In the recently published thriller, The Shell Game, Steve Alten weaves a tale of a neoconservative plot to attack Iran. To overcome resistance, a black op group associated with a Republican administration arranges for nuclear devices to be exploded in two American cities, with planted evidence pointing to Iran.
Recent developments make one wonder if fact is following fantasy.
The Bush regime's propaganda against Iran is going full blast and obviously has a purpose. The foreign press reports that the reason for Cheney's latest trip abroad is to cajole, threaten, and purchase support for a US attack on Iran.
The Israeli government continues to see an Iranian nuclear weapon on the horizon and to agitate for US action against Iran.
According to John McGlynn in Japan Focus (March 22, 2008), the Bush regime is already attacking Iran with Treasury Department actions to cut off Iran's banking system from all international banking relationships, thereby preventing Iran from importing and exporting. McGlynn calls the US Treasury's action a "US declaration of war on Iran."
Cheney's trip shows that the Bush regime is undeterred by the National Intelligence Estimate's conclusion that Iran abandoned several years ago any nuclear weapons program that it might have had. The International Atomic Energy Agency has never found evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Despite all the facts and without evidence, the Bush Regime continues to assert that Iran has a nuclear weapons program that warrants an American attack on Iran.
Gen. David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq and a member of the Cheney/neocon team, blamed Easter Sunday's bombardment of the "secure" Green Zone in Baghdad on Iran. Petraeus says the attack is "in complete violation of promises made by President Ahmadinejad and the other most senior Iranian leaders." Petraeus's claims are part of the neocon propaganda campaign to build support for an attack on Iran.
Central Command chief Admiral William Fallon is reported to have declared that there would be no attack on Iran on his watch. With his recent resignation effective the end of March, Fallon has been moved out of the picture. According to news reports, Fallon derided Petraeus as a "sycophant" and told him to his face that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickens—t."
That it is Fallon who is gone and the ass-kissing little chickens—t who remains tells you all you need to know about the US military under the Cheney/Bush/neocon regime. It is an ass-kissing, yes boss, military.
On his Web site, University of Michigan professor and Middle East expert Juan Cole has an article by Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger, author of The Fall of the House of Bush. Unger makes the point that the US attack on Iraq was not the result of "mistaken intelligence." It was a direct result of a plot by neoconservative conspirators, who fabricated "evidence" and spread propaganda that deceived Congress, the media, and the American people.
A conspiracy that would launch a war on the basis of forged "intelligence" and false allegations is a conspiracy that believes strongly in its agenda. Such a conspiracy would not be content with only partial achievement of its agenda. As we should all know by now, the neoconservative agenda is for the US to overthrow Iraq, Iran, and Syria at a minimum. As neoconservative Norman Podhoretz has formulated the agenda, the goal is to overthrow the regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan in addition, and to clear Hezbollah out of Lebanon.
The difficulties of securing Iraq and Afghanistan have not dented the neocons' faith in their agenda, but time might be running out for the neocons if we assume that Bush will step down and not utter the two words—catastrophic emergency—that transform him into a dictator, and that a war weary voting public will not elect "Bomb bomb bomb Iran" McCain.
A McCain presidency would give the neocons four more years to orchestrate an attack on Iran. Jeffery St. Clair in CounterPunch, March 24, notes that Hillary's vaulting ambition could cause her to split and defeat the Democrats by playing the race card against Obama so that she can run against McCain in four years before she is too old for the game.
A conspiracy willing to launch an invasion of a country on false pretenses would not hesitate to pull off a false flag event if it would further their agenda. The massive human, financial and diplomatic cost of the Iraq invasion is a good indication that neoconservatives are willing for America to pay any price for establishing their agenda of achieving American/Israeli hegemony over the Middle East.
We will likely never know, but a neoconservative false flag operation might lie behind what appears to have been the accidental poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko by a rare and tightly controlled radioactive isotope, Polonium-210. Litvinenko, a former member of KGB counterintelligence, operated in the shadowy world of "security consultants" on a fake passport given to him by the British government. Litvinenko left Russia when his patron, oligarch Boris Berezovsky fled to escape fraud charges.
The British government and websites financed by Berezovsky blamed Litvinenko's mysterious death on the Russian Federal Security Service, which allegedly sent an agent to put Polonium-210 in Litvinenko's tea. On its face, the tale is far-fetched, but it served to divert attention from the fact that Polonium-210 had somehow got into private hands.
Where had the Polonium come from? No one knows, but nuclear physicist Gordon Prather noted at the time that Litvinenko had recently been to Israel and that Israel's nuclear reactors are not subject to international safeguards.
For what purpose was Polonium being smuggled? No one knows, but Prather notes that Polonium-210 has a short shelf-life that would turn any stored weapon into a dud within months.
According to knowledgeable people, Polonium-210 would be useful for a dirty bomb that would do little real damage but would create enough fear and hysteria for the neocons to start another war.
Steve Alten was more alert than the media. He saw what might be the real story behind Litvinenko's death by Polonium-210. Realizing that fantasy is one route by which Americans can be brought to the facts, and hoping to preclude any such real world event, Alten wrote a thriller predictive of our future between now and 2012.
Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow's Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.