Roger Marin Neda
mentioned the referendum that Zelaya had urged, but also turned it into his,
"laying the groundwork for an assembly to remake the Constitution to allow
him to serve one more term," his "larger goal" being to change the
"democratic system into a kind of 21st-century socialism," a "Hugo
Chavez-type of government."
No mention of the illegality of the coup or its
Hardly any mention of actual violence - Roger
Marin Neda conceded that,
"At least one person is reported to have died," but
added that "despite this, life for many Hondurans has continued as usual."
Turning to the Times and Iran, everything reverses.
"[T]he hard-line mullahs
brazenly stole the election for the hard-line president," the third and last
Times editorial in our sample stated (July 3).
bulldozed the results of last week's presidential election - declaring the
incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the winner by a landslide before the votes
could be credibly counted," the second editorial claimed.
authorities want to resolve this impasse peacefully... they should call a
new election..." (June 18).
"Neither Real Nor Free," the Times' first
post-election editorial proclaimed (June 15).
In what must have been a first in the Times' history, it published a
commentary under the pseudonym "Shane M."
According to the Times, "Shane M."
"student in Iran who, for reasons of safety, did not want to be
identified by his full name." "[I]n important sectors of the American press
a disturbing counternarrative is emerging," S.M. wrote.
"That perhaps this
election wasn't a fraud after all... and that perhaps Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
is the president the Iranian people truly want..."
"Do not believe it," S.M. countered.
"Those so-called experts warning Americans to be leery of
claims of fraud by the opposition are basing their arguments on an outdated
understanding of Iran that has little to do with the reality we here are
experiencing during these singular days."
Why S.M. was so concerned about "what our friends in the United States are
saying about us" was only vaguely addressed. But since this commentary
appeared on June 19, S.M.'s fears were unfounded.
In Western metropolitan
centers, the belief that Iran's Interior Ministry and clerical regime had
stolen the election was not weakening - in fact, it kept strengthening, and
the U.K.-based Chatham House's attempt to discredit Iran's official results
(entirely by misrepresenting how Iran's election was conducted) wouldn't be
published until June 21.
"Let's also forget the polls, carried out in
May by Terror Free Tomorrow," S.M. counseled.
As we describe in Part 2,
all other credible public opinion polls in Iran, both before and after the
election, produced results contrary to S.M.'s claims, but were suppressed by
the New York Times, including a major assessment of 12 different opinion
polls by the Program on International Policy Attitudes in February 2010.
Moreover, of the 14 op-eds the Times published on Iran during our sample
period, no fewer than 9 of them characterized Iran's June 12 presidential
election variously as rigged, fraudulent, or stolen, with the
"self-discrediting thuggery by Iran's clerical leadership" (Ross Douthat,
June 16) and the thwarting of democracy being the most commonly repeated
Overall, the Times' editorials, opinion columns, and news reports on Iran
and Honduras coordinated nicely with each other in the months of June and
July 2009 to articulate the U.S. government's and Times' political position
that 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.
Neda versus Isis (and 23 Other Hondurans)
Beyond the New York Times, the establishment U.S. media's biases can also be
shown in their treatment of public demonstrations in the two countries:
post-election protesters in Iran, we find intensive and sympathetic media
treatment; but for the anti-coup protestors in Honduras, coverage was
minimal and quickly declined towards nothing.
A dramatic illustration of the scale and intensity of this bias can be seen
in the treatment of protesters killed by the security forces of their own
states. On June 20, 27-year-old
Neda Agha-Soltan was shot to death while
participating in a peaceful demonstration on one of the streets of Tehran.
Her death became,
"a galvanizing symbol, both within Iran and increasingly
around the world," Rachel Maddow said on her MSNBC cable television program
in the United States.
"As people near her tried desperately to staunch her
bleeding and try to keep her alive, two different witnesses on the scene
captured her last moments on video. Those images have now rocketed around
Maddow then telecast a portion of one of the videos
- "not to
be gratuitously graphic," she explained,
"but because this has become one of
the most, if not the single most iconic moment of this uprising."
is a powerful force in Shia Islam," Roger Cohen wrote in the New York Times,
recounting his attendance at a memorial for Neda at Nilofar Square in
Tehran. "The cause is the annulment of Iran's fraudulent election and,
beyond that, freedom."
But not all youthful and innocent victims of their own states' security
forces became galvanizing symbols of dissent in 2009.
In near identical
circumstances just 15 days after images of Neda's shooting death went viral,
19-year-old Isis Obed Murillo was shot dead by the Honduran military when it
opened fire on a peaceful demonstration at the Toncontín airport in
Tegucigalpa, and a bullet struck him in his head.
Like Neda's death, video
images of Isis's death were recorded in his dying moments at the scene, and
like Neda's, image sets of Isis's death were placed on the Internet and made
available to the global media. But whereas Neda's death received massive
coverage, and images of her dying moments "rocketed around the world,"
Isis's death passed almost unmentioned in the dominant English-language
media and created no global martyrdom out of it.
