about Israel attacking Iran…this is a conspiracy.

  10. May 25, 2018 at 09:36

    Interesting post, Iranian Expat. How many times do the corrupt cowards in Washington DC think they can overturn the Iranian government, since they’ve been at it for about 70 years now? Bolton, the big mouth, walrus mustache chickenhawk made sure he never served a day in war, said “I didn’t want to die in an Asian rice paddy”.

    Let’s hope the Europeans have gotten the memo that the US expects them to say “jump, and how high” so they finally look after their own interests. How many vaccinations does the world need from the US war chaos machine before the antibodies rise high enough to resist the US disease?

    Behind Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo is megabillionaire Sheldon Adelson’s money, and Adelson wants “regime change” in Iran since he’s an “Israel First” fanatic, of course. It has been suggested that Trump believes he needs Adelson’s money for re-election. What an idiot, and if the American people fall for another “regime change” operation, it will sadly show what idiots they are! We have to rely on Europe and Asia to knock down the bully USA.

  11. JustTruth
    May 24, 2018 at 19:05

    Doesn’t Trump actually work for Bolton and Pompeo? Sure seems like it.

  12. May 24, 2018 at 18:46

    Long past time to fit Bolton with a uniform and send him to boot camp ….
    Getting shot at is a great attitude adjuster.
    Been there

  13. vinnieoh
    May 24, 2018 at 15:32

    Rumpled Trumpthinskin will do what the neocon wizards tell him to do, whereas the wicked witch of the west would need no schooling. I remember well her licking the boots of AIPAC during the campaign. Though Iran has three times the population of Iraq (Iran aprox. 80 million) and about four times the land mass, Iran is still quite a military lightweight compared to just the US, and if the US decides to attack, the Iranian government will be crushed, hundreds of thousands of innocent Iranians will be slaughtered, and one of the world’s most ancient civilizations will be turned to rubble.

    Angela Merkle traveled to China yesterday. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during her meeting with Xi. Iran’s only hope, and that of the business interests of the members of the EU (I don’t see much residue of a moral heritage there to be preserved) would be for both China and The Russian Federation to jointly and very openly state that they will support and protect Iran and all those trading partners that wish to preserve the JCPOA. Alas, I hold little hope of China doing that. They seem content to let anyone and everyone suffer the onslaught of US militarism and let the US expend and exhaust itself in a quixotic attempt at world hegemony. The Chinese are patient, and they will be there to assume the mantle once the US fades into insolvency.

    If the Chinese and the RF would step up to the plate, it could change the entire dynamic of world relations, and it would certainly put a case of dynamite under the GOP majority to impeach and remove the entire Trump administration from office.

    All of this is speculation of course, with a large dab of wishful thinking. Think I’ll go get drunk now; too late to start building that bomb shelter. Gotta love that ancient Chinese curse – May you live in interesting times. “The end of history” – yeah, right. And Fukiyama still defends that thesis.

    • Sally Snyder
      May 24, 2018 at 17:34

      You are correct. I believe that both Russia and China are playing the long game, hoping that the United States will exhaust itself with its wars on many fronts. With its massive debt, eventually the piper will have to be paid; when people realize that their social safety net is jeopardized because of the tax dollars being sent to the military-industrial-intelligence complex, revolution of some sort will not be far behind.

    • mike k
      May 24, 2018 at 18:19

      The problem is that our Deep State Masters know that the Empire cannot win the long game, ergo they are pushing to win the short game, and they hope to win all the marbles before their opponents can grow strong enough to beat them. The Empire is at the peak of it’s military power now, and it is acting to use it before it will lose it. They are not going to sit around and wait to be beaten.

      • tina
        May 24, 2018 at 22:24

        okay mike k , now will you be willing to do service, to protect our good citizens from the “Deep State” and other perceived enemies? Have you ever served one day in your life? If you have , my apologies, but so far from your posts, I do not believe you served in the diplomatic corps or the military. If you believe there is such a thing as deep state, please provide evidence. Yes, of course there are spies and agents, that goes back to biblical times, and before that. I am not afraid. I am not fearful. Stay awake , and do not let your imagination take control of reality.

