Washington Post Fails to Disclose Heinonen’s UANI Connection in Anti-Iran Op/Ed

We are now in the “final” week of negotiations to set the framework for the P5+1 long-term agreement on Iran’s nuclear technology. With so much in the balance, voices are popping up from every direction to offer their opinions on what constitutes a good or bad deal. While Netanyahu’s address to Congress dominated the headlines in that regard, other sources also have not held back on offering opinions. In the case of Netanyahu, informed observers considering his remarks knew in advance that Netanyahu considers Iran an “existential threat” to Israel and that violent regime change in Iran is his preferred mode of addressing Iran’s nuclear technology. When it comes to other opinions being offered, it is important to also have a clear view of the backgrounds of those offering opinions so that any biases they have can be brought into consideration.

With that in mind, the Washington Post has committed a gross violation of the concept of full disclosure in an Iran op/ed they published yesterday. I won’t go into the “substance” of this hit piece on Iran, suffice it note that the sensationalist headline (The Iran time bomb) warns us that the piece will come from an assumption that Iran seeks and will continue to seek a nuclear weapon regardless of what they agree to with P5+1.

The list of authors for this op/ed is an anti-Iran neocon’s wet dream. First up is Michael Hayden. The Post notes that Hayden led the CIA from 2006-2009 and the NSA from 1999 to 2005. I guess they don’t think it’s important to note that he now is a principal with the Chertoff Group and so stands to profit from situations in world politics that appear headed toward violence.

The third of the three authors is perhaps the least known, but he’s a very active fellow. Here is how Nima Shirazi describes Ray Takeyh:

Takeyh is a mainstay of the Washington establishment – a Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow before and after a stint in the Obama State Department and a founding member of the neoconservative-created Iran Strategy Task Force who has become a tireless advocate for the collective punishment of the Iranian population in a futile attempt to inspire homegrown regime change (if not, at times, all-out war against a third Middle Eastern nation in just over a decade). Unsurprisingly, he dismisses out of hand the notion that “the principal cause of disorder in the Middle East today is a hegemonic America seeking to impose its imperial template on the region.”

The Post, of course, doesn’t mention Takeyh’s association with the group Shirazi describes, nor his membership in another Iran Task Force organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

Sandwiched between Hayden and Takeyh, though, is the Post’s biggest failure on disclosure. Olli Heinonen is described by the Post simply as “a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency”. As such, uninformed readers are likely to conclude that Heinonen is present among the authors to serve as a hefty dose of neutrality,given his background in the IAEA. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the Post fails to disclose is that Heinonen is also a prominent member of the Advisory Board of United Against Nuclear Iran.

Not only is UANI an advocacy group working against Iran, but they are currently embroiled in litigation in which it has been learned that UANI has come into possession of state secrets from the United States. The Department of Justice has weighed in on the UANI case, urging the judge to throw the case out on the grounds that continuing to litigate it will disclose the US state secrets that UANI has obtained. Since the litigation involves UANI actions to “name and shame” companies it accuses of violating US sanctions against Iran, one can only assume that the state secrets leaked to UANI involve Iran.

How in the world could the Washington Post conclude that Heinonen’s role on the Advisory Board for United Against Nuclear Iran would not be something they should disclose in publishing his opinion piece entitled “The Iran time bomb”?

Oh, and lest we come to the conclusion that failing to note Heinonen’s UANI connection is a one-off thing in which Heinonen himself is innocent, noted AP transcriptionist of neocon anti-Iran rhetoric George Jahn used Heinonen in exactly the same way a month ago.

We can only conclude that Heinonen is happily doing the neocons’ bidding in their push for war with Iran.

Update from emptywheel: The judge in Victor Restis’ lawsuit just dismissed the suit on state secrets grounds. Here’s the opinion, h/t Mike Scarcella.

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.

