Guardian editorial repeats their discredited claim that Mossad “contradicted” Bibi on Iran

It was sold as a revelation on par with their ‘Palestine Papers‘ expose in 2011.  The Guardian last week published leaked cables purporting to show (among other highly specious claims) that Netanyahu’s allegations at the UN about Iran’s progress towards producing a nuclear bomb was “contradicted” by the Mossad.  The bulk of the story (Leaked cables show Netanyahu’s Iran bomb claim contradicted by Mossad, Feb. 23) was based on one paragraph in a Mossad document purportedly shared with South African intelligence agencies a few weeks after Netanyahu’s speech to the UN.


Section of leaked cables cited by the Guardian


The Guardian alleged that this document – originally obtained by Al-Jazeera – proved that “Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration to world leaders in 2012 that Iran was about a year away from making a nuclear bomb was contradicted by his own secret service.”  

Today, in an official editorial (The Guardian view on Netanyahu in Washington: collusion or collision?, March 3), the Guardian doubled down on this claim.  In the context of harshly criticizing Netanyahu’s decision to speak to Congress later today, the editorial intoned:

Only last week this newspaper revealed evidence that Mr Netanyahu presented the United Nations in 2012 with an account of Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons that was contradicted by his own intelligence service. He must have known, when he made his speech to the UN, that his claims would be taken as reflecting the views of Israeli intelligence. This raises the question of whether he decided that the political benefit of playing up Iran’s progress and threat outweighed the Israeli state’s – and the world’s – interest in effective international pressure on Iran.

Let’s remember that the word “contradict” refers to denying the truth of a claim by stating the exact opposite.  

However, as other commentators have demonstrated, the Guardian’s claim that the Mossad “contradicted” Netanyahu is, at best, extremely misleading.

Here’s the relevant claim in Netanyahu’s 2012 UN speech, noted by the Guardian:

“By next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move[d] on to the final stage. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks, before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.”

But, the Mossad appeared to be in general agreement with this assessment, as Times of Israel military correspondent Mitch Ginsburg aptly explainedbased on a fuller reading of the same leaked cables cited by the Guardian

“Iran continues to improve its enrichment abilities and is even liable to advance them significantly” once the then-new centrifuges were put into service. It assessed that Iran is “making efforts” to put the IR40 reactor in Arak into operation, which is “expected to produce enough military-grade plutonium for one bomb per year” – although it would need a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in order to be converted to fuel for weapons.

“In the area of nuclear of weapons,” the report stated, “there is continued R&D activity at SPND, under the Iranian Defense Ministry, which we understand is intended for accumulating know-how and creating an organizational framework [which] it will be able to make use of to produce nuclear fuel, when the order is given.”

And finally, the full passage from which the quote was cherry picked: “Bottom line: Though Iran at this stage is not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons, it is working to close gaps in areas that appear legitimate such as enrichment, reactors, which will reduce the time required to produce weapons from the time the instruction is actually given.”

In other words, Netanyahu and the Mossad agree that Iran is in pursuit of a bomb and is continually closing in on that objective; that it has advanced on two tracks, uranium and plutonium; and that it has amassed enough five-percent-enriched uranium for several bombs, some of which has been further enriched to 20%.

Ginsburg concludes by demonstrating that “the only disunity between the two assessments regards the rate of enrichment”:

Netanyahu said that by the summer of 2013 Iran will have finished the 20% enrichment stage and moved on to the final stage; the Mossad memo, written several weeks after the prime minister’s September 2012 address, says that Iran “does not appear to be ready to enrich it” – its 20% stockpile – “to higher levels.”

In other words, the discrepancy does not revolve around the fundamental issue of whether Iran is, in fact, “performing the activity necessary to produce weapons,” as stated, but rather around the speed with which such action is being taken.

Of course, a major Guardian ‘expose’ with the headline “Netanyahu and Mossad appear to differ slightly on the speed in which Iran is working to produce nuclear weapons” would have been a yawner of a story.  Further, consistent with their extraordinarily misleading reports on the Palestine Papers, the Guardian’s contextualization of these latest leaked documents relies on selectively used quotes to advance the desired narrative: that Netanyahu is, for political purposes, deceiving Israel and the world on the threat posed by Iran.

