November 12, 2011 · 0 Comments
By Michael McGehee:
As soon as the New York Times (NYT) learned of a recent U.N. report suggesting Iran may have resumed a nuclear weapons program, that was believed to be canceled in 2003, the “paper of record” performed its usual service to the Empire, and began villifying the country in not one, not two, and not three, but four articles . . . and all on the same day.
Throughout all the articles is the implication that it is an unacceptable threat that Iran has a nuclear weapon; that it bolsters the need for action, and undermines Iran’s claims that their program is for peaceful purposes only. But why single out Iran? Why not all nuclear powers? The New York Times never isolates, say, Israel or the U.S. and sustains coverage of the threat of their nuclear arsenal. In fact, only one of the articles— David E. Sanger’s and William J. Broad’s “U.N. Agency Says Iran Data Points to A-Bomb Work“—even mentions their nukes, and even that was two isolated comments; one referring to the recent U.N. report, and the other to a comment from Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.
The answer to the questions of “why” is simple: the mass media is not currently implemented to be a watchdog for the general public, or to provide the general public with information in order to get a clear picture of the world. Rather, it is currently constructed to be an instrument of propaganda power by “manufacturing consent.”
Which explains why the NYT spends more time taking the report at face value than not. While it is true that in the article “Report on Nuclear Efforts Draws a Muted Response From the White House” we are told by Russia’s foreign minister that,
It is important to determine whether some new, reliable evidence to strengthen suspicions of a military element in Iran’s nuclear program has really appeared, or whether we are talking about an intentional — and counterproductive — whipping up of emotions.
—there is not one mention, and this goes for all four articles, of Iran’s response to the report being that it is “a repetition of old claims which were proven baseless by Iran in a precise 117-page response” from a few years ago.
A sensible person might think that such a rebuttal to the report is newsworthy for “all the news fit to print,” but apparently that is not the case.
The confidential “response” does exist, and has been reported on widely in the foreign press since Iran delivered the response—just not at the New York Times, ever. And according to a document published on the IAEA’s website:
Iran provided written replies on 14 and 23 May 2008, the former of which included a 117-page presentation responding to the allegations concerning the green salt project, high explosives testing and the missile re-entry vehicle project [...] Iran reiterated its assertion that the allegations were based on “forged” documents and “fabricated” data.
The closest the NYT gets to referring to the 117-page response is in an article by Robert Worth, which has a suggestive headline that accepts the IAEA report as the gospel truth: “Report Undercuts Iran’s Defense on Nuclear Effort.” In it we are told that “Iranian officials began reacting to the long-awaited report even before it came out, suggesting earlier this week that it was a politicized document intended to bolster the case for an Israeli military strike on Iran,” and that, “After the report was released, Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, published a more detailed rebuttal” which the NYT dismissed as bizarre. It is in this rebuttal where we read of the 117-page document that the NYT doesn’t refer to at all.
Three of the four NYT articles also fail to remind their readers that the new IAEA Director, Yukiya Amano, has politicized the agency, and is “solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program,” as was revealed byWikileaks last year. The article by Worth doesn’t quote the leaked cable, and seems to play it down by saying:
IRNA referred to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010 in which Mr. Amano appeared to say that his position on Iran’s nuclear program was not substantially different from the American administration.” [emphasis added]
The cable doesn’t say “appear” or that his position “was not substantially different,” but rather that he is “solidly in the U.S. court.” Despite misrepresenting what the cable says, Worth atleast references it.
And there are other things that the NYT doesn’t mention, or at least explore.
A 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) said that Iran had a nuclear weapons program but dismantled it in 2003. Former President George W. Bush said the report tied his hands on military action against Iran. Also, in 2003 Iran offered the U.S. and Israel peace. As reported by Gareth Porter, two months after the U.S. invaded Iraq, Iran had a Swiss ambassador deliver a peace proposal to the Bush administration, which consisted of entering full peace relations with the U.S. and Israel, ending all aid to Hamas and Hizballah, and turning over its entire nuclear program to the IAEA in exchange for some reasonable concessions. The offer was rejected and the ambassador censured.
That Iran stopped their weapons program and made such an offer could strongly be read as the offer being serious. But considering it was well known that Iraq’s WMD’s were a figment of the imaginations of men in Washington, and that Iraq was attacked anyway; and considering that North Korea, who was also a part of the “axis of evil,” along with Iran and Iraq, came out in late 2002 with their nuclear weapon, and was not attacked; and considering Iran’s peace offer was rebuffed, it would be entirely understandable for Iran to seek nuclear weapons . . . to deter the U.S. and Israel.
In fact, in the NYT articles are several mentions of how, “The findings [...] have already rekindled a debate among the Western allies and Israel about whether increased diplomatic pressure, sanctions, sabotage or military action could stop Iran’s program,” (Sanger and Broad) or, according to Isabel Kershner’s “Israeli Minister Stresses Military Readiness,” about the “the openly discussed possibility of an Israeli pre-emptive strike” on Iran. “Israel would not be afraid to act to prevent a nuclear threat from Iran.” It is not Iran talking about a first strike, but the U.S. and Israel, yet the article refers to a “threat from Iran”! Even an Israeli politician, Ehud Barak, says that Israel is “the strongest country in the region.” No doubt. It is that imbalance in military strength, and the historical record of aggression in the region by not only Israel, but the U.S., that is a cause for alarm for Iran. And when you add in the fact that a number of Iran’s top scientists have been assassinated lately, it only gets worse.
For years the U.S. has been trumpeting the threat of Iran’s nuclear programs. Iran is always on the brink of having nuclear weapons. The U.S. used to constantly say Iran was only five years away, and nearly two decades later we are still hearing the same claim.
And that’s part of what makes it so difficult to get the general public to understand. Our perception of the world, and especially ourselves, is a distorted image presented by the mass media. What we see is leaders talking about defending us from foreign threats, and about democracy, justice, human rights, freedom, and liberty. But what we don’t see is that ever since the end of World War Two the U.S. has been in constant war with the world. In their book The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism: The Political Economy of Human Rights: Volume 1, authors Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman note that,
The old colonial world was shattered during World War II, and the resultant nationalist radical upsurge threatened traditional Western hegemony and the economic interests of Western business. To contain this threat the United States has aligned itself with elite and military elements in the Third World whose function has been to contain the tides of change.
And not just in military terms, but even in diplomatic terms where the U.S. is regularly obstructing Security Council and General Assembly votes (especially on the subject of nuclear disarmament—see here and here for an example).
A look at military operations shows the U.S. almost always in opposition against national independence, and in favor of what amounts to re-colonization. We account for 5% of the world’s population yet we account for more than 50% of the world’s expenditures on “security,” and we have around 1,000 bases in more than 100 countries, and a massive naval fleet that is prowling the world’s oceans and seas 24/7 with nuclear-armed vessels. And everywhere we go, our military presence remains—whether on land, or by sea. Sixty-six years after the end of World War Two the U.S. retains a military presence in Japan and Germany. The leaders of Iran surely understand this, and feel threatened by U.S. military bases in Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kyrgyzstan.
Furthermore, since the end of World War Two more than twenty million people have been killed in war, and again, the U.S. government has played a leading role behind the vast majority of conflcts, either directly or indirectly. A 1996 report from Amnesty International, noted that, “Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or ‘disappeared,’ at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.”
Nearly five million soldiers and civilians were killed in the Korean War—a war so destructive that, according to Lt Col Thomas E. Griffith, Jr. in his article “Air Pressure: Stragegy for the New World Order,” we learn how the U.S. aerial assault in the war “included attacks on irrigation dams in North Korea, [which] may have contributed to the armistice because of the rising economic devastation these attacks caused in North Korea.” Read between the lines: the U.S. destroyed civilian targets necessary for sustaining life in a barbarous act of collective punishment. And this is presented as a “strategy for the New World Order.”
More than three million people died in Indochina (i.e. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) in a murderous campaign by the U.S. to rollback national liberation, where the victims still suffer from the use of Agent Orange, and land mines left behind by the U.S.
More than three million have died in Iraq since the CIA brought the Ba’ath Party to power—from the “Kurdish thing” (i.e. ethnic cleansing) that was discussed in a 1975 State Department meeting (of which Paul Bremer was present) where we learn how Saddam Hussein was “a remarkable” and “ruthless” person who they they saw “playing more of a role in the area,” and which Henry Kissinger said “was to be expected,” to the Iran-Iraq War, to the Persian Gulf War, to the Sanctions Regime that killed more than half a million people and which former Secretary of State Madeline Albright said “was worth it,” to the almost daily bombing that occured inbetween the 1991 war and before the Iraq War of 2003 that killed more than one million people and displaced millions more.
More than seven million have died in the genocidal Rwandan and Congo wars that are part and parecel of the U.S. empire. In October of 1990 the U.S. supported, armed and trained the dictatorship in Uganda and Paul Kagame’s terrorist army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), in their efforts to overthrow the Rwandan government, and basically recolonize the country. We didn’t do or say a thing to stop them—and to understand the significance you have to keep in mind that less than two months prio was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait where we turned on him and on the same day had the U.N condemn the invasion—and didn’t intervene until a couple of years later with the Arusha Accords which were used to legitimize the RPF and buy them more time to finalize the regime change, which came in April of 1994 with the assassination of Rwanda’s president, and the genocidal carnage that followed. And then we supported their even more gruesome genocidal invasion of the Congo, while holding a kangaroo tribunal for the former Rwandan government. And the rest is, as they say, history.
The above is just a tiny sample of the horrendous crimes that were perpetrated all over the globe following the end of World War Two. It says nothing about the U.S. support of apartheid in South Africa, or what Roger Waters called the devastation brought to the Western Hemisphere by “a group of anonymous latin-American Meat packing glitterati.” I.e., U.S.-backed military dictatorships and their escuadrónes de la muerte. In his book Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Super Power, author William Blum, made a chapter out of more than seventy invasions from 1945 to 1999. The twelve preceeding years have added considerably to the list, with the latest being in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, and Uganda.
It is the unwillingness of the New York Times—and other for-profit corporations in the mass media with close ties to the Western establishment—to accurately inform us in the public about what is really happening in the world, and the role our government plays in global affairs, that explains the nightmares we endure. So long as we are clueless about our own history and behavior around the world, and so long as we don’t understand Iran’s concern of the “U.S.’s hostile behavior,” or recognize “Iran’s legitimate security interests in the region according to defense capacity,” or their desire for “mutual respect” (2003 peace offer) then we are simply unable to translate the NYT’s gobbledygook and will continue seeing the world through a red, white and blue lens that is a complete fabrication of the world we really live in.
In summary, there are good reasons to suspect the IAEA report is a politicized document being used to push for either harsher sanctions on Iran, or to make War. But that the report has a high likelyhood of being a part of a nefarious plot of imperial aggression aimed at destabilizing, or overthrowing the Iranian government, and is not even given a fair hearing in one of the biggest, and, supposedly, most reputable newspapers in the country, says a lot about the integrity and role of our mass media.