Trump’s Iran war, stop it, Sanders says

This 20 June 2019 video from United States congresswoman and Democratic party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

TrumpYour Iran strategy has been ill-advised and short-sighted. Change course now. Return to Iran nuclear agreement before it’s too late. Put aside your pride and political calculations for the good of our country. Do the right thing.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Trump escalates war threats after drone shootdown over Iran

21 June 2019

US President Donald Trump authorized military strikes against Iran Thursday before unexpectedly cancelling them, the New York Times reported. The abrupt move leaves open the imminent possibility of a major new war in the Middle East with the potential to kill millions and spark a global military conflict.

The Times reported on Thursday that “Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries.”

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

There was big disagreement about whether the USA should attack, writes The New York Times. Secretary of State Pompeo, national security adviser Bolton and CIA director Haspel were in favor of a military response, but top Pentagon officials feared that an attack would lead to further escalation and would endanger US forces in the region.

The Bill Van Auken article continues:

The news came after Trump delivered a series of contradictory statements threatening retaliation over the Iranian downing of a unmanned drone spying on Iranian territory, while at the same time suggesting that the action may have been a “mistake” committed by a member of the Iranian military.

“It’s hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I think it could have been somebody loose and stupid that day.”

The statement contrasted with his reaction earlier in the day, when he declared that “Iran made a very big mistake” and answered reporters’ questions about whether it would lead to war by declaring, “You’ll find out.”

The US administration’s real intentions remain opaque. Trump summoned top congressional leaders to the White House “situation room” late Thursday for a classified briefing on Iran. Those attending included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence and armed services committees.

Such a meeting could well be the prelude to US military action.

While Iran immediately acknowledged that it had shot down the drone because it had violated the country’s airspace in an “illegal and provocative” manner, the US military initially made no comment on the shootdown, beyond denying that any US aircraft were “operating in Iranian airspace today.”

The drone that was destroyed by an Iranian surface-to-air missile was an RQ-4B Global Hawk, used by the US Navy as a “Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System.” These aircraft, which have the wingspan of a 737 passenger jet, are stuffed with electronic surveillance equipment and cost the Pentagon upwards of $200 million apiece.

The drone is capable of flying at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet and has been used in the US military interventions in Iraq and Syria with no concern about it being vulnerable to attacks from the ground. The buildup to war against Iran, however, as the downing of the drone makes clear, is another matter.

The shooting down of the high-priced US drone has come as a shock to the Pentagon and another warning that the costs of an all-out US war against Iran will be far higher than US imperialism’s previous military interventions in the Middle East.

It marks the second time this month that a US drone has been shot down in the region. On June 6, a US MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot down by Houthi rebels over Yemen as it was supporting the near-genocidal war being waged against that country by Saudi Arabia and its allies, which has killed over 80,000 civilians and driven millions to the brink of starvation.

Iran itself has claimed to have downed or taken possession of five other US drones before the latest shootdown. In December 2011, it captured a US Lockheed Martin RQ-170 stealth drone operated from a base in Afghanistan and flying over Iranian territory. It was able to reverse-engineer the drone to produce its own version of the aircraft.

Once the US Central Command (CENTCOM) responded to Thursday’s downing of the drone over Iran, it claimed that the missile strike was an “unprovoked attack” and that the aircraft had been flying over international waters.

As in the case of the claims of Iranian responsibility for the damage to tankers in the Gulf of Oman, no evidence has been provided to substantiate the latest US charges over the downing of the drone.

Both the Pentagon and the Iranian government have provided maps supporting their respective claims that the drone was flying over international versus Iranian territory.

The truth of the matter is that there is no agreement between Washington and Tehran over what constitutes Iranian territory. It was the US-backed dictatorship of the Shah that laid Iran’s claim to territorial waters extending 12 nautical miles from its shores, including into the Strait of Hormuz, which at its narrowest is only 21 nautical miles.

Whatever the flight path of the US spy drone, the claim that its downing by an Iranian missile was “unprovoked” is ludicrous on its face.

The unmanned aircraft was being used to spy on Iran under conditions in which Washington has steadily escalated military threats against the country, with the dispatch of a carrier battle group, a bomber strike force led by nuclear-capable B-52s and an amphibious landing group carrying US Marines. This has been followed by the dispatch to the region of first 1,500 and then another 1,000 US troops, all in the name of “deterring” unsubstantiated claims of Iranian threats to “US interests” in the region.

