Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 21, 2011

More Anti-Iran Propaganda By Joby Warrick & Co

The currently "most emailed story" at the Washington Post site is Iran may have sent Libya shells for chemical weapons.

May, may, may?

The 1.500 words piece is clearly written to suggest some Iranian "Weapon of Mass Destruction" business even though, as a not-so-casual read will find, there is nothing to it. Just many mays, vague anonymous sources and innuendo added to each other.

The picture above the article shows unmarked empty gas canisters with handles, not artillery shells.

In the second picture in the gallery accompanying the article a container marked "Hydroxyde de Sodium" somewhere in Libya is shown. It is describe as:

Chemical containers are seen in an unguarded storage facility in the desert, about 60 miles south of Sirte, Libya.

But "hydroxyde de sodium" is just caustic soda which:

is used in many industries, mostly as a strong chemical base in the manufacture of pulp and paper, textiles, drinking water, soaps and detergents and as a drain cleaner. Worldwide production in 2004 was approximately 60 million tonnes, ..."

This has, unlike the WaPo placement of the pictures suggests, nothing to do with chemical weapons.

The article begins:

The Obama administration is investigating whether Iran supplied the Libyan government of Moammar Gaddafi with hundreds of special artillery shells for chemical weapons that Libya kept secret for decades, U.S. officials said.

The shells, which Libya filled with highly toxic mustard agent, were uncovered in recent weeks by revolutionary fighters at two sites in central Libya. Both are under heavy guard and round-the-clock surveillance by drones, U.S. and Libyan officials said.

So the whole issues is about empty artillery shells found somewhere in Libya (the piece does not even say where), which may have come from Iran, decades ago (under the U.S. stooge Shah?).

How does such a find, even when confirmed, allow for the following passages:

A U.S. official with access to classified information confirmed that there were “serious concerns” that Iran had provided the shells, albeit some years ago. [...] Confirmed evidence of Iran’s provision of the specialized shells may exacerbate international tensions over the country’s alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

Why should decades old empty artillery shells in Libya "exacerbate international tensions" about an alleged nuclear program in Iran?

In an unclassified report to Congress this year, the U.S. director of national intelligence said that “Iran maintains the capability to produce chemical warfare agents ... [and] is capable of weaponizing CW agents in a variety of delivery systems.” Those systems include artillery shells, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Any school chemistry lab has the "capability to produce chemical warfare agents" and the means to deliver those. Again - what has this to do with decades old empty artillery shells in the Libyan desert? Is this journalism?

The whole piece is just constructed anti-Iran propaganda. Not astonishingly it was co-written by Joby Warrick, the WaPo's Judith Miller equivalent, who also recently spread the false "Soviet nuclear scientist" stories about an expert in nanodiamond production who once worked in Iran.

What gives me some hope is that the comments to this latest WaPo smear piece seem to recognize it for what it is. They don't buy it but call it out as pure propaganda without any journalistic value.

Posted by b on November 21, 2011 at 5:59 UTC | Permalink

What gives me some hope is that the comments to this latest WaPo smear piece seem to recognize it for what it is. They don't buy it but call it out as pure propaganda without any journalistic value.

If the UNGA and the UNSC were so gullible to vote for the resolutions last week, expect even more trash like this. It does not matter what the population thinks as long as the officials get paid with inducements of kind then any piece by the USG will pass.

Posted by: hans | Nov 21 2011 8:16 utc | 1

B, your incisive brilliance brings such great joy and clarity! And great comments!

Take good care of yourself...

Posted by: lambent1 | Nov 21 2011 12:56 utc | 2

While I am happy that people are waking up to the horrible fraud that is war, I doubt TPTB are too concerned. The bank bailouts happened even though we the people were against them. I do like the cure for war suggested by a hero after WW1:

"The only way to smash this racket [war] is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation – it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.
Let the workers in these plants get the same wages – all the workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers – yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders – everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!
Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those workers in industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.
Why shouldn't they?
They aren't running any risk of being killed or of having their bodies mangled or their minds shattered. They aren't sleeping in muddy trenches. They aren't hungry. The soldiers are!" Major General Smedley D. Butler

Posted by: no6ody | Nov 21 2011 13:26 utc | 3

Thanks for the Smedley Butler quote. A good way to get fired up and start a Monday.

Posted by: ebuzz miller | Nov 21 2011 13:36 utc | 4

There's a big difference between conscription and a volunteer army.

Posted by: dh | Nov 21 2011 14:23 utc | 5

Is this journalism?

It is what it has been for more than ten years.

A long time ago I shared a farm house with Good Neighbor Bill. One summer he became alarmed about the state of the well in the back yard. After several months of his going on and on about it, I agreed to take a look. He rolled the huge concrete cap off and said, See? I pointed out the brown floaty things and the streaming white wispy stuff drifting just below the surface. The well was that hole in the ground in front of the house next to which he dumped the oil from his car when he changed it.

"That's not the well." is something I say a lot. It is useful.

Posted by: rjj | Nov 21 2011 15:19 utc | 6

I must protest forcefully. It is patently unfair that anyone of any intelligence offers critiques, analysis, or dissections of Washington Post articles or opinion pieces. These articles are not targeting people of intelligence wishing to formulate informed opinions on world affairs. The Washington Post targets the masses, and, thus, should be judged by its targeted readership. "b"s analysis should be completely discarded, and replaced by an essay more representative of the average intelligence and level of knowledge possessed by a randomly selected member of the general public.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Nov 21 2011 15:19 utc | 7

Just more BS from the perpetual war crowd, thanks b. If only the sheeple in the U.S. had real access, or even cared, about the kind of information this site provides.

Posted by: ben | Nov 21 2011 15:23 utc | 8

POA @ 10:19......

I agree completely. As do my brothers and sisters in the Tea Party movement. There is NO PLACE in modern politics for factual information or analysis based in reality. The media's over-riding purpose is to advance policy, a motive and agenda that is not well served by a responsible Fourth Estate. "B" should keep his facts to himself. They only create confusion and controversy, and nurture anti-american sentiments.

Posted by: Joe The Plumber | Nov 21 2011 15:28 utc | 9

Iran neither had nor used chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war:

Posted by: Cyrus | Nov 21 2011 17:13 utc | 10

Apparently Seymour Hersh has a piece in this week's New Yorker throwing cold water on the IAEA report. (I haven't received my issue yet, I'm relying on accounts I've seen on other blogs.)

Posted by: lysias | Nov 21 2011 21:56 utc | 11

Meanwhile 'Napoleon' Sarkozy has nothing better to do than try to start a regional war on the Middle East, and get the price of oil to even higher values, through sanctions against Syria and Iran.

Posted by: ThePaper | Nov 21 2011 22:08 utc | 12

Propagenda, it's become the norm. For example, Bloombergs saving grace?

"...A person who was briefed on the discussions between the Police Department and Justice Department, however, said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had declined to become involved with the case against Mr. Pimentel because of issues the F.B.I. had with it."

Posted by: Uncle | Nov 21 2011 22:50 utc | 13

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