Solidarity Versus Indifference:
How the Collapsed American Left Picks and Chooses Its Causes
By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
As we stressed in both Part 1 and Part 2 of our "Iran and Honduras in the Propaganda System," there is no better test of the independence and integrity of the establishment U.S. media than in their comparative treatment of Iran and Honduras in 2009 and 2010. But there is also no better test of the critical independence and integrity of the political left, locally, nationally, or globally, than in whether its members aligned with the U.S. government and media's dichotomous treatment of the victims of the Iranian and Honduran regimes, or were able to break-free of this establishment pattern of solidarity-versus-indifference, and overturn its priorities.
What makes the Iran - Honduras comparison so telling are two sets of facts. The first, regarding Iran, is that Iran has been, and remains, under threat of a major military assault by the United States and Israel; that Iran has not advanced beyond its borders in the last century and beyond, and poses no threat of an offensive attack on the two countries that threaten it; and that while Iran's clerical regime is without question repressive, Iran is nowhere near as oppressed and closed a society as are the U.S. allies in nearby Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Furthermore, Iran held a presidential election in June 2009 that was seriously contested, even though the results were disputed and the belief that the presidency was stolen from the true victor triggered massive protests on a scale unseen since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979.
Honduras, on the other hand, was subjected to a coup d'état in June 2009 that ended a working democracy in that country; popular protests against the coup regime have been repressed more harshly than those in Iran, and death-squad terror and assassination of activists are common. The democratic movement in Honduras is so widespread and vibrant that approximately one-in-five Hondurans has signed onto the call for a rewriting of the Constitution (the demand that triggered the coup in the first place) and for the restoration of the deposed President José Manuel Zelaya, now living in exile. And the coup regime held a demonstration election in November 2009 under conditions of state-terror and a popular boycott in which the presidency was not contested by any candidate who did not also support the coup.
However, in contrast to Iran's clerical regime and the presidential election it held in June 2009, both the coup in Honduras and the election carried out under the coup regime just five months later were supported by the United States.
It is clear why the establishment U.S. media would focus with great indignation on Iran’s election and the protests against it, and downplay and issue apologetics for the developments in Honduras, as this pattern follows the demands and interests of the imperial state. In these cases as in scores of others, the media observe what we may call a State Department-needs model. In this model, whereas the leaders of the targeted state are bad and menacing, and will be demonized, leaders in an allied or client state will at worst be chided for regrettable misbehavior, their misdeeds ignored, played down, and placed in a context of extenuating circumstances—they respond to provocations, retaliate to terrorism, suffer "birth pangs" on their way to creating a "new Middle East," and the like.
That substantial segments of the left in the United States and its allies also wound up closely following the State Department-needs model in treating recent developments in Iran and Honduras was troubling, as any resistance to great-power imperialism requires a well-informed, critical opposition by left intellectuals and the left media living and working within these powers. But what we witnessed instead was the disarming of the left, as the left's attention, passions, and moral indignation were channeled towards the regime in Iran and away from the regime in Honduras (and in the United States), so that left intellectuals and media followed a party-line on Iran and Honduras almost as obediently as did the establishment media, with the death-dealing potential of the United States greatly facilitated.
Such channeling already was dramatically evident in the wars that dismantled Yugoslavia (1991-) and finally led to the U.S. and NATO conquest-by-force of the Serbian province of Kosovo (1999-), as the liberal and much of the left intellectual establishment accepted that these were cases of "humanitarian intervention" (if too late and insufficiently violent), so righteously proclaimed by Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Madeleine Albright, and scores of left and liberal intellectuals. Over the past 20 years, many left-liberal spokespersons climbed aboard various other bandwagons, all of which aligned with what the U.S. government was advocating from Afghanistan to Iraq to Darfur and to Iran. But many of these same left-liberal spokespersons have remained eerily silent on the repression of the popular forces in post-coup Honduras (June 28, 2009-), just as they have on the recent disclosures that were added to the huge backlog of evidence implicating Rwanda's dictator Paul Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front's two-decade-long bloodbaths, first in seizing state-power within Rwanda (1990-1994), and then across the Democratic Republic of Congo (1996-). And they remained very quiet even after Madeline Albright’s 1996 statement on CBS-TV's 60 Minutes that the massive death toll in Iraq, specifically the 500,000 children whose lives were taken by the “sanctions of mass destruction,” was “worth it.”
The U.S.-Israeli Threat of Aggression against Iran
A major problematic of the Western left's intense and passionate support for the protesters against the June 2009 election results in Iran is that it feeds so well into the U.S. regime-change strategy and the very open threats of a U.S.-Israeli war against Iran. Those supporting the protesters so energetically reject the implication that they are playing into the hands of the U.S.-Israel war parties, and that by channeling opposition away from the war-parties and onto the targeted regime, they are disabling the critical left and reinforcing a moral environment that makes war more likely. These leftists have also tended to deny or downplay any external linkages of the protests in Iran to the regime-change strategy, sometimes doing this by suggesting or implying that their critics deny any indigenous base to the protests and attribute them solely or mainly to imperialist intervention. They also underplay the extent to which the United States has already begun, not just economic and diplomatic attacks on Iran, but military and terrorist attacks, surveillance, and subversion in a low-level war reminiscent of the preparatory attacks before the Iraq war.
The protester-supporting leftists argue that democracy promotion is defensible in itself and should not be abandoned because of alleged second-order (i.e., pro-war) effects. They also accuse those who oppose their dedication to Iran's protesters and who worry more about its contribution to the regime-change strategy of being apologists for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the clerical regime for which he works.
But the democracy-promotion leftists who make their critics Ahmadinejad supporters work a double-standard: While implying that their critics can't simply be opposing a regime-change strategy and buildup to war, they themselves claim to support Iran's anti-regime, pro-democracy movement, but not the U.S.-sponsored regime-change strategy with "all options" on the table. During the Vietnam war, U.S. war opponents were regularly accused of supporting Ho Chi Minh and the “communists”—they weren't allowed simply to oppose a huge foreign aggression by the United States. This tactic of tarring the critical opposition to U.S. wars of aggression with the brush "apologists for" whatever regime is under attack has a long history—and, we fear, a bright future.
A second problematic in the protester-supporting left's indignation over the "stolen election" in Iran is that their assured claims of election-theft have always been dubious, and rest on bias and gullibility. As we have discussed in detail elsewhere, numerous polls carried out both before and after the June 12 presidential election pointed to an Ahmadinejad victory by margins that roughly paralleled the official results (63% for Ahmadinejad to Mousavi's 34%). Additionally, a 2010 study by Eric Brill shows that none of the objections raised against the official results by the opposition camps or by Western critics (especially Chatham House's so-called "Preliminary Analysis") stand-up to scrutiny. Thus, for example, the speed with which Iran's Interior Ministry tabulated the final results across more than 45,000 polling stations and declared Ahmadinejad the winner around 5 AM the next morning was not implausible, given that ballots were counted separately at each station upon its closure and the totals transmitted to the Interior Ministry. But the protester-supporting left, while finding the speed with which the official results were tabulated and Ahmadinejad declared the winner to be sufficient proof of a rigged election, had nothing critical to say about the Mousavi camp's claim of victory (soon followed by claims of theft) even before the polls had closed on election day and the official results tabulated. Furthermore, the Mousavi campaign placed observers at 40,000 of the stations, and they signed-off on the results and failed to claim abuse at any station even after each station's results were publicly available.
Interestingly, the charge that a quick ballot count suggests a rigged election, and the Mousavi camp's declaring him the winner even before any of the polls had closed, repeated a standard tactic of delegitimation used successfully by regime-change experts in Yugoslavia in 2000, the former Soviet republic of Georgia in 2003, and the Ukraine in 2004. Sow doubts about the fairness of an election well before the date of the actual vote, and engineer exit polls on election day that favor the challenger—if the official results favor the incumbent, have the challenger's camp claim fraud and take to the streets. As the United States and its allies long have opposed Iran's clerical regime, the establishment news media can be counted on to focus on the election and to treat the claims of fraud with the utmost seriousness, while showing great sympathy for the anti-regime protesters, and great enmity against the regime.