Table 1 captures the different level of interest the media showed in each
death. Whereas Isis's murder by his state's security forces was reported
once on CNN (July 7), Neda's was reported by ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, Fox,
MSNBC, NPR, and by other TV and radio programs in the States as well as
abroad; eventually, it even receivedFrontline documentary treatment on
Overall, Neda's death was mentioned by a large sample of English-language
media, 107 times as frequently as was Isis's - and this discrepancy doesn't
begin to convey the kind of passionate indignation expressed over Neda's
death and the complete lack of anything remotely similar over the death of
Differential media interest in two young victims
murdered by the
security forces of their own governments
TV, Radio, and other
Neda Agha-Soltan, aged 27,
shot dead while participating in a peaceful street
demonstration in Tehran on June 20 
Isis Obed Murillo, aged 19,
shot dead while participating in a peaceful
demonstration at the Toncontín airport in Tegucigalpa on July 5
We also compared newspaper coverage of Neda's death with the deaths of 24
Hondurans over a 12-month period (see Table 2).
Here we found a similar
discrepancy: By a ratio of 35-to-1, newspapers showed more interest in the
death of this single young woman than they did in the deaths of all 24
Honduran protestors, journalists, social organizers and human rights
advocates taken together.
Differential media interest in one Iranian victim killed by the
of her own government and 24 Honduran victims murdered
the security forces of their own government or by death squad
Neda Agha-Soltan, aged 27, shot
dead while participating in a peaceful street demonstration
in Tehran on June 20 
Twenty-four Honduran deaths,
including 7 protestors, 7 journalists, and 10 social
organizers or human rights advocates
This evidence on the interest in and treatment of protests and protestors in
two different countries is a testimonial to a beautifully working propaganda
system, where attention and indignation are focused on evils in the country
whose government is being delegitimized, while similar evils are downplayed
or entirely ignored in the country whose rulers are being protected.
In Part 2 we will describe how the government-media nexus worked to
delegitimize the June 12, 2009 presidential election in Iran as "stolen,"
based on a serious misrepresentation of evidence, while the same
government-media nexus legitimized the November 29, 2009 elections in
Honduras, even though carried out in a coup- and state-terror environment
and without a popular electoral option on the ballot, and therefore truly
1. See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "The Iran Threat in the Age of
Real-Axis-of-Evil Expansion," MRZine, March 16, 2010, Table 1, "Differential
Media Focus on Ten Nuclear Programs for the Seven-Year Period, January 1,
2003 - December 31, 2009."
2. See Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1998); and "Israel Crosses the Threshold,"National Security Archive
Electronic Briefing Book No. 189, April 28, 2006.
3. See Honduras: Human Rights and the Coup d'État, Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights, December 30, 2009, "The 'fourth ballot box'," para. 82-87.
4. On June 28, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States
"condemn[ed] vehemently the coup d'état staged this morning against the
constitutionally-established Government of Honduras . . . which has produced
an unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order," demanded Manuel
Zelaya's return to office, and declared that "no government arising from
this unconstitutional interruption will be recognized" ("Current Situation
in Honduras," June 28, 2009, para. 1-3). Two days later, the U.N. General
Assembly condemned the coupand made the same demands as the OAS, but also
called upon all "States to recognize no Government other than that of the
Constitutional President. . ." ("Situation in Honduras: Democracy
Breakdown," A/RES/63/301, June 30, 2009, para. 3).
5. The allegation that Iran's June 12, 2009 presidential election was
"stolen," and that the official results were "rigged" (those results were
reported as 24,525,209 (63%) for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and 13,225,330 (34%)
for Mir Hossein Mousavi), has never been substantiated by evidence, and we
regard it as disinformation spread by the Mousavi campaign and by a foreign
destabilization campaign, and uncritically repeated by the establishment
U.S. and Western media. See the analysis of vote-fraud allegations by Eric
A. Brill, "Did Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Steal the 2009 Iran Election?"
(Self-published), August 29, 2010. For additional analysis of Iran's 2009
election, also 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 see Herman and Peterson, "Iran and Honduras in the Propaganda
System - Part 2" (forthcoming).
6. The allegation that Honduran President Manuel Zelaya sought to use the
referendum (whether to be held on June 28 or November 29 or any other date)
to subvert the Constitution of Honduras and thereby extend his presidency to
a second term has never been substantiated by evidence, and we regard it as
disinformation spread by the coup regime to justify Zelaya's arrest and
exile, and uncritically repeated by the establishment U.S. media. See Joe
Emersberger, "Criminalizing Democracy in Honduras," ZNet, July 21, 2009.
Emersberger provides an English translation of the final "public opinion
survey" that Zelaya tried to call for June 28. That question would have
read: "Do you agree that in the general election of November 2009 a fourth
ballot box should be installed to decide whether to convene a National
Constituent Assembly that would approve a political Constitution?" Not only
was there "nothing in this question about presidential term limits," as
Emersberger points out, and not only was it strictly non-binding. But as
Zelaya's term in office was set to expire in January 2010, there clearly was
no possibility of the Constitution being amended in time to permit him to
run for a second term in office.
