Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 11, 2019

Media Amplify Iran War Propaganda - Play Up Intelligence Lies

The Trump campaign launched a propaganda campaign to prepare the public for a war on Iran. The campaign is similar to the one the Bush administration ran in 2002 and 2003 preparation for the war on Iraq.

Anonymous officials make claims about alleged 'intelligence' that is said to show 'Iranian threats' against U.S. 'interests'. Iran, it is claimed, has this or that malign motive to do such. Routine military rotations to the Middle East are then declared to be 'in response' to the claimed 'threats'.

The media, either played like a fiddle by the administration or willing accomplices, repeat each and any such nugget thrown at them without any second thought. Anti-Iranian lobbyist are presented as 'experts' to reinforce the messaging.

Here are some examples of the above methods.

NBC News headlines:

Trump's top intelligence and military advisers held unusual meeting at CIA on Iran, officials say
Current and former officials said it is extremely rare for senior White House officials or Cabinet members to attend a meeting at CIA headquarters.

In a highly unusual move, national security adviser John Bolton convened a meeting at CIA headquarters last week with the Trump administration's top intelligence, diplomatic and military advisers to discuss Iran, according to six current U.S. officials.

The meeting was held at 7 a.m. on Monday, April 29, and included CIA Director Gina Haspel, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, five of the officials said.

National security meetings are typically held in the White House Situation Room. The six current officials, as well as multiple former officials, said it is extremely rare for senior White House officials or Cabinet members to attend a meeting at CIA headquarters.
The U.S. has a very specific intelligence gathering capability on Iran that is only able to be reviewed at CIA headquarters, two former officials said.

It is highly likely that the "very specific intelligence gathering capability on Iran", that can only be reviewed at the CIA headquarter is the same "very specific intelligence gathering capability on Iraq" that officials used in the run up to war on that country. In 2002 then Vice-President Dick Cheney visited the CIA several times to press its analysts to come up with intelligence that 'proved' that Iraq was doing something nefarious and had ill intentions.

Moon of Alabama consulted its own sources about the 'specific intelligence capabilities'. We are told that a very rare book, of which one copy is held in the CIA directors personal safe, constitutes those capabilities. Six officials confirmed the book's existence. Multiple former officials and a  military official said that the extremely rare book contains one thousand and one 'narratives' that constitute the raw intelligence from which the CIA analysts derive their conclusions. The specific capability can only be used at nighttime. No more than one narrative can be extracted per night. That raw data is then immediately processed as sunlight is said to delude its veracity. This might explain the early morning gathering mentioned in the NBC News report.

A former CIA analyst involved in the creation of intelligence on Iraq in 2002 revealed that one of the narratives in the book mentioned special metallic tubes, while another narrative told of a biological process carried out on the back of a carriage. The former CIA analyst said that many of the conclusion drawn from the book turned out to be correct, but that - unfortunately -  the conclusion drawn from those two narratives were later proven to be wrong.

The CIA's Iran operations are run by Mike D'Andrea, also known as the CIA's undertaker for his prominent role in so called 'signature strikes' and the CIA's torture program. He played a role in enabling the 9/11 incident:

He was one of the agency's officials who failed to keep track of Nawaf Al-Hamzi, one of the 9/11 hijackers, after he entered the United States. As The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer wrote in her book The Dark Side, the CIA knew Al-Hamzi was in the United States. An FBI officer named Doug Miller who was attached to the agency's Osama bin Laden–tracking unit typed up a memo about Hamzi, hoping to share the tip with the FBI so they could locate the suspected terrorist. “But his boss, a CIA desk officer in the Bin Laden unit of the Counterterrorist Center who is identified by the 9/11 commission only as ‘Mike’ told Miller to hold off on sending the memo,” Mayer wrote. “After the second try, Miller dropped the matter.” Three hours after “Mike” gave that order, he inexplicably told his CIA superiors that the tip had, in fact, been passed to the FBI. “The CIA assumed from then on that it was,” adds Mayer. “But it wasn’t.”

One of the authors of the NBC News story is Ken Dilanian, the CIA's Mop-up man, known for letting the CIA edit his reports before they get published.

The U.S. public must surely trust these people and whatever nonsense they come up with.

