In its desire to build citizen to citizen contacts as a prelude to promote official dialogues and ultimately establish a normal diplomatic and commercial relation with the U.S., the Iranian government threw its doors open on U.S. individuals and groups who appeared wanting to allay the differences between the two countries. Although the majority of the peace groups and activists who visited Iran were well-intentioned, there were quite a few who were motivated by the idea of supporting certain political trends against the Iranian government. These individuals and groups were more interested in furthering the U.S. foreign policy objectives in Iran and the Middle East by empowering the pro-U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), than promoting genuine peace and friendship between the two nations.
Among others, one such individual has been Robert Dreyfuss of the Nation magazine, a social democratic publication that gained its place and reputation in the ‘60’s, during the U.S. war on Vietnam, by opposing the war on the one hand, but being acutely anti-Soviet Union on the other. In the report of his recent trip to Iran, right before the June 12th election, Dreyfuss manifests his utmost revulsion towards masses of people who expressed their support for President Ahmadinejad and felt sympathy towards the supporters of the pro-western leading contender Mir Hossein Mousavi and his supporters.
In the June 9th, 2009 issue of the Nation, Dreyfuss reporting from Tehran, characterized a pre-election rally of “tens of thousands of Ahmadinejad supporters,” wearing red-armbands, in contrast to Mousavi’s green emblem, as “a virtual fascist movement”. To fully satisfy his thirst for revulsion towards Ahmadinejad, he goes on to call the president’s 50,000 young followers in a gathering as “a lumpen-proletariat crowd of roughnecks and fascists.” These repugnant words have dripped from the pen of a reporter who has laid claim to the mantle of “peace activist”, a human rights defender and a friend of the American Iranian people. As they say, with friends like that, who needs enemies.
The social and class instinct of Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss surfaces so clearly when he attends a pro-Mousavi rally. Instead of hearing “Down with the U.S.”, a usual outcry in pro-Ahmadinejad rallies, he hears the call for “Death to Potatoes”, alluding to the President’s initiative of giving out sacks of potatoes and flour to the poor and working class families who appreciate the government’s welfare program. In his report, Dreyfuss shows so much feelings of affinity towards Mousavi supporters where women wore “attractive make up and pink lipstick, and below their short outer garments” were “visible jeans and, in many cases, high heels.” (sic)
Our American investigative reporter fell so much in love with Mousavi supporters that he began predicting the outcome in favor of Mousavi and the demise of Ahmadinejad, well before the election had begun, without a hesitation in his fantasy world, he begins building an inflated and imaginary picture in which the rich, thoroughly groomed, pro-western and stylish, just like the guests in the U.S. Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are bound to win the elections. He even misled his readers in New York by inventing facts about “rumors that the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is having second thoughts about the President, too.” He gets so much carried away by his own imagination that he writes “One well-connected mullah, Sheikh Ahmad Karimi, who is working in the Mousavi camp, told me (him) that the vast majority of Iran’s approximately thirty or so Grand Ayatollahs support Mousavi.”
Such rumors were not in short supply. Among the false information spread via wrongful reporting, doctored pictures and twitter images then forwarded by bloggers are as follow: that three million protested in Tehran last week-end (more like a couple of hundred thousand); that the opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was under house arrest (perhaps he had stayed home where things were ‘safer’); that the president of the election monitoring committee declared the election invalid last Saturday (total fabrication).
At the conclusion of this section, we must emphasize that Robert Dreyfuss, as bad as he is, has not been the worst reporter that the U.S. military-media complex has dished out to the people of Iran.
Media Intelligence Complex
As we all know the communication industry works closely with the security and military outfits, particularly in the periods of international tensions and war. It is common knowledge that the U.S. media in Iraq and Afghanistan are integrated with the intelligence apparatus and war machine. It is not hard to make the logical deduction that in turn the U.S. media serves as the eyes and ears of the agencies whose job is the collection of vital information.
Recent coordination between the Department of State and the Twitter Corporation during the electoral unrest in Iran was a solid proof of the close cooperation between media, the electronic industry (internet, etc.) and the State Department. This principle has a general application in other areas of activity such as student exchanges, international conferences and educational seminars in both business and government bodies, human rights activities, and monitoring other countries elections and foreign student training. Just like in the case of other nationalities - Polish, Ukrainian, Asian and Iraqis - who emigrated to the U.S. and later on were trained by U.S. intelligence agencies to influence the policies of their “homeland”, so too, some Iranians who long ago emigrated to the U.S. are cooperating with the U.S. government against Iran’s national interests. Given all these interrelations, the U.S. role in the post-election turbulence would have been impossible without long-term preparations that required financing, equipping and training.
Funds in Abundance
On July 24, Yahoo News reported that the U.S. Senate has approved $30 million dollars for expanding Radio Free Europe-backed Farsi language radio broadcasts into Iran. In addition, another 20 million dollars bill was passed which would be in a special fund to help develop ways for Iranians to access and pass information to others outside of Iran, by-passing internal Iranian management. The champions of these bills were Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and the Zionist-est of them all, Senator Joseph Lieberman. It is an eye-opener to know that the $50 million allotment was attached to the Senate’s defense authorization bill, according to Washington Times of July 26, 2009.
The Bush Administration unveiled in 2006 a $30 million “democracy” program for Iran. Later on it added another $60 million to be channeled into the accounts of Iranians who would be ready to set up “civil society” groups - actually intelligence and operational networks. In the days following the recent Iranian elections, the National Endowment for Democracy would be looking for more individuals in critical places inside Iran who would be ready and capable to undermine the Islamic Republic and force it to give in to the Israeli-U.S.- pressure demands around the nuclear program. Andrew Lewman, the executive director of the TOR project, a program originally developed by the U.S. Navy said, “There is a growing amount of money available for Web and media activities.” “Designed a decade ago to secure Internet communications between U.S. ships at sea, The Onion Router, or TOR, has become one of the most important proxies in Iran for gaining access to Web sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.” David Denehy, the Iran democracy program coordinator for the State Department from 2005 to 2007, said, "We funded and supported innovative technologies to allow them to do this via the Internet, cell phones and other media."
NED – NIAC in Cahoots
One organization, out of a few dozen, through which the U.S. interferes in the internal affairs of Iran is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an agency that is funded both by Congress and private sources whose objectives are furthering the U.S. foreign policy interests in other countries. In Iran this goal actualizes in overthrowing the Islamic Republic that was the product of the 1979 Revolution. In the 1980’s, President Ronald Reagan was the architect of the NED, and the primary reason for its creation was to do overtly, the operations that the CIA had long done covertly. This quasi- intelligence organization in the late 1970’s was involved in Nicaragua, in 1990 in the Bulgarian election, in 1991 in the Albanian election, in the years between 1990-92, NED financed the Cuban-American National Foundation, in 1992 in the Mongolian election, during the Clinton Administration NED was active in Haiti and in 2002 nearly succeeded in overthrowing President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
The NED has been active in the Iranian communities for nearly three decades, granting hundreds of thousands of dollars to the opposition groups. According to the June 23, 2007 article in the on-line Foreign Policy Journal, “NED gave $345,000 to the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF)”. Another organization that has benefited from the NED funding has been the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which fetched $25,000 in 2002, $64,000 in 2005, and $107,000 in 2006. The grants were designed to expand the NGO’s outreach and capacity in Iran, and foster communication between the opposition groups in Iran and the international organizations operating under the cover of civic societies. The president of NIAC is Dr. Trita Parsi who in his frequent appearances on CNN in the aftermath of the Iranian election claimed that Iran would be considered at fault, if under the Obama Administration it does not reach an agreement with the U.S. Obviously for receiving a total of $196,000 in the period between 2002-2006, this is the least Trita Parsi could do for NED.
By being exposed as one of the biggest recipients of NED’s funds, NIAC, in the eyes of patriotic Iranians, is a U.S. foreign policy instrument used as a battering ram against the Islamic Republic’s policy objectives.
To spoon feed Iranians the position of the conservative faction of the U.S. government, NIAC engineered a survey of its own members and then declared the results as the representative view of the Iranian -American community as a whole. The poll is severely skewed in several respects:
-- It is too small to be a representative opinion of the Iranians in general; and
-- This small poll is taken primarily from the wealthy Iranians in NIAC.
According to the figures and policy adopted by NIAC in its August 12, 2009 announcement “61.4% believe that with regard to Iran, the U.S. government should put diplomacy on hold…” and “a slight majority 50.2% favor targeted political and economic sanctions…” Should we give the bosses of NIAC all benefit of the doubt, these figures only show how conservative the membership of NIAC is and to what extent they are the friends of the Iranian people.
Ardeshir Ommani is an Iranian-born writer and an activist in the U.S. anti-war and anti-imperialist struggle for over 40 years, including against the Vietnam War, and now the Iraq war. During the past seven years, he has participated in the U.S. peace movement, working to promote dialogue and peace among nations and to prevent a U.S.-spurred war on Iran. He holds two Masters Degrees: one in Political Economy and another in Mathematics Education. Co-founder of the American Iranian Friendship Committee, (AIFC), he writes articles of analysis on Iran -U.S. relations, the U.S. economy and has translated articles and books from English into Farsi, the Persian language. Please visit AIFC’s website to learn more about Iran and Global issues at www.iranaifc.com. Two of his recent articles, “Ten Tumultuous Days” can be viewed at: www.mathaba.net, and “Change to a Multi-Polar World” in www.TehranTimes.com.
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