7. "Mr. Arias Steps In," Editorial, New York Times, July 10, 2009; Alvaro
Vargas Llosa, "The Winner in Honduras: Chávez," New York Times, June 30,
2009; Roger Marin Neda, "Who Cares About Zelaya?" New York Times, July 7,
8. "Neither Real Nor Free," Editorial, New York Times, June 15, 2009;
"Iran's Nonrepublic," Editorial, New York Times, June 18, 2009; "After the
Crackdown," Editorial, New York Times, July 3, 2009.
9. Shane M., "A Different Iranian Revolution," New York Times, June 19,
10. See Ali Ansari et al.,Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in
Iran's 2009 Presidential Election, Chatham House (U.K.), June 21, 2009.
11. 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, June, 2009. Also see
Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty, "The Iranian People Speak," Washington Post,
June 15, 2009.
12. 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.
13. Thomas L. Friedman, "Winds of Change," New York Times, June 14, 2009;
Ross Douthat, "Recession and Revolution," New York Times, June 16, 2009;
Danielle Pletka and Ali Alfoneh, "Iran's Hidden Revolution," New York Times,
June 17, 2009; Thomas L. Friedman, "The Virtual Mosque," New York Times,
June 17, 2009; Nicholas D. Kristof, "Tear Down This Cyberwall!" New York
Times, June 18, 2009; John Kerry, "With Iran, Think Before You Speak,"New
York Times, June 18, 2009; Shane M., "A Different Iranian Revolution," New
York Times, June 19, 2009; David Brooks,"Fragile at the Core," New York
Times, June 19, 2009; Reuel Marc Gerecht, "The Koran and the Ballot Box,"
New York Times, June 21, 2009; Roger Cohen, "A Supreme Leader Loses His Aura
as Iranian's Flock to the Streets," New York Times, June 21, 2009; Thomas L.
Friedman, "Bullets and Barrels," New York Times, June 21, 2009; Roger Cohen,
"Life and Death in Tehran," New York Times, June 23, 2009; Thomas L.
Friedman, "The Green Revolution(s)," New York Times, June 24, 2009; Roger
Cohen,"Iran's Second Sex," New York Times, June 27, 2009.
14. The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, June 22, 2009; Roger Cohen, "Life and
Death in Tehran," New York Times, June 23, 2009.
15. See Monica Garnsey et al., "A Death in Tehran," Frontline, PBS, November
16. Factiva database searches carried out under the "Newspapers: All" and
"Transcripts" categories on August 25, 2010. The exact search parameters for
each column are described in notes 17 and 18. The time-periods searched for
each individual murder victim began on the day they were murdered and
continued for four-weeks-to-the-day (or 28 days more). We selected the
murders of both Neda Agha-Soltan and Isis Obed Murillo for study based on
several factors, one of which is that both murders were highlighted in
Amnesty International'sThe State of the World's Human Rights (London:
Amnesty International Publications, 2010), p. 173 and p. 163, respectively.
17. The exact search parameters were: Rst=(tnwp or ttpt) and Iran and (neda
or agha-soltan) for the 29 day period June 20 - July 18, 2009.
18. The exact search parameters were: Rst=(tnwp or ttpt) and Honduras and (isis
murill* or obed murill*) for the 29 day period from July 5 - August 2, 2009.
19. Factiva database searches carried out under the "Newspapers: All"
category on August 25, 2010. The exact search parameters for each column are
described in notes 20 and 21. Our list of the 24 Honduran victims derives
from two Inter-American Human Rights Commission reports: Honduras: Human
Rights and the Coup d'État, "The right to life," para. 235-251, December 30,
2009; andPreliminary Observations of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights on Its Visit to Honduras, May 15 to 18, 2010, "Murders of journalists
in 2010," para. 23 -24, and "Murders of human rights defenders and social
leaders," para. 52-62, June 3, 2010.
20. The exact search parameters were: Rst=tnwp and Iran and (neda or
agha-soltan) from the date of her death, June 20, 2009 through June 20,
21. The exact search parameters were: Rst=tnwp and Honduras and [each
victim's name] from the date of the first victim's death, July 5, 2009
through July 5, 2010.
The 2009 Iranian and Honduran Elections
October 24, 2010
Below is Part 2 of our comparative analysis in MRZine of the treatment of
Iran and Honduras by the Western establishment, including the media and an
important segment of the "left."
As we stated at the outset of Part 1, 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.
Iran held its most recent presidential election on June 12, 2009. This
followed a typically short three-week campaign period between the four
candidates who had been vetted by Iran's Guardian Council out of a list of
some 475 hopefuls, but a campaign that nevertheless was open and
adversarial, and energized Iran's electorate unlike any other in the 30-year
history of the Islamic Republic.
A record-high 85% turnout returned the
incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to office with a reported 62.6% of
the votes cast.
