Secret Agent Confederate Yankee: Licensed To Watch TV (Updated)

Iran Fakes Drone Carrier Footage

I just saw a short clip on Fox News

Actually, we could just stop here and not have to worry that we’d missed much of anything. But let’s stay with him for a bit.

I just saw a short clip on Fox News where the Iranian government showed grainy, near-overhead footage of a U.S. aircraft carrier, and claimed this was evidence that an Iranian drone was able penetrate U.S. fleet radar and air cover, a story also covered by

Those who follow Confederate Yankee’s exploits may suspect that this is about to become yet more evidence that all visual images involving the Middle East are faked by the far-left-liberal Muslamonazi MSM.

But the apparent proof that Iran’s latest “drone” video is fake may be contained in the footage itself.

And you would be right!

Iran actually made this claim once before back in August (in the video clip above), going as far as say that their drone repeatedly circled the USS Ronald Reagan before it was even noticed, and that the U.S. attempted to shoot down the drone, but failed. Iran, or course, had zero evidence to support that claim.

Except for the video clip embedded in the post. But since the clip doesn’t help advance any right-wing agendas at the moment, it equals fakety-zero, yes. Unless it can be used to scare Americans about the Iranian Threat, in which case it becomes a super-not-fake real video, which is totally scary-real and not fake.

The grainy footage shows what is undoubtably the angled deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier, but on that carrier deck are aircraft, including what appears to be a different fighter on the port waist of the deck than the F/A-18s, EA-6s, and E-2Cs one would currently expect on modern U.S. carriers. Could those planes be F-14 Tomcats?

Above: There is what appears to be a different fighter near the port catapult, which…

Whoops, wrong picture. He means this one:


Okay wait, what are they supposed to be again?

…F-14 Tomcats?

Honestly here, it’s a little hard to tell. They could maybe, possibly be F-14s, I guess. On second thought, the tails look wrong. Whatever; let’s just call them possible F-14s for the sake of comity and free inquiry.

But first, this is from the Breitbart story (actually from Agence France-Presse):

Iran’s Arabic language television station broadcast footage it claimed showed a US aircraft carrier cruising in Gulf waters it said was taken by an unmanned Iranian drone.


The station did not name the vessel nor did it say when the footage was shot.

Faced with what can only be seen as a yawning gap in his narrative, Mr. Yankee straps on a pair of boing-boing shoes and boldly leaps halfway across:

The Iranian’s imply their video was taken during military exercises in the past week. The F-14 Tomcat was retired in February. If Iran means to imply that this video was taken during their war games of the past week and the video released does indeed show retired aircraft, it would suggest that Iran was lying.

But Iran wouldn’t lie, would they?

Jeez. Here we have an exemplary wingnut argument. Watch how it unfolds like a calla lily made of an old rolled-up Goldwater pamphlet with a Cheeto sticking out of it:

1) Start with a bold, decisive headline:
“Iran Fakes Drone Carrier Footage.”

2) Make a key claim in the form of an insinuation:
“Are the planes in this impossibly blurry photo F-14s?”

3) Feel free to go totally insane in the membrane (your readers, also being insane, won’t notice or care):
“As shown here [insert link that says the opposite of what you’re claiming], the Iranian broadcast does imply that the footage was taken last week, because I saw that thing on Fox News that I forget what it said exactly. As I said, if the Iranian broadcast does in fact imply that it…”

4) Pounce with alacrity:
“Bwaha! Guess what? The F-14 was retired in February.” *

5) Identify your adversaries as liars, dupes, or evildoers, thus proving your argument by inference:
“Iran claims its nuclear program to be non-military, ergo they are evil liars. If they’d lie about something big like that, would they lie about something silly like this footage? [pause meaningfully] I believe no more need be said.”

I have to admit that I can’t replicate wingnuttery as well as I’d like. Once again, you’ve got to hand it to these guys: They make it look easy, but operatic right-wing buffoonery is a skill that must be mastered over a span of years, perhaps from childhood. It’s like when a yogi sticks his foot in his mouth, then works his diaphragm in and out until his toes are wiggling out his butt. You clearly can’t just start with your foot — you probably have to start by swallowing Weebles as a child, then working up to Nerf balls and maybe mannequins, and I forgot what I was saying. Weebles? No, I’ve lost it now.

Anyway, let’s reduce this story to its essentials, removing anything that seems to be opaque, probably not true, yowlingly off-key, malapropos, wack-shit insane, dodgy, or simply more complex than it’s meant to seem:

I just saw a short clip on Fox News. It said that Iranian TV claimed that a drone was flown over an American aircraft carrier at some unspecified time. It is wise to examine such stories critically.

Mr. Yankee wins again. We will never have these minutes back, so gainlessly wasted.

UPDATE: The howler orcs at Little Green Footballs have piled onto this story, cruelly bypassing Confederate Yankee. (Life can so often be unfair.)


*The F-14 was actually decommissioned in late September. Mr. Yankee refers to the last combat flight of an F-14, a carrier-based bombing mission over Iraq, on February 8th.


Comments: 34


Cheez, the Junior Internets Wingnutty Photoshop Detective Gang never gives it a rest… Anyway, the kerning is all wrong for those to be F-14s.

And I don’t see why they don’t believe Iran could have super-cool drone spyplanes. After all, they were quick enough to believe that Iraq had balsa-wood-drone anthrax technology.


Wow! Is that the Iranian president’s entry photo to Fine Scale Modeler Magazine? That’s a pretty schweet carrier!

If Yankee Confederate has such a great eye for fake film footage, then why doesn’t he have a REAL J-O-B?! He could work for the FBI or CSI-Panama City.


I think they are Grumman F6’s- that is WWII footage!


Of course, Iran is lying about it’s drone spylanes.

But we have to nuke Iran right now, because its nuk-u-lar armed drone spyplanes are threatening our freedoms.

Damned UN commieliberalislamohomomexifascists! Why do they hate our Cheetosâ„¢?


Wow! Is that the Iranian president’s entry photo to Fine Scale Modeler Magazine?

I bet his Dad helped him.

Or maybe Rumsfeld? Cuz we know how much Rumsfeld loves to help Middle Eastern leaders get military harware.


Besides, that’s international waters. The US has already shot down one Iranian civilian airliner, they ain’t real keen on splashing another one. If the drone wasn’t in an attack profile, they would have left it alone. And oh, by the way, everybody in the world knows the Eisenhower is in the gulf. I don’t know if it’s faked or not, but what would it mean if it were? Or weren’t? Honestly, these people scream about faked photos all the time, but never use their “data” to make a point. Which makes it, well, pointless…



Amazing, he’s given evidence–better than 1%–that the Iranians can maintain a radio transmitter over our carrier groups. And his little one-track brain only finds it significant for his jig-saw proof of Iranian perfidy.

Can’t imagine how these guys missed 911.



Guys, you’re missing the real point which is that solely through his amazing powers of blogservation Super Double Secret Agent Man can scrutinize and deauthenticate highly sophisticated enemy propaganda that the professional non-keyboard-based US military is simply incapable of detecting. Why, without him America would never uncover the Real Truth about these insidious Islamofascist video attacks on our defenseless citizens.

Anyways, he only needs to get one of these right and Boom! he’s the next Time Magazine Powerlie Blog of the Year 2006, so what does it really matter if he swings hard and whiffs at a couple sliders along the way?

(I wouldn’t put it past those spitballing Iranians to sneak a genuine video of footage from their actual drones in with all the other fake ones just to discredit Mr. Yankee and thus weaken America’s premiere propaganda debunking expert.)


I’m lost.

They have drones capable of penetrating the security screen of an aircraft carrier, so they’re a joke, or maybe a threat; they had those drones in February, so they don’t have them now; they can shoot overhead footage of aircraft carriers, so they’re pipsqueaks without any tech capabilities; they’re Sunni, they’re Shi’a, they’re a floor wax, they’re a dessert topping.

Man, that Confederate Yankee is one subtle guy. I wonder if he has confused himself as thoroughly as he has confused me.


Mr. Yankee straps on a pair of boing-boing shoes and boldly leaps halfway across

Keep up the hard work, Mr. Yankee, and eventually you’ll be able to afford the fancy bouncy shoes all the A-list wingnuts wear.


Let me try that again. Fancy bouncy shoes.

I do so miss the preview button.


Tail section is all wrong. Those look like AE-6s, to me.
The F-14 has two powerplants spread wide apart to minimize the possiblitily of losing them both in one hit. The body gets wide immediatly at the start of the two intake scoops, gets slightly wider along the wings, but stays wide till the end of the plane.
http://user.sezampro.yu/~vkeza/images/f14.jpg F-14 top shot. A-6

The one on the port-most catapult MIGHT be an F-14, but since it would be the only one on the entire flattop, and since the F-14 was only decommissioned earlier this year, and it wouldln’t supprise me if they kept a few around for nostalgia or training (it’s not an F-14, it’s a MiG. Shot it down.)
For those of youplaying the home game, F-14 sit on the deck like this. They’re pretty easy to spot.