        • May 25, 2018 at 22:09

          The Deep State was set up by none other than Dick Cheney, under the guise of “continuity of govtt”, it really is about putting uber right wingers deep in the goverment to do dirty work around the world…

  14. Professor
    May 24, 2018 at 14:25

    Yeah yeah yeah. It’s easy to say this and posture but there is such a thing as truth. Shiism is a political as well as a religious system. The Clerics and mullahs, not the politicians are in control. The people are devout. The military responds to the wishes of the mullahs , the Ayatollah. Now that we have completely lost Iraq to Muqtada al Sadr it is worthy of note that _HISTORICAL FACT HERE_ when Ayatollah Sistani was in “Great” Britain for heart surgery ( How unIslamic?) al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army took up defense of the Temple at Najaf during which the USA tried to assassinate him within the temple compound with a “smart” missile. We failed. Unfortunately this could be and was interpreted as fulfillment of prophecy. Search Twelvers.. So later , just a couple years ago, when protestors led by al-Sadr breached the Green Zone in Baghdad in a massive protest against corruption the government and Prime Minister ( Who finished 3rd in the recent election) ran away like frightened , little girls. When al-Sadr came through the fence line the soldiers charged with defending the Green Zone laid down their weapons and got on their knees in front of him. THIS IS FACT. We can’t defeat Shiites or destroy their religion any more than the Sunnis can. We can only make them stronger. Their Religious fervor, their zeal is rooted in their own victimization and the injustices that have been laid upon them by the Sunni majority of Islam. . THIS IS FACT BASED ANALYSIS NOT FROM THE PENTAGON;. Peace

    • Jean
      May 24, 2018 at 14:40

      The majority of Iranians are under 30 years old and are not religious but pro western.

      If the USA government didn’t overthrow the first democratically elected president for oil and instead installed the dictator the Shah the Middle East might have functioning democracies.Thats not in the USA corporate interests.

      Attacking Iran will bring the Sunni and Shi’a Muslims together against the West.

      But that is the PNAC document plan all written down.

      • Professor
        May 24, 2018 at 15:46

        Those Shuiite militias fighting in Syria and Iraq are predominantly under 30 , under 25 , like Hezbollah fighting in Syria. They are braver and more devoted to their cause and their beliefs than Sunni mercenaries and Western Contractors. Do not believe what you are spoon fed even if you are Zionist and hopeful of total spectrum dominance.. Notice how much the Israelis want to engage Hezbollah. They will pummel them with missiles and use air power but will never engage Hezbollah like the Shiites did with the tunnel rats in Syria and Iraq. Here’s another one for you. When Ayatollah Khomeini was a young seminarian he was tortured under the Shah by the CIA creation SAVAK with British M5 in the room. This can easily be searched. When he says that the USA is Big Satan and Israel is Little Satan bu tEngland is the most evil nation in the world he means it. He has the scars to prove it and all those Republican Guards who fought USA supported efforts in the IRAN-IRAQ War under Saddam Hussein , to those who were gassed with US supplied anthrax and later who dodged USA supplied TOW missiles (Courtesy of Presidential Orders signed by my President Barrack Obama) later in Syria, well they know who their enemy is and their kids and grandchildren know their enemy as well. They know also who killed their Imans 600 years ago and longer and they make pilgrimages to and worship in Temples dedicated to them. Listen to Hip Hop and Dream On just don’t go and fight them as if you would, Maybe Trump will send somebody to do it for you and Bolton too. what a joke .

        • Anon
          May 24, 2018 at 16:44

          Jean is not arguing against your point that the Iranians blame the US and UK for their 26 years of dictatorship under the Shah, nor is the comment arguing for war, nor does it seem naive.

          Ayatollah Khomeini died in 1989; perhaps you are referring to Khameini.

          • Professor
            May 24, 2018 at 19:21

            Anon , alas ,, a typo, not Ayatollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Khamenei is the one who was tortured.with M5 in the room. He is the boss now. Bolton wants him dead and gone. Do you know what an Ayatollah is? . Do you want him eliminated as well? Do you think the youth of Iran would support his assassination ? Ayatollah Khomeini was exiled and tortured also but who cares about that?. In your support of Jean’s “point” am I to assume that you also support Bolton’s Neoconservative Pipe Dream about Regime Change in Iran. because somebody somewhere wrote that the youth of Iran want to support the USA . I’m sure the New York Times echoed such views but who was actually asked this question and in what context and ? did such polling actually occur or was it a simulated poll conducted in New York City? PLEASE DUDE. Bullshit is bullshit.

    • mike k
      May 24, 2018 at 18:23

      “…we have completely lost Iraq…” When did we ever own Iraq, professor?

      • Professor
        May 24, 2018 at 19:30

        Mike K that is trivial > How many USA troops are in Iraq? You cannot get a straight answer on that maybe 10,000 but there are at least 3000 US employees in the world’s largest embassy in the “Green Zone”.. Furthermore al Sadr’s main adviser today was reported as stating that the USA was an occupying force in Iraq and had to go . No,,,, al-Sadr will not be allowed to fight corruption or establish Democracy in Iraq.of that much I can agree but will YOU PERSONALLY think the USA will be correct in our attempts to neutralize his influence like we did for instance with Lula in Brazil, Obrador in Mexico and no doubt will attempt to do again when Obrador wins the next election in Mexico. Wipe the fog off the mirror when you shave and take a good look at yourself.

        • J. Decker
          May 25, 2018 at 01:44

          Dear Professor,

          Have you ever considered enrolling in an anger-management program?

          • Professor
            May 25, 2018 at 15:40

            J Decker, The entire population of the United States of America should be angry about the influence of the Neoconservatives on US Foreign Policy and the waste and destruction that has ensued because of this influence. The entire scheme has been a Crime Against Humanity and a total catastrophe in spite of what some might care to read in the New York Times, Washington Post , The Wall Street Journal or the Fox Chanel, ad nauseous. Yeah, I’m pissed off and anybody with a soul or a brain who was born in this nation and was raised on the BS narrative about Truth, Justice and the American Way should be just as offended. Ah…. this is bad,…, not prudent ,…., stupid, ….,John Bolton? Look at the idiot Chicken Hawk’s stupid face and mustache. He should be bitch slapped .., Are you serious? I don’t need anger management and i would love to engage you extemporaneously on this topic in front of your friends and family if you would actually care to support the carnage and waste that the USA has brought on this world because of our continued support of The Project for a New American Century and the Neoconservatives. . Why aren’t you angry? Do you like the way things have devolved.? How low can we go? Who can become the Limbo President in 2020. Maybe Pompeo?., Hillary could be VP. That would be a winning ticket , right?

          • May 25, 2018 at 22:14

            The Professor is historically correct in his assessment.

  15. May 24, 2018 at 13:28

    Will China and Russia even allow the United States to attack Iran directly? Remember that Iran is in their orbit, and given that China holds the bulk of the U.S. trade debt and can cripple us by calling it in and then halting all trade if we refuse to pay up—a disastrous consequence for us since so much of our manufacturing is now conducted there—what could really be done then? Both Russia and China have devised ways to effectively neutralize our naval capabilities (and in turn, our air power), leaving only the nuclear option as means to wage war. And since that would ultimately lead to the eradication of all life on Earth once the other two major powers release their volleys in retaliation…

    So yeah, one can easily see the futility of trying to continue the insane policy of toppling Iran’s government. It’s time for the U.S. to finally grow up and acknowledge that its day as unquestioned ruler of the planet is over.

    • Stygg
      May 24, 2018 at 14:22

      China is the largest single holder of US foreign debt, but the amount and resulting level of potential influence is overstated. They hold about 20% of US foreign held debt, or about 10% of total US public debt. Japan is not far behind them.

    • mark
      May 24, 2018 at 18:11

      Russia and China will do jack shit. Look at their past record over Iran – Russia refused to supply S300s Iran had paid for. Refused to complete Bushehr as it was contracted to do. Supported US economic strangulation of Iran on phoney WMD pretexts – as did China. There is a similar record over Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, and now DPRK. Russia is refusing to supply any air defence weapons to Syria to defend itself. Russia always stabs friendly countries in the back and gets nothing in return – just worthless promises from Washington not to station missiles on its borders that were never kept. Don’t expect anything from Russia and China – they will just kowtow to Uncle Sam as they have done so many times before.

      • May 25, 2018 at 22:16

        You all better check out the internatl problem in Iran the MEK….a terrorist organization, that supports Bolton, Guiliani and of course Trump and Bibi…and the sauds.

    • mike k
      May 24, 2018 at 18:28

      Unfortunately there is still a lot of space for conventional war, due to all the nuclear powers being hesitant to counter “conventional” war moves by going nuclear.

  16. Unfettered Fire
    May 24, 2018 at 11:31

    It’s been a long time since our Department of “Diplomacy” has been used as it was originally intended. We make the fatal error of teaching our youth that violence is the first and only solution to our problems.

    “We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.” ~ George Keenan, author of American Diplomacy (1951)

    Answers to today’s foreign policy strategies can be found in the archives:

    “We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria and Sinai.” David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.

    “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” Israel Koenig, The Koenig Memorandum.

    • May 24, 2018 at 11:58

      Not going to happen. It’s too late for the Zionist dream of Greater Israel. For example, in Lebanon, there is an alliance between many Christians and Hezbollah and Israel cannot eliminate Hezbollah without using nuclear weapons. Syria and Iraq are now allied, in part, with Iran. The hope of Israel is that the U.S. destroys Iran’s military and it’s civil society–but that ain’t going to happen for reasons I’ve given in my comments below.

  17. May 24, 2018 at 10:37

    I don’t believe it is possible that the Deep State wants to go to war with Iran. The Deep State thrives on beating up weak countries and has no interest in risking the status-quo by completely reckless military adventures. Iran is not a weak country their assets are substantial. Remember, as much as the hysterical Israeli state wants it they, like the US administration are answerable to the top dogs in the world, i.e., the finance oligarchs that run the world’s finances and are and have been the, by far, most powerful power on the world stage dwarfing all other powers. In terms of power politics between nations they require only the now traditional structure of a “strategy of tension” where “threats” are emphasized by the controlled media (Ministry of Truth of the Empire). The result is a bloated imperial military centered in the country with the most idiotic and credulous public, the USA, whose population prides itself on its anti-intellectual, anti-rational, anti-science attitudes which allows the government to extract significant moneys out of the US economy to keep the Imperial Storm Troopers (the US military and covert forces) spread throughout the world without any dissent within the population since the US military is seen by the chumps as, by far, the most popular institution in the country which no amount of failure, no exposure of corruption has ANY effect. The oligarchs do not want this balance upset. If the US military, for example, decided to invade Iran, they may well fail since the US military does not appear to me to be a very effective fighting force other than deliver massive amounts of ordinance on supine populations like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and so on.

    Bolton can rave all he wants but Big Money is not on his side and will never risk disrupting the status-quo and the military will not risk its popularity on a possible defeat.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 24, 2018 at 11:22

      The DOD 2017 Annual Industrial Capabilities Report is out, and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the Pentagon’s readiness for the future.

      “The defense sector continues to financially outperform the broader U.S. equity market as shown in Figure 1. However factors such as obsolescence, foreign dependency, fluctuating demand, industry consolidations, and loss of design teams and manufacturing skills for critical defense products continue to threaten the health of the industrial base, limit innovation, and reduce U.S. competitiveness in the global markets.”

      Among the many other things that have happened to our military’s readiness it has grown dependent upon a lot of off-shoring product to keep it running at full steam. They say, the road to hell is paved with bad choices, and it would appear that our Pentagon has built itself an 8 land super highway to Satan’s house of fire. I’d recommend someone grab a fire extinguisher, but sorry we are all out of fire extinguishers, for they are on back order from China.

      Banger good comment, I just thought this post would add to it. Joe

      • May 24, 2018 at 11:53

        Thanks, Joe. The National Security State is America represents America’s industrial policy and guarantor of some minimum of jobs. The problem is, as you say here, that the system is fraying at the edges. However, the main reason for it’s even deeper dissolution is the preponderance of corruption within the system. Part of the reason for this corruption is that it goes unreported by the mainstream media who in the past decade or so has lost almost all independence from the State and is now firmly within the State. This is why, just to stay in place, more and more money has been thrown at the Pentagon just to keep the degradation of the system from being a calamity. While many people believe that the Pentagon has always been corrupt, I believe it was “reasonably” corrupt up until the plague of contractors hit Washington starting with Bush 1 and rapidly expanded under Clinton. Trillions of dollars have not been accounted for–21 according to Fortune Magazine since 1998. What happens when the Pentagon is audited?

        • Steve Naidamast
          May 24, 2018 at 13:41

          The US MIC has always had a very corrupt supplier pipeline, which the MIC enabled.

          All the way back in 1917 when the US entered WWI, though it was completely unprepared to do so, the US military ramped up the creation of approximately 33 large training bases throughout the US to train the necessary manpower.

          By 1918 and the advent of the infamous Spanish Flu, this otherwise mild form of flu (average length was about 4 days with full recovery) took a devastating toll on the troops in training at these camps. This was directly attributed to the massively poor workmanship in the building structures, the lack of proper heating and ventilation systems, poor wall design, poor plumbing, poor nutritional design for the mess, and poor health care, all of which was supplied by the suppliers to the US military.

          Thousands of US recruits died or became deathly ill as a result of a Flu that with a modicum of proper health care was completely survivable. This was the same in the trenches and the devastated areas of Western Europe and was the reason why this epidemic became so horrendous and cost so many their lives…

      • robjira
        May 24, 2018 at 14:54

        Good one, Joe.

    • mike k
      May 24, 2018 at 19:35

      Good points. But war is not always based on sound thinking. Letting slip the dogs of war is not entirely under our control…….

    • J. Decker
      May 25, 2018 at 01:56

      Great post Banger.

      No one seems to want to discuss how terrified the Iran military is of the IDF.

      Imagine waves of these notoriously ferocious warriors dashing and smashing their way eastward across Syria to then take Iran with seeming ease.


      • May 27, 2018 at 22:01

        Israel’s weak point was discovered in 2006, It is there home front. They lost the war in Lebanon, and want to fight the next war with our blood and money. I am not a military strategist, but I know that people will do the unthinkable when they are fighting for their lives and homeland against paid mercenaries. Neither is Israel nor our economy can withstand such a war.