Sixteen days later, on June 28, a coup d'état was executed in Honduras that
overthrew the country's democratically-elected President José Manuel Zelaya.
Almost five-months-to-the-day after this, on November 29, the coup-regime
carried out national elections long-scheduled for this date. The
constitutional government of Honduras never served another day in office.
The winner of Honduras' presidential election with 56.6% of the votes was
the National Party's Porfirio Lobo Sosa. Both Lobo and the second-place
finisher with 38%, Elvin Santos Lozano of the Liberal Party, were supporters
of the coup, and both opposed the restoration of the ousted Zelaya.
Opponents of the coup as well as Zelaya himself had called for Honduran
voters to boycott the elections, and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal
estimated turnout to be only 49% (some independent estimates ran lower),
after the Tribunal falsely reported turnout as high as 62% on election
For many years leading up to Iran's June 2009 election, Iranians had
suffered the consequences of U.S. and allied invasions of countries that
border Iran to the east (Afghanistan) and to the west (Iraq), U.S. and
Israeli threats and attacks by proxy forces, U.S. - and ultimately UN
Security Council-imposed economic sanctions, and even an open U.S.
destabilization campaign to foster regime-change inside Iran.
that any Iranian presidential election that did not serve regime-change ends
would be judged seriously defective by U.S. and Western officials - that
efforts would be taken to discredit Iran's election results and to delegitimize any government formed on their basis.
On the other hand, the coup in Honduras was engineered by a deeply
entrenched oligarchy and involved the military, members of parliament, and
the judiciary, and it removed a populist president from office. It was also
implemented with advance notice to U.S. officials, and received their ex
post acceptance and approval as well; after the coup, Washington even
declined to withdraw its ambassador from Honduras.
It follows from this
official acquiescence to the coup, and violent suppression of democracy,
that the November elections would not be denounced as a fraud.
officials asserted that the mere holding of elections was an "important part
of the solution to the political crisis in their country," and urged
other states to accept this "solution" as well, to normalize relations with
Honduras' new government - and to "start from zero," in the revealing words
that U.S. President
Barack Obama used in a letter to the president of
Legitimizing versus Delegitimizing Elections in the 1980s
In covering both the Iran and Honduran elections, the establishment media
followed closely the lead of the U.S. government, furiously assailing Iran's
election as stolen and a sham, and quietly accepting Honduras' elections as
a meaningful step forward.
For the Newspaper of Record, Iran's election was
“Neither Real Nor Free” (June 15), but Honduras' election was "clear and
fair" (December 5).
This is in a long tradition of media propaganda service in dealing with
foreign elections. In fact, the media's performance on Iran and Honduras in
2009 was a throwback to their performance on El Salvador and Nicaraguan
during the elections held in these countries in the 1980s.
elections of 1982 and 1984 were held under a regime of extreme state
terrorism, with thousands of civilians killed, obligatory voting, no freedom
of assembly or press, and no peace or dissident candidates on the ballot.
But as these elections were sponsored by the U.S. government, and were
designed to show the U.S. population and the world that U.S. intervention
was justified, and that the United States was supporting a “fledgling
democracy,” the media swallowed them whole. The media featured the high
voter turnout, without noting that voting was required by law and was
carried out under a system of ongoing state terrorism.
The New York
Times found that the "most remarkable" fact of El Salvador's 1982 elections
"determination of so many Salvadorans to participate... The Salvadoran
turnout marks a significant achievement" - not for Salvadorans, however, but
for the, "Reagan Administration [which] may be learning how to use its
enormous diplomatic influence in the Caribbean."
It was not until 1989
that the Times reported the existence of the military's,
"1981 death list,"
which in retrospect it called a "symbol of the army-linked repression that
turned criticism of the right into a capital offense, the armed forces
[having] put a bounty on the heads of 138 leftists by publishing a list of
their names and describing them as wanted traitors."
On the other hand, the Nicaraguan election, held by the Sandinista
government in November 1984, was opposed by the U.S. government, which did
not want the Sandinistas legitimized and therefore sought to discredit it.
Although the Nicaraguan election was a model of democratic practice compared
with that in El Salvador, here again the media followed the official
party-line and suddenly became uninterested in voter turnout but attentive
to basic electoral conditions that they ignored in El Salvador (where they
were much worse than in Nicaragua).
As early as July 1984, Ronald Reagan
had likened the Sandinistas' proposal to hold elections to a "Soviet-style
Sure enough, five months later, after the election was held, the
York Times found that,
"Only the naive believe that [the] election in
Nicaragua was democratic or legitimizing proof of the Sandinistas'
popularity... The Sandinistas made it easy to dismiss their election as a
In fact, by taking a strong, categorical position against
anything related to the Sandinistas, it was the U.S. government that made it
easy for the Times to dismiss the Nicaraguan election.
Media Coverage of the 2009 Iran and Honduran Elections
The 2009 coup in Honduras was a throwback to the 1954 U.S.-organized
overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in
Guatemala and the 1964 military coup in Brazil, which removed an elected
social democratic government and installed a military dictatorship, with the
enthusiastic support of the liberal Democratic government of Lyndon Johnson.
The Obama government’s support for the coup and coup regime in Honduras is
thus in a great Democratic tradition.
We may recall that there has been a
great deal of talk in recent years about the new era of “humanitarian
intervention” and the “responsibility to protect” in this post-Soviet age,
in which, according to Michael Ignatieff, the United States has once again
“changed course” and abandoned its earlier tendency to align with
cooperative dictators, and now favors “democracy promotion.”
Honduras case shows that so-called democracy-promotion is an instrument of
policy, not a generally-applicable principle, and will be used or set aside
in accord with perceived real interests.
The U.S. government and media response to the Honduras case also raises some
questions about the meaning and integrity of their intense focus on, and
harsh treatment of, the election in Iran. There is no question that in 2009-2010, a sizable fraction of Iran's domestic opposition to Ahmadinejad and
critics of the clerical regime in general have been motivated by genuinely
democratic and liberal aspirations.
But is it not revealing that so many of
the foreign, Western-based campaigners in the name of Iran's "pro-democracy"
and "reform" movement paid so little attention, first to the coup in
Honduras and to the military and security apparatus' violent repression of
opponents of the coup, and then to the "demonstration elections" that the
coup regime carried out in November, the results of which were officially
sanctioned by Washington?
It is also of interest that in Iran, the major government repression came
after the June 12 election, and was directed against Iranians who rejected
the official results.
But in Honduras, violent repression preceded the
November 29 elections (and appears to have greatly escalated since), and
was and remains directed against opponents of the coup regime and its
overthrow of the democratic order.
Nevertheless, whereas Iran's relatively
open and hotly contested presidential election, with credible albeit
disputed results, was rejected out-of-hand in the metropolitan centers of
the West, and generated a huge bandwagon process of denigration, Honduras'
coup-consolidation elections were quietly accepted, subjected to little
criticism, inspired no bandwagon effect against them, and few public
displays of "solidarity" with the massive grassroots opposition to the
coup - in particular, the more than 1.25 million Hondurans who have added
their signatures to the Sovereign Declaration for the Popular and
Participatory Constituent Assembly, a demand that the 1982 Constitution be
rewritten, and over which Zelaya was deposed?
As we can see from Table 1, Western newspapers were very sensitive and alert
to the topic of human rights in the immediate aftermath of Iran's
presidential election, and used phrases such as 'human rights abuses' and
'human rights violations' a total of 89 times during the first 30 day after
But though the human rights of Hondurans were also under
severe pressure and widespread abuse after the June 28 coup as well as
before and after the demonstration elections staged by the coup regime on
November 29, these same phrases were used by Western newspapers only once in
the 30 days leading up to the Honduran elections, once in the 30 days
after the elections, and zero times in the 30 days after the coup.
Differential media usage of the phrases 'human rights abuses' and
'human rights violations'
in two countries where dissidents were repressed
by their own governments 
Iran's presidential election, June 13 - July 12, 2009 (first
30 days after)
The Honduras coup d'état, June 29 - July 28, 2009
(first 30 days after)
The Honduras elections, October 31 - November 29 (last 30
days through the date of the election)
The Honduras elections, November 30 - December 29, 2009
(first 30 days after)
Table 1 thus captures quite dramatically the different levels, not of human
rights abuses in Iran as opposed to Honduras, but of U.S. and Western
interest in and expressed solidarity towards the respective victims of human
rights abuses in each country during four specific periods in 2009.
two cases, sensitivity and alertness towards the human rights of Iranian and
Honduran citizens followed the guidance of establishment leaders and reveals
a starkly dichotomous pattern: Iranian victims of human rights abuses
received a great deal of attention, but Honduran victims did not.
also dramatically displayed in the intense and indignant treatment of the
murder of Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran, and the lack of interest in the murder
of Isis Obed Murillo in Honduras or the murder of at least 24 Honduran
activists (see Table 1 and Table 2 in
Part 1 far above), showing that Iranians were "worthy" victims in 2009 - 2010, whereas
Honduran victims were "unworthy."
Was the Iran Election Stolen?
In thinking about the treatment of the Iran election it is also important
historical context that the last time the United States was really happy
with Iran was when that country was ruled by a U.S.-sponsored dictator, the
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The Shah was actually encouraged to develop a
nuclear capability, apparently quite acceptable for a U.S.-client dictator,
but not for a regime, dictatorial or not, that is not under proper control.
The U.S. support of the Honduran coup and coup-organized election also
strongly suggests that official U.S. concern over the fairness of the 2009
Iran election was larded with hypocrisy and covered over the real
agenda - destabilization and regime-change.
For many foreign critics of Iran's election, it is believed that the massive
street protests beginning June 13 showed that Iranians themselves preferred
the main challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi over the incumbent Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, and that the mechanics of the election, character of the vote
returns, and speed with which the final results were announced all showed
that the election was stolen.
But these criticisms do not withstand close
As we have pointed out in detail elsewhere, a series of
independent public opinion polls taken both before and after the election
asked Iranians either who they were going to vote for, or who they in fact
had voted for. Almost invariably, these reports show Ahmadinejad receiving
some 2 votes for every one vote given to Mousavi.
These results range from a
low-end of 1.75-to-1 in a poll carried out between June 19 and 24, 2009, to
a high-end 3.93-to-1 in a poll carried out from August 27 to September 10,
2009; the actual ratio of Ahmadinejad's official victory over the challenger
Mousavi's was 1.85-to-1. Thus numerous polls carried out by respectable
organizations using familiar and widely accepted polling techniques show
Ahmadinejad winning a popular vote with numbers not far off from those of
the official results.
None of these polls even remotely suggest a Mousavi
victory, or even a race too close to call. The results also parallel those
of the second-round runoff election of June 2005, in which Ahmadinejad
defeated Ali Akbar Rafsanjani by 62% to 32% (or 1.94-to-1).
Of course, the establishment media and Western-based Iran campaigners have
preferred citing the U.K.-based Chatham House allegations of
"irregularities" in Iran's official results, and its claim that the Interior
Ministry's allocation of 1.85 votes to Ahmadinejad for every one vote given
to Mousavi was "problematic" and "highly implausible."
We believe that
Western media and intellectuals gravitated to Chatham House's analysis while
ignoring independent polling data for the simple reason that Chatham House
served up the requisite negative view of the official result - and these other
sources, such as the joint effort by the Program on International Policy
Attitudes and WorldPublicOpinion.org, did not.
Hence, whereas Chatham
House's "preliminary" analysis was cited frequently in the Western media,
the PIPA - WPO analysis based on no fewer than 12 different opinion surveys,
released on February 3, 2010, was ignored.
But Chatham House's Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran's
2009 Presidential Election, released to considerable fanfare just nine days
after Iran's election, did not engage in any direct independent polling or
provide any answer to the conflicting results of the actual polls - and
perhaps most revealing of all, has never been followed-up by a
Even more important, however, is the fact that the allegations advanced as
evidence of fraud in Iran's official results, and therefore of a stolen
election, wither under close scrutiny. In a self-published analysis, Eric A.
Brill  assessed each of the major complaints made against Iran's 2009
election results, whether by Mousavi and his supporters or by Western
As regards the Chatham House assertion
that Iran's Interior Ministry reported higher vote totals in several
provinces than there were citizens eligible to vote ("excess voting"), Brill
countered that Iran's so-called "vote anywhere" rule meant that local
turnout could legitimately exceed 100% of the eligible voters in a given
area, and though the,
"2009 turnout was the highest ever for an election
(85%), it was well under 100% - and far short of the 98% turnout for the 1979
referendum held to ratify the creation of the Islamic Republic."
earlier critique of the Chatham House allegations pointed out, the same,
"excess voting" phenomenon "also happened in previous elections where there
too was a very high turnout, such as in [the] 1997 presidential election..."
That year, one of the West's favorite Iranian political figures,
Mohammad Khatami, was elected to his first term,
"which none would dispute as being
Brill also showed that out of Iran's approximately 45,000 polling stations
(including some 14,000 mobile stations that traveled to voters whose remote
locations would have discouraged their participation), the Mousavi campaign
placed observers at more than 40,000 of them (7,500 more than observed the
election for Ahmadinejad), and not only did these Mousavi observers sign off
on the official results at each polling station where they were present,
none of them has ever retracted their assent, despite the Mousavi campaign's
highly publicized allegations of vote fraud.
Among Brill's other crucial
points, he reminds us that in 2009, Iran started reporting separate vote
counts for each of the 45,000 polling stations, and that any disputed totals
reported by the Interior Ministry need only be compared to each of these
polling stations' totals.
If they had real reasons to allege massive fraud, Mousavi's observers could have checked the official counts in this manner
and publicized the difference - but they did not.
"The Guardian Council," Brill writes, "claims that it asked Mousavi 'time
and time again to provide the council with any evidence of examples about
the discrepancy' in ballot-box counts, but that 'no documents or evidence
were received'," - and "Mousavi has not disputed this, nor has he ever cited a
discrepancy for any of the… ballot boxes in the 2009 election."
necessary data have long been available to compare ballot-box counts," Brill
concludes, "only two explanations for Mousavi's silence come to mind: either
no such discrepancy exists, or no one has bothered to check."
Either way, it
is the allegations of fraud that fare badly.
Chatham House did not publish a report on the quality of the November 29,
2009 elections in Honduras, and in line with the official U.S.-U.K. agenda
as well as establishment media interests, Chatham House took no interest in
Table 2 shows that whereas the staged election in Honduras,
carried out under a state of siege and with no alternative candidates
comparable to Mir Hossein Mousavi available to Honduran voters, came and
went with virtually no media assertions of fraud or indignation over a
stolen election, allegations of fraud and of a stolen election in Iran were
Thus in a large sample of newspaper coverage, use of various
negative words that suggest fraud (e.g., rigged, stolen, sham, and the like)
for each election shows that the ratio of such word usage to describe the
2009 elections in Iran and Honduras ran 76-to-1.
could not be more blatant.
