Netanyahu, Obama, Iran, nuclear bombs, and a new Munich
“Peace for Our Time,” announced a proud Neville Chamberlain after placing the Czechoslovaks in Hitler’s foaming bite, one he relaxed only to spit threats of European war and anti-Jewish genocide. “Peace in our time” promised Barack Obama in his inaugural speech of 2013. History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Obama prepares already the signature that will normalize the nuclear program of terrorist Ali Khamenei, ‘Supreme Leader’ (official title) of Iran, and would-be emulator of Hitler’s crime against the Jews.
Santayana was right: lest we understand history we are doomed to repeat it. So let us interrogate this history and find the rhymes to grasp our moment: How could Chamberlain vault over public opinion to commit his diplomatic barbarities? Historians have answered this already.
“Israel should vanish from the page of time.”
–Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the
Iranian Islamist State (1979)
“Israel must be wiped off the map.”
–Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former
president of Iran (2005)
“Israel… has no cure but to be annihilated.”
–Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader
of Iran (2014)
In The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960) William Shirer remarked that the Times of London, “This great journal, one of the chief glories of English journalism, …play[ed]… a dubious role in the disastrous British appeasement of Hitler.” How so? By raising the Führer’s prestige every time he interrupted his violent tantrums to communicate his commitment to ‘peace,’ promised always in return for some license (to reoccupy the Rhineland, rearm Germany, absorb Austria, consume Czechoslovakia…). This media barrage gave Chamberlain cover when he repeated each time—another time—that Hitler could be ‘appeased.’
It wasn’t just the Times.
Neville Chamberlain’s Conservative Party created, in the late 1920s, “ ‘a little intelligence service of our own’ ” that jerked the conservative press around with a clandestine bridle every bit as short as that employed in the totalitarian states. It was led by Sir Joseph Ball, Chamberlain’s most intimate friend, as documented in research published by R.B. Cockett in The Historical Journal. Ball began extending his control over the rest of the British press when the Great Depression called forth the so-called ‘national’ government, in truth conservative to the hilt.
According to Anthony Adamthwaite’s investigations, published in the Journal of Contemporary History, by 1936 this conservative government had “the BBC… firmly on the leash.” That was not enough. In 1937, with Chamberlain installed as Prime Minister, Goebbels complained about remaining criticisms of Hitler still daring to rear their heads in the dailies. Lord Halifax, foreign minister, “promised to do all he could to secure ‘the cooperation of the British Press’ ” and rushed to solve the problem with the owners of the Daily Herald, the News Chronicle, the Daily Mail, and the Evening Standard. There were “awkward questions” about all this in the House of Commons “[that] were met with denials, evasion and ambiguity.”
One newspaper went to extremes: Truth. Chamberlain confessed in a letter to his sisters that “the paper was ‘secretly controlled by Sir Joseph Ball’ ” (he had purchased it clandestinely). And “Truth,” explains Cockett, “as an expression of the views of Ball and Chamberlain, seems to have differed little in its ideological content from the professed prejudices and beliefs of the Nazi leaders.” In fact, “Truth adopted an overtly antisemitic and racialist tone…, [and] any opponent of appeasement came to be branded as a Jewish/Communist traitor to the true English cause.” Naturally, “Truth also became overtly pro-German and pro-Italian as Chamberlain proceeded in his search for a diplomatic settlement with Hitler and Mussolini.”
And in the United States?
Historian Frederick Marks points out in The Historical Journal that Franklin Delano Roosevelt projected in public positions quite at variance with his backstage dealings, producing a “gap between appearance and reality” that was “very wide indeed.” To British ambassador Ronald Lindsay, Roosevelt confessed that he would be the first to celebrate the success of British and French pressure on Czechoslovakia, but that he would be impeached if the US public came to know his opinion.
What about the press? Hearst all by himself owned half of the US press, and it was by “making overtures to William Randolph Hearst and other like-minded businessmen” that Roosevelt had managed to get the White House. What did Hearst want? This was well known, because “Hearst’s editorials were usually printed in all of his 26 newspapers.”
Consider a few of Hearst’s opinions, compiled by historian Rodney Carlisle in the Journal of Contemporary History: 1) Nazism was a welcome barrier against communism; 2) the United States should not threaten Germany or support the League of Nations; 3) Nazi demands about redrawing Germany’s borders were reasonable and the desire to unify German lands quite just; 4) the reoccupation of the Rhineland was justified; 5) if the Nazis attacked US navy ships, this should be tolerated if they issued a sincere apology (!?); and 6) Chamberlain did well in giving Czechoslovakia over to the Nazis. It was not by accident that Hearst was called “the keystone of American fascism.”
Support for the ‘appeasement’ (is that what it was?) of Hitler was an Anglo-American, and not merely a British phenomenon.
In our time US and British leaders invade Afghanistan and Iraq creating voids that Iran is quick to fill. Now they rush to negotiate with Iran that country’s development of nuclear weapons. In charge is Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state, author of the deal that allowed North Korea her nuclear bombs and possessor of quite some gall for scolding the South Koreans who insist those bombs are unacceptable.
And to all this, the respected press of our day, what does it say?
