Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Oh Fer F@*k's Sake

(Via Willy Loman, which you ought to read if you want to know what's up with That Plane and all...;-)

Last week the NYT was all hopped up about the Evil That Is Iran, supposedly building a "non-functional mock up" of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier in their Gachin shipyard in the Persian Gulf. Oh. Noes. What could the perfidious Persians be up to now????

The Evil Non-Functional Aircraft Carrier of Doom!!!

The Times speculated that the Perfidious Ones would blow up the mock up for propaganda value!!!! Eeek!!!!!!. The EVIL!!!!!!

 This is just some of the hyperventilating included in the Times piece:

Navy officials responded that no drones had been shot down by enemy fire, although the Pentagon acknowledged at the time that it had lost a small number of ScanEagles, likely to engine malfunction.
Iranian Navy officials could not be immediately reached for comment as the country prepared to celebrate its New Year festivities on Friday. American intelligence officials cited a photograph taken on Feb. 22 in Bandar Abbas and a brief description in Persian of the vessel on a website for Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade.
For now, Navy analysts and American intelligence officials say they are not unduly concerned about the mock ship. But the fact that the Iranians are building it, presumably for some mysteriously bellicose purposes, contrasts with the fact that the Iranians stepped back from their typically heavy anti-American posture during a recent naval exercise in the gulf.
So. Proof. Proof I say! of Evil Intent. They want to blow it up!!!! For propaganda!!!!

More from the Times story (remember, this was in the New York M-F Times:)

“Based on our observations, this is not a functioning aircraft carrier; it’s a large barge built to look like an aircraft carrier,” said Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, across the Persian Gulf from Iran. “We’re not sure what Iran hopes to gain by building this. If it is a big propaganda piece, to what end?”

Whatever the purpose, American officials acknowledged on Thursday that they wanted to reveal the existence of the vessel to get out ahead of the Iranians.

There you are. That's all you really need to know! Teh EVUL!!!!!

The bullshit was revealed somewhat later. Not by the NYT but by the EA Worldview news site.

The Non-functional Aircraft Carrier of Doom is a... movie prop. Oh. Well. I guess never mind then.

Well, the Iranian model is part of a drama, albeit not one that is supposedly worrying the Pentagon — and the story isn’t that much of a mystery.
If The New York Times had come to EA, rather than the Pentagon, we could have eased their minds while deflating their headline: the “aircraft carrier” is a movie prop — one that we have known about for almost a year. 
In April 2013, Iranian websites announced that a joint Iranian-Canadian production was going to tell the story of Iran Air 655, the civilian jet shot down in July 1988 by the USS Vincennes, killing all 290 passengers and crew. 
include Iranian and American actorsCo-directed by Nader Talebzadeh and Paxton Winters, the film would  include Iranian and American actors.

US officials and analysts forgot or were unaware of all this — or were confident that Schmitt would not discover the truth as they put out their scarier tale:
“It is not surprising that Iranian military forces might use a variety of tactics — including military deception tactics — to strategically communicate and possibly demonstrate their resolve in the region,” said an American official who has closely followed the construction of the mock-up….

“The system is often too opaque to understand who hatched this idea, and whether it was endorsed at the highest levels,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Schmitt wrote of his efforts to check the US claims, “Iranian Navy officials could not be immediately reached for comment as the country prepared to celebrate its New Year festivities.” 
Schmitt did not say if he had tried to confirm the story with The Times’ Tehran correspondent, Thomas Erdbrink. 
Other US media raced to get Washington’s officials and politicians for their own versions of the story. Representative Eliot Engel told USA Today, “We don’t really know what it means, but I for sure don’t trust the Iranians. It’s some kind of a ruse and whatever they are up to, it’s no good.” 
CNN announced that it had “commercial satellite images” and brought out its unnamed US official to declare, “While the purpose of the fake carrier is unknown, Iran may be planning to destroy it in a propaganda move.” 
Meanwhile, Iranian outlets — some of whom have long been noted for their propaganda and scare stories — reveled in The Times’ conversion of the movie ship into a menace. 

Mashregh News laughed at the “quandary of America’s security and intelligence officials”. Alef put on a more serious face:
The issue has turned into a good excuse for another wave of hype against Iran. Without any proof or real basis, the western media have jumped again to paint a negative picture of Iran.
The Times and Schmitt — and their Pentagon and intelligence sources — don’t seem bothered, however. They have not stepped back from their original story:
This is exactly the kind of lie routinely propagated by US and EU media, on their own or by military and government impetus, propaganda that keeps international tensions at a feverish level.

If it's in the Times, of course, it must be true. (Forget about Judith Miller and Michael Gordon and Curveball and all the rest for the moment, these are different times.)

Nevertheless, the debunking of this little bit of hoo-hah is somewhat delicious...

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