Differential attributions of "fraud" (etc.)
to two presidential
elections in 2009: Iran and Honduras 
Iran presi-dential election,
June 12, 2009
Honduras presidential election,
Nov. 28, 2009
Foreign Involvement in the Iran and Honduras Elections
It is important to Western ideologues to downplay any foreign involvement in
the rise of Iran's oppositional and protest movement, and any U.S.
involvement in the Honduran coup, repression and demonstration election.
that involvement was large, it would make the Iranian opposition appear a
bit compromised, serving to a greater or lesser degree as agents of the
Western regime-change program rather than a strictly indigenous democratic
As the U.S.-based International Center on Nonviolent Conflict's
Peter Ackerman and Jack Duvall cynically cautioned in 2003, for a
destabilization campaign to be maximally effective in Iran, it,
come from the CIA or Defense Department, but rather from pro-democracy
programs throughout the West."
In Honduras' case, on the other hand,
evidence of a U.S. role in the coup and U.S. support for the coup regime's
November 2009 election would be recognized as a throwback to traditional
U.S. gunboat diplomacy and support of military-oligarchic dictatorships
throughout the hemisphere.
There is no doubt that Iranian opposition to the clerical regime and to
Ahmadinejad was based on serious internal dissatisfaction and required no
outside support to make a strong electoral showing for the main challenger,
Mir Hossein Mousavi.
But external influence was far from negligible, and
played a significant role in how events inside Iran were represented to the
world and then back again into Iran via major foreign media such as BBC
Persian and Voice of America Persian.
Some of it was also indirect and easy to underestimate. Thus one frequently
prescribed tool in the regime-change playbook is to "tighten sanctions on
the Iranian economy and publicize the connection between regime belligerence
[against the United States] and economic malaise," and Iran has suffered
income losses from externally imposed sanctions and the diversion of
resources based on open U.S. and Israeli threats of attack and active
support of terrorist groups and actions.
Indeed, three decades earlier, U.S.
sanctions and U.S.-sponsored contra terrorism in Nicaragua prior to the 1990
election helped cut per capita income by one-half, and though the New York
Times found the Sandinista election loss in 1990 a "devastating rebuke" and
a testimony to U.S. patience and fair play, there can be little doubt
many voters chose Violeta Barrios de Chamorro in the belief that her victory
would end the patient U.S. assault.
But the direct interventionism in Iran was also conspicuous.
2006, large sums of money were openly voted by Congress for interfering in
Iran, and numerous
National Endowment for Democracy,
International Development, and other sources funded “democracy promotion”
programs that supplied telecommunication tools and propaganda to help
anti-government groups and parties.
Many NGOs, partly funded by Western
governments, played the same role.
Ackerman's ICNC participated in training
sessions held in Dubai in 2005 that instructed Iranian dissidents on the
techniques used in,
"successful popular revolts in places like Serbia," the
New York Times reported. "This was like a James Bond camp for
revolutionaries," one participant said.
As Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton noted in a major policy address at Georgetown University in December
"We can help change-agents gain access to and share information
through the internet and mobile phones so that they can communicate and
With camera phones and Facebook pages, thousands of protestors in
Iran have broadcast their demands for rights denied, creating a record for
all the world, including Iran’s leaders, to see. I’ve established a special
unit inside the State Department to use technology for 21st century
In March 2010, the Treasury Department lifted export
restrictions on various mass-market software to Iran, Cuba, and the Sudan
that will increase the power of Internet and cellphone users to circumvent
government control in these countries.
Across the board, the
publicly-expressed rationale repeats a single message:
"viral videos and blog posts are becoming the samizdat of our day."
So the U.S. government’s role as a "change-agent" in Iran included many
forms of intervention in the 2009 election and protest process.
To cite one
further example of how the U.S. government aided the opposition there, a
State Department official famously emailed Twitter impresario Jack Dorsey on
the third day after Iran's election to urge Dorsey to keep Twitter from
undergoing a scheduled maintenance shutdown; Dorsey and Twitter
Such interventions, direct and indirect, educational,
"democracy promotion," other informational and propaganda efforts, and the
provision of cellphones and other technical equipment to Iranians, all
helped make the protest less-than-perfectly indigenous, as the protesters
cooperated and interacted with foreign agents pursuing an explicit and
long-standing post-Shah agenda of destabilization and regime-change.
