Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 01, 2009

The "Iranian" Weapon Ships

There seems to be some confusion in the media about ships from Iran that allegedly transport Iranian weapons to Gaza and elsewhere. bea asked to look into it.

Israels aim is to further isolate Iran by any means and to use the U.S. and other countries to do their  bidding. To that end it alleges Iranian support for its enemies, currently especially Hamas, and its propaganda machine is doing a hell of a job to confuse the world with disinformation about this.

For starters, let us note that there is no proof at all for any Iranian weapons used by Hamas in defense against the latest assault against Gaza. Over to a former director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Colonel Pat Lang:

It is claimed by the agitpropers that Hamas is a satellite organization of Iran. If that is so, then Iran has done a poor job of supplying their Palestinian subsidiary. Where are the Iranian product improved and manufactured weapons that Hizbullah possessed in numbers in '06? Where are they? Impossible to deliver? All of them?

It would seem that political support and encouragement is one thing. Supply is another.

The best rockets Hamas used so far, says Israeli intelligence, are from China, not Iran. Such weapons get stolen from the Egyptian army or bought from international weapon dealers and smuggled for a profit by Bedouin nomads through the Sinai and through tunnels into Gaza. There is no proof of any Iranian supply of weaponry to Gaza at all.

Onto those ships. There are two in question that are mentioned, and mixed up, in recent news reports.

An Iranian ship with Red Crescent humanitarian goods which was denied access to Gaza and to Egypt and is now in Beirut. That ships name is Iran Shahid, IMO 9184591 (Picture)

A Russian container ship that is transporting some stuff from Iran to Syria and elsewhere and was searched last week by the U.S. Navy. There is yet no proof that it carries any weapon or ammunition at all. It is now in Cyprus. Here is a picture of the Monchegorsk, IMO 8013039.

On December 10 the Iranian Red Crescent announced to send 1,000 tons of humanitarian goods as relief to Gaza:

The official did not disclose the nationality of the ship, but said the cargo will include 500 tonnes of wheat, 200 tonnes of sugar, 200 tonnes of rice, 50 tonnes of cooking oil and 50 tonnes of medical supplies.

The text to a Getty/AFP image late December says:

Iranian Red Crescent workers pack medical aid into boxes before uploading them onto the 'Iran Shahed' ship to send to Gaza Strip in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas on December 28, 2008.

On January 14 the Red Crescent said that the ship was turned back by the Israeli Navy and would try to land its load in the Mediterranean Egypt port of el-Arish to be trucked into Gaza. Egypt denied the ship access to el-Arish and on January 30 it arrived in Beirut. The name of the captain is Qaleh-Golab.

Of course if you believe the Israeli disinformation service Debka:

the vessel has been converted into a floating logistical headquarters for the Hamas leadership, with Hamas frogmen using fishing boats to keep them connected.

Hamas frogmen ....

Now onto the second ship. Here the reporting is fudged incredibly by Israeli disinformation.

Like this report today from the Jerusalem Post:

[T]he American Aviation Week magazine reported Sunday that the US prevented Israel from raiding an Iranian ship believed to be carrying weaponry and explosives for Hamas.

According to the report, the Americans stopped the operation because they wanted to avoid an Iranian-Israeli confrontation.

Aviation Week reporting on naval issues? But indeed the usually reliable Aviation Week blog for military issues Ares gives it a sad try:

The Cypriot Navy has stopped an Iranian ship, believed to be carrying weapons for Hamas, on its way to Syria, Israeli security officials told The Jerusalem Post last Thursday night.
According to unofficial intelligence reports, the Iran Shahed set out from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas Dec. 29, the second day of the Gaza conflict, changing its identity several times until hoisting a Cypriot flag. The vessel was stopped by the US Sixth Fleet in the Gulf of Aden on its way to Egypt, where it was believed to have planned to unload its cargo, which was then to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip.
According to unconfirmed reports, the Israelis tried to seize the boat in the Red Sea (...). But the Americans decided not to give the Israeli Navy a chance to seize the vessel and tow it to Eilat for fear of a Tehran ultimatum to Jerusalem, followed by Iranian attacks on Israeli and US naval craft patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea.

Lots of nonsense in those two graphs and the rest of it is only worse. The Red Crescent goods ship is named Iran Shahed, not the allegedly weapon carrying ship. And why would the U.S. Navy "tow" a ship that can drive by itself?

Notice that the blog entry is by one David Eshel - a retired Colonel of the Israeli army.

Another Debka piece has a sentences that reappears word for word in the Aviation Week blog entry.

The Americans decided not to give the Israeli Navy a chance to seize the vessel and tow it to Eilat ...

So that's how the circle goes. The Jerusalem Post report above is based on an Aviation Week blog entry from a retired Israeli officer who's sources are Debka and the Jerusalem Post.

The same Jerusalem Post article includes this:

The Cyprus Mail newspaper quoted military officials as saying that the boat was carrying hundreds of tons of explosives and that authorities were considering moving the vessel to Larnaca Port.

The Cyprus Mail did not do so. It wrote:

High-ranking army and police officers, however, conducted an initial search to the cargo and reportedly found over hundreds of tons of explosives, reports said.

Cyprus Mail says "reportedly". It did not quote officials. But who "reported" this? Debka? The Jerusalem Post? We don't know, but I suspect it is wrong as the ship, according to the Cyprus Mail, has not even started to unload yet.

The ship in question is a Russian container ship Monchegorsk that sails under the flag of Cyprus. On January 19 the U.S. Navy stopped the ship in the Red Sea and requested to search it. The master, says the U.S. navy, agreed to the search.

On January 20 DEBKA alleged:

US and Egyptian warships were scouring the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea Tuesday, Jan. 20 to waylay an Iranian freighter carrying scores of heavy rockets for delivery to Hamas. DEBKAfile's exclusive sources report they were acting on intelligence that a ship loaded with an estimated 60 tons of arms to replenish Hamas' depleted war stocks had set out from the Iranian Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas on Jan. 17.

