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Is Covert Military Action in Iran ‘Under the CNN Line’?

By ThinkProgress on April 18, 2006 at 3:25 pm

"Is Covert Military Action in Iran ‘Under the CNN Line’?"

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Retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner stirred interest last week by stating that “the decision has been made and military operations are under way” in Iran. In an interview yesterday, Gardiner discussed a similar series of covert military operations that occured in Iraq in 2002 — months before either the full-scale invasion in March 2003 or even the passage of the Congressional Iraq resolution in October 2002.

Then, in mid-2002, U.S. and British forces “doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq…in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war.” The bombings received scant attention from the traditional media at the time, but that was by design. According to Gardiner, Rumsfeld had told the military, “you can begin to bomb Iraq, but don’t let it appear on CNN“:

COL. SAM GARDINER: Well, the evidence is beginning to accumulate that a decision has already been made to use military force in Iran. Now, let me do a historical thing, and then I’ll tell you what the current evidence is. We now know that the decision and the actual actions to bomb Iraq occurred in July of 2002, before we ever had a U.N. resolution or before the Congress ever authorized it. It was an operation called Southern Focus, and the only guidance that the military — or the guidance that the military had from Rumsfeld was keep it below the CNN line. His specific words. The evidence that we’ve already –

AMY GOODMAN: Keep it below what?

COL. SAM GARDINER: The CNN line. In other words, I don’t want this to appear on CNN, okay? That was his guidance to the military, you can begin to bomb Iraq, but don’t let it appear on CNN.

Reports by Seymour Hersh and others indicate that U.S. forces are already working in Iran: marking targets, “working with minority groups” and exiles, and “encourag[ing] ethnic tensions.” Will traditional media outlets avert their eyes again?

Read the full interview HERE.

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