Sam Gardiner
Another Breathless Release on Iran from the Secret Files of International Atomic Energy Agency PDF Print E-mail
Sam Gardiner 14 November 2009

Hardly a week goes by when we don’t read “secret” information from the IAEA dossier on Iran.  The leaks are always suggesting Iran is farther along on a nuclear weapons program than we realized without this secret information.

The most recent was a piece in the Guardian on 5 November.  The piece, by a usually the quite reliable Diplomatic Editor, Julian Borger, had to do with a nuclear weapon design that Iran is supposed to have tested.  The technology described in the article is called a “two-point implosion” device.

Making the revelation even more shocking, the Guardian says, “The very existence of the technology, known as a "two-point implosion" device, is officially secret in both the US and Britain.”  Wow, that must mean the Iranians are really on to something.

Woops.  It turns out that this new technology, the very existence of which is secret, has been described in detail in the public domain for over fifty years, yes, 50 years.  It was described by a Swedish scientist, Torsten Magnusson in a 1956 paper entitled “Design and Effects of Nuclear Weapons.”  His paper even showed a drawing of the technology, the existence of which is officially secret in both the U.S and Britain:

The pressure to do something about Iran seems to be developing from many sides. I sent the Magnusson paper to Julian Borger.
 
Is Israel Marketing a New Conflict? PDF Print E-mail
Sam Gardiner, 7 November 2009

Israel seems to have agreed that it would restrain its rhetoric about the Iranian nuclear program while there are chances of some form of negotiations. That is not true of the Iranian connection to Hezbollah. It has become a major focus of Israel’s strategic communications efforts.

 

The most recent cover story was the seizure on Wednesday of large quantities of weapons on a commercial ship that was boarded by commandos 100 miles at sea and towed to an Israeli port.

It was a wonderfully staged event. Israeli police surrounded the ship standing at intervals of about five feet. They were facing the camera and the ship and not in the direction of any threat. They were very visual props.

It’s hard at this point to know the real story behind the weapons. There is enough now to give the impression this event was not all it seems to be. It feels as if the Israelis are trying too hard to market Iran as the bad guy. At a minimum the Israelis do not have their story straight.

 
Punishing the Russians for a Foreign Policy Failure of the U.S. Administration PDF Print E-mail

Sam Gardiner 18 August 2008

ImageWe got major insight from the New York Times last week.  Sources are saying the U.S. Secretary of State gave the Georgian President “advice” not to push the Russians into a fight.  She told him Georgia could not win.  An Assistant Secretary of State who was communicating with Saakashvili in the period immediately before the fighting “warned” the Georgians not to allow the situation to escalate.

This is very strange.  A corrupt leader in the Caucasus has dictated U.S. foreign policy.  Now that we are going to punish Russia, Saakashvilli will have affected U.S. policy toward the Russians for many years to come.

 
Guns of August PDF Print E-mail

Sam Gardiner 16 August 2008

It's been less than two days.  I still find it hard to believe events have moved so rapidly.

The major position statement by President Bush and Secretary Rice has been that Russia should respect the territorial integrity of Georgia.  That sounds benign, but it is the same kind of wording used the the Georgian leader.  It translates into meaning that Russia should permit Georgia to occupy South Ossetia.

The fighting is not just about South Ossetia.  This is a major strategic struggle for influence on in the area between Russia and the United States.  The United States has been working to bring Georgia into NATO and strengthen the Georgian military by encouraging Israeli military sales.  Russia has stated its red line was Georgia's becoming a member of NATO.

The outcome of this situation will affect how the international community responds to Iran.  The Iranians understand the significant and have warned of the possibility of destabilizing the region.
 
Casus Belli: The Ultimate Spin PDF Print E-mail

Sam Gardiner, 1 July, 2008

ImageGenerate a casus belli.  Fabricate a situation that causes war.  Make it look as if it were the Iranians.  It’s the ultimate spin. 

In an article released on Sunday by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker Magazine, we learned the White House has met, considered and is probably working to fabricate a situation that could be used by the United States as a pretext for attacking Iran.  

Hersh tells us of a brainstorming session in the Vice President’s office.  The topic of the session was casus belli.  How can we get the Iranians to do something that will make it appear as if they started it, as if they were the bad guys?  

Based upon the article and what we have seen from other sources, it seems to me it’s possible to unravel the strategy probably discussed at that meeting.  What’s the US do?  How could a war with Iran be fabricated?

On the surface, the expanded US covert operations against Iran seem like pin pricks.  The US is training and supporting at least four Iranian minority groups to conduct attacks against targets inside Iran.  Soldiers of the Revolutionary Guard have been killed.  Soldiers and police have been kidnapped.  A cultural center was bombed.  An air base in Tehran was struck.  All are relatively minor incidents.  

I see a pattern, however, that goes back over 20 years.  It’s a pattern the United States seems to favor for starting wars.

 
Overwhelming PDF Print E-mail

Sam Gardiner, 24 June 2008

The past few days have been overwhelming.  I had a notion that during the marketing of the US strike on Iran I would write something when I came across the kinds of exaggerations and creations that were used to prepare us for the invasion of Iraq.  I have gotten way behind. 

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  • The Israeli Exercise.  We got a big one on Friday.  The New York Times’ Michael Gordon gave us another one of his special stories.  This time it was a leak from unspecified sources, “several American officials.”   He described an Israeli air force exercise that had been conducted in early June, according to him, to show Iran that Israel has the capability to attack without the United States.  The description of Israeli capabilities was an exaggeration, and the story was probably a coordinated release between the US and Israeli governments.  I did have a chance to write about this one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/is-israel-really-preparin_b_108314.htm
 
Same Old Dog and No New Tricks: Update on Messaging on Iran PDF Print E-mail

Sam Gardiner 16 June 2008

We know from Scott McClellan, the former White House Spokesman, in his recent book, What Happened, that President Bush insists on discipline in messaging.  Although the publics on both sides of the Atlantic have gotten to the point of heavily discounting what he says, the President’s desire for control can give us a sense of the thrust of policy.  This is certainly true with respect to Iran.

Iran Themes.  The White House has changed direction on the main sin of Iran in the past few weeks.  For almost three months, Iran’s most evilness was represented in its involvement in “killing US soldiers” in Iraq.  The entire top leadership of the Administration was on this message.

At one point, Admiral Mullen the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced that there would be a major presentation and showing-of-evidence by General Patraeus in Baghdad.  We were to see this evidence “next week.”  That was six weeks ago.

 
Shame on UPI PDF Print E-mail

Sam Gardiner, 4 June 2008 

Image At 9:10AM EST this morning, UPI reported the following:

Report: U.S. to order limited raid on Iran


(Published: June 3, 2008 at 9:10 AM)

WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) -- The United States is moving closer to ordering a limited attack on Iranian Revolutionary Guard installations, a military intelligence group reports.
The operation would target training camps and munitions factories that assist Iraqi insurgents, Hezbollah and terrorist groups in Gaza, DEBKAfile.com, a military intelligence Web site, reported Tuesday, quoting sources in Washington.


The rest of the piece continued the story.  There was no mention of the credibility of similar heavy breathing.  Shame on the UPI for being so sloppy.  The article should have mentioned:

 
Never Having to Say You’re Sorry PDF Print E-mail

Sam Gardiner 23 May 2008

Image
IISS report
Earlier in the week the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) issued another of its dossiers.  This one addresses nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Remember the IISS track record with dossiers?  Their most famous report came in September 2002 when we were told Iran could be as close as two years to having a nuclear weapon. Remember the interviews with the authors of the study?

  • Does Iraq have weapons of mass destruction: “Yes.”

Chemical and biological weapons:

  • “On chemical weapons, our net assessment is that Iraq has probably retained a few hundred tons of mustard gas and precursors…"
 
Controlling the Message Volume on Iran PDF Print E-mail

ImageSam Gardiner, 19 May 2008


The White House pattern is well established.  When they are working to control a message, they do so with both content and volume.  I’ve found it useful to understand the direction of policy by watching the message volume.

My methodology is not particularly sophisticated.  Every morning, I Google on the issue I’m following and record the number of English language article that are hit.

During the run up to the 2004 presidential election in the United States, it felt as if the White House were trying to create fear to support the argument that George Bush should be reelected.  That intuition was measurable.

 
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