Joe Lieberman, and liberal hero Elizabeth Warren, peddle propaganda on Iran

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
on 32 Comments
Lieberman Danny Ayalon (left), the deputy foreign minister of Israel, with Senator Joseph Lieberman and Henry Kissinger (Photo: Kai Mörk)

Two more examples of the relentless, and successful, misinformation campaign about Iran’s nuclear program were seen over the weekend. The principal component of this campaign has been to get people to believe that Iran has a nuclear weapon or is close to obtaining one and poses an imminent threat to Israel and the United States.

The culprits: Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut senator with neoconservative foreign policy views, and progressive darling Elizabeth Warren, who is running for a Senate seat in Massachusetts.

Lieberman’s contribution was the more prominent. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Lieberman was asked what he thought about reports that Iran claims to have “reverse-engineered” the US drone they captured last year. His response (emphasis mine):

Look, it was not good for the U.S. when the drone went down in Iran, and not good when the Iranians grabbed it. I don’t have confidence at this point that they are really able to make a copy of it. It’s a very sophisticated piece of machinery and has served our national security well, including I would guess being used to look all over Iran; particularly, at areas where we have reason to believe that they are working on a nuclear weapon.

The New York Times quoted Lieberman in a piece on Iran’s drone claims, but the paper of record didn’t bother to question Lieberman’s falsehood about Iran “working on a nuclear weapon.”

Warren, the liberal hero who swallows the AIPAC line on foreign policy (as Max Blumenthal showed), was also asked about Iran yesterday by the blogger who runs the site “Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy” (h/t Glenn Greenwald). Here’s the blogger’s account of the chance encounter with Warren:

Yesterday morning, I was in line outside a Somerville, MA breakfast joint, and who should come around introducing herself to the queued patrons but Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Elizabeth Warren?

When she worked her way to where I was standing, I asked about her hawkish policies toward Iran, which are described thusly on her website…

I asked why her stand is that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, when even the Obama administration admits there is no evidence Iran is building nuclear bombs or has decided it wants to.

Warren said she thinks the data says they are working on nuclear weapons.

I repeated that, no, even the administration says there’s no evidence of that.

She said she’d look into it, saying it’s important that political statements not to add fuel to the fire

The big lie here, as the blogger above noted, is that Iran already has a nuclear weapon, or is working on one. From Leon Panetta to US intelligence to Israeli intelligence, everyone agrees that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon–nor are they on the cusp of developing one.

The fact that Warren, the subject of a large and favorable profile in The Nation recently, peddles the lie about Iran is more troubling. Lieberman’s propaganda is, at this point, expected.

But the last time there was little partisan debate over a war, with the Democratic Party aiding and abetting the push to invade Iraq, the US destroyed a country that still lives with the searing consequences. Warren, who calls for getting out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible, should remember that, or be tarred with the brush of having helped push another disastrous war in the Middle East.

32 Responses

  1. hass
    April 23, 2012, 1:46 pm

    So let me get this straight — the Iranians can make nuclear weapons but can’t replicate a drone?

    • Western Sky
      April 23, 2012, 2:57 pm

      Nukes have been around since the mid-1940s. It’s not difficult for a modern, industrial country to build a nuclear weapon if it has the fissile material.

      A stealth drone is much more technologically complicated to create than a nuclear weapon.

  2. seanmcbride
    April 23, 2012, 1:47 pm

    Elizabeth Warren is a huge disappointment, but no surprise — many “progressive” Democratic women seem to be pro-war fascists and racists when it comes to Israel — Madeleine Albright, Susan Estrich, Hillary Clinton, Ann Lewis, Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harman, Dianne Feinstein, etc. Their self-contradictions trouble them not in the least.

    Google [madeleine albright iraq children worth it]. Elizabeth Warren walks in the Democratic tradition of Madeleine Albright.

    The truth of the matter is that Likud and AIPAC, through an elaborate system of carrots and sticks, bribes and threats, have acquired close to absolute control over the Democratic Party. Democrats need to go along with the Israel lobby to get along.

    • Mooser
      April 23, 2012, 2:40 pm

      “many “progressive” Democratic women seem to be pro-war fascists and racists when it comes to Israel”

      I’ve been screaming about the complete meaninglessness of “progressive” for years. Fer Christ’s sake, it’s the ‘family values’ of the left, and maybe even dumber.

    • Coleen Rowley
      April 25, 2012, 4:23 pm

      Yes, you can add Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota (currently up for re-election) to your list of Democratic war-hawks. She also has publicly pledged her “unbreakable bond” with Israel which I think is a kind of code term. The last I checked, there were 70 Senators signed onto Graham-Lieberman-Casey’s Sen. Res 380 that curtails diplomacy and makes war with Iran all but inevitable. “Barbara Lee Was Right! Amy Klobuchar Is Wrong!” link to huffingtonpost.com

  3. Dan Crowther
    April 23, 2012, 1:48 pm

    How can you do this to Warren? She buys organic!! She loves whales! ( I think)

  4. Western Sky
    April 23, 2012, 2:58 pm

    I don’t think Warren cares about Iran. Or Israel. Or Palestine.

    Her issues are economic fairness, punishing those responsible for bank and Wall Street fraud, and other domestic concerns.

    • seanmcbride
      April 23, 2012, 3:36 pm

      Western Sky,

      You wrote:

      “I don’t think Warren cares about Iran. Or Israel. Or Palestine.

      Her issues are economic fairness, punishing those responsible for bank and Wall Street fraud, and other domestic concerns.”

      Does Elizabeth Warren understand that disastrous US Mideast policies (like the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, a possible Iran War, etc.) are capable of wrecking the American economy and undermining all the domestic social programs she cares about? Why isn’t she addressing these important issues in a forthright and informed way? Is she not a serious person?

      Does Elizabeth Warren understand that the same gang of neocons and neolibs appears to control both Wall Street and the military-industrial complex? That there is a connection between these endless foreign wars, Wall Street corruption and the decline of the American economy and quality of life?

      One fears that the answer to all these questions is, no. She is as naive and ignorant about foreign policy as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. The alternative: she is willing to go along with AIPAC to get ahead and without regard for the negative consequences for the American people.

      • Citizen
        April 23, 2012, 7:38 pm

        Warren is courageous and astute on the Wall St-treasury revolving door issues; I bet she just took a recommendation for somebody to handle foreign affairs for her and has not even really looked into the connections with US foreign policy or Ike’s warning about the military industrial complex, etc. The recommendation(s) she took for foreign policy probably all came from AIPACers. In this sense she is like a secular Sarah Palin, very naive in foreign policy especially.

  5. Annie Robbins
    April 23, 2012, 3:28 pm

    here’s the report from iran

    link to english.farsnews.com

    Iran Decodes US Drone Intel

    TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Iranian military officials announced that the country’s experts have decoded the intelligence gathering system and memory hard discs of the United States’ highly advanced RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft that was downed by Iran in December after violating the country’s airspace.

    Speaking to FNA, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Forces Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh revealed some data taken from the aircraft’s intelligence system to discourage his counterparts in Pentagon who had alleged that Iranians would not succeed in decoding the spy drone’s memory and intelligence devices.

    “This plane is seen as a national capital for us and our words should not disclose all the information that we have very easily.”

    “Yet, I provide four cues in here to let the Americans know how deep we could penetrate into (the intelligence systems and devices of) this drone,” he added.

    Hajizadeh stated that the drone parts had been transferred to California for technical works in October 2010, adding that the drone was later transferred to Kandahar, Afghanistan in November 2010 and had a flight in there.

    The commander said that the drone had experienced some technical flaws in its Kandahar flight in November, but the US experts failed resolve the problems at the time.

    Hajizadeh added that the RQ-170 was then sent back to an airfield near Los Angeles in December 2010 for tests on its censors and parts, adding that the drone had a number of test flights in there.

    As a forth cue to prove Iran’s access to the drone’s hidden memory, the commander mentioned that the spy drone’s memory device has revealed that it had flown over Al-Qaeda Leader Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan two weeks before his death.

    “Had we not accessed the plane’s soft wares and hard discs, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve these facts,” Hajizadeh said, reiterating that Iran’s military experts are in full command of the drone intel and hold a good knowledge of the drone parts and programs.

    The unmanned surveillance plane lost by the United States in Iran was a stealth aircraft being used for secret missions by the CIA.

    The aircraft is among the highly sensitive surveillance platform in the CIA’s fleet that was shaped and designed to evade enemy defenses.

    The drone is the first such loss by the US.

    The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations’ air defenses undetected. The existence of the aircraft, which is made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

    The revelation came after Russia and China asked Tehran to provide them with information on the capture US drone.

    Ahmad Karimpour, an adviser to Iran’s defense minister, said on Friday that Tehran has received requests from many countries for information on the RQ-170 Sentinel, but Moscow and Beijing have been most aggressive in their pursuit of details on the drone.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 23, 2012, 3:30 pm

      I don’t have confidence at this point that they are really able to make a copy of it. It’s a very sophisticated piece of machinery and has served our national security well, including I would guess being used to look all over Iran

      also, remember when iran first announced they had the drone the US denied they thought it was true, so these latest denials by lieberman and ilk are just the same kind of false reassuring rhetoric.

    • lysias
      April 23, 2012, 5:32 pm

      Ahmad Karimpour, an adviser to Iran’s defense minister, said on Friday that Tehran has received requests from many countries for information on the RQ-170 Sentinel, but Moscow and Beijing have been most aggressive in their pursuit of details on the drone.

      Sounds like a negotiating tactic. If Iran is pressed too far by the U.S., she will give Moscow and Peking that information.

      By the way, Obama issued a new executive order today that purports to punish Syria and Iran because their governments misuse information science against their own citizens in just the way the U.S. government does:

      I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, hereby determine that the commission of serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran and Syria by their governments, facilitated by computer and network disruption, monitoring, and tracking by those governments, and abetted by entities in Iran and Syria that are complicit in their governments’ malign use of technology for those purposes, threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The Governments of Iran and Syria are endeavoring to rapidly upgrade their technological ability to conduct such activities. Cognizant of the vital importance of providing technology that enables the Iranian and Syrian people to freely communicate with each other and the outside world, as well as the preservation, to the extent possible, of global telecommunications supply chains for essential products and services to enable the free flow of information, the measures in this order are designed primarily to address the need to prevent entities located in whole or in part in Iran and Syria from facilitating or committing serious human rights abuses. In order to take additional steps with respect to the national emergencies declared in Executive Order 12957 of March 15, 1995, as relied upon for additional steps in subsequent Executive Orders, and in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps in subsequent Executive Orders, and to address the situation described above, I hereby order:

  6. Brewer
    April 23, 2012, 4:33 pm

    Iran has tested the reverse engineered drone.

    During its first and only flight it wiped out a village of sheepherders, levelled a school then crashed.

    The Iranian Engineering team pronounced it an authentic replica of the American model.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 23, 2012, 6:00 pm

      wiped out a village of sheepherders, levelled a school

      please tell us this is a morbid joke

    • talknic
      April 24, 2012, 8:47 am

      Brewer

      :-)

  7. Hostage
    April 23, 2012, 4:35 pm

    It’s bizarre when the US press and our officials keep repeating this nonsense. Even the mainstream media in Israel and the Deputy Prime Minister admit that Iran never threatened to wipe Israel off the map. See “Meridor: Iran never called to wipe out Israel” link to ynetnews.com

  8. lysias
    April 23, 2012, 5:25 pm

    Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft have coauthored an op ed in today’s Washington Post on further nuclear disarmament, Nuclear weapon reductions must be part of strategic analysis, that, although it does not name Israel, does seem, by implication, to call for a reduction in that country’s nuclear arsenal:

    Fifth, the global nonproliferation regime has been weakened to a point where some of the proliferating countries are reported to have arsenals of more than 100 weapons. And these arsenals are growing. At what lower U.S. levels could these arsenals constitute a strategic threat? What will be their strategic impact if deterrence breaks down in the overall strategic relationship? Does this prospect open up the risk of hostile alliances between countries whose forces individually are not adequate to challenge strategic stability but that combined might overthrow the nuclear equation?

  9. sardelapasti
    April 23, 2012, 6:17 pm

    “It’s bizarre when the US press and our officials keep repeating this nonsense…”
    Come off that, please. You mean these mass murderers should not lie? It’s OK for them to commit aggression, occupation, slaughter, torture, subversion of the rule of law, grand theft and sale of country to foreign powers, but lying? Knowingly? Oh no, not the straight bat, what? Tut-tut.

  10. clubroma
    April 24, 2012, 5:12 am

    I’m opposed to all nuclear weapons but could someone explain why Isreal CAN have a nuclear bomb but Iran can’t. This whole situation is just about Isreal maintaining military dominance in the Middle -East.

  11. sensa
    April 24, 2012, 1:17 pm

    If she is only concerned with domestic economics, then she should simply shut up and not spout ignorant words on Iran or Israel. I just wrote to her to ask her to get informed outside the MSM before she speaks, or else….she loses my vote.

    • Dan Crowther
      April 24, 2012, 1:30 pm

      “If she is only concerned with domestic economics, then she should simply shut up and not spout ignorant words on Iran or Israel”

      –what a radical thought! :)

      • seanmcbride
        April 24, 2012, 2:16 pm

        Anyone who does not take a serious interest in American foreign policy, and Mideast policy in particular, should not be running to serve in the US Senate. Politicians who take their marching orders from AIPAC are not looking out for the best interests of Americans.

        • Dan Crowther
          April 24, 2012, 2:32 pm

          Agreed – but that pretty much disqualifies any major party candidate – these people only know what they’re told. If you’ve reached the level of US Senate Candidate, backed by one of the two parties – you are by definition not an independent and critical thinker. Ya know? Go Team Go is hardly a very intellectually stimulating excercise….:)

          And anyway, Scooter Brown is gonna win. He’s a local, went to Boston College, can chop wood and is a good looking dude – she’s got no chance

        • Citizen
          April 24, 2012, 2:48 pm

          Actually, you don’t even need a highs school diploma to be a US Senator, as one said recently on TV or some video clip I saw, I forget which. Mmmm, was it in Bill Maher’s film on religion? Yeah, I think it’s in that film.

          Which bring’s me sans not so much of a leap to this question: Is Bill O Reilly Liz Warren’s foreign policy advisor?
          link to howthehellshouldiknow-wallyworld.blogspot.com

        • sensa
          April 24, 2012, 3:00 pm

          He ain’t getting my vote, that’s for sure, good looking dude or not. He’s actually an utter fake.

        • Dan Crowther
          April 24, 2012, 3:07 pm

          well so is she, an utter fake that is…… i dont have a dog in the fight, but i do think brown will win.

        • marc b.
          April 24, 2012, 3:11 pm

          sensa, he drives a truck. he said so 10 times a day during his first senate campaign. if that doesn’t constitute authenticity, what does?

        • Dan Crowther
          April 25, 2012, 9:03 am

          HAHAHA!! And he bails his own hay — hes in there like swimwear

  12. aiman
    April 25, 2012, 6:53 am

    Ah, liberals and their pretences. It’s time for those of us who care about equality and justice to separate ourselves from this most wounding ideology. As Hywel Williams wrote in The Guardian: “It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are the peace-makers and conservatives the war-mongerers. But the imperialism of the liberal may be more dangerous because of its open-ended nature – its conviction that it represents a superior form of life.”

    Perhaps Beinart and paranoid liberal Zionists should read this, because this liberalism is entirely compatible with Zionism.

    Time to move on to egalitarianism and bring a firm end to the language of oppression that I think is embedded within liberalism itself.