White House falsely accuses Iran of attack on US navy ship off Yemen

(February 2) On Wednesday National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn announced that he had "officially put Iran on notice" after it had carried out a ballistic missile test.

He also used an attack by Houthi rebels, whom Iran supports, on a Saudi naval vessel as a justification for putting Iran on notice. When White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, reported on Flynn' statement he used two "alternative facts" to create fake news about the event:
Sean Spicer asserted at Thursday’s press briefing that Iran had attacked a U.S. naval vessel, as part of his argument defending the administration’s bellicose announcement that Iran is “on notice.”
Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi pictured in September at the United Nations
Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi pictured in September at the United Nations
Timothy A. Clary, AFP/File
However there was no attack on a US vessel but on a Saudi vessel. Iran was not involved but Houthi rebels who are involved in a civil war with the government of president Mansour Hadi supported by a Saudi-led coalition. Iran supports the Houthis. In answer to the question of what "on notice" made Spicer said: “I think General Flynn was really clear yesterday that Iran has violated the Joint Resolution, that Iran’s additional hostile actions that it took against our Navy vessel are ones that we are very clear are not going to sit by and take. I think that we will have further updates for you on those additional actions.”
While Major Garrett of CBS news corrected Spicer noting that it was a Saudi vessel. Spicer responded but almost inaudibly:“Sorry, thank you, yes a Saudi vessel. Yes, that’s right.” He did not correct his statement that it was an Iranian attack. The attack is described in an Al Arabiya article. A Pentagon spokesperson, Christopher Sherwood confirmed that the attack was on a Saudi warship by suspected Houthi rebels--not Iran. Fox News filed a report on the attack that suggested that the real target might have been a US ship. Spicer went further to invent the alternative fact that a US ship had been attacked.
The Intercept reminds readers that the story is like that behind the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident. The North Vietnamese were accused of attacking two navy destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam. Then-president Lyndon Johnson used these attacks to convince Congress to authorize military action in Vietnam. The second attack used to justify retaliation probably never happened and there was evidence at the time that the US had been firing at false blips on radar caused by weather conditions. There were no Vietnamese ships present. It was basically a manufactured alternative fact.
The US has been on the same side as the Saudis and the US has dispatched ships into the Gulf Area including into the Bab-ed Mandeb strait off the coast of Yemen to help reinforce a Saudi blockade, a blockade that has left up to 14 million people hungry. Rockets fired from Houthi-held territories appeared to be targeting a US warship. In response the Obama administration struck three radar sites in the Houthi-controlled area.
Iran claims that its recent missile tests do not involve any rockets that would carry nuclear warheads but are for self-defense, and as such the tests do not violate any terms of the agreement signed two years ago. Nevertheless the US uses these tests along with alternative facts about a Houthi attack on a Saudi vessel to "put Iran on notice".



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