View Full Version : Rumors: Iran bombing April 4th-6th

03-29-08, 05:28 PM
I've only got one source for this. But it is so specific in terms of places and dates:

Seems these rumors have been flying for some time:
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Israeli_website_reports_speculation_over_U.S._atta ck_on_Iran_in_April

Probably just a rumor.

But: Last Friday, Dick Cheney was in Saudi Arabia for high-level meetings with the Saudi king and his ministers. The day after, this came out: This (http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2008/March/middleeast_March340.xml&section=middleeast&col=) is from the Khaleej Times Online, UAE (daily English newspaper, physical circulation 70,000, readership 450,000):

Saudi Shura council to discuss plan for sudden radioactive hazards
RIYADH - The Saudi Shura council will secretly discuss national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors, media reports said Saturday. The Saudi-based King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology has prepared a proposal that encapsulates the probabilities of leaking nuclear and radiation hazards in case of any unexpected nuclear attacks in Iran, the Okaz Saudi newspaper said.<o:p> The Saudi Shura or consultative council plans to debate the proposal on Sunday.<o:p> The power plants in the south-western Iranian port of Bushehr were built with German assistance in 1974 and resumed with Russian aid in 1992, after it had been stopped by the Islamic revolution.</o:p></o:p>

03-29-08, 05:51 PM
Just a few more inputs:
OpEdNews.com: (http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bhwhite_080328_war_with_iran_may_ha.htm) War with Iran May Have Begun with Offensive in Iraq:

The United States military offensive against Iran may have begun with a swiftly escalating series of operations directed against the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, which had been observing a six month old cease-fire. Overall circumstances in support of this conclusion: * If attacks against Iran are to commence soon, then it makes sense to weaken those forces considered likely to irrupt in response to such an attack ...

Baltimore Chronicle: (http://baltimorechronicle.com/2008/032208Floyd.shtml) One Foot in the Grave: Iran Attack Nearer, More Likely Than Most Suspect
which is basically a summary of a piece by William R. Polk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_R._Polk) (leftist, it seems to me).

A very important, very disturbing -- and almost entirely overlooked -- piece appeared on Juan Cole's Informed Comment site this week. It was a guest column by William R. Polk, (http://www.juancole.com/2008/03/iran-danger-and-opportunity-polk-guest.html) laying out, in copious and convincing detail, the evidence indicating that the United States will indeed launch a military strike against Iran, most probably before George W. Bush leaves office.

03-29-08, 05:54 PM
However, this attack on Iran is for real

Day of Infamy: The March 20, 2008 US Declaration of War on Iran (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8429)

March 20, 2008, destined to be another day of infamy. On this date the US officially declared war on Iran. But it's not going to be the kind of war many have been expecting.

No, there was no dramatic televised announcement by President George W. Bush from the White House oval office. In fact on this day, reports the Washington Post, Bush spent some time communicating directly with Iranians, telling them via Radio Farda (the US-financed broadcaster that transmits to Iran in Farsi, Iran's native language) that their government has "declared they want to have a nuclear weapon to destroy people." But not to worry, he told his listeners in Farsi-translated Bushspeak: Tehran would not get the bomb because the US would be "firm."

Over at the US Congress, no war resolution was passed, no debate transpired, no last-minute hearing on the Iran "threat" was held. The Pentagon did not put its forces on red alert and cancel all leave. The top story on the Pentagon's website (on March 20) was: "Bush Lauds Military's Performance in Terror War," a feel-good piece about the president's appearance on the US military's TV channel to praise "the performance and courage of U.S. troops engaged in the global war on terrorism." Bush discussed Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa but not Iran.

But make no mistake. As of Thursday, March 20 the US is at war with Iran.

So who made it official?

A unit within the US Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which issued a March 20 advisory to the world's financial institutions under the title: "Guidance to Financial Institutions on the Continuing Money Laundering Threat Involving Illicit Iranian Activity."

FinCEN, though part of the chain of command, is better known to bankers and lawyers than to students of US foreign policy. Nevertheless, when the history of this newly declared war is someday written (assuming the war is allowed to proceed) FinCEN's role will be as important as that played by US Central Command (Centcom) in directing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In its March 20 advisory FinCEN reminds the global banking community that United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1803 (passed on March 3, 2008) "calls on member states to exercise vigilance over the activities of financial institutions in their territories with all banks domiciled in Iran, and their branches and subsidiaries abroad."

UNSC 1803 specifically mentions two Iranian state-owned banks: Bank Melli and Bank Saderat. These two banks (plus their overseas branches and certain subsidiaries), along with a third state-owned bank, Bank Sepah, were also unilaterally sanctioned by the US in 2007 under anti-proliferation and anti-terrorism presidential executive orders 13382 and 13224.

As of March 20, however, the US, speaking through FinCEN, is now telling all banks around the world "to take into account the risk arising from the deficiencies in Iran's AML/CFT [anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism] regime, as well as all applicable U.S. and international sanctions programs, with regard to any possible transactions" with – and this is important – not just the above three banks but every remaining state-owned, private and special government bank in Iran. In other words, FinCEN charges, all of Iran's banks – including the central bank (also on FinCEN's list) – represent a risk to the international financial system, no exceptions. Confirmation is possible by comparing FinCEN's list of risky Iranian banks with the listing of Iranian banks provided by Iran's central bank.

The "deficiencies in Iran's AML/CFT" is important because it provides the rationale FinCEN will now use to deliver the ultimate death blow to Iran's ability to participate in the international banking system. The language is borrowed from Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a group of 32 countries and two territories set up by the G-7 in 1989 to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. As the FinCEN advisory describes, in October 2007 the FATF stated "that Iran's lack of a comprehensive anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime represents a significant vulnerability in the international financial system. In response to the FATF statement, Iran passed its first AML law in February 2008. The FATF, however, reiterated its concern about continuing deficiencies in Iran's AML/CFT system in a statement on February 28, 2008."