  18. Vivian O'Blivion
    May 24, 2018 at 10:05

    The documentary series the BBC ran on the Iraq war was preceded by a “warning contains adult language”. I was anticipating jar heads in Fallujah shouting at one another. The warning was necessary to include General Tommy Franks’ assessment of Douglas Feith; “the dumbest motherfucker of the face of the planet”.

  19. mike k
    May 24, 2018 at 07:42

    The Deep State (DS) sees the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) put forward by China and backed by Russia as a fatal threat to the Empire. Iran is an important link in this plan, and so must be disrupted. Also conquering Iran is a step towards completely surrounding Russia militarily. Then there is the pressure from Israel to neutralize Iran as a regional power. Many reasons to bring the pressure of the fading Empire’s military and financial power to bear on Iran. Trump is only doing what he is told; basically he doesn’t have a clue about what is happening in the world.

    • Realist
      May 24, 2018 at 16:38

      All true, but why? America has completely collapsed as a competitive force in most areas of manufacturing and world trade. Aside from the petrodollar (but not the petrol, which other countries control or possess) and international banking, the only cards our great leaders feel they have to play are the military options (arms manufacture & sales plus massive bloodletting on demand). Apparently this country has become so soft and decadent from its 70 years of uncontested hegemony that it simply no longer has the will to properly educate its young and to compete effectively with the other nations around the globe pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.

      Rather than teaming with American labor and investing in essential industries in and for America, our oligarchs with all the money prefer to just shoot the foreign opposition with our exceptional weapons on the battlefield and import their ambitious educated young to fill all the empty jobs in America requiring Ph.D.’s, M.D.’s, BSEE’s and other advanced degrees while they fleece American kids into permanent debt trying to receive expensive advanced education in for-profit fly-by-night “universities.” Our aristocracy would rather cannibalize our own young and mug the world to retain power and wealth rather than to maintain any semblance of real standards underpinning our civilisation. Only petro dollars and bombs get their attention and investment as the rest of our society is left to rot, along with Mother Earth who doesn’t even have a vote in America.

      Why Trump doesn’t have a clue, I dunno. These were things he campaigned on, but has tragically or conveniently forgotten.

      • J. Decker
        May 25, 2018 at 02:00

        Whoa Realist.

        Your first sentence of second paragraph might just qualify for the longest run-on ever posted at CN!

        But, I like….. Jack

      • Gregory Herr
        May 25, 2018 at 17:02

        And the next sentence powerfully encapsulates a tragic truth. Bears repeating:

        “Our aristocracy would rather cannibalize our own young and mug the world to retain power and wealth rather than to maintain any semblance of real standards underpinning our civilization.”

      • May 26, 2018 at 09:58

        The Imperial project is now locked in internal conflict. Will the world be ruled by the coercive force of military and police repression or will it be ruled by the finance oligarchs? That’s the conflict. Washington against Wall Street so to speak. This has nothing to do with ideology or religion or nation states.

    • May 26, 2018 at 10:26

      I think this is a good analysis. The BRI is a major factor in the rush to war here at least for the War Party. The major clash here is between those who wish the world ruled by coercion and repression and that is Washington’s position–they’re existence is based on using force now that their moral legitimacy is at an all time low. In contrast the finance oligarchs that run the world’s financial system are confident that their carefully constructed system of money uber alles will be the ideal structure for the global Empire that is radically inclusive. All are welcome including the Chinese or especially the Chinese. The great historical conflict is between the corporate/finance elite and the nation-state. At the moment, neither side can “win” but this isn’t about winning its about the distribution of power. An Iran War would create chaos out of the current delicate balance of power.

  20. Vivian O'Blivion
    May 24, 2018 at 06:27

    Sounds like someone has put Bolton firmly in his place. Very much to be welcomed. I don’t buy that Trump is personally exercising restraint or strategic planning. Judging by his speech patterns he is not capable of thoughtful self control. Someone has to be doing his thinking for him and has developed a skill in feeding concepts to him in such a way that his geriatric brain concludes the concept as a Trump original thought.
    All the leaks, rumour, gossip and speculation has it that John Kelly’s star is very much in the descendent. Bolton was rumoured to have a direct route to the Oval Office, by-passing Kelly.
    Kelly is coming up on 18 months duty. With all the never ending blur of personnel upheaval Trump may be starting to rely on Kelly as the one steady, constant in the administration. The other long term inmates (Devos Pruitt and Carson) are hardly in daily contact with the boss.
    I realise that this is entirely ill informed speculation, but it conforms with the observation that people in close proximity that mutually weather the storms directed at them, tend to form a psychological dependency.