8 replies
  1. bobswern says:

    Never-ending, pure, unadulterated propaganda from the neocon, military-industrial-surveillance complex (MISC), served up with a bow, and in massive doses, to the entire country. Of course, the Bullshit Buffet’s most popular franchise location is inside the Beltway. “320 million served, daily.”

    (The Smith-Mundt Act [See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith%E2%80%93Mundt_Act%5D was thrown under the bus post-9/11. And, then it was all but formally obliterated upon passage of the NDAA in the first-half of 2012. Which was signed into law in July of that year. [See “Manipulation Nation,” http://m.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/09/1312705/-Manipulation-Nation-From-Embrace-The-Suck-To-Embrace-The-Mindf-ck.%5D The massive loopholes contained/established in it by Holder’s DoJ, and formalized by the MISC’s/status quo’s minions on Capitol Hill, are now big enough to drive a Mack truck through–to the point where it should now be called the “Disinformation Superhighway.”)

    Of course, there’s…

    Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938
    [See: http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm02062.htm%5D

    …which was incorporated into the…

    Federal Elections Campaign Act (FECA) of 1974
    [See: http://www.fec.gov/law/feca/feca.pdf%5D

    …and, then there’s…

    Section 303 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA)
    [See: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2011/01/challenge-to-foreign-national-campaign-contributions-to-go-forward.html%5D

    Then along came McConnell (v. FEC) and Citizens United (v. FEC).

    Again, for reference, checkout, the ultimate result of all this bullshit: In July 2012, the White House signed the 2012 NDAA (See: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/19/1093102/-House-NDAA-Bill-Passed-w-Amendment-Formally-Authorizing-Gov-t-To-Lie-To-U-S-Citizens). And, the result of that is what now passes for “news” in this country, today.

    Orwell’s got nuthin’ on reality.

  2. wallace says:

    quote” (The Iran time bomb) warns us that the piece will come from an assumption that Iran seeks and will continue to seek a nuclear weapon regardless of what they agree to with P5+1.”unquote

    Meanwhile, Barnum/Iran are rolling on the floor in gut splitting laughter at the USG while delaying talks till the next 10 payments are paid in full, to which Iran will then raise their middle finger. Iran time bomb indeed.

    http://wemeantwell.com/blog/2015/03/23/is-the-u-s-paying-off-iran-to-keep-the-nuke-negotiations-alive/

    The bookie’s window is now open. $5 minimum.

    :)

  3. ArizonaBumblebee says:

    The State of Israel is reportedly sitting on a stockpile of nuclear weapons that are not subject to international inspections. They have never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. They acquired this nuclear capability reportedly by lying, cheating, and stealing nuclear weapons technology from the United States and allegedly working with the apartheid regime in South Africa. For the past two decades their leaders have been issuing increasingly shrill warnings about Iran’s nuclear weapons program even though there is scant independent evidence that the program is currently in existence. Meanwhile, their cheerleaders in the American media have tried to portray Iranian representatives as irrational, even diabolical, and dangerous. It seems to me that these cheerleaders are describing Israeli leaders and not their Iranian counterparts.

    • wallace says:

      quote”The State of Israel is reportedly sitting on a stockpile of nuclear weapons that are not subject to international inspections. They have never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”unquote

      Indeed, notwithstanding Congressional blowhards who decry Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear technology(for ostensibly peaceful purposes), but the daily calls by Israeli asswipes for the obliteration of Iran while sitting on these secret stockpiles of nuclear weapons redefines the word ludicrous. Meanwhile, Kerry flaps flapping his lips knowing the next payment to Iran is coming due, hoping Iran won’t make a complete utter fool of the US when the last payment is made.

  4. TarheelDem says:

    Thanks for continuing to bird-dog this media flim-flam, Jim. It seems that this time it’s a matter of letting a thousand Judy Millers bloom.

    • TarheelDem says:

      The GOP total caucus is 299. That means that there are 68 Democrats who signed the letter. That puts the total of members of Congress who did not sign the letter is 168.

      Why do I feel that the march of folly continues.

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