It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


20 Years of Disinfo: Iran and the Congressional Review Service

page: 1

log in


posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 06:33 AM
The reason this is in the "Disinfo" forum is that the CRS provides "opinion-forming" documents to members of the US legislature, most of whom are too busy/stupid/lazy (please select adjective of your choice) to do their own research on the matter. This means that if the authors are chosen carefully and the facts laid out are within suitable parameters, the desired conclusion becomes inevitable.

In a previous thread I looked at one Congressional Review Service report and picked it apart to look at the disinfo being fed to US Members of Congress.

This time, I thought I'd look at one issue and how it was reflected in the CRS reports: Iran. As we know, Iran - and specifically President Ahmedinejad - has been demonised in order to facilitate yet another illegal war of aggression to further US control of the oil resources of the Gulf. Another very specific impetus is to ensure that the Iranian oil bourse - which would abadnon the USD as the sole oil-trading currency for more stable currencies, notably the Euro - never happens.

I'll be taking the reports one by one. This could take some time, and the thread will continue to grow as I have the time and energy to update it.

Here's the list of the documents I found:

CRS: Iran: Relations With Key Central Asian States, July 23, 1998


CRS: Iran: Relations With Key Central Asian States, July 23, 1998



CRS: Iran: U.S. Policy and Options, January 14, 2000

CRS: IRAN: Arms and Weapons of Mass Destruction Suppliers, January 3, 2003

CRS: India and Iran: WMD Proliferation Activities, November 8, 2006

CRS: Iran's Nuclear Program: Recent Developments, March 8, 2007

CRS: Iranian Nuclear Sites, August 9, 2007

CRS: India-Iran Relations and U.S. Interests, August 6, 2007

CRS: The World Bank and Iran, January 28, 2008

CRS: Iran: Profile of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, July 9, 2008

CRS: Iran's Ballistic Missile Programs: An Overview, July 21, 2008

CRS: Iran's Economy, August 22, 2008

CRS: Extending NASA's Exemption from the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act, October 1, 2008

CRS: Iran: Ethnic and Religious Minorities, November 25, 2008

CRS: Iran's Nuclear Program: Status, November 20, 2008

CRS: The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), December 12, 2008

CRS: Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses, December 31, 2008

CRS: Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations, December 4, 2008

CRS: Iran's Activities and Influence in Iraq, January 7, 2009

4 reports in 1998
1 report in 1999
1 report in early 2000
0 reports (busy with other priorities) until...
1 report in 2003
0 reports again until
1 report in 2006
4 reports in 2007
9 reports in 2008
1 report in 2009 (butit's early days...)

Just a short background summary before we get into the main meat... Iran was a democracy in the fifties until President Mossadegh decided to kick out the multinationals and nationalise the oil industry. The UK wanted an immediate coup arranged, but the US vetoed this until a change of government, whereupon Kermit Roosevelt was tasked with fomenting a revolution. The Shah was duly installed and the US trained and equipped SAVAK, the most vicous secret police on the planet, to keep control of the country. In the classic example of what has become known as "blowback", the repression drove opposition politics underground and created a vacuum which was filled by the Imams. In the subsequent revolution, the US embassy (known to the Iranians as "the nest of spies") was taken and the US thoroughly embarrassed. In a secret deal with the Reagan administration (which later emerged during the Iran-Contra affair), the Iranians released the US hostages in return for armaments, which were smuggled to them (via Israel, believe it or not) for use in the Iran-Iraq war. Thus the US armed both sides of that bloody conflict. Kissinger said at the time "it's too bad they can't both lose."

Iran, having found plenty of US documents in "the nest of spies" (the US Embassy, of course, had housed the local CIA station) and even painstakingly restored shredded documents, was of course rather displeased with the US as it had now proof of American responsibility for two decades of torture and brutal repression.

It's also relevant that in 1998, a significant subset of those who were to become known as the neoconservatives published A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, written by

prominent opinion makers, including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser

... all familiar neocon names.

This document provides a few hearty laughs for those interested in recent chapters in ME history. There's lots of guff about how Israel must move away from old policies to a new policy of "peace through strength", and be independent of US aid. Well... not that independent as it turns out, because behind the rhetoric is a somwhat different reality, as briefly acknowledged:

To reinforce this point, the Prime Minister can use his forthcoming visit to announce that Israel is now mature enough to cut itself free immediately from at least U.S. economic aid and loan guarantees at least, which prevent economic reform. [Military aid is separated for the moment until adequate arrangements can be made to ensure that Israel will not
encounter supply problems in the means to defend itself].

What we have in this document is the usual neocon economic shock and awe, but the arms trade is a protected industry, and Israel will be maintained in its arms habit by the US taxpayer if theys guys have anything to do with it.

Which, as we know, they did.

Currently, Israel is leading the charge to war against Iran. The US became stalled after the full extent of the Iraq quagmire became apparent. My perception, for what it's worth, is that the neocons were still pushing for another war, while key elements in the US military were dead against it. There's also the sense that perhaps it was too soon for more trumped-up charges to justify war after the failure to find (or plant) WMDs in Iraq.