Actually, the February 28 FATF statement does not comment on Iran's new anti-money laundering law. The statement does say, however, that the FATF has been working with Iran since the October 2007 FATF statement was issued and "welcomes the commitment made by Iran to improve its AML/CFT regime." Moreover, the February 28 statement, for whatever reason, drops the "significant vulnerability" wording, opting instead to reaffirm that financial authorities around the world should "advise" their domestic banks to exercise "enhanced due diligence" concerning Iran's AML/CFT "deficiencies." In linking its March 20 advisory to the recent FATF statements, apparently FinCEN cannot wait for FATF or anyone else to evaluate the effectiveness of Iran's brand new anti-financial crime laws.

Anyway, the "deficiencies in Iran's AML/CFT" is probably the main wording FinCEN will use to justify application of one its most powerful sanctions tools, a USA Patriot Act Section 311 designation (see below).
So what does all this bureaucratic financial rigmarole mean?

What it really means is that the US, again through FinCEN, has declared two acts of war: one against Iran's banks and one against any financial institution anywhere in the world that tries to do business with an Iranian bank.

To understand how this works requires understanding what FinCEN does. This means going back in history to September 2005, when the US Treasury Department, based on the investigatory work of FinCEN, sanctioned a small bank in Macau, which in turn got North Korea really upset.

FinCEN's mission "is to safeguard the financial system from the abuses of financial crime, including terrorist financing, money laundering, and other illicit activity" (FinCEN website).

Under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act the US Treasury Department, acting through FinCEN, has been provided with "a range of options that can be adapted to target specific money laundering and terrorist financing concerns." Specifically, Section 311 contains six "special measures" to significantly increase the powers of the Treasury (and other US government agencies) to block alleged terrorist financing activities. As explained by a Treasury official during April 2006 testimony before Congress, the most punitive measure requires:

"U.S. financial institutions to terminate correspondent relationships with the designated entity. Such a defensive measure effectively cuts that entity off from the U.S. financial system. It has a profound effect, not only in insulating the U.S. financial system from abuse, but also in notifying financial institutions and jurisdictions globally of an illicit finance risk."

On September 20, 2005 FinCEN issued a finding under Section 311 that Banco Delta Asia (BDA), a small bank in the Chinese territory of Macau, was a "primary money laundering concern." BDA was alleged to have knowingly allowed its North Korean clients to use the bank to engage in deceptive financial practices and a variety of financial crimes (such as money laundering of profits from drug trafficking and counterfeit US $100 "supernotes").

By publicizing its allegations, FinCEN let the world know that BDA was now at risk of having all "correspondent relationships" with US banks severed, a disaster for any bank wanting to remain networked to the largest financial market in the world. Frightened BDA customers reacted by staging a run on the bank's assets.

In the interest of self-preservation, BDA was forced to act. After a quick conference with Macau financial authorities the bank decided to freeze North Korean funds on deposit.

It just so happened that the day before the FinCEN finding was made public the US and North Korea, working through the Six-Party talks process (also involving host China, Russia, South Korea and Japan), had formally agreed on a new diplomatic roadmap that promised to lead to a denuclearized and permanently peaceful Northeast Asia. But because of Treasury's BDA sanctions, North Korea was now labeled an international financial outlaw and the Six Party process stalled.

Other banks began severing their business ties with North Korea, leaving the country more isolated than ever from global commerce and finance. These other banks had no choice. Treasury repeatedly made clear that any bank that continued to do business with North Korea was another potential Patriot Act Section 311 target.

In anger, North Korea withdrew from the Six-Party process. It required 18 months of negotiations before a diplomatic and financial approach was devised that left BDA blacklisted but allowed North Korea to regain access to its frozen funds and rejoin Six Party negotiations.

Neither FinCEN nor anyone else at Treasury has ever publicly produced any evidence in support of the financial crime allegations against BDA and North Korea (articles by this author on BDA, North Korea and Treasury's lack of proof can be found at the Japan Focus website).

If Treasury was eventually forced to back off in the BDA case (apparently because the Bush administration changed its policy priorities), it had discovered that Patriot Act Section 311 could really shake things up.

The "real impact" of the BDA-North Korea sanctions, as Treasury undersecretary Stuart Levey told members of the American Bar Association in early March 2008, was that "many private financial institutions worldwide responded by terminating their business relationships not only with [BDA], but with North Korean clients altogether." Levey and his Treasury colleagues had come up with a way to go beyond governments to use the global banking sector to privatize banking sector sanctions against an entire country (this, by the way, is presidential candidate John McCain's proposed strategy for dealing with Iran as described in the Nov/Dec 2007 issue of the journal Foreign Affairs ). This "key difference" in the "reaction by the private sector" was an exciting revelation. Through a little extraterritorial legal arm-twisting of the international banking community the US was able to put "enormous pressure on the [North Korean] regime – even the most reclusive government depends on access to the international financial system," said Levey. Washington now had "a great deal of leverage in its diplomacy over the nuclear issue with North Korea." Turning to the present, Levey informed the gathering of US lawyers that "we are currently in the midst of an effort to apply these same lessons to the very real threat posed by Iran." However, "Iran presents a more complex challenge than North Korea because of its greater integration into the international financial community."
(Contd (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8429))

03-29-08, 06:16 PM
1. Definite: Financial blockade.
2. Suggestive: Attack on Mahdi Army, a strong Shiite player.
3. Suggestive: Admiral Fallon resigns.
4. Speculative: withdrawal of Russian staff at Bushehr autumn 2007.
4. Rumors, just rumors, of an April attack.

We'll have to see. Difficult to be anywhere near certain. How would an Iran attack work out for one's personal investments, in the long and short term?

03-29-08, 06:29 PM
However, this attack on Iran is for real

Day of Infamy: The March 20, 2008 US Declaration of War on Iran (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8429)

All I'm reading here is that the US has notified other banks that that it intends to uphold international agreements with respect to money flows to organizations that are known to finance extremist groups that oppose the west and expects these other banks to, also. Where's the news never mind declaration of war?

