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Once Again Big Media Is Manufacturing OUR Consent for War

Robert Parry in “Herding Americans to War with Iran” puts it this way:

For many Americans the progression toward war with Iran has the feel of cattle being herded from the stockyard into the slaughterhouse, pressed steadily forward with no turning back, until some guy shoots a bolt into your head.

Any suggestion of give-and-take negotiations with Iran is mocked, while alarmist propaganda, a ratcheting up of sanctions, and provocative actions – like Wednesday’s assassination of yet another Iranian scientist – push Americans closer to what seems like an inevitable bloodletting.

This from Ray McGovern in "US/Israel: Iran NOT Building Nukes":

Has Iran decided to build a nuclear bomb? That would seem to be the central question in the current bellicose debate over whether the world should simply cripple Iran’s economy and inflict severe pain on its civilian population or launch a preemptive war to destroy its nuclear capability while possibly achieving “regime change.”

And if you’ve been reading the New York Times or following the rest of the Fawning Corporate Media, you’d likely assume that everyone who matters agrees that the answer to the question is yes, although the FCM adds the caveat that Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. The line is included with an almost perceptible wink and an “oh, yeah.”

However, a consensus seems to be emerging among the intelligence and military agencies of the United States – and Israel – that Iran has NOT made a decision to build a nuclear weapon. In recent days, that judgment has been expressed by high-profile figures in the defense establishments of the two countries – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

You might think that you would have heard more about that, wouldn’t you? U.S. and Israel agree that Iran is NOT building a nuclear bomb. However, this joint assessment that Iran has NOT decided to build a nuclear bomb apparently represented too big a change in the accepted narrative for the Times and the rest of the FCM to process.

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Still, it is interesting that Barak’s comments on how Israeli intelligence views Iran’s nuclear program now mesh so closely with the NIE in 2007. This is the new and significant story here, as I believe any objective journalist would agree.

However, the FCM — led by the New York Times — cannot countenance admitting that they have been hyping the threat from Iran as they did with Iraq’s non-existent WMDs just nine years ago. So they keep repeating the line that Israel and the U.S. agree that Iran is building a nuclear weapon.

In this up-is-down world, America’s newspaper of record won’t even report accurately what Israel (or the CIA) thinks on this important issue, if that goes against the alarmist conventional wisdom that the neocons favor. Thus, we have this divergence between what the U.S. media is reporting as flat fact — i.e., that Israel and the United States believe Iran is building a bomb (though Iran denies it) – and the statements from senior Israeli and U.S. officials that Iran has NOT decided to build a bomb.

Parry in “Slip-Sliding to War with Iran” writes:

There is now a cascading of allegations regarding Iran, as there was with Iraq, with the momentum rushing toward war.

Just as with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the U.S. news media treats Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a designated villain whose every word is cast as dangerous or crazy. Even left-of-center media personalities, like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow, talk tough against Ahmadinejad, just as many “liberals” did regarding Hussein.

Also, as happened with Iraq – when harsher economic sanctions merged with a U.S. troop build-up, making an escalation toward war almost inevitable – tougher and tougher Western sanctions against Iran have pushed the various sides closer to war.

Iran does seem intent on continuing to work on developing nuclear energy. For peaceful -- medical -- purposes it maintains. Iran is also reacting understandably to economic sanctions inflicted onto it by the EU, bullied by the US which in turn is bullied by Israel, by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil route for the Western nations.

The propaganda against Iran is being ratcheted up by the neocons and what Parry calls their “extensive political and media resources” to build support for future military strikes against Iran. Parry considers the Washington Post’s editorial page the neocons’ “media flagship.” It continues to urge more and more draconian sanctions against Iran and mocks anyone who does not. Parry:

In a television interview Sunday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said: ‘Our red line to Iran is: do not develop a nuclear weapon.’ He asserted that Tehran was not trying to develop a weapon now, only ‘a nuclear capability.’ The Revolutionary Guard, which controls the nuclear program, might well take that as a green light for the new enrichment operation.”

While portraying Panetta as an Iranian tool, the Post suggested that anyone who wanted to turn back from an Iran confrontation was an Iranian useful fool. ...

Chris Floyd on "Pups on Parade: EU Obediently Pushes Toward War with Iran" sums up the amorality and destructiveness, not only on Iran, of the latest embargo being leveraged:

This week, the warlords of the West took yet another step toward their long-desired war against Iran. (Open war, that is; their covert war has been going on for decades -- via subversion, terrorism, and proxies like Saddam Hussein.) On Monday, the European Union obediently followed the dictates of its Washington masters by agreeing to impose an embargo on Iranian oil.

The embargo bans all new oil contracts with Iran, and cuts off all existing deals after July. The embargo is accompanied by a freeze on all European assets of the Iranian central bank. In imposing these draconian measures on a country which is not at war with any nation, which has not invaded or attacked another nation in centuries, and which is developing a nuclear energy program that is not only entirely legal under international law but is also subject to the most stringent international inspection regime ever seen, the EU is "targeting the economic lifeline of the regime," as one of its diplomats put it, with admirable candor.

The embargo will have serious, perhaps disastrous effects on many of Europe's sinking economies, which are heavy users of Iranian oil. This is particularly true in Greece, the poster boy for our modern "Shock Doctrine über alles" global economic system. For even as Greece writhes beneath the blows of European bankers determined to bleed the country dry to avoid the consequences of their own knowingly corrupt loan policies, the Iranians have been giving the Greeks substantial discounts on oil, which has helped ease -- at least in some measure -- the economic ruin being imposed on the "birthplace of democracy."

Now this slender lifeline is being cut, leaving Greece -- and other nations under assault by the plutocrats and their political lackeys -- to seek a replacement for discounted Iranian oil in what will be a seller's market, thanks to the shortages caused by the embargo. The result will be higher prices across the board, leading to more economic ruin for all those beyond the golden penumbra of the One Percent.

And of course, the effects will be even more catastrophic for millions of innocent people in Iran. Already the lives of these innocent people -- including all of the dissidents supposedly so cherished by the West -- are being diminished and degraded by the series of sanctions imposed by the United States and its pack of tail-wagging Europuppies. But who cares about that? After all, it is glaringly obvious that our Euro-American elites are more than happy to see their own rabble go down the shock-doctrine toilet; it is inconceivable that the ruin of a bunch of dirty Mooslim furriners would disturb them for even a nano-second.

The ostensible aim of all these sanctions, we are told, is to "force Iran back to the negotiating table" on its nuclear program. This is patent nonsense.

Floyd extends a very dark take on what these seemingly over-easily pressured sanctions by both US and European officialdom (leaned on so heavily by Israel) will wreak:

First, while long-running sanctions do not in themselves overturn a regime, they do make the entire country much weaker. Infrastructure falls apart, society crumbles, communities wither, families fray, the people themselves become physically weaker -- indeed, they can die in droves, in multitudes, as in Iraq. All of this makes for a much softer target when you finally decide to pull the trigger on military action.

Second -- and I think much more relevant to this case -- there is the hope that ever-tightening sanctions will provoke a violent response from the victim, thereby "justifying" a war of "self-defense" against the "unprovoked" attack. The series of escalating provocations being carried out by Washington and its allies, chiefly Israel -- including an increasingly open program of assassinations -- is clearly designed to goad the Iranians into a casus belli retaliation.

So far, the Iranians have resisted -- a forbearance that has driven the Western warmongers into ludicrous attempts to manufacture casus belli incidents. such as the recent "Gleiwitz gambit": the story that the super-duper Iranian spymasters tried to hire a goofball car dealer to kill a Saudi diplomat on the streets of Washington.  But the matches our masters keep throwing at this bone-dry pile of tinder are getting closer and closer to sparking the desired conflagration. The Iranians have already threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz if the EU goes through with its embargo. This, of course, would likely be the "Pearl Harbor" moment the war-whoopers are waiting for: an "unprovoked" attack aimed at -- what else? -- "targeting the economic lifeline" of the West. (Targeting economic lifelines is a tactic reserved solely for God's good eggs, you understand; it's an unmitigated evil when those heathen devils try it.)

