Balkinization  

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Good terrorism?

Sandy Levinson

A story in tomorrow's NYTimes details Iranian protests about the alleged origins of some terrorist bombings in the provincial capital of Zahaden, which killed 11 people, in Sunni camps in Pakistan. Most relevant are the following paragraphs:

Iran has accused the United States and Britain of provoking the Sunni insurgents. The authorities have said that the efforts are part of the plot to sow discord among Sunnis and Shiites in the country. Gen. Mohammad Ghaffari, a commander of security forces in the province, told the Fars news agency that a film that was confiscated from the suspects proved that the group was “affiliated to intelligence agencies of some of the foreign countries, such as the U.S. and Britain.”

The news agency also quoted what it called informed sources as saying that the explosives used in the bombings were American.



One might, of course, be inclined to doubt the Iranian accusations, at least where the US is concerned, were it not for the fact that we have an Administration obsessed with destabilizing the Iranian government (and, potentially, going to war with same). What is interesting, incidentally, is that the Iranians didn't include Israel in its list of intelligence agencies, which, to me at least, suggests that they might indeed have some credible evidence about US and British agencies, not to mention the Pakistanis who are accused of giving haven to the terrorists. In any event, would anyone believe US denials of complicity? What, precisely, could the US do prove a negative, i.e., they they are not encouraging what we would otherwise denounce as terrorist attacks on a country with whom we are not, at least formally, at war? If George W. Bush gave us his personal word that we hadn't been involved, would we a) believe him; b) assume that the Vice President decided to leave him out of the loop in order to provided "plausible deniability; c) simply assume he is both knowledgeable and lying? There may be a fourth possibility, which is the existence of free-lance CIA operatives operating on their own, but I find this the least plausible, since by all accounts the CIA has become highly legalistic and wants advance clearance for what it undertakes (thus the Bybee-Yoo torture memo).

I suppose, incidentally, that one can also describe this as a "tit-for-tat" response to amost certain Iranian intervention in Iraq, even if the Administration is less than coherent on ascribing specific responsibility within the Iranian government. They make things difficult for us in Iraq, we make things difficult for them in Iran through energizing an internal Sunni opposition that has taken refuge in Pakistan. But can't one imagine that direct negotiations might be a better option?

Finally, it does seem to me, more than ever, that Congress should spend more of its time debating Iran, passing legislation specifying that the AUMF does not cover Iran, and even explicitly refusing to supply funds for military actions against Iran.


Comments:

Professor Levinson:

I would advise that before you join the NYT in disseminating this Iranian propaganda and slander against your country you might want to check out the facts.

Earlier today, littlegreenfootballs.com appears to have exposed the clumsy Photoshopped images of alleged US weapons which were published on the Iranian FARS News Agency website.

LGF led the way in exposing the Hizbollah propaganda being fed to the media in Lebanon during their recent war against Israel.

Professor, Iran has been an enemy of this nation since their attack on our embassy in 1979. After launching a proxy war against Israel and Lebanon, we have proof positive that Iran is now supplying advanced weaponry to terror groups in Iraq to kill our troops.

This propaganda being disseminated credulously by the NYT is meant to deflect evidence of Iran's war against our soldiers in the field. Please do not give any credence to this information warfare attack against our nation.
 

DePalma said...
Professor Levinson:

I would advise that before you join the NYT in disseminating this Iranian propaganda and slander against your country you might want to check out the facts.


And all "good Americans" turn to the current Administration, Michelle Malkin and LGF when they want the best fitting facts first!

Nabbed: Smugglers Hauling Guns from Iraq to Iran

Two Arrested in Iraqi Kurdistan for Trying to Sneak Weapons into Iran

02/17/2007 7:29 PM ET

By Rahman Gharib
Sulaimaniyah, Feb 17, (VOI)- Iraq's Kurdistan region border guards arrested on Saturday two persons while trying to smuggle arms to Iran, an official at Sulaimaniyah border guards department said. "The border guards arrested today two persons trying to illegally cross the Iraqi borders to Iran and confiscated 115 pistols found hidden in their car," Brigadier Ahmed Gharib told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). He added "the arrested smugglers were handed over to Sulaimaniyah security department." Sualimaniyah border guards man checkpoints along the borderline with Iran.

 

It's possible that Mr. dePalma is correct, but is he suggesting that the NYTimes should simply fail to report at all a signifcant story about potentially rising tensions beween Iran and Pakistan, a US ally in the "Global War on Terrorism" that, in this instance, stands accused of being complicit in terrorism in Iran. I take it that there is no disputing that the attack within Iran actually occurred and killed some innocent people. The Times certainly did not state that the US was in fact complicit, only that Iran was making claims that that was so. I offered my own reasons as to why such a claim might in fact be accurate, not least because the Administration does believe, perhaps with good reason, that Iran has been sending weaponry to Iraq. If it turns out that Iran is telling the truth, I would expect Mr. dePalma to be the first to defend US complicity, since, by his own account, they have been our enemy since 1979 and should presumably be treated as such.
 

De Palma,

You should have written for Pravda during the Soviet period, or Baghdad Bob. I honestly can't tell the difference. Sheer genius. If only you could fully realize your "parody potential". I can see a lucrative career for you.
 

Professor Levinson,

The best assesments I seen or read of the situation, vis a vis Iran/Iraq, come from Col. Pat Lang and Milt Bearden.

You can read or watch Lang here.

You can read Bearden here.

Of course Iran is involved with Iraqi Shia and has been since day one when we skillfully removed Saddam for them. As Bearden says, (paraphrasing for Bart), "Well, Duh!"

Aside from the fact that Iran is 90% Shia and the EFPs have most frequently been deployed against our troops by their mortal enemies, the Sunnis, the claim that these devices are high tech is ludicrous. They were high tech during WWII (scroll down). They can be fashioned in any lowly auto mechanic's garage.
 

Here is a picture of the device you don't see lately in the press. It's no wonder they don't want to juxtapose that image with the words "high tech". People would laugh them out of town.
 

De Palma... Professor, Iran has been an enemy of this nation since their attack on our embassy in 1979.

That makes Ronald Reagan and his administration traitors. We should have hung them all, don't you agree, De palma? Of course you do. Finally we agree upon something.
 

Is Lisa's brother guilty of BUI (Blogging Under the Influence) once again?
 

Sandy Levinson said...

It's possible that Mr. dePalma is correct, but is he suggesting that the NYTimes should simply fail to report at all a signifcant story about potentially rising tensions beween Iran and Pakistan, a US ally in the "Global War on Terrorism" that, in this instance, stands accused of being complicit in terrorism in Iran.

I am suggesting that the NYT and the rest of our media apply actual investigative reporting techniques as well as the old two source confirmation rule before parroting enemy propaganda as "news." If the blogosphere can expose this clumsy propaganda in less than 24 hous, on would think that the "Gray Lady" has the resources to do so - unless they have an agenda.

The Times certainly did not state that the US was in fact complicit, only that Iran was making claims that that was so.

Defamation 101: Generally, anyone who repeats someone else's statements is just as responsible for their defamatory content as the original speaker — if they knew, or had reason to know, of the defamation.

While NYT v. Sullivan will generally protect the press from legal liability for publishing or republishing most libels, the NYT certainly has no ethical excuse for publishing this enemy propaganda as straight news with the implication that the NYT had investigated and confirmed them.

At minimum, the NYT could follow Iran's propaganda with the disclaimer that Iran would not produce any evidence confirming its claims.

On the other hand, if the NYT was actually doing its job, they would have discovered the doctored enemy photographs and reported this news along side the enemy propaganda claims.
 

Bart,

If you turn around your comments, and use them on the "proof positive" that was supplied to prove Iranian support of the insurgency, it would quickly be obvious that the anonymous statements by our government have as much validity as anonymous Iranian statements about our support of their radical groups.

Please provide truly logical support why, over a week ago, anonymous officials in our government provided a powerpoint purporting to show physical evidence in Baghdad of Iranian manufacture of munitions that could have been used against our troops instead of providing the actual physical evidence that could be handled and reviewed by the reporters and outside experts. But first, here is one potentially logical reason: the physical evidence is not strong, and some low level officials would only provide it anonymously to avoid being tied to it in case it was not valid?
 

fraud guy:

Go to the link which I provided with the evidence provided by the United States. Here are the differences between the US case and Iranian propaganda.

1) The US captured Iranian operatives in Iraq carrying Iranian militia ID. The Iranians have captured no Americans in Iran.

2) The US captured Iranian weapons in Iraq and provided annotated photographs providing the evidence of Iranian origin. The Iranian state news agency provided a Photoshopped photographs which were revealed as false in less than a day.

3) The US provided photographs of US vehicles which have been hit by the Iranian weapons. The Iranians have provided nothing of the sort.

It would be interesting if the press actually requested that the US military display the actual Iranian weapons. However, they spent most of their time attacking the veracity of the military briefers when they are giving enemy propaganda a pass.
 

How restrained of Bart merely to call this story a libel and to acknowledge the NYT will escape liability under NYT v. Sullivan (even if an individual plaintiff could be found). Usually when he calls a news story enemy propaganda, he calls for prosecution for treaon.
 

De Palma... I am suggesting that the NYT and the rest of our media apply actual investigative reporting techniques as well as the old two source confirmation rule before parroting "anyone's" propaganda as "news."

Fixed your typo.

You are a bloody, parody genius.
 

Fraud Guy poses a good question.

Please provide truly logical support why, over a week ago, anonymous officials in our government provided a powerpoint purporting to show physical evidence in Baghdad of Iranian manufacture of munitions that could have been used against our troops instead of providing the actual physical evidence that could be handled and reviewed by the reporters and outside experts. But first, here is one potentially logical reason: the physical evidence is not strong, and some low level officials would only provide it anonymously to avoid being tied to it in case it was not valid?


The pictures of Iranian munitions (81mm mortar rounds) in the anonymously sourced powerpoint presentation were, (if genuine) most likely Iranian export munitions. They were manufactured for export and sale on the international arms market and that would explain the western lettering and date format. We use MM-DD-YYYY. Iranians use the British format DD-MM-YYYY.

Those munitions could have come from any country that purchases Iranian export munitions, like Pakistan by way of Afghanistan, or even directly from Pakistan.

This is what Iranian government non-export 81mm mortar round looks like. Again, it's no big secret that Iranians have been in Iraq assisting the Shia in some advisory capacity since Saddam was toppled. This is not a new development.
 

The blogosphere continues to dismantle the Iranian propaganda photo while the Israeli press picks up the story.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the NYT to do the same.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

Earlier today, littlegreenfootballs.com appears to have exposed the clumsy Photoshopped images of alleged US weapons which were published on the Iranian FARS News Agency website....

Wow. Now "Bart" is quoting the foamer brigades at LittleGreenSnotballs as asome kind of authority. Then again, "Bart" is fond of WhirledNutzDaily, and Freeperville as "sources", so I guess the step over the line to the rabid pack at LGF is not too surprising....

Say, "Bart", still waiting: Any explanation from our resident military intelligence alum as to why the Iranians would label their 81mm mortar shells with dates in U.S. format and with English words ("lot") on them?

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma says:

Professor, Iran has been an enemy of this nation since their attack on our embassy in 1979.

Ummm, it started a bit earlier. But "Bart" is too busy reading LittleGreenSnotballs to bother with such as Stephen Kinzer's work All The Shah's Men". Too bad, because he might actually learn something if he read it....

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma once again shows his almost complete ognorance of actual matters of law:

[Prof. Levinson]: The Times certainly did not state that the US was in fact complicit, only that Iran was making claims that that was so.

Defamation 101: Generally, anyone who repeats someone else's statements is just as responsible for their defamatory content as the original speaker — if they knew, or had reason to know, of the defamation.


Utter and complete nonsense. So, in "Bart"'s twisted mind, even the court in, ferinstance, Hustler v. Falwell would have been committing defamation themselves simply by publishing the court records ... aside from the niggling detail that the Supes found for Hustler anyway.... Truly absurd, and if there's anyone here that ought to be forever shamed about opining as a supsed expert in matters legal, it ought to be ol' "Bart" here....

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma is confoozed:

1) The US captured Iranian operatives in Iraq carrying Iranian militia ID....

Ummm, so Iranian officials at a liaison office are not to be carrying Iranian ID?!?!? Cuz if they didn't, then we'd summarily hang 'em as spies, you see.

There was some fluffery by the screaming RW hordes also abut how they were trying to destroy documents when their office was attacked. Imagine that ... too bad the U.S.S. Pueblo didn't manage to do that (even though they were supposed to) when they were captured, eh?

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma says:

3) The US provided photographs of US vehicles which have been hit by the Iranian weapons.

Correction: Pictures of U.S. vehocles with holes in them. Bit f a difference.

Cheers,
 

Bart,

You actually completely avoided my question. But I will look at your points one by one

--1) The US captured Iranian operatives in Iraq carrying Iranian militia ID. The Iranians have captured no Americans in Iran.

1) Arne countered your ID "point", but in addition, the ones USING the purported American explosives were homegrown Iranian terrorists based in Pakistan, who are allegedly funded and supplied by the US. No Americans needed to be present for the Iranian statement.

--2) The US captured Iranian weapons in Iraq and provided annotated photographs providing the evidence of Iranian origin. The Iranian state news agency provided a Photoshopped photographs which were revealed as false in less than a day.

2) JT Davis countered this.

--3) The US provided photographs of US vehicles which have been hit by the Iranian weapons. The Iranians have provided nothing of the sort.

3) IIRC, the photos you reference showed complete munitions, as opposed to fragments left by an actual attack on the actual damaged US vehicles. As one prosecutor said to me "damn that CSI. Why do we have to do forensics"

--It would be interesting if the press actually requested that the US military display the actual Iranian weapons. However, they spent most of their time attacking the veracity of the military briefers when they are giving enemy propaganda a pass.

Actually, the press who were initially given the powerpoint did not question its veracity and published the information without question, so the presentation could have been sent out officially as a press release as opposed to anonymously sourced by officials through credulous reporters. You did not answer my question or refute my hypothetical case on why the administration chose to release its "proof positive" in such a deniable manner. Since Bush has been hinting at his proof of Iranian involvement for some time, you would think that very official, named sources would trumpet it from the halls of power (unless no one else wants to be Powell at the UN).
 

Fraud Guy:

Actually, the press who were initially given the powerpoint did not question its veracity and published the information without question, so the presentation could have been sent out officially as a press release as opposed to anonymously sourced by officials through credulous reporters.

This was pretty much the MO for the Dubya maladministration in moving their faulty "intelligence' for the Iraq war into the discourse as well; leak it to reporters, wait for the reporters to publish it, and then go and cite the reported news articles as verification of the claims.....

"Fool me once, shame on you ... fool me twice ... uhh, umm, ... uh, won't get fooled again."

Cheers,
 

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
Agen Judi Online Terpercaya
 

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