03-29-08, 06:40 PM
Where's the news never mind declaration of war?

If you read further down the long article

To summarize to this point: (1) the March 20 advisory represents a US declaration of war by sanctions on Iran and a sanctions threat to the international banking community, (2) the US has various unilateral financial sanctions measures at its command in the form of executive orders and Patriot Act Section 311 and (3) the BDA-North Korea sanctions were, at least in retrospect, a test run for Iran.

If the US succeeds, an international quarantine on Iran's banks would disrupt Iran's financial linkages with the world by blocking its ability to process cross-border payments for goods and services exported and imported. Without those linkages Iran is unlikely to be able to engage in global trade and commerce. As 30% of Iran's GDP in 2005 was imports of goods and services and 20% was non-oil exports (World Bank and other data), a large chunk of Iran's economy would shrivel up. The repercussions will be painful and extend well beyond lost business and profits. For example, treating curable illnesses will become difficult. According to an Iranian health ministry official, Iran produces 95% of its own medicines but most pharmaceutical-related raw materials are imported.

With a financial sanctions war declared, what happens next? There have been some hints.

On February 25 the Wall Street Journal reported that Treasury was considering sanctioning Iran's central bank (known as Bank Markazi). "The central bank is the keystone of Iran's financial system and its principal remaining lifeline to the international banking system," explains the Journal. "U.S. sanctions against it could have a severe impact on Iranian trade if other nations in Europe and Asia choose to go along with them." In anticipation of future events, the Journal notes: "U.S. officials have begun trying to lay the groundwork for a move against the central bank in public statements and meetings with key allies."

So look for the following to happen in the coming weeks: FinCEN will probably issue a Patriot Act Section 311 finding that Iran's central bank is a "primary laundering concern." The "deficiencies in Iran's AML/CFT" wording lifted from the FATF statement will be a key reason for that finding. The finding may be accompanied by a formal decision to cut off Iran's central bank from the US financial market, or such a decision could come later. Of course, an actual or threatened cut-off has no immediate financial implications for Iran since no Iranian-flagged bank is doing business in the US, except possibly to allow shipments from the US of humanitarian provisions of food and medicine, which, if they exist, probably terminate with the March 20 FinCEN announcement.

But a Section 311 designation of Iran's central bank would have a powerful coercive effect on the world's banks. For any bank in Europe, Asia or anywhere else that goes near the central bank once the 311 blacklist is on, it would be the kiss of death for that bank's participation in the international banking community, as it was (and remains today) for BDA. Not only would that bank be barred from the US financial market, it would also be shunned by European and Japanese financial markets, as government and private banking officials in those markets are likely to cooperate with Washington's intensifying sanctions campaign.

What about China, now one of the world's major financial centers (two Chinese banks ranked among the top 25 in The Banker's 2007 survey of world banks) and a major trading partner for Iran?

China and Japan "were the top two recipients of exports from Iran, together accounting for more than one-quarter of Iran's exports in 2006," according to an analysis of International Monetary Fund (IMF) trading statistics contained in a December 2007 US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on Washington's anti-Iran sanctions regime. On the import side, the GAO found that in 2006 "Germany and China were Iran's largest providers of imports, accounting for 23 percent of Iran's imports." Airtight global banking sanctions imposed on Iran would presumably make the financial administration of this trade next to impossible.

Will China bend to US sanctions wishes? Early signs suggest the answer is yes.

03-29-08, 07:06 PM
All I'm reading here is that the US has notified other banks that that it intends to uphold international agreements with respect to money flows to organizations that are known to finance extremist groups that oppose the west and expects these other banks to, also. Where's the news never mind declaration of war?

The news is the expansion of the financial blockade. From my reading of this, it will be near impossible to get funds in or out of Iran. The Central Bank of Iran itself will be on the sanctions list. Iran is the third largest oil exporter in the world (2 million barrels/day). Any banks with links to the US will be hit with sanctions if they trade with Iran. Remember, I'm not saying this is right or wrong. I'm just saying this will really increase tensions. The attack on Pearl Harbor was not totally out of the blue (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Events_leading_to_the_attack_on_Pearl_Harbor) - the oil embargo put Japan in a terrible position. A financial blockade is likely to be as provocative.

The rest is just blips on a radar screen, but to be watched.

03-29-08, 07:43 PM

See also two articles by Ellen Brown

NUCLEAR WEAPONS OR COMPOUND INTEREST? (http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/war-with-iran.php)

In the latest escalation of tensions with Iran, on January 5, 2008 five Iranian patrol boats surrounded three U.S. ships in the Strait of Hormuz, coming within a "threatening" 200 meters. A voice with a thick accent then said in English, "I am coming at you – you will explode in a couple of minutes." The U.S. ships prepared to strike, when the patrol boats backed off. That is how the Pentagon told it, but Iranians have questioned where the threatening voice came from, and Pentagon officials have admitted that they could not confirm that it came directly from the Iranian crews involved. They have also admitted that the voice and the video film were recorded separately, adding to the mysterious circumstances.1

Skeptical observers might think that the two countries were being goaded into World War III – either that, or that someone wanted to convince American viewers that Iran indeed remained a threat, despite a recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) finding that the country is not engaged in a nuclear weapons program as formerly alleged. Before President George W. Bush left for his Middle East visit on January 8, he told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, "Part of the reason I'm going to the Middle East is to make it abundantly clear to nations in that part of the world that we view Iran as a threat, and that the NIE in no way lessens that threat."2 Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said in a recent MSNBC news broadcast that there is still a "great possibility" of nuclear action against Iran. The target has just shifted from nuclear power plants to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which has been declared a terrorist organization. Paul said, "[T]here are still quite a few neoconservatives who want to go after Iran under these unbelievable conditions."3

The question is, why? One popular theory holds that the push for war is all about oil; but many countries have oil, and we don't normally invade them to get their assets. Why go to war for Iran's oil when we can just buy it?

CLUES FROM THE PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY (http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/new-american-century.php)

On October 25, 2007, the United States announced harsh new penalties on the Iranian military and its state-owned banking systems. Sanctions, bellicose rhetoric and the implicit threat of military action are goads for another war, one that critics fear is more likely to ignite a nuclear holocaust than prevent one. The question is, why is Iran considered such a serious threat? The official explanation is that it is planning to develop nuclear weapons. But the head of the UN watchdog agency IAEA says he has "no concrete evidence" of an Iranian weapons program.<sup><small>1</small></sup> And even if there were one, a number of countries have tested or possess nuclear weapons outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including Pakistan, North Korea, India, and probably Israel; yet we don't consider that grounds for military action. Iran would just be joining a long list of nuclear powers.

Another theory says the push for war is all about oil; but Iran supplies only 15 percent of total Persian Gulf oil exports, and its oil is already for sale.<sup><small>2</small></sup> We don't need to go to war for it. We can just buy it.

A third theory says the saber-rattling is about defending the dollar. Iran is threatening to open its own oil bourse, and it is already selling about 85 percent of its oil in non-dollar currencies. Iran has broken the petrodollar stranglehold imposed in the 1970s, when OPEC entered into a covert agreement with the United States to sell oil only in U.S. dollars. As Dr. Krassimir Petrov explained this suspected motive in a 2006 editorial in Gold-Eagle.com:

As long as the dollar was the only acceptable payment for oil, its dominance in the world was assured, and the American Empire could continue to tax the rest of the world. If, for any reason, the dollar lost its oil backing, the American Empire would cease to exist. Thus, Imperial survival dictated that oil be sold only for dollars. . . . If someone demanded a different payment, he had to be convinced, either by political pressure or military means, to change his mind.<sup><small>3</small></sup> An interesting theory, but it still fails to explain all the facts. In a March 2006 editorial in Asia Times Online, William Engdahl noted that war with Iran has been in the cards as part of the U.S. Greater Middle East strategy since the 1990s, long before Iran threatened to open its own oil bourse.<sup><small>4</small></sup> And Iran is not alone in wanting to drop the dollar as its oil currency. To curb currency risks, Russia is planning to open an Energy Stock Exchange in St. Petersburg next year to trade oil in rubles, something that will have significantly more impact on the dollar than Iran's oil bourse. Central bankers in Venezuela, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates have all said they will be investing less of their reserves in dollar assets due to the dollar's weakening global position.<sup><small>5</small></sup> When those countries switch to other currencies for their oil trades, will the United States feel compelled to invade them as well?

These theories all have some merit, but none of them seems sufficient to explain the war drums. What is so special about Iran? Here is another possibility: Iran poses a serious threat, not only to oil and the dollar, but to a secret financial weapon that keeps a global banking empire in power. . . .

03-29-08, 07:52 PM
"secret financial weapon that keeps a global banking empire in power. . "


I don't think that they do it, i mean WHY????.............They are already in deep trouble.


03-29-08, 08:06 PM
We are talking about the basis of the Western financial system here -- something we all take for granted and god given -- compound interest

Hudson alluded to this in his interview when he talks about (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showpost.php?p=32187&postcount=1) interest being at the base of the current crisis

H: Well the problem is that when banks create credit this credit bears an interest charge. The interest charge absorbs more and more money from the economy at large and deflates it and at a point this prevents the debtors from repaying and there is a break in the chain of payments. And that’s what cancels out money in the way that Irving Fischer described.

What we are talking about is a financial system without "interest"

03-29-08, 08:09 PM
The question is, why is Iran considered such a serious threat?

This is Bush’s wrap up phase and tensions are high. Iraq ’s oil production agreements are now surfacing and awarded companies want to ramp up production. With more oil coming on line price stability is of great concern. Will Iran be given the new 10 yr sanction package after military action? I don’t know but someone in the neighborhood has to reduce production if Iraq ’s to ramp up. Iran is not only a dollar destabilize problem when it comes to oil sales, also a direct threat to the region if they obtain nuclear weapons.

Iraqi cabinet gives green light to oil ministry to sign oil deals

March 5, 2008
BAGHDAD (http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/05/africa/ME-FIN-Iraq-Oil-Deals.php#): Iraq's cabinet has given the green light to the Oil Ministry to sign agreements with international oil companies to help increase the nation's crude output, a ministry official said Wednesday.
The two-year deals, known as technical support agreements, or TSAs, are designed to develop five producing fields to add 500,000 barrels per day to the country's current 2.4 million barrels per day output.
Last December, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB), BP PLC (BP), ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) and Chevron Corp. (CVX) submitted technical and financial proposals for the five oil fields and received counterproposals from the Iraqi side.
Speaking to reporters as he arrived for a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, al-Shahristani said the Oil Ministry was still working on the compensation details with the Development Fund of Iraq, controlled by the U.S. and the U.N.
According to the Oil Ministry official, BP will submit a proposal for the Rumaila oil field, Chevron for West Qurna stage 1, Exxon for Zubair, and Shell for Missan and Kirkuk.
Iraq's average production was 2.4 million barrels per day in January while exports stood at an average of 1.92 million barrels per day. December's exports averaged 1.81 million barrels per day.
In dire need of expertise from international oil companies to achieve the Oil Ministry's target of 3 million barrels per day by the end of 2008

