Monday, June 25, 2007

Murdoch's Muckraker Invents Iranian Invasion

By Cernig

The headline above, as any Brit can tell you, is the kind of alliterative stuff Rupert Murdoch's UK tabloid, The Sun, likes to sling about along with its torrid gossip.

And torrid gossip is about the best characterization of a story, headlined "Iran bombers attack Our Boys", about Iranian 'copters in Iraqi airspace. It's a story so obviously made-up that it's buried on The Sun's news pages beneath the latest on Tiger Wood's baby and who is hot on the Big Brother reality TV show. It doesn't even warrant the same amount of space as the story about the Sun's interpid reporter who stipped off at a nudist rally!

Here's the "meat" of the Sun's revelations:
IRANIAN forces are being choppered over the Iraqi border to bomb Our Boys, intelligence chiefs say.

Military experts claim this worrying move means we are at WAR with Iran in all but name.

Last night an intelligence source told The Sun: “It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran — but nobody has officially declared it.

“We have hard proof that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have crossed the border to attack us.

“It is very hard for us to strike back. All we can do is try to defend ourselves. We are badly on the back foot.”

Our Boys picked up the Iranian helicopters on radar crossing into empty desert.

The sightings have been confirmed to The Sun by very senior military sources.
Note that, in typical Murdoch-rag warmongering fashion, it doesn't say which intelligence agency or independent intelligence analysis group, if any, the source belongs to. Note too, it doesn't say which military the anonymous confirmers belong to. You're left with the impression all are British, but they could all be Outer Mongolian and the Sun would still be technically truthful. That's why The Sun's "journalists" write that way - the UK's Press Complaints Commission would penalize them hard unless they carefully gave themselves such technical "outs".

(Need I even mention the jingoistic capitalisation of "Our Boys"?)

But Breibart picked up an AFP repeat of this unconfirmed and unconfirmable nonsense and then Drudge picked up the Breibart report and so...

Mike Ledeen, who is on record as saying he doesn't want war with Iran as often as he is on record saying he does want war with Iran, wants war with Iran.
It's in red atop Drudge. It says that the Brits know that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards transported troops across the Iraq border in helicopters, in order to attack British soldiers. Some might call it an act of war. But then, there have been so many, who can keep track?

I doubt the Brits have the stomach for an effective response. Obviously the mullahs feel that way, too. But there are so many factors in play in Tehran these days that it probably requires a supercomputer to sort them out, from the succession struggle to the increasingly open war in the streets between regime and people, to the urgency the mullahs feel about the multi-front war in which they are now engaged.

I don't want to distract anyone from counting likely votes in the world's greatest deliberative body, but Iran certainly seems to be waging war openly and violently. It might be smart to pay attention. And even respond.
At least the semi-sane one at Malkin's Hot Air, Allahpundit, actually has some second thoughts after his kneejerk reaction of "waaaaarrrhhhhh!"
I’m suspicious that a story as potentially big as this is being leaked to a tabloid instead of one of the prestige papers...Why are they choppering in to plant bombs? They own southern Iraq; they could just send the materiel across the border and let their proxies do it for them. And why would they risk trying something as provocative as this with the Brits having already declared their intention to withdraw and the U.S. on the brink of following suit? They’ll have a free hand in Iraq once we’re gone. It’s madness to chance a casus belli with a direct attack on coalition troops.
It's a pity his commenters don't have even first thoughts, just warlike kneejerk gruntings.

Of course, The Sun isn't talking about an invasion or even direct attacks on Coalition troops. Its anonymous sources from who-knows-where are simply adding another spurious twist to the "Iran arms Iranian insurgents" narrative.

'Copters that don't do much of anything except fly over empty desert, apparently unconnected to any other happening in the world except by febrile imagination. There's nothing else to this, if even that much. There's no "hard evidence" in evidence and the UK's Defense Ministry won't deny or confirm, as usual, so The Sun can always claim the "hard evidence" is a secret. The Sun is not a relable source for the soccer scores, let alone such news as this.

Still, it will give the neocons a comeback when Iran trots out its next set of evidence, as tracked by third-party states, of U.S. flyovers of Iranian territory by F-16's. Maybe that's the point of this fable. Maybe it's just so that someone can email Drudge and say "make sure the drones have this by morning". And they will, mark my words.

Update And they are. With Instapundit leading the way.

But if you want a flavor of the journalistic integrity of the Sun's journalist, Tom Newton Dunn, then consider that his drumming of the War with Iran narrative, always without actual evidence, have been favorites of the MeK's mouthpiece front Iran Focus for years. Consider too that he's not above inventing the facts when necessary to write an anti-Iran report. But for the true measure of his journalism, consider the story he wrote with the lead "Six lads wooed this beauty for a TV show.. ..but SHE is actually still a HE." Pure quality.

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