William Bowles: Analysis of anti-Iran propaganda


Richard Moore

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 14:46:08 +0200
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From: InI Newsletter <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Ini Newsletter #35 - 25/4/06
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Newsletter #35

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006 12:42


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Mixed(up) Messages

The hysteria being generated around Iran's alleged nuclear 
'ambitions' (the media's favourite newspeak word these days) serves 
several purposes; one, it conveniently diverts attention away from 
the situation in Iraq; two, it acts as a warning to any other country 
challenging US imperialism's increasingly desperate bid for global 
domination and, it also serves to divert attention away from the real 
and present danger of climate catastrophe which is itself directly 
the result of the Western world's suicidal economic system.

And, as the real nature of the catastrophe that confronts us become 
increasingly impossible to hide, so does the importance of a 
propaganda campaign that peddles the hysterical message of 'Islamic 
fundamentalism' as being the 'real threat' to Western civilisation.

The media's role in whipping up the clamour for 'taking out' Iran's 
nuclear programme is nothing short of outrageous with article after 
article rolling out of corporate editors' offices on Iran's 
'intransigence' (another fave) or the more extreme, the 'mullah's 
bomb' (see for example, 
Weekly Standard's rant).

UPI for example, carried the following short piece titled 
Iran building nuclear bunkers', the piece is full of totally 
unsubstantiated allegations including the title, itself a phrase 
loaded with innuendo.

WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI)  --  A former U.N. weapons inspector 
claims satellite imagery indicates Iran is building underground 
nuclear facilities south of Tehran.

David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who now works for the 
Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, said 
commercially available pictures show construction work on two huge 
fuel enrichment halls at Natanz, about 180 miles south of Tehran. 
Each structure is about 480-by-510 foot, he told The Telegraph.

He said the facilities appear to be planned to house centrifuges that 
are used to enrich uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons, The 
Telegraph reported Tuesday.

"Both cascade halls have been covered in dirt. Trucks and 
steamrollers are laying what appears to be a grey material, possibly 
cement, over the soil," Albright's report said.

Iran claims its nuclear development is solely for the generation of 
electricity but there is widespread international suspicion of a 
covert weapons program. [my emph. WB]

The UPI story is interesting for what it doesn't say and how it mixes 
the ISIS report with allegations from a story in the London Daily 
Telegraph which when read in the context of the UPI story completely 
misrepresent Albright's ISIS report.

The report 
here) actually says as follows:

Following the [IAEA] briefing, anonymous US officials quickly started 
to distort what the IAEA had said. These officials told journalists 
on a not for attribution basis that this action by Iran represented a 
significant acceleration of its enrichment program. US officials 
called several journalists to tell them that in the briefing IAEA 
officials were "shocked," "astonished," "blown-away" by Iran's 
progress on gas centrifuges, leading the United States to revise its 
own timeline for Iran to get the bomb. In fact, IAEA officials have 
said they were not surprised by Iran's actions. Although Iran's pace 
is troubling and requires concerted diplomatic effort to reverse, it 
was also anticipated by other experts, including those at ISIS. A 
senior IAEA official told the Associated Press that these US 
statements came "from people who are seeking a crisis, not a 
solution." 'The Clock is Ticking, But How Fast?' By David Albright 
and Corey Hinderstein. The Institute for Science and International 
Security (ISIS)

The ISIS report goes on to say

Estimates of Iran's nuclear capabilities, accomplishments, and 
timelines need far greater public and Congressional scrutiny than 
they are currently receiving. This scrutiny becomes even more 
important as those in the Bush Administration who favor confronting 
Iran and pressing for regime change may be hyping up Iran's nuclear 
threat and trying to undermine intelligence assessments that Iran is 
several years from having nuclear weapons.

And again in an article in the Washington Post dated April 17, 2006, 
Albright is distortingly quoted from the same report

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and 
International Security, a private research group in Washington that 
monitors the Iranian program, said Mr. Ahmadinejad's declaration, 
whether political rhetoric or technical reality, now gave the world 
"something to further investigate and worry about."

The quote, when taken out of context enabled the Washington Post to 
draw entirely different conclusions and is perhaps a lesson on 
so-called objective writing that we can all learn from namely, that 
even the most innocuous of comments can be used to distort reality.

Press coverage is deliberately selective in what it chooses to tell 
the public about Iran's alleged 'intentions'. After all, what are 
intentions based upon? The use of such a vague word is actually 
intrinsic to US rewriting of international relations which are no 
longer based upon the rule of law, international conventions and 
agreements but on the idea of pre-emption, thus intentions replaces 
actions, indeed intentions are now synonomous with actions!

In this way, the media reinforces the US policy of pre-emption by 
accepting innuendo as fact, assumptions as a replacement for actions.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the corporate and 
state-run media never make reference to this fundamental shift in 
Western policy, instead the West's 'right' to invade and destroy 
whatever gets in its way is an a priori fact of reality and not 
worthy of bringing to the attention of the public.

Another favourite is the phrase 'the international community condemns 
Iran and its nuclear ambitions' when the reality is that it's only 
the US and the UK along with some EU states who take this view and in 
any case, it's only an opinion and about as useful as 'intentions' 
when it comes to making judgements about Iran's actions.

The same applies to the 'rulings' of the UN Security Council 
dominated as it is by the US, thus UNSEC is presented to us as being 
the same as 'international opinion'. The same applies to the 
International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, also dominated by the 
US which informed us that there is an

"absence of confidence that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively 
peaceful", and of a "policy of concealment" pursued by Tehran.

But whose words are these, the US' or the 'international community'? 
Again, "confidence" means absolutely nothing but the BBC for example 
chose to report this an article titled 
"<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4941438.stm>Iran threatens 
to end UN contacts". And why shouldn't Iran take this position, a 
tactic used by the US over and over again when on the odd occasion 
when the UN actually went against US policy.

In another BBC story, we read

The UN says there is so far no proof that Iran is seeking nuclear 
weapons - as suspected in the West - but nor has Iran proved that it 
is not. 
sanctions 'depend on proof'

Note the phrase "as suspected in the West" used in spite of the fact 
that the UN states that there is no proof that Iran is building 
nuclear weapons. How is Iran expected to prove a negative? This goes 
to the very heart of the West's propaganda campaign; it's based on 
nothing more substantial than innuendo and suspicion.

Condemnation, consensus, confidence, cheating, nuclear ambitions, the 
list goes on, yet upon investigation the words are, by themselves 
meaningless, they seek only to create an atmosphere of fear and 
mistrust, built up over time that constructs a context within which 
the US, will, at a time of its own choosing, just as it did with 
Iraq, deliver the coup de grace.

Ultimately, the US will tell the world that its 'patience has run 
out', that unless Iran does as its told, the US will be forced to use 
the military option. It will also point to the fact that those 
blocking the use of the UN Security Council as a weapon of US foreign 
policy have a vested economic interest that is, principally China and 

The public, failing an alternative presentation, have little else 
upon which to base their understanding of what is really going on let 
alone get any background of why Iran is apparently seeking nuclear 
confrontation with the US except of course the Iranian president's 
alleged call to wipe out Israel.

But is it realistic to think that Iran would attack the West with 
nuclear weapons? What could they possibly gain except their own 
destruction? This is a question the media never ask for if it did, 
the entire propaganda exercise would fall apart. The very idea that 
Iran would launch a nuclear attack on the West is sheer fantasy and 
based only on the notion, invented by the West, that Iran is a 
country ruled by Islamic fanatics who have apparently completely 
abandoned the idea of self-preservation.

But in the context of a propaganda campaign which has turned Islam 
into some kind of 'jihad' driven by a messianic fatalism, it makes 
perfect sense. Thus the role of racism becomes clear, 'they' are all 
uncivilised, bent on some suicidal mission that defies any reasoning 
with, after all, how is one to reason with irrational fanatics who 
would, if given the chance, destroy the world knowing that they will 
go to an afterlife full of beautiful babes living in paradise.

Of course, such a vision is ludicrous if it weren't for the fact that 
beneath all the so-called objective reportage in the Western media, 
this is exactly what is being said.

Iraq's 'WMD', a casebook example

                The demonisation of Iran is a mirror image of the 
propaganda war used in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and one 
that follows a predictable course, with a slew of 'experts' and the 
'condemnation of the international community' used to create a veneer 
of authenticity (See for example 
'<http://www.williambowles.info/ini/ini-0105.html>David Kay and the 
CIA' for more on how 'experts' are used to create a veneer of 
respectability and authentication.

Kay's involvement stretches back to the Reagan years and as I my 
piece on Kay, written in October 2003, makes abundantly clear, 
creating a climate of fear is the chosen method backed up with a lot 
of bogus analysis. Blurry satellite photos along with 
'interpretations' of what the images represent are rolled out just as 
with the images being used of Iran's 'secret' nuclear site. The media 
of course, accept these meaningless images as fact, 'interpreted' of 
course by their chosen 'security' correspondent.

This is what Kay had to say in July 2003 regarding Iraq's alleged WMD 

"I think the American people should be prepared for surprises ... I 
think it's very likely that we will discover remarkable surprises in 
this enterprise." 

The parallels with the build-up to the invasion of Iraq and the 
current situation are blatantly obvious down to the identical use of 
language by Kay back in 2003 where he referred to Saddam's 

Kay's involvement with Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) 
is well documented and reveals the vested interest that military 
contractors have in participating in the propaganda war. Indeed SAIC 
was directly involved in running the propaganda war:

"[The] SAIC, heavily involved with homeland security projects, has 
already acquired several reconstruction contracts in Iraq, and Kay 
and a number of other former company employees are firmly planted in 
[the] country. The company "has been running the Iraqi Reconstruction 
and Development Council (IRDC) since the body was established by the 
Pentagon in February," Dauenhauer and Lobe reported. "SAIC is also a 
subcontractor under Vinnell Corporation, another big defense 
contractor that has long been in charge of training for the Saudi 
National Guard, hired to reconstitute and train a new Iraqi army." 
And SAIC is also running the recently established Iraqi Media Network 
(IMN) project, whose charge was to "was to put together a new 
information ministry, complete with television, radio and a 
newspaper, and the content that would make all three attractive to 
average Iraqis.


The collaboration between the military corporations and the 
propagandists is of course never revealed by the corporate media. 
Thus whenever an 'expert' appears on the BBC for example, the fact 
that the corporation or institute that employs them has a direct 
interest in the foreign policy objectives of the US is rarely if ever 
revealed to us.

The use of institutes and think-tanks, all of which are funded with 
millions of corporate dollars, creates the appearance of some kind of 
objective analysis being brought to bear on the issue when the 
reality is that these 'institutes' are in fact part of a carefully 
constructed propaganda campaign built over several decades. The 
'experts' give the analysis the stamp of authenticity in a revolving 
door process with governments employing these 'experts' to validate 
policy. Even the setting for a TV interview is integral to the 
campaign, with the 'expert' invariably sitting in an office 
surrounded by thousands of 'learned tomes' thus reinforcing the aura 
of authenticity.

Is it any wonder therefore, when presented with such an overwhelming 
barrage of 'expert' opinion that it is impossible for the public to 
discern truth from fiction especially when set in the context of an 
atmosphere of overt racism and xenophobia that paints countries like 
Iran as being run by a bunch of rabid fanatics willing to risk 
nuclear conflagration in the 'cause' of the 'one true God' or 
whatever. Language becomes a weapon of domination just as surely as 
guns and bombs.

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