Chevron reportedly in talks to tap Iraq's oil

David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer (dbaker@sfchronicle.com)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Chevron Corp. and other international oil companies are negotiating with the Iraq Ministry of Oil to begin tapping into some of the country's largest oil fields, according to published reports.
Specifically, the companies are negotiating for two-year contracts that would help Iraq boost production at existing oil fields.
For years, the companies have had their eyes on long-term contracts to find and develop new oil fields in Iraq, which is believed to hold the world's third-largest oil reserves. The contracts under discussion are far more limited than that, but they represent an important step in opening Iraq's oil industry to foreign involvement after years of state control.
San Ramon's Chevron already has held discussions with the Iraqi Oil Ministry about one of the short-term contracts, according to reports in the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Reuters and United Press International news services. BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Total also are pursuing the contracts.
Chevron won't confirm or deny those reports, a company spokesman said Monday. But Chevron has repeatedly expressed an interest in Iraq. The company has provided free technical training to Iraqi oil engineers in the five years since the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein.
"Generally, Chevron is interested in helping Iraq develop its industry, and we'd very much like to partner with them to help fulfill the government's production objectives," said spokesman Kurt Glaubitz.
The country's state-run oil industry has struggled with aging machinery and insurgent attacks on oil facilities since the invasion. Production averaged 2.4 million barrels per day in February, according to the Platts energy information service. Before the invasion, production averaged 2.5 million barrels per day.
But efforts to increase production and develop new fields have been stymied by Iraqi politics, as well as the widespread belief among Iraqis that the United States toppled Hussein to gain control of the country's oil.
Most of Iraq's known oil fields lie in the Kurdish north or the Shiite south. As a result, Sunnis who live in central Iraq worry that they could be cut out of any future oil boom. For several years, legislators from the three groups have argued over a proposed law that would divide oil revenue among the country's regions and set ground rules for foreign oil companies that want to work in Iraq.
The short-term contracts, called technical support agreements, may be an attempt by the Oil Ministry to make an end-run around legislators. The Iraqi Cabinet reportedly approved the move.
"It was a way to get things going without calling it a production agreement," said Frank Verrastro, director of the energy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "They've been sitting in abeyance for two years while oil prices have gone up. I think there's a growing realization (in the Iraqi government) that, 'Had we done this sooner, we'd be a lot better off today.' "
Under the technical support agreements, the oil companies would be providing studies, analysis, equipment and expertise at existing fields - not hunting for new ones. Exploring and developing new oil fields would require passage of the long-stalled oil law.
Chevron reportedly is negotiating for an agreement to help expand production at the West al-Qurna oil field, near Basra in southern Iraq. The ministry also wants to sign technical support agreements for the Rumaila and Zubair fields nearby, as well as the Kirkuk oil field in the north. And in what could be an effort to appease Sunnis, the ministry also said last weekend that it wants to develop the Akkas natural gas field in a Sunni-dominated corner of western Iraq.
The proposed oil law has often come under criticism from anti-war activists, who fear that the Iraqi government will be pressured into handing over too much control of its oil. The short-term agreements may not assuage those fears.
"My concern with these agreements is that they appear to be more than anything else a foot in the door, an opening for the oil companies while debate rages on over the long-term contracts," said Antonia Juhasz, author of "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World One Economy at a Time."
"It's for the Iraqis to decide the appropriate role of U.S. oil corporations in Iraq," she said. "The only time to be able to have this kind of negotiation is when there's no longer an occupation."

03-29-08, 08:56 PM
There's a lot of tinfoil crap in this thread.

And FinCEN or whatever it is, the measures will fail. Why? Iran has oil. And people buy it from them.

03-29-08, 09:01 PM
There's a lot of tinfoil crap in this thread.

Agreed. Proponents of this stuff should wait another two months and then climb down from their feverish opinions.

03-29-08, 09:21 PM
FinCEN or whatever it is

the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) (http://www.fincen.gov/)

03-30-08, 12:33 AM
the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) (http://www.fincen.gov/)

glad this got moved to rant n' rave. no fan o' bush but to call this a declaration of war is goofy.

03-30-08, 01:45 AM
No matter, Krakknisse and Rajiv are two very smart guys. I pay my full respects to them both. Krakknisse who only showed up here weeks ago is posting a lot of really condensed wisdom in a lot of his comments. And Rajiv we all know is orbiting right up there in the stratosphere in terms of his breadth of reading, and his personal modesty I find exemplary.

03-30-08, 11:01 AM
Here is an interview with John McGlynn the author of the piece


Another piece in the Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/empire-strikes-back--us-draws-on-its-dominion-to-wreak-havoc-iniran/2008/03/28/1206207408596.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1)alon g the same lines

And a discussion of this at the Duckpond - WAR DECLARED? (http://wmmbb.wordpress.com/2008/03/26/war-declared/)

A particularly relevant quote from the Duckpond

I had not realized until I listened to the interview the significance of the time delay between the application of financial strangulation and the effect Iranians, which may make it impossible to acquire life saving medications. The analogy with aerial warfare does hold in that however precise it may claim to be, civilians are inevitably in the area, and inevitably suffer and get killed, and those who do the killing are remote from the consequences of the act, so there is no human response of remorse or guilt. It is, as Admiral Fallon was reported to have observed, like crushing ants.

The violence of our attitudes and of social forms can be hidden from conscience, however destructive and painful the implications are for “the other”, whoever is so-defined in that role. Imagination is the human weapon for which we have a responsibility to employ against both criminal negligence and war. The duty is not be virtuous, but to act with foresight and be responsible, to recognize our “duty of care” towards other people.

03-30-08, 01:27 PM
1. Definite: Financial blockade.
2. Suggestive: Attack on Mahdi Army, a strong Shiite player.
3. Suggestive: Admiral Fallon resigns.
4. Speculative: withdrawal of Russian staff at Bushehr autumn 2007.
4. Rumors, just rumors, of an April attack.

We'll have to see. Difficult to be anywhere near certain. How would an Iran attack work out for one's personal investments, in the long and short term?

To this list, I forgot to add:
5. Suggestive: three or four Internet fiber-optic cable breaks in the Middle East, with little in the way of explanation to suggest a purely natural cause.

03-30-08, 03:11 PM
i don't believe that a new war is in plan this year, but i do believe that the risk of a terror attack has increased - they would love to shake the market with all the bad news on banking.

