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High Crimes Against Journalism and Decency: Jeffrey Goldberg’s Insane ‘Trump Called Troops Suckers’ Piece Is a New Low

By Ted Rall • Unz Review • September 12, 2020

Jeffrey Goldberg wrote an article for The Atlantic that could harm President Donald Trump’s chance to win reelection. Setting aside the controversial content of the remarks attributed to the president, it is important to note that this is an atrocious example of journalism.

You could almost call it “fake news.”

And corporate media is taking it at face value.

You may think Trump is a turd — I do. You may want him to lose the election — I do. (I also want Joe Biden to lose, but that’s another column.) You may believe that Trump probably said what Goldberg reports — I think there’s a good chance. But everyone who cares about journalism ought to be deeply disturbed by the nonexistent sourcing for this story and its widespread acceptance by media organizations that ought to know better.

It’s easy to see why Democratic-leaning media corporations jumped all over Goldberg’s piece: It hurts the president, and it reinforces militarism. But they’re degrading journalistic standards to manipulate an election.

According to Goldberg, four anonymous sources told him that Trump called American Marines who died in World War I “losers” and repeatedly questioned why anyone smart would join the military or be willing to risk their life by fighting in one of America’s wars.

Anonymous sources have their place. I have used them. But basing a news story entirely on accounts of people who are unwilling to go on the record is journalistically perilous and ethically dubious. There are exceptions, as when a Mafia source fears physical retribution.

There is no such claim here. Most media organizations’ ethical guidelines are clear: News without attribution is not news. It is gossip.

The Los Angeles Times, a publication my readers know I hold in low regard, nevertheless takes a stance against anonymous sources. “When we use anonymous sources, it should be to convey important information to our readers. We should not use such sources to publish material that is trivial, obvious or self-serving,” the paper’s ethical standards say. “An unnamed source should have a compelling reason for insisting on anonymity, such as fear of retaliation, and we should state those reasons when they are relevant to what we publish.”

The Atlantic piece falls way short.

Likewise, writing that strips statements of necessary context and is anti-ethical. Trump, writes Goldberg, “expressed contempt for the war record of the late Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. ‘He’s not a war hero,’ Trump said in 2015 while running for the Republican nomination for president. ‘I like people who weren’t captured.’” He goes on to note that Trump wanted to deny McCain the honor of lowering flags to half-mast after McCain died.

Goldberg frames Trump’s comments as part of a general bias against the military and portrays his attacks as unprovoked. Truth is, long before Trump made those comments, he had been engaged in a well-documented, long-running feud with the Arizona senator. McCain based his political career on his military service and the five years he spent as a POW in Vietnam. McCain was Trump’s enemy, and there is considerable evidence that McCain — known for a sharp tongue — started the war of words. Trump gave back in kind.

“Nor did he set his campaign back by attacking the parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004,” Goldberg continues in another context-free passage. Khan’s father famously spoke against Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. “You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” Khan said. In Trumpian terms, Khan started it. But Goldberg’s omission makes it look like Trump attacked a fallen soldier out of the blue.

Goldberg does this a third time: “When lashing out at critics, Trump often reaches for illogical and corrosive insults, and members of the Bush family have publicly opposed him.” Both sides have insulted each other; as far as the record shows, Trump is usually running offense, not defense — but Goldberg falsely portrays the enmity as a one-way street.

One of the praiseworthy aspects of this president is his relatively restrained approach to military interventionism, coupled with his willingness to directly engage adversaries like North Korea and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the latter of which recently signed a peace agreement with the United States. It is logical for Trump, who is skeptical of illegal wars of choice like those in Afghanistan and Iraq, to question why people would volunteer to fight and possibly die in such a pointless conflict. For Goldberg, militarism is a state religion. Questioning it is intolerable.

Goldberg’s piece, the tone of which reads like the pro-war hysteria following 9/11, reflects the aggressively militaristic neoliberalism of the Democratic Party in 2020.

Goldberg references Trump’s 2017 visit to Arlington National Cemetery with then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. Regarding Kelly’s son Robert Kelly, Goldberg wrote: “A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan … Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, ‘I don’t get it. What was in it for them?’ Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.”

Joining the military, of course, is hardly a non-transactional decision. Soldiers get paid. They get medals. They get free college. They are revered and thanked for their service. Military service gives you a leg up when you run for political office.

Moreover, Trump’s question is one Americans should be asking more often. Why would a 29-year-old man volunteer to travel to Afghanistan in order to kill the locals? No one in that country threatened the United States. No one there did us any harm. Afghans don’t want us there. Why did Robert Kelly go?

Goldberg seems obsessed with Trump’s description of fallen soldiers as suckers. “His capacious definition of sucker includes those who lose their lives in service to their country, as well as those who are taken prisoner, or are wounded in battle,” Goldberg writes. But is he wrong?

Former President Lyndon Johnson suckered us into Vietnam with the Tonkin Gulf incident, which historians of all stripes accept was a lie.

Former President George H.W. Bush suckered us into the first Gulf War with a tale of Iraqi soldiers rampaging through a Kuwaiti hospital and pulling babies out of incubators. Another lie.

After 9/11, then-President George W. Bush suckered us into Afghanistan by saying Osama bin Laden was there. He was not.

Of course, Bush lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. More suckering. (At the time, Goldberg spread the lie that Saddam Hussein was allied with his enemy Al Qaida.)

Assuming that anything in Goldberg’s piece was true, Trump was right.

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

The Anne Frank Test

More power to the wicked

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 18, 2018

The week leading up to the funeral of Senator John McCain produced some of the most bizarre media effusions seen in this country since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. McCain, who never saw a war or regime change that he didn’t like, was apparently in reality a friend of democracy and freedom worldwide, a judgment that somehow ignores the hundreds of thousands of presumed foreign devils who have died as a consequence of the policies he enthusiastically promoted in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.

McCain, who supported assassination of US citizens abroad and detention of them by military commissions back at home, was hardly the upright warrior for justice eulogized in much of the mainstream media. He was in fact for most of his life a corrupt cheerleader for the Establishment and Military Industrial Complex. McCain was one of five Senators who, in return for campaign contributions, improperly intervened in 1987 on behalf of Charles Keating, Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, a target of a regulatory investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB). The FHLBB subsequently did not follow through with proposed action against Lincoln.

Lincoln Savings and Loan finally did collapse in 1989, at a cost of $3.4 billion to the federal government, which had insured the accounts, while an estimated 23,000 Lincoln bondholders were defrauded, many losing their life savings. When the Keating story broke in 1989, the Phoenix New Times newspaper called McCain the worst senator from any state in American history.

There was plenty of pushback on the McCain legacy coming from the alternative media, though nothing in the mainstream where politicians and pundits from both the left and the right of the political spectrum united in their songs of praise. Amidst all the eulogies one article did, however, strike me as particularly bizarre. It was written by Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor in Chief of The Atlantic, and is entitled “McCain would have passed the Anne Frank test” with the sub-heading “The senator spent decades demonstrating his willingness to fight powerful men who abused powerless people.”

Goldberg, a leading neoconservative, casually reveals that he has had multiple discussions with McCain, including some in “war zones” like Iraq. He quotes the Senator as saying “I hated Saddam. He ruled through murder. Didn’t we learn from Hitler that we can’t let that happen?” Goldberg notes that McCain’s hatred “for all dictators burned hot” before hitting on a number of other themes, including that, per the senator, it was Donald Rumsfeld’s “arrogance and incompetence… that helped discredit the American invasion” of Iraq. Goldberg quotes McCain as saying “He [Rumsfeld] was the worst.”

Jeffrey Goldberg also claims a conversation with McCain in which he asserted that, even though an Iraq war supporter, he had become frustrated with the effort to “renovate a despotic Middle Eastern country.” As he put it, “theory of the American case was no match for the heartbreaking Middle East reality,” which is yet another defense of U.S. interventionism with the caveat that the Arabs might not be ready to make good use of the largesse. Elsewhere Goldberg, echoing McCain, has attributed the disaster in Iraq to the “incompetence of the Bush Administration,” not to the policy of regime change itself, presumably because the Pentagon was unsuccessful at killing enough Arabs quickly enough to suit the neoconservatives. McCain’s reported response to Goldberg’s equivocation about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was “But genocide! Genocide!”

Given the title of the article, Goldberg inevitably turns to the holocaust with McCain: “He said that, in the post holocaust world, all civilized people, and the governments of all civilized nations, should be intolerant of leaders who commit verified acts of genocide… I told him then that he would most definitely pass the Anne Frank test… [which] is actually a single question: ‘Which non-Jewish friends would risk their lives to hide us should the Nazis ever return?’”

After some additional blather Goldberg enthuses that he was “… pretty sure [McCain would] kill Nazis to defend Anne Frank.” McCain smiled and responded “It would be an honor and a privilege.”

It would be tough to figure out where to go from there, but Goldberg was steering a steady course. He saw two “sterling qualities’ in McCain. Number one was his “visceral antipathy for powerful men who abuse powerless people.” The second quality was “self-doubt,” how “in moments of great testing, it is possible for any human, including the bravest human, to fail.”

The second quality is a bit hard to discern in McCain, whose dogged pursuit of whole nations full of alleged enemies has left a trail of bodies spanning the globe, but it is the first virtue that is hardest to reconcile with the reality of a man who epitomized America’s reckless brutality in its overseas military ventures since 9/11. The tally runs Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya with ongoing adventures in Somalia and Syria. Iran, Russia, and China are pending, all of which were on McCain’s enemies list.

As many as three million Muslims have died as a direct result of the series of wars, endorsed by McCain and Goldberg, that began in late 2001 and have continued to this day. Remarkably, not a single one of the wars initiated over that time period has actually ended with either victory or some return to normalcy. Whole countries lie in ruins and millions of people have been driven from their homes, creating an unsustainable refugee crisis, while the United States wallows in unsustainable debt.

American born but Israeli by choice Goldberg, a leading Zionist voice who was once in the Israel Defense Force where he served as a prison guard, celebrates McCain in full knowledge that his tribe is not the one that is dying, hence the seal of approval granted to the senator by virtue of his successful completion of the Anne Frank Test. Goldberg’s body of work as a journalist frequently includes discussions of Israel, anti-Semitism and the threats posed by Israel’s numerous enemies. Glenn Greenwald has called Goldberg “one of the leading media cheerleaders for the attack on Iraq,” having “compiled a record of humiliating falsehood-dissemination in the run-up to the war that rivaled Judy Miller’s both in terms of recklessness and destructive impact.”

One might well object to Goldberg’s formulation of what constitutes decent human behavior, wrapped as it is around a perpetual victimhood holocaust metaphor that inevitably is used in extenso to justify every atrocity committed by the Jewish State. Goldberg should perhaps try examining his “test” in a number of different versions that would move him outside of his tribal comfort zone. He might ask if, in a hypothetical state run by those who believe the Talmud and Torah to be the true word of God, he would hide Christians fleeing from a government that considered it acceptable to kill non-Jews and that gentiles are little more than beasts, fit to serve as slaves for true believers. To reprise for Goldberg the question he posed to McCain, would he approve that the Jewish persecutors should be killed to protect the innocent?

Or maybe a better example, as it would fit in with Goldberg’s experience as a prison guard, might be the case of a teenage Palestinian fleeing, seeking refuge from a rampaging group of armed settlers inspired by mass murderer Baruch Goldstein or by members of a unit in the Israeli Army. Knowing that many Israelis regard someone throwing a stone or shouting at police as a terrorist and that the Jewish State’s government has an abominable record for killing, beating and imprisoning children, would he open his door? And what would McCain do if he were still around given that the ethnic cleansing being engaged in by Israel on the Palestinians may not be full scale genocide, but it is very close in principle, reflecting the Israeli government desire to make the Palestinians a non-people?

In short, Goldberg should ask himself whether his Anne Frank Test has universal applicability or is it something that is only for Jews. I rather suspect that the test is little more than a word game that empowered Jews like Goldberg use to underline their special status with the ambitious and gullible like Senator John McCain. That McCain enthusiastically became Goldberg’s patsy is at least one good reason that we should all be grateful that he never was elected president.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 4 Comments

When the Gatekeepers of Press Freedom Deride Trump or Putin…

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 24.07.2017

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” – Malcolm X

Seven hundred and nineteen words is what it takes for an experienced journalist at The Atlantic to earn his comeuppance hating Donald Trump, and fueling the anti-Putin narrative. When a second meeting between the two world leaders at the G20 comes out, the mainstream “fake news” outlets turn tabloid embellishing a non-event. Since CNN was proven to be running game for ratings, the creative floodgates seem to have opened for the rest of corporate controlled media.

The Atlantic piece in question, written by Trump hater David A. Graham, tells us the story of how Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met a second time after a dinner for G20 notables. Graham admits from the start, “it’s not known what they discussed”, but the lack of facts does not avert wondering propaganda evangelism from The Atlantic. The magazine led by the super Zionist and ultra-lefty, Jeffrey Goldberg the Obama doctrine preacher. History will remember Goldberg for his New Yorker piece entitled “The Great Terror”, which argued of the threat posed to America by Saddam Hussein, and which assisted (as other narratives did) the Bush White House in engaging in regime change there. I’ll leave off on my expectations and anticipations for when the chickens might come home to roost on Goldberg and The Atlantic here. Suffice it to say The Atlantic does not have “the truth” in it. Now on to the Trump-Putin secret meeting of super villains. Let me quote Graham once again here:

“When President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin went for more than two hours, well past the scheduled half-hour, it was a major news event. But it turns out that wasn’t even the end of the conversation between the two men.”

The reader can now sense the adolescent enthusiasm with which The Atlantic writer embosses the confidential meetup of world leaders. “Wasn’t even the end” appeals to the youthful Democrat just wringing his or her hands in anticipation of the state secrets disclosed in between Trump and Putin. But there is nothing more to learn! Trump and Putin met with a lone interpreter, neither officially denied the meeting, but somehow the media coverage is frenzied? From a media analyst and PR perspective, I can tell you the stories are just made as an opportunity to rehash the Trump-Russia collusion narrative – such opportunities being “momentum” and “reach” practice for “clients” who need buzz. The author continues:

“There’s no indication of what happened in the second meeting. White House aides only learned of it from Trump, and there was no official readout of the conversation. But given the collusion questions and the conflicting accounts of the earlier meeting, the content could be important.”

A “non-story” put into play by The Atlantic’s politics staff writer. One cannot blame Graham actually, because he gets paid for being on the “Trump beat”, after all. For those unaware of how media works, the various editors say “yeah or nay” for reporting and editorial. For somebody like Graham to step outside guidelines would mean certain unemployment or worse. But that’s another story. Trump bad, Putin bad, conservatism and protectionism bad, and only flat out globalist liberalism is good. This is the message people. The technocrats and western oligarchs are in control of the message – they control the horizontal and the vertical. And when you allow CNN to admittedly broadcast a false narrative for ratings?

This is what you get. Former journalism masterpieces convoluted and reduced to smut magazines. “The Other Putin-Trump Meeting” should have been only a sound bit, a blurb on the evening news, but The Atlantic uses it as a component of a bigger strategy. So, let me return to the subject of The Atlantic’s decline, the former Israeli prison guard, editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg. Yes, you read that correctly. The Atlantic is run by a man who inflicted torture on detained Palestinians, and by his own admission. But Goldberg’s foaming at the mouth Zion or die attitude is better characterized by a fellow Jew named  MJ Rosenberg, who wrote this scathing criticism on the Huff Post. Concerning The Atlantic’s editor Rosenberg writes:

“In fact, nothing drives him nuttier than people like former President Carter and Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, the latter two in particular. He hates them — hates them like poison — because they wrote an expose of the lobby which dealt it such a serious blow that its defenders became unhinged and stayed that way.”

The media watchdog S.H.A.M.E. takes the case a step farther, characterizing Goldberg as the worst kind of Israel shill mutated into dangerous liar. It will save time and space if I simply quote from S.H.A.M.E. once again:

“For two decades now, Jeffrey Goldberg has peddled blatantly false war propaganda with disastrous consequences, fronted for the military-industrial machine, played a key PR role pushing America into war with Iraq, and advanced the agenda of the Israeli military-intel establishment—and he has been rewarded for his lies and failures with the top editor’s job at the Atlantic Monthly. Put another way: If Judith Miller was a dweeby Ivy League graduate who worked as a detention camp guard holding Palestinian prisoners, and she never had to answer for her journalistic fraud after being exposed, she would be Jeffrey Goldberg.”

So, there it is. When you read Google News headlines about Trump, Putin, Syria, Ukraine, or anything else for that matter, understand your news has been put in charge of the gatekeepers. And they are gatekeepers with no qualms about punishing people for simply disagreeing. This is where we are.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Jeffrey Goldberg Is an Idiot (No, ISIS Hasn’t Captured Saddam’s Hidden WMD)

By Jon Schwarz | A Tiny Revolution | July 8, 2014

Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, one of the biggest promoters of the Iraq war in American journalism, was anxious to share this news today:

Jeffrey Goldberg         @JeffreyGoldberg

ISIS seizes Saddam’s formerly nonexistent chemical weapons: 

6:06 PM – 8 Jul 2014

The link goes to an AP story with this news:

Iraq has informed the United Nations that the Islamic State extremist group has taken control of a vast former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad where 2,500 chemical rockets filled with the deadly nerve agent sarin or their remnants were stored along with other chemical warfare agents.Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim… singled out the capture of bunkers 13 and 41 in the sprawling complex, which according to a 2004 U.N. report also contained the toxic agent sodium cyanide, which is a precursor for the chemical warfare agent tabun, and artillery shells contaminated with mustard gas.

It was unclear from Goldberg’s tweet alone whether this was simply a stupid joke — or whether Goldberg genuinely believed this shows we’ve discovered Saddam’s hidden stockpile of chemical weapons, thus proving George W. Bush (and Jeffrey Goldberg) right at long last.

However, Goldberg then retweeted three other people (this, this and this) who seem to believe it was the latter; i.e., that we’ve now learned Iraq did have WMD. So apparently Goldberg believes this as well.

Here’s what’s actually going on:

Al Muthanna was a large Iraqi production facility for chemical weapons in the 1980s, and was heavily bombed during the 1991 Gulf War. After the Gulf War Iraq was required to declare all its chemical weapons to the UN and hand them over for destruction, and al Muthanna became the main collection and destruction site. According to the CIA’s 2004 Iraq Survey Group report, “30,000 pieces of ordnance, 480,000 liters of chemical agents, and more than 2 million liters of chemical precursors” were incinerated or neutralized there.

So why were there any materials left in bunkers 13 and 41 (the ones mentioned today by Iraq)? First, because bunker 13 was damaged by the Gulf War bombing, making it too dangerous to remove the chemical weapons inside; and second, because the UN needed a place to put various kinds of contaminated materials (drained shells, equipment from the incinerator, etc.) that was difficult to destroy, and bunker 41 had not been bombed, so they stuck it all in there.

Then the UN did this:

Bunker #13 and # 41 were closed by sealing all entrances before the end of CDG [Chemical Destruction Group] mission. Each seal consisted of two brick walls with a 5cm layer of tar between them. Then a third brick wall at a distance of one metre from the second wall was built and the space between them was filled with reinforced concrete. Altogether, such a seal was over 1.5 m thick. The hole in the roof of the bunker #13 was also sealed with reinforced concrete.

So yes, there were still chemical weapons in Iraq when we invaded in 2003. But no, today’s news doesn’t prove “Iraq had WMD.” Everyone on earth had known what was in these bunkers for 20 years, and Saddam had no way of accessing it.

Moreover, even if Saddam had gotten his hands on it everything had likely decayed so quickly that by the mid-nineties or earlier it would have been useless. By now it’s certainly more of a danger to ISIS than anyone else, and then probably only if they drink it.

All of this information is available to anyone with an internet connection and the slightest interest in this subject. That apparently does not include Jeffrey “I’ve Had My Entire Cerebrum Removed” Goldberg.

July 9, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

Peace Breaks Out… Neocons Weep

By Chris Rossini | Neocon Watch | November 24, 2013

A peaceful agreement has been reached between the P5+1 nations and Iran. As expected, the bomb-dropping idea peddlers are crying like babies:

Daniel Pipes calls peace a disaster: “Barack Obama has made many foreign policy errors in the past five years, but this is the first to rank as a disaster.”

Jennifer Rubin hopes Israel can still find a way to bomb: “Admin needs to reaffirm final deal will comply fully with UN resolutions. If not Israel should act”.

Michael Ledeen is not losing hope for war either: “this might make war more possible, life is full of surprises.”

Michael Rubin grabs for the North Korean Bogeyman: “Iran deal risks creating another North Korea.”

Jeffrey Goldberg takes a ride in the spin machine: “This is, if nothing else, an interim victory for tough sanctions.”

Jonathan Tobin plays monday morning quarterback, and wishes Obama would’ve chose differently: “Everyone knows that the sanctions are hurting, but if Iran’s oil trade was subjected to a complete embargo…Tehran could have been brought to its knees.”

In the final analysis, neocon ideas have ruined so many lives around the Earth it’s hard to even wrap your mind around it. They’ve greatly contributed to bringing about the financial bankruptcy of the US, have encouraged so much hatred around the world by getting involved in everyone’s business, have left entire countries in total ruin, and have stuck the bills to all of us to pay.

If neocons are crying about not getting another war, it means things are going in the right direction for a change. Not attacking Syria was the first good step, and a (even if temporary) rapprochement with Iran provides another step. One more, and we can call this a trend, which is very good news indeed.

November 25, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Goldberg Predilections: Ignoring Decades of Iranian Statements on Nuclear Weapons for the Sake of Propaganda

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | October 10, 2012

Jeffrey Goldberg is confident in Barack Obama’s oft-stated commitment to stop Iran from building the nuclear weapon that everyone, including his own intelligence agencies (and others) and Defense Secretary know it isn’t building.  Why?  Well, basically because Obama’s said so.  A lot.

Explaining that anyone who doesn’t recognize that Obama has “promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold…hasn’t been listening,” Goldberg wrote last week that he takes the American President “at his word, in part because he’s repeated himself on the subject so many times and in part because he has laid out such an effective argument against containment and for disruption, by force, if necessary.”

That Goldberg trusts Obama’s seriousness comes as no surprise considering what Goldberg wrote on June 6, 2011 in a dazzlingly alarmist (and factually-lacking) article for Bloomberg entitled “Iran Wants the Bomb, and It’s Well on Its Way.”  “I believe firmly, after two years of reporting on the Iranian nuclear program,” Goldberg declared, “that President Barack Obama would order air strikes if he thought Iran was moving definitively to become a nuclear-armed state.”

To better illustrate his point, Goldberg enlisted the aid of his trusty, colleague Armin Rosen to track down a litany of Obama’s statements from the past four years that demonstrate a consistent commitment to using “military force to prevent Iran from getting the bomb.” The catalog of twenty quotations (admittedly only “a partial accounting of Obama’s statements on the subject”) is effective and yes, Obama has been consistent.* Goldberg writes that, sure, Obama could potentially “change his mind on the subject,” but for now, “the record is the record: Given the number of times he’s told the American public, and the world, that he will stop Iran from going nuclear, it is hard to believe that he will suddenly change his mind and back out of his promise.”

So if consistency and repetition are what make Jeffrey Goldberg believe what Obama says – what he terms as a “crystal-clear promise” – about preventing an imaginary Iranian bomb, wouldn’t it logically follow that the constantly repeated statements by senior Iranian officials regarding their own promise never to obtain such a diabolical and destructive device would hold similar sway?

Clearly that’s too much to ask.

Goldberg has written for years now that Iran “is on the verge of gaining the technology to detonate nukes” and that the “Iranian mullahs…want the nukes because they expect the apocalypse.”  As far back as 2006, he insisted, “It’s time we took their views seriously.”

So what are the Iranian leadership’s repeatedly stated views on nuclear weapons that should be taken so seriously?

Using the Goldberg format and culling statements from the past two decades, here goes:

Iranian Vice President and head of the Atomic Energy Organization Reza Amrollahi, August 3, 1991:”Iran is not capable of making atomic bombs…Our objective in promoting nuclear industries is merely its peaceful use specially in the field of atomic energy and its application in agriculture and medicine.” (IRNA, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts)

Senior adviser to Khamenei and National Security Council member Mohammad Javad Larijani, September 18, 1991: “[Acquiring nuclear capability has been] erased from Iran’s policy.”

IAEO head Amrollahi, November 6, 1991: “Iran is not after nuclear arms. On the contrary, it believes that such lethal arms in the region should be destroyed…We are ready for any type of cooperation for establishing a region free of mass-destruction weapons…Iran, as a member of the IAEA, is committed to the regulations for the inspections of the nuclear installations, and naturally respects them.” (IRNA, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts)

IAEO head Amrollahi, February 9, 1992: “We have never had nor will ever have other intentions” [than using nuclear equipment for peace purposes].

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Mohammad Besharati, November 27, 1992: “We have no need for nuclear weapons.” Besharati also described allegations that Iran was planning to acquire nuclear weapons as “a lie and a plot.”

Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohsen Nurbakhsh, September 29, 1993: “Iran will not seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction under any circumstances.”

Iranian President Rafsanjani, March 23, 1997: “We’re not after nuclear bombs and we won’t go after biological and chemical weapons.”

Iranian President Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, January 7, 1998: “We are not planning on building nuclear weapons and only aim to employ nuclear energy for peaceful purposes…We are not a nuclear [-armed] power and do not intend to become one.”

President Khatami, September 21, 1998: “[The world should] be liberated from the nightmare of nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction…the idea of attaining security through the acquisition of such armaments is nothing but an illusion.”

Iranian Supreme National Security Council chief and top presidential advisor Hassan Rohani, September 2002: “When we have signed international treaties, it means we are not pursuing making nuclear weapons. We are not pursuing making chemical weapons. We are not pursuing making biological weapons. Iran is not interested in any of these.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, March 21, 2003: “The statement that the Islamic Republic wants to obtain chemical weapons and the atomic bomb is totally false[W]e are not interested in an atomic bomb. We are opposed to chemical weapons. When Iraq was using chemical weapons against us we refused to produce chemical weapons. These things are against our principles.”

President Khatami, September 15, 2003: “[N]ot only are we not aiming to produce weapons of mass destruction, but we want the region and the world to be free of weapons of mass destructionWe don’t need atomic bombs, and based on our religious teaching we will not pursue them. But at the same time we want to be strong, and being strong means having knowledge and technology.”

Iranian Supreme National Security Council official Hussein Musavian, September 12, 2004: “The religious verdict of our leader is that using mass destruction weapons is forbidden, is haram.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi, September 12, 2004: “We believe that the use of nuclear weapons is religiously forbidden. This is the leader’s fatwa.”

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Javad Zarif, November 5, 2004: “[Iran has] serious ideological restrictions against weapons of mass destruction, including a religious decree issued by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, prohibiting the development and use of nuclear weapons.”

Iranian nuclear negotiator Sirus Naseri, August 10, 2005: “The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued the fatwa that the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons. President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who took office just recently, in his inaugural address reiterated that his government is against weapons of mass destruction and will only pursue nuclear activities in the peaceful domain…The leadership of Iran has pledged at the highest level that Iran will remain a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, September 17, 2005: “[Iran’s] previously and repeatedly declared position [is] that in accordance with our religious principles, pursuit of nuclear weapons is prohibited.”

UN Ambassador Javad Zarif, April 6, 2006: “Iran’s reliance on the nonproliferation regime is based on legal commitments, sober strategic calculations and spiritual and ideological doctrine. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic, has issued a decree against the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, June 4, 2006: “We do not need a nuclear bomb. We do not have any objectives or aspirations for which we will need to use a nuclear bomb. We consider using nuclear weapons against Islamic rules. We have announced this openly. We think imposing the costs of building and maintaining nuclear weapons on our nation is unnecessary.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 2006: “Nuclear weapons have no place in Iran’s defense doctrine and Iran is not a threat to any country.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 2006: “Basically we are not looking for – working for the bomb…The time of the bomb is in the past.”

President Ahmadinejad September 20, 2006: “You must know that, because of our beliefs and our religion…[w]e are against the atomic bomb.

UN Ambassador Javad Zarif, December 23, 2006: “[Iran has] categorically rejected development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons on ideological and strategic grounds…The Islamic Republic of Iran firmly believes that the days of weapons of mass murder have long passed; that these inhumane instruments of indiscriminate slaughter have not brought internal stability or external security for anyone and they will not be able to do so in the future.

President Ahmadinejad, September 20, 2007: “I want to address all politicians around the world, statesmen. Any party who uses national revenues to make a bomb, a nuclear bomb, will make a mistake. Because in political relations right now, the nuclear bomb is of no use….we don’t need such weapons. In fact, we think that this is inhuman.

President Ahmadinejad, September 25, 2007: “Making nuclear, chemical and biological bombs and weapons of mass destruction is yet another result of the misuse of science and research by the big powers…We do not believe in nuclear weapons, period. It goes against the whole grain of humanity.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 27, 2007: “We’ve said many times before, we don’t need the weapon. It’s not enshrined in our defense doctrine, nuclear defense. And ideologically, we don’t believe in it either. We have actually rejected it on an ideological basis. And politically, we know that it is useless.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 22, 2008: “We want nuclear disarmament [for all countries]…and we consider it to be against humanity to manufacture nuclear weapons…we oppose that strongly…Our position is very clearWe believe that a nuclear weapon has no use, obsolete. Anyone who has a nuclear weapons does not create any political advantage for themselves.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 23, 2008: “We believe, as a matter of religious teaching, that we must be against any form of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. The production and the usage of nuclear weapons is one of the most abhorrent acts to our eyes…The time for a nuclear bomb has ended. Whoever who invests in it is going the wrong way.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 17, 2009: “We don’t have such a need for nuclear weapons. We don’t need nuclear weapons. Without such weapons, we are very much able to defend ourselvesIt’s not a part of our any – of our programs and plans.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, September 20, 2009: “We fundamentally reject nuclear weapons and prohibit the use and production of nuclear weapons. This is because of our ideology, not because of politics or fear of arrogant powers or an onslaught of international propaganda. We stand firm for our ideology.”

President Ahmadinejad, December 18, 2009: “[W]e do not want to make a bomb…Our policy is transparent. If we wanted to make a bomb we would be brave enough to say so. When we say that we are not making one, we are not. We do not believe in it.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, February 19, 2010: “[W]e have often said that our religious tenets and beliefs consider these kinds of weapons of mass destruction to be symbols of genocide and are, therefore, forbidden and considered to be haram…This is why we do not believe in atomic bombs and weapons and do not seek them.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, April 7, 2010: “Iran does not believe in nuclear weapons nor does it need one…Iran believes that the era of nuclear weapons is over. These weapons are not even of use to those who possess them.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, April 17, 2010: “Any use of or even threat to use nuclear weapons is a serious and material violation of indisputable rules of humanitarian law and a cogent example of a war crime…We regard the use of these weapons to be illegal and haram, and it is incumbent on all to protect humankind from this grave disaster.”

President Ahmadinejad, May 3, 2010: “The nuclear bomb is a fire against humanity rather than a weapon for defense…The possession of nuclear bombs is not a source of pride; it is rather disgusting and shameful. And even more shameful is the threat to use or to use such weapons, which is not even comparable to any crime committed throughout the history.”

President Ahmadinejad, May 3, 2010: “We are opposed to the bomb, the nuclear bomb, and we will not build it. If we want to build it, we have the guts to say it…So when we say we don’t want it, we don’t want it.”

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee, June 9, 2010: “Iran as a victim of the use of weapons of mass destruction in recent history has rejected and opposed the development and use of all these inhuman weapons on religious as well as security grounds.”

Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani, July 23, 2010: “[B]eing a nuclear power does not mean that we are going to make a bomb.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 22, 2010: “We are not seeking the bomb. We have no interest in it. And we do not think that it is useful. We are standing firm over the issue that both the Zionist regime and the United States government should be disarmed.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 23, 2010: “The nuclear bomb is the worst inhumane weapon and which must totally be eliminated.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, December 22, 2010: “We don’t have any belief in the atomic bomb and don’t pursue it. Our religious principles and beliefs forbid the acquisition and use of such weapons of mass murder. We consider such weapons to be a symbol of destruction.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 4, 2011: “When we say we don’t have any intention to build a bomb, we’re honest and sincere. We believe that today if someone wants to build a bomb he’s crazy and insane…An atomic bomb is against all humans.”

President Ahmadinejad, August 14, 2011: “Never, never. We do not want nuclear weapons. We do not seek nuclear weapons. This is an inhumane weapon. Because of our beliefs we are against that. Firstly, our religion says it is prohibited. We are a religious people. Secondly, nuclear weapons have no capability today. If any country tries to build a nuclear bomb, they in fact waste their money and resources and they create great danger for themselves.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 13, 2011: “When we say we are not going to build nuclear weapons, we mean it. Because we consider it an evil thing and we do not need those items.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 20, 2011:  “I’ve said many times we don’t want a bomb and we are against any nuclear bombs.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 22, 2011:  “We are not seeking the weapon. We are not seeking the nuclear weapon.”

President Ahmadinejad, November 9, 2011: “The Iranian nation is wise. It won’t build two [nuclear] bombs against the 20,000 you have.  But it builds something you can’t respond to: ethics, decency, monotheism and justice.”

Senior adviser to Khamenei Mohammad Javad Larijani, November 18, 2011: “[Iran seeks] advancement in science and technology related to nuclear area, not directed toward the weapon area…We are a signatory of NPT, we are a sincere signatory to the NPT. We think non-proliferation is a benefit of Iran and all of us…We are an advocate of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, January 12, 2012: “We are not after nuclear weapons. We do not find nuclear weapons right from a religious perspective.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, January 30, 2012: “Iran is never, ever after nuclear weapons.

Ayatollah Khamenei, February 22, 2012: “The Iranian nation has never sought and will never seek nuclear weaponsIran does not seek nuclear weapons since the Islamic Republic of Iran regards the possession of nuclear weapons as a great sin, in terms of thought, theory and religious edict, and also believes that holding such weapons is useless, costly and dangerous.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, February 28, 2012: “[Nuclear weapons are] immoral and illegitimate…I would like to re-emphasize that we do not see any glory, pride or power in the nuclear weapons, quite the opposite based on the religious decree issued by our supreme leader, the production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin.”

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, March 2012: “We really do not want to make nuclear weapons and a nuclear weapon programWe deeply believe that nuclear weapons must not exist, and this has been part of our policy.”

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, April 12, 2012: “We have strongly marked our opposition to weapons of mass destruction on many occasions. Almost seven years ago, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a binding commitment. He issued a religious edict — a fatwa — forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons. Our stance against weapons of mass destruction, which is far from new, has been put to the test.” (“Iran: We do not want nuclear weapons,” The Washington Post)

Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani, April 13, 2012: “As the Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said and other Iranian officials have reiterated, the work done in the field of nuclear energy is not meant for making nuclear weapons…These activities are for scientific purposes; you must realize and believe this.”

Senior adviser to Khamenei, Mohammad Javad Larijani, April 13, 2012: “Iran is not after nuclear weapon[s].  Nuclear weapon is not an asset for us, it is more [of a] liability.  Pakistan has nuclear weapons, you see is a shambled country in terms of security.  It doesn’t add to our security. We are secure enough, we are strong enough, without nuclear weapon. And it is against the fatwa of Ayatollah Khamenei.  Nobody [would dare] do that…This is the fatwa of Iman Khomeini and the fatwa of Ayatollah Khamenei.”

