Ex CIA analyst Ray McGovern today points out that “The mainstream U.S. media portrays the Iran nuclear talks as ‘our good guys’ imposing some sanity on ‘their bad guys.’”
Does this portrayal make any sense? Or is it another “laboriously constructed” effort by what Physicians for Social Responsibility notes is an incredibly biased information system that leads people to believe wild fantasies, as in: “U.S. citizens believe that only 9,900 Iraqis were killed during the [US] occupation … [while] the actual number is likely to be more than a hundred times higher” (1 million +).
A brief review of US treatment of Iranians may shed some light.
In 1953, US-Iranian relations began: US oil magnates used the US government to overthrow Iran’s democracy and replace it with a tyrannical “king”. Amnesty International said the king’s “history of torture … is beyond belief” and “no country in the world has a worse record in human rights” (p. 13). With a puppet firmly set to enforce their will, the US oil magnates began looting 40% of Iran’s oil extractions, with the remaining 60% looted by Western Europe.
While working towards developing nuclear energy with US support, the Iranian puppet-king imprisoned, beat, tortured and/or murdered countless journalists, authors, educators, students, union organizers, and others. A trademark move of the king was amputating a person’s limbs and sending the torso to the family (more). The International Commission of Jurists reported that the king’s secret police “permeate Iranian society … especially where there are concentrated numbers of students” (ibid, p. 13). One student recalled being shackled in a rancid cell and watching cockroaches, attracted by the open wounds inflicted on him by the king’s terrorists, eat him alive.
The US, always closely involved, was good enough to produce special instructional film for the king’s secret police on such topics as “how to torture women”.
Newsweek journalist John Barry has seen and described some of the taped Iranian/US sessions, which he refers to as “un-erasable pornography”. Barry notes of the films:
Even now, on bad nights, images surface.
It seemed endless. I have no words to convey the horror.
The film showed sequences of torture on living victims, men and women, all naked and shackled to what looked like a bed frame. A variety of techniques were demonstrated: cigarette burns to sensitive parts of the body, the effects of electricity, and then on into other savageries I shy from recalling. One technique shown on the film used water. The film was clearly professionally made. There was a commentary … explaining, among other things, the varying sensitivities of men and women to different techniques, with a filmed example to illustrate each lesson. This was an instructional film. These torture sessions were not even designed to elicit information. The film was intended to teach Savak [Iranian secret police] recruits.
Barry does not mention the US role in producing these films, but documentation is readily available. Here is Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk in London’s The Independent, on August 9, 1998:
American intelligence … taught the Shah’s SAVAK secret police how to torture women; after the revolution, the Iranians found CIA film of these lessons.
Historian William Blum notes that SAVAK was “created under the guidance” of the US and Israel and, “according to a former CIA analyst on Iran”, the US instructed SAVAK in torture.
(Dan Mitrione is one US terrorist who became personally notorious for demonstrating torture on live victims – homeless people – though his particular sessions served to maintain and expand the USA’s Latin American iron curtain.)
As an example of the “notoriously savage” techniques used by the Iranian/US regime, Barry, reporting in Newsweek, continues:
…an Iranian exile … had gone from Jordan into Iran to try to organize unions. Savak caught him, surgically amputated his arms and legs, and sent his living trunk back to his family in Amman as a warning.
Once they cast off the iron curtain, Iranians discovered certificates documenting people who had been tortured all the way to death by the US-supported implant:
…hundreds and hundreds of forms.
The USA’s man in Iran committed so much terrorism against secular opposition to the monarchy that the Islamic resistance took the lead once the tyranny was overthrown.
After being kicked out of its prime position for torturing, repressing, looting, and pillaging, the US swiftly teamed up with Saddam Hussein and some European countries, re-invaded Iran using Hussein as proxy (providing him with advanced and chemical weaponry), and killed some one million Iranian citizens (US per-capita equivalent of over 4 million citizens):
The death toll, overall, was an estimated 1 million for Iran… (The Guardian).
The US/Iraqi/Euro axis also slaughtered thousands of Kurds, many with gas weapons, arguably an act of genocide. (The US soon thereafter, under Clinton, teamed up with Turkey for another genocide against the Kurds.)
In 1988, US pirates, thousands of miles from “their” own turf, shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in commercial airspace, killing almost 300 people. A nearby US commander who witnessed the shoot-down wrote an article saying he couldn’t believe what he was seeing – an unprovoked US attack on an obviously civilian plane. But when the pirates returned home, they, including the one who demanded the crime, were given a hero’s welcome and awarded medals, and VP Bush Sr. said specifically of the attack, exhibiting signature class, “I’ll never apologize for America, ever. I don’t care what the facts are…”
Today, the US and its clients proudly assassinate Iranian scientists, and US sanctions against Iran, like the illegal US sanctions against Cuba, are intended to, and do, harm Iranian civilians for political reasons – the textbook definition of terrorism.
The US-EU sanctions have crippled Iran’s economy and caused tens of thousands of deaths by denying Iranians access to pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. (Keith Jones)
Iran sanctions now causing food insecurity, mass suffering … the US and its allies spread mass human misery… intensifying suffering of 75 million Iranian citizens as a result of the sanctions regime being imposed on them by the US and its allies… That sanctions on Muslim countries cause mass human suffering is not only inevitable but part of their design [producing] horrific … human suffering…
…”terrorism” means the use of violence aimed at civilians in order to induce political change from their government… (Glenn Greenwald)
On July 9, 2012, Muhammad Sahimi noted for Antiwar.com that “tens of thousands of them [Iranians], if not more, will also lose their lives if the sanctions continue, even without being tightened further.”
On July 31, 2012, the Christian Sicence Monitor headlined: “New Iran Sanctions: Why President Obama is Tightening the Screws”.
During this, as even neo-con Christopher Hitchens admitted, Iran has invaded no one, and in fact hasn’t invaded another country for over two hundred years, as noted by the Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University.
In the “talks” the US is imposing on Iran, is the US the “good guy” and Iran the “bad guy”, or is this another wild distortion “laboriously constructed” by a Western media that leads us to believe the number of people killed due to a major US act of aggression is a hundred times lower that it actually is?
Author and UK-based colleague on Twitter.