Thursday, October 06, 2005

Iran: An Imminent Threat

Yesterday's announcement of possible Iranian involvement in the insurgency in Iraq is still on my mind. To get an idea of how this is being reported, I had a look at what the Scum said about it this morning (I had a shower straight afterwards of course).
Iran's bombs kill our boys
EIGHT British soldiers blown up in Iraq were all killed by bombs supplied by elite IRANIAN troops. The devastating new devices were planted on roadsides and detonated as convoys passed. Last night a senior British official confirmed fears that hardliners in Tehran were behind the deaths. Fanatical soldiers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards gave the armour-piercing explosives to terrorists fighting British forces in southern Iraq. Analysis of wreckage has proved the bombs are exactly the same used on Israeli troops by Lebanon-based Islamic terrorists Hezbollah — who also relied on Iran for equipment. The revelation has provoked fury among British commanders. It has increased heightened tension between London and the Ayatollahs in Tehran. The senior official told The Sun: “All eight soldiers killed over the summer died as a result of new technology bombs getting into insurgents’ hands from Iran. It is extremist elements inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps who are responsible. They want to keep Iraq weak and fractious as long as possible.”
Very unequivocal and typically emotionally charged stuff from the Scum there. It's pretty much what you'd expect. It is worth noting that the Scum, in line with the statement of Mr Mysterious, does not actually accuse the Iranian government of any direct involvement in this. There's an insinuation but nothing more. The main message is that Iranians are killing our brave boys and that this is an outrage.*

OK, that's enough of that. Feel free to go off for a wash and come back once you feel better.

As I said yesterday, it was unclear whether this was a leak or an official announcement. The government's position was notable only for it's absence. Blair has been speaking at a press conference today and he has made the official government position *slightly* clearer. His opening sentence on this shows that I'm not the only one who thinks there's something odd going on here.
First of all let me just dispose of one part of one conspiracy theory.There is nothing premeditated about this.
Er, right. No conspiracy theory. Somehow, I doubt Blair is refering to my own concerns. For him to mention a conspiracy theory at all there must be a good number of other people with similar worries. I am not reassured. And, according to Blair, yesterday's announcement was an unanticipated leak and was not in any way premeditated. If I can be blunt, I doubt more than 100 people in the whole country are going to buy that one. How stupid does he think we are exactly?
I don't think it is harmful in a sense for this issue to be discussed now, but I have to say to you that I don't think anybody knew it was going to be raised in this way. Having said that, as I say, there is no particular harm in having the discussion.
I am quite literally insulted that he thinks this is convincing. Do us a favour you lying git. Don't you know I'm trying to keep my swearing under control here?

The most bizarre thing though is what Blair actually said about Iranian involvement. It is, I'm afraid to say, something which the BBC 6 O' Clock News got completely wrong. I can't remember the exact wording but they reported that Blair was in no doubt about Iranian involvement. Well, I don't know where they got that idea but that's not what he said at all. He said:
What is clear is that there have been new explosive devices used, not just against British troops but elsewhere in Iraq. The particular nature of those devices lead us either to Iranian elements or to Hezbollah, because they are similar to the devices used by Hezbollah that is funded and supported by Iran. However we cannot be sure of this at the present time.... What we know is that the devices are of a similar nature to those used by Hezbollah and there are certain pieces of information that lead us back to Iran, but I am not saying any more than that, we cannot be sure of this, but I hope you have got from what I have said a very clear message on this. [my emphasis]
The very clear message, repeated twice, is that we cannot be sure of this. In my cynical way, I wonder if this is somehow related to the shambles caused by Blair's previous claims of "extensive, detailed, and authoritative" intelligence on another matter. A new approach perhaps?

What seems to be clear is that a version of the government's position has arrived in the public conscience without a single government minister supporting it. In fact, Blair has, if anything, distanced himself from the claims. In a way, you could almost admire the strategy. A version of events has been supplied to the media, public opinion has been manipulated, and the government is immune from proper scrutiny because they didn't actually say any of it. Democracy, isn't it great?

*For the record, I'm not questioning the bravery of our troops. And if Iranians have been involved in killing our soldiers then that is abhorrent behaviour. But I strongly object to the way the Scum uses "our brave boys" to manipulate public opinion in order to further the Murdoch political agenda. Scum indeed.

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