Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fertile ground for Iranian paranoia

The Times' Lede blog, noting that the Russian Government's English Language satellite news channel Russia Today creates "balance" in coverage of U.S. affairs by interviewing Americans on the extreme left and extreme right, relays this bit of fuel for Iranian (and Russian) paranoia featured on a video report released by the station:
Craig Roberts, a former member of the Reagan administration, said that the C.I.A. was behind the whole thing. Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist, agreed with the Russia Today anchor that Mir Hussein Moussavi’s green movement had “all the hallmarks” of an American-orchestrated “color revolution.” Mr. Madsen added that, given the heavy coverage of what is happening in Iran by American news organizations, “it seems like there is a coordinated and concerted effort to try to stir things up using the Western media.”
The old Soviet-bloc counter-narrative, in which U.S. aggression foments repressive counterrevolutions worldwide, maintains a vigorous half-life. Both the Russian and the Iranian powers that be view the color revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgystan as CIA-fomented coups designed to extend Western hegemony.

While blaming the West for the mass protests in Iran may this time prove to be an old trick played once too often, Khamenei and co. can find plenty of genuine fuel for paranoia -- not only in the CIA's toppling of Mossadegh in 1953 and its quarter century of propping up the Shah, but in the very real U.S covert action to destabilize the regime that was operative at least up to Obama's inauguration. It was only last August that Seymour Hersh reported:
Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.

“The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.” The Finding provided for a whole new range of activities in southern Iran and in the areas, in the east, where Baluchi political opposition is strong, he said.
Coming even nearer to the Iranian government allegations were these actions, reported by ABC News in May 2007:

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

Of course,such action was at least partly in response to U.S. commanders' claims of constant Iranian support for insurgent groups in Iraq that were killing U.S. soldiers and destabilizing the government. It was also authorized in the context of -- and perhaps, as time ran out for the Cheney faction in the Bush Administration, as a substitute for -- contemplated bombing of Iranian nuclear installations. The point is that most Iranians doubtless have no trouble believing that the U.S. would try to destabilize their government. Most just don't believe that U.S. influence destabilized this election. Their own government for the moment has less credibility than Obama's.

No comments:

Post a Comment