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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

"Disinformation" on Iran; the NIE Aftermath; Kenneth Timmerman; Eleana Benador; Conrad Bla

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Whose Disinformation?
By Gareth Porter

High-level officials in the Bush administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney, bottled up the explosive new NIE on Iran, arguing that Iran was deliberately leaking disinformation and that Israel had intelligence pointing to a clandestine Iranian nuclear program. Read full story.


Kenneth Timmerman
The intelligence community has been duped into thinking Iran has abandoned its nuclear weapons program,and "shadow warriors" are undermining the Bush administration from within, according to conservativewriter Ken Timmerman.

Eleana (Eliana) Benador
A publicist who helped promote a plank of neoconservative writers after 9/11, Benador has more recentlysaid that she aims to get out of politics because of the "uncertain political situation in America."

Conrad Black
Once a major media mogul closely aligned with rightist and hardline political factions in the UnitedStates, Black was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison in early December for bilking his shareholders outof millions.

Benador Associates
This now largely defunct speakers bureau and PR firm played an important role promoting neoconservativevoices in the U.S. media after 9/11.

Office of Special Plans
The new intelligence estimate on Iran might have been made possible because many of the neoconservativeofficials behind the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans, which bypassed established intelligence channels,are no longer in the administration.


NIE Aftermath
By Khody Akhavi

Though the intelligence community has downgraded the threat of Iranian nukes, Bush administrationpolicy is unlikely to change course. Read full story.


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Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, is a “tea party” Republican who previously served as director of the CIA.

Richard Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who served as a foreign policy aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, is now a leading advocate for regime change in both Iran and Syria based at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dennis Ross, a U.S. diplomat who served in the Obama administration, is a fellow at the “pro-Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Sheldon Adelson is a wealthy casino magnate known for his large, influential political contributions, his efforts to impact U.S. foreign policy discourse particularly among Republicans, and his ownership and ideological direction of media outlets.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.

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From the Wires

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North Korea and Iran both understand the lesson of Libya: Muammar Qaddafi, a horrifyingly brutal dictator, gave up his nuclear weapons, was eventually ousted from power with large-scale US assistance, and was killed. However, while Iran has a long and bitter history with the United States, North Korea’s outlook is shaped by its near-total destruction by forces led by the United States in the Korean War.

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Europe loathes having to choose between Tehran and Washington, and thus it will spare no efforts to avoid the choice. It might therefore opt for a middle road, trying to please both parties by persuading Trump to retain the accord and Iran to limit missile ballistic programs and regional activities.

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Key members of Trump’s cabinet should recognize the realism behind encouraging a Saudi- and Iranian-backed regional security agreement because the success of such an agreement would not only serve long-term U.S. interests, it could also have a positive impact on numerous conflicts in the Middle East.

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Given that Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah in its war in Lebanon in 2006, it’s difficult to imagine Israel succeeding in a war against both Hezbollah and its newfound regional network of Shiite allies. And at the same time not only is Hezbollah’s missile arsenal a lot larger and more dangerous than it was in 2006, but it has also gained vast experience alongside its allies in offensive operations against IS and similar groups.

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Donald Trump should never be excused of responsibility for tearing down the respect for truth, but a foundation for his flagrant falsifying is the fact that many people would rather be entertained, no matter how false is the source of their entertainment, than to confront truth that is boring or unsatisfying or that requires effort to understand.

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It would be a welcome change in twenty-first-century America if the reckless decision to throw yet more unbelievable sums of money at a Pentagon already vastly overfunded sparked a serious discussion about America’s hyper-militarized foreign policy.

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President Trump and his advisers ought to ask themselves whether it is in the U.S. interest to run the risk of Iranian withdrawal from the nuclear agreement. Seen from the other side of the Atlantic, running that risk looks dumb.