Trafficking Anti-Iranian Propaganda
by Stephen Lendman
American media scoundrels honed it to an art form. Britain’s BBC and commercial media regularly feature it. So does a newly licensed anti-Iranian TV channel. More on Raha TV below.
On US and UK television, truth is verboten. Last January, Britain banned Press TV broadcasts. In a disturbing move without valid reasons, the British Office of Communications (Ofcom) pulled the plug disgracefully.
For months it threatened to do so. In January, Press TV was removed from the Sky Platform. High UK officials approved it. Prime Minister David Cameron perhaps had final say.
In October, EU nations followed suit and then some. They lawlessly blocked 19 Iranian television and radio stations. European satellite provider Eutelsat sold its soul. It went along. It agreed to silence them across Europe. Doing so violated its own charter.
Banishing Iranian broadcasters is clear irresponsible censorship. Doing so suppressed truth. European television viewers were deprived of real news, information, commentary and analysis.
Fortunately, they have other options. They can still follow Press TV easily online 24-hours a day.
UK viewers have more propaganda polluting their airwaves. On October 25, Russia Today (rt.com) headlined “EU hypocrisy? Anti-Tehran channel launches in London amid ban on Iranian state TV,” saying:
Britain’s latest propaganda channel “comes just over a week after 19 state-run Iranian TV and radio stations were banned in the EU.”
Raha’s founder, Amir Hossein Jahanshahi, is an Iran expat billionaire businessman. He’s a venture capitalist and property developer. He accumulated much of his wealth in Spain and France. He likely got it the old-fashioned way. Behind every fortune is a great crime.
About a decade ago, he became politically active. His father was Shah Reza Pahlavi’s finance minister.
He told RT he wants to “decapitate the current regime.” UK authorities granted him public airwaves space to spread anti-Iranian hate across Britain. Eutelsat carries him on satellite to pollute all 27-member EU states.
He founded Iran’s so-called “Green Movement.” Following Iran’s June 2009 elections, protests and clashes erupted. Washington very likely was involved. So was Jahanshahi. He’s pro-Western. He wants Iran’s government toppled for his own self-interest. Tehran accused him of sedition.
He claims he’s financing Raha entirely on his own. Perhaps he can do it, but don’t bet UK and other Western interests aren’t involved.
Raha will be commercial free, he says. It’ll be all propaganda, all the time. He wants it to pose “a major challenge to the Iranian government.”
Former Iranian deputy minister for Islamic Orientation, Ali Asghar Ramezanpoor, was recruited to manage Raha. Earlier he worked for BBC Persian Television. He honed his propaganda skills there.
Other involved anti-Iranian expats include Medrdad Khonsari. He also served under the Shah. Journalist Reza Nurizadeh is a militant regime opponent.
Jahanshahi claims he’ll provide viewers with “news and analysis they can trust.” Isn’t that what all propagandists say?
RT said launching an anti-Iranian channel in Britain after banishing Press TV and 18 other state broadcasters “brought calls of British hypocrisy.”
Author/journalist Afshin Rattansi said UK authorities are “glad to welcome a propaganda channel run by the one percentage, while no one in Iran – even those who oppose Ahmadinejad” will support Raha.
After banishing 19 Iranian broadcasters, Eutelsat disgracefully added Raha to its satellite lineup. So much for truth and full disclosure. Only EU-approved propaganda is welcome. Other broadcasters need not apply.
On October 26, Press TV headlined “Raha TV aired in London a ‘Western tool’ to divide Iran,” saying:
“The global media war on Iran has been raging ever since the revolution succeeded in 1979.”
“Persian media outlets in the West, such as BBC Persia and Voice of America, have led an anti-Iran agenda. And now, it’s the turn of Raha TV, a new Anti-Iran channel which began broadcasting from London on Thursday.”
On Israeli TV, Jahanshahi said “victory over Palestine” is assured if the Islamic Republic falls. He endorses sanctions and other ways to topple it.
Most Iranians oppose what he stands for. Press TV asked, “How much funding (does) Raha” get from Washington, Britain and Israel? Bet on plenty perhaps to keep it operating and widely disseminated.
So far, propaganda wars substitute for hot ones. For how long is at issue. Disturbing events suggest something may be brewing not yet official. In days, US elections will be held. All bets are off on what follows. Anything could happen anytime.
Washington has menacing regional military forces. Israel is ready to go to war jointly with America. Britain perhaps is less eager, or maybe timing is on Downing Street’s mind, not policy.
On October 25, the London Guardian headlined “Britain rejects US request to use UK bases in nuclear standoff with Iran,” saying:
UK authorities said “secret legal advice….states that any preemptive strike on Iran could be in breach of international law.”
Inviolable international law isn’t secret. Attacking any nonbelligerent state is naked aggression. Doing it is standard US policy. Britain usually rides shotgun. So why not now?
US “diplomats….also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyrus, and for permission to fly from US bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories.”
So far, UK officials reacted cooly. Iran poses no “clear and present threat,” they said. At the same time, Britain’s Royal Navy has a substantial regional presence. UK and Pentagon officials confer often on military strategy.
A Downing Street spokesperson said Britain and America are involved in “contingency planning. (W)e have in the past cooperated on the use of UK bases.”
However, the Cameron “government does not believe that military action against Iran is the right option at this time, but we are not taking any option off the table.”
The Guardian suggested that Downing Street perhaps is willing to go along once conflicts erupts, but prefers not participating in America’s buildup.
A Foreign Office spokesman said:
“As we continue to make clear, the government does not believe military action against Iran is the right course of action at this time, although no option is off the table.”
“We believe that the twin-track approach of pressure through sanctions, which are having an impact, and engagement with Iran is the best way to resolve the nuclear issue.”
“We are not going to speculate about scenarios in which military action would be legal. That would depend on the circumstances at the time.”
An unnamed State Department official added:
“The US and the UK coordinate on all kinds of subjects all the time, on a huge range of issues. We never speak on the record about these types of conversations.”
Former US national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski expressed deep concerns about possible war on Iran and Syria. The idea that Washington can impose “a new order in the Middle East – through the forceful export of ‘democracy’ to both Syria and Iran – is dangerous daydreaming.”
Catastrophic consequences are more likely, he believes. “In this flammable setting, an American intervention in Syria or a military strike against Iran either by Israel or the US would be likely to set off a region-wide explosion.”
Others in America, Europe and Israel share his view. Full-scale war on Syria and/or Iran is madness. At the same time, don’t bet against it not happening.
Winston Churchill once said, ‘We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”
In this case, it would be shutting the barn door after horses inside bolted. Once milk is spilled it’s too late. Prevention counts most. Don’t bet on it.
America’s permanent war agenda demands ravaging one country after another. Syria and Iran top Washington queue. Post-election, anything is possible. Bet on war, not peace.
A Final Comment
Ahead of the four-day Eid al-Adha period, Assad agreed to suspend military operations. Russia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the move. Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich called it an important step toward halting violence altogether.
At the same time, he condemned the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nasra’s refusal to go along. They’re responsible for numerous bloody attacks.
Iran also expressed appreciation for Assad’s good intentions. Its Foreign Ministry said it’s ready to help reach a solution to the conflict. Doing so, of course, is very much in Tehran’s interest.
If Damascus falls, the Islamic Republic loses its most important regional ally. It makes war on Iran more likely.
It didn’t take long for Western-backed mercenaries to launch attacks. Ceasefire isn’t in their vocabulary. On October 26, the London Guardian headlined “Syria car bomb breaks Eid al-Adha ceasefire,” saying:
Late Friday, a car bomb exploded near a Damascus mosque. Militants use them often. “This bomb hit Daff al-Shouk square, where families were celebrating Eid, on the southern outskirts of the capital.”
So-called Local Coordinating Committees reported numerous other breaches and dozens of deaths.
On October 26, Global Reseach headlined “Syria: US-NATO Sponsored Rebels break Cease Fire,” saying:
“Reported this morning, the cease-fire was broken by the NATO sponsored rebels.”
“Terrorist acts directed against military posts were conducted throughout the country on Friday.”
Anti-Assad forces had no intention of halting violence even after agreeing to do so.
“These attacks were carefully planned and coordinated.”
“The Free Syrian Army rebels are in permanent liaison with NATO. The breaking of the cease-fire was deliberately broken by the Western military alliance.”
At issue is wrongfully blaming breaches on Assad. It’s happened repeatedly throughout the conflict. Blame game rules work that way. In lockstep, media scoundrels dutifully regurgitate state propaganda.
Expect Reuters‘ October 27 report to circulate globally. It headlined “Syria bombards major cities, weakening truce: activists.”
“Activists” is code deception for pro-Western elements. They say whatever Washington wants repeated for whatever benefits they derive.
Responding defensively to militant attacks draws spurious headlines like this one. Voice of Russia reported accurately headlining “Syrian opposition violates ceasefire,” saying:
On day one of “a barely-observed truce,” dozens died. State media blamed terrorists for continued fighting. Agreements require good faith on both sides.
Assad called for conflict resolution last year. Most Syrians support him. Peace isn’t possible without a willing partner. Washington planned, directs, and controls everything.
It won’t tolerate peace and stability. Doing so defeats its imperium. Expect no end of conflict ahead. Syria may be ravaged like Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan before it ends.
The entire region is threatened. How much more death and destruction will be tolerated before cooler heads say no more. Their vocal opposition and determination to end fighting is badly needed.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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