Welcome Gareth Porter (InterPressService) (Truthout) (AntiWar.com) and Host Andrew Cockburn (Washington Editor of Harper’s Magazine) (Twitter)

Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare

Eleven years after the U.S. invaded Iraq on the grounds that the country had restarted a long defunct nuclear weapons program, we still levy threats and sanctions against a government that has never had a nuclear weapons program at all. Journalists and politicians still talk blithely about the Iranian program, yet, as Gareth Porter makes clear in Manufactured Crisis, almost every item of evidence has been either tendentiously or fraudulently concocted.

In his precise and definitive account, Porter dissects the politics of the Iranian nuclear scare – how the U.S. national security complex needed a new threat after the collapse of the Soviet Union, how Israeli politicians invoked the “existential” threat from Iran to deflect attention from the Palestinian issue, how the Iranians, though rejecting the notion of building a bomb, nevertheless believed that a nuclear enrichment program would be a “latent deterrent” against threats from outside.

Meticulously charting the construction of the charges levied against Iran and used as justification for ever –more onerous economic sanctions, Porter demonstrates how, time and again, evidence was twisted to put a malign slant on Iranian actions, how the supposedly objective International Atomic Energy Agency was deployed as an instrument of U.S. policy, how documents allegedly originating from inside the Iranian program that now underpin charges of a covert bomb project were in fact supplied by Israel and quite obviously forged. As might be expected from the state-influenced media that served us Iraqi WMD, the mainstream press has accorded an uncritical reception to official claims throughout.

Comprehensively researched and documented, Porter’s vitally necessary book will endow readers with the skepticism that this manufactured crisis deserves.

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

123 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Gareth Porter, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare”

BevW February 16th, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Gareth, Andrew, Welcome back to the Lake.

Andrew, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Hello everybody,

Gareth, the middle ground position on this issue is that the Iranians may have had a bomb program once upon a time but, according to U.S. intelligence , they stopped in 2003. Is it your contention that they never had a bomb program?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I’m very happy to have a book discussed by the FDL book salon after hosting a few. Thanks, Andrew, for that very kind introduction to “Manufactured Crisis”, which very nicely describes what I set out to do in a very brief way. I’m eager to see what comments and questions people have.

dakine01 February 16th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Gareth and Andrew and welcome back to Firedoglake this afternoon.

Gareth, I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but I have somewhat followed the news reports of the agreements over the last few months, including the attempts by a number of senators to impose ever harsher sanctions. Are the US and Europe actually serious about working with Iran is it all a big charade? How much influence is Israel having?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:03 pm
In response to Andrew Cockburn @ 2

Yes, I have concluded after looking at all the evidence that there was never a nuclear weapons program in Iran, although I have no doubt that there were individuals who had research projects related to nuclear weapons. I am quite sure that they did constitute a program such as the one indicated in the documents used to make the charge in the IAEA, however.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Well, before we get into that, we might want to look at how and when this all started. Gareth, how far back does this “crisis” go?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:06 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

It’s not a simple matter to assess the seriousness of U.S. and European policy with regard to working with Iran on a settlement. On one hand, I do believe there is an interest in finding a way out of the morass both in Washington and in Europe. On the other hand, it is clear that the U.S. and its European allies have been drinking the kool-aid on the question of Iranian nuclear policy for so long that they do not have an objective view of the issue. So that leaves an area of potential conflict and breakdown in the talks.

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 2:07 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 3

Aloha, Gareth and Andrew…! I’ve been a long-time fan of your work, but, I haven’t read your latest book yet…! Could you talk about the Nuke Laptop…?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:07 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

As for the Israel influence on the issue, it is not quite what it was a couple of years ago, clearly. But in my view Israel still has a significant influence on U.S. policy even if it is a matter of causing Obama to worry about what he can get away with in his negotiating position.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:08 pm

This all has a familiar ring. In 2003 we were assured that Iraq had WMD and we had to go to war. What’s different this time?

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Good interview on Scott Horten, Gareth.

Were there only 4 dual use items? How much of each? What about some of the larger material Iran would have needed for any kind of nuclear program, energy or weapons, like aluminum tubes?

Where does Iran get its uranium? All domestically mined? Scott Ritter mentioned years ago that Iranian uranium had relatively high contamination of molybdenum, which made it tricky to refine. Do you know if that’s accurate?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:11 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 8

Hi, there, I’m happy to see your name in this discussion. Thanks for your writing on this subject over the years! You’ve invoked my favorite theme in the Iran nuclear issue. To summarize what I’ve written in the book, I found that not only were the “laptop documents” conveyed to Western intelligence by the Muhahedin-e-Khalq, but that they were fabricated by the Israelis. The latter conclusion is based on circumstantial evidence, but the former is based on new revelations by a former senior German official, Karsten Voigt, who went ont he record with me on this episode and related the details avout German intel getting the documents from a source who they knew to be MEK.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:11 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 8

Before there was the laptop, there were the suspicious telecxes. Perhaps Gareth should take us through the various items put forth to justify the charges against Iran

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:13 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 12

Are the “laptop documents” self-evidently fake?

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 2:14 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 8

As an add on to CT’s question, what was the timing of the smoking laptop, the “green salt” process, and what else was going on at the time. I gathered the laptop was a poor excuse for a forgery, like the letters of the Italian origin in the case of Iraq uranium ore.

What is the point of forging documents or computers that are laughable?

BrandonJ February 16th, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Hello everyone. Glad to be here.

Gareth, your book has been a fantastic read so far. I haven’t completed it yet, but reading on both the history of this so-called crisis and why both the U.S. and Israel led to charge for it has been very educational.

My question for you is on the Cold War. I notice the consequences of high military budgets during the era was a reason for the U.S. gunning for this allegation. Have agencies, like the CIA and the Pentagon, gotten stronger or weaker since the fall of the Soviet Union? If so, what has it resulted in?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:15 pm
In response to Andrew Cockburn @ 6

Sorry, Andrew, I missed your question until now. Very important one. The “crisis” might be said to start with the Israeli use of the MEK to reveal the existence of Natanz in 2002 which was folllowed by a whole strategy coordinated between Bush administration and Israel for the next few years. But before that you had an episode going all the way back to 1983 when the Reagan administration first tried to strangle the Iranian nuclear program in the cradle and the process force iran to make a decision about whether to give up the program altogether or get its own capability for uranium enrichment. That’s a key story that I relate in the book.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:16 pm

On a more general point, if the Iranians aren’t building a bomb, why do they have a nuclear enrichment program

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Yes, I believe the documents that were acquired in 2004 and then given to the IAEA to play with are self-evidently fraudulent. I show how they depict the reentry vehicle of a missile was no longer being developed by Iran when these documents were supposed being written or drawn! And there is another similar contradiction that I detail as well. These errors are not consistent with genuine Iranian documents.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:18 pm
In response to BrandonJ @ 16

Overall defense spending this year is 15% higher than it was at the height of the Vietnam war in 1968, when the cold war was ongoing.

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 2:20 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 12

Mahalo…! One would think that an Iranian Scientist’s laptop would contain at least something written in persian, eh…? ;-)

What about those telecxes(sp?) Andrew just mentioned…?

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:20 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 21

er, telexes.

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Check out #4. Series of questions about telexes.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Are you relying on “secret sources”, or public documents. If the latter, what does this tell us about the role of the press?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:22 pm
In response to BrandonJ @ 16

Excellent question, Brandon. In my judgment the main organs of the national security state have definitely amassed more power — and obviously, more resources — since the end of the Cold War. They managed to survive that development thanks to the first Gulf War, which was to be template for future wars which Dick Cheney, then the Secretary fo Defense was quite explicit about expecting in the future. And then there was the 9/11 bow wave of oney and military- intelligence missions. They were indeed waxing fat. Today,l however, they have some serious problems holding on that power, and that’s why thing s could get more interesting!

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Plame was on book salon after her book came out. I asked her why anyone thought that Iran ever had a weapons program, was it the smoking laptop.

She didn’t answer my Q.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Iran’s enrichment program, as I document in the book, serves multiple purposes: it is certainly valid from the point of view of a long-term energy policy for Iran, but it also has served as a “latent deterrent” simply by virtue of the capability to enrich uranium, as well as the building up a considerable set of negotiating chips with which to bargain with the United States for an end to its hostility and a return to a more normal relationship. Finally it has long been viewed as a major element in Iran’s quest for scientific and technological development, because of the relationship between nuclear science and sci-tech fields.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:27 pm

The Europeans, especially France, used to have a more sensible attitude on all this, no? What turned them round?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Although I quote a couple of former intelligence officials on a couple of issues, the book is based overwhelmingly on interviews on the record and on publicly available documentation.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:29 pm
In response to BevW @ 30

Who misread the telexes?

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:30 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 27

Has the deterrence strategy worked?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:31 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 26

I’m not surprise at the non-answer. The office she was working with was involved in both collecting intelligence on WMD and also in operations relating to that issue. As I relate in the book that conflict of interest was problematic. For one thing, how could the office remain objective about the Iran issue when it was selling the White House on the need to peddle a design for a nuclear weapon with a supposed fatal flaw to the Iranians (as reported by Risen in his book). I also have a story about how the head of the office was involved in suppressing intelligence gathered by one of theoperatives reporting to it in 2000 that indicated Iran was not going to weaponize.

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 2:32 pm
In response to BevW @ 30

Mahalo, Bev…!

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 2:33 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 27

Speaking of confidence measures, haven’t they already started diluting their 20% enriched stockpiles…?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:35 pm

That story is about the collective misreading of telexes sent from Sharif University in Tehran to tech companies by U.S. German and Israeli intelligence agencies. It happened from 1990 to 1993 and involve a relatively small number of rquests for “dual use” technology which had telex numbers associated with the an organization that worked for the defense ministry. Apparently everyone agreed that this must mean Iran’s military was ianvolved in a nuclear program. So the Iranians must have been working on a nuclear weapon. Turned out to be a false positive, as sthe IAEA acknowledged in effect in 2008.

BrandonJ February 16th, 2014 at 2:36 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 25

Interesting. Let’s hope their power significantly dwarfs. It was very troubling to read on how far all of the players were successful in their deceitful campaign.

I’m curious as to why the IAEA hasn’t been more forceful in dispelling myths on Iran. Is it because of the power the U.S. and Israel has through major media outlets?

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 2:37 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 33

Thanks. It’s what I thought.

Made a mistake. My Qs about telexes are at 11, not 4.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:37 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 35

Yes, they’ve already begun to liquidate their stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium in part by diluting it. The other part is continuing to convert it to oxide form to be used for fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Good question, Andrew. It would appear that there has been least some limited impact on the hawks in both Washington and Tel Aviv. Ex-CIA Director Hayden has said that internal discussions in the Bush administration refelcted general agreement that an attack on Iran would result in the very thing it was supposed to prevent, and Israeli IDF figures have made the same point.

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Robert Gates (Bobgate) is mentioned by some as a card carrying member of U.S. deep government. He’s been in so many different high level positions in so many administrations. Including crucial role in Iran Contra. Doesn’t happen by chance.

Comments?

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Do you talk about the politicization of the IAEA in your new book, Gareth…?

gigi3 February 16th, 2014 at 2:46 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 39

Wasn’t another use of the more highly enriched uranium for medical isotopes and research? I recall reading that was one of the findings of IAEA.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:47 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 40

So who on the western side has behaved creditably in all this?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:47 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 11

Sorry I missed these good questions about the telexes and Iranian uranium.

The telexes turned evidence of only dual use items, based on the account of the IAEA, and no claims of similar efforts to obtain aluminum tubes in the context of a military connection were made. But the real point is that the whole connection between the Iranian military and the dual use items was bogus.

This does not mean that Iran wasn’t trying to obtain iuranium enrichment technology in the early 1990s. Of course they were. It just means that the military wasn’t in on the procurement.

On Iran’s uranium sources, they had a relatively lsmall supply from China that used in texting and experiments–not enough for a longer-term enrichment program. That has come from their own mine.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Baradei?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:49 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 41

If there were a secret government elite running U.S. national security policy for the last 30 years or so, Gates would be one of its chief leaders. The way the system works is a bit different, of course, but he is a man who gravitates to power and covets it. That is the key point about Gates’s role in Iran and sundry other issues.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:54 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 42

Yes, indeed! The politicization of the IAEA is a central part of the story of the “Manufactured Crisis”. I show how ElBaradei made some effort to resist the pressure for that, but was forced to go along with the use of the laptop documents to indict Iran from 2006 through 2007. And I show how beginning in earlly 2008, the head of the Safeguards Department, Olli Heinoneon, was collaborating closely with the United States to cook up a very deceptive strategy for being able to blame Iran for refusing to cooperate with the IAEA on the issue of what they called the “alleged studies”. That’s too complex to explain here but it was very brazen indeed.

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 2:55 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 47

Wouldn’t the coterie of the Carlyle Group play a big role too, Gareth…?

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 2:58 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 48

What role did David Albright play in inflating the Iranian nuclear threat?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:58 pm

There was a period in late 2003 and 2004 when the British, French and Germans were trying to head off a Bush strategy (led by Bolton) to get Iran’s nuclear file before the UN Security Council. The EU-3 suspected rightly that the Bush administration’s neocons had in mind a military option, and they were determined to prevent it. That’s when they were negotiating a deal with Iran on the nuclear issue to the dismay of Bush administration. But they all later turned into pro-Israeli pawns in the drama, and even attacked the 2007 NIE for its conclusion that Iran was not working on nuclear weapons. The change was in part because of new governments in France and Germany, but also because the threat of US war against Iran had been dramatically reduced.

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 2:58 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 48

Wasn’t it you that first dug up that wikileak of Amano’s willingness…?

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 2:59 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 45

The main way I figured out there were no WMDs in Iraq was the thinness of the case. Only 4 categories offered. AL tubes, and State dept got that right. Al Libi’s tortured confession & subsequent retraction, U from Niger, Curveball (that one didn’t pass the guffaw test, mobile bioweapons labs indeed).

The case for Iran program boils down to equally thin case.

I know nothing of these matters. If layperson can figure it out from open source, why not press?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 2:59 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 49

Certainly there were some people associated with that group who played key roles in national security policy. I don’t know if I would rank them as insiders in the same way I would consider Gates, though.

BrandonJ February 16th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Will Iran continue to be the main focus of the U.S. for the future? The past few years have seen developments in the Middle East and in Asia, but I can’t help but feel the U.S. still wants to be in the Middle East.

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 3:02 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 48

brazen indeed

As are most of U.S. assertions about enemy du jour. Adds to my question in 53. Everything that USG asserts falls to dust when you touch it. Where is the press?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Alright is certainly an important figure in the story. Those who read my book will see that he gave me some surprising information about the laptop documents that reinforces the case that they were not authentic –event though I’m sure he ever acknowledged that to himself let alone anyone else. But by 2009 he had become an outright propagandist for the U.S.-Israeli-IAEA line. I don’t think anyone quite understands what happened to him during that year, but it suspect he was under pressure from his friends in IAEA to get on the team, and he did so.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 3:03 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 51

Why have the post-Sarkozy French been so hard line in the recent negotiations?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:04 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 52

I wish I could claim that, but the original story of the WikiLeaks cable about Amano’s fealty to the US policy on Iran came from a blogger, I’m pretty sure. At the moment I don’t remember who.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:07 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 53

Ah the press! I tried to include a good dose of press coverage at key turning points related to the IAEA reports in particular that were clearly reflections of the worst kind of complicity with the official policy. I won’t go into detail here, but you will find case after case of jaw-dropping coverage that ignores easily asertainable facts in favor of the the official line. The Iran case has brought out media abuses just as serious as the Iraq case! Nothing ever changes.

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 3:09 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 54

Do you look at the Green Tag/Blue Tag dichotomy…?

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 3:09 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 51

Aug or Sept 2007 is when the rogue nuke missile armed B-52 flew from Minot to Barksdale, on its way (midair refueling) to bomb Iran, when some Dudley Do-rights stopped it. Israel bombed some site that looked like desert plane in Syria.

Did you perceive any connection between this last ditch effort of nuke neocons to get their way while CIA analysts’ NIE was in the hopper?

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 3:10 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 59

Maybe Cyrus Safdari or Richard Silverstein..! ;-)

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:10 pm
In response to BrandonJ @ 55

I am quite convinced that Iran will remain the enemy du jour for the United States for years to come. THe Obama administration has been telling us that while enter into negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue, and there is absolutely no reason to doubt it. At the same time the administration is clearly getting more worried about the Jihadist threat in Syria and elsewhere in the region–all folks who regard Iran as even more of an enemy than the United States. So — a fundamental contradiction that will be interesting to watch in coming years.

gigi3 February 16th, 2014 at 3:11 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 54

What about James Baker? He is (or was) senior counselor for Carlyle. He certainly had a role in national security.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:12 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 61

No, I’m not familiar with that term. Please explain.

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 3:12 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 59

Armano’s fealty to U.S. was known much in advance of his taking over from ElBaradei. Can’t remember where I first heard it, maybe Scott Horton, but if so, can’t remember who he was interviewing.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 3:14 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 64

Which makes the role of Saudi Arabia all the more interesting. As the chief supporter of the Jihadists, the Saudis cause the U.S. a lot of problems. At the same time, they are not far behind the Israelis in tub-thumping the Iranian threat.

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 3:14 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 64

All that O needs to do to stop the Syria threat is to tell Bandar to get his cannibal death squads out of the country.

bluewombat February 16th, 2014 at 3:14 pm

OK, Iran doesn’t have and hasn’t had a nuclear weapons program.

This is more of a philosophical than a research question, but wouldn’t it make sense for them to have one? Countries like Iraq that don’t have nukes, like Iraq, get invaded by the U.S. Countries that do, even a small number of piffling ones, like North Korea, don’t.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:15 pm

My understanding is that the same figures who were making Iran policy under Sarkozy (and obviously reflecting his views) continued to do so under the socialist government. There is apparently an Israeli lobby there that is quite effective, but it doesn’t operate int he same way AIPAC does, through campaign finance but through personal elite politics.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:17 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 67

I think what you are referring to is the fact that Amano was shown in WikiLeaks documents from 2008– a year a half before he took over and well before his election campaign had US support– to be an extremist on the Iran issue in line with the Bush neocon policy. Since I quote that document int he book, I think you probably heard me say it on Scott’s show.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Absolutely, Andrew. The contradictions developing between U.S. and Saudi policy are likely to be more dynamic than U.S.-Israeli relations in the coming years. The Israelis will take a more nuanced position on the sectarian violence than the Saudis, and the U.S. is likely to be increasingly troubled by the policies of the latter.

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 3:19 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 66

I first learned the term from Dr. RJ Hillhouse awhile ago…! Outsourcing Intelligence: Author R.J. Hillhouse on How Key National Security Projects Are Contracted to Private Firms

Green Taggers are the Private Contractors and the Blue Tags are actual Govt. employees…!

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 3:21 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 64

What about Pivot to Pacific?

Zbig, petty Polish aristocrat, still power behind the throne, is long known for his antipathy to Russia.

There was a time, end of Hillary’s SoS, when USG policy seemed to be switching, and Zbig seemed to want to get back to his core concern (whoever controls Eurasia controls the globe).

U.S. support of Ukrainian racist neonazis is core part of the plan.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:23 pm
In response to bluewombat @ 70

By the normal logic of national security, you are right that Iran should seriously consider having nuclear weapons. But there are two factors that sharply differentiate Iran’s position from that of North Korea, for example: the Shi’a jurisprudence of the regime which has fundamentally excluded WMDs as illicit under Islam, and the very strong commitment of the Iranian national security elite since 1989 to trying to get access to capital and technology to make Iran a very modern highly developed state. That is the elite that was first assembled by Rafsanjani as president, and Hassan Rouhani was the single most important figure in it.

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 3:23 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 72

Full circle. :-)

blueokie February 16th, 2014 at 3:23 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 59

Doesn’t that have a lot to do with business arrangements with the KSA?

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Have to break away. May have time to return before the end.

If not, thanks so much for your work, Gareth.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:26 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 74

That distinction doesn’t seem to me to be very relevant to Ira. It was the center on proliferation created within the CIA itself that has played the central role in defining the intel community’s position on Iran ever since 1991, and the intel failure on Iran, which I argue parallels the failure on Iraq very closely, is a failure of official intelligence institutions and doesn’t have anything to do with contractors.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 3:28 pm

How likely is it that the Europeans will jump ship on the sanctions regime, or is imperial control as strong as ever?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:28 pm
In response to blueokie @ 78

I don’t understand what you mean. What is the context of KSA here?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:29 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 79

Thanks very much for your interest and participation!

Kevin Gosztola February 16th, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Hello, Gareth

Your book is comprehensive and thorough, just what is needed for any discussion of Iran and US foreign policy toward the country. It does not only demonstrate how US and Israeli officials “manufactured” this “crisis” but also exposes the systemic failure of US media to critically report on the claims of officials.

What (if anything specific) stands out to you as one of or a few of the most egregious misdeeds against the truth committed by media in recent decades? Does anything stand out? Are there any particular journalists that bear responsibility for creating this false perception of nuclear “crisis”?

BrandonJ February 16th, 2014 at 3:31 pm

I liked in the book how you brought up Hassan Rouhani in different roles central to the case in the book. During the election that made him President, was it expected and/or necessary for him to be placed there?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:31 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 75

I am going to try to pay more attention to U.S. diplomatic and military policy toward Iran in the coming year. That’s where I think the danger of war is serious — not (so far, at least) with Iran.

blueokie February 16th, 2014 at 3:32 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 82

I’ve read where France is in negotiations to build major infrastructure, including desalinization plants and nuclear reactors for Saudi Arabia, as the negotiations got close to fruition, France adopted a more hard line approach to Iran. Not sure but I believe it was from Pepe Escobar’s work.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:34 pm

It all depends on how these negotiations play out. I would not count on Europe jumping ship if they fall apart due to a hard line by Obama. The reason is that the narrative about Iranian nuclear deception is so deeply entrenched there as it is here that I don’t think there would be a strong impetus to change policy. The one thing that might change the dynamic would be a breakthrough about the narrative itself by Iran releasing new information that would be difficult to refute. I do think that is a possibility, because Obama has decided to inttroduce the “possible military dimensions” into the negotiations, and I don’t know how that will play out.

bluewombat February 16th, 2014 at 3:37 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 76

Fascinating. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

RevBev February 16th, 2014 at 3:37 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 88

If it is all so murky, what would be the best avenue/voice for getting out the truth so we do not have another Iraq disaster?

bluewombat February 16th, 2014 at 3:38 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 69

Understated as always, eCahn. Why don’t you say what you really think? :)

bluewombat February 16th, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Gareth, will you be making any appearances in Los Angeles?

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 3:40 pm
In response to RevBev @ 90

I’d say Gareth has made a pretty good start.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:41 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 84

Thanks for your kind comments, Kevin. Your question is a big one — I’m not sure I know which outrage by the news media would rank #1. Everyone knows the Iraq failure of the media, but surely Afghanistan ranks up there as well in terms of refusal to do any fact checking about the Obama national security team lies that got is into a bigger war. And that is not to mention the original failure to do any investigation of the Bush adminjstration’s initial military intervention in Afghanistan and the subsequent decade of operations. But for my money you have view the failure on Iran as overall the most egregious because it extended over more than two decades now and shows no sign of ending!

I hesitate to single out a journalist as being the worst, but if forced, I would have to say David Sanger deserves a career contribution award for his ceaseless attacks on the US intelligence finding that Iran was not carrying out a nuclear weapons program after 2003 as well as helping to create the narrative of the laptop documents coming from the purloined laptop of an Iranian engineer working on a covert nuclear weapons program. All of course a complete lie, as I show inthe book

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 3:41 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 80

Recent revelations from Edward Snowden, as Marcy Wheeler wrote yesterday… Since Spying to Benefit Monsanto Is Not Industrial Espionage, It’s Okay

One of the examples I often raise to show how our government likely uses SIGINT to advantage specific businesses is the way the government helps Monsanto budge into markets uninterested in its products.

One WikiLeaks cable showed the US embassy in Paris planned a “military-style trade war” to benefit Monsanto…

Should be applied to Big Oil and/or the MIC, considering the fact they need to peddle their wares…! On a sidenote, why is it that nobody’s really talking about how Israel has been hoovering up all the raw data that the NSA has been…?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:43 pm
In response to RevBev @ 90

Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned in my life is that truth-telling depends on being independent of power interests. That means we have to have independent media and those media have to somehow achieve greater reach. More money needs to be found to support that. Is the Greenwald-Scahill experiment going to show the way. I don’t know. We have to watch that experiment. I hope it is one model that can lead to others.

RevBev February 16th, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Thanks. I agree, of course. I was thinking about redundance and amplification.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:45 pm
In response to blueokie @ 87

I see what you are getting at. I doubt very much that it was business opportunities that shaped the weird French intervention at Geneva last October, as was suggested by some. For one thing, the French could easily make far more on oil deals with Iran and they have chosen to kick the opportunity away!

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 3:47 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 96

Have they approached you, Gareth…?

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 3:48 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 95

why is it that nobody’s really talking about how Israel has been hoovering up all the raw data that the NSA has been…?

It’s all in one of Bamford’s books. Israelis wrote search software for NSA that gives it a back door.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:49 pm
In response to BrandonJ @ 85

Some suggest that Rouhani may not have been the first choice of Khamenei. I don’t know about that, but I do believe that Rouhani was not only acceptable to Khamenei but that he understood Rouhani would have the best chance to craft a deal that would be acceptable to the United States while maintaining the Khamenei’s red lines.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:49 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 99

No.

BrandonJ February 16th, 2014 at 3:51 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 101

My follow-up to that is why is there push-back in Iran to the new deal now or whether it merits attention. At an event celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, flyers were found criticizing the deal. Is there internal divisions?

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:51 pm
In response to RevBev @ 97

Yes, those words sum pretty well what the alternative media need! And they cost money, it seems.

RevBev February 16th, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Should we start a draft? Truth is so rare; we need the best spokesmen.

BevW February 16th, 2014 at 3:51 pm

As we come to the last minutes of this great Book Salon discussion. Any last thoughts?

Gareth, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and the misinformation we are receiving about Iran.

Andrew, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Gareth’s website (IPS) and book (Manufactured Crisis) – Andrew’s website (Harper’s Magazine)

Thanks all, Have a great week. If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:52 pm

I hope I haven’t missed anyone’s question/comment, although chances are I have! Let me what I’ve missed, if anything.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 3:53 pm
In response to Gareth Porter @ 88

What about China and India? There must come a point when they will tire of the U.S. dictating their energy sources (ie oil trade sanctions.)

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Thanks, Bev. It’s a pleasure to interact with FDL folks again. Thanks all of you. THanks to you, Andrew for your superb introduction and meaty questions.

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I agree with that completely, Andrew.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

A pleasue Gareth. Thanks for writing a truly important book.

Andrew Cockburn February 16th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

And apologies for my typing.

gigi3 February 16th, 2014 at 3:56 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 100

Shadow Factory. Program called STAR-GATE. Developed by Verint. Verint founded by former Israeli inttelligence officer, Jacob Alexander (“Kobi”)

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 3:57 pm
In response to gigi3 @ 113

Thanks.

BrandonJ February 16th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Thanks for that, very helpful in giving information on the election.

CTuttle February 16th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Mahalo Nui Loa, Andrew, Bev, and Gareth…! It was another awesome Book Salon…! *g*

gigi3 February 16th, 2014 at 4:00 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 115

You’re welcome. It’s one of many books I’ve read more than once. In the case of SF, 4 times. Most parts have been committed to memory.

gigi3 February 16th, 2014 at 4:05 pm
In response to gigi3 @ 118

Kobi’s father Zvi was a wealthy oil baron who often partnered with Marc Rich in things like bribing African cabinet ministers. Real stand-up guy.

BrandonJ February 16th, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Great Book Salon, thanks to Gareth for writing this wonderful book. Can’t wait to read even more of it. Thanks also to Andrew for hosting this session.

bluewombat February 16th, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Gareth, will you be making any appearances in Los Angeles?

(I asked this at #92 and tried to ask it again, but kept getting the disconnect message. Will post it here again in case Mr. Porter checks back for stragglers.)

eCAHNomics February 16th, 2014 at 4:19 pm
In response to gigi3 @ 118

Read it once, maybe even did audio book. I try to retain general principles, not details. Appreciate that you retianed that detail!

Gareth Porter February 16th, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Hey, I’m so sorry I missed that one. I remember it and intended to answer. We definitely will be coming to LA and I welcome your suggestions for possible co-sponsors and venues for book events. You can contact me at porter.gareth50@gmail.com. Thanks for your interest!

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