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Old 01-14-2008, 10:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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a ham radio operator and the us-iran antagonism

last week there was another short round of bellicose talk between the bush administration and iran--the immediate cause was a potentially quite explosive naval confrontation in the persian gulf.

today this article appeared in the guardian.
it is quite strange:

Quote:
Mischievous 'Filipino Monkey' could have triggered latest US-Iran row


Matthew Weaver
Monday January 14, 2008
Guardian Unlimited


Image released by the US Navy purportedly showing an Iranian vessel racing near the wake of the USS Hopper in the Persian Gulf. Photograph: AP


A heckling radio ham known as the Filipino Monkey, who has spent years pestering ships in the Persian Gulf, is being blamed today for sparking a major diplomatic row after American warships almost attacked Iranian patrol boats.

The US navy came within seconds of firing at the Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz on January 6 after hearing threats that the boats were attacking and were about to explode.

Senior navy officials have admitted that the source of the threats, picked up in international waters, was a mystery.


And now the US navy's journal, Navy Times, has claimed that the threats, which were broadcast last week by the Pentagon, are thought to have come from an infamous radio prankster.

It said the Filipino Monkey, who could be more than one person, listens to ship-to-ship radio traffic and then interrupts, usually with abusive insults.

Rick Hoffman, a retired captain, told the paper: "For 25 years, there's been this mythical guy out there who, hour after hour, shouts obscenities and threats. He used to go all night long. The guy is crazy.

"Could it have been a spurious transmission? Absolutely."

An unnamed civilian mariner told the Navy Times: "They come on and say Filipino Monkey in a strange voice. You're standing watch on bridge and all of a sudden it comes over the radio. It's been a joke out there for years."

Last week, the Iranians and the US issued different video versions of what took place.

On the Pentagon's version, a strange voice, in English, can be heard saying "I am coming to you. You will explode in a few minutes." The voice sounds different from one heard earlier in the recording and there is no background noise that would usually be picked up from a speedboat radio.

In the Iranian version, there is no hint of aggressive behaviour.

The Pentagon said it recorded the film and the sound separately and then edited them together to give a "better idea of what is happening".

But Commander Lydia Robertson, a navy spokeswoman, admitted: "We don't know for sure where they [the threats] came from. It could have been a shore station."

The US lodged a formal complaint with Iran over the incident, and the president, George Bush, warned Tehran of "serious consequences" unless it stopped such aggression.

During the 20-minute incident, five Iranian patrol boats swarmed around three US warships and came within 200 metres, puttingthe ships on alert.

The US navy said its gunners came within seconds of firing on the speedboats.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,2240533,00.html

this is very odd--and it could have been a disastrous turn of events.

at one level, this demonstrates something obvious: chaos and arbitrariness continue to disrupt communications systems despite the illusion of transparency and control that displays provide for users.

but it's also an indicator of the dangers of adopting a bellicose posture and translating that into assumptions about what iran is doing.

what do you make of this?

i haven't seen anything about it in the american press as yet.
which is also curious.
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Very interesting. I could see this kind of destablizing tactic being attractive to countless governments, movements, etc. Much like internet terrorism... cheap and somewhat easy to mask (if you know how).

Here's an article from the New York Post 'FILIPINO MONKEY' MAY BE BEHIND IRAN, US BOAT ENCOUNTER
and the Navy Times ‘Filipino Monkey’ behind threats?

(Here's one for tilted paranoia: Ham radio used with DSP can hack stand-alone computers. crazy stuff on the horizon)
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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adopting a bellicose posture

Well they call it a warship for a reason, approaching a warship at sea is by default a bellicose posture, so I don't think our distrust of Iran is going to add that much extra fuel to the fire. You don't really have to assume anything, you react to a potential threat.

Since we did not fire on the Iranian boats, and we are the ones suspecting it was a 'prank' of sorts, then its hard to draw a conclusion.

I'm more interested in how they haven't caught this guy, you would think they could triangulate the transmission.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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9/11, 9/11, WMD, Chemical and Biological Weapons, Evil Dictator, Axis of Evil, 9/11.....

A "convenient" incident in the Straits, off the Iranian coast, timed for Bush's "in person" demonization of Iran on his imminent M.E. trip, as in the summer of 2002, "fix the facts to match the policy...." It's getting old, but some of you still answer the knock on the door and let the salesman in, to pitch his product.

...and a batshit crazy president driving the good ole, US of A, right into the ground....(I hear dead people.....daddy....)

Quote:
Bothersome Intel on Iran
By Michael Hirsh
NEWSWEEK
Updated: 12:54 PM ET Jan 12, 2008

In public, President Bush has been careful to reassure Israel and other allies that he still sees Iran as a threat, while not disavowing his administration's recent National Intelligence Estimate. That NIE, made public Dec. 3, embarrassed the administration by concluding that Tehran had halted its weapons program in 2003, which seemed to undermine years of bellicose rhetoric from Bush and other senior officials about Iran's nuclear ambitions. But in private conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week, the president all but disowned the document, said a senior administration official who accompanied Bush on his six-nation trip to the Mideast. <h3>"He told the Israelis that he can't control what the intelligence community says, but that [the NIE's] conclusions don't reflect his own views" about Iran's nuclear-weapons program, said the official, who would discuss intelligence matters only on the condition of anonymity.</h3>

Bush's behind-the-scenes assurances may help to quiet a rising chorus of voices inside Israel's defense community that are calling for unilateral military action against Iran. Olmert, asked by NEWSWEEK after Bush's departure on Friday whether he felt reassured, replied: "I am very happy." A source close to the Israeli leader said Bush first briefed Olmert about the intelligence estimate a week before it was published, during talks in Washington that preceded the Annapolis peace conference in November. According to the source, who also refused to be named discussing the issue, Bush told Olmert he was uncomfortable with the findings and seemed almost apologetic.

Israeli and other foreign officials asked Bush to explain the NIE, which concluded with "high confidence" that Iran halted what the document describes as its "nuclear weapons program." The NIE arrived at this finding even though Tehran continues to operate uranium-enrichment centrifuges that many experts believe are intended to develop material for a bomb, and despite the CIA's assertion that it had, for the first time, concrete evidence of such a weaponization program. Most confusing of all, the document seemed to directly contradict a 2005 NIE that concluded—also with "high confidence"—that Iran did have such a weapons program. Bush's national-security adviser, Stephen Hadley, told reporters in Jerusalem that Bush had only said to Olmert privately what he's already said publicly, which is that he believes Iran remains "a threat" no matter what the NIE says. But the president may be trying to tell his allies something more: that he thinks the document is a dead letter.

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/91673
If the NIE conclusions about Iran do "not reflect his own views", where do his "views" come from?

I'm guessing that they are pulled still "steaming", straight out of Cheney's ass !

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Old 01-14-2008, 01:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
I'm more interested in how they haven't caught this guy, you would think they could triangulate the transmission.
I'm guessing that, up until now, he (or they) was merely annoying and perhaps amusing. Now he (or they) caused an international incident. They probably won't hear from this guy for a few weeks.
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think we handled ourselves amazingly well. Contrary to Host's insistence that Bush wants another war, we've ran into similar situation before.

The Navy taught us on multiple occasions there is a balance (especially with Iran) in self defense and caution in confusion. Last time a similar incident happened ended in many wounded and a heavily damaged ship (USS Cole).

The time before is a little less known. The US fleet had an incoming aircraft with is IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) turned off, which in itself is considered a hostile act. The aircraft was headed directly towards the Carrier (the lifeblood of the fleet), and did not reply to multiple US attempts to determine intent or have it alter it's trajectory. We assumed it was a hostile aircraft attempting to attack our ships (very soon after the Kadafi's Circle of Death incident), so we shot down the aircraft. Turns out it was an airliner taking pilgrims to Mecca.

All in all it's a very weird situation, we handled ourselves well. Personally if I was the Captain I would have opened fire at 200 yards, but this Captain's decision was the correct one (thankfully).
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The Captain is on record that there was nothing out of the ordinary during this Hormuz passage. The Pentagon official who exaggerated the threat has been fully discredited and the video used as proof of a "dangerous confrontation" had audio spliced into it using the normal rants of a goofball.

Roachboy, if you consider Olbermann a representative of the MSP, he covered the entire fraud this evening. Host's analysis is spot on, once again.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Looks like the Iranian boats were provocative and reckless. Excellent discipline on the US Navy's part though.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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On January 10th, Truthout.org hosted the following article by the Inter Press Service:

Quote:
Official Version of Naval Incident Starts to Unravel
By Gareth Porter
Inter Press Service

Thursday 10 January 2008

Washington - Despite the official and media portrayal of the incident in the Strait of Hormuz early Monday morning as a serious threat to U.S. ships from Iranian speedboats that nearly resulted in a "battle at sea", new information over the past three days suggests that the incident did not involve such a threat and that no U.S. commander was on the verge of firing at the Iranian boats.

The new information that appears to contradict the original version of the incident includes the revelation that U.S. officials spliced the audio recording of an alleged Iranian threat onto to a videotape of the incident. That suggests that the threatening message may not have come in immediately after the initial warning to Iranian boats from a U.S. warship, as appears to do on the video.

Also unraveling the story is testimony from a former U.S. naval officer that non-official chatter is common on the channel used to communicate with the Iranian boats and testimony from the commander of the U.S. 5th fleet that the commanding officers of the U.S. warships involved in the incident never felt the need to warn the Iranians of a possible use of force against them.

Further undermining the U.S. version of the incident is a video released by Iran Thursday showing an Iranian naval officer on a small boat hailing one of three ships.

The Iranian commander is heard to say, "Coalition warship 73, this is Iranian navy patrol boat." He then requests the "side numbers" of the U.S. warships. A voice with a U.S. accent replies, "This is coalition warship 73. I am operating in international waters."

The dramatic version of the incident reported by U.S. news media throughout Tuesday and Wednesday suggested that Iranian speedboats, apparently belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard navy, had made moves to attack three U.S. warships entering the Strait and that the U.S. commander had been on the verge of firing at them when they broke off.

Typical of the network coverage was a story by ABC's Jonathan Karl quoting a Pentagon official as saying the Iranian boats "were a heartbeat from being blown up".

Bush administration officials seized on the incident to advance the portrayal of Iran as a threat and to strike a more threatening stance toward Iran. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley declared Wednesday that the incident "almost involved an exchange of fire between our forces and Iranian forces". President George W. Bush declared during his Mideast trip Wednesday that there would be "serious consequences" if Iran attacked U.S. ships and repeated his assertion that Iran is "a threat to world peace".

Central to the depiction of the incident as involving a threat to U.S. warships is a mysterious pair of messages that the sailor who heard them onboard immediately interpreted as saying, "I am coming at you...", and "You will explode after a few minutes." But the voice in the audio clearly said "I am coming to you," and the second message was much less clear.

Furthermore, as the New York Times noted Thursday, the recording carries no ambient noise, such as the sounds of a motor, the sea or wind, which should have been audible if the broadcast had been made from one of the five small Iranian boats.

A veteran U.S. naval officer who had served as a surface warfare officer aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Gulf sent a message to the New York Times on-line column "The Lede" Wednesday pointing out that in the Persian Gulf, the "bridge-to-bridge" radio channel used to communicate between ships "is like a bad CB radio" with many people using it for "hurling racial slurs" and "threats". The former officer wrote that his "first thought" was that the message "might not have even come from one of the Iranian craft".

Pentagon officials admitted to the Times that they could not rule out that the broadcast might have come from another source

The five Iran boats involved were hardly in a position to harm the three U.S. warships. Although Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman described the Iranian boats as "highly maneuverable patrol craft" that were "visibly armed," he failed to note that these are tiny boats carrying only a two- or three-man crew and that they are normally armed only with machine guns that could do only surface damage to a U.S. ship.

The only boat that was close enough to be visible to the U.S. ships was unarmed, as an enlarged photo of the boat from the navy video clearly shows.

The U.S. warships were not concerned about the possibility that the Iranian boats were armed with heavier weapons capable of doing serious damage. Asked by a reporter whether any of the vessels had anti-ship missiles or torpedoes, Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, Commander of the 5th Fleet, answered that none of them had either of those two weapons.

"I didn't get the sense from the reports I was receiving that there was a sense of being afraid of these five boats," said Cosgriff.

The edited Navy video shows a crewman issuing an initial warning to approaching boats, but the footage of the boats maneuvering provides no visual evidence of Iranian boats "making a run on U.S. ships" as claimed by CBS news Wednesday in its report based on the new video.

Vice Adm. Cosgriff also failed to claim any run toward the U.S. ships following the initial warning. Cosgriff suggested that the Iranian boat's manoeuvres were "unduly provocative" only because of the "aggregate of their manoeuvres, the radio call and the dropping of objects in the water".

He described the objects dropped by the Iranian boat as being "white, box-like objects that floated". That description indicates that the objects were clearly not mines, which would have been dark and would have sunk immediately. Cosgriff indicated that the ships merely "passed by them safely" without bothering to investigate whether they were explosives of some kind.

The apparent absence of concern on the part of the U.S. ships' commanding officers about the floating objects suggests that they recognised that the Iranians were engaging in a symbolic gesture having to do with laying mines.

Cosgriff's answers to reporters' questions indicated that the story promoted earlier by Pentagon officials that one of the U.S . ships came very close to firing at the Iranian boats seriously distorted what actually happened. When Cosgriff was asked whether the crew ever gave warning to the Iranian boats that they "could come under fire", he said the commanding officers "did not believe they needed to fire warning shots".

As for the report circulated by at least one Pentagon official to the media that one of the commanders was "close to firing", Cosgriff explained that "close to" meant that the commander was "working through a series of procedures". He added, "[I]n his mind, he might have been closing in on that point."

Despite Cosgriff's account, which contradicted earlier Pentagon portrayals of the incident as a confrontation, not a single news outlet modified its earlier characterisation of the incident. After the Cosgriff briefing, Associated Press carried a story that said, " U.S. forces were taking steps toward firing on the Iranians to defend themselves, said the U.S. naval commander in the region. But the boats - believed to be from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's navy - turned and moved away, officials said."

That was quite different from what Cosgriff actually said.

In its story covering the Cosgriff briefing, Reuters cited "other Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity" as saying that "a U.S. captain was in the process of ordering sailors to open fire when the Iranian boats moved away" - a story that Cosgriff had specifically denied.
Naval Incident
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'll agree, the more that comes out the stranger it becomes.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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ustwo: it's kinda hard to triangulate someone who's mobile, and if this cat's (these folk?) been doing this for 25 years, he's (they're?) *definitely* mobile and not interested in being nabbed.

and isn't bellicose a nice word?

=======================

this is becoming curiouser and curiouser.

kinda makes you wonder what the hell the pentagon was doing...though host's take seems quite likely.

this morning i smelled a slight whiff of the tonkin gulf.
i still smell a little of it, though now some visuals come into the mix and what i see are mostly clowns.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
ustwo: it's kinda hard to triangulate someone who's mobile, and if this cat's (these folk?) been doing this for 25 years, he's (they're?) *definitely* mobile and not interested in being nabbed.
Triangulation + satalites = where they are generally. My guess is no one tried.

Quote:

kinda makes you wonder what the hell the pentagon was doing...though host's take seems quite likely.

this morning i smelled a slight whiff of the tonkin gulf.
i still smell a little of it, though now some visuals come into the mix and what i see are mostly clowns.
Then why admit a 'prankster' was possibly involved? Why not attack the ships and claim they were attacking? Makes no sense at all if you want to contrive a start of a war and you don't do the very things needed to start it Then you say you may have been fooled by someone messing with the radio?

Mind you the radio has nothing to do with the Iranian ships 'buzzing' the US ships but since nothing happened its kinda hard to go all gulf of tonkin on it. Maybe if another democrat was in charge
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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i know a few pirate radio people. you can continue for a very long time doing that if you move around...but more generally, you're right in that you have to be looking to find anything.

the tonkin reference was more general...you know, manufactured incident.
thing is that i see little way around host's take on it above--a kind of fumbled p.r. event conocted to add a little drama to bush-posturings in the region.
not as "real" as tonkin was, obviously--a kind of parallel.

this is is most curious and i'm kinda looking forward to gathering more information about it. and it is bizarrely difficult to find any--i just paged through about 40 ppg of links, almost all of which were repeats of the same two or three wire service stories.

one strange tidbit from somewhere claims that this character has been silent since the late 1990s...trying a different tack, but i now smell wholesale fabrication, too.

and while i normally do not link bogs--i mean, who the hell knows who's writing them?---this cat:

http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/

argues that there is no filippino monkey....

a hall of mirrors.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Everything here just comes down to one thing - nothing happened. Iranian boats come into sight of American ships, ask wtf they're doing near their country.. and drive off. Honestly, if Iranian Warships were off the coasts of Canada and America in international waters doing something don't you all think we would go and check it out? Ask what they're doing there? I think we would. Thats all that happened here.

As for the mysterious transmission? Where did it come from? Did it even happen? At this point it doesn't matter. From what i can gather it didn't matter at the time either as the commanders of the American ships never felt threatened. They were not "seconds away from firing". There is absolutely nothing those little speed boats could have done to the American ships unless they were bogged down with explosives. If that were the case they would have needed to get a hell of a lot closer than 200 meters.

Its just 1 more Bush administration concoction of lies. Same old same old. Bush can push all he wants for a war with Iran, it isn't going to happen before his term is over.
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaver
I think we handled ourselves amazingly well. Contrary to Host's insistence that Bush wants another war, we've ran into similar situation before.

The Navy taught us on multiple occasions there is a balance (especially with Iran) in self defense and caution in confusion. Last time a similar incident happened ended in many wounded and a heavily damaged ship (USS Cole).

The time before is a little less known. The US fleet had an incoming aircraft with is IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) turned off, which in itself is considered a hostile act.....
Seaver, the Iranian airliner shot down by the US Navy's Vincennes in the Persian Gulf in 1988, was not observed with it's IFF "turned off". Signals returned to the Vincennes were "confusing", dual signals, one civilian, one from an Iranian F-14, as it there were two transponders on board the airliner. There was even speculation that this was because the airliner ferried Iranian troops to military airfields and was equipped with a second, military transponder to obtain landing clearances fron military control towers, but that speculation was not embraced in the investigation....
Quote:
http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/8.74.html
Aegis, Vincennes, and the Iranian Airbus (report on a Matt Jaffe talk)
Peter Neumann <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Fri, 26 May 1989 13:44:01 PDT

In a keynote talk for the 5th International Workshop on Software
Specification and Design in Pittsburgh, 20-21 May 1989, I cited the case of
the Aegis' role in the Vincennes' shootdown of an Iranian Airbus as an
example of a system in which the design of the user interface was critical.

Matt Jaffe (Jaffe@ics.uci.edu) responded with some comments on the Aegis user
interface -- in whose design he had played a part while at RCA -- after which
he was invited to gave an impromptu talk on his experience to the workshop.

As you may recall, the Iranian Airbus was shot down by the Vincennes, although
it was on schedule, on course, and apparently flying completely normally.
There was confusion between the commercial plane being tracked and an observed
IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe) squawk from a fighter plane. The altitude
information (Z) was not displayed on the main screens, but only in one of
various subtables that had to be called up on a smaller screen. There was no
indication of rate of change of altitude (Z', or "Z-dot"), not even a ternary
choice among ascending, cruising, or descending. Matt took the view that the
user interface could not have done much differently, because of intrinsic
limitations on

1. the reliability and/or accuracy of the underlying data,
2. the physical and logical characteristics of the display devices
(alphanumeric raster-scan screens with limited space)
3. and the ability of human operators to interpret marginal
data in the high volume and high stress environment.

This is an attempt to summarize Matt's main points:

Mode II codes (military use only) cannot be conclusive in determining friend
or foe because they can be spoofed by a non-friendly aircraft, as can the
civilian use Modes I and III. In this particular case, the military
aircraft supplied by the US to Iran almost certainly included Mode II
transponders. Note some subtle points here. IFF is to determine the
identity of friendly aircraft, not the military capability of a non-friend.
In this tragedy, the problem was not in discriminating between friends and
all others but between an Iranian F-14 and an Iranian airliner. The
identification as Iranian was correct (and presumably not based on IFF but on
point of origin). A classification of a Mode II code as belonging to an
Iranian military aircraft would seem reasonable given that the airfield from
which the aircraft departed was a joint use airport (both civilian and
military). What may have happened was that the airliner taxied near enough
to an F-14 on the ground as to preclude the system from recognizing that
there were in fact TWO aircraft. (ANY sensor has some resolution limits.)
Once the airliner was airborne, its lack of further mode II activity would
not preclude the display of the old Mode II code. Aircraft may fail to
respond to an IFF interrogation (of any code) for a variety of reasons and
yet operators (both civil and military) want to have the last recieved code
remain displayed.

Thus the entire mechanism contains potential ambiguities. <h3>Providing a
recency field for Mode II squawks would probably have been a good idea,
display space and operator cognitive limits permitting. (At that time and
to date, Matt indicated that he knew of no system that provided the age of
last squawk; nor did the Navy mention the possibility. Scary?)</h3>

The altitude readings are generally unreliable. Thus, the Z' calculations --
irrespective of how they were done -- would be suspect, and subject to
possible misinterpretation. Nevertheless, some crude up-down-same field
might have been useful.

Uncertain or unreliable information will always be a major problem in any
safety-critical system.

From the Navy's point of view, the Captain of the Vincennes did the right
thing -- based on what he knew.

No standard Navy shipborad systems could have done the discrimination
automatically. No equipment necessary for the Vincennes mission could have
prevented a manual decision from being difficult, nerve-wracking, and
error-prone.

The situation was basically untenable in the first place, with hostile
aircraft and commercial airliners closely interwoven within an area of great
unrest.

[The Stark Captain had said earlier that they had not realized the
limitations of the combat system in that kind of an environment. PGN]

Matt made the appropriate disclaimers -- that his knowledge is not current,
that his opinions were his own, etc. And his audience was generally impressed
with the care with which he had thought out the issues. All in all, this case
is of great importance, and bears close consideration. There are many lessons
to be learned, some technological and some nontechnological -- many of the
latter relating to the intrinsic limitations of trusting the technology,
especially under adverse circumstances. PGN
Seaver, your understanding of the "off" status of the IFF transponder signal of the Iranian airliner is wrong:
Quote:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...es+transponder
November 18, 1988
Witness to Iran Flight 655
By LES ASPIN; LES ASPIN, DEMOCRAT OF WISCONSIN, IS CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE.

LEAD: The lengthy discussion of the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 by the Navy cruiser Vincennes has missed one fascinating development: for the first time, we have an electronic recording of a naval clash. The computerized Aegis defensive system -whatever its military merits - has revolutionized our ability to piece together what has happened.

The lengthy discussion of the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 by the Navy cruiser Vincennes has missed one fascinating development: for the first time, we have an electronic recording of a naval clash. The computerized Aegis defensive system -whatever its military merits - has revolutionized our ability to piece together what has happened. Without it, the Navy's investigation of the tragic incident might well have reached radically different conclusions.

With data tapes from the Vincennes, investigators are able to recreate the digital displays the crew saw that day. Like Sunday afternoon football, the action can be played back in real time or slow motion. You can see every move made at every one of the 17 consoles in the command information center. You know precisely what happened and the order in which events occurred.

Reporters, detectives, criminal lawyers and others who have tried to recreate a moment of trauma by interviewing witnesses know how unreliable such accounts can be. The Vincennes tapes, however, bring this fact of life into vivid focus. For some of the facts, the memory of every witness was corrected.

The report of the Navy investigation summarizes the testimony of the crew and inserts the data obtained from the tapes in italics. Here is one part of the report:

'' [ One crewman ] observed TN 4131 (the Iranian airliner) at 445 knots at an altitude of 7,800 feet and descending during engagement. He recalled it being a minute from [ missile ] launch. USS Vincennes's system information showed TN 4131 at an altitude of 12,000 feet, ascending and at 380 knots.''

The interviews show that a few crewmen on the U.S.S. Sides, operating several miles away, recalled that the Iranian plane was ascending. But several crewmen from the Vincennes told investigators they either saw on the computer or heard another crewman state that the plane was descending. Given that more people recalled the plane descending, that the crew on the Sides was not as intently focused on the plane as was the Vincennes's crew, and that the Sides was equipped with a less sophisticated radar, the logical conclusion from the interviews would have been that the plane was descending.

The same is true of another factual issue in the investigation: Was the Iranian airliner's radio transponder ''squawking'' on Mode II, used only by military aircraft, and giving a code that was previously used by Iranian F-14 fighters? The Sides's crew had no memory of a Mode II transmission, but numerous crewmen on the Vincennes recalled it differrently.

We know from the tapes that nine of the consoles in the command information center were monitoring the airliner. Every one showed a Mode III - used by both military and civilian aircraft - coming from the aproaching plane. <h3>No consoles showed a Mode II squawk. But that's not what the crew recalls.</h3>

Again, without the Aegis tapes, the investigation probably would have concluded that the plane was military, since many Vincennes consoles were monitoring the flight and the crew remembered a Mode II squawk.

Whether the aircraft was ascending and what it was squawking were not the only facts at issue. But they received a great deal of attention and were crucial to public understanding.

There's an irony here. Critics of the Aegis system say the Vincennes was the wrong ship for a mission in the Persian Gulf. They blame the system for causing the captain to think he was threatened and therefore enticing him into shooting.

Yet, Aegis provides records demonstrating that its electronics never said the airplane was descending toward the Vincennes or squawking a military signal. Without Aegis, we would undoubtedly be reading for years to come articles about the great Iranian kamikaze plot.

This may also have an impact on the public attitude toward payments to the survivors of the people who were killed on the flight...
Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgelito
Looks like the Iranian boats were provocative and reckless. Excellent discipline on the US Navy's part though.
If you have experience with CB channel 19, during the late '70's CB radio fad, and, if you read the Jan. 11, Washington Post reporting below, about initial US Navy reaction the "white boxes" dropped in the water during "the incident", and the excerpt of the NY Times, Jan. 15 AP report at the bottom of this post, you may have some idea why I believe it is appropriate to demand that President Bush and Defense Secretary Gate resign from their offices.

How many more Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman "stories", and pentagon Rendon and Lincoln Group disinformation "Op's, and right wing, DOD "Bloggers Roundtables", must be documented in posts in this forum, before the rest of you "get it", and resent it enough to join me in calling for these resignations.

Is it a waste of tax payer funds to employ someone at the Inteligence "Czar's" office to provide PDB's to Bush, since he has "his own way" of making intelligence "estimates" contradicting the real fucking ones?

Most troubling, what happened this month, is nothing new:
Quote:
http://www.amazon.com/review/product...owViewpoints=1

A Very Short War: The Mayaguez and the Battle of Koh Tang (Texas a & M University Military History Series)
How many more must die, lose limbs, suffer PTSD, and how much deeper must we sink our US treasury in debt, before you stop believing, reacting to, and advocating for more aggression, based on the accumulated, and still ongoing deliverance of heaps of fresh and stale bullshit coming from this president and his appointees? Enough, already:


Quote:
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/200.../index.html?hp
January 10, 2008, 9:40 am
Degrees of Confidence on U.S.-Iran Naval Incident

By Mike Nizza

Tags: foreign affairs, iran, military, united states


....Update, 5:48 p.m. At a news conference this afternoon, a reporter asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates about his level of “confidence in the U.S. military version” of the incident. He was unequivocal:

I have no question whatsoever about the report on this incident from the captains of the ships and also from the video itself.

***

Earlier on Wednesday, a reader posted a comment on The Lede claiming to be a former Navy officer with experience in the Strait of Hormuz <a href="http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/08/tapes-to-answer-doubts-on-confrontation-with-iran/#comment-281887">and offering an explanation</a> for how easily a mistake could have been made by Navy personnel trying to sift through radio transmissions filled with chatter:

All ships at sea use a common UHF frequency, Channel 16, also known as “bridge-to bridge” radio. Over here, near the U.S., and throughout the Mediterranean, Ch. 16 is used pretty professionally, i.e., chatter is limited to shiphandling issues, identifying yourself, telling other ships what your intentions are to avoid mishaps, etc.

But over in the Gulf, Ch. 16 is like a bad CB radio. Everybody and their brother is on it; chattering away; hurling racial slurs, usually involving Filipinos (lots of Filipinos work in the area); curses involving your mother; 1970’s music broadcast in the wee hours (nothing odder than hearing The Carpenters 50 miles off the coast of Iran at 4 a.m.)

On Ch. 16, esp. in that section of the Gulf, slurs/threats/chatter/etc. is commonplace. So my first thought was that the “explode” comment might not have even come from one of the Iranian craft, but some loser monitoring the events at a shore facility.

The commenter, who signed his posting “SWO officer,” went on to say, “I hope everybody exercises great caution here and doesn’t jump to conclusions.”

President Bush was criticized today for doing the opposite. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/09/AR2008010903254.html?hpid=topnews">According to The Washington Post</a>, “some diplomatic and military officials in Washington” said that Mr. Bush’s statements on arriving in Israel Wednesday “inflated the significance of the brief incident” in the strait.

In his remarks, Mr. Bush warned Iran that “all options are on the table to protect our assets.”

Meanwhile, the video images that were released by the Pentagon came in for some more contradiction from Iran, which has contended that the United States was exaggerating a workaday encounter between two naval powers in the Persian Gulf: A competing video purporting to show Sunday’s incident from the Iranian side was broadcast today on Iranian television.

Here is how the semiofficial <a href="http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8610200332">Fars News Agency described it</a>:

The four-minute video showed an Iranian commander in a speedboat contacting an American sailor via radio, asking him to identify the U.S. vessels and state their purpose.

“Coalition warship number 73 this is an Iranian patrol,” the Iranian commander is heard to say in good English.

“This is coalition warship number 73. I am operating in international waters,” comes the reply.

That would seem to be a much less aggressive interaction between the American and Iranian forces, of course. But the timing of the recording could not be confirmed, and as Iran itself has said, these types of exchanges happen all the time.

Agence France-Presse noted one way that Iran’s video seemed to match up with the United States account of the encounter: <a href="http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gL5kSNevHghneEm7ryLLGsFDMnfA">all three U.S. vessels</a> involved in the incident are seen in the video.

But The Associated Press was <a href="http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hiAbsRG9E-8-NncKn6AqbyYZd09QD8U30PHO1">skeptical</a>, saying that “the short clip likely did not show Sunday’s entire encounter.”

Update, 11:37 a.m. The Iranian video is now online.

A reader using the name Hamid Pasha sent The Lede a link to an English-language Iranian web site, <a href="http://www.presstv.com/aboutus.aspx">PressTV.com</a>, that has <a href="http://www.presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=38190&sectionid=351020101">posted the Iranian video</a>.

The clip is a bit over 5 minutes long. The first few minutes are views of coalition warships shot from smaller boats (if you thought the motorboats seemed to be moving fast in the American video, wait until you see the bow waves on the warships). In the latter portion, we see an Iranian on the boat using a microphone handset to hail “coalition warship 73″ by radio, in fairly clear but accented English, and we hear responses in an American voice.

The video clearly covers only part of an encounter — perhaps the encounter, though there’s no obvious way a layman would be able to know — and it cuts off abruptly after the American voice is heard answering several inquiries from the Iranian by saying simply that the coalition ship is operating in international waters. We don’t see or hear what happened next.

Patrick J. Lyons contributed to this post.
Quote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...103730_pf.html
Objects From Iranian Boats Posed No Threat, Navy Says

By Robin Wright and Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 12, 2008; A11

The small, boxlike objects dropped in the water by Iranian boats as they approached U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf on Sunday posed no threat to the American vessels, U.S. officials said yesterday, even as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff charged that the incident reflects Iran's new tactics of asymmetric warfare.

<h3>After passing the white objects, commanders on the USS Port Royal and its accompanying destroyer and frigate decided there was so little danger from the objects that they did not bother to radio other ships to warn them, the officials said.</h3>

"The concern was that there was a boat in front of them putting these objects in the path of our ships. When they passed, the ships saw that they were floating and light, that they were not heavy or something that would have caused damage," such as a mine, said Cmdr. Lydia Robertson, a spokeswoman for the Navy's Fifth Fleet in the Gulf.

But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, said the incident reflects Iran's shift to small craft that can aggressively menace larger naval vessels. "It's clearly strategically where the Iranian military has gone," Mullen said. The United States has "been concerned for years about the threat of mining those straits."

Although Mullen described last weekend's incident, in which five small Iranian speedboats approached three U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz, as the most "provocative and dramatic" encounter he could recall in the area, the Navy announced a few hours later that two other incidents occurred last month in which its ships had close calls with Iranian speedboats. On Dec. 19, the USS Whidbey Island fired warning shots when a single Iranian boat came within 500 yards of it in the strait. On Dec. 22, the USS Carr emitted warning blasts as three Iranian vessels sped close by in the same area, a Navy official said.

Despite five days of questions about the pattern of encounters in the Gulf, this is the first time the Pentagon has mentioned the December events. At a briefing Monday, Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff said U.S. and Revolutionary Guard naval units come across each other "regularly."

"For the most part, those interactions are correct. We are familiar with their presence; they're familiar with ours. So, I think in the time I've been here, I've seen things that are a concern, and then there's periods of time -- long periods of time -- where there's not as much going on," Cosgriff told reporters.

Since the incident on Sunday, the United States has emphasized its concern about a new level of Iranian military sophistication. "The incident ought to remind us all just how real is the threat posed by Iran and just how ready we are to meet that threat if it comes to it," Mullen told reporters yesterday.

The Pentagon released the full 36-minute video of the encounter yesterday. Additional close-ups on the footage show the Iranian speedboats zipping around the U.S. warships provocatively. None of the boats appears to have more than a four-man crew, each wearing an orange lifesaving vest. None of the boats appears to have any mounted weapons.

The USS Port Royal, an Aegis cruiser, has a crew of about 360 and carries missile launchers, torpedoes and artillery. The USS Hopper, a guided-missile destroyer, has a crew of about 350 and is armed with anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes and artillery. The USS Ingraham, a frigate, has a crew of about 215 and carries torpedoes, artillery and two helicopters. The video shows a U.S. helicopter flying over the Iranian boats.

The Navy is sensitive about small boats because of the 2000 al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole as it refueled in Yemen, which resulted in the deaths of 17 sailors.

Questions remain about the verbal threat picked up on a common maritime radio channel. Pentagon officials acknowledged that they will probably not be able to determine the origin of the voice that threatened to "explode" an unspecified target, although a forensic examination has begun to try to determine the accent of the speaker and other details....
Quote:
http://www.navytimes.com/news/2008/0..._radio_080111/
‘Filipino Monkey’ behind threats?

By Andrew Scutro and David Brown - Staff writers
Posted : Sunday Jan 13, 2008 15:38:29 EST

....Since the Jan. 6 incident was announced to the public a day later, the U.S. Navy has said it’s unclear where the voice came from. In the videotape released by the Pentagon on Jan. 8, the screen goes black at the very end and the voice can be heard, distancing it from the scenes on the water.

“We don’t know for sure where they came from,” said Cmdr. Lydia Robertson, spokeswoman for 5th Fleet in Bahrain. “It could have been a shore station.”

While the threat — “I am coming to you. You will explode in a few minutes” — was picked up during the incident, further jacking up the tension, there’s no proof yet of its origin. And several Navy officials have said it’s difficult to figure out who’s talking.
See the Pentagon’s version of the video
<a href="http://www.militarytimes.com/multimedia/video/080108_iran_ships">A link to the Iranian version (click the camera icon)</a>

“Based on my experience operating in that part of the world, where there is a lot of maritime activity, trying to discern [who is speaking on the radio channel] is very hard to do,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead told Navy Times during a brief telephone interview today.

Indeed, the voice in the audio sounds different from the one belonging to an Iranian officer shown speaking to the cruiser Port Royal over a radio from a small open boat in the video released by Iranian authorities. <h3>He is shown in a radio exchange at one point asking the U.S. warship to change from the common bridge-to-bridge channel 16 to another channel, perhaps to speak to the Navy without being interrupted.</h3>

Further, there’s none of the background noise in the audio released by the U.S. that would have been picked up by a radio handset in an open boat.

So with Navy officials unsure and the Iranians accusing the U.S. of fabrications, whose voice was it? In recent years, American ships operating in the Middle East have had to contend with a mysterious but profane voice known by the ethnically insulting handle of “Filipino Monkey,” likely more than one person, who listens in on ship-to-ship radio traffic and then jumps on the net shouting insults and jabbering vile epithets.

Navy women — a helicopter pilot hailing a tanker, for example — who are overheard on the radio are said to suffer particularly degrading treatment....
Quote:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/worl...es&oref=slogin
WGulf Prankster at Issue in Iran Dispute

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 15, 2008

....The questions raised in the Navy Times on Sunday also come at a sensitive time for Washington as President Bush visits Gulf nations and presses for greater unity against Iran's attempt to expand its influence in the region.

Seagoing exchanges between U.S. and Iranian vessels are not uncommon in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes, especially near the Strait of Hormuz where Iran's coastline is within miles of international waters.

Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said there had been two or three similar incidents over the past year, but ''maybe not quite as dramatic'' as the Jan. 6 confrontation. <h3>None had been publicized until the eve of Bush's trip to the region, even though in one, in December, a U.S. ship actually fired warning shots toward an Iranian boat......</h3>

Last edited by host; 01-15-2008 at 12:16 AM..
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Old 01-15-2008, 05:32 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Seaver, the Iranian airliner shot down by the US Navy's Vincennes in the Persian Gulf in 1988, was not observed with it's IFF "turned off". Signals returned to the Vincennes were "confusing", dual signals, one civilian, one from an Iranian F-14, as it there were two transponders on board the airliner. There was even speculation that this was because the airliner ferried Iranian troops to military airfields and was equipped with a second, military transponder to obtain landing clearances fron military control towers, but that speculation was not embraced in the investigation....
Thanks for the correction. It's been about 7 years since they went over the incident in the Navy. I was drawing it off of admittedly bad memory.

Regardless I think the parallel was correct, that it is very similar situation. Confusion mixed with high tensions between the two countries can result in simple and costly mistakes. Thankfully this was not one of them.
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Old 01-15-2008, 05:39 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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seems to me that one problem amongst many is that the situation in the pentagon tape and the situation that actually happened are wildly at variance one with the other. if the situation in real-time actually resembled that in the chopped pentagon video art-work, then i'd agree with seaver that there was real restraint shown.

but i dont think this happened outside some crude editing room in some office in washington. something vaguely like it happened in the straits of hormuz--but only vaguely.
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
seems to me that one problem amongst many is that the situation in the pentagon tape and the situation that actually happened are wildly at variance one with the other. if the situation in real-time actually resembled that in the chopped pentagon video art-work, then i'd agree with seaver that there was real restraint shown.

but i dont think this happened outside some crude editing room in some office in washington. something vaguely like it happened in the straits of hormuz--but only vaguely.
Like all conspiracy theories I have to ask you one question.

Why?
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:07 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Like all conspiracy theories I have to ask you one question.

Why?
Because one war started on bad information wasn't enough.
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:29 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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i have to say that beyond maybe some pr for the bush tour of the region, i really dont understand what lay behind this.

it's just so strange...
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:34 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
i have to say that beyond maybe some pr for the bush tour of the region, i really dont understand what lay behind this.

it's just so strange...
I am confident that the news reporting I have posted makes it plain that the white house, as part of it's plan to have the president preach, in every M.E. venue he was able to, in his upcoming trip, this message:

Quote:
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5...8v-PuapwbQmV6g

Bush heads to Egypt on last stop of Mideast trip
17 hours ago

....The lightning visit comes at the end of a tour which has seen the US president try to drum up Arab support for the revived peace process as well as Washington's face-off with Iran......

.....But Bush faced difficulty in convincing his Saudi hosts to wholeheartedly support the twin pillars of his Middle East tour -- greater backing from Arab states for the revived Middle East peace process and a willingness to confront the "threat" of Iran.....

.....Faisal, speaking through an interpreter, also said Saudi Arabia had "nothing bad" against its powerful neighbour Iran.

"Iran is a neighbouring country, an important country in the region. Naturally we have nothing bad against Iran."

Saudi Arabia, like other Gulf states, is determined to avoid further conflict in the region after the US-led invasion of Iraq of 2003.

Earlier, Bush told journalists in Riyadh he had asked King Abdullah and other Gulf leaders to do more to "pressure" Iran over its nuclear programme.

"They need to help. They need to make it clear to nations that do business with Iran that if we want to solve this diplomatically, there needs to be pressure on the regime ... the hope is that somebody shows up and says, 'we're tired of being isolated and we're tired of the economic deprivation that comes with our desire to enrich.'"

Sweetening Bush's visit to Riyadh, the State Department announced that his administration has notified Congress of its intention to sell 900 satellite-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia for 120 million dollars.

The weapons are the first part of a planned 20-billion-dollar deal with the Gulf announced in July, and the notification begins a 30-day period for Congress to raise objections......
Quote:
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5...qvNXfi9csfK97A
Bush takes distance from key Iran findings
8 hours ago

RIYADH (AFP) — US President George W. Bush on Tuesday appeared to distance himself from what he called an "independent" US intelligence finding widely seen as dousing the likelihood of armed confrontation with Iran.

"I just made it clear that all options are on the table, but I'd like to solve this diplomatically -- and think we can," Bush, in Saudi Arabia as part of a week-long Middle East trip, said of talks with Saudi King Abdullah.

The US president said he told his host he still viewed Iran as "a threat" despite last month's US National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Tehran had shelved its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

The NIE, the consensus finding of all 16 US spy agencies, undermined the Bush administration's claim that the Islamic republic was actively seeking to get an atomic arsenal -- though it also noted that Tehran has refused to suspend uranium enrichment, which can be a key step in that direction.

"I defended our intelligence services, but made it clear that they're an independent agency; that they come to conclusions separate from what I may or may not want," said the president.

Bush said he had also told the king that the Iranians "were a threat, they are a threat, and they will be a threat if we don't work together to stop their enrichment."

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal however avoided any forceful criticism of Iran when asked by a journalist if he considered the country a threat, as Bush said it was.

"Iran is a neighboring country and important in the region," he said. They had nothing against the country but hoped that Tehran responded to UN calls for it to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran should avoid escalating its dispute with the UN and the IAEA, he added. "It's not in its interests."

Citing an anonymous senior US administration official, Newsweek magazine reported Monday that Bush had all but disowned the NIE in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"He told the Israelis that he can't control what the intelligence community says, but that (the NIE's) conclusions don't reflect his own views" about Iran's nuclear-weapons program, the weekly quoted the official as saying.

Asked whether Bush doubted the findings, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino did not answer directly, saying instead that the president had "complete confidence in the intelligence community."

"He does not believe that the NIE that was produced ... should provide anyone any comfort that Iran is not a threat," she told reporters.
These are the guys who started an unnecesary and avoidable war in Iraq that happened because they refused to accept US intelligence findings that they disagreed with.

Bush went to the M.E. with his reliability and veracity in tatters, after the ridiculously changing justification for war and entrenched occupation in Iraq, and disclosures that the NIE debunking an active Iranian nuclear weapons program was rejected and hidden for at least a year before it's forced release two months ago.

Routine encounters between US and Iranian navies in the straits of Hormuz, not anywhere near as tense as unreleased accounts encounters last month, were hyped as a serious threat to US Navy vesselslast week, on the eve of Bush's "mission" to sabotage the findings of the NIE produced by the reorganized US intelligence apparatus that Bush himself has reorganized and appointed new leadership of, as Bush comically and pathetically attempts to bleat the same message of Iran's imminent threat to the region and the rest of the world, that he has repeated so many times in the past two years.
Quote:
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/wor...html?id=236074
U.S. option to bomb Iran still on the table
Bush gives Israel hope of military action

Matthew Fisher, National Post
Published: Monday, January 14, 2008

JERUSALEM -Nobody actually said very much but Israeli officials seemed happy with how talks about Iran went here last week with U.S. President George W. Bush.

Sallai Meridor, Israel's ambassador to the United States, who came home for the President's visit, said that Israel and the Bush White House were "in sync" about the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. All options, including a military strike, remained on the table, he said, despite a recent National Intelligence Estimate prepared by an alphabet soup of U.S. intelligence agencies that concluded Iran no longer had a nuclear weapons program and had not had one since 2003.....
Quote:
http://online.wsj.com/public/article....html?mod=blog
U-TURN
In Iran Reversal, Bureaucrats
Triumphed Over Cheney Team
Rivalries Behind Iraq War
Play Out in Risk Report;
Bush Issues New Warning
By JAY SOLOMON and SIOBHAN GORMAN
January 14, 2008; Page A1

.....In the case of the Iran report, the about-face was made possible in part by a 2004 restructuring <h3>that gave intelligence chiefs more autonomy. New procedures for vetting and authenticating reports also helped insulate analysts from White House involvement......</h3>

.......Yesterday, in Abu Dhabi, Mr. Bush sought to rally Arab states against Tehran, saying in a speech: "Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere."

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, meanwhile, announced in Vienna yesterday that Iran had agreed to a new road map to resolve "all remaining verification issues" concerning its nuclear program within the next month.

The Iran intelligence report "really confused many people in the Gulf," says Bruce Riedel, a former Middle East expert at the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. "No one could understand what the hell we were doing."

Senior officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the umbrella organization that coordinates the U.S.'s 16 spy agencies and that oversaw the report, say payback wasn't a factor. They defend the report as a righting of the ship after the Iraq intelligence failures.

Sources Vetted

Hundreds of officials were involved and thousands of documents were drawn upon in this report, according to the DNI, making it impossible for any official to overly sway it. Intelligence sources were vetted and questioned in ways they weren't ahead of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Thomas Fingar, 62 years old, is one of the lead architects of the Iran report. A veteran State Department official, Mr. Fingar helped lead the office that argued in 2002 that evidence of Iraq's nuclear program was faulty. He is now a senior official at the DNI.

Of the backlash against the report, Mr. Fingar says, "A lot of it is just nonsense. The idea that this thing was written by a bunch of nonprofessional renegades or refugees is just silly."......

......Another significant change, Mr. Fingar says, has been reevaluating "our judgments and the sourcing used in previous estimates," rather than just trusting the conclusions of the old intelligence reports.

Mr. Van Diepen, as a co-author of the Iran report, drew on thousands of documents and sources in writing the final estimate and cooperated closely with 20 other officials in the last stages, say people involved in the process. Representatives from all 16 spy agencies ultimately had to sign off on this final version. Outside experts, who were expected to challenge its conclusions, were given a day to analyze the report for flaws.

The result was that the White House was essentially locked out of the process. This marked a big change from the years leading up to the Iraq war, when Mr. Cheney and his top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, made repeated visits to Langley to query analysts about their findings on Iraq's weapons capabilities.

Through the summer and fall of 2007, as rumors leaked, officials in Mr. Cheney's office and on Capitol Hill grew increasingly concerned about the report's possible conclusions, according to people working at the White House and on Capitol Hill. White House and DNI officials say President Bush first got notice from DNI chief Mike McConnell in August that significant new intelligence had emerged on Iran.

DNI officials met with White House staff a week before the report's release to go over the sources behind their assessment. Intelligence officials involved in this process say it wasn't a forum to invite changes.

Knowing the report would probably leak, <h3>and given the importance of its conclusions, the White House decided to make public the main conclusions. Most of the report is still classified.</h3>

People in Vice President Cheney's office saw the Dec. 3 announcement as a death blow to their Iran policy. The report's authors "knew how to pull the rug out from under us," says a long-time aide to the vice president, referring to the way the key judgments were presented.

Few publicly question the underlying intelligence behind the report. But a number of critics are challenging the analysts' conclusions. Some counterproliferation experts and diplomats see Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear-fuel cycle as a more important assessment than the revelation that Tehran stopped seeking to develop actual weapons. They say once the fuel cycle is accomplished, weapons can be developed in a matter of months.

"The elephant that's in the room is being ignored," says Rep. Brad Sherman of California, the Democratic chairman of a House subcommittee on proliferation issues.

"You couldn't read the key judgments [of the report] and not assume that this was intended to change policy," says Mr. Bolton. "It shredded the Bush administration policy."

<h3>Mr. Fingar warns against judging the whole report based on the two-and-a-half pages that were declassified. He says it is more than 140 pages long and has nearly 1,500 source notes.</h3>

As for Mr. Bolton's critique, "it didn't say what he wanted it to say, I guess," Mr. Fingar says.
The "adults" are slowly taking charge again, because it is too late in the game to restaff key offices in the white house and state dept. with neocons, and the "incident" reported by the DOD last week between US naval vessels and Iranian navy patrol boats is some flatulance emitted by a totally discredited preseidential administration, as it lashed out fitfully against one of the triad of it's "axis of evil".

Pathetic, but not puzzling.......
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:47 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I just don't get Bush. He goes to the middle east to supposedly work on some kind of peace deal and what does he do? Tries to provoke confrontation with Iran through lies, pressures other arab countries to "put pressure on Iran" and provoke further conflict.. and on top of all that he sells millions of dollars worth of bombs and missiles to the arab countries. I dunno what kind of peace those missiles are supposed to provide, unless its the peaceful silence of death.
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:48 PM   #23 (permalink)
 
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host:

i understand that.
it's more puzzling in just how--o i dont know---poorly executed it was...
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:13 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
host:

i understand that.
it's more puzzling in just how--o i dont know---poorly executed it was...
No more poorly than the Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman psy-ops went down. It's 5-1/2 months since this bi-partisan congressional committee request for REAL information....what do you think the chances are that they will ever receive a sincere, open response to their request. The Iran "straits psy-op" last weekend, is small potatoes compared to the record that these jackasses have amassed....it bidness as usual, because they know from experience that they can say or do anything, and get away with it. They invaded and occupied two entire countries that never attacked us or demonstrated an imminent threat to US national security, so expect more of the same.

They don't give a shit how amateurish they look....never have, because they don't consider you and me to be their audience:
Quote:
http://www.speaker.gov/blog/?p=583
....July 13, 2007

Mr. Fred F. Fielding
Counsel to the President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Fielding:

We have had an opportunity to review the documents the White House produced in response to the Committee’s April 27,2007, request for information relating to the death of Army Corporal Patrick Tillman. We appreciate that you have sent 1072 pages of documents to the Committee, but we have concerns about the documents that are missing, the documents that are being withheld, and the documents that appear never to have been searched.


The main focus of the Committee’s investigation is to examine what the White House and the leadership of the Department of Defense knew about Corporal Tillman’s death and when they knew it. Unfortunately, the document production from the White House sheds virtually no light on these matters.

We urge you to make a complete document production to the Committee without fuither delay.

....It is difficult to believe that these are the only communications that White House officials had with the Department of Defense between April 22, 2004, the day Corporal Tillman died, and May 29, 2004, the day the Bush Administration publicly announced that Corporal Tillman’s death was a result of fratricide. Corporal Tillman’s death was a major national story. During this period,
the President made public statements regarding Corporal Tillman and praised his service to the counhy during the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner on May 1, 2004.

In fact, there is compelling evidence that responsive documents were not produced to the Committee by the White House. ln response to a similar document request from the Committee, the Defense Department produced an e-mail sent on April 28, 2004, from John Currin, the White House speechwriter who drafted the Correspondents’ Dinner speech, seeking additional information about Corporal Tillman from the Department of Defense.a This e-mail was not produced by the White House, and no explanation was provided for the omission.

Mr. Currin’s request appears to have generated a high-level military memo waming that the President should be informed that Corporal Tillman was killed by friendly fire.
On April 29, 2004, one day after the request by Mr. Currin from the White House, Army Major General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Task Force for Afghanistan, sent a “Personal For” (P4) memo to three of the highest ranking generals at the Department of Defense: the commanders of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.s According to General McChrystal, he wrote this memo in response to reports that President Bush “might include comments about Corporal Tillman’s heroism and his approved Silver Star Medal in speeches currently being prepared, not knowing the specifics surrounding his death.” The memo explained that “it is highly possible that Corporal Tillman was killed by friendly fire.”

General McChrystal concluded the P4 memo by urging his superiors to warn the White House:

I felt that it was essential that you received this information as soon as we detected it in order to preclude any unknowing statements by our country’s leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman’s death become public.

Inexplicably, the White House production includes no copies of the P4 memo or any references to it. The production also does not include any response from the Defense Department to Mr. Currin’s e-mail.

<h3>Indeed, there is not a single document in the White House production that indicates how or when any White House officials, including the President, learned that Corporal Tillman was killed by his own unit.

We are sure you can understand our doubts about the completeness of your document production. It is not plausible that there were no cofirmunications between the Defense Department and the White House about Corporal Tillman’s death.</h3>

The Withheld and Redacted Documents

According to the letter your office sent to the Committee on June 15, 2007, the White House is withholding “certain documents responsive to the Committee’s request because they implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests.” The White House has also redacted over 30 pages of documents provided to the Committee. The letter states that you took this action because these documents contain “purely internal e-mails between White House personnel.”

These are not appropriate reasons for withholding the documents from the Committee. During the Clinton Administration, the White House provided the Committee with thousands of pages of internal White House e-mails, including e-mails between the Vice President and his staff. The White House also provided the Committee with handwritten notes of White House staff and internal White House memoranda, including memos to or from the White House Counsel, Deputy White House Counsel, Associate White House Counsel, the Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff, and the First Lady, among others.

In your letter, you indicate that you are willing to discuss possible accommodations regarding the documents that the White House withheld and redacted. Under the precedents of the Committee, the Committee has the right to obtain these documents unless the President asserts a valid claim of executive privilege. No such privilege has been asserted in this case.

In similar circumstances, such as the Committee’s document request to the White House Council on Environment Quality, we have offered the White House the option of a staff review of the documents. Under this process, documents are brought to the Committee offices for review by the Committee staff. Only those documents that are determined after the review to be important to the investigation need to be produced.

This process has worked well previously and helped to narrow the Committee’s differences with the White House. We are prepared to offer this option to you in this case as an accommodation to your concems, provided that the review can be arranged expeditiously.

The Documents That Apparently Were Not Searched

We are also concemed that you have produced only e-mails to the Committee. The instructions sent with the Committee’s document request specifically requested “all documents received or generated by” the White House that related to Corporal Tillman. The term “document” is defined in the attachment to the letter sent to you by the Committee on April 27, 2007. In addition to e-mails, it includes faxes, memos, drafts, working papers, and interoffice and intra-office communications. Yet no faxes, memos, drafts, working papers, and forms of communication other than e-mails were provided to the Committee.

We do not understand the omission of these types of responsive documents. It appears that despite the Committee’s express instructions, no effort was made to search for these categories of responsive documents. Obviously, that would not be an appropriate response to the Committee’s request.

<h3>Conclusion

The hearing the Oversight Committee held on April 24, 2007, with members of Corporal Tillman’s family and former Army Private Jessica Lynch, raised questions about whether the Administration has been providing accurate information to Congress and the American people about the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan.</h3> These questions have implications for the credibility of the information coming from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan and raise significant policy issues about how to prevent the future dissemination of untrue information. They also have a profound personal impact on the Tillman family. It is for these reasons that the Committee requested documents from the White House.

We would like to avoid a confrontation over these documents, if possible, but cannot accept the deficient production the White House has provided to the Committee. Moreover, with the Committee’s next hearing on this issue scheduled for August 1, 2007, continued delay in providing the responsive documents would frustrate the Committee’s on-going investigation.

The June 15, 2007, letter from your office says that you are “willing to discuss possible accommodations that meet the Committee’s oversight interests while respecting separation of powers principles.” To enable the Committee to perform its oversight function, we ask that you produce the withheld and redacted documents, or bring them to the Committee for staff review, by July 18, 2007. In addition, we request that you produce the missing documents, as well as the responsive documents that apparently have not been searched, by July 25, 2007.

If you have any questions regarding this request, please contact one of us or ask your staff to contact the Committee staff.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Chairman

Tom Davis
Ranking Minority Member
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:15 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
host:

i understand that.
it's more puzzling in just how--o i dont know---poorly executed it was...
I can only offer a guess based upon prior experience with this administration. Bush has lost credibilty, not only among most of the populace, but more importantly among the Pentagon and Intelligence services. The forced exposure of the NIE, which Bush continues to minimize, was the first direct confrontation with whatever policy Bush has in dealing with Iran.

roachboy, most of what this administration has tried to push forward has always been poorly done and quite obvious in hind sight. With seven years of experience, most of the "terror" fear he continues to promote has become almost laughable to those paying attention.

This was indeed poorly executed, but look how many people in the press and here at tfp were caught up in the imagined "threat".
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Old 01-16-2008, 01:12 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Pretty hard to argue with this Iranian take on the last six years....
Quote:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/...est#cnnSTCText
updated 9:05 p.m. EST, Mon January

.....Also on Monday, top Iranian officials heaped scorn on Bush's visit to the Middle East, with one of them saying the American leader was attempting to stir up "Iranophobia," a state-run Iranian news agency reported Monday.

Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency noted the comments of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Ala'eddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

Bush, in a speech Sunday in Abu Dhabi, labeled Iran as the "world's leading sponsor of terror" and asked allies to join the United States in confronting Iran "before it's too late."

But Mottaki -- who made his remarks to Al-Jazeera news network Sunday -- <h3>said the United States "was the main cause of extremism in the region as it has been supporting terrorist and extremist groups during the past six years."</h3> <a href="">Watch excerpt from Bush's speech »</a>

He said Bush was trying to foment tensions in the Persian Gulf over the Strait of Hormuz incident on January 6. The U.S. military described a confrontation between U.S. ships and Iranian boats, but Mottaki called the American version of the story fabricated, the Islamic Republic News Agency said.

The report paraphrased Mottaki as saying that <h3>"fanning the fuel of Iranophobia was the objective of Bush's visit to the region."</h3>

In the IRNA report, Boroujerdi said referring to Iran as a threat won't affect Teheran's ties with its neighbors.

Mottaki touted growing bilateral cooperation between Iran and its neighbors and said that U.S. officials can't "understand the historical, religious and cultural commonalties between Iran and other regional countries," said the IRNA report.

The report paraphrased Boroujerdi as saying <h3>Bush's talk about Iran "is the saber-rattling of a defeated man."</h3>


"Bush would achieve no results from his visit to the region given Iran's current cooperation with the regional states as well as Tehran's firm decision to safeguard regional security with the help of the regional countries," the lawmaker said.

Boroujerdi indicated that Bush embarked on the trip to shore up support for his unpopular policies and that his visit to the West Bank and the Persian Gulf "was just a political propaganda campaign as he knew his policies in the region were futile."
On the lighter side, the bewilderment of tiny tiny bushwelt snooze media:
Quote:
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/01/15/...ran-speedboat/
Fox News Reverses Course After Initially Calling For U.S. Navy To Blow Iran Boats ‘Out Of The Water’
On January 7, the media reported that five Iranian speedboats had harassed three U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz, almost instigating a military confrontation.

The next day, Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade angrily claimed the Navy should have blown the Iranian boats out of the water. Speaking on the morning show Fox & Friends, Kilmeade said the following:

KILMEADE: Was this a mistake not to blow these other Iranian speedboats out of the water? […] Why did we not destroy these speedboats? […] We had an opportunity to send a message to a nation that has been needling us for 20 years.

Today, a week after his call for war with Iran, Brian Kilmeade was forced to concede that the verbal threats made against the U.S. ships are “a possible hoax from a man called the ‘Filipino Monkey.’” Kilmeade’s co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that she knew it all along. “I remember sitting in my office thinking, you gotta be kidding me? That voice does not sound to me like an Iranian accent.” She didn’t say that on-air, however, prior to this morning.

Kilmeade’s other co-host, Steve Doocy, piped in with this comment:

DOOCY: But can you imagine, had we blown those little boats out of the water to find out, you know, that they didn’t have bombs and in fact it was the Filipino Monkey who was somewhere on shore pulling a prank?

Watch the video....

Fox News Reverses Course After Initially Calling For U.S. Navy To Blow Iran Boats ‘Out Of The Water’
On January 7, the media reported that five Iranian speedboats had harassed three U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz, almost instigating a military confrontation.

The next day, Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade angrily claimed the Navy should have blown the Iranian boats out of the water. Speaking on the morning show Fox & Friends, Kilmeade said the following:

KILMEADE: <h3>Was this a mistake not to blow these other Iranian speedboats out of the water?</h3> […] Why did we not destroy these speedboats? […] <h3>We had an opportunity to send a message to a nation that has been needling us for 20 years.</h3>

Today, a week after his call for war with Iran, Brian Kilmeade was forced to concede that the verbal threats made against the U.S. ships are “a possible hoax from a man called the ‘Filipino Monkey.’” Kilmeade’s co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that she knew it all along. “I remember sitting in my office thinking, you gotta be kidding me? That voice does not sound to me like an Iranian accent.” She didn’t say that on-air, however, prior to this morning.

Kilmeade’s other co-host, Steve Doocy, piped in with this comment:

DOOCY: But can you imagine, had we blown those little boats out of the water to find out, you know, that they didn’t have bombs and in fact it was the Filipino Monkey who was somewhere on shore pulling a prank?

Carlson wrapped up the segment by stating, “Let’s hope it’s not the Filipino Monkey, <h3>for our sake. Because I think it’s a humongous embarrassment.”
</h3>
...Carlson hits the nail on the head...."for our sake", better a provocation for war, taking place in the narrow straits where 15 percent of the world's daily oil supplymust regularly pass, during the first third of the north American winter heating season, than what the fullness of time is revealing this incident to actually be about....and he gets paid to say it, and it's broadcast and cabled to the faithful, and they shake their heads in the affirmative, at the tv screen, because the still want to believe.

Last edited by host; 01-16-2008 at 01:30 AM..
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:52 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
host:

i understand that.
it's more puzzling in just how--o i dont know---poorly executed it was...
I may have an answer and its such an obvious one that I am kicking myself for not thinking of it prior.

Most posters on this board, tend to blame the US and ignore other countries motives. I think its just how Liberals view their own government, along with a touch of white guilt. Reasons don't matter, its just the natural reaction.

Well driving in to work just now I heard a rather interesting take on the situation with Iran.

While we piddle back and forth if it was incited by the US, if it really happened, or why the US would 'do' it, we have ignored, with a arrogance, Iran.

Instead of asking 'why would the US pretend that speed boats were mucking around US warships' ask 'Why would Iran send speed boats to muck around US warships' and see if there is an answer.

For the liberal, the reason the US would pretend is that Bush wants war with Iran. If this is the case it was done with an extreme level of incompetence.

But something has recently happened in Iran. The threat of the US invasion has gone down with the NIE report. Ahmadinejad is not a popular present on the domestic side. HE needs a US threat to maintain his power, and by provoking the US to some minor incident he can maintain that threat and put himself as someone willing to stand up to the US. Also the group believed responsible for yesterdays bombing of the US embassy vehicle in Beirut has strong Iranian ties.

Obvious Iran doesn't want a war, but if Ahmadinejad can keep the people of Iran thinking war is on the horizon, he can maintain his power.

The problem with the way we are looking at wagging the dog here is we are looking at the wrong dog.
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:22 AM   #28 (permalink)
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I don't totally disagree with you, UsTwo, Iran is a sovereign nation with its own interests in antagonizing the US. This is absolutely true.

And, you're right. I am suspicious of the motives and consequent actions of my government. But it has nothing to do with liberalism or white guilt as I feel this way regardless of who is sitting in the White House. But when we have a democrat sitting in the White House in 2009, I will be sure to remind you of how you are 'viewing your government' when you purport all manner of transgression and intrigue, okay? Don't say I never did anything for you.

As for our part in this 'monkey speedboat incident' I am just as puzzled as everyone else. That they exacerbated the drama of the situation to bring an aura of menace back to Iran (which has diminished greatly since the NIE release) seems so obvious as to be implausible. Not to mention, what level of commitment did they put into thinking this through beforehand? Did someone actually think this story would, heh, hold water? It's just bizarre.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:49 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
I may have an answer and its such an obvious one that I am kicking myself for not thinking of it prior.

Most posters on this board, tend to blame the US and ignore other countries motives. I think its just how Liberals view their own government, along with a touch of white guilt. Reasons don't matter, its just the natural reaction.

Well driving in to work just now I heard a rather interesting take on the situation with Iran.

While we piddle back and forth if it was incited by the US, if it really happened, or why the US would 'do' it, we have ignored, with a arrogance, Iran.

Instead of asking 'why would the US pretend that speed boats were mucking around US warships' ask 'Why would Iran send speed boats to muck around US warships' and see if there is an answer.

For the liberal, the reason the US would pretend is that Bush wants war with Iran. If this is the case it was done with an extreme level of incompetence.

But something has recently happened in Iran. The threat of the US invasion has gone down with the NIE report. Ahmadinejad is not a popular present on the domestic side. HE needs a US threat to maintain his power, and by provoking the US to some minor incident he can maintain that threat and put himself as someone willing to stand up to the US. Also the group believed responsible for yesterdays bombing of the US embassy vehicle in Beirut has strong Iranian ties.

Obvious Iran doesn't want a war, but if Ahmadinejad can keep the people of Iran thinking war is on the horizon, he can maintain his power.

The problem with the way we are looking at wagging the dog here is we are looking at the wrong dog.
You have to ignore (and you did....) everything I've posted to the contrary, to come up with your theroy. It speaks to what keeps you going, through thick and thin, official lie and/or misleading statement, after official lie and/or misleading statement.

Saddam probably slipped in all of the false and misleading details into Powell's Feb., 2003 UN presentation, too.

These two reports I previouslu posted, should have shattered this portion of your belief system, that there is any way to spin this that attempts to make the US DOD/whitehouse look as if it is not having another Tillman or Lynch moment....the two reports certainly shatter your new "theory":

Quote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...103730_pf.html
Objects From Iranian Boats Posed No Threat, Navy Says

By Robin Wright and Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 12, 2008; A11

The small, boxlike objects dropped in the water by Iranian boats as they approached U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf on Sunday posed no threat to the American vessels, U.S. officials said yesterday, even as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff charged that the incident reflects Iran's new tactics of asymmetric warfare.


After passing the white objects, commanders on the USS Port Royal and its accompanying destroyer and frigate decided there was so little danger from the objects that they did not bother to radio other ships to warn them, the officials said.


"The concern was that there was a boat in front of them putting these objects in the path of our ships. When they passed, the ships saw that they were floating and light, that they were not heavy or something that would have caused damage," such as a mine, said Cmdr. Lydia Robertson, a spokeswoman for the Navy's Fifth Fleet in the Gulf.

