Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The More Things Change, . . . .

From Gareth Porter at IPS:

Cheney's Iran-Arms-to-Taliban Gambit Rebuffed

WASHINGTON, Jun 11 (IPS) - A media campaign portraying Iran as supplying arms to the Taliban guerrillas fighting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, orchestrated by advocates of a more confrontational stance toward Iran in the George W. Bush administration, appears to have backfired last week when Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Dan McNeil, issued unusually strong denials.

The allegation that Iran has reversed a decade-long policy and is now supporting the Taliban, conveyed in a series of press articles quoting "senior officials" in recent weeks, is related to a broader effort by officials aligned with Vice President Dick Cheney to portray Iran as supporting Sunni insurgents, including al Qaeda, to defeat the United States in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

That article and subsequent reports on CNN May 30, in the Washington Post Jun. 3 and on ABC news Jun. 6 all included an assertion by an unnamed U.S. official or a "senior coalition official" that Iran is following a deliberate policy of supplying the Taliban's campaign against U.S., British and other NATO forces.

In the most dramatic version of the story, ABC reported "NATO officials" as saying they had "caught Iran red-handed, shipping heavy arms, C4 explosives and advanced roadside bombs to the Taliban for use against NATO forces."

Both Gates and McNeill denied flatly last week that there is any evidence linking Iranian authorities to those arms. Gates told a press conference on Jun. 4, "We do not have any information about whether the government of Iran is supporting this, is behind it, or whether it's smuggling, or exactly what is behind it." Gates said that "some" of the arms in question might be going to Afghan drug smugglers.

I think it's great that cheney and his group have been proven to be wrong in their assertions.

The problem is, the dis-information campaign has already been successful, as the MSM reported it widely. NO ONE in the MSM reported the retraction by Gates, et al. (As I'm composing this, CNN is reporting another charge similar to this erroneous one.)

Rather like the lead-up to the Iraq situation, is it not???

The more things change, "_____________" (fill in the blank)

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