…Fear Based on Fact?

While I work on pledge drive, I torment myself by playing CNNMSNBCFOX in the background. Today’s tortured viewing included a rerun of A Nuclear Iran: The Expert Intel.

It wasn’t as bad as one might expect –the calm measured Hillary Mann Leverett was given a reasonable about of airtime given the forum. Still, one doesn’t need to sit through a ponderous Christiane Amanpour interview to learn the facts of the matter.

Below, Antiwar Radio’s Scott Horton in a this now classic clip demolishing the case for war with Iran in under seven minutes.

CNN Allows Fantasy Novelist to Seriously Blame Iran for Afghanistan Chopper Shootdown

Imperial cheerleaders have a habit of blaming Iran for everything bad that happens to a US occupation, so I have come to accept they will pull that boogeyman out any chance they get. And yet I was still surprised when CNN contributor and Bush regime mouthpiece Frances Townshend and Brad Thor, a political thriller novel author, started saying Iran was probably responsible for this weekend’s shootdown of a US chopper that killed 30 American military personnel, including members of the SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden.

Townshend is a former Homeland Security Adviser to President Bush and is still an adviser for DHS and the CIA, whatever her merits. But who is this Brad Thor character? He was never in the military, and claims with no official verification to have “shadowed” a Black ops team in Afghanistan to research a novel. He was a regular contributor on the show of retired Fox News nutbag bawler Glenn Beck, and is for some reason a member of the Heritage Foundation. He also claims — again with no official verification — to have been invited by Homeland Security to come up with imaginary terrorist scenarios.

Townshend expressed alarm that the Taliban were able to act so close to the capital of their own country, where “our troops” are supposed to be shoring up the corrupt Karzai regime — something she sees as a good thing. She used the shootdown to illustrate how “fragile” American “gains” are in the country and that we shouldn’t pull out our troops “too quickly.” So far, pretty typical.

CNN host John King then asked Thor if the Afghan government was ready to take on security after the foreigners leave. No, he said, “the Afghan government is completely corrupt — and it’s riddled with Iranian spies! There’s a lot about the killing, the terrible tragedy of these SEALs being killed that is very, very disturbing, John.”

That’s when I stared at the screen in disbelief. Really, he just dragged Iran into this? Hey, why not? Everyone hates Iran.

And then Townshend backed Thor up. “We have seen an increasing amount of Iranian involvement and support in Afghanistan… and oh, by the way, they’ve been spoilers, inserting themselves into Afghanistan and undermining US efforts. The Iranians don’t always come in the front door,” she continued, saying they use proxies. Those dastardly Muslims are always doing that.

She went on to say the Iranians act as “spoilers” all over the world just to mess with America. “And it made sense in Iraq, a neighbor… but we see it as well in Afghanistan.” She didn’t say who “we” are, exactly, but who needs citations on a mere news program?

This is all still very typical, vaguely blaming the enemy of the day. But it got out of hand when the fiction novelist, speaking with the authority of an official in the know, started saying “we” have word that the type of weapon used to down the chopper is the same as seen used by “Shi’ite extremists” in Iraq, which “had Iranian fingerprints all over them.” These “fingerprints” are merely the fact that the materials that make up these weapons are possibly manufactured in Iran. The US government has unsuccessfully proved that the Iranian government itself ever had anything to do with the supply of militia weapons in Iraq over the last several years. In fact, as Jason Ditz recently pointed out, Iran has a good relationship with the Iraqi government and would not likely seek to undermine it.

“We don’t have confirmation” for what exactly took down the Chinook, Thor said, but if we simply refer back… here, right! to the thing he said earlier about Iranians in the Afghan government, it would seem to almost… prove? sure! that Iran gave weapons to the Taliban to do a terrible, awful, evil, oriental thing like attack an invading military force. Because really, Thor persisted, we’re supposed to believe monkeys like the Taliban could point a thing and shoot it at another thing!? I mean come on, amirite?

We’re back to believing Iran, fighting its own extremely violent US-backed Sunni terrorist attacks on its own turf, would support another Sunni extremist movement in a neighboring country? Not to mention Karzai himself has admitted to receiving “large sacks of cash” from the Iranian government!

Why was this Thor person on CNN, or any other news shows? Because he writes some Tom Clancyesque novels? And because of this he’s allowed to spread random, baseless anti-Iran propaganda with a “yeah!” from another so-called “expert”? Seriously?

CNN shouldn’t have fantasy novelists like Brad Thor on their news programs anymore unless they want their own reporting to continue to read a lot more like fiction.

CNN, Shocked: There Are No US Troops in Haiti!

It wasn’t 15 minutes into the coverage of this afternoon’s massive and certainly disastrous earthquake just 10 miles from Port-au-Prince on CNN, when Wolf Blitzer cut off the weeping Haitian ambassador to the US to go to a CNN staffer who spent another 2-3 minutes blathering about the lack — surprising, apparently — of United States troops on Haitian soil. But not to worry, he assures, Southcom, the US military’s bureaucracy for meddling in the internal affairs of our Latin American neighbors, could wrangle some firepower to help out our Haitian friends in their hour of need. More evidence of our society’s cultural embrace of military solutions to every problem.