Sunday, January 20, 2008

What Was Shown on Al-Jazeera English

So here is the clip of what the listeningpost.tv decided to show. I appear right towards the end, and the only part shown is when I am talking about how much more organised, focused and professional the IRI propaganda is compared to how pathetic and amateur the US propaganda is. I had a feeling that the program was going to be about how the US tries to manipulate the media for its own end and I was trying to say that actually the US is so naive in propaganda when it comes to the might of the Islamic Republic and all the media they have at their disposal.



and look at what they put down as my occupation, blogger!!

20 comments:

Winston said...

Al-Jazeerah is a terror supporting network. I am not surprised....

Aryamehr said...

Someone tell that self-hating Iranian "Haleh Vaziri" (who looked like she was about to fall asleep on that clip) that the name of "the Gulf" she is trying to refer to (I BELIEVE???) is the Persian Gulf.

barmakid said...

Hello Azarmehr,


I guess George Orwell hit the nail on the head when he said, "those who know the past can control the future. But those who control the present, control the past."

I think you underestimate the influence - and therefore power - of U.S. propaganda in the region. The Iranian government has more credibility in the region; if not with the governments, then with the people. Thus any news agency they establish and the kind of coverage they disseminate is naturally going to resonate more with Arabs.

So yes, while Iran does have an advantage on the news propaganda "battlewaves," the United States has a stealthier instrument of propaganda: cultural influence. You know; Hollywood, MTV, technology, sports, standard of living - all that good stuff that Middle Easterners are increasingly watching on their satellites.

But on to other things.

It was preposterous and reckless for the Bush administration not only to try, but to think they would succeed in isolating Iran through power alliances. All Iranians, Arabs, and especially those living in the region should be insulted at how the sanctity of their fellow citizens' lives were rendered subordinate to geopolitical strategy.

We know that the modern nation-state system is a deliberate product of western wars - a failed attempt at preventing future wars and mitigating territorial ambitions.

We also know of the disaster that treacherous, realpolitik alliances between nation-states can engender.
This type of disaster was exemplified most memorably in WWI.
After which, western powers imposed the very same nation-state system that precipitated WWI on the inhabitants of the Middle East in order to function as a geopolitical mechanism for their extraterritorial ambitions.

Now the Bush Administration seeks to wrought alliances and proffer "arms packages" to these volatile states in a bid to restructure their geopolitical preponderance in the region. And there is more bad news; one of these volatile states has hundreds of nuclear weapons and has been the impetus for many wars in the region - the most recent being the Lebanese war of 2006.

The political scientist Hegel once said, "the only thing history has taught us is that we haven't learned anything from history."

I guess that's why history tends to repeat itself.

barmakid said...

And if it's o.k. ask, what is your occupation Azarmehr?

Azarmehr said...

Barmakid

Hollywood and MTV are not run by the US government and if they were, then the making of the movie 300 would further demonstrate how naive and disastrous the US is in manipulating media to win the hearts and minds.

The IRI has a far more effective weapon, tapping the Muslim population in Europe and in America, while the US has no manpower in Iran and therefore often no information on Iran.

IRI is able to set up TV stations, Mosques, schools, "cultural centres" etc. in these countries.
IRI has professional lobbyists and has infiltrated think tanks in the West.

Many children of the IRI officials have dual citizenships and live in Europe, Canada and America. They will be able to enjoy all the equal opportunities these countries provide and reach positions of influence and even sensitive intelligence positions in the West.

All this is far more effective in manipulating public opinion than Hollywood and MTV.

chester said...

The American media, which is liberal and hates Bush and republicans in general, doesn't want this election to be about foreign affairs and terrorism, because everyone knows that the democrats will lose if that's the case.

So Bush's entire trip to the ME was played down, and never top story billing.
The Iranian boat incident, which was planned by the Iranian Regime,(not some rogue IRGC commander like they want people to believe) at first played into the hands of the republicans, though it took several days after the incident to even be reported, and no one in the TV media reported the history of 2 other incidents with IRGC boats in the previous 2 1/2 weeks just prior.

Unfortunately and very foolishly, the Adminstration and the military played right into the hands of the regime and the Liberal media, when they couldn't identify where the strange voice on the tape came from. They should have taken the stance that it didn't matter where it came from, because the actions of the small boats were threatening enough, especially after the previous incidents.

The Liberal media used this to their advantage, reported on the strange voice ad nauseum, and ignored the rest of the story and Bush's trip to the ME.

So the final effect was, the Iranians aren't such a big threat, the Arabs don't really want or need our input, and we should stay out of the ME - which plays right into the hands of the Democrats and takes foreign affairs and threats off the table and puts emphasis back onto democratic domestic issues like jobs and the economy and how much money they can promise to people, which is the way that Democrats can win this election.

barmakid said...

Of course Hollywood and MTV are not ran by the government, thank Jefferson! But I must inform you the Department of Defense indeed takes part in creating huge motion picture (like 300). In fact, they have an office called the Hollywood Liason. Why? Because they're aware at how much movies and cultural art influence people who watch them.

Some people in the State Department here actually have the nerve to say that our best weapon against Iran is MTV! Why would they say that? I ask you.

And like I said, the Iranians have a more sophisticated methods to win the hearts and minds of Arabs. But that isn't the most difficult task when you're opponent is the cause of two ongoing bloody wars that has heaped misery upon the people of those countries.

Even if the U.S. had the propagandistic capacity as the I.R., they still would not be able to win the hearts and minds of people in the region. How stupid do you think Arabs and Persians are? You CANNOT win the hearts and minds of people who's ethnic and religious brethren are bleeding and suffering daily because of the actions of the U.S. and Israel.

Get with it people, propaganda works to the extent that it can replace reality, not run side by side with it.

And Chester, did you even read my post? You sound like an ignorant republican that views people's lives through a prism of political strategy.

Oh, news flash: the media is liberal!! What a joke. It's almost as ignorantly funny as Winston calling Al-Jazeera a "terror supporting Network." So I guess you guys watch Fox News, or what is it in the UK; Sky News I believe.

Azarmehr said...

Barmakid,

If indeed it is true that "State Department here actually have the nerve to say that our best weapon against Iran is MTV!" I interpret that as the stupidity of the US State department and their desperation at not knowing what to do about IRI.

You will have to prove to me that the US defense dept had a part in making the movie 300. Until you provide me with any proof, let me take your statement with a pinch of salt or allow me to conclude that you watch too much IRI propagnda ;)

You seem to me, and forgive me if I am wrong, one of the old generation Iranians who took part in the 1979 revolution, and still imagine Iranians as having the anti-American mentality of your generation, most of whom couldn't live in the Islamic Republic, left for US and now live there comfortably but still see America as the enemey and the Islamic Republic as a justifiable regime and think that majority of Iranians care about Kadivar's interpretation of Islam!

chester said...

Hey barmakid - does that chip on your shoulder ever hurt your neck?
Did I read your post? Yeah. so what?
I wasn't replying to it or addressing you at all.

barmakid said...

Well, admittedly "300" is not included in the list of movies that have government fingerprints on them. It just isn't part of the genre that would mandate government involvement, even as much as the I.R. might say it is part of a continued U.S. government strategy of "psychological warfare."

But I invite you to look at this website and get an idea of what I'm talking about.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-03-07-security-hollywood_x.htm

I don't believe Iranians are categorically anti-American; that's why I believe the U.S.'s cultural influence resonates with them! And I don't believe Kadivar's statements resonate with average Iranians (I said that!). Are you reading what I write? I said I mentioned those people to highlight how the mullahs are bringing about their own demise.

But if you don't believe that they oppose U.S. policies (like the wars and their bellicose posture towards Iran) you are severely disconnected with mainstream Iranian thought. The wars have created a non-stop flow of refugees to Iran, which saps the economy and arouses prejudices. The war has given new life to Kurdish separatists that mount terrorist attacks in northern Iran. And their are many other practical bases for their opposition to the U.S.'s policies, not just ideological.


And policy makers refer to MTV as their best weapon because they understand the power of American cultural influence. Couple this with the fact that 70% of Iran's population is under 35. These are the same young people that you mention long for the freedom to enjoy themselves; to leave their homes without hijab, to drink, to go to discos, to talk freely to the opposite sex, to be able to produce uncensored art, to have "un-Islamic" haircuts, etc.

Do I need to remind you what the MI6 and CIA did to Mossadeq? And how they reinstalled the dictatorial, undemocratic, despotic Shah; all the while raping Iran for its resources and inhibiting its natural progress towards a "democratic secular Iran." Not to mention how the Mossad trained the Shah's SAVAK. There are still walls in Tehran that have spray painted on them: Ya Marg, Ya Mossadeq!

