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Goldberg ignores decades of consistent Iranian statements on nuclear weapons for the sake of propaganda

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Jeffrey Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg is confident in Barack Obama’s oft-stated commitment to stop Iran from building the nuclear weapon that everyone, including his own intelligence agencies (and others) and Defense Secretary know it isn’t building.  Why?  Well, basically because Obama’s said so.  A lot.

Explaining that anyone who doesn’t recognize that Obama has “promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold…hasn’t been listening,” Goldberg wrote last week that he takes the American President “at his word, in part because he’s repeated himself on the subject so many times and in part because he has laid out such an effective argument against containment and for disruption, by force, if necessary.”

To better illustrate his point, Goldberg enlisted the aid of his trusty colleague Armin Rosen to track down a litany of Obama’s statements from the past four years that demonstrate a consistent commitment to using “military force to prevent Iran from getting the bomb.” The catalog of 20 quotations (admittedly only “a partial accounting of Obama’s statements on the subject”) is effective, and yes, Obama has been consistent. Goldberg writes that while Obama could potentially “change his mind on the subject,” for now, “the record is the record: Given the number of times he’s told the American public, and the world, that he will stop Iran from going nuclear, it is hard to believe that he will suddenly change his mind and back out of his promise.”

So if consistency and repetition are what make Jeffrey Goldberg believe what Obama says - what he terms as a “crystal-clear promise” - about preventing an imaginary Iranian bomb, wouldn’t it logically follow that the constantly repeated statements by senior Iranian officials regarding their own promise never to obtain such a diabolical and destructive device would hold similar sway?

Clearly that’s too much to ask.

Goldberg has written for years now that Iran “is on the verge of gaining the technology to detonate nukes” and that the “Iranian mullahs…want the nukes because they expect the apocalypse.”  As far back as 2006, he insisted, “It’s time we took their views seriously.”

So what are the Iranian leadership’s repeatedly stated views on nuclear weapons that should be taken so seriously?

Using the Goldberg format and culling statements from the past two decades, here goes:

Iranian Vice President and head of the Atomic Energy Organization Reza Amrollahi, August 3, 1991: ”Iran is not capable of making atomic bombs…Our objective in promoting nuclear industries is merely its peaceful use specially in the field of atomic energy and its application in agriculture and medicine.” (IRNA, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts)

Senior adviser to Khamenei and National Security Council member Mohammad Javad Larijani, September 18, 1991: “[Acquiring nuclear capability has been] erased from Iran’s policy.”

IAEO head Amrollahi, November 6, 1991: “Iran is not after nuclear arms. On the contrary, it believes that such lethal arms in the region should be destroyed…We are ready for any type of cooperation for establishing a region free of mass-destruction weapons…Iran, as a member of the IAEA, is committed to the regulations for the inspections of the nuclear installations, and naturally respects them.” (IRNA, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts)

IAEO head Amrollahi, February 9, 1992: “We have never had nor will ever have other intentions” [than using nuclear equipment for peace purposes].

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Mohammad Besharati, November 27, 1992: “We have no need for nuclear weapons.” Besharati also described allegations that Iran was planning to acquire nuclear weapons as “a lie and a plot.”

Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohsen Nurbakhsh, September 29, 1993: “Iran will not seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction under any circumstances.”

Iranian President Rafsanjani, March 23, 1997: “We’re not after nuclear bombs and we won’t go after biological and chemical weapons.”

Iranian President Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, January 7, 1998: ”We are not planning on building nuclear weapons and only aim to employ nuclear energy for peaceful purposes…We are not a nuclear [-armed] power and do not intend to become one.”

President Khatami, September 21, 1998: “[The world should] be liberated from the nightmare of nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction…the idea of attaining security through the acquisition of such armaments is nothing but an illusion.”

Iranian Supreme National Security Council chief and top presidential advisor Hassan Rohani, September 2002: “When we have signed international treaties, it means we are not pursuing making nuclear weapons. We are not pursuing making chemical weapons. We are not pursuing making biological weapons. Iran is not interested in any of these.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, March 21, 2003: ”The statement that the Islamic Republic wants to obtain chemical weapons and the atomic bomb is totally false…[W]e are not interested in an atomic bomb. We are opposed to chemical weapons. When Iraq was using chemical weapons against us we refused to produce chemical weapons. These things are against our principles.”

President Khatami, September 15, 2003: ”[N]ot only are we not aiming to produce weapons of mass destruction, but we want the region and the world to be free of weapons of mass destruction…We don’t need atomic bombs, and based on our religious teaching we will not pursue them. But at the same time we want to be strong, and being strong means having knowledge and technology.”

Iranian Supreme National Security Council official Hussein Musavian, September 12, 2004: ”The religious verdict of our leader is that using mass destruction weapons is forbidden, is haram.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi, September 12, 2004: ”We believe that the use of nuclear weapons is religiously forbidden. This is the leader’s fatwa.”

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Javad Zarif, November 5, 2004: ”[Iran has] serious ideological restrictions against weapons of mass destruction, including a religious decree issued by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, prohibiting the development and use of nuclear weapons.”

Iranian nuclear negotiator Sirus Naseri, August 10, 2005: ”The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued the fatwa that the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons. President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who took office just recently, in his inaugural address reiterated that his government is against weapons of mass destruction and will only pursue nuclear activities in the peaceful domain…The leadership of Iran has pledged at the highest level that Iran will remain a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, September 17, 2005: ”[Iran’s] previously and repeatedly declared position [is] that in accordance with our religious principles, pursuit of nuclear weapons is prohibited.”

UN Ambassador Javad Zarif, April 6, 2006: ”Iran’s reliance on the nonproliferation regime is based on legal commitments, sober strategic calculations and spiritual and ideological doctrine. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic, has issued a decree against the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, June 4, 2006: ”We do not need a nuclear bomb. We do not have any objectives or aspirations for which we will need to use a nuclear bomb. We consider using nuclear weapons against Islamic rules. We have announced this openly. We think imposing the costs of building and maintaining nuclear weapons on our nation is unnecessary.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 2006: ”Nuclear weapons have no place in Iran’s defense doctrine and Iran is not a threat to any country.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 2006: ”Basically we are not looking for – working for the bomb…The time of the bomb is in the past.”

President Ahmadinejad September 20, 2006: ”You must know that, because of our beliefs and our religion…[w]e are against the atomic bomb.”