03-30-08, 03:16 PM
And Rajiv we all know is orbiting right up there in the stratosphere in terms of his breadth of reading

And there are some mild parallels between the current banking actions, and what the U.S. and Japan were doing in the 1930s regarding trade.

03-30-08, 03:53 PM
Of course there are parallels Bart. The US "cornering" actions upon Iran via banking are indeed precisely that - fully intended cornering actions.

You may agree however that to extract these actions from the present general context and present them utterly sanitized of any contextual background would constitute "highly edited reportage", which distorts their meaning, let alone any balanced evaluation of their justification.

A very convincing argument can be made that cornering Iran right now is "not constructive", but then the full objectivity of that argument is somewhat discredited if you apparently consciously omit describing as "relevant context" that unequivocal evidence has accrued and dragged on for the past two years +, that the Iranians were indeed systematically bankrolling, arming and training not only the rogue Sadr Militia in Basra who are actively subverting an extremely delicate Iraqi government.

And yes, ANY coherent multi-ethnic government in Iraq is much better than NO government! All of us who favor any solution avoiding the disintegration of Iraq into ethnic factions, please raise your hands! It appears the Iranians have been actively engaged in bankrolling, arming, and training factions who wish to subvert that goal. Hello? Any comments on the scruple or constructiveness of this Iranian aim here?

As if that were not enough to damn the apparently quite reckless Iranian machinations in the region, for good measure they are (quite demonstrably, if you are willing to look) bankrolling, arming and training also the Hezbollah in Lebanon AND Hamas in Gaza? Excuse me, that is fully THREE countries in the region which Iran is actively fostering rogue militias within? Not worth your passing comment as context to your above objections?

Excuse me - you wish to establish objective credentials for critiquing US government's increasingly strenuous efforts to put critical presssure upon Iran, but you don't wish to acknowledge these actions by Iran to foment fully THREE separate rogue militias in THREE separate countries in the region?

What are we wishing to term this kind of activity in the region: "constructive Iranian engagement" perhaps - or is it all fabrication and lies by the lackey US press?? I read around, and I happen to know it's entirely true. Anybody wish to argue otherwise?

Let's hear you guys openly and frankly acknowledge these things are REAL - THEN we can have an objective discussion of what's required or wise to undertake to curtail Iran's out of control support for militias in the region. They are not just standing militias - they are all three ACTIVELY SHOOTING AND BOMBING militias.

I would suggest, it's only by all of us reaching for the truly objective middle ground, that such "misunderstandings" are resolved constructively. Painting the US Govt's actions here as existing in some sort of quixotic limbo, devoid of any contextual basis is nonsense, at least in my view, and you proponents of this "gross US irresponsibility" need to be called fully to account to explain whether you regard the above extenuating circumstances to be "minor details".

03-30-08, 04:08 PM
Of course there are parallels Bart. The US "cornering" actions upon Iran via banking are indeed precisely that - fully intended cornering actions.

You may agree however that to extract these actions from the present general context and present them utterly sanitized of any contextual background would constitute "highly edited reportage", which distorts their meaning, let alone any balanced evaluation of their justification.


I would suggest, it's only by all of us reaching for the truly objective middle ground, that such "misunderstandings" are resolved constructively. Painting the US Govt's actions here as existing in some sort of quixotic limbo, devoid of any contextual basis is nonsense, at least in my view, and you proponents of this "gross US irresponsibility" need to be called fully to account to explain whether you regard the above extenuating circumstances to be "minor details".

Of course its an isolated point and must be viewed within a huge group of other items. "Minor details" do have a disturbing habit of becoming major, and even the term "minor details" itself can be used in a "P.R." way.

But I'm not going to accept your kind offer of commenting on "gross US irresponsibility", not of course due to its relationship to poli (meaning all) and tics (being a bothersome blood sucker) and my well known headgear... :eek: ;)

03-30-08, 04:27 PM
You mean the crinkly silver tinted headgear? Very fashionable in certain circles! :)

Still, my objections are substantive. There are millions of people out there baying and barking away about the 'bloodthirsty" and "grossly irresponsible" US actions regarding Iran.

What does it take to convince these people their objections would be much more persuasive to the mainstream opinion if they carefully weighed the "danger quotient" being contributed in the middle east by Iran bankrolling three militias, all of whom seem to be intermittently in pitched battles in their respective regions.

Not a peep is heard about them from proponents of the "gross US irresponsibility", and this gravely detracts from such critics credibility - at least it does in my view. Iran's "highly adventurous" policy (what you might euphemistically refer to as their "foreign policy") in the region is crying out for someone to require them to cease and desist from provoking further conflict.

Who in their right mind does not imagine an incoming US new President does not understand we need to seek avenues to reduce US commitment to Iraq to prevent the US from doing the fiscal impersonation of a ripe tomato hitting the asphalt at speed in the next few years.

The US has overhwelming reasons to wind this all up. Iran has powerful regional reasons for crippling the US ability to wind it all up with any functioning US sponsored (or even barely US friendly) government left standing in Iraq. Any other interpretation of events there (mad US neocons looking actively to widen the war to Iran directly) is getting blinded by it's ideological "requirement" that the US be displayed as the "sole rogue entity" in this mess. I think that is needlessly pernicious rubbish.

03-30-08, 04:39 PM
You mean the crinkly silver tinted headgear? Very fashionable in certain circles! :)

The Wizard lives... and so does Frodo! :cool:


(a.k.a., cui bono :p )

03-31-08, 05:46 PM
Still, any threat of US attack on Iran is just posturing.

The reason Adm. Fallon resigned because he went public saying an Iran attack was a bad idea and off the table. EVERTHING is always on the table when pressuring someone in negotiations. To say otherwise weakens your position. Good idea to make the Iranians sweat and think there may be consequences to their actions.

Notice that Al-Sadr declared a cease fire yesterday. Reports say that it was US diplomatic pressure that forced Iran to call off their Shia groups in Iraq. Not only was there a threat of US attack on Iran but more importantly, the US was threatening the re-establishment of a Sunni government in Iraq. That would be Iran's worst nightmare.

