Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 08, 2018

How Mainstream Media Lose Their Reputation - #Fakenews On Iran And Egypt

The "western" media like to rant against fake news. But they are indeed the biggest provider of such.

Yesterday the British news agency Reuters claimed: Iran bans English in primary schools after leader's warning

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official said, after the country’s Supreme Leader said early learning of the language opened the way to a Western “cultural invasion”.

Kamenei indeed has made such a remark, early learning of a foreign language opens the people to influence through that language. That conclusion is not particular controversial. But has Iran really banned the teaching of English in primary schools? Why would any non-English country teach English in primary school in the first place? And why would especially Iran do so?

Ali Ahmadi, an Iranian analyst, asked the same question:

Who in Iran studied English in primary schools? Nat curriculum calls for English to be taught from 7th grade to graduation.

The British-Iranian journalist Sanam Shantyaei offers her personal experience:

I was in Iran until 5th grade, and I don’t recall being taught neither Arabic nor English (though that’s a long long time ago.) I picked up a little in private tutorials: “the elegant is big. The ant is little.”

Ahmadi confirms:

Yes 7th grade is the norm. They don't even start teaching Arabic usually until 6th grade - except for a little in context of religion classes.

So, according to Reuters, Iran "banned" something from its school curriculum that was not and is not in there. The Reuters piece quotes an Iranian official who does not confirm what Reuters alleges:

“Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run High Education Council, told state television late on Saturday.

The official only confirms that the official curriculum is binding. As English language is not in the official primary school curriculum it can not be taught as part of that curriculum. It is banal statement: "Yes, the relevant regulations apply as the always have applied." How Reuters can construe that into a new "ban" is beyond me.

But as most readers will only skim the headlines and probably the first sentence of such pieces the British agency will have achieved the intended anti-Iranian propaganda effect.

Another piece of fake news is a recent New York Times report about an alleged Egyptian acceptance of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. It is based on some mysterious tapes in which an alleged Egyptian government intelligence agent tells TV moderators what they are supposed to say about Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The story is headlined: Tapes Reveal Egyptian Leaders’ Tacit Acceptance of Jerusalem Move

As President Trump moved last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an Egyptian intelligence officer quietly placed phone calls to the hosts of several influential talk shows in Egypt.

“Like all our Arab brothers,” Egypt would denounce the decision in public, the officer, Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi, told the hosts.

But strife with Israel was not in Egypt’s national interest, Captain Kholi said. He told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it.
“How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?” Captain Kholi asked repeatedly in four audio recordings of his telephone calls obtained by The New York Times.

The first hint that this report, or at least the tapes it is based on, are murky is the relatively low rank of the officer. An intelligence captain in Egypt may be responsible for a county or a small city. Briefing of national news entities would surely require some higher ranking person, probably in the rank of colonel. The question "How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah?" is also curious. The differences are huge and obvious in their historic and religious implication. It seems very unlikely that the Egyptian government would ever take such a position.

The NYT lists the following "hosts of several influential talk shows" that were called by the alleged intelligence official: Azmi Megahed, Mofid Fawzy and Saeed Hassaseen. A fourth call went to an "Egyptian singer and actress known as Yousra."

Egyptian sources say that none of the above persons is of particular fame or relevance. The actress is well known but not as TV host or for any political engagement.

The report notes that the audio of the calls:

.. were all provided to The Times by an intermediary supportive of the Palestinian cause and opposed to President Sisi. The origin of the recordings could not be determined.

The tapes were first mentioned by the Muslim Brotherhood TV station Mekameleen TV which is based in Istanbul. But how would the Brotherhood acquire such tapes, if they are real, from the inside of the Egyptian intelligence service? If it had such a source why would it expose it now?

Only one of the people called, Azmi Megahed, confirmed the call to the NYT. The others denied it or could not be reached. The NYT did not find or reach the alleged intelligence captain.

Some calls seem to have happened, but were they really official calls by the Egyptian government entity or a prank?

The NY Times never asks that question. It takes and reports the tapes as real expression of the Egyptian government position and then goes on to speculate from there.

An editorial in Egypt Today checks the NTY claims and finds that only one of four persons therein is an active TV host:

Of those mentioned in the article, Megahed is the only one who currently presents a talk show, which focuses on sports and current affairs in Egypt. Al-Malaf airs on the Al-'Amsa satellite channel.

