Typical Deception by the New York Times

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

Here’s a common example of authentically fake-news journalism, the type that’s pervasive in the U.S. — not something like “Saddam’s WMD,” which changed history, but the ordinary everyday type of lies by the American press, being mixed-in with truths so as not to be 100% fictitious, but just enough truths so as to gild the lily of lies that all of the ‘news’media, right and left, glorify, in a bipartisan way, as ‘Truth’, which is the most normal type of American ‘news’-reporting of all — bipartisan, while still being extremely partisan against truth, which is carefully (and assiduously) hidden:

On Wednesday, August 30th, the New York Times headlined “U.N. Peacekeepers in Lebanon Get Stronger Inspection Powers for Hezbollah Arms”, and opened by saying:

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday voted to renew the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon for another year after addressing American and Israeli complaints that the force was ignoring a Hezbollah arms buildup near Israel’s border.

It went on to say:

The United States had insisted that Unifil must be more muscular in policing [Iran-allied] Hezbollah weaponry, and had suggested that it would not agree to renewing the mandate without significant changes. …

Under compromise language in a Security Council resolution reauthorizing the mandate, Unifil’s soldiers will play a greater role in assisting Lebanon’s military in keeping the border area secure. The resolution requests that Secretary General António Guterres examine ways to “increase Unifil’s visible presence, including through patrols and inspections.”

Both Israel and the United States have grown increasingly strident in recent days over what they have described as a blatant buildup of Iranian weaponry by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon including hidden rockets. They have accused Unifil of turning a blind eye to it. …

“The status quo for Unifil was not acceptable, and we did not accept it,” [America’s U.N. Ambassador] Ms. Haley said in remarks after the vote.

“This resolution demands that Unifil step up its efforts at a moment when Hezbollah is stepping up theirs,” she said. “Our action today will help ensure that this peacekeeping mission has the power and the will to do its job.”

Israel’s ambassador, Danny Danon, called the renewed mandate “a significant diplomatic achievement that could change the situation in southern Lebanon and expose the terror infrastructure that Hezbollah set up on the border with Israel.”

There was actually no change in anything. And, when U.S. Ambassador Haley said “The status quo for Unifil was not acceptable, and we did not accept it,” she said this immediately after she did accept, and had actually voted for, the status quo — as will be documented here. But the NYT’s ‘journalist’ didn’t challenge her on that — nor on anything.

This ‘news’-report (as the documentation here will prove) wasn’t news, but merely PR for the governments of the U.S. and of Israel (and, though silently, of the Sauds, who, though not even mentioned in this article, also hate Iran and do everything they can to get the U.S. to invade Iran). It’s PR for those governments, which is paid for by the subscribers of, and advertisers in, the New York Times. People buy ‘the news’, and get PR and advertisements. And, the U.S. Ambassador’s allegation, of “Iranian weaponry” and “hidden rockets,” which was stenographically reported here to Americans by the NYT, was just another U.S. government lie, and it was rejected even by allies of the U.S. Instead of reporting the baselessness of her charge, the NYT reported Ambassador Haley’s condemnation of the UNIFIL Commander, for his having said that without documentation being provided for her charge against Iran and against Hezbollah, he wouldn’t believe it. As the Irish Independent newspaper reported (but the New York Times did not), UNIFIL’s Commander “said his troops had not come across any major weapons cache in the UNIFIL-controlled area. He said if there was hard evidence of a cache of weapons, his force would assist the Lebanese armed forces (LAF) in removing them.” Haley was demanding that he accept her statements without the U.S. providing any evidence at all. He refused to do that (perhaps having in mind America’s lies about Saddam Hussein, which had been the basis for America’s unwarranted invasion of Iraq in 2003).

Each year at this time, the one-year mandate for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (abbreviated to “UNIFIL” but incompetently misrepresented by the NYT as being a word, “Unifil,” instead of as being an acronym — which it is, and by which acronym the U.N. calls it), comes up for renewal, as it has been ever since UNIFIL’s creation in 2006.

