Iranian Horn Triples Her Nukes: Daniel 8

Iran triples capacity for enriching uranium to 60%, near weapons grade, IAEA says

Iran triples capacity for enriching uranium to 60%, near weapons grade, IAEA says

International Atomic Energy Agency warns ‘this has consequences’ and calls for inspections as watchdog remains at odds with Tehran

By TOI staff and Agencies3 December 2022, 5:35 am

Iran has tripled its capacity to enrich uranium to 60 percent purity, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency said Friday, as Tehran remains at odds with the West over its nuclear program.

Uranium enriched to 60% purity is a short technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%.

Iran said last month that it had moved ahead on uranium enrichment that Western governments worry is part of a covert nuclear weapons program.

“Iran informed us they were tripling, not doubling, tripling their capacity to enrich uranium at 60%, which is very close to military level, which is 90%” the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi said at a press conference in Rome.

“This is not banal. This is something that has consequences. It gives them an inventory of nuclear material for which it cannot be excluded… that there might be another use. We need to go. We need to verify,” he said, according to Reuters.

Iran said last month that the enrichment was being carried out at its underground Fordo plant using advanced IR-6 centrifuges, and was a response to an IAEA resolution criticizing Tehran’s lack of cooperation with the nuclear watchdog.

Under the terms of its 2015 agreement with world powers, Iran is only permitted to enrich uranium to 3.67% purity. That deal gave Iran sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program to prevent the production of a weapon.

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaks to journalists after the IAEA’s board of governors meeting at the agency’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on November 16, 2022. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

The deal also called for Fordo to become a research-and-development facility and restricted centrifuges there, used to spin enriched uranium into higher levels of purity, to non-nuclear uses.

The US last month expressed “deep concern”over Iran’s progress on its nuclear program and ballistic missile capabilities.

“We’re going to make sure we have all options available to the president,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said. “We certainly have not changed our view that we will not allow Iran to achieve a nuclear weapons capability.”

In a joint statement, Britain, France and Germany said Iran was moving “well beyond” limits set down in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the 2015 deal.

By enriching uranium up to 60%, Iran was challenging global non-proliferation, they said.

“This step, which carries significant proliferation-related risks, has no credible civilian justification,” the European countries said.

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Ebrahim Raisi, second right, receives an explanation while visiting an exhibition of Iran’s nuclear achievements in Tehran, Iran, April 9, 2022. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

Grossi also said Friday that Iran was still in conflict with the IAEA. The two sides have long been at odds as Iran has blocked inspectors from visiting suspicious sites and withheld information from the agency.

The IAEA is seeking an explanation from Iran for uranium traces that were discovered at three undeclared sites. The IAEA previously said Iran had agreed to allow UN inspectors to visit in November but the meeting has not taken place.

“We don’t seem to be seeing eye-to-eye with Iran over their obligations to the IAEA,” Grossi said. “We need to put our relationship back on track.”

The heavily protected Fordo plant around 110 miles (190 kilometers) south of Tehran was built deep underground in a bid to shield it from air or missile strikes by Iran’s enemies.

In September, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the enrichment capacity had tripled at Fordo over the past year, months after Iran said it had begun enriching uranium to 20% purity at the plant.

This September 1, 2014 file photo, shows a nuclear research reactor at the headquarters of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Last month, Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva said Iran has made “significant progress” toward producing 90% enriched uranium.

“The moment is coming when the greatest test of the international community will come to light, when Iran entertains [the idea of] enrichment at 90%, even if only symbolically,” he said.

The IAEA reported in July that Iran had 43 kilograms of uranium enriched to 60% purity at other sites, enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon if Iran chose to pursue it.

However, Iran still would need to design a bomb and a delivery system for it, likely a months-long project.

Talks seeking to revive the nuclear deal have stalled, alongside international condemnation of Tehran’s heavy-handed response to domestic protests.

The deal collapsed after Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump.

Israel has long opposed the nuclear accord, saying it delayed rather than ended Iran’s nuclear progress and arguing that sanctions relief empowered Tehran’s proxy militias across the region, with expected incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu coming out strongly against the deal.

Obama-Iran Deal is Dead: Daniel 8

Abraham Accords signing ceremony at the White House on Sept. 13, 2020.

Netanyahu: Iran nuclear deal is ‘probably dead’; protests reveal that regime is ‘really weak’

The likely future Israeli prime minister said Iran’s deadly response to protesters shows weakness

By Ronn Blitzer , Andrew Murray | Fox News

In an interview with Fox News Digital, former and likely future Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discusses protests in Iran, the future of the Iran nuclear deal, and peace between Israel and the Arab world.

Recent actions from the Iranian government have been very telling about the state of the country’s leadership and may have ended the possibility of a new nuclear deal, according to former and likely future Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Following the release of his new memoir, “Bibi: My Story,” Netanyahu sat down with Fox News Digital in a wide-ranging interview. A few weeks after his Likud Party was victorious in Israel’s election, Netanyahu was skeptical about the future of the Iran nuclear deal in light of their continued nuclear-related activity – and how the world is seeing Iran use deadly force to crack down on anti-government protests.

“It’s probably dead because the entire world saw what the true face of this regime is,” Netanyahu said. “That’s thanks to the extraordinarily brave Iranian women and men who took to the streets – who take to the streets – against this vicious, murderous and brutal regime. And I think people ask themselves, ‘Do we want the ayatollahs, who chant death to America, to have the weapons of mass death and the ballistic missiles to deliver them to any part on Earth?’ and the answer is of course not.”

As the protests calling for an end to the Islamic regime have gone on, news came out that Iran was enriching uranium at an underground facility at a level approaching what is needed for a nuclear weapon. Asked if he is concerned that continued pressure from the demonstrations could make Iran more erratic, Netanyahu did not dismiss the idea but said the protests are exposing Tehran and showing the leadership’s vulnerability.

“I suppose so, but I think that it also highlights the fact that they’re really weak – that they govern only with basically the threat of murder,” he said. “And the people are showing remarkable resilience.”

As an example of the resolve of the Iranian people, Netanyahu referenced the Iranian World Cup soccer team remaining silent during their national anthem before their first game of the tournament.

“The whole world is watching, and the entire team refused to sing the anthem, not because they’re not Iranian patriots, because they are,” he said. “Because they know their country has been hijacked by this gang of theological thugs who govern simply by terror. And the fact that the entire world sees that I think has made the possibility of stopping Iran’s nuclear program and rolling back the tide of this horribly aggressive regime possible.”

Netanyahu observed that both sides of the political spectrum are more united against Iran now than they had been before. Whether or not this results in actually stopping Iran, he said, “depends on how much the community of like-minded nations unites” to keep them from getting a nuclear weapon.

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Netanyahu said that in order to do this, both “crippling sanctions” and a military threat are needed. Regarding the latter, he said Israel is prepared to act regardless of U.S. approval, although he believes that there may now be a more “forward-leaning American position on this matter.”

Netanyahu angered many American officials in 2015 when he accepted an invitation to appear before a joint session of Congress and speak against the Iran nuclear deal – against the position of then-President Barack Obama. Netanyahu said he respected Obama but disagreed with him on this issue. Going against the president at that time “wasn’t an easy decision,” Netanyahu said, but it was a decision he made out of concern for Israel’s survival.

As it turned out, that speech may have helped lead to the one of the most remarkable regional developments in recent memory: emerging peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Abraham Accords signing ceremony at the White House on Sept. 13, 2020. (Getty)

“In the course of giving that speech in Congress, our delegation received calls from Gulf governments – Arab governments in the Gulf – who said, ‘We don’t believe what we’re seeing. We don’t believe that your prime minister is willing to take this stand against an American president. It’s very hard,'” Netanyahu recalled. “And that’s what led to meetings in 2015, clandestine meetings with Gulf Arab leaders … and that created the foundations for the Abraham Accords.”

The Abraham Accords are the peace agreements Israel made with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. Netanyahu hinted that more countries could join in the future, predicting that “the best is yet to come.”

Netanyahu said that the developing peace with Arab nations debunked the long-standing myth that regional stability would not come until after Israel made peace with the Palestinians.

“That’s inside out. My argument is the exact opposite: it’s outside in. Complete the circle of peace with the entire Arab world and then get to the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said. “And perhaps then we could have them abandon their idea that they’ll do away with the Jewish State once they recognize the right – not merely the fact, but the right – of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, then I think we’ll be well on the way to a solution with them as well.”

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict had long been emblematic of a greater conflict between Israel and the Arab world, but that no longer seems to be the case as the local conflict continues despite Arab countries improving relations with the Jewish state. Most recently, Israel was hit by two explosions at Jerusalem bus stops, attacks that Hamas, the group in control of the Gaza Strip that the U.S. has on its list of designated terror organizations, praised, according to Reuters.

The cover of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new book, which covers his military service, work in politics and insights from his career. (Simon & Schuster)

Hamas is backed by Iran, setting it apart from much of the Arab world. Netanyahu noted that “the rise of Iran’s threat” was one of “the foundations” of the Abraham Accords, along with Israel’s growing military and technological power.

Another recent point of conflict between Israel and Palestinians involved the death of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Palestinians quickly blamed Israel, and Israel later stated that Abu Akleh was likely accidentally killed by gunfire from Israeli Defense Forces. 

The U.S. Department of Justice said they were going to investigate the matter. Current Prime Minister Yair Lapid came out against this, and Netanyahu echoed that sentiment.

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“Israel has its own investigatory powers,” Netanyahu said, adding that the IDF has “really meticulous internal mechanisms” to handle such situations.

“You would not want us to investigate an event in America if you had something happen, a similar tragedy happening in our military,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel has investigated and will continue to investigate Abu Akleh’s death.

Netanyahu himself has also drawn criticism from U.S. officials, including longtime supporter of Israel Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., over far-right members of the coalition that Netanyahu is looking to form to set up a new government that he would lead as prime minister. In particular, Menendez reportedly referenced the inclusion of individuals like Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Critics have painted Ben-Gvir as a right-wing extremist for his connections and support of far right-wing elements in Israel, including the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose ultra-nationalist party was outlawed from running in subsequent elections for inciting racism against Arabs. Kahane was assassinated by a terrorist in Manhattan in 1990. Ben-Gvir said that Menendez’s criticism was “incorrect and mistaken.”

Netanyahu said the criticism was not “morally or logically consistent,” calling out Menendez and others for being silent when his opposition aligned themselves with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. Netanyahu accused that group of supporting terror while his partners “support the Jewish State.”

Netanyahu’s likely return to the prime minister’s office comes nearly a year and a half after he was voted out. During his time away from office, he wrote a memoir, “Bibi: My Story,” in which he discusses his military and political career as well as his family, which includes Israeli hero Yoni Netanyahu, who died during a daring hostage rescue mission in Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976.

Netanyahu said that having time away from the prime minister’s office “renewed” his energy to reenter the “cruel” world of politics.

“The reason I came back to power is because I live a life of purpose. And my purpose is to protect the Jewish state and make sure that Israel has a … secure and prosperous existence for the decades to come,” he said.

Netanyahu also addressed a problem facing Jews worldwide: rising antisemitism. The issue has especially been impacting Jews in the U.S. in recent weeks following the spread of antisemitic comments and tropes by notable figures such as Kanye “Ye” West and NBA player Kyrie Irving.

Asked about whether influential figures such as Ye and Irving could empower other antisemites, Netanyahu agreed that this is a concern.

“Yes, I think that’s clear,” he said, calling antisemitism “a chronic disease” that “changes its form” over the 2,500 years that it has existed.

“People look for a scapegoat,” he said. “You’re a capitalist, you blame the Jews who are the communists. You’re a communist, the Jews are the capitalists. You have a problem, blame the Jews.”

Netanyahu said the only real defense against antisemitism is to “take a strong stance against it.” He also pointed out that the existence of the state of Israel gives Jews a means of defense, be it militarily, morally, politically or otherwise.

“The rebirth of Israel was meant to give a defense against antisemitism,” he said.

Fox News’s Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report.

George Bush’s imaginary WMD: will the press ever admit its role?

Saddam Hussein’s imaginary WMD: will the press ever admit its role?

There is plenty of mainstream media vitriol nowadays aimed at ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories from amateur outlets — outrageous when it has never owned up to the pro-war nonsense it published about Iraq, writes SOLOMON HUGHES

NEXT year is the 20th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, so after Christmas we will see lots of newspaper articles looking back on the start of the ugly war built on lies.

That means this year is the anniversary of when the lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) were spread, because it took at least a year to push the propaganda needed for war.

But I don’t think we will see so much “20 years on” reflection in the media about the spread of those lies, because the media itself did the spreading. The British media like to talk about the British and US governments spreading lies about Iraq, but has always avoided taking responsibility for its own, even wilder lies.

Let’s take one example. Around 20 years ago the Spectator claimed Nelson Mandela’s South Africa was helping Hussein build nuclear weapons. It was a completely mad claim made without evidence. But neither magazine nor author has ever reflected on, or faced any consequence for, spreading this dangerous “fake news,” which was part of a huge “conspiracy theory” — supposedly two ills the media likes to fight.

The basic story about Hussein’s WMDs was this elaborate conspiracy theory: Hussein was importing materials to make nuclear weapons, nerve gases and germ bombs. He would share materials made in his secret subterranean factories with al-Qaida terrorists. It was unhinged stuff.

Hussein was pictured like a James Bond villain with underground bases, secretly working with his sworn enemy, Osama Bin Laden, to attack the West. This elaborate chain of lies was an attempt to link Hussein to the September 11 terrorist attacks and justify a war.

Literally none of it was true. Hussein didn’t have WMDs and wasn’t in league with al-Qaida. But this fake tale was made to look more substantial by a big patchwork of ludicrous stories, including this contribution from the Spectator.

South Africa’s ANC government, like many, opposed the drive to war. So, Mark Steyn, a right-wing columnist who is still a figure in that world — he now presents a show on GB News — set out to discredit South Africa.

Steyn wrote a substantial, two-page article in the Spectator on October 5 2002, with the outlandish claim South Africa was helping Iraq enrich uranium to produce nuclear weapons.

He wrote: “Mr Mandela’s country has been busy selling aluminium tubes for uranium enrichment centrifuges to Hussein. The first secretary of the South African embassy in Jordan is serving as the local sales rep to Iraqi procurement agents.

“Thanks to these sterling efforts, they’re bringing significantly closer the day when the entire Middle East, much of Africa and even Europe will be under the Husseinite nuclear umbrella and thus safe from Bush’s aggression.”

Enriching uranium in powerful centrifuges is a crucial part of making nuclear bombs. But there was no evidence here. South Africa was not selling aluminium tubes for uranium enrichment centrifuges to Iraq, which was not making atomic weapons.

Iraq did once have a nuclear weapons programme, including during the years when Iraq was a western ally. But this programme had been entirely dismantled in 1992, after the first Gulf War, as Hussein’s government repeatedly stated.

Steyn produced no proof for his tubular tall tale or his other claim that South Africa’s embassy in Jordan was helping arm Iraq. It was made-up rubbish.

The tale was slightly related to a more mainstream, but also fake story. The US government claimed an Iraqi attempt to import many aluminium tubes from China in 2001 showed it wanted to use them in uranium enrichment for a nuclear bomb.

All serious experts could see Iraq actually did have a military use for the tubes — for battlefield rockets — that was nothing to do with WMD. But at least the widely repeated fake US story involved real tubes.

The Spectator “scoop” was a complete fantasy. It added to the WMD panic that helped start the war — but then simply disappeared from the record. Neither Steyn nor the Spectator ever referred to it again. The story isn’t even on the Spectator website.

Steyn is still taken seriously despite writing “fake news” — he was recently interviewed on Radio 4 Today as an “expert.” The Spectator itself trundles on.

Steyn trying to bring Mandela into the WMD fake stories was an outlier. But media promotion of stories too absurd for any government dossier was common in more supposedly “respectable” outlets.

Take, for example, the Observer splashing on “evidence linking Iraqi intelligence to the September 11 hijackers,” asserting “several apparent links between Iraq, the September 11 hijackers and bin Laden’s al-Qaida network” including multiple meetings between Iraqi intelligence officers and the hijackers and a claim foreign terrorists were “training to hijack aircraft using only knives or bare hands” inside an old Boeing 707 on a secret Iraqi government base near Baghdad. All fantasies based on unconvincing claims by pro-war propagandists.

Or the BBC Panorama programme promoting fake tales from an Iraqi fraudster — who had been rejected by the CIA — claiming he helped build underground WMD storage sites “hidden away in heavily populated areas, even under a hospital in Baghdad.”

Or the Times promoting a supposed former Iraqi nuclear scientist who had been “Saddam’s bomb-maker” saying Iraq “could be in a position to make three nuclear weapons within the next few months.” Only the “scientist’s” stories were fake. He had already been linked to another set of forged documents and fake nuclear claims exposed by the International Atomic Energy Authority in 1995.

These are just a sample of the fake tales of Hussein’s weapons pumped out by the media, 2002-3. They went well beyond any official government claim and were based on transparently unconvincing “evidence” — usually just unchecked assertions by Iraqi “exiles.”

The media felt happy to tell any lies about an “official enemy” like Iraq, were unembarrassed when it led to a bloody war, and has never even admitted it published “fake news,” let alone tried to understand why or stop itself from doing it again.

The Hypocrisy of Babylon the Great

Is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine really worse than America’s & UK’s invasion of Iraq was?

Published 1 day ago 

on October 23, 2022

By Eric Zuesse

America and UK invaded Iraq on 20 March 2003. Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Which was worse?

Let’s first examine the invasion of Iraq:

U.S. President George W. Bush seems to have been informed, in advance, about a New York Times article (which was the lead-story in the newspaper on Sunday, 8 September 2002), titled “U.S. SAYS HUSSEIN INTENSIFIES QUEST FOR A-BOMB PARTS”, in which the sources were anonymous “Administration officials.” The story concerned “aluminum tubes” that were “intended as casing for rotors in centrifuges, which are one means of producing highly enriched uranium …  to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said today.”

So, on Saturday, September 7th, of 2002, U.S. President Bush said, while standing beside British Prime Minister Tony Blair,

We just heard the Prime Minister talk about the new report. I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied — finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need [in order for Congress to authorize an invasion of Iraq].

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Absolutely right.

Then, as soon as the weekend was over, on Monday 9 September 2002, was issued by the IAEA the following:

Related Coverage: Director General’s statement on Iraq to the IAEA Board of Governors on 9 September 2002 [this being a republication of their notice three days earlier, on 6 Sep.].

Vienna, 06 September, 2002 – With reference to an article published today in the New York Times [which, as usual, stenographically reported the Administration’s false allegations, which the IAEA was trying to correct in a way that would minimally offend the NYT and the U.S. President], the International Atomic Energy Agency would like to state that it has no new information on Iraq’s nuclear programme since December 1998 when its inspectors left Iraq [and verified that no WMD remained there at that time]. Only through a resumption of inspections in accordance with Security Council Resolution 687 and other relevant resolutions can the Agency draw any conclusion with regard to Iraq’s compliance with its obligations under the above resolutions relating to its nuclear activities.

Contact: Mark Gwozdecky, Tel: (+43 1) 2600-21270, e-mail: M.Gwozdecky@iaea.org.

It even linked to the following statement from the IAEA Director General amplifying it:

Since December 1998 when our inspectors left Iraq, we have no additional information that can be directly linked without inspection to Iraq’s nuclear activities. I should emphasize that it is only through resumption of inspections that the Agency can draw any conclusion or provide any assurance regarding Iraq’s compliance with its obligations under these resolutions.

So, this was proof of the falsehood of Bush’s and Blair’s reference, on September 7th, to the IAEA, in which Bush-Blair were saying that, upon the authority of the IAEA itself, there was “the new report … a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.”

Because of the news-media’s ignoring the IAEA’s denial of the President’s statement, the author of the IAEA’s denial, Mark Gwozdecky, spoke again nearly three weeks later, by phone, with the only journalist who was interested, Joseph Curl of the Washington Times, who headlined on 27 September 2002, “Agency Disavows Report on Iraq Arms” — perhaps that should instead have been “President Lied About ‘Saddam’s WMD’” — and Curl quoted Gwozdecky: “There’s never been a report like that [which Bush alleged] issued from this agency. … When we left in December ’98 we had concluded that we had neutralized their nuclear-weapons program. We had confiscated their fissile material. We had destroyed all their key buildings and equipment.” Other news-media failed to pick up Curl’s article. And, even in that article, there was no clear statement that the President had, in fact, lied — cooked up an IAEA ‘report’ that never actually existed. Actually, the IAEA hadn’t even so much as been mentioned in that New York Times article.

Bush had simply lied, and Blair seconded it, and the ‘news’-media stenographically accepted it, and broadcasted their lies to the public, and continued to do so, despite the IAEA’s having denied, as early as September 6th, that they had issued any such “new report” at all. (The IAEA had, apparently, somehow known in advance that someone would soon be saying that the IAEA had issued a report alleging that Iraq was resuming its nuclear program.) Virtually all of the alleged news-media (and not only the NYT) entirely ignored the IAEA’s denial (though it was not merely one bullet, but rapidly fired on four separate occasions, into the wilderness of America’s ‘news’-media) that it had issued any such “report.” All of them were actually only propaganda-media: they hid the fact that George W. Bush was simply lying. Both the U.S. Government and its media were frauds.

The day after that 7 September 2002 unquestioned lie by Bush, saying Iraq was only six months from having a nuclear weapon, and citing the IAEA as his source for that, the New York Times ran their article. It included such hair-raisers as “‘The jewel in the crown is nuclear,’ a senior administration official said. ‘The closer he gets to a nuclear capability, the more credible is his threat to use chemical or biological weapons. Nuclear weapons are his hole card.’” The fake ‘news’ — stenography from the lying Government and its chosen lying sources (in this case anonymous Administration-officials) — came in an incessant stream, from the U.S. Government and its ‘news’ media (such as happened also later, regarding Honduras 2009, Libya 2011, Yemen 2011-, Syria 2011-, Ukraine 2014, and Yemen 2015-). Do the American people never learn — ever — that their Presidents and ‘news’-media) now lie routinely?

Also on Sunday, September 8th, of 2002, the Bush Administration’s big guns were firing off against Iraq from the Sunday ‘news’ shows; and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice delivered her famous “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” statement, which was clearly building upon the lying Bush allegation of the day before, that the International Atomic Energy Agency had just come up with this ominous “Atomic” “new report.”

Then, President Bush himself, on 12 September 2002, addressed the U.N. General Assembly, seeking authorization to invade:

We will work with the U.N. Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced — the just demands of peace and security will be met — or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.

Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully and dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The regime will remain unstable — the region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom, and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

Bush (and Blair) failed to win any authorization to invade, but did it anyway. They should be hung for it. They were atop a bi-national and entirely bipartisan (in each of the two countries) public-deception operation, like had occurred in Germany during Hitler’s time. (Hitler was a boon for the nation’s armaments-makers then, just as America’s Presidents now are for America’s armaments-firms.)

And both of America’s political Parties are controlled by their billionaires, who fund the political careers of the politicians whom those mega-donors want to become s‘elected’ by the public to win public offices. For example, whereas George W. Bush lied America into invading and destroying Iraq, Barack Obama and Joe Biden lied America into believing that their coup overthrowing and replacing Ukraine’s democratically elected Government in February 2014 was instead a ‘democratic revolution’ there. It’s so bad that even the progressive Democratic Party site, David Sirota’s “The Daily Poster,” has NEVER exposed anything about that Obama coup and about those Obama-Clinton-Biden lies about Ukraine, and about the U.S. Government’s planned conquest of both Russia and China — the things that might actually produce WW III (in other words: are even more important than what they do report about). In fact, Sirota had the nerve, on 15 February 2022, to post to Vimeo an anti-Republican-Party propaganda video, “The Pundits Who Lied America Into A War”, against the Republican Party’s liars who deceived the American people into invading and destroying Iraq in 2003 — though almost all leading Democrats, including Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton, had voted in the U.S. Senate for (not against) that lie-based invasion, and though all Democratic-Party ‘news’-media (and not ONLY the Republican-Party ones) unquestioningly transmitted the Bush-Administration’s lies to the American people, against Iraq, in order to fool Americans into supporting the then-upcoming U.S. invasion. That Sirota video entirely ignores the Democratic-Party “Pundits” — such as the Party’s think tank, the Brookings Institution, whose Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, propagandized on TV and elsewhere to invade Iraq (such as in Pollack’s Council on Foreign Relations article, “Invasion the Only Realistic Option to Head Off the Threat from Iraq, Argues Kenneth Pollack in The Threatening Storm” did). Whereas Democrats blame Republicans, and Republicans blame Democrats, it’s the billionaires of BOTH Parties who actually fund all of these lies and liars — and who continue to fund those liars’ careers, and to present them on their ’news’-media as ‘experts’, to fool the public to okay the trillions of dollars that the U.S. Government pays to those billionaires’ corporations such as Lockheed Martin, to profit from those wars. It’s hypocrisy on top of lying, so as to convey an impression that neoconservatism — U.S. imperialism — is a ‘Republican’ (or else a ‘Democratic’) evil, when it’s ACTUALLY an evil by the billionaires who fund BOTH Parties AND who fund the ’news’-media, both liberal and conservative, and who profit from those invasions. It’s not just the lies of America’s Presidents; it is the lies that are funded by America’s billionaires, who placed such people as that into Congress and the White House. This regime is an aristocracy, and imperialism is second nature to aristocrats. But an aristocracy is a dictatorship by the very rich — NOT any sort of democracy. This is the type of dictatorship that America now has — NOT a Republican dictatorship, or a Democratic dictatorship, but a dictatorship by the aristocracy, of BOTH Parties. They have made a mockery of their ‘democracy’. Practically everything they do is fake, except the vast harms that they produce.

That’s what led up to America’s invasion of Iraq. Here and here is what led up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

So: which is worse?

Were America and UK sanctioned for invading and destroying Iraq on the basis of lies? Should Russia be sanctioned for doing what the U.S. forced it to do in order to protect Russia’s national security?

As Bush the Beast of the Sea jokes about war, I walk among the ruins of Baghdad: Revelation 13

As Bush jokes about war, I walk among the ruins of Baghdad

I woke up in tears a few days ago, my blue shirt soaked in someone else’s blood. I knew that because I wasn’t in pain. A child wept aloud outside in the alley. “Tell the kid to take the candy,” a US soldier snapped when I peeked through the door. The child’s father, fettered, bled to death on the curb.

That was me hallucinating a few years ago in Baghdad. Tonight, a candle sits on a table in my rented Virginia apartment. Its flame performs a death dance to the blues of a Tom Waits song rising from the coffin of deceased years: “The bats are in the belfry / The dew is on the moor / Where are the arms that held me / And pledged her love before?”

The men inside seem perplexed, sitting quietly in plastic chairs, immersed in grief as if in a funeral not for the dead, but for the living

In Baghdad, my mother rebuked me when she climbed the stairs and plunged into the thicket of smoke clouding the second story of our residence. Waits was no good for me, she would say, nor were Cuban cigars.

But she knew the reason behind my solitude was to mourn Baghdad, an ailing metropolis I wished not to meet at times, choosing instead to hide in my study like a hermit. I would be content in the company of a vintage Badr Shakir al-Sayyab book, whose pages the late poet traversed with a crutch on his way to the gates of hell: “Open it, and feed my body to the fire!”

My mother is gone now. She left our world days before I jumped on a plane headed for Washington, DC, to study at Georgetown University. Al-Sayyab is dead too, and I hear voices tonight. I hear the voices of pain that Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish heardhowling at him like a siren from afar: “Come, come to me!”

Deafening silence

I heed, blindly. I know the beaten roads of memory like many Iraqis do – a rusted metal door always left ajar for us, squeaking in the deafening silence of exile. I step onto its threshold, my eyes wide open to see in the dark. Someone sobs in a dim corner inside. “I am in the right place,” I tell myself. I make my way to the edges of Baghdad from afar.

An Iraqi man outside a rundown house with a dead child's portrait in Baghdad in November 2020 (Nabil Salih)
An Iraqi man outside a rundown house with a dead child’s portrait in Baghdad in November 2020 (Nabil Salih)

I see a scorched horizon cloaked in a starless night, not a sound but a distant wailing. A shepherd chuckles in the midst of a herd of sheep dying of thirst and hunger. “Why are you laughing?” I ask in astonishment. “Go and ask them,” he growls, discarding my question.

Iraq’s streets are littered with the memories of our deadRead More »

Elegant westerners and diaspora Arabs, armed with cameras and sunscreen tubes, descending from the ornate balconies of western academia to investigate the field for stardom, disembark from tourist buses en masse.

“The fire burns, but they ask me: ‘Are you Sunni or Shia?’” the shepherd tells me, before falling in a swoon, laughing and crying hysterically. “Shocking!” one visitor exclaims in bewilderment.

“Let’s go to Sadr City, I hear it’s a shithole,” another snaps emphatically. “Yes, that’s why I chose aid! Let’s fix a few lives now,” the former says, rubbing his hands in excitement.

Another white tourist turns to look at me and says: “Are you a fixer? We need someone to show us the big stories. We pay but don’t expect a byline.”

I leave the demagogues revelling in the scene, ecstatic, drooling about the promise of their booty, and make my way into the city streets in the dark.

Death all around

I find Baghdad desolate, choked in dust and smoke, its skin lacerated with an overgrowth of barbed-wire fences. The soldiers manning its walls drowse in a siesta, unbothered by the screams coming from the dim alleys behind them.

Someone is dying. Someone is always dying in Iraq. Two hundred and sixty is the number of those killed so far this year, says Iraq Body Count. Those who miss the bullets leap in the Euphrates, along with their emaciated children. Any there is better than here.

I see the palm trees thirsty, many decapitated and dead. No bougainvillea dangles over fences, like necklaces caressing dewy necks of Baghdadi women in early spring. No kids play barefoot on the streets. The then where they once knew laughter has been stabbed to death by the hands of time – repeatedly.

Baghdad still feels like a crime scene. As I make my way among its ruins, the words of al-Sayyab echo inside my head: “Is this my city?” These ruins with “Long Live Life!” painted on the walls in the blood of its murdered?

A boy walks past a destroyed house in the war-ravaged village of Habash, some 180 kilometres north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, on 25 April, 2022.
A boy walks past a destroyed house in the war-ravaged village of Habash, some 180 kilometres north of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, on 25 April 2022 (AFP)

Dreading what I might see where I grew up, I decide to avoid the streets of my childhood and visit the downtown area instead.

I remember the famous teahouses of al-Rashid Street. The sound of stirring in a glass of cardamom tea was music to my ears. A dice always rolls on an aging backgammon board. Eternal Umm Kulthum heartbreaks are always put on repeat, undulating tunes that slip from the salons to the sidewalks outside, where sad-eyed ladies amble and dodge a line (“they said there’s no flour in the market, where’s this cake coming from?”) from a mischievous student.