The irony is that the Iranians, while trying to destabilize Iraq, are inching closer to what they fear the most. If the Iranians would back off trying to de-stabilize Iraq, they would get what it is they desire: a stable, Shia controlled and friendly neighbor to their west.

Too soon to say exactly how this will work out but Al-Sadr agreeing to rejoin the Shia coalition is a step in the right direction.

Bottom line: No US attack on Iran anytime soon.

04-01-08, 05:40 PM
The title of this thread is: "Re: Rumors: Iran bombing April 4th-6th"

That'll make it right during the Formula One race weekend in Bahrain with all the glitterati in town. I doubt it...

04-07-08, 03:01 AM

Thank god it didn't happen, but ....

04-07-08, 03:58 PM
Spartacus -

My most sober opinion of Paul Craig Roberts is that he is a hysterical yapping poodle. His analysis of events is pure mush. You really need to dig up some more reputable, sober-minded critics of current US policy blunders in the ME. The blunders are there, asking for a rational critique, but Craig Roberts is most decidedly not up to the task.

I'm looking at your proclivity to label everything 'fascist' with some curiosity - do you really buy into Craig Roberts rants? Why not try using a few less 'fascist this' and 'fascist that' tags in your critiques and you'll find your observations become far more empowered - to draw in a lot more interest from the centrists among us. This kind of overwrought denunciation of hidden fascism everywhere across the board is just silly.

Of course Iran is actively funding myriad splinter groups - they certainly are not only active in Iraq. Ask Paul Craig Roberts and he'd tell you this is all 'neo-con propaganda'. The man is an idiot, and a pernicious one at that. The sum of his editorial output is mis-informing bilge, in my view.

04-07-08, 04:04 PM
God, this is almost as bad as the RBS rumor of a hojillion $ writedown...

04-07-08, 04:43 PM
God, this is almost as bad as the RBS rumor of a hojillion $ writedown...

here's to the last non-ideology based econ/finance site left on the internet. when itulip goes... and someday it will, trust me on this... there will be no place left to go. all right wing crap like lew rockwell or left wing crap like alternet.org or mishmash crap with nothing based on good old fashioned apolitical analysis.

sigh. :mad:

04-07-08, 05:38 PM
... If the Iranians would back off trying to de-stabilize Iraq, they would get what it is they desire: a stable, Shia controlled and friendly neighbor to their west. ... Bottom line: No US attack on Iran anytime soon.

Voice of sanity in the ocean of overwrought hysteria.

04-08-08, 01:36 PM
i think frmo now onwards, we can really discount all iran attack rumors are "rumor".

04-09-08, 02:21 PM
Here is some more background on Iran. What the Hon. Paul Craig Roberts would call "filthy neo-con scare mongering" no doubt. :D

I bet there are a lot of people among the readership here who are "utterly convinced" these are all "maliciously contrived rumors and innuendo about Iran". I'm trying to analyze my own feelings towards such "true believers" - stalwart ambassadors from the all encompassing "US is the only evil empire worth examining" school of thought.

Yes, due to a rash, hot-headed, immoderate Republican Administration currently in office, the United States of America are rapidly progressing towards tattered has-been status (Banana Republic is getting closer - at the very least, fiscally) - but alas, that does not do much to repress my incorrigible urge to pour a bucket of cold water (maybe with some ice cubes in it) over the heads of the Paul Craig Roberts of this world.

They wake up every morning, and while shaving and doubtless admiring their own reflections in the bathroom mirror, they see a "stalwart ambassador for peace" reflected there. If only we could wipe away a little of the mirror-fog and show them their real reflection. What an eye opener their 'reality adjusted' countenance would be! :rolleyes:


SOON TO BE VOTED 'PUNDIT OF THE YEAR' ? : QUOTE: "By next Thursday we will know from how the Petraeus-Crocker dog and pony show plays in the US Congress and media whether the Bush Regime will commit yet another war crime by attacking Iran".

[ helpful 'ORIENTATION' hint: people here who believe the below assessment is a "pure fabrication" because "everybody knows Petraeus is a congenital liar" are willfully blinkering their own capacity for direct observation. A very precarious state of mind to inflict upon oneself! Do a little elementary digging of the links between Iran and Hamas & Hezbollah, and then tell yourself this same "benign sponsor nation" has managed to resist the temptation to do some of the same "sponsoring" of the Shia splinter groups in Iraq. ]

Bottom line: No attack on Iran any time soon - but lots of justifiable exasperation


Petraeus Says Iranian-Backed Groups Are Greatest Threat to Iraq

By Nicholas Johnston and Tony Capaccio

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- Shiite militia groups backed by Iran are the greatest long-term threat to Iraq's stability, according to Army General David Petraeus (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=David+Petraeus&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), the top U.S. commander in Iraq. The so-called ``special groups,'' which are funded, trained and armed by Iran, played a ``destructive role'' in the recent clashes between extremist militias and Iraqi government forces in Basra and Baghdad, Petraeus said.

``Iran has fueled the violence in a particularly damaging way,'' he told the House Armed Services Committee today in Washington, his second day of testimony to lawmakers. ``Unchecked, the `special groups' pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq.''

Petraeus, testifying yesterday in the Senate and today in the House, said Iraq is too ``fragile'' to allow U.S. troop levels to fall below about 140,000 earlier than September. The general recommended a 45-day period of evaluation after the final brigade from last year's ``surge'' of troop reinforcements into Iraq is withdrawn in July. Only after that period should officials begin to consider further withdrawals, he said.

Petraeus said today that troop increases this year, if the security situation in Iraq deteriorates, are ``a remote thought'' because of progress he has seen with Iraqi security forces, especially an elite special operations brigade. The U.S. currently has more than 150,000 troops in Iraq. As of today, 4,017 U.S. personnel have died in Iraq since the conflict began in March 2003, and 29,676 Americans have been wounded, according to the Defense Department.

