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Corporate Media Backing Clinton Exploits Orlando Shooting for Passive Holocaust Denial

By Robert Barsocchini | Empire Slayer | June 16, 2016

Within hours of the mass shooting in Orlando, the corporate media backing neoconservative favorite Hillary Clinton began, almost unanimously, to exploit the opportunity to passively promote holocaust and genocide denial.

Outlets including the NY Times, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, Newsweek, USA Today, and so on, all referred to the Orlando massacre unequivocally as the worst shooting and/or worst act of gun violence in US history. (CBS News, at the time it was accessed for this piece, was running a large “I’m With Her” ad for Hillary Clinton at the top of its page.) A useful comparison to the corporate assessment might be to imagine if a German civilian gassed a group of people to death and the German press reported it as the worst gassing in German history. After the Paris shooting, the Western press likewise reported that as the worst shooting in recent Parisian history, despite that the Parisian police not long ago massacred some 300 peaceful marchers protesting the French dictatorship in Algeria and dumped their bodies in the river that runs through the city (more info in previous piece).

Native News Online quickly pointed out that the corporate media was almost completely whitewashing “mass killings of American Indians in its reporting” on Orlando. It gave two well-known (as far as these go) examples of worse gun-violence and mass-shootings: some 300 Native men, women, and children, were massacred at Wounded Knee, and 70 to 180 were massacred at Sand Creek.

One commenter on the Native News piece shared that she “wrote to every single news outlet yesterday from the New York Times, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, and Salon to CNN, NBC, and the BBC. I have yet to receive a reply from any of them with the exception of the Oregonian, who changed its language immediately. They also informed me that the Associated Press has just begun to change its language. I’m hoping the Guardian and BBC begin to do the same too.”

Another commenter on the Native News piece gave a short list of some acts of gun-violence, mass-shootings, or mass killings perpetrated in US history, by US forces:

1864 – 300 Yana in California
1863 – 280 Shoshone in Idaho
1861 – 240 Wilakis in California
1860 – 250 Wiyot in California
1859 – 150 Yuki in California
1853 – 450 Tolowa in California
1852 – 150 Wintu in California
1851 – 300 Wintu in California
1850 – 100 Pomo in California
1840 – 140 Comanches in Colorado
1833 – 150 Kiowa in Oklahoma
1813 – 200 Creek in Alabama
1813 – 200 Creek in Alabama
1782 – 100 Lanape in Pennsylvania
1730 – 500 Fox in Illinois
1713 – 1000 Tuscarora in North Carolina
1712 – 1000 Fox in Michigan
1712 – 300 Tuscarora in North Carolina
1704 – 1000 Apalachee killed & 2000 sold into slavery in North Carolina
1676 – 100 Algonquian and Nipmuc in Massachusetts.
1676 – 100 Occaneechi in Virginia
1675 – 340 Narragansett in Rhode Island
1644 – 500 Lanape in New York
1640 – 129 Massapeag in New York
1637 – 700 Pequot in Connecticut
1623 – 200 Powhatan & Pamunkey in Virginia with “poison wine”

Professor David E. Stannard describes one such massacre, wherein US forces weakened a Delaware group of Native men, women, children, and elders through starvation, convinced them it would be in their best interest to disarm, then tied them up and exterminated them and mutilated their dead bodies. Stannard notes that such massacres by US forces “were so numerous and routine that recording them eventually becomes numbing”. (American Holocaust, pp. 125/6)

A couple of corporate news outlets used somewhat more precise language to describe the Orlando massacre, editorializing (while again presenting it as fact) that it was the ‘worst shooting in modern US history’.

However, this still leaves unstated the writer’s opinion of what constitutes ‘modern’. The wounded knee massacre took place in 1898, and the Black Wall Street massacre, for example, in which 55-400 people were murdered and a wealthy black community in Oklahoma ethnically cleansed, took place in 1921. (More examples.)

And, of course, the US has massacred millions of people, many of them with rifles and other types of guns, but also in far worse ways, outside the territory it officially claims, and continues to do so. Obama recently massacred almost a hundred people at one time with what could be viewed as an AR-15 on steroids. Is any of this part of ‘modern US history’? Why or why not? The qualifications are unstated and thus subjective. The vague language from the neoliberal, government-linked corporate outlets may lead readers to believe that all of US history is included in their ‘factual’ statements, and that the US has never massacred more than fifty people anywhere.

