By Azita Carlson
The fundamentalist regime in power in Iran has in the past shown its ability to manipulate public opinion as well as office politics in western democracies. The mullahs exploit to the best the “weak points” of democracies, such as freedom of expression, free journalism, etc which they themselves do not respect and do not believe in.
They know very well that political as well as financial and commercial interests can be exploited too in order to gain political advantages. Sophisticated hostage-takings are another terrain where the mullahs are excellent players, and except few cases, they have gained big advantages from this horrible craft, which can be traced back to ancient Arabia’s customs and wars between tribes, and is considered as war tactics widely used at the time of the prophet of Islam.
As it comes to more modern ways and means, the mullahs have shown excellent craftsmanship in manipulating the media. Recently, pro-engagement media at odds with the current US administration have specifically been abused by the Iranian regime’s professional lobbyists and go-betweens.
The main target of such manipulation is to first present the mullahs’ regime as being a “victim” of US and superpower bullying, and second to discredit any viable opposition to this regime so as to encourage engagement and even appeasement towards the ruling gang which presents itself as the only solution for the country. The specter of war and regional chaos is normally raised so as to frighten interlocutors.
A recent such media manipulation can be seen in NBC News’ recent article on US politics, which is against President Trump’s entourage, with harsh threadbare allegations against the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) mains opposition movement to the mullahs of Iran.
The attack comes while For the past 40 years, the MEK has waged a campaign for democracy against the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
And then there are people such as Daniel Benjamin, once in charge of counter-terrorism in the US State Department, but now a formal mullahs’ apologist, who takes great pains to explain why the west should accommodate somehow with the fundamentalist mullahs ruling Iran. Benjamin spares no occasion to attack the democratic opposition represented by the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which has published an exhaustive rebuttal to NBC’s biased report. One reads in the rebuttal:
“This is not the first time that NBC has quoted Daniel Benjamin, a former State Department official and the MEK’s chief antagonist in its legal challenge to the terrorist designation seven years ago. After French, German and Belgian law enforcement agencies foiled a terror plot by the Iranian regime’s terrorists, including a senior diplomat, to bomb the Iranian Resistance’s gathering in Paris on June 2018, while parroting the regime Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, NBC reported that this may have been a false flag operation and that the regime may not have been involved. It also quoted Benjamin as saying, “There are no simple stories in this patch." Ignoring that a senior so-called diplomat of the regime had been arrested in this terrorist operation, Benjamin tried to shift the blame from the entirety of the regime by suggesting that the plot could have been a “rogue operation.” A few weeks later, the French government and subsequently the European Union declared that the highest levels of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry had been involved in the plot and placed the Ministry’s Internal Security Directorate and a senior official on their terrorist lists for their role. However, NBC never corrected its story nor did Benjamin retract his comments. This leaves no doubt regarding NBC’s biased coverage on this topic. “
Apart from the MEK and Iran problem, it is horrible to imagine such a person could be in charge of counter-terrorism in the US State Department, and still, he claims there are “no simple stories in this patch”.
An Iranian diplomat, arrested red-handed while passing explosives to operatives who were to bomb a MEK and NCRI gathering in Paris, is in Belgian custody and is going to be tried on premeditated murder and terrorism, and three other individuals who were part of this plan await trial. It is, in fact, no simple patch to understand how fundamentalists manipulate the highest levels of state policies.