As for weither or not the picture is false, meh. Looks legit enough to me, but ConFed’s rational continues to proves his utter incompentance and ignorance to all things in reality. However, if the CVN number was clear (right now, it’s not even visible) one could easily ID the ship, even if not the time and location.


You damn fool. You have it all wrong. The Shah bought F-14 back in the good old days. The Islamonazis have obviously created a fake aircraft carrier, arranged their own planes on it, then flew in circles around it, then passed this footage off as genuine.


it wouldln’t supprise me if they kept a few around for nostalgia or training (it’s not an F-14, it’s a MiG. Shot it down.)

They actually are used for adversary training


Yeah. Decommisioned doesn’t mean “throw them in a junk yard tommorrow and forget about them forever.” A lot of decommisioned equipment gets used as target practice. Especially the expensive toys.
I’m not sure if any Iranian F-14s still work, though. If I recall, we sold them the planes back in the 80s, but have since stopped selling them replacement parts or sending mechanic trainers over for a while. I might be “fuzzy” on that, the olde memory’s a little “blurry”. Nyuk.


I’m pretty amazed that Iran has an “Arabic language television station” since only about 1% of Iranians speak Arabic.

CY probably thinks they mostly speak Mexican anyway.


It’s always deja vu all over again with the wingnuts. I’m certain I’ve read many close approximations of this post.


Come on people, it is clear as day that Iran faked it because, um…

But if true, it proves how nefarious the Iranians are because they have the skills to use Adobe Premiere.

I really have no idea what he’s attempting to argue here. I have no idea why he thinks that this is at all anything remotely resembling important.

But let’s assume that the Iranians are lying. What does that prove? That they are bluffing about being able to reach a US carrier. Gee, a nation bluffs, that’s a dog bites man headline right there CY.

Even if the Iranians aren’t lying, all it means was that they were in peacetime, able to get a drone within visual range of carrier… in peace time. Apparently CY thinks that the US can just splash anything they want in the Gulf, no questions asked.


While CY’s reasoning is blatantly spurious, I’d have to agree with his conclusion that the picture is fake. Or at the very least that the circumstances underwhich it has been presented are inaccurate, I say this for one simple reason: (Forget the implausibilty of a U.S. carrier’s airspace being penetrated) if as Iran claims a drone got close to a U.S. carrier and escaped after being detected the chances of this adminsitration not bringing it up the moment it happened as yet more evidence of “Iranian Aggression” are nil, I mean c’mon they were willing to spin ballon inflation units in mobile bioweapons labs and they’re not going to harp on a geniunely threatening act?


Heh, and I bet this administration would spin, “keeping an eye on foreign warships sitting off your coast” as an act of aggression.


don’t you people know that just by talking about this you are letting Iran sap our precious resolve juices. think about how sad the troops will be when they read about Iran’s drones! Why would the internets even report on this? You are letting the terrorists win and demoralizing our troops!


Well, that plane looks like a Hawkeye and not a F14.


The fact is, the fact is, the fact is.


The notion that Iran is capable of building an unmanned drone with a TV camera on it is ludicrous. Iran is only capable of building nuclear weapons.


The planes on the waist cats looks to my eye like S3 Vikings.

I served 4 years on a carrier flight deck, but I’m not a wingnut pundit (I don’t even LIKE Cheetos) so clearly I have no idea what I’m talking about.

The pattern of the planes on deck is consistent with a standard combat launch cycle. The E2C flies off the bow cat first, followed by the S3’s on the waist. (The S3 Viking’s primary mission is anti-sub patrol, but also serves as a tanker during carrier ops.)

Planes usually launch in the order of slowest to fastest. First the Hawkeye, which is slowest and has to climb to altitude above the mission area. Then the Vikings, at least one of which will orbit the carrier to act as emergency tanker. Then the Prowler, to jam anti-air defenses. Then the Hornets, to blow shit up.

(Helos are kept airborne during launch and recovery cycle, standing by for rescue in case of a crash.)

Anyway, the plane on the inboard waist cat is, I’m sure of it, a S3 Viking- its high wing, tall tail, delta shape, blunt nose… and, it’s in a position to launch right after the Hawkeye on the bow, consistent with standard launch order.

No Helicopters on deck, they must have already launched- they’d be spotted forward of the waist cats and launched first, for SAR, before the fixed-wing launch, and return to the deck after the last plane is recovered.

I don’t see anything that looks like a F14 Tomcat. Maybe that outboard waist cat… but it’s tail is too close to the wings, it looks too short and blunt. It should appear MUCH larger, I think. Naah, that’s another Viking, parked at a slightly different angle.



Iran does indeed have an Arabic language station (France Presse is not so very crazy as the wingnuts and usually reports news straight). It is called “Al Alam” (the world). The coverage is interesting and we used to watch it in Egypt along with the Arab satellite channels. They have pretty good talk shows and the anchoresses are good at interviewing and speak GREAT Arabic without any accent (I think they are native speakers, which is fairly easy for an Iranian station to hire, given that there are probably lots of Arabic speaking media people who would have no issue with working for Iran).

Iran also probably has surveillance equipment and probably flies its drones over what it regards as *its* gulf (the Persian Gulf! No, it’s the Arab Gulf! this is the kind of thing Middle Easterners can argue about forever). Why wouldn’t it? And like Mikey said, you can find out where the American aircraft carriers currently are fairly easily, it’s not exactly secret info.

But, why would a wingnut want to *downplay* Iranian abilities if the Iranians are supposed to be a scary threat? I have lost track here, because I thought Iran being scary and possibly having nukes (although they are 5-10 yrs away from making any according to every expert on this planet) was an important wingnut talking point. Has this guy left the reservation?


Iran may not have a lot of Arabic native speakers, but the few Iranians of Persian descent I’ve known here in America spoke Arabic, so they could read the Khoran.


What I was saying is not that Iranians can’t speak Arabic as a liturgical language, but that if they staffed the station with Iranians they would have an accent. Persian lacks some Arabic sounds so when they speak Arabic they gloss them. Anyhow the Iranian owned Arabic language satellite station is slick, it has up to date news and people on location all over the place, and good interview hosts and interesting programs. However of course there is a lot of pro-Iranian and pro-Shia spin, but what do you expect. I enjoyed watching it from time to time.


I’m with RobW upthread. The alert sequence for launch was usually E-2’s then EA-6’s, followed by a KA-6D or A-7 tanker or a fighter, depending on the on-board fighter package (I was on the last ship to have Phantoms, so a tanker always went off the bow pretty quicky), then anything else spotted on deck as part of the alert package was shot off to head towards the target, in my time it could be an F-4 or an A-7E with sidewinders for airborne threats.

The most important thing was getting assets airborne depending on the existing threat. When we were facing the Soviets during the Cold War, a fighter package was invariably in Alert 5 status. Out in the Northern IO/Persian Gulf now I’d venture to guess that Battlegroup commanders worry less about air-to-air battles with Iran, and more about surface combatants or submarines, hence the S-3’s which can do ASW, surface interdiction and play Texaco, which might be why it looks to my sorely uneducated eye like an E-2 on the bow, and S-3’s on the waist, with either an S-3 or and EA-6 spotted right behind the bird on the inboard waist cat.

A chickenhawk no-nothing’s word for carrier operations is always good for a few minutes comic relief. Thanks for the giggle.

Bottom line: does Confederate Yankee get points for having a clue about carrier operations? Sadly, No!


Too add on to what RobW and Jo Fish said, my dad does a lot of contract work with the Navy, and pretty much the only thing that really worries the Navy these days are enemy subs, especially the old Soviet Kilos. Everything else that has to come to you to fire their weapons are relatively easy to see coming, and if you wander into the range of enemy ground emplacements, that’s your own damn fault.


Jo Fish and Rob W have it right. That is an S3 Viking on the waist cat. You can see the curve of the nacelle below the starboard wing. Ace should’ve recognized it as the plane that GWB “landed” on the Lincoln. My dad was a carrier squid and so was I. Where are the “loosefoots”? Aren’t they flying ’em anymore? Now I feel old. They decommisioned the carrier I was on a few years back. She was the first carrier to launch strikes on yankee station in the South China sea against Vietnam. My dad is a plankowner on her. She has deckplates that say Kitty Hawk but she’s not the Kitty Hawk. Any guesses?


Kitty Hawk class? The Constellation?


Kitty Hawk class? The Constellation?

I’ll second that guess.


My dad can beat up your dad, proving once again, I am right.


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