If you read the story about United Against Nuclear Iran in The Forward, you’re going to scratch your head just a bit when you finish reading this post because the two realities described will be so different. Here’s how Marc Perelman begins his story (not my italicized passages):
Broad-Based Coalition Seeks To Prevent a Nuclear Iran
In an effort to raise public awareness about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a new organization is being launched…to focus solely on the issue.
The promoters of the group, which is called United Against Nuclear Iran, hope to replicate the Save Darfur Coalition, which has brought together liberals and hawks as well as Jewish and Christian groups, to advocate in favor of the war-ravaged Sudanese region.
The group is being set up as a registered 501c3 charity that presents itself as “a non-partisan, broad-based coalition” that will comprise individuals and organizations from “diverse ethnicities, faith communities, political and social affiliations,” according to a mission statement posted on its Web site, which is under development.
Apparently, Perelman believed the group’s PR by accepting its claim to be “broad-based.” But is it?
The executive director of the new organization is Mark Wallace…[who] began his political carreer [sic] working as an assistant to then Florida governor Jeb Bush and then served on the Republican legal team during the 2000 Florida presidential vote recount. After working in the Department of Homeland Security under President Bush, he was recruited in early 2006 to the United States Mission to the United Nations by its then ambassador, John Bolton, to be in charge of management and reform. During his tenure, Wallace, who was given the rank of ambassador, ruffled the feathers of U.N. officials by aggressively pushing corruption investigations into U.N. programs. He left his position in April, amid reports that he had fallen out of favor with the new and more conciliatory ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad.
Bolton’s wife [this is an error which should read “Wallace’s wife”], Nicolle, was the communications director at the White House from 2005 until mid-2006, and then joined the McCain presidential campaign team May 1 as a senior adviser. Both Wallaces are briefing Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for interviews and debates.
So let’s explore the leadership of this “broad-based” group. It’s head is a UN bashing John Bolton protege while he served as an “ambassador” to it. His wife was the Bush communications director. And both are briefing Sarah Palin. Well, that settles it. No hidden political agenda here.
A confidential source has alerted me to the fact that if you search the Whois data for the groups website domain, you’ll find it registered to a:
45 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, New York 10111
If you Google the name, you discover that she’s a former Bush political operative who was implicated in the RNC/White House email scandal, whereby executive branch staff were found to have been using computers supplied by the RNC. Because the Committee had a policy of erasing e mail, communications critical to following the trail of the firing of the U.S. attorneys may have been destroyed. This was a violation of federal law. Hmmm, curiouser and curiouser.
So what do we really have here? Clearly, this is a further attempt by the Republican right (including forces with Aipac and other right-wing Jewish groups and donors) to set a tone in Washington that will justify more bellicose and belligerent policies toward Iran. Since there are powerful elements within the Israeli military-political apparatus itching to go go war against Iran, it’s likely the effort seeks to create acceptance of a possible Israeli strike.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak to the UN on September 22nd. Pro-Israel advocacy groups like the Israel Project will be making ad buys denouncing Iran on cable TV in New York during his visit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the McCain campaign attempts to link Obama with Iranian hardliners in their own ads. It should be a real right-wing slugfest. United Against Nuclear Iran seems designed to magnify the impact of such a propaganda effort.
One wonders why The Forward would write an article about a group with no obvious Jewish connection. Since Mark Wallace refused to reveal the group’s funding sources, I suspect there is conservative Jewish money involved. Once the group receives their 501 c3 status they will have to reveal the names. Unfortunately, they can hide that data now.
There is a small matter of Wallace claiming an endorsement from Richard Holbrooke and Dennis Ross. I don’t know why the two of them have bought this bill of goods. I have e-mailed them asking what manner of involvement, if any, they have with the group. If they have endorsed the group, they’ve been hoodwinked. I find it odd that two officials advising the Obama campaign would sign on with a group having an obvious neocon, pro-McCain orientation. I’m guessing we’ll be hearing a few clarifying/denial statements from Holbrooke and Ross shortly.
The group’s website conveniently omits any list of its board of directors so you can’t even verify whether their claim of bi-partisanship is true. The closing line of the Forward story is unintentionally humorous:
[Wallace’s] spokesman, Kildea, stressed that the initiative was a truly bi-partisan effort.
Yeah sure. Repeat it often enough and maybe someone will believe you.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.