Iran

Iran, Trump, and the neoliberal/neoconservative compact

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/01/2020 - 7:00am in

Bill Martin Preface for this moment: The aim of my series of articles that began in March 2016 is not journalism, but instead to try to understand something that is unfolding at a rapid pace. When I look at certain philosophers and political theorists who are able to give immediate responses to very current events, …

The Drums of War in the Gulf

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/01/2020 - 8:09am in

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imperialism, Iran, UK, USA, War, Yemen

image/jpeg iconStenaImpero.jpg

The article which follows is taken from the new edition of Revolutionary Perspectives (#14) which is just out. It was obviously written before the events which followed the British Navy’s seizure of the Iranian tanker, the Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar, but the substance of the analysis has not changed.

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Keeping with its Crackdown on Alternative Voices, Google Deletes Press TV from YouTube

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/01/2020 - 6:34am in

Without warning, tech giant Google “permanently removed” Iranian government-owned media channel Press TV UK’s YouTube channel Monday night amid increasing American hostility to Iran.

“This attack on the freedom of speech of Press TV’s journalists seems to be part of an anti-Iran purge as the West sets its sights on regime change in Iran,” Press TV said. Its content, in its own words, focuses on “anti-imperialism, anti-racism, and covers aspects of the news which the mainstream corporate media in the United Kingdom have refused to air.”

The London-based outlet had over 28,000 subscribers on its YouTube account at the time of its deletion.

British-Sudanese journalist Ahmed Kaballo accused Google of acting like the “judge jury and executioner” for his employer’s channel, expressing his great disappointment that his journalistic output is now gone and his worry at “what this really represents” for alternative media that “show a different perspective and holds a critical lens” on war and empire.

MintPress News reached out to Kaballo for comment. “The actions of Google in the last 24 hours has made me lose hope in the idea of free press and free speech,” he said. “Journalism is about pushing the boundaries and being fearless in our reporting but in this climate where they can do this to us in this fashion, it’s clear that our perspective. which is overtly anti-imperialist, is, in the eyes of Google, simply not allowed.”

After online pushback, by Wednesday morning UK time, Google had reversed its decision. However, just as Press TV was celebrating its reinstatement, it was again taken off the air. YouTube sent a message to Press TV UK claiming that they had received a complaint about the channel and decided that it violates their terms of service. Kaballo described the political hokey pokey his organization was under as “psychological warfare.”

Press TV says the move is “part of an anti-Iran purge as the West sets its sights on regime change in Iran.” It comes in the context of the Trump administration’s assassination of Lt. General Qassem Soleimani January 3, while he was in Iraq attending peace talks. In response, Iran launched dozens of ballistic missiles at U.S.-occupied military bases in Iraq, although it was careful to warn the U.S. of the attack beforehand. As a result, there were no deaths. The Iraqi parliament also immediately voted to expel all American troops from the country. However, the U.S. refused to leave.

While the threat of a hot war with the Iran appears to have subsided, an intense, online propaganda war rages between the two countries. During his funeral, the hashtag #IraniansDetestSoleimani trended across American Twitter. But analysis showed that it was not Iranians, but organized Trump supporters who were boosting the message, supporting, as 47 percent of Americans did, their president’s decision to kill him.

Last Friday, Facebook announced that it felt compelled to delete all positive posts about the deceased general from its platform and its subsidiary Instagram. “We operate under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its leadership,” it said, explaining that Trump’s new sanctions made supporting Iran online on any American website essentially illegal. Instagram had already closed Soleimani’s account in April last year, following Trump’s designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group. Just after Facebook’s decision, Twitter suspended Ayatollah Khamenei’s account for “unusual activity.” Instagram is extremely popular in Iran, with around one in three people owning an account, almost as popular as Soleimani, who over 80 percent view positively or very positively. Thus, the U.S. government has, through pressuring monopolistic Silicon Valley giants, effectively banned a majority opinion being shared by Iranians to Iranians, in Iran.

This is not the first occasion that the U.S. government has used the American monopoly over the means of communication online to shut down alternative voices from other countries. Facebook has previously de-platformed Venezuela-based outlets TeleSUR English and Venezuelanalysis, both of which offered differing opinions and analysis of the U.S. government’s actions in Venezuela and Latin America. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has forced RT journalists to register as “foreign agents,” under a rule originally set up to deal with Nazis during World War Two.

Press TV, too, has had a history of poor treatment at the hands of the U.S. state. In January last year, the FBI illegally detained Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi for ten days. She was never charged and was deprived of Halal food and a hijab during her detention. While the network is still reachable directly on its website, the fact that the U.S. government can unilaterally decide what the world sees, hears or reads, zapping British based Iranian networks from universal social media giants the entire world uses raises questions about freedom of information in the digital age.

Feature photo | Andy Miah | Flickr

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Keeping with its Crackdown on Alternative Voices, Google Deletes Press TV from YouTube appeared first on MintPress News.

Other Countries Using Drones to Kill Our President? That’ll Never Happen

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/01/2020 - 6:47pm in

Nothing embodies the law of unintended consequences more than weapons systems. When drones were first introduced as possible battlefield tools, contractors said that there was nothing to worry about in terms of them being converted into weapons systems. They would only be used for surveillance. Now we’re using them to kill top government officials.

Big Tech Firms Are Joining Trump’s All Out War Against Iran

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 2:55am in

Silicon Valley giant Facebook announced Friday that it would be deleting all positive posts about recently assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on its platform and its subsidiary Instagram. The reason for this, it explained to CNN, was that the new U.S. sanctions made it illegal to promote any message supporting a person or group that the government describes as a terrorist organization. “We operate under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its leadership,” a Facebook spokesperson said. Instagram had already closed Soleimani’s account in April last year, following Trump’s designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group. Following the news Friday, Twitter suspended Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s account for “unusual activity.” It was later reopened.

https://twitter.com/RussiaConnects/status/1216000656613486593

Last week Trump threatened to wreak havoc and destruction on Iran, promising to destroy dozens of major Iranian cultural sites, recognized immediately by the international community as a major war crime and a crime against humanity. The president has backed away from open war, but also announced new “punishing” sanctions on the Islamic Republic

In the rush to comply with these new rules, big American companies have gone overboard. Paypal, for example, began blocking donations to alternative media website The Grayzone that mentioned “Iran” in the title or text. The Grayzone has been a rare source of pushback to the Trump administration’s plans for war in the region.

Last year Medea Benjamin traveled to Iran to catalog the effect of the already existing sanctions. She described a population of 80 million who had seen their savings wiped out as the value of the Iranian Rial had plummeted. “Sanctions are suffocating people’s life choices,” she explained, meeting women who could no longer attend foreign universities and men who could not afford to get married. The sanctions have also greatly increased poverty and homelessness and made it much harder for people to get lifesaving medical treatment, as foreign drugs are nearly impossible to come by. Nevertheless, Iranians were able to distinguish between citizens and government; the overwhelming message Benjamin received was “Americans good, Trump bad.”

While support for, or even knowledge of Soleimani may be very low in America, a 2019 study conducted by the University of Maryland found that “General Soleimani remains the most popular Iranian public figure,” with 59 percent of Iranians viewing him “very favorably” and over four in five of his country folk having a positive opinion of him overall. Instagram is extremely popular in Iran, with at least 24 million users as of early 2018– around a third of the entire population. That is why banning positive descriptions of Soleimani is such a far-reaching and problematic issue. While deleting messages of support for the government or suspending Khamenei’s account may seem a petty, childish retaliation for opposing the Trump administration, it actually has profound ramifications for freedom of access to information.

Foreign countries rely on Silicon Valley social media giants for news and opinions as much as Americans do. Billions of people get their news from Facebook, but the decision means the world will not be exposed to one side of the argument. Furthermore, social media is one of the only places Americans could be exposed to an Iranian opinion, but the latest decision effectively blocks off this avenue of information and communication. Instead, we are exposed only to the opinion that the world and Iranians themselves hate their government. Last week the hashtag #IraniansDetestSoleimani trended on Twitter in the U.S., but not in the Middle East. Furthermore, the message was being boosted by Trump fans pretending to be Iranian.

Iran is not the only enemy of the U.S. government targeted by social media. Hundreds of accounts supporting the Venezuelan government, including that of President Nicolas Maduro himself, have been suspended or deleted by Facebook and Twitter, the former also removing the pages of independent media outlet Venezuelanalysis and international network TeleSUR English when Trump’s eye was cast upon the country.

That Facebook’s actions appear to be coordinated with the U.S. government is not a coincidence. Since 2018 it has partially outsourced its editorial control over news and content to the Atlantic Council, the think tank of NATO. The Council’s board is a who’s who of high government officials like Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, ex-Generals like Wesley Clark and David Petraeus, and CIA chiefs like Leon Panetta, Michael Hayden and Robert Gates. Effectively then, the “deep state” is controlling what Americans– and the rest of the world– reads for news, creating something close to a global state-controlled media apparatus.

In response to Facebook’s decision, Iranian government spokesperson Ali Rabiei called the move an “undemocratic and unashamed action” claiming it continues to give the real terrorists an “open voice.”

The Iranian government is considering its response, with some media speculating it may go so far as to block Instagram entirely. But, as with the Soleimani assassination, because of the imbalance of power between Iran and the U.S., its reaction will be limited in scope, as big tech giants like Facebook are too powerful to hurt.

Feature photo | Klevo | Shutterstock

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Big Tech Firms Are Joining Trump’s All Out War Against Iran appeared first on MintPress News.

World War III

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 2:00am in

CJ Hopkins So, 2020 is off to an exciting start. It’s barely the middle of January, and we’ve already made it through World War III, which was slightly less apocalyptic than expected. Forensic teams are still sifting through the ashes, but preliminary reports suggest that the global capitalist empire has emerged from the carnage largely …

Cartoon: Scenes from the sort-of war

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 12:00am in

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Iran

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World War III

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/01/2020 - 11:18pm in

So, 2020 is off to an exciting start. It’s barely the middle of January, and we’ve already made it through World War III, which was slightly less apocalyptic than expected. Forensic teams are still sifting through the ashes, but preliminary reports suggest that the global capitalist empire has emerged from the carnage largely intact.

It started in the Middle East, of course, when Donald Trump (a “Russian-asset”) ordered the murder of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani outside the Baghdad Airport, presumably after clearing it with Putin, which, given Iran and Russia’s relationship, doesn’t really make much sense.

But whatever. According to the U.S. government and the corporate media, Soleimani was a “terrorist,” who had been working with Assad (another “terrorist”) to destroy ISIS (who are also “terrorists”) and elements of Al-Qaeda (who used to be “terrorists”) with the support of the Russians (who are kind of “terrorists”) and doing all sorts of other unspecified but allegedly imminent “terrorist” things.

Apparently, Soleimani had flown to Baghdad on a secret commercial “terrorist” flight and was on his way to some kind of covert “terrorist” diplomatic meeting to respond to a de-escalation proposal from Saudi Arabia (who are definitely not “terrorists”) when the U.S. military preventatively murdered him with a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9B Reaper drone.

Iran (officially a “terrorist” country since January 1979, when they overthrew the brutal Western puppet that the CIA and MI6 had installed as their “Shah” in 1953, after they regime-changed the Iranian prime minister, after he nationalized the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, later to be known as British Petroleum) reacted to the preventative murder of their “terrorist” general like a bunch of “terrorists.”

The Ayatollah Khamenei (you guessed it, a “terrorist”) issued a series of “terrorist” threats against the 50,000 U.S. military personnel more or less completely surrounding his country on bases all across the Middle East. Millions of Iranians (currently “terrorists,” except for members of MeK), who, according to the U.S. officials, hated Soleimani, took to the streets of Tehran and other cities to mourn his death, burn American flags, and chant “death to America” and other “terrorist” slogans.

The empire went to DEFCON 1. The 82nd Airborne was activated. The State Department advised Americans vacationing in Iraq to get the hell out of there. #worldwar3 started trending on Twitter.

Freedom-loving countries throughout the region stood by to be annihilated. Saudi Arabia postponed its previously scheduled weekend edition of public head-chopping. Israel dialed up its non-existent nukes. The Kuwaitis posted armed guards on their incubators. The Qataris, Bahrainians, United Arab Emiratis, and other loyal empire outposts did whatever those folks do when they’re facing nuclear Armageddon.

In the U.S.A., it was mass hysteria. The corporate media starting pumping out stories about Soleimani having “blood on his hands,” and being “the number one terrorist in the world,” and having ruthlessly genocided hundreds of American soldiers, who, back in 2003, had preventatively invaded and destroyed Iraq and were preventatively slaughtering and torturing its people to keep them from attacking America with their non-existent WMDs.

Americans (most of whom had never even heard of Soleimani until their government murdered him, and many of whom can’t find Iran on a map) took to Twitter to call for the immediate nuking of Iran from orbit. Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered a division of heavily-armed anti-“terror” forces to stand around in New York City with their rifles in the classic “sling-ready” position to prevent the Iranians from swimming the Atlantic (along with their communist killer dolphins), crawling up onto East Hampton Beach, taking the LIRR into town, and committing some devastating “terrorist” atrocity that would be commemorated throughout eternity on key rings, T-shirts, and jumbo coffee mugs.

Trump, disciplined Russian agent that he is, held his nerve and maintained his cover, performing his “total moron” act as only a seasoned Russian operative can. While Iran was still mourning, he started publicly jabbering about Soleimani’s dismembered corpse, bombing Iranian cultural sites, and otherwise bombastically taunting Iran like an emotionally-challenged street-corner drunk. His strategy was clearly to convince the Iranians (and the rest of the world) that he is a dangerous imbecile who will murder the officials of any foreign government that Mike Pompeo tells him to, and then incinerate their museums and mosques, and presumably the rest of their “shithole” countries, if they even think about retaliating.

Nevertheless, retaliate the Iranians did. In a sadistic display of cold-hearted “terrorism,” they launched a firestorm of ballistic “terror” missiles at two U.S. military bases in Iraq, killing no one and injuring no one, but damaging the hell out of some empty buildings, a helicopter, and a couple of tents. First, though, in order to maximize the “terror,” they called the Swiss embassy in Tehran and asked them to warn the U.S. military that they would be launching missiles at their bases shortly. As the Moon of Alabama website reported:

“The Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents the U.S., was warned at least one hour before the attack happened. Around 0:00 UTC the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) which prohibited civil U.S. flights over Iraq, Iran, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.”

In the wake of the Iranians’ devastating counter-strike, and the mass-non-casualties resulting therefrom, anyone with an Internet connection or access to a television descended into their anti-terror bunkers and held their breath in anticipation of the nuclear hell Trump was sure to unleash. I confess, even I tuned into his speech, which was one of the most disturbing public spectacles I have ever witnessed.

Trump burst through the doors of the White House Grand Foyer, dramatically backlit, freshly “tanned,” scowling like a WWF wrestler, and announced that, as long as he is president, “Iran will never be allowed to have nuclear weapons” … as if any of the events of the preceding week had had anything to do with nuclear weapons (which the Iranians don’t need and do not want, except in some neoconservative fantasy wherein Iran intends to commit national suicide by nuking Israel off the face of the Earth).

I didn’t make it through his entire address, which he delivered in a breathless, robotic staccato (possibly because Putin, or Mike Pompeo, was dictating it word-for-word into his earpiece), but it was clear from the start that all-out, toe-to-toe nuclear combat with the Axis of Resistance, or the Axis of Terror, or the Axis of Evil, or the Axis of Whatever, had been averted.

But, seriously, all mass hysteria aside, despite whatever atrocities are still to come, World War III is not going to happen. Why, you ask, is it not going to happen? OK, I’ll tell you, but you’re not going to like it.

World War III is not going to happen because World War III already happened … and the global capitalist empire won. Take a look at these NATO maps (make sure to explore all the various missions). Then take a look at this Smithsonian map of where the U.S. military is “combating terrorism.” And there are plenty of other maps you can google. What you will be looking at is the global capitalist empire. Not the American empire, the global capitalist empire.

If that sounds like a distinction without a difference … well, it kind of is, and it kind of isn’t. What I mean by that is that it isn’t America (i.e., America the nation-state, which most Americans still believe they live in) that is militarily occupying much of the planet, making a mockery of international law, bombing and invading other countries, and assassinating heads of state and military officers with complete impunity. Or, rather, sure, it is America … but America is not America.

America is a simulation. It is the mask the global capitalist empire wears to conceal the fact that there is no America … that there is only the global capitalist empire.

The whole idea of “World War III,” of powerful nation-states conquering other powerful nation-states, is pure nostalgia. “America” does not want to conquer Iran. The empire wants to restructure Iran, and then absorb Iran into the empire. It doesn’t give a rat’s ass about democracy, or whether Iranian women are allowed to wear mini-skirts, or any other “human rights.” If it did, it would be restructuring Saudi Arabia and applying “maximum pressure” to Israel.

Likewise, the notion that “America” has been making a series of unfortunate “strategic mistakes” in the Middle East is a convenient illusion. Granted, its foreign policy makes no sense from the perspective of a nation-state, but it makes perfect sense from the perspective of the empire. While “America” appears to be mindlessly thrashing around like a bull in a china shop, the empire knows exactly what it’s doing, what it has been doing since the end of the Cold War, opening up formerly inaccessible markets, eliminating internal resistance, aggressively restructuring any and all territories that are not playing ball with global capitalism.

I know it’s gratifying to wave the flag, or burn it, depending on your political persuasion, whenever things flare up militarily, but at some point we (i.e., we Americans, Brits, Western Europeans, et al.) are going to need to face the fact that we are living in a global empire, which is actively pursuing its global interests, and not in sovereign nation-states pursuing the interests of nation-states. (The fact that the nation-state is defunct is why we’ve been experiencing a resurgence of “nationalism.” It isn’t a return to the 1930s. It is the death throes of the nation-state, nationalism, and national sovereignty … the supernova of a dying star.)

World War III was an ideological battle, between two aspiring hegemonic systems. It is over. It’s a global capitalist world. As Mr. Jensen put it in the movie Network:

“You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today.”

That system of systems, that multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars, has us all by the short hairs, folks. All of us. And it won’t be satisfied until the world is transformed into one big, valueless, neo-feudal, privatized market … so maybe we should forget about World War III, and start focusing on World War IV.

You know the war I’m talking about, don’t you? It’s the global capitalist empire versus the “terrorists.”

#

CJ Hopkins
January 13, 2020
Photo: Wikipedia

CJ Hopkins Summer 2018 thumbnail

DISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to support it, please go to his Patreon page (where you can contribute as little $1 per month), or send your contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our staff up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian novel, Zone 23, or Volume I of his Consent Factory Essays, or any of his subversive stage plays, which won some awards in Great Britain and Australia. If you do not appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to write him an abusive email, please feel free to contact him directly.

Iranian Protests over the shooting down of Flight 572

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/01/2020 - 10:20am in

image/jpeg iconiran-plane-crash.jpg

Footage of protests in Iran in the aftermath of the Iranian military shooting down a civilian Boeing 737, killing 177 people as a result.

Khamenei is a murderer, the government is trash!

street chant

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Downing of PS-752 already being used to smear MH-17 skeptics

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/01/2020 - 3:00am in

Max Parry When the Pentagon confirmed the assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, U.S. President Donald Trump took to social media to post a single image of the American flag to the adulation of his followers. Unfortunately, most Americans are ignorant of the other flag synonymous with U.S. foreign policy, that of the ‘false …

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