The Iranians might back down on this threat, of course; the wily Persians tend to play the long game, and usually with more subtle calibration than the Western elites, who, like spoiled children, like to have their loot and power now now now! But if this latest provocation doesn't do the trick, rest assured there are more coming in the, er, pipeline. For the bipartisan goal, as noted above, remains the same: "regime change in strategic lands laden with natural resources." And our masters have already demonstrated that they do not care how many people are ruined -- or are killed -- in pursuit of this aim.

Parry reminds us how reminiscent the media stampede to war is:

So, this prospective war with Iran – like the one in Iraq – is likely to come down to intelligence assessments on Iran’s intentions and capabilities. And, as with Iraq’s alleged WMD, the many loud voices claiming that Iran is on pace to build a nuclear bomb are drowning out the relatively few skeptics who think the evidence is thin to invisible.

For instance, the recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency about Iran’s supposed progress toward a nuclear bomb was widely accepted as gospel truth without any discussion of whether the IAEA is an unbiased and reliable source.

In framing the story in support of the IAEA, the major U.S. newspapers and TV networks ignored documentary evidence that the IAEA’s new director-general was installed with the support of the United States and that he privately indicated to U.S. and Israeli officials that he would help advance their goals regarding Iran.

Parry discloses that the Wikileaks cables have revealed an innappropriate cronyism of the new director-general to the neocon US and Israel agenda. Parry:

These facts could be found easily enough in WikiLeaks cables that the U.S. news media has had access to since 2010. Yet, the Big Media has ignored this side of the story, even as the IAEA report has been touted again and again as virtually a smoking gun against Iran.

This pattern of ignoring – or downplaying – evidence that runs counter to the prevailing narrative was a notable feature during the run-up to war with Iraq. It is now being repeated not just by the right-wing news media, but by the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC and other centrist-to-left-leaning outlets. [Update: The IAEA report was cited again on Friday in another bellicose editorial in the Times.]

snip

In other words, the emerging picture of Amano is of a bureaucrat eager to please the United States and Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Wouldn’t that evidence be relevant for Americans deciding whether to trust the IAEA report? But the Big Media apparently felt that the American people shouldn’t know these facts whose disclosure has been limited to a few Internet sites. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “America’s Debt to Bradley Manning.”]

Similarly, the U.S. press corps is now reporting the dubious allegations about an Iranian assassination plot directed against the Saudi ambassador as flat fact, not as some hard-to-believe accusation comparable to Vice President Dick Cheney’s claims in 2002 that Iraqi officials had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Petraeus’s CIA Fuels Iran Murder Plot.”]

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Also, as happened with Iraq – when harsher economic sanctions merged with a U.S. troop build-up, making an escalation toward war almost inevitable – tougher and tougher Western sanctions against Iran have pushed the various sides closer to war.

In November, Iranian anger at escalating sanctions and other hostile acts led to an assault on the British Embassy, which then prompted new European demands for a full-scale embargo of Iranian oil. As tensions have grown, the U.S. Senate tossed in its own hand-grenade, voting 100-0 in favor of hitting Iran with ever more stringent sanctions.

In turn, Iran has threatened to retaliate against the West’s economic warfare by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil flows, thus driving up oil prices and derailing the West’s already shaky economies. That threat has led to even more bellicose language from many U.S. political figures, especially the Republican presidential hopefuls who have denounced President Barack Obama for not being tougher on Iran.

Parry asserts that President Obama is particularly vulnerable in this election year to cross the Israel-obedient media and politicians to interfere with the stampede to war.

Already, a recurring Republican talking point is that Obama’s earlier efforts to open channels of negotiation with Iran and other foreign adversaries proved his naivete and amounted to “apologizing” for America. Obama also has faced resistance within his own administration, especially from neocon-lites such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Parry reminds us that in the spring of 2010, leaders of both Turkey and Brazil were privately encouraged by Obama to get Ahmadinejad “to agree to relinquish nearly half of the country’s supply of low-enriched uranium in exchange for isotopes for medical research.” Parry writes:

But after Ahmadinejad accepted the deal, Secretary Clinton and other U.S. hardliners switched into overdrive to kill the swap and insist instead on imposing harsher sanctions against Iran.

At the time, Clinton’s position was endorsed by editors at the Washington Post and the New York Times, who mocked Erdogan and Lula da Silva as inept understudies on the international stage. If anything, the Post and Times argued, the United States should take an even more belligerent approach toward Iran, i.e. seeking “regime change.”

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... with Washington’s political momentum favoring another confrontation with a Muslim adversary, Obama retreated and lined up behind the sanctions.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Likud leaders appear to fear a second Obama term – when he’d be freed from the need to seek reelection – much as their predecessors feared a second term for President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Then, Prime Minister Menachem Begin thought that Carter in a second term would team up with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in forcing Israel to accept a Palestinian state.

Will Obama manage to do the right thing and push back against another looming and devastating Middle Eastern war or will he try to “out” tough the war-mongering Republican blowhard candidates insisting he and the Dems are too soft on terrorism? Can an AWAKENED citizenry force and support an Obama waging peace or are we to be completely snowed, confused and/or bullied by the war-mongering mainstream media to demonize Iran and accept another manufactured pre-emptive struck war?

The odds are not good.

Margaret Kimberley in "Freedom Rider: Defend Iran!":

Libya has been laid waste because of tall tales perpetrated by the West. Tales of civilian slaughter in Benghazi are Obama’s WMD, that is to say outright falsehoods. There will be more such story telling in the coming weeks and months, but it should not matter to anyone who claims to want peace.

Peace makers must defend Iran and condemn the American government when it launches its violence. Such actions will be the true determination of who is civilized and who is not. Our government is definitely uncivilized and we shall see how many of its people also fit that description.

I don’t know about you, but the tragedies of the Iraq and and Afghanistan wars have not faded. The obscenity of the Libyan war was not successfully covered up the amoral government and equally amoral media from me. I am sick and tired of having a “manufacturing consent” BIG MEDIA ramp up war propaganda to Orwellianly deadly proportions and ignore -- GROTESQUELY DISRESPECT -- one more -- and assuredly not the last -- time the will of the citizenry, those members one by one who are struggling to wake up to the horrifying scope of the amorality of its war criminal and domestic-abusing government. Struggling to face down the insane evil of the USWarMachine!

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Submitted by DCblogger on

hosting the NewsHour? Anyone who wants to do something about the management of WETA, the station that produces the NewsHour, please email d2route@yahoo.com

Residents of the WETA home viewing area only, this is our fight, we do not have to put up with warmongering!

Submitted by Alcuin on

There is an article over at AntiWar.com about growing elite opposition to a war against Iran that everyone should read - just because the neo-cons in D.C. are pushing for war does not mean that it is going to happen.

And, if Correntians haven't read a synopsis of it, a familiarity with Noam Chomsky's insightful analysis of how the media manufactures consent is always useful. Me? I don't read the mainstream media, so the MOTU are going to have to find another way to get me on board their wagon. I wish them all the luck - I was on to their game when it dawned on me that the NYT and WaPo were a mouthpieces for the elite.

Submitted by jawbone on

we're the ones counted out.

When over 60% of the American people told pollsters they wanted "something like Medicare for everyone," all those millions of Americans were counted out.

Now that the Occupy groups are losing, and have lost their NYC site, how many MCM articles and news broadcasts cover what they're doing? Counted out.

Submitted by Alcuin on

We're counted out by the elite, true enough. But we were never counted in. As long as we hold to the illusion that if we vote for the right candidates, protest for the right causes, bank at the right institutions, and buy the right products, we will be counted out. Only when we stop engaging with the enemy and set out on our own course will we be free. A re-telling of the Southern folk tale, Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby, is useful to demonstrate my point:

Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby

A Georgia Folktale

retold by

S.E. Schlosser

Well now, that rascal Br'er Fox hated Br'er Rabbit on account of he was always cutting capers and bossing everyone around. So Br'er Fox decided to capture and kill Br'er Rabbit if it was the last thing he ever did! He thought and he thought until he came up with a plan. He would make a tar baby! Br'er Fox went and got some tar and he mixed it with some turpentine and he sculpted it into the figure of a cute little baby. Then he stuck a hat on the Tar Baby and sat her in the middle of the road.

