The corporate media has been reporting Bush's peace mission in the Middle East. Don't believe it. The only mission is in preparation for war on Iran. They think it's some sort of divine mission.
Â See Haaretz article: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/943342.html
Further, they are trying to create a situation for a causus belli by putting forth a bogus incident in which Iran allegedly threatened to blow up an American vessel. Fat chance...they'd better be a little more creative...Ã§ause that dog don't hunt. Note the obvious deception:
WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (IPS) - Despite the official and media portrayal of the incident in the Strait of Hormuz early Monday morning as a serious threat to U.S. ships from Iranian speedboats that nearly resulted in a "battle at sea", new information over the past three days suggests that the incident did not involve such a threat and that no U.S. commander was on the verge of firing at the Iranian boats.
The new information that appears to contradict the original version of the incident includes the revelation that U.S. officials spliced the audio recording of an alleged Iranian threat onto to a videotape of the incident. That suggests that the threatening message may not have come in immediately after the initial warning to Iranian boats from a U.S. warship, as appears to do on the video.
Also unraveling the story is testimony from a former U.S. naval officer that non-official chatter is common on the channel used to communicate with the Iranian boats and testimony from the commander of the U.S. 5th fleet that the commanding officers of the U.S. warships involved in the incident never felt the need to warn the Iranians of a possible use of force against them.
Further undermining the U.S. version of the incident is a video released by Iran Thursday showing an Iranian naval officer on a small boat hailing one of three ships.
The Iranian commander is heard to say, "Coalition warship 73, this is Iranian navy patrol boat." He then requests the "side numbers" of the U.S. warships. A voice with a U.S. accent replies, "This is coalition warship 73. I am operating in international waters."
The dramatic version of the incident reported by U.S. news media throughout Tuesday and Wednesday suggested that Iranian speedboats, apparently belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard navy, had made moves to attack three U.S. warships entering the Strait and that the U.S. commander had been on the verge of firing at them when they broke off.
Typical of the network coverage was a story by ABC's Jonathan Karl quoting a Pentagon official as saying the Iranian boats "were a heartbeat from being blown up".
Ed Pilkington New York
Friday January 11, 2008
Several news sources reported that senior navy officials had conceded that the voice threatening to blow up the US warships in a matter of minutes could have come from another ship in the region, or even from shore.
The concession came on the day that a formal American complaint was lodged with Iran over the incident, and just 24 hours after President George Bush, on tour in the Middle East where he will be discussing policy towards Iran, warned Tehran to desist from such aggression and said any repetition would lead to "serious consequences".
The Pentagon alleges that the confrontation lasted about 20 minutes and took place in the Strait of Hormuz, where the US ships were in international waters. Five Iranian patrol boats swarmed around three US warships and came within a threatening 200 metres, prompting US personnel to be put on alert.
The US navy has said that its gunners came within seconds of firing on the speedboats.
On Tuesday, the US administration released video footage that it said showed the Iranian speedboats harassing the American vessels. A voice in English with a strong accent was heard to say: "I am coming at you - you will explode in a couple of minutes."
Yesterday the Iranians put out their own four-minute video that showed an Iranian patrol officer in a small boat communicating with one of the US ships. "Coalition warship number 73, this is an Iranian navy patrol boat," the Iranian said. An American naval officer replied: "This is coalition warship number 73 operating in international waters."
The voice of the Iranian sailor in Tehran's footage was different to the deeper and more menacing voice, threatening to blow up the warships in the US version. Nor was there any sign of aggressive behaviour by the Iranian patrol boats.
Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com writes:
"It seems increasingly clear that the U.S. military's initial claims about its interaction with those five Iranian speed boats in the Strait of Hormuz was exaggerated in significant ways, approaching Jessica Lynch/Pat Tillman/Iraq-is-going-great territory. It's impossible to resolve all of the conflicting details of each side's self-serving version, but the most inflammatory facts which the Navy originally asserted, and which the American news media uncritically regurgitated, are quite dubious, if not demonstrably false.
Here, for instance, was the first paragraph of Tuesday's Washington Post story by Robin Wright and Ann Scott Tyson, highlighting the most dramatic and scariest part of the U.S. military's narrative:
We're coming at you, the Iranian radio transmission warned. Your ships will explode in a couple of minutes.
The next paragraph summarized the Navy's version that "five Iranian patrol boats sped toward the USS Port Royal and two accompanying ships as they crossed the Strait of Hormuz" and then "'maneuvered aggressively' on both sides of the U.S. ships." The next paragraph recounted:
After the radio transmission, two of the Iranian boats dropped "white box-like objects" into the water, [Vice Adm. Kevin J.] Cosgriff said.
