The hot news this weekend is that Obama has begun to tone down the animosity towards Iran. Most of the entertainment comes from watching the remarkable agility of media outlets in reversing their previous positions in order to follow suit.
Iraqi activists said this unnamed teenager was brutally killed by religious police for having an 'emo' hairstyle
While pondering this acrobatic phenomena, I found this story in a UK tabloid about “emo” youths in Iraq being targeted and killed for their sense of style, which is apparently at odds with the desires of the Interior Ministry. The stories emerged on FaceBook according to the newspaper, which claims Iraqi morality police have rounded up dozens of youth and stoned them to death as punishment for their outlandish love of fashion in the form of spiky hair, skinny jeans and decorative items featuring stylized skulls. It occurred to me that all those comment contributors we’ve rolled our eyes at over the past couple of years because they don’t understand the difference between Iran and Iraq are about to get a reprieve. It also crossed my mind that if the youth of any country have earned the right to feature skulls as a fashion emblem, it is surely Iraq, graveyard of the global war on terror.
The tale of emo kids being slaughtered is so strongly reminiscent of stories we’ve seen before about the Iranian regime repressing its youth, I wondered if I had caught the comment-poster community’s dyslexic virus and mis-read the headline. But no, it’s just a case of déjà vu. We are being mentally shifted towards the end of the media see-saw where Iran is not about to be bombed, it doesn’t have a nuclear weapon, and didn’t arrange those attacks on Israeli diplomats. And the cat is firmly out of the bag about how Israel and the noxious US-terror-listed MKO/MEK/PMOI/NCRI cult have been in cahoots this whole time.
This being an election year, Obama will be doing all humanly possible to distance himself from the revelations which are sure to follow. There are signs of an investigation starting, one which many would say is long overdue, into those prominent Americans who have accepted money from the MKO and have made public statements supporting them in glowing terms.
There is also emerging news about some of the players in the psychological war as they describe it, designed to raise Iran’s profile in the media. Twitter was at one point a major theatre of operations for this psy-ops offensive. Twitter is still in active use as a platform for propaganda, but lacks the intensity and volume that spiked immediately after the June 2009 presidential election in Iran. So polished is the performance of these actors, that it is incredibly difficult to tell them apart from genuine activists. Indeed, they were able to recruit sufficient numbers of “regular” people to their cause that it created a social media shield: a virtual buffer to prevent detection and obscure their motives. And this is where the damage is done. Their misinformation and disinformation using blogs, websites and FaceBook pages under the “human rights” or “secular democracy” banners, false news reports, fake videos, doctored pictures, and their massive media campaigns, all deflect public attention and the media spotlight away from real activists, distorting their messages, diluting the response.
By using manipulation tactics to call for protests, pushing people to go out onto the streets in Iran, they caused the loss of dozens of innocent lives and stole the future from tens of thousands of refugees, forced to flee the chaos that followed. By posing as genuine “green movement” members, they wormed their way into private groups, spread malware to spy on activists, discredited genuine dissidents, and placed them at hugely increased risk.
Several thousand people have been detained in Iran, where they are mentally and physically tortured, and subjected to excessive punishments and harsh sentences. If detainees are found to have been in contact with any of these agents provocateurs, the punishment is many more times as severe than if they are not suspected by the regime as being part of the “wave of sedition” engineered by the “hypocrites” (the IRI’s pet-name for the MKO). Even now, there are prisoners in Iran protesting their innocence because they still don’t realise that one of their supportive friends was actually a member of the hated MKO or one of their associates (whether knowingly or not).
I know this, through of my links to genuine activists and my work to maintain a database of prisoners in Iran, and because I am one of a handful of people, unpaid but highly dedicated, who have been observing the army of internet trolls whose mission (among other things) involved pretending to be part of a grass-roots “green movement” either in Iran, or playing the role of supporters outside. When we think of “outside”, let’s not overlook the nearest neighbour Iraq, home for many years to the largest group of MKO since their exile from Iran. To heighten my apprehension, Iran’s Minister of Telecommunications has just said Tehran is ready to transfer its “knowledge and experiences” in telecoms and e-government to Iraq.
Writing this post makes me sad and angry, because there are real issues in Iran and real Iranians who do actually have aspirations towards greater personal and social freedom, enjoyment of human rights, or even “secular democracy” if you will excuse me using one of the cult’s catch-phrases. Despite their best efforts, many of these people, and many others outside Iran, were completely taken in by what they believed was a source of help and support to highlight issues in Iran. I dread to think of the consequences of a similar campaign targeting Iraq in its far more fragile state.
I hope more facts about the disgraceful MKO-MOSSAD psy-ops programme which deliberately placed thousands of innocent Iranians plus their families, friends, and contacts around the world at risk is about to see some daylight at last. It would be too much to hope that the US government’s support, whether through funding, complacency, facilitation or compromise, that would obviously be essential to such a campaign, is also revealed. It would be naïve to expect that, having developed a taste for this exotic form of warfare, and presumably having also secured a huge budget, and a certain prestige for the programme’s leaders, this extremely effective and comparatively low-cost form of warfare will simply go away. To ensure it does not, a new victim is needed, and it could be that Iraq is the unlucky target.
This post is intended to make social media users who follow and support civil and human rights issues stop and think. Be cautious, be wary, be afraid. Me, I’m likely to stay angry a good long while.