Br'er Fox hid himself in the bushes near the road and he waited and waited for Br'er Rabbit to come along. At long last, he heard someone whistling and chuckling to himself, and he knew that Br'er Rabbit was coming up over the hill. As he reached the top, Br'er Rabbit spotted the cute little Tar Baby. Br'er Rabbit was surprised. He stopped and stared at this strange creature. He had never seen anything like it before!

"Good Morning," said Br'er Rabbit, doffing his hat. "Nice weather we're having."

The Tar Baby said nothing. Br'er Fox laid low and grinned an evil grin.

Br'er Rabbit tried again. "And how are you feeling this fine day?"

The Tar Baby, she said nothing. Br'er Fox grinned an evil grin and lay low in the bushes.

Br'er Rabbit frowned. This strange creature was not very polite. It was beginning to make him mad.

"Ahem!" said Br'er Rabbit loudly, wondering if the Tar Baby were deaf. "I said, 'HOW ARE YOU THIS MORNING?"

The Tar Baby said nothing. Br'er Fox curled up into a ball to hide his laughter. His plan was working perfectly!

"Are you deaf or just rude?" demanded Br'er Rabbit, losing his temper. "I can't stand folks that are stuck up! You take off that hat and say 'Howdy-do' or I'm going to give you such a lickin'!"

The Tar Baby just sat in the middle of the road looking as cute as a button and saying nothing at all. Br'er Fox rolled over and over under the bushes, fit to bust because he didn't dare laugh out loud.

"I'll learn ya!" Br'er Rabbit yelled. He took a swing at the cute little Tar Baby and his paw got stuck in the tar.

"Lemme go or I'll hit you again," shouted Br'er Rabbit. The Tar Baby, she said nothing.

"Fine! Be that way," said Br'er Rabbit, swinging at the Tar Baby with his free paw. Now both his paws were stuck in the tar, and Br'er Fox danced with glee behind the bushes.

"I'm gonna kick the stuffin' out of you," Br'er Rabbit said and pounced on the Tar Baby with both feet. They sank deep into the Tar Baby. Br'er Rabbit was so furious he head-butted the cute little creature until he was completely covered with tar and unable to move.

Br'er Fox leapt out of the bushes and strolled over to Br'er Rabbit. "Well, well, what have we here?" he asked, grinning an evil grin.

Br'er Rabbit gulped. He was stuck fast. He did some fast thinking while Br'er Fox rolled about on the road, laughing himself sick over Br'er Rabbit's dilemma.

"I've got you this time, Br'er Rabbit," said Br'er Fox, jumping up and shaking off the dust. "You've sassed me for the very last time. Now I wonder what I should do with you?"

Br'er Rabbit's eyes got very large. "Oh please Br'er Fox, whatever you do, please don't throw me into the briar patch."

"Maybe I should roast you over a fire and eat you," mused Br'er Fox. "No, that's too much trouble. Maybe I'll hang you instead."

"Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please," said Br'er Rabbit. "Only please, Br'er Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch."

"If I'm going to hang you, I'll need some string," said Br'er Fox. "And I don't have any string handy. But the stream's not far away, so maybe I'll drown you instead."

"Drown me! Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please," said Br'er Rabbit. "Only please, Br'er Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch."

"The briar patch, eh?" said Br'er Fox. "What a wonderful idea! You'll be torn into little pieces!"

Grabbing up the tar-covered rabbit, Br'er Fox swung him around and around and then flung him head over heels into the briar patch. Br'er Rabbit let out such a scream as he fell that all of Br'er Fox's fur stood straight up. Br'er Rabbit fell into the briar bushes with a crash and a mighty thump. Then there was silence.

Br'er Fox cocked one ear toward the briar patch, listening for whimpers of pain. But he heard nothing. Br'er Fox cocked the other ear toward the briar patch, listening for Br'er Rabbit's death rattle. He heard nothing.

Then Br'er Fox heard someone calling his name. He turned around and looked up the hill. Br'er Rabbit was sitting on a log combing the tar out of his fur with a wood chip and looking smug.

"I was bred and born in the briar patch, Br'er Fox," he called. "Born and bred in the briar patch."

And Br'er Rabbit skipped away as merry as a cricket while Br'er Fox ground his teeth in rage and went home.

We Leftists have to stop being Br'er Foxes. We have more important things to do.