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Washington Think-Tank Cultivating 'Last Resort' Against Iran and Priming Next President

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Eisenstadt’s call for a high-profile information campaign was not limited to targeting Iranians. On July 3, 2008, he participated in a conference call with reporters held simultaneously in Washington, D.C., London, Brussels and Jerusalem.

Sponsoring the call was The Israel Project (TIP). According to its website, TIP "provides journalists, leaders and opinion-makers accurate information about Israel" influencing "hundreds of millions of people around the world." Its board of advisors includes 22 members of the U.S. Congress (12 Senators and 10 Representatives).

Eisenstadt said that he was somewhat pessimistic about the prospects of successful diplomacy. He then repeated to the 100-plus reporters the fear-eliciting conclusion from the Last Resort that not acting militarily could result in catastrophe and the deaths of millions of people.

Mark Summers, a reporter based in Bahrain, asked whether talk of preventive measures was premature given the findings of the U.S. intelligence community. Eisenstadt responded, "To be honest, to be fair, I think that the NIE was carefully couched."

A Former CIA Analyst Weighs in on the Last Resort

Ray McGovern, who during his 27-years in the CIA had the opportunity to chair NIE’s, had strong words about Eisenstadt’s approach.

"One way to look at the Eisenstadt paper [the Last Resort] and briefing is as a surrogate NIE. They fulfill the function of an Estimate nicely for administration’s purposes not unlike the Office of Special Plans setup by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith in the Pentagon to come up with the "correct" answers before and during Iraq. It’s an old stratagem; one of the best examples was Team B which played up the Soviet threat starting in the ‘70s."

McGovern who has advocated for a "Memorandum to Holders" of the previous estimate - an update to the 2007 NIE - added sharply "If you can’t get the answers you want from the $50 billion intelligence bureaucracy, make sure they do nothing and create something off on the side to provide what you want."

On preventive military action, McGovern doesn’t hold back. "Preventive military action is a war crime. It’s a war of aggression defined by Nuremberg as the supreme international crime." Referring to the Last Resort he said "I’m sure it’s being shown to whomever will digest it into words for the president as ‘this is probably the considered view of the experts’ on Iran."

Next Stop on the Preventive Action Tour: Christians United for Israel (CUFI)

In late July 2008, WINEP’s Patrick Clawson joined controversial pastor John Hagee’s CUFI for their Washington-Israel Summit. Ali Gharib, a Washington-based journalist, discussed Clawson’s role in an article he wrote. Clawson sat on the panel "Iran: Eye of the Storm." This panel was closed to the press so Gharib attended instead with a participant’s pass.

He reported "Clawson elicited laughter from the crowd with his statement that some Iranian leaders are quite happy to be suicidal. Many of them are not rational." Clawson also said "Iran is spending at least $200 million a year financing, training, and arming every terror group that is killing Israelis in the pursuit of eliminating the state of Israel."

However, during the Q&A session when questioned about possible Iranian retaliation to a U.S. strike, Gharib writes that Clawson responded by saying, "The history, so far, is of blood-curdling threats, and [then] nothing happens."

It seems in a brassy attempt to sell the preventive action product, Clawson points to heinous actions by an irrational regime and then when asked about Iranian retaliation, he claims that same group might not respond at all to an attack on its homeland.

Shifting Focus to Arabs and Americans

For years, the focus on preventing a "nuclear Iran" was based on the perceived threat to the state of Israel as demonstrated in Patrick Clawson’s presentation at the Christians United for Israel conference. But in September, a noticeable shift began to emerge from the thinkers at the Washington Institute.

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Cheryl Biren is a Philadelphia-based researcher, writer, editor and photographer with a focus on social justice. From 2007-2011, she served on the editorial board of

Cheryl has also consulted for the Rob Kall Radio Show with (more...)
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Thanks, Cheryl, for pulling together several diffe... by Rady Ananda on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 6:52:50 AM
thanks rady. i keep hoping america will snap out o... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 1:40:07 PM
Another crooked AIPAC stunt that will put our nati... by John Hanks on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 9:13:35 AM
Thank you Cheryl. Excellent, informative piece of ... by Jennifer Hathaway on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 2:02:58 PM
Maybe they'll need another "Pearl Harbor&... by Larry McCombs on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 2:36:46 PM
But of course, I already knew they would never, EV... by Syndi Yellowbird on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 4:05:45 PM
of fascist's Goon's and Thug's in control during t... by Stanimal on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 5:04:12 PM
Dumbya is suddenly aware of his soon to be hideous... by Steven Leser on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 5:56:25 PM
to agree with you about bush right now. however, i... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 6:31:14 PM
Regarding Kenneth R. Timmerman who is mentioned in... by Munich on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 7:27:41 PM
what pattern? just kidding. yea, of course it'... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 7:39:06 PM
Billiant analogy Cheryl.We gotta keep em sepa... by Munich on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 8:21:00 PM
An odd thing happened last month. I looked at my y... by Peter Duveen on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 11:26:18 PM
Thanks for mentioning UANI. Actually started ... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 11:48:50 PM
This effort has a healthy budget behind it, becaus... by Peter Duveen on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 7:58:27 AM
They want to use "scholarship" to foment... by Sandy Sand on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 7:23:14 AM
hadn't even occurred to me, but now that you p... by Cheryl Biren on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 7:34:00 AM
Thanks so much for this Cheryl.  I have alrea... by Jim Harris on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 2:59:42 PM
As I and many others have outliined in other comme... by Ishmael1 on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 3:15:39 PM
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over a... by jeff prager on Monday, Oct 27, 2008 at 1:58:59 PM
Think tank faculties look like a way of paying-off... by vthom on Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008 at 5:02:25 PM
Looks so good I'd like to try it myself. What ... by vthom on Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008 at 5:18:21 PM
think tanks, the good, the bad and the ugly would ... by Cheryl Biren on Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008 at 6:08:34 PM
   foundations and institutes are highbr... by vthom on Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008 at 9:37:36 PM
While you're at the thank tink project maybe y... by vthom on Thursday, Oct 30, 2008 at 4:15:51 AM