But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, said the incident reflects Iran's shift to small craft that can aggressively menace larger naval vessels. "It's clearly strategically where the Iranian military has gone," Mullen said. The United States has "been concerned for years about the threat of mining those straits.".....
Quote:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/worl...f-Words.html?_
WGulf Prankster at Issue in Iran Dispute

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 15, 2008

....The questions raised in the Navy Times on Sunday also come at a sensitive time for Washington as President Bush visits Gulf nations and presses for greater unity against Iran's attempt to expand its influence in the region.

Seagoing exchanges between U.S. and Iranian vessels are not uncommon in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes, especially near the Strait of Hormuz where Iran's coastline is within miles of international waters.

Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said there had been two or three similar incidents over the past year, but ''maybe not quite as dramatic'' as the Jan. 6 confrontation.
None had been publicized until the eve of Bush's trip to the region, even though in one, in December, a U.S. ship actually fired warning shots toward an Iranian boat......
.....and the following is just out this AM....
Quote:
http://rawstory.com//printstory.php?story=8899
Bogus Iran story was product of Pentagon spokesman, reporter says
01/16/2008 @ 9:06 am
Filed by John Byrne


An American journalist and historian who was the first to break the story of a secret Iranian peace overture to the Bush Administration in 2006 alleges that the latest Pentagon encounter between Iranian ships and a Navy vessel was a deliberate fabrication.

The incident, on Jan. 5 in Strait of Hormuz off the Iranian coast, was originally described as a non-event -- then quickly became one in which Iranian boats threatened to "explode" American ships.

At about 4 am on Monday Jan. 7, the commander of the Fifth Fleet issued a news release on an incident with small Iranian boats. According to reporter Gareth Porter, writing in the <a href="http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JA17Ak03.html">Asia Times</a>, "the release reported that the Iranian "small boats" had "maneuvered aggressively in close proximity of [sic] the Hopper [the lead ship of the three-ship convoy]. But it did not suggest that the Iranian boats had threatened the boats or that it had nearly resulted in firing on the Iranian boats."

"On the contrary, the release made the US warships handling of the incident sound almost routine," he adds. "'Following standard procedures,' the release said, "Hopper issued warnings, attempted to establish communications with the small boats and conducted evasive maneuvering.'"

No reference was made to a US ship nearly firing on an Iranian vessel, or suggestions that the US ships would "explode," or white boxes dropped into the water in the path of the US fleet.

This press release, however, went ignored by the media, Porter notes. Instead, the focus turned to CNN's Barbara Starr, who touted allegations that military officials told her Iranian boats were carrying out "threatening maneuvers." CBS soon followed up with a story positing that the Persians had dropped white boxes in the water around the American ships.

Starr added that one American boat had been given the order to fire, and the Iranians had moved away just in time.

Porter identifies Bryan Whitman, the Pentagon's top spokesman, as the culprit for the spurious account. Most of Whitman's remarks that formed the basis for Starr's and other stories were drawn from an off the record press briefing that was held on the condition he not be identified as a source.

But, "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," he writes.

After facing suspicion, the Pentagon released a <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/09/world/main3690654.shtml?">four-minute, 20-second condensed video clip</a> that appeared to show small Iranian boats swarming around a US Navy vessel. A voice was heard to say, "I am coming to you. ... You will explode after (inaudible) minutes."

In the wake of reports, the Iranians said the footage had been fabricated.

What later emerged was a more complex view of the incident -- that in fact the threatening transmission did not come from the Iranian ships.

On Jan. 13, Pentagon officials said they did not know the source of the radio transmission, backing off a previous claim that it came from one of the boats. The Navy Times said the voice in the audio sounded different from the one belonging to an Iranian officer shown speaking to the cruiser Port Royal over a radio from a small boat in the video released by Iranian authorities.

Some now believe the threats actually emanated from a heckler known as the "Filipino Monkey," likely more than one person, who listens in on ship-to-ship radio traffic and then jumps on the net shouting insults and vile epithets.

Ultimately, other elements of the story swallowed by Pentagon correspondents were also discredited. The commanding officer of a missile cruiser said the white boxes "didn't look threatening."

Fifth Fleet commander Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff denied that his ships had been close to firing on the Iranians. So did destroyer commander Jeffery James.

Porter asked a spokeswoman for the Navy's Fifth Fleet whether or not commanders were upset with Washington's portrayal of the incident.

Lydia Robertson of Fifth Fleet Public Affairs would not comment directly, he wrote. "There is a different perspective over there," Robertson said.

By January 11, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell was already disavowing the story that Whitman had been instrumental in creating only four days earlier. "No one in the military has said that the transmission emanated from those boats," said Morrell.

The other elements of the story given to Pentagon correspondents were also discredited. The commanding officer of the guided missile cruiser Port Royal, Captain David Adler, dismissed the Pentagon's story that he had felt threatened by the dropping of white boxes in the water. Meeting with reporters on Monday, Adler said, "I saw them float by. They didn't look threatening to me."

The naval commanders seemed most determined, however, to scotch the idea that they had been close to firing on the Iranians. Cosgriff, the commander of the Fifth Fleet, denied the story in a press briefing on January 7. A week later, Commander Jeffery James, commander of the destroyer Hopper, told reporters that the Iranians had moved away "before we got to the point where we needed to open fire".

The decision to treat the January 6 incident as evidence of an Iranian threat reveals a chasm between the interests of political officials in Washington and navy officials in the Gulf. Asked whether the navy's reporting of the episode was distorted by Pentagon officials, Lydia Robertson of Fifth Fleet Public Affairs would not comment directly. But she said, "There is a different perspective over there."

Last week, RAW STORY's Nick Juliano spoke with Steven Aftergood, an expert on military secrecy, who has recently published an NSA assessment on a notorious incident during the Vietnam war in which Vietnamese ships were said to have attacked American vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin.

"The parallels (between Tonkin and Hormuz) speak for themselves, but what they say is that even the most basic factual assumptions can be made erroneously [or] can prove to be false," Aftergood, of the Federation of American Scientists, <a href="http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Echoes_of_Tonkin_seen_in_averted_0111.html">said</a>. "Therefore extreme caution is always appropriate before drawing conclusions ... that might leave to violent conflict. That's almost so obvious that I feel embarrassed saying it, but there is a history of mistaken interpretations of these kinds of encounters that ought to teach us humility."

"It's also surprising that President Bush was permitted to get so far out in front on this issue, even though there were significant uncertainties on what transpired," Aftergood added.

Last edited by host; 01-16-2008 at 10:52 AM..
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Old 01-16-2008, 02:04 PM   #30 (permalink)
 
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there are maybe three basic ways to look at us relations with iran at the moment

a) following some residual neo-con realpolitik, the plan could be to erase the political damage done by the iraq debacle domestically by extending it into a new, and far more difficult, war. but that would be lunacy.

b) the bluster is mostly about generating a pr trail that is linked to efforts to prevent iran from too overtly benefitting from amercan-generated chaos in iraq. concerns about the simple fact that, in this chaos, iran stands to benefit regionally, in political terms and maybe in economic terms, are self-evident, and it hardly matters which side of the political micro-spectrum you fall on/into to see it. a rational assessment of this geo-political situation would have under most circumstances militated against bushwar to begin with---particularly given the abundant information that the un sanctions regime has, in fact, done what they were supposed to do. trying to figure out why the neo-con war happened, given this, tends to push me (personally, as someone sitting in a chair trying to figure this stuff out) back toward thinking that the wolfowitz "strategy" really was the american strategy, and that, if it had (1) been coherent in the first place (which it wasn't) and (2) had worked, maybe these consequences could have been avoided. but it wasn't and it didn't.

c) aspects of the situation outlined as (b) still obtain, but as boundary conditions--in other words, they shape the overall tactical situation--but the posture of the bush people in pr terms is shaped entirely by political expediency. this one dovetails with the interpretation that host has been outlining in this thread. it would also explain--maybe--some of the ineptness with which this game has been played.


if (b) obtains but (c) is the operative logic, the consequences of it are very strange indeed--the american public posture has---and continues--to work to prop up the present iranian regime. why that would be a desirable goal so far as the bush people are concerned is anyone's guess, frankly.

my suspicion is that the administration is flying by the seat of its collective pants on this one.

they are concerned about the longer-term advantages that the chaos in iraq will give to a country that is imprinted in the reagan-eer imagination as an Enemy, the "manly" addressing of which explains something of the reasons there was a reagan period at all---remember how "nightline" got started? every night, first thing, a graphic would present the number of days that had passed in the "hostage crisis"...

so my theory is that they know that most outcomes over the longer run to the administration's absurd war in iraq are going to play out in ways that are counter to the strategic interests of the americans as the neo-cons define them--which center on oil supply, but which are not limited to that (i still maintain that if you center oil too much in your thinking about this region, you cant understand what the neo-con idea was, no matter how fucked up its implementation has made things.)

maybe the calculation is that it is to the american tactical advantage to do what they can to maintain ahmadinejad BECAUSE he is politically weak inside iran and so is maybe not in a position to do a whole lot to exploit the tactical advantage that the iraq debacle has handed him...

i am not sure what to make of reports that there has been iranian aid to various milita groups within iraq--i dont doubt that there are linkages, but so far as i have seen (mostly not in the american press, of course) this is INFORMAL, in the sense that there are "elements" within the iranian military which MAY be diverting SOME resources into iraq. but i dont have enough detailed information to know which, how much or even why, really, given the legacy of the 10 year war between iran and iraq. and i dont think it's at all a foregone conclusion that there exists any "natural" affinity between shi'a groups, huntington thesis nonsense notwithstanding.

so it's not a huge problem to generate a more complicated picture of what might be happening behind the screen of the administrations "public diplomacy"--but even so, it's still pretty difficult to work out much in response to the question "what the hell were these people thinking" when it comes to the shabby absurd video that was released and the resulting brouhaha.
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Last edited by roachboy; 01-16-2008 at 02:06 PM..
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