JFP 1/6: Judy Miller Alert! NYT Misleads About Iran's Nuclear Program
Just Foreign Policy News, January 6, 2012
Judy Miller Alert! The New York Times Misleads About Iran's Nuclear Program
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Judy Miller Alert! The New York Times Misleads About Iran's Nuclear Program
It's deja vu all over again. AIPAC is trying to trick America into another catastrophic war with a Middle Eastern country on behalf of the Likud Party's colonial ambitions, and the New York Times is misleading its readers about allegations that said country is developing "weapons of mass destruction."
FAIR: NYT Misleads Readers on Iran Crisis
Paper disappears some inaccurate reporting
Contact the New York Times and ask it to investigate and explain the editing of the January 5 front-page article, and to correct both misleading assertions about Iran and nuclear weapons.
Public Editor Arthur Brisbane
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JFP video: The Folly of Attacking Iran: Lessons from History
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1) Turkey says it has delivered a Western offer to Iran to renew negotiations over its nuclear program, Reuters reports. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran was also interested in returning to the negotiating table. [Reuters repeats the claim that "Israel…says a nuclear armed Iran would be a threat to its existence," despite the fact that some Israeli leaders - including, recently, the head of Mossad - say the opposite - JFP.]
2) Tensions with Iran have made U.S. crude oil and gasoline prices as unpredictable as ever, with growing signs that they will remain high enough to be a factor in the presidential race, the Politico reports.
3) Guantanamo's first warden says the prison should be closed, the Daily Beast reports. The retired colonel says "very few" of the men held there had valuable intelligence when he ran the camp. Terry Carrico says it is wrong to keep people indefinitely without trial based on secret evidence.
4) Iranians in Tehran are preparing grimly for a period of prolonged hardship and, they fear, war, the Washington Post reports. Iranians stocked up on essential supplies. Economists and independent analysts say sanctions have fueled a currency crisis that is limiting the availability of a broad array of goods, including life-saving medicines.
5) President Karzai called for the US to hand over its biggest military prison in Afghanistan within a month, the Washington Post reports. Karzai said Afghan government investigators had found violations of the Afghan constitution and international human rights conventions at the prison, which houses about 2,600 inmates near Bagram Airfield. In July, officials told the Post the US would be unable to relinquish authority at the prison until at least 2014.
The existence of the U.S. military prison has long been seen by Afghans as a sign of imperial overreach, the Post says. Most detainees have been held without trial, and fewer than a third of the detainees have been handed over to an Afghan-run court for prosecution. Afghan officials say the Taliban has successfully used the prison in propaganda to galvanize insurgents, drawing on reports of harsh interrogation methods.
6) Israel temporarily banished a dozen suspected Jewish extremists from the West Bank as part of a crackdown ordered by Netanyahu after a series of attacks on Palestinians and the military, the Washington Post reports. Recent settler violence against the military prompted the government to announce a crackdown it said would include jailing suspected extremists without charges and trying rioters in military courts, measures routinely used against Palestinians, the Post notes.
1) Iran, West say ready to resume nuclear talks
Robin Pomeroy, Reuters, Thu, Jan 5 2012
Tehran - Turkey has delivered a Western offer to Tehran to renew negotiations over its nuclear programme, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday, expressing hope talks stalled a year ago could soon be revived.
As new sanctions from the United States and the European Union added pressure on the Iranian economy, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran was also interested in returning to the negotiating table.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Salehi, Davutoglu said Salehi had "responded in kind" to "an expression of willingness by the West to resume negotiations" that he had brought.
"We are waiting for a good result coming out of the willingness of the two parties to go back to the negotiating table," Davutoglu told the news conference, carried live on Iran's Press TV with English translation.
"As far as negotiations over Iran's peaceful nuclear energy programme, we hope that we will gain good results and the unfavorable conditions that have emerged, we hope that they will go away. On the international arena we hope that Iran will be able to have good ties."
Salehi confirmed Iran was ready to return to talks with the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany (P5+1) at a time and place agreed by both sides.
He said the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who heads the P5+1 delegation, had suggested to Turkey that it host the talks and that Ankara had agreed. "Personally I think that Turkey is the best place for the talks to take place," Salehi said.
