Iran is a great country for kebab; their pretty if well-covered girls are fine; but sense of humour is just not their forte. Their state media repeatedly broadcasted items lifted from the Onion, a satirical magazine taking them for literal truth. The Onion ran a story about American farmers who would rather have a drink with Ahmadinejad than with Obama, and their Fars news agency duly reprinted it. The Onion faked an interview with Mark Zuckerberg, and Iranian state-owned Press TV took it for a real thing.
And now, a new faux-pas. The same Iranian state-owned Press TV published an attack on Julian Assange with a bombastic claim: “Exclusive: Assange-Mossad ties unveiled”. A brief check shows an identical piece appeared on The Veterans Today site. Both pieces are identical, both “exclusive” and both written by the same person, a Gordon Duff, wearing two hats, that of “the chief editor of VT” and that of a “columnist of Press TV”. Oy, it would be better to stick to the Onion.
Not only it is not “exclusive”, there is no “revelation” either. In his column, Duff claims that “Assange, an intelligence asset of Israel, as Zbigniew Brzezinski pointed out on December 2, 2010 on National Public Radio in an interview with Judy Woodruff, one tasked with supplying a platform for Israeli intelligence to insert carefully crafted “pointed intelligence” wrapped in “Wikileaks.” A very strong claim! Who would know better than Zbigniew Brzezinski, whether Assange is an intelligence asset or not? If he says so, it is certainly true. But alas, it is not so. In the interview, or anywhere else, or on any other occasion Zbigniew Brzezinski did not say anything similar about Julian Assange.
So, does Duff brazenly lie? No, he cheats the reader. Brzezinski explained what “intelligence asset” is, and Duff built the sentence so a careless reader would think Brzezinski related it to Assange. Crafty trick! He could say: Assange, a vile paedophile, as the head of London police said, one who lusts after small children, and we would think that the Head of Scotland Yard confirmed criminality of Assange. He should be a lawyer, this Duff, and make good money.
The centrepiece is the absurd claim that by accusing President Obama of seeking to exploit the Arab spring revolutions for political gain, Assange “supported Romney, just like Netanyahu”. This is too silly even for the Onion! Julian Assange called upon Obama to cease persecution of Wikileaks and of Sergeant Manning, and he said that Obama’s vocal support for freedom of expression had not been translated into action. All that is true: Obama was and is a big disappointment for his voters. He uses drones to kill people more often than any US president. He used and derailed the Arab Spring for the imperial benefit. He was beastly to the Wikileaks. But nothing whatsoever would justify Duff’s daffy assertion that “along with Netanyahu, Assange has tried to insert his way into the American election on the side of a losing candidate whose platform is simply war with Iran.”
He could say the same about any critic of Obama, including the CounterPunch late co-editor Alex Cockburn. Duff goes on: “this week, from his balcony at the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange unleashed his program, carefully coordinated with the world’s druglords, his “bankster” friends and, closest of all, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, his strongest supporter, one to interfere in the American election on behalf of Mitt Romney.” Is there any basis for this wild accusation? None whatsoever. Neither druglords, nor banksters nor Netanyahu neither Romney never expressed a single positive assessment of Julian, neither he of them. Probably Romney would kill Assange by now if he could, and so would bankers, as he published some Bank of America data.
Every line in this lengthy article is zanier than the preceding one. Duff writes: “We got to know Assange initially with his video of a US helicopter killing civilians in Iraq. The problem is, of course, Assange supported the war in Iraq, supported a US attack on Iran for Iraq (whatever this means – ISH), supported war with Pakistan, supports US interference in Syria and, where he stands apart from most well informed people of the world, is a lead figure in suppressing an investigation of 9/11.”
Duff forgot to mention that Assange started World War One and World War Two, supported the Inquisition and is a leading figure behind the global warming (or cooling, or both). For the sake of innocent readers who just now hatched from an egg in rural Kentucky, let it be added, that Assange was and is strongly anti-war, and his publications were instrumental in recognising the sheer criminality of the US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
“Assange, living as a princeling for years” – he writes of a man who is locked up for two years for no crime and who hardly had had money for a bus ride. “Assange is a pure Islamophobe” – no reasons given, but believe Duff, he knows. Or even better one: “Julian Assange is the darling of Europe’s ultra-nationalists and “anti-immigration” crowd, seemingly a genetic twin to Andrew Breveik, the Norwegian mass murderer who killed 77 children of party members who supported the Israeli boycott.” Any proof? A quote from Julian, or a quote from Breivik, or at least a quote from “anti-immigration crowd”? Expectedly, none whatsoever. Assange is very far removed from all the nationalist scene, he never was interested in them, or they in him. I do not know why Duff failed to mention that Assange is Jack the Ripper.
Here is another daffy assertion: “When, back in early 2011, it was exposed to the world that all Wikileaks were filtered through Israel and then the “pop culture” mainstream media before release, meaning there is no more censored source of information than Wikileaks, he fell from grace.” Was it exposed? By whom, I pray? From whose grace Julian fell? Actually, I know the answer. It is Duff, who wrote that Wikileaks work from Israel. And then, I presume, Julian fell from grace with Duff’s readers. Was there any basis for it? Again, for the same Kentucky’s chicken benefit, none whatsoever. Julian Assange did not write the cables: the US diplomats did. As I explained on the CounterPunch site, the State Department cables are not overtly critical to Israel, for the US diplomats know that it would jeopardise their career.
One can go on forever, for every single sentence in the lengthy article is a sheer lie and baseless invention. So it was a year ago, and two years ago; as long as I am aware of Mr Duff’s daffy writing. As a man who professionally works on the very edge of the loonies’ cyberspace, I know of him, of his ilk and of his readers. They are mainly the guys who see the Mossad behind everything, including sunset and sunrise. They are the softest target for cheating, Duff style. Just tell them “It is Mossad”, and they will ask no questions. Tell them Ahmadinejad or Putin is a Jew, they would never doubt it.
I am rather fond of the loonies and almost-loonies: they are seeking answers, and it is not their fault that they can’t find them. It does not matter for me what makes Mr Duff tick. Is it a result of his many wounds and contusions acquired during his military service, or is it his innate daffiness, or his friendship with some Pakistani intelligence officers, or does he cover the loony edge for the careful CIA operators who think that even the loonies should be infected with hate to Julian Assange like the feminists were thanks to Anna Ardin and the Jews thanks to the Private Eye? Who knows, who cares…
It never occurred to me to debunk his nonsense, like one does not debunk Grey Aliens and Lizardpeople. So why now?
It is because Iran should be taken seriously, and it should take itself seriously. Whether they want to have a nuclear weapon or not, if such a possibility is ever been pondered, they should watch over what they say and over what their state media reports. Judging by this publication, Iranians profoundly failed, and this failure is worse than one of Siemens booby-trapped equipment. Their discourse can’t rely upon the Onion nor upon those who are gone off their onion.
Israel Shamir lives in Moscow. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org