In some cases, this impression will have been intentional on the part of the oligarch mouthpiece outlets, which have an interest in fostering a benevolent image of the US to help elites further capture global markets . In others, it will have been a result of conveniently self-aggrandizing ignorance on behalf of the writers and editors – an ignorance that makes an important contribution to their job security.

As some of them partially or belatedly demonstrated, all of the corporate outlets could have easily avoided any holocaust/genocide-denial by calling the shooting the worst by a single civilian on US territory in at least the last thirty years, or any number of other obvious, simple, direct phrasings, which are supposed to be integral to journalism, anyway.

But as John Ralston Saul points out, the neoliberal/neoconservative ideology relies on the ‘whitewashing of memory’. That doesn’t always work, though, especially on survivors of US and Western genocides, which is why, as Ralston Saul further notes, the West and its proxies are behind most of the global murders of writers, who may try to expose facts and evidence that interfere with the West’s historical whitewashing.

Since the Orlando massacre, both Clinton and Trump have called for further escalation of Western aggression in the Middle East.

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry. Updates on Twitter.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Law Enforcement Misrepresentation of Orlando Killer’s 911 Call Ignores U.S. Foreign Policy Motivation

By Matt Peppe | Just the Facts | June 14, 2016

In the aftermath of the horrific mass murder at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando over the weekend in which 50 people were killed, media including CNN, USA Today, NPR, NBC News, and CBS News, all reported that the gunman called 911 during his murderous rampage and pledged allegiance to ISIS. None of the journalists writing for any of these news outlets heard the call themselves; they all cite the FBI as their source.

The U.S. government has been engaged in a war against the self-professed Islamic State for the last two years. Their military intervention consists of a bombing campaign against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Hyping the threat members connected to the terror group – or spiritually loyal to it – pose to American citizens is supportive of U.S. foreign policy. If ISIS, or people claiming to act on behalf of ISIS, are a real danger to Americans, it bolsters the notion that the group is a threat to national security and helps justify the government’s military response.

The FBI seems eager to show itself as disrupting ISIS plots in the States. As Adam Johnson has written in FAIR, the FBI has put Americans in contact with informants who claim to represent ISIS and then led the targets to believe they would help the targets join the terrorist organization. The media have then conflated this with an “ISIS Plot” and “ISIS Support,” when no members of ISIS were ever involved in any way.

The FBI’s motivation to portray events in a way that supports U.S. foreign policy, and its history of portraying its actions in a way that has served to hype an ISIS threat should make journalists cautious about taking officials’ words at face value. Especially in the case of a 911 call, which is a public record in Florida, proper journalistic due diligence would be to consult the actual source of the claims being disseminated.

Instead, not a single journalist appears to have done this with Orlando killer Omar Mateen’s 911 call.

On Tuesday, CNN aired interviews of eyewitnesses to the shooting spree who described their harrowing encounters with the gunman inside the club. Patience Carter, who was inside a bathroom stall feet from the gunman when he called 911, said he told the dispatcher that “the reason why he was doing this is because he wants America to stop bombing his country.” (Mateen is a native of the United States, but he was presumably referring to Afghanistan, where both of his parents are from.) She said he then declared that “from now on he pledges his loyalty to ISIS.”

This demonstrates that his primary motive for his terror attack was retaliation for the U.S. aggression in Afghanistan, where nearly 100,000 people have been killed since the illegal U.S. invasion in 2001. His mention of ISIS seems merely adjunct to what he admits was his justification for the attack. His motivation precedes his ideological alignment with ISIS, not the other way around.

Anti-war activists have long argued that overseas military operations endanger not only the populations whose countries are invaded, occupied and bombed, but Americans in the United States who are at risk of terrorist retaliation from people outraged by the death and destruction war inevitably produces to the point of being willing to resort to violence themselves.

Carter’s version of the 911 call reveals a very different picture than the partial one revealed by the FBI and reprinted by each of the largest news organizations. The complete conversation depicts Mateen as indicating that he considered his actions a response to U.S. foreign policy. Of course, the murder of innocent civilians is always reprehensible and can never be justified by claiming they are a response to a state’s military aggression, regardless of how deadly and devastating such military operations are. But it should be predictable that some people will use this rationalization regardless and seek out soft targets in the country whose government they claim to be retaliating against.

The FBI chose to omit Mateen’s professed motive entirely when recounting the 911 call to the media, and merely state that he professed allegiance to ISIS. Perhaps they recognized how putting Mateen’s call in context may lead people to question whether U.S. wars in Afghanistan (and Iraq) raise the terrorist threat at home.

After all, this is not the first time this has happened. The surviving Boston Marathon bomber cited the U.S. wars abroad as his motivation for committing the attack that killed three people and maimed dozens more.

It is not clear whether any journalist even asked to hear the 911 call themselves. But it is clear that they chose to disseminate second-hand information when the primary source should have been easily accessible. If it was not made available (as required by law), the public deserves to know that it was suppressed and be given an explanation why.

Media stenographers parroted government officials’ descriptions of the call, which left out the killer’s professed motivation for his politically motivated attack and failed to put the ISIS claim in any context. Unsurprisingly, their misrepresentation served the government’s policy agenda and avoided having the incident serve as an example of a negative consequence of U.S. foreign policy – one that anti-war dissenters have used in arguing against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since the War on Terror was launched more than a decade and a half ago.

June 15, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Slaughtering the Truth and the False Choice of War on Iran

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep In America | September 2, 2015

Even outspoken supporters of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany) rely on myriad entrenched myths and falsehoods about Iran’s nuclear program to make their case. For instance, the constant claim that the agreement “prevents Iran from building a nuclear weapon” is a facile talking point that assumes an Iranian drive for a bomb that has never actually existed.

What the deal – known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – does is, in exchange for removing sanctions, verifiably limit Iran’s nuclear infrastructure by restricting enrichment levels, expanding monitoring access beyond the legal requirements of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and Iran’s safeguards agreements to affirm the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, a program that has never been found to have ever been militarized.

Nevertheless, advocates of the accord have consistently argued that without this deal, Iran would inevitably race toward producing the bomb it’s never wanted and has prohibited for decades, and as a result, the United States (or Israel) would be forced to bomb Iranian nuclear and military facilities to save the world from the clutches of evil atomic mullahs.

We’ve heard the same thing for decades, that the “clock is ticking” and “time is running out” to attack Iran or force it to capitulate on its legal nuclear program, lest Iran acquire the atomic arsenal that we’ve been told since the mid-1980s is only “a few screwdriver turns” away and right around the corner.

These are bad facts, built upon a two-pronged foundation of alarmism that promotes the supposed inevitably of two things that will never happen: Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon and a U.S./Israeli military attack on Iran. And with bad facts come worse analysis.

In essence, even the deal’s own supporters buy into ahistorical, Netanyahu-inspired narratives of malevolent Iranian intent and prepare their appeals from there. One of the most striking examples of this egregious practice is a recent opinion piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in USA Today, a publication with a history of terrible reporting and commentary on Iran.

Slaughter surely has impressive credentials. She’s taught at elite universities, including Harvard and Princeton, served for two years as Hillary Clinton’s director of policy planning in the U.S. State Department and currently heads the New America Foundation, an influential center-left think tank in Washington D.C.

With this résumé, it is both shocking and illuminating how little she seems to understand about Iran’s nuclear program. Slaughter refers to “Iran’s illegal nuclear program,” despite the fact that Iran has the inalienable right to a domestic nuclear program as affirmed by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). She is also apparently convinced Iran is engaged in a “quest for a nuclear weapon” (alternatively rendered as “Iran’s illegal pursuit of a nuclear weapon”), which it decidedly is not and for which there is no credible evidence.

And that’s not all. Slaughter’s analysis gets a lot more wrong.

Slaughter’s Imaginary Stockpiles

Here’s Slaughter’s opening gambit:

The opponents of the Iran deal are absolutely right about the existence of an alternative. We could bomb Iran. A sustained attack could destroy its nuclear facilities and presumably a large part of its stockpiled plutonium and highly enriched uranium.

For starters, the argument of either a “deal or war” is a wholly false choice, despite Slaughter’s conclusion that, “Like it or not, those are the only two choices we have.”

In fact, with no deal, Iran would still be a member of the NPT, have a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA, and continue to call for a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East, as it has done for decades. An attack on Iran, a sovereign nation that virtually all intelligence agencies on the planet have determined is not pursuing nuclear weapons, would be a undeniable war crime.

But in her second sentence, Slaughter makes a gigantic, and completely inexplicable, error. Iran has exactly zero “stockpiled plutonium and highly enriched uranium.” This is not a controversial issue; anyone who knows absolutely anything about Iran’s nuclear program knows this.

Before it can be stockpiled, plutonium must first be extracted and reprocessed from the spent uranium fuel of an operational nuclear reactor. Iran has never done this and doesn’t even have a reprocessing plant. Iran has literally never extracted plutonium from a reactor core, let alone stockpiled it, as Slaughter claims.

Iran has also never produced, let alone stockpiled, any “highly enriched uranium” (HEU), which is defined by the IAEA as “uranium containing 20% or more of the isotope 235U.” Only when uranium is enriched to about 90% does it become suitable for weaponization. Prior to the implementation of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), Iran had been enriching uranium to between 3.5% and 5% 235U for use as fuel in nuclear power plants and to about 19.75% 235U for use in medical research reactors. Since the plan went into effect, Iran ceased all enrichment above 5%, diluted or disposed of its entire stockpile of 19.75% LEU, and converted the vast majority of its remaining stockpile of LEU to a form incapable of being weaponized.

Even the Israeli intelligence community, perhaps the entity most hostile to Iran and likely responsible for the murder of five Iranian scientists, doesn’t claim Iran has any stockpiled plutonium or HEU. In a top-secret 2012 memo, the Israeli Mossad assessed that, although Iran maintained a declared stockpile of LEU, “it does not appear to be ready to enrich it to higher levels.” Furthermore, the cable noted that, without a plutonium reprocessing plant in Iran, the plutonium produced as a byproduct of running the heavy water research reactor in Arak (still under construction), “will not be able to be used for weapons.”

No amount of criminal airstrikes can bomb away material that does not exist. With this little grasp of the issues at stake, the fact that Slaughter was a policy adviser to a Secretary of State for two years is a harrowing thought.

Slaughter’s Bad Facts on the Iran Deal

Slaughter’s comprehension of the deal itself – the deal she herself supports – is similarly tenuous. Regarding sanctions relief and specifically the unfreezing of Iranian assets abroad, she writes, “If, in fact, Iran complies with the terms of this deal, stops pursuing a weapon and completely dismantles its nuclear supply chain, then it is entitled to recover the funds.”

Ok, no. This is wrong. As noted already, since Iran isn’t “pursuing a weapon,” it doesn’t actually have anything to stop doing in that regard.

Beyond this, Iran will absolutely not be “dismantling its nuclear supply chain,” which extends from the mining and milling of natural uranium ore to yellowcake conversion to centrifuge manufacturing and storage facilities to enrichment and fuel production. None of these elements of Iran’s program is being dismantled under the deal; rather, unprecedented monitoring and surveillance access is being granted by Iran to the IAEA at every step of the way, a level of inspections and insight unmatched anywhere in the world.

Slaughter’s Obfuscation of U.S. Role in Failed Iran Diplomacy

Later on in her oped, Slaughter engages in quite a bit of fictional storytelling about her past experience in the State Department:

George W. Bush’s administration spent eight years just trying to get Iran to come to the table to negotiate, without success. In 2010, during my first year working as director of Policy Planning under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, we thought we had a deal with the Iranians to ship most of their highly enriched uranium to Russia, but it promptly collapsed when the Iranian negotiators took it back to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. And all the while, the Iranians moved from hundreds of centrifuges to about 20,000, of ever more sophisticated design. Their supply of highly enriched uranium, just one step away from the fuel needed for a bomb, went up and up.

Again, Slaughter pretends that Iran has produced and maintained a supply of “highly enriched uranium.” It hasn’t, and never has. Also, the link she provides to support the absurd claim that the Bush administration was desperate for diplomacy with Iran is a piece of utter propaganda written by Stephen Hadley, a stalwart neocon who served as Bush’s national security adviser.

Slaughter omits the fact that, in 2002 and 2003, diplomacy between Iran and the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) resulted in the suspension of Iran’s nascent enrichment program and voluntary adoption of the stringent Additional Protocol, which allowed the IAEA extensive access to Iran’s program for over two years. In that time, the IAEA consistently affirmed that Iran had never diverted any nuclear material to military purposes.

It was only after Iran’s European negotiating partners, at the behest of the Americans, reneged on their promise to offer substantive commitments and respect Iran’s inalienable right to a domestic nuclear infrastructure that talks dissolved and Iran resumed enrichment. The proposal eventually brought to Iran by Western negotiators on August 5, 2005 has been described as “vague on incentives and heavy on demands,” and even dismissed by one EU diplomat as “a lot of gift wrapping around an empty box.”

Nevertheless, since late 2005, Iran has proven willing time and again to engage in negotiations over its nuclear program and the international sanctions regime. Its numerous proposals over the years have consistently reiterated its willingness to officially ban nuclear weapons development through legislation, cap its level and scope of enrichment, immediately convert its enriched uranium to fuel rods “to preclude even the technical possibility of further enrichment” towards weapons-grade material, “to provide unprecedented added guarantees” to the IAEA that its program would remain peaceful, and open its enrichment program to international partnership.

Iran’s offers were routinely rejected by the United States government, which long maintained the irrational position that Iran capitulate to the American demand of zero enrichment on Iranian soil. “We cannot have a single centrifuge spinning in Iran,” declared George W. Bush’s undersecretary of state for arms control Robert Joseph in early 2006. As recently as this past March, Slaughter’s former boss Hillary Clinton was still indicating her preference for “little-to-no enrichment” in Iran.

What made successful diplomacy with Iran possible was not, as so many still erroneously claim, the devastating sanctions imposed on the Iranian people or even the 2013 election of Hassan Rouhani, it was the Obama administration’s eventual abandonment of the “zero enrichment” demand, opening the door for acknowledging (albeit implicitly) Iran’s right to enrich and for negotiations to move forward productively.Perhaps the most curious comment Slaughter makes, however, is about the 2009 P5+1 nuclear swap proposal, in which she claims the United States and its partners offered “to ship most of [Iran’s] highly enriched uranium to Russia.”

Forgive the repetition, but remember, Iran never had any “highly enriched uranium,” so Slaughter is beginning with a completely false premise. Placing the blame on the Iranian leadership for the failure to implement the deal is also disingenuous. Here’s what really happened:

In June 2009, while it was enriching uranium up to 5% LEU only, Iran announced publicly that it required a new stock of nearly 20% LEU to keep the U.S.-built Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) operational and producing vital medical radioisotopes used to treat nearly a million Iranian cancer patients. In advance of the depletion of its reactor fuel, Iran tried to purchase more enriched uranium on the open market under full IAEA supervision.

Despite the safeguarded TRR presenting no proliferation threat, the United States and its European partners prevented any discussion of such a commercial sale. Instead, in October 2009, they offered a “swap” proposal whereby Iran would ship out most of its stockpiled low-enriched uranium to Russia to be enriched to the requisite 19.75%. This would then be shipped to France where fuel rods that could power the TRR would be produced. Iran would then, theoretically, receive those rods a year after shipping out its stockpile.

Iran agreed in principle to this arrangement, with the intention of hammering out mutually acceptable details at a later date. In late 2009, the deal was still in the works. Iran’s then foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki reiterated that Iran was “willing to exchange most of its uranium for processed nuclear fuel from abroad” in a phased transfer of material with full guarantees that the West “will not backtrack an exchange deal.”

In reviewing the P5+1 offer, the Iranian press reported, “technical studies showed that it would only take two to three months for any country to further enrich the nuclear stockpile and turn it into metal nuclear rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, while suppliers had announced that they would not return fuel to Iran any less than seven months.”

As the parties discussed final terms, Mottaki suggested Iran initially hand over a quarter of its enriched uranium stockpile in a simultaneous exchange on Iranian soil for an equivalent amount of processed fuel for use in the medical research reactor. The remainder of the uranium would then be traded over “several years,” under an agreed upon and internationally supervised framework.

This proposed timetable was immediately rejected by Western powers. An unidentified senior U.S. official was quoted by Voice of America as claiming that the Iranian counter-proposal was inconsistent with the “fair and balanced” draft agreement. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Slaughter’s boss at the time, urged Iran to “accept the agreement as proposed because we are not altering it,” which is the definition of an ultimatum, not a negotiation. Talks predictably fell apart.

When Iran later renegotiated the swap arrangement with Brazil and Turkey in May 2010, the Obama administration angrily rejected the terms and aggressively pushed more sanctions through the UN Security Council.

Slaughter’s History of Support for Military Intervention

Despite her distressing lack of accurate information about Iran’s nuclear program, Anne-Marie Slaughter’s uneasy embrace of the Iran deal is, at minimum, still a welcome departure from her usual militarist posture.

Five years after supporting the invasion of Iraq, Slaughter was annoyed by the “gotcha politics” of being held accountable for her bad judgment, grousing in The Huffington Post that “debate is still far too much about who was right and who was wrong on the initial invasion.”

In 2011, after leaving the State Department, Slaughter lent her full-throated support to the NATO bombing campaign in Libya, extolling herself as a champion of humanitarianism and democracy and then hailing the operation as an unmitigated success. It’s been anything but.

A year later, she was calling for U.S. allies to arm rebel forces against the Assad government in Syria, writing in The New York Times, “Foreign military intervention in Syria offers the best hope for curtailing a long, bloody and destabilizing civil war.”

In 2013, Slaughter openly lamented her support for the invasion of Iraq a decade earlier. “Looking back, it is hard to remember just how convinced many of us were that weapons of mass destruction would be found,” she wrote in The New Republic. “Had I not believed that, I would never have countenanced any kind of intervention on purely humanitarian terms.”

Slaughter said she had learned her lesson. “Never again will I trust a single government’s interpretation of data when lives are at stake, perhaps especially my own government,” Slaughter resolved. “And I will not support the international use of force in a war of choice rather than necessity without the approval of some multilateral body, one that includes countries that are directly affected by both the circumstances in the target country and by the planned intervention.”

Nevertheless, after penning this mea culpa, Slaughter continued busily advocating unilateral American airstrikes on Syria and pushing for Obama to at least threaten military action against Russia in Ukraine. “A US strike against the Syrian government now would change the entire dynamic,” she wrote for Project Syndicate. “It would either force the regime back to the negotiating table with a genuine intention of reaching a settlement, or at least make it clear that Assad will not have a free hand in re-establishing his rule.” Her calls for the U.S. bombing of Syria, and also Iraq, have since intensified.

Just last week, Slaughter again pressed her case for imposing a no-fly zone over Syria, citing “both moral and strategic reasons.” The direct American military intervention, Slaughter suggests, could be conducted “using sea-based missile systems” and “would force Mr. Assad to reconsider his long-term prospects and, most likely, force him to the negotiating table.”

Claiming that military strikes would inevitably follow the (increasingly impossible) Congressional rejection of the Iran deal is its own form of bellicosity. Deal opponents falsely argue that a “better deal,” not bombing and regime change, is their real goal, but that too is ridiculous.

It is indeed unfortunate that intelligent and influential commentators like Slaughter feel the need to resort to their own fear-mongering and false narratives to support a diplomatic initiative whose benefits need no such bludgeon. Real threat reduction over the Iranian nuclear issue would be far better served by an honest appraisal of the facts, examination of hard evidence and a refusal to engage in selective history.

Without these facts at her fingertips, Slaughter winds up promoting the very thing she supposedly seeks to prevent. She supports the deal, but for all the wrong reasons. If her former boss becomes the next commander-in-chief, Slaughter will almost certainly return to a high-powered position in government. Let’s hope she gets her facts straight before then.

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media | , , | 1 Comment

Iran Nuclear Weapons Claims Still Need Correcting

By Peter Hart | FAIR | September 23, 2013

Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani

Yesterday in USA Today (9/22/13), Aamer Madhani wrote this about the challenges facing Barack Obama:

The president is also trying to take advantage of a diplomatic opening–created by the installation of a new, more moderate president in Iran–to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

As you might know by now, this is misleading; Iran is suspected by some governments of having a nuclear weapons program, but there is no solid intelligence that such a program exists.

USA Today made a similar claim a few months ago; when FAIR activists wrote to the paper, it eventually got around to issuing a correction. But good luck figuring that out; the paper had originally claimed that new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was “known for his negotiating skill over the country’s nuclear weapons program.” The paper’s correction read:

A June 17 story on Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani misstated his previous position. He was a negotiator over Iran’s nuclear program.

There’s basically no chance that any reader of the paper would have been able to know what was being corrected. But if the paper is actually interested in accuracy, they might want to run another correction.

Bob Schieffer (photo: CSIS)

Bob Schieffer (photo: CSIS)

They’re not the only ones who should consider clarifying the record. Here’s CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer (9/22/13):

Rouhani says that Iran does not want and is not pursuing a nuclear weapon. Does anybody take that at face value?

Actually, the burden of proof should be the other way around: Politicians who claim that Iran has such a program should have to prove it. Schieffer obviously doesn’t see the world that way. He’s interviewed people like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and failed to  challenge their claims about Iran’s weapons. Indeed, Schieffer presented them as facts, telling viewers about Iran’s “continuing effort to build a nuclear weapon” (FAIR Blog, 7/15/13).

So Schieffer is indeed skeptical of government claims. Iran‘s government, that is.

September 24, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Comments Off on Iran Nuclear Weapons Claims Still Need Correcting

Is the Afghan Surge Really Over?

By Peter Hart – FAIR – 09/21/2012

Misleading media reports today are announcing the end of the U.S.  troop surge in Afghanistan.

USA Today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the Washington Post:

There are many more along the same lines.

It’s important to understand that the troop reductions are only part of the total troop surge that happened under Obama.

As FAIR noted last year (Media Advisory, 6/23/11) there were two major increases in the number of U.S. troops in 2009:

When Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. had about 34,000 troops in Afghanistan. Obama has initiated two major troop increases in Afghanistan: about 20,000 additional troops were announced in February 2009, followed by the December 2009 announcement that an another 33,000 would be deployed as well; other smaller increases have brought the total to 100,000.

The surge that is “ending” today refers to the 33,000 that were sent in December. But the troops that were sent in the earlier Obama surge are still there. As the USA Today article notes, there are still 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, roughly double the number that were in the country when Obama took office.

These headlines might give the impression that the Afghan War is winding down. Based on the troop levels alone, that would be highly misleading.

September 21, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Comments Off on Is the Afghan Surge Really Over?

Hillary Clinton’s Iran Weapons Lie Is ‘Tough Talk’

By Peter Hart – FAIR – 05/08/2012

Covering Hillary Clinton’s trip to India, USA Today’s Richard Wolf writes (5/8/12):

Fielding rapid-fire questions at a town-hall-style event in Kolkata, she denounced Iran’s nuclear arms program and urged India to reduce its Iranian oil imports further.

“We appreciate what has been done, and of course we want to keep the pressure on Iran,” she said.

When I read that I thought, “Here we go again, another outlet misstating the basic facts about the Iran debate.”

Then I checked the transcript of the Clinton’s town hall, and that is indeed what she said, in response to a question about U.S. pressuring India to stop buying oil from Iran:

That’s a very good question, and let me give you a little context for that question. When President Obama took over in 2009, we knew Iran’s continuing development of a nuclear weapons program would be very destabilizing in the region, because there would be an arms race with the nations in the region who have pre-existing enmity between themselves and Iran. And it would also cause a great threat to Israel.

USA Today should have noted that there is no evidence that Iran has any nuclear weapons program at all–as U.S. intelligence and the Pentagon secretary have acknowledged. That’s what newspapers should do when politicians mislead. Instead, the paper puts this headline over the piece: “Clinton Wraps Asia Trip with Tough Talk on Iran.”

“Tough talk” is a weak way to describe a government official’s misrepresentation of the facts.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment