• Mainstream media broadcasts phony documents claiming to expose Iranian nuclear program
By Richard Walker
For the past decade, Israel has successfully manipulated media coverage of the Iran nuclear issue but its latest attempt to use the Associated Press (AP) to feed the world bogus information hit a brick wall.
AP was recently ridiculed by leading scientists for recklessly publishing a ridiculous diagram supposedly hacked from computers running Iran’s nuclear industry. It purported to show Iranian scientists had been running a test to calculate the energy that would be released by an atomic bomb. A prominent scientist who examined the diagram said it was hardly worthy of a graduate engineering student. He likened it to basic diagrams found on the Internet explaining the workings of common software.
It was not the first time documents of this kind have found their way to the media. Similar ones were produced in 2000. Each time they were discreetly fed to journalists by “unnamed diplomats,” which most intelligent observers knew to be the Mossad. In some instances intelligence sources from Israel’s allies, particularly Britain and the United States, were involved.
The latest attempt to use fake intelligence to shape international opinion in favor of an Israeli strike against Iran followed a familiar pattern. Information was fed to AP journalist George Jahn, no stranger to the dissemination of questionable intelligence about Iran.
In March 2012, Jahn broke a story that the Iranians were deliberately cleaning up the Parchin site near Tehran of any traces of nuclear weapons testing. According to Jahn’s sources, which he said were unnamed diplomats from a country tracking Iran’s nuclear program, satellite images confirmed the movement of trucks and the dumping of a considerable amount of soil.
Most experts agreed the satellite images came from the Mossad. AP, however, failed to emphasize Parchin was a well-known conventional weapons facility. Scientists who examined the satellite images agreed they failed to prove Parchin was a nuclear facility. It was suspected the Mossad leaked the story to cover all its options, because the spy agency had obtained classified intelligence that International Atomic Energy Agency experts planned to inspect the site.
In May 2012, Jahn and AP were back in the headlines. This time Jahn claimed there was intelligence confirming Iran had an underground chamber to test a nuclear trigger. He produced a drawing that his unnamed sources told him had been made by someone who had knowledge of the Iranian nuclear facility.
Professor Muhammad Sahimi, an expert in chemical engineering at the University of Southern California, was the first to blast the story and especially the drawing. He said the drawings looked like “standard cylindrical tanks [that] were used to store gas/oil or other types of fuel in rural areas such as Parchin.”
AP is not alone in enabling Israel to use bogus intelligence to shape international opinion, however. Most of the U.S. mainstream media has blindly published fake intelligence from Israeli sources for decades.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.