Obama's rhetoric points to support for Israel and a continuing posture of threat to Iran without quite going as far as to manufacture an incident, although the US has filled the Gulf with carrier groups and is in a position to take some military action, although I think it's recognised that there probably aren't enough US troops available to successfully (whatever that means in this context) occupy Iran.

What, then, should we expect to see from these papers? I would suggest that there will be a continued misrepresentation both of the history of US-Iraq relations combined with an increased push towards aggressive action, particularly in those times when the neocons were at their most influential.

Let's look at the first document...

[edit on 19-2-2009 by rich23]

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 06:46 AM
Document 1: Iran: Relations With Key Central Asian States

First, let's check the authors...

Kenneth Katzman and James Nichol
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division

Sadly, I can find almost nothing about James Nichol, but to make up for it, we have a great deal about Dr. Katzman.

Dr. Katzman is an expert on the area. To be more accurate, he's an expert on US policy in the area, which is not quite the same thing, let's face it. From the looks of things he's never been in any danger of "going native".

(For those worried about political correctness - you have my deepest sympathy for your condition - I'd point out that this is a term coined by administrators in the UK government, possibly dating back to Lawrence of Arabia, who "went native" so spectacularly that he made all sorts of promises to his Arab chums that the British Empire had no intention of honouring. It generally denotes someone who's supposed to be controlling a department or region but takes on the value system of those in his charge to such a degree that he becomes useless or possibly dangerous in his given role. It was also applied during the seventies to Ministers of the Crown who took on too much of the value systems of the departments they were in charge of, with similar consequences.)

At the time of this report he'd just written a book called Searching for Stable Peace in the Persian Gulf, which peace, it must be remembered, had to be on the US' terms.

Good God, just the foreward to this monograph displays the most extraordinary Orwellian doublethink:

Key allies of the United States withhold support for military action against Iraq, despite evidence that the Iraqis are clandestinely producing weapons of mass destruction. Similarly, U.S. allies have concluded potentially lucrative deals with Iran to exploit central Asian oil resources, despite Washington's opposition to them.

The forward's author is RICHARD H. WITHERSPOON - Colonel, U.S. Army and Director of the Strategic Studies Institute. I rather thought that the military weren't supposed to be interested in setting policy: that kind of thing was done by civilians, whereas the military supposedly busied themselves with providing the resources necessary to attain the desired objectives of a strategy set elsewhere. Clearly this fiction is not being adhered to in this document. Goody! A bit of candour, that's what we want to see. And for those who say "it's not about the oil"... well, clearly it is.

The monograph is fascinating, as it looks at the policy of "dual containment" - playing the two major powers in the region (Iraq and Iran) off against each other. This sentence I find quite revealing:

Regimes now in power in both countries have staked their legitimacies on ensuring their independence from great power influence, even though this goal has brought extraordinary costs to both.

Like the two countries being set to war with each other? Like Iraq being tricked into invading Kuwait? Like sanctions brought to bear on Iraq, even if it cost the lives of half a million Iraqi children - a price worth paying, according to Madeleine Allbright. (Of course, they weren't her children, so that's ok.) Actually, the next sentence is an astonishing exercise in self-deception. Again, Orwell would have regarded this as a benchmark in doublethink...

The current U.S. policy of “dual containment” of both Iran and Iraq is temporarily useful, to the extent that it rejects the past policy of alternately promoting Iran or Iraq as U.S. surrogates in the Gulf. That strategy contributed to the Shah's unpopularity within Iran and ultimate downfall. Later, the policy may have emboldened Saddam Hussein to believe that seizing Kuwait would not incur significant U.S. opposition, or that he might even receive U.S. approval. These outcomes, and others like them, are an almost inevitable outgrowth of the inherently competitive system the United States has relied on in the Gulf.

Either Katzman has no idea of who April Glaspieis, or how she was told to" target="_blank" class="postlink">trick Saddam into invading Kuwait.

But read on and we find that Katzman has absolutely no objection to rewriting history. Put baldly, he's a liar:

The Shah of Iran seemed the perfect choice to play the role of U.S. surrogate in the Gulf. The United States had already preserved his regime in 1953 against a significant threat by nationalist elements led by then Prime Minister Mohammad Mosadeq.

To describe the overthrow of a democracy for outside oil interests as "preserving [the Shah's] regime from a significant threat" is more than mealy-mouthed equivocation. It's an outright lie. There's plenty more drivel in this vein - I was tempted to read on by the promise of a more co-operative and less competitive Gulf being the foundation for peace in the area, but my head started to explode from the sheer pressure of utter nonsense I was forcing myself to read.

