HomeArticleThis Is What Modern War Propaganda Looks Like

This Is What Modern War Propaganda Looks Like

I’ve been noticing videos going viral the last few days, some with millions of views, about Muslim women bravely fighting to free themselves from oppression in the Middle East. The videos, curiously, are being shared enthusiastically by many Republicans and pro-Israel hawks, who aren’t traditionally the sort of crowd you see rallying to support the civil rights of Muslims. What’s up with that?

Well, you may want to sit down for this shocker, but it turns out that they happen to be women from a nation that the US war machine is currently escalating operations against. They are Iranian.

Whenever you see the sudden emergence of an attractive media campaign that is sympathetic to the plight of civilians in a resource-rich nation unaligned with the western empire, you are seeing propaganda. When that nation is surrounded by other nations with similar human rights transgressions and yet those transgressions are ignored by that same media campaign, you are most certainly seeing propaganda. When that nation just so happens to already be the target of starvation sanctions and escalated covert CIA ops, you can bet the farm that you are seeing propaganda.

Back in December a memo was leaked from inside the Trump administration showing how then-Secretary of State, DC neophyte Rex Tillerson, was coached on how the US empire uses human rights as a pretense on which to attack and undermine noncompliant governmentsPolitico reports:

The May 17 memo reads like a crash course for a businessman-turned-diplomat, and its conclusion offers a starkly realist vision: that the U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.


“Allies should be treated differently — and better — than adversaries. Otherwise, we end up with more adversaries, and fewer allies,” argued the memo, written by Tillerson’s influential policy aide, Brian Hook.

The propaganda machine doesn’t operate any differently from the State Department, since they serve the same establishment. US ally Saudi Arabia is celebrated by the mass media for “liberal reform” in allowing women to drive despite hard evidence that those “reforms” are barely surface-level cosmetics to present a pretty face to the western world, but Iranian women, who have been able to drive for years, are painted as uniquely oppressed. Iran is condemned by establishment war whores for the flaws in its democratic process, while Saudi Arabia, an actual monarchy, goes completely unscrutinized.

This is because the US-centralized power establishment, which has never at any point in its history cared about human rights, plans on effecting regime change in Iran by any means necessary. Should those means necessitate a potentially controversial degree of direct military engagement, the empire needs to make sure it retains control of the narrative.

This is what war propaganda looks like in the era of social media. It will never look ugly. It will never directly show you its real intentions. If it did, it wouldn’t work. It can’t just come right out and say “Hey we need to do horrible, evil things to the people in this country on the other side of the world in your name using your resources, please play along without making a fuss.” It will necessarily look fresh and fun and rebellious. It will look appealing. It will look sexy.

And it’s working. I am currently getting tagged in these videos multiple times a day by Trump supporters who are eager to show me proof that I’m on the wrong side of the Iran issue; the psyop is so well-lubricated with a combination of sleek presentation and confirmation bias that it slides right past their skepticism and becomes accepted as fact, even the one with the Now This pussyhat propaganda logo in the corner.

Be less trusting of these monsters, please. The people of Afghanistan haven’t benefitted from the interminable military quagmire that has cost tens of thousands of their lives. The invaders of Iraq were never “greeted as liberators” by an oppressed population. The humanitarian intervention in Libya left a humanitarian catastrophe in its wake far more horrific than anything it claimed to be trying to prevent. Saving the children of Syria with western interventionism has left half a million Syrians dead.

If the Iranians do in fact wish to change their government, it should happen without crippling sanctions, collaboration with extremist terror cults, or the rapey tentacles of the CIA manipulating the situation. There has never been a US-led regime change in the Middle East that wasn’t disastrous. People should be screaming at the US and its allies to cease these interventions, not applauding propaganda that is clearly being manufactured by that same empire.


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Latest comments

  • Good piece . Donald with the help of his cohorts in crime, is itching to attack Iran .
    It will allow him to deflect from his financial transgresions and appease his war
    mongering wall St benefactors .

  • This convoluted article misses the obvious (documented) truth like an archer turning 180 away from the target. We haven’t heard a peep from liberal feminists about the plight of Iranians or any other maltreated Muslim women. It’s conservatives and libertarians, the moral sector, who are raising the cry in support of beleaguered women in radicalized Muslim countries. The people raising the cry are people all across the nation, normal people, not political insiders.

    Have an informed day. Also, have some common sense. It will save you a lot of time. AND others won’t have to read your nonsense because you will actually be writing something worth reading.

    • If you haven’t heard a peep from liberals about the plight of maltreated Muslim women then you haven’t been listening or looking for it.

      You’re not going to see it in the MSM because those are not progressive voices, those are the voices of war profiteers and bank propagandists.

      That your response to this article is to claim the left doesn’t care about Muslim women is as diversionary as those on the left that claim any critique of Dems is a Russian plot or when someone mentioning Palestinian rights is called an anti Semite.

