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The Arab Emergency Summit in Mecca: Provocative and Invective

By Elias Samo | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 18, 2019

When an Arab emergency summit is called to convene, one would naturally assume the existence of an urgent Arab crisis which requires immediate attention. So, when king Salman of Saudi Arabia called for an emergency Arab summit to convene in Mecca, the holiest Muslim city, the natural assumption was that there is an urgent Arab crisis to be dealt with, immediately.

Therefore, one had to assume the urgent Arab emergency summit meeting in Mecca on May 30, 2019, would have to do, though belatedly, with the ramifications of Arab states destroying Arab states, Muslims killing Muslims, Arabs killing Arabs. Or perhaps more specific urgent Arab matters such as the American recognition of a united Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel, the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem, the declaration by Netanyahu of his intention to annex the major Israeli settlements with American acquiescence or with the American recognition of the Israeli annexation of the Syrian Golan, or the “Deal of the Century”. Surprisingly and unfortunately the summit dealt with none of the above.

On the face of it, the summit was an official Arab emergency summit, but in reality, it was a Saudi Arabian summit and the agenda was a Saudi Arabian agenda: Iran, which was practically the exclusive item on the agenda and in the final communique. No perceptive Arab affairs genius would have thought of an urgent need for an emergency Arab summit to deal with a presumed ‘Iranian threat’ to the Arabs. There is mutual animosity and perception of security threats between Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and a very few Arab states, mostly in the Gulf region, on the other hand. However, there are no similar feelings between the majority of other Arab states and Iran.

The final communique was delivered by the Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, at the conclusion of the summit. It starts with a preamble and ten operative paragraphs. Iran is mentioned in the preamble and the operative paragraphs no less than fifteen times. The onslaught on Iran full of provocations and invectives started with the preamble and moved on with gusto in the operative paragraphs.

The impetus for convening the emergency summit, as noted by Mr. Aboul Gheit, was “the serious repercussions of the attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist militias on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the attack on commercial vessels in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates.”

In view of the killing and wounding of millions of Muslim and non-Muslim Arabs, the immigration and displacement of more millions, the chaos and destruction and the rendering of several Arab states as failed states, it is amazing that attacks on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia, and on four commercial vessels in the territorial waters of the UAE, in which the culprit is uncertain, warranted the convening of an emergency Arab League summit to target and condemn Iran. It is made clear in the preamble, and the ten substantive paragraphs, of the communique that the culprit is Iran. But why the certainty that Iran is the culprit? Because John Bolton, American National Security Adviser, who is not known for his honesty and truthfulness, said so! Mr. Bolton said he will provide the evidence later; thus, a new legal norm: Convict then provide the evidence.

Not only the reason for convening of the emergency summit is amazing, but the content of the ten-paragraph communique is shocking.

1. Historically and traditionally, Israel and Zionism are standard features in Arab League summit communiques. Thus, the present summit communique is a first for not including the terms Israel nor Zionism once.

2. Similarly, Palestinians are a standard feature in Arab League summit communiques. Thus, the present communique is also a first for not mentioning the Palestinians once. Although, as an afterthought, the last sentence of the last paragraph ten states that the issue of Palestine is “the main Arab issue”, but it did not merit a single operative paragraph.

3. While the communique does not include the aforementioned names, it has certainly gone overboard in provocatively and invectively mentioning Iran/Iranians and often preceded by ‘condemning’ and ‘denouncing’, no less than fifteen times.

4. Syria is mentioned once in paragraph ten for the purpose of condemning Iran. It is ironic that the Arab states, who expelled Syria from the League, the majority of which were not independent states when Syria and five Arab states established the League in 1945, met in a presumed Arab League summit and have suddenly become concerned about Syria. They denounced “the Iranian interference in the Syrian crisis and its implications for Syria’s future.”

The irony is that the ‘Iranian interference’ is legitimate, because it came at the request of the legitimate Syrian government and “supported Damascus’s efforts in fighting terrorism which was supported by some of those meeting in this summit”, as noted by the Syrian Foreign Ministry.

The Arab summit in Mecca was a Saudi Arabian conference attended by Arab states to discuss Saudi Arabia’s perceived and contrived Iranian threats. Threats which are, largely, not shared by most of the Arab states, not even shared by some of the Arab Gulf states. The contention that Iran constitutes a threat to the Arab states is contentious, and irrespective of what Netanyahu, Bolton and Pompeo claim, it is Iran which is threatened by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Finally, why manufacture a new crisis, and a potential war in the Muslim Arab region which is already ravaged by a multitude of crises, conflicts and wars?

June 18, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

The Broader View Reveals the Ugliest of Prospects

By Craig Murray | June 17, 2019

Standing back a little and surveying the events of the last couple of weeks, gives a bleak view of the current state of western democracy.

We have seen what appears to be the most unconvincing of false flags in the Gulf. I pointed out why it was improbable Iran would attack these particular ships. Since then we have had American military sources pointing to video evidence of a packed small Iranian boat allegedly removing a limpet mine from the ship the Iranians helped to rescue, which was somehow supposed to prove it was the Iranians who planted the alleged device. We also have had the Japanese owner specifically contradict the American account and say that the ship was hit by flying objects.

The Iranians certainly have a strange method of bomb disposal if they carry it out using unarmoured personnel, with as many as possible crammed into a small boat in immediate contact with the “mine”. It is also hard to understand why the alleged “limpet mines” would be four feet above the waterline.

Limpet mines are placed below the waterline. There are numerous reasons for this. Firstly, holes above the waterline will not sink a ship. Secondly, the weight of the water helps contain the blast against the ship. Thirdly, it is obviously harder to detect both the diver placing the mine and the mine once placed if it is below the water. In fact it would be very difficult for a diver to place a limpet mine four feet above the waterline, even if they wanted to.

There seems to be a remarkable disconnect between the widespread popular disdain at yet another fake western power causus belli in the Middle East, and the near universal complicity of the UK political and media class in promoting this transparent lie. It is as though even pretending to have any respect for truth and fact has simply been discarded within the UK’s governmental system. Which ought to worry us a lot.

The second development ought to have been the biggest media story of the decade in the UK, if we had anything like a free and honest media. Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, made plain the Trump administration’s intent to prevent the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. Pompeo told a meeting of Jewish leaders:

It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gantlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back.

This blatant interference by a foreign power in the UK’s democracy is an absolute scandal. Compare the lack of media outrage at Pompeo’s intervention with the ludicrous claims made about much less high profile Russian attempts at influence. This incident provides incontrovertible proof that the world does indeed operate in the way that I have been explaining here for a decade. It is not a “conspiracy theory” that democracy is manipulated by hidden powers, it is fact. Pompeo’s description of Corbyn’s route to election as “running the gauntlet” is particularly revealing. Even more so is the cursory coverage this story was given, and I have seen no evidence to date of any MSM “journalist” attempting any follow-up investigation on the methods the US are planning to employ – or more likely already employing – against Corbyn.

Everybody should be incandescent at this, no matter who they vote for.

Something else which revealed the truth of the way the political world now operates, and which again did not get nearly the media attention it deserves, was Matt Kennard’s stunning revelation of the way the Guardian has been taken over by the security services. I have been explaining for years that the Guardian has become the security services’ news outlet of choice, and it is very helpful to have documentation to prove it.

It is worth noting that the Guardian obeyed completely the DSMA committee ban on mentioning Pablo Miller in reporting the security service fantasy version of the Skripal story. As Kennard points out, it is also very interesting indeed that the Guardian published Luke Harding’s front page fabrication of Manafort/Assange meetings two weeks after MOD Director Dominic Wilson congratulated Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson on “re-establishing links” with the security services. The Guardian is, like other British newspapers, as controlled by the military and security services just like in any other decent autocracy.

Incidentally, I cannot find Matt Kennard’s excellent work set out anywhere, except in that twitter stream. Surely there is an article on a website somewhere? I cannot find anything on Google, but as it is exactly the kind of information Google routinely suppresses, that does not mean it is not out there. Anyone seen it?

Finally, we have of course seen Sajid Javid sign the extradition warrant for Julian Assange to be sent to the United States for the “crime” of publishing truthful information about US government illegalities. Julian’s extradition hearing was, contrary to normal practice, held despite the fact he was too sick to attend in person. And it was presided over by Judge Arbuthnot, despite the fact that her husband is a former Tory defence minister who started a “security consultancy” in partnership with a former head of MI6, the war criminal John Scarlett who oversaw the fabrication of the dossier of lies about Iraqi WMD, in order to launch an illegal war of aggression that killed and maimed millions. The Assange team had asked her to recuse herself on that pretty obvious basis, but she had refused. At an earlier hearing she taunted Assange with the observation that he could get adequate exercise in the Embassy on a 1.5 meter Juliet balcony.

Just as the Guardian has never apologised for, nor withdrawn, the utter lie of the Assange/Manafort story, so the identity politics promoting, false “left” has never apologised for its pursuit of Assange over sexual allegations in Sweden, which were obvious on the slightest scrutiny to be only a fit-up designed to get him into custody. Those figures like David Allen Green, Joan Smith and David Aaronovitch, among scores of other pustulous hacks, who mocked and scorned those of us who always said that Assange faced not extradition to Sweden but to the United States for publishing, have been shown up as, at the very best, stupid naive and unwitting tools of the state, and more likely, insincere and vicious propagandists.

This brief review of current issues reveal that not only do western governments lie and fake, they have really given up on trying to pretend that they do not. The abuse of power is naked and the propaganda is revealed by the lightest effort to brush away the veneer of democracy.

I find it hard to believe that I live in times where Assange suffers as he does for telling the truth, where a dedicated anti-racist like Corbyn is subjected to daily false accusations of racism and to US and security service backed efforts to thwart his democratic prospects, where the most laughable false flag is paraded to move us towards war with Iran, and where there is no semblance of a genuinely independent media. But, starkly, that is where we are. This is not unrelated to the massive and fast growing inequality of wealth; the erosion of freedom is the necessary precondition that allows the ultra-wealthy to loot the rest of us. It remains my hope there will eventually come a public reaction against the political classes as strong as the situation demands.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

The Gulf of Credibility

By Craig Murray | June 17, 2019

I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in Tehran on economic cooperation that can help Iran survive the effects of US economic sanctions.

The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was holed above the water line. That rules out a torpedo attack, which is the explanation being touted by the neo-cons.

The second vessel, the Front Altair, is Norwegian owned and 50% Russian crewed (the others being Filipinos). It is owned by Frontline, a massive tanker leasing company that also has a specific record of being helpful to Iran in continuing to ship oil despite sanctions.

It was Iran that rescued the crews and helped bring the damaged vessels under control.

That Iran would target a Japanese ship and a friendly Russian crewed ship is a ludicrous allegation. They are however very much the targets that the USA allies in the region – the Saudis, their Gulf Cooperation Council colleagues, and Israel – would target for a false flag. It is worth noting that John Bolton was meeting with United Arab Emirates ministers two weeks ago – both ships had just left the UAE.

The USA and their UK stooges have both immediately leapt in to blame Iran. The media is amplifying this with almost none of the scepticism which is required. I cannot think of a single reason why anybody would believe this particular false flag. It is notable that neither Norway nor Japan has joined in with this ridiculous assertion.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Guilty or Not, Iran’s Fate Is in Trump’s Hands

By Tim Kirby | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 17, 2019

The USS Maine sank, someone shot something at somebody during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and many non-Iraqis triggered the invasion of Iraq by flying planes into skyscrapers. The media hyped attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman seem like another blatant attempt to pull the US into yet another war based on questionable pretenses. The information war regarding the incident is already very hot but ultimately the future of Iran is in Donald Trump’s hands.

The Mainstream Media has already come out in force to push the narrative that Iran was probably behind the attacks on the oil tankers even though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered no actual evidence whatsoever to support his claim that the Persians did it. (Since then grainy video has come out showing nondescript men trying to attach or detach something presumably to the tanker from what is supposedly an Iranian vessel).

From a legal or moral sense it would have been much more proper if Pompeo would have waited long enough to provide solid proof that the Iranians did it before making a public condemnation of them. But then again, if his objective was to simply plant the idea that the Iranians did it into the Mainstream Media (and thus into the minds of the masses) then he played it perfectly as evidence is not required to achieve this objective.

From the standpoint of Information Warfare, it is very critical when a new event happens to put forward one’s version of the “truth” first before any other possible competing theories can arise. This could be why Pompeo or someone like him would chose to immediately come out with accusations thrown around as facts with no evidence to support them and no respect for the great Western concepts of “innocence until proven guilty” or the “right to a fair trial”.

Pompeo’s objective here is not the truth but to take that virgin intellectual territory regarding the interpretation of this issue before anyone else can, because once a concept has become normalized in the minds of the masses it is very difficult to change it and many people in Washington cannot risk blowing the chance to waste thousands of American lives invading Iran based on an ultimately false but widely accepted/believed narrative.

Not surprisingly foreign and especially Russian media has quickly attempted to counter the “Iran obviously did it” narrative before it becomes an accepted fact. Shockingly Slavic infowarriors actually decided to speak to the captain of a tanker that was hit to get his opinion rather than simply assert that Iran didn’t do it because they are a long time buddy of Moscow. The captain’s testimony of what happened strongly contradicts the version of reality that Washington is pushing. And over all Russia as usual takes the reasonable position of “let’s gather the evidence and then see who did it”, which is good PR for itself as a nation beyond this single issue.

In terms of finding the actual guilty party the media on both sides has thus far ignored the simple fact that if Iran wanted to sink a tanker it would be sunk. No civilian vessel is going to withstand an attack from a 21st century navy by having a particularly thick hull and the idea that the Iranians need to physically attach bombs to boats is mental. Physically planting bombs is for goofball inept terrorists, not a professional military. After all, even the West acknowledges that the Iranians use the best Russian goodies that they can afford and Russian 21st century arms will sink civilian ships guaranteed. The Iranians have everything they need to smoke any civilian vessel on the planet guaranteed from much farther away than 3 feet.

If Iran’s goal was to scare or intimidate the tanker they could have just shot at it with rifles or done something else to spook the crew and get a media response. When looked at from the standpoint of military logic, these “attacks” seem baffling as Iran could have just destroyed the boats or directly tried to terrorize them to make a statement.

Then again perhaps the Iranians do want to provoke the US into a war with them, by “kind of but not really” attacking these ships. Maybe they do want to fight a war they will ultimately lose destroying everything they have built after the revolution, but this seems highly unlikely. The Iranians for decade after decade have taken a reactive stance to US aggression and encirclement, why would they change that policy right now in order to go on offense against an enemy they cannot defeat in direct confrontation?

What may be reassuring to some but terrifying to others is that the final result of what is to be done about these “attacks” lies in the hands of Donald Trump. So far Trump has agreed with the Pompeo/Mainstream Media view of the incident. But Trump like all politicians says “a lot of things” and what really matters are his actions. As the President he can take this convenient incident and use it as a casus belli or he can simply and safely “condemn” Tehran with rhetoric and literally ignore the situation until it goes away which seems to be The Donald’s preferred method of keeping the peace. He has scolded many a nation but not actually pushed for a full fledged military response against any of them.

Proving who is guilty for the attacks on the tankers may take a long time or ultimately be impossible, but how this incident will be used by Washington will prove who Trump is… a patriot who wants to Make America Great Again by ignoring the chance to jump into foreign conflicts or yet another cowardly warmonger sitting in the Oval Office ready to waste US lives and resources without a care in the world.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 4 Comments

False Identities Become the New Weapon: War with Iran Promoted by Fake Journalists

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | June 17, 2019

One of the claims made about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election was that Kremlin-controlled entities were using fake identities to create dissension and confusion on social network sites. This should surprise no one, if it is true, as intelligence operatives have been using false names since Sumerian times.

The concern over fake identities no doubt comes from the deception involved, meaning that if you are dealing with a real person you at least have some handle on making an assessment of what something means and what is likely to occur. A false persona, however, can pretend to be anything and can advocate or do something without any yardstick to measure what is actually taking place. In other words, if Mike Pompeo says something you know that he is a liar and can judge his words accordingly but if it is someone otherwise unknown named Qwert Uiop you have to wonder if he or she just might be telling the truth. You might even give them the benefit of the doubt.

A prime example of a false internet persona has recently surfaced in the form of an alleged “activist” invented by the Iranian terrorist group Mojahedin e Khalq (MEK). MEK is a curious hybrid creature in any event in that it pretends to be an alternative government option for Iran even though it is despised by nearly all Iranians. At the same time, it is greatly loved by the Washington Establishment which would like to see the Mullahs deposed and replaced by something more amenable to western and Israeli worldviews.

MEK is run like a cult by its leader Maryam Rajavi, with a number of rules that restrict and control the behavior of its members. One commentary likens membership in MEK to a modern day equivalent of slavery. The group currently operates out of a secretive, heavily guarded 84 acre compound in Albania that is covertly supported by the United States, as well as through a “political wing” front office in Paris, where it refers to itself as the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

MEK, which is financially supported by Saudi Arabia, stages events in the United States in Europe where it generously pays politicians like John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and Elaine Chao to make fifteen-minute speeches praising the organization and everything it does. It’s paying of inside the Beltway power brokers proved so successful that it was removed from the State Department terrorist list in 2012 by Hillary Clinton even though it had killed Americans in the 1970s. MEK also finds favor in Washington because it is used by Israel as a resource for anti-Iranian terrorism acts currently, including assassinations carried out in Tehran.

MEK’s fake journalist, who has recently been exposed by The Intercept, is named Heshmat Alavi. He, or if you prefer “it,” has very successfully gained access to a considerable body of generally conservative mainstream western media, including Forbes, The Hill, the Daily Beast and The Federalist. Alavi has placed scores of articles as “an activist with a passion for human rights,” aimed at discrediting Iran and its government while also subtly praising MEK as an alternative to the current regime. His bona fides have never been questioned, even by Forbes, which placed no less than 61 articles under the name between April 2017 and April 2018. The pieces appearing allegedly by Alavi are reportedly composed at a “troll factory” as a so-called “group account” in Albania where MEK members who belong to the organization’s “political wing” toil under tight security.

Alavi’s contribution to the damning of Iran has not been insignificant. An article written by him/it that appeared in Forbes claiming that the Mullahs had been able to increase their military budget due to having money freed up by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement. The article reached the White House and reportedly helped convince the Trump Administration to withdraw from the pact.

*(MEK members working in the ‘Twitter troll factory’ in Manez Camp, Albania)

To supplement the Alavi propaganda effort, MEK’s Albania operation uses banks of computers manned by followers, some of whom are fluent in English, who serve as bots unleashing scores of comments supporting regime change in Iran while also directing waves of criticism against any pro-Iranian pieces that appear on social media, to include Facebook and Twitter. By one account, more than a thousand MEK supporters manage thousands of accounts on social media simultaneously. The objective of all the chatter is to convince the mostly English-speaking audience that there is a large body of Iranians who are hostile to the regime and supportive of MEK as a replacement.

While the Iranian government and MEK might well be regarded by most Americans as a far-away problem, there was considerable shock expressed even by congress and the media when it was learned shortly before The Intercept’s revelations that the United States government had been funding a so-called Iran Disinformation Project that was employing tactics remarkably similar to those of MEK in an attempt to control the discussion over Iran policy.

The project, run by the State Department’s global engagement center, consisted of a trolling campaign which targeted online American citizens critical of the government’s Iran policy, labeling them as disloyal to the United States and tools of the Iranian government. It used, for example, the website IranDisInfo.org and the hashtag #NIACLobbies4Mullahs. Iranian-American activist and long-time State Department contractor Mariam Memarsadeghi headed the program, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars to “relentlessly attack critics of the Iran policy on social media… accusing them of being paid operatives of the regime in Tehran.” In all, the “Iran Disinfo” operation received over $1.5 million through the Memarsadeghi contract entity the oddly named E-Collaborative for Civic Education.

The investigation of Iran Disinfo also revealed that the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), which has been leading the charge for war with Iran, had at least one employee working with E-Collaborative. FDD, which has been advising the Trump White House on a more aggressive policy towards Iran, has also been actively involved in the State Department effort and cross-posting material from the Disinfo campaign.

FDD has long been targeting Iran. It received $3.63 million in 2017 from Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot. Marcus is a hard-core Zionist who hates Iran and once referred to that nation as “the devil.” FDD has also received billions from Las Vegas casino mega billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the GOP’s largest individual donor, who has advocated dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran to send a message. The link between major Republican donors supporting FDD and an increase in FDD quasi-overt cooperation with the Trump Administration in demonizing Iran should not surprise anyone.

Even though the State Department operation was relatively insignificant compared to similar initiatives undertaken by Israel, the idea that an ostensibly democratic government should propagate lies to defend its own policies was definitely unsettling. Some might think that disinformation on Iran is of little importance, that it has little impact on actual policy, but they would be wrong. Bad information that is allowed to circulate freely creates its own reality. Most Americans believe that Iran actually threatens the United States, though they would be at a loss to explain exactly how that could be the case. Dubious stories that originated with Reuters about corruption in Iran have been used by Mike Pompeo to justify sanctions against the regime on humanitarian grounds, measures which have ironically hurt average Iranians disproportionately. The same story was also used in at least four books to discredit the Iranian leadership.

To be sure, the mainstream media is itself largely at fault, as it was with Heshmat Alavi, for not vetting their sources more carefully, particularly when a story is clearly providing unique information or representing a point of view that might be considered controversial. In some cases, of course, the news outlet wants the story to be perceived as true even when it knows that it is not, so it becomes an accomplice in the propaganda effort. A recent attempt to create a mechanism to establish standards by determining the reliability of online news content has, in fact, been little more than a neoconservative scheme to discredit sites that do not support the neocon point of view.

Since governments and various non-governmental constituencies now, by their own admission, are heavily into the game of providing false information and discrediting critics, most Americans will completely tune out of the process, meaning that there will be little or no measurable difference between truth and lies. One already hears complaints from all across the political spectrum that most news is fake. When one reaches the point where such skepticism becomes the consensus, both elections and democracy itself will be rendered pretty much meaningless.

Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

If Iran wants to block Persian Gulf oil exports, it will do it publicly: Military chief

Press TV – June 17, 2019

Iran’s military chief says if the Islamic Republic decided to stop oil flow from the Persian Gulf, it will do it publicly and there will be nothing covert about it.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri made the remarks during a military ceremony in Tehran on Monday, in reaction to charges leveled against Iran by the United States and some of its allies accusing Tehran of being behind recent attacks on two tanker ships in the Sea of Oman and a previous attack on several commercial vessels off the coast of the Emirati port city of Fujairah.

The Iranian military chief noted that “the US and its stooges” are using recent maritime incidents as grounds to incriminate Iran, saying, “They must be aware of the reality that if the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined to prevent export of oil from the Persian Gulf, that determination would be realized in full and announced in public, in view of the power of the country and its Armed Forces.”

Major General Baqeri added, “Iran will not take any covet or deceptive steps like the deceitful and terrorist US, which has made the world insecure, along with its regional and international stooges.”

One Japanese-owned and one Norwegian-owned tanker were struck by explosions near the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Thursday morning. Tokyo said both vessels were carrying “Japanese-related” cargo.

Shortly after the incidents, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran, without offering any evidence.

“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” Pompeo told reporters in a brief appearance at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

Britain has also followed the US rhetoric over the attack and blamed Iran, warning Tehran that these actions were “deeply unwise.”

“This is deeply worrying and comes at a time of already huge tension. I have been in contact with Pompeo and, while we will be making our own assessment soberly and carefully, our starting point is obviously to believe our US allies,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement on Thursday.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Moussavi on Friday said the US needed to stop playing a blame game through “suspicious” attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East, describing the American behavior as “worrying.”

“It seems that for Mr. Pompeo and other American statesmen, accusing Iran in the suspicious and unfortunate incident for tankers is the most convenient and simplistic job,” Moussavi said.

Tokyo has dismissed the US claim that Iran attacked the two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman, according to Japanese officials.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency cited informed state officials as saying Tokyo had demanded that Washington examine the case further, and that grainy video footage released by the US as supposed evidence was unclear and could not be used to prove anything.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Baqeri emphasized that the Islamic Republic is currently facing dishonest enemies that renege on their commitments, including the United States, and who mount pressure on the country on the one hand and speak about negotiations on the other hand.

The enemies exert pressure on Iran with the purpose of forcing the country into choosing from the two options of war or negotiations, Baqeri said, adding that the Islamic Republic has selected the path of resistance and defense and would firmly press ahead with it.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Fake News | , | 3 Comments

No new defense contracts with Venezuela, Bolton’s words are ‘fiction’ – Russia’s envoy

RT | June 16, 2019

Moscow did not sign any new contracts with Caracas recently, Russia’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Vladimir Zaemsky said, dismissing the Sunday claim by the US National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Bolton claimed on Twitter that Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro “grossly mismanaged Venezuela’s resources” and that he inked a new $209-million defense contract with Russia in May, while “hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans went hungry.”

“This is another fiction, which Bolton apparently needs to maintain the illusion that Venezuela is an imaginary threat, and Russia, of course, is to blame,” Zaemsky said.

The US has repeatedly urged Moscow to “get out” of Venezuela and stop military cooperation with the country. Russia, however, rejected such threats, stating that the cooperation with Caracas has been going on for years, and is only set to expand.

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Language is a Weapon

corbettreport | Jun 14, 2019

“In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing” wrote George Orwell 70 years ago, and the observation remains true today. But bad writing is not just bad writing; the language employed by politicians (and their string pullers) can literally be a matter of life and death. Join James today on the podcast as he delves into the tyrants’ linguistic weapons and how we can arm ourselves against them.

For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).

Watch this video on BitChute / DTube / YouTube or Download the mp4

SHOW NOTES

Politics and the English Language, by George Orwell (text)

Politics and the English Language, by George Orwell  (video)

Corbett Report Radio 186 – Politics and Language with Andrew Gavin Marshall

“Enemy Combatants” and drone killings

The Phoenix Program by Douglas Valentine

Interview 1248 – Douglas Valentine on the Resurrection of the Phoenix Program

The Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase

Episode 350 – History Is Written By The Winners

The WWI Conspiracy

re:publica 2012 – Rick Falkvinge – Working swarm-wise

Swarmwise by Rick Falkvinge

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

An Electronic Engineer in Orwell’s Britain

By Eve Mykytyn | June 13, 2019

Dr. Ali was dismissed from his job at the University of Essex for alleged anti Semitism. The charges stemmed from his opposition to a new campus society, a branch of the Zionist organization, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and from four of the many posts Dr Ali has made to Facebook over the last ten years. For more: SEE. Dr. Ali’s story makes plain that although the University claimed to dismiss him for anti Semitism, in fact he was dismissed for anti Zionism. The following interview with Dr Ali will be one of the first articles in which he will be able to tell his side of the story, which differs in important ways from the story told in the British press.

EM: Can you give us a brief bio, including where you grew up and your academic background?

MA: My family moved to London from the then newly independent country of Bangladesh in 1975 when I was seven,. We came as refugees, we had lost 22 members of our family including my elder brother who was murdered when he was barely thirteen. My father was a Professor of History and a Barrister (Lincoln’s Inn).

I grew up in the eastern suburbs of London and was educated at Chigwell School in Essex. I earned my PhD in Electronic Engineering at King’s College London. I have spent most of my career as a university lecturer in the UK.

EM: How did you get involved in the debate over the new Jewish society? Were you opposed to the formation of any Jewish group?

MA: At the University of Essex, student union members are invited by email to vote on any new student society, and a favorable vote by a majority is required for formation. Before a vote, the proposed society must clearly state its aims and objectives.

I read UJS’s manifesto and did not agree with their zealous promotion of Zionism and the state of Israel. That was my only concern. I was not voting against Jews, Judaism or their culture. When I was a student, I voted against the formation of political Islamic societies even though I am a Muslim.

The same concerns regarding the political Zionist basis of the UJS were raised by Student Union Committee Members, the University Amnesty Society, the University Palestinian Solidarity Group and 240 other students. I would like to stress that I did not and would not vote against the formation of a Jewish Society that was not politically Zionist.

EM: Did any of your students complain of anti-Semitism? Did the issue ever come up in one of your classes?

MA: I never discuss religion or politics in my lectures nor have the issues of Zionism or anti Semitism ever come up in any of my classes during my career. There has never been any complaint made against me by any student at the University or at any university at which I have taught.

Two former students, one a 50+ year old ex-British soldier, wrote a letter to Human Resources at the University defending me and stating that I was always inclusive, never discussed religion or politics and that I was an excellent lecturer. The other, a woman who is an ex- US marine who heard about my case, wrote to the Vice Chancellor directly. Neither letter was taken into consideration by the University.

 EM: Why do you think you were singled out? Were there other opponents of the UJS?

MA: I made a comment on the University Palestinian Solidarity Facebook page that Zionists were trying to create a society at our University. Someone asked why I was against Jews. I replied that I was not against Jews, their religion or their culture. I was opposed to the Zionist ideology presented in the society’s manifesto. In my 10 years on Facebook, I have never posted anything supporting the destruction of the state of Israel.

Obviously, I was singled out. The media falsely portrayed me as a ringleader of the 240 students who voted against the UJS. I did not urge these students to vote ‘no.’ I am a part-time Bangladeshi lecturer without powerful connections, and a bearded Muslim Asian – I was a useful scapegoat for their witch hunt.

The media failed to report that the vote was cancelled because of the 240 ‘no’ votes. After that, the UJS changed their manifesto and softened their wording regarding Israel and Zionism. They denied making this change, even though some students had screenshots of the two different manifestos.

I was asked to be part of a second vote, but I declined and did not vote. Part way thorough the second vote, the Vice Chancellor cancelled the election and created UJS as a “University” society. Later on, the Student Union revealed  that ‘“some” of the 600 votes in favor of the UJS had been cast “externally” by non-students.

The University tribunal charged me based on the UJS’s second less political manifesto, to which I never objected nor even voted on. Despite my vehement objection the University failed to take notice that it was the first manifesto to which I and others objected.

EM: So all you did was post an objection to the UJS based on their first, more extreme manifesto and then vote against it?

 MA: Yes

EM: What about the Facebook posts they claimed were anti Semitic?

MA: The tribunal considered six posts and dismissed two of them. Until the tribunal no one had ever complained about a post of mine and Facebook never warned or took any action against me. The posts they considered were as follows.

1.  A post from smoloko.com I made four years ago that a French police officer allegedly killed in terror attacks in Paris was actually a Mossad agent. There are many such theories about the 2015 attacks and I posted it for discussion purposes.

2. In 2016 I posted that 50,000 Jews in New York protested Israel’s policies and that the event was not really covered by the media. In the tribunal, I pointed out that my post clearly distinguished between Jews and Zionists

3. Posted on 1 August 2018 and clearly labeled as ‘revisionist history’ was a quote from Edgar Steele that the number of Holocaust survivors receiving pensions exceeded the number of Jews in Europe before the Holocaust.

4. A post on 17 January 2019 stating that the Jews put Palestinians in concentration camps. The Tribunal said I was comparing Jews to Nazis by the use of the word “concentration.” My Jewish Union rep. objected, pointing out that it was the British who originated the term ‘concentration camp’ when they used them in South Africa.

EM: You are not anti Semitic but you do have problems with the behavior of the state of Israel? Who defended you and what procedure did the University follow in making its decision?

MA: I am not anti-Semitic and the investigation and the tribunal both found that I, as a person, was not anti-Semitic.  I do have problems with all kinds of oppression; against humans, animals or the environment. As I told the tribunal, I have criticised almost all governments. The tribunal brushed aside my criticism of Israel’s oppressive activities. My opinions were backed up by reports from the UN, the Red Cross, Israeli human rights organisations and newspapers like Haaretz.

I was defended personally by one University Union member,  a Professor who is Jewish, but who has not given me permission to reveal his name. He told the tribunal that he believed that neither I nor my posts were anti-Semitic even though he did not agree with some of the posts.

Prominent Jewish voice for Peace (JVP) member, Prof. Haim Bresheeth, an Israeli-British film maker and a Professor at the University of London, wrote to the Vice Chancellor on my behalf. He made clear the distinction between Zionism and Judaism and wrote that opposing Zionism or criticizing Israel is not anti Semitism. In addition, renowned Professor, Norman Finkelstein, wrote a letter of support for me.

The University claimed my case had been investigated by “independent” investigator Nigel Youngman. My objections to the lack of actual investigation by Mr. Youngman were totally disregarded by the tribunal. He did not interview any of the key witnesses, not the 240 students who voted no, not a single member of the University’s Amnesty Society or Palestinian Society, and not members or staff at the Student Union.  Youngman never asked anyone why he objected to the first manifesto or why there were two manifestos. When he spoke to the tribunal he read from the second less extreme manifesto as if that was the one to which I had objected, although I had repeatedly told him that my reaction was to the first manifesto.

The University’s rules provided me the right to present a witness. I informed the tribunal that I intended to bring Prof. Bresheeth, and although I followed their procedural rules, the tribunal denied me my right to a witness claiming only a certain date was available as the tribunal was to be attended by “very important” people.

I knew as soon as the tribunal began that the University intended to dismiss me. They followed their procedures only to the extent that they would not affect the preordained outcome. For example, Prof. Andrew Le Sueur, who acted as prosecutor, instructed the tribunal to ignore the letters from Prof Finkelstein and Prof Bresheeth and not to take JVP’s statement against Zionism into consideration. That made it clear the tribunal was a farce, intended to allow them to dismiss me while pretending to the media that I had been given ‘due process.’

The major problem I faced was that the University treated Zionism as just a harmless Jewish belief. I do not know why they are so ignorant. The University would not listen when I tried to explain that there is a difference between Judaism and Zionism and that many people, including Jews, object to Israel’s actions but are not anti Semitic. I am happy that there were many Jews from JVP who came to my defense.

EM: The University advised you not to speak to the press. Do you now think that advice was for your benefit?

MA: I should not have listened to them since I believe the decision to dismiss me was made well before the hearing. From the beginning, I wanted to set the record straight and explain that I was not at all the person the media portrayed. I had written a careful apology to the University and, contrary to my expectations, the University did not share either my position or my apology.

EM: What have been the other effects of the dismissal? Will you be able to get another academic job in the UK?

MA: I have been dismissed from all my other part-time positions, including my work for St John Ambulance. When St John first investigated the allegations, I was found not to be anti Semitic. After the University dismissed me, St John fired me.

I have lost all sources of income, a financial loss I am not in a position to cover. It seems this is the penalty imposed upon opponents of Zionism.

I am not sure if I can find another job in the UK let alone an academic job. I could only be employed by someone who is willing to stand up to Zionist bullying and intimidation.

EM: Did you receive any hate mail?

MA: Yes I received a barrage of xenophobic, Islamophobic hate emails, threatening death to my family and me. Careful examination revealed that all the emails originated from only 14 unique email addresses. The British police are currently investigating these threatening emails.

In addition, there was a smear campaign against me as nearly all the 65 pages of British newspaper and online articles were essentially copied from an unfavorable and inaccurate article in the Jewish Chronicle.

EM: Was a police complaint or legal action filed against you?

MA: No police action has been taken against me, even though some of the hate emails claimed that I was being reported to the police for hate crimes and anti Semitism.

EM: Has your family faced discrimination in the UK? Is there is a double standard?

MA: Yes, my children have faced terrible discrimination. Some boys at his school threw my eldest son on the ground and tried to force feed him pork. He was called many horrible names including ‘terrorist.’ His school took no action against the boys who assaulted my son.

There is a clear double standard at the University of Essex. Two examples:

A Muslim Bangladeshi staff member was threatened by his immediate boss, a Latvian, who said any Muslim who came to his country would be murdered by him. He was reported but the University has done nothing in response to the threat.

A Muslim woman, a student, was harassed by her flatmate, a staff member of the University’s Law School. He told her: “your religion will make you bomb a building.” In front of a witness he said, “I can do whatever I want with you and I will not be punished for it.” She suffered death threats, physical abuse, and eventually left the school. A police lawsuit was shelved for lack of evidence despite a witness and a bruised arm. The University did not see that he breached any code of conduct, instead the University is doing everything to protect this staff member and have threatened a lawsuit if his name is revealed. More information can be found at this link: https://www.facebook.com/516992240/posts/10157873235557241?sfns=mo

The University of Essex that claims to have ‘zero tolerance to hate’ seems to apply that standard based upon who the victim is.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

US must show evidence if it wants to claim Russia breached nuke test treaty – Moscow

RT | June 14, 2019

If the United States accuses Russia of violating a crucial nuclear test treaty, there should be robust evidence backing up those claims, the Russian Foreign Ministry official has said.

Washington on Thursday “assessed that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons tests,” Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted. “This allegation was earlier disregarded by CTBTO Prepcom on the basis of data of international monitoring system. Interesting: 2 weeks ago US said ‘probably.’ Now it’s affirmative. Did the US get new evidence?,” he wrote.

Last month, Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr, the head of the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, claimed that the US believes Russia has “probably” restarted low-yield nuclear tests, in violation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Ashley alleged that Russia may be developing tactical nuclear weapons for use on conventional battlefields. However, he later softened the tone and said that Russia only “has the capability” to conduct a test with a low nuclear yield.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Backing Pompeo’s ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ incident is a massive anti-Iran online propaganda campaign

By Helen Buyniski | Helen of Destroy | June 14, 2019

Twitter has declared victory over disinformation, deplatforming thousands of pro-Iranian Twitter accounts this week to coincide with US Secretary of State “Rapture Mike” Pompeo’s evidence-free declaration that Iran had attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. But the mass deletion is merely an effort to distract from the implosion of two anti-Iran troll campaigns dedicated to smearing pro-peace Americans, both tacitly Twitter-approved. And there’s plenty more where those came from. As US media and politicians continues to hyperventilate about Russian bots, who’s the real troll-master?

Pompeo was out front with the blame hours after the attack, absent a shred of proof beyond unspecified “intelligence” and a few other dubious incidents in the Middle East that the US has previously pinned on Iran (also absent a shred of proof). But even mainstream media has initially been reluctant to take his word for it, mostly because the narrative is so improbable – Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe was in Tehran when it happened, promising to make the “utmost effort” to de-escalate tensions, when, as if on cue, one Japanese ship and another carrying Japanese cargo were hit? What are the odds?

When even CNN acknowledged that the attack “doesn’t appear to benefit any of the protagonists in the region,” and Bloomberg admitted “Iran has little to gain” from blowing up the ships of its esteemed guest, Pompeo clearly understood another route of influence was required. Who better to call in for reinforcements than Twitter, which has demonstrated time and again its willingness to serve the US’ preferred narrative with mass deplatformings? 4,779 accounts believed to be “associated or backed by Iran” were removed – less than an hour after Pompeo’s declaration of Iranian guilt – for nothing more than tweeting “global news content, often with an angle that benefited the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the Iranian state.” This was deemed “platform manipulation,” and therefore unacceptable.

One troll down, thousands more to go

Tweeting with an angle that benefits the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the American state, however, is perfectly acceptable – at least, it wasn’t Twitter that brought the “Iran Disinformation Project” crashing to a halt earlier this month. The State Department officially ended its @IranDisinfo influence operation after the social media initiative, ostensibly created to “counter Iranian propaganda,” went rogue, smearing any and all critics of Trump’s hawkish Iran policy as paid operatives of the Iranian government. Human rights activists, students, journalists, academics, even insufficiently-militant American propagandists at RFE/RL, Voice of America and other US-funded outlets were attacked by @IranDisinfo – all on the US taxpayer’s dime.

Congress only learned of the project in a closed-door hearing on Monday, when the State Department confessed the troll campaign had taken $1.5 million in taxpayers’ money to attack those same taxpayers – all in the name of promoting “freedom of expression and free access to information.” The group contracted to operate Iran Disinfo, E-Collaborative for Civic Education, is run by an Iranian immigrant and claims to focus on strengthening “civil society” and “democracy” back home, though its work is almost exclusively US-focused and its connections with pro-war think tanks like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies have alarmed congressional staffers.

“What rules are in place to prevent state-funded organization from smearing American citizens? If there wasn’t public outcry, would the Administration have suspended funding for Iran Disinfo?” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) tweeted after the mea culpa meeting. While the State Department was long barred from directing government-funded propaganda at its own citizens, that rule was quietly repealed in 2013 with the passage of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, which gave its narrative-spinners free reign to run influence operations at home. And while the Pentagon is technically forbidden from running psychological operations (“psy-ops”) against American citizens, that rule goes out the window in case of “domestic emergencies” – and the domestic emergency declared by then-President George W. Bush days after the September 11 terror attacks remains in effect, 18 years later.

Trump’s favorite anti-Iran troll

Nor was the State Department’s trolling operation the only anti-Iran psy-op to be unmasked in recent weeks. Heshmat Alavi, a virulently anti-Iranian columnist promoted by the Trump administration and published in Forbes, the Hill, and several other outlets, was exposed by the Intercept as a propaganda construct operated by the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a controversial Iranian exile group often called a cult that has only recently lobbied its way off the US’ terror list. The MEK is notorious for buying the endorsement of American political figures, and national security adviser John Bolton, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are among those who have spoken at its events.

The fictional Heshmat Alavi’s stories were used to sell Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal to the Washington Post and other more reputable outlets, as well as to promote the MEK as a “main Iranian opposition group” and viable option for post-regime-change leadership of Iran – even though it is very much fringe and hated by the majority of Iranians for fighting on the side of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Indeed, Alavi’s relentless advocacy for the MEK may have scared off a few of the sites that initially published his work – the Diplomat and the Daily Caller both quit publishing him in 2017, citing quality concerns.

None of the editors who’d published Alavi’s work had ever spoken to him or even paid him, and none could provide the Intercept with any evidence that he was not, in fact, “a persona run by a team of people from the political wing of the MEK.” Defectors confirmed that Alavi is a small part of a massive US-directed propaganda campaign.

“We were always active in making false news stories to spread to the foreign press and in Iran,” a Canadian MEK defector told the Intercept, describing a comprehensive online propaganda operation run out of the group’s former base in Iraq that sought to control the narrative about Iran on Facebook and Twitter. Alavi may be gone, his account quietly suspended by Twitter in the wake of the Intercept’s unmasking and his stories pulled from Forbes and the Diplomat, but there are more where he came from. The Intercept delivered Twitter all the evidence they needed to take down the MEK’s trolling network, a swamp of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” in which Alavi was a prominent node, but the social network sat on its hands.

Friends funding fiends

Add to this toxic US-approved stew the Israeli astroturf operation Act.IL, which in 2018 took $1.1 million from Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs to troll Americans critical of Israeli policies, including its hostility toward Iran. Initially founded to combat the Iran nuclear deal, the Ministry’s mission has pivoted to combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, for which it receives significant US funding (Israeli Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi admitted in 2012 that American taxpayers contribute more to the country’s defense budget than Israeli taxpayers). Act.IL boasts it has gotten Americans fired from their jobs, and the app encourages users to accuse American students and journalists who support BDS of antisemitism, mass-report their posts, and otherwise engage in what would be called “coordinated inauthentic behavior” if any other country did it.

Act.IL is by no means the only Israeli trolling campaign aimed at American eyeballs, either. Psy-Group, the Israeli private intelligence company that infamously pitched a social media influence operation to the Trump campaign, ran a multi-pronged online smear operation to influence a local election in California in 2017 and has pitched dozens more. The Israel on Campus Coalition attacks pro-Palestinian student activists and professors through coordinated social media campaigns, while The Israel Project operates a network of Facebook groups whose admitted purpose is to smuggle pro-Israeli propaganda into users’ newsfeeds by concealing it among bland inspirational messages.

Such clear-cut deception by state-sponsored actors is a blatant violation of Facebook’s policies as they’ve been applied to other users, but the site claims the Israeli groups are kosher. Yet of the pro-Iran accounts deleted by Twitter, one “set” included 248 accounts “engaged with discussions related to Israel specifically” – these were shut down for nothing more than their country of origin, even as inauthentic accounts run by Israel were given carte-blanche to spew propaganda. Twitter and Facebook don’t mind being weaponized in the propaganda wars, as long as they’re working for the “right” side.

As 21st century wars are fought more and more in the informational sphere, the brightly-colored propaganda posters of the previous century have been replaced with relatively sophisticated social media influence operations. What Pompeo can’t accomplish by lying to the American public, the State Department will attempt to achieve through the slow and steady drip of disinformation.

US politicians, meanwhile, remain so fixated on the “Russian trolls stole the election!” narrative they’ve been flogging for the last three years that the Senate last week unanimously passed a bill to restrict entry to any foreign national convicted of “election meddling,” a toothless piece of legislative virtue-signaling that reveals their utter disconnection from reality. It’s more than a little ironic that they’d embrace and even pay for foreign meddling as long as they believe the trolls are working for them.

As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” Or a troll.

[originally published in abbreviated form at RT]

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Munk School of Global Affairs feeds anti-Iran propaganda

Fifth-Anniversary-Of-The-Munk-School-Of-Global-Affairs@2x

By Yves Engler · June 12, 2019

Sometimes, when you pay attention, it is easy to see how foreign policy propaganda works. Take the case of Iran.

Recently the US has choked off Iranian oil exports, listed its military a terrorist organization and dispatched an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to its environs to stop Iran’s “aggression”. Going along with Donald Trump’s warlike actions and rhetoric, Justin Trudeau’s government has broken a promise to restart diplomatic relations, failed to withdraw Iran from Canada’s list of state sponsors of terrorism and recently accused Tehran of destabilizing the region.

This is the context in which the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Citizen Lab released a recent report criticizing Iran. According to Citizen Lab, an Iran-aligned group dubbed Endless Mayfly impersonated major media sites, used fake Twitter accounts to spread false articles and targeted journalists with fake stories. Its report noted, “initial reporting on some of the inauthentic articles speculated that Endless Mayfly may have links to Russia; however, based on the evidence gathered from our investigation we conclude with moderate confidence that Endless Mayfly is Iran-aligned and has been operational since at least early 2016.”

The University of Toronto based lab’s accusations were picked up by dozens of media outlets around the world. A New York Times headline read: “Report Shows How a Pro-Iran Group Spread Fake News Online” while the Globe and Mail noted “New Citizen Lab report suggests Iran spreads fake news.”

But, the report’s concluding section titled “Narratives fit Iranian interests, propaganda” isn’t convincing. One reason it claims Iran was responsible for the initiative is that “framing Saudi Arabia as a creator and supporter of global Islamist terrorism is also a very common theme in Endless Mayfly content and is consistent with recent rhetoric from Iran’s top-ranking officials.” But, Iranian officials certainly aren’t the only ones who claim Saudi Arabia contributes significantly to Islamic terror.

While the media mostly covered Citizen Lab’s claims uncritically, its positions on Iran should be viewed with significant skepticism. This ‘lab’ has produced a stream of reports critical of Iran and, in fact, is part of a government funded effort to destabilize that country. In March Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert co-authored “Censors Get Smart: Evidence from Psiphon in Iran.” Previously, Citizen Lab published “Group 5: Syria and the Iran Connection”, which described a malware operation targeting Syrian opposition figures that purportedly came from Iran. The Lab published After the Green Movement: Internet Controls in Iran, 2009-2012 and in 2015 they detailed hacking of Iranian dissidents. While Citizen Lab carefully avoided naming a culprit, their press release hyped the matter and a number of media reports implied Iranian authorities were responsible.

Deibert is a regular at anti-Iranian events. He spoke at a Toronto International Film Festival screening of a movie about the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran and a 2012 Walrus article described a “network of local Farsi speakers linked to Deibert and Psiphon.”

With early financial support from the Ford Foundation, Donner Canadian Foundation and Open Society Institute, Citizen Lab developed software to bypass government censors. It worked with Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Farda in Iran to disseminate its Psiphon technology to Iranian dissidents. A 2018 Vice story titled “This App Is Helping Iranians Beat Tehran’s Internet Censorship” described Psiphon’s growth in Iran. It noted, “the lab, and the school, has spent years devising various ways to improve civic engagement in Iran, especially online, with some financial support from the Canadian government.”

The Munk School of Global Affairs joined the Stephen Harper Conservatives’ low-level war against Iran. After severing diplomatic ties and designating Iran a state sponsor of terrorism in 2012, Foreign Affairs ploughed $250,000 into the Munk School’s Global Dialogue on the Future of Iran. The aim of the initiative was to foment opposition to the regime and help connect dissidents inside and outside Iran. Employing cutting-edge Internet strategies, the Iran Dialogue was launched at a two-day conference kicked off by foreign minister John Baird. Some Iranian Canadians criticized the 2013 Global Dialogue on Iran. In a letter to Munk School head Janice Stein, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Hebrew University “in tribute to her unwavering devotion to Israel”, the president of the Iranian Canadian Community Council Niaz Salimi wrote: “Conspicuously absent from the event were experts, academics, political activists, students, bloggers, journalists and members of the Iranian diaspora (including those of the Iranian-Canadian community) whose views on Iran do not fully concur with the positions of the Harper government.”

The Munk School has been a hub of anti-Iranian activity. A senior research fellow until recently, Mark Dubowitz was dubbed “The Man Who Fights Iran” by Ynet, Israel’s largest English language news site. Alongside his position at the Munk School, Dubowitz was executive director of the extremist pro-Israel Foundation for Defense of Democracies where he led its campaign against the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal. In 2011 Dubowitz said, “the best way [to end Iran’s nuclear program] is to work toward changing the regime.”

Expanding the Global Dialogue on the Future of Iran, Foreign Affairs gave the Munk School $9 million in 2015 to establish the Digital Public Square project. The federal support “will enable the Munk School to create our new Digital Public Square, a square designed for citizens who cannot come together physically to exchange ideas about the future of their country,” Munk School head Janice Stein said. The countries cited were Iran, Syria, Iraq and Russia. There was no mention of employing digital technologies to undermine online censorship in equally, or more, repressive allies such as Rwanda, Jordan, Honduras or Saudi Arabia.

This is one-way Canadian propaganda works: Establish who your enemies are — generally defined by big corporations, rich people and whoever is in power in Washington — attempt to destabilize their “regimes”, then accuse their governments of interfering in your affairs.

Citizen Lab’s recent report criticizing Iran is part of a government funded effort to demonize that country, which could be a step towards a military assault.

June 12, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment