Monday, April 28, 2008

When Did Iran Start Beating Its Wife Again?

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created the Office of Strategic Influence shortly after the 9/11 attacks to bolster support for the Bush administration’s war on terror. Air Force Brigadier General Simon P. Worden, OSI’s director, envisioned the organization as having "a broad mission ranging from 'black' campaigns that use disinformation and other covert activities to 'white' public affairs that rely on truthful news releases."

The furor over his establishment of what amounted to an Orwellian Ministry of Truth caused Rumsfeld to disband the OSI in February 2002, but he later promised that when it came to manipulating public perceptions to suit his agenda, “I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.”

There’s one nice thing you can say about Rumsfeld: he keeps his word.

Media Medusa

Before its timely end, Rumsfeld’s OSI spawned an assortment of covert propaganda caliphates. We only recently learned of the clandestine operation that uses retired military officers to place administration war propaganda in news network programming, a stratagem that began with the run up to the Iraq war and is still in place. The Office of Special Plans (OSP) helped cook the intelligence on Iraq and create the case for invading it, and the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) peddled the invasion to the American public.

In June 2006, journalist Larisa Alexandrovna and others exposed the Iranian Directorate, a spin-off of the OSP that delivered cherry-picked intelligence on Iran to Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. For evidence that the Iranian Directorate is still in action, one need look no further than an April 26 New York Times article titled “Questions Linger on Scope of Iran’s Threat in Iraq.”

Though the article ostensibly refutes the Bush administration’s claims of Iran arming and aiding militia groups in Iraq, it actually repeats and reinforces those accusations.

“Shipments of arms” continue to flow from Iran to Iraq, according to the article. Iran seems to be focusing now on “training Iraqi Shiite fighters inside Iran.” The Iranians provide “weapons to militias fighting the Shiite-led government in Baghdad as well as to militias supporting that government.” “American commanders” now have “a clearer picture of how Iranian weapons have entered Iraq.” “Iran’s Quds Force” has developed “a formal and sophisticated training program.”

By what burden of proof did these condemning allegations earn their way into America’s newspaper of record? Why, by the brave new world order’s highest standard of bedrock evidence: the testimony of anonymous “officials.”

That’s What Everybody Says So It Must Be True

Dick Cheney is the post-modern master of feeding “background” information to the press to create a one-man echo chamber. To review his technique: Cheney gathers his press retinue in a room and shuts the door. Some time later the door opens and the retinue rushes out and writes multiple stories that cite a White House source and a senior official and a confidante of the president and so on, all of whom spoke under condition of anonymity because all of them are Dick Cheney. If you get four or five “officials” pulling the same number Cheney pulls, by the time lipstick neocons like Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham start chanting the talking points on the floor of the Senate nobody questions what they say because, Heck, everybody already knows that!

The authors of “Questions Linger”--Mark Mazzetti, Steven Lee Myers and Thom Shanker-- directly or indirectly quoted unnamed officials an astounding 30 times, which must be an unofficial record for a single newspaper article:

Officials say…intelligence and administration officials said…American officials have publicly portrayed…military, intelligence and administration officials showed…officials said…some officials said…a senior official familiar with the intelligence about Iran said in an interview…officials said…top American officials in Iraq have portrayed…none of the officials interviewed disputed…officials said…the officials offered an assessment…statements by Mr. Bush and other officials…officials declined to detail publicly…one of the officials said…according to two senior administration officials…those and other officials said…A senior administration official described…the officials said…the officials said…the officials said…a senior official said…the officials said…the official said…the officials said…a senior official familiar with the intelligence reports on Iran said in an interview…according to other officials…the officials said…officials said…according to a senior American official…

When you read the entire Times article, please don’t confuse what the “senior official familiar with the intelligence about Iran said in an interview” with what the “senior official familiar with the intelligence reports on Iran said in an interview.” Those were two completely different senior officials from two completely separate interviews, I’ll bet you a wet new dollar bill they were. Also, don’t worry about what the difference is between an administration official, an intelligence official and a military official, or about who among the three of them is the most reliable, and whatever you do, don’t try to figure out just how senior all those senior officials are, or if any of them are as senior as top American officials; you’ll just get more confused.

And if it seems to you that the article essentially says that Iran hasn’t stopped beating its wife like it promised to, but that’s okay because Iran’s not beating her as bad as we thought, but it also seems like the article never quite shows that anybody ever proved Iran was beating its wife in the first place, you’re in good company.

But gosh, it’s all so official sounding, isn’t it?

Related article: “When Did Iran Stop Beating Its Wife?

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword .

"So we can play war…"

"Populated by outrageous characters and fueled with pompous outrage, Huber’s irreverent broadside will pummel the funny bone of anyone who’s served." — Publishers Weekly

"A remarkably accomplished book, striking just the right balance between ridicule and insight." — Booklist

View the trailer here.


