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A US naval armada is en route to blockade Iran and start WWIII (the story gets better every day)

14 August 2008

Summary:  The rumors about a US armada sailing to the Gulf continue to rattle around the Internet, despite having almost no supporting evidence.  Moving from their base of military, geopolitical, and those focused on the Middle East, they have moved to the Internet mainstream.  This post reviews the story, including the latest and grandest version, plus the official US denial.

For now I will stay with my original view:  these rumors are a tower of guesses built on a slight foundation.  Although they may prove to be true, so far they demonstrate only how little fact is required to kindle a firestorm on the Internet, a testimony to the gullibility of even well-educated and informed people (i.e., those who circulate these stories as facts, not speculation). 

If these rumors prove to be false, this episode will go to the top of my growing list of evidence that the Internet Can Make Us Dumber.  If Alexander is correct that this is the start of WWIII, I will apologize to him (assuming we are both still alive afterwards); see below for more on this.

A brief review for those not following these rumors

It started with a brief mention in the Kuwait Times that “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.” 

Next The Media Line’s defense analyst said the carriers could be the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan.

Then the post “Massive US Naval Armada Heads For Iran“ hit cyberspace, by Timothy Alexander writing as Lord Sterling, posed at his blog “Europe” on 7 August 2008.  In this version, a massive multi-national (with French and UK warships) armada to blockade Iran.  This was the version the M. Simon reported as fact at Classical Values, to which the Instapundit linked.  {see the amazing update below for Simon’s description of the basis for his story}

On 12 August Stratfor said “there is not yet credible reason for concern based on the information available about the disposition of the U.S. Fleet.” and Debkafile repeated the story.

Now it gets even better

All good stories grow in the telling.  Now Alexander provides more detail in “08/08/08 The Beginning of the Summer Olympics and the Third World War“, 11 August 2008 — Excerpt from this long (1800 words) and fascinating post:

The blockade is being set up to cause a war. To cause a war with a nation that has a true MAD (mutually assured destruction) environment with the neo-con controlled nations. To cause a war that will eventually result in the use of weapons of mass destruction throughout the world. To cause World War III.

… On the 5th of August, days before the attack on South Ossetia, in my article “The Good and the Bad and the Truly Ugly”, I quoted an interesting prophecy from Nostradamus, Quatrain X.74 which reads “The year of the great seventh number accomplished, it will appear at the time of the games of slaughter, not far from the age of the great millennium, when the dead will come out of their graves.” This could refer to the Seven Year Tribulation, which could well be the time from 9/11/01 to 9/11/08, at the time of the Olympic Games, not far from the age of the great millennium (the beginning of the Third Millennium in 2000/2001), and Armageddon (when many dead saints are suppose to “come out of their graves”). It is interesting that the dates of the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks and now the 8/8/8 attack all have occult meanings.

He cites as cobberation … Debkafile (for more on this see Does reading Debkafile make us smarter, or dumber?).  He also relies on confidential sources.  This is the site that generated such excitement over the web, whose speculation so many report as fact (check Google for evidence).

Finally we get an official response from the US government:  “‘Reports of Iran blockade are false’“, Jerusalem Post, 14 August 2008 — Opening:

Reports that a large American, British and French naval force – made up of nuclear aircraft carriers carrying dozens of fighter jets, warships and submarines – is en route to the Persian Gulf to blockade Iran are untrue, the US Department of Defense told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

“As a matter of policy we do not discuss current or future ship’s movements. However, I can tell you that reports of an alleged naval blockade of Iran are false,” said Lt.-Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.

“We routinely rotate deployed naval forces in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility to maintain our commitment to promoting security and stability in the region,” he added. The US Central Command covers the Middle East, East Africa and Central Asia.

Update

M Simon posted a comment here, explaining his basis for reporting the armada/blockade rumor as fact:

“As to a blockade of Iran? Who knows? The source I found refers back to Debka. And you know they get it right about 50% of the time.”

This jolly attitude towards the facts is a major reason why the Internet functions so poorly, so often making us dumber instead of smarter.  A coin gets it right 50% of the time.

Other posts about this rumor

  1. More rumors of war: our naval armada has sailed to Iran!, 9 August 2008 — Tracing the origin of these rumors.
  2. Update on the rumored armada sailing to Iran, 13 August 2008 — With updates from Stratfor and Debkafile.
  3. UPI reports on the multi-national armada sailing to Iran, 15 August 2008 — UPI contributes to the rumors.
  4. Stop the presses: no naval armada has sailed to blockade Iran!, 20 August 2008 — Putting this rumor to bed.

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 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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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mikyo permalink
    14 August 2008 12:43 pm

    Rumors without evidence. But not entirely unfounded. Forty years of secrets and lies have all but destroyed the credibility of ‘official sources.’ IMHO, a visitor from another planet would conclude that there has been some sort of coup; that we have fallen under the reign of a gang of brutal, greedy, lying torturers.
    .
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    Fabius Maximus replies: I agree decades of lies have destroyed the credibility of “official sources”.

    But that does not mean that any rumor deserves to be taken seriously. The adage “never believe something about the government until they deny it for the second time” is a joke. Natural distrust of the government must not turn us into credulous fools, easily manipulated by clever non-government agents (or those pretending not to be from a government).

    Like

  2. 14 August 2008 1:43 pm

    Update

    M Simon posted a comment here, explaining his basis for reporting the armada/blockade rumor as fact:

    “As to a blockade of Iran? Who knows? The source I found refers back to Debka. And you know they get it right about 50% of the time.”

    This jolly attitude towards the facts is a major reason why the Internet functions so poorly, so often making us dumber instead of smarter. A coin gets it right 50% of the time.

    Like

  3. 14 August 2008 4:50 pm

    THE AMERICANS ARE COMING. HELLO USA GOODBYE IRAN.

    THE WAR BETWEEN IRAN AND USA IS IMMINENT IS GOING TO BE THE MOTHER OF THE ALL WARS. ONCE THE WAR STARTS, THE US TROOPS WILL IMMEDIATELY MOVE FROM IRAQ TO IRAN. THIS IS THE WHOLE REASON THAT AMERICAN TROOPS HAS BEEN STATIONED IN IRAQ FOR PAST FEW YEARS. AMERICA DOES NOT MUCH CARE FOR IRAQ. IRAN IS WHAT USA IS INTERESTED.

    USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA. ALL THE WAY TO VICTORY.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Readers of this blog know I very seldom say things like this, but invading Iran is just nuts. US land forces are grossly overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan. We lack the capability to successfully invade Iran.

    We could mobilize for war, and in a few years perhaps have sufficient forces to do so. The consequences probably would be horrific.

    Like

  4. simon romo permalink
    15 August 2008 1:07 am

    The following site has yet another immiment Iran War article which you may already be aware of but I thought I’d send it given its apocalyptic warning of biowar as a response to a naval blockade. Is there any truth to this proposition concerning the lethality of Iran’s retaliatory capabilities?

    Thanks for one of the very best blogs online. If it wasn’t for your efforts I would be at a loss for an understanding of what is transpiring in the world today.

    http://europebusines.blogspot.com/2008/08/massive-us-naval-armada-heads-for-iran.html
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    Fabius Maximus replies: that is the article this post, and the two previous posts in this series, discuss.

    Like

  5. lololol permalink
    15 August 2008 4:42 am

    Yeah dude, I wish your kind was around in 2001 when I was called a deranged conspiracy nut for saying we’d use 911 to go after Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq and Iran.

    Who’s laughing now? Be great to see a rundown of all the “alramist” articles that HAVE come true. Or your little litmus test on how the MSM makes us even dumber. Iraq WMDs dude???????
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    Fabius Maximus replies: I do not understand your point. It sounds like you are giving the psychic hotline defense: there may be a thousand unrecorded false forecasts, but we highlight the single correct one.

    This series gives contemporaneous analysis of news, attempting to highlight obviously flawed analysis. That it is “alarmist” does not make a story useful or not useful — only the analysis and supporting data that leads to this conclusion matters.

    Like

  6. Patrick permalink
    24 August 2008 10:38 pm

    HR 362 doesn’t exist either.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Of course it exists. “10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds Science and Math Scholarship Act“, passed by the House on 24 April 2007 — awaiting Senate action.

    Perhaps you refer to House Concurrant Resolution 362: “Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.”

    This appears inconsequential on many levels. The heavy breathing about it is, however fascinating. Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I have a post discussing this: “Proposed legislation prepares the way for war with Iran!

    Like

  7. fnord permalink
    25 August 2008 6:58 am

    Ill openly admit I bought into this when it came, but being blessed by some good US professional sources quickly got my nerves somewhat calmed. (Not completely, though). The reasons were, i admit, partly rational and partly irrational.

    The rational points:
    *There *had* been a joint mission exercise with the french & british navy, and indications were for a large presence of carriers in the gulf being set in motion. This also would tie in nicely with the time needed to reverse Adm. Fallons rotation schedule, and coincide nicely with the last days of Bush. So, if you wanted to read Adm Fallons firing as a victory for the Cheney-groups attack plans, this would certainly ring scary sounds.
    * A trade-embargo would be perfect for two things, the possibility for creating a plausible self-defense escalation scenario a la Tonkin and a way to regain initiative in the region in the face of the stalling Iraqi governments increasing independence (and interdependence with Iran.

    ALso, Ill admit to one irrational factor, what can be called the Hagee-induced paranoia: That is the curious fact that McCain and GWBs favourite preacher has made a bestseller were he states that Harmageddon will come as a result of a conflict with Iran, and that its every damn christians duty to see to it that this happens so that we finally can get the rapture going. This would be tinfoilhat stuff if it wasnt for the fact that this theory has traction deep inside the White House and in the USAF. The point where you are no longer quite sure of the rationality of your allied government is a sticky one, and to see the last 8 years there has been so much irrationality the mind automatically comes to believe the worst.

    Does the internet make us dumber? Maybe it does, though I think cell-phones are much worse. But what it definetly does is give us the possibility to create constructs out of loose facts and feed them substance based on our own fears. Obama is, after all, a muslim black panther coming to kill whitey, dontcha know?

    Like

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