      I don’t see conservatives showing much compassion for the Muslim women under US bombs in Yemen, Syria, and many more countries. You guys have control of every branch of government. What are you doing to help these women you claim to care about? More bombs?

      All you are doing is using this feigned concern for Muslim women’s rights to concern troll because you’re tired of being told conservative policies are inhumane and heartless. It’s projection, not an honest argument.

      And, I don’t buy that you have libertarian values. If you did you’d be against another interventionist war, not spouting off in support of the propaganda to build a case for more war.

  • The “activist” Masih Alinejad now resides in New York City and is earning $116,000 a year plus pumping out propaganda for her employer VOA, Voice of America.

  • As a UK citizen I have seen all this before from the US and it’s getting more blatant under Trump BUT it started way before that. You in the US MUST stand against the thugs that run the country. They kill and kill and kill – and, of course, the pro-Israel lobby is there driving it on. Back in 1996 in a strategy document written for Netanyahu after his first election victory by Richard Perle (a key architect of the Iraq War) Iraq, Syria and Iran were all seen as ‘regime change’ targets. They’ve destroyed both Iraq and Syria (as threats to the ‘regional superpower and US client state, Israel) and are now turning their attention to Iran. The strategy document was entitled ‘A Clean Break’. Netanyahu rejected it ONLY because it said that Israel should free itself from dependence on US funding so as to be more free in what it could do. Instead Netanyahu has bought America with people like Sheldon Adelson. They keep going on about how Putin owns Trump – but the biggest backers and financiers of Trump is the pro-Israel lobby. WAKE UP AMERICA.

  • Absolutely correct! Let the US clear up its own nation of injustices and bigotry and racism and inequality – then start positives elsewhere. Australia might heed this same advice given its current aping of US-style and ugliness!

  • Conspicuous by its absence is the omission of the genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel, the root cause of M.E. conflict. Thousands wounded and killed in the past several weeks as they protest the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and the relentless theft of their land by Israeli settlers.

  • From the memo to Tillerson :
    ” ……As (Reagan) stated at the 1980 Republican convention, “The basis of a free and principled foreign policy is one that takes the world as it is, and seeks to change it by leadership and example; not by harangue, harassment or wishful thinking.” ”
    Not bad , right ? Of course that policy guidance , like the convention balloons and confetti , got tossed in the garbage dumpster , never to be seen again.

  • Our CIA propagandists know the hot buttons of the American people. They know there are groups organized around certain hot button issues. They know because they helped organize them. Whenever they want to activate these groups, they simply start the propaganda machine, with a claim that motivates each group. They send out “news” items and memes, and their hot button groups circulate them.

  • Damn, you’re good. Everybody, please don’t just ‘Like’ or comment on Caitlin’s pieces, get them out early & often!

    That goes for anything this good & right; I hate seeing a 1000 likes and 43 retweets on Twitter & Facebook. When there’s only so much we can do to stop some horrible thing anyway (& all the hard work’s been done by @caitoz), right after you comment your appreciation to her and buy a sub to help support her continuing to write often, stand on a virtual street corner and hand out ‘leaflets’ to the crowd like you did in the old days, but it was harder on the feet & back, hotter or wetter, and people tried to argue with you because that’s the maximum effort they were willing to put out on the issue & then they’d go home & do nothing.

    PS, loved!!!!!! ‘Humans’, Caitlin! Thank you.

  • “This is because the US-centralized power establishment, which has never at any point in its history cared about human rights, plans on effecting regime change in Iran by any means necessary.”

    The US centralized power establishment has plans to ‘overthrow the government of Iran’. Don’t soft-pedal its intention … tell it like it is.

  • As an American and 65+ years old, I have heard this sort of war-mongering propaganda from our leaders again and again. It is more reliable than a weather report…the U.S. will attack another nation.

  • Anyone who wants to see the real Iran should watch Rick Steves’ beautiful documentary trip there called, I believe, “Rick Steves’ Iran”. It was originally shown on PBS, but I doubt they’ll be-re-running it anytime soon. An extraordinary piece that seemed to help Rick set off on an even more activist direction in his travels and talks, and I heartily applaud him for that.

    • Thanks for the tip, its on Youtube.

  • Actually, President Carter did truly care about human rights, but that was in a galaxy long, long ago and far away.

    • Unfortunately, President Carter had a mixed record.
      Arch Bishop Oscar Romero wrote President Carter a letter asking him
      to stop funding the ”death squads” in El Salvador.
      Carter did not respond.
      Arch Bishop Romero was assassinated while giving
      the Eucharist to nuns in March 1980.
      Death Squads in Central and South America (particularly Guatemalan from 1966 onward) received U.S. arms, funding, training and advisors during the Carter, Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations.

  • Yep. Yep. Yep. Yes, ma’am, Caity!

  • BDS Stop Israeli Terrorist’s.

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