And indeed you are wrong about who I am (you are forgiven). I was not born until 5 and a half years after the revolution, giving me a grand total of 23 years of life.

I am part of the "70% generation" generation that believes in the separation of church and state, in the establishment of democracy, and in the restoration of tolerance for other people's beliefs like the great kings of the Achemenian Dynasty had. Remember, we freed the Jews! We paid our workers! We had no slaves! We allowed the freedom of religious practice!

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you sound like the old generation of Iranians who long for the return of the Shah and put faith in his undeserving son. Part of a generation who hasn't been to Iran in decades and doesn't understand why students protest and what their goals are; part of a generation that doesn't understand how pivotal the clerics can be in unraveling Islam's stranglehold on our country.

Remember, it wasn't the U.S. that brought down communist Russia, it was the communist Secretary General Mikail Gorbechav.

barmakid said...

No Chester, it doesn't hurt; my neck is pretty thick. What about you; does the ignorant aura that surrounds your existence ever bother you? Probably not, most people can't discern their own ignorance, but the people around them can.

Azarmehr said...

Barmakid,

So I was wrong in guessing your generation. You are only 23?
There you go I can't be right every time :))
I congratulate you for your very mature writing and argument. So when did you leave Iran and perfected your English to this level? In fact leave your email as a comment, I wont publish it but email you so we can get to know each other better via email.

I am in middle of something now but let me briefly go through some of the points you raised, so you don't think I am ignoring you.

- Good that you admit making 300 was nothing to do with US government, I will look at the link you sent me l8er.

- Agree with your next paragraph.

- The problem is neither of us can say what the mainstream Iranian thinking is. How do we measure the mainstream? IN my experience everyone thinks those around them are the mainstream.

- MTV is not the only music channel, the young Iranians can tune in to Turkish channels, East European, Italian, even Tajik and Afghan channels and see that the youth in almost all other countries have more ways of expressing themselves and personal freedoms. IN fact I think you have to pay and subscribe to MTV while the others are free. I dont watch MTV, may be I am wrong.

- Do I need to remind you that the Ayatollahs ruling Iran now, supported the 1953 coup and hate Mossadiq and they have been the obstacle to progress and secularism not just since 1953 but for 400 years? There is not even a street, correct me if I am wrong, named after Mussadiq in Iran. Hence slogans in support of Mossadeq written on the walls every now and then are showing opposition to the Mullahs rather than opposing US policies in Iraq or Afghanistan.

- As for raping Iran's resources after Mossadiq: Can you remember a better time in Iran's economy? Don't you think Iran's middle class had its best years between 1953 and 1979? Have you read any of Mirfetros's writings on Mossadiq and all his errors and failures?

- Israelis trained SAVAK? Ok North Koreans and Palestinians train IR's henchmen? which one do people hate more? During the height of student protests, people reported several times that those who beat the protesters had Arabic accents and were shipped from Lebanoan. During the raid on the student dormitories, a Lebanese Hezbollah thug was amongst the injured and was flown back to Lebanon. You may be 23 but you seem stuck in the time dimension of 50 years ago.
Now days people say why wasnt SAVAK efficient enough?! Remember when the previous Tehran Mayor, Karbaschi, was on trial, and they produced some documents that he had co-operated with SAVAK against the clergy to discredit him? It actually made him more popular!
How many times have you heard workers and teachers in Iran chant
"felestino raha kon, ye fekr beh hAle mA kon"
"Leave Palestine be, do something for us"

- Glad to know you believe in the separation of church and state and tolerance in the style of old Iranian kings. We have common grounds as well as differences of opinion. Thats always good.

- You are right I have not been to Iran since the cultural revolution.
However I would like to think that I have kept close links with Iran. I am in touch with people inside Iran, and those who have recently left Iran. Do you think they all think like you? Not at all.
I also meet a lot of Iranians when I go to Iran's neighbouring countries and I meet a lot of Iranian refugees. I also never shy away from talking to those who support the regime. What forms my opinions is an amalgamation of their views and attitudes, and unlike me they are fresh from Iran!

Do I long for the return of the Shah?

I dont long for the return of the Shah. He has been dead for some time to my knowledge and I dont believe in resurrection. Do you?
My family were active against the Shah and my father was arrested several times. However I think differently to them and firmly believe Iran was much better under the Shah than under the mullahs despite all the shortcomings and valid criticisms.

