There’s an overwhelming sense of deja vu when following the latest developments in the so-called “Iranian threat” – many of the usual players are present, from Scott Ritter, the weapons inspector who gave the all clear over Saddam’s alleged weapons program (and was roundly ignored) to John Bolton, arch-hawk neocon warmonger who makes regular appearances on mainstream American TV calling for military action against Iran, as well as the ubiquitous, traditional supporting cast of nameless, faceless “intelligence experts” and “Israeli sources” doling out the propaganda and fabrications for the drones in the mainstream media to repeat to the public. Yes, once again we’re manufacturing consent for another military strike against a Middle Eastern country with large deposits of energy reserves, who refuses to play ball, roll over and acquiesce to Western imperialism.
The Daily Express claimed recently that Saudi Arabia is “ready to allow Israel to bomb Iran’s new nuclear site,” citing a meeting between MI6 Chief Sir John Scarlett and Mossad Chief Meir Dagan. The new site, reportedly near the city of Qom and situated under a mountain, was revealed by Iran to be in construction in late September, to much furore in the mainstream media – outrage and indignation filling copious pages of copy – despite the fact that the site doesn’t contravene Iran’s obligations to the UN or the IAEA, who maintain that there is no proof that Iran has a nuclear weapons program (Iran was obliged under the terms of the IAEA inspections to inform the UN of the new site, which they duly did). Indeed, full plans for a pre-emptive tactical nuclear strike against Iran were drawn up by the Israelis back in 2007, and since then the level of bellicose rhetoric coming from Israel’s hardliners has barely abated, echoed by many right-wingers in the US political establishment. Since Iran’s announcement of the new facility, Brown, Sarkozy and Obama have all called for “crippling” sanctions; Obama’s declaration that “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow” has no basis in legality – Iran has acted well within accordance to its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty – and is tempered by a not insignificant dose of hypocrisy, given the US’s unilateral and illegal bombing of Pakistan, to name but one of a litany of violations of international law.
Anti-Iranian propaganda has consistently featured in the mainstream media for several years now. It reached something of a zenith during the elections in July, when uncorroborated, circumstantial evidence was lauded as “proof” of Iranian political corruption. Much of this propaganda was based on the declarations of Ahmedinejad’s political rival, Mousavi, who announced his victory before the vote count was completed, then charged his opponent with fraud without providing one jot of evidence. But facts and evidence are not prerequisites for propaganda in the Western media (a perusal of Guardian writer Simon Tisdall’s articles is enough to demonstrate as much), and the campaign to denigrate the election results went immediately into full swing.
If Western leaders demonstrate barefaced hypocrisy when it comes to demanding Iran adhere to international law, so too the media’s hypocrisy over the so-called “democractic deficit” of the Iranian elections comes to the fore – this is the same media, after all, who failed to cover serious election fraud in the US during both the 2000 and 2004 election campaigns, who praised to the hilt the sham elections held in occupation Iraq in 2005, and who roundly ignored the serious damage inflicted on democracy in Honduras when President Zelaya was ousted in a military coup, at the same time the Iranian elections were being held. The audacious double standards of the Western press never ceases to amaze. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that the unrest following the Iranian election may have been, at least in part, a consequence of American psyops – Bush announced a budget of $400 million for political “destabilisation” in Iran back in 2005, in a program which included the use of terrorist groups, and the unrest bore many similarities to the US-backed, foundation-orchestrated “colour” revolutions witnessed in former Soviet bloc countries in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
So the propaganda continues. Ahmadinejad’s “wipe Israel off the map” mistranslation will continue to do the rounds, demonising language will litter the pages of the establishment media, and efforts to engage in rational thinking will be subsumed beneath a torrent of emotive yet baseless accusations and speculation. Just another day in the “liberal democratic” West…