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FOX and Friends finally reporting that Iranian speedboat incident was not as it was initially reported

Reported by Chrish - January 15, 2008 -

A little late to the party, FOX and Friends this morning 1/15/08 finally disclosed to their viewers that the big scare about the Iranian speedboats and the ominous threat accompanying it appears to be a "hoax." The so-called "Filipino Monkey" has been blamed for the audio; from what FOX Friends said, he's known for doing these type things in the area for the past 25 years. But this "Monkey" business diverts blame from the Pentagon and onto some crazy prankster; real journalists are uncovering a much more disturbing story.


Steve Doocy expressed admiration for the restraint of our naval officers, but Brian Kilmeade and newsreader Alisyn Camerota suggested that maybe if they had blown up the speedboats, the pranksters would get the message and quit messing around. Gretchen Carlson noted that such a move would likely spark WW3. This was essentially the extent of their "reporting," banter and wide-eyed omigoshes.

Truthout.org had an article five days ago from Gareth Porter, an historian and national security policy analyst, that indicates skepticism three days earlier than that, so this has been unraveling for over a week:

" Washington - Despite the official and media portrayal of the incident in the Strait of Hormuz early Monday morning as a serious threat to U.S. ships from Iranian speedboats that nearly resulted in a "battle at sea", new information over the past three days suggests that the incident did not involve such a threat and that no U.S. commander was on the verge of firing at the Iranian boats.

The new information that appears to contradict the original version of the incident includes the revelation that U.S. officials spliced the audio recording of an alleged Iranian threat onto to a videotape of the incident. That suggests that the threatening message may not have come in immediately after the initial warning to Iranian boats from a U.S. warship, as appears to do on the video.

Also unraveling the story is testimony from a former U.S. naval officer that non-official chatter is common on the channel used to communicate with the Iranian boats and testimony from the commander of the U.S. 5th fleet that the commanding officers of the U.S. warships involved in the incident never felt the need to warn the Iranians of a possible use of force against them.

Further undermining the U.S. version of the incident is a video released by Iran Thursday showing an Iranian naval officer on a small boat hailing one of three ships.

The Iranian commander is heard to say, "Coalition warship 73, this is Iranian navy patrol boat." He then requests the "side numbers" of the U.S. warships. A voice with a U.S. accent replies, "This is coalition warship 73. I am operating in international waters."

The dramatic version of the incident reported by U.S. news media throughout Tuesday and Wednesday suggested that Iranian speedboats, apparently belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard navy, had made moves to attack three U.S. warships entering the Strait and that the U.S. commander had been on the verge of firing at them when they broke off."

Porter, in an interview with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now!, said the sensational story was initiated from the Pentagon, even speculating that the Pentagon may have been responsible for doctoring the incident:

"We don't know exactly when the voices that we hear making what appear to be a threat to the American ships, where--when that occurred in the sequence of events in this incident. And it seems very possible that indeed the Pentagon did splice into the recording, the audio recording of the incident, the two bits of messages from a mysterious voice in a way that made it appear to occur in response to the initial communication from the US ship to the Iranian boats. And it seems very possible that, in fact, those voices came at some other point during this twenty-minute incident. So this is something that really deserves to be scrutinized and, in fact, investigated by Congress, because of the significance, in the larger sense, of a potential major fabrication of evidence in order to make a political point by the Bush administration."
and concluded

"So I think that the major thing to really keep in mind about this is that it was blown up into a semi-crisis by the Pentagon and that the media followed along very supinely. And I must say this is perhaps the worst -- the most egregious case of sensationalist journalism in the service of the interests of the Pentagon, the Bush administration, that I have seen so far."

Does everyone remember the poorly forged documents refered to in Bush's 2003 SOTU speech, that implied Iraq was trying to get materials from Niger to make nukes? That was part of the drive to market the attack on Iraq. This speedboat incident and the acquiescent parroting by the mainstream media appears to be more of the same - lazy journalists amplifying the administration drumbeats.

Unfortunately corrections made after a five-day lapse, during which time the meme has spread, don't do much good. (Just the other day we got a missive from someone reminding us that Obama is a Muslim who was schooled at a madrassa.) And corrections made with laughter and off-hand remarks are not taken seriously - which is, of course, the intent.

Where this audio originated - the alleged prankster - is not nearly so important as finding out how it got dubbed in with the video, but expect FOX to cluck and tsk and dismiss the whole thing as a prank.