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The Illusion Of Sovereignty

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

29 September, 2008

Perhaps sovereignty is relative; how else can one explain the subjugation of the most powerful industrial nations to the will of another while under the delusion of independence, national interest, democracy, and even capitalism? A single country, Israel and its powerful lobby AIPAC have altered the course of history in America and by extension, the rest of the world.

In order to understand the argument being made and the power of manipulation of this extraordinary group, one must revisit the Arab economic boycott of Israel dating back several decades. To defeat the boycott, the Israeli lobby went into full gear and argued before the House that the Arab boycott constituted "a harassment and blackmailing of America, an interference with normal business activities ... that the boycott activities were contrary to the principles of free trade that the United States has espoused for many years … and the Arab interference in the business relations of American firms with other countries is in effect an interference with the sovereignty of the United States."[i] Bowing to AIPAC, the US adopted and enforced comprehensive anti-boycott legislation which Jimmy Carter signed into law in 1977. The law called for fines to be levied on American companies which cooperated with the boycott.

However, in spite of pressure from the Lobby, Congress refused to enforce sanctions on the Arab League on the grounds that “extraterritorial measures that impermissibly impinge on the sovereignty of other nations”[ii] was not acceptable. Yet in an about face, America has yielded its own sovereignty and has demanded other nations subjugate theirs and impose sanctions on Iran. Surely one must wonder what made the United States bow to the Israeli demands and impinge on the sovereignty of Japan as an example when it had to forgo its exclusive rights to develop part of Iran's Azadegan oil field, the country's largest in compliance with the Iran-Libya Sanction Act (ILSA).

For not only is it believed that AIPAC wrote the ILSA, but today, using their foot soldier, the neocon influenced US government, it is holding the United Nations hostage as three rounds of illegal sanctions have been passed against Iran with a recent House approved tougher sanctions bill [iii] as Iran pursues nuclear technologies that are put in the service of humankind on every continent. Surely those whose lust for power blindly led them to office must come to realize that their power is an illusion for the reins are held by another. They are the puppets and the Lobby and the neoconservatives the puppeteers. Should we not question how we got to this point in our history?

Was it the power of the vote or the ally’s treachery? In the 60’s and 70’s while the Lobby was asking for American sacrifice, Israel was busy betraying America. Within the CIA as elsewhere in the intelligence community, there is a "widespread belief" that in the 1960s Israeli intelligence spirited about two hundred pounds of weapons- grade uranium from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) in Apollo, Pennsylvania. John Hadden, a former CIA station chief in Tel Aviv, states that NUMEC was an "Israeli operation from the beginning.” The NUMEC case was investigated by the GAO and the House Interior Committee in 1978, but their reports have never been declassified”. Lyndon Johnson who was the first of a string of administrations to bury the NUMEC affair[iv], not only covered up the report but it would seem as if the audacity of their act merited further cover up - the killing of American servicemen on board the Liberty by Israelis.[v] To their credit, the Israelis, confident that they could do as they pleased with American administrations, smuggled 810 krytons to Israel[vi] (krytons can be used for electronic triggers for nuclear weapons). Not long after this outrageous thievery, Ronald Reagan punished Iran by reinstating trade sanctions (Exec. Ord. No.12613) (first imposed by Carter and lifted in accordance to the Algiers Accords). It would seem that the trend for punishing other nations for Israel’s dangerous betrayal continues.

On every continent nuclear technology is being made available to promote progress. In South America, nuclear technology is being used to map underground aquifers, so that water supplies can be managed sustainably. The Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) which was changed to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because of the negative connotations associated with the word nuclear in the late 1970's would be explored to diagnose and treat patients. In Vietnam farmers plant rice with greater nutritional value that was developed with IAEA assistance – rice is also the staple food of Iranians. Within the next few years (estimates are 10-25 years) over 2 billion people will be without drinking water. Research in desalination technology initiated in 1970 using Advance Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) will make salt water drinkable. These are the components of nuclear technology that are the fundamentals of ‘Atoms for Peace’. These are the inalienable rights of Iran under Article IV for which it is being sanctioned.

AIPAC had previously contended that the Arab boycott constituted "a harassment and blackmailing of America.....”, yet today, with all nations blackmailed by a country that has an illegal nuclear arsenal capable of unimaginable destruction, a country which has no regard for international law and norms or loyalty, is demanding that sanctions be imposed on Iran for pursuing its inalienable right within the framework of the NPT.

“What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.” - Hannah Arendt

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the influence of lobby groups. She is a peace activist and political analyst.

[i] H. Alikhani, Sanctioning Iran, Anatomy of a Failed Policy, New York, 2000, p.321

[ii] Alikhani (2000), p.312.


[iv] Duncan L.Clarke, “Israel's Economic Espionage in the United States”, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 27, No. 4. (Summer, 1998), pp. 20-35.Quoted in Cockburn and Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, pp. 78-81., also Hersh, The Samson option', pp. 188-89, 242; Raviv and Melman, Every Spy a Prince, pp. 197-98., and Interview, congressional source, Washington, D.C., August 1994.


[vi] "Israelis Illegally Got U.S. Devices Used in Making Nuclear Weapons," NewYork Times, 16 May 1985

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