Yesterday I posted about the dangerous connect-the-dots approach to intelligence that the U.S. is engaged in and how it is just as unlikely to be correct as our so-called intelligence about WMDs in Iraq before the "liberation" of Iraq. Today the U.S. military gave a semi-secret briefing to the media to lay out the "evidence" of an alleged link between Iran and the insurgency in Iraq. I wish I could report to you my impressions of the evidence, but the U.S. military is not providing the evidence to the public. My guess is that the Pentagon knows that the public is unlikely to buy the official line, but that maybe they were hopeful that maybe a few opportunistic Pro-Israel journalists will spoon feed the public a story that at least partially benefits the Pentagon' pre-determined conclusion.
By definition, the media reports of the Pentagon "display" of evidence are vague and sketchy, to the point of us needing to ask the obvious question of why bother. The answer is that the Pentagon's political masters and shadow puppetmasters, the Neoconservatives, honestly and sincerely believe that they can actually control and manipulate and direct the media as long as they concoct the right story and keep the media on a very short leash.
Here is some of the media coverage:
There was very little new information from this semi-secret briefing. It seemed exclusively designed to manipulate emotion and passion rather than to make a solid case.
The fact that the briefing was done so secretively and with such deliberate and acknowledged anonymity renders the whole affair to be a completely non-credible effort.
I'll give some examples from the media coverage that in their own words challenge the Pentagon's credibility.
During the briefing, the senior United States military officials were repeatedly pressed on why they insisted on anonymity in such an important matter affecting the security of American and Iraqi troops. A senior military official said that without anonymity, for example, the military analyst could not have contributed to the briefing.
The official also criticized recent news reports, saying they overstated the importance of todays presentation, which had been previously announced and then delayed. The delay came about in part because officials in Washington had not been as persuaded as those in Baghdad that the original presentation was sufficiently strong. Officials here did not address that element of the internal debate.
Stars & Stripes:
If Iran ceased tomorrow to provide extremists with weaponry, munitions and training, there would still be sectarian violence existing in this country, said the senior defense official. But what they are doing is acting as an accelerant to sectarian violence here.
The U.S. military said the munitions are being provided to Shiite groups in Iraq by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds force, which answers directly to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
But they don't have a very strong evidence of a linkage between Shiites and Quds force, nor do they have any evidence that Iran's leadership directed the Quds forces to engage in the transfer of weapons.
The briefing on Iran was revised heavily after officials decided it was not ready for release as planned last month.
Suggesting that the Pentagon knew what pre-determined conclusion they wished to present, but needed to "fix" the intelligence to match the conclusion.
The display appeared to be part of the White House drive that has empowered U.S. forces in Iraq to use all means to curb Iranian influence in the country, including killing Iranian agents.
Yes, finally we get to the true agenda, having nothing to do with whether Iran supplied arms.
"We know more than we can show," said one of the senior officials, when pressed for tangible evidence that the Epps were made in Iran.
That's a direct admission that the Pentagon realizes that they haven't presented a solid case. Clearly, they were pressured into making these claims against Iran by their political masters and the shadow Neoconservative puppetmasters.
"The supreme leader's side of the government is the side of the government that we are most concerned about, because they are the policy making side of the government," the analyst said. "The Quds force basically takes directions from the supreme leader."
What is this "basically" takes direction? Either we have solid evidence that direction was given or we don't. I think we're seeing the connect-the-dots fabrication process in action.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, is less directly involved, the analyst said. "It doesn't really matter what he thinks. He's not the supreme leader."
What does "less directly involved" really mean? This is essentially nonsense. These "analysts" are engaged in creative storytelling. They can't credibly claim that Iran is involved with the Iraq insurgency and then suggest that the President of Iran is not involved in any significant way.
Who knows, maybe it is a rogue operation. Maybe the government of Iran is not as monolithic and focused as some "analysts" claim.
The officials said they would speak only on the condition of anonymity so the trio's explosives expert and analyst, who would normally not speak to reporters, could provide more information. The analyst's exact job description was not revealed to reporters. Reporters' cell phones were taken before the briefing, and the officials did not allow reporters to record or videotape the proceedings.
I'm sorry, but any kind of "briefing" held under such heavy-handed duress is clearly meant to be manipulative and controlling and is simply not credible. This is psychological warfare against free speech.
The "analyst" is making verbal, rhetorical claims whose veracity cannot be verified. Journalists, let alone the public, are unable to verify the background, competence, or possible political motivation of the analysts in order to judge or probe the quality of the "information" being presented by the analyst.
This is far worse than the UN Security Council presentation on Iraq by Colin Powell or Tony Blair's Iraq dossier.
Whatever lingering credibility the Pentagon may have had, they just sunk to yet another new low.
It wouldn't surprise me if all manner of arms were being smuggled across the Iran border, but as I said yesterday, it is a huge leap from alleging that arms were made in Iran to tagging the Iranian government as directing the flow of arms. If the Pentagon feels they can make such a case, let them. So far, they haven't offered up such a case.
The Neoconservatives must be so proud of themselves that they present such a case and couch it in terms that suggest that they cannot be challenged:
The Iranians tend to use Iraqi smugglers along three main entrance routes into Iraq, the analyst said. "The smoking gun of an Iranian standing over an American with a gun, it's never going to happen," he said. "It's plausible deniability, I mean, they invented it."
In other words, by definition, the Pentagon is saying that there will never be a smoking gun. How can they possibly know that, unless they simply know that there was never any gunshot, so hence there could not be any smoking gun? This aspect of this latest intelligence episode has the Neoconservative fingerprints all over it.
-- Jack Krupansky