On to the CRS report... first, a quick look at the summary:

Iran sees the Central Asian region as an arena for reducing its own isolation. Hoping to make itself an attractive economic and political partner to these states, Iran has been cautious in supporting radical Islamic opposition movements in the region. Several Central Asian states are proceeding with or contemplating energy projects that transit Iran. These projects present the Administration and Congress with the dilemma of how to keep Iran's financial resources constrained while at the same time fostering economic and political development in Central Asia.

Love that phrase, "fostering political and economic development". Sounds so generous, so philanthropic. What self-respecting statesman wouldn't want to foster that good stuff? However, I think we'll find that behind this bland phrase lurks a more straightforwardly self-interested agenda.

So, yes, Iran, although we characterise it as a threat to the region, has actually been a rather good neighbour, hence something of a PR problem. Is is exporting an Islamic revolution? Not really.

The United States accepted a statement in the communique of the P-8 summit in Denver in June 1997 praising Iran's mediation role in Tajikistan. Iran also has tried to mediate in the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Over the last few years, Iran has worked to improve often contentious relations with Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev, and has offered only minor support to a pro-Iranian Islamic Party in Azerbaijan.

How gracious of the US to accept that statement that the evil Islamic dictatorship actaully did something nice.

Iran is doing better than expected, it occupies a central strategic position in the region, and is actually pretty stable. Damn. But of course, the thing that really matters is the oil. An analysis of the region's geography and politics follows entirely from that perspective - "Energy Relationships" and we learn that

The landlocked Central Asian states were anxious to develop alternatives to Russia as a transit route for exporting their energy resources...

Despite widespread concerns about Iranian foreign policy, Iran's political stability gives Iran an advantage in competing for projects over some regional countries, such as Afghanistan. Two energy teams3 are vying for the right to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, through Afghanistan. Although the Clinton Administration endorses such efforts, it admits that a trans-Afghan pipeline is unlikely as long as interfactional strife continues in that country.

And who are these energy teams? Love that word, "team" - sounds so much friendlier than "corporation", which is what it actually is. Well, one was an Argentinian company, and we can ignore them, losers, because the other one is UNOCAL, the United Oil Company of California. Hang on, that name rings a bell... oh, that's right - Mohammed Karzai, the US-installed president of Afghanistan, was a UNOCAL executive. So while the Clinton Administration supported UNOCAL, they didn't do quite as much for them as the neocons, who killed several thousand people and invaded a country or two for the oil interests.

On a side note, I realised that Condoleeza Rice, apart from having a really stupid name, is a real history maker - almost as much as Barack Obama. It's an unusual triple whammy for a cabinet member - a black woman... but a black woman with a massive oil tanker named after her! Pretty special.

So anyway, we have the pre-911 problem set out rather clearly: we want to get in with the Caspian basin oil producers, and we want to be able to get the oil to a port without going through Iran, which isn't shooting itself in the foot with its neighbours as we'd like.

a little more...

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 06:48 AM

Let's just see how this is put in the report, for those who don't think it's about the oil...

The financial attractiveness of energy export routes through Iran has run up against the commitment of the Administration and Congress to constrain Iran's financial and military capabilities. An April 1997 State Department report on Caspian energy development4 stated that "the United States strongly opposes activities which significantly contribute to Iran's revenues and petroleum sector, increasing the funds available to support international terrorism and development of weapons of mass destruction." A chief congressional backer of this position has been Senator Sam Brownback, who said in a November 5, 1997, speech on Central Asia that "If the floodgates open through Iran, the eastern Caspian will certainly fall into the Iranian sphere of dominance and the South Caucasus will lose out on its opportunity to prosper." In October 1997, Sen. Brownback introduced a bill, the Silk Road Strategy Act of 1997 (S. 1344) that provides incentives for the Central Asian states to cooperate with each other and with the United States, rather than with Iran. The bill was reported to the full Senate on June 23, 1998.

Is that what they mean by "fostering political and economic development"? Bullying other nations to trade with the US while depriving Iran of revenue? After all, they support international terrorism and they want their own independent nuclear deterrent. Naughty, naughty Iran, as John Lear once said.

The rest of the paper summarises US policy as being, broadly, that oil pipelines going through Iran are to be discouraged and alternatives encouraged. There's also a bit of a dig at people who thing that US resolve to treat Iran as an enemy is weakening.

To sum up: IMO, the important thing about this paper is that it continues to portray Iran as an enemy - even though it acknowledges that its behaviour within the region has been rational and even praiseworthy: and, crucially, it sets the scene for post-911 the attack on Afghanistan.

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 07:48 AM
They have had an awful lot of jobs advertised in the last year on a journalism board, I wonder what the turnover is from.

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 08:04 AM
Yeah! The Caspian basin and the trans-Afghan pipeline is the KEY to understand the reason of US involement in the region!

Mohammed Karzai and UNOCAL is also another important part of this.

Star & flag for you!

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 03:32 PM

Originally posted by secretagent woooman
They have had an awful lot of jobs advertised in the last year on a journalism board, I wonder what the turnover is from.

"They" being?

Maybe I could get a job as a journo...

new topics

top topics

log in