by Kevin Barrett (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 51, No. 9, Rabi' al-Thani, 1444)
On September 15, Iran signed an agreement to become the ninth full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). This is a group of Eurasian countries working together on economic, transit, infrastructure, and energy projects as an end-run around US-controlled institutions. The following day, September 16, protests broke out in several Iranian cities and quickly degenerated into riots.
Though the unrest was ostensibly a response to the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who suddenly collapsed in judicial custody in unclear circumstances, the disturbances were almost certainly planned in advance by the CIA and its color revolution squad. Absent the Amini affair, the alphabet agency regime-change specialists would have fabricated another pretext.
Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan quickly took credit for the Iranian chaos, which has killed dozens and caused extensive property damage, saying “we are taking aggressive steps to support” the rioters. Those “aggressive steps” include backing terrorist groups like the MEK and paying hooligans to attack police and burn down buildings. Such hijinks recall the CIA’s activities in 1953, when it hired notorious South Tehran gangsters “Icy” Ramadan and “Brainless” Shaban to bring thousands into the streets against democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
Today’s equivalents of Icy Ramadan and Brainless Shaban are busy taking CIA dollars and orchestrating chaos. Though it is not yet clear whether the US has sought to send snipers to Iran to hide on rooftops and shoot at both sides in order to drastically raise the level of violence, as it did in Syria in 2011 and Kiev in 2014, such escalation would be the logical next step.
The US is applying extreme pressure against Iran, Russia, and China because those three countries are leading an attempted mass breakout from the Anglo-Zionist Empire’s planetary prison. China, the economic powerhouse at the heart of the SCO and Belt and Road Initiative, is being targeted by a CIA-stoked Taiwan independence movement—and squeezed by ever-harsher economic sanctions, including Biden’s October 7th cut-off of semiconductor technology.
Russia, a military powerhouse among non-US-occupied states, is threatened with obliteration by NATO’s weaponization of Ukraine. And Iran, the most principled, fearless, and consistent opponent of the Anglo-Zionist Empire, is now being hit with an intensified regime change attempt, complete with nonstop hysterical media propaganda that is almost as over-the-top as the racist anti-Russia propaganda that has dominated western media since COVID disappeared as a hot topic in early 2022.
Anyone seeking to understand the current wave of CIA-manufactured anti-Iran hysteria should watch The Century of the Self, Adam Curtis’s documentary film about Edward Bernays, the inventor of modern propaganda techniques. Bernays singlehandedly convinced American women to begin smoking by staging a “Torches of Freedom” march in which a female rent-a-mob was paid to light up cigarettes in unison. The newsreel footage changed American culture overnight and doubled the market, and the profits, of the tobacco industry.
The ‘Torches of Freedom’ protest was a fake act of rebellion. In reality it was an exhibition of mindless obedience to unseen authority—namely the tobacco and mind-control industries. Like other Bernays PR stunts, ‘Torches of Freedom’ mass-manipulated its victims through emotionally-evocative images. The centerpiece of the imagery was “attractive young women seeking power and freedom” with whom the audience was invited to identify.
Newsreel spectators didn’t realize that the women staging the cigarette-lighting “protest” were not freedom-seekers at all, but hired puppets in a staged drama, mindlessly doing what their male masters ordered. Nor did they realize that the net result would be millions of women dying horrifically of lung cancer, heart disease, and other tobacco-related illnesses.
The CIA’s anti-Iran propaganda, likewise, is fabricated, scripted, and staged by manipulative men, and aimed at provoking death, destruction, and suffering on a massive scale. Like ‘Torches of Freedom’, the anti-Iran PR campaign has invented and mass-distributed iconic, emotionally-evocative images of “attractive young freedom-seeking women.”
But unlike ‘Torches of Freedom’, the CIA campaign in Iran is primarily designed to evoke hate. Its purpose is to incite hatred of Islam, hatred of Islamic scholars, hatred of Islamic societies, and above all hatred of the Islamic Republic and its leaders. Each new episode of the CIA soap opera serial triggers another Orwellian two minutes of hate.
The CIA narrative, like all effective propaganda myths, endlessly repeats the same story: “An attractive young Iranian woman was brutally bludgeoned to death by morality police.” One day it is Mahsa Amini. A week later it is Nika Shakarami, then a whole classroom of schoolgirls. Who knows what will be next? How many such anecdotes will be cherry-picked, spun, or fabricated out of whole cloth, then plugged into the template of CIA-generated “public myth”?
Like Bernays, who learned from his uncle, Sigmund Freud, the CIA orchestrators of anti-Iran hysteria use publicity stunts to manipulate people’s unconscious sexual and aggressive desires. Just as the “torches of freedom” cigarettes were symbolic phalluses, and the women brandishing and lighting them were symbolically seizing and firing up phallic power, the CIA myth of “morality police bludgeoning attractive women to death” deploys a barely-disguised image of sexual assault. This plays into the western myth that chaste, modest Muslim women are “sexually repressed by men,” whereas sexually immodest western women are “liberated.”
The truth, of course, is the opposite. The mandatory sexual immodesty imposed by western societies (the apotheosis of which is the spectacle of French police stripping the clothes off Muslim women on beaches) turns virtually all women into de facto prostitutes to be serially enjoyed and discarded by ruthlessly amoral men. Rape is an omnipresent threat in such societies, as it was in Iran before the 1979 revolution liberated women by imposing Islamic values, which hold that women are spiritual beings, not pieces of meat.
The hijab is a symbol of women’s status as spiritual beings not sex objects. That’s why in the immediate aftermath of the 1979 revolution, hijabi women availed themselves of the freedom to move about in public in ways that had been impossibly dangerous in pre-1979 secular Iran. The sight of large numbers of women hitchhiking, an absolute impossibility in pre-1979 Iran (and in any western society of any era) was commonplace in post-revolutionary Iran. The hijab offered symbolic protection, and the Islamic values that blossomed after the revolution inspired Iranian men to view women as their spiritual sisters rather than sexual prey.
Today, the euphoric spirit of the immediate aftermath of the 1979 revolution has faded, and some Iranians (including high-ranking clergy and politicians like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) have questioned whether state-enforced mandatory hijab is still appropriate, or even whether it was Islamically-correct in the first place. Others see the hijab as an Islamic obligation and a bulwark against the satanic secularist filth that dominates the west and is being beamed into Iran 24/7/365 on lavishly-funded Los Angeles based CIA-funded propaganda channels.
That legitimate difference in opinion within Iran has been seized upon and weaponized along divide-and-conquer lines by the CIA mind-control mavens and regime-change rabble-rousers, who have billions of dollars in taxpayer funds and narcotics profits at their disposal to seize on any actual incidents that may arise, and fabricate fictitious ones if necessary.
In the case of Mahsa Amini, courtroom video shows her in apparently perfect health, walking into the hall of justice, taking a seat, remaining there for some time, then getting up and walking to another part of the courtroom, where she appears to have a verbal altercation with a female officer. Amini then collapses suddenly, as if she were suffering a heart attack or stroke. (Note that the CIA has the ability to induce sudden death by apparent heart attack, whether immediately or delayed.)
The anti-Iran propagandists initially insisted that Amini had died as a result of police beating, strenuously denying that she suffered from a brain tumor for which she had undergone an operation. Later it emerged that the propagandists had been lying, and that Amini had indeed been operated on for the brain tumor. Regardless of her real cause of death—a police beating (such things can happen anywhere), natural causes, or a CIA plot—it is obvious that the CIA was going to manufacture and hype stories of “young attractive Iranian women beaten to death by morality police” by whatever means necessary, and that Amini’s sudden demise the day after Iran joined the SCO was hardly a coincidence.
Today’s CIA propaganda machine routinely creates fake grass roots (“astroturf”) campaigns using a combination of its Operation Mockingbird control over mainstream media and its millions of automated “fake people” accounts on social media. First they order their MSM assets to publish a made-in-Langley tale about an attractive young Iranian woman brutalized by morality police. Then they mobilize millions of fake Twitter and other social media accounts to hype the story. Unsuspecting media consumers imagine that they are seeing actual news and commentary, when in fact the entire concoction is crafted by mind-control specialists seeking to manipulate the targets’ perceptions and emotions.
In recent weeks, the anti-hijab propaganda wave has been supplemented by another anti-Islamic-Republic accusation: “Iranian drones are helping the Russians in Ukraine.” Unlike the anti-hijab propaganda, the stories about Iran selling drones to Russia may be largely accurate, since Iran and Russia are allies, alongside China, in the struggle against Washington’s attempt to impose a one-size-fits-all neoliberal empire on the entire planet. Indeed, Iran’s support for Russia was probably one of the main reasons why the CIA decided to launch the anti-hijab propaganda offensive, and the larger regime change effort, in the first place.
Thus far the CIA has only mounted one successful coup in Iran, in 1953, while failing in all of its numerous other attempts. Let us hope and pray that the proud people of Islamic Iran will continue to lead the resistance against global tyranny by decisively defeating the current crop of coup conspirators and collaborators, stymieing the New World Order plan for universal neoliberal oligarchy, and helping establish a multipolar world of genuinely sovereign states.