On November 2014 the Economist confessed that “Iran is hard to fathom,” and that “journalists who have been able to obtain a precious visa still leave with a sense of uncertainty as few Iranians feel free to speak their mind.” Despite these limitations the British magazine, the most prestigious in the world, the most influential with ‘intelligent’ and ‘educated’ people, stated confidently that “The [Iranian] Revolution is over” and that “the country has unmistakably changed,” flooding its readers with statistics and anecdotes that speak to the supposed liberalism, modernity, and education of the Iranian population.
However, the nuclear agreement will not be signed with the Iranian population but with the tyrants who rule it. In November 2014, when the Economist published said piece, those rulers were energetically financing, as they still do, terrorist groups with a genocidal and antisemitic ideology; prosecutor Alberto Nissman was still around to denounce with his own voice the Argentinian government’s cover up of the Iranian officials responsible for the terrorist attack against the Jewish community of Buenos Aires (85 dead and 300 wounded); and one could still hear echoes of Iranian ‘Supreme Leader’ Ali Khamenei’s July threat of “annihilation” against the Jewish State.
One has got to take this seriously. Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani—former president of Iran and father of Iran’s nuclear program—has already made plenty clear what that program is for: “the application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.”
Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, orated eloquently some days ago before the US Congress on the intentions of the ayatollahs and the dangers of signing with them. The Economist replied with firm support for Obama. As did the New York Times.
Thus were we spoken to right before Czechoslovakia was thrown to Hitler. But that wasn’t (not exactly…) a free press. Have things changed? What does recent historical research reveal on the influence of the Western power elite over the media?
Research by Christopher Simpson, professor of communication at American University, documents that US intelligence agencies spent rivers of money to create in the postwar—in a snap—schools and academic departments of ‘communication’ (and related institutes) and staffed them with the researchers who had created the WWII ‘psychological warfare’ programs for the US government. (McCarthyism took care of any dissenters.) This infrastructure “underlies most college- and graduate-level training for print and broadcast journalists, public relations and advertising personnel, and the related craftspeople who might be called the ‘ideological workers’ of contemporary U.S. society.”
These same intelligence agencies were granted explicit permission, in the National Security Act of 1947, to use ‘covert actions’ to corrupt foreign media.
There is more than enough here for whoever sees in the press nothing less than Power’s megaphone. It was Chamberlain who celebrated Chamberlain’s policies; now Obama sells Obama.
History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. We should take heed, because antisemites are dangerous to us all. In World War II more than 54 million non-Jews lost their lives. For Hitler we were ‘subhumans’; for Khamenei, ‘infidels.’ Will the outcome be very different?
Why Bush Sr.’s 1991 Gulf War? To Protect Iranian Islamism
Like father, like son: this is also the purpose of Bush Jr.’s war
Will the US attack Iran?
An alternative hypothesis
The religion of peace?
What, exactly, is ‘moderate Islam’?
Here comes the Muslim Brotherhood
Courtesy of Barack Hussein Obama
 Shirer WL. 1960. The rise and fall of the Third Reich: A history of Nazi Germany. New York: Simon & Shuster. (pp.287-88)
 Cockett RB. 1990. Ball, Chamberlain and Truth. The Historical Journal 33: 131-42 (pp.131-33)
 Adamthwaite A. 1983. The British Government and the Media, 1937-1938. Journal of Contemporary History 18: 281-97 (pp.282-85)
 Cockett 1990 op.cit. (pp.135-36, 139-140)
 Marks FW. 1985. Six between Roosevelt and Hitler: America’s Role in the Appeasement of Nazi Germany. The Historical Journal 28: 969-82 (pp.973, 976)
 Ferguson T. 1984. From Normalcy to New Deal: Industrial Structure, Party Competition, and American Public Policy in the Great Depression. International Organization 38: 41-94 (p.80)
 Carlisle R. 1974. The Foreign Policy Views of an Isolationist Press Lord: W. R. Hearst and the International Crisis, 1936-41. Journal of Contemporary History 9: 217-27 (p.219, fn.3)
 Carlisle 1974, op.cit.
 Lundberg F. 1936. Imperial Hearst: A social biography. New York: Equinox Cooperative Press (p.343)
 “Column One: Life under the US umbrella”; Jerusalem Post; 3 March 2005; by Caroline Glick
 “Netanyahu: Iran’s Ayatollah Tweets That Israel Must Be Destroyed”; CNSNEWS.com; March 3, 2015 – 12:15 PM; by Melanie Hunter
 “Rafsanjani says Muslims should use nuclear weapon against Israel”; Iran Press Service; 14 December 2001.
 “The best of bad options”; The Economist; Mar 4th 2015, 16:01; by M.J.S.
 “Mr. Netanyahu’s Unconvincing Speech to Congress”; The New York Times; MARCH 3, 2015; By THE EDITORIAL BOARD.
 Simpson, C. (1994). Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare. New York: Oxford University Press. (p.3)
 National Security Act (1947), Title V, SEC. 501. [50 U.S.C. 413] (f) y SEC. 503 (e).
“Did the National Security Act of 1947 destroy freedom of the press: The red pill…”; Historical and Investigative Research; 3 Jan 2006; by Francisco Gil-White