Do I put faith in his "undeserving" son?

I think whether you like it or not he too represents the views of a noteable portion of people of Iran. I also think he represents a historic, traditional Iranian position which can be extremely pivotal in keeping Iran's unity after the mullahs, should the people decide so. However I think it should be completely constitutional as in the European monarchies and he should not interfere at all in the day to day running of the country.
I also give him credit for propagating the ideas of civil disobedience and non-violent action amongst Iranian dissidents and breaking some barriers between opposition groups and his ability in embracing new ideas.

If we go more into details, Do I think he is a good team builder? Can he keep a team together? Does he take risks he should take? Is he good at PR, communication and propaganda work?
Hmm, I think he can do much better.

As for how pivotal the clerics can be in unraveling Islam's stranglehold on our country:

As I said before, dont you read what I write ? :) - I think they can play an important role, but my position is I should not get involved in their work. Let those clerics who want to unravel Islam's stranglehold on Iran do their work on their own. It will be best if people like me don't get involved.

Had to type very quickly, hope I answered all your points.

chester said...

Barmakid -
"my neck is pretty thick." It would have to be to hold your swollen head.

You initiated personal attacks. Typical of people of your ilk.

Your politics interfere with your ability to understand how the media in this country affects elections, and aims to sway the public to their side. Not to mention how it warps people's view of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You should understand propaganda well, as you are the victim of it.
However, being only 23 (if indeed you are) it is a bit more understandable how you have fallen for it.

barmakid said...

Azarmehr,

First, let me congratulate your father for actively opposing the Shah; very noble(and the resurrection reference was pretty funny - I should have clarified that I meant the return of a monarchical system; got me:)).

Now where to start...hmmm. Oh, let me agree with your point about measuring "mainstream" thought before I go an a disagreeing tirade. You are right. I used the term pretty loosely.

Also, when I use the term MTV I mean to use it as an all encompassing word for that type of American media that appeals to young people; not just music television. You are right that the satellites Iranians have do transmit other music channels like
Spanish, Italian, and French...of which French seems to be the most watched. Their quality of production, in my view, is the only one that can be compared to American production. But regardless, American media production and art has overwhelmingly permeated Iranian society (a lot of which has to do with the fact that the population is overwhelmingly young).

You could have watched "300" in Iran before it even hit the big screen in America (I've got the hook up). Its pretty cool actually, this guy (Ali Reza) comes into my cousin's maghazeh with a seemingly never-ending list of movies. You check off what you want (a thousand toman each) and he'll bring them for you in the next couple days. And the best thing is, there are no late fees!! Ok, I'm digressing.

And may I ask why you bring up the mullahs when I mention Mossadeq? I feel like you have this misconception that I support the clerical leadership (I really dont, and I would be logically remiss if I did). Mossadeq's history, whether liked or not by the current leadership, is essential for all Iranians to know and learn from. Just imagine, if Mossadeq would have stayed in power and thrown out the Shah there would have never been a SAVAK or an Islamic Revolution for that matter!

And yes, the Mossad and the CIA helped the Shah create the SAVAK and train them. The Mossad is the biggest terrorist organization on the block. Even the Shah knew it. They kill more people than the
North Koreans or Palestinians ever could or will.

So it doesn't matter who people think is worse, or don't like better than the other. We spoke about propaganda and who uses it best, but we left out the most efficient propagandists: the Israelis - maybe that's why people hate the NKs and Palestinian more. But indeed, the North Koreans and Palestinians are pygmies compared to the Mossad.

And anyone who says "why didn't the SAVAK do more" is not cognizant of their history and how they have imprisoned, tortured, and killed their fellow countrymen. Just as the IR does today (but not to the extent of the SAVAK's activities). In a sense, making a statement like that is tantamount to saying, "why didn't they kill and imprison more Iranians and Kurds."

And a note about the Shah's son and why I think he garners undeserved attention. Thomas Payne wrote in his revolutionary pamphlet "Common Sense" (which is credited with starting the American revolution against that overbearing island you live on today) that,

"...there is another and greater distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and the is the distinction of men into kings and subjects. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad, the distinction of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind."

I think those are pretty powerful words. But anyways..

The Shah deserved to die (maybe in a similar fashion as King Louis the XVI of France) but his son does not, for he did not give the orders to kill and imprison people. But he also does not deserve any enhanced attention because he came from the womb of Fara.

And indeed he does not represent a sizable portion of Iranians in Iran; maybe expatriate Iranians, but they have no influence. To claim he has a constituency in Iran is simply not true. Again, the vast majority of Iranians were born after the revolution and don't have a semblance of affinity towards the Shah's son. And the older one's are so demoralized by the path that their country has taken that they don't even know what to do but reminisce.

Humbly yours,
barmakid

barmakid said...

Thank you for understanding the perils of being 23 Chester. I don't know what to believe!!

Maybe you should start telling me instead of continuing these personal attacks and joining the ranks of my ilk.

Azarmehr said...

Barmakid,

I didn't say you support the mullahs, I explained that if you see on the odd occasion pro-Mossadeq writings on the wall, its more to do with opposing the mullahs than anti-American feelings. Why did you think that?

There is no way of knowing what would have happened in Iran, if Mossadeq stayed on. What you imagine is pure conjecture. What we can say however is that his comrades in Jebhe Meli, did occupy seats of power in 1979 and they were a complete disaster. They expelled someone like Shapur Bakhtiar from their ranks and someone like Sanjabi signed that disgraceful submission to Khomeini.
Mossadeq's street force also was Ayatollah Kahsani's mob of thugs and Fedayeen Islam assassins. Who knows what his henchmen would have done once they smelled power?
So in my view, what you say is conjecture and what I say is historical fact.

I have been unfortunate enough to meet a lot of jebhe meli guys since I was a kid, and they never impressed me. Individualistic pompous and short sighted with a chip on their shoulder would be how I summarise them. The only true statesman with amazing hindsight amongst them was Shapur Bakhtiar, whom I will always hold in the highest respect and will always consider as my mentor.

Then you quote Thomas Payne about privilege and distinction between men, yet you forget that Mossadeq himself was an aristocratic prince and born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He became the governor of a province when he was 13!!I wonder what Thomas Payne would say about that!

Also what Payne wrote was before constitutional monarchies the way we know them today like in England, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Belgium ... existed.

Up to now reading your comments were interesting and sometimes thought provoking but to blame someone because he or she came from the womb of someone you don't like, come on that is really unwarranted and shows some very deep rooted personal hatred.

When such kind of statemenst are made I always refer to examples like SHeikh Fazlolah, a reactionary despotic mullah who stood against the constitutional revolution, also a mentor of present day rulers, yet his son was a freedom fighter who supported the constitutional revolution and his grandson was the leader of the Iranian Communist Tudeh Party!

You lost some of your credibility with me with that hateful statement and believe me none of the young Iranians I meet have these kind of issues you have.

barmakid said...

Azarmehr,

I'll concede that what I said is necessarily conjecture - no one can know what would have truly happened. But the graphite I was referring to was originally displayed in the 50s (my grandpa witnessed the person write it, and as I myself have restored its fraying appearance). But enough of graphite on the wall.

I will not relent. While Bakhtiar (and Bazargan) surely deserve credit and acknowledgment, the Shah's son does not.

You might interpret it as personal resentment, but you are misinterpreting me if you do.

It's not that I don't like Fara - I don't even know her or what she stands for. (What I do know is that my mother loves her!)

And as far as Mossadeq, it's not the man I admire so much, as what he tried to accomplish. It is dangerous to blindly follow any man, and I don't.

I think you underestimate the gravity of Payne's words - as they have changed the conception of government around the western world.

If Thomas Payne were alive today I think he would comment on Mossadeq's aristocratic upbringing by stating that,

"We should assert the supremacy of humanity over the actions of birth and misfortune."

barmakid

p.s.


I'm glad none of the young Iranians you meet don't have the "issues" I have, for if everyone is thinking alike, then someone is not thinking.

And let me say, I have not attacked you on a personal level. And now that I have revealed my age you are going to use it to attack me on that level? That's not cool.

I'm sorry I disappoint you. Maybe you can look towards winston, chester, sohrab, and the likes for some "blogospheric" stimulation.

Winston said...

Chester, that was very funny!

Azarmehr said...

How did I use your age to attack you on a personal level? I thought I commended you for your well constructed points which came across very mature. I thought that was a compliment.

Amin Mossavi said...

So pathetic when something like this: http://www.iranpressnews.com/source/035201.htm

is happening in Iran, some "Iranians" are still more concerned about what happens in Gaza! Charity begins at home I say!