  21. May 24, 2018 at 06:07

    Could it not be said that the empirical evidence of regime change policies in Iraq and Libya have done ten times more damage to these now failed states, in both human refugee misery terms, and as breeding grounds for the follow-on terrorist groups to generate future terrorist wars against sovereign governments who don’t sign on with the US playbook? That is, are not the US policies here leading to more human suffering than they are producing “democratic” results in political loyalty, such as say, in Saudi Arabia? Please wake up Washington, before it’s too late.

  22. Paranam Kid
    May 24, 2018 at 05:35

    There are 3 people in the world right now who deserve to fall on a sword (to put it mildly): Bolton, Pompeo, and Netanyahu. This filthy trio are the scum of the earth, the scourge of the Middle east and the rest of the world. Non-Americans did not vote in the US presidential elections, and therefore did not vote for Trump, but the man is affecting the lives of every single person on the planet, esp. with his choice of the swamp rats Bolton and Pompeo, and by licking his way all the way up Adelson’s – Trump’s prime financier – backside and cuddling up close with Netanyahu.

  23. john wilson
    May 24, 2018 at 05:05

    What makes the author think that Trump has any say in the matter whatever. Its quite obvious that the US is planning an attack on Iran at some stage. Anyway, Trump is hardly a a peace maker when it comes to places like Iran and North Korea.

    • May 24, 2018 at 10:26

      I don’t think you’re entirely right. In Washington there is one principle–money talks and bullshit walks. Israel and their allies in the Gulf spread money around and get a hearing and they’ll get stooges like Bolton to mouth stuff and try and influence policies but they are NOT in charge of the Deep State. The Deep State is a network of ruling elites that run the Empire. The largest and most important node in that network is the combination of finance oligarchs–their interest is to create a permanent state of tension that is never resolved to keep the U.S. military “occupying” most of the world in one way or the other. These guys are happy to indulge the Israeli interests in conquering weak states but Russia, Iran and China are a different matter. This is why there will be no major attack on Iran–only the continuing strategy of tension that attempts to stage some kind of internal revolt in Iran through massive bribes, destabilization, and embargos. Usually the vassal states all line up but due to Trumps incompetence as a Head of State he has alienated the population of the European vassals so this may change the situation and make it very hard for an aggressive anti-Iran policy to get much traction. Remember, the finance oligarchs are not just on Wall Street but involve the major European banks and central banks in Europe.

    • Realist
      May 24, 2018 at 16:56

      “Its quite obvious that the US is planning an attack on Iran at some stage.”

      So it would seem, but what is Washington’s end game or exit strategy for this glorious next war? Do they naively expect Iran to fold and abjectly surrender to every outrageous American demand when the cavalry shows up, giving up their sovereignty, honor, wealth, aspirations and international ties to a mob of barbaric infidels, i.e., the Great Satan? Do these neocon zealots have any idea of the price to be paid by the entire world economy when most of the Middle East lies in smoldering ruins, there is no petrol to be bought at any price, the petro-dollar collapses, the world turns to China as its savior and totally shuns the now reviled United States? Do they EVER think beyond: Day 1, we invade; Day 2, we win; Day 3, we impose our will in all things?

  24. Abby
    May 24, 2018 at 03:16

    Why hasn’t anyone pointed out that many people in the Obama administration, John McCain and many other members of the military had and still are working with the terrorists groups thay have been named our enemies?

    IIRC my history correctly, they should be charged with treason for aiding and abetting our enemies. Off shoot groups of Al Qaida were armed, funded and trained by our military to help our country and our allies to overthrow Assad. This was after we used them to overthrow Gaddafi.

    Wikileaks has posted copies of emails and orders that prove these facts as well as emails to and from Hillary Clinton’s state department ordering the transfer of Gaddafi’s weapons including sarin gas from the Benghazi embassy to the so called “moderate Syrian rebels.”

    McCain has been photographed meeting with members of Al Qaida, its offshoot group Al Nursa and leaders of ISIS! The Obama military let countless convoys of hundreds of trucks belonging to ISIS to travel to Turkey to sell oil that they then used the money from to purchase weapons to fight our troops.

    There are records of our troops saying that they don’t feel comfortable training terrorist organizations because if there is another attack on this country they would feel responsible for.

    So I’m asking again. Why is this not called treason? People in government, including those in the intelligence agencies said the military have all sworn an oath to defend this country from enemies foreign and domestic!

    • backwardsevolution
      May 24, 2018 at 03:48

      Abby – great post!

    • john wilson
      May 24, 2018 at 05:07

      McCain is yesterdays man, but what really matters is whats going on now. Whos working the war effort today?

    • Sam F
      May 24, 2018 at 08:25

      The US oligarchy is engaged in treason on many fronts. Treason is defined narrowly in the Constitution as “making war on these United States” although this can be interpreted as military or economic war, the most common war in the present.

      As military war, treason should include not only assisting forces attacking the US, but also military subversion of US interests on behalf of a state like Israel whose interests are entirely contrary to those of the US:
      1. In Afghanistan in the 1980s where the US created Al Qaeda and sent $3 to 4 billion in weapons via Pakistan;
      2. Throughout the Mideast where the US has ruined its security by fighting and sponsoring wars for Israel;
      3. In Ukraine and Turkey where the US has sponsored coups against its interests for bribes from Israel;

      As economic war, treason should include US sanctions that serve only Israel or other states while injuring US interests, and economic support of a state like Israel that acts entirely contrary to US interests. This definition is strict enough to avoid ambiguous cases where some will disagree on policy effects.

      The US oligarchy does this because they serve only money, and control elections through campaign bribes, and mass media by direct ownership.

    • phil
      May 24, 2018 at 13:32

      It’s not treason because it is not happening in the context of a declared war. The US hasn’t declared war on another country since 1943 (Nazi-occupied Romania). Treason is the only crime specifically defined in the US Constitution. There’s a reason for that. The “founding fathers” were well aware that under British law, they had committed treason in rebelling against the Crown. When it came time to enact a Constitution they all made damn sure that the grounds for treason were very specific, and very limited. Since then we’ve had a succession of statutes aimed at criminalizing dissent against and resistance to undemocratic exercises of power (the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Espionage Act). Some of those still stand, but the law of treason continues to be severely circumscribed, much to the chagrin of authoritarians across the political spectrum.

      • Sam F
        May 25, 2018 at 05:40

        The definition of treason is not limited to times of declared war, although there are good causes and strong historical precedent for carefully limiting the definition of treason. Most war is not declared now, and economic power is the principal means of waging war, so this must be accepted as an act of treason. So long as we are careful not to over-generalize the definition to include acts of political expression which do not amount to making war, we protect that important safeguard.

  25. KiwiAntz
    May 24, 2018 at 01:01

    The Iran War has already started with Trump’s illegal withdrawal of the Nuclear deal? This has provided the excuse for Warmerica, now free of the shackles of any adherence to the JCOPA, a Internationally brokered agreement between Iran, which they were in full compliance off & a host of Nations, so the US now can impose its corrupt, draconian, financial terrorism on Iran to cripple it’s economy? Why is this happening? Because Iran dares to exercise its right as s Sovereign nation to determine its own future free from US interference & to ditch the US dollar & exit it’s Petrodollar system? This can’t be allowed to happen as other Countries might do the same & ditch the US dollar because this will definitely signal the death throes of the American empire? Despite Iran being a threat to no one, Warmerica will fake some improbable Iranian atrocities which will lead to the US regime change mantra that states “Something has to be done” by Trump & Walrus moe man Bolton, in order to justify a full blown invasion by the US? Einstein said the definition of insanity is repeating the same things over & over again & expecting a different result? Why doesn’t the US ever learn from its stupid, blundering, foreign adventurism & interventionist mistakes? It defies belief, & now with Bolton in charge, the lunatics are really running the asylum?

    • backwardsevolution
      May 24, 2018 at 01:29

      KiwiAntz – heard someone explain the other day that it WASN’T illegal for Trump to rip up the agreement because it was just an agreement, not a treaty. In order for it to have full force, it would have had to have been voted on by the Senate (I believe), which it wasn’t.

      I don’t agree with what Trump has done; I think it’s stupid. The Iranian people have done nothing wrong. Just repeating what I heard, that it wasn’t illegal.

      I doubt very much whether Trump will follow Bolton’s lead. On two previous occasions he bombed Syria, but he forewarned everyone ahead of time and not much damage was done. Trump doesn’t want war. Heck, he doesn’t even want NATO. Could be the sanctions and the split between the U.S. and Europe is his way of getting rid of NATO, for good. We’ll see.

      • KiwiAntz
        May 24, 2018 at 05:40

        Sorry, I don’t believe in your explanation? This was a contract agreement & not a Treaty, the fact is, the US entered into a legal agreement & has illegally withdrawn from it? The US should be sued for breach of contract & they should be sanctioned & punished, not Iran? What Trump fails to understand is that this was not a bipartisan agreement between the US & Iran? It was a deal that took a lot of ratification & was a agreement signed in writing by a number of Countries with Russia, China, UK, France as well as the US? That’s a contract! There are serious implications for the US by pulling out of a deal that by all accounts, Iran was complying with? It can now be proven that America’s word means nothing & that they can’t be trusted to honor any agreement that they enter into with any Nation? This erodes any trust in America & its policies because they are showing contempt for the rule of law by dishonring agreements! This also applies to International law as well, in which America has proven time & time again with illegal regime change invasions or being in Countries such as Syria & Iraq which they weren’t invited in, that they don’t abide by & honor any agreements & laws that they enter into with others? But really this has nothing to do with stopping Iran getting the bomb or fantasy such as bringing Democracy? This is about stealing Iran’s oil & resources like they did in Iraq & Libya & Trump maliciously destroying Obama’s only notable Foreign policy achievement as POTUS which was this Iran Nuclear deal! Hopefully, Russia will step in & stand up to the US & say enough is enough, like they did in Syria & stop this blatant US Iranian regime change in its tracks?

        • KiwiAntz
          May 24, 2018 at 05:48

          Also, Mike Krieger on Zerohedge has a great article on this very subject called “Is America becoming a Rogue Nation” which goes into better detail than my comments? Please check it out?

          • Phil
            May 24, 2018 at 13:49

            US problems with Iran began back in 1953. In place of the democratically elected government they had, the US and UK gave them a dictatorship by an absolute monarch.

          • backwardsevolution
            May 24, 2018 at 13:52

            KiwiAntz – I agree that the agreement should not have been ripped up.

            “It can now be proven that America’s word means nothing & that they can’t be trusted to honor any agreement that they enter into with any Nation.”

            Can now be proven? It’s been that way for decades, if not forever. Dealing with the U.S., Iran was just lucky to get their own money back (the cash Obama airlifted to them) and have had sanctions lifted for a few years.

            Iran is not stupid, and I’m sure they realized that this agreement was not worth the paper it was written on. Hopefully they used that time to get prepared.

      • FB
        May 27, 2018 at 13:44

        Backwardsevolution…I have to set the record straight about this comment of yours…

        ‘…heard someone explain the other day that it WASN’T illegal for Trump to rip up the agreement because it was just an agreement, not a treaty…’

        This is completely wrong…ripping up the Iran agreement is 100 percent illegal under international law…the reason being that the JCPOA is enshrined in UN Security Council resolution 2231…

        We note that UNSC resolutions are LEGALLY BINDING on all member states…this is the bedrock of the international legal order…

        This has nothing to do with US senate approval or anything else…it is unfortunate that many in the US are completely ignorant of international law and the weight of the UNSC…

        This is of course the product of massive media disinformation in the US…it is convenient for the public not to know anything about international law because it serves the interests of an outlaw state to thumb its nose at such laws…

        The UN Charter is a treaty…a multilateral treaty among all UN member states…

        Any notion that the US actions are not illegal is simply baloney…

    • john wilson
      May 24, 2018 at 05:16

      KiwiAnntz, agree entirely except for the notion that the US made mistakes in its attacks on the other countries you mention. In the case of Libya, this was to stop Gadafi from starting a pan African currency based on the Libyan dinar. It was also to stop Gadaffi from selling oil in currencies other than the petro dollar which would have caused a snowball effect throughout the world. Guess what, Iran is selling its oil in different currencies whereby oil is being sold for ‘goods’ rather than hard cash, thus by passing the sanctions.

      • KiwiAntz
        May 24, 2018 at 06:07

        Hi there & you are correct, but once again it was a currency Gaddafi was trying to implement to remove the US dollars for oil tyranny & replace it with a African Gold denominated dinars for oil? So that was not only replacing the totally fiat US currency not backed by any value whatsoever but with a African Gold dinar which was a store of value unlike worthless paper? Gaddafi & Saddam Hussein’s biggest mistake is that they should have bided their time & developed a nuclear deterrent before attempting to exit the US Petrodollar system, you can’t take on & attempt to withdraw unless you do it from a position of strength? China & Russia have bided their time, watching the US blunder from one disaster to another & China has implemented its yuan for oil deals, convertible to gold & bypassing the US petro dollar system! China & Russia have set this up as a viable alternative to the Petro system, without fear as they come from a position of strength as the US won’t dare try to destroy these two Nuclear armed Countries so they will not suffer Libya & Iraq’s fate, when they tried to exit the Petro?

        • J. Decker
          May 25, 2018 at 02:11

          And yesterday the Director of the Russian Federation’s central bank announced that they had developed and successfully tested an alternative to SWIFT.

          Banksters – are you feeling the heat?

  26. Jeff
    May 23, 2018 at 23:59

    Good Luck, Mr. Bolton. Iran is not some made up state like Iraq and the other states created by Picot/Sykes out of the Ottoman empire. It’s unfortunate that you won’t get close enough to the fighting that you will cause to get your ass blown apart. More’s the pity.

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