Thursday, February 16, 2012

Iran Nuke Propaganda Debunked, NPR on Iran, and The Greek Experiment

In this Edition:
- Iran Nuke Propaganda Debunked (Video, my comments on NPR & other coverage, several articles & PEW Poll)
- The Greek Experiment
(Videos & Article)

[In my now deleted 2/15/12 post on these subjects, I had forgotten about some comments from a few weeks back on Iran press coverage that I had not yet posted, so I have added them and some articles to fill out the portion on Iran's nuclear program for this new post.]

Iran Propaganda debunked in less than 6 minutes

See Also:
Scott Horton Interviews Flynt Leverett
Scott Horton Interviews Flynt Leverett-- December 30, 2011
Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter
Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter--January 19, 2012
Scott Horton Interviews Philip Giraldi

NPR's Navarro lies on Iran Nuke

I like some of the programming on Oregon Public Broadcasting, but I always let out a very loud grumpy groan, which is not unlike the sound of a large tree falling down in a forest far away from any human ear, when during an NPR/PBS/OPB funding drive, I hear the words of some obsequious, allegedly well informed individual say, like many others before them, something to the effect that if it were not for NPR, they would not know what really is going on in the world.

I'm thinking "Really? How unfortunate that you are apparently unplugged from so many alternative news sources on the internet." Sources, I might add, that value truth over the views of administrative overseers, advertisers, or subscriber donations.

Remembering back to the run-up to the Iraq war, NPR was among the others in the mainstream media, like the New York Times, NBC, and the like, that in some cases produced, and at least eagerly repeated, the lies coming out from the Bush administration and the Neocon think tanks. NPR programs, like Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation, even called some of the discredited "experts," or their sponsoring think tanks, back to comment on newer developments years after their previous reports had been show to be utterly baseless and false.

NPR, and even Democracy Now!, to some extent, have given much air time to reporters who told us with righteous glee how Gadaffi was being defeated, but you don't hear many reports now that the country is in a shambles, and the people they supported have turned on each other, and have committed barbarous acts against imprisoned Libyan blacks and others thought to have supported Gaddafi. The corporate media in general behaves the same, and now they all report alleged war crimes and civilian casualties in Syria on the flimsiest of evidence. NPR entertains "experts" who urge US intervention, as they did in Iraq and Libya, without providing much analysis of what the real results of intervention will be. We know what a disaster the wars have become in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Libya and others not far behind.

So now we have had a near constant drumbeat in recent weeks, years really, from that same media, concerning the imminent nuclear threat posed to Israel and the US by Iran.

Without getting in to Iran's actual treaty rights to develop the same nuclear energy for peaceful purposes that the US and Europe have enjoyed for decades, and without bringing into the discussion the fact that the US, some European nations, and Israel, already threaten the world with nuclear weapons, it is important to focus on the lies that NPR (and other media sources) tell us about Iran's nuclear capability.

Here is a recentt lie from NPR:
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, 12 Noon, 2/3/12, from her base in Jerusalem:

"Most intelligence suggests Iran could have the bomb within a year."

Most intelligence suggests Iran could have the bomb within a year? Who's intelligence? Here are recent statements and articles about US intelligence sources:

Graham Doesn’t Believe Clapper: ‘I’m Very Convinced’ Iran Is Building Nuclear Weapons

By Eli Clifton

February 16, 2012 "Think Progress" - -

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee today, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, repeated his position that Iran has not yet decided whether to develop a nuclear weapon. Clapper, both in his prepared remarks [PDF] and in an exchange with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), emphasized that sanctions and diplomacy were the best option for stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and that Iran’s decision making is guided by a a rational “cost-benefit approach.”

Graham — who is currently spearheading a resolution limiting President Obama’s policy options on Iran — tried to push Clapper into acknowledging that Iran has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon, but the top U.S. intelligence failed to agree, leading Graham to disagree with the U.S. intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear intentions:

LINDSEY GRAHAM: You have doubt about the Iranian’s intention when it comes to making a nuclear weapon?


GRAHAM: So you’re not sure they’re trying to make a bomb? [...]

CLAPPER: I think they’re keeping themselves in a position to make that decision but there are certain things they have not yet done and have not done for some time. [...]

GRAHAM: I guess my point is that I take a different view. I’m very convinced they’re going down the road of developing a nuclear weapon.

Watch it:

James Clapper Discusses Iran's Nuclear Intentions

Read Rest of article at Think Progress.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich:
Fact Checking the Media

"The media coverage on Iran is mirroring the coverage in the lead-up to the Iraq war: grand claims about a smoking gun that doesn't exist. For example, The New York Times incorrectly reported last month that the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran concluded that their nuclear program had a military objective. The paper's public editor, Arthur Brisbane, was forced to acknowledge their mistake and wrote: "Some readers, mindful of the faulty intelligence and reporting about Saddam Hussein's weapons program, are watching the Iran nuclear coverage very closely." Other media outlets such as National Public Radio, PBS and The Washington Post have been challenged on their coverage too. 

A recent publication from the Center for Strategic and International Studies titled "The IAEA's Iran Report and Misplaced Paranoia," noted that "With few exceptions, these revelations are not exactly new. More importantly, neither is the thrust of the report: that Iran is developing some capabilities that can only be understood as preliminaries to the development of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, early coverage of the report's release gives the opposite impression."

