Friday, January 13, 2012

Learning to Spot Propaganda

One of the keys to living intelligently in this modern media age is being able to accurately spot propaganda. In the old Soviet Union, citizens learned to be able to read between the lines. They learned to spot the obvious propaganda messages that were directed at them.

In this modern age, we need to be able to do the same. To somehow figure out what's really going on amongst the lies we are fed on a daily basis. We need to be able to know when to discard the obvious lies and other propaganda messages that are pushed at us daily.

This Glenn Greenwald article is a wonderful piece in exploring this. The subject is the recent car-bomb assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientists. And the fact that some western journalists and writers have accurately called this an act of terrorism. And the fact that these writers have been attacked for daring to state that the US or Israel appears to be engaged in acts that can only be properly described as terrorism.

Iran and the Terrorism game by Glenn Greewald from

Part of the problem here is the pretense that Terrorism has some sort of fixed, definitive meaning. It does not. As Professor Remi Brulin has so exhaustively documented, the meaning of the term has constantly morphed depending upon the momentary interests of those nations (usually the U.S. and Israel) most aggressively wielding it. It’s a term of political propaganda, impoverished of any objective meaning, and thus susceptible to limitless manipulation. Even the formal definition incorporated into U.S. law is incredibly vague; one could debate forever without resolution whether targeted killings of scientists fall within its scope, and that’s by design. The less fixed the term is, the more flexibility there is in deciding what acts of violence are and are not included in its scope.

I remember that back after 9-11, there were writings and discussions about the definition of terrorism. The definition I remember goes something like this. "Acts of violence that kill or injure innocent civilians with the purpose of achieving a political goal".

The US and/or Israel apparently just killed an innocent scientist with the express political purpose of getting Iran not to continue its nuclear program. Of course, some might immediately respond that this scientist wasn't an 'innocent civilian' in that he was working on a nuclear bomb. But, this argument only rests on more propaganda. The IAEA has had inspectors looking at the Iranian nuclear program for at least a decade, and has never found a shred of evidence that any enrichment beyond what's needed for civilian reactors has ever occurred. And, such enrichment would be very hard to hide. The various intelligence agencies of the west have at times all concluded that the Iranians have no nuclear weapons program, only a peaceful civilian program. And of course, the Iranian government has consistently stated that they are only pursuing peaceful civilian uses of nuclear power.

I don't know who this man was, but it seems rather obvious that the facts point to him being a civilian scientist. One who is now dead because of a violent car-bomb attack. A man who is now undoubtedly being mourned by family and friends who loved him and who miss his presence in this world. This man is dead from an act of terrorism. And its an act of terrorism that was committed by either the US or our ally Israel.

If you want to understand the world, face up to the fact that the current government of the United States is a supporter of terrorism. Or, at the very least, that most of the rest of the world certainly has good reason to look at the United States as a supporter of terrorism.

It doesn't have to be this way. There were candidates on the last ballot for President who would not be supporting terrorist attacks against Iran. The voters of America had a choice not to support this policy. Yet, some 98% of American voters voted for candidates (McCain and Obama) who would clearly support and continue this policy. And only some 2% of American voters supported the candidates (McKinney, Nader, Barr) who would have opposed this policy.

If the thought of an American government that is an obvious supporter of terrorism bothers you, try voting for candidates that don't support this policy. If you voted for Obama or McCain in the last election, then you voted to support terrorism. If this bothers you, then please don't do that again in the next election. Votes for Obama, Romney or Gingrich are clearly and obviously votes for an America that is a supporter of terrorism.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dirty Trick

The Stolen War by Uri Avnery

What a dirty trick ... denying the generals their war by trying to take away their justification. Probably won't work. Being truthful in the reasons for going and killing more people isn't really a part of a general's DNA. Being a 'leader' and getting the killing and the maiming started by any means necessary is what they look for when picking generals.

Why is the war inevitable? Because of the terrorism, stupid. Hamas is a terrorist organization, isn’t it?

But along comes the supreme Hamas leader, Khaled Mash’al, and declares that Hamas has given up all violent action. From now on it will concentrate on non-violent mass demonstrations, in the spirit of the Arab Spring.

When Hamas forswears terrorism, there is no pretext for an attack on Gaza.

But is a pretext needed? Our army will not let itself be thwarted by the likes of Mash’al. When the army wants a war, it will have a war. This was proved in 1982, when Ariel Sharon attacked Lebanon, despite the fact that the Lebanese border had been absolutely quiet for 11 months. (After the war, the myth was born that it was preceded by daily shooting. Today, almost every Israeli can “remember” the shooting – an astonishing example of the power of suggestion.

Note one thing carefully. Whenever war with Iran is mentioned in the USA, its always presented as if it will be a nice, clean easy war. We'll fly our super jets in, we'll bomb some of the evil Iranian nuclear facilities, then we fly home. Meanwhile, the Iranian people will want to thank us so very much for bombing them that they'll rise up and pour out into the streets and overthrow their government. Then they'll line the streets and throw a party for the soldiers of the Great Satan when we arrive.

Of course, the first sign that this is total bull is the very basic fact that its being told to you by exactly the same people and the exact same TV channels and newspapers that told you that Iraq would be a cake-walk and that the Iraqis would stand by the road and cheer us and wave little American flags when we arrived. Basic common sense says that no one should be believing them this time.

But, in case you need more evidence and deeper analysis, read the end of Mr. Avnery's piece.

I do have some experience – some 60 or so years of it – but I did not leave any loophole. I said No War, and now General Gantz says the same in so many words. No Tehran, just poor little Gaza.

Why? Because of that one word: Hormuz.

Not the ancient Persian god Hormuzd, but the narrow strait that is the entrance and exit of the Persian Gulf, through which 20% of the world’s oil (and 35% of the sea-borne oil) flows. My contention was that no sane (or even mildly insane) leader would risk the closing of the strait, because the economic consequences would be catastrophic, even apocalyptic.

IT SEEMS that the leaders of Iran were not sure that all the world’s leaders read this column, so, just in case, they spelled it out themselves. This week they conducted conspicuous military maneuvers around the Strait of Hormuz, accompanied by the unequivocal threat to close it.

The US responded with vainglorious counter-threats. The invincible US Navy was ready to open the strait by force, if needed.

How, pray? The mightiest multi-billion aircraft carrier can be easily sunk by a battery of cheap land-to-sea missiles, as well as by small missile-boats.

Let’s assume Iran starts to act out its threats. The whole might of the US air force and navy is brought to bear. Iranian ships will be sunk, missile and army installations bombed. Still the Iranian missiles will come in, making passage through the strait impossible.

What next? There will be no alternative to “boots on the ground”. The US army will have to land on the shore and occupy all the territory from which missiles can be effectively launched. That would be a major operation. Fierce Iranian resistance must be expected, judging from the experience of the eight-year Iraqi-Iranian war. The oil wells in neighboring Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states will also be hit.

Remember, Iran is three times the size and population of Iraq. Iran will be at least three times a more difficult war than Iraq. And, to Iran, we've been the Great Satan for almost two generations now. The USA was the country that forced the evil and corrupt Shah upon them and kept him in power. The USA was the country who's CIA was training the Shah's secret police in the torture techniques used upon the Iranians. The Iranians threw this off with a revolution that drove the Shah and the USA from power in Iran. The USA has been fighting the Iranians in one way or another in a constant effort to return to power over the Iranians ever since. Any suggestion that the Iranians will not fight against the USA with the utmost of resolve and determination is utter nonsense. If we go to open and full war against Iran, the only people bringing flowers to our troops will have suicide-bomb vests strapped to themselves.