If one compares the renewal-resolution this year, with the renewal-resolution last year, there is no substantial change, at all. That’s “status quo.” For example, this year’s says:

“12.  Urges the Government of Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay in coordination with UNIFIL, which has actively engaged Israel and Lebanon to facilitate such a withdrawal

Last year’s version was:

“10.  Urges the Government of Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay in coordination with UNIFIL, which has actively engaged Israel and Lebanon to facilitate such a withdrawal

Northern Ghajar is in Lebanon, not in Israel, but Israel freely invades it. The Resolution last year that “urges” Israel to discontinue invading it, has been ignored, as it is every year. (The southern third of Ghajar is actually Syrian, but was conquered by Israel in 1967, and the conquest is internationally considered to be illegitimate, though Israel and its vassal the U.S. consider it to be Israeli territory, and the U.N. tolerates the unjustifiable claim.)

Israel and the U.S. won nothing from the U.N. on that northern Ghajar matter — they failed to weaken that key clause, at all. They won nothing, actually, on anything.

And, for another central example, this year’s version says that the Security Council:

“15.  Requests the Secretary-General to look at ways to enhance UNIFIL’s efforts as regards paragraph 12 of resolution 1701 (2006) and paragraph 14 of this resolution, including ways to increase UNIFIL’s visible presence, including through patrols and inspections, within its existing mandate and capabilities

whereas the prior version had made a different “Request” upon that official:

“4.   Requests the Secretary-General, in accordance with global peacekeeping best practices, to conduct by February 2017 a strategic review of UNIFIL, examining the structure of its uniformed and civilian components and related resources, further requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the results of this review

Here was the follow-up on that 4th paragraph, as issued in a news-report from the U.N., headlined, “UN Delegation Visiting UNIFIL to Conduct Strategic Review”, on 16 January 2017:

A UN delegation is currently visiting Lebanon to conduct a Strategic Review of UNIFIL. This is pursuant to a request made by the UN Security Council in its resolution 2305 of August 2016 in order to ensure that the Mission is configured most appropriately to fulfill its mandated tasks.

In line with peacekeeping good practice, it is imperative to keep all peacekeeping operations under close review in order to ensure a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments. UNIFIL and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) have been engaged in preparatory work, including taking stock of progress achieved since the last Strategic Review of 2012. 

The Strategic Review of UNIFIL is aimed at improving the mission’s effectiveness and efficiency, and to ensure that UNIFIL is best configured and resourced to deliver on its mandate. The Security Council confirmed its “strong continuing commitment to UNIFIL’s existing mandate.”

In Lebanon, the UN delegation led by Mr. El Ghassim Wane, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, will be meeting with UNIFIL and Lebanese officials as well as with diplomatic representatives in Beirut.

This delegation led to a “Letter dated 8 March 2017 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council”. That letter stated the extent of compliance and non-compliance with the U.N. measure that had established UNIFIL in 2006. Nothing specific was stated there alleging non-compliance on the part of the Government of Lebanon, but this was stated regarding Israel’s non-compliance:

Intrusions into Lebanese airspace by Israel continue unabated, in violation of Lebanese sovereignty and resolution 1701 (2006). These almost daily overflights run counter to the efforts of UNIFIL to reduce tensions and have a negative impact on the credibility of the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL. The continued occupation by the Israel Defense Forces of the northern part of the village of Ghajar and an adjacent area north of the Blue Line also constitutes a continuing violation of resolution 1701 (2006). Israel must cease those violations.

In other words: The U.N. Secretary-General told Israel to stop its brazen non-compliance. Other than that, there was this:

In the review, it was determined that the strategic priorities identified in the strategic review of 2012 remained largely valid but needed to be adapted to take into account the evolving regional dynamics and internal context in Lebanon. It was recognized that failure to meet the political objectives of resolution 1701 (2006), namely a permanent ceasefire and long-term solution to the conflict, increasingly puts at risk the relative calm achieved in southern Lebanon and along the Blue Line. Importantly, there is a need for continued United Nations advocacy efforts and engagement with political and military interlocutors in Lebanon and Israel

In short: Israel’s continuing blatant violating of the 2006 U.N. resolution “increasingly puts at risk the relative calm achieved in southern Lebanon and along the Blue Line.”