UN Ambassador Javad Zarif, December 23, 2006: ”[Iran has] categorically rejected development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons on ideological and strategic grounds…The Islamic Republic of Iran firmly believes that the days of weapons of mass murder have long passed; that these inhumane instruments of indiscriminate slaughter have not brought internal stability or external security for anyone and they will not be able to do so in the future.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 20, 2007: ”I want to address all politicians around the world, statesmen. Any party who uses national revenues to make a bomb, a nuclear bomb, will make a mistake. Because in political relations right now, the nuclear bomb is of no use….we don’t need such weapons. In fact, we think that this is inhuman.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 25, 2007: ”Making nuclear, chemical and biological bombs and weapons of mass destruction is yet another result of the misuse of science and research by the big powers…We do not believe in nuclear weapons, period. It goes against the whole grain of humanity.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 27, 2007: ”We’ve said many times before, we don’t need the weapon. It’s not enshrined in our defense doctrine, nuclear defense. And ideologically, we don’t believe in it either. We have actually rejected it on an ideological basis. And politically, we know that it is useless.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 22, 2008: ”We want nuclear disarmament [for all countries]…and we consider it to be against humanity to manufacture nuclear weapons…we oppose that strongly…Our position is very clear…We believe that a nuclear weapon has no use, obsolete. Anyone who has a nuclear weapons does not create any political advantage for themselves.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 23, 2008: ”We believe, as a matter of religious teaching, that we must be against any form of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. The production and the usage of nuclear weapons is one of the most abhorrent acts to our eyes…The time for a nuclear bomb has ended. Whoever who invests in it is going the wrong way.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 17, 2009: ”We don’t have such a need for nuclear weapons. We don’t need nuclear weapons. Without such weapons, we are very much able to defend ourselves…It’s not a part of our any – of our programs and plans.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, September 20, 2009: “We fundamentally reject nuclear weapons and prohibit the use and production of nuclear weapons. This is because of our ideology, not because of politics or fear of arrogant powers or an onslaught of international propaganda. We stand firm for our ideology.”

President Ahmadinejad, December 18, 2009: ”[W]e do not want to make a bomb…Our policy is transparent. If we wanted to make a bomb we would be brave enough to say so. When we say that we are not making one, we are not. We do not believe in it.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, February 19, 2010: ”[W]e have often said that our religious tenets and beliefs consider these kinds of weapons of mass destruction to be symbols of genocide and are, therefore, forbidden and considered to be haram…This is why we do not believe in atomic bombs and weapons and do not seek them.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, April 7, 2010: “Iran does not believe in nuclear weapons nor does it need one…Iran believes that the era of nuclear weapons is over. These weapons are not even of use to those who possess them.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, April 17, 2010: ”Any use of or even threat to use nuclear weapons is a serious and material violation of indisputable rules of humanitarian law and a cogent example of a war crime…We regard the use of these weapons to be illegal and haram, and it is incumbent on all to protect humankind from this grave disaster.”

President Ahmadinejad, May 3, 2010: ”The nuclear bomb is a fire against humanity rather than a weapon for defense…The possession of nuclear bombs is not a source of pride; it is rather disgusting and shameful. And even more shameful is the threat to use or to use such weapons, which is not even comparable to any crime committed throughout the history.”

President Ahmadinejad, May 3, 2010: ”We are opposed to the bomb, the nuclear bomb, and we will not build it. If we want to build it, we have the guts to say it…So when we say we don’t want it, we don’t want it.”

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee, June 9, 2010: “Iran as a victim of the use of weapons of mass destruction in recent history has rejected and opposed the development and use of all these inhuman weapons on religious as well as security grounds.”

Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani, July 23, 2010: ”[B]eing a nuclear power does not mean that we are going to make a bomb.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 22, 2010: ”We are not seeking the bomb. We have no interest in it. And we do not think that it is useful. We are standing firm over the issue that both the Zionist regime and the United States government should be disarmed.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 23, 2010: ”The nuclear bomb is the worst inhumane weapon and which must totally be eliminated.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, December 22, 2010: ”We don’t have any belief in the atomic bomb and don’t pursue it. Our religious principles and beliefs forbid the acquisition and use of such weapons of mass murder. We consider such weapons to be a symbol of destruction.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 4, 2011: ”When we say we don’t have any intention to build a bomb, we’re honest and sincere. We believe that today if someone wants to build a bomb he’s crazy and insane…An atomic bomb is against all humans.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 14, 2011: ”Never, never. We do not want nuclear weapons. We do not seek nuclear weapons. This is an inhumane weapon. Because of our beliefs we are against that. Firstly, our religion says it is prohibited. We are a religious people. Secondly, nuclear weapons have no capability today. If any country tries to build a nuclear bomb, they in fact waste their money and resources and they create great danger for themselves.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 13, 2011: ”When we say we are not going to build nuclear weapons, we mean it. Because we consider it an evil thing and we do not need those items.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 20, 2011:  ”I’ve said many times we don’t want a bomb and we are against any nuclear bombs.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 22, 2011:  ”We are not seeking the weapon. We are not seeking the nuclear weapon.”

President Ahmadinejad, November 9, 2011: “The Iranian nation is wise. It won’t build two [nuclear] bombs against the 20,000 you have.  But it builds something you can’t respond to: ethics, decency, monotheism and justice.”

Senior adviser to Khamenei Mohammad Javad Larijani, November 18, 2011: ”[Iran seeks] advancement in science and technology related to nuclear area, not directed toward the weapon area…We are a signatory of NPT, we are a sincere signatory to the NPT. We think non-proliferation is a benefit of Iran and all of us…We are an advocate of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.”

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, January 12, 2012: ”We are not after nuclear weapons. We do not find nuclear weapons right from a religious perspective.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, January 30, 2012: ”Iran is never, ever after nuclear weapons.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, February 22, 2012: ”The Iranian nation has never sought and will never seek nuclear weapons…Iran does not seek nuclear weapons since the Islamic Republic of Iran regards the possession of nuclear weapons as a great sin, in terms of thought, theory and religious edict, and also believes that holding such weapons is useless, costly and dangerous.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, February 28, 2012: ”[Nuclear weapons are] immoral and illegitimate…I would like to re-emphasize that we do not see any glory, pride or power in the nuclear weapons, quite the opposite based on the religious decree issued by our supreme leader, the production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin.”

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, March 2012: ”We really do not want to make nuclear weapons and a nuclear weapon program…We deeply believe that nuclear weapons must not exist, and this has been part of our policy.”

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, April 12, 2012: “We have strongly marked our opposition to weapons of mass destruction on many occasions. Almost seven years ago, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a binding commitment. He issued a religious edict — a fatwa — forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons. Our stance against weapons of mass destruction, which is far from new, has been put to the test.” (“Iran: We do not want nuclear weapons,” The Washington Post)

Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani, April 13, 2012: “As the Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said and other Iranian officials have reiterated, the work done in the field of nuclear energy is not meant for making nuclear weapons…These activities are for scientific purposes; you must realize and believe this.”

Senior adviser to Khamenei, Mohammad Javad Larijani, April 13, 2012: ”Iran is not after nuclear weapon[s].  Nuclear weapon is not an asset for us, it is more [of a] liability.  Pakistan has nuclear weapons, you see is a shambled country in terms of security.  It doesn’t add to our security. We are secure enough, we are strong enough, without nuclear weapon. And it is against the fatwa of Ayatollah Khamenei.  Nobody [would dare] do that…This is the fatwa of Iman Khomeini and the fatwa of Ayatollah Khamenei.”

President Ahmadinejad, May 23, 2012: ”[P]roduction and use of weapons of mass destruction is forbidden…There is no room for these weapons in Iran’s defense doctrine.”