  1. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Thanks for another brilliant analysis. Based on this administration's track record, I'm very concerned about a "manufactured" October surprise.

    Left Coast

  2. I keep thinking all this Iran business is a ploy to keep us from looking too hard at something else. Not sure what, though.


  3. Anonymous5:54 PM

    Hey Jeff - -
    Last nite (27 Apr) saw a USAF "ad" on network TV. All about "how do you keep an eye on the evil people when they surround themselves with them that look like themselves, etc ?? Why use unmanned, pioltless aircraft [brought to you by your boys in sky-blue."
    Guess Sec gates' words hit someone.
    And dwhy is it that these pioltless aircraft pilots, sitting in a climate-controlled facility, drinking coffee and playing a video game wear flight-suits ??
    I'm a retired AF officer from the Vietnam/Cold War era and I didn't serve to see my sacrifice and tax money wasted on this kind of PR/propaganda - - I don't even recall any tag-line for "see your local Air Force recruiter .....etc.

  4. These US Air Show shenanigans irk me too. I think they wear flight suits because BDUs might get the room dirty. ;-)


  5. Montag12:14 AM

    These duckspeak shennanigans remind me of the gimmick in "The Quiet Man" (1952) where the Irish villagers want Victor McLaglen to allow his sister Maureen O'Hara to marry John Wayne, even though he's sworn that she won't. So they put an artificial buzz about that the wealthy widow would marry McLaglen except not while the sister is living in the house. So McLaglen goes to Priest Ward Bond because he knows a priest can't lie and puts the question to him--is it true? Bond is sympathetic to the lovers and pulls an artful dodge if ever there was one:

    "Well, I won't say it's true and I won't say it's not--but THERE'S BEEN TALK."

    Bond was citing the artificial buzz as evidence--he clearly hadn't wasted his years in the Seminary.

  6. Anonymous3:24 AM

    The Iranian president never said that Israel should be wiped off the map.
    This is a deliberate mistranslation.
    He just wants the zionist regime removed, as any decent person on this planet wants.
    Sixty years of zionist terror in the ME is more than enough.

  7. Montag,

    One of my very favorite films, TQM. Was that a fight scene or what?


    I think I put Juan Williams's translation in a recent column: "removed from the pages of time," or something like that, plus he was quoting Khomeini, not stating the position as his own.


  8. Dear Mr. Jeff Huber,

    Hello. In this otherwise informative article, the three 'dirty' words “supreme international crime” do not appear.

    As you deservedly rehearse the various manifestations of the “Ministry of Truth”, you inexplicably fail to also rehearse in explicit terms that these Goebbellian “systems of power and their incantations” are being used to “Goosestep the Herrenvolk across international frontiers” in search of the latter day “Lebensraum” of “full spectrum dominance” while committing “supreme international crimes” against the 'lesser' humanity – a crime so stupendous and monumental “differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” that it puts the silently bespectating West and its democratic peace loving peoples to shame for their failure to recognize it as such!

    And while not mentioning any of that, you also don't mention that the prescription to deal with such a “supreme international crime” was already laid out by the victors then, against the then fascists, in a little known place called Nuremberg, by a little known fellow named Justice Robert H. Jackson, the Chief U.S. Prosecutor of the victors' War Crimes Tribunals.

    Yes Mr. Huber, it is surely necessary to know all the details of How and Why and “When Did Iran Start Beating Its Wife Again?” But what has already been wrought, and what is about to be wrought, is all in plain-sight, and has only a singular common palpably obvious DNA: the overt act of aggression.

    We have merely gone from 'Lebensraum' to 'Lebensraum', and “From Balance of Terror to Unilateral Terror on the Grand Chessboard!”

    It would surely do well for the few remaining sane and conscionable peoples in America, its handful of un co-opted media persons, thinkers, analysts, politicians, peace activists, military personnel, and others who care about their nation and seek to effectively overturn the hydra of “full spectrum dominance” and monumental crimes against humanity, to stay focussed on the primal ACT of AGGRESSION itself: the “supreme international crime” that is the alpha and omega of the matter – the crimes for which the Nazi leadership was hung with statements like:

    “If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”


    “The intellectual bankruptcy and moral perversion of the Nazi regime might have been no concern of international law had it not been utilized to goosestep the Herrenvolk across international frontiers. It is not their thoughts, it is their overt acts which we charge to be crimes.”

    These actual “overt acts” of aggression are the prima facie harbinger of “all the evil that follows”, as defined at Nuremberg, and so must remain the necessary and sufficient first focus for stopping “imperial mobilization” by unequivocally charging it as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”.

    Merely rehearsing what the supreme criminals are doing is pointless unless what they are doing is also appropriately cast in the language and semantics that has been defined for it through ample precedence.

    Unless the conscionable peoples in the world and their national leaderships unite in the definition of what is crime, and what is the “supreme” crime, and channel their collective energies to a single point of focus of deterring the “supreme international crime” by continually 'calling a spade a spade' and boldly asserting its prescriptions (, matters are already fait accompli – as Bernard Lewis is wont to continually rehearse to the world instead: “If the fundamentalists are correct in their calculations and succeed in their war, then a dark future awaits the world, especially the part of it that embraces Islam.”

    Thank you.

    Zahir Ebrahim


    Contact: humanbeingsfirst gmail com

    [P.S. - this comment was initially posted for your essay carried at Larisa's at-Large and then I discovered your home-site for the essay. Thank you for your efforts!]

  9. "I keep thinking all this Iran business is a ploy to keep us from looking too hard at something else. Not sure what, though."

    Uh, how about:

    Then there's the OIL:

    I think the fact that this stuff has finally hit our bought-and-paid-for media is pretty good evidence that it's really happening. I watch the futures markets pretty closely, and I'm not seeing any clear sigh of a "correction" or retracement in crude. There does seem to be a consolidation in prices in the last day or so, but the "technical" analysis that most traders seem to favor seems to be in full retreat before the fundamentals (i.e. market reality).

    That is, the world is short on crude, dudes.

    I find the latest Iran shenanigans (theirs and ours) to be very alarming. It may be that President Doofus and his Merry Men ("We're straight, just 'merry'") have decided that if we're going to have an oil price spike anyway (and food riots to boot) then they might as well have their fun.

    The coming "belt-tightening" that Americans will endure can be portrayed as both a consequence and a necessary response to the "war effort." I think we might even get a draft this time.

    Not trying to be one of those dreaded "alarmists," but I can't seem to bring myself to read the tea leaves any other way.

  10. Anonymous5:27 PM

    A couple of questions Commander.

    Any truth to the rumor - that Iran is selling its oil and taking payment only in Euros?

    Any truth to the rumor - that we are cramming another aircraft carrier into the already over-crowded Persian Gulf?

    Any truth to the rumor that the reason we are running out of food in the world is because we are refining just about everything, corn, maize, sugar beets, you name it --- for use as biofuels. And that it's a totally inefficient method of alternative energy?

    Just wondering if there are any dots to connect here. We can't seem to not make the gas guzzlers, and Americans seem to continue to buy them. Fuel efficient vehicles just aren't sexy, or macho, depending on your perspective.

    I remember Victory Gardens from WWII. Sounds like a prudent idea once again.


  11. Sorry, all, I've been a bit up to the neck the last 24 hours and haven't been able to keep up with the discussion.


    I think it's important to keep in mind that the Nazis only stood trial at Neuremburg because they lost the war. I fear we're the only ones who will rein in our leaders; whether we can or not remains to be seen.


    I was actually joking with that line. Yeah, I'm thinking it's partly to distract us from everything else, but that's partly what everything else is too.


    I can only confirm that I've heard the rumors, and am thinking that "Survival Gardens" would be a better name for the post-modern World War food production.


  12. Seems I took you too literally. I guess you'd have to be joking with that line.

    This is interesting (and just a tad ominous?):

    AP: Official says Iran quits using US dollar for oil deals

    Didn't Saddam try something like that before the U.S. invasion? Maybe that's what George and Co. are antsy about!

    Maybe I should work on a nice conspiracy theory in advace of the conflict. It'll free up my time later, for standing in line at the pump...

  13. JP,

    Thanks for the link to the Iran/oil/dollar story. Looks like that rumor is confirmed.


  14. Anonymous11:34 AM

    On this the fifth anniversary of --- oh well you know what.

    From a story I ran across at

    Headline reads: "War Propaganda - Disneyland Goes to War Torn Iraq."

    Had I not seen it with my own unbelieving eyes, I would not have thought it could possibly be true.

    A Disneyland theme park will be constructed next to the Green Zone.

    According to the story, the new Centcom guy thinks its a fab idea.

    So, have we accomplished ---- bringing democracy to Iraq, or what?

  15. Mr. Toad's Wild (up-armored Humvee, IED-free!) Ride...?


  16. Wow. And it looks like that's not just a spoof's all over the web.


  17. wkmaier1:56 PM

    That's an example of cultural imperialism and/or paternalism.

    BTW Jeff, I'd like to wish you and your readers a Happy Loyalty Day, don't forget to take your oath! Oh, and the president also declared today is Law Day in the US.

    It's like the Bush Administration was recruited from the staff of The Onion.

  18. Law Day?

    As in, Reagan "proved" deficits don't matter; Bush is proving "law" doesn't matter.

    Reagan was the Great Communicator; Bush is the ______ (fill in the blankety blank!).

  19. wkmaier3:06 PM

    Yep, Law Day, and it's May 1, not April 1! ;-)

  20. Yes, happy Law and Loyalty Day to all. Yep, that young Mr. Bush, he's a funny guy. Irony, meet dead horse.


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