The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I'd really like to find the piece I read earlier this week about the story of Iranian threats against an American warship that just didn't add up. It also mentioned one GOP presidential hopeful who said he thought the incident was being blown out of proportion, and people were oh, being a bit premature in talking about war. The other hopefuls immediately recognized this level-headed piece of analysis for what it really was: the perfect opportunity to act like complete shitheads. "I would've bombed 'em." "Well I would've invaded." Oh, yeah? Well I would've glassed the hemisphere!" Which is roughly the Republican equivalent of choosing your street gang's leader by picking the one who screams loudest and jumps on the highest piece of furniture when a mouse walks in the room.

At any rate, the story of provocative, aggressive action on the part of the Iranians doesn't hold water-- and this account has the usual hallmarks of the same White House spin ladled to the same press stenographers.

Gareth Porter, a journalist who previously broke a story regarding a secret Iranian peace overture to the Bush Administration in 2006, writing for the Asia Times states that the event was hyped up into a major incident after the original press release described the event as somewhat routine and did not refer to any threat to "explode" US ships or any similar confrontation. . . .

The fact that several mainstream reports then emerged at the same time all carrying almost identical accounts of the incident, including the details of threats to explode vessels and dropping white boxes, can be traced back to a press briefing by a top Pentagon official in charge of media relations, Porter divulges.

He identifies Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman's off the record comments to journalists as the catalyst for the ensuing pandemonium. Porter states that Whitman hadn't wished to be identified as the source:

In an apparent slip-up, however, an Associated Press story that morning cited Whitman as the source for the statement that US ships were about to fire when the Iranian boats turned and moved away - a part of the story that other correspondents had attributed to an unnamed Pentagon official.

Three days later, at the height of the hype, the Pentagon released a video of the incident into which had been inserted audio of a strange voice threatening to "explode" the US vessel.

Special thanks for the link go out to fruitylips-- thunderlips. I meant thunderlips. I did.