Just like in 2002 it is the New York Times that plays a prominent role in the current propaganda campaign:

The Pentagon will deploy a Patriot antimissile battery to the Middle East to shore up defenses against Iranian threats, part of a series of carefully calibrated deployments intended to deter attacks by Iranian forces or their proxies, Pentagon officials said on Friday.
The new steps are meant to be measured and limited, in part because a new intelligence analysis by American and allied spy services has concluded that the Iranian government, declining in popularity amid economic woes, is trying to provoke the United States into a military overreaction to cement its hold on power, according to American and allied intelligence officials.

This obviously lacks logic. If Iran would really want to 'provoke the United States into a military overreaction', sending more military capabilities towards the Persian Gulf region would only show that the U.S. is falling for it.

The NYT also publishes a crude op-ed by Ariana Tabatabai, a so called 'political scientist' residing in a Pentagon stink tank:

Mr. Rouhani is sending Europe a clear signal: If Iran doesn’t get any benefits from its participation in the agreement, neither will Europe. That’s why he announced Iran will hold on to its excess enriched uranium and heavy water — both of which could potentially be used in building nuclear weapons — rather than sell them to other countries, as is required by the agreement. He is also giving the Europeans 60 days to take steps to help Iran’s economy, which has been crippled by the American sanctions. If he doesn’t get those things, he says, his country will take additional steps that violate the deal and eventually pull out altogether.

Iran announced that it will hold its 'excess' enriched Uranium and heavy water BECAUSE THE U.S. NOW SANCTIONS ANY EXPORT OF THESE PRODUCTS, not because Rouhani wants to 'send a signal'.

Nicholas Wadhams @nwadhams - 17:41 utc - 3 May 2019

The U.S. is revoking two sets of waivers that allowed Iran to ship excess heavy water to Oman and swap enriched uranium in exchange for yellowcake.

Nowhere are these specific sanctions mention in the 'expert' op-ed, nor are these mentions in the NYT's original reporting on Iran's recent steps. The NYT and other media systematically avoid to mention that these sanctions caused Iran's steps but then go on to construe and assign 'motives' to Iran for which have they have neither evidence nor a logical factual basis.

It is by the way impossible to use heavy water "in building nuclear weapons". Heavy water is a moderator in some nuclear reactor types. The central vessel of the only reactor of such type that Iran build but never operated was destroyed. To build a new one would take years. Iran continues to produce heavy water because it has the facilities to do so and because it is a valuable product. But such basic knowledge seems to be beyond the capabilities of the 'political scientist'.

The U.S. is rotating some of its military forces in the Middle East as it has done continuously since at least 2001. A recent carrier arrival in the region was announced in April. In September four Patriot batteries were pulled out of the Middle East, now one is send back. All together there are more than 50 Patriot batteries in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates all own Patriot systems. One more or less in the region does not change a thing. These rotations are normal moves that occur regularly. Now the Trump administration is playing these up to propagandize an 'Iran threat' and the press is falling for it.

This BBC report is another example:

The US is sending a Patriot missile-defence system to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran.

A warship, USS Arlington, with amphibious vehicles and aircraft on board, will also join the USS Abraham Lincoln strike group in the Gulf.
The Pentagon says US forces are responding to a possible threat to US forces, but did not offer any specifics regarding those threats.

The Pentagon simply lies as it often does and it should be the task of the media to point that out. If the Pentagon would send the USS Arlington "in response to a possible threat" why is it ordering the USS Fort McHenry landing dock ship to return from the region. Those two ships have similar technical functions and tactical tasks. They rotate through deployments in various areas on long determined schedules:

[T]he Arlington is being moved into the region in “a one-for-one swap” with a similar ship, the USS Fort McHenry, which is leaving, according to a defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

There simply is no basis for assigning any of those recent military moves to anything that Iran has said or done. The 'intelligence' the 'officials' present to reporters is obviously derived from mere fairy tales. The 'experts' have either no idea of what they are taking about or are willfully manipulating the public.

It is the job of the media to point that out. Instead it is amplifying the war propaganda the administration plays at it.

Posted by b on May 11, 2019 at 13:02 UTC | Permalink

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i don't remember tweety being vehemently against iraq. i do remember him rhapsodizing over how chimp's crotch looked in a flight suit.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 12 2019 9:01 utc | 101

@82 Don Bacon

Neoconservativsm is a distinct ideology brought into being by U of Chicago professor Leo Strauss and his ex-Trotskyist acolytes. It is American exceptionalism on steroids and its core tenet is that American society needs elite rulers to guide the retarded masses who are too stupid to know what their best interests are. To keep them in line the masses need to be fed grandiose myths they can believe in and rally around. This is where America the Good as the shining beacon on the hill, slaying evil wherever it is found to make the world safe for freedom comes in. George H.W. Bush, Dubya’s daddy, called them “the crazies in the basement.”

Posted by: Daniel | May 12 2019 9:03 utc | 102

@97 ninel

Why is it that you guys who point out the shortcomings and hypocrisy of the Iranian theocrats only crawl out of the woodwork when Iran is being threatened with war and destruction? The quality of the leadership is neither here nor there. Presumably you think someone like Muhammad Mosadegh was a better leader and representative of the Iranian people. Didn’t make an iota of difference did it. This, like American/Israeli threats of violence against Iran, is a straight up case of unprovoked aggression. By appearing only when the war drums are banging you are helping the forces that wish to destroy Iran. Perhaps that is the point?

Posted by: Daniel | May 12 2019 9:22 utc | 103

@82 Don Bacon

Leo Strauss was influenced by Ben Maimon( Maimonides )who was influenced by Al Farabi.
Imam Khomeini who wrote Leadership of Elites VF) was also influenced by Al Farabi.

Posted by: Niawarani | May 12 2019 10:12 utc | 104

Posted by: Niawarani | May 12, 2019 6:12:39 AM | 102


You could say that neoconservatives and Khomeini had quite a lot in common - things like "exporting revolution". If you go back to Al Farabi he may be the source of "truthiness" which somehow morphed into "fake news".

For some reason, neoconservatives tipped the balance of power in Iraq in favour of Iran.

So are US and Iranian neoconservatives on a collision course or will they agree?

Posted by: somebody | May 12 2019 11:11 utc | 105

The Shia fellas

First, the neocons and some Israeli strategists had long seen the Shia as "outsiders" opposed to the mainstream Arab (read: Sunni) nationalist current, and over decades had developed an affinity for the Shia as potential allies in the region, much as they saw the Lebanese Maronite Christians and other minorities in the Arab world.

"There existed a supercilious 'Shiaphilia' among certain academics, Iraqi political exiles, policy wonks and policymakers linked to the Bush administration," wrote Ahmed Hashim, author of Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in Iraq and a professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Naval War College. At the American Enterprise Institute and among partisans of Chalabi's INC, it was routine to speak of "de-Arabizing" Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, a favorite theme of the INC's favored intellectual, Kanan Makiya.

Second, the neocons had been seduced by Chalabi, who convinced them that Iraq's Shia leaders would abandon their ties to Iran and rush to embrace a secular, pro-American political culture. Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival and a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, attributes this to the neocons' "reading of the Israeli experience in the invasion of south Lebanon in 1982. That's why they had this vocabulary of 'They're going to greet us with flowers,' because that's what happened in south Lebanon -- the Israeli army was greeted by Shia villagers with flowers and rice."

Third, the neocons believed that moderate, nonpolitical Shia in Iraq would establish Najaf, the Iraqi shrine city that is the holiest place in Shia Islam, as a new center of gravity that would overpower Qom, the clerical powerhouse city in Iran. They believed that the "good Shia," supposedly "quietist" ayatollahs such as Ali al-Sistani, would emerge to present a frontal challenge to Iran's militant "bad Shia," followers of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. A leading proponent of this theory was David Wurmser, a radical neocon who is currently Vice President Cheney's top Middle East adviser. "They deluded themselves into thinking that these links operated only one way -- with Najaf undermining Qom," says Nasr. "They assumed that it was Iraq that would influence Iran, not that Iran would influence Iraq."

Posted by: somebody | May 12 2019 11:21 utc | 106

Dancing Israelis FOIA Photos REVEALED!!!

Posted by: John Smith | May 12 2019 11:28 utc | 107

Black Sabbath ~ War Pigs

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death's construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds
Oh lord yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait 'til their judgement day comes

Now in darkness world stops turning
Ashes where the bodies burning
No more war pigs at the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees the war pig's crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan laughing spreads his wings
oh lord yeah!

Posted by: John Smith | May 12 2019 11:49 utc | 108

West Wing 5:13 - Iran, Israel, and Nuclear Deterrence

Posted by: John Smith | May 12 2019 11:55 utc | 109

Bomb Iran Half Way Back To The Stone Age

Posted by: John Smith | May 12 2019 12:05 utc | 110

Blocking oil pipe-line that bypasses strait? Ships ablaze?
If true, this signals kinetic phase, or "plan b"... Now the claim is that the airplanes flew over and wrought the fires and destruction were US planes...

Maybe they were. Or maybe ? Many countries can fly and paint airplanes.

Withal, Iran gets the blame? yatink?

"The blasts took place early on Sunday morning, according to the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen television channel, which reported the development hours later.

It said the seven oil tankers were completely burnt and that firefighters were still trying to extinguish the blaze."

@ Presstv and FARSnews...

Posted by: Walter | May 12 2019 12:22 utc | 111

Daniel @102

No doubt you already know this but it is useful to point it out anyway: The war astroturfers know that they cannot come to a discussion like the ones that are associated with MoA articles and try to argue that America just wants peace and to help the people of Iran. Few if any readers here are ignorant enough or stupid enough to buy into an approach to disinformation like that. The war astroturfers know they cannot fool readers here into supporting America's imperialist wars, but they hope they can weaken readers opposition to that aggression. They throw out truthy-sounding condemnation of the empire's intended victims in order to at least silence critics of America's war plans that they cannot win over.

The key is as you point out that the nature and quality of the leadership in countries targeted by imperial aggression are irrelevant to anyone and everyone who is not a resident or national of those countries. It is neither our right nor prerogative to interfere in their internal politics. What the empire and its vassals do, on the other hand, is every bit the responsibility of the populations in that empire. These arguments from the war astroturfers are intended to distract from that reality.

This is just another standard textbook jingoism tactic.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 12 2019 12:24 utc | 112

Posted by: anon | May 12, 2019 7:24:41 AM | 106

You think this outpost is a safe place?

Posted by: somebody | May 12 2019 12:47 utc | 113

Pelosi: Israel is ‘one of the greatest accomplishments of the 20th century’

“Israel, we have shared values. Our friend in the Middle East for a long time—our only friend, our most serious partner in the Middle East, let me put it that way,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “So Israel’s security is very, very important to us.”

Posted by: John Smith | May 12 2019 13:34 utc | 114

#65 William Gruff

In support of your view on the american forces and the individuals composing it,I recall the wave of protests,anonymously,hiding their faces on photographs, showing written statements by individual soldiers proclaiming they will refuse to go in on Syria to fight shoulder to shoulder with al qaida,or in support of those islamist fighters.This happend in 2013 when Obama put his "red line" in Syria and prepared invasion.

Posted by: willie | May 12 2019 15:49 utc | 115

@100 John Anthony La Pietra.. thanks for confirming that..

@114 somebody... protected by uncle scam, lol.. what could go wrong?

@115 john smith.. pelosi may as well be singing castles made of sand...

Posted by: james | May 12 2019 16:08 utc | 116

Think tanks. Nice rackets. You sit around with a bottle of scotch and come up with cockamamie ideas and you get a nice paycheck at the end of the week. Most of those people are those who’ve never fired a paper clip using a rubber band or are afraid of their own shadow. And now they are looked at with reverence and applause. I should go down to my local saloon and grab a couple of guys and open up my own think tank. I’m sure those guys would come up with more common sense ideas than the hoi paloi in Washington, District of Corruption and Waste.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | May 12 2019 17:18 utc | 117


I would likz to point to the fact that in Iran the Shah Reza Pahlavi promoted pre-islamic times in glorifying Persia's past with the Persepolis project.Likewise in Iraq we had Sadam Hussein promoting Mesopotamia's glorious past with Babylon and Sumer,the oldest city in the world being Ur.
Of course this happened at a time when bloody wahhabism was not too much projected all around the world by the Saoudi petrodollars,combined with CIA geostrategics.

Posted by: willie | May 12 2019 17:56 utc | 118

Iranian humour.

