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

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.  — For more information see  Update on the rumored armada sailing to Iran, 13 August 2008.

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.”

Update:  Alexander has since deleted this post.  You can see the Google cache of the article here (hat tip to Information Dissemination).

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).

Other posts about this rumor

  1. Update on the rumored armada sailing to Iran, 13 August 2008 — With updates from Stratfor and Debkafile.
  2. A US naval armada is en route to blockade Iran and start WWIII (the story gets better every day), 14 August 2008 — More details from one of the bloggers who shot this story into cyberspace, and an official US denial.
  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 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

13 thoughts on “More rumors of war: our naval armada has sailed to Iran!

  1. The “Earl of Stirling” is quite a character, eh? How depressing it must be to be Lord High Admiral of Nova Scotia and be in exile in landlocked Evansville, Indiana. Although I suppose there’s always the Ohio River…
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: Perhaps that is backwards. Imagine being just a regular joe in Evansville, then find a way to become Lord Stirling! His book about this looks interesting.

  2. Isn’t it sad that the Internet that was supposed to liberate us, make unlimited information available to us, be a new tool for activism, has actually made us passive and dumb. I sensed this back in the early days of the anti-war movement, when Chris Matthews dubbed us “pajama-hadeen.”

  3. I believe the Caucasus is a real war, unlike the rumored strike against Iran. Of course the meaning of the war in Georgia, and the demand that will be made on US presidential candidates to say something about it, could put us back in the realm of fantasy.

  4. Update

    Alexander emailed me this additional information (generously, for which I thank him):

    “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.”

  5. If the Russians cut that pipeline, this war immediately will become real to the entire world.

    “Russian jets targeted major oil pipeline-Georgia”, Reuters, 9 Aug 2008

    Russian fighter jets targeted the the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline which carries oil to the West from Asia but missed, Georgia’s Economic Development Minister Ekaterina Sharashidze said on Saturday.

    “This clearly shows that Russia has not just targeted Georgian economic outlets but international economic outlets in Georgia,” she said at a news briefing.

    There have been no independent verifications of Russian jets targeting the BTC pipeline.

  6. HI FABIUS
    MY 10000 US DOLLAR THAT I MADE WITH YOU LAST MONTH STILL STANDING IN REFERENCE THE BLOODY IMMINENT WAR BETWEEN IRAN AND US. A 100 PERCENT NOT EVEN 99.9 PERCENT THERE WILL BE A MAJOR WAR BETWEEN IRAN AND US NOT ISRAEL AND IRAN.

    IRAN VIA HEZBOLLAH cells WILL USE high-grade military potency CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS IN MAJOR US CITIES CAUSING MILLIONS OF CASUALTIES.

  7. “Russian fighter jets targeted the the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline which carries oil to the West from Asia but missed, Georgia’s Economic Development Minister Ekaterina Sharashidze said on Saturday.

    Missed, huh? Not bloody likely. Russians’ targeting is as sophisticated as ours (U.S.), so I doubt they “missed” a pipeline. And even if they did miss it once, they could just keep bombing all day long until they hit it. It’s not like the Russians have any shortage of aircraft or bombs.

    Bottom line: If the Russians wanted that pipeline cut, it would be cut.

  8. So the U.S and Israel have have been beating this drum for 3+ years now not to mention the introduction of HR 362 which passed the house and has moved to the senate.What exactly makes you think that we or Israel will not provoke or attack Iran maybe this info is wrong but mark my words it will happen.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: I have answered that question at considerable length. See the posts here: “Iran – will the US or Israel attack Iran?

  9. Israel will attack by air, US will attack by sea, Land and Air afterward. The U.S. are the aggressors along with Israel being the master.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: Is this a guess, or psychic evidence?

  10. Hope they hurry up (joke) because I have a bet with a friend over this one that they will do something by the end of August. I will be right out of pocket, but happy, if they do nothing at all. Pissed off if they go in September .. both out of pocket and very unhappy.

    They are running out of time, but when Congress gets back and passes the ‘blockade’ legislation then any US President has full authority to go to war (because a blockade = war), pretty much anytime they want. Then again, next year under McCain is ok as well (still sticking to my prediction that he will be President), though the way he is going Russia will be his main focus. “Quick invest in underground bunker futures”. Black humour I know, but sometimes that is all that is left.

    Interesting fact, oil prices declined during the little fracas with Georgia, depite a million or barrels per day being taken out of circulation, though they should be back soon. Two possibilities, both ugly:

    (1) The US strategic reserve and/or increased Saudi production has been used (not sure about the second one though).
    (2) The US/UK/EU/Japan/etc economies are tanking faster than the offical figures show, leading to demand destruction.

    Option (1) is bad, because it confirms the idea that the Georgian ‘incident’ was well known in advance and given the green light by the US.

    Option (2) is no better, means our economies are slowing (collapsing?) faster that anyone really acknowledges.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: Option three: the price action is just noise, reflecting internal market dynamics. Option four: the markets have become a destabilizing force in the global macroeconomic situation, due to excessive use of leverage (e.g., derivatives) and too much footloose trading capital. Option five: the markets’ wild action reflects as yet unseen forces in the real economy.

  11. This dumb “Lord” is being promoted by Mike Rivero’s WhatReallyHappened, as at Feb 2010. If these conspiracy klutzes really had any sound arguments, why do they need pursue such rubbish headed by figures such as this laughable and fraudulent Lord? Shysters – all of them.

Leave a Reply