Thursday, January 5, 2012

Publishing Poison

After 8 years of murder, mayhem, pillage and plunder in Iraq, you'd think a paper like The Age would be wise to the kind of journalistic propaganda barrage that preceded that particular Crime against Humanity. But no, today's Age sees nothing wrong in peddling more of the same, designed to soften up the public for yet another round of shock and awe, this time against Iran.

Is the editorial memory so short these days that good old-fashioned USraeli neoconservative sabre-rattling, masquerading as scholarship, passes under the radar?

Check out just the concluding lines of Michael Rubin's The West should hand Iran's leadership a chalice of poison:

"While no Australian, American, or European wants to pay more at the petrol pump, the status quo is unsustainable. Should the Islamic Republic develop nuclear weapons, Tehran will have a free hand to lash out indiscriminately, feeling secure behind its own nuclear deterrent."

That didn't remind the Age's opinion editor of a certain other Middle Eastern regime with a track record of lashing out?

"A limited conflict in the Persian Gulf might add $20 to the price of oil for a month, but a nuclear Iran could permanently add $100 a barrel."

Gee, wasn't Iraq supposed to be a limited conflict?

"History can be a guide. Twice, in the Islamic Repulic's history, revolutionary authorities have sworn no surrender. In 1979, they said they would not release their American hostages until Washington met revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini's demands."

What has that to do with the present situation? And why, since history's been invoked, would Khomeini have bothered releasing said hostages given that "Reagan Republicans were eager to derail [President Carter's promise to airlift arms and spares already purchased under the Shah in return for the hostages] and had already met Iranian officials to agree not to release the hostages before the election, but to do so afterwards in return for the direct supply of arms." (The Iran-Iraq War, Rob Johnson, 2011, p 91)

"Then, they said they would accept no end to the Iran-Iraq war until Saddam Hussein was in Iranian hands. In both cases, however, isolation and sanctions took their toll. When Khomeini announced a ceasefire with Iraq, he likened it to drinking a chalice of poison but said the cost of continuing to fight gave him no choice. When it comes to Tehran's nuclear program and its Hormuz threats, it is time to hand Iranian leaders such a chalice, not to relieve the pressure."

Notice how slippery Rubin's history is? To read him you'd think the "isolation and sanctions" faced by Iran during the Iran-Iraq War (1979-1988) were identical to those imposed against it today. But Khomeini's drinking from the 'poisoned chalice', that is, reluctantly agreeing to a ceasefire with Iraq in 1988, bore no relation to today's USraeli-inspired, anti-Iranian sanctions. Here's the context in which Iran agreed to a ceasefire with Iraq in 1988: "[T]he cost of the war could not be sustained any longer. According to an Iranian source, Iran's war costs had reached $1,000 billion, but its estimated oil income over 80 years (the longevity of its industry from first discovery to the outbreak of war) was $260 billion. In essence, Iran had spent 4 times its actual oil income and, like Iraq, was mortgaging its future. Iran was also losing the military campaign in the southern theatre. It had too few armoured vehicles left, was losing ground rapidly, and there were signs that the military personnel had reached their limit." (ibid pp 175-176)

One really has to wonder about the circumstances in which such tripe was given the nod at the Age. Did the opinion editor (or editors - I believe there are two) bother checking Rubin's background beyond the following snapshot supplied with the piece: "Michael Rubin is an author and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC"?

If he/she had, they might've unearthed the following:

"Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who worked as a Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq during the first George W Bush administration. An outspoken and contoversial proponent of hardline US foreign policies, Rubin is closely associated with neoconservatism. His track record includes working for a number of groups associated with the US 'Israel lobby' (including AEI, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Middle East Forum), championing the US invasion of Iraq, suggesting assassinating foreign leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, allegedly misrepresenting translations of statements by Iranian officials, serving as a consultant to the heavily criticized Pentagon Office of Special Plans, and consulting for the PR firm the Lincoln group, which was accused of planting propaganda in the Iraqi press." (

And how about this from the same source?

"Gregory Djerejian sums up Rubin's time working for the Bush administration...'Rubin was part of a group associated with Doug Feith at the Pentagon that were, in the main, [Ahmed] Chalabi-cheerleaders, and swallowed with alacrity the kool-aid that the 'liberation' would be swift and welcomed by the Iraqis and that the US government would be able to hand off the governance quickly and without much pain to Chalabi & Co."

Seems like it's either a case of any old rubbish goes at the Age these days, or else the paper rather likes the prospect of yet another Middle Eastern war. Either way, by publishing neocon propaganda such as Rubin's the Age will be as complicit in the coming slaughter as any Murdoch rag.


Anonymous said...

So MERC has a problem and cries like a spoilt child when the sometimes viciously anti-israel "the age" posts a one in a hundred article that is not totally and completely to MERC's sensitivities.( ie not anti israel or anti usa)

iran is a state run by ideological and religious maniacs--who actually believe that the 13th imam who was 12 when he fell down a well around 670AD, will climb out alive and well, after israel is nuked.

don't bother the long winded nonsensical justifications for iran.

it just puts you into the camp of nutters.

all sunnis believe iran is heading for armageddon, and want it stopped any way possible.

so do the palestinians (except hamas fanatics who realize any nuclear device exploding over tel aviv would sicken and kill many hundreds of thousands of their own people as well.

no nuke anywhere should be contemplated.

and the old MAD--mutually assured destruction protocol of the cold war may no longer be true.
consider Khomeini's statement that one bomb would annihilate israel, but even a few bombs from israel could only take out half the persian population.

this from their ideological and spiritual leader.
and he was serious.
and so are his inheritors.

so lets just cut the rubbish and see what is potentially the end of oil in the middle east, as well as millions of lives.

would you honestly trust iran with the nuclear bomb?
i would not.

MERC said...

Right. That biz about Khomeini and the bomb - do you have a scholarly citation for that?

Anonymous said...

i will leave scholarly references when i have my next marked university article.
until then-use your own jounalistic nouse:-)

there are more than enough quotes from iranian leaders .

MERC said...

No scholarly citation? All just off the top of your head then?