Our sources reveal that the arms-smuggling vessel started its voyage as the Iran-Hedayat and changed its name in mid sea to Famagustus registered to Panama. The captain was ordered by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to unload its cargo at a smugglers cove on the southeastern coast of Sinai opposite the Gulf of Suez, to be picked up by armed Bedouin gangs and moved to El Arish in northern Sinai. From there the contraband rockets were to be slipped gradually into the Gaza Strip.

Hmm - smuggler coves ... ?

On January 22 AP reported:

The U.S. military intercepted and searched an Iranian-owned ship that officials feared was carrying arms to the militant group Hamas, but two officials said it was unclear Thursday whether those suspicions were founded.
One official said the two-day search turned up ammunition that included artillery shells; and since Hamas is not known to use artillery, officials are now uncertain who the intended recipient was.

This "two officials" "one official" thingy is curious.

AP later said:

The Navy searched the ship with permission of the captain and found small munitions, military officials said.

So one "official" alleges artillery shells, while later "military officials" only talk about small munitions. The AP should straighten up its reporting ...

Point 5 of UN resolution 1747 (pdf) prohibits Iranian arms exports.

If the U.S. would have found anything but a few small weapons or munitions (btw - quite usable against pirates said to be in that area) from Iran on board of that ship it would have had reason to detain it or to seize the cargo.

But even Admiral Mullen said there was not enough evidence to do so:

QUESTION: Tal Schneider from Maariv newspaper, Israel. I want to ask about the anti-smuggling efforts that the U.S. Navy has done in Suez Canal, stopping an Iranian ship that was smuggling probably weapons. And is the U.S. intention to convene a conference about anti-smuggling to Gaza Strip in the near future?

ADM MULLEN: Actually, it was a Cypriot-flagged ship that was boarded by a U.S. Navy boarding team after requesting permission from the master and receiving permission to go aboard to inspect for weapons which were – which were considered – which were considered to go against the UN Security Council resolution which banned these kinds of weapons from being shipped from Iran, which is where they came from, to Syria, which is where we believe they’re headed and, in fact, will probably get there in the next day or so.

The United States did as much as we could do legally. There are authorities, limitations in complying with this particular UN resolution, and we basically went right up to the edge of that and we couldn't do anything else. So we were not authorized to seize the weapons or do anything like that.

So the navy found nothing that would be against the prohibitions in UN resolution 1747. If you reread the above you will find that Mullen does not even confirm that the navy found anything at all.

He also had this gem:

... shipping weapons to Syria that we think, quite frankly, are going to end up in Gaza.

Could the Admiral please check a map? What countries lie between Syria and Gaza? Would they allow weapons transfer from Syria to Gaza? Duh.

The ship was stopped and searched in the Red Sea by the U.S. amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio, which is currently supposed to hunt pirates with task force 151 at the Somali coast. Instead it is pirating Russian ships.

The Monchegorsk then passed through the Suez Channel and was greeted in the Mediterranean by the U.S. Navy.

According to the Cyprus Mail:

‘Monchegorsk,’ a Russian-owned ship was yesterday docked at Limassol, a day after the US navy intercepted the vessel at the Suez Canal and led it to Cyprus.

The US and Israel believe the ship, which set off from Iran, was carrying arms, weaponry and explosives for Hamas and Hezbollah, although Russia insists it is a commercial vessel which was carrying cargo from Iran to Syria.
Washington has asked the Cypriot authorities to hold the vessel and its crew, thoroughly check its cargo and ensure all its documents are in order.

A later Cyprus Mail report says:

The vessel is being investigated after the US and Israel said it was suspected of carrying Iranian weapons to Gaza.

Russia, on the other hand, says it is a completely legal and commercial container.

The US government has asked for the ship to be investigated and its documents examined.

The ship, which according to reports was heading from Iran to Syria, was forced by the US navy to moor in Cyprus.

According to CyBC, the vessel is expected to remain off the coast for the next two days, until a decision is taken on the matter.

Yesterday Haaretz cited "Israeli officials" saying the Cypriot inspectors found tank ammunition for T-72 tanks and various mortar rounds on the ship.

Maybe in those "secret holds" Debka phantazises about?"

Whatever: Neither Hezbollah nor Hamas have T-72 tanks. The Syrian army has Russian build T-72 tanks. A Russian ship carrying T-72 shells to Syria should not surprise anyone.

But where is the load - if it exists - from?

No source gives any proof that the ammunition, if it exist at all, is actually from Iran or even destined for Syria. Container ships usually load and unload at several harbors along a fixed circle route. That a ship carries something after having visited port C does not mean that the stuff was loaded there and is destined for port D. The stuff might have been loaded at port A or B and be destined for port E or F.

So let us summarize:

One Iranian ship with a humanitarian load was not allowed to land that load in Gaza or Egypt and therefore carried it to Beirut. Good food for poor Shiites in South-Lebanon I guess.

A Russian ship under Cyprus flag and on the way from Iran to Syria was held up and searched  by the U.S. Navy, with permission from the master. The U.S. Navy did not find anything that would have allowed it to act under UN Resolution 1747 but escorted the ship to Cyprus for whatever.

The Russians say the ship carries only legitimate load.

All reports about anything more than a few small weapons on that ship are solely based on Israeli reports based on dubious sources.

There is a quite extensive effort by the Israeli disinformation circles to fudge these issue and to thereby make Iran look bad.

Posted by b on February 1, 2009 at 16:47 UTC | Permalink


actually I think it is election time in Israel.

the blowback from the Gaza "war" is beginning to look really bad. So they have to pretend they "won".

Posted by: outsider | Feb 1 2009 17:17 utc | 1

my hat is off to you sir, great work! it is going to take a while to digest all this.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 1 2009 18:05 utc | 2

Everyone in America is so panty piddlingly paranoid of Iran that the truth is irrelevant.

Posted by: Peter | Feb 1 2009 18:25 utc | 3

This is a fascinating dissection of a at least one, probably more, country's efforts at "disinformation."

Attempts to refute the disinformation with actual facts usually take a long time and, per one study, actually reinforce the initial impression news consumers got from the original disinformation.

A vicious cycle. Worked quite well for BushCo in the runup to the Iraq Invasion. Works quite well for the Israeli government in getting favorable coverage for its actions against the Palestinians. (Well, until they must go bonkers and way, way, way overdo it.)

Thanks for starting a virtuous circle here.

Posted by: jawbone | Feb 1 2009 18:27 utc | 4

Everyone in America is so panty piddlingly paranoid of Iran that the truth is irrelevant.

I think someone, perhaps many, could use a quick lesson in General semantics, I and others suspect that much of todays contemporary problems can be solved by 'correct speech'.

the work of the pioneer semanticists, CK Ogden, Alfred Korzybski, and others, wrote of the magic of words, in their non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics theories. In particular, Korzybski's NLP-style language tricks are used to manipulate people in many different ways and genres. I think it is crucially important to understand the cognitive dimensions of politics – especially when most of our conceptual framing is unconscious and we may not be aware of our own metaphorical thought.

They are masters at the science of semantics developed in lue of and as rapidly as psychodynamics and its implementing arts of propagenda and mob psychology...

The following direct MP3 link may give one a clue:
Wilson's GS lecture , if nothing else , it's damn entertaining.

No peter, it only seems to you, that everybody in America has panty piddlingly

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 1 2009 18:44 utc | 5

excellent b. bea's post made me very suspicious as well. i posted a few links coming to the same conclusion re All reports about anything more than a few small weapons on that ship are solely based on Israeli reports based on dubious sources.

definitely a propaganda campaign.

Posted by: annie | Feb 1 2009 19:09 utc | 6

As soon as Israelis realize that most terrorists aren't sponsored by any particular country, the sooner they'll stop blaming countries like Iran for sponsoring terrorists activities against them.

But Israelis aren't likely to stop playing this blame-game against Iran, simply because they lack the intelligence to realize that a broad-spectrum approach to killing most living things, whether they are terrorists or microbes, only leads to resistance.

Posted by: Cynthia | Feb 1 2009 20:34 utc | 7

@ # 5 Thanks U$, I really enjoyed the monologue, fell asleep halfway through, but I figure that was part of the metapsychic plan GS has to alter our consciousness to mesh with the designs of Alien Veggies who want to take over the world and...whatever, their goals are beyond what my awareness can contain...

At least half of the problems in the world are because too many assholes take their farts to be serious conversation...

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Feb 1 2009 21:15 utc | 8

But Israelis aren't likely to stop playing this blame-game against Iran, simply because they lack the intelligence to realize that a broad-spectrum approach to killing most living things, whether they are terrorists or microbes, only leads to resistance.

you are too kind cynthia. i think it is much more contorted than that. they want every society in the middle east to be in total havok and all the citizens (besides theirs of course) clusterfucked completely up until the entire place is all cordoned off in walled compounds w/the masses easily controlled and manipulated. i think they know damn well iran has no intention of nuking israel, w/their nukes all lined up. they want US/IS in total control.

Posted by: annie | Feb 1 2009 21:42 utc | 9

@jawbone #4:

Attempts to refute the disinformation with actual facts usually take a long time and, per one study, actually reinforce the initial impression news consumers got from the original disinformation.

Link to study?

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 1 2009 22:05 utc | 10

Malooga, here's a link to WaPo opinion piece about the issue by Shankar Vedantam.

I should have been more precise. Per the WaPo piece, "some" who hear misinformation get that view reinforced when refutations are made, especially when the misinformation fits what the people already believe or want to believe.

Posted by: jawbone | Feb 1 2009 23:06 utc | 11

There seems now to be a distinct possibility that the Israeli electorate will bring in a potentially dangerous, right-wing government headed by Likud's Netanyahu, the heir to Ariel Sharon. Ordinarily, this should have little interest for the wider world, as Israel is a tiny state with no natural resources, that is dependent on the US for economic and military aid.

However, because it has, (astonishingly), the largest, un-inspected nuclear weapons arsenal in the world, that is also outside the regulations of the (IAEA) International Atomic Energy Agency of the UN - it constitutes an immense and potentially terrifying danger to both Europe and the world. And as there is then the probability that either Netanyahu or Lieberman will have their fingers on the nuclear button and will not hesitate to press that button to fulfil their angst against Iran - we should be very scared.

Apart from the scenario of a Middle East going up in flames and stock markets around the world collapsing even further - Europe would be drawn into an escalating conflict that could well reach from Tehran to London, and all capitals in between. Gamma radiation, of course, taking no account of geographic, religious or political boundaries.

Unfortunately, most Europeans are susceptible to political propaganda and tend to believe that it's OK for Israel to take unilateral action - as it would make the world a safer place. Tragically, that is very far from the truth. The Israeli political system is known to be corrupt and self-serving and has no regard for the international community. That is why it regularly treats the United Nations with contempt, in addition to the international courts of justice and the Geneva Conventions.

This blog can do no more than be a voice in the wilderness, crying out to anyone who will listen that there is danger ahead. But, although nuclear war can obliterate both ourselves and our children - this is just a blog, and the radioactive cloud probably won't reach Washington.

Posted by: C U Vaird | Feb 1 2009 23:10 utc | 12

``The Israeli political system is known to be corrupt and self-serving and has no regard for the international community. That is why it regularly treats the United Nations with contempt, in addition to the international courts of justice and the Geneva Conventions.''

Hm... Sound like anyone else we know? Like Washington, D.C., maybe?

Posted by: | Feb 1 2009 23:43 utc | 13

Sorry, that last post was by me.

Posted by: Feeder of Felines | Feb 1 2009 23:44 utc | 14

Well, Chuck Cliff, I can't tell from your comment if you really enjoyed it, or it bored you to sleep but, the point was this...

And I'm reminded of a comment anna missed replied with the last time I brought up GS, Here:

In the late 70's my then girlfriend worked for noted psychologist/researcher Charles E. Osgood at the Univ of Illinois. It was a running joke for years that Osgood was subject to paranoid delusions (of grandeur), in that he always claimed, without any tangible evidence that the C.I.A. was shadowing all of his research. But as it turned out he had the last laugh, because after his death in 91, it was discovered that indeed much of his research was not only followed closely by the C.I.A. but was actually funded by their front organizations and foundations.

At about the same time a philosophy student friend showed me a phone book sized document of all linguistics/philosophy of language research grants for that particular year. It was just stuffed full of defense dept. defense industry and other military related grants. I remember being floored that so much of what I thought to be esoteric or neutral philosophic muse-ings would be under the spell of the military/industrial complex.

"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."
-John Swinton, former New York Times editor, in a speech during a banquet with colleagues (c. 1880)

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 0:26 utc | 15

Quite some interesting research you got there, even if DEBKA is full of crap, your continued insistence that it's nothing more than a propaganda hit job is laughable. Mind you the story has been run outside of Debka. Iran funding Hamas is not a new concept, they have already fired more than just home-made Kassam rockets - and they get their weapons from SOMEONE. Hamas is also swimming money, money that it is offering to buy the hearts and minds of Palestinians - where do you suppose its getting this money? From taxing Gaza citizens?

Instead of trying to smear Israel by building straw men and using ad hominem attacks, you might consider asking more important questions. Where the hell are all these weapons coming from. Hezbollah is definitely funded by Iran, why isn't Hamas? What is the solution to peace? Etc. In other words, do something useful with your time.

Posted by: Arkady | Feb 2 2009 1:16 utc | 16

haha B, you're bringing idiot zionist trolls to MOA. keep up the outstanding work!

Posted by: ran | Feb 2 2009 1:45 utc | 17

b - Thanks for your time.

Posted by: beq | Feb 2 2009 1:49 utc | 18

I've read where those idiot zionist trolls are being paid to flood the web with disinformation and outright lies, but this is probably the most obvious one I've seen. Not that it makes a bit of difference, the regulars here all know bullshit when they see it. Perhaps the stooge at #16 should get his whoremasters to fund his training a little better.

Posted by: Jim T. | Feb 2 2009 2:31 utc | 19

Brilliant takedown of the propaganda.

However, this line caught my attention:

The U.S. Navy did not find anything that would have allowed it to act under UN Resolution 1747 but escorted the ship to Cyprus for whatever.

Who is "allowed to act" under the UN Resolution? Can the US actually unilaterally stop a ship in the high seas, declare it inviolate of the UNSC intent (assuming they had any evidence), and seize it? I haven't read the resolution or the charter lately, but I don't remember either referring to unilateral enforcement-by-piracy.

Posted by: Bill | Feb 2 2009 3:26 utc | 20

b, another masterful piece of research. Brilliant! I will not soon forget "Hamas frogmen..."

Thank you so much for doing this. Methinks it smells to high heaven. Not to mention that by the way, the Gaza shore is under complete lockdown by the Israeli navy or military or whatever -- nothing can remotely approach. Do they want us to believe that these ships really were sent by parties that thought they would successfully and easily land and blithely unload their huge weapons cargoes? In an occupied, imprisoned territory where there is no cash or food at present??? I am sure Cynthia McKinney would dispute that...

Posted by: bea | Feb 2 2009 5:12 utc | 21

Of course they could smuggle the weapons in, using the "smugglers' coves." No doubt anchoring in one of those coves and unloading by hand while dressed as 17th century corsairs. No rum this time, though!

Posted by: Ash | Feb 2 2009 6:02 utc | 22

Great post, b. Thanks. I also want to bring the following to everyone's attention, most of which your high-powered members already know but which is nonetheless summarized in a hard-hitting article:

Here below is an in-depth, factual critique of the Zionist plot against Iran, including reasons to doubt the sincerity of Obama's Middle East team:

Israel Asserting Middle East Supremacy

Particularly noteworthy is the "report card" for members of Obama's Zionist team:

1. Dennis Ross will be an influential adviser on Iran policy. Ross is an advocate of intensifying sanctions to undermine negotiations and force the military option.

2. Richard Holbrooke, appointed as Obama’s envoy to Afghanistan, is a prominent Zionist who served as UN envoy under Clinton. He has recently headed an ad hoc group called United Against a Nuclear Iran, which advocates military action against Iran if it does not submit to an Israeli-dictated cessation of its legal nuclear energy program.

3. George Mitchell, Obama’s envoy to the Palestine-Israel conflict, is one of the four co-chairs of the Zionist front group, Bipartisan Policy Center, which propose a step by step approach, from sanctions to embargo to naval blockade to a military strike on Iran.

4. Dan Shapiro and Puneet Talwar will collaborate on Middle East policy at the National Security Council. Shapiro, in consultation with Israel, was “key in shepherding the Syrian Accountability Act through the Senate (a measure that imposed tough sanctions on Syria). Shapiro drafted Obama’s cringing, belly crawling speech to the AIPAC conference in Washington on May 2008. Puneet Talwar will handle Persian Gulf issues – including Iran. He was a staffer of former Senator and current Vice President Joe Biden and was a close collaborator and conduit for AIPAC.

5. Eric Lynn is heading for a White House Middle East policy job. He started his career as an AIPAC intern in 1998 and continued as a staff person for Congressman Peter Deutsch, “one of the most committed pro-Israel figures in Congress.” Lynn spent a year in Israel, imbibing Zionist military culture and learning Hebrew.

