Essays, Iran, latest

The word of the day is…

by Mark Doran

If there’s one thing that the West’s state-corporate media loves to report, it’s public protest in a non-compliant country — people demonstrating against some government that has refused to roll over in the face of US aggression and greed.

If you’re in the habit of examining these media reports, you’ll often find that there’s a particular word which gets used a lot.

Here are a few highly topical examples; see if you can work out which word it is…

Iranians protesting the country’s strained economy gathered in Tehran and another major city on Friday, for the second day of spontaneous, unsanctioned demonstrations […] (US, Associated Press, via Washington Post, 29 Dec 2017)

A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran’s weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government… (UK, Associated Press, via Mail Online, 30 Dec 2017)

Unauthorized, spontaneous protests engulfed Iran’s major cities for a third straight day on Saturday as what started out as demonstrations over rising prices seem to have taken a decidedly anti-government tone. (, 30 Dec 2017)

Pro-government Iranians rallied in Tehran Saturday following spontaneous angry protests in the capital and other major cities. (US, Fox News with Associated Press, 30 Dec 2017)

A relatively small protest on Thursday in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city . . . unexpectedly gave impetus to a wave of spontaneous protests spreading across provinces. (UK, Guardian, 31 Dec 2017)

Protests seem to be spontaneous and lack a clear leader. (Australia, ABC Radio Australia, 1 Jan 2018)

Yes: the Word of the Day is spontaneous.

As far as our state-corporate media and its ubiquitous anti-journalism are concerned, this is one of the most fascinating adjectives we see. Let’s take a moment to examine its use…

For a start, how would anyone really know — and so quickly, too! — that these foreign protests, these far-away demonstrations were all ‘spontaneous’? Are thousands of protestors across Iran currently in touch with hundreds of Western journalists — and constantly insisting on the utter spontaneity of everything they do?

No, they aren’t. And even if they were, why would anyone with any sense believe they were telling the truth?

The reality is, of course, that ‘spontaneous’ is a propaganda word, purely manipulative. It’s there to achieve three different but related aims — every one of which serves the imperialist agendas of the Western elites.

see full article here


  1. Alan says

    It isn’t a question of protests, I just don’t believe the messengers.

  2. “…..Both the liberals and the hardliners, as well as the rest of the world, were taken by surprise when the manifestations spread to various cities just before the new year 2018. Actually, thousands of Iranians hit the streets a couple of days before the 9 Day, a manifestation organised yearly to reaffirm allegiance to the Islamic Republic and its religious leadership, and mainly against the reformists Mir Hussein Mussavi and Mahdi Karrubi’s Green Movement (still under house arrest since then)…..
    …..However, the nuclear deal that President Rohani relied on to secure positive results and went through an extra stretch to face the hardliners –enjoying rare and precious support from the people and from the leader of the revolution, Ali Khamenei – has not borne fruit. President Trump has so far refrained from releasing the 150 billion dollars of Iranian assets and refused to meet and recognise Rohani’s reforms and liberalism….”

  3. Apparently, pro-government protests in Iran outnumber anti-government.

    Here is another video questioning authenticity and talking about Trey Gowdy Benghazi coverup.

  4. BigB says

    Most of the sensible commentary I’ve read leads me to believe that the current wave of protests are genuinely anti-austerity and pro-civil rights …which means they may well be “spontaneous ” in nature? The point that Mark is aiming at (in the full article) – that the word is a propaganda diversion from the orchestration and implementation of a Western backed coup – would seem far fetched at the moment. Apart from a bit of astroturfing about the fringes, the coup is a wishful thinking media construction. This is not 1953. The days when Kermit Roosevelt could fly to Tehran with a couple of suitcases stuffed with $$$$ – and start bribing anti-Mossadegh factions are long gone. Iran is not as easy to infiltrate Syria. If any imperial forces were suicidal enough to try to invade – we’d soon see how disunited 80mn Iranians are?

    • Jen says

      Actually it’s precisely because several demonstrations have suddenly appeared at the same time in different cities and towns around the country – and mirroring demonstrations in other countries in the same region (Dar’aa in Syria in 2011, Kiev in Ukraine in 2014, Yerevan in Armenia in 2015) that begin as small protests against higher food prices or economic austerity programs and which then are taken over by a second wave of protests calling for the removal of the government, accompanied by attacks on police and acts of arson against public buildings – that the suspicion that these demonstrations are being orchestrated from outside has arisen. In addition, the second lot of protesters apparently carried English-language placards, chanted slogans against Iran’s involvement in Syria and called for the return of the monarchy.

      The fact that the US and Israeli governments have rushed to declare support for the protests, Benjamin Satanyahu has forecast regime change for Iran and French President Emmanuel Macron and other Western leaders have urged the Iranian government to allow the protests (when they themselves would not tolerate such large-scale protests happening at once in their own countries) also looks suspicious.

      The timing is very strange.

      Bernhard at has been following the protests in Iran and has noted that some individuals like Carl Bildt and groups like Mojahedin-e-Khalq have taken an unusually strong interest in the protests.

      • BigB says

        Jen: I respect MoA as being very session informed. 20-50 people agitating around the fringes of what seem to be genuine protests …do not make a coup. That’s what I referred to as astroturfing above. If it is an external attempt at fomenting wider unrest – it will likely fa

        • Big B says

          […] it will more than likely fail, as MoA attests. Now as a long term strategy, as MoA outlines in his second article …of tightening sanctions and restrictions – that makes perfect sense. But we are years, if not decades away from interventionism. And should that ever occur; demoralised US imperial forces against (pro or anti government) motivated nationalist Iranians? I know who I’d back.

          [Not sure where the word “session” came from – keyboard interventionism??? LOL!]

        • Jen says

          Reading Alex Mercouris’ second article on the Iranian protests over at The Duran, I see you are right in stating that the initial protests were anti-austerity: they were against the Rouhani government’s recently released budget which proposed cutting back on subsidies in order to fund major infrastructure projects, and not simply against a one-off rise in the prices of staple items. That partly explains why the protests first broke out in cities and towns in areas far from the capital Tehran (where no protests have been reported) and in Mashhad, a politically and socially conservative city (it’s a place of religious pilgrimage) and Iran’s second largest city, in the northeast part of the country.

          The interesting parts of Mercouris’ article are that if young unemployed men are involved in the second wave of protests, they are likely to be less educated and to be part of an underclass (that makes sense: Iran is home to a huge population of Afghan refugees, and Mashhad is close to the Iran-Afghanistan border); that this second wave of protests is comparable to the riots that have occurred in the UK, France and Sweden in recent years; and that Saudi intel may have some involvement, and if so, it has failed miserably to kick-start an opening for war.

    • Catte says

      Well, there’s having some grassroots basis and there’s “spontaneous”. How do you have a truly spontaneous protest rally? If it’s going to be anything more than a few random people shouting and throwing stones there needs to be some level of organisation. Even genuine grassroots protests are rarely completely “spontaneous” – and that is why it’s a propaganda word.

      • Big B says

        Catte: according to Alexander Mercouris …

        “[…] the single factor which almost certainly set the scene for the protests is that this is a time of the year when large numbers of Iranians are likely to be on the streets anyway.

        The day which in the Western calendar is 30th December is the day when conservative supporters of the Iranian government annually mobilise in their millions to commemorate a large demonstration staged on 30th December 2009 in response to the so-called ‘Green Revolution’ protests which took place in Iran in 2009.”

        … which seems perfectly reasonable to me. As opposed to a Washington fomented regime change operation, which is what the M$M want us to believe?

        From Mark’s full article:

        “‘Do not for a moment consider the probability that this is happening as part of a carefully co-ordinated and externally funded regime-change operation. Don’t even think about it! It’s all just SPONTANEOUS, d’you hear!‘”

        Utilising the word “spontaneous” as a propaganda word to convey the meaning that this IS an “externally funded regime-change operation” – when it does not appear to be – is kinda convoluted, don’t you think? Of course the word is weaponised in other circumstances; but it does not seem to be applicable in this case? Mark is implying that internalised and genuine anti-government sentiment is being “carefully co-ordinated” and “externally funded”; which does not appear to be the case? Therefore, who is (I presume unwittingly) propagandising who?

        • Catte says

          Let’s no get bogged down here. The point is the word is used to convey approval and withheld to convey disapproval, rather than to define anything actual.

  5. When I was growing up and there was a coup, especially in a country with a democratically-elected leader, my father would say, “It was the CIA,” in a tone suggesting that, of course it was the CIA and anyone who thought otherwise would have to be a moron. I have no idea how he knew back in pre-internet days and without seeming access to any special media sources – perhaps he simply knew how to interpret the propaganda.

  6. bevin says

    “The next time residents of Durham County, North Carolina, feel the itch to spontaneously express political feelings on public grounds, they’d better hope somebody had the foresight to ask permission two days earlier.

    “The Durham County Commission opened the new year with a proposal to require 48 hours’ notice before any demonstration on County-owned land. “In order to ensure the safety of all involved in and near demonstrations on County grounds prior notification is required if the group will be 50 or more individuals or has the potential of 50 or more individuals,” the rules before the commission on Tuesday state. “If notification is not given within the stated requirements or if a spontaneous group exceeds 50 individuals, the County Manager or his/her designee may determine that those participating in the demonstration on County grounds are trespassing and may request that participants be removed by law enforcement.” …”

  7. Some commentators in Iran and Iranians with contacts there are saying these protests were organized by religious fanatics who think Ay. Khamenei and President Rouhani are too moderate. If this is true, how ironic that the Western media and that moron Trump are falling all over themselves praising them as friends of the west who want democracy.

    • George Cornell says

      Very hard to tell but since I read English my sense is that the prevailing winds continue to discolour Iran in the interests of the US and Israel. You must have missed the previous article pointing out that of the 7 countries listed by the US for regime change, 6 have had their medicine and Iran remains. And yet you think they are being fawned over? Really?

      • The sense I get is that the west is attempting to construct a “narrative” around these protests to justify its regime change plans for Iran. (I am well aware of Clarke’s list.) Is that what you mean by “fawning” or is reading comprehension an issue for you?

        • George Cornell says

          You did not say that in your first post nor to me, implied it. The gratuitous comment about my reading comprehension suggests you are not on this thread for wholesome reasons.

          • I’m here to share my perspectives and potentially interesting snippets I’ve picked up pertaining to current geopolitical issues to and to read what other posters are sharing. Wholesome, or not, I suspect most people who post here do so for similar reasons.

            My comment was a response to your snarky misreading of my original post. I mentioned what some Iranians are saying about the protests (that they began as demonstrations by conservative Shia Muslims against the current Iranian government which they supposedly find too moderate).

            I went on to say that if this is true (note the “IF” part) it is ironic that Trump and the regime change hungry western media are championing conservative Muslims as pro-democracy heroes and by extension pro-Western and pro-USA.

            You reacted with a strange and snarky post that implied I was committing a thought crime for not thinking like you (when, ironically again, we are on the same side and practically on the same page).

            It’s irritating how ever more people are living in a solipsistic idealogical echo-chamber and showing intolerance for any opinion or thinking that might not match their own 100%. In some forums they are so flustered by even a minor divergence from group dogma that dissenters are quickly accused of being trolls or disinfo spooks🙄

            • George Cornell says

              Is that the way you reply to people who you think (correctly) are on the same page? There was no snarky intent but apologies if you felt it was.

            • klarity says

              Not to be snarky, but the championing of conservative Muslims as allies in US regime plans is a long held tactic, which has been nurtured and cultivated since the days of resistance to the Soviets in Afghanistan.

    • we have that article hosted here already, but it has nothing to do with the subject under discussion here. Please visit the 9/11 threads if you want to discuss nanothermite

  8. George Cornell says

    So true! Also fascinating and most revealing is the urgent news massages from corrupted papers like the Guardian.

    Today’s gem was to let the world know that a “book” , being flogged by the Guardian , had let It’s readers in on the scoop ( with the Guardian’s help) that Rupert Murdoch had called Trump an idiot. Ooweee.

    This was so important it flashed up on my screen as an isolated item, eclipsing all other news items. How the flighty have fallen.

    Well shiver me timbers! How could the world possibly have continued! The Guardian hates Murdoch so it is not that RM has any cred with them. It is just that they hate Trump more even though he does not compete with them. Now how many Guardian readers will now shed their Trumpophilia, now that they know what Murdoch is claimed to have said in a Guardian-promoted book? What a good thing we have five fingers on a hand, or just one thumb!

    But even many of his supporters think Trump is an idiot, just less odious than the dreaded HC or so it seemed to them at the time.

    Desperadoes on both sides. Ugh!

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