[eDebate] smoking iran editorial -- financial times

michael hester uwgdebate
Tue Jun 23 20:19:42 CDT 2009

1) i'm doing my best to properly respect this conversation, reading all the
linked articles and really trying to understand all the various
perspectives. (i'm also swamped at work) thus, my responses are sometimes a
bit delayed.

2) my entry into this debate was a criticism of the petras article, not a
defense of western media or moussavi, dismissing the claims (implied and
otherwise) made by petras that ahmadinejad is innocent and its only Western
press that are corrupt and biased.  my claim for shallowness is just that:
petras, without any personal experience in Iran, *assumes* that any
challenge to the Supreme Leader's premature sign-off on election results
which don't match previous elections (something that petras was factually
wrong about) must be wrong because the West is saying it as a fraudulent
outcome. imo, he makes the same mistake of which he condemns dupes of
imperialism. keep in mind, Iranian State TV is reporting that officials are
admitting fraud, just dickering over how much occurred:

"Iran's Guardian Council has admitted that the number of votes collected in
50 cities surpass the number of those eligible to cast ballot in those
areas. The council's Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, who was speaking on the
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Sunday, made the
remarks in response to complaints filed by Mohsen Rezaei -- a defeated
candidate in the June 12 Presidential election. "Statistics provided by
Mohsen Rezaei in which he claims more than 100% of those eligible have cast
their ballot in 170 cities are not accurate -- the incident has happened in
only 50 cities," Kadkhodaei said."

in other words, the disagreement is now not a question of whether multiple
sides were playing fast and loose with the integrity of elections, but
whether those shenanigans altered the outcome.

3) unlike petras, the george friedman article is solid. for one, it's
nuanced. he admits the results may be fraudulent and recognizes (unlike
petras) that there aren't really any "good guys" in this contest. he
definitely makes a good argument as to why even though fraud was likely,
Ahmadinejad would have won anyway. but even friedman makes some awkward
moves in causal reasoning. for example, he says, "Mousavi persuasively
detailed his fraud claims Sunday, and they have yet to be rebutted. But if
his claims of the extent of fraud were true, the protests should have spread
rapidly [but haven't]." This reasoning has at least two flaws. first, he
creates an artificially & arbitrarily short timeframe by which to judge
whether revolution is spreading. it's been less than two weeks since the
election. the 1979 revolution took more than 12 months from the time it
began in 1978. to claim that because the uprising hasn't spread at the speed
of light is evidence that Ahmadinejad has majority support is spurious.
second, he admits that threats of repression could deter potential
uprisings, but then just sort of dismisses that as a a reason why the other
masses haven't joined in. but those threats are exactly what would deter the
kinds of voters [conservative, attracted to claims of piety] that would be
cowed by basij.

4) also, why does george friedman - editor-in-chief for Stratfor, global
intelligence player - getting a free pass in the source quals debate?
couldn't his arguments be given the same suspicious eye that "mainstream
media" are held to? i'm not saying it a disqualifier, but it does seem a bit
selective to say that "western media" are biased, but not even account for
the possibility that a media conglomerate that relies on "security analysis"
might have a reason to shade the debate a certain way that favors their own

5) speaking of that bias, the weakness of the "CIA exports revolution"
claims (including the article by Roberts) is that it assumes a waaaay
oversimplified version of what the West thinks is in its best interests. as
many commentators have noted, US neo-cons' thirst for war with Iran is
helped - not hurt - by an Ahmadinejad victory. it's a lot easier to sell
imperialist adventures to the american public if there's an easily
identifiable enemy. and Ahmadinejad has been the poster-boy for that - from
his denial of the h'caust to his oddly naive claims about homosexuality in
Iran. thus, there's *at least *as good a chance that US imperialists would
benefit from news stories which portray the Iranian public as solidly
backing the "evil" (by Western accounts) Ahmadinejad. the trial balloons for
military responses against Iran (whether by the US or Israel) have always
been airstrikes, not infantry. and that matters b/c it answers the rebuttal
that fomenting fake revolution in Iran would justify US intervention. ONLY
if that intervention is troops on the ground, NOT air strikes that cause
civilian collateral damage  - the only way to sell this latter option is to
depict the Iranian people as unworthy of humane consideration. but the
coverage by Western media has done just the opposite. in other words, which
scenario plays out best for imperialist interests is much more complicated
(and even contradictory) than the "CIA is faking a rev" claims assume.

p.s. - yes, we do agree on several items in this discussion. i'm trying to
leave those untended to in order to focus on the points where we may

On Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 2:52 PM, Old Strega <oldstrega at hotmail.com> wrote:

