Spinning the drone

Never trust the first report you get on an international incident. It’s an important trick of the trade. Always wait for that second analysis, preferably from a source close to the incident, and preferably not one owned by Rupert Murdoch. It’s a trick that comes in handy especially when the fog of war is up, obscuring the reality of what is happening on the ground. The propaganda machines spinning the war in any direction will be quick to respond to any contingency, trying to claim it as a success for ‘their side’ or an affront by ‘the other side’. As we slide towards a Western war against Iran, it will be important to keep this trick in mind. Starting with the reporting on the ‘drone incident’

The US lost an RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone over Iran. It has been captured by Iran. This much we know for sure. The first report came from the Iranian government. A rather matter of fact-like announcement. It was sort of half heartedly ‘questioned’ by some US sources, denied by some others and downplayed by yet others. Both the Iranian and American propaganda machines were not yet anticipating this kind of ‘hot’ incident it seems. Only after Iran displayed the machine – like something out of science fiction – on TV, did the media spin truly begin.

Iran tried to make the most of the situation by claiming it simply took over the machine. It’s an interesting thought – Iran being able to hack the command software of US spy-drones and just taking one over in mid-air. No heroic smoke plumes and explosions, just a clicking of keyboard buttons and cursing drone remote pilots somewhere in Afghanistan. Without confirmation though, it could just as well be that Iran is bluffing and that the drone lost control and ended up in Iran after an automated landing or a soft crash. What – your computer never has any glitches? Perhaps the thing was just resetting after Windows Security Update and decided it wouldn’t put up with all the McAfee error messages any longer!

Meanwhile, it seemed that Iran was waiting for the US to take the lead in how to deal with the situation, as if they too were a bit embarrassed by the whole thing. I mean, the US lost a hyper secret drone. But Iran had to admit that it’s air space was violated. Perhaps the Iranian government even hoped that the incident would allow for a diplomatic approach that could help defuse the current tensions. With no apologies forthcoming, Iran made it public that it will keep the drone, crack it’s software and ‘reverse engineer’ it to master the underlying technology.

The response from the US side was very poorly managed. Obama got no further than ‘asking for it back’, while underplaying the incident. Quite unconvincingly. Reporters basically went all directions, ranging from haughty denial to a nonsensical twisting of facts to make it seem as if Iran was to blame. The nonsensical approach seems to have won. Hilary Clinton, on behalf of the US government one would presume, now says that, given Iran’s history of non-compliance, she does not expect Iran to comply this time. As if asking for your spy drone back is a very reasonable, casual thing. It’s like I hang a camera to peek over your fence 24/7. And when it falls over into your garden, I’m upset that you don’t want to give it back.

Iran responded, quite sensibly, that the US should not forget that it just violated Iranian air space, was apparently spying, got caught, refuses to offer apologies and as such is not in compliance with international law. And it won’t give the machine back.

Worse is that the incident brings back bad memories from the past. Most notably a bad man from the past called Stephen Hadley, formerly known as Steven Hadley, before he was convicted of 1.1 million US dollar in insurance fraud in the 80’s. Hadley, after changing his name built a career for himself by selling weapons to any buyer willing to pay enough, partly on behalf of Lockheed Martin. Until he got picked up by the neocons who allowed him to do what he is best at, but now as a government representative: Thus, Hadley sold us George Bush, Joint Strike Fighters that won’t fly, the torture practices of the Homeland Security Department, a more aggressive nuclear posture, and last but most damaging: The Iraq War.

Hadley has emerged from the woodwork it seems to threaten Iran. According to Hadley, the drone is part of a much bigger covert ‘effort’ – the U.S. “needs to be using everything it can”. If iran doesn’t comply with international demands, Hadley threatens that ‘things will only get nastier.’

We’re no longer in danger of sleepwalking into a conflict with Iran, we’re running into it, like lemmings, while ignoring (or intentionally twisting)the facts. No matter that Iran has no nukes. No matter that Iran has no history of military aggression against ‘the West.’ In picking your analysis in the fog of war, remember that the Hadleys of this World are neither close to the incident, nor unbiased. The spinning has begun. One has to wonder what will spin out next?