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The right wing Associated Press and Fox News are reporting this morning that Iran is developing plans to attack British nuclear power plants in the event of strikes against Iran.

The source for this inflamatory propaganda is a hitherto obscure Brussels think tank "privately" established in 2002, the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center.  Who founded it and for what propaganda purpose is even more obscure.  The person fronting the think tank, Claude Moniquet, has been described as "Michael Ledeen with a French accent" who "sells to the highest bidder".

Let's walk back the cat on another piece of pro-war propaganda from the usual suspects.

"Walk back the cat" is spy slang for retracing the train of evidence and assumptions until the double agent, the false source or the analytic error is identified.

There's every reason to believe that the bullshit testimony by Claude Moniquet was choreographed by Blairites to push for war with Iran as a final gesture of affection toward Bush.  This from the AP story:

Iran is attempting to draw up plans to strike targets in Europe and has conducted reconnaissance of European nuclear power stations, a security analyst told a meeting at Britain's parliament Tuesday.

Claude Moniquet, president of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center, a private think-tank in Brussels, said his organization also had evidence Tehran has increased numbers of intelligence agents across Europe.

"We have serious signals that something is under preparation in Europe," Moniquet said. "Iranian intelligence is working extremely hard to prepare its people and to prepare actions."

The center, which he said deals directly with European intelligence agencies, believes Iranian operatives have carried out "reconnaissance of targets in European cities, including nuclear power stations," Moniquet said. He mentioned no other specific targets.

I'd like to know what kind of pissant "evidence" this think tank might have about the actions of Iranian intelligence that no official intelligence agency claims.

Cannonfire and I both immediately searched for background on Moniquet - something the press doesn't seem to have done.  If they had, they would have found that Moniquet is not an entirely reliable source on intelligence matters.

A previous report prepared by the same ESISC was reviewed in scathing terms:

Contrary to all expectations, what emerges in the pages of the report is an embarrassingly amateurish, poorly researched, factually inaccurate, and badly written hatchet job. The most disturbing aspect of the report is not so much its poor quality (which is not exceptional if you keep up on the transparent propaganda that has been coming out of Rabat for over thirty years on the Western Sahara), but the clear malicious intent of Claude Moniquet and his crew. The lack of scholarly rigor, the numerous factual errors and the omission of widely accepted facts, the use of unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo, and ultimately the baseless attacks and badly reasoned conclusions, the accumulation of all these serious faults leaves no doubt in my mind that this is an intentional attempt to inflict extreme harm on the Polisario Front and the Western Saharan cause by purposely distorting the historical record.

I've already stocked up on potassium iodide, but only because the UK government still hasn't dealt with the leak in the Thorp nuclear reprocessing plant several years ago so I have no confidence in their ability to handle any other cock up.  After the major fuel depot fire at Buncefield near hear - the biggest in Europe - I stocked up on a lot of stuff.

I'm more afraid for the Iranians than I am afraid of the Iranians.  It's the American government that scares the crap out of me with their unremitting propaganda in prosecution of yet another war for oil.

Originally posted to LondonYank on Wed May 23, 2007 at 03:29 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  asdf (9+ / 0-)

    Sounds like the same sort of "think tanks" we have here.  

    * 3424 * http://icasualties.org/oif/

    by BDA in VA on Wed May 23, 2007 at 03:35:15 AM PDT

    •  The propaganda offensive continues . . . (18+ / 0-)

      It seems to be intensifying lately.

      Saddam Ahmadinejad is like Hitler.
      Iraqis Iranians want freedom and democracy.
      Iraqis Iranians will welcome us with sweets and flowers.
      Iraq Iran is developing nuclear weapons that pose an existential threat to Israel.
      Iraq Iran is an imminent threat to our troops and allies.

      Same bullshit, different war.

      "Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary." - Mahatma Gandhi

      by LondonYank on Wed May 23, 2007 at 03:47:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Newt Gingrich (7+ / 0-)

        was on MTP this past Sunday and said something to the effect that "The UN has now told us that Iran now has 1300 centrifuges and will have nuclear weapons within a year."

        Of course, we know from the IAEA that yes, Iran does have about 1300 centrifuges, but to make weapons grade uranium, you need about 10,000 at minimum.

        Then a diarist posted yesterday here that "US officials" were saying that Iran was now funding Sunnis and Al Qaeda.

        Another diarist posted this morning in another diary here that Bush is authorizing black ops against Iran.

        What this adds up to is a very frightening propaganda campaign and it seems that with all the anger and frustration over Iraq, no one is paying attention.

        It would be sheer insanity to antagonize Iran right now, given the current situation in Iraq, but when has that ever stopped GWB?

  •  Well, even the basic logic of such (8+ / 0-)

    propaganda makes no sense.  What, do people think that if we attack Iran, Iran WOULDN'T be justified in attacking us?  How's about not attacking people in the first place?

    I suspect that if the American and British people are susceptible to  a logic that says "we should attack Iran because if we attack them they might attack us."  then you could probably say "jan scolel aououvua lanisdo dnoux
    attack Iran" and the crowd would be on its feet cheering.

    The way I figure it, war mania is a mass psychosis.  Polls suggest people haven't completely lost their minds to it - yet.  Maybe they'll see through the ongoing anti-Iran propaganda.

    The world dearly loves a cage.

    by epppie on Wed May 23, 2007 at 03:41:50 AM PDT

  •  You don't trust America???? (5+ / 0-)

    How do you think we feel. We don't trust us either. My God, I am more afraid of our own Gov. than I am of Iran. Thats just sick!!!!

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Wed May 23, 2007 at 04:01:27 AM PDT

    •  That just makes sense (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      viscerality, possum, Owllwoman, Diaries

      Iran holds less than half as many citizens in prison per capita as the USA.  Iran hasn't started any wars for over 25 years (just defended the US-sponsored invasion by Iraq).  Iran provides free education to its children to university level (98 percent literacy - and 65 percent of university students are women).  Iran provides free healthcare for children.

      Both countries have too many nutcase religious fanatics in powerful positions.  Both countries are in the handful of states with the death penalty.  

      Iran has promoted banning all chemical and biological weapons (having lost too many sons to Iraqi chemical weapons supplied by the USA).

      On balance, I guess maybe Iranians fear the US government more than their own too.

      "Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary." - Mahatma Gandhi

      by LondonYank on Wed May 23, 2007 at 04:41:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Self-fulfilling Prophecy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon in MD, Owllwoman

    This is more pump-priming for the looming attack on Iran. BushCo and the Neocons had already planned to attack Iraq and Iran back in 2000 and just needed to construct excuses. Now we are nearing the end of Bush's term and he is going to go for it, committing the next adminstration to a major war it cannot easily just back out of of.

    The reason that we haven't atacked Iran already is not only the debacle in Iraq but Adm. Fallon's opposition to the plan. Actually, Bush's only way is forward other than admitting defeat, which he will never, never do. Count on it.

    Also count on Iran using its pretty vast terrorist network to hit the West the only way it can. It's false logic to think that it's OK to bomb a country with high tech weapons and not expect them to retaliate with their best weapons, too. So expect WMD terrorism in Europe and the US.

    This may not happen overnight, but these folks have looong memories and revenge is part of their ancient culture based on honor. So get used to living in Northern Ireland.

    Live unity, celebrate diversity.

    by tjfxh on Wed May 23, 2007 at 04:44:24 AM PDT

    •  What "vast terrorist network"? Prove it (7+ / 0-)

      or stop fear-mongering.  There is no evidence to support assertions of a "vast terrorist network" run by Iran.  Iran has historically provided a modest amount of support to Hezbollah and Hamas - both of which can be characterised as resisting illegal occupations and attacks on civilians by the Israeli military.  

      I doubt you can substantiate any other "terrorist" activity directed by Iran in recent years - and certainly none directed at Europe.

      "Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary." - Mahatma Gandhi

      by LondonYank on Wed May 23, 2007 at 04:51:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Comes from Richard Clarke (0+ / 0-)

        In an oped in the NYT Richard Clarke said he thought that attacking Iran would be be a bad idea because there would likely be bloback from it terrorist network, which Clarke called superior to Al Qaeda.

        IN A NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED this past Sunday, former National Security Council staffers Richard Clarke and Steven Simon lamented the possibility of a military strike on Iran. They warned, "a conflict with Iran could be even more damaging to our interests than the current struggle in Iraq has been."

        At the heart of their concern lies a simple cost-benefit analysis. Iran has not supported anti-American terrorism since the mid-1990s. But if provoked, the mullahs may unleash their terrorist network, which is "superior to anything Al Qaeda was ever able to field." In the war on terrorism, therefore, the potential benefits of a military strike on Iran are rather low, while the costs are prohibitively high.

        Iran's War On The West

        Live unity, celebrate diversity.

        by tjfxh on Wed May 23, 2007 at 10:33:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're not making any sense (0+ / 0-)

          Iran's supposed terrorist network is superior because it hasn't supported anti-American terrorism for more than a decade and isn't actually detectable . . .  Sooooo, it must be really good because there's no evidence of it.

          You don't convince me.  Lots of bullshit appears in the New York Times.  This is just more.

          I don't doubt that if we bomb Iran and kill hundreds of thousands of Iranians (as we have done Iraqis) then Iranians might get mad enough to retaliate.  My guess, however, would be that the occupation army of the United States would be their first target.  

          If they came at us in the USA - which they would be entirely entitled to do if we start a war - they might just go after political and economic targets.  Since we plan on bombing their oil refineries, universities, research laboratories, electricity generators and telecoms infrastructure (assuming the Israeli war on Lebanon last year was a proxy war to test the pattern), their doing likewise to us can hardly be classed "terrorism".

          "Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary." - Mahatma Gandhi

          by LondonYank on Wed May 23, 2007 at 01:33:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You should Google Richard Clarke (0+ / 0-)

            As a former member of the US National Security Agency who worked on counter-terrorism, Richard Clarke is one of the experts in this area. Here's the Wikipedia article on him.
            Richard A. Clarke

            Live unity, celebrate diversity.

            by tjfxh on Wed May 23, 2007 at 01:43:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Terrorism" is tactic used in 4th gen warfare (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            linnen

            their doing likewise to us can hardly be classed "terrorism"

            "Terrorism" is merely framing by those who want to label it as barbaric while retaining the right of preemptive strike, use of tactical and strategic nukes, carpet-bombing, mines, cluster-bombs, phosphorus, etc, which is more than a bit disingenuous.

            In a military encounter each side is going to use the best weapons available to it.

            Live unity, celebrate diversity.

            by tjfxh on Wed May 23, 2007 at 01:48:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  heh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LondonYank

    The IAEA is meeting this week to discuss the Iran dossier - and there is a long-standing pattern of "scare" stories regarding Iran appearing in the UK/US/Western press in the week or so before IAEA and UNSC meetings that deal with Iran.

    The AP story is also complemented by the Telegraph and Guardian front-page stories of earlier this week which repeat the Iran supplying the Iraqi insurgency/Taliban memes of previous propaganda rounds. There is also the convenient leak of information regarding non-lethal covert ops being green-lighted by Bush from ABC ( the CIA is now catching the Israeli disease of leaking its plans before they even get put into operation thereby compromising them even before they begin - or as cynical old me would say, more of the same old bullshit ) and US naval assets parading around the Gulf in the biggest show of force since 2003 - or a the biggest show of force for a couple of months depending on how you define it.

  •  If we attack Iranian civilians, we are all target (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LondonYank

    It would be an insane war crime against humanity for the US to attack Iran.

    And if we attack them, that makes every citizen in the US an equally (il)legitimate target.

    And that will give Bush an excuse to take the (un)Patriot Act further.

    - Israel has the right to exist, and responsibility to coexist.

    by Opinionated Ed on Wed May 23, 2007 at 06:24:44 AM PDT

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