This military buildup has been carried out in the context of a US economic siege against Iran that is tantamount to a state of war. The Trump administration, having unilaterally ripped up the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement with the major powers, has carried out what it touts as a “maximum pressure” campaign. This act of economic strangulation is aimed at reducing Iranian energy exports to zero and starving the Iranian population into submission to the re-imposition of a US-backed puppet regime along the lines of the hated dictatorship of the Shah.

The strategic aim of this economic and military siege against Iran–pursued by Republican and Democratic administrations alike over the past 40 years–is to assert US hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East and thereby place Washington in a position to ration, or cut off, energy imports by the principal US global rival, China.

While there are indications of deep divisions within the US state apparatus over the drive toward war against Iran, the US provocations in the Persian Gulf are driving inexorably toward an armed conflict that could quickly claim the lives of tens of thousands.

At the same time, the tensions over the US siege against Iran with both Europe and China are an unmistakable warning that the eruption of a military confrontation could spill over into a new world war.

This 20 June 2019 video from the USA is called Trump Administration Wants War with Iran, Bolton Leads the Charge.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Sanders vows to stop Trump’s rush to war as Iran shoots down US drone

Friday, June 21, 2019

US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders warned against “another war based on lies” after Iran shot down a US spy drone in the Straits of Hormuz today.

The Democratic senator from Vermont

No, Sanders is an independent senator; though a Democratic party presidential candidate.

vowed to do all he can “to stop the US attacking Iran” as Washington ratchets up regional tensions.

In an interview with US broadcaster MSNBC last night Mr Sanders branded the Iraq and Vietnam wars as “the two worst foreign policy disasters … based on lies that came from the White House.

“I will do everything that I personally can as a United States senator to stop the United States attacking Iran,” he said.

“If we go into a war with Iran this will be an asymmetrical war … There will be never-ending wars in the Middle East. It will make the war in Iraq look like a cakewalk.”

He later tweeted: “The Vietnam War was based on a lie. The Iraq War was based on lies. We cannot allow Trump to drag us into war with Iran.”

TO DATE the UK is the only major diplomatic power to support the American accusations against Iran. As the British opposition Labour Party, in addition to independent British political observers, have noted, this begs the question as to why Britain is staking out such an extreme position at the risk of international isolation: here.


Donald Trump threatening war on Iran

This 16 June 2019 video from the USA is called Corporate News Pushes Iran War For Trump.

By Peter Symonds:

US secretary of state declares “military response” to Iran “being considered”

17 June 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday continued the Trump administration’s belligerent threats against Iran, declaring in an interview on CBS “Face the Nation” that the US was “considering a full range of options.” Asked if that included “a military response”, he declared “of course.”

Pompeo blustered his way through the interview, dismissing any suggestion that the US had no evidence to prove that Iran had attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last Thursday. He insisted that a grainy video released by the US Central Command showed a small boat of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) approached and removed an unexploded limpet mine from the Japanese-owned Kokuta Courageous.

Last Friday, Yukata Katada, the president of the Kokuka Sangyo shipping company that owns the Kokuta Courageous tanker, rejected the claim that the ship had been damaged by limpet mines. “The crew are saying it was hit with a flying object. They saw something flying toward them, then there was an explosion, then there was a hole in the vessel. Then some crew witnessed a second shot.”

Confronted with these remarks yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Pompeo simply dodged the question, declaring that “the intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence” and “the American people should rest assured we have high confidence with respect to who conducted the attacks.” He provided no evidence or data, however.

The Secretary of State gave a similar response when asked on CBS about comments by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas that the video was “not enough.” Pompeo baldly declared that Maas had seen “a great deal more than just the video” but did not elaborate. In a not-so-subtle swipe at Germany, he added that “there are countries that just wish this should go away and they want to act in a way that is counterfactual.”

Germany is not the only country to question the lack of evidence. Japan Today reported yesterday that the Japanese government had also requested further proof. “The US explanation had not helped us to go beyond speculation”, a senior government official said.

Another source close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the website: “These are not definitive proof that it’s Iran. Even if it’s the United States that makes the assertion, we cannot simply say we believe it.”

The source also noted that the attacks on the tankers took place as Abe was meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah ,Ali Khamenei during his trip to Iran to try to mediate between Tehran and Washington. He said the attacks had “severely affected the prime minister’s reputation” and “making mistakes when determining facts is impermissible.”

Clearly, Japan and Germany simply do not believe the US allegations and suspect that the incident could well be a provocation organized by the US or an ally to provide the justification for war against Iran. Commenting on US claims that the sophistication of the attacks “proved” it was Iran, a Japanese foreign ministry official told JapanToday: “That [argument] would apply to the United States and Israel as well.”

The Dutch (right-wing) government also does not believe the Trump administration’s version.

Iran has emphatically denied any involvement in the incident. In rejecting the allegations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani branded the US as “a serious threat to the stability of the region.”

The Trump administration deliberately ratchetted up tensions with Tehran when, in breach of UN resolutions, it abrogated the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. The US has re-imposed and intensified crippling economic sanctions on Iran with the express aim of reducing its energy exports to zero.

The US decision to confront Iran is not just aimed at Iran but at allies such as Germany and Japan, as well as open rivals such as China and Russia. In the wake of the 2015 agreement and the partial lifting of sanctions, these and other countries have been developing economic and political relations with Tehran. Largely excluded, Washington is exploiting sanctions and the threat of brute military force to sabotage these ties.

In what amounted to a blunt threat, Pompeo implied that the threat of war would force other countries to line up with the US. On Fox News Sunday, he noted that “very little of our crude oil comes through the Gulf”, then added that other countries—China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia—were highly dependent. “I am confident that when they see the risk, the risk to their own economies and their own people… they will join us,” Pompeo boasted.

At this stage only Britain and several Gulf States have backed the US claims. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is implicated in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October, declared over the weekend that Saudi Arabia “will not hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, sovereignty and vital interests.” Yesterday, US F-15 fighter jets flew in formation with Saudi warplanes in the Gulf region.

Last month, the Trump administration ordered the USS Lincoln’s carrier battle group, a bomber strike force led by nuclear-capable B-52s, along with 900 additional ground troops and a Patriot missile battery into the region. Leaked plans also revealed that up to 120,000 troops could be deployed to the region.

On Friday, according to the New York Times, Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton, a notorious warmonger, met for three hours with acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, General Joseph Dunford, to discuss the tanker attacks.

The Pentagon is reportedly weighing sending as many as 6,000 additional troops to the Gulf region, along with warships and fighter jets. Washington is also trying to assemble an international coalition to provide warships to escort tankers through the Gulf. Asked about these plans yesterday, Pompeo refused to comment.

When pressed on CBS as to whether Trump had the legal authority to attack Iran, Pompeo dismissed the suggestion that the US Congress would have to approve such action. He declared that “the American people should be very confident… [that] we will always do the hard task it takes to protect American interests, wherever they are.”

The Trump administration is engaged in a reckless drive to war against Iran on the basis of lies. The US military build-up in the Gulf region, including the prospect of military manoeuvres in the narrow Strait of Hormuz, sets the stage for provocations that provide the trigger for a catastrophic conflict that would draw in other powers.

The US confrontation with Iran has brought the world closer to the brink of a catastrophic global conflict than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962: here.

POMPEO BLAMES IRAN FOR TALIBAN ATTACK As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo railed against Iran in the wake of Thursday’s attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, he also blamed the [Shiite Muslim] nation for a recent assault in Afghanistan claimed by the [anti-Shiite fundamentalist Sunni Islamic] Taliban. [HuffPost]

HOUSE FINALLY REPEALS PRESIDENT’S 9/11 WAR AUTHORITY Almost two decades after the passage of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which gave the president broad authority to pursue those responsible for 9/11, House Democrats have finally moved to repeal the resolution — but the Senate isn’t likely to take it lying down. [HuffPost]

No to Trump war on Iran

This 14 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Faking Tanker Evidence?

How bad does the Trump administration want war with Iran? Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, and John Fugelsang, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

This 14 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Where Are the Skeptics as the Drums Roll for War with Iran?

Vijay Prashad challenges the media reality that Iran attacked the oil tankers, calling for a real investigation to uncover the truth.