Those are the two "facts" that infused the story with such a sinister tone -- explicit threats from the Iranian boats to destroy the American ships, followed by their dropping of unidentifiable boxes, which, one was supposed to infer, could easily have been explosive devices.
But the first "fact" seems almost certainly false, and the second one is highly questionable. Iranian Hooman Majd at The Huffington Post noted that the voices on the tapes issuing the melodramatic threats were unquestionably not Persian. As he put it: "the person speaking doesn't have an Iranian accent and moreover, sounds more like Boris Karloff in a horror movie than a sailor in the elite branch of Iran's military." A regular Iranian commenter at Cernig's blog made the same point. Listen for yourself to the audio and see how credible the threats sound.
Since then, additional facts have emerged strongly negating the claim that that message came from those Iranian boats. The audio of the threats is crystal clear in sound quality, with no ambient noise -- something highly unlikely to be the case if delivered from a small, speeding boat. Moreover, as the New York Times' Mike Nizza reports today, quoting a reader claiming to be a former Naval officer, the channel that was used to convey the transmission is easily accessible to all sorts of private parties and is often the venue for hoaxes, pranks, and false messages.
Even the Pentagon itself is now acknowledging the lack of proof for the initial version, "saying that the voice on the tape could have come from the shore or from another ship." As Nizza put it: "The list of those who are less than fully confident in the Pentagon's video/audio mashup of aggressive maneuvers by Iranian boats near American warships in the Strait of Hormuz now includes the Pentagon itself."
The section of the released tape which contains the actual threat to "blow up" anyone, as I noted yesterday, comes at the very end and is very much unconnected in any causal sense to the rest of it. The sound is clearer and less cluttered by background noise, while there is no video accompanying it -- the only such section of the tape -- just an ominously black screen. The accent of the alleged Iranian threatener is way wrong. I've known several Iranians well in the UK and their accents when speaking English were all very different from that on the tape -- less gutteral.
Moreover, the audio and video released by the Iranians, from the vantage point of one of the Iranian speed boats, shows verbal interaction between them and one of the American ships, in which each is identifying themselves to the other.
The bit about the "white boxes" being dropped into the water seems almost equally dubious. Neither the video of the incident released by the U.S. military, nor the video version released by the Iranian government, includes any such event, nor are there any references to it at all on the audio.
The Bush administration issued the most threatening possible rhetoric as part of its original, now-discredited rendition of events. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley warned ominously: "This is a provocative act -- not a smart thing to do, and they are going to have to take responsibility for the consequences, if they do it again," a threat issued as he flew with the President to Israel. Bush himself issued his standard threat about all options being on the table when dealing with Iran, about which, The Washington Post's Wright reported today: "some diplomatic and military officials in Washington said inflated the significance of the brief incident."
Needless to say, as Cernig documents, Bush followers, who believe it's the duty of every American to click one's heels and blindly accept every statement made by our Government and military, are in full attack mode..."
Mike Nizza, writing on the New York Times blog, reports:
"The list of those who are less than fully confident in the Pentagon's video/audio mashup of aggressive maneuvers by Iranian boats near American warships in the Strait of Hormuz now includes the Pentagon itself. Unnamed Pentagon officials said on Wednesday that the threatening voice heard in the audio clip, which was released on Monday night with a disclaimer that it was recorded separately from the video images and merged with them later, is not directly traceable to the Iranian military."
We were lied into war by the same people who are now trying to sell us their version of an alleged "provocation" ? but who are the real provocateurs? Well, we don't know the answer to that question, but given the track record of our own government, it would hardly come as a shock if it came out that the US version is a complete fabrication. As for the Iranians, no doubt their rather abbreviated clip has been edited to conform to Tehran's official story, and yet, in the balance of things, theirs is the more credible account.
After all, why would the Iranians needle us, and give George W. Bush and the Israeli lobby the excuse they need to launch a war nobody wants? I heard a CNN reporter recently opine that the Iranians are "testing" us, but do they really need to come at our warships full bore whilst threatening to blow us up in order to do that? Surely a subtler feint would be more useful for "testing" purposes.
In short, it just doesn't make any sense for the Iranians to have done what they're accused of doing, and yet it does make perfect sense that an administration such as this one ? which has been gunning for Tehran, lo these many months ? would create an "incident" in the run-up to launching an attack.
Peace mission my eye. Remember the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident?
When Bush and Olmert talk of peace...I just know that it means war. They're just covering their' butts to later claim that they exhausted every option.