President Ahmadinejad, May 23, 2012: “[P]roduction and use of weapons of mass destruction is forbidden…There is no room for these weapons in Iran’s defense doctrine.”

Iran’s chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, June 16, 2012: “Firstly, we are strongly against weapons of mass destruction. Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the capacities to cooperate in disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, so these capacities should be used by the international community.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, August 30, 2012: “Nuclear weapons neither ensure security, nor do they consolidate political power; rather they are a threat to both security and political power…The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the use of nuclear, chemical and similar weapons as a great and unforgivable sin. We proposed the idea of [a] “Middle East free of nuclear weapons” and we are committed to it…I stress that the Islamic Republic has never been after nuclear weapons and that it will never give up the right of its people to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

Iranian Vice President and head of the Atomic Energy Organization Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, September 17, 2012: “The Islamic Republic of Iran…has always opposed and will always denounce the manufacture and use of weapons of mass destruction.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 23, 2012: “We will never use the wealth of our nation for these [nuclear weapons] objectives.”

President Ahmadinejad, September 24, 2012: “At the end of the day, everyone knows that Iran is not seeking a nuclear bomb. The scene resembles one of a comedy show. Those who accuse us are those whose warehouses have nuclear stockpiles. They talk of security. If you are so preoccupied with this, why not do away with your own nuclear stockpiles?”

President Ahmadinejad, September 24, 2012: “Let’s even imagine that we have an atomic weapon, a nuclear weapon. What would we do with it? What intelligent person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb? Also, because of our beliefs, we do not believe in a nuclear weapon. We are against it.”

Iranian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Eshagh Al Habib, September 27, 2012: “[The] nuclear program of my country [] is exclusively peaceful and in full conformity with our international obligations and in exercising our inalienable right to use nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, October 1, 2012: “Had Iran chosen to [go] nuclear in the sense of weaponization, it would not be a deterrent for Iran.  It would attract more threats from the other side.”

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee, October 1, 2012: “Nuclear activities of my country are, and always have been, exclusively for peaceful purposes and the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran has been repeatedly confirmed by the IAEA.”

Furthermore, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s own website has had, for some time now, an entire page specifically dedicated to Iran’s official policy on nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. It states clearly, “According to our logic, it is not right for a country to use its knowledge to produce such weapons as nuclear bombs which annihilate armed soldiers, innocent civilians, children, babies and oppressed people indiscriminately once they are dropped somewhere,” adding, “Iran is not after an atomic bomb, and it is even opposed to possession of chemical weapons. Even when Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, we did not try to manufacture chemical weapons. Such things are not in line with the principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Khamenei’s official statement repeatedly affirms, “The Islamic Republic of Iran does not have this motivation, and it has never been after nuclear weapons. Iran does not need a nuclear bomb” and “We believe that using nuclear weapons is haram and prohibited.”

Referring to the American use of nuclear weapons to murder hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Khamenei explains that the “anti-human effects went beyond political and geographic borders, even inflicting irreparable harm on future generations. Therefore, using or even threatening to use such weapons is considered a serious violation of the most basic humanitarian rules and is a clear manifestation of war crimes.”

Reading this litany, it is no wonder President Ahmadinejad recently told journalists in New York that the nuclear issue “is a very tiresome subject.”

But naturally, these constantly repeated statements by Iranian officials have had no affect on Jeffrey Goldberg.  He still regularly frets about “the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions to world peace” and somehow believes that a nuclear-armed Iran would actually threaten the “existence” of his once-adopted nation, Israel.

Why is that?

It is because, according to Goldberg, Iranian leaders – like all Orientals – are wily and deceitful by nature and therefore any clear, unequivocal statements like the ones reiterated for decades are not to be trusted.  Goldberg refuses to believe that Iranian officials are anything other than “crazy,” “mystically minded,” “bloody minded,” “comprehensively evil,” “eliminationist anti-Semites”, despite (a) how manifestly ignorant and bigoted that sentiment inherently is, and (b) the admonitions of both U.S. and Israeli officials against such myopia:

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff: “We are of the opinion that the Iranian regime is a rational actor.  They act and behave as a rational nation-state.”

Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff: “I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people.”

Lieutenant General Ron Burgess, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director: “Iran is unlikely to initiate or provoke a conflict.”

General Meir Dagan, former Director of the Mossad: “The regime is a very rational regime.  There is no doubt they are considering all the implications of their actions.”

General Gabi Ashkenazi, former Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff: “The Iranian regime is radical, but it’s not irrational.”

Lieutenant General James Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence: “We continue to judge that Iran’s nuclear decision-making is guided by a cost-benefit approach. Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran’s security, prestige, and influence, as well as the international political and security environment, when making decisions about its nuclear program.”

Lieutenant General Ehud Barak, Israeli Defense Minister: “I don’t think the Iranians, even if they got the bomb, (would) drop it in the neighborhood. They fully understand what might follow. They are radical but not totally crazy. They have a quite sophisticated decision-making process, and they understand reality.”

Efraim Halevy, former Director of the Mossad: “I don’t think they are irrational, I think they are very rational. To label them as irrational is escaping from reality, and it gives you kind of an escape clause.”

Admiral Dennis Blair, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence: “Iran hasn’t made up its mind [to acquire a nuclear weapon]…But I’m telling you, I think they will pull back, add up all of the different factors. Iran has made rational decisions in terms of pros and cons and pluses and minuses in the long run.”

The claim that Iran is a martyr state, hell-bent on obtaining a nuclear weapon in order to obliterate Israel, literally makes no sense and is used solely as a bludgeon against any rational commentary about Iranian national rights, sovereignty and potential intentions.  The hysteria and selective outrage over boilerplate rhetoric from Iranian leaders is yet another prong of this strategy.

The overall effect is to paint the Iranian leadership as a one-dimensional caricature devoid of reason, pragmatism or concerns unrelated to Israel or the United States.  In essence, Iran as a whole is depicted with cartoonish simplicity, much like Netanyahu’s buffoonish bomb drawing.

In his capacity as the Israeli Prime Minister’s dutiful mouthpiece here in the United States, Goldberg consistently allows himself to be willfully used by the Israeli leadership to promote whatever public image it seeks to show at any given time.

To put it simply, Goldberg is nothing but a propagandist.

His adherence to Israeli government talking points, fealty to the concept that American aggression should be never be hampered by law or morality, and his blinkered understanding and incessant demonization of Iran are testaments to this fact.

Consequently, when a Nobel Peace Prize-winning President repeatedly affirms his commitment to authorize the supreme international crime of initiating a war of aggression, Goldberg lauds this determination as a consistent, crystal-clear promise.  When Iranian leaders consistently declare they have no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons or attacking any country, they are either dismissed as liars or, more often, totally ignored.

It is clear that, for Jeffrey Goldberg, along with a large majority of the mainstream press, the record is only the record if it conforms to and reinforces predetermined assumptions and a political agenda.


