Subversion of sovereign nations like Iran by Western intel services, govts, media

By David Miller

British intelligence agencies – particularly the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS – usually known as MI6) – have a long record of foreign interventions and subversion of sovereign nations in the pursuit of the interest of British imperialism and latterly also the interests of the US and its allies – including the Israeli regime.

It should come as no surprise then, to learn that the British may have had a role in the assassination of the revered Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in 2020. It was reported that Alireza Akbari, found guilty of spying for MI6, said a “British agent had asked for information about” Fakhrizadeh.  This raises the question of whether MI6 was in some way involved in the assassination of Fakhrizadeh.

Initial reports had cast doubt on Iranian complaints about the use of hi-tech weaponry in the assassination. Mossad took some trouble to make sure that the world knew that they had done the killing, by giving extensive briefings to the UK-based Jewish Chronicle

The JC, as it is known, was recently taken over by hardline Zionists, with the new company solely owned by former Downing Street advisor Robbie Gibb, who has a history of involvement in covert intelligence activity.  Extensive reporting on Mossad activities is a new departure for the paper. 

The briefings claimed along the way, that no other intelligence agency was involved though it was advanced that the CIA had some awareness. The confession of Akbari may put this in doubt.

The recruitment of spies and agents and their use in assassination plots is only a small part of the widespread tactics used by MI6 in countries around the world and especially in West Asia. 

MI6 also invests heavily in propaganda and the use of non-government organisations and companies as front groups as well as marshalling terrorist proxies against sovereign states. 

Subverting Iran and Egypt in the 1950s

As is well known MI6 played a leading role in the coup which removed the Mossadeq government in Iran in 1953 - plotting the coup for years, though for a time they were unsuccessful in encouraging interest from the CIA.

The British conspired with Israel (and France) to invade Egypt in 1956, only to immediately accede to instructions from the surprised US to cease the operation, as declassified US files show. This was an indication that the power of British imperialism as an independent actor in the world was severely curtailed.  But it did not stop the interventionist and propagandist role of MI6 in the more than sixty years since.

Demonizing Russia

Who in the world, outside those British citizens gullible enough to believe the word of the spooks, really thinks that the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal was poisoned with nerve agent (allegedly called “Novichok”) by Russian agents? Skripal had settled in sleepy Salisbury, just round the corner from his MI6 handler Pablo Miller, whose identity the Ministry of Defence went to some lengths to conceal. 

Salisbury is of course home to the British chemical and biological warfare establishment Porton Down, which has an illustrious history in moral dubiety.  It was involved in poisoning the Scottish island of Gruinard with Anthrax in the 1940s, rendering it uninhabitable and in quarantine for 48 years until 1990. 

Porton Down scientists also tested over 1,500 subjects with nerve agents including almost 400 with Sarin in the 1950s. This was done without the subject's informed consent, despite such consent being required in the UK from the 1930s and despite the promulgation of the Nuremburg Code developed as a result of Nazi atrocities including experimentation with nerve agents. Some died as a result and this was covered up for 50 years.

Recently the head of MI6, Richard Moore, has “revealed he still gets ‘angry’” over the alleged “Novichok” attack in Salisbury which, he said, “came close to causing ‘very significant casualties’. Denouncing the government of Vladimir Putin as “reckless”, Moore said, “If you imagine what would have happened if a kid had come across that material and spread it around.” 

But, of course, children did get near the Skripals. Local children were given bread by Sergei Skripal to feed the ducks in the park where the Skripals sat down and shortly thereafter collapsed.  The children were taken to the hospital for tests but were unharmed.

A young girl – Abigail McCourt - later received an award for giving first aid to the Skripals in the same park. She seems to have suffered no ill effects. Presumably, her mother – Alison McCourt, a British Army Colonel and Chief Nurse – who was on hand, was well aware of the danger of such close proximity to a “deadly nerve agent”.

The Syria playbook

Porton Down was also the place where chemical samples from Syria were taken to determine the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces in their attempts to beat off an armed insurrection from 2011. 

We have at least one scientist at Porton down to thank for puncturing the MI6 narrative and that particular ruse was discovered once the Sarin from the 2013 Ghouta attack was tested and found not to come from Syrian government stocks. 

Senior military brass famously conveyed this news to President Obama who quite properly decided that his famous “red line” had not been crossed and called off the planned bombing of Syria.

MI6 played a key role in this NATO proxy war, in marshalling the proxy forces, described as the “Free Syrian Army” and in Whitehall’s propaganda terminology the “Moderate Armed Opposition”. 

