Jim Lobe and Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com have both posted columns about the latest episode in the neocons’ relentless Iran disinformation campaign. A Canadian paper, the National Post, published an article on May 19 by Iranian-American journalist Amir Taheri reporting that on May 15, the Iranian Parliament had passed a law establishing “separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public. The new codes would enable Muslims to easily recognize non-Muslims so that they can avoid shaking hands with them by mistake, and thus becoming najis (unclean).”
The story was picked up by UPI and reproduced in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, the Jerusalem Post, and elsewhere, and represented as fact by U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. “Despicable,” declared McCormack, adding that Iran was just like “Germany under Hitler.” “This is reminiscent of the Holocaust,” echoed Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis.”
The National Post pulled the story within hours, as it became apparent that no such law had been passed or even discussed. On May 19, the day after the story had appeared, the newspaper published a piece challenging it. But like malicious slanders that linger in the air even after being disproved, the mental image of Iranian religious minorities, badged, marching off to their doom, will remain in the public mind. So this was a success for the disinfo apparatus.
And there’ve been other successes. The masses have been indoctrinated with the conviction that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, is defying the “international community” and international law, and is plotting the destruction of Israel. The latter charge is bolstered by the report that President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust and called for Israel to be wiped off the map. But he never actually said that. He quoted the Ayatollah Khomeini, who died 17 years ago, as stating that the occupation of Jerusalem would be erased from the page of history, which is a rather different statement. No matter. The Washington line is that Iran wants to use nukes to annihilate the Jews.
Preparing to attack Iraq, the Bush administration argued that Saddam (“a new Hitler”) might turn over weapons of mass destruction to al-Qaeda terrorists who could then produce a mushroom cloud over New York. It was all nonsense, subsequently debunked, but in the interim the lies accomplished their purpose: to generate fear. The neocon disinformation specialists are at it again, confident they can fool the masses twice or three times as they pursue their project for a Southwest Asian empire. And maybe they’re right. They must take comfort in poll results that show most Americans would favor military strikes against Iran if it proceeds with its (imagined) nuclear weapons program. They know most Americans can’t find Iran on the map, and don’t know that it’s bordered on either side by U.S.-occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, surrounded by U.S. bases in those countries as well as Kyrgyzstan and Kuwait, that it is bordered by the oil-rich Caspian Sea to the north and the Persian Gulf to the south. They know that most Americans have short historical memories, do not realize that Iran hasn’t attacked any country in its modern history or that the last time the U.S. successfully intervened in Iran it deposed a democratic regime, empowered the vicious Shah, and set the stage for the massive anti-Shah popular uprising of 1979. They know that most Americans are clueless when it comes to the nature of nuclear technology, and that the mushroom-cloud image is the most potent fear weapon they can deploy as they set Iran up.
Their embarrassments and setbacks notwithstanding, the warmongers continue to dish out the bullshit, the psy-ops directed at the American people -- who to the extent that they wise up, constitute their real and natural enemy.
Gary Leupp is a Professor of History, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion, at Tufts University and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Articles by Gary Leupp
* The Office of Iranian Affairs, Embedded Journalism
& the Disinformation Campaign for War
* “Ideologies of
Hatred”? What Does Condi Mean?