Softening Up The UK Population For War
By Colin Todhunter
29 May, 2012
Many in the UK swore that it would never happen again. A hugely unpopular decision to go to war at the time, Tony Blair is still vilified to this day by large sections of the British public for his decision to support the Bush administration and illegally invade Iraq.
Fast forward eight years, and the now British PM David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague are spewing out a similar brand of finger pointing bravado that we once heard from Blair towards Iraq, but this time in the direction of Iran. The ransacking of the British Embassy in Tehran has served to ratchet up existing tensions between Britain and Iran a few notches more.
Hague, the blood on his hands not yet dry from Libya, has used the embassy episode to exploit to the full what have become ‘common sense’ perceptions of a demonic Iran that have become prevalent among the British public. And the British media can always be relied on to fuel such beliefs and then cheer-lead the public into supporting aggressive actions and policies towards other states, as it did over Iraq and Libya.
During the past few years, the British public has become used to media stories about Ahmadinejad ‘the crazy man’ and the ‘mad mullas’ in Tehran, as well as the Iranian regime being hell bent on wanting to acquire a nuclear bomb that would only threaten the ‘peace and stability’ of the region.
What peace and stability? Look what the meddling and carnage by the US has done to neighbouring states, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. And why single out Iran over the nuclear issue? Iran is a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory, and there appears to be no firm evidence that it is in breach of it. Nuclear armed Israel and India are not NPT signatories, yet it’s Iran that has been subject to economic sanctions and nuclear inspections for years, while India basks in the warm glow of US ‘favour’, if that’s what compliance with US hegemony can be termed.
The UK government is perhaps softening up its public for possible British involvement in what could be an eventual military attack on Iran. With Washington already having done its level best to destabilise Iran and its ally Syria from within, a huge build up of US troops has been taking place in the region for many months. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is also crying wolf over Iran’s intention to acquire a nuclear weapon, which is hardly surprising given that a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks describes the new Director General of the IAEA Yukiya Amano as "solidly in the US court" and "ready for prime time."
China’s ambassador to the UN has already warned Yukiya Amano not to create “unfounded” evidence to justify a military attack on Iran in the name of halting its nuclear programme.
“Ready for prime time” is a very revealing term. Journalist John Pilger, writing recently in the UK’s New Statesman, highlights the propagandist role of the British media over Iran and how Pentagon press releases are passed off, even in the ‘serious’ press, as genuine investigative journalism.
In a document by the British Ministry of Defence leaked to WikiLeaks, investigative journalism is described as a "threat" greater than terrorism. As military commander General David Petraeus once said, the US strategy is to conduct war of perceptions continuously through the news media. No surprise therefore that, as was the case with Iraq, lies, misinformation and bogus dossiers all have a role to play in trying to demonise Iran.
The reality is that the British government is once more falling in line with US policy. What was once referred to as the ‘Great Game’ during the days of the British Empire to describe the struggle for influence between Britain and Russia in the strategically important West and Central Asia regions is now a battle between the US and China, with Iran’s oil and fresh water sources being a vital prize.
As a client state of the US, something the Brits foolishly regard as a ‘special relationship’, Britain can be relied on to do Washington’s bidding. When the drum is beaten over the ransacking of embassy in Tehran, the drum is provided courtesy of Washington. Like a clockwork toy monkey, Foreign Secretary Hague beats it on cue. While many in Britain too easily swallow the ongoing demonisation of the regime in Tehran, others see things differently, not least China.
Having had their influence curtailed in Libya and in the wake of the US killing of 26 Pakistani troops, a top Chinese government official has warned that any threat to Pakistan would be taken as a direct threat to China, according to the JunshiJia website, which cites a report by China’s Central TV. The report also states that as the US war in Afghanistan deepens and the threat of military action against Iran becomes stronger, the threat of confrontation with China increases. A western-led military assault on Iran is strongly discouraged, a point China also hoped to stress by way of a huge show of force in its recent war games near the Pakistani border.
As William Hague possibly contemplates another dose of murder and mayhem after Libya, surely the lies in the build up to Iraq are too fresh in the mind for the British public to be fooled once again. By now they should have seen through the ongoing US-led deception of perpetual war for perpetual peace. Ultimately, there’s no peace to be found in Armageddon.
(This article originally appeared in India's Deccan Herald and the UK's Morning Star newspapers in December 2011. After a period of relative quiet from the media, expect Syria and Iran to again dominate the headlines in the coming weeks and months)
Colin Todhunter : Originally from the northwest of England, writer Colin Todhunter has spent many years in India. He has written extensively for the Deccan Herald (the Bangalore-based broadsheet), New Indian Express and Morning Star (Britain). His articles have on occasion also appeared in the Kathmandu Post, Rising Nepal, Gulf News, North East Times (India), State Times (India), Meghalaya Guardian, Indian Express and Southern Times (Africa). Various other publications have carried his work too, including the London Progressive Journal and Kisan Ki Awaaz (India's national farmers' magazine). A former social policy researcher, Colin has been published in the peer-reviewed journals Disability and Society and Social Research Update, and one of his articles appears in the book The A-Z of Social Research (Sage, 2003).
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