Sunday, September 02, 2007

Propaganda 101 #2

Heritage Foundation

In this issue of Propaganda 101, we take a look at the Heritage Foundation, a self described conservative think tank that is at the forefront of the pro-globalization perspective. Here are bits and pieces about the Heritage Foundation in their role in leaking propaganda to possibly launch a nuclear war in Iraq. The same story is leaked to different correspondants all over the world. Eventually it becomes good as fact.

According to a recent article in Kommersant: That One Option for Iran
U.S. leadership is ready to resolve the Iran issue. With plenty of options on offer, a military operation is the best developed one, Kommersant special correspondent Dmitry Sidorov reports from Washington. This scenario is drafted right up to a day. - Six Days of Nightmare
Day 1. After one month of debate, the UN Security Council imposes strict sanctions on Iran over its suspicious nuclear program.
Day 2. Iran withdraws from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and tests a nuclear weapon.
Day 3. The United States bombs Iranian nuclear sites, air bases, and air defense targets but spares Iran’s oil infrastructure to minimize disruption of the world oil market.
Day 4. Iran announces that it will deny its oil exports to any country that does not condemn the U.S. action, but it continues to produce oil at the same levels.
Day 5. Pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Iraq stage an uprising, shutting down Iraqi oil production in the southern oil fields. This takes roughly 60 percent of Iraq’s oil exports off the world market. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announces an oil embargo against the U.S. in support of Iran. The OPEC condemns the U.S. aggression but ignores Iran’s call for an embargo. China, Japan, and the European Union condemn the United States to escape Iranian oil threats. Russia condemns the U.S. and continues oil production at maximum capacity to exploit higher oil prices.
Day 6. An oil tanker is sunk by a mine in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran is believed to be responsible but does not claim responsibility. U.S. intelligence says that the mine was laid by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Saudi Arabia announces that it will divert as much oil as possible to Red Sea ports.
The conservative Washington-based Heritage Foundation presented this scenario of possible developments of the Iran issue in a recent report. Heritage Foundation scholars drafted the report from December 2006 to March 2007. The expert panel included U.S. State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council staffers. The full report was released on July 25.
According to a Washington Post article:
Fourteen months after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered to talk to Iran, the failure of carrot-and-stick diplomacy to block Tehran's nuclear and regional ambitions is producing a new drumbeat for bolder action, including the possible use of force.
The Heritage Foundation's Web site has a section labeled "Iran: The Rising Threat," advocating aggressive diplomacy and tough sanctions with a willingness to use force to stave off Iran's becoming a nuclear power. Heritage recently hosted a meeting on Iranian challenges to nuclear and energy security.
According to a August 31 UPI article:
Although U.S. airstrikes on Iran's nuclear facilities and military would likely overwhelm their forces, Tehran could still rely on a host of weapons, from covert terror campaigns to long-range missiles, to retaliate against an American attack.
While Iran’s aging conventional military forces have little hope of successfully maintaining combat against U.S. forces in the Gulf in the case of U.S. bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities, a quick attack by Tehran on ships in the Persian Gulf, and support of anti-American militias in Iraq and Afghanistan, could prove a real threat.
Iran has “a whole host of things, from the conventional, to the irregular, to missiles to terrorism, that they could use to retaliate,” according to Peter Brookes, a national security expert at the Heritage Foundation who has written extensively on U.S. relations with Iran, as well as Iran’s ambitions in the region.
“We could see some attacks against our forces in the Persian Gulf. They have anti-ship cruise missiles, highly capable Chinese anti-tank cruise missiles; they also could do suicide attacks against our ships,” Brookes said.
According to The Telegraph Sept 02, 2007:
A Pentagon source said: "We have a targeting list and there are plans, but then there are also plans for repelling an invasion from Canada. We don't know where everything is but we do know where enough is to cause them enough damage to set back the programme."
James Phillips, a Middle East expert at the Heritage Foundation, who helped devise the war-game scenario, said: "It is simultaneously a shot across Iran's bows and an appeal for the international community to do more to stop or slow Iran's nuclear programme."
The simulation, which took four months, was run by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with close links to the White House. Its conclusions, drawn up last month and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, have been passed on to military and civilian planners charged with drawing up plans for confronting Iran.
Information on US targets has leaked from the Pentagon. B2 bombers and cruise missiles would strike up to 400 sites, only a few dozen of which are linked to the nuclear programme. B61-11 bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons would be the ultimate weapon against the heavily fortified installations; first in the crosshairs would be the main centrifuge plant at Natanz, 200 miles south of Teheran.
In the meantime, administration officials are studying the lessons of the recent war game, which was set up to devise a way of weathering an economic storm created by war with Iran. Computer modelling found that if Iran closed the Straits of Hormuz, it would nearly double the world price of oil, knock $161 billion off American GDP in a single quarter, cost one million jobs and slash disposable income by $260 billion a quarter.
The war gamers advocated deploying American oil reserves - good for 60 days - using military force to break the blockade (two US aircraft carrier groups and half of America's 277 warships are already stationed close to Iran), opening up oil development in Alaska, and ending import tariffs on ethanol fuel. If the government also subsidised fuel for poorer Americans, the war-gamers concluded, it would mitigate the financial consequences of a conflict.
The Heritage report concludes: "The results were impressive. The policy recommendations eliminated virtually all of the negative outcomes from the blockade."
James Carafano, a former lecturer at West Point, the American military academy, who led the war game, said: "It's not about making the case for war. I have yet to meet a government official who says: 'I've just come from a fierce debate about whether to bomb Iran'."
Let's hope the Bush administration does not buy these reports. But he probably only reads headlines and does not dig into the detail.

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