6. James Steinberg and Jacob ‘Jack’ Lew have been named as Clinton’s deputies at the State Department. Steinberg has been in a ‘strong relation with the pro-Israel community’ and was a conduit for Israeli pressure on Arafat to capitulate to Israeli demands. Jack Law will direct economic stimulus overseas. He is an orthodox-Zionist, who will use American economic resources to back Israeli militarism and reward or punish its adversaries. A former head of a Citigroup investment unit, he holds between $50,000 to $100,000 in Israel State Bonds.

7. Samantha Power, once a critic of Israeli war crimes in 2002 for which the Zionist Power Configuration had her removed from the Obama campaign in March 2008. She was ‘rehabilitated’ and re-incorporated as a member of the Clinton transition team after an ‘abject apology’ to Israel.

8. Cass Sunstein, a lifetime Zion-Lib, is head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs – a key propaganda arm of the Obama regime.

9. Rand Beers was lead national security adviser to Senator Kerry during his presidential campaign of 2004 and ‘built close relations’ with the pro-Israel political apparatus. As adviser to Homeland Security, he will ‘likely be a linchpin as Israel and the US forge a closer alliance’ (Jewish Telegraph Agency January 20, 2009).

10. Lee Feinstein and Mara Rudman are Zionist veterans from the Clinton Administrations. Feinstein is a lead adviser of Secretary of State Clinton and Rudman is Senior Foreign Policy Adviser of President Obama.

11. Susan Rice, UN Ambassador appointed by Obama, signed on to a Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) paper last summer calling for greater Israeli-US coordination for an embargo and military attack on Iran. WINEP is a well-known propaganda mill for Israel’s most fanatical, bellicose and unconditional supporters. In her Senate testimony, Rice denounced the United Nation General Assembly’s criticism of Israel’s Gaza bloodbath.

At the head of Obama’s foreign policy regime, Vice Presiden Biden (“I am a Zionist”), Secretary of State Clinton (“demolish Iran”) and Secretary of Defense Gates (a holdover from the Israeli-dominated Bush Administration) have put in place the most Zionist-infested Middle East policy regime in US history. This regime is neither by background, loyalties or commitments prepared to open serious negotiations with Iran, or to ‘broker’ an end of Israeli occupation of Palestine. On the contrary, their close ties with the Zionist Power Configuration and long-term commitment to Israeli militarism and expansionist policies ensure that the Obama regime will proceed toward collaboration with the Jewish State in a military confrontation with Iran. Everyone on Obama’s team supported the Israeli carnage in Gaza and endorsed Israel’s efforts to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government and prop up the discredited and corrupt quisling clique headed by Abbas.

The Obama Presidency has achieved what many observers thought impossible: It has placed more Zionist in more strategic power positions with a greater commitment to war with Iran than even the Bush Administration. Given Obama’s appointments and his own personal subservience to Israeli leaders it is difficult to imagine the 16 major intelligence services issuing a report refuting Israel’s fabrications about Iran’s nuclear program, as happened under Bush. Even more egregious, given the Zionist stranglehold on the White House, it is unlikely that Obama would block a proposed Israeli air assault on Iran as Bush is reputed to have done.

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 2 2009 7:25 utc | 23

I wonder if Iran helped smuggle in these rocks to Hamas children? Video: israel soldier vs palestinian kid.

Sure to bring out the Pale Semites?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 7:29 utc | 24

The Times reports the astonishing news that Obama has given the CIA permission to continue Extraordinary Rendition. Apparently the announced closure of Guantanamo was a publicity stunt intended to conceal other even worse crimes.

This is why it is so important to read the fine lines.

"Claude Moraes, the Labour MEP who was part of the European committee investigating CIA renditions, said that it was hard to criticise Mr Obama because he had "godlike status at the moment",

Barack Obama grants CIA permission to retain right to carry out renditions

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 2 2009 7:29 utc | 25

I wonder if Iran helped smuggle in these rocks to Hamas children? Video: israel soldier vs palestinian kid.

Sure to bring out the Pale Semites?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 7:31 utc | 26

Uncle $cam, just for the record, Iran is responsible for every atrocity in the Middle East, including the stealing of Palestinians' lands, the destruction of their orchards, the Israeli use of White Phosphorous, the support of every M.E. dictatorship including that of S. Arabia and Egypt .....

Oh, wait, I forgot to mention that we were also responsible for the Holocaust, 9/11, the Iraqi insurgency, the Pakistani nuclear weapons programme, and for assisting Al Qaeda which mistakenly executed Iran's entire diplomatic mission in Mazar-e-Sharif in 1998. They didn't realize how much we love them.

How's that for a Mea Culpa?

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 2 2009 8:02 utc | 27

Faux pas, I wish I hadn't impulsively posted that last post.
And welcome b to remove it if he so chooses. A)because these matters are of dire and fragile consequences, both of life and death. With regards to that child and the foot soldier. I regret that I was so flippant. B)Upon watching the vid again a few times, it occurs to me in watching the movements and body language, of both the kid and the IDF guy, as well, as w/the skip/jump/cut editing, that it is entirely possible that the soldier was stalking someone or something else, and the kid just happen to be in his path. And perhaps he choose not to gun the child down as I'm sure happens quite ubiquitously under these circumstances, even as he was being pelt with stones.

I should take my own advise in my above posts.

mea culpa...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 8:15 utc | 28


Cernig at>Newshoggers takes a closer look at O's rendition program, and finds there are significant differences to Bush's. The big difference is the IRCross is ordered in on all renditions undertaken, which (as he says) puts it in normal international procedure and context. That would (supposedly) end secret renditions in secret locations.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 2 2009 8:53 utc | 29

@ 15 and later posts.

Sorry, that I was unclear Unc$ -- I fell asleep because it was late and a half bottle of red wine was sitting in my tummy.

What I enjoyed was the way he could ramble from one subject to another, and then, at the end, there were questions from audience, apparently from people with a preformed agenda which he handled quite nicely.

As for that kid with the rock, I was stationed in northern Turkey (Sinop) for a year, 1964, as a USAS Elint operative and one of my memories is wondering why scouts from American baseball didn't get some of those kids -- jeeze, they could throw rocks it seemed like a mile and hit a doorknob...

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Feb 2 2009 10:19 utc | 30

Uncle $cam., you're right, the video demonstrated both extraordinary bravery by a Palestinian child and exceptional integrity by the Israeli soldier. Unfortunately, documented incidents of murder by Israeli soldiers are the rule rather than the exception.

My own cynical response to your post was meant in jest.

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 2 2009 12:32 utc | 31


Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your holiday.

b- thanks for all the research and hard work! The are some interesting threads and great post, what a weekend for information here at the bar, I'm drunk on knowledge. :)

Posted by: David | Feb 2 2009 13:09 utc | 32

Parviz @ 23,

Too bloody right you are, from all I've read and heard of this man, Obama must come across to Iranians as an even greater nightmare than Bush was. What might give you some comfort is the fact that even the black community in the US is starting to wake up to Chameleon Man.

[...] For the majority of Black, Brown, White, Red, and Yellow peoples, the “dream” to which the late Langston Hughes referred [in the poem A Dream Deferred] has not only been “deferred,” it has been obscenely and grotesquely disfigured and distorted into something almost beyond recognition. Barack Obama’s presidency is not a step forward nor is it a step towards the fulfillment of the struggles by Nat Turner, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so very many others. Rather, he is the slick pro-apartheid Zionist antithesis and perversion of the fulfillment of these struggles.

Barack Obama has already begun to repeatedly and shamelessly call upon the people of this nation to make “sacrifice[s],” as if the everyday people of this country have not already made enormous, heart rendering sacrifices. How about having Obama’s elite corporate backers in Lockheed, Goldman Saks, and the insurance and banking industries make some meaningful, ongoing, and painful sacrifices?! How about reversing the government’s criminal financial bail out of the big corporations [which government bail-out Obama enthusiastically supported], and passing those billions upon billions of dollars back directly to the everyday people of this nation - no strings attached?! How about immediately stopping all U.S. wars of aggression, and bringing our men and women in uniform home right NOW - no strings attached?! So many of these men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of so-called U.S. “national security,” which false “security” has meant their being the perpetual working-class cannon fodder for Halliburton and other avaricious corporate components of the U.S. “military / industrial complex.”

Barack Obama, though the first African-American “presidential” figurehead of the U.S. Empire, is actually the last best hope of continuing U.S. international hegemony under the fake cloak of democracy and justice at home and abroad. Therein is Obama’s appeal to the political and economic ruling elites. He is a conscious, willing, and potent tool of the power elite, and should be understood and dealt with as such. He is neither a progressive, nor a leftist or socialist. He is a cynical opportunist and a shrewd politician, who cloaks his double-speak in glitzy so-called “progressive” sounding rhetoric [...]

Obama's election coupled with traditional European hypocrisy, symbolised by special envoy (sic) Tony Blair, have reduced the odds for any betterment of affairs in the Middle East to nearly zero, while the likelihood for wars and misery has doubled.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Feb 2 2009 14:46 utc | 33

Israel is dreading that hard times for them may be just waiting round the corner. Their entire well thought out plans, hatched with the neocons and blessings from Dick Cheney, seems to have gone up in smoke. Their original plan was after the removal of Saddam by the US. For which they confirmed (if not supplied) the “intelligence” on the existence of WMDs to the Bush White House, bypassing the CIA. The next step in this plan was to manipulate the US to attack Iran and engineer a regime change there and install an Iranian Ahmed Chalabi to go with the real one in Iraq. Sort of Palestine today the whole of Middle East tomorrow! The rest is history. But it looks like that they have not given up their dream altogether, and want to force the US hands before the Obama administration become too friendly with Iran.
What Israel should realise is that the extent to which the Bush administration has bankrupted the US, in trade, budget, international goodwill and diplomacy, means that even if the current administration wanted to open yet another front to make the world safe for Israel, the bare cupboard would not allow it to. What is interesting that the Middle East politics seems to have realised that the US hegemony is coming to its end, judging by the Saudi ultimatum to the US over Israel, (Read it for yourself:,Authorised=false.html?

Posted by: TutuG | Feb 2 2009 14:54 utc | 34

Thanks, David, the holiday was great, and it's great to be back on this Blog.

Juan Moment, Iran and the U.S. are both playing a waiting game, waiting for the smoke to clear after the Iranian presidential elections on June 12th. Anything stated by either side before then is purely posturing and hot air.

But, as we both seem to agree, the backgrounds of the main players (and you added the spineless Europeans led by the Neocon Tony BLiar) do not give much cause for optimism.

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 2 2009 15:15 utc | 35

Parviz, the upcoming elctions in Iran are of course one important variable in any policies the new Obama admin will develop over the next few months. My fear is that the people tasked with designing a new strategy for the middle east are, as you listed above, known to be either openly or closet Zionists. After having lived through almost four decades of world affairs, I am by nature more pessimistic when it comes to taking a guess on how the US policy makers will act in any given situation, and sadly many times confirmed by consequent events.

IRNA has an interesting interview up with a Professor Jim Walsh from University of Massachusetts, who seems to be more upbeat about the future of US-Iranian relations. Here a some paragraphs:

First question: Is Barack Obama in your view going to pursue the policy of change as he has claimed in his campaign or is he going to continue the same nature of policies as his predecessor?

Walsh:[...]Had we to judge solely on the campaign and the first couple of weeks into the transition we would have… might have guessed that it’s going to be more of the same. Yes Obama had said that he would drop the pre condition of uranium....suspension of uranium enrichment and would engage in direct dialogue. But a lot of the campaign talking points were similar to the sorts of thing we had heard from Bush campaign or McCain campaign except for the sort of kinder and gentler face on them. And then there was talk of Denis Ross being the special envoy to Iran and that … doubts on the part of a lot of people as to whether that would produce a real change in strategy as opposed to tactics.

