Thursday, December 15, 2011

NATO dreams of civil war in Syria

NATO dreams of civil war in Syria 
By Pepe Escobar 

Every grain of sand in the Syrian desert now knows there won't be a "responsibility to protect"-enabled North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) “humanitarian” intervention to provoke regime change in Damascus. A protracted war like in Libya is not feasible - even though those faultless democratic practitioners, the House of Saud, have offered to pay for it, lavishly. 

Yet the fog of near war remains impenetrable. What is NATO really up to in Syria? 

It was already established (see The shadow war in Syria Asia Times Online, December 2, 2011) that NATO had set up a command and control center in Turkey's southern Hatay province - where British commandos and French intelligence are training the dodgy Free Syria Army (FSA). The target: to foment a civil war engulfing northern Syria. 

Now comes the confirmation, via the website of former United States Federal Bureau of Investigation whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, that a pincer movement may be in effect, involving Jordan. [1] 

Edmonds quotes local sources according to whom "hundreds of soldiers who speak languages other than Arabic" have been "moving back and forth ... between the King Hussein air base in al-Mafraq" and "Jordanian villages adjacent to the Syrian border". 

Edmonds sustains none of this is being reported by US media because of a gag order from above that in theory expired this Tuesday. And don't try asking King Abdullah of Jordan about it. 

The base at al-Mafraq is virtually across the border from Dar'a. A lot of action has been going on in Dar'a recently - an epicenter of the anti-President Bashar al-Assad movement. As far as the Syrian news agency Sana is concerned, security forces have been routinely killed by "terrorist gangs". As far as the "rebels" are concerned, these are patriotic army defectors attacking military supply lines. 

Let's hit plan B 

By adopting this pincer movement, NATO in Syria is now actively diversifying into an Iraq-in-the-1990s strategy; to submit Syria to a prolonged state of siege before eventually going for the kill. 

Yet as much as NATO would pray to Allah for the contrary, Syria is not Libya. It's much smaller and compact, but more populated and with a real, battle-tested army. On top of being immensely estranged from each other by the current eurodrama, the Brits and former colonial power France have calculated they have everything to lose economically if they engage in the folly of a conventional war. 

As for the Syrian opposition stalwarts - the Syrian National Council (SNC) - they are a joke. Most are Muslim Brotherhood, with a sprinkling of Kurds. The leader, Burhan Ghalioun, is an opportunist Paris exile with zero credibility (for the average Syrian) although in a recent Wall Street Journal interview he made all the right noises to appease the Israel lobby (no more ties with Iran, no more support to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza). 

The FSA claims 15,000 army defectors. But it's infected with mercenaries and what scores of Syrian civilians describe as armed gangs. The SNC, in thesis, is anti-guerrilla. But that's exactly what the FSA is actively practicing, attacking Syrian soldiers and Ba'ath party offices. 

The SNC key tactic for now is to sell Western public opinion the Libya-style "potential" nightmare of an imminent massacre in Homs. Not many are buying it - apart from the usual, strident, corporate media suspects. Although both are based in Istanbul, the SNC and the FSA can't seem to get their act together; they look like a lethal version of The Three Stooges. 

Then there is the Arab League, which is now controlled by The Eight Stooges; the six GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council, aka Gulf Counter-revolution Club) monarchies plus "invited" GCC members Morocco and Jordan. The stooges are subcontractors of NATO's Greater Middle East on (humanitarian) steroids. Nobody, though, is asking where were the stooges were when Beirut and southern Lebanon were destroyed in 2006, and when Gaza was destroyed in 2008 - in both instances by Israel. The stooges don't dare question the divine rights of the US/Israel axis. 

NATO's tactics in Syria have been crystal clear for a while now. France, under neo-Napoleonic liberator of Libya President Nicolas Sarkozy, concentrates on turbo-charging escalation. A the same time, Paris is trying to position the rise and rise of the Muslim Brotherhood all across the Arab world as a strategic Western interest - as in curbing Iranian influence. 

Then there's the ongoing economic blockade - impossible without cooperation from Iraq (it won't happen), Lebanon (it won't happen) and Jordan (it could, but to Jordan's detriment). 

But NATO's wet dream is really to push Turkey to do the dirty work. Irretrievably broke as they are, NATO countries - including the US - simply cannot launch yet another Middle East war that would send oil prices through the roof. 

What NATO cannot fathom is the possibility of a sectarian Sunni-Shi'ite war re-exploding in Iraq. In this case, the only safe haven would be Iraqi Kurdistan. And that would strengthen Kurdish unity - from Iraq to Syria, from Turkey to Iran. Turkey in this case would have more pertinent fish to fry than to get embroiled in a war in Syria. 

Turkey's double game 

Still, the great imponderable in this complex chessboard is Turkey - as in what precisely happened to their much-lauded foreign policy of "zero problems with our neighbors", devised by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. 

Faced with Riyadh's impotence, and Cairo in turmoil, Ankara seems to have monopolized the mantle of Sunni leadership - or guardian of Sunni orthodoxy facing those Shi'ite heretics, mostly from Iran (but also Iraq, Alawis in Syria and Hezbollah). 

At the same time, to please NATO and the US, Ankara allows the deployment of missile defense in its territory - which is directed not only against Iran but most of all against Russia. Not to mention Ankara harbors the secret - forbidden - desire to "solve" the Kurdish question for good by establishing an autonomous zone in Syrian territory. 

And Ankara also wants to make money; winners in Libya were British and French oil interests, while losers were the Italians and the Turks. But so far Turkey is also losing, especially in Hatay province near the Syrian border, as a free-trade agreement between both countries has been canceled. 
To the West's despair, the Assad regime is far from being strangled. To counteract the hefty package of Arab League/Turkish sanctions, the regime has accelerated trade with China - by bartering and bypassing the international financial system. 

No wonder Washington is taking the long-haul approach. It has deployed back to Damascus its ambassador Robert Ford - a former assistant to the sinister former destabilizer of Nicaragua John Negroponte when he was ambassador in Baghdad, and a current enthusiast of the House of Saud counter-revolution. 

Ford will have plenty of time to exchange e-mails with a Syrian opposition totally in bed with former colonial power France. Talk about a stooge festival; this one is bound to carve its own niche in the annals of Middle East infamy. 

1. The report is here. An interview with Syrian journalist Nizar Nayouf is here
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 

He may be reached at

Monday, November 28, 2011

That rocky road to Damascus By Pepe Escobar

That rocky road to Damascus
By Pepe Escobar 

The trillion-dollar question in the "Arab Winter" is who will blink first in the West's screenplay of slouching towards Tehran via Damascus. 

As they examine the regional chessboard and the formidable array of forces aligned against them, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the military dictatorship of the mullahtariat in Tehran must face, simultaneously, superpower Washington, bomb-happy North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members, nuclear power Israel, all Sunni Arab absolute monarchies, and even Sunni-majority, secular Turkey. 

Meanwhile, on their side, the Islamic Republic can only count on Moscow. Not as bad a hand as it may seem. 

Syria is Iran's undisputed key ally in the Arab world - while Russia, alongside China, are the key geopolitical allies. China, for the moment, is making it clear that any solution for Syria must be negotiated. 
Russia's one and only naval base in the Mediterranean is at the Syrian port of Tartus. Not by accident, Russia has installed its S-300 air defense system - one of the best all-altitude surface-to-air missile systems in the world, comparable to the American Patriot - in Tartus. The update to the even more sophisticated S-400 system is imminent. 

From Moscow's - as well as Tehran's - perspective, regime change in Damascus is a no-no. It will mean virtual expulsion of the Russian and Iranian navies from the Mediterranean. 

Yet key lateral moves by the West are already on. Diplomats in Brussels confirmed to Asia Times Online that the former Libyan "rebels" - now trying to come up with a credible government - have already given the go-ahead for NATO to build a sprawling military base in Cyrenaica. 

NATO has no final say in such matters. This is decided by the boss - the Pentagon - interested in emboldening Africom in coordination with NATO. As many as 20,000 boots are expected to be deployed on the ground in Libya - at least 12,000 of them Europeans. They will be responsible for Libya's "internal security", but also be on alert for possible, further military campaigns targeted at - who else - Syria and Iran. 

Bring those Shi'ites down 

As much as the latest "coalition of the willing" - which by the way repeats the Libya model - is against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, it also represents a Christian/Sunni war against Shi'ites, be they the Alawite minority in Syria or the Shi'ite majorities in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. 

This is part and parcel of the "strategic opportunity" identified by the powerful Israel lobby in Washington; if we strike against the Damascus-Tehran link, we deal a mortal blow to Hezbollah in Lebanon. That, ideologues believe, can now be sold to world public opinion under the cover of the former Arab Spring - now "Arab Winter" after a metamorphosis, before "Arab Summer", into the Arab counter-revolution). 
As Tehran sees it, what's really going on regarding Syria is a "humanitarian" cover for a complex anti-Shi'ite and anti-Iran operation. 

The road map is already clear. A fractious, unrepresentative Syrian National Council - Libya-style - is already in place. Same for a heavily armed Sunni "insurgency" crisscrossing the borders in Lebanon and Turkey. Sanctions are already essentially hurting the Syrian middle class. A relentless, international campaign of vilification of the Assad regime has been deployed. And psy ops abound, with the aim of seducing sections of the Syrian army to defect (it's not working). 

A report [1] by a Qatar-based researcher for the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) even comes close to admitting that the self-described "Free Syria Army" is basically a bunch of hardcore Islamists, plus a few genuine army defectors, but mostly radicalized Muslim Brotherhood bought, paid for and weaponized by the US, Israel, the Gulf monarchies and Turkey. There's nothing "pro-democracy" about this lot - as incessantly sold by Western corporate and Saudi-owned media. 

As for the National Council, based in Washington and London and sprinkled with the usual dodgy exiles, its program calls for governing Syria alongside the same military that has been - a la the Egyptian military junta - shooting civilian protesters. Makes one think that the only sensible solution would be for the people in Syria to topple the police state Assad regime, while being vehemently against the dodgy Syrian National Council. 

This year's model (dictator) 

Then there's the usually misguided and misinformed West, which believes that the Arab League - now no more than a puppet of US foreign policy - is siding with the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people. Angry Arab blogger As'ad Abu Khalil is correct when he says that after the fall of president Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, "the League is now an extension of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC]". 

The GCC is in fact the Gulf Counter-revolution Club. Their favorite sport is to privilege "model" dictators - starting with themselves, but also including Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen and the little kings of Jordan and Morocco, who will be annexed to the GCC because they wish they were in the Persian Gulf (geography dictates they aren't). On the other hand, the GCC abhors "bad" dictators - the snuffed-out Muammar Gaddafi and Assad, who not by accident are from secular republics. 

The House of Saud, Jordan and rising Qatar are more than comfortable doing the US's and Israel's bidding. The House of Saud - the GCC's top dog - invaded Bahrain with 1,500 troops to smash pro-democracy protests very much like the ones in Egypt and Syria. The House of Saud helped the ruling, Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty in 70% Shi'ite Bahrain to conduct widespread torture; Bahrainis confirm that everyone tortured was forced to confess direct links with "evil" Tehran. 

In Egypt, the House of Saud supported Mubarak even after he was deposed. Now it supports - with over US$4 billion so far - a military junta that basically wants to keep power, unchecked, over a "democratic" facade. 

The House of Saud couldn't possibly coexist with a successful, democratic Egypt. Anyone believing the House of Saud's claim to defend human rights and democracy in the Middle East should check into an asylum. 

The Arab League - also a House of Saud extension - gave a green card to NATO to bomb a member state. It suspended Syria on November 12 - as it had done with Libya on February 22 - because, unlike in Libya, US and European designs in the United Nations Security Council were duly vetoed by Russia and China. 

Welcome to a "new" Arab League where if you don't prostrate in front of the GCC altar, you're condemned to regime change. 

Worshipping the GCC can't compare to worshipping the Pentagon and NATO. Jordan and Morocco are members of NATO's Mediterranean dialogue, and Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are members of NATO's Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. In addition, Jordan and the UAE are the only Arabic Troop Contributing Nations for NATO in Afghanistan. 

Ivo Daalder, the Obama administration's ambassador to NATO, has already ordered Libya to enter the Mediterranean Dialogue, alongside Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania and Israel. And early this month he told the Atlantic Council what's needed for an attack on Syria; an "urgent necessity" (such as giving the impression Assad is going to raze Homs to the ground); "regional support" (that will come in a flash from the GCC/Arab League); and a UN mandate (it won't happen, as Russia and China had made it clear). 

So one may expect exactly that from the "coalition of the willing"; some black ops blamed on the Assad regime; immediate support from GCC/Arab League; and probably unilateral action, because via the UN is a no-no. 

The Greater Middle East dream 

No wonder some sound minds in Damascus, watching the tea leaves, decided to take some action. Damascus did send secret couriers to sound out Washington's mood. The price to be left alone; to cut all ties with Tehran, for good. The Assad regime was left wondering what would they get in return. 
The Alawites, roughly 12% of the population and members of the ruling elite, won't desert the Assad regime. Christians and Druze expect only the worst from a possible, hardcore, Muslim Brotherhood-dominated new order. Same for a crucial neighbor, the Nuri al-Maliki government in Baghdad. 

Russia knows that if the current Libyan model is reproduced in Syria - and with Lebanon already under a de facto NATO blockade - the Mediterranean will indeed become that dream, a NATO lake, which is code for total US control. 

Moscow also sees that in the US-conceived Greater Middle East - and talk about "great", spanning from Mauritania to Kazakhstan - the only countries that are not linked with NATO through myriad "partnerships" are, apart from Syria: Lebanon, Eritrea, Sudan and Iran. 

As for the Pentagon, the name of the game is "repositioning". As in if you leave Iraq you go somewhere else in the "arc of instability", preferably the Gulf. There are 40,000 US troops already in the Gulf - 23,000 of them in Kuwait. A secret army for the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency is being trained by former Blackwater, "repositioned" as Xe, in the UAE. A NATO of the Gulf is being born. NATOGCC, anyone? 

When the US neo-conservatives ruled the universe - that was only a few years ago - the motto was "Real men go to Tehran". An update is in order. Call it "Real men go to Tehran via Damascus only if they have the balls to stare down Moscow". 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 

He may be reached at
(Copyright 2011 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Full-Spectrum Dominance and the Regime-Change Project by Richard K. Moore

"Give me control over a nation's currency, and I care not who makes the laws." 

– Baron Mayor Amschel Rothschild

Pax Americana & Bretton Woods: a regime-change precedent

For more nearly five centuries, ever since European expansionism began c. 1492, the world order could be described as competitive imperialism: European powers competing over colonial and economic territories. The various wars between European powers were one expression of this competition. Wars would arise periodically, when one power felt it could expand its imperial realms at the expense of another. 

A radically different world order was established after Word War 2, based on the Bretton Woods institutions  (UN, IMF, World Bank, ...), the dissolution of separate European empires, and Pax Americana. This new world system can be described as collective imperialism, with the Pentagon acting as imperial enforcer in the 'Free World' on behalf of Western capital generally. This new global regime opened the way for the greatest growth period in history, while at the same time removing the motivation for wars among European powers.

This paradigm shift in systems did not just happen: it was the outcome of a project. The new postwar paradigm was designed and planned in a series of meetings, by a handful of people selected from the Council on Foreign Relations, at the invitation of President Roosevelt. The CFR is a policy research & development organization, in service to the central banking cabal: the postwar world order was designed specifically to serve the interests of those central bankers.

The new regime came with a PR mythology: imperialism was dying; the nations of the world were being liberated; democracy was spreading; economic development would raise everyone's standard of living. 
The reality was different: imperialism was being pursued more efficiently and systematically; nations were freed of colonial rule, but were still subject to destabilization and intervention if they didn't cooperate with Western corporate interests; democracy was the exception rather than the rule in the newly independent nations; widespread economic exploitation and poverty continued, much as under colonialism. 

This postwar growth era became a victim of its own success in pursuing economic development. It was so effective, and so global in its reach, that it finally began to run into hard environmental constraints. By the 1970s it became clear that the postwar growth machine was running out of steam. Not that growth couldn't continue for some time, but the overall return on investments was beginning to decline. 

Cycles of boom and bust have always occurred in the history of capitalism. The banking cabal makes money from investments and loans during a growth phase, they engage in looting and short-selling as the growth declines, and they extend their hard-asset ownership portfolios at bargain prices during the bust phase. The postwar growth cycle peaked in the 1970s, neoliberal looting began in the 1980s, and we're now well into the bust phase, with hard assets being grabbed at bargain prices via IMF-mandated privatization.

Always before the bust was temporary. There were always 'new worlds to conquer', some way to launch a new and grander growth cycle. This time, with hard environmental limits being encountered, a new and grander growth cycle just isn't possible. 

"We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order." – David Rockefeller

The post-capitalist regime-change project

No one has been more aware of this final end to the growth-cycle paradigm than the banking cabal. David Rockefeller himself was the principal founder of the Club of Rome, which published its Limits to Growth already in 1972. Ever since then, and even before, plans and preparations have been in the works for a successor global regime, not based on growth, but still under the thumb of the bankster cabal. 

As described in the first article of this series, 'The Elite Plan for a New World Social Order', the new global system is to be based on a centralized world government, managed by already-established bureaucracies, including the UN, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC). 

These bureaucracies will be accountable to the cabal, with no real kind of democratic input. The new order can be characterized as the whole world becoming the private fiefdom of the banking cabal clique, who become the equivalent of an extended global royal family. It's essentially a return to a pre-Enlightenment ancien rĂ©gime

As with the postwar regime, the new regime will have a PR mythology, quite different from the reality. We already have many clues about the nature of the new mythology, and the first article outlines what that mythology will probably be like. 

As described in the second article of this series, 'The Great Carbon Credit Deception', the new economic paradigm will be based on centrally-micromanaged resource allocations, and this is beginning already with carbon credits. On our finite planet, a resource-based economy makes a great deal of sense, but not one that is centrally managed for the purpose of controlling the people of the world.  

The general destruction wreaked by World War 2 'cleared the building site' so that the new postwar world order could be constructed. The cabal is now systematically clearing the building site once again, to enable the construction of the post-capitalist world order. 

"Of course there is a class war, but it's my class, the rich class, that is waging the war, and we're winning." – Warren Buffett

Full-Spectrum Dominance

As Warren Buffett quips, we are in a class war – and the regime-change project is the cabal's war plan to win a total and lasting victory over the rest of humanity. It is important that those of us in the 99% under-class realize we're under systematic attack. And it's important that we realize that the core principle of modern warfare is full-spectrum dominance: pro-active control over every domain of engagement. We need to be aware of the many ways in which we're being attacked. 

We've seen the principle of full-spectrum dominance in Iraq for example, where first the air-defenses are taken out, then the communications infrastructure, then transport, and so on, each domain of engagement being dominated in its turn. In such military engagements, domestic public opinion is also a domain of engagement, and dominance there has been pursued via embedded journalism, media propaganda, and lies by officials. 

In the regime-change project – the class war – there are many domains of engagement over which dominance must be achieved and maintained. 

Russia and China

Russia and China are a very special case. They are cooperating closely in pursuing their national interests in opposition to the cabal's plans, while at the same time gaining as much advantage as possible from the existing global marketplace. They are seeking a stable multi-polar world order, and have formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the BRICS alliance. Because of their size, wealth, and military clout,  Russia and China  pose the only serious geopolitical obstacle to the establishment of the cabal's centralized global regime.  Full-spectrum dominance is being pursued  against Russia and China in several different domains. 

One of these is the domain of destabilization, particularly in the case of Russia. Russia took a major hit , for example,  with the breakup of the Soviet Union – which was facilitated, according to Brzezinski, by the CIA-sponsored war between the Soviets and Afghanistan, which fatally over-stretched the Soviet economy and brought Yeltsin to power, an agent of the West, who did all he could to destroy what was left of the Russian economy. Subsequently we've had the CIA-sponsored 'Colored Revolutions', aimed at aligning Russia's neighbors with the West.

In the military domain the US has been encircling Asia with military bases and anti-missile systems, while meanwhile developing and deploying  space-based and other hi-tech  weapons systems. All of this adds up to a first-strike capacity, enabling the US to initiate a hi-tech assault while inhibiting an effective response. 
China, in order to support its growing economy, needs access to oil and other resources. To ensure that access, China has been making investments and long-term trade deals, particularly in Africa. In response the US has set up AFRICOM, with the mission of nullifying those investments and trade deals via regime-change projects, as we've seen recently in Libya. Such actions represent direct attacks on Chinese strategic interests.

The AFRICOM initiatives and the encirclement programs are preliminary acts of war, and  Russia and China are well aware of this.  Russia and China will either need to yield sovereignty over their national destiny, or else military force will be used to neutralize them as competing powers.
This is how the building site is being cleared for regime change, one way or the other, in the case of Russia and China.

The Third World

As John Perkins explains in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, the Third World has long been under attack by an aggressive campaign of debt entrapment. As a condition of receiving IMF refinancing packages, nations must submit to restructuring agreements, which open up the nation's assets to privatization, and essentially bring the nations under direct cabal management, via the IMF.

In those cases where this approach does not succeed, regime-change projects are being pursued, as we've seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, and most recently Libya. Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea are on the list for future regime-change initiatives, whenever the Pentagon judges the timing to be right. 

Various pretexts are being used in order to achieve acceptance of these regime-change projects in the domain of Western public opinion. With Iraq, we had phony claims about weapons of mass destruction; with Libya, we had phony reports that Gaddafi was bombing civilians; with Iran, we have phony reports that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons capability. And always with such regime-change projects, the claim of 'humanitarian intervention' is used. 

This is how the building site is being cleared  for regime change, in the case of the Third World.

Western nations

Western governments were long ago corrupted and seduced into joining the neoliberal globalization bandwagon, which has systematically undermined the vitality of Western economies, and whose 'free-trade' laws have taken away regulatory sovereignty. In this way the West's  manufacturing capacity has been decimated, and Western nations have  become dependent on the global economy for their very survival.

Meanwhile, the cabal has used the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group to indoctrinate Western leaders into the cabal agenda. We've gotten to the point, as with Sarkosy and Merkel, where candidates are selected at Bilderberger meetings, and then promoted into power by well-funded political campaigns.
All of this set the stage for the  orchestrated economic collapse of September 2008. Instead of doing the sensible thing, which would have been to put the failed banks into receivership ala Iceland, the indoctrinated leaders accepted the absurd doctrine of 'too big to fail', and committed themselves to bailing out the banks. While the public was told the collapse was only a liquidity crisis, insiders knew that in fact the whole banking system was insolvent. There was no way the nations could afford those bailouts. 

Thus the insolvency of the banks was transformed into the insolvency of Western treasuries. Once this was achieved, the cabal began incrementally bringing Western nations under the direct management of cabal agents, first Ireland, and more recently Greece, Italy and Spain. By means of the bailout scam the economic-hitman strategy crossed the Rubicon from the Third World to the West, bringing with it draconian austerity and wholesale privatization.

Germany has been the most resistant to these destabilization programs, retaining a strong economy and a robust manufacturing sector, and enjoying a highly profitable export trade. At the same time, German banks are heavily invested in the failed banks and in the bonds of the bankrupt European nations, and as the global economy continues to collapse, Germany will be gradually but inevitably pulled down with the rest of Europe. 

The US seems to be standing outside this scenario, with the dollar continuing as a de facto global reserve currency. But in fact the US is totally bankrupt, with astronomical budget and trade deficits. In order to keep operating, the Federal Reserve is simply printing money, and it is getting by with it because of the dollar's reserve currency status.  The rug can be pulled out from under the US economy any time the cabal so chooses. 

In this regard, it is important to understand exactly how the the collapse of 2008 was brought about. The vulnerabilities, in terms of over-extended banks and toxic-derivative holdings, had been present for some time. But the vulnerabilities were hidden because the banks were permitted to pretend on their books that the toxic assets were sound assets. Rockefeller's Bank of International Settlements in Basel Switzerland then pulled the plug: it announced  the 'mark-to-market' rule –  the toxic assets must be put on the books at their actual market value. Thus the whole house of cards came down all at once.

Similarly, there is now another house of cards that can be brought down at any time. There are $600 trillion of paper wealth tied up in derivatives and credit-default swaps. Whenever the cabal chooses, the plug can be pulled. It is only necessary to tighten the rules, and force banks and investors to start settling their derivative accounts. When this happens, there is nowhere that those  $600 trillion  can be found, as the world's total annual GDP is only $65 trillion. The final and total collapse of the global economy will come all at once, bringing the US down with it.

This is how the building site is being cleared   for regime change, in the case of the Western nations.

Western public opinion

Although the cabal is quite willing to use whatever force is necessary to achieve its objectives, up to and including orchestrating major wars, it never relies exclusively on force. A way is always sought to bring Western public opinion into alignment with those objectives. Thus military interventions are portrayed as 'humanitarian', bailouts are portrayed as 'unfortunately necessary', and austerity is portrayed as a 'path to growth recovery'. Such false portrayals are sold to the public by propaganda from the cabal-controlled mass media, and by the lies of government officials. 

Such measures have succeeded, for the most part, in getting Western populations to grudgingly accept the orchestrated collapse process. However, as the impact of the collapse is beginning to affect more and more people directly, public opinion is becoming increasingly angry and frustrated with the state of affairs. Media propaganda and official lies are failing to neutralize this growing anger. One is tempted to conclude that the cabal is losing its touch, that it is failing in this case to successfully manage public opinion. 

Such a conclusion, however, would be mistaken. We need to keep in mind that the agenda of the cabal is quite different this time around. In the past, the cabal, by means of media propaganda and government lies, was always seeking to maintain support for the system they control: capitalism and Western governments. This time around, the agenda of the cabal is to discard capitalism and national governments, and replace them with the new centralized, non-growth system. Public anger and frustration feeds directly into this agenda – provided it is channeled appropriately.

The formula is an old one, known as 'problem, reaction, solution'. That's how the Federal Reserve was brought into existence back in 1913. First cabal-agent JP Morgan manufactured the problem (a run on the banks), then the cabal waited for the expected reaction (a public outcry that 'something be done'), and finally they offered their 'solution' (the cabal-owned Federal Reserve). By the time people started realizing that the solution was worse than the problem, it was too late.

With the regime-change project, the manufactured 'problem' includes not just the economic crisis itself, but also the fact that banks are responsible for the crisis, and governments are failing to do anything to alleviate the crisis. The desired 'reaction' is not just that people cry out for 'something be done' about the collapse, but that they also cry out for something be done about corrupt and incompetent governments, and that something be done about the power of banks and corporations. That is to say, the desired reaction is that people cry out for regime change. 

In order to achieve this desired reaction, the cabal is employing sophisticated mind-control techniques – called psy-ops in the trade – involving the Internet and grassroots movements. The first clear example I saw of this was 'Zeitgeist', a viral YouTube video that was soon followed by the 'Zeitgeist Addendum', and a Zeitgeist Movement. At first I too was taken in by Zeitgeist, because the initial video gives one of the smoothest and most comprehensive descriptions of the evils of our age that I had ever seen. It is very professionally presented, and it pulls no punches about false-flag operations, the power of the banks, and the corruption of governments. I thought to myself, “Wow, this is a wake-up call that can really make a difference".

However my illusions were soon shattered, when the Addendum came out. While Zeitgeist is an example of 'stating the problem', the Addendum is an example of 'appropriately channeling' the resulting reaction. The Addendum is based on Jasque Fresco's Venus Project, which envisions a sci-fi technocratic future, with shiny meg-lev trains, futuristic cities that operate like beehives, and where the entire globe is organized into a monoculture with society's decisions to be made by a centralized group of elitist engineering technocrats. Indeed, Fresco suggests that global decisions should eventually be made by computers.

The Addendum doesn't mention the Soviet-style attitude-adjustment centers that would be needed to deal with those who couldn't stomach such a regimented society. Nor does it say anything about how the technocrats would be selected, or how their priorities would be determined. It's an unrealistic and frightening vision, but many of those who were captured by the initial Zeitgeist video have been successfully channeled into embracing that vision. 

Subsequently the Zeitgeist Movement has distanced itself from the Venus Project, however the Zeitgeist Mission Statement continues along the same lines:

This "Resource-Based Economic Model" is about taking a direct technical approach to social management as opposed to a Monetary or even Political one. It is about updating the workings of society to the most advanced and proven methods Science has to offer, leaving behind the damaging consequences and limiting inhibitions which are generated by our current system of monetary exchange, profits, corporations and other structural and motivational components.

The Zeitgeist Movement is alive and well, with chapters in all 50 US states, and in 48 nations around the world. We see here a perfect example of the 'problem, reaction, solution' paradigm in action. Those who have bought into the Movement are eager to abandon the current system, and they can be expected to readily accept the cabal's new world order – as long as it is sold to them with appropriate propaganda spin. 
A more recent Internet psy-op is the 'Anonymous Movement'. This is designed to appeal to those with more anarchistic tendencies, who would be unlikely resonate with visions of a regimented beehive future. As with the Zeitgeist Movement, Anonymous is based on a total rejection of the existing system:

"ANONYMOUS declares war on the system! JOIN THE RESISTANCE!"
Anonymous describes itself as a leaderless, spontaneous, unorganized, grassroots movement. How anyone can believe this is beyond me, given the professional quality of the videos, the consistency of the style and content of the videos, and the sophisticated branding techniques, such as the 'V for Vendetta' masks. The words in the videos are spoken by computer software, giving the impression that the authors are successfully hiding their identities from the authorities. One needs to be incredibly naive to think the authors couldn't be tracked down, and the videos taken down, if the authorities actually felt threatened by Anonymous.

The credibility of Anonymous is somewhat enhanced by various successful hacker attacks that have been attributed to it. But again, only the naive could believe the authorities couldn't put a stop to this, if the perpetrators really were grassroots activists trying to take down the system. In fact, the hacker attacks, as well as Anonymous itself, are undoubtedly false-flag operations of the Pentagon's new Cyber Warfare division, carrying out its part in the class war against we the people. 

Apart from propagating an anti-system message, and channeling the attention of some number of naive people, it is not clear what the real purpose of Anonymous is. My best guess at this point is that a really outrageous and unpopular hacker attack will come along, Anonymous will claim credit, and that will be used as an excuse to seriously crack down on the use of the Internet by genuine activists. The Internet would then be politically sterilized, giving Internet psy-ops a clear field.

Let us now turn our attention to the rapidly growing Occupy Movement, which has captured the imagination and energy of activists, and a great many ordinary citizens, around the world. The home page of the Zeitgeist Movement, as of this writing, prominently displays support for the Occupy Movement. As with Zeitgeist and Anonymous, Occupy is based on a radical critique of the existing system, as we can read on the Occupy Together website:

Global civil society is being threatened by a system based on power and not on human values. Day after day it represses basic freedoms and consistently favors the greed of the few over the needs of the many. This power finances wars, food and pharmaceutical monopolies, it sponsors dictatorial regimes across the globe, destroying environments, manipulating and censoring information flow and transparency.

The movement was inspired by the Arab Spring movements, particularly Egypt's Tahir Square Movement. Occupy burst on the scene all at once in mid September, following a call to action from Adbusters magazine, which has ties to George Soros. It rapidly became the dominant global protest movement. According to the Occupy Together website, the movement now has a visible presence in over 2,000 towns and cities worldwide.

The movement manifests as encampments, as in Tahir Square, where people stand around holding signs demanding an end to this and that abuse by the system. The movement has a specific decision-making process, based on General Assemblies, using an awkward consensus process. This pattern was established at the original Wall Street encampment, by a leadership clique that knew exactly how they wanted things to operate, and the pattern has been faithfully adopted by subsequent encampments as the movement grew.  
The main agenda of the movement seems to be managing its own encampments. It has no specific manifesto of demands, no vision of any particular system to replace the current one, and no strategy for actually bringing about change. In essence, it amounts to a global Tahir Square gathering – a mass of people waiting around for someone to announce a regime change. As in Egypt, the people will get a regime change, and as in Egypt, it won't be a regime they will be happy with.

This is how the building site is being cleared for regime change, in the case of the Western public opinion.

Managing the Transition

Just as the old world system is being systematically dismantled, so is the transition process to the new regime being systematically managed. Indeed, with the globalist bureaucracies established and operating, the carbon-credit system launched, the IMF managing many of the world's national economies, and top Western leaders indoctrinated by the cabal's forums (Bilderberger Group, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations), the transition process is already well underway. 

The UN will of course need to be 'reformed' as part of the transition. The General Assembly is far too democratic to suit the purposes of the cabal, and the Security Council is plagued by that pesky veto process. Already the US is pushing for reform, seeking for power to be centralized in the UN's Secretary General. With Russia and China out of the picture, it will be easy for the cabal to push through whatever reforms they deem appropriate, so as to enable the cabal to dictate policy, free of constraint. 

The US has long been under the control of the cabal, with the cabal-owned Federal Reserve managing monetary policy, and the political system totally corrupted. JFK made a valiant attempt to restore genuine sovereignty, and after eliminating him the cabal tightened its grip still further. The US, and particularly the Pentagon and the CIA, have served as essential tools of the cabal as they have been pursuing their plans for global domination.

The EU was a cabal project from the very beginning, and its founding charter, the Maastricht Treaty, was drawn up by cabal-controlled finance ministers, not heads of state. The purpose of the EU has been to help manage the transition of Europe into the new world system, by incrementally undermining national sovereignty and bringing Europe under the bureaucratic control of the cabal-dominated Brussels regime. 

As the economic collapse dramatically worsens, civil unrest will dramatically increase. Harsh suppression of Western populations will be necessary in order to get through the transition process. The various false-flag 'terrorist' events, such as 9/11 and the London tube bombings, have provided the excuse to implement the police-state infrastructures that will enable the necessary suppression. The same false-flag events have also provided excuses for the various military interventions that have been necessary in order to 'clear the building site' in the third world. 

Is another future possible?

Time is running very short, if we the people hope to do anything to change this course of events. Our collective activist energy has certainly been aroused, as evidenced by the Arab Spring uprisings, the Occupy Movement, and the various protests we've seen in Europe. But we will need to find new ways of organizing our energies if we want to be effective. It is the responsibility of us in the West to create a different future, if there is to be one. For as long as the West, with its dominant military power, is under the control of the cabal, there is little hope the rest of the world can make a difference. 

The purpose of this series of articles has been to help us understand the magnitude of the task that faces us, if we do want a different future. In particular, we need to understand that protesting, regardless of the scale, is not going to help. Those in power don't care and aren't listening. And whatever we do, it must be based on non-violence, as the authorities are very well prepared to suppress any kind of violent uprising. 

It is beyond the scope of this article to go much further with suggestions for overcoming cabal power. If these articles have enhanced your understanding of the problems, I hope they also encourage you to think afresh of how we might pursue overcoming them. 

My own thinking has led me to the conclusion that our organizing, and our vision for the future, both need to be based on localism and inclusiveness. Globalism and mass media are the natural province of elites. Community and face-to-face communication are the natural province of we the people. Let me leave you with the thought that we are all in this together: left and right are illusions foisted on us to keep us divided. 

Richard K Moore, an expatriate from Silicon Valley, retired and moved to Ireland in 1994 to begin his ‘real work’ – trying to understand how the world works, and how we can make it better. Many years of researching and writing culminated in his widely acclaimed bookEscaping the Matrix: How We the People Can Change the World (The Cyberjournal Project, 2005). His cyberjournal email list has been going since 1994 ( The book’s website is, and his website is Richard can be contacted via email

Richard K. Moore is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Richard K. Moore 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Exposed: The Farce of US press 'freedom' By Pepe Escobar

Exposed: US press 'freedom' 
By Pepe Escobar 

Last week, independent journalist Sam Husseini went to a news conference by Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia at Washington’s National Press Club - where Husseini is a member. 

Then he did something that is alien to United States corporate media culture. He behaved as an actual journalist and asked a tough, pertinent, no-holds-barred question. Here it is, as relayed by Husseini's blog:
I want to know what legitimacy your regime has, sir. You come before us, representative of one of the most autocratic, misogynistic regimes on the face of the earth. Human Rights Watch and other reports of torture, detention of activists, you squelched the democratic uprising in Bahrain, you tried to overturn the democratic uprising in Egypt and indeed you continue to oppress your own people. What legitimacy does your regime have - other than billions of dollars and weapons? [1]

Prince Turki, former Saudi intelligence supremo, former pal of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, former Saudi ambassador to the US, reacted by changing the subject. [2] 

Were this to happen in the Middle East, Husseini would have been duly kidnapped by Saudi intel, tortured and snuffed out. Ask the remains of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. For much less - saying out loud in an Arab League meeting that King Abdullah was a traitor, because he was encouraging the George W Bush administration to invade Iraq - the House of Saud did everything in its power, for years, to make sure Gaddafi was taken out. 

Turki exhibits all the trademark democratic credentials of the House of Saud. He refers to the push for democracy in the Arab world as "Arab Troubles". 

After the Turki shoot 

According to Husseini, on the same day of the news conference he received "a letter informing me that I was suspended from the National Press Club 'due to your conduct at a news conference'. The letter, signed by the executive director of the club, William McCarren, accused me of violating rules prohibiting 'boisterous and unseemly conduct or language'." 

Husseini, communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, which showcases critical journalism from all over the world, is a calm, thoughtful man with impeccable credentials. The accusation is not only bogus - it is downright pathetic. 

Was this a one-off? Obviously not. Flashback to January 2009, at the same National Press Club, during a news conference by then-Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni. When Livni was asked a tough question - once again by Husseini - the mike was cut, and the conference abruptly terminated. My cameraman, Sebastian Pituscan, was there with me. [3] 

So this is how the much-lauded "freedom of the press" myth in the US actually works. If you perform the job of an actual journalist, telling truth to power, forget about attending press conferences at the White House, Pentagon or State Department. You won't even be admitted in the building. 

If you are an official from a "valuable ally" - such as the House of Saud or the regime in Israeli - you are assured a tough question-free pulpit anywhere you choose, especially if you're fluent in English. 
But if you are an official from a "rogue" regime, the maximum you can aspire is to be humiliated in public, as it happened to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University in New York. Especially if you don't speak English, and most of what you say is lost in translation. 

On the other hand, if you are a travelling US corporate media hack, you can get away with murder. 
Example. During the Asian financial crisis, in 1997 and 1998, I went to countless press conferences where parachuted US hacks intimidated Asian leaders as if they were a bunch of hooligans (the hacks, not the leaders). Perky chicks emerging from some two-bit journalism school in the flyover states treated then-Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad as if he was a child rapist, because he had established capital controls. 

Mahathir turned out to be right - as Malaysia overcame the crisis much earlier than those, such as Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea, that surrendered to the International Monetary Fund's dreadful "adjustments". 

In 1989, Chinese students protesting in Tiananmen Square were hailed by US media as heroes standing up to tyranny. In 2011, American students protesting all across the country against financial tyranny are "lazy", "bastards", both, or downright criminalized. 

United States corporate media could not possibly admit that repression in Tahrir Square by Egyptian riot police is exactly the same as repression in New York, Oakland, Portland or Boston by American riot police. 

Still there's no word from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization about setting up a "humanitarian" no-fly zone over selected Occupy sites in US cities. They are still consulting with the House of Saud. 

1. See the blog here
2. Video of the exchange is here.
3. The exchange is here

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 

He may be reached at

Friday, November 11, 2011

Do the bomb Iran shuffle By Pepe Escobar

Do the bomb Iran shuffle 
By Pepe Escobar 

Get ready for a flurry of fuzzy satellite ''intelligence'' of generic warehouses all across Iran frantically described as segments of a nuclear bomb assembly line (Remember a famous ''secret nuclear facility'' in Syria not long ago? It was a textile factory.) 

Get ready for a flurry of crude diagrams depicting suspect devices, or the containers that hide them, all capable of reaching Europe in 45 minutes. 

Get ready for a flurry of ''experts'' on Fox, CNN and the BBC endlessly dissecting all this extended black ops dressed up as ''evidence''. For instance, former UN weapons inspector David Albright, now at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), has already pulled his return of the living dead stunt, displaying his ''bomb Iran'' credentials complete with diagrams and satellite intel. 
Forget Iraq - it's sooo 2003. Hit the new groove; hyping overdrive for the war on Iran. 

Turning Japanese
First of all, ditch common sense. 

If Iran were developing a nuclear weapon, it would be diverting uranium for it. The report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) this week - as politicized as it may be - flatly denies it. 
If Iran were developing a nuclear weapon, UN inspectors working for the IAEA would have been thrown out of the country. 

Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program in 2002. And yet it was shocked and awed. The same rationale applies to Iran. 

What Tehran may have conducted - if the compromised intel used in the IAEA report is to be believed - is a bunch of experiments and computer simulations. Everybody does it - for instance countries which have renounced the bomb, such as Brazil and South Africa. 

What the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) - in charge of the civilian nuclear program - certainly wants is a deterrent. 

That is, the possibility of building up a nuclear bomb in case they face an unequivocally established threat of regime change, provoked, most likely, by a US attack and invasion. 

Doubts swirl about the competence - or the impartiality - of the new IAEA head, the meek Japanese Yukya Amano. The best answer is in this WikiLeaks cable

As for the origin of most of the IAEA's self-described ''credible'' intel, even the New York Times was forced to report that ''some of that information came from the United States, Israel and Europe.'' Gareth Porter offers the definitive debunking of the report. 

Moreover, expect major pressure on the CIA to renege the crucial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which established - irrefutably - that Tehran had ditched a nuclear weapons program way back in 2003. 

All this dovetails with the dogs of war already barking. 

European minions may be incompetent enough to win a war in Libya (they did it only when the Pentagon took over satellite intelligence). 

They may be incompetent enough to manage Europe's financial disaster. But France, Germany and the UK have already started barking - calling for further stringent sanctions on Iran. 

In the US, Democrats and Republicans alike are calling not only for sanctions; in the case of wacko Republicans, which of course, is an oxymoron, they're calling for a new version of Shock and Awe. 
It's never enough to repeat how things work in Washington. The Banjamin Netanyahu government in Israel tells the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee what to do, and the AIPAC orders the US Congress what to do. 

That's how the House Foreign Affairs Committee is considering a bipartisan bill that is essentially a declaration of war. 

According to the bill, neither President Barack Obama, nor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, nor in fact any US diplomat can engage in any kind of diplomacy with Iran - unless Obama convinces the ''appropriate congressional committees'' that not talking would mean an ''extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States''. 

''Appropriate congressional committees'' happens to define exactly the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which gets its martial marching orders from Bibi in Israel via AIPAC in Washington. 

Try telling any of these Israeli-firsters at the United States Congress what are the real immediate consequences of an attack on Iran; the Strait of Hormuz closed within minutes, at least 6 million barrels of oil out of the world economy (already in recession in the industrialized North), a barrel of oil hitting $300 or $400. 

It doesn't matter; they're incapable of doing the math. 

Prep well, and stick to the agenda 
Rumors swirl about the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) recently claiming, according to the Fars news agency, that only four Iranian missiles can deter Israel. 

These missiles might - or might not - be Soviet Kh-55 nuclear cruise missiles from the Ukraine and Belarus, with a maximum range of 2,500 kilometers, that Iran may have bought years ago in the black market. 

The IRGC, of course, is mum. That only feeds the fog of (pre)war - as nobody exactly knows how well defended Iran is. 

It's an open secret in Washington that regime change in Iran is being war-gamed by the Pentagon since at least 2004. 

The favorite neo-con 2002 road map still applies, the targets being Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan - all key nodes in the Pentagon-coined ''arc of instability''. 

Imagine PhDs in warmongering examining the chessboard. Iraq was duly shocked and awed (even though the US is now being booted out). Syria is too hard to crack for incompetent North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Lebanon (Hezbollah) can only be captured if Syria falls first. Libya was a victory (forget about a protracted civil war). Somalia is containable with Uganda and drones. And South Sudan is in the bag. 

That leaves - for hardcore practitioners of Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine - the enticing possibility of a successful attack on Iran as the ultimate creative destruction move, reshuffling all the cards from the Middle East to Central Asia. The ''arc of instability'' terminally destabilized. 

How to accomplish it? So simple - as the warmongers see it. Convince Obama that instead of being whacked around, conservatives will kiss his brogues and he'll be canonized as the re-energizer of the US economy if he just went to fight another war. 

Anyone for Occupy Iran - literally? 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 

He may be reached at

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cops request "non-lethal" crowd control systems from Pentagon

Department of Homeland SecurIty sources have told WMR that police departments across the United States are requesting the Pentagon to provide Active Denial Systems to immobilize, through "non-lethal" means, large crowds at Occupy Wall Street and other mass demonstrations. The Obama White House and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta are said to be considering the police request. Homeland Security supports the deployment of the systems to the police.

The Active Denial System (ADS) is a directed energy weapon that sends a microwave beam that causes human bodies to heat up, much as a microwave oven cooks food, but at a lower intensity. The targets of ADS have the sensation that they are on fire. However, the energy pulse weapon, manufactured by Raytheon, causes discomfort and results in targeted groups of people running away from the beam's targeted area. In addition, severe injuries can be caused to individuals wearing jewelry or metallic body piercings, as well as people wearing metal-framed eyeglasses or with metallic implants.

ADS was used by the Pentagon in Afghanistan but was rejected for use in Iraq because it could have been considered a form of torture.

There has also been interest by some police departments in using a new generation of Pentagon ultra-sound weapons. Targeted on a mass group of people, such weapons result in vertigo, nausea, sudden defecation and urination, and breathing problems. For high-risk targets such as the elderly, asthmatics, and young children, ultra-sound weapons could be lethal.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A bad case of nuclear Iranophobia By Pepe Escobar

A bad case of nuclear Iranophobia 
By Pepe Escobar 
As the climax to a leaking frenzy in Western corporate media that bordered on - literally - nuclear hysteria, United Nations inspectors at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finally released a report essentially charging that Tehran had tried to design a nuclear weapon to fit in a missile warhead until as late as last year. 
According to the report, Iran worked "on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components". 
Besides the effort to redesign and miniaturize a Pakistani nuclear weapon, Tehran is also accused of trying to develop a covert operation to enrich uranium - the "green salt project" - that could be used "in an undisclosed enrichment program". 
All this leads the IAEA to express "serious concerns" about research and development "specific to nuclear weapons". 
The report sells the notion that while the IAEA has tried for years to monitor declared Iranian stockpiles of uranium ore and processed uranium - currently 73.7 kilograms of 20%-enriched uranium in Natanz plus 4,922 kg of uranium enriched to less than 5% - Tehran, in secret, has been trying to build a nuclear weapon. 
Dodgy intel 
The IAEA insists is relying on "credible" intelligence - over 1,000 pages of documentation - from more than 10 countries, and has drawn on eight years of "evidence". 
Yet the IAEA has no independent means to confirm the enormous mass of information - and disinformation - it receives from mostly Western powers. Mohammad ElBaradei - who was the predecessor of the Japanese Yukya Amano as the head of the IAEA - said so, explicitly, many times. And he always disputed what passes for "Iran intelligence" - knowing it was politicized to the extreme, and trespassed by waves of rumor and speculation. 
No wonder ultra-conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan had reason to ask whether that was a IAEA report or an American diktat to the meek, easily pressured Amano. 
There's nothing even remotely earth-shaking about the report - satellite images and speculation by "diplomats" being sold as irrefutable "intelligence". If this looks like the build-up towards the war on Iraq, that's because it does. Essentially, it's regurgitation of a four-year-old farce, known as the "laptop of death". [1] 
The scenario closer to reality - even taking into consideration the existence of a covert program, which is not substantiated - spells out that building a nuclear warhead, for Tehran, is counter-productive. 
Yet the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) - in charge of all high-level military programs - may certainly keep the option of building a nuclear warhead as fast as lightning, as a deterrent in case they were absolutely sure the US would invade, or even launch an extended "shock and awe". The undisputed true consequence of Iran eventually holding a nuclear weapon is to end once and for all with the ever-present threat of an American attack. Any doubts, please consult the North Korean dossier. 
The Tehran regime may be ruthless, but they're no amateurs; to build a nuclear weapon - either in secret or in full view of the IAEA - and go bang, would lead them nowhere. The regime - which is already embroiled in a vicious, complex internal battle between the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the faction of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad - would be totally isolated geopolitically. 
The Iranian population is way more concerned with inflation, unemployment, corruption and the yearning for more political participation to be plunged inside a global nuclear controversy. There is ample positive consensus in Iran about a civilian nuclear program. But there's no guarantee even a minority would endorse an "Islamic bomb". 
Calling Israel's bluff
What does rattle the nerves not only of Israel but the powerful array of US interests who 32 years later are still in denial about losing their prized gendarme of the Gulf (the shah of Iran) is that Tehran keeps them guessing, forever. 
Predictably, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel will keep barking to deafening levels, while trying by all ruses necessary to wag the (American) dog. 
The same Netanyahu that neither US President Barack Obama nor French President Nicolas Sarkozy can stand anymore has a single-minded strategy; to draw Washington and a few minions, from the Brits to the House of Saud - and this has nothing to do with "international community" - to exercise maximum pressure on Tehran. Otherwise, Israel will attack. 
This is nonsense, because Israel can't attack even a stray poodle. All its crucial military hardware is American. It needs special permission to cross Saudi or Iraqi airspace. It needs a green card from Washington from A to Z. The Obama administration may be accused of everything - but it's not suicidal. 
Only those non-entities at the US Congress - despised by the overwhelming majority of Americans, according to any number of polls - can possibly believe in the martial marching orders they get from Netanyahu via the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby. 
So what's left is the possibility of even more sanctions. Four rounds of harsh UN Security Council sanctions already target Iran's imports and banking and finance. But that's the end of the line. 
Russia is not convinced by the IAEA report, and already said so explicitly. China is not impressed; the IAEA simply did not have enough evidence to flatly accuse Iran of conducting an active nuclear weapons program. 
So forget about Russia and China accepting another US-imposed round of sanctions at the UN - which would be literally nuclear; a de facto boycott of Iran's sales of oil and gas. 
Only a bunch of clowns can assume that China would vote against its national security interest at the UN Security Council. Iran is China's third-largest oil supplier, after Saudi Arabia and Angola. China is importing around 650,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran - 50% more compared to last year. That's over 25% of Iran's total oil exports. 
Even the Obama administration had to admit publicly that a boycott is unimaginable; it would deprive the depression-bound global economy of no less than 2.4 million barrels of oil a day, with the barrel probably hitting $300 or even $400. 
Tehran has - and will continue to find - ways to bypass financial sanctions. India has paid Iranian oil imports via a Turkish bank. Tehran is starting to use a Russian bank as well. 
This also proves that Israel's mantra of the "international community" isolating Iran is a monumental bluff. Key actors such as BRICS members Russia, China and India keep close commercial relations. 
On top of it, amid all the Iranophobic hysteria, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - China, Russia and four Central Asian "stans" - engaged in their latest summit in St Petersburg. Iran - which enjoys observer status - was there, via Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. Sooner or later Iran will be admitted as a full member. 
If even before Iran joining the SCO China and Russia considered an attack on Iran as an attack on both of them - as well as on the idea of Asian energy integration - it will be very enlightening to watch Israel trying to convince the US to conduct an attack on Asia. 
1. See here
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 
He may be reached at