News Commentary – February 21, 2011
As widespread popular protests swept the Middle East observers have watched Iran this past week to see if discontent would spill over there too.
The corporate media has certainly been working hard to drum up expectatations, even if it wasn’t actually happening on the ground.
Just over a week ago London’s Financial Times reported demonstrations in Tehran attended by “hundreds of thousands” of protestors, or so it claimed.
It sounded impressive enough except that the Financial Times didn’t povide any photgraphic coverage to support those claims.
Moreover, the only photographic reports on demonstrations in Tehran at that time showed no more than a few hundred protestors, not the “vast numbers” the FT had claimed.
Still, what the FT report lacked in substansive evidence it made up for with confident hyperbole. Claiming that the protest “crowd – whose size far exceeded the predictions of most analysts – assembled despite threats by the Revolutionary Guard.”
Again, there was no photographic evidence to back those claims and the witnesses quoted remained unnamed.
Unlike the recent crackdowns in Bahrain and Libya, where despite stringent restrictions hard proof had been provided – with cell phone videos, named eyewitnesses and accounts from doctors who were treating the injured on the ground – the FT report could easily have been concocted by a journalist with little more than an active imagination.
However a week after the FT “story”, similar reports appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
“For a second time in a week, Iran’s opposition drew tens of thousands of supporters to the streets across the nation on Sunday calling for the end to the Islamic Republic’s rule”, the WSJ reported. But as with the Financial Times the week before, the WSJ carried little else to substantiate those claims.
No photographs, no video links, no links of any kind and the only first hand accounts came from unnamed “eyewitnesses”. And these could just as easily have come from intelligence operatives with their own agenda to fulfil.
Remember, we’ve been down this path before with Iraq and Saddam Hussein and his fabled ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’. It’s a familiar routine with the same unnamed sources, the same lack of evidence and the same unspoken, implied suggestions.
I’ve just seen a BBC report from Bahrain, which illustrates this perfectly; with Caroline Hawley reporting on the unrest sweeping the Middle East, where she said: “we’ve just heard similar reports from Tehran”.
She made no attempt to question the veracity of the report from Tehran or whether she was just repeating disinformation. Instead, she just lumped it together with other reports of protests in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.
Reports on unrest at these locations have been confirmed. So by reporting Iran together with them confirmation is implied, if only by association.
Intelligence chiefs must love the likes of Caroline Hawley. Even if they don’t pay her she does their dirty work for them, under the guise of “balanced journalism”.
Meanwhile Voice of America reported the latest protests in Tehran. Quoting “opposition websites”, the VOA said, “protests were under way in a number of squares and streets in Tehran”.
Again, no direct links were provided and all the eyewitnesses quoted remained unnamed.
Not to be left out the FT also reported on the latest protests in Iran:
“Eyewitnesses” said the FT, “could not estimate the number of protesters because they were scattered across the capital city.”
Again the FT doesn’t name its “eyewitnesses”, although this time around it’s a little more cautious in estimating the numbers involved.
So maybe “100,000” were not involved but maybe more like one thousand?
While we have no doubt that there have been some protests against the regime in Iran, they are as nothing compared to the unrest elsewhere in the Middle East, such as Libya where more than 200 are estimated to have died in less than a week.
More significantly however, we suspect the involvement of covert agencies – the CIA, Mossad and British Intelligence – in fomenting dissent in Iran and trying through their media lackeys to exploit it for their own purposes.
Finally, the authorities in Iran say Tehran saw no anti-government rallies on Sunday.
We reserve judgement on that. The protests may have simply been nipped in the bud through a combination of strong police presence and lack of support.
However, the really interesting thing is that police say they arrested two people: one for carrying a petrol bomb, the other for carrying a pistol and a silencer.
Now, a petrol bomb is exactly the sort of thing to take to a riot, but a pistol with a silencer? That sounds more like the tools in trade carried by MI5 or Mossad or those in their pay.
The above video is of alleged ‘anti-government protests’ in Tehran on Sunday. Note that those involved are dressed in Western style clothing: in other words they are Western orientated, probably middle-class, urban and very much a minority in Iran.