Interests and Standards on Liberal Establishment TV: MSNBC's Olbermann and Maddow Shows
That the liberal U.S. media have hewed to the establishment consensus - State Department-needs model on Iran and Honduras we illustrated in Part 1 by using the New York Times's coverage of Iran's election and the coup in Honduras, the latter following the former by only 16 days in June 2009. Sampling the Times's coverage of each, we concluded that from the perspective of the Newspaper of Record, whereas democracy allegedly thwarted in Iran constituted a major human rights violation and was of urgent interest to the world, an actual coup d'état in Honduras was a relatively minor affair.
We can further illustrate this pattern by looking at the MSNBC cable TV channel's two most "left" prime-time political shows: Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show. Using a series of three 25-show sample periods for both Countdown and the Maddow Show, we found that Countdown devoted approximately 22,000 words to Iran's June 12, 2009 presidential election and the public protests that followed it, but zero to the June 28, 2009 coup d'état in Honduras, and zero to the coup regime's November 29, 2009 demonstration election. The Maddow Show was barely better, devoting 32-times as many words to Iran (approx. 27,000) as it did to the coup in Honduras (approx. 850), and 771-times as many to Iran as it did to the Honduran election (35 words in all).
Significantly, the first two Countdown shows telecast after the June 20 murder of Neda Agha-Soltan (airing on June 22 and June 23) devoted more time to Iran than any of Countdown's other nine shows dealing with Iran. "If every resistance or revolution has its martyr," Keith Olbermann stated at the opening of his June 22 show, "the Iranian election uprising seems to have found its own in the face of Neda…Some today are calling the 27- year-old Neda…the 'angel' or the 'Joan of Arc' of Iran." As a similar pattern of re-intensified focus on Iran was true across all English-language media immediately after the video images of this single death-scene were placed into circulation, we call this phenomenon the Neda-spike. Not surprisingly, the first Maddow Show telecast after June 20 also featured video of the Neda death-scene, a "rallying cry for opposition protesters" (June 22) and "gut-wrenching and iconic footage" (June 23). There was, of course, no comparable Isis-spike on these MSNBC shows (or any place else in the English-language media, which remained focused on the demonstrations and victims in Iran). In fact, video images of the July 5, 2009 death of the 19-year-old Isis Obed Murillo, shot through his head by the Honduran military during a peaceful demonstration at Tegucigalpa's Toncontin airport, were never played or even mentioned on Countdown or the Maddow Show.
In our sample periods, Countdown had eight guests and the Maddow Show ten who discussed Iran's election and its aftermath (including the former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who appeared on the Maddow Show on June 23), but neither Countdown nor the Maddow Show had so much as a single guest who discussed the coup in Honduras or the election carried out five months later under the coup regime. Even more striking, none of these 18 guests—and certainly not Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow (or their occasional guest hosts)—ever once challenged the establishment consensus that Iran's election had been "stolen" and that with the clerical regime's rejection of the will of the majority of Iranians, it had destroyed its legitimacy in the eyes of Iran's citizens and the world. As Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert then at Sarah Lawrence College, told Rachel Maddow: "[T]his is not about 1,000 votes or 10,000 votes or even 1 million votes. You're talking about 10 million votes taken from Mousavi and given to Ahmadinejad" (June 15). Not even the delegitimation campaign waged by Chatham House proffered claims as outlandish as this.
Although the New America Foundation had participated in an important survey of Iranian opinion that it completed three weeks prior to the election, and though this survey indicated that Ahmadinejad enjoyed better than a 2-to-1 lead over Mir Hossein Mousavi, when this group's Steve Clemons appeared on these MSNBC shows, he failed to make the point that his own organization's survey lent credence to Iran's official results. Instead, Clemons told Olbermann that there is a "very sophisticated game of rigging that goes on inside Iran," and "It's so clear that it begins to really undermine the legitimacy of what we've seen play out in the elections and legitimacy of the supreme leader's direction" (June 12). Ten days later, Clemons told Maddow: "One part of this protest that Mr. Mousavi and his supporters are organizing is very much using nonviolent methods of marching and getting out there and using that to drive a conflict to essentially push the buttons of the government….If you're going to undo not only the legitimacy of the state, but actually, the security apparatus of that state, you'd either need to begin arming yourself to be able to handle that and you actually need to get mass defections of the security apparatus of that state" (June 22).
The "Democracy-Promotion" Left 
Steve Clemons' appearance on this Rachel Maddow Show was perhaps the best example in our MSNBC sample of what we may call the "democracy-promotion" left and the regime-change reality that lies behind the rhetoric of "democracy." "'[B]randing' technology is a tool of psychological manipulation," one Kazakhstani analyst observes, where the discrediting of elections via allegations of fraud, combined with the "losers' ability to mobilize the discontented voters" and the feedback transmitted to targeted countries from Western leaders and media helped to bring about the rapid "transformation of political regimes in some of the Soviet successor states….The counter-elite works hard to synchronize public consciousness by imposing behavioral and identification matrices on society as a form of fashionable behavior; external and internal forces employ psychological, semiotic, and other mechanisms to plant conscious and subconscious identifications with the opposition and its aims in the minds of the people."
Here we'd add that this "branding" process works both ways: "conscious and subconscious identifications with the opposition and its aims" affects not only the population in the targeted country but also the populations in the countries doing the targeting. As Iran has been a top priority of a U.S. destabilization and regime-change campaign for several years, the blowback effects on U.S. and allied populations have hardly been trivial. Once the regime-change campaign began to be branded as support for Iran's burgeoning democratic movement, and any opposition to the campaign as opposition to democracy and as support for the murderous tyrants of the clerical regime, much of the Western left lowered its guard and rushed into the open arms of Iran's "pro-democracy" movement. In this context there also have arisen opportunistic individuals who lay guilt-trips on the left, and who bug leftists to explain how, as activists working within an Enlightenment tradition, they could fail to support "pro-democracy" movements inside Iran, and who demand that leftists prove their bona fides by public displays of "solidarity" with Iran's opposition.
Yet, when it came to the masses struggling for their rights in Honduras—where the struggle is against a U.S. and transnational oligarchy as much as it is the Honduran—these voices were flat-out ignored. For example, the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), which was born in opposition to the coup regime but grew rapidly as a movement to incorporate all forms of resistance to the institutionalized repression of Honduran life, and which makes a stream of reports and statements available through its Resistencia website, has been mentioned only three times by major English-language newspapers (once apiece in the U.K.'s Financial Times, Independent, and Guardian), and never by a major U.S. newspaper.  The same lack of interest in the Honduran resistance movement has been true of the English-language media as a whole. Thus it is not that there are too few solid, heart-rending accounts of the abuses and serious human rights violations carried out by the coup regime, whether originating from within Honduras or picked-up and re-circulated by sympathetic Western sources. It is just that giving voice to the popular resistance and reporting about the structural and political violence against the masses in this nearby U.S.-supported state fall outside the interests of the establishment media as well as the "democracy-promotion" left.
Clearly, while the causes of human rights and democracy in Iran caught the liberal U.S. media's attention in 2009-2010, human rights and democracy in Honduras did not. But when we push our inquiry even further out into allegedly left opinion, beyond the New York Times and MSNBC, we find that the same pattern predominates.
1. The Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Take the U.S.-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD). Over the past 23 months (January 2009 - November 2010), the CPD dealt with 10 different areas of concern. In all, the CPD issued statements, open sign-on letters, engaged in actions, and re-circulated the work of others on 28 occasions. But one area of concern in particular, Iran, accounted for a total of 11 of the CPD's actions, more by far than any other area of concern (second-place Pakistan accounted for four actions, two of which the CPD devoted to Pakistan's 2010 floods).
To illustrate the CPD's selectivity bias, note that during this 23 month period, it issued only a single open sign-on letter in opposition to the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the same number as it did to "protest in the strongest terms the threats that have been mounted" against one single person, the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. Moreover, even within this pronounced selectivity bias (e.g., the CPD's major interest in Iran versus zero interest in Honduras), the CPD's sub-bias (its concern for “democracy” rather than the threat of war) is flagrant. While no fewer than nine actions criticized Iran’s clerical regime for misbehavior, with two actions jointly condemning both the Iranian regime and the sanctions imposed on Iran as well as the U.S. threat to attack Iran, the CPD took zero actions that criticized the U.S. and Israeli threat to attack Iran without at the same time balancing such criticism with criticism of the Iranian regime. It is also interesting that the CPD never undertook any kind of action at all in opposition to the U.S. war on Afghanistan or to the U.S. extension of this war into Pakistan until October 2009—revealingly, only after we published our original critique of the CPD’s de facto imperial service in focusing left-attention and left-energies away from opposition to U.S. destabilization, regime-change, and open threats of war, onto the false allegation that Iran's clerical regime had stolen the presidential election. Even all four of the documents listed in the "Resources" section on the CPD's website appear under the heading "Iran: The Election and Beyond."