Many have recognized that the media failed to do its job in the lead-up to the Iraq war. The potential consequences of treading on that same path with Iran are grave. The U.S. has thus far spent over $1.2 trillion of borrowed money on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military action against Iran would be disastrous for the region and for U.S. moral standing. A serious diplomatic track based on mutual trust and respect is the only way to achieve increased transparency."


Face The Nation, CBS News, January 8, 2012

Defense Secretary, Recently CIA Chief, Leon Panetta:

"Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No."


Israel: No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program; Barak: Any decision to Strike Iran “Far off.”
Haaretz, via Juan Cole
(no peacenik) January,2012:

“The intelligence assessment Israeli officials will present later this week to Dempsey indicates that Iran has not yet decided whether to make a nuclear bomb. The Israeli view is that while Iran continues to improve its nuclear capabilities, it has not yet decided whether to translate these capabilities into a nuclear weapon – or, more specifically, a nuclear warhead mounted atop a missile. Nor is it clear when Iran might make such a decision.”

This is the same conclusion to which the 16 US intelligence agencies have come in 2007 and 2010. It is also consistent with what the Iranian government itself says, which is that the Iranian nuclear enrichment program is a civilian one and that Iran is not trying to construct a nuclear weapon. Likewise, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which continues to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities, has repeatedly and consistently stated that no nuclear material has been diverted from the civilian program.

Divining the Truth about Iran
February 1, 2012

Exclusive: Like before the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. news media is flooding Americans with alarmist accounts about Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Even when U.S. officials suggest nuance and caution, the media ignores the signals, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reports.
By Ray McGovern

Watching top U.S. intelligence officials present the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” before the Senate Intelligence Committee, I found myself wondering if they would depart from the key (if politically delicate) consensus judgment that Iran is NOT working on a nuclear weapon.

In last year’s briefing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had stood firm on this key point, despite severe pressure to paint Iran in more pernicious terms. On Tuesday, I was relieved to see in Clapper’s testimony a reiteration of the conclusions of a formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of November 2007, issued unanimously by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including judgments like this:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; … Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.”
Sadly, this judgment still comes as news to many of those Americans who are malnourished on the low-protein gruel of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) – even though the NIE was immediately declassified in 2007 and has been in the public domain for more than four years.


In Iran Dispute, Who’s at Fault?
February 3, 2012

The Israeli government and the major U.S. news media are escalating their rhetoric in support of a new “preemptive” war, this time against Iran. Yet, as with the Iraq invasion, little attention is focusing on the rules of international law and which side is in the wrong, as Nat Parry describes.
By Nat Parry
. . . .
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern recently wrote an article for, reminding readers of a formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) from November 2007.
The NIE was issued unanimously by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and included the following conclusion: “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; … Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.”
This 2007 joint assessment of the U.S. intelligence community was essentially restated by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last month, who stated frankly on national television that Iran is not currently attempting to develop nuclear weapons.
“Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us,” Panetta told “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer. “And our red line to Iran is to not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.”

For its part, Iran has consistently said its nuclear program is peaceful, for electricity and medical purposes. If the Iranian government decides it is in its security interests to attain nuclear weapons, however, it has the legal right under Article 10 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to withdraw:

“Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.”
But Iran has not chosen to withdraw, and in accordance with its obligations under the NPT, is continuing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has the sole authority under the treaty to ascertain states parties’ commitments on non-acquisition of nuclear weapons.. . . .


Despite the facts cited in the Scott Horton video and articles above, the PEW Research Center tells us 39% of the American People, mostly Republicans, would support Israel if it were to attack Iran over Iran's nuclear program, 51% would stay neutral, and only 5% would oppose. Go figure! The constant barrage of anti-Iranian propaganda from the corporate press seems to have had its predicted effect.

Public Takes Tough Line on Iran’s Nuclear Program

February 15, 2012

Nearly six-in-ten (58%) of Americans say it is important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action. Just 30% say it is more important to avoid a military conflict with Iran.

When it comes to the possibility that Israel may soon attack Iran's nuclear facilities, as has been reported in news stories, 51% say the U.S. should remain neutral. But for those saying the U.S. should take a position, 39% believe it should support an Israeli attack compared to 5% who say it should oppose such action.

Read the summary of the report for a partisan and demographic breakdown of U.S. public opinion on dealing with Iran. The survey also includes findings on overall public opinion about President Obama's plans for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan as well as an analysis of partisan divisions over his plan.

Read Full Report Here

The Greek Experiment


Greek Unrest the Result of Suppressed Democracy

By William Pfaff
[Added 2/16/12]

When the first international effort to impose an economic austerity regime upon Greece was completed, George Papandreou, the prime minister, surprised and infuriated the negotiators from the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank by proposing that the draft agreement be submitted to a popular referendum in Greece. The negotiators and their governments knew very well that the Greek people would reject it.

Mr. Papandreou was hustled out of the limelight, and foreign leaders, the EU, international financial officials, and right-thinking commentators in Europe and the United States all deplored his proposal, since democracy was not part of the deal. . . . .

Greece riots: Athens burns, police fire tear gas as violence flares up

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