Assessing Withdrawal

In response to a question today from Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Ike%0ASkelton&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) of Missouri, Petraeus said his commanders are reviewing four to five locations in Iraq that could be candidates for U.S. withdrawals after July.

``Over time,'' Petraeus said, ``I think all of'' the brigades will be withdrawn. ``The question is at what pace will that take place.''

The U.S. is withdrawing about 21,000 troops deployed last year to quell violence in Iraq, especially in Baghdad. In testimony yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Ryan Crocker (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Ryan+Crocker&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, criticized Iran for continuing to ``undermine the efforts of the Iraqi government to establish a stable, secure state.''

``At the same time, we support constructive relations between Iran and Iraq,'' Crocker said. ``Iran has a choice to make.''

Of Iran's 65 million people, about 90 percent are Shiite Muslim. About 60 percent of Iraq's 27 million people are Shiite, according to U.S. Central Intelligence Agency data. ``Iran has said publicly it will fill any vacuum in Iraq and extremist Shia militias would reassert themselves,'' Petraeus said yesterday and again today. ``We saw them try in Basra and Baghdad two weeks ago.''

Courting Iraq's Shiites

Crocker acknowledged yesterday that Iran has a relationship with every Shiite group in Iraq, not just Moqtada al-Sadr (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Moqtada+al-Sadr&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) and his Mahdi Army, which was the government's main adversary in the fighting in Basra. That includes the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, one of Sadr's greatest rivals in the struggle for power in Iraq, Crocker told Senator Jack Reed (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Jack+Reed&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), a Rhode Island Democrat.

``Iran has a dialogue with everyone'' in the Shiite community, Crocker said.

Petraeus told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday that he will provide further details about how closely some Iraqi militias are linked to Iranian groups and Lebanese Hezbollah. In response to a question about how to counter Iranian influence, Petraeus said much is being learned from detained members of the Iranian-backed special groups. That information soon will be discussed, he said.

``We'll lay that out, and we'll lay out the various weapons caches and other finds that we have had that, again, show the very, very clear involvement of Iran in Iraq,'' he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Nicholas Johnston (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Nicholas+Johnston&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) in Washington at njohnston3@bloomberg.net;

Last Updated: April 9, 2008 12:22 EDT

04-12-08, 02:28 PM
My question to all the readers who may find news articles such as this one distasteful (because what they perceive here is merely shameful "neo-con Iran-baiting" or "Neo-Con Iran-Victimizing"). Question for you: Those of us who find your views are bending over backwards to accomodate this Iranian Premiere's mildly erratic public assertions (he is in fact "Iran's formal voice to the world" at present, no?), would appreciate it if you would consent to dig up some evidence here to exonerate Mr. Ahmedinejad of his latest (arguably slightly deranged) remarks.

A need to impose one's own vision over historical events and label it the "new reality" evidences a somewhat feverish state of mind.

If you fail to dig up evidence that Ahmedinejad never actually publicly stated any of these "quirky" views (he presumes he has the stature in the world to rewrite history and have the rest of us believe him on the strength of his charisma - i.e. no holocaust ever occurred, 09/11 never occurred) - what then is your view of the "rationality" of this Iranian Premier? Do you argue he is in fact "eminently rational", and the rest of us are the deluded parties, for trumpeting his personally hallucinated version of recent history to the world, in his capacity as premier of a very important ME nation?

Do these "policy statements" from the de-facto leader of the Shia world, represent any kind of potential international hazard? Is he adequately and cautiously fulfilling his duties as diplomatic and political leader of Iran? Yes? No? Maybe? Sooner or later, apologists for the "misunderstood Iran" thesis, and of the redoubtable Iranian Premier Ahmedinejad, will have to explain to the rest of us what this chap is "really saying", as he's leaving a good part of the global public in a state of considerable bewilderment and consternation.



April 8, 2008, 3:35 PM (GMT+02:00)


In his most provocative anti-US speech to date, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raised doubts about whether al Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001 attack on New York actually took place. He was addressing Iran’s Nuclear Technology day, April 8, DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report.

He went on to ask why the US had never released the names of the thousands of dead in the Trade Center attacks and how the most advanced security, intelligence and tracking devices in the world had failed to detect the hijackers’ planes before they struck the two New York towers.

Ahmadinejad is famous also for denying the Nazi Holocaust.

Announcing earlier that Iran had begun installing 6,000 new advanced (P2) centrifuges for uranium enrichment at Natanz, the Iranian president claimed his country’s nuclear program had passed the point of no-return technologically and politically. America is disintegrating politically, militarily and economically, according to Ahmadinejad, who boasted that Iran’s nuclear achievement is a turning-point in history that will change the international order prevailing since World War II. (???)

He asked why everyone jumps on Iran’s nuclear program when “a band of international pirates has stores crammed with nuclear bombs.”

DEBKAfile adds: By going full steam ahead with uranium enrichment, Iran is flouting three UN Security Council resolutions and standing fast against threats, sanctions and incentives offered by the West to halt a process capable of producing nuclear weapons.

Instead, Tehran is installing a new generation of advanced P2 centrifuges to replace the older P-1 machines and accelerate enrichment. He claims they are five times cheaper than the commercial machines.

The five Security Council members and Germany meet later this month for their umpteenth discussion on Iran’s nuclear activities. However, aside from “sweetening” their incentives package and tighter sanctions, they have run out of ideas for curbing Iran’s rapidly-advancing nuclear plans.

04-13-08, 01:40 AM
JS tears the Patreaus report apart (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gwUDIa0Ca0)

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The Outback Oracle
04-13-08, 01:54 AM
Thanks Metalman...I've written something similar on another thread. I am not quite as succinct as you!!
But...an individual can go anywhere on the web and get irrational, semi-rational, and, perhaps even occcasionally rational argument on political events. Frankly this place was a refuge for me.
Please, please, please...can't we go back a step!!!