The presence of US military might in the Gulf region has shifted from a being threat and is now an “opportunity,” a senior official from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has said amid Washington’s latest round of saber-rattling.

Amirali Hajiadeh, who heads the elite unit’s aerospace division, made the comments on Sunday while discussing the presence of US military garrisons and naval fleets based in countries neighboring Iran.

“An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past,” he told the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).
“But now, the threats have switched to opportunities,” he added. Hajiadeh also noted the growth in Iran’s missile capabilities, which could easily target US aircraft carriers floating between 300 and 700 kilometers away.

Posted by: somebody | May 12 2019 20:20 utc | 119

Unfortunately, this thread's now mostly dead just as an excellent article about Iran becomes available. Fortunately, there's a way to tie it into the current thread topic which I'll be doing next, but I wanted to place it here, too.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 13 2019 15:51 utc | 120

Thanks for all the requests to amplify about my trip to Iran mentioned @60. Sorry I didn't get back earlier; I was tired after a rather intense couple of weeks. It was my first trip to Iran after nearly fifty years, and I got a pretty full-frontal view of society today. Including a couple of invitations into middle class homes.

I was very impressed by how much Iran is on the verge of being a fully Western society, if it were not for the present difficulties.

They're all worried about the decline of the exchange rate of the riyal. While I was there in two weeks, the black market rate declined from 13,500 tomans to the euro to 16,000 (1 toman = 10 riyals). The financial situation is really very confusing for an outsider. Iranians only talk in tomans, the pre-riyal currency unit (19th century change), so I never really knew how much money I had (visa cards not working). But actually Iran is very cheap for a westerner, a five-star hotel costing €50.

On the issue of identity (pre-Islamic or Islamic), there's a sort of visceral divide, a very split country. It started with the Shah in the 70s, and the celebration of 2500 years of Iranian monarchy at Persepolis in 1971, where everything was imported from Paris, and Iranian suppliers benefited not at all. During the 1970s, you heard increasingly the term gharbzade (literally translated west-struck), a term still understood today, meaning people so wanting to be western that they abandoned traditional Iranian values. I have no doubt this sort of feeling was a large cause of the Islamic Revolution. But in addition, the Shah was one of the first to put the profits of the oil-price rise of the 1970s into his own pocket and those of his friends, easy to do as the revenues come to the central government, and don't diffuse to the society as a whole. He went too far, and it provoked a revolution. I well remember in 1974 seeing how poor Iranian villages were, no electricity, no hard road. It shocked me after Jordan, where a country without resources still provided for their villages.

The Islamic Revolution was essentially a nativist, populist, revolution, quite similar to Brexit. The Islamic regime has in fact done a lot for the poor, but the middle and upper classes won't admit it, because garlanded with lots of new mosques and religious sanctuaries.

The Islamic regime also went too far under Khomeini, in declaring the doctrine of wilayat-i faqih, that is the government of the religious scholars. In Iraq, the Shia did not take the same line. Sistani said the religious should not take part in government. He was right; the Iranian religious should have stayed out.

So we have a split. The exiles cleave to memories of the Shah, and his interest in pre-Islamic Iranian nationalism, invented by the Sasanians (226-653 AD), but the poor are happy with the Islamic regime (necessarily the majority).

What I discovered this time around was that the sentiment of the middle classes is quite similar to that of the exiles. They hate the regime, because of corruption, no doubt true (though not as bad as post-American Iraq, where 95% of a project budget can disappear in my experience), but they talk of the time of the Shah as admirable, though not yet born. My last source said, there was the revolution, then nothing. Evidently the fate of the peasants didn't concern him.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 13 2019 20:14 utc | 121

I love a good coincidence, thanks Laguerre.

Episode 3 of Joanna Lumley's Silk Road Adventure - Iran, was on the TeeVee this evening. What a visually spectacular and vibrant country, and handsome people too! Historical relics, cities, and locations everywhere one looks. No wonder "Israel's" under-achieving parasites and haters are as Jealous as Hell and want AmeriKKKa's Neanderthals to erase (Iraqify) Iran and its rich culture and heritage.
Are the Yanks as Jealous of Iran's historical and cultural achievements as the so-called "Israelis"?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 14 2019 12:54 utc | 122

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