Juxtapose this preoccupation with Iranian "democracy" and expressing "solidarity" with protesters against the clerical regime (but not with the real threat of a U.S. and Israeli war against Iran) with the fact that the CPD lists not a single entry on its website that deals with Honduras, where the coup occurred in the same month as Iran's election (June 2009), where democracy was closed down entirely, and where a vibrant and vital pro-democracy movement faces death squads daily. This anti-democratic coup was carried out within the U.S. sphere of influence, and was therefore more easily subjected to change by U.S. policy choice, something that the CPD might have been able to mobilize the left to influence more than it could the policymakers in Tehran. There would also be no risk of possibly feeding into a dangerous U.S. war-threatening policy, unlike the case of Iran So why then has CPD focused on Iran and not Honduras these past two years? The generous interpretation is that the CPD was carried away by the force of establishment propaganda even prior to 2009, with the CPD's selective indignation matching a State Department-needs model, and following the official U.S. party-line. Indeed, there does appear to be a remarkable coincidence between left-liberal interest in some "democracy" movements but not others, and the interests and priorities of U.S. foreign policy.
This same kind of coincidence was conspicuous earlier during the dismantling of Yugoslavia, when CPD principal Joanne Landy helped to organize an open letter to the New York Review of Books that urged the West to increase arms to the Bosnian Muslim forces fighting Serb “aggression” within the Yugoslav state; it was co-signed by 21 other Western intellectuals, including Thomas Harrison, with whom Landy worked later at the CPD on Iran. Thus Landy, who in 1993 identified herself as a “peace activist,” pressed for war, in parallel with the U.S. government’s efforts in Yugoslavia. And her arguments were misinformed: The leader of the Bosnian Muslim side in the civil war, Alija Izetbegovic, did not have as his goal a "democratic, secular, and multicultural state," as the Landy-NYRB letter claimed. On the contrary, he was a great admirer of Iran’s Khomeini, and in his 1970 Islamic Declaration had openly proclaimed that "There is neither peace nor coexistence between the 'Islamic religion' and non-Islamic social and political institutions….Islam clearly excludes the right and possibility of putting a foreign ideology into practice on its territory. There is thus no principle of secular government and the State must express and support the moral principles of religion." Landy and company also missed the fact that Izetbegovic, with U.S. encouragement, pulled out of the early 1992 “Lisbon agreement” that the Bosnian Serbs had signed onto, and which would have ended the threat of civil war in Bosnia - Herzegovina even before it began. But Izetbegovic and the United States each had larger goals, and each demanded war and eventually a major, UN Charter-violating bombing war on what was the left of Yugoslavia, so the CPD's "peace activist" Joanne Landy set peace aside and, in line with U.S. policy, advocated for war.
2. Danny Postel
Danny Postel, a Chicago-based journalist, has achieved a certain Iran-related prominence for himself since the second-half of 2003, when he took to denouncing the left and progressives over what to this day he alleges is their insufficient commitment to the pro-democracy forces at work inside Iran. Like his fellow "new humanitarian," "cruise-missile left," "democracy-promotion," "nonviolent-conflict," and "war-on-terror" activists, as the United States turned to its now seven-and-one-half-year-long campaign against Iran's nuclear program after President George Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech (May 1, 2003), Postel turned his sights on Iran as well. "Why are American progressives by and large silent about the situation in Iran?" he wondered. Never mind that when he posed this question, in late 2003, the United States had attacked and militarily occupied no fewer than three countries in the previous five years, including Iran's neighbors to the east and the west, and literally flooded this region of the world with its weapons and troops, causing massive losses of human life and rendering millions homeless. Nor that, during the 18 months that Bush was busy stoking war-fever over Iraq, one line that used to be heard around the Pentagon said that "Baghdad is for wimps. Real men go to Tehran." Instead, what Postel wanted to know was, not how leftists and progressives could more effectively oppose the grave threats that a rogue-superpower like the United States poses to international peace and security, but why leftists and progressives weren't coming out in greater numbers to proclaim their solidarity with the liberal dissenters in Iran.
Postel's turn towards Iran at the moment and in terms most opportune for his career and for the U.S. establishment follows a longstanding pattern. Thus his first major campaign to come to our attention was his support for NATO's 1999 war on Yugoslavia (though read by Postel as support for Kosovo's ethnic Albanian population against "murderous nationalism and death-squad terror"), a war he has since called "one of liberal internationalism's finest moments," because it advanced the "humanitarian interventionist paradigm." Postel also edited a collection of disputes about this war (the title of which has changed over many years, and has yet to be published).
In Postel's many interviews and profiles for different publications, he interviewed Bogdan Denitch for In These Times (2001), Denitch having supported NATO's 1999 war on Yugoslavia. He profiled Michael Ignatieff for the Chronicle of Higher Education (2002), an inveterate "New Humanitarian" who also supported NATO's 1999 war as well as the U.S. war on Afghanistan, and "one of the chief architects of the view," Postel wrote, "that foreign policy should be guided not only by strategic self-interest ('realism') but by a commitment to human rights—a commitment that, when feasible and all else fails, must be backed up by military force." He profiled a group of scholars whom he called "Islamic Studies' Young Turks" (2002), but each of whom, at least in Postel's rendering, came-off as a kind of comprador intellectual (though of course Postel called them "dissidents"), closer to Bernard Lewis than to Edward Said, the former a man whose work focuses on the "internal problems facing the Arab-Islamic world," rather than on the "legacy of empires," the latter the man against whom the "Young Turks" are rising-up. And Postel interviewed Jürgen Habermas for The Nation (2002), a man who supported the first war on Iraq (1991), supported NATO's 1999 war on Yugoslavia, and who even told Postel that he would support another U.S. war on Iraq (launched only three months later, at it turned out), if approved by a vote of the Security Council—and who then added, without a hint of irony, that when "Confronted with crimes against humanity, the international community must be able to act even with military force, if all other options are exhausted." (Remember the First Law of Humanitarian Hypocrisy: Lofty principles apply only to them, never to us.)
Postel analyzed a variety of voices from within the U.S. foreign policy establishment for The American Prospect, with a heavy emphasis on the right-wing's pragmatic objections to the 2003 U.S. war on Iraq ("I asked Paul Gigot, the [Wall Street] Journal's editorial-page editor, for an explanation."). He also profiled the U.S. neoconservative icon Francis Fukuyama for openDemocracy, and introduced Fukuyama at an openDemocracy symposium that discussed his work. "Fukuyama," Postel wrote in his profile, "exhorts the US to confront [its] errors head-on, realising that they have 'created an enormous legitimacy problem for us', one that will damage American interests 'for a long time to come'." His interview with Fred Halliday (2005) was an undisguised attack on the left, including the New Left Review and one of its editors, Tariq Ali: "My view is that the kind of position which the New Left Review and Tariq have adopted in terms of the conflict in the Middle East is an extremely reactionary, right-wing one," Halliday told Postel. "I think Tariq is objectively on the Right. He's colluded with the most reactionary forces in the region, first in Afghanistan and now in Iraq. He has given his rhetorical support to the Sunni insurgency in Iraq—who have no interest in democracy or in progress for the people of Iraq whatsoever….The position of the New Left Review is that the future of humanity lies in the back streets of Fallujah."
Attacking the left, siding with the U.S. establishment while pretending to be an independent critical voice, and carrying out this agenda from within left-liberal circles—this has been Danny Postel's modus operandi for the past decade or longer. But in no single area of concern has Postel managed to pull-it-off with greater success than when he takes-up Iran. Thus in a short tract he published in 2006 titled Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism, Postel aggressively attacks the Western left for what he calls its "tunnel-vision obsession with U.S. imperialism." Postel is appalled that the "Western Left has been largely silent—flummoxed—about the liberal upheaval in Iran. One would have hoped to see the Iranian struggle figure prominently in the world of solidarity activism or at least get some play in the left press—especially at the high tide of unrest, during the student-led demonstrations in the streets of Tehran in June 2003, which the regime crushed in a paroxysm of repression." But shows of "solidarity" with this "Iranian struggle" weren't seen in June 2003, Postel complains. (As we've seen throughout this analysis as well as Part 1 and Part 2, shows of "solidarity" most certainly were evident in 2009-2010.) "Compared to the attention the western Left typically pays to student revolts in the Third World, the Iranian struggle has been virtually invisible on the radar screens of most leftists."
At one point in this tract, Postel scolds the Western left because the "issues atop its agenda—anti-imperialism, anti-globalization, and…anti-capitalism—are not the central concerns of the Iranian opposition," and the Western left obviously should follow the lead of the "Iranian opposition," not an independent agenda of its own. This fits well the demands of U.S. foreign policy, and is transparently anti-left. But these features of Postel's work have only enhanced his access and his ability to spread his message through the media, even left media, as when Matthew Rothschild introduced Postel to his Progressive Radio listening audience: "We discuss the likelihood of a Bush attack on Iran, and the need for U.S. progressives to ally themselves with human rights activists in Iran." Nowhere within Postel's work from 1999 through the present is there a condemnation of the U.S.-led imperial bloc with anywhere near the contempt he reserves for the Iranian regime and the Western left. The United States can threaten, sanction, and destabilize regimes, and even bomb, invade, and militarily occupy whole foreign countries one after another, yet it is the clerical regime in Iran that crushes protesters in a "paroxysm of violence," not the United States. Postel can furiously protest Iran's outrageous detention of figures such as the Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo (2006) and the Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari (2007), but not the global rendition and torture network headquartered in Washington, and its numerous victims whose experiences have become public knowledge. As these issues are not central concerns for the "Iranian opposition," much less the U.S. establishment, they are not central concerns for Danny Postel.
Thus Postel's own brand of "solidarity" activism is extremely selective, with his beneficiaries drawn from a list of peoples struggling against regimes targeted by the United States. His public gestures of "solidarity" have not extended to the democratic movements in Honduras victimized first by the 2009 coup and termination of democracy there, and then by the demonstration elections and the coup regime's resort to terror and assassination; not to Palestinians living under four decades of siege by the Israelis and subjected to serious ethnic cleansing; and not to the Afghans and Pakistanis under attack by the United States and NATO. Even more interesting, Postel has been quiet about the devastation of Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. aggressions, which include not only large-scale killings and the displacement of millions, but the cultural pillage of libraries, museums, and archaeological treasures of great importance to the world.
What interests Postel about Iran is not Iran but the Iran which exists as an object of Western intellectual colonization and political discourse. An efflorescence of indigenous Iranian cultural life is not on Postel's agenda. Thus the brightest lights in Postel's Iran turn out to be those Iranians who are sufficiently Westernized to have read Habermas and Nabokov, who recognize the West's superiority and know their indebtedness to the West, and who quench their thirst at Western springs. Otherwise, the Islamic Republic remains a Dark Continent, teeming with mullahs, prisons, Basij militia, lapidations, and black chadors. It is difficult not to conclude that the true importance of Postel's work is that it makes it acceptable to be Orientalist and Eurocentric again—at least where this particular target of the United States is concerned—and that, like the book Reading Lolita in Tehran, Postel finds his readership not because he provides insights into life inside Iran, but because he caters to Western prejudices against Iran. Thanks to Danny Postel, the left is more confused, and there is a little less of the left left today than there was even a decade ago.
3. Louis Proyect versus Louis Proyect
As the U.S. wars of the post-Soviet era caused a peeling-off of leftist after leftist, the Marxmail administrator and blogger Louis Proyect resisted, remaining staunchly anti-imperialist. Thus, for example, Proyect closed out a March 2006 analysis of the U.S.-led bloody and imperial abuses of the former Yugoslavia with the warning that the "greatest threat to world peace since the days of Adolph Hitler has emerged under the banner of the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack. Using pious phraseology about democracy and human rights, it invades sovereign nations on the basis of lies and then subjects their head of state to show trials." And in late 2007, in response to an angry comment posted to one of his blogs that had asked him "why any real leftist would waste his time defending Milosevic and his policies," Proyect explained his interest in simple terms: "This is not about defending Milosevic's policies. It is about resisting imperialism."
Even when the United States began branding its destabilization and regime-change campaigns against Iran as "democracy promotion," Proyect didn't bite. In debunking the "billionaire sponsor of toxic NGOs" Peter Ackerman and his circle of "nonviolent conflict" proselytizers (Jack DuVall, Gene Sharp, Robert Helvey), Proyect found it suspicious that this clique only takes an interest in the "democratic" potential of countries when the "U.S. wants to bring down a government by military force, attempting to refocus any First World opposition away from opposing imperialism and toward 'bringing down dictators by non violent means'." Some of them, Proyect added, singling out Ackerman's partner DuVall by name, are "frauds" and quite possibly "spooks," whose real "aim is to divide the anti-war movement." "Ackerman and his circle have begun to kick around creative ideas for challenging the mullahs," Proyect cautioned, alluding to Iran. "Ultimately, he envisions events unfolding as they did in Serbia, with a small, well-trained, nonviolent vanguard introducing the idea of resistance to the masses."
But when the eruption of election-related turmoil struck Iran in June 2009, and the Western establishment threw its collective weight behind the "Green Wave" opposition, Proyect suddenly did an about-face, and enlisted in the cause. What he had written previously about resisting imperialism, his accurate warning about the U.S. application to Iran of the standard regime-change strategy that had been used many times in the so-called "color revolutions" in the former Soviet bloc and elsewhere—these concerns disappeared from sight.
Beginning in the second-half of June 2009, Proyect started using his Unrepentant Marxist blog for attacks on people who remained faithful to the left's core principle of resisting imperialism, but who in Proyect's eyes are guilty of defending Ahmadinejad, or the Ayatollah Khamenei, or even the clerical regime and its brutal crackdown on dissidents. This very strange switch, in which a "Green" Louis Proyect repented and renounced the pre-"Green" Louis Proyect, also featured vicious attacks and name-calling against people associated with MRZine for what he alleged is their (and our) throwing Iran's "pro-democracy" dissidents to the clerical regime's lions. "It took me a while to figure out that the 'anti-imperialist' methodology was lacking," he wrote in late July 2009. "Identify the latest target of American destabilization and then try to burnish the reputation of the government under siege." The same man who once saw that fighting against the dismantling of Yugoslavia was "not about defending Milosevic's policies" but "resisting imperialism," is no longer capable of grasping that where the destabilization and possible future war against Iran are concerned, this is not about defending Ahmadinejad's policies, but as much about resisting imperialism as ever.
It is also interesting to see the shifted overall priorities of Proyect from his pre-anti-anti-imperialist revelation days to the new enlightenment. Although chiding the present writers for our alleged inattention to class, Proyect—in strict parallel with Danny Postel, the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, the New York Times, and the State Department—had nothing whatever to say about Honduras, where the class nature of the 2009 coup and regime change is far clearer than it has been for the conflict in Iran. He writes furiously about the limiting role of the unelected Guardian Council in setting narrow parameters for Iran's "two-party" system, but not one word about the demonstration elections held under the coup regime in Honduras, where no candidate was allowed to run for the presidency who appealed to the 60% of the population living below the poverty-line, and the candidates fielded by the National / Liberal two-party system appealed only to the unelected oligarchy (both in Honduras and in the United States). In fact, during the 17 month period from June 28, 2009 through November 2010, Proyect's Unrepentant Marxist blog completely ignored the repression-by-death-squads in Honduras, where one of the most vibrant democratic movements in the Western hemisphere struggles for its rights.
On the other hand, contrary to Proyect, we did mention Iran's Guardian Council and note its limiting role, but we also pointed out that a candidate was allowed to run for the presidency of Iran who was regarded by the West to be a legitimate alternative to Ahmadinejad, and supported by the massive turnout of protesters after June 12. So why would an "Unrepentant Marxist" reserve his expressions of solidarity exclusively for the protesters in the Middle Eastern country where the regime is targeted by the United States, and completely neglect the clear class war in a nearby Central American country where the United States supports a regime that targets its own people?
The Unrepentant Marxist has lost interest in the war-threat of U.S. imperialism, at least when directed against Iran. In February 2010, we published a piece with MRZine (the "24/7 website for Islamic Republic handouts," Proyect calls it) that decried a full-page ad in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune sponsored by The Elie Wiesel Foundation For Humanity, and signed by 44 Nobel Prize laureates, calling for a military attack on Iran. Proyect exhausts his discussion of this fairly important issue with a single statement: "Once they have made the case for opposing war with Iran," the "nitwits" addressed the question of "what the people of Iran really want." Clearly, opposing this call for war on Iran is of little interest to the Unrepentant Marxist—it is far more important to him to attack us for our views on Iranian politics. "I could not wait to hear how the two experts would channel the innermost thoughts on the Iranian population," he wrote. In fact, we summarized the analyses published jointly in February 2010 by the Program on International Policy Attitudes and WorldPublicOpinion.org of no fewer than 12 public opinion polls taken in Iran by four different polling agencies over a five month period in 2009, beginning the month before the presidential election (the first was May 11-20) and extending through August 27-September 10. The insights provided by these polls are indispensable to anyone trying to learn about what Iran's citizens think about the clerical regime and the Western powers. But instead of assessing this important data, Proyect hides behind the snide claim that we were trying to divine the "innermost thoughts" of Iranians, which obscures inconvenient evidence on actual Iranian political preferences that Proyect never confronts and would prefer that no one else did, either.
As noted, one of Proyect's pathetic techniques is to transmute all those who disagree with him on Iran into supporters of Ahmadinejad and the clerical regime: Hence we are "Flunkies for Ahmadinejad" and “intent on burnishing" the "reputation" of the Islamic Republic. He has regressed to the point where he can no longer recognize the possibility of criticizing propaganda campaigns that seek to discredit and demonize foreign regimes without also supporting either their leadership or the regimes themselves. We know that Proyect opposed the March 1999 attack on Yugoslavia, the October 2001 attack on Afghanistan, and the March 2003 attack on Iraq. Yet at the same time, we are confident that none of this entails that Proyect loved Slobodan Milosevic, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and Saddam Hussein. But set to an attack-mode, Proyect can't resist this familiar and stupid old ploy. (Although for the record, Proyect once did write: "To the credit of the late Slobodan Milosevic and to Saddam Hussein, who now is on trial for his life in another kangaroo court, they never bowed down. In life and in death, these imperfect men will always remind us of the need to resist the injustice perpetrated by states acting out of perfect evil.")
In fact, this ploy leads him into further absurdities. He asks if we are aware that Iran's Shiite clergy backed the CIA coup of 1953, and that the Islamic Republic invited "Ollie North to Tehran to discuss how a deal could be struck that would divert cash to the Nicaraguan contras"? Proyect then writes that "The 'anti-imperialism' of the Islamic Republic had about as much authenticity as a three dollar bill." The implication that we are defending Iran's clerical regime because of its leaders' "anti-imperialism" is truly stupid, and feebly attempts to divert attention away from the utter collapse of Proyect's own anti-imperialist proclivities. Can anyone imagine Proyect arguing that because Saddam Hussein was not genuinely anti-imperialist, we should have supported the 2003 war?
While as late as 2007 Proyect was very impressed with the menace of "democracy promotion" as a method of Western subversion, the new Proyect is not worried about these “imperialist” interventions. He quotes our criticism of the Elie Wiesel war appeal, where we mentioned the U.S. sanctions, threats, terrorist attacks, and "democracy-promotion" efforts in Iran. We noted their costs to Iranian citizens and feedback effects on Iranian attitudes toward their government, drawing a comparison with the feedback effects on Nicaraguan attitudes during the U.S. contra war years. Proyect objects to this "facile comparison between Sandinista Nicaragua and the Islamic Republic in which the [Iranian] protestors are implicitly compared to the contra." But this is a facile putdown, and unrelated to what we actually wrote; indeed, the comparison is so implicit as to make Project's allegation a lie. Yet it also shows that at least where Iran is concerned, Proyect is now prepared to offer apologetics for the kind of regime-change campaign that he attacked in his earlier analysis of "democracy promotion" and the U.S.-funded Otpor and propaganda program that culminated in the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.
Poor Louis Proyect has lost his way. He can't see the class war in Honduras staring him in the face, and the Western threat of war against Iran is dim and of lesser concern to him, but he sees clearly that all those critics of the Western take on Iran's "stolen" election and alleged war threats are motivated by their love of Ahmadinejad. This is silly, but it is passionately felt by the new anti-anti-imperialist, Unrepentant (Ex?) Marxist.
Concluding Note: Solidarity Versus Indifference
Throughout this three-part series, we have focused on events inside Iran and Honduras during 2009 and 2010, and on the dichotomous treatment meted out by the U.S. media to each country's ruling regimes and to the protesters struggling against them. We have shown that where the fate of Iran's and Honduras' protesters are concerned, a pattern of solidarity-versus-indifference, with great levels of attention and indignation devoted to the plight of Iran's protesters, but almost none to those in Honduras, was true of the New York Times, true of MSNBC's Countdown and Rachel Maddow shows, true of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy's activism, true of the work of one "liberal internationalist" and one "Unrepentant Marxist"—and true of the establishment U.S. media overall. Indeed, this pattern has proven to be so ubiquitous that we are tempted to use the term hegemonic to characterize the sense of reality that it defines for the social actors whose work we have analyzed.
Based on the long-term demonization of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the high-profile enemy-status fashioned around its clerical regime since the United States named it a member of the "Axis of Evil" in early 2002 and placed its nuclear program on the agenda of the "international community" in 2003, a State Department-needs model predicts that any report which conforms with the biases and expectations of a solid U.S. official line about the evil tyranny trampling upon the rights of its citizens or developing nuclear weapons and threatening the peace of the world will be "newsworthy" and circulate widely. In June 2009, a consensus quickly solidified around Iran that the democrats were not the Iranians who voted in the presidential election and abided by the official result, whether they voted for the winner or one of the other three candidates; rather, the true democrats, the Iranians behind whom the Western political, intellectual, and media establishment rallied, were whoever rejected the official result and expressed their disfavor by turning up at post-election protests or by protesting it via some other medium—blogs and blog-knock-offs such as Facebook, Twitter, video uploaded to YouTube, and the like, all re-circulating throughout the West.
Turning to Honduras, no demonization campaign had ever been directed at its oligarchy, government, and military before the coup—and after the coup, the United States took steps to deny the reality of the coup and to demonstrate the legitimacy of the coup regime via staged elections and a regime-supportive propaganda campaign. As the Honduran oligarchy and coup regime enjoy U.S. ally- and client-status, a State Department-needs model predicts that any report which is incompatible with or that contradicts the biases and expectations of a solid U.S. official line on the deposed president's alleged desire to become a Honduran Hugo Chavez, or about the need to stop him before he rewrote the Constitution and made himself president-for-life, will not be "newsworthy" and will receive little or no circulation.
In both cases, a wealth of empirical data confirms the predictions of the State Department-needs model, as the five tables on differential media interests and word-usage that we developed and analyzed in Part 1 and Part 2 illustrate with striking clarity.
Leftist confusion also prevailed in both cases, and the voices of left-confusion-sowing specialists were amplified. The left was lectured that it ought to focus on the threat that Iran's clerical regime poses to its domestic opposition (a non-trivial percentage of which is the product of the U.S. wars and destabilization campaigns across this entire region of the world, and the impact these have had on life inside Iran), rather than on the threat that the United States poses to Iran as an historical entity (as well as to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and beyond). At the same time, the left paid little attention to the Honduran coup and to U.S. efforts to build legitimacy for the coup regime, and it largely ignored the real class war, with its hemispheric dimensions, that the coup regime inflicted upon Honduras' democratic, anti-maquiladora, and land-reform movements (all of which are opposed by the United States and under severe attack by the U.S.-supported coup regime). As we noted earlier, it is not that there haven't been many solid accounts of the abuses and serious human rights violations carried out by the coup regime. Rather, these stories were about victims within a U.S. client-state. Hence, the stories were not newsworthy.
It might seem counter-intuitive that a State Department-needs model could predict not only how the New York Times responds to political upheavals in foreign countries, but also how the Western left responded to a pair of upheavals such as those which transpired in Iran and Honduras 2009-2010—but it does. Nothing provides clearer evidence of the collapse of the left (coupled with a lot of opportunistic selling-out) within the U.S.-led NATO countries over the past two decades, as the world's reigning imperial superpower re-branded its age-old conquest of territories and peoples in a language that is far more to the left's liking, even if the substance of the actual policies is completely familiar and more frightening than ever before.
[ Edward S. Herman is professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and has written extensively on economics, political economy, and the media. Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power (Cambridge University Press, 1981), The Real Terror Network (South End Press, 1982), and, with Noam Chomsky, The Political Economy of Human Rights (South End Press, 1979), and Manufacturing Consent (Pantheon, 2002). David Peterson is an independent journalist and researcher based in Chicago. Together they are the co-authors of The Politics of Genocide, recently published by Monthly Review Press. ]
---- Endnotes ----
 See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Iran and Honduras in the Propaganda System, Part 1: Neda Agha-Soltan Versus Isis Obed Murillo," MRZine, October 5, 2010; and Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Iran and Honduras in the Propaganda System, Part 2: The 2009 Iranian and Honduran Elections," MRZine, October 24, 2010.
 See, e.g., "Five Peasants Massacred in Tumbador, Honduras," as posted to the Upside Down World website, November 16, 2010. Denouncing the "terrible assassination of Ignacio Reyes (50), Teodoro Acosta (40), Siriaco Muños (56), Raúl Castillo (45), and José Luis Sauceda (32), members of the Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA)...in the early hours of Monday November 15th, 2010...by the hired killers of Miguel Facusse," one sentence captures best the nature of this struggle: "[T]he army doesn't defend the interests of the people but instead defends the powerful groups in the country." For more on the level of violence in Honduras today, overwhelmingly directed against human rights activists and labor organizers, see "A State of Siege in Northern Honduras: Land, Palm Oil, and Media," Resistencia, December 2, 2010; "State-led Terrorism Attempts to Stop Landless Peasants Claims in Honduras," Resistencia, December 3, 2010; "International Appeal from the Committee of the Relatives of the Detained - Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH)," Resistencia, December 4, 2010; and Stephen Lendman, "Honduras: Latin America's Murder Capital," CounterCurrents, December 5, 2010.
 For the Sovereign Declaration for the Popular and Participatory Constituent Assembly, see Adrienne Pine, "1,250,000 signatures for the refounding of Honduras," Resistencia, September 14, 2010. According to Pine (personal communication), as of the last reported count, the total number of signatures had reached 1,342,876.
 In this phrase, "State Department" is to be taken as a metonymy for the totality of the U.S. and allied foreign-policy establishment, along with the recognition that if the United States doesn't throw the massive weight of its military, political, and cultural resources behind a policy, the policy isn't likely to go very far within the so-called "international community." Thus when this interrelated foreign policy establishment with Washington at its center and NATO and beyond as its umbrella coalesces against an official "enemy" regime and targets it with destabilization and a demonization campaign, a State Department-needs model suggests that many suppliers will provide the policymakers with material acts of destabilization (isolation, sanctions, sponsorship of terrorism and groups with the capacity to pressure and discredit the government, all the way to military intervention and regime-change) as well as propagandistic acts of delegitimation and negative-publicity campaigns against the regime. In other words, what the U.S. foreign policy establishment and its allies demand, governments, organizations, and individuals rush-in to supply. With the current state of information technology in our day, the number of providers able to supply propaganda and to participate in negative publicity campaigns against a demonized "enemy" has grown exponentially.
 See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Morality's Avenging Angels," in David Chandler, Ed., Rethinking Human Rights: Critical Approaches to International Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 196-216; Diana Johnstone, Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2002); and Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "The Dismantling of Yugoslavia," Monthly Review, October, 2007.
 For critical treatments of Rwanda's dictator, Paul Kagame, and his Rwandan Patriotic Front, see Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System," Monthly Review, May, 2010; and Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Paul Kagame: 'Our Kind of Guy'," Z Magazine, October, 2010.
 See, e.g., Seymour M. Hersh, "Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush administration steps up its secret moves against Iran," New Yorker, July 7, 2008; and Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "The Iran Versus U.S.-NATO-Israeli Threats," MRZine, October 20, 2009.
 See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Chutzpah, Inc.: 'The Brave People of Iran' (versus the Disappeared People of Palestine, Honduras, Afghanistan, Etc.)," MRZine, February 20, 2010.
 Eric A. Brill, Did Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Steal the 2009 Iran Election?, Self-Published Manuscript, last updated August 29, 2010.
 See Ali Ansari et al., Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran's 2009 Presidential Election, Chatham House (U.K.), June 21, 2009, p. 3, p. 10.—For a critique of the Chatham House study, see Reza Esfandiari and Yousef Bozorgmehr, A Rejoinder to the Chatham House report on Iran's 2009 presidential election offering a new analysis on the results, Self-Published Manuscript, Summer, 2009.
 See Brill, esp. the section titled "The Announcement of Ahmadinejad's Victory Was Suspiciously Premature."
 See Gerald Sussman, "The Myths of 'Democracy Assistance': U.S. Political Intervention in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe," Monthly Review, December, 2006. Also see Sussman's book-length treatment of these themes: Branding Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Europe (New York; Peter Lang Publishing, 2010), esp. "The Template Revolutions," pp. 139-162.
 Factiva database searches of transcripts of the first 25 installments of Countdown with Keith Olbermann (codo) and the first 25 installments of The Rachel Maddow Show (trmads) beginning on or immediately after each of three events: Iran's June 12, 2009 presidential election; the June 28, 2009 coup d'état in Honduras; and the November 29, 2009 national elections in Honduras. The exact search parameters for Countdown with Keith Olbermann were: rst=codo and Iran* and rst-codo and Hondura*; and for The Rachel Maddow Show they were: rst=trmads and Iran* and rst-trmads and Hondura*. For Olbermann's show, a total of 14 transcripts mentioned forms of the word 'Iran' and one mentioned 'Honduras'; for Maddow's, a total of 15 transcripts mentioned forms of the word 'Iran' and five mentioned 'Honduras'.
We then checked each transcript to determine whether Iran and Honduras were mentioned in manners relevant to our search-themes, and eliminated from our totals those transcripts that did not.
 Between Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show, the 18 different guests who discussed Iran combined for a total of 33 appearances, with NBC News's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel appearing 8 times, the most frequent of all. Each show's guest-list was as follows: Countdown, 8 different guests: Richard Engel, NBC News (3); Bobby Ghosh, Time Magazine (3); Richard Wolffe, writer, MSNBC analyst (3); Steve Clemons, New America Foundation (2); Prof. John Ghazvinian, University of Pennsylvania (2); Jonathan Alter, Newsweek (1); Howard Fineman, Newsweek (1); Hooman Najd, Iranian-American writer (1). The Maddow Show, 10 different guests: Richard Engel, NBC News (5); Reza Aslan, U.S.-based Iranian writer (3); Trita Parsi, President, National Iranian American Council (2); Madeleine Albright (1); Ali Arouzi, NBC News Tehran Bureau Chief (1); Joseph Cirincione, President, The Ploughshares Fund (1); Steve Clemons, New America Foundation (1); Fawaz Gerges, Sarah Lawrence College (1); Chris Hayes, Washington Editor, The Nation (1); and Nico Pitney, Huffington Post (1).
 See Results of a New Nationwide Public Opinion Survey of Iran before the June 12, 2009 Presidential Elections, (May 11 - 20), Terror Free Tomorrow, Center for Public Opinion, and New America Foundation, Q27, p. 52. This question asked: "If the presidential election were held today, who would you vote for?" Responses came in 34% for Ahmadinejad, and 14% for Mousavi. Also see Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty, "The Iranian People Speak," Washington Post, June 15, 2009.
 See Sussman, Branding Democracy, esp. Ch. 3, "The Infrastructure and Instruments of Democracy Promotion," pp. 67-121.
 See Alisher Tastenov, "The Color Revolution Phenomenon: From Classical Theory To Unpredictable Practices," Journal of Social and Political Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1, 2007, pp. 32-44; here p. 32, p. 41.
 For three cases in point, see Reese Erlich, "Iran and Leftist Confusion," CommonDreams, June 29, 2009; Stephen Zunes, "Iran's Do-It Yourself Revolution," Foreign Policy In Focus, June 29, 2009; and Stephen R. Shalom et al., "Question & Answer on the Iran Crisis," Campaign for Peace and Democracy, July 7, 2009.
 See Adam Thompson, "Honduras looks to move on from coup," Financial Times, January 26, 2010; Johann Hari, "When hands across the sea are tied," The Independent, June 4, 2010; and Joseph Huff-Hanson, "Honduras, one year after the coup," The Guardian, June 28, 2010. We base our findings on a search of the Factiva database under the "Wires" and "Newspaper: All" categories using the following parameters: rst=(twir or tnwp) and honduras and (fnrp or (national front and popular resistance)) for the period from June 23, 2009 through November 30, 2010. Sticking with the English-language media, this search produced a total of 18 items, only three of which fairly can be regarded as major English-language newspapers.
 Besides the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular's website Resistencia, also see, e.g., Quotha, the website maintained by the American University anthropologist Adrienne Pine; Rights Action, an organization run by Grahame Russell and Annie Bird; and Upside Down World, a website by a collective that includes Benjamin Dangl and Cyril Mychalejko.
 We have dealt at length in the past with the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, and therefore will limit ourselves in the current analysis. See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Riding the 'Green Wave' at the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond," MRZine, July 24, 2009; and Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Reply to the Campaign for Peace and Democracy," August 3, 2009.
 See the homepage of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, which lists all of its areas of concern from January 2009 through the present (accessed on December 1, 2010). Separately, the CPD also lists its "Past Sign-on Statements and Letters."
 See "Iranian Human Rights Leader Shirin Ebadi in Danger: Peace Activists Call on Tehran to Ensure Her Safety," April 2009; and "We Call for the United States to End Its Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan," October, 2009.
 See Herman and Peterson, "Riding the 'Green Wave' at the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond."
 See "Resources," Campaign for Peace and Democracy (accessed on December 1, 2010).
 See "An Open Letter to the United Nations, President Clinton, and the Congress," New York Review of Book, March 25, 1993.
 See Alija Izetbegovic, Islamic Declaration: A Programme for the Islamization of Muslims and of Muslim Peoples ("Islamska deklaracija"), no translator listed, 1970, 1990, p. 30, as posted to the website of the Balkan Repository Project.
 On the "role of U.S. officials and their effort to undercut the Lisbon [or Cutileiro] agreement," see David N. Gibbs, First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2009), p. 109ff. As Gibbs writes: "The Bush administration…opposed the European efforts from the start, and this opposition contributed to the breakdown of the Lisbon agreement. The administration's opposition flowed from a more basic rivalry between the United States and the European Community, which was growing during this period. With US encouragement, the Croats and Muslims both withdrew from the agreements—effectively reneging on their commitments—March 25-26, 1992. The Cutileiro plan was never implemented, and full-scale war commenced within two weeks….[T]he United States played a key role during this early period of the Bosnia conflict; later claims of US inactivity in Bosnia are incorrect" (pp. 109-110). Later, Gibbs adds: "The Cutileiro plan had the…advantage that it sought to prevent war; this advantage was not shared by any of the subsequent peace proposals….In March 1992,…before full-scale war had begun, Serb leaders welcomed the Lisbon agreement, and they endorsed it in the strongest terms. Radovan Karadzic, who represented the Serbs at Lisbon, called the agreement 'a great day for Bosnia and Herzegovina'. And it should be recalled that it was the Muslims and the Croats, not the Serbs, who actually reneged. There is no evidence that the Serbs were bent on war at this point. Even after Izetbegovic reneged, the Serbs remained open a compromise agreement similar to the Cutileiro plan. As late as April 1992, 'the Serb leaders [in Bosnia] were probably still willing to accept a single state organized into three ethnic "cantons"', according to an unclassified report by the Central Intelligence Agency. A revival of the plan now proved impossible, and war was the result….Viewed in retrospect, the US policy during this period must be viewed as a destabilizing force. Just as Germany had played a key role in destabilizing the region in 1991, the United States played the destabilizer in 1992" (pp. 111-112). Also see the following section in Gibbs's analysis, "Motivations for US Policy" (pp. 112-114). The external factors driving the dismantling of Yugoslavia (1989-1991/92) were the rivalries between the United States and its NATO extension, on the one side, and Germany and the European Community, on the other, for control of Europe in the post-Soviet era from its West to it East, and the U.S. policy of "predominance," meaning that the United States would act to prevent the emergence of rival political and military powers in highly-valued territory. "While affirming its own power, the United States treated the European Community as an adversary. European efforts to resolve the crisis—and establish the EC as a diplomatic power—were undermined. Thus US officials scuttled the EC-brokered Lisbon agreement, which might have prevented war. In short, the [Bush] administration's actions served to humiliate EC diplomatic efforts in Bosnia while they reaffirmed US primacy. These actions also destabilized the political situation in Bosnia and made war more likely; but stability per se was not in the US interest in this case" (p. 113). The United States drove the unitary Yugoslavia (but Bosnia-Herzegovina in particular) into a series of wars so that the United States and its NATO extension could remain the dominant military and political power in Europe, while keeping the EC-EU in a subordinate role.
 Danny Postel, "The Selective Solidarity of the Left," In These Times, November 24, 2003.
 Danny Postel, Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2006), pp. 48-49.
 Both authors of the present analysis were invited to contribute to this collection edited by Danny Postel, and one of us (Peterson) did. But this was during the period 1999-2001, and to the best of our knowledge, the collection has never appeared.
 Danny Postel, "Citizen of a Lost Country: An Interview with Bogdan Denitch," In These Times, May 14, 2001.
 Danny Postel, "From Tragedy to Bloodshed, Michael Ignatieff Draws Human -Rights Ideals," Chronicle of Higher Education, March 8, 2002. Since 2002, Ignatieff has supported the U.S. war on Iraq, the U.S. use of torture, and Israel's 2006 war on Lebanon; basically, in every case of large-scale violence committed by the United States or Israel, Ignatieff supports it. For criticisms, see Edward S. Herman, "Michael Ignatieff's Pseudo-Hegelian Apologetics for Imperialism," Z Magazine, October, 2005; and Edward S. Herman, "Faith-Based Analysis: Michael Ignatieff on Israeli Self-Defense and Serb Ethnic Cleansing," CounterPunch, August 22, 2006.
 Danny Postel, "Islamic Studies' Young Turks," Chronicle of Higher Education, September 13, 2002. At least as depicted by Postel, none of the "Young Turks" expressed any undue concern over the then-imminent U.S. war on Iraq.
 Danny Postel, "Letter to America: Jürgen Habermas," The Nation, December 16, 2002.
 Danny Postel, "Realistpolitik," The American Prospect, April 12, 2004.
 Danny Postel, "Fukuyama's moment: A neocon schism opens," openDemocracy, October 27, 2004; and Danny Postel, "The 'end of history' revisited: Francis Fukuyama and his critics," openDemocracy, May 1, 2006.
 Danny Postel, "Who is responsible? An interview with Fred Halliday," openDemocracy, April 29, 2010 (republished from Salmagundi, to commemorate Halliday's death).
 Postel, Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran.
 Ibid, p. 46.
 Ibid, p. 45.
 See Matthew Rothschild, "Danny Postel Interview," Progressive Radio, February 26, 2007; and Matthew Rothschild, "Don't Go Easy on Ahmadinejad," The Progressive, March 6, 2007. Also see Danny Postel, "The Specter Haunting Iran," Frontline - Tehran Bureau, February 21, 2010; Danny Postel, "Counter-Revolution and Revolt in Iran: An Interview with Iranian Political Scientist Hossein Bashiriyeh," Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory, Vol. 17, No. 1, March 2010; and Danny Postel, "Revolutionary Prefigurations: The Green Movement, Critical Solidarity, and the Struggle for Iran's Future," New Politics, Vol. XIII, No. 1, Summer, 2010.
 See, e.g., "Ramin Jahanbegloo: an open letter to Iran's president," openDemocracy, May 23, 2006; and Danny Postel, "An ominous arrest in Iran," The Guardian, May 14, 2007.
 In Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran, Postel states that "what [he's] undertaking here is…a meditation on why—and how—thinkers like Habermas, Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, and Karl Popper are read by Iranian intellectuals today and what their ideas look like when refracted back to us through that Persian prism" (p. 7). Postel proposes that "we in the West should 're-link' to the thinkers in our tradition who have inspired Iran, and thus re-read Habermas and Berlin with a Persian horizon in mind" (p. 8). "[M]y focus," Postel adds, "is on Iran's philosophical-political profile (to borrow another Habermasianism): it is about the fascinating reception of thinkers like Habermas, Arendt, and Berlin among Iranians today" (p. 8). Although Postel neglects to mention it, there is yet another way to make sense of what is happening inside Iran: That is by observing its cosmetological-cultural profile. During the first decade of the 21st Century, Iran laid claim to being the "rhinoplasty capital of the world." "More and more people are watching Western films on satellite and we have new role models," a 22-year-old university student told the Wall Street Journal's Sally Jones in 2003. "Most of us want a more Western-looking nose, less fleshy and maybe a little upturned at the bottom." ("Iran's Women Turn Up Noses—Nation's Plastic Surgeons Find A Big Demand for Rhinoplasty; Even Dentists Do the Procedure," September 3, 2003.) "The nose craze…started with satellite TV from the West," CBS Evening News's Elizabeth Palmer reported. "A Western nose is more beautiful," one young Iranian woman told her. ("Iran's strict Islamic dress code has backfired in at least one big way," May 2 2005.) "The streets of Tehran abound with young people…with their noses in plaster from the effects of surgery," Robert Tait wrote. "The phenomenon reflects a competitive urge among fashion-conscious Iranians to put their cosmetic handiwork on display….[S]ome even wear nose plasters as a status symbol without actually having had the operation." ("Vanity and boredom fuel Iran's nose job boom," The Guardian, May 7, 2005.) "Iranian women are also influenced by images of Western culture and Hollywood, where smaller noses are considered beautiful," ABC News reported. "The ethnic Persian nose is out of vogue." ("Rinoplasty All the Rage in Iran," February 15, 2007.) On our reading of Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran, the so-called "Persian prism" has about as much interest to its author as does the "ethnic Persian nose" to those Iranians undergoing rhinoplastic procedures to look more like Hollywood celebrities. For the Western Orientalist, a "pro-democracy" Iranian is simply an Iranian whose cosmetological-cultural profile is in every sense less like an indigene and more like somebody from Frankfurt, Brussels, Paris, London, New York, or Los Angeles—even American pop singers and dancers. It may be flattering for Westerners to look at a particular demographic of Iranian national life and see confirmations of themselves looking back at them—especially if this demographic is imposed from the outside. But this aside, the Postelian prism provides zero insight into Iranian national life. For more on Iran as the "nose-job capital of the world," see the 2006 documentary film by Mehrdad Oskouei, Damagh Be Sakbe Irani ("Nose, Iranian Style"). Also see Frances Harrison, "Wealthy Iranians embrace plastic surgery" BBC News, October 1, 2006. As Katherine Butler wrote for London's Independent: "Tehran can lay claim to being the rhinoplasty capital of the world. And it is possibly also the bee-stung Botoxed lip capital of the world. You see the walking wounded everywhere, surgical tape criss-crossing the nose, not that it looks as if it is providing any medical function, but almost like a bandage in a cartoon. The first time you see the nose tape you think you've just seen somebody who walked into a door. But then you realise they're worn openly, proudly, a badge of honour, money or status or maybe a badge that says 'I can look Western'." ("Iran's hybrids unveiled," June 27, 2009.)
 See Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books (New York: Random House, 2003). For critical appraisals of Nafisi's widely-read exercise in catering to the prejudices of Western audiences who will embrace anything about Iran or the "Arab" or "Muslim world" that reinforces their negative prejudices, see Hamid Dabashi, "Native informers and the making of the American empire," Al-Ahram Weekly, June 1-7, 2006; and Fatemeh Keshavarz, Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007). For analysis of the negatively prejudiced representations of the Islamic Republic of Iran that dominate the Western media, see Edward W. Said, Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World, 2nd Ed. (New York: Random House, 1997).
 See, e.g., Louis Proyect, "The Demonization And Death Of Slobodan Milosevic," Swans, March 27, 2006.
 See Louis Proyect, "A Serbophobe outburst in the Nation Magazine," The Unrepentant Marxist, December 21, 2007. Also see the comment related to this blog by "Yugoslav," December 23, 2007; and the comment by "louisproyect," December 23, 2007.
 Louis Proyect, "Peter Ackerman: billionaire sponsor of toxic NGOs," The Unrepentant Marxist, October 3, 2007.
 See, e.g., Louis Proyect, "A velvet revolution in Iran?" The Unrepentant Marxist, June 22, 2009. In a simplistic non sequitur typical of Proyect's work, he wrote: "[T]he main problems facing the pro-Ahmadinejad left is its failure to adequately theorize the problem of democratic rights and which proceeds along these lines: If Peter Ackerman is funding 'pro-democracy' activists in Iran and Venezuela, how can we dare attack Iran for closing down newspapers or beating demonstrators? We don’t want to end up on the same side of the barricades as Tom Friedman, do we?"
 See, e.g., Louis Proyect, "MRZine sinks to new lows," The Unrepentant Marxist, July 31, 2009; Louis Proyect, "MRZine: drunk on its own rotgut ideology," The Unrepentant Marxist, January 6, 2010; Louis Proyect, "Answering an email about Iran," The Unrepentant Marxist, March 30, 2010; and Louis Proyect, "An Iranian socialist replies to Yoshie Furuhashi," The Unrepentant Marxist, April 1, 2010.
 Louis Proyect, "Edward S. Herman and David Peterson: Flunkies for Ahmadinejad," The Unrepentant Marxist, July 25, 2009.
 We used The Unrepentant Marxist blog's internal search engine, and searched for mentions of 'Honduras' and similar terms from the date of the blog's inception in July 2004 through November 30, 2010. We found forms of the words 'Honduras' and 'Honduran' used by Proyect a total of nine times in six different blogs. However, nowhere between June 28, 2009 and November 30, 2010, did Proyect write about Honduras' coup d'état or about the demonstration elections held under the coup regime or about the ongoing repression by the coup regime against its own population, or about the popular resistance to the coup regime. (For the link to what we found, see 'Honduras.')
 See Herman and Peterson, "Riding the 'Green Wave' at the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond."
 See Herman and Peterson, "Chutzpah, Inc."
 Louis Proyect, "The latest idiocy from Edward S. Herman and David Peterson," The Unrepentant Marxist, February 20, 2010.
 See Steven Kull et al., An Analysis of Multiple Polls of the Iranian Public, PIPA - WPO.org, February 3, 2010; Steven Kull et al., Iranian Public on Current Issues: Questionnaires, PIPA - WPO.org, February 3, 2010; and the accompanying Press Release.
 Proyect, "Flunkies for Ahmadinejad," and Proyect, "The latest idiocy from Edward S. Herman and David Peterson."
 Proyect, "The Demonization And Death Of Slobodan Milosevic."
 In the passage to which Louis Project is objecting, here is what we actually wrote: "It is important to keep in mind, however, that economic sanctions, U.S. and NATO-bloc wars in countries to Iran's east and west, ongoing U.S. and Israeli military threats against Iran, and foreign-organized terrorism and subversion inside Iran, all have proven costly and painful to Iran's citizens, and had feedback effects on their attitudes towards their government (as was true in Nicaragua while it was under attack by the United States during the Sandinista years, 1979-1990)." See Herman and Peterson, "Chutzpah, Inc."
 See Robert Naiman, "WikiLeaks Honduras: State Department Busted on Support of Coup," Truthout, November 30, 2010; Manuel Zelaya, "Wikileaks confirms US knowledge of coup and puts Obama in a bind," Resistencia, December 2, 2010; and Charles II, "The arc of the Honduran coup begins at Ford #cablegate," Daily Kos, December 10, 2010.
 See Ian Kelly, "Honduran Election" (Press Statement), U.S. Department of State, November 29, 2010; Arturo Valenzuela, "Briefing on the Honduran Elections" (Special Briefing), U.S. Department of State, November 30, 2010; "Three Senior Administration Officials on Recent Developments in Honduras" (Special Briefing), U.S. Department of State, December 3, 2010; and Hillary Rodham Clinton, "Remarks with Honduran Foreign Minister Mario Canahuati Before Their Meeting," U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., April 28, 2010. In U.S. Secretary of State Clinton's words: "I think that the steps that President Lobo and his government have taken deserve our support, and we want to work with the government and the people of Honduras to get them back fully on the path of democracy, the rule of law, good governance."