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Iranian and Obama Disinformation Begins   June 29th, 2009
Both Iran and Obama seem to be dropping news to explain away reality       

 
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The last couple of weeks with Iran have been interesting, shocking, and open to a certain amount of interpretation. It would appear that, at this point, both the Iranian and American governments are releasing information and statements to try to explain away the situation.

First, this weekend, we had the revelation that Obama's tepid response may have been due to bad intelligence:

President Obama's cautious response to election results in Iran may be partly explained by the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies were off the mark in assessments they gave the White House and lawmakers. Five officials familiar with intel reporting and analysis, who asked for anonymity to discuss sensitive material, say most experts at the CIA and other intel agencies initially believed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won reelection solidly--and that if there was fraud, it was at the margins.


Five officials? To get five officials familiar with intel reporting and analysis to leak this information sounds to me like it was an intentional "leak" requested by the administration. Usually you're lucky to see an anonymous source or, maybe, two anonymous sources confirming. But five? This might as well be an administration press release amounting to an outright excuse of its weak response to Iran. Of course such a press release by the administration would just be seen as the administration trying to duck criticism; hence the release by people "familiar with intel reporting and analysis."

Of course this may serve dual purpose. It may be an attempt to deflect domestic criticism at the president's lack of substantive response to the horrors in Iran by essentially implying that the protesters were wrong to protest rather than the government being wrong for killing them. It may also be an olive branch to the Iranian dictators, effectively saying, "We know you won, and we're trying to give your government legitimacy even after your violent attacks on the protesters. So work with us."

Of course it seems rather foolish to think that a government that's unwilling to behave rationally and calmly with its own citizens is going to be interested in working with us. Especially considering the seeming parallel disinformation campaign launched by Iran regarding Neda (the young lady that died in the streets on video).

Ahmadinejad's Web site said Soltan was slain by "unknown agents and in a suspicious" way, convincing him that "enemies of the nation" were responsible.


This combined with:

Though the video appeared to show that she had been shot in the chest, Ghadiri said that the bullet was found in her head and that it was not of a type used in Iran.

"These are the methods that terrorists, the CIA and spy agencies employ," he said. "Naturally, they would like to see blood spilled in these demonstrations, so that they can use it against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is of the common methods that the CIA employs in various countries."


So Iran is making insinuations that external enemies, such as the CIA, may have been responsible for Neda's death and then the president of Iran comes out and says "enemies of the nations" were responsible for the attack.

Of course the whole premise is based on information that only the government of Iran has: How do we know if the bullet was not a type used in Iran? And even if it was, doesn't it seem more likely that the government of Iran used that foreign ammunition to try to frame an external source? The alternative is that a foreign power used their native ammunition rather than using some kind of Iranian ammunition to frame Iran. Iran's narrative is based on the assumption that some foreign power went to the effort to get into Iran, shoot an innocent girl to instigate a wave of protests that was already underway, and then forgot to not use ammunition that would tie them to the crime. Sure, right.

A more likely explanation is that Iran's government killed Neda and is now lying to both their domestic population as well as the world to try to sow the seeds of doubt. That seems especially likely considering another pronouncement this weekend:

In one of the harshest statements from authorities since protests broke out after the June 12 election, Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami, a ranking cleric, said "Anyone who takes up arms to fight with the people, they are worthy of execution."

Those who disturbed the peace and destroyed public property were "at war with God" and should be "dealt with without mercy," he said Friday in a nationally televised sermon.


So while the Iranian government offers speculation to try to explain away Neda's horrible execution on the street, a high-ranking cleric is out there basically stating that Neda's horrible execution is exactly what protesters deserve.

And, unfortunately, it appears that Obama's efforts to take no substantive position on the issue hasn't caused the protests to flourish but have allowed an Iranian crackdown to silence the opposition.

The opposition may have little opportunity to keep momentum going within the limits of the law, and the international attention that appeared to bolster their morale could be waning.


In other words, what the world at large said did boost the morale of the opposition. And yet we're to believe President Obama's assertion that the words of the leader of the free world would not have had any real effect within Iran? Or that it would allow the Iranian government to claim that the opposition was being fueled by the U.S.? They were making that accusation anyway, and as mentioned above even have gone so far as to imply that the CIA was responsible for Neda's death.

Now the article above says "international attention...could be waning." The president of the United States could have definitely kept international attention on Iran. Yet he chose not to, and the opposition in Iran seems to have been largely extinguished.

This, in my opinion, represents a massive foreign policy failure on the part of the Obama administration. It was the best opportunity in thirty years for an internal overthrow of one of our most problematic foes and this administration went out of its way to avoid taking advantage of it. Even with words.

Considering the Iranian government was accusing the U.S. of instigating the protests anyway, it would have been better to at least give them clear moral support and encouragement until they were successful at taking back their government. Once they organized a new government we could demonstrate we weren't interested in meddling in their internal affairs by not meddling in their internal affairs. But at least there would be a new government.

At this point it really would seem that it doesn't matter whether we meddled or not since the same government remains in power as was there before people started dying for freedom.

In any case, it appears that both the U.S. administration and the government of Iran are issuing information to the media to try to bolster their respective positions domestically and internationally.

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