Hard Rain Journal 11-3-07: The Nuclear Threat is Grave, But It is Not Coming from Iran; It is Coming from Pakistan, & Perhaps from Within
By Richard Power
Seven years (or eight years if Bush and Cheney finish out their second term in office) is a long time for the inmates to be in charge of the asylum.
The two greatest threats to world security, i.e., global warming and nuclear proliferation, have been allowed to fester and grow, misrepresented and unaddressed, since January 2001. By January 2009, we will have lost eight years we could not afford to lose on both of these urgent issues.
The nuclear weapons that we should all worry about most at the present time (other than the ones in possession of the North Koreans) are not those that might be developed by the Iranians, or those that could have been developed by the Iraqis, but those already in the possession of Russia, Pakistan and the USA.
Indeed, the coming confrontation with Iran has as little to do with nuclear weapons as the invasion and occupation of Iraq had to do with nuclear weapons, i.e., almost nothing.
Consider the recent remarks of Mohammed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize winning chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who, as you remember, rightly warned that there was "no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq” prior to the launch of Bush-Cheney regime's foolish military adventure:
"I very much have concern about confrontation, building confrontation, Wolf, because that would lead absolutely to a disaster. I see no military solution. The only durable solution is through negotiations and inspections. ... My fear if that we continue to escalate from both sides from both sides that we would end up into a precipice, we would end up into an abyss. ... I have not received any information that there is a concrete, active nuclear weapon program going on right now. … We have information that there have been maybe some studies about possible weaponization. But we are looking into these alleged studies with Iran right now. … But have we seen having the nuclear material that can be readily used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No. So there is a concern, but there is also time to clarify these concerns." Think Progress, 10-28-07
The true intentions of Bush-Cheney's regime's foolish military adventures in the Middle East focus on oil, empire, the profitability of war, and, of course, domestic political consumption.
Yes, seven years (or eight years if they finish our their second term in office) is a long time for the inmates to be in charge of the asylum.
The stress that they have put on the world's already problematic security situation is starting to produce weird and horrific phenomena, particularly in regard to the threat of nuclear weapons.
Consider these two profoundly disturbing stories.
Muslim extremists are expanding their control of northern Pakistan, challenging the U.S.-backed government of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and adding to the lands where terrorists allied with Osama bin Laden find refuge.
Once restricted to pockets in the mountains along the Afghanistan border, radical mullahs and their followers now wield power in vast areas of northwest Pakistan. They have moved in the past few months beyond the tribal regions and into northern Pakistan cities and the Swat Valley. ...
“The Pakistanis, and by extension the United States, have almost no control of events” in the northern, ethnically Pashtun regions, said Milt Bearden, a former CIA station chief in Pakistan. “I don’t think anyone in Washington really gets it,” he said. “Losing Swat is shocking.” ... A confidential memo circulated to Pakistan’s National Security Council in July and made public soon afterward warned that radicals from the border region were exerting wide influence. ... “When I was following the Red Mosque, one thing was very clear — that they had strong sympathizers within the establishment and within the military,” said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a leading independent Pakistani defense analyst. Rizvi said Pakistan’s powerful armed forces remain ambivalent about religious extremists, whom the military supported during the Afghan war with the Soviets in the 1980s. Extremists gaining in Pakistan, Al-Qaida, Taliban-linked militants expand power, challenge Musharraf, Associated Press, 11-1-07
There is something deeply disturbing about the Air Force's official report on the Aug. 29-30 "bent spear" incident that saw six nuclear warheads get mounted on six Advanced Cruise Missiles and improperly removed from a nuclear weapons storage bunker at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, then get improperly loaded on a B-52, and then get improperly flown to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana -- a report that attributed the whole thing to a "mistake." ...
Congress appears ready and willing to accept the Air Force whitewash at face value: It was an accident. It won't happen again. That is not good enough! We need honest answers to some hard questions. Among them:
* Who disabled the alarm systems on those weapons and on the bunker itself?
* Who mounted six nuclear weapons on the noses of six cruise missiles and put those missiles onto a B-52 launch platform?
* Who authorized them to perform this operation?
* Who moved the armed weapons out of the bunker at Minot AFB and mounted them on the wing of a B-52 bound for Barksdale AFB? (Barksdale, it should be noted, bills itself as the main staging base for B-52s being flown to the Middle East Theater.)
* Were the six missiles flyable? Were they fueled up and ready to fire, or were they not fueled at the time of the Minot-Barksdale flight?
* Was there targeting information in the missile's guidance computers and if so, what were those targets?
* What happened to the three military whistleblowers who blew the whistle on this incident and reported it to a journalist at the Military Times newspaper?
* Why hasn't the Air Force or the FBI investigated the 6-8 untimely deaths including three alleged suicides, one of a Minot weapons guard, one of an assistant defense secretary, and one of a captain in the super-secret Air Force Special Commando Group, as well as alleged fatal vehicle "accidents" involving four ground crew and B-52 pilots and crewmembers at Minot and Barksdale? Could any of this strange cluster of deaths have been related to the incident? ...
We need to know if the Vice President's office was behind the flight of those six warheads. We need to know in what other treasonous, conspiratorial actions the Vice President has engaged in his unremitting effort to expand the war from Iraq and Afghanistan into Iran. Dave Lindorff: The Air Force Coverup of that Minot-Barksdale Nuclear Missile Flight, Buzzflash, 11-1-07
Minot Air Force Base, Barksdale AFB, Dave Lindorff, Mohammed ElBaradei, Pakistan, Bush, Cheney, Imagine Peace, Iran, Iraq, Iceland,Reykjavik, Richard Power, Words of Power