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.

Iran: Parallax view

NOAM CHOMSKY: The Brookings Institute just a few months ago released extensive polls of what Arabs think about Iran. …They show that Arab opinion …—holds that the major threat in the region is Israel, that’s 80 percent; the second major threat is the United States, that’s 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent. With regard to nuclear weapons, rather remarkably, a majority, in fact, 57 percent, say that …it would have a positive effect in the region if Iran had nuclear weapons.
When they talk about Arabs, they mean the Arab dictators, not the population, which is overwhelmingly opposed to the conclusions that the analysts here, Clinton and the media, have drawn. There’s also a minor problem. That’s the major problem. The minor problem is that we don’t know from the cables what the Arab leaders think and say. We know what was selected from the range of what they say. So there’s a filtering process. We don’t know how much it distorts the information. But there’s no question that what is a radical distortion is—or not even a distortion, a reflection of the concern that the dictators are what matter. The population doesn’t matter, even if it’s overwhelmingly opposed to U.S. policy. This shows up elsewhere…. –Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal “Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership”

1/4 of an Iran Debate

On April 1, 2010 I participated in a panel discussion at the University of California at Riverside titled “Obama’s challenge: Iran, Nuclear Weapons & the Mideast” with Reese Erlich, Larry Greenfield and Christopher Records – here is some of my part. Thanks to Mansoor Sabbagh for the video. Reese Erlich’s part here.

Peres, in Argentina, Leaves Sense of Irony at Home

Israeli President and political office-juggler Shimon Peres is in Argentina schmoozing the poor man’s Eva Peron, batty President Cristina Kirchner, in the week before Palestinian Authority strongman Mahmoud Abbas visits. Though he seems to be trying to stay one step ahead of his enemies, he’s traveling so quickly he seems to have left behind sense of irony, the evidence of which is this Jerusalem Post article:

Citing two acts of terrorism perpetrated by Iran on Argentinean soil: the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in 1994, Peres wondered who could agree to have a regime that murders innocent people be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

“Who would believe them? Who could rely on them?” he asked.