Topic: Bush Administraiton
The WaPo reports: "Iran said on Friday it was moving funds out of Europe to shield them from possible U.N. sanctions and flexed its oil muscles with a proposal to cut OPEC output.
"Yes, Iran has started withdrawing money from European banks and transferring it to other banks abroad," said a senior Iranian official, who asked not to be named."
Speculation has it they might be moving the funds to Asia or to Switzerland. I wonder which Asian nation might be a beneficiary of $30 billion of Iranian cash? The threat of cutting oil output is sending the price of oil up to $67 and the stock market is taking a nose dive as I write. It doesn't help that French president Jacques Chirac is threatening Iran with a nuclear douche. He said yesterday, according to the AP, "leaders of states that would use terrorist means against us" [could face] "a firm and fitting response."
That's the way to calm things down! There's no shortage of loonies out there wanting to throw nukes around, though. Trudy Rubin of the Philly Inquirer wrote last week that:
"The millennial obsession of Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, adds urgency to U.S. and European efforts to keep Iran from the bomb. In a speech at the United Nations, Ahmadinejad urged the Lord "to hasten the emergence of... the promised one," the Shiite Muslim equivalent of the Messiah. He is said to be obsessed with the Mahdaviat, the belief in the second coming of the 12th Shiite imam, known as the Mahdi, who has been in hiding for more than 1,000 years. The Iranian's combination of devotion and inflammatory threats against Israel highlights the potential danger of an Iranian bomb."
I think she might overstating this particular threat just slightly. I don't think the second coming of the Mahdi requires a nuclear holocaust like Ronald Reagan's rapture did. Remember, the man with his hands on the button back in the eighties thought he would be the president to usher in the coming of the lord.
Reagan said in an interview People magazine in 1983 that,"T]theologians had been studying the ancient prophecies -- what would portend the coming of Armageddon-- and have said that never, in the time between the prophecies up until now, has there ever been a time in which so many of the prophecies are coming together. There have been times in the past when people thought the end of the world was coming, and so forth, but never anything like this. I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns." [Common Sense Almanac]
And if that's not scary enough, keep in mind Nancy Reagan consulted an astrologer before she let Ronnie poopy pants do anything. Don Regan wrote that, "Virtually every major move and decision the Reagans made during my time as White House Chief of Staff was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise."
["My fellow Americans," he joked, "I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.]
So, Ahmadinejad doesn't sound that frightening to me in comparison. He doesn't have the bomb and he doesn't have that much power. He's got a big mouth, yes, but Hashemi Ali Rafsanjani is the real power behind the scenes. If you recall he was also the recipient of a cake and a bible signed by Reagan back in the Iran/Contra days, delivered to him by Ollie North and Robert McFarlane. Truly wacky! So he's probably figuring this dumbass we got in the White House now is just as flaky and can be played like the Iranians played Ronnie.
I'm digressing all over the place here today. What point am I trying to make?
In a bit of good news today a basically forgotten scandal amidst, all the others concerning this administration, Lawrence A. Franklin was sentenced to 12 years in prison for helping the Israelis spy on us. [AP]Franklin claims he was only trying to help the US.
"The judge said Friday that Franklin believed the National Security Council was insufficiently concerned with the threat posed by an unspecified Middle Eastern nation. Franklin thought leaking information might eventually persuade the Security Council to take more serious action, he said. While the Middle Eastern country was not named in the court record, sources and the facts of the case point to Iran."
The smoking gun: Not!
Well, what do you know, we're back to Iran again. Not that Israel has any hand this big push to bring Iran to the Security Council. [See this blog for more on the Franklin case]
I found this interesting insight from Atimes.com back in May of this year on the media treatment of the Iran situation and it's very prescient:
"It is hardly given that in the light of Iran's cooperation with the IAEA, fulfilling its NPT obligations, the Security Council would impose sanctions on Iran and, in case it chooses to do so, that would mean an oil embargo, causing higher oil prices hardly affordable by the global economy; short of oil embargo, a UN sanction would be practically toothless and a continuation of the present, decade-long US sanctions, which have proven a failure in deterring foreign investments in Iran, as the Iran-China mega deal worth US$100 billion clearly demonstrates. In all likelihood, China would veto any Security Council sanctions on Iran as long as no smoking gun on Iran's alleged weapons program has been found."
In regard to the smoking gun all the US apparently has to offer is a lap top they claim has Iranian plans for a nuclear warhead on it but the NYT writes that those who have seen it are skeptical:
"This chapter in the confrontation with Iran is infused with the memory of the faulty intelligence on Iraq's unconventional arms. In this atmosphere, though few countries are willing to believe Iran's denials about nuclear arms, few are willing to accept the United States' weapons intelligence without question. "I can fabricate that data," a senior European diplomat said of the documents. "It looks beautiful, but is open to doubt."
So, there you go, no one believes a word we say so good luck getting sanctions on Iran. I know, how about focusing on the mess in Iraq before we start another war!