Freedom Rider: Obama Moves on Iran

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

No allegation against Iran is too wild for the U.S. corporate media megaphone. The fact that Iran’s modest arms industry makes a small proportion of the bullets floating around Africa is made to seem the equivalent of a mushroom cloud. “While the U.S. spins its AFRICOM web and plans to send troops to 35 different countries, Iran alone is accused of bringing violence to the continent.”

Freedom Rider: Obama Moves on Iran

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The propaganda blitz could not take place without the help of the corporate media.”

The Obama administration has succeeded in manifesting the imperial imperative in ways which his predecessors only dreamed about. American troops have been sent to occupy an ever growing list of nations, Libya was brazenly and brutally torn asunder and Syria is at risk of falling next to the United States and its western and Gulf states allies.

As NATO is discovering in Syria, some states will be tougher nuts to crack than others. They are stronger militarily, have larger industrial capacity or will present a more difficult public relations case for being attacked. Iran was the object of Bushian neo-con dreams, and that connection and the clear and unsubtle Israeli demands for military action make some otherwise supportive Obama allies more skeptical. The administration will have to work a bit harder to convince the public that Iran should be next on the list to be targeted.

Sanctions have succeeded in weakening that economy and its people are suffering from needed food and medicines. The softening up has begun but it must include a compliant American public as well. As a result, Obama is now throwing everything except the proverbial kitchen sink into the anti-Iran propaganda machine.

On an almost daily basis more and more bizarre charges are made against the Iranian government or its people. Last year the Iranians were accused of an assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Asinine is a better description of the nonsensical tale, but the drumbeat continues. Both houses of the United States Congress bowed to administration demands and passed the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012, which seeks to prevent the “growing hostile presence and activity” of Iran in Latin America. Among other things, the legislation, which was signed into law on December 28, 2012, claims that America is at risk of invasion from Hamas and Hezbollah, which are up to no good in a variety of ways.

The administration will have to work a bit harder to convince the public that Iran should be next on the list to be targeted.”

“Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies with a presence in Latin America have raised revenues through illicit activities, including drug and arms trafficking, counterfeiting, money laundering, forging travel documents, pirating software and music and providing haven and assistance to other terrorists transiting the region.”

Barrack Obama is not as clumsy as Dick Cheney nor is he as ham fisted as Benjamin Netanyahu, who strode to the podium at the United Nations with a badly drawn image of an Iranian bomb. Unfortunately the president is a lot smarter and he will be more patient in laying the groundwork before he commits some terrible deed.

Not only is Congress passing legislation which posits as truth what are obvious bald faced lies, but the propaganda blitz could not take place without the help of the corporate media who play their role as scribe to presidential administrations perfectly. In just one week Iran has been accused of hacking into banks and trafficking weapons in various African nations. Iran may soon be blamed for bad weather.

The New York Times quotes government officials who dramatically claim that Iran is behind a series of hacking attacks on American banks. “There is no doubt within the U.S. government that Iran is behind these attacks.” It is quite a news story indeed which says that Iran is the worldwide capital and only possible location for computer hackers. The Times also makes itself available to the ministry of lies by saying that bullets found in a number of African nations have markings indicating they are from Iran.

Obama is now a ‘born again neocon.’”

Of course, France, Belgium, Israel and the United States have all sold weapons to African nations, and the people of Mali are now the victims of French bombing attacks. The inference that Iranian weapons are driving conflict when the U.S. and its NATO allies have fomented numerous examples of violence ought to be insulting to all thinking people. While the U.S. spins its AFRICOM web and plans to send troops to 35 different countries, Iran alone is accused of bringing violence to the continent.

This is a coordinated and sophisticated propaganda campaign and its goal is clear and simple. Any actions taken against Iran must have the buy-in of the American people and how better to do that than to spread lies about that nation first and in the process make whatever intervention is planned seem reasonable.

Sadly, the administration is correct in thinking that this trail of lies will be acceptable to enough people in this country to make some kind of intervention seem reasonable and good. When an American president appears on television in his best suit and solemnly declares that he has decided to kill people in some far away place, his approval ratings not only do not suffer, but show a significant rise.

Obama has everything to gain and nothing to lose by promoting ludicrous tales of Iranian evil doing. His sycophants think he can do no wrong, and the neo-cons will engage in silent envy of the president’s success. Actually, they may not even be very silent. Obama is now a “born again neocon” and their love for him will no doubt become passionate and public. They have every reason to be happy with the man who may go down in history as the most successful American imperialist of the modern era.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)


Not enough credit to the public.

I believe that you are wrong about most Americans being easily convinced to support foreign interventions. Usually, when such surges of supports for presidents occur, they are of short duration and often their is no such surge in support at all. Support for the Vietnam War dropped steadily, starting in 1967, even before the Tet Offensive.

George Bush Seniors numbers declined during the leadup to the Gulf War. His numbers hit a high when the war ended and steadily declined during the rest of the year.

Clinton's numbers didn't go up during the NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 and George W. Bush's numbers didn't increase in the months before the invasion of Iraq and after a brief surge, his numbers returned to their prewar level. The Iraq Surge didn't help Bush's numbers at all.

During Obama's first term, he attacked Libya, Yemen and Somalia, launched a surge in Afghanistan and threatened to attack Iran and Syria. Yet, Obama only had an average approval rating of 49 percent for his entire first term, which is the third lowest first term average of any post World War II president. Their was no noticeable increase in Obama's approval rating as a result of the Afghan Surge or the attack on Libya.

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