However, Megahed has promptly rejected these reports.
[A]fter running a timeline search on Megahed’s stance toward the US’s move on Jerusalem, we found that on December 6, he said, “I am sad that the Arab states did nothing against the US administration’s decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” On December 11, Megahed on his talk show hailed Al-Azhar and the Coptic Church’s rejection of Trump’s decision.

The Egyptian State Information Service (SIS) strongly rebuked the NYT claims:

[T]he four persons mentioned are Mofid Fawzy who stopped working on TV for years, Parliamentarian Said Hassassein who stopped working on TV for months, Azmy Megahed, and actress Yousra who never presented any talk shows.

The SIS statement also noted that the New York Times story did not provide any evidence that the so-called Ashraf El Kholy is an intelligence officer. Third, the story made claims regarding Egypt's stance on the Jerusalem cause based on these alleged leaks which strikingly contradict the statements and moves on the international scale taken by the Egyptian state, the president, and the minister of foreign affairs.

Peter Cairo, who is an anti-government commentator in Egypt, finds that the NYT report is fake news. The liberal Egyptian exile Nervana Mahmoud, also not a particular friend of the current Egyptian government, agrees:

Folks, Egyptian intelligence is not that dumb to assume an actress like Youssra can change public opinion on Jerusalem

The Muslim Brotherhood TV station in Istanbul is now airing the tapes. But it does not provide any evidence that the alleged intelligence captain exists or of Egyptian government involvement.

Samer Al-Atrush, a journalist in Cairo who writes for AFP and other media, has listened to the tapes:

The recordings aired be Mekameleen of a supposed military intel officer instructing journos and actress to support Trump Jerusalem decision are a bit odd. None (at least the versions they uploaded on youtube) start at the begininng of the calls. You get the sense 2 recipients at least had never spoken to him before and just went along with it. Yousra response was funny, basically: yeah yeah of course we denounce it anyway I'm at a festival whatsapp me. Megahed was Megahed, as anyone who's called him can attest: half listens and half digests what you say, then talks over you. I'm not going to really comment on tone and delivery of caller but let's just say either he's a fraud setting up these people or someone let the intern have a go at shaping opinion on Jerusalem.

The NYT reports the calls on the tapes as evidence for a secret Egyptian government position. But its "hosts of several influential talk shows" turn out not be such. Except of one of the four they have not be on air and have no public influence. How come the NYT did not check that fact? The alleged captain of the Egyptian intelligence does not seem to exist at all and the content of the calls is highly contradictory to the position of the Egyptian government and people.

The report is fake news, based on what is likely the product of a prank caller instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood or an adversarial foreign intelligence service which wants to slander the Egyptian government. Like the fake news Reuters piece it will further undermine the public trust in mainstream media.

Posted by b on January 8, 2018 at 12:36 UTC | Permalink


Iran story is also headlined by RT.

I noticed they were also first to report on deaths in Iran recently too, before the likes of the Guardian.

They are little better than the Western outlets, just pro Russua instead of pro US. They still follow similar narratives on many major stories of import.

Posted by: Bob | Jan 8 2018 14:15 utc | 1

1 I think the issue is something else. Private schools/kindergardens for parents willing to pay for their children's future - international - career promote English from first grade even from kindergarden level in a lot of countries including Germany.

Obviously same in Iran. From the RT link
"In 2016, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran has reached “a stage that teaching the English language has spread to nursery schools.”

"That does not mean opposition to learning a foreign language, but (this is the) promotion of a foreign culture in the country and among children, young adults and youths,” he said."

I don't think they can fight the attraction of Western media by banning the language, maybe they should take a look at Bollywood to see how it is done.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8 2018 14:32 utc | 2

Heck, these Egyptian tapes shenanigans might well be a bad attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to discredit the current government by portraying it as traitor to the Muslim and Arab causes - since obviously the Brotherhood isn't exactly on friendly terms with Sisi.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 8 2018 14:47 utc | 3

>>>> Bob | Jan 8, 2018 9:15:46 AM | 1

Nice bit of fake news there Bob.

Iran story is also headlined by RT.

I noticed they were also first to report on deaths in Iran recently too, before the likes of the Guardian.

Suggesting RT were first to report on English in primary schools when if you check the datelines, the RT article was published at 11:39 today (8 Jan, 2018) while the Guardian article was published at 16:37 yesterday (7 Jan, 2018). RT does have a bit of a reputation for "borrowing" stories from other news organs.

Just confirmed my view that the companies that provide "perception management" services to the CIA are ripping off the USG - charging millions, paying peanuts and providing monkeys.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 8 2018 15:07 utc | 4

That is not what I meant. Badly worded I'll give you that.

If you think I am some kind of Langley bot then great. I've been called a putinbot, assadbot, and all the rest, why not add that to the mix too :)

Posted by: Bob | Jan 8 2018 15:44 utc | 5

The 'Jerusalem tapes' do seem to be a rather feeble attempt to discredit the Egyptian government. For all of the reasons b cites above, an intelligence officer phoning up tv has-beens doesn't pass the smell test. However, while the expose is bunk, you could bet your bottom Egyptian pound that the Sisi government will loudly denounce Trump's dictate but do jack squat against it. Same for Jordan; until a different country steps in with billions of dollars of bribes-- err "aid"-- per year, both will happily lick the boot that feeds them.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jan 8 2018 16:07 utc | 6

"President Rouhani also said "state-run media and other media outlets unfortunately ignored some of the fundamental issues behind these events and focused only on minor issues"."

By 'minor' he means the emphasis on foreign intervention, something b and some of you have been doing, that is solely focusing on factors other than domestic ones. Again the democratically elected leader of the IRI is speaking loud and clear about the real roots of the protests. However b and some of you are intent on spewing out the propaganda that comes out of Khameni and the hard liners. A strange thing, that so called leftists here find themselves on the same side as brutal and corrupt dictators.

Posted by: Ninel | Jan 8 2018 16:37 utc | 7

As Mandy Rice Davies said 'well they [the Egyptian government] would say that wouldn't they'
The Saudi Arabian Dictators also refuted the Palestinian leaders version of the meeting Abbas had with them...
"According to Palestinian, Arab and European officials who have heard Mr. Abbas’s version of the conversation, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presented a plan that would be more tilted toward the Israelis than any ever embraced by the American government, one that presumably no Palestinian leader could ever accept.
The Palestinians would get a state of their own but only non contiguous parts of the West Bank and only limited sovereignty over their own territory. The vast majority of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal, would remain. The Palestinians would not be given East Jerusalem as their capital and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants".

Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 8 2018 16:54 utc | 8

"Banning English", just another BS story to give ignoramus Americans, another reason to hate another country in the empires sights for regime change..

" It's just business, get over it."

Posted by: ben | Jan 8 2018 16:56 utc | 9

For all the appropriate outrage over the power of the Israel lobby (And the total silence of the media on Kushner, his influence and what he represents) I still maintain this is all a good development long term.

Prior to all this US intervention in the middle east was always conducted without so much as the word 'Israel' coming up. As lacking as any answers were to the question of how these wars and interventions were in the interests of the US, nobody ever really insisted in question the ideology or motives of the neo-cons despite quite a lot of people explaining their long-term vision and future intervention plans for the middle east. (Without Israel being mentioned)

With the whole Jerusalem debacle and Kushner it's impossible not to notice the Israel lobby and their total lack of a sense of limits, they're playing with other peoples money and lives afterall. Now it's impossible, Israel is at the centre and nobody can deny it or the endless lack of reporting and avoidance of this over the last 15 years.

With the two state solution gone, so too is the very nice little affair of slow-mo ethnic cleansing that was working out so well. I was always confused by hard-core Netanyahu zionists were so insistent on recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital, these things were all pieces of paper they'd been so good at ignoring but which allowed foreign diplomats the ease of doing nothing. Do they think that brazenly displaying their influence peddling and power isn't the fastest way to losing it? They were quietly setting up their 'facts on the ground' so easily and had captured the media of the Anglosphere and beyond to such an extent that they don't report on the settlements or ethnic cleansing. Now all this...

Posted by: Altai | Jan 8 2018 17:29 utc | 10

@10 yes this is the best part of the Trump presidency, the mask has slipped and the beast is revealed. I suspect this is a key factor in the establishment hatred of Trump.

Posted by: Bob | Jan 8 2018 17:51 utc | 11

ninel 7;I support the left,but I lean to the right.(Cream)

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 8 2018 17:59 utc | 12

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the masses would
possess a fraction of George Carlin's intellect?
They sure loved his shows, but it obviously never
adhered to their mind when George said:
"I live by simple rules. Rule number one:
I never believe what the government tells me."

For many years I personally added to that
"main stream media" - even though it is quite
redundant, since msm equals 'government'.

Usually, common sense and critical thinking
would prevent a mind from falling for the
lies and fake news, but those have left the
building long time ago.

What an insane new world it has become.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jan 8 2018 18:05 utc | 13

Did FB caught the fake news with their AI robot censors?

By the way early learning of foreign language skews culturally and socially children and hence is taught from third or even first grade along native languages in the US vassal countries.

The idea tomculturally propagandize children was also used by USSR in their vassal states where child had to lean Russian from fifth grade ( technically in elementary school) on, every year until graduating from high school.

At University level Russian was elective.

Posted by: Kalen | Jan 8 2018 18:46 utc | 14

"Why would any non-English country teach English in primary school in the first place?"

For the record, I'd bet all EU countries do. I live in Spain and know for sure they are taught English from first grade. There is a shortage of English teachers, but schools appreciate the importance of their kids getting a grounding in English.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Jan 8 2018 19:38 utc | 15

UK has banned any teaching of Farsi in primary schools for centuries,
so this latest "cultural anti-scandal" from Iran must be some sort of tit for tat.
But what is even worse, culturally highly developed UK banned even most EU-languages from their primary schools.
How barbaric is that?

Posted by: maningi | Jan 8 2018 20:40 utc | 16

Good example of all the above in yesterdays Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. The article headline reminded readers that there were demonstrations against the Iranian government. Most hurried readers take that in and also the photo of the arching bridge massed with demonstrators dramatically seething towards them across the double page .
One had to look closely however - if one takes or has the time - to see the small picture caption inform that in fact it's a large pro- government rally supporting the authorities .
I had the time to analyse being instantly suspicious but the busy rush hour commuter generally not so !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jan 8 2018 20:59 utc | 17

very nice post
thanks for sharing

Posted by: اجاره خودرو | Jan 8 2018 21:02 utc | 18


Regarding teaching a second language at an early age. In the US it is not uncommon for some educated parents to enroll their children in Chinese immersion schools, as well as Spanish immersion schools. Brain studies show that learning the basis of a second language as early as 8 months activates more areas of the brain and tends to increase intelligence. Early music training seems to have a similar effect.

Posted by: Michael | Jan 8 2018 21:16 utc | 19

Couldn't the fuss that Reuters and the Western news media make about English not being taught in Iranian primary schools be deliberately suggesting that the "norm" across the Middle East is for primary school-age children to learn and know enough English to be able to converse with foreign interviewers and tell them that President XXX of [insert ME country of choice] bombs children, schools and hospitals?

How else are we expected to believe that the likes of Bana Alabed can tweet in English so fluently, in a country where Arabic is the first language and French the second language?

Posted by: Jen | Jan 8 2018 21:22 utc | 20

When it comes to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and others the mainstream have long lost its credibility.
Fake news is now the norm as the MSM is struggling for its survival by prostituting to rich donors and thriving for sexy headlines. Readers are moving to Internet news and blogs...

Posted by: v | Jan 8 2018 21:23 utc | 21


Donald Trump's granddaughter sings Chinese for Xi Jinping

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8 2018 21:24 utc | 22

This, of course, is not true

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8 2018 21:27 utc | 23

In the case of ability to learn additional languages besides the native tongue spoken in the home, it's very well proven that universal grammar allows children prior to entering puberty the unique capability to learn a multitude of differing languages; thus, the earlier one begins learning 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc., language the more likely that individual will retain that ability entering adulthood and throughout life. And of course, language forms the foundational basis for culture. It should be noted that Iran's educational policy differs little from every other nation's; although within the Outlaw US Empire, learning an additional language is constantly questioned by its ultranationalists.

When I took linguistics, we had a debate over this policy issue, the professor explaining it was due to the need to enculturate/socialize young people in American English as the reason why capitalizing on the child's ability to utilize universal grammar is ignored. The issue also touches on the efficacy of bilingualism and immersive learning as proper methods of teaching when an English Only policy is advocated politically, as in Arizona for example. One can see the complexities for any non-Arabic speaking Islamic nation since that religion's supposed to be learnt and worshiped in Arabic.

Yes, Fake News and Big Lies permeate corporate media to the point where I just call it Big Lie Media and try to ignore its perversions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2018 21:31 utc | 24

Guy Thornton @ 15, Michael @ 19:

A guide to education in Spain from primary schools to secondary schools:

It seems that children in Spanish schools only start learning a foreign language in the later years of primary school (grades 5 to 6). This would be when children start learning English. Perhaps in those parts of Spain where there are large expat British communities that can support private tutors or tutorial colleges to teach their children English after school hours, local Spanish families who can afford to do so also send their children to those colleges so they can learn English earlier than they would if they attend primary school only.

In other words Spain makes provision for teaching English to children at a very early age because of its attractions to UK citizens. How that will be affected by Brexit, who knows?

Spanish primary school (educación/escuela primaria)

Primary schools are known as escuelas or colegios (although the latter term is sometimes used to refer to semi-private and private schools). It is compulsory for children to attend primary school in the calendar year in which they turn six, and usually lasts until age 12. There are three, two-year stages or cycles, making a total of six academic years:

Primer ciclo – age 6–8 years
Segundo ciclo – 8–10 years
Tercer ciclo – 10–12 years

Children study Spanish language and literature (and the language and literature of the autonomous region if applicable), mathematics, natural and social science (such as history, geography and biology), arts, a foreign language (and sometimes a second foreign language in the tercer ciclo) and physical education. All pupils have daily reading time. In the third cycle, they study Educación para la Ciudadanía, which is moral/social studies. You can chose whether or not you want your child to take religious (Catholic) education lessons when you join the school.

There is no streaming in Spanish primary education; classes are all mixed ability, and parents can see teachers if they need to discuss their child's progress and problems. Homework can be given from the first year onwards, and examinations can start from around the third year of primary school.

Children are regularly assessed and graded. Grades are:

insufficient (IN) – insufficient
suficiente (SU) – sufficient
bien (BI) – good
notable (NT) – very good
sobresaliente (SB) – outstanding

If pupils have not attained a satisfactory level of education at the end of the first or third cycles they may have to repeat a year before moving onto the next stage. It is common for pupils to attend classes during the school holidays to catch up.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 8 2018 21:44 utc | 25

maningi 16
English authorities worked against Farsi / Persian systematically in their old Empire . Thus in lands like Afghanistan and Pakistan where Persian culture and language could now and ' perhaps' should be dominante,allowing more coherent development for Western Asia in future - politically and culturally things are unnecessarily complicated because of this .The English did the same thing in South East Asia always placing Malay culture above Chinese .

Divide and conquer !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jan 8 2018 22:33 utc | 26


My personal favourite was a bill being proposed in the congress to ban membership or advocating for the BDS movement! (And at a time everyone is accusing the other of being against freedom of speech.) There was no media coverage from mainstream sources despite them all going on about freedom of speech at the time but a bill getting the support of tons of old hands and prominent congressmen (Including 'progressives') that advocates banning a non-violent political movement without any precedent and in violation of the constitution.

That kind of bare-faced influence got no coverage! The lobby has actually increased it's influence and power since the Iraq war. I particularly notice the BBC has become more neo-con (Pushing the war in Syria even after the vote for war was shot down in parliament) and went full-on barrel-bomb 24/7.

Posted by: Altai | Jan 8 2018 23:19 utc | 27

Even though it appears to be a thousand years ago,
I remember that English started to be taught at
5th grade in Germany. French was available at 6th
After marriage with a dual language spouse, we
spoke three languages at home. It is a benefit
for every human being to speak more than one's
native language.
Problem with native English speakers is, that
English became world language. Those folks seldom
speak additional languages, as they expect everybody
else to speak English. But that is of course not
the case.
Could there be a re-evaluation of English as world
language? Chinese is spoken by the single most
populous country. At the last vote, German almost
became world language.

Imagine everybody at least speak a little bit

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jan 8 2018 23:19 utc | 28

Caitlin Johnston penned a fascinating perspective:

"Trump Isn’t Another Hitler. He’s Another Obama."

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 8 2018 23:58 utc | 29

‘Bibi go home!’ Thousands take to the streets in Tel Aviv demanding Netanyahu resign

There's nothing on BBC (yet) and other outlets about the most recent protest(s). RT seems to be one of the few (if not alone) reporting them.

Posted by: ninel | Jan 9 2018 0:10 utc | 30

@Daniel 29
Thanks for the link. She's published a follow-up piece:

Posted by: spudski | Jan 9 2018 0:50 utc | 31

Daniel @29

I’ve been saying the similiar things for more than 6mo. (See my blog). Trump and Obama are faux populists and part of the mechanics of keeping faux populists in power is whipping up crazy opposition that energizes the base of the faux populist.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 9 2018 1:29 utc | 32

@32 You ain't seen nothing yet. Wait till Oprah gets up to speed.

Posted by: dh | Jan 9 2018 2:50 utc | 33

@32: Absolutely..

"Trump and Obama are faux populists and part of the mechanics of keeping faux populists in power is whipping up crazy opposition that energizes the base of the faux populist."

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8, 2018 8:29:05 PM | 32

Posted by: ben | Jan 9 2018 3:12 utc | 34

Has English been outlawed in Iran's private schools?

Wealthy Iranians whom send their kids to private school may want them to learn English.

Lest we forget, English, the language of the forked tongue devils, is also the language of the friendly skies.

Anybody want to be a pilot?

Posted by: fast freddy | Jan 9 2018 3:44 utc | 35

In Iran they offer only English in schools? Wow. In SFRY we had Russian, English, French and German - depending on the school. From grade 4 through grade 12 at least - I had it 2 years more. My school had Russian, in the next town was German, in big cities they had them all.
I never thought that foreign language classes are tools for the influence to the students, but it makes so much sense. It explains why Angela Merkel is pro-Russian, Putin is pro-German and b is pro American :-D.

Posted by: hopehely | Jan 9 2018 3:57 utc | 36

As I stated at the very beginning, the emphasis on foreign intervention in the recent Iranian protests is an exaggeration of the influence and involvement of outside groups and powers with regards to the protests and also a fundamental misunderstanding of the root causes of the protests and riots. Many of you, including b, have taken such a position precisely because it is the exact opposite of the American stance, thinking if you were to grant some legitimacy to the protesters, then you would somehow be supporting a colour revolution or CIA/Mossad/MEK coup. I pointed out that even in the establishment there are hardliners and reformists backing the protesters but for different reasons. The emphasis on foreign intervention is not justified by any real consideration of the facts on the ground (economic and political realities). The influence of foreigners on protesters is at best minimal and cannot possibly be emphasised at the expense of these other realities. Even Rouhani called the protests protests and not riots, and said they were an opportunity and not a threat. This is exactly the opposite of what b and some of you have been writing about. Here is Rouhani again, confirming many of the points that I made earlier, regarding economic and political problems in the country, which the IRI must address or meet its fate at some point.

TEHRAN — President Hassan Rouhani of Iran lashed out at his hard-line opponents on Monday, saying the protesters who have shaken Iran in recent weeks objected not just to the bad economy but also to widespread corruption and the clerical government’s restrictive policies on personal conduct and freedoms.

“One cannot force one’s lifestyle on the future generations,” Mr. Rouhani said, in remarks reported by the ISNA news agency. “The problem is that we want two generations after us to live the way we like them to.”

In his most extensive comments yet on the protests, Mr. Rouhani said that those people who took to the streets across the country did so because they were seeking a better life. “Some imagine that the people only want money and a good economy, but will someone accept a considerable amount of money per month when for instance the cyber network would be completely blocked?” he asked. “Is freedom and the life of the people purchasable with money? Why do some give the wrong reasons? This is an insult to the people.”

Posted by: ninel | Jan 9 2018 4:43 utc | 37

Thanks, spudski. Ms. Johnstone has become one of my favorite analysts/opinion writers.

ninel, Marwa Osman did a terrific 20 minute video explaining the cause of the economic protests (Rhouani's neoliberal polices, exactly as b suggested from the start) and the foreign infiltration and redirection that created the violent, anti-Iran and pro-US foreign policy riots.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 9 2018 6:50 utc | 38

Great article, spudski. Caitlan reminds us that we live "a world that is saturated in establishment propaganda..."

I note that a good number of us now realize this, and so have been asking people what sort of propaganda would be created to target us in particular?

That is, "liberals" are targeted by MSDNC for example, and don't even realize it's propaganda. But those of us that are not in that target demographic see through that propaganda. But what propaganda is being created for us?

I will answer in part, that one form it could take is an apparent "war" between an "outsider" President and the MSM, "Establishment" and Deep State. Believers in the propaganda may be taking one side or the other in this psyop, but they all believe the propaganda that this thing is really happening. I see a Reality TV Show Star President playing a role with the MSM, etc. playing the role of antagonist.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 9 2018 7:09 utc | 39

What MSM propaganda? No propaganda. Yep that's what we are told. I moved my family to a place there was no TV, no newspaper, and we didn't bother to turn the radio on much. Kids grew up that way.
Latecomer to the internet, looked up some domestic stuff until MH17.
MH 17 made it clear my children or grand children were not safe if they traveled. At any time, they could be used as sacrificial goats by our dot AU gov to appease the hegemon god.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 9 2018 7:59 utc | 40

Very strange, the questioning of teaching English in primary schools. And then questioning the reason for teaching English in primary schools. Language acquisition is most acute in the very young and dclines with age.
Here in ASEAN primary through secondary students are taught English for one very simple reason; 10 countries all speaking different languages need a common language for their trade and commerce; English.
My last 5 years as a working person were spent teaching ESL (English as a second language) to public highschool students.
My school also taught Chinese, French, and Japanese; my wife's school teaches English, Chinese, and Japanese. My wife's sister teaches English to primary school students.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 9 2018 8:43 utc | 41

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is ‘arrested for inciting unrest against the government'

Given the extraordinary context of the arrest of a popular former President of Iran, who was in no way directly tied to the initial protests said to be organized by pro government 'conservatives' in Mashad, and futher which came as a direct result of what appears to be an intentional provocation made by current President Hassan Rouhani, who specifically attacked conservative/'Principalist' sources of financing in a budget statement immdediately before protests errupted, the situation inside Iran appears to be the work of people who are determined to overthrow the currect Iranian system of government, made from within the Reformist administration Hassan Rouhani including Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri who was himself one of the organizers of the pro US coloured revolutions in 2009, alluded to in a piece by Thierry Meyssan at the link below:

Extension of protests in a third of Iran

Everyone should very seriously think about the implications of such a move, arresting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by the supposedly beseiged 'regime' of Hassan Rouhani. The most reasonable explanation for Ahmedinejad's arrest is that Hassan Rouhani and the people invloved the Reformist camp he leads have purposely instigated these protests with the objective of using the ensuing crisis as an excuse to destroy their anti Imperialist political opponents, including perhaps even the power of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, just at the moment when victory in Syria and Iraq seems assured.

The conclusion stated above is pratically the only one available when you consider the original 'surprise' election of Hassan Rouhani, made possible with outside and specifically Western Zionist support, including critical support by the aforementioned and highly compromised Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, and also in that instance with heavy use of social media tied to previous Colour coded revolutionary uprisings including Maidan.

Some will remember the 'happy dance' psyop which galvanized support for Rouhani of the youthful Iranian electorate, he being by far the most pro Western candidate, and occurring immediately before his 'surprise' election win in 2013. Others will recall Hassan Rouhani is a Scotland educated lawyer, and was the lead negotiator for Iran during the period of the Iran-Contra affair.

Posted by: C I eh? | Jan 9 2018 10:08 utc | 42

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 9, 2018 3:43:37 AM | 41

You can lose absolute command of one language that way or you are very gifted to learn languages - it is like being musical or not.

I know people mixing several languages in one sentence and families where everybody speaks a different language though all understand. Or not, as couples speak English to each other but cannot express the emotions that are in their mother tongue.

What that does to the brain is simply not fully understood as Khamenei is right - a language is also a way of describing and interpreting the world.

But probably, yes, it is good training for a kid to learn different languages and understand, that there are different ways to see the world - in India they have to do it with several indigenous languages plus English.

Someone up in the thread talks of empire and language, and of course, it is a sign of a hegemon that he does not have to learn foreign languages but everyone else has to learn their language. Lots of nationalist campaigns are about official languages, and language has been one of the impossible definition what a nation constitutes.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2018 11:16 utc | 43

Re: 42

I am not sure if "regime of Hassan Rouhani" can arrest Ahmedinejad. That would be decided by the Minister of Justice, seyeed Alireza Avayi. Political system of IRI is complicated, but my impression is that MoJ is elected independently from the President by the Majlis (parliament), and it is not the president who formulates the recommendation. Wikipedia is not explaining it, but Avayi is described as a conservative politician.

Ahmedinejad himself is a maverick, and the Supreme Leader had some deep concern about him and people who surrounded him as a president. As far as I could tell, the problem was that this was a group of very devout Twelver Shia who believed in the end of Occultation coming soon. This is a very grave prediction, equivalent to the Second Coming in Christianity (or the first coming in Judaism), and a mere engineer like Ahmedinejad has no business in trying to be wiser that duly educated and appointed theologians like Khamenei, the Supreme Leader. Actually, the business of the Zionist Entity vanishing from the pages of history was related to the end of Occultation and not to any mundane reasons like possession of nuclear weapons.

In any case, Ahmedinejad could be genuinely implicated, but alternatively, he could be a consensus scapegoat of reformers and conservatives. In either case, the conflict would have internal Iranian causes, For example, I seriously doubt if Rouhani is pro-Western in the sense of breaking ties and alliances to Syrian government, Hezbollah etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 9 2018 11:23 utc | 44

somebody | Jan 9, 2018 6:16:39 AM | 43
You can lose absolute command of one language that way or you are very gifted to learn languages - it is like being musical or not.

Utter rubbish! You cannot possibly have any facts to back up that inane statement.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 9 2018 13:25 utc | 45

Amazing how a story that is actually about a RISING middle class and its demands and affectations in Iran, is spin-doctored as Iran being a backward and repressive place.

Posted by: cyrus | Jan 9 2018 15:20 utc | 46

Let me guess the 'prisoners' who committed 'suicide' were foreign agents!? And the human rights lawyers are actually MEK members parading as critics of the government.

Posted by: Ninel | Jan 9 2018 16:50 utc | 47

Meanwhile, Israel is now into its sixth week of daily protests against Bibi Netanyahu ("Crime Minister").

And Israel has banned members of 20 different charity groups, including Jewish Voice For Peace and even the Quakers because the ZioNazis disapprove of their stands on issues of morality and resistance to brutal occupation and illegality.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 9 2018 23:53 utc | 48

These kinds of stories are passing strange. Correction, they have always existed, but not - Atlantacist MSM past 30 years or so - in such a blatant, shoddy way and so repeatedly. b picked two flash ones, truly laughable; everyday one can find others.

In its pervasiveness it is a new genre, and is wildly different from old-school propaganda (link below is to Nazi prop., a model copied by all, so deserves views) which is closer to persuasive political discourse, whether it be for national socialism, against jews, communists, or whatever other agenda. Note Trump won because he actually clumsily served up some pol. discourse (I’m not taxing Trump with nazism or any pol. stance at all) whereas his opponent could only muster narcissistic sound-bites and a pathetic reliance on intra-society identity politics.

The MSM (US, GB, France..) is infeodated to the ‘dems’, ‘socialistes’, though politically that’s pretty meaningless.

The 4th estate is an integral part of a stance away from nationalism / Wilsonian nation states / self-determination thing, and for globalisation, covert wars, economic wars, the power of whatever ‘new economy’, the grip of symbols, propaganda, circuses without bread, etc.

Natural, as their remit, supposed expertise, outreach, lies in those areas. Plus, identity politics is a super issue for MSM text or visuals, as opposed to, e.g. taxation or the national commercial debt. On some topics the MSM can hope to have impact - so they get paid by those who rely the most on ‘image’…the result is:

an unholy alliance where politics itself is constrained by what TV, news owners / msm news controllers, gatekeepers, can show, to be effective.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 10 2018 22:21 utc | 49

My Afghan friends said they grew up under a strange Brezinzskian-aid US education putsch of CIA-published ESL language books, with colored pictures and simple sentences like. "See Ahmed. See Ahmed run. See Ahmed run after stabbing Soviet soldier." Good old USA. Of course, the Soviet blitzkrieg ended the US putsch towards another Western dictator Shah, and my friends were plunged into Russian language classes. One graduated 'Red Star Five', and was specially-educated in Moscow, then after the CIA War of of Occupation, OEF-An , his ability in Pashto, Farsi, Russian and English made him a high-level diplomat on the $B's of USA grift that Karzai received.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jan 10 2018 22:30 utc | 50

The reason I even mention that story, in our current New American Century of the Eternal Now, is Afghanistan has been raped by Western and Soviet occupations for nearly 40 years, the majority of their population like the majority of ours, has known only endless wars of occupation, and the outcome (it's always about the outcome) is India and China got the fabulous Afghan resource leases while Trump's Brezinzskian surge, serves merely as as nosebleed security patrols. Americans received NOTHING for their blood and treasure, and all the royalties from India and Chinese resource extraction go to Thank and his globalist World Bank pals. And who is IMF-WB? We are no longer allowed to say.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jan 10 2018 22:43 utc | 51

Thank=Ghani, and have you noticed auto-complete will ALWAYS change any globalist references to the Usual Suspects to some innocuous word like Thanks? Read Marc's 'Afghanistan as an Empty Resource Space or Peter's Diminution and Development.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jan 10 2018 22:49 utc | 52

They should start teaching languages of the future, like Mandarin and Russian.

Posted by: Seby | Jan 15 2018 20:39 utc | 53

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