Iran’s chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, June 16, 2012: ”Firstly, we are strongly against weapons of mass destruction. Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the capacities to cooperate in disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, so these capacities should be used by the international community.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, August 30, 2012: ”Nuclear weapons neither ensure security, nor do they consolidate political power; rather they are a threat to both security and political power…The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the use of nuclear, chemical and similar weapons as a great and unforgivable sin. We proposed the idea of [a] “Middle East free of nuclear weapons” and we are committed to it…I stress that the Islamic Republic has never been after nuclear weapons and that it will never give up the right of its people to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

Iranian Vice President and head of the Atomic Energy Organization Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, September 17, 2012: ”The Islamic Republic of Iran…has always opposed and will always denounce the manufacture and use of weapons of mass destruction.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 23, 2012: ”We will never use the wealth of our nation for these [nuclear weapons] objectives.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 24, 2012: ”At the end of the day, everyone knows that Iran is not seeking a nuclear bomb. The scene resembles one of a comedy show. Those who accuse us are those whose warehouses have nuclear stockpiles. They talk of security. If you are so preoccupied with this, why not do away with your own nuclear stockpiles?”

President Ahmadinejad, September 24, 2012: ”Let’s even imagine that we have an atomic weapon, a nuclear weapon. What would we do with it? What intelligent person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb? Also, because of our beliefs, we do not believe in a nuclear weapon. We are against it.” 

Iranian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Eshagh Al Habib, September 27, 2012: “[The] nuclear program of my country [] is exclusively peaceful and in full conformity with our international obligations and in exercising our inalienable right to use nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, October 1, 2012: ”Had Iran chosen to [go] nuclear in the sense of weaponization, it would not be a deterrent for Iran.  It would attract more threats from the other side.”

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee, October 1, 2012: “Nuclear activities of my country are, and always have been, exclusively for peaceful purposes and the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran has been repeatedly confirmed by the IAEA.”

Furthermore, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s own website has had, for some time now, an entire page specifically dedicated to Iran’s official policy on nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. It states clearly, “According to our logic, it is not right for a country to use its knowledge to produce such weapons as nuclear bombs which annihilate armed soldiers, innocent civilians, children, babies and oppressed people indiscriminately once they are dropped somewhere,” adding, “Iran is not after an atomic bomb, and it is even opposed to possession of chemical weapons. Even when Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, we did not try to manufacture chemical weapons. Such things are not in line with the principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Khamenei’s official statement repeatedly affirms, “The Islamic Republic of Iran does not have this motivation, and it has never been after nuclear weapons. Iran does not need a nuclear bomb” and ”We believe that using nuclear weapons is haram and prohibited.”

Referring to the American use of nuclear weapons to murder hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Khamenei explains that the “anti-human effects went beyond political and geographic borders, even inflicting irreparable harm on future generations. Therefore, using or even threatening to use such weapons is considered a serious violation of the most basic humanitarian rules and is a clear manifestation of war crimes.”

Reading this litany, it is no wonder President Ahmadinejad recently told journalists in New York that he thinks the nuclear issue “is a very tiresome subject.”

But naturally, these constantly repeated statements by Iranian officials have had no effect on Jeffrey Goldberg.  He still regularly frets about “the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions to world peace” and somehow believes that a nuclear-armed Iran would actually threaten the “existence” of his once-adopted nation, Israel.

Why is that?

It is because, according to Goldberg, Iranian leaders - like all Orientals - are wily and deceitful by nature and therefore any clear, unequivocal statements like the ones reiterated for decades are not to be trusted.  Goldberg refuses to believe that Iranian officials are anything other than “crazy,” “mystically minded,” “bloody minded,” “comprehensively evil,” “eliminationist anti-Semites”, despite (a) how manifestly ignorant and bigoted that sentiment inherently is, and (b) the admonitions of both U.S. and Israeli officials against such myopia:

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff: “We are of the opinion that the Iranian regime is a rational actor.  They act and behave as a rational nation-state.”

Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff: “I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people.”

Lieutenant General Ron Burgess, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director: “Iran is unlikely to initiate or provoke a conflict.”

General Meir Dagan, former Director of the Mossad: “The regime is a very rational regime.  There is no doubt they are considering all the implications of their actions.” 

General Gabi Ashkenazi, former Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff: “The Iranian regime is radical, but it’s not irrational.”

Lieutenant General James Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence: “We continue to judge that Iran’s nuclear decision-making is guided by a cost-benefit approach. Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran’s security, prestige, and influence, as well as the international political and security environment, when making decisions about its nuclear program.”

Lieutenant General Ehud Barak, Israeli Defense Minister: “I don’t think the Iranians, even if they got the bomb, (would) drop it in the neighborhood. They fully understand what might follow. They are radical but not totally crazy. They have a quite sophisticated decision-making process, and they understand reality.”

Efraim Halevy, former Director of the Mossad: “I don’t think they are irrational, I think they are very rational. To label them as irrational is escaping from reality, and it gives you kind of an escape clause.”

Admiral Dennis Blair, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence: “Iran hasn’t made up its mind [to acquire a nuclear weapon]…But I’m telling you, I think they will pull back, add up all of the different factors. Iran has made rational decisions in terms of pros and cons and pluses and minuses in the long run.”

The claim that Iran is a martyr state, hell-bent on obtaining a nuclear weapon in order to obliterate Israel, literally makes no sense and is used solely as a bludgeon against any rational commentary about Iranian national rights, sovereignty and potential intentions.  The hysteria and selective outrage over boilerplate rhetoric from Iranian leaders is yet another prong of this strategy.

The overall effect is to paint the Iranian leadership as a one-dimensional caricature devoid of reason, pragmatism or concerns unrelated to Israel or the United States.  In essence, Iran as a whole is depicted with cartoonish simplicity, much like Netanyahu’s buffoonish bomb drawing.

In his capacity as the Israeli Prime Minister’s dutiful mouthpiece here in the U.S. media, Goldberg consistently allows himself to be willfully used by the Israeli leadership to promote whatever public image it seeks to show at any given time.

To put it simply, Goldberg is nothing but a propagandist.

Consequently, when a Nobel Peace Prize-winning President repeatedly affirms his commitment to authorize the supreme international crime of initiating a war of aggression, Goldberg lauds this determination as a consistent, crystal-clear promise.  Yet when Iranian leaders consistently declare they have no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons or attacking any country, they are either dismissed as liars or, more often, totally ignored.

It is clear that for Jeffrey Goldberg, along with a large majority of the mainstream press, the record is only the record if it conforms to and reinforces predetermined assumptions and a political agenda.

Nima Shirazi

Nima Shirazi is co-editor of the Iran, Iraq and Turkey pages for the online magazine Muftah. His political analysis can be found on his blog,, where this post first appeared. Follow him on Twitter @WideAsleepNima.

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44 Responses

  1. ColinWright on October 10, 2012, 3:49 pm

    This is really morally repellant. ‘ Back out of his promise’ indeed. I think we all could see our way clear to letting ol’ Barack off the hook on that one.

    ‘Sniff, sniff…wanna war….wahhh…you promised!’

    Up yours. Like any red-blooded American male, I find something attractive about wars — but then, I like to see a good auto accident, too. That doesn’t mean I actually seek to bring either about.

  2. Dan Crowther on October 10, 2012, 3:53 pm

    Goldberg’s just doing his part to make sure if any “surprises” happen, and it’s “true” that the Iranians do have a weapons program, Barry is all systems go.

  3. ColinWright on October 10, 2012, 3:57 pm

    In connection with all this, notice this recent statement from Khameini:

    “The West is lying when it claims that harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iran will be lifted if the Islamic Republic halts its nuclear progress, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday…”

    That has a couple of possible implications.

    The first is that most Iranians would be willing to abandon the nuclear program if sanctions were to be lifted in exchange; Khamenei did not say, ‘we’re going to to press on regardless of the sanctions.’ He denied that there was a connection. Rather clearly, he doesn’t have much faith in Iranians being willing to go through blood, sweat, and tears to get that bomb.

    The second is that the remark can be read as a veiled offer. ‘You assure us that sanctions are in fact going to be lifted, and we will in fact stop pursuing an atomic bomb.’

    Most relevantly, though, notice also that Khameini’s statement appears as soon as the blizzard of threats lets up.

    By and large, there are those who actually want to make sure Iran doesn’t develop an atomic bomb. Those are the ones who seek to impose effective sanctions.

    Then there are the ones who just want a war. Those are the ones who call for military action.

    • peeesss on October 11, 2012, 2:58 am

      Colin, You are greatly mistaken in interpreting Khamenei’s statement saying that the west{US] is lying when they say sanctions will be lifted when we “stop pursuing an atomic bomb”. Khamenei has said repeatedly that Iran will never pursue a nuclear weapons program. He has issued a Fatwa against having nuclear weapons. He is referring to Iran’s civilian nuclear program , in particular ,the enrichment phase which is absolutely allowed under the NPT. He is saying the US is lying about lifting sanctions even if Iran stops its , legal ,enrichment of uranium. Iran does not have a nuclear “weapons” program It is not attempting to make an “atomic bomb.”

      • ColinWright on October 11, 2012, 5:28 am

        peeesss: ” Iran does not have a nuclear “weapons” program It is not attempting to make an “atomic bomb.””

        I’m fully aware that is Iran’s position. I’m inclined to doubt it.

        If I were in their shoes, I would try to make an atomic bomb myself. I’d also deny I was doing any such thing.

      • peeesss on October 12, 2012, 2:38 am

        Colin. “I’m fully aware that is Iran’s position. I’m inclined to doubt it.” That is not only Iran’s position . It is the position of the US National Intelligence Agency’, the Highest Intelligence grouping of the US govt. It is the opinion of Israel’s military and Intelligence chiefs past and present. And the Fatwa , repeated over the last 7-8 years by Khamenie , against the acquisition of Nuclear , chemical and biological weapons is a religious order coming from the Highest Iman, Religious leader in Iran, binding on his people and Govt. BTW, the IAEA has stated repeatedly that they have found “no evidence” of any diversion of nuclear material into a weapons program. This is all lost when we are under the US/Israel/Western/ governments . and media constantly speaking of Iran’s “Nuclear weapon program”, ” Atomic bombs” etc. Iran’ leaders are quite rational. The know that acquiring a nuclear weapon would bring devastation to their country.

      • eljay on October 11, 2012, 8:45 am

        >> He is saying the US is lying about lifting sanctions even if Iran stops its , legal ,enrichment of uranium.

        And he’s right. Iran is in the same “no win” situation Iraq was in a decade ago:
        >> “Saddam Hussein does not exactly have a track record of telling the world the truth. So he, on December 8th, has to indicate whether or not he has weapons. … If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.”

        If Iran says they have no nukes, clearly they have nukes!

  4. braciole on October 10, 2012, 3:58 pm

    Could someone please enlighten me. Is there any difference between Jeffrey Goldberg and Julius Streicher except perhaps one of degree?

    • Citizen on October 10, 2012, 6:15 pm

      @ braciole
      Yes, Streicher, a high state official, was hung at Nuremberg for using his governmentally-approved free speech rights.

    • Woody Tanaka on October 10, 2012, 7:22 pm

      “Is there any difference between Jeffrey Goldberg and Julius Streicher except perhaps one of degree?”

      Yes. Goldberg is a better writer.

  5. Krauss on October 10, 2012, 4:03 pm

    Im the last person to defend Goldberg, I view him as thinly-disguised advocate on behalf of Israel(and apparently I am not alone in that view) – but this is a very weak argument.

    So because a dictatorship says something we’re supposed to believe them?

    Iran is very likely building capability for nuclear weapons and will very probably get several ones too in due time.
    The reason for this is purely strategic. They want more influence and do not want Israel as the sole nuclear state.

    Israel, rationally, does not want its hegemony disrupted in the nuclear sphere in the region.
    This is a powerplay between two powerful countries – it has nothing to do with morality.

    The problem is when America is supposed to fight Israel’s wars because it wants to expand (or keep) its power. That is where Goldberg usually comes in to the rescue with his deeply partisan, lobbying efforts. The costs of these wars are burdened by America’s youth – and not by comfortable lobbyists like him – and that is why I despise him.

    But to suggest that Iran isn’t building nukes just because they say so in PR messages?

    Iran will get nukes, and nothing much will happen other than that Israel will be less thuggish in the region.

    • David Nelson on October 10, 2012, 6:25 pm

      You think a fatwa is the same thing as a PR message?

      I have lurked for quite a while and seen you write some pretty smart things, this not being one of them.

      You start from a prejudiced point of view if you think Iran’s principled stand against nuclear weapons is a propaganda ruse. Iran has suffered greatly for its principles over the last 30 years, if they were inclined to acting against those principles don’t you think they might tried to negotiate a better security environment?

      Basically Krauss, your argument is that we cannot believe Iran because we can’t. And you call Nima’s argument weak? Puh-leeze.

      • FreddyV on October 11, 2012, 10:24 am

        @ David Nelson:

        I’m no scholar of Islam, but when the supreme religious leader uses fatwas and terminology like ‘haram’, ‘grave sin’, ‘forbidden’ and ‘inhuman’, I think we can safely say Iran does not have and will never have nuclear weapons under the current regime. If he was fibbing, wouldn’t that be like the Ayatollah lying under oath or using the Lord’s name in vain or something?

        If any students of Islam could clarify on this, I think it would put the matter of whether Iran is lying or not to bed once and for all.

      • ColinWright on October 12, 2012, 5:32 am

        FreddyV says: “I’m no scholar of Islam, but when the supreme religious leader uses fatwas and terminology like ‘haram’, ‘grave sin’, ‘forbidden’ and ‘inhuman’, I think we can safely say Iran does not have and will never have nuclear weapons under the current regime. If he was fibbing, wouldn’t that be like the Ayatollah lying under oath or using the Lord’s name in vain or something? …”

        Touching. You seem to think there is a positive correlation between religious fervor and honesty.

        Usually, I’ll throw in a good word for religious fanatics of almost any flavor — but let’s not kid ourselves.

        When it comes to lying, their track record must be at least as dismal as everyone else’s.

    • sciri21 on October 10, 2012, 9:27 pm

      I don’t think he’s arguing that Iranian leaders’ statements should be accepted as true. He’s just pointing out the double standards and anti-Iran biases of Goldberg and other commentators.

    • anonymouscomments on October 10, 2012, 11:50 pm

      why don’t you re-read the NIEs, if you ever read them.

      no my friend, not all countries seek weapons of mass destruction, ESPECIALLY when the world’s superpower and other powerful entities might very well destroy that regime should it be found to come close to such weapons. further, it seems israelis and americans are PROJECTING their previous political and military paradigms onto iran, when this is false, and unsupported by any evidence. BTW how many wars of aggression has iran started, in its recent history? how many have the US and israel? clearly, we are not dealing with an identical entity.

      nuclear weapons are sought quite often as a deterrent. when the seeking of such actually invites possible destruction? the strategy is turned on its head, and regardless of the opaque “true” nature of the iranian regime… they would most likely not seek the bomb… given the inherent risks, for an unsure reward. further we have the fact that their conventional and asymmetrical response abilities already serve as a reasonably strong deterrent from direct attack.

      what exactly would iran achieve from getting the bomb, while taking immense risk?

  6. ColinWright on October 10, 2012, 4:14 pm

    “…General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff: “We are of the opinion that the Iranian regime is a rational actor. They act and behave as a rational nation-state.”…”

    I guess it would be tactless to ask him if he feels the same applies to Israel.

    • piotr on October 11, 2012, 7:46 pm

      Israel is definitely rational in some sense. It does what it can get away with, which is a lot. Like it can get away with the blather that some “regimes” are irrational.

  7. wondering jew on October 10, 2012, 5:36 pm

    Nima Shirazi- Are you serious? Goldberg takes Obama at his word and not Khameini and Ahmadinejad at their word and therefore he is inconsistent?! Maybe you’re saying he’s a racist?

    I am not so sure that Obama’s word is as good as gold. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are the ones whose word I would believe and I don’t know what they’re thinking. but as far as the leaders of Iran: Ahmadinejad is spoken on, a Holocaust denier, a trouble maker, someone who insists there are no gays in Iran. You can believe him if you want. Khameini is part of the revolution which devoured its children, an imam, an unelected power behind the throne. Obama is a politician a lawyer a product of a free society, a democrat. I think those are reasons enough to trust Obama and not Khameini.

    • talknic on October 10, 2012, 9:47 pm

      yonah fredman … cleverly repeats the usual already easily disproven bullsh*te, vainly hoping for some traction.

      There are only conspiracy theories and unproven accusations about an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons plan. Accusations are not evidence. Thus far there is no evidence. There is plenty of evidence however, via electrical engineering contracts and tenders for electricity transmission infrastructure between Iran and many of its neighbours, none of which is conspiracy theory.

      Folk can go read the actual IAEA reports, none of which is conspiracy theory, instead of relying on the inane cherry pickings, childish drawings and silly conspiracy theories offered by propagandists for US and Israeli hegemony. Much the same bull sh*te artists who promoted the stupid conspiracy theory about WMDs in Iraq … result? NOTHING! Just hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, thousands of maimed and dead US grunts, trillions of dollars wasted and more well deserved anti Western sentiment.

      “Goldberg takes Obama at his word and not Khameini and Ahmadinejad at their word and therefore he is inconsistent?! “

      Nice try, but not what was written. // Goldberg… As far back as 2006, he insisted, “It’s time we took their views seriously.”// Alas, he hasn’t taken their views on Nuclear Weapons at all. Therefore he is inconsistent.

      Your un-related cherry pickings are typical p*ss poor propaganda. If Ahmadinejad did deny the Holocaust (he hasn’t), it’s irrelevant to the Iranian policy on Nuclear Weapons. If Ahmadinejad did deny there were gays in Iran (he didn’t), it’s also irrelevant to the Iranian policy on Nuclear Weapons.

      ” .. a Holocaust denier” Odd. He asked why, if it happened in Europe, the Palestinians should pay a price. He has also asked why it cannot be investigated like any historical event. He has said it has been promoted to a mythical status above God. Where, although one can question the existence of God, one cannot question the details of the Holocaust. None of which are denial of the Holocaust except in the twisted words of propagandistas for a Greater Israel and US hegemony

      “..a trouble maker” How?

      ” someone who insists there are no gays in Iran” …. “like here”

      • Cliff on October 10, 2012, 11:07 pm

        While the points you bring up are persuasive talknic, didn’t Ahmedinejad also agree with/help organize (varying levels if involvement but I am pretty sure he was for it) the Holocaust revisionist + denial conference?

        I recall Finkelstein being interviewed on PressTV along with a British or some other European denier. Finkelstein was obviously arguing against the conference since it lacked legitimacy (and is really just political provocation) and the other person was for it.

        Neutari Kerai (sp) was also there at one time, and I recall a spokesman for the group stating that he spoke Ahmedinejad and said that the conference and the ideas espoused there were very wrong and harmful to Jewish-Iranian relations or something. Basically, the NK guy was trying to be a peacekeeper and I think he may have picked up on the ‘provocative’ nature of the event and went right to the point.

      • wondering jew on October 11, 2012, 5:30 pm

        talknic- read juan cole on ahmedinejad and his holocaust denial. You are whitewashing ahmedinejad on this.

      • talknic on October 11, 2012, 6:56 pm

        yonah fredman.

        Julian Cole. //” I profoundly disagree with his characterization of Israel, which is a legitimate United Nations member state, and find his Holocaust denial monstrous. “// Unsupported allegation.

        The relationship of the Holocaust to Palestine is a lie. The Zionist Federation planned the colonization of Palestine long before the Holocaust which has no bearing on the extent of Israeli sovereignty, was not committed by the Palestinians or ANYONE who represented them at the time and is irrelevant to Israel’s ongoing breaches of International Law and the UN Charter

        The Holocaust has been promoted to mythical proportions above God, whose existence we can question.

      • mijj on October 11, 2012, 8:03 pm

        … on the other hand, the ridiculous Holocaust as Sacred Religious Event nonsense needs to be pricked. It has to start somewhere, somehow.

        If nothing else Holocaust as Sacred Religious Event is as insulting to the *actual* event as outright denial. Denying questioning of the details of the holocaust is a form of holocaust denial – ie. denial of the *actual* holocaust by denying examination.

        Events like the mass organized killings in europe and the forced mass starvation of indans in the middle of last century need to be examined with an interest in evidence and context – not as the basis of myth building for propaganda purposes. (Lord knows we’re sick and tired of India endlessly guilting us about how 6 million died of forced starvation and excusing them of atrocious behavior because of it … oh wait! … they don’t. Why is that?)

      • anonymouscomments on October 11, 2012, 8:54 pm

        i read juan cole… in fact i got to hear how naive and/or self-censored he really was last week on kevin barrett’s radio show. it was dismal, but then again, my opinions are not represented in the MSM.

        ahmadinejad really did seem to deny having gays at columbia or in some speech. it was just laughable and disgusting at the same time, but not as fatal as the lies from western leaders and israel (or their *wars* and *actions*).

        regarding the holocaust? i’ve seen ahmadinejad make some dicey comments, but he seems more open to the concept of revisionism, likely for populist and political reasons, that are somewhat immaterial. of course, this topic draws in a huge swatch of anti-semites, crackpots, and absurdist “theories”.

        however, the holocaust happened (my father’s family survivors), and not only was it politicized, but after all the allied war crimes, there was a CLEAR drive further demonize and lay it on as thick as possible on the germans. what resulted from this common post war propagandization and twisting of reality? things got mythologized, and numbers were inflated to some degree. in the decades since WWII, the activities at some of the camps, and the numbers dead at camps, have actually been modified.

        in the west we cannot talk rationally about WWII, which is constricting (sometimes legally out of bounds, despite our “freedom” of speech and thought). iran hosts honest fact based debate, but also anti-semites and hack historians. i consider both paradigms intellectually distasteful, perhaps equally so.

        but then again, why do some fringe and absurd opinions matter so much, coming from a lame duck elected president of iran? they probably do not… and we are distracted from the real EVIDENCE-

        iranian actions and threats (or lack of them), NIEs, IAEA reports, and the many comments from various iranian leaders about their *geopolitical* positions.

  8. Citizen on October 10, 2012, 6:21 pm

    So how many times has Iran instigated war on another country in the last few centuries? And who overthew the Shah and supported the mad man of Iraq’s war on Iran for 8 years, the war where so many Iranian teenagers died from poison gas it made Madeleine Albright’s heart leap with joy?

    Obama squeezed the Iranian people some more last August:

    Imagine if BDS had this US-enabled power. Israel would already be a different state a la the apartheid S African regime change.

  9. ColinWright on October 10, 2012, 7:29 pm

    yonah fredman says: ” Obama is a politician a lawyer…I think those are reasons enough to trust Obama “

    Non-sequitur, don’t you think?

  10. joemowrey on October 10, 2012, 7:40 pm

    “Obama is a politician a lawyer a product of a free society, a democrat. I think those are reasons enough to trust Obama…”

    Wow. The list of lies Obama has told since his arrival on the political scene is too long to reproduce here. For just one choice example, remember when Senator Obama promised to personally filibuster any bill which included amnesty for the telecoms for assisting our government in spying on us? You know, the bill he later voted for and helped shepherd through the Senate? Being a politician and a lawyer are reasons enough to distrust anyone in my opinion.

    And as for our “free society,” what country have you been living in? Our President (whoever that may be in the future) now has the right to imprison you indefinitely without charge or trial. He can assassinate you too, just because your name is “on a list.” And in case you havent noticed, ain’t nothing “free” in our public arena. It’s going to cost about a billion dollars for the keys to the White House. And neither Romney nor Obama will hold those keys. That privilege is reserved for the power elite who buy one or the other of them and pay them to represent the interests of corporate Amerika.

    How many countries has Iran invaded, bombed preemptively, overthrown through covert operations, destroyed with economic sanctions, targeted with drone aircraft, etc. in the last 200 years? I’m thinking Zero! As for that same question about the U.S., again the list is too long to reproduce here. So who is it you’re giving your trust to?

    We’ll have a free society when we free our minds from the myth of U.S. (and Israeli) exceptionalism.

    • piotr on October 11, 2012, 7:54 pm

      The addiction to lies is one of the issues of a free society.

      Concerning Holocaust, our State Department has “no opinion” while Ahmedinejad offered words of deep sympathy while speaking to the Parliament of the affected nation (Armenia). Nobody is perfect.

  11. NickJOCW on October 11, 2012, 9:07 am

    I am going to do everything in my power to stop Ahmadinejad being buried on the moon, even if it means bombing the mausoleum manufactories and marble quarries.

  12. Kathleen on October 11, 2012, 9:40 am

    Nima this is the best. “Using the Goldberg format and culling statements from the past two decades, here goes” And away you go. So logical, so practical, so spot on. Thank you

    Of course we never hear any one in the I lobby, or our MSM mention these consistent statements.

  13. DICKERSON3870 on October 11, 2012, 1:31 pm

    RE: “It is clear that for Jeffrey Goldberg, along with a large majority of the mainstream press, the record is only the record if it conforms to and reinforces predetermined assumptions and a political agenda.” ~ Nima Shirazi

    MY COMMENT: Dare I say that this is the mainstream press’ way of “Manufacturing Consent”?

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media]:

    [EXCERPTS] “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, is an analysis of the news media, arguing that the mass media of the United States “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion”.*[1] . . .

    Editorial bias: five filters

    Herman and Chomsky’s “propaganda model” describes five editorially distorting filters applied to news reporting in mass media:
    Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation: The dominant mass-media outlets are large firms which are run for profit. Therefore they must cater to the financial interest of their owners – often corporations or particular controlling investors. The size of the firms is a necessary consequence of the capital requirements for the technology to reach a mass audience.
    The Advertising License to Do Business: Since the majority of the revenue of major media outlets derives from advertising (not from sales or subscriptions), advertisers have acquired a “de-facto licensing authority”.[4] Media outlets are not commercially viable without the support of advertisers. News media must therefore cater to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers. This has weakened the working-class press, for example, and also helps explain the attrition in the number of newspapers.
    Sourcing Mass Media News: Herman and Chomsky argue that “the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access [to the news], by their contribution to reducing the media’s costs of acquiring […] and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become ‘routine’ news sources and have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers.”[5]
    Flak and the Enforcers: “Flak” refers to negative responses to a media statement or program (e.g. letters, complaints, lawsuits, or legislative actions). Flak can be expensive to the media, either due to loss of advertising revenue, or due to the costs of legal defense or defense of the media outlet’s public image. Flak can be organized by powerful, private influence groups (e.g. think tanks). The prospect of eliciting flak can be a deterrent to the reporting of certain kinds of facts or opinions.[5]
    Anti-Communism: This was included as a filter in the original 1988 edition of the book, but Chomsky argues that since the end of the Cold War (1945–91), anticommunism was replaced by the “War on Terror”, as the major social control mechanism.[6][7] . . .

    SOURCE –


    • DICKERSON3870 on October 11, 2012, 1:54 pm

      RE: “• The Advertising License to Do Business: Since the
      majority of the revenue of major media outlets derives from advertising (not from sales or subscriptions), advertisers have acquired a ‘de-facto licensing authority’.[4]” ~ from the Wikipedia article “Manufacturing Consent. . .”

      FOR NICE EXAMPLE (of “de-facto licensing authority”), SEE:
      “Katharine Weymouth Steps in It Again”, By Jack Shafer, Slate, 09/15/09 ~ A Washington Post piece gets spiked after its publisher expresses a preference for happier stories.

