The Lying Game: How We Are Prepared for Another War of Aggression

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In 2001, the
Observer in London published a series of reports that claimed
an "Iraqi connection" to al-Qaeda, even describing the
base in Iraq where the training of terrorists took place and a facility
where anthrax was being manufactured as a weapon of mass destruction.
It was all false. Supplied by US intelligence and Iraqi exiles,
planted stories in the British and US media helped George Bush and
Tony Blair to launch an illegal invasion which caused, according
to the most recent study, 1.3 million deaths.

Something similar
is happening over Iran: the same syncopation of government and media
"revelations," the same manufacture of a sense of crisis.
"Showdown looms with Iran over secret nuclear plant,"
declared the Guardian on 26 September. "Showdown"
is the theme. High noon. The clock ticking. Good versus evil. Add
a smooth new US president who has "put paid to the Bush years."
An immediate echo is the notorious Guardian front page of
22 May 2007: "Iran’s secret plan for summer offensive
to force US out of Iraq." Based on unsubstantiated claims by
the Pentagon, the writer Simon Tisdall presented as fact an Iranian
"plan" to wage war on, and defeat, US forces in Iraq by
September of that year — a demonstrable falsehood for which
there has been no retraction.

The official
jargon for this kind of propaganda is "psy-ops," the military
term for psychological operations. In the Pentagon and Whitehall,
it has become a critical component of a diplomatic and military
campaign to blockade, isolate and weaken Iran by hyping its "nuclear
threat": a phrase now used incessantly by Barack Obama and
Gordon Brown, and parroted by the BBC and other broadcasters as
objective news. And it is fake.

On 16 September,
Newsweek disclosed that the major US intelligence agencies
had reported to the White House that Iran’s "nuclear status"
had not changed since the National Intelligence Estimate of November
2007, which stated with "high confidence" that Iran had
halted in 2003 the program it was alleged to have developed. The
International Atomic Energy Agency has backed this, time and again.

The current
propaganda-as-news derives from Obama’s announcement that the
US is scrapping missiles stationed on Russia’s border. This
serves to cover the fact that the number of US missile sites is
actually expanding in Europe and the "redundant" missiles
are being redeployed on ships. The game is to mollify Russia into
joining, or not obstructing, the US campaign against Iran. "President
Bush was right," said Obama, "that Iran’s ballistic
missile program poses a significant threat [to Europe and the US]."
That Iran would contemplate a suicidal attack on the US is preposterous.
The threat, as ever, is one-way, with the world’s superpower
virtually ensconced on Iran’s borders.

crime is its independence. Having thrown out America’s favorite
tyrant, Shah Reza Pahlavi, Iran remains the only resource-rich Muslim
state beyond US control. As only Israel has a "right to exist"
in the Middle East, the US goal is to cripple the Islamic Republic.
This will allow Israel to divide and dominate the region on Washington’s
behalf, undeterred by a confident neighbor. If any country in the
world has been handed urgent cause to develop a nuclear "deterrence,"
it is Iran.

As one of the
original signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran
has been a consistent advocate of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle
East. In contrast, Israel has never agreed to an IAEA inspection,
and its nuclear weapons plant at Dimona remains an open secret.
Armed with as many as 200 active nuclear warheads, Israel "deplores"
UN resolutions calling on it to sign the NPT, just as it deplored
the recent UN report charging it with crimes against humanity in
Gaza, just as it maintains a world record for violations of international
law. It gets away with this because great power grants it immunity.

"showdown" with Iran has another agenda. On both sides
of the Atlantic the media have been tasked with preparing the public
for endless war. The US/Nato commander General Stanley McChrystal
says 500,000 troops will be required in Afghanistan over five years,
according to America’s NBC. The goal is control of the "strategic
prize" of the gas and oilfields of the Caspian Sea, Central
Asia, the Gulf and Iran — in other words, Eurasia. But the
war is opposed by 69 per cent of the British public, 57 per cent
of the US public, and almost every other human being. Convincing
"us" that Iran is the new demon will not be easy. McChrystal’s
spurious claim that Iran "is reportedly training fighters for
certain Taliban groups" is as desperate as Brown’s pathetic
echo of "a line in the sand."

During the
Bush years, according to the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg,
a military coup took place in the US, and the Pentagon is now ascendant
in every area of American foreign policy. A measure of its control
is the number of wars of aggression being waged simultaneously and
the adoption of a "first-strike" doctrine that has lowered
the threshold on nuclear weapons, together with the blurring of
the distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons.

All this mocks
Obama’s media rhetoric about "a world without nuclear
weapons." In fact, he is the Pentagon’s most important
acquisition. His acquiescence with its demand that he keep on Bush’s
secretary of "defense" and arch war-maker, Robert Gates,
is unique in US history. He has proved his worth with escalated
wars from south Asia to the Horn of Africa. Like Bush’s America,
Obama’s America is run by some very dangerous people. We have
a right to be warned. When will those paid to keep the record straight
do their job?

3, 2009

was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been
a war correspondent, filmmaker and playwright. Based in London,
he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism’s
highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his
work in Vietnam and Cambodia. His latest book is Freedom
Next Time: Resisting the Empire

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