Well, recently though we’ve signs that might point to a broader change in approach. [...] We had president going on Al Arabiya television you know President Bush didn’t do that. In his first week in office he goes on an Arab language television station and reminds people that he has family members who are Muslim. He went to school and lived in a Muslim country. And that the US should do more listening than talking. That the Middle East is a priority. And that it was important to speak to other countries with respect. So... that is very much the sort of change in tone that many of my Iranian friends have been looking for in American policy. At the end of that interview though you get a little bit more of traditional talking points…American talking points about Iran a nuclear program and support for terrorism and the like.

But Obama said something at the end of that interview which is important, .. That.. they are in the process of coming up with their strategy and would be doing so for the next several months they would be rolling out a new frame over the next several months. And this echoes comments that Hillary Clinton made in her confirmation hearing, where she was reluctant to endorse any particular approach to Iran because she said they are in the middle of trying to work it out. So I think what we are looking at here is several months of them getting on their feet, getting all their mid level appointments, you know, confirmed and in place. Rethinking of the policy. By that time of course we ‘ll be close to Iranian presidential elections.

So it is probably not going to be a major diplomatic initiative till after. But we may see some interim steps by this president. For example picking up special envoy, perhaps hopefully he’ll open up direct flight between Tehran and New York. Small steps that signal the seriousness about dialogue. So I think I am consciously optimistic. If you had asked me two weeks ago I would have been more consciously pessimistic.[...]

Thank you very much, the next question is that again in your view how Obama is going to be able to create stability in the Middle East using Iran’s assistance as it is in the view of some analysts.?

Walsh: There are several ways in which that can happen. Obviously the fundamental problem in the Middle East is the Israelis and the Palestinians and the broader Arab- Israeli dispute. [...]

But in terms of the other areas, Afghanistan and Iraq in particular and perhaps with regard to Lebanon and may be even Israel, an improving US-Iran relationship, a working relationship is the key to bring stability to these countries.

At the end of the day Iraq is not going to be stable unless Iran and the US work together towards that outcome. Iranians cannot do it for Iraq on their own. And Iraqis do not want to be Persian puppets. An US can’t do it on their own and it is in fact going to be a drawing down on its troops. The problem of Iraq is significantly large enough that only the combined effort of Iran and the US together in support of Iraqi sovereignty has the possibility of producing stability in that country. [...]

Now if the US and Iran manage to make progress in their bilateral relations, and that involves of course finding a way to resolve the nuclear issue, because it is going to be difficult to have too much progress, unless for that nuclear issue some sort of negotiated resolution is found, but if that is possible then I think there is all sorts of things that, now you know it is not possible to talk about with respect to the US- Iranian relationship. [...]

Maybe I am alarmist and Obama and his team will realise that the world is not theirs to control, but I am not hopeful. At best I believe we will see an increased effort to use diplomatic thumb screws and other "soft power" tools being used, such as sanctions, but at worst, and the continued predator killing missions in Pakistan and troop increases in Afghanistan speak louder than Obama's feelgood rhetoric, we will see the Zionist hawks surrounding him initiate proceedings designed to cause a military intervention. Time will tell.

من همواره برای تو و خانواده ات بهترینها را انتظار دارم.


Posted by: Juan Moment | Feb 2 2009 17:39 utc | 36

Juan Moment, great to see another 'hamvatan' on this Blog. Sorry but I can't type Farsi even though I have a dual language keyboard. It's amazing how similar our prognoses are. Good luck and let's hope we one day get rid of these Godless Mullahs while simultaneously retaining our nation's independence.

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 2 2009 18:02 utc | 37


If it's true that Obama's tough-on-torture bone that he has thrown to the Left is quickly turning to dust, then this means that Obama's bone-throwing days to the Left are fast coming to a close.

Posted by: Cynthia | Feb 2 2009 18:34 utc | 38


Yes, I was aware that you were in full jest. I was too, in referring to my, "Iran helped smuggle in these rocks to Hamas children", comment. In my hastily posted #26, (which, I wish I hadn't of posted for it's own reason) but I still have resonance for the comment as, I also am fully aware of the scapegoating of any and all whom do not bend to USUKISRAEL will.

I was more concerned w/my glib concern for the sacredness of life, both the child and the Soldier. I'm reminded of the meditation, ethic, perhaps Buddhist, that states, "Remain awake; allow no desire that dehumanizes another or yourself". It's an intra- and interpersonal thing with me.

Further, I'm more concerned with how an abusive soul sick system structure, sucks us into it's toxicity, and effects us and makes us too become hard.

Parviz, you contribute much here, thank-you. Round for the house!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 18:51 utc | 39

Cynthia, I'm very worried that Obama's bone to the left ended with Guantanamo, which was a no-brainer anyway. Realpolitik seems to be taking over.

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 3 2009 5:26 utc | 40

Thanks, Uncle $cam. I agree with you completely: The only conclusion one can reach is that the world is indeed a very sick place and barbarity has far greater momentum than peace and humanity.

I'm also enjoying these 'rounds' which, as a 'Muslim' (!?!), give me much pleasure. I hope we can all meet in the pub one day and transform virtual celebrations into real ones! I'd love to meet you all some day.

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 3 2009 5:31 utc | 41

Latest news:

Cyprus filed a report to the United Nations on Tuesday after concluding its inspections on a ship suspected of transporting banned weapons from Iran to Syria.

No word on what was actually in the report.

Additionally, the Haaretz article let slip one more modification of the original story. Remember how, only last week, the US had found T-72 shells and artillery shells on the ship? Now, Haaretz notes in passing:

However, a Western diplomatic source said U.S. Navy inspections had found arms-related material including propellant and other casings for artillery and tank rounds, as well as shell casing.

Yet another quiet change to the original story.

Posted by: Bill | Feb 3 2009 21:27 utc | 42


Cyprus — Cyprus says it will decide what to do with a ship suspected of carrying arms from Iran to Gaza once the U.N. rules on whether it broke a ban on Iranian arms exports.

Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou said Wednesday that Cyprus is awaiting United Nations guidance on whether the ship's cargo breached sanctions barring Iran from sending arms abroad.

Cyprus has given the U.N. Security Council Sanctions Committee a report on the cargo of the Cyprus-flagged Monchegorsk after conducting two inspections of the ship. Suspicions that the ship was taking arms to Hamas in Gaza were raised by the United States, which stopped the ship at sea and said it found artillery shells and other arms.

The ship remains anchored off the island nation's southern port of Limassol.

Posted by: b | Feb 4 2009 15:49 utc | 43

Good description of the trouble a small country government is put through with such nonsense:

Cyprus in unenviable position regarding ship’s cargo

THE PRESSURE is off the Cyprus government, for a few days, as the report about the cargo of Russian-owned ship Monchegorsk is now with the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. In the unlikely event that the Committee reaches a unanimous decision, it would help the government out of the very difficult position it finds itself in.

The government has two options – either to confiscate the cargo on the grounds that its transfer was in violation of UN sanctions or to allow the Monchegorsk to leave Limassol with its cargo. Whichever option it chooses would cause problems for our relations with powerful countries. Confiscating the cargo would put a strain on good relations with Russia, which is considered a very close ally by President Christofias, as was evident from his Moscow visit last year.

The other option – allowing the ship to leave with its cargo – would spark a strong reaction from the US government, whose navy had escorted the Monchegorsk to Cyprus waters because it had reliable information that it was carrying arms. In addition to this, in 2005 Cyprus and the US signed the Treaty of the Proliferation of Security Initiatives which provides for the seizing of any ship under any flag with the aim of preventing the movement of weapons of mass destruction.

Media speculation suggested that the Russian-owned ship was carrying conventional weaponry and nothing that could be described as a weapon of mass destruction. Even if this is the case it would not be very easy for the government to use it as justification for allowing the ship to sail when the US had already decided that the cargo had to be confiscated because it was a security threat.

Things have not been helped by the meddling of the Israeli government, which has urged the Cyprus government to confiscate the cargo. Some media reports have claimed that the arms cargo would be going to Hamas via Syria which is why Israel has taken such a big interest and has been calling on the government to act. Christofias was correct in questioning Israel’s right to call for the confiscation of the cargo. “On what grounds are the Israelis making demands of us?” he asked on Monday night. “They have no right,” he concluded.

Other than this perfectly legitimate comment, the government has surprised everyone with its sensible handling of the affair and its refusal to turn it into a public issue or an excuse for defiant rhetoric. The spokesman has restricted himself to giving some basic facts about the issue and stressing the need for delicate handling by the government (if only they could exercise a similarly low-key and responsible approach to other important issues such as the talks).

We hope that some compromise formula is found by the UN Sanctions Committee and Cyprus would be spared the unenviable responsibility of having to make the final decision about the ship’s cargo, because whatever it chooses to do would have negative consequences.

UN working behind the scenes on arms ship case

THE UN is reportedly seeking a behind-the-scenes settlement of the issue of Monchegorsk, the Russian-owned Cyprus-flagged ship suspected of carrying arms from Iran.

Current efforts are based on the hope to avoid the deadlock that may ensue by following the formal process at UN committee level.

To avoid launching the formal decision-making process, the President of the Iran Sanctions Committee, Japanese ambassador to the UN Yukio Takasu declined to confirm to state radio CyBC whether the committee has been formally informed of the issue by Cyprus.

Takasu, however, confirmed that the committee is aware of the matter and that it has been discussing the issue with involved countries.

The matter, involves the US and Russia, two permanent members of the UN Security Council, which explains for the unwillingess to address the issue at formal channels. The US has also reportedly not informed the Sanctions Committee of the situation.

The US and Israel suspect that the vessel’s cargo was to supply Hamas and Hezbollah, although Israel reportedly admitted that this suspicion has not been confirmed yet. Russia insists that Syria was the cargo’s intended recipient and that nothing illegal has taken place.

President Demetris Christofias yesterday said that Israel had no say in how the issue would be handled by Cyprus, as it was not directly involved in the matter. “Why would the Israelis have any expectation from us, or any right? The Israelis cannot make demands from the Republic of Cyprus,” he said.

The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that Israel had requested that the US and the EU change the mandate of their fleets operating in the Red Sea and Mediterranean to allow Israeli to board and detain vessels shipping weapons to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“The Israeli request will be considered Wednesday in Copenhagen at a joint US-EU conference aimed at coming up with ways to curb the flow of weapons smuggled to Hamas in Gaza,” the Post said.

Meanwhile a second search to Monchegorsk’s cargo was carried out on Monday evening while the ship was anchored at Limassol.

The search, which lasted for three hours included all containers as well as the ship’s storage space. A total of 15 people from various government departments took part in the search. The results will be presented in a report which Cyprus will submit to the Sanctions Committee.

Posted by: b | Feb 4 2009 15:56 utc | 44


But [Foreign Minister] Kyprianou said: "Almost everything written and published about this issue is wrong."

Posted by: Bill | Feb 4 2009 17:57 utc | 45

Cyprus unloads suspect cargo from Iran

NICOSIA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Cyprus unloaded a cargo of banned weapons-related material on Friday from a ship from Iran found to be in violation of U.N. arms sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The cargo will be stored in Cyprus, a government statement said. It was not immediately clear how long the cargo would remain on the island.

Diplomatic sources said the Monchegorsk was carrying conventional weapons, but Cypriot officials said the cargo was material which could be used for the manufacture of weapons.

"There are no weapons on board, but there is material which could be used for the manufacture of ammunitions," Cypriot Defence Minister Costas Papacostas told reporters.

Posted by: b | Feb 15 2009 14:55 utc | 46

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