      [EXCERPTS] . . . Earlier this summer, Weymouth got in Dutch when a ‘Post’ plan to sell off-the-record access to reporters and government officials at “salons” at Weymouth’s home was made public by ‘Politico’. Weymouth and ‘Post’ Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli quickly canceled the events after much confusion over whether the paper had put its soul up for sale or whether miscommunication on the part of the management team was to blame.
      In the latest Weymouth miscue, she appears to have told freelancer Matt Mendelsohn, a friend of hers, that advertisers desired “happier stories, not ‘depressing’ ones” like the one he had been working on about a young woman whose arms and legs were amputated. His piece was ultimately killed by the Post’s Sunday magazine. The editor who killed it, Sydney Trent, told the Post‘s Howard Kurtz that the spike had been delivered “because it was clear the newspaper wanted to move in a different direction. That handwriting was very clearly on the wall.”
      Mendelsohn doesn’t blame Weymouth directly. . .
      . . . The controversy has both Weymouth and Brauchli standing on their chairs insisting that the church-state boundary at the paper was never, ever breached. Brauchli tells the ‘Post’, “We are not driven by what one of our business-side colleagues, or even our publisher, thinks about a piece. We follow a journalistic compass.” From Weymouth: “I would never interfere in an editorial decision and I had no intention of interfering.”
      Can you believe for a moment that Katharine Weymouth’s ideas don’t drive what the ‘Post’ prints? Or, to put a finer point on it, that her ideas shouldn’t drive what the Post prints? Weymouth is the one in charge. . .


    • DICKERSON3870 on October 12, 2012, 11:03 am

      P.P.S. RE: “• Flak and the Enforcers: ‘Flak’ refers to negative responses to a media statement or program (e.g. letters, complaints, lawsuits, or legislative actions). . . Flak can be organized by powerful, private influence groups (e.g. think tanks). The prospect of eliciting flak can be a deterrent to the reporting of certain kinds of facts or opinions.[5] ~ from the Wikipedia article “Manufacturing Consent. . .”

      FOR AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE (of “Flak and the Enforcers”), SEE:
      “Why the U.S. Media Barely Covered Brutal Right-Wing Race Riots in Tel Aviv”, By Joshua Holland, AlterNet, 6/17/12

      (excerpts) Several weeks back, Israel was rocked by a night of right-wing race-riots targeting African refugees in Tel Aviv. The thuggery was frightening – refugees were attacked, African-owned businesses and stores were vandalized . . .
      . . . The story received very little coverage in the United States. . .
      . . . Recently, Middle East analyst MJ Rosenberg appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour to discuss the Tel Aviv riots, the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program and how the Israel lobby helps narrow the discourse around Israel in the United States. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole interview here.)
      • JOSHUA HOLLAND: From your inside perspective on that organization [AIPAC], what did you see as far as their tendency to call out criticism that they think is illegitimate or beyond the pale?
      • MJ ROSENBERG: They [AIPAC] consider all criticism of Israel illegitimate. It’s all beyond the pale. I suppose their definition would be if by some miracle someone like Joseph Lieberman made a statement critical of Israel it would be legitimate. When I worked there in the ’80s, back before everyone had computers, they had a big war room where all they did was assemble every bit of data on members of Congress, on candidates, but also on writers, celebrities – anyone in the public eye.
      In those days they would just put them in these folders. They always had at hand all this negative information — what they considered negative information — to tar people as being anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic. That stuff would be given to reporters if something came up. They were either initiated on their own to give to reporters or some reporter called them because they had a treasure trove of information.
      They still operate that way. In those days they did it directly; now they have former staffers and people who are close to the organization in the blogging world and political world who do it for them. They do it so much. When you read that someone is anti-Israel they’re the ones putting it out there. They’ve got the data. . .
      • JOSHUA HOLLAND: . . . Speaking of our discourse, I want to talk about an issue that came up recently that’s gotten very little coverage in the United States. There were a series of violent race riots by right-wing Israelis against African immigrants in Tel Aviv. This was a big deal. I was looking at the US coverage and it was amazing at how little attention these riots received. . .
      • MJ ROSENBERG: . . . This is a common thing. When there are bad things going on inside Israel — the way they treat the Palestinians and in this case the way they’re treating these poor African refugees from loathsome regimes who wind up in Israel — these stories are … I don’t want to say suppressed in the United States, but it’s striking how much coverage they get in Israel itself and how a paper like the New York Times is too scared to touch it.
      I have to say they’re afraid to touch it. The reason is when an American outlet talks about Israel in any way that’s negative, or reports on anything negative about Israel, they will be inundated with complaints from powerful people who will tell them, “why are you picking on Israel?” They always say, “why is it that China is doing all these things and you’re not writing about that?” Of course, they do. You even see it in the blogosphere too, the intimidation. If you aren’t utterly secure in your position in the media then you don’t mess with Israel. More to the point, you don’t mess with the people here who are Israel’s enforcers. . .


    • DICKERSON3870 on October 12, 2012, 11:42 pm

      RE: “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass
      (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, is an analysis of the news media, arguing that the mass media of the United States “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion”.[1] . . .” ~ Wikipedia

      Panama Deception (The Panama Deception: Exposing the Cover Up!) 1992, NR, 91 minutes
      Filmmakers Barbara Trent and David Kasper explain the untold truths behind the United States’ 1989 invasion of Panama in this hard-hitting documentary that illuminates the complex relationship between Gen. Manuel Noriega and the U.S. government. Juxtaposing interviews with experts and eyewitnesses with historical media reports, the film shows how the press helped win the American public’s approval despite widespread condemnation abroad. [THIS FILM WON THE OSCAR IN 1993 FOR THE CATEGORY “BEST DOCUMENTARY, FEATURES”.]
      Cast: Elizabeth Montgomery, Lou Diamond Phillips, Abraham Alvarez, Alma Martínez, Carlos Cantú, Robert Knight, Diviana Ingravallo, Ramsey Clark
      Netflix format: DVD and streaming
      • Netflix listing –
      • Internet Movie Database –
      The Panama Deception – TRAILER [VIDEO, 03:37] –
      • ENTIRE FILM ON YouTube: The Panama Deception [VIDEO, 1:31:17] –

      • DICKERSON3870 on October 13, 2012, 3:06 am

        RE: “Panama Deception (The Panama Deception: Exposing the Cover Up!) 1992″

        AN EARLY AUTUMN EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE (EXTENDED PLAY EDITION), brought to you by the makers of new Ziocaine Xtreme®: It’s guaran-damn-teed to knock you effing senseless!

        . . . I’m not gonna shut my eyes
        I’ve already seen the lies
        On the faces of the men of war
        Leading people to the killing floor
        Till I go down
        Till I go down
        Till I go down
        I’m not gonna shut my eyes
        No no

        Till I go down
        Till the world stops spinning around
        Till I’m six feet under the ground
        Till there’s no sound
        Till there’s no pain
        I’m gonna swing this chain
        Till I go down

        I’m not gonna shut my mouth
        I’m for the truth to come out
        About the leader with the iron will
        And his allegiance to the dollar bill . . .

        • Jackson Browne – Till I Go Down (1986) [VIDEO, 04:46] –

        • Jackson Browne – Lives in the Balance (Full Album*) [VIDEO, 39:18] –

      • DICKERSON3870 on October 13, 2012, 3:40 am

        NICE VIDEO: Jackson Browne Lives In the Balance [VIDEO, 03:37] –

        • Jackson Browne – Black and White (Live 1986) [VIDEO, 04:29] –

        Long before you ever saw your chances
        You were going to burn this city down
        Tired of the fashions and the dances
        Tired of the people standing around
        Ticking like a bomb in the night
        And you knew you were right
        Black and white *

        Blame it on the time it took to leave here
        Blame it on the ones who slowed you down
        Blame it on the kind of friends you knew here
        Blame it on the sickness going ’round . . .

        * “And you knew you were right, Black and white” ~ Jackson Brown, 1986
        “I said either you’re with us or you’re against us. I meant
        ~ George W. Bush, 2002

      • DICKERSON3870 on October 13, 2012, 4:24 am

        RE: “And you knew you were right, Black and white” ~ Jackson Brown, 1986
        & “I said either you’re with us or you’re against us. I meant that.” ~ George W. Bush, 2002

        FROM ‘EDUCATION.COM’ [Logical Fallacies Help]:

        Introduction to Logical Fallacies

        “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”—Albert Einstein, German theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1879–1955)

        Lesson Summary
        Some forms of logical fallacies are tougher to recognize than others because they seem logical. This lesson will help you spot several common fallacies, including circular reasoning and two wrongs make a right.
        “Either you’re with us or you’re against us. Which is it?” Have you ever been put on the spot like this before, where you were forced to decide between two contradictory options? Chances are you have. But chances are you also had more choices than you thought.
        Logical fallacies come in many forms. The last lesson covered the false reasoning that appeals to your emotions rather than to your sense of logic. This lesson will examine four logical fallacies that are sometimes a little harder to detect because they don’t appeal to your emotions. As a result, they may seem logical even though they aren’t. These types of fallacies are called impostors. Four types will be covered in this lesson, including no inbetweens, slippery slope, circular reasoning, and two wrongs make a right.

        No In-Betweens
        No in-betweens (also called false dilemma) is a logical fallacy that aims to convince you that there are only two choices: X and Y, and nothing in between. The “logic” behind this fallacy is that if you think there are only two choices, then you won’t stop to consider other possibilities. The arguer hopes that you will therefore be more likely to accept his or her conclusion.
        For example, imagine that a husband and wife are planning a vacation to Hawaii. The husband says to his wife, “Either we stay for a whole week or we don’t go at all.” He gives no good reason for the seven-day minimum he is imposing, and it’s obvious that he’s using the no in-betweens tactic. By presenting his wife with only these two extremes, he forces her into the decision he wants. How could someone say no to a week in Hawaii when the alternative is no time at all in Hawaii?
        It is important to remember that there are very few situations in which there are only two options. There are almost always other choices.

        · Tip
        Have you ever heard someone accuse another person of only seeing “in black and white”? That usually refers to someone who sees things in extremes with no “gray” areas in between. As you’re finding out, however, there are a lot of “gray” areas in every issue and it’s essential that you keep those in mind.

        Slippery Slope
        If scientists are allowed to experiment with cloning humans, next thing you know, they’ll be mass producing people on assembly lines. . .


    • DICKERSON3870 on October 13, 2012, 12:24 am

      P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Martha Raddatz and the Faux Objectivity of Journalists”, By Glenn Greenwald,, 10/12/12
      Establishment journalists are creatures of a highly ideological world and often cause ideology to masquerade as neutral fact.

      [EXCERPTS] . . . The highly questionable assumptions tacitly embedded in the questions Raddatz asked illustrate how this works, as does the questions she pointedly and predictably did not ask. Let’s begin with Iran, where Raddatz posed a series of questions and made numerous observations that she undoubtedly believes are factual but which are laden with all sorts of ideological assumptions. First there is this:

      RADDATZ: Let’s move to Iran. I’d actually like to move to Iran, because there’s really no bigger national security…
      • RYAN: Absolutely.
      RADDATZ: … this country is facing.

      Ryan’s interruption made it difficult to hear whether Raddatz said that there is “no bigger national security threat the country is facing” or “national security issue”. Either way, the very idea that Iran poses some kind of major “national security” crisis for the US – let alone that there is “really no bigger national security” issue “this country is facing” – is absurd. At the very least, it’s highly debatable. . .
      . . . That Iran is some major national security issue for the US is a concoction of the bipartisan DC class that always needs a scary foreign enemy. The claim is frequently debunked in multiple venues. But because both political parties embrace this highly ideological claim, Raddatz does, too. Indeed, one of the most strictly enforced taboos in establishment journalism is the prohibition on aggressively challenging those views that are shared by the two parties. Doing that makes one fringe, unserious and radical: the opposite of solemn objectivity. . .
      . . . Exactly the same is true of Raddatz’s statements and questions about America’s entitlement programs. Here is the “question” she asked to launch the discussion:

      “Let’s talk about Medicare and entitlements. Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process.”

      “Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive?”

      That Social Security is “going broke” – a core premise of her question – is, to put it as generously as possible, a claim that is dubious in the extreme. “Factually false” is more apt. This claim lies at the heart of the right-wing and neo-liberal quest to slash entitlement benefits for ordinary Americans – Ryan predictably responded by saying: “Absolutely. Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.” – but the claim is baseless. . .
      . . . That Medicare is “going broke” is as dubious and controversial a claim as the one about Social Security. Numerous economists and fact-checking journalists have documented quite clearly why this claim is misleading in the extreme.
      Yet this claim has also become DC orthodoxy. That is because, as the economist Dean Baker has explained, “Social Security and Medicare are hugely important for the security of the non-rich population of the United States,” and “for this reason” many Washington media outlets and think tanks “hate them”.
      Nonetheless, Raddatz announced this assertion as fact. That’s because she’s long embedded in the DC culture that equates its own ideological desires with neutral facts. As a result, the entire discussion on entitlement programs proceeded within this narrow, highly ideological, dubious framework. . .


  14. lareineblanche on October 11, 2012, 6:43 pm

    To put it simply, Goldberg is nothing but a propagandist.

    Well, as a member of the US foreign policy journalistic elite, he is almost by definition a propagandist, isn’t he?

    I’m curious if anyone has said that there is irrefutable proof that there was a nuclear weapons program before 2003 (to deter Iraq).

    Robert Kelley, for example, whose opinion is not to be dismissed lightly, has said that such a program did exist – and Jeffrey Lewis, in this article at RP speaks of a second, covert program run by Fakhrizadeh (PHRC), which was later rebranded and transformed:

    Nowhere have I seen or heard anybody say unequivocally and with certainty that there was proof of one though. Anyone?

  15. MRW on October 11, 2012, 7:31 pm

    Why does anyone give Jeffrey Goldberg inches in print except for derision?

    Goldberg’s a warmonger and liar, tasked with fomenting war for foreign concerns that if unleashed globally would reach these shores, both west and east.

    I don’t understand the blithe intellectual acceptance of this man. He is odious. And so are the morals of those who give him truck. The Atlantic should be ashamed of itself, especially when they allow him to destroy American-centric voices he alone considers anti-semitic.

  16. clubroma on October 12, 2012, 6:37 am

    I am against nuclear weapons of any kind, but could someone please explain why Isreal is allowed to have nuclear weapons but Iran can’t.? Isn’t this all about Isreal maintaining military dominance in the Middle-East?

  17. on October 20, 2012, 8:55 pm

    well, it’s pretty easy to discount the years of constant repetition of deceptive statements from Iran concerning its nuclear activities and weapons program, so don’t be too tough on Jeffrey for doing what most reasonable observers do.

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