12 January 2006
Iran’s relations with its erstwhile partners in Europe seem to be hurtling downhill like a snowball out of control.– Bridget Kendall, BBC diplomatic correspondent, 27 October 2005
No prizes awarded for what inspired this classic piece of state propaganda but it speaks reams about the relationship between the state and the corporate media. After all, what is it based on? Nothing more than the US and UK’s assertion concerning Iran’s ‘intentions’, in other words, Ms. Kendall’s words are essentially the propaganda equivalent of a pre-emptive strike. So too, with the ‘liberal’ Guardian whose Mary Riddell tells us:
This week, barring a last-minute climbdown, Iran may get back to building a nuclear bomb. It is a small moment, and a big one. Small because the threat has lingered for years; big because the consequences could convulse the region and the world. If Iran ends its 30-month freeze on uranium tests, the long diplomatic mission by the West will be in ruins. – ‘Bullying Iran not an option’, Mary Riddell, Guardian, Friday January 13, 2006
“May get back to building” one? “Threat lingered for years?” What is this based on? Nothing, that’s what. There is absolutely no proof that Iran was ever trying to build a nuclear weapon in the first place. It’s all one, big assumption. Elsewhere in the Guardian we find the predictable slew of headlines of which these are typical:
Outcry at Iran’s resumption of nuclear research
Guardian Unlimited, Tuesday January 10 2006
The Iranian nuclear spectre
Guardian Unlimited, Tuesday January 10 2006
Tom Harper and Mohammed Bazazi
Iran’s breach of its nuclear research moratorium will top the agenda when Britain, France and Germany meet tomorrow, with Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, signalling a referral to the UN security council and possible sanctions.
What is important about this coverage is the use of the term “breach” as the “moratorium” was actually a self-imposed one. There is no UN resolution which instructs Iran to halt its nuclear research, it was something that Iran did in order to try and open some kind of dialogue with the Western powers. The same article quotes Jack Straw:
Referring to Iran’s decision, he said: “It would destabilise the whole of the region and, in doing so, threaten international peace and security as a whole.”
But who is actually threatening international peace here, with threats of sanctions and worse?
Iran risks international confrontation by restarting nuclear fuel operations
Guardian, Wednesday January 11 2006, Ian Traynor and Patrick Wintour
But who is making the outcry? Why it’s that elusive thing called the ‘international community’ which consists largely of the US and the UK. And who is gung ho for a confrontation? Again, no prizes awarded for figuring this one out.
I never thought I’d see the day when I wanted any country to get hold of nuclear weapons, but the latest round of sabre-rattling by Bush/Blair/Straw et al over Iran’s alleged programme to develop nukes makes you wish they actually had the damn things already.
It seems—as was the case with the former Soviet Union—that the only thing these mad dogs and Englishmen really appreciate is a dose of their own medicine, but at what cost? It bankrupted the Soviets and poisoned the land and its people.
Meanwhile, the US are developing so-called battlefield nuclear weapons, in other words, preparing to actually use the damn things in so-called conventional wars. Where are the cries of outrage from the mainstream media and talk of hauling the US before the UN?
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, has said that the world is “running out of patience with Iran”. But he said that in December as well.
The German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was more pointed and said: “This marks a breach of Tehran’s commitments. It cannot remain without consequence. We have had over the past weekend two very, very ominous signals from the Iranian government.” news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4596098.stm
Do the mad dogs actually intend to invade/bomb Iran or is it part of the general ‘softening up’ process needed to get us into the ‘swing of things’, in other words to get us to accept a state of perpetual war preparedness by creating a never-ending supply of demons with which to terrorise us into submission? It matters little which country it is, but we can be assured that there will always be one that will fit the stereotype supplied conveniently by the corporate press.
I lean toward the latter if only because the mad dogs have already bitten off more than they can chew (never mind swallow). History is on my side when it comes to the devious nature of the ruling classes of the US and the UK. Creating enemies has a long pedigree and given the demonisation that has gone on concerning ‘Islamic extremists’ and the like, it’s just a case of pushing the right buttons.
Of course, the ruling class of Iran, like ruling classes everywhere, when domestic policies fail as they have done in Iran, need a diversion and what better than the ‘evil infidel’, not that this stopped them from ‘trading with the enemy’ as they did when Ronald Reagan sold them weapons via Israel (remember Iran-Contra and the ‘October Surprise’?
But Iran’s domestic politics are not the issue here, the central issue is the role played by Iran in the imperium’s plans. Regardless that the pirates really screwed up over Iraq (it’s not the first time, nor will it be the last, remember the Bay of Pigs?), it would be self-delusion to think that they don’t have a plan, there is just too much at stake. But for the plan—no matter how half-arsed—to even stand a chance of working, it requires the acceptance by our domestic populations (or at the very least, our acquiessence), hence the latest ‘news’ about Iran’s “nuclear ambitions” has now escalated to that of a “crisis” according to BBC Radio 4 news this am (12/1/06).
Without continuous ‘threats’ of one kind or another, how are they able to justify their onslaught? It matters little whether they invade today or next year, the important thing is to keep the planet on the boil. So, conveniently and ‘right on time’, from an unnamed source of course, a ‘secret’ report gets leaked to the media:
Iran is secretly trying to obtain technology and expertise needed to build a nuclear weapon, according to a leaked intelligence report that threatens to deepen a rift with the West over its nuclear programme.
Secret services say Iran is trying to assemble a nuclear missile
The Guardian, Wed Jan 4, 2006 www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/story/0,,1677540,00.html
The report, which echoes Blair’s September 2002 ‘dossier’, cites no actual sources, no actual proof, it is, like everything else about Iran’s alleged desire to build nuclear weapons an unfounded assertion. It says in part (and as we are not given access to the report, we have only the Guardian’s interpretation to work with):
But it is the detailed assessment of Iran’s nuclear purchasing programme that will most most alarm western leaders, who have long refused to believe Tehran’s insistence that it is not interested in developing nuclear weapons and is trying only to develop nuclear power for electricity. Governments in the west and elsewhere have also been dismayed by recent pronouncements from the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has said that Holocaust denial is a “scientific debate” and that Israel should be “wiped off the map”.
But one searches in vain throughout the Guardian’s story for any kind of “detailed assessment” beyond the vague:
The document lists scores of Iranian companies and institutions involved in the arms race. It also details Tehran’s growing determination to perfect a ballistic missile capable of delivering warheads far beyond its borders.
Arms race? With whom is it in a race? The bulk of the report seems to concern Iran’s desire to build missiles but how it makes a connection between this objective and building nuclear bombs is entirely missing.
But most telling in the Guardian story is the following comment:
The leak of the intelligence report may signal a growing frustration at Iran’s refusal to bow to western demands that it abandon its programme to produce fuel for a Russian-built nuclear reactor due to come on stream this year.
In other words, the ‘report’ is a deliberate piece of propaganda designed to fuel the hysteria around Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions. If there was anything more to the ‘report’ than yet another miserable piece of scare-mongering, you can be assured that it would have gotten blanket coverage. Thus Tony Blair had this to say on 11 January 2006, just in case we haven’t gotten the message:
Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, [he] described the current situation as “very serious indeed”.
“I don’t think there is any point in us hiding our deep dismay at what Iran has decided to do,” he said.
“When taken in conjunction with their other comments about the state of Israel they cause real and serious alarm right across the world.”
Earlier, Blair told a meeting of EU ministers:
“Can you imagine a state like that with an attitude like that having a nuclear weapon?” he asked rhetorically.
A comment he should surely address to Israel which already has nuclear weapons. The double-standard harks back to my comments in my previous article about the way the media refers to Sharon’s murderous past. All debate about Israel and its role in the Middle East and especially its continued calls for a strike on Iran, are entirely missing.