* The very first quote listed in Rosen’s catalog has the incorrect date applied to it. It’s actually from a meeting in Cairo on June 4, 2009, not – as Rosen labeled it – June 5, 2008.  Also, Rosen could have included Obama’s 2004 statement that while “launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position,” he said his “instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran.” Goldberg himself is aware of this statement, but it didn’t make the list, which probably means he outsourced his post almost entirely to Rosen’s mildly-capable hands.

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

Iran War Debate: Media Failure or Undisclosed Bias?

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | March 16, 2012

Comparing the media handling of the debate over Iran with the lead-up to the war on Iraq, Stephen M. Walt observes in a recent Foreign Policy column that “most mainstream news organizations have let us down again.” In his “Top Ten Media Failures in the 2012 Iran War Scare,” Prof. Walt singles out five journalists for particular criticism:

#1: Mainstreaming the war. As I’ve written before, when prominent media organizations keep publishing alarmist pieces about how war is imminent, likely, inevitable, etc., this may convince the public that it is going to happen sooner or later and it discourages people from looking for better alternatives. Exhibits A and B for this problem are Jeffrey Goldberg’s September 2010 article in The Atlantic Monthly and Ronan Bergman’s February 2012 article in the New York Times Magazine. Both articles reported that top Israeli leaders believed time was running out and suggested that an attack might come soon.


#8: Letting spinmeisters play fast and loose with facts. Journalists have to let officials and experts express their views, but they shouldn’t let them spout falsehoods without pushing back. Unfortunately, there have been some egregious cases where prominent journalists allowed politicians or government officials to utter howlers without being called on it. When Rick Santorum announced on Meet the Press that “there were no inspectors” in Iran, for example, host David Gregory didn’t challenge this obvious error. (In fact, Iran may be the most heavily inspected country in the history of the IAEA).

Even worse, when Israeli ambassador Michael Oren appeared on MSNBC last week, he offered the following set of dubious claims, without challenge:

“[Iran] has built an underground nuclear facility trying to hide its activities from the world. It has been enriching uranium to a high rate [sic.] that has no explanation other than a military nuclear program – that has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency now several times. It is advancing very quickly on an intercontinental ballistic missile system that’s capable of carrying nuclear warheads.”

Unfortunately, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell apparently didn’t know that Oren’s claims were either false or misleading. 1) Iran’s underground facility was built to make it hard to destroy, not to “hide its activities,” and IAEA inspectors have already been inside it. 2) Iran is not enriching at a “high rate” (i.e., to weapons-grade); it is currently enriching to only 20% (which is not high enough to build a bomb). 3) Lastly, Western intelligence experts do not think Iran is anywhere near to having an ICBM capability.

In another interview on NPR, Oren falsely accused Iran of “killing hundreds, if not thousands of American troops,” a claim that NPR host Robert Siegel did not challenge.

Every one of those Walt identifies as examples of “media failures” — Jeffrey Goldberg, Ronen Bergman, David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell and Robert Siegel — either already has Israeli citizenship or would probably qualify for it under the Law of Return, which accords any Jew the legal right to assisted immigration and settlement in Israel, as well as Israeli citizenship.

Of course, being Jewish doesn’t necessarily mean that one is more susceptible to Israeli falsehoods about the alleged “Iranian threat.” After all, Glenn Greenwald is one of the journalists that Walt singles out for praise in countering the war propaganda. But we still need to ask if this is simply another case of “media failure”? Or are those in the media with an undisclosed bias helping to take America to another disastrous war for Israel?

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Iran War Debate: Media Failure or Undisclosed Bias?

Them’s War-Startin’ Words!

Jeffrey Goldberg’s Disingenuous Condemnation of Tucker Carlson

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | February 22, 2012

Today, the blogosphere was atwitter with the news that bow-tied super-douche Tucker Carlson, last night on Fox News, declared that “Iran deserves to be annihilated. I think they’re lunatics. I think they’re evil.”

He also, bizarrely, stated that “we are the only country with the moral authority […] sufficient to do that” because, apparently, the United States, with its more than 1,000 military bases across the globe and penchant for bombing, remotecontrol murder droning, unaccountable worldwide torture regime, invading and occupying foreign countries, is “the only country that doesn’t seek hegemony in the world.”

Watch it here:

Carlson’s call for genocide was revealed to the non-Fox News-watching world by ThinkProgress‘s intrepid Eli Clifton and was quickly lambasted by numerous commentators. Even Jeffrey Goldberg has weighed in.

Goldberg, who has made a career of leading the charge for illegal war, didn’t much like Carlson’s comments. Writing on his blog today, Goldberg – after noting that he is “on friendly terms” with Carlson – condemns Carlson’s murderous outburst as “the sort of rhetoric that leads to war” and states that “language like this — careless or premeditated — is inhuman and sets back America’s interests.”

This is all very noble and humane of Goldberg, but it’s also completely disingenuous and hypocritical.

A mere four sentences after Goldberg quotes Carlson as saying, “I think they’re lunatics. I think they’re evil,” Goldberg himself writes:

It should go without saying that Iran does not “deserve” to be annihilated. I wish, of course, that Iranian citizens will one day soon be free of the evil regime that rules their lives, and that Iran’s neighbors, Arabs, Jews, everyone, will be able to live without fear of Tehran’s aggressiveness.

Get it? No, not the fact that Goldberg’s glorious hope for Iranians doesn’t transfer to Palestinians who live under a two-tiered Israeli legal system, both within Israel and under occupation. And no, not the other fact that Iran’s “aggressiveness” has translated into exactly zero military invasions of other countries in roughly two hundred years. The difference is that Carlson doesn’t specifically make clear that he’s referring to the “annihilation” of the Iranian “regime,” rather than all 74 million Iranian citizens. (If he is forced into doing so, one can assume Carlson will make this very distinction when back-peddling. [UPDATE: Or not.]

Yet, unsurprisingly, Goldberg doesn’t even play by his own rules, often using the shorthand term “Iran” to refer to the country’s government.

In his much-discussed and totally wrong September 2010 blockbuster, “The Point of No Return,” Goldberg hysterically referred to “the immediate specter of nuclear-weaponized, theologically driven, eliminationist anti-Semitism,” meaning, of course, the Iranian government.

In an interview with Stephen Colbert shortly after its publication, Goldberg repeated the long-debunked claims that “Iran says they seek the destruction of Israel” and is “trying to gain nuclear weapons.” He added:

Now, obviously, Iran poses threats to other areas of the Middle East and they pose a national security threat to the United States, but for Israel, they feel because of their history, because of their location, because of their vulnerability, they feel that this is an especially urgent threat.

Goldberg also described the Iranian government as “an unstable leadership, they are a crazy leadership” and explained, in the most paternal and patronizing manner possible, that “if they give up this path, if they stop seeking nuclear weapons, good things will happen to them.”

In a totally incoherent rant published last June and amazingly headlined “Iran Wants the Bomb, and It’s Well on Its Way,” Goldberg decided to discuss “the reality-based worry that bloody-minded mullahs bent on dominating the Middle East aren’t the sort of people who should have the bomb.

(Incidentally, it may be instructive to note that Goldberg’s alarmist assumptions and assessments about Iran’s intentions are not shared by any of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies or Defense Secretary Leon Panetta or Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Brigadier General Martin Dempsey or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper or Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Ronald Burgess or even Israel intelligence estimates. In other words, he’s a liar and a fear-monger.)

Goldberg also rehashes the baseless allegations that the Fordo enrichment plant was “exposed by Western intelligence agencies in 2009” and that “peaceful, internationally supervised nuclear program presumably would have no need for secret uranium-enrichment facilities buried inside mountains” Not only did Iran itself announce the existence of the site in accordance with its obligations under the safeguards agreement it has with the IAEA, but the site itself is under round-the-clock surveillance and subject to more intrusive inspections than nearly any nuclear site on the planet. Additionally, one might assume that with near daily threats of and rumors about an imminent, unprovoked Israeli or American attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, even sites under safeguard (and in which the IAEA has repeatedly and consistently confirmed – multiple times a year, year after year – that there has been no diversion of nuclear material), should be defended from potential, illegal aggression. For Iran not to staunchly defend facilities and technology (in which it has invested billions) from attack would, in fact, be profoundly irresponsible, negligent, and dangerous.

On October 17, 2011, Goldberg described the Iranian government as “chaotic” and the Revolutionary Guard Corps as “protectors of Ayatollah Khomeini’s dystopian vision for a radicalized Muslim world, enthusiastic exporters of terrorism, and rulers of a state within a state” and wasted multiple paragraphs on the supposed threat to American warships in the Persian Gulf by “a couple of true believers in an explosive-laden speedboat.”

The next month, Goldberg wrote a piece for Bloomberg called “Why Obama Might Save Israel From Nuclear Iran.” In it, Goldberg claimed that the IAEA “is set to release a report…offering further proof that the Iranian regime is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.” Well, that didn’t actually happen.

Furthermore, Goldberg once again stated that “[t]he leaders of Iran are eliminationist anti-Semites” and “mystically minded, mesmerized by visions of the apocalypse” and who “have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and worked to hasten that end” by backing resistance groups which, Goldberg declares, “specialize in the slaughter of innocent Jews.” In short, Goldberg sums up, “Iran’s leaders are men who deny the Holocaust while promising another.” Again, one assumes Goldberg doesn’t find his own absurd rhetoric to be “the sort…that leads to war.”

A few days later, in a blog post with the header “Is an Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Program a Bad Idea?“, Goldberg did his phony hand-wringing thing again. “As for me, well, I don’t know which one is worse: A preemptive attack, or a nuclear Iran,” he opined. “An attack would be disastrous on many levels, but I also think that a nuclear Iran would not be fully containable.”

On January 23, 2012, Goldberg declared, “It’s beyond a doubt that the Iranian regime would like to bring about the destruction of Israel.” In the same piece, embarrassingly entitled “How Iran Could Trigger Accidental Armageddon,” Goldberg concluded that “opponents of military action make a mistake in arguing that a nuclear Iran is a containable problem. It is not.” Reading this determination, one wonders whether Goldberg thinks “[t]his is the sort of rhetoric that leads to war” or not.

On February 6, 2012, Goldberg was back making his constant ridiculous and shameful analogies between Iran and Nazi Germany, replete with heavy-handed Auschwitz references, and speculating about Iranian intentions with no evidence to support his lurid claims. He wrote:

Iran represents the definitive, post-Nazi Jewish nightmare: a regime that openly argues for the destruction of Israel and is seeking nuclear weapons. The Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said just last week, “The Zionist regime is a cancerous tumor that should be removed and will be removed, God willing.” The regime seems bent on building weapons that could actually bring about the obliteration of Israel and its six million Jews.

Just the other day, Goldberg once again exploited the Holocaust, through around the Nazi analogy and decided that “Iran is run by a regime whose first, defining act was of mass hostage-taking.” Anyone with even cursory knowledge of the Iranian Revolution would know that the actual “first, defining act” of the Islamic Republic would better be described as the drafting and adoption a complex constitution which was approved by popular referendum mere months after toppling the quarter-century tyranny of the U.S.-backed Shah. But for Goldberg and others like him, Iranian history began on November 4, 1979. Goldberg continued to describe Iran as “comprehensively evil” and, more generally, “evil people.”

So, according to Goldberg, when an Iranian official uses the specific term “regime” (as in, say, “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”), he secretly means “every single Jew on planet Earth,” but when Goldberg himself uses the term he’s really only describing the “crazy” or “evil” or “bloody-minded” or “eliminationist” Iranian government.

So, let’s see here. Why might Goldberg be frustrated with Tucker Carlson’s outlandish verbal diarrhea? Perhaps it’s because he’s stealing Goldberg’s thunder.

February 23, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

The Daily Beast disavows patriotic American’s website; Jeffrey Goldberg smears both as anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | February 5, 2012

On January 30, The Daily Beast published an article entitled “Newt Gingrich’s Deep Neocon Ties Drive His Bellicose Middle East Policy.” In the well-researched piece on the Republican presidential hopeful’s ties to the Israel partisans who devised the influential “Clean Break” plan to destabilize the Middle East, Wayne Barrett warns:

If elected, Gingrich would be the first American president to emerge from the dark think-tank world born in the Reagan era that gave us the Iraq War and lusts now for an Iranian reprise.

Some time after its publication, The Daily Beast appended the following note to Barrett’s article:

Correction: The original version of this story included an embedded link in the text to a blog called the Neocon Zionist Threat. The author did not use this site in the reporting of the piece, and does not support the views expressed. The link has been redirected to the correct source.

The following day, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg commented on the correction to what he described as “a Daily Beast story that might have been entitled ‘The Jews are Coming.’” In a snide post entitled “Correction of the Day, International Jewish Conspiracy Edition,” Goldberg, a former prison guard in the Israeli army, claimed:

The website “Neocon Zionist Threat” argues that a cabal of Jews is trying to drive the U.S. into a war with Iran. The Daily Beast article, on the other hand, argues that a cabal of Jews is trying to drive the U.S. into a war with Iran. (h/t Jamie Kirchick)

Contrary to Goldberg’s smearing of “Neocon Zionist Threat” as an anti-Semitic site, a cursory look at shows that its critique is based primarily on the research compiled in three eminently respectable sources: James Bamford’s A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies; John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy; and Stephen J. Sniegoski’s The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel.

Considering that Goldberg’s award-winning March 25, 2002 “exposé” in The New Yorker on the supposed ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda made a significant contribution to the push for war with Iraq, it’s not surprising that he would resort to such disingenuous smear tactics. The same goes for Kirchick who is currently a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, whose “advocacy of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, its hawkish stance against Iran, and its defense of right-wing Israeli policy,” according to a 2011 Think Progress report, “is consistent with its donors’ interests in ‘pro-Israel’ advocacy.”

What is surprising, however, is that Wayne Barrett felt it necessary to disavow the more extensive efforts of a patriotic American blogger and YouTube video producer to expose the same people he had just written about.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the news-and-commentary website he writes for is part-owned by former Congresswoman Jane Harman, whose service on Capitol Hill allegedly included a promise to an Israeli agent to lobby the Department of Justice to reduce espionage charges against two former officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for trafficking in classified information on Iran — information AIPAC used to push for a war that Barrett’s article professes to oppose. As a patriotic former CIA officer wrote of the Harman case, some might call it treason.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Comments Off on The Daily Beast disavows patriotic American’s website; Jeffrey Goldberg smears both as anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists