Monday, September 12, 2005

Katrina and EMP

What lesson should we learn from Hurricane Katrina, according to WorldNetDaily? Exactly the same lesson we should learn from every other event: Iran wants to destroy us by means of an electromagnetic pulse attack.

Iran, which has experimented with missile detonations that can create nuclear electromagnetic pulse attacks capable of crippling U.S. electrical grids and computer technology, is taking notice of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina...."The mismanagement and the mishandling of the acute psychological problems brought about by Hurricane Katrina clearly showed that others can, at any given time, create a devastated war zone in any part of the U.S.," said Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, the official spokesman of the Revolutionary Guard.
Like Fu Manchu, and other comically garrulous figureheads of ethnic menace, Jazayeri goes on to discuss his evil plans at surprising length, presumably while sipping cognac and twirling his moustache. Unfortunately, as is frequently the case with quotes intended to bolster anti-Iranian hysteria, it's extremely difficult to assess the context and import of Jayazeri's comments. Further, the translation varies considerably, and it's not exactly cogent in any version I've read so far. Having read several versions, the gist of Jayazeri's remarks seems to me to be that BushCo's incompetence and corruption are likely to act as force multipliers for anyone who wants to attack us, a proposition that one needn't be a fanatical Islamist to suspect is quite true.

That doesn't mean, of course, that Iran has the intent - let alone the ability - to launch an EMP attack. But another tendency of the EMP brigade is to re-report on their own previous allegations as though they've since become indisputable facts.
WorldNetDaily and Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin first reported Iran not only was covertly developing nuclear weapons, it was testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to destroy America's technical infrastructure, effectively neutralizing the world's lone superpower, according to U.S. intelligence sources, top scientists and western missile industry experts.
The ballistic missile in question is the Shabab-3; Dr. Jeffrey Lewis has some interesting things to say about the Shahab-3's apocryphal nuclear capabilities. If you read his piece, you'll note that the source for the warhead claim is Robert Joseph, the man who did so much to get the "negotiated truth" of the African yellowcake claim into Bush's State of the Union speech:
Alan Foley, a CIA weapons expert, told a Senate inquiry said he recalled telling Joseph that the CIA was not certain about the credibility of the evidence concerning Niger and recommended taking it out of the speech. Foley recalled that Joseph asked him if the speech could reflect that British intelligence reports said Iraq was seeking uranium. Foley said he told Joseph that the CIA had warned the British that it was dubious about the accuracy of the charge.

According to officials quoted in the Times, Foley finally said that Joseph asked him if it would be accurate to say that the British had reported the uranium request and Foley agreed that it would be.
The EMP claims seem to come from the same small circle of friends as the yellowcake claim and the claims about Saddam's WMD, and they seem to rely on the same evidenciary standards. I find this suggestive.

The rest of the current WND article reiterates - at great length - its previous coverage of EMP. Thus, we end up with a handful of quotes that don't actually mention EMP, but which ostensibly make this story "news," along with generous padding taken from previous EMP articles...almost as though the goal is to write something about the topic regularly, whether recent events justify it or not.

It seems to me that educating people about a real threat wouldn't require quite so many lies and logical contortions.


Cervantes said...

And of course the EMP is just a well-known side effect of a nuclear explosion, so this is basically about nothing except Iran's purported support of nuclear capability.

It's very difficult to explain to Iranians why they can't have nuclear weapons when the U.S., China, France, UK, Russia, India, Pakistan, and oh yeah, Israel, can. During the run up to the Iraq atrocity -- sorry, I mean war -- Iran proposed making the entire Middle East a nuclear free zone. Of course the Bush administration immediately rejected the proposal.

If the U.S., and UN, were to demand that Israel eliminate its nukes, that would make it a lot harder for Iran to continue to act cute about this. But as long as Israel has 100+ nuclear weapons, the Islamic world in general is not going to be super-enthusiastic about stopping Iran. Is there perhaps a whiff of hypocrisy about all this? Why would it seem that way?

Engineer-Poet said...

Perhaps if the Islamic world would forswear any violence against Israel and pledge permanent peaceful coexistence, including full force of the state used against terrorists and arms smugglers working counter to this, atomic weapons in the region would be a non-issue.

The historical fact of so many Islamic wars of attempted genocide against the Jews gives them just a bit of a credibility problem that they have to overcome before Israel would be justified in pulling in its claws.

Phila said...

I have no intention of getting involved in a debate on Israel, though you folks are welcome to have one.

I will say two things, though. In regards to Cervantes' comment, we couldn't possibly get Israel to give up its nukes, even if we cared to, so it's hardly worth discussing what might or might not happen if we did. What's at issue here, to me, is simply a series of neocon lies intended to build a case for attacking Iran. It doesn't imply that Iran's a helpless victim, or trustworthy, or anything else.

Engineer-Poet's views are disappointingly simplistic. Israel has a credibility problem, too, and one can't simply wish it away, or put on blinders. Extremists cause problems wherever they go, and Israel has its fair share of them.

And the idea that atomic weapons in any region - let alone the Middle East - will ever be a "non-issue" strikes me as rather silly.

The other assertions aren't worth debating, as I know from long experience that they generate far more heat than light.

Cervantes said...

I don't know whether Israel could be made to give up its nukes, but the U.S. has never taken a position that they ought to. That's obviously hypocritical, from the point of view of the other nations in the region, and I don't see how anyone can deny it.

The notion that Israel needs nuclear weapons to defend itself is absurd. Israel's conventional military power exceeds that of all the other countries of the region combined, and furthermore, any attack by a state actor on Israel would result in immediate U.S. intervention as well. Israel is under absolutely no national security threat from conventional war.

Anonymous said...

You're shocked that an article from WorldNutDaily is chock full of conspiracy theories?! WorldNutDaily makes Fox look almost reasonable in comparison

Phila said...

Cervantes, I agree with you...I'm just saying, Israel's nukes are there to stay for the foreseeable future. And the same logic you apply to Israel applies to, say, France. If France can have them, why can't Israel? I think we both know all too well where this logic leads. And of course, BushCo is cheerfully undoing a fair amount of work on global disarmanent as we speak.

Regarding the last comment...yeah, WND is chock full o' nuts. But their lunacy gets pipelined to the national press, and used as a rationale for policy. The people cited in it are testifying before Congress on EMP, and have the ears of prominent people in Washington. Thus, it's worth keeping an eye on what they're saying.