>  1) chathamhouse is not conclusive but speculative evidence.
> "problematic" is the operative word of the article.  foul play is suspected
> by not proven.     there is no smoking gun.    only circumstantial evidence.
>    why is the burden of proof against ahmadinejad with nothing but
> speculation possibly promoted by the CIA and the Mossad presented so far?
>   accepting that burden of proof is arguably imperialist especially if the
> speculation was state sponsored and filtered through the media with
> obviously INCOMPLETE coverage. *
> *
> *by the way, wink wink, chatham house is connected to the Rothschilds and
> the CFR.    an iranian front man as author of the analysis creates the
> illusion of objectivity.    you do remember, chalabhi.   i think your source
> is worse than mine.
> *
> 2) ****what if the poll analysis is largely bolstered by poor and scanty
> media coverage from tehran which opened the door for all of this
> speculation? your speculative evidence has little weight without the CNN
> soap opera reinventing moussavi while covering only the capital.
> EXPLAIN HOW THIS ARGUMENT IS SHALLOW?   cole never even considers the US
> media coverage in his great article.  DROPPED --  *** STAR *** --
> http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14018
> Moreover, most Western opinion leaders and reporters based in Tehran
> extrapolated their projections from their observations in the capital ? few
> venture into the provinces, small and medium size cities and villages where
> Ahmadinejad has his mass base of support. Moreover the opposition?s
> supporters were an activist minority of students easily mobilized for street
> activities, while Ahmadinejad?s support drew on the majority of working
> youth and household women workers who would express their views at the
> ballot box and had little time or inclination to engage in street politics.
> how is this claim from petras shallow?  you're running, bro.   what was
> your obamaland experience of the coverage?  you saw great coverage of the
> whole country?  you're running to chathamhouse interpretations of poll
> numbers from areas that were DELIBERATELY excluded by the US media and you
> don't even have the guts to recognize that exclusion.   the US media
> coverage of the iran election sucked.  the equivalent would be coverage of
> the US election from washington, d.c. video only.    terrible.    you're
> lining up with that the conclusions of that coverage and not answering the
> key arguments.
> 3) speculative claims of cheating don't answer since those claims convert
> into the impression automatic vote fraud only with the backdrop of
> INCOMPLETE coverage from tehran represented as a COMPLETE picture.  the
> incomplete coverage showed a swell of support for moussavi in a single city
> which is now being "vindicated" by speculative claims of cheating which
> kissinger is using to demand another coup.
> why can't you recognize this obvious media critique by petras of the hocus
> pocus that creates the impression that tehran is all of iran or recognize
> that moussavi's support may have been over-represented regardless of how
> many people have been reported to have voted by iran?
> i know.  petras had a preconceived idea of the election unlike all the
> fools watching amercian television who have been made to believe by an
> unbiased media with NO PRECONCEPTIONS directed from the government that
> moussavi, the liberator, won .   i see. genius.  those who critique the
> preconceptions and the sea of agreement from the major media outlets get to
> that point through preconceptions.    thank you, tabula rasa.    your brain
> is not a vat even though i'm impressed by how well you scanned all the
> sources that are agreeing with each other and how little you have searched
> for a critique of that manufactured consent.   your proclaimed lack of
> preconceptions is un-becoming and i'm not sure which philosopher you want to
> mount in your defense.  sorry, but objectivity moves, are in my book
> declarations of weakness, signs of backpedalling.   and your definition of
> "preconceptionless" existence is?  drum roll/...
> at least, your objectivity opens you to the possibility of reversing your
> position later when chomsky and others outline further details of this
> CIA/Mossad intervention in iranian politics.   you're objective.  i have a
> hunch.   and if you remember, my hunch on bush and the iraq war was dead on
> and i went to great lengths with that hunch.   i'm sure you understand my
> frustration with the co-option of that hunch by the new war party.   it is
> difficult for counter-positions to emerge when the corporate media outlets
> most often toe the official line of the US gubment.   the cracks in the
> armor can't compete with the empire in terms of speed in painting pictures.
>     i'll take hunches or bogus rationality anyday.    i'll risk-taking over
> insurance.
> 4) if your memory serves you well, your standards for analysis would have
> shown in the year 1953 that the CIA was not involved in the iran coup.
>  objective scanning of 1953 media sources would have sided with absolving
> vice president nixon and the CIA of responsibility as they absolve
> brzezinski, kissinger and the CFR of responsibility, today.    the people
> with hunches were right.
> given history and your professorial objectivity, i think you're jumping the
> gun on your blanket dismissal of petras' premise.
> 5) lastly, you grant the media reinvention of moussavi while pointing out
> that, in the abstract, this is not inconsistent with your argument that the
> election was stolen.   however, the media who reinvented moussavi for naive
> american audiences are the same media who all agree that the election was
> stolen.
> what was the motivation for reinventing moussavi if not to demonize ahmadinejad
> and sound the drums for regime change?   in the abstract, the two claims are
> necessarily tied but in practice many a critical mind can see how well
> moussavi the liberator jives with the promulgation of election result
> speculation.    they work together so well as a coordinated strategy that is
> difficult to divorce them simply to keep alive speculation.   you have
> separated what the US media has coupled.    over time, i don't think that
> backpedal will hold water.
> *
> *
> *i'll agree on one thing.    you have to filter rense because there are
> many things which are of no interest or possibly offensive.   at the end of
> the day, i side with free speech and the right of offensive voices to
> debate.  another thing.  daily kos is a hack site.   *
> *
> *
> *i think we agree on more than this little spar tells.    *
> *
> *
> *i'm very concerned with carving a space for critical views that are not
> mesmerized by obama and his administration's media tricks.    in the
> aftermath of the bush administration, all the fainting made me a little ill.
>   you know that i wouldn't have taken such liberties in responding if i
> didn't feel that your source jokes would have been interpreted with similar
> liberty.    you put me in a difficult spot but now we're discussing iran.
> *
> ------------------------------
> D
> ------------------------------
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