But the cafes are noiseless. The men inside seem perplexed, sitting quietly in plastic chairs, immersed in grief as if in a funeral not for the dead, but for the living. On one muted TV screen, celebratory headlines accompany enemies’ torn limbs, assailing the psyches of bewildered clientele. A report then heralds the imminent death of the Tigris and the Euphrates.

The men look on. No dice shall roll tonight.

Lifetime of limbo

The only sign of light in the city centre comes from a police patrol on al-Mutanabbi Street. I stand in a corner and watch where a mob of tourists have swarmed. Social media influencers, on a two-day escapade from Dubai, pose for the camera in the “homeland”: “How beautiful Baghdad is!” one says, before returning to the Babylon Hotel on Abu Nawas Street in a Cadillac SUV.

The mayor stands nearby, giving one interview after another, boasting of a renaissance that entails hanging kitsch posters of Iraqi artist Kadhim Haider’s paintings on power poles and sweating over it on social media.

No word on the traditional shanasheel houses collapsing in the nearby wretched alleyways of Jadid Hasan Pasha and al-Hayder Khana. The child beggars and the godforsaken porterswho crisscross traffic threads in daytime are also sentenced to a lifetime in the cellar of limbo.

They, too, have their scrutinising gazes fixed on the wrecked humans wallowing in seas of misery

I leave in haste, passing an elderly man diving to his waist in a dumpster outside the telecommunications tower that bears the imprint of late architect Rifat al-Chadirji. The building was almost toppled by liberatory rockets in 2003, before Chadirji died and a former British ambassador expressed his condolences on social media as if war(s) never happened.

As I walk, I remember the labyrinthine alleyways, or darabin, of Bab al-Sheikh and Qanbar Ali. In previous visits, old women who crouch on their doorsteps would welcome me like their offspring. They would show me directions and pray for me long after I disappeared into the next alley, where children would chase after me in glee, blow me kisses and hug me for showing them their portraits on my camera.

I decide to go there. But I find Bab al-Sheikh deserted. In Qanbar Ali, blood and sewage stagnate in the gutters. Walls tremble. An old man, crouching in a dark corner, awaits the last US air raid to level the alley. From the windows, I see children hang themselves of hunger in damp living rooms. There is no breaking news on live TV.

Smouldering past

A hole widens in my chest. I suffocate. I meander my way to the Tigris in hopes of fresh air. But even there, in the gardens of Abu Nawas Street, women count the floating corpses passing by, and weep in silence.

This is it – “this is the storm we call progress”, the ghost of Walter Benjamin whispers in my ears. The catastrophe perched on Iraq’s chest still piles wreckage upon wreckage over a smouldering past, and the storm propels us into the arms of a future born with an incurable birth defect.

As America weeps for Ukraine, the loss and grief of Iraqis is forgottenRead More »

A rocket flies across the Tigris and slams into a building inside the fortified Green Zone on the opposite, western bank, disrupting my thoughts. But everything seems normal there.

Diaspora Iraqi scholars, dressed in fine suits, pose for the camera next to their favourite politicians. Afterwards, they doze off in the fine al-Rashid Hotel, whose windows offer no view of the city’s godforsaken alleys, nor the grieving women sobbing on the river bank.

As I walk the streets of Baghdad, I see the menacing faces of Saddam Hussein’s many imitators painted and plastered on the same walls that once carried the dictator’s. They, too, have their scrutinising gazes fixed on the wrecked humans wallowing in seas of misery, looking over their shoulders for the trigger-men of the new, this-time-Iran-backed fedayeen.

Amnesiac audience

Like a fugitive, I flee the streets of memory, chased by the rabid dogs of my trauma. My footsteps race my breath. Behind me, Baghdad is engulfed by monstrous dust storms. In the dark, I almost stumble on a new corpse of a man who looks familiar. I look closely; it’s the shepherd. The soldiers manning the city walls are still asleep.

Next to his corpse sits a small radio announcing the evening news: “Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cuts the ribbon at the opening of the Baghdad book fair.” I make my way out of the rusted door, and slam it shut.

In my Virginia apartment, I look for a source of distraction. Nothing more banal and distracting than US TV channels, I tell myself. But Iraqi poet Sinan Antoon knew before me, “surfing the channels is like rummaging in old garbage”.

I soon find former US President George W Bush’s face on every station, preaching on war and peace in Ukraine to an amnesiac audience. He slips and mentions Iraq. He jokes about it, and the audience laughs.

I suppress a stream of vicious slurs, and sleep with the echo of their laughter in my head.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

The Threat of the European Nuclear Horns: Daniel 7

Nuclear missiles, map of us nuclear weapons

NATO nuclear weapons mapped – ‘More of a threat to Putin’

NUCLEAR WEAPONS have been Vladimir Putin’s key ammunition to warn NATO counties off interfering with his illegal invasion of Ukraine since the very start. But NATO’s arsenal is nearly as sizeable and, based on where they’re stationed, could actually be seen as a more significant threat to Russia.

By KATIE ELLIOTT

08:29, Fri, Jun 10, 2022 | UPDATED: 08:29, Fri, Jun 10, 2022

Nuclear war threats haven’t stirred since the end of the Cold War, but as the Russia-Ukraine conflict transpires, fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use these weapons of mass destruction are ever-rising. Russia currently has the largest nuclear arsenal, however, these are stationed far away in Russia and its close surrounding countries. Whereas the US has many more stationed much closer to Russia’s turf.

Putin has been wielding Russia’s nuclear weapons arsenal at countries who “interfere” with his invasion since its launch, warning of “consequences never encountered in your history”.

With the largest arsenal of all nine countries that possess them, Russia is currently reported to possess approximately 6,257 nuclear iweapons.

These weapons are stationed largely in areas across Russia and one area reported to be in Kazakhstan.

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Only three NATO countries possess nuclear weapons; the US, the UK, and France.

In NATO’s Nuclear Deterrence policy, it states these countries will “protect other NATO allies under their ‘nuclear umbrellas’ in line with the NATO commitment that an attack on any one ally will be viewed as an attack on the entire alliance.”

With a combined mass treading close to Russia’s heels, these countries are reported to have approximately 5,550, 225, and 290, respectively.

However, amongst the UK and France’s nuclear weapon stations, it’s believed “About half of the roughly 200 US shorter-range weapons are believed to be deployed in five NATO countries in Europe.” according to A. Pomper and Vasilii Tuganov from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

The US has neither confirmed nor denied exact locations, but it’s predicted that the US’s B61-3 and -4 gravity bombs are stationed in the Volkel Airbase in the Netherlands, Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium and Buchel Airbase in Germany, as well as the Ghendi and Aviano bases in Italy and the Incirlik Airbase in Turkey.

US Nuclear bases in Europe mapped

Around 100 US shorter-range weapons are believed to be deployed in five NATO countries in Europe (Image: EXPRESS)

The Ministry of Defence has refused to clarify whether any US nuclear warheads will be placed back in the UK, however, according to UK Government budget documents, RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk is due to be upgraded.

Some believe it might enable the US to store B61-12 nuclear bombs.

The B61-12 is an air-launched nuclear gravity bomb, said to be the latest variant of the B61 family, and much more powerful than any of the first-generation atomic bombs.

Drone Attack Against Babylon the Great

Explosive drone detonates in Iraq’s northern city of Erbil

June 8, 20224:07 PM MDTLast Updated a day ago

ERBIL, June 8 (Reuters) – A drone exploded in Iraq’s northern city of Erbil on Wednesday injuring three people and damaging several cars, according to a statement by Kurdistan’s counter-terrorism service.

The explosive drone detonated on Pirmam road in Erbil’s outskirts at 9:35 p.m. Iraq time, the statement said.

Two security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the drone was shot down.

A security source said earlier that a drone attack targeted the U.S. consulate but did not give further details.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi told Kurdish Prime Minister Masoud Barzani in a phone call that Baghdad will cooperate with Erbil to hold the perpetrators accountable, according to a statement.

“Bomb-laden drone hit Erbil-Pirmam road, causing civilian injuries and damage,” the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq said on Twitter. “Iraq does not need self-proclaimed armed arbiters. Asserting State authority is essential. If the perpetrators are known, call them out and hold them to account.”

Last month, Iran Revolutionary Guards artillery fire hit an area north of Erbil, targeting what Iranian state television described as terrorist bases.

Also, in March the Guards attacked the capital of the Kurdish region with a dozen ballistic missiles in an unprecedented assault on the capital of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region that appeared to target the United States and its allies read more

At least three other attacks have targeted oil refineries in Erbil since the March attack, but no group has claimed responsibility for them.

Reporting by Ali Sultan; Writing by Amina Ismail; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

ISIS Plotting To Assassinate the Beast of the Sea: Revelation 13

President Bush assassination attempt by ISIS foiled

EXCLUSIVE: ISIS Plotting To Assassinate George W. Bush In Dallas

09:54am EDT


Two confidential informants and surveillance of the alleged plotter’s WhatsApp account reveal plans to smuggle assassins into the U.S. to murder the former president, according to a search warrant application discovered by Forbes.


An Iraqi man in the U.S. accused of being linked to ISIS operatives was plotting to kill George W. Bush, going so far as to travel to Dallas in November to take video around the former president’s home and recruiting a team of compatriots he hoped to smuggle into the country over the Mexican border, according to an FBI search-warrant application filed March 23 and unsealed this week in the Southern District of Ohio.

The FBI said it uncovered the scheme through the work of two confidential informants and surveillance of the alleged plotter’s account on the Meta-owned WhatsApp messaging platform. The suspect, Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, based in Columbus, Ohio, said he wanted to assassinate Bush because he felt the former president was responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the country after the 2003 U.S. military invasion, according to the warrant.

The case shows how federal investigators continue to monitor threats from ISIS even as the group has been severely weakened by American intelligence and military operations in recent years. It also shows how the FBI, despite its claims of being prevented from investigating major crimes because of Meta and other tech providers’ use of encryption, has been able to work around WhatsApp security by using old-school policing with sourcing of informants and tracking the metadata they can get from the messaging company.

A snippet from the search warrant uncovered by Forbes detailing the plot on George W. Bush’s life. The name of the suspect has been redacted.

Shihab is an Iraqi national who’d been in the U.S. since 2020 and had an asylum application pending, according to the FBI’s search-warrant application. Federal agents used two different confidential sources to investigate the plot, one who claimed to offer assistance obtaining false immigration and identification documents, the second a purported customer of the alleged people smuggler, who was willing to pay thousands of dollars to bring his family into the country.

(As the criminal complaint against the suspect has not been made public, Forbes is not publishing the full warrant. According to NBC, he was arrested earlier today, a fact later confirmed by the Department of Justice.)

Freddy Ford, chief of staff for the Office of George W. Bush, said, “President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities.”

In November 2021, Shihab revealed to the FBI insider the plot to assassinate Bush and asked the confidential source if he knew how to “obtain replica or fraudulent police and/or FBI identifications and badges” to help carry out the killing, and whether it was possible to smuggle the plotters out of the country the same way they came in after their mission was complete, according to the warrant. The alleged smuggler said he also wanted to find and assassinate a former Iraqi general who helped Americans during the war and whom he believed was living under a fictitious identity in the U.S., investigators said.

The alleged plotter claimed to be part of a unit called “Al-Raed,” meaning “Thunder,” that was led by a former Iraqi pilot for Saddam Hussein who had been based out of Qatar until his recent death, the warrant said. As many as seven members of the group would be sent to the U.S. to kill President Bush, according to a conversation described in the warrant, and the Shihab’s job was “to locate and conduct surveillance on former president Bush’s residences and/or offices and obtain firearms and vehicles to use in the assassination.”

After traveling to Dallas with the informant to take video of Bush’s residence, the accused took more footage at the George W. Bush Institute, according to federal agents. The Texas city was the site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Bush, a Republican who was in the news last week when he inadvertently referred to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in a speech about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was president from 2001 to 2009.

In one conversation with a confidential FBI source, the suspect said he was planning to get four Iraqi national males located in Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and Denmark into the U.S., according to the warrant. In a later conversation, he claimed that one of the four was “the secretary of an ISIS financial minister,” the FBI said. The alleged smuggler described the men as “former Baath Party members in Iraq who did not agree with the current Iraqi government and were political exiles,” the FBI said. He was planning to charge each $15,000 to be smuggled into America, the FBI said. The Baath Party was the political organization of Hussein, who was deposed in the 2003 U.S. invasion.

His plan, according to the warrant, was to get Mexican visitor visas for the ISIS operatives, using passport information he would send to the informant over WhatsApp, before getting them over the border. Meanwhile, he was communicating with a contact in Egypt over a fake Facebook profile, which carried a profile picture of two individual hands each holding a rose, designed to look romantic and “not suspicious,” according to the FBI’s account. In 2021, the FBI got a warrant to search that Facebook account, though it’s unclear what they obtained.

Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, told Forbes, “It’s clear this was a sophisticated counterterrorism operation with a lot of moving parts. It was both far reaching and unique in its targeting.

“It also shows that while the debate on so called “going dark” can be overcome through the use of undercover operatives, it’s labor intensive but possible.” The term “going dark” is used by law enforcement to describe the inability to get to data that has been encrypted by software applications.

“Also, we haven’t seen a plot of this scale in a number of years. It shows that while domestic terrorism rightly takes a good amount of counterterrorism focus, the threats are not there alone.”

As part of its surveillance of the alleged plotters, the FBI recently received permission to acquire mobile location information from AT&T. It had already used what’s known as a “pen register” on the WhatsApp account believed to belong to the chief suspect, helping them determine how often the account was used, what numbers it was contacting and whether or not it was active.

Though Shihab seemed convinced his WhatsApp account was secure, he was unaware that the confidential sources were passing on messages to the FBI. Nor was he aware that starting in October he was using a phone that he was given by the informant at the FBI’s request. The informant noted that the target was a keen user of WhatsApp and was a member of Baath and ISIS chat groups on the app. In another conversation with an informant, the suspect claimed to have “been in recent communications with a friend in Qatar who was a former minister in Iraq under Saddam Hussein who had access to large quantities of money” and was messaging him over WhatsApp, the FBI said.

A mysterious group known as Al-Raed was allegedly plotting to kill former President George W. Bush, according to an FBI search warrant, shown here in redacted form.

While the sources were passing on what they learned over WhatsApp throughout 2021 and 2022, they were also secretly recording the in-person meetings with the alleged plotter in which additional startling details were revealed, according to the FBI. In one conversation from December, according to the warrant, the suspect claimed to have had just smuggled two individuals associated with Hezbollah — a terrorist organization, according to the U.S. — into the U.S. for a fee of $50,000 each.

Also in the FBI court filing, the alleged plotter claimed to be a member of “the resistance” and had killed many Americans in Iraq between 2003 and 2006, packing vehicles with explosives and detonating them when U.S. soldiers were near.

Updated at 1.50pm ET to publish the suspect’s name, following NBC reporting that he had been apprehended.Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website. Send me a secure tip.

I’m associate editor for Forbes, covering security, surveillance and privacy. I’m also the…

W Bush’s Freudian Slip On Iraq: Revelation 13

Former President George W Bush speaks at the 20th Anniversary remembrance of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the Flight 93 National Memorial on September 11, 2021 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

George Bush condemns ‘brutal invasion of Iraq,’ but means Ukraine

Former President George W Bush speaks at the 20th Anniversary remembrance of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the Flight 93 National Memorial on September 11, 2021 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Photo credit (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

 By Lauren Barry

May 19, 20223:15 pm

Was it a Freudian slip?

During a speech Wednesday in Dallas, Texas, former President George W. Bush accidentally mixed up “Iraq” and “Ukraine,” harkening back to his tenure in office during the 2000s.

Back then, his slip-ups were so common that they were termed “Bushisms.” Lists of them can be found via the BBC and on Wikipedia.

This particular gaffe had a potentially alarming meaning. He referenced “the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.”

Bush, who was speaking at a George W. Bush Presidential Center event on election integrity, was actually discussing Russian elections and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.

However, invoking the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq – which Bush himself called for – made a splash on the internet, according to ABC News. On social media, “users revived criticism of his decision to invade,” said the outlet.

The Iraq War has been called a failure, both by news outlets such as The Atlantic and research organizations such as the Brookings Institute and the Center for Strategic International Studies.

“No one knows with certainty how many people have been killed and wounded in Iraq since the 2003 United States invasion,” said the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University. “However, we know that between 184,382 and 207,156 civilians have died from direct war related violence caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through October 2019.”

Part of the Bush administration’s reasoning for going to War with Iraq were claims about Weapons of Mass Destruction, such as nuclear weapons, there. Bush also wanted to remove war-prone Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein from power.

According to ABC News, “Bush wrote in his post-White House memoir that he had a ‘sickening feeling’ when he learned there were no [Weapons of Mass Destruction] in Iraq after their supposed existence was used as justification for the invasion.”

However, he still believed that removing Hussein from power was the right decision.

Bush quickly corrected himself after making the slip up Wednesday.

“I mean, of Ukraine,” he said, adding, “I’m 75.”

Bush the beast of the sea finally tells the truth: Revelation 13

Trying to condemn the war in Ukraine, Bush inadvertently calls Iraq war unjustified

Former President George W. Bush was criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday when his old nemesis, the verbal slip, struck again. Bush eventually condemned Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — but not before he condemned “a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.”

Bush was drawing a parallel between how countries conduct elections and their stance toward other nations when his tongue went rogue.

“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq — I mean of Ukraine,” Bush said.

Iraq… anyway,” he said with a shake of his head, as members of the audience chuckled. He then cited his age, 75, before returning to his speech.

Bush was speaking to an audience at his presidential library in Dallas, Texas, at an event focused on the importance of ensuring free, fair and secure elections, aiming to bolster voters’ confidence in U.S. elections. But the former president’s verbal gaffe quickly drew notice on social media and in headlines.

In 2003, Bush led the U.S. into an invasion and war in Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction and was working toward a nuclear weapon. No evidence of such threats was found in the country. Members of his administration have insisted they were acting on faulty intelligence.

In Thursday’s speech, Bush was comparing the free and fair election of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Putin’s suppression of his political opponents.

He also said he recently spoke to Zelenskyy via Zoom, declaring the Ukrainian leader to be a “cool little guy — the Churchill of the 21stcentury.”

Bush has famously been a wellspring of malapropisms, even prompting the term “Bushisms” and sparking research into slips of the tongue. His latest high-profile foray into mangled speech adds to what is shaping up as an odd return to the early 2000s, when news outlets tracked Brittney Spears and reported on the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.