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A different kind of blitz

Today’s Sunday Times throws more crude propaganda at us to condition public opinion for an attack on Iran. In ‘Pentagon”three-day blitz”plan for Iran’, Sarah Baxter writes that “The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.’ Baxter then goes on to make her own little contribution to smoothing the way. She notes, for example, that

“The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week reported “significant” cooperation with Iran over its nuclear programme and said that uranium enrichment had slowed. Tehran has promised to answer most questions from the agency by November, but Washington fears it is stalling to prevent further sanctions. Iran continues to maintain it is merely developing civilian nuclear power.”

Not only does Iran maintain it but so does the IAEA in its report. There is no evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and, crucially, no evidence of “diversion” of nuclear material. Note also that “Washington” (ie the Bush Administration) is taken at its word -the Times reports it as “fearing” rather than ‘claiming to fear’. Nor is there any mention that Iran is exercising its legal rights within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

‘Alireza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which uncovered the existence of Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, said the IAEA was being strung along. “A number of nuclear sites have not even been visited by the IAEA, he said. They’re giving a clean bill of health to a regime that is known to have practised deception.

The Times does not see fit to mention that Jafarzadeh is a Washington insider with close links to the anti-Iranian Mujahedin e-Khalq (MEK), which the US lists as a terrorist group. Jafarzadeh heads the blandly named Strategic Policy Consulting Inc., an organisation that some believe was set up to circumvent the laws prohibiting the existence of the MEK on US soil. As I’ve written before, according to ABC News, Jafarzadeh is credited with having aired Iranian military secrets in the past but US officials ‘considered some of his past assertions inaccurate’(indeed, NCRI’s claim to have discovered Natanz is questionable).

The MEK are, reportedly, being used by the US at the moment as a terrorist proxy within Iran (after officially taking an oath to democracy, apparently). In other words, Jafazadeh is closely linked with an organisation long engaged in armed conflict with Iran and currently working for the US. The Times feels no need to mention any of this in order to let the reader judge his credibility. For anyone with a nagging sense of de ja vu, just think ‘Ahmed Chalabi’. It’s another classic example of what in Public Relations is known as the ‘Third Party Technique’ -have your message come out of as many apparently unconnected and (ideally) apparently disinterested sources as possible.

‘Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, irritated the Bush administration last week by vowing to fill a “power vacuum” in Iraq. But Washington believes Iran is already fighting a proxy war with the Americans in Iraq.

Ahmadinejad’s comments are edited for effect. In fact, what he said was ‘Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbours and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation.’Which sounds rather less threatening, so needs to be edited. Washington’s beliefs are once more presented without comment -not even the obvious one, that there’™s no evidence to support them. Again, there is no mention that, with its aid to the MEK, the US is likely already fighting a proxy war with Iran in Iran.

Bush noted that the number of attacks on US bases and troops by Iranian-supplied munitions had increased in recent months despite pledges by Iran to help stabilise the security situation in Iraq.

Once again, US allegations are presented as fact. Bush did not ‘note’-he alleged. They do not mention, for instance, that even the British Foreign Secretary conceded recently that there is no evidence of Iranian complicity in Iraqi attacks on British forces -who are the ones closest to the Iranian border. Nor is there any mention that, the last time the Bush Administration span this line in a big way, in March 2006, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs himself came out and claimed that he knew of no evidence of Iranian involvement. The Times further endorses the Bush view of the world with the next line of the article: It explains, in part, his lack of faith in diplomacy with the Iranians. Once again, the official line is swallowed whole and US Government is assumed to be honest, transparent and straightforward in its stance towards Iran. There is no mention of Iraq, for example, as if the US’s recent track record of outright lies and deception have no bearing on their allegations against Iran. They simply did not happen. Nor is there even a hint that what the US Government is apparently contemplating is a monstrous and entirely criminal act. Instead we get the usual recitation, distortion, suppression and insinuation. It’s a different kind of blitz but it’s just as lethal.

many angry gerbils – Sunday, 02 September 2007

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