Once again, the Guardian has rendered evidence and objective reporting subservient to a specific ideological agenda.

21 replies »

  1. There is the real Israel, a democratic progressive western state on the banks of the Mediterranean a leader in the world of technology and an economic miracle, and then there is the artificial construct, an evil state with an electrified fence that performs all sorts of horrors daily, feeding the Guardian with material for its readers to cluck over and for the assorted groups of jihadists, extreme leftists, antisemites to rail against.

    This construct is sustained by a series of fictitious discoveries, documents & reports. The combination with AJ discussed above keeps all the fantasists in a state of agitated indignation over the non-existent.

    It is only the business section of the Guardian that sometimes ventures into the real Israel

  2. You are demanding from the Guardian anti-Jewish propagandists masquerading as journalists and reporters to understand a text consisting more than an “anti-Zionist” slogan? Then read this:
    Most famous, however, is Israel’s separation barrier – nearly 500 miles long, it alternates between rows of barbed wire and electrified fencing and eight-metre high concrete walls.
    The cretin who wrote the article (Simon Allison) lists different walls built in different times in order to protect the building power against foreign invasions, against smugglers, illegal immigrants and terrorists. (Interestingly the list somehow doesn’t mention the Belfast “Peace Wall” – highly appreciated by the average Guardinista.) He offers an analysis of the success and effectivity of these walls – the unsuspecting reader must think that he has the required expertise to do this. Only a small problem – the fellow hasn’t the slightest idea about his subject – he thinks that the Israeli security barrier is an electric fence, kebabing those who attempt to cross it. There are only two options:
    a./ He is trying to make the Israelis are Nazis stint invoking memories of the Auschwitz fence.
    b./ He is a totally ignorant asshole without even trying to get acquainted with the basic fact relevant to his subject.
    Nobody has the answer which option is true – both are the feature of any Guardian contributor worth it’s salt.

      • The separation barrier exists. Parts of it are electronic, not ‘electric’. The BBC is mistaken here, as it often is where Israel is concerned

      • Arnold I suggest you an introductory course to learn read and understand simple texts.
        And there is no electric fence on the Egyptian border but an electronic one. I know that to know the difference between these two is way above the intellectual level of an Israel-basher.

          • Again poor reading skills Arnold. They corrected the original text after being shown their stupidity.
            This article was amended on 3 March 2015. An earlier version referred to “electrified fencing” in Israel’s separation barrier. The fencing is electronic, which does not produce an electric shock, but sets off an alarm.

            Don’t dig your hole deeper please, you are close to China already…

      • Arnie, the Anti-Islamofascist barrier is unfortunately necessary – like the checkpoints at every airport in the world and the screenings of passengers and baggage.

  3. I don’t know the source of the document shown on the picture (an Al-Jazeera logo can be seen on it) but obviously the author – Mossad or SA intelligence – is a n active member of the BDS movement using typewriters in 2012 or later. (And the author seems to be unfamiliar with use of the Shift button)

    • Well observed, but who knows about the rules and regulations of reporting at the SAS, and the level of education demanded by the SAS.

      • Most South Africans never get out of the country. Let alone comprehend complex international relations. And it would be difficult to go undercover as a SAS operative given the race quotas in SA. And of course the rampant corruption, but in that regard they are close to their Arab brethren. As well as in their now reverse apartheid against the whites. Funny that. Part of the South African “success story” people like Joseph Dana like to go on about.

      • I might not enjoy reading the lies and garbage that CiF churns out on a regular basis–well covered on this site, which leaves out a lot of that material because it’s not conducting a Lincoln-Douglas response rate to the sickness at CiF–but I read it, and if you bothered to read the responses here, you would see that other commentators read it as well. Being critical of material doesn’t mean ignoring it and second-hand reporting it. Not that, based on your troll efforts here, you have any concept of that.