Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 07, 2008

Iran War Drumbeat and the British Press

Like on Iraq the British press is used to transport the 'threat' of Iran to the English speaking public. This weekend the Telegraph as well as the Times have again excelled at this.

MI6 asset Con Coughlin peddles some scary secret Iranian companies working on parts for even more scary P-2 centrifuges and writes:

The companies, based on the outskirts of Tehran, are working on constructing components for the advanced P2 gas centrifuge, which can enrich uranium to weapons grade two to three times faster than conventional P1 centrifuges.
“If Iran’s nuclear intentions were peaceful there would be no need for it to   undertake this work in secret,” said an official familiar with the intelligence reports.

These 'secret' second generation centrifuges are the ones on display at the Iranian president's website and are producing low-enriched Uranium under the watchful eyes of the IAEA in Natanz.

The Sunday Times joins Coughlin with a renewed scare well known to anyone who watched the propaganda buildup for the war on Iraq: ‘Germ warfare’ fear over African monkeys taken to Iran

Hundreds of endangered monkeys are being taken from the African bush and sent to a “secretive” laboratory in Iran for scientific experiments.
Manji said scientists at the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute in Iran had bought 215 vervet monkeys from him this year but he had become suspicious about their true motive, although he was still trading with them. They had “spent a lot of money” on getting the monkeys, even sending over scientists to check on each consignment.

“Iran is very secretive,” said Manji, who has been exporting monkeys for 22 years. “They said it [the monkeys] was for ‘our country’, for vaccine. [They said] ‘We don’t buy vaccine from anywhere; we prepare our own vaccine’.

There are a number of issues here. The Razi institute is certainly not 'secretive'. It even publishes its research in English.

The Times says:

The Razi institute, which was established in 1925, does legitimate research but does not publicly list on its website the use of primates in any of its current projects. Other animals being used for experiments, such as guinea pigs and mice, are mentioned.

The only category on that website that lists animals at all is labeled Products on the Market: Laboratory Animals. The Rezi folks do not have vervet monkeys to sell. They list animals they breed and can sell. They buy these apes because they do not have them. They don't list them for sale because the don't have any for sale.

According to the Times, the Iranian lab bought 215 of these apes when the total sales was in the multiple thousands. According to Primate-Freedom and Primate Info Net the U.S. uses about 45,000 of a world total of 80,000 primates for research.

The apes sold to Iran are considered as being of "least concern" of extinction by the Wisconsin University Primate Info Net and are regarded as a pest in some African countries. They are quite valuable for research because:

Specifically, vervets are important in studying high blood pressure and AIDS. They are one of the few species of nonhuman primates that naturally develops high blood pressure and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the ancestor of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is widespread throughout wild populations (Chakrabarti 2002; Ervin & Palmour 2003).

The Telegraph story is just a rewarmed stuff peddled three years ago by the anti-Iranian MEK cult, and the Times story is without any fact that points to anything else than normal pharmaceutical research in and by Iran.

Both these stories are part of a drumbeat. The U.S. press is somewhat cautious about such stories after the Judy Miller Iraq disaster. But these tales do creep into the public mind anyway with the help of the MI6 and these UK press organs.

Is that the purpose of their existence?

Posted by b on July 7, 2008 at 20:32 UTC | Permalink


no end in sight

Posted by: annie | Jul 7 2008 21:05 utc | 1

Plainly, these monkeys are being trained to infiltrate the highest echelons of US and UK government. With their superior intellect and Cheney-rivalling physiques, these primates are being groomed for the next Primaries.

I'm Voting Vervet...

Posted by: Tantalus | Jul 7 2008 21:45 utc | 2

in a word, yes

I prefer my simians old school - proboscis

hot cha-cha, cha-cha

Posted by: jcairo | Jul 7 2008 23:28 utc | 3

Two Congress Dems in a WaPo op-ed:

The U.N. mandate provides the last legal thread of domestic U.S. authority for combat because "enforcing relevant U.N. resolutions" was one of the two activities cited by the 2002 vote in Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq (the other being to dispose of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein). If the U.N. mandate expires on Dec. 31, so does domestic authority for our troops to fight, along with their immunity from Iraqi prosecution. This is precisely the "legal vacuum" that constitutional scholars Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway detailed in an April 5 op-ed, " The War's Expiration Date," on

Posted by: b | Jul 8 2008 5:24 utc | 4


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 8 2008 7:54 utc | 5

jcairo, I doubt anyone under 50 has any idea who you are referring to in #3

thanks for the grin

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 8 2008 8:21 utc | 6

jcairo, I doubt anyone under 50 has any idea who you are referring to in #3

Wait! that wouldn't be ol' "I am not a crook" tricky Dicky would it?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 8 2008 8:44 utc | 7

sadly no Uncle $cam, it is Jimmy Durante

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 8 2008 11:00 utc | 8

Nope, Benjamin Netanyahu

But seriously, Goodnight Mrs. Calabash

According to Boo! @5:

"monkeys will be taken for biological weapons experiments"


creating the latest Iranian WMDs

I'm under 50

for now

Posted by: jcairo | Jul 8 2008 12:28 utc | 9

Report: Iran begins war game with warning to U.S. and Israel

A senior U.S. strategic analyst says the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, sent Israel an unequivocal message stating that Israel does not have a "green light" from the U.S. to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
Cordesman is visiting Israel this week, and gave a lecture Monday at Tel Aviv University and at Hebrew University on Sunday. He talked about Mullen's comments last week in Washington when the Admiral said such an Israeli attack would be dangerous and could destabilize the Middle East.

Mullen spoke after returning from a visit to Israel, during which he met with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and other senior IDF officers.

Cordesman said Mullen came to Israel to deliver a message that Israel did not have a green light to attack Iran and that it would not receive U.S. support for such a move.

According to Cordesman, Mullen was expressing the official opinion of the U.S. administration, including that of President George W. Bush and the National Security Council.

and Cheney?

Posted by: b | Jul 8 2008 14:14 utc | 10

This funny: U.S. exports to Iran shot up even as Bush talked tough on sanctions

U.S. exports to Iran grew more than tenfold during President George W. Bush's years in office even as he accused Iran of nuclear ambitions and helping terrorists. America sent more cigarettes to Iran under Bush - at least $158 million worth - than any other products.

Other surprising shipments to Iran during the Bush administration: brassieres, bull semen, cosmetics, fur clothing, sculptures, perfume, musical instruments. Top states shipping goods to Iran include California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of seven years of U.S. government trade data.

Posted by: b | Jul 8 2008 14:26 utc | 11

jcairo hot cha-cha, cha-cha , you are in rare form today. love your last link.

Posted by: annie | Jul 8 2008 15:47 utc | 12

U.S. exports to Iran grew more than tenfold during President George W. Bush's years in office...

It would be interesting to know -- how much of that business with Iran has been conducted by parts of the Carlyle Group?

I'm sure Poppy and Lil' Boots have just as few scruples as Prescott did, even after nazi Germany declared war against the United States...

Posted by: Jemand von Niemand | Jul 9 2008 1:52 utc | 13

The comments to this entry are closed.