Wichtige Spins/ Lügen über den Iran
November 01, 2012
Assuaging the the guilt-pangs of Iran sanctions through spin
by Cyrus Safdari
In light of reports that the US-imposed sanctions on Iran have started to negatively affect innocent people including the sick and elderly who are deprived of needed imported medicine, I thought it would be a good time to remind everyone of the various spins which were employed by the the Bush and Clinton administration to dismiss or downplay similar concerns about the suffering of Iraqis under the previous sanctions imposed on that country during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq (and especially regarding the 500,000 excess child deaths that resulted directly and knowingly by the US targetting of water treatment facilities for bombardment, and continued sanctions which caused such widespread death and hunger there that several Western officials at the UN resigned in protest.)
These were the spins I identified and wrote about previously:
1- That the deaths were over-estimated and the UNICEF/FAO/Garfield studies (showing massive child mortality in Iraq due to sanctions) were cooked up (denial)
2- That the number of deaths were in fact "worth it" (justification)
3- That no one "meant" or "intended" to kill children; they were just collateral damage (excuse)
4- That it was in fact the UN that imposed the sanctions and not the US (misdirection)
5- Saddam is responsible for the deaths since it was Saddam who provoked the sanctions (evasion)
Just like in Iraq, these same sort of spins will be used -- and havealready been used -- to justify the disproportionate effect of the sanctions on innocent people in Iran. For example we've already heard Obama administration officials claim that the suffering of innocent people in Iran is merely due to Iran's refusal to "abide by its international obligations" (nevermind that Iran is in no way "obligated" to do as the US demands on its nuclear program, and furthermore the sanctions cannot and will not be lifted even if Iran totally gives up her nuclear program because the real aim is imposing regime change, just as Iraq's giving up of her WMDs didn't end the sanctions on that country either -- a fact that some people are only now starting to realizeis the actual game-plan.) This sort of "blame the victim" spin was also used when the
In theory, of course,
Frankly, I don’t know whether this conundrum is the unintended result of sloppy drafting by OFAC or is an intentional ambiguity designed to discourage activities that OFAC doesn’t believe it could, as a political matter, prohibit outright.
Support Gareth Porter's book
on the history of
Helena Cobban of Just World News and Just World Books has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to publish a book by Gareth Porter entitled "Manufactured Crisis: A history of the Iranian nuclear program". I sugges that all my readers contribute whatever they can to finance this project since the few books that exist already on the subject are mostly garbage, and Gareth Porter has shown himself to be quite independent and willing to do some real news reporting and analysis when it comes to Iran, instead of merely acting like a mouthpiece of the US by parrotting conventional wisdom and half-baked claims as do the Judith Miller, Michael Gordon, David Ignatius, Joby Warrick, David Sanger or Con Coughlins of the world.
I should point out that this Kickstarter campaign was brought to my attention by "b" at MoonofAlabama -- who has himself (herself?) done some excellent analysis on the Iranian nuclear program which debunked many of the claims made about the program in the mainstream media, and was usually the first to do so - including debunking the claims about the role of a "Soviet nuclear weapons scientist" in Iran and by pointing out that according to the last IAEA report, Iran had started to convert its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium into reactor fuel plates, precluding the use of the material for bomb-making and thus actually reducing the alleged "threat" posed by the program -- a fact that the IAEA report itself did not explicitly acknowledge, and that the mainstream media attempted to ignore and has only recently been forced to grudgingly acknowledge (probably due to Gareth Porter's continued reporting on the subject.)
It makes me happy to see that informed people are following the news
carefully and exercising critical judgment in analyzing the reports, especially
since they're taking the time and making the effort to "talk back to
power". Maybe there's hope in this Internet thing after all,and we should all use this chance to support journalists
like Porter to state his case. If enough people join together and cooperate,
we can break through the (dis)information monopoly created by the same
mainstream press that brought you "WMDs in
Jeremiah Goulka, The Urge to Bomb
Posted by Jeremiah
Goulka at ,
The Obama administration has engaged in a staggering military build-up in the Persian Gulf and at U.S. and allied bases around Iran (not to speak of in the air over that country and in cyberspace). Massive as it is, however, it hasn’t gotten much coverage lately. Perhaps, after all the alarms and warnings about possible Israeli or U.S. military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities this election season, it’s become so much the norm that it doesn’t even seem like news anymore. Still, two recent stories should jog our memories.
Barely a week ago, the commander of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John C.
Stennis was temporarily replaced and called home to face an
investigation into "inappropriate leadership judgment." What this
means is unclear, but it happened while the Stennis and its attending
strike group including destroyers, guided missile cruisers, and other ships,
were deployed in the
At about the same time, what might be thought of as the creepy story of
that week surfaced. Behind the scenes, reported the Guardian,
the British government had rejected Obama administration requests for access to
some of its bases as part of preparations for a possible war with
And remember, this is the Obama administration, not the Romney one!
regular Jeremiah Goulka makes clear, we’re talking
about the party of “restraint” in
The Dogs of War Are Barking
Mitt Romney’s Team Wants to Let 'Em Loose in Iran
It’s the consensus among the pundits: foreign policy doesn’t matter in this presidential election. They point to the ways Republican candidate Mitt Romney has more or less parroted President Barack Obama on just about everything other than military spending and tough talk about another “American century.”
The consensus is wrong. There is an issue that matters:
Don’t be fooled. It’s not just campaign season braggadocio when
Romney claims that he would be far tougher on
The Republican nominee has surrounded
himself with advisors who are committed to military
action and regime change against
President Obama has helped push that snowball up the hill with sanctions to undermine the regime, covert and cyber warfare, and a huge naval presence in the Persian Gulf. Iran has ratcheted up tensions via posturing military maneuvers, while we have held joint U.S.-Israeli exercises and "the largest-ever multinational minesweeping exercise" there. Our navies are facing off in a dangerous dance.
Obama has essentially loaded the gun and cocked it. But he has kept his finger off the trigger, pursuing diplomacy with the so-called P5+1 talks and rumored future direct talks with the Iranians. The problem is: Romney’s guys want to shoot.
Remember those innocent days of 2002 and 2003, when the war in
First, even armchair strategists know that
Then there is the fact that
Finally, well, nukes.
The public appears to be primed. A large majority of Americans
That’s remarkable considering how much less
certain most experts seem. Take, for example, the National Intelligence
Council, the senior panel that issues the government’s National Intelligence
Estimates. It continues to stick with its opinion that
There are three main reasons, only one of which is partially innocent.
What’s in a Name?
The first is linguistic and quite simple. Say these words out loud:
Does that sound familiar? Do those words look normal on the
page? Chances are the answer is “no,” because that’s not how the media,
public officials, or political candidates typically refer to
Out of curiosity, I ran some Google searches. The results were striking.
· “Iran’s nuclear program”: about 49,000,000 hits
Words matter, and this sloppiness is shaping American perceptions, priming the public for war.
Some of this is probably due to laziness. Having to throw in “civilian” or “weapons” or “disputed” or “possible” makes for extra work and the result is a bit of a tongue twister. Even people with good reasons to be precise use the shorter phrase, including President Obama.
But some of it is intentional.
The Proselytizing Republican Presidential Candidates
The second reason so many Americans are convinced that
The hyperbole has been impressive. Take Rick Santorum: “Once they
have a nuclear weapon, let me assure you, you will not be safe, even here in
And then there’s Mitt Romney: “Right
now, the greatest danger that
The Regime-Change Brigade
Even if they’re not exactly excusable, media laziness and political
posturing are predictable. But there is a third reason Americans are
primed for war: there exists in Washington what might be called the Bomb Iran
Lobby -- a number of hawkish political types and groups actively working to
make believers of us all when it comes to an Iranian weapons program and so
pave the way for regime change. It should be noted that while some current and
have said that bombing
Numerous conservative and neoconservative think tanks pump out reports, op-eds, and journal articles
suggesting or simply stating that
"Iran has a nuclear weapons program" that must be stopped -- and that
it’ll probably take force to do the job. Just check out the flow of words
from mainstream Republican think tanks like the
Heritage Foundation and AEI. (“It has
long been clear that, absent regime change in
You can see this at even more hawkish shops like the Foundation for
the Defense of Democracies, with its “campaign
to ensure that Iran’s vow to destroy Israel and create ‘a world without
America’ remains neither ‘obtainable’ nor ‘achievable.’” (According to one of its
distinguished advisors, a Fox News host,
There are also two organizations, much attended to on the right, whose sole
goal is regime change. There’s the Emergency Committee for
No less important is the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian dissident cult
group that was
recently, amid much controversy, removed from the
It wants regime change because it hopes that the
And then there are the groups who want war with
Hagee’s own book, Countdown Jerusalem, suggests that
The Supporting Cast
Republican-friendly media have joined the game, running blustery TV segments on the
subject and cooking the books to assure survey majorities that favor military
action. Take this question from a March poll
commissioned by Fox News: “Do you think
And don’t forget the military-industrial complex, for which the fear of a
The Problem With Romney
All of this means that the public has been primed for war with
The problem with Romney, you see, is that he hangs out with the wrong crowd
-- the regime-change brigade, many of whom steered the ship of
Take Robert Kagan. His
main perch is at the non-partisan Brookings Institution, but he has also been a
leader of the neocon Project for a New American Century and its successor
organization, the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI). “Regime change in
Kagan’s fellow directors at the FPI are also on Romney’s team: Bill Kristol, Eric Edelman (former staffer to Cheney and Douglas Feith’s successor at the Pentagon), and former Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor, who has become Romney’s most trusted foreign policy advisor and a rumored contender for national security advisor. The FPI’s position? “It is time to take military action against the Iranian government elements that support terrorism and its nuclear program. More diplomacy is not an adequate response.”
Or how about John Bolton, Bush’s U.N. ambassador and a frequent speaker on behalf of the MEK, who has said, “The better way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons is to attack its nuclear weapons program directly and break their control over the nuclear fuel cycle,” and that “we should be prepared to take down the regime in Tehran.”
And the list goes on.
It is, of course, theoretically possible that a President Romney would ignore his neocon team’s advice, just as George W. Bush famously ignored the moderate Republican advice of his father’s team. Still, it’s hard to imagine him giving the cold shoulder to the sages of the previous administration: Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Indeed, Romney is said to turn to the “Cheney-ites” when he seeks counsel, while giving the more moderate Republican internationalists the cold shoulder. And Cheney wanted to bomb Iran.
In a Romney administration, expect this gang to lobby him hard to finish
the job and take out
Kenneling the Dogs of War
No one likes the idea of
Should the mullahs ever pursue nuclear weapons again, it would be for
deterrence, for the ability to stand up to the
But Romney’s guys don’t think it’s a bad idea. They think it’s a good one, and they are ready to take a swing.
Jeremiah Goulka, a TomDispatch
regular, writes about American
politics and culture, focusing on security, race, and the Republican Party. He
was formerly an analyst at the RAND Corporation, a Hurricane Katrina recovery
worker, and an attorney at the