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Thursday, February 17, 2011


Iranian "curveball"

Two stories in today's news make for an interesting juxtaposition. On the one hand, we have the notorious "Curveball" admitting he completely made up allegations about Iraqi WMD because he wanted the U.S. to invade Iraq. And we know how "reliable" that evidence was, even at the time, thanks to the former head of the CIA in Europe:
He recalled a conversation he had with John McLaughlin, then the CIA's deputy director. "The week before the speech, I talked to the Deputy McLaughlin, and someone says to him, 'Tyler's worried that Curveball might be a fabricator.' And McLaughlin said, 'Oh, I hope not, because this is really all we have.' And I said, and I've got to be honest with you, I said: 'You've got to be kidding? This is all we have!'"
So one man, simply making allegations without the slightest actual corroborative evidence, was enough to convince the U.S. government provide sufficient cover for the U.S. to invade Iraq and cause the death of an estimated one million people, and the injury and displacement of millions more.

And then we have the second story, the latest "assessment" of Iran by the U.S. government, "informing" us that:

U.S. intelligence agencies believe Iran's leadership is split over whether to use its nuclear program to develop atomic weapons and is immersed in a serious internal debate about how to proceed in the face of international sanctions.
Now if there were such a split and a debate going on, do you really think that anyone who was part of that debate would be talking to U.S. intelligence? Chances are about 100-1 that the "source" of this information is someone in a group like the MEK, talking to the CIA and claiming that they have a brother-in-law in Iran who knows a guy who knows a guy who told him....

The facts about Iran are these: Ayatollah Khamenei is one "power-source" in Iran. He has gone so far as to issue a fatwa against nuclear weapons. President Ahmadinejad, another source of power, has issued not a mere denial that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but a ringing denunciation of nuclear weapons:

We have declared many times, and we declare again, that our nuclear technology is in the service of peaceful goals. We declare that mass destruction weapons are sought by those who still think in the mode of 50 years ago. Those who think that political equations and cultural and economic equations can be solved to their benefit by relying on arsenals of mass destruction weapons. Our nation is a civilized nation, a cultured nation, that relies on the faith and will of its young nationals. Our nation, in order to achieve its aspiration, relies on the thoughts and beliefs and enhanced values that lie in the Islamic culture and Iranian culture. Our nation does not elicit its power from nuclear weapons. The power of our nation is rooted in the justice of its beliefs.
Then there's the "Green Movement," who is unlikely to be part of any discussions anyway, but even more unlikely to be pushing for nuclear weapons. Could there be some in the military who feel the nation would be less likely to be attacked if it had nuclear weapons? It seems quite likely there are, since that's almost certainly a fact. But is there the slightest evidence that people holding that opinion are part of a "serious internal debate"? Given the strong statements from both Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, it seems unarguable that the answer is "no."

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