Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Netanyahu's 33 Minutes of Shame at the UN

As expected, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before a nearly empty United Nations chamber Tuesday afternoon did not disappoint.  Chock full of lies, threats and bad puns, his shameless rant solidified his role as the planet's most obsessed and pathological liar, the world's Warmonger-in-Chief.

This year, Netanyahu didn't need to bring a silly drawing to complement his sociopathic ravings about Iran. The Israeli Prime Minister himself is a cartoon.

His speech was essentially a poorly-written rehash of the garbage he's been peddling for ages now, with a nearly verbatim reiteration of his summer media blitz talking points.

The good news is, besides those concerned for his sanity, those interested in the proliferation of propaganda, and his bussed-in cheering section - comprised of a veritable who's-who of awful humans including Sheldon Adelson, Alan Dershowitz and Dore Gold- barely anyone is paying attention to him anymore.

Still, a few of his grotesque lies should be identified.

As noted here yesterday, Netanyahu repeatedly referred to an Iranian "nuclear weapons program" that - according to all American, European and Israeli intelligence assessments - doesn't exist.

(Of course, this is unsurprising. In a briefing alongside President Obama the day before he spoke at the UN, Netanyahu insisted that the only deal possible with Iran is one by which "Iran fully dismantles its military nuclear program" and "thwarts Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.")

He also said an Iran armed with even one single nuclear bomb would present an effective equivalent to "50 North Koreas," which literally word salad with no discernible meaning.

Netanyahu stated, as he has in the past, that Iran is actively developing "intercontinental ballistic missiles," in order "to carry nuclear warheads," adding that "Iran is building now ICBMs that the United States says could reach this city [New York] in three or four years."

He said the same thing back in July. His routinely hysterical Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said the same thing back in February 2012. As detailed often, this claim is a gross exaggeration, if not an outright impossibility. No expert or genuine assessment supports this view.

As he has in the past, Netanyahu also claimed that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is a "wolf in sheep's clothing," a longtime deceiver of the international community and devious manipulator of diplomacy, who has admitted in writing to having used negotiations a decade ago to expand Iran's nuclear program.

Netanyahu quoted from the text of Rouhani's 2011 book National Security and Nuclear Diplomacy, which reads, "While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan. In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan."

But as Peter Jenkins - a longtime British diplomat who was closely involved in those negotiations at the time - explained back in June, this is a wholly disingenuous reading of Rouhani's words. Rouhani, Jenkins wrote, "is not some wily Oriental who cannot be trusted; he is rather a defender of Iranian interests who drives a hard but honest bargain and is true to his word."

Further, as I have pointed out before and which Netanyahu obviously failed to mention, it was on Rouhani's watch that Iran voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment in 2003 and accepted intrusive inspections above and beyond what was legally required by its safeguards agreement for two years. During this period, the IAEA affirmed the peaceful nature of the program. It was only after Iran's European negotiating partners, at the behest of the Americans, reneged on their promise to offer substantive commitments and respect Iran's inalienable right to a domestic nuclear infrastructure that Iran resumed enrichment.

While nearly every sentence uttered by Netanyahu from the dais at Turtle Bay could be dissected and debunked, I'll confine myself to addressing only one more:

Netanayhu incessantly called for Iran's entire civilian nuclear infrastructure to be "fully and verifiably dismantled," claiming that any "residual capability to enrich uranium" presents the everlasting threat that Iran will retain the ability to build atomic weapons.

To drive his point about dual-use technology home, he turns again to the new Iranian president's own words.  Netanyahu exhorted his fellow world leaders to "pay close attention" to what Rouhani said in a 2005 speech to Iran's Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council, which he believes speaks directly to Iranian duplicity.

He quotes Rouhani as saying, "A county that could enrich uranium to about 3.5 percent will also have the capability to enrich it to about 90 percent. Having fuel cycle capability virtually means that a country that possesses this capability is able to produce nuclear weapons."

The speech Netanyahu quotes from is available to read in full here [PDF].

When read in context, it becomes clear that Rouhani is acknowledging the sensitivity and potential of any civilian nuclear program, rather than boasting about Iranian deceit and nefarious intent.  Netanyahu also omits a crucial phrase from Rouhani's statement. Here it is, as delivered:
"...having fuel cycle capability almost means that the country that possesses this capability is able to produce nuclear weapons, should that country have the political will to do so
This means that a country that possesses fuel cycle technology can enrich uranium, and the country that can enrich uranium to about 3.5 percent will also have the capability to enrich it to about 90 percent. It is for this reason that today the international circles are discussing this capability with an extraordinary degree of sensitivity." (emphasis added)
Countless senior Iranian officials have declared for decades that Iran does not intend to, nor will it ever, build nuclear weapons, a determination routinely confirmed by U.S. military and intelligence officers.

Perhaps most laughable/appalling about Netanyahu's entire charade is the notion that he sees himself as champion of truth. Prior to his trip to New York, Netanyahu told the Israeli press, "I will say the truth. In the face of the sweet talk and the smiles one needs to tell the truth. Only the truth, today, is vital to the security of the world, and of course essential to the security of our country."

His acolytes in government and the media are only too eager to oblige this contorted self-image. "Netanyahu understands that there is a lot of euphoria" over the election of Rouhani, an anonymous senior Israeli official told the New York Times. "Netanyahu knows that people in the international community will want to believe. I think you'll see in his remarks a lot of facts, a lot of facts that no one denies."

Ari Shavit wrote in Ha'aretz that Netanayhu's arguments at the UN were "factual and germane." His colleague Chemi Shalev called the speech "strong and persuasive" and praised him for presenting "clear cut evidence" of Iranian duplicity. "His argument was succinct, his testimony convincing, his delivery eloquent, as always," Shalev gushed.

Expect to hear these same talking points repeated in the days and weeks to come - by Netanyahu himself, the press, and his minions in both the Israeli government and United States Congress - without challenge or skepticism.



October 4, 2013 - Just two days after Netanyahu's stand-up routine at the UN, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing proved to be an echo chamber for Israeli propaganda against Iran.

With scripts written by Netanyahu, AIPAC and the MEK, U.S. senators regurgitated the same talking points noted above and elsewhere, in their comments and questions for State Department deputy and lead negotiator Wendy Sherman.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio even went so far as to repeat the nonsense about ICBMs and literally quoted Netanayhu's UN speech directly in his own deranged statement, before describing Iran as "a country run by liars" and "a bunch of really evil people."

He ended his bizarre diatribe by warning against genuine diplomacy.

"These are evil liars that we're dealing with," Rubio said.



October 7, 2013 - Netanyahu's propaganda train keeps on a-rollin', with many appearances in which to make the same tired points and spew the same old lies.  Lucky for him, American media personalities are idiots who refuse to challenge bullshit with facts.  His recent interview on Face The Nation was yet another opportunity for him to repeat the same crap that oozed out of his mouth at the UN earlier this week.

Israeli commentators don't seem any better, as evidence by this nonsense posted by Chemi Shalev this week.




October 14, 2013 - In the New York Times this past Saturday, a front page paean to Benjamin Netanyahu written by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren paints a portrait of the Israeli Prime Minister as a lone warrior in a dangerous wilderness, a modern-day Cassandra, warning of an inevitable future only to be ignored and ridiculed rather than heeded and lauded as a prophet.

In truth, Netanyahu is a pathological liar, a deranged obsessive, warning about imaginary threats and play-acting like a contemporary Churchill against a manufactured adversary.

Such delusion is only bolstered by his fan club of warmongers and maniacs, such as Bill Kristol and Michael Makovsky, who laud Netanyahu in a recent Weekly Standard piece. "No one likes the truth-telling skunk at the appeasement party," they write, before calling Israel "an outpost of human progress in the Middle East​" and promoting an Israeli military assault on Iran in order for Netanyahu to save the world.


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