On Iran and Independent media

The Possibility of War

The possibility of War with Iran seems more and more likely. A recent article by Global Research notes that "Western media is now confirming, rather belatedly, that the Bush Administration's war plans directed against Iran are 'for real' and should be taken seriously." It adds, "'Punitive bombings' directed against Tehran could be launched within the next few months. The diplomatic mode has been switched off: The Pentagon is said to be 'taking steps to ensure military confrontation with Iran' because diplomatic initiatives have allegedly failed to reach a solution."

An article in the American Conservative makes the point that the reasons for this war go beyond the reactionary neocons in the White House, but stem back to a decades-old battle for regional hegemony. They too see conflict as likely. "[W]hereas the simplest mistake—or even inaction—can spark a conflict, diplomacy can only be achieved if deliberately and persistently pursued, states the article. "Sadly, in spite of much rhetoric to the contrary, real diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran has not even been attempted yet."

And the US is planning a campaign to build support for the war soon. The idea, they hope, is to get 40 percent of the US public behind it, by staging a media blitz that will no doubt be helped by Fox News and the reporting of Michael Gordon of the New York Times, among the rest of the corporate media.

Marjorie Cohn writes (emphasis in mine):

Barnett Rubin reported on Global Affairs blog that one of the leading neo-conservative institutions has “instructions” from Dick Cheney’s office to “roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this - they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is ‘plenty.’”

History has shown that the media is usually more likely to help efforts to start a war, rather than in stopping it. "News media, down the road, will point out that there were lies about the Gulf of Tonkin or about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," notes Norman Solomon in the film War Made Easy. "But that doesn't bring back any of the people who have died … when it comes to life and death, the truth comes out too late."

How to fight against the war: Spread the information that the media will not report on

While the anti-war movement is mainly focused on Iraq--which is understandable given that a new report has concluded that 1.2 million Iraqi civilians have died as a result of this war--trying to stop a war with Iran should be no less a priority, given the unthinkable consequences that the world would face if the US strikes Iran.

At this stage, the most important step in opposing a war with Iran may well be making use of independent media to get information out that the public does not know, mainly because the media will not report it.

For example, consider these conclusions (per Global Research) from the IAEA, which states that there is no evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapon.

Article IV (1): These modalities cover all remaining issues and the Agency [meaning IAEA] confirmed that there are no other remaining issues and ambiguities regarding Iran's past nuclear program and activities.

Article IV (3): The Agency's delegation is of the view that the agreement on the above issues shall further promote the efficiency of the implementation of safeguards in Iran and its ability to conclude the exclusive peaceful nature of the Iran's nuclear activities.

Article IV (4): The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use. (IAEA Report, italics added)

This is the type of information that is crucial for the public to know but by in large does not because the most of the media simply does not report it. Getting this information out should be a priority for those of us who want to prevent this war. While one should try to penetrate mainstream papers (IE writing letters or op-eds to your local newspaper), the reality is that independent media outlets are the ones who will report it.

One effort which I am heartened by is the creation of Independent World Television by the Real News Network, which is trying to create a television counter to cable news, in which the station is not beholden to corporate owners and advertisers, nor government subsidies. Instead they rely heavily on viewer donations. I plan on posting one video a week from them on this site. Here, is a good example of the type of excellent coverage that Independent World Television is providing on Iran.

It is vital that activists and writers forward along these types of reports, and spread this information in other ways. An informed public will not accept war with Iran. An uninformed, or misinformed public very well may. So fighting for, building and promoting independent media is perhaps our best weapon in stopping this war, and others. Hitting the streets is important as well, but will not be nearly as effective if the public is misinformed about the realities of the Iran's nuclear capabilities and ambitions.