This letter said “The strategic review has identified the following three strategic priorities in the implementation of the mandate of UNIFIL:” and each one of the three was to “Support the efforts of the Government of Lebanon” to, essentially (though not specified there as being addressed to), deal with Israel’s continuing violations — invasions, by Israel, of Lebanon, in violation of the 2006 Resolution.

To understand the deeper context here:

On August 28th, Britain’s Guardian bannered “White House ‘pressuring’ intelligence officials to find Iran in violation of nuclear deal”, and reported that, “US intelligence officials are under pressure from the White House to produce a justification to declare Iran in violation of a 2015 nuclear agreement, in an echo of the politicisation of intelligence that led up to the Iraq invasion, according to former officials and analysts.” Furthermore:

Donald Trump has said he expects to declare Iran non-compliant by mid-October, the next time he is required by Congress to sign a three-monthly certification of the nuclear deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action, or JCPOA). And the administration is pursuing another avenue that could trigger the collapse of the deal.

David Cohen, a former deputy director of the CIA, said it was “disconcerting” that Trump appeared to have come to a conclusion about Iran before finding the intelligence to back it up.

“It stands the intelligence process on its head,” Cohen told CNN. “If our intelligence is degraded because it is politicised in the way that it looks like the president wants to do here, that undermines the utility of that intelligence all across the board.”

In another move reminiscent of the Iraq debacle, the US administration is putting pressure on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to be more aggressive in its demands to investigate military sites in Iran, just as George W Bush’s team pushed for ever more intrusive inspections of Saddam Hussein’s military bases and palaces.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, visited IAEA headquarters in Vienna to press the agency to demand visits to Iran’s military sites. …

“If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal on 25 July. He hinted it was his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who had persuaded him to certify the agreement.

It has been widely reported that President Tump requested Tillerson to resign but that Tillerson told him the only way he’ll leave is if Trump fires him. Other reports allege that U.N. Ambassador Haley would be his replacement, and that Dina Powell, another hard-line neoconservative, would replace her at the U.N.

The American CNN ‘news’-network had allowed David S. Cohen to condemn the current President, the Republican Trump on the Iran-issue, because it is a Democratic Party ‘news’-medium; so, they invited him on because he had been appointed to the CIA by the Democratic President Obama, whose Administration had negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran — the very same deal that the Republican Trump has apparently decided isn’t sufficiently neoconservative, and so should be thrown out. Of course, CNN hid that partisanship-information from their audience, because their partisanship on this matter was the same as that of their guest, which is probably a major reason why they had selected Cohen to be a guest to discuss this matter. Though President Obama is a neoconservative, he isn’t quite as much of one as Trump might yet turn out to be, or as Obama’s own Secretary of State (and Trump’s electoral opponent), Hillary Clinton, definitely was. Consequently, not all of the U.S. elite are obsessed against Iran. Unlike the U.S. elite’s virtually unanimous obsession against Russia, Iran-policy is a partisan dispute within the U.S. Establishment. In this regard, it’s like the global-warming issue. So, if Trump decides to invade Iran, he’ll probably have only Republicans on his side.

While the world tries to deal with the aggressions by the oligarchs who control the Governments of Saudi Arabia and of Israel, which are allied together (and both of which hate Iran), and with the aggressions by their shared vassal-government in Washington (which famously also carries out many invasions and coups of its own, especially to eliminate the leaders of nations who are on friendly terms with Russia), the U.S. press does its best to cover-up the international reality, and to portray (such as the New York Times did in this instance) the U.S. as being an admired policeman to the world, seeking to promote peace, when, in fact, all the world (except the U.S. and some of its allies) knows America to be “the greatest threat to peace in the world”.

U.S. ‘news’media are highly effective at their PR, to keep the U.S. public — both Republicans and Democrats — in line, to support the Government by America’s aristocracy or ‘oligarchy’. When Americans subscribe to ‘news’media, they are paying to be manipulated. Perhaps this is the way it is in every country, but it certainly is the case in the United States.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.