Istanbul was the venue of the last talks which ended in stalemate since when Iran has come under much tougher sanctions from the West which accuses it of seeking nuclear weapons capability. Tehran says its nuclear programme is peaceful and that it has a sovereign right to atomic technology.
Israel, which says a nuclear armed Iran would be a threat to its existence, has said it could launch pre-emptive strikes if diplomacy fails to stop Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Iran says it would close the Gulf to shipping if attacked, a potentially major blow to the world oil market.
[The claim that "Israel…says a nuclear armed Iran would be a threat to its existence" is problematic. Some Israeli leaders have indeed said things like this, but other Israeli leaders - including, recently, the head of Mossad - have said the opposite - JFP.]
2) Iran tensions add to gas price worries
Darren Goode, Politico, January 6, 2012 06:38 AM EST
Politicians normally don't have to worry about oil and gasoline prices until summer, but five days into January, the experts are already bracing for pain at the pump.
Tensions with oil-rich Iran have made U.S. crude oil and gasoline prices as unpredictable as ever, with growing signs that they will remain high enough to be a factor in the presidential race.
"Iran is going to be a wildcard for the 2012 presidential election in ways that may not be so evident now," said Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian and IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates Chairman Daniel Yergin.
"The combination of economic recovery, sanctions and growing tensions with Iran would all point upwards for oil prices," Yergin added. "If that happens, that will reverberate in U.S. presidential politics."
U.S. and European Union sanctions against Iran and the threat of a disruption in crude oil supply in the Strait of Hormuz - a narrow channel of waters between Iran and Oman where about one-third of all global seaborne oil passes through - helped U.S. crude oil ring in the new year this week by spiking to an eight-month high.
Gas prices at the pump are at unprecedented highs for January - at just under $3.32 a gallon nationwide for regular gas Thursday, according to AAA.
Regular gasoline averaged $3.51 a gallon nationwide in 2011, the highest annual number ever. U.S. motorists spent about $481.3 billion on gas in 2011, breaking the record of $448 billion in 2008.
And that is politically challenging ground for President Barack Obama to navigate. "High gasoline prices are the bane of incumbent politicians," said Daniel J. Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for American Politics Action Fund. "The question about oil prices is also not only whether they go up a significant amount but when."
3) Terry Carrico, Ex-Guantánamo Prison Commander, Says Facility Should Close
A decade after the prison camp opened, its first warden speaks out against U.S. detention policies in the war on terror and tells Aram Roston the facility should be closed.
Aram Roston, Daily Beast, January 6, 2012 4:45 AM EST
Ten years ago, Army Colonel Terry Carrico watched a C-141 land at Guantánamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba. He had planned for the moment carefully, and he knew very well what the cargo was: 20 detainees sent from Afghanistan. Carrico was the first camp commander of what would become the world's most famous terrorism prison, and this was its opening day.
Now a corporate executive in Georgia, he considers the debate that is still raging over U.S. detention policy from a unique perspective, and he has reached conclusions that run counter to the prevailing political trends in Washington. The retired colonel says Guantánamo "should be closed," though he believes it never will be. He says "very few" of the men held there had valuable intelligence, at least while he ran the camp.
Carrico also says plainly that he believes it is wrong to keep people indefinitely without trial based on secret evidence. He argues that people captured in the war on terror should be arrested and tried in courts of law, not locked up at places like Guantánamo. "It goes against the way I was trained and what I believe," he tells The Daily Beast, "to hold someone indefinitely with lack of evidence or proof."
"Due process of law, all the things that we stand for as a country, and being a country of laws, it doesn't sit well with me that we are going to continue to keep people in Guantánamo," he said.
Carrico has the unusual credentials for someone making these points, for he was essentially the facility's first warden.
4) As currency crisis and feud with West deepen, Iranians brace for war
Thomas Erdbrink and Joby Warrick, Washington Post, January 5
Tehran - At a time when U.S. officials are increasingly confident that economic and political pressure alone may succeed in curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions, the mood here has turned bleak and belligerent as Iranians prepare grimly for a period of prolonged hardship and, they fear, war.
This stark contrast has been evident in the Iranian capital this week as a top military commander declared a "critical point" in the country's long feud with the West and ordinary Iranians stocked up on essential supplies. Merchants watched helplessly as the Iranian currency, the rial, shed more than a third of its value, triggering huge increases in the prices of imported goods.
"I will tell you what this is leading to: war," said a merchant in Tehran's popular Paytakht bazaar who gave his name only as Milad. "My family, friends and I - we are all desperate."
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland deemed as "very good news" the E.U.'s commitment to shutting off the flow of Iranian oil to Europe. "This is consistent with tightening the noose on Iran economically," Nuland told reporters Wednesday. "We think that the place to get Iran's attention is with regard to its oil sector."
In Tehran, that tightening is being felt by millions of people. Economists and independent analysts say the sanctions have aggravated the country's chronic economic problems and fueled a currency crisis that is limiting the availability of a broad array of goods, including illegally imported iPhones and life-saving medicines.
The pain extends to the country's large industries. According to the Iranian Labor News Agency, high prices for commodities and raw materials, caused by the rial's plunge, have led to the closure of 50 percent of businesses in the biggest industrial zone near Tehran.
Among those complaining about the rial's drop were producers of medicine, importers of foreign cars and food, and truck drivers on international routes. In some cases, they decided to stop working because they could no longer make a profit.
Siavash Saadat said he did not know how he was going to pay for the goods he ordered from India for his Mina pharmaceutical factory. "We either have to close down or I will be forced to lay off workers," he said.
5) Karzai, Alleging Abuses, Wants Military Prison Turned Over Soon
Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, January 5
Kabul - President Hamid Karzai on Thursday called for the United States to hand over its biggest military prison in Afghanistan within a month, despite repeated warnings that Afghan institutions are woefully unprepared to detain or try suspected terrorists.
Karzai said Afghan government investigators had found violations of the Afghan constitution and international human rights conventions at the prison, which houses about 2,600 inmates near Bagram Airfield. He did not provide details of the alleged violations, but he said in a statement that they constituted a "breach of Afghan sovereignty."
The transfer of the prison, called the Parwan Detention Center, and its burgeoning population of detainees is regarded by Afghans and Americans as a critical marker in the war's endgame - a sign that Afghan officials are ready to inherit institutions essential to the nation's future. U.S. officials said in a public memorandum two years ago that they expected the prison to be transferred in early 2012. Karzai interpreted that timeline as being firm, but U.S. officials point to the document's caveat that the transfer is subject to "demonstrated capacity."
The country's judicial system has remained weak, U.S. officials said, raising concerns that Afghans would be unable to prosecute or detain the many insurgents captured by NATO forces and would allow dangerous Taliban fighters to slip through the cracks. In July, officials told The Washington Post that the United States would be unable to relinquish authority at the prison until at least 2014, when the last foreign troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan.
The existence of the U.S. military prison about 30 miles north of Kabul has long been seen by Afghans as a sign of imperial overreach, and for years Karzai has singled the prison out for criticism. The U.S. military has detained suspected insurgents at facilities in the area for about a decade. Most have been held without trial, and fewer than a third of the detainees have been handed over to an Afghan-run court for prosecution.
A transition at the Bagram prison is expected to hold special symbolic value. Afghan officials say the Taliban has successfully used the prison in propaganda to galvanize insurgents, drawing on reports of harsh interrogation methods. A U.S. Army investigation into the deaths of two detainees in 2002 uncovered evidence that prisoners had been chained to the ceiling by their wrists and severely beaten by guards.
6) Jewish militants banned from West Bank
Joel Greenberg, Washington Post, January 5
Jerusalem - Israel temporarily banished a dozen suspected Jewish extremists from the West Bank on Thursday as part of a crackdown ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a series of attacks on Palestinians and the military.
An army statement said that the top military commander in the West Bank had signed "administrative removal orders" for 12 Jewish activists for periods ranging from three to nine months. The statement added that the group had been involved in "leading, directing and carrying out widespread violent and clandestine activities" against Palestinians and Israeli forces in the West Bank.
Militant Jewish settlers have recently stepped up what they call "price tag" attacks in response to moves by the Israeli authorities to demolish unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank.
Several Palestinian mosques have been torched and desecrated, stones have been thrown at Palestinian cars, and last month Jewish militants attacked army officers and rampaged in a military base in the West Bank.
The violence against the military outraged Israelis and drew condemnations across the political spectrum, prompting the government to announce a crackdown that it said would include jailing suspected extremists without charges and trying rioters in military courts, measures routinely used against Palestinians.
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