This 14 June 2019 video from Democratic party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard in the USA says about itself:

Trump, Swallow Your Pride

War with Iran is HIGHLY likely unless Trump swallows his pride and returns to the Iran nuclear agreement which he tore up. But I fear that he will not put the interests of our country and those who’ll be killed in such a war, ahead of his own pride and personal political interests.

British and US push to blame Iran is ‘most dangerous threat of war yet’, say peace campaigners. Journalist John Pilger warns ‘nothing’ Trump administration says can be trusted: here.

Jeremy Corbyn: no ‘credible evidence’ of Iran role in tanker attacks. Labour leader urges UK to ease tensions in Gulf after Foreign Office links blasts to Tehran: here. And here.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Trump doubles down on US lies about Iran

15 June 2019

US President Donald Trump escalated the war threats against Iran Friday, insisting that Tehran was responsible for the damage done to two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman the previous day and vowing US retaliation for any Iranian action to shut the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Trump based his ignorant and belligerent remarks on a grainy, black-and-white video released Thursday night by the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which directs US military interventions throughout the Middle East.

CENTCOM claimed that the video, apparently shot from a US spy plane, showed a small boat of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) approaching one of the damaged tankers, the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, and removing an unexploded limpet mine attached to its hull. The video was touted as proof that Iran carried out attacks on the vessels and had sent the IRGC boat to remove any incriminating evidence. …

The claims by Trump and the Pentagon that the CENTCOM video is some kind of smoking gun proving the culpability of the Iranian government in the apparent attack on the Kokuka Courageous and the second tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, is nothing of the kind.

Unsubstantiated is the claim that those depicted in the video were removing a limpet mine from the hull, not to mention that in supposedly doing so they were engaged in a coverup designed to conceal evidence of Iranian culpability.

The CENTCOM video recalls nothing so much as the incontrovertible “proof” presented by then Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council in 2003 of Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction”.

The US claims ran in direct contradiction from the owners of the tanker shown in the video. Yutaka Katada, president of the Kokuka Sangyo shipping firm which owns the Kokuka Courageous tanker, told reporters Friday in Tokyo that the claim the ship had been damaged by limpet mines was “false”.

“The crew are saying it was hit with a flying object. They say something come flying toward them, then there was an explosion, then there was a hole in the vessel. Then some crew witnessed a second shot”, Katada said.

“To put a bomb on the side is not something we are thinking”. he added, noting that the damage to the ship “was above the water surface by quite a lot.”

Bernie Sanders against Vietnam, Iraq, Iran wars

This 24 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Bernie Sanders is refusing to apologize for being anti-war. Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola, and Nando Vila, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont) took aim at calls for him to “apologize” for his refusal to support U.S. armed conflicts in the Middle East, saying Friday that he was “right” about past U.S. wars and would continue to advocate against war with Iran.

In a tweet, Sanders wrote that he will “apologize to no one” for supporting peaceful diplomatic efforts over armed conflict with Iran, citing U.S. wars in Iraq and Vietnam as examples of past U.S. armed responses that resulted in long-running and exhausting wars.

“I was right about Vietnam. I was right about Iraq. I will do everything in my power to prevent a war with Iran. I apologize to no one”, the senator tweeted, along with a video explaining his stance against war with the country.”

Read more here.

In the latest step in US imperialism’s preparations for all-out war with Iran, President Donald Trump announced Friday the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops to the Middle East. The deployment, which includes a Patriot missile battery and a squadron of fighter jets, supplements the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group sent to the region earlier this month. It also includes the sending of additional reconnaissance and engineering support staff: here.

The chief of Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees all of the Pentagon’s operations in the Middle East, claimed over the weekend that Iran continues to pose an “imminent” threat to Washington’s interests in the region and that a permanent military escalation against the country and its 82 million people may be required: here.

The Trump administration’s thuggish secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, made a presentation to the media Thursday afternoon in which he asserted that Iran was responsible for suspected attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. These charges carry with them the threat of a war that would transform much of the Eurasian landmass into a battleground. The allegations made by Pompeo, who publicly professes that his every action is guided by the Bible, are a pack of lies: here.

No Trump-Iran war, Senator Sanders says

This 24 May 2019 video by United States senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says about itself:

No War With Iran!

I was right about Vietnam. I was right about Iraq. I will do everything in my power to prevent a war with Iran, and I apologize to no one.