In particular the British appointed an MI6 officer to be the main contact with the so-called MAO and spent millions contracting consultancy firms such as ARK, Incostrat, Albany Associates, Global Strategy Network, IN2, Adam Smith International, and many others, to provide news material burnishing their proxy forces and “independent media” to play up such fairy tales.

They were also involved in the attempted fabrication of many chemical weapons events in Syria in the period including via the involvement of a variety of NGO cutouts in Syria. They were given the job of “collecting” (read fabricating) the evidence of chemical attacks such as through the various activities of self-outed spook asset the former military officer Hamish de Bretton Gordon. 

Also involved was the British Foreign Office (the parent ministry of MI6) funded cut-out, Mayday Rescue (better known as the White Helmets). It was involved in documenting at least three alleged incidents later examined by the OPCW, which involved civilian casualties: in Sarmin where six members of the Taleb family were killed (2015), in Khan Sheikhoun (2017) where some 70 civilians were victims, and at least 35 civilians killed in the alleged chemical attack in Douma (2018).

In each of these incidents people dressed as White Helmets and endorsed by the leadership of that organization had a key role as purported first responders. In research produced with my colleagues in the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda, and Media we set out the evidence that these incidents were staged and that the victims were massacred captives.

The clearest evidence that the White Helmets were actively involved in managing a massacre of civilians is from the Khan Sheikhoun incident on 4 April 2017, where a Syrian jet was alleged to have dropped a sarin-containing munition on the town causing the deaths of at least 70 people.

The [OPCW] Joint Investigative Mechanism’s subsequent investigation of this incident reported that a flight map (presumably provided by the US military) “indicated that the closest to Khan Shaykhun that the [Syrian] aircraft had flown had been approximately 5 km away”, effectively ruling out an airstrike as the explanation for the incident.

The only possible alternative is that the Khan Sheikhoun incident was organized on the ground, and this must have required the active involvement of the White Helmets. Although the White Helmets are famous for videoing their activities, there were no images of a search and rescue operation from the Khan Sheikhoun incident.

The first images of the incident were recorded from about 7 am onwards, showing victims being hosed down by the White Helmets outside their base in a cave complex near the town. Later they were seen laid out in morgues in the town. Images of the children who were laid out in morgues showed that several had recent head injuries. In at least two cases by arranging images in temporal sequence and matching identities it was possible to establish that they had received these head injuries after the time they were purportedly rescued by the White Helmets.

The shocking involvement of MI6 in these war crimes is unfortunately not the first time that UK intelligence agencies had been involved in fabricating events as a pretext for western intervention, even in the case of Syria.

Destabilising Syria in 1957

Official documents revealed in 2003 provide evidence of a joint CIA/MI6 "preferred plan" to destabilise Syria back in 1957.  It even involved the creation of a “Free Syria committee”, a name eerily foretelling the “Free Syrian Army” created after 2011.

The plan called for “a special effort” to “be made to eliminate certain key individuals”. Amongst the people targeted for assassination were the heads of Syrian military intelligence; the chief of the Syrian general staff; and the leader of the Syrian Communist Party.

"Once a political decision is reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria,” said the report “CIA is prepared, and SIS [MI6] will attempt, to mount minor sabotage and coup de main incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals.” 

The report said that frontier incidents and border clashes would be staged to provide a pretext for military intervention. Syria had to be "made to appear as the sponsor of plots, sabotage, and violence directed against neighboring governments."

The report says "CIA and SIS should use their capabilities in both the psychological and action fields to augment tension." That meant "sabotage, national conspiracies, and various strong-arm activities" to be blamed on Damascus.

The plan called for funding of a "Free Syria Committee", and the arming of "political factions with paramilitary or other actionist capabilities" within Syria. The CIA and MI6 would instigate internal uprisings, for instance by the Druze in the south, … and stir up the Muslim Brotherhood in Damascus.

The conspirators envisaged creating an anti-Soviet regime, but they conceded that this would not be popular and "would probably need to rely first upon repressive measures and arbitrary exercise of power".

With certain names changed, and no mention of chemical weapons, this could almost be the plan for the 2011 “uprising”. In the event, in 2011, proxy fighters from Wahabi factions were transported into Syria from training camps run by British and French intelligence agencies in Western Egypt – used in the previous operation against Libya’s Col. Gadaffi. Some 3,500 Libyans joined the NATO proxy war there.

Dismembering Libya

The British (and others) fostered the “calculated dismantling” of the Libyan regime which had “remained largely resistant to the opening up of its economy to Western investment”  and, had “emerged as one of the strongest voices opposing the expansion of NATO and U.S. military power onto the African continent.”

This followed extended penetration of the country by MI6 which recruited members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group a Wahabi, al-Qaeda-linked group, paying and arming them to assassinate the Libyan leader Gadaffi. When this went wrong, the British government denied all knowledge, nevertheless, LIFG members were granted asylum in the UK, many settling in Manchester.  Later, under New Labour, the policy changed and MI6 engaged in helping to render its former assets to the Libyan government, even going so far as to participate in their torture sessions as part of the post-9/11 War on Terror. 

By early 2011 Gadaffi was once more cast as an enemy, having failed to live up to his billing as a Western client, having criticised NATO and taken steps to develop an African currency as an alternative to dollars or euros.

Britain’s intelligence agencies even facilitated Libyan exiles from Manchester to fight in Syria, clearing them to travel after the police raised questions and then “rescuing” them on the Royal Navy ship HMS Enterprise in August 2014.  One of those thus enabled to participate in regime change in the sovereign nation of Libya was Salman Abedi who returned home and later (in 2017) committed the Manchester Arena bombing killing 22 civilians including seven children. 

Trafficking agents to Syria

MI6 reportedly facilitated the arrival of foreign fighters in Syria including Errol Incedal, who allegedly infiltrated a “Jihadist group” on their behalf. 

He was subsequently accused of turning on his handlers which was why the secret state insisted on having his trial held in secret. In the case of three British schoolgirls (two of whom were 15 and one 16) who travelled to Syria reportedly “lured” by Da’esh, it subsequently emerged that they were smuggled over the border by an agent of a Canadian intelligence agency.

British spies were reportedly told by “Canadian intelligence within 48 hours” that Shamima Begum had been smuggled over the Syrian border. 

Other reports suggest that MI6 were involved in the smuggling op and that the handler in the Canadian embassy in Amman, according to Turkish police was “likely” to have been a British intelligence operative. 

It also appears that the agent on the ground was involved in smuggling some 140 British citizens over the border to “join” Da’esh. Shamima Begum is still alive, but it’s believed that her two companions were killed in Syria. As Begum’s lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee put it “Intelligence-gathering looks to have been prioritised over the lives of children”.

Child abuse and British intelligence

We now know from the UK’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that British domestic intelligence agency MI5 only created a child protection policy in 2014 and MI6 in 2015.  The signals intelligence agency GCHQ appears still to have no such policy.

The existing policies only appear to deal with what to do if it becomes known that a staff member or agent/asset is involved in the sexual abuse of children as opposed to how intelligence gathering can put children at risk. So it appears to condone trafficking underage girls from London to territory held by terrorist groups in the presumed hope that valuable intelligence might be gleaned.

The stupidity and short-sightedness of the people in charge of MI6 – up to and including the director - is truly extraordinary, even within the narrow terms of the idea of “British interests”. 

No wonder they try and pose as if they are in any way concerned about the protection of the lives of British children. There appears to be little in the world of deception and murder that the British intelligence agencies are unwilling to try. 

And there is little pushback in the UK to discourage them. Any moderately competent government in the UK would demand an immediate stop to MI6 lies and participation in terrorism and war crimes. Sadly the UK has little prospect of electing such a government any time soon.

Pressing the “riot” button in Iran: The US and Zionist role

We can examine how these attempts at subversion have operated in the recent “protest” in Iran. What is behind the riots and protests in Iran? Is this an organic “uprising” or are there external geopolitical actors at work?

According to prevailing Western wisdom, Masih Amini was “murdered” in “police custody” after being savagely beaten in a Police van. In reality, as quickly released CCTV footage showed the young Kurdish woman collapsed after a conversation – involving no violence -with a female police officer inside the police station. 

She was then attended to and taken from the police station to a waiting ambulance. Photographs of her in the hospital show no apparent head injuries and later medical staff released CT scans showing no recent injuries, though confirming that she had brain surgery some years previously.

But the allegation that she was killed or murdered was the apparent spark used to whip up a frenzy of anti-government propaganda and reporting.  Demonstrators have taken to the streets, in many Iranian cities, and protests in support have erupted in the UK and elsewhere.

Who pushed the “riot” button?

The CIA and the US government is one key actor. The US government was frustrated that its demands were not met in the Vienna negotiations on the so-called “nuclear deal” in late August, and acted also in response to the false claim of Iran supplying drones to Russians for NATO's proxy war in Ukraine.

The US immediately activated its assets and agents to foment subversion.  This involved direct attacks on the police and other security services – with eleven killed in the first ten days of protests, including four police/security officers -  as well as extensive attacks on ambulances that appear to have been directed externally. 

On 1 October there was an armed terror attack on a police station in the city of Zahedan, there were 19 deaths including four IRGC officers; 32 IRGC members were also wounded. Are these the tactics of supporters of “women’s rights”?

Unsurprisingly both the National Endowment for Democracy  - known as the “CIA-sidekick” - and the Open Society Foundations of George Soros advertise that they are active in relation to Iran. Both engage in attempting to foment regime change in Iran as they do elsewhere.

Soros, for example, stated in 2014 at the time of the US-directed Euromaidan coup that “I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia.  And the foundation has been functioning ever since. And it played a — an important part in events now.”

Geopolitical actors at work

In addition to the US, a range of geopolitical interests are lined up against Iran including US proxies. These include firstly far right supporters of the former Shah of Iran who have paraded themselves in demonstrations around the world with their monarchist Iranian flag featuring a lion.

A second group in the Mujahideen e-Kalq (alternatively known as the People's Mujahedin of Iran, and the  National Council of Resistance of Iran ). It was regarded as a terrorist organisation by the US until delisted after a successful lobbying effort in 2012. In April 2021 Facebook took action against the MEK troll farm based in Albania (a NATO member), but it still appears to be operational.

Islamophobic attacks

Attacks on worshippers at a central London Mosque used by many Iranians (many not supporters of the Islamic Republic) by monarchist and MEK demonstrators highlighted the Islamophobic nature of the groups.

Another Islamophobic group was also prominent in London demonstrations – the Council of Ex-Muslims - led by a bare-breasted Maryam Namazie. Namazie formerly of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran is involved in a variety of Islamophobic groups in the UK such as the National Secular Society. Saudi Arabia has its own input via its troll farms and its own propaganda TV channel, Iran International, which has been pumping out lies about recent events.

The Zionist regime in action

However, the most important actor involved, apart from the US, is the Zionist regime. The official Twitter account of the regime openly states it “stands with” the protestors and launched a cynical “Remember Mahsa” campaign featuring Israeli settlers claiming to “stand in solidarity”. 

“Israel” funds key US lobby groups pushing for more sanctions on Iran including the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). FDD is a “leading neoconservative think tank”, which functions “as an agent of the Israeli government”, as was revealed in Al Jazeera’s investigation on the US-Israel lobby.

Another group, United Against Nuclear Iran, is stuffed with Zionists. Both groups are clearly assets of the so-called “state of Israel”. 

Meanwhile, Israel continues to directly support and utilise Kurdish separatist groups which are currently engaged in subversion and terrorism against Iran. So, we see that both the US and Israel, via assets, agents, and proxies come together to push the “riot” button in Iran.

The Obama playbook

For some insight into how the US thinks about such operations, one can listen to former US President Obama, effectively laying out the US strategy for subversion in Iran. “You just have to flood a country’s public square with enough raw sewage. 

You just have to raise enough questions, spread enough dirt, and plant enough conspiracy theorizing that citizens no longer know what to believe. Once they lose trust in their leaders, in mainstream media, in political institutions, in each other, in the possibility of truth – The game is won”

Of course, Obama was formally talking (from 31.10) about Putin (and indeed Trump strategist Steve Bannon), but it’s clearly a close account of how they try to effect change.

Say her name: Masih Alinejad

Not coincidentally the self-proclaimed “leader” of the protests also lives in the US - in an FBI safe house in New York.  But who is Masih Alinejad? On Twitter, she has more than half a million followers and more than 8 million on Instagram, but she describes herself on her profiles only as an “Iranian journalist and activist,” or as a “journalist”.

In reality, Alinejad works directly for a US government propaganda operation called Voice of America. At VoA she has presented a programme for the last seven years on VoA’s Persian service and according to public records has received over half a million dollars in government contracts since 2015

In addition to these roles, Alinejad is the founder of two campaigns White Wednesdays which encourages the wearing of white headscarves, and My Stealthy Freedom

Both claim to be focused on the hijab and women’s rights in Iran.  But Alinejad is not centrally concerned with reform in Iran but with increasing sanctions and promoting regime change.   She has called for “death to the dictator”.

When she appeared on CNN recently her remarks were not about the hijab but about pressuring the US not to make a nuclear deal with Iran and instead increase sanctions. “Stop negotiating with our murderers, cut off all ties with the Islamic Republic”, she demanded.

Evidence from inside Iran suggests that, through her and others, the Obama playbook is guiding the “protests”. For example, listen to the testimony from a protestor arrested for petrol bombing an ambulance: “They were saying: Security forces use those ambulances. Since Masih Alinejad and other people were saying it so many times on the internet and other networks, I thought to myself it must be true”.

Alinejad’s views suggest an alignment with extreme Zionist positions. Add to that her links with Key Zionist lobby groups in the US:  In June this year she received a so-called “moral courage” award from the extremist American Jewish Committee a group with a long record of Zionist advocacy. 

Alinejad was also booked to speak at the conference of United Against Nuclear Iran in September this year.  UANI is a hardline US-based group that has had a former director of Mossad on its advisory board. 

Masih Alinejad is one of many vehicles for the US and Israel to undermine the Islamic Republic of Iran, not least because of its steadfast support for the Palestinian liberation movement and the axis of resistance more widely.

'Iran International'

Among the prominent supporters of the unrest in Iran has been Iran International the UK-based private TV channel.  It is well known that this has clear if deliberately blurred links to the Saudi regime. 

It is reportedly ‘funded through a secretive offshore entity and a company whose director is a Saudi Arabian businessman with close links to the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’.

In 2018, the station was criticised for ‘airing extensive live coverage of a rally by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)’. British regulator Ofcom scrutinised Iran International for’ giving airtime to the spokesperson of a group that praised a terrorist attack in Iran’ in 2018.

According to the Guardian, ‘Saudi Arabia gave $250m (£197m) in funding to help the launch of Iran International, which runs no commercial advertising.’

Iran Press News Agency has referred to Iran International as ‘the propaganda arm of the hybrid war of the enemies against the Islamic Republic of Iran.’

But it is not the only Saudi-linked propaganda outlet operating in London and it is by no means the only instrument for hybrid war against Iran run by the UK, US,  Saudi Arabia, and Israel. In early 2023 Iran International announced it was retreating to Washington DC from London.

BBC Persian

According to an academic study of the BBC Persian service it “was developed in

the epoch of the Empire Service, a time of overt utilization of external radio services

as tools of propaganda”. The BBC acted the direct instrument of the British Foreign Office’s secret propaganda department the Information Research Department (IRD) in 1953.

IRD used the BBC's Persian service “for advancing its propaganda against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and anti-Mosaddegh material were repeatedly aired on the radio channel to the extent that Iranian staff at the BBC Persian radio went on strike to protest the move.’’ As Ian Sinclair has written:

Infamously, the BBC played a key role in the US-British assisted overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected prime minister in 1953, with the signal for the coup to begin arranged with the BBC.

That day the corporation began its Persian language news broadcast not with the usual “it is now midnight in London,” but instead with “it is now exactly midnight,” reveals historian Mark Curtis in his 2003 book Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World.

During the period of the Islamic revolution in 1979 the BBC Persian Service was censored by senior BBC management.  For example, an arranged interview with Imam Khomeini was stopped at the last minute by the head of the BBC World Service.

According to a March 2018 BBC report: Iran's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva told the Human Rights Council on Monday that the allegations of harassment and threats were "incorrect". "BBC Persian is not an independent media network," the mission said. "Its financial and political affiliation with the ministry of foreign affairs and the British security agencies has been very serious."

As with all the BBC World Service channels BBC Persian is funded directly by the Foreign Office which exerts significant control over the channel. In 2009 the government gave extra funds to the BBC to create the BBC Persian TV channel. 

The government is to give 70 million pounds of extra funding to the BBC World Service to help fund a Persian-language television news channel aimed at Iran and enhance a forthcoming Arabic channel.

In late 2022 the BBC announced it was going to shut down BBC Persian radio and BBC Arabic.  In early 2023 the BBC shut down BBC Arabic and still plans to shut BBC Persian radio, though a rearguard action is attempting to stop that.   The Foreign Office continues to oversee BBC Persian TV and Online offerings.

CIA strategy in the cold war

This has replaced the previous programme whereby the CIA directly funded key front groups in what was called the “Cultural cold war”. Among the groups sent subventions or run directly by CIA assets were the Congress for Cultural Freedom.  As James Petras has summarised:

U.S. and European anticommunist publications receiving direct or indirect funding included Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, New Leader, Encounter, and many others. Among the intellectuals who were funded and promoted by the CIA were Irving Kristol, Melvin Lasky, Isaiah Berlin, Stephen Spender, Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell, Dwight MacDonald, Robert Lowell, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, and numerous others in the United States and Europe.

In Europe, the CIA was particularly interested in and promoted the “Democratic Left” and ex-leftists, including Ignacio Silone, Stephen Spender, Arthur Koestler, Raymond Aron, Anthony Crosland, Michael Josselson, and George Orwell.

The CIA, under the prodding of Sidney Hook and Melvin Lasky, was instrumental in funding the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a kind of cultural NATO that grouped together all sorts of “anti-Stalinist” leftists and rightists.

They were completely free to defend Western cultural and political values, attack “Stalinist totalitarianism” and to tiptoe gently around U.S. racism and imperialism. Occasionally, a piece marginally critical of U.S. mass society was printed in CIA-subsidized journals.

This approach foundered when it was exposed as a CIA operation.  As a result, as Philip Agee the former CIA operative put it:

Nowadays, instead of having the CIA going around behind the scenes and trying to manipulate the process by inserting money here and giving instructions secretly and so forth, they have now a sidekick, which is the National Endowment for Democracy, NED.

Even the head of the NED Carl Gershman, who was a Zionist activist in his 20s, has admitted the same:

It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA. We saw that in the 60s, and that’s why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that’s why the endowment was created.

The “small media” strategy

Today the hybrid war strategy against Iran as against so many other “enemy states” is led by the United States via a myriad of assets and outlets. One of the key elements is what might be called the  ‘small media ‘ strategy in which US funds are channelled directly and indirectly to a variety of ‘independent media’, ‘citizen journalism’, or free speech initiatives or media defence organisations.

The money comes through the National Endowment for Democracy (and its associated “core” institute: the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, and the Center for International Private Enterprise) and USAid as well as indirectly by US/regime change friendly foundations and sympathetic European governments.

There has been a long-standing programme, focused on populations inside the NATO states and led by the CIA, to develop a new approach to psychological warfare. The core objective is to develop a militant liberal pro-NATO Atlanticist identity and to split the old anti-war/anti-imperialist Left.

The strategy was first tested using Syria. Since then, it has been developed using stories focused on particular concepts including 'antisemitism' (emanating in this narrative from Muslims, the Old Left, and 'tankies'), the Russian 'threat', Brexit as a 'Russian plot', the Uyghur issue, Wagner Group, Russian 'election interference', Ukraine as a noble cause, and innumerable other stories relating to China and Iran.

The programme involves EU states (such as Denmark, Norway, Germany, and Holland)  and foundations (in the US such as Smith Richardson, Lynde, and Harry Bradley foundation, internationally via the Open Society Foundations and in the UK via - for example - Sigrid Rausing Trust and many others) working in partnership with the NED to pass on CIA cash.

They, in turn, provide 'grants' to 'activists' (ie hand-picked and groomed assets who have already been through CIA-sponsored 'training' sessions in 'citizen journalism' etc. The discourse is rights-based and designed to build a discontent base of liberals -- wealthy or middle-class, often multilingual, feminist, and suffering from what I believe is called gharbzadegi in Farsi. (Westoxification or Westitis).

These actors either pose as activists for journalistic freedom or as small independent new media sites. They establish media outlets in their own names. These are deliberately small outfits that are designed to be conveyor belts into (a) established media outlets in Western/white nations, where these assets then work as fixers, producers, stringers, or correspondents, and (b) careers as professional liberal agitators.

They then find (or invent) and promote stories that promote US strategic objectives, particularly around official enemies of the US.

Amongst the key objectives is to disrupt and subvert broadcasting and social media regulation in Iran so that Western propaganda can penetrate deep into Iranian civic space. The NED’s Center for International Media Assistance states:

Tavaana E-Learning Institute for Iranian Civil Society was launched in May 2010 with seed money from the U.S. State Department to conduct live e-courses and webinars, many dealing with subjects forbidden by the Iranian government.

The Tavaana project’s parent organization, the E-Collaborative for Civic Education, has received support from the National Endowment for Democracy, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the United States Agency for International Development.


The hybrid war against the Islamic Republic of Iran and other so-called “enemy states” has a dizzying and overwhelming feel to it, but it is not always successful.  There remains a good deal of work to do to understand and chronicle it so that it is more widely understood and can be more effectively challenged.

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