London's Sunday Times: All the Nukes Unfit to Print?
by MARSHA B. COHEN
31 May 2010 05:15
According to Uzi Mahnaimi, who authored the Times report, each of the three German-built Israeli submarines--named Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan--has a crew of 35 to 50, and "is commanded by a colonel capable of launching a nuclear cruise missile." At least one of the submarines will reportedly remain in the Gulf as a "permanent presence.' The submarines are said to be capable of remaining at sea for about 50 days and submerging up to 1,150 ft below the surface for at least a week.
An unidentified officer of Flotilla 7, to which the submarines belong, asserts that the deployment is designed "to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents." The Flotilla's commander, "Colonel O," is quoted as telling an unidentified Israeli newspaper: "We are an underwater assault force. We're operating deep and far, very far, from our borders."
"As usual, Mahnaimi quotes anonymous sources," observes Middle East analyst Ami Isseroff, Director of MidEastWeb for Coexistence. "He does mention an interview with Colonel O. in an Israeli newspaper, but does not name the newspaper for some reason, so we have no idea in what context O's remarks were made."
Mahnaimi has a long and consistent record -- for being wrong (at least thus far). Several previous Sunday Times pieces written or co-authored by Mahnaimi have hyped the threat of an imminent attack on Iran by Israel. On July 13, 2008, the headline above Mahnaimi's byline blared, "President George W. Bush backs Israeli Plan for Attack on Iran." Mahnaimi claimed that then-Senator Barack Obama's "apparent doubts about the urgency of the Iranian threat," had "intensified pressure on the Israeli hawks to act before November's US presidential election." At that point in time, Obama was still a long shot for the Democratic nomination. Nevertheless, Mahnaimi found an anonymous Pentagon official willing to opine, "If I were an Israeli I wouldn't wait."
On January 7, 2007, Mahnaimi claimed that Israel had drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities with bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons, if a conventional attack was ruled out and the US declined to intervene in halting Iran's nuclear progress. According to Mahnaimi, "several military sources" had informed him that Israelis would soon strike Arak, Isfahan and Nantaz." Conventional laser-guided bombs would open "tunnels" into the targets, into which "mini-nukes" would immediately be fired. This, according to Mahnaimi's informants, would reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.
On March 13, 2005, Mahnaimi reported that the inner cabinet of Ariel Sharon, Israel's Prime Minister at the time, had given initial authorization for an attack on Iran during a meeting at Sharon's desert ranch. According to Mahnaimi, "Israeli forces have used a mock-up of Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant in the desert to practise destroying it. Their tactics include raids by Israel's elite Shaldag (Kingfisher) commando unit and air strikes by F-15 jets from 69 Squadron, using bunker-busting bombs to penetrate underground facilities." Nine months later, on Dec. 11, 2005, Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter claimed that the order to prepare for a possible attack on Iran had gone through the Israeli defense ministry to the chief of staff, with "sources inside special forces command" confirming that they had been at the highest stage of readiness for the operation for a week.
While Mahnaimi's latest Times report is receiving some coverage in the Israeli press, Mahnaimi's latest "revelations" seem to be taking a back seat to the ongoing coverage of the Israeli Defense Forces efforts to block the Gaza flotilla. From an Iranian perspective, Press TV is reporting that Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told the Mehr News Agency, "If the report on the entrance of Israeli nuclear submarines is true, this will be a threat to the Persian Gulf region's security." The Tehran Times also summarized Mahnaimi's report.
As of this writing, Mahnaimi's lack of credibility has yet to be pointed out in any Israeli or Iranian online news sources.
Mahnaimi's career as a sensationalist was launched on Nov. 15, 1998, when the Times published a claim by Mahnaimi and co-author Marie Colvin that Israel had developed an "ethnic bomb" -- a bacteriological warfare agent that would only target Arabs. "Not only did this story have no basis in fact, it was also a scientific impossibility that should not have been believed by anyone who had taken an introductory course in human genetics," Isseroff pointed out in a scathing critique of one of Mahnaimi's more recent pieces predicting an imminent Israel attack on Iran: "...this absurd lie was parroted in respectable newspapers and is still cited by Web sites like 'Global Research' and 'anti-Zionist sites like Radio Islam." Isseroff notes that Mahnaimi has also been predicting the impending outbreak of war between Israel and Syria for the past decade.
UPDATE: The Sunday Times has removed any and all traces of this story from its searchable archive. A search for articles by Mahnaimi, sorted by date with the newest listed first, lists a story published in April at the top. Searches for "Iran" and for "Israeli submarines" also make no reference to Mahnaimi's most recent "scoop."
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