Donald Trump’s top advisers, also known as Fox News, are going all out to frighten us into believing that Iran has secret nukes, with facts and truth taking a back seat. For those who remember the dishonest scare tactics that paved the way for George W. Bush to invade Iraq, it’s “yellowcake” déjà vu all over again.
Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a dramatic television presentation that was obviously designed to give Trump a pretext for ditching the deal. New York Magazine wrote (with my emphases added):
In a special address on Monday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented what he described as shocking, indisputable evidence that Iran had lied about its covert nuclear weapons program in the past and “continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons knowledge for future use” after signing the 2015 deal with six world powers to halt its nuclear activities.
Netanyahu was speaking on primetime Israeli television, but his presentation was delivered primarily in English and appeared targeted to a daytime audience in the U.S. (and perhaps an audience of one, residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.) rather than to his fellow Israelis. If so, it certainly had its intended effect, causing President Donald Trump to declare that he was “100 percent right” about the failings of the nuclear deal, less than two weeks ahead of his next chance to derail it.
Much like Netanyahu’s previous dire warnings about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, however, this one is being hugely oversold. The trove of Iranian documents recently obtained by Israeli intelligence, most of which date to before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was adopted, do not constitute proof that Iran either has violated or intends to violate it. Several experts and European diplomats pointed out that the Israeli prime minister had not revealed anything they didn’t already know, nor did he provide a proverbial smoking gun to show that Iran was making an end run around the JCPOA. If Mossad had found slam-dunk proof of noncompliance in their brazen heist of Iran’s nuclear archive, surely Netanyahu would have included it in his PowerPoint. That he didn’t suggests that they haven’t.
Before he became Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton was a Fox News contributor. There, he not only advocated for war with Iran, he could hardly wait to get started. Vox reported recently that Bolton was credibly accused of manipulating US intelligence on weapons of mass destruction prior to the Iraq War, back when he served in the George W. Bush administration.
Now it seems that Bolton’s Fox BFFs are there to help him do it again.
Media Matters caught Fox host Sandra Smith falsely claiming that newly-confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “confirmed” that Iran has been “cheating for quite some time” on the agreement.
This is simply not true. In the press statement, Pompeo said, “Now that the world knows Iran has lied and is still lying, it is time to revisit the question of whether Iran can be trusted to enrich or control any nuclear material,” but those lies were not violations of the deal nor did he claim they were. And yesterday, Pompeo stood by his testimony from last month in which he stated, “I’ve seen no evidence that they are not in compliance.”
Smith had plenty of company baselessly fear mongering about Iran. A glance at the videos posted online by Fox News this Tuesday reveals an obvious effort to scare us all into thinking the smoking gun could well be a mushroom cloud. In fact, the titles and subtitles alone tell you just about all you need to know:
- Israeli ambassador to the UN challenges Iran deal supporters: Amb. Danny Danon asks after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exposed Tehran’s lies, why would European leaders continue to believe Iran?
- Netanyahu argues why Iran deal must be killed: Israeli prime minister urges President Trump to ‘do the right thing.’
- Netanyahu: Iran deal is based on lies: Israeli prime minister says Iran lied on plans to create nuclear weapons. Pompeo confirms validity of Iran documents.
- Amb. Dani Dayan: Iran sold a story detached from reality: Israeli Consul General in New York City speaks out about Iran’s secret nuclear program.
- Israelis react to Netanyahu’s proof of Iran nuclear program: Critics are criticizing the Israeli prime minister for not having a smoking gun about Iran. David Lee Miller reports from Jerusalem.
- Netanyahu shows proof of secret Iranian nuclear program
- Israel has proof Iran hid its nuclear weapons program
- Pompeo confirms authenticity of Iranian files
In the run-up to the Iraq war, the Bush administration used a false claim that Iraq had tried to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger as an excuse to invade. Vanity Fair reported in 2006 that the claim “appears to have been the cornerstone of a highly successful ‘black propaganda’ campaign with links to the White House.'” As Vanity Fair made clear, the claim had already been discredited when Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush’s national security adviser, famously said, “There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
As it turns out, Rice was on Fox & Friends this Tuesday morning. The title of that video is, “Rice: I have no argument if Trump pulls out of Iran deal.”
Fox and the White House are trying to fool us again, folks. Above is the full discussion with White House Deputy Principal Press Secretary Raj Shah in which Smith falsely claims that it has been confirmed that Iran is cheating. To set the mood, Fox News called the video, “Raj Shah: Iran has deceived the world community.” It’s from the May 1, 2018 America’s Newsroom.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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