More rumors of war: our naval armada has sailed to Iran!

Fabius Maximus| 9 August 2008

Here we go again!  More rumors of war with Iran.  Move evidence that many people writing on the Internet do not adequately source or research news, so that stories grow in the telling.  More evidence that the Internet can make us stupid by over-emphasis of rumors.  Not much more can be said at this time, we can only wait for additional information.

I have traced the rumors as far back as possible.

  1. Govt finalizing war emergency plan“, Kuwait News, 7 August 2008
  2. Two U.S. Aircraft Carriers Head for Gulf Region“, Adam Gonn, The Media Line, 7 August 2008
  3. ‘2 US aircraft carriers headed for Gulf’“, Jerusalem Post, 7 August 2008
  4. Massive US Naval Armada Heads For Iran“, Timothy Alexander writing as Lord Sterling, posted at his blog “Europe”, 7 August 2008

Let’s look at the chain of “news” and see how the story grew.  Here is the first link in the chain, the only basis I found for these rumors.

1.  Govt finalizing war emergency plan“, Kuwait News, 7 August 2008 — This is listed as “local news.”  Note the lack of detail and urgency.

The government is finalizing its emergency plan this week in order to ensure that the country is protected from foreign dangers in case the regional situation escalates and a war breaks out between Iran and the USA.

An unnamed senior official revealed that the government has learnt that two aircraft carriers are scheduled to arrive in the Gulf and the Red Sea in preparation for the expected war at any time. The official said that this information led the government to accelerate its emergency plan preparations, which include arrangements for protecting all sectors and vital installations.

The senior official added that acting premier Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah has asked the Interior Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid Al-Sabahand other ministers concerned with devising and implementing the emergency plan to hold meetings with the different government departments in order to discuss the plan and submit reports to reveal and resolve possible weaknesses before war breaks out in the area. He told ministers that Kuwait would not be immune from war and the government must be ready for any emergency.

This story was picked up and embellished (with no actual new information) by …

 

2.  Two U.S. Aircraft Carriers Head for Gulf Region“, Adam Gonn, The Media Line, 7 August 2008 — they added this information:

The U.S. Navy will neither confirm nor deny that carriers are currently en route. U.S. Fifth Fleet Combined Maritime Command located in Bahrain said it could not comment because of what a spokesman termed “force-protection policy.”

While the Kuwaiti daily did not name the ships it believes are heading for the Middle East, The Media Line’s defense analyst said they could be the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan.

Per their website, “The Media Line™ (TML) is a unique non-profit news organization established to enhance and balance media coverage in the Middle East, promote independent reporting in the region, and break down barriers to understanding in the Arab and Israeli journalism communities.”

The Media Line article was in turn republished by…

3.  ‘2 US aircraft carriers headed for Gulf’“, Jerusalem Post, 7 August 2008 — Posted verbatim on their site.  AllHeadlineNews reposted the story under their own byline, with no mention that it came from TML.

The Jerusalem Post story was noted on many blogs, such as War News Updates and Information Dissemination.  These are representative of two types of blogs.  The forme reposts the news with cautious commentary; the latter does so with careful analysis (as usual, he provides valuable information — in this case on the carrier’s known deployment schedules).  Neither style of writing gets the drums on the Internet rocking. 

This kind of writing does…

4.  Massive US Naval Armada Heads For Iran“, Timothy Alexander writing as Lord Sterling, posed at his blog “Europe”, 7 August 2008 — He takes the Jerusalem Post story, reports it as certain fact, and writes this:

Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the “enemy force”.

The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.

They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with its Carrier Strike Group Nine (CCSG-9); and the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) with its expeditionary strike group.

Likely also under way towards the Persian Gulf is the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and its expeditionary strike group, the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal (R07) carrier battle group, assorted French naval assets including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. These ships took part in the just completed Operation Brimstone.

Alexander’s post cites no sources.  Here are two pieces of background. 

First, from Suzie-Q’s blog: “I have been in contact with Timothy Alexander, the author of this article, and he gives as his sources for the article the following: “an Israeli newspaper article, and research into US government public source sites, and my past research into Operation Brimstone”.”

{Update} Second, Alexander emailed me this additional information:  “I am aware of the Kuwait article. However, my research was in depth and there are sources that I shall keep confidential. I stand by my article. You should note that my prediction of war in Georgia and its connection to events in the Middle East have proved true.”

Now we have the raw meat for an Internet firestorm!  As usual, an impressive tower of guesses built on a slight foundation.

Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

My posts about a strike at Iran by the US

  1. 4GW at work in a community near you  (19 October 2007) — Propaganda warming us up for war with Iran.
  2. War with Iran   (9 November 2007) — Why Iran is not necessarily our enemy.
  3. Is Iran dangerous, or a paper tiger?   (13 November 2007)
  4. The new NIE, another small step in the Decline of the State  (10 December 2007)
  5. Will we bomb Iran, now that Admiral Fallon is gone?   (17 March 2008)
  6. More post-Fallon overheating: “6 signs the US may be headed for war in Iran”   (18 March 2008)
  7. A militant America, ready for war with Iran  (6 May 2008)
  8. Another step towards war with Iran?  (7 May 2008) — About Andrew Cockburn’s article in  Counterpunch.
  9. “War With Iran Might Be Closer Than You Think”  (13 May 2008) — About Philip Giraldi’s 9 May story in The American Conservative (see below).
  10. The most expensive psy-war campaign - ever!  (13 July 2008)
  11. ISIS: “Can Military Strikes Destroy Iran’s Gas Centrifuge Program? Probably Not.”, 8 August 2008

Here is the full archive of my posts about a possible strike at Iran by Israel or the US.

Other posts about the Internet: does it make us smarter or dumber?

  1. Cable Cut Fever grips the conspiracy-hungry fringes of the web (7 February 2008)
  2. Resolution of the Great Submarine Cable Crisis — and some lessons learned (8 February 2008)
  3. What do blogs do for America? (26 February)
  4. The oddity of reports about the Iraq War (13 March 2008)
  5. Euphoria about the Bakken Formation (10 April 2008)
  6. The Internet makes us dumber: the Bakken euphoria, a case study (15 April 2008)
  7. Does reading Debkafile make us smarter, or dumber?  (15 June 2008) 
  8. A Congressman ignites a netstorm about Twitter, 9 July 2008
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1 Response to “More rumors of war: our naval armada has sailed to Iran!”


  1. 1 freeandindependent August 10, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Wouldn’t the mainstream media report it if 2 us aircraft carriers are sent to the gulf? If not why not? Surely this is worth at least 90 words on page 16 of the Independent or the Guardian.


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