I’m concerned about mainstream media output surrounding the Iran issue.

We don’t actually know whether the neocon administration is planning to attack Iran once the negotiations with the EU3 conveniently “run out of time” and the matter gets referred to the UN, MAYBE with newly installed John “There is no such thing as the United Nations.  There is an international community that occassionally can be led by the only real power left in the world and that is the United States when it suits our interests and we can get others to go along” Bolton overseeing events.

But I do know that there’s plenty of verbiage already floating around designed to ratchet up the fear.
Here are just a few recent examples of the mainstream media carrying the administration scare news without any actual proof.  Just echo chamber reporting

Mar 31 2005 AFP headline Opposition group says Iran has budget for nuclear warheads carried by Yahoo, The Washington Times,  The Australian Herald. Worrying headline ?

But further down the piece has the following about Mohammed Mohadessin, an official of the opposition group:

He did not identify his sources

he could not say which country could have eventually provided Iran with the warheads

he did not provide a date for the implementation of Khamenei’s alleged secret plan

essentially a non story then. But the headline sticks. As it did when evidence of an Iraqi defector was partly used to justify the invasion of Iraq. An Iraqi defector, codename Curveball, subsequently found to be

crazy…..out of control……a waste of time……a fabricator

So can we expect the forthcoming new National Intelligence Estimate (Estimate!) on Iran to use more reliable sources?  Well I think we might already know the answer to that

As Jamie Ahmad analysed in his Dkos diary last week, another AP piece, relying on quotes from the same guy, Mohadessin, twists and contorts the facts.

Then we have just out and out empty rhetoric :

Feb 11 2005 Toronto Daily Star Iran nuclear threat is real

“The potential nuclear threat that Iran poses is real and it is exceedingly frightening. The true source of the threat isn’t Iran itself, though. It’s Al Qaeda-type terrorists.

Once Tehran has acquired the bomb, the Iran government would be tempted to pass it to terrorists”

If you read the piece, not a single source for this. Just opinion. But the headline does it. Then within the text : Al-Qaeda……..Iran government………bomb…….terrorists

Or throw the n word in :

Feb 22 2005 USA Today Natanz plant in Iran is focus of nuclear concerns

The Natanz facility, about 160 miles south of Tehran, is big enough to hold 50,000 centrifuges and could produce enough uranium for 25 10-kiloton nuclear bombs a year

Oooh 25 10-kiloton nuclear bombs a year. Now that sounds scary. That could stick in the mind of a USA Today reader. Could it possibly become “Hey, did you hear Iran is producing, I don’t know, 250 100-kiloton nuclear bombs or something” – “No, Jeez” as the propaganda rolls.

This piece was quoting David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security. He had good reasoned argument for whether or not the pre invasion Iraqi claims on WMD were credible

Well, part of it’s a subjective judgment. I mean, you can look somebody in the face and just feel that they’re not telling you the truth.

Looking at what is being and will be fed to the MSM:

The recently issued Presidential Commission on Intelligence Failures shows, according to a half-dozen current and former officials who’ve reviewed versions of it or have firsthand knowledge of the events described in it :

In North Korea and Iran, as they did in Iraq, officials also have extrapolated from older, confirmed information to make estimates about current nuclear and other weapons programs

So no doubt we’ll be getting intelligence such as this from the administration, as reported by the Asian Wall Street Journal

Adding to concern in the West, the Asian Wall Street Journal reported last week that US intelligence has received tens of thousands of pages of Farsi-language designs and test data, dated from 2001 to 2003, to modify the Shahab-3 missile to carry a “black box” that, the report says, US experts “believe is almost certainly a nuclear warhead.”

Similar leaks about Iraq’s alleged weapons activities prior to the invasion proved crucial to making the case for war, but were later disproved. The Journal reports that US officials first thought “the find might be disinformation, perhaps by Israel,” but “are now persuaded … the documents are real.”

Finally, not to do with mainstream media but as recently reported by Scott Ritter , quoting a source close to the administration:

Israels August 2004 intelligence assessed Iran was less than a year away from completing it’s uranium enrichment program, the point of no return for a nuclear weapons program. The date for the point of no return ….. June 2005.

Ritter’s source states the President had reviewed plans being prepared by the Pentagon to have the military capability in place by, wait for it, ………. June 2005 for such an attack, if the President ordered.

So my point is this all has a depressing familiarity to it. Say from about six months before up to the invasion of Iraq. I hope I’m wrong. But maybe in a couple of years time we’ll be looking at another report on Intelligence Failures.

My $.02 worth – writing to author/paper/website when I see these distorted reports.

Why ? 98,000 reasons

I don’t hold out much hope, but, well see my tagline.

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