It is interesting to see how outwardly oriented was the protest movement in
Iran. A large fraction of the tweeting and standard text-messaging was
carried out in English, not in the indigenous languages of Iran.
same was true of many of the signs on display in the protest photos shown in
This appeal to foreigners was undoubtedly intended to bring
foreign pressure to bear on the Iranian government and to discredit it for a
variety of possible ends. The discrediting and delegitimizing parts of this
campaign were accomplished with a great deal of success, in large part
because of the receptivity of both Western establishment as well as the left
to anything that denigrates the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Nothing like this was to be found in official, NGO, and media treatment of
Hillary Clinton barely touched on Honduras in her Georgetown
University lecture in December 2009:
She boasted of "publicly denouncing"
the coup in Honduras - highly misleading, as it took the Obama administration
67 days (through September 3) before someone within its ranks actually
referred to Zelaya's ouster as a "coup," and by its actions from the
June 28 date of the coup onwards, there was never any doubt that the real
change-agents in Honduras supported by the Obama administration were the
oligarchy and military-security apparatus.
Nor is there any reason to
suppose that the Obama administration supplied a single cell phone to the
true democratic opposition in Honduras. And there were no tweets and other
information and protest flows from the "citizen journalists" and
samizdat-protesters in Honduras into the waiting arms of the Western media.
As Table 3 shows, a large sample of newspapers produced an enormous
(approximate) 2,000-to-11 disparity in items that mentioned the public
protests in Iran or Honduras in connection with one of more of the newer
telecommunication tools such as the Internet, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and
Differential media interest in the role of some newer electronic
in two countries where political unrest was met
by government repression: Iran and Honduras 
Iran: The first 30 days of protests following the June 12,
2009 presidential election
(June 13 - July 12)
Honduras: The first 30 days of protests following the June
28, 2009 coup d'état (June 29 - July 28)
Even more striking, however, whereas a large fraction of the items in the
first row that dealt with Iran's protests featured quite prominently the
role played by these tools in organizing protests and in resisting and
circumventing Iranian government efforts to quell the protests and to
silence dissent, in the 11 items on Honduras reported in row 2, these same
tools were treated in passing - not as samizdats in the hands of Honduras'
democratic opposition to the coup.
Instead, the exact same technologies that
Western policymakers and reporters and commentators lauded for helping to
pry open greater democratic spaces inside Iran were virtually ignored when
the focus turned away from a regime opposed by the United States and its
allies and towards a coup regime supported by the United States.
pattern was true even during the overlapping period between the protests in
Iran and the protests in Honduras.
"The government television station and a
television station that supports the [ousted] president were taken off the
air," the New York Times reported from Honduras on the morning after the
"Television and radio stations broadcast no news. Only wealthy
Hondurans with access to the Internet and cable television were able to
follow the day's events."
But, typical of Western media coverage of
Iran's protests, the Times quoted James K. Glassman, an under secretary of
state for public diplomacy in the
Bush administration, and now the executive
director of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.
"What we saw
in Iran is that the private sector played a very important role in
disseminating information there," Glassman told the Times. "Companies like
Twitter and Facebook facilitated a lot of the activity in Iran."
There was clearly a class element involved in the protests in Iran and
The protesters in Iran were heavily middle and upper class, people
who could afford and would have cell phones and could speak English. The
situation was reversed in Honduras, where the coup and demonstration -
election candidates were oligarchy-based, with the poorer masses
protesting - but not supplied with or able to use cellphones to their
pro-democracy messages out, and with Western elites, governments, media,
NGOs, and even liberals and the left overwhelmingly preoccupied with Iran.
So the alignment is a familiar one to students of U.S. history:
On the one
hand, the United States sided with an oligarchy in Latin America to carry
out an anti-democratic coup, and the establishment U.S. media accommodated
this policy with their apologetics on behalf of the coup regime and their
suppression of the voices of Honduras' real democrats.
On the other hand,
the United States pursued a regime-change agenda in Iran against its
clerical regime, exploiting a highly Westernized, rebellious middle and
upper class minority to help destabilize its target, again with sure
establishment media support and worldwide amplification of protest voices,
but this time even the support of a new kind of Western political
configuration - call it the democracy - promotion left.
During the peak of Iran's street demonstrations in June 2009, Ethan
Zuckerman of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society summed up the
role played by the newer telecommunication technologies and software
"[S]ocial media at this point is most useful at making
that what is a local struggle become a global struggle. I think that is what
is happening here. It is helping people globally feel solidarity and it's
keeping international attention on what's happening. It's giving people a
sense of involvement that they otherwise wouldn't have..."
accompanying photograph (below) depicted several Iranian woman with their
backs turned towards the camera, and another Iranian woman sitting to their
rear, facing the camera and holding a mobile phone; apparently, she was
Science Monitor's caption (19 June 2009) simply reads:
wearing an Iranian flag uses a mobile phone on the streets
of Tehran on Tuesday. Reuters."
fails to point out that the Iranian flag was the symbol of
the Ahmadinejad campaign during the 2009 presidential
election (in contrast to the color green adopted by the
so the "woman
wearing an Iranian flag" in the photograph must have been an
on her way to
or from the unity rally organized by her fellow Ahmadinejad
supporters on Tuesday, 16 June 2009.
say, the corporate media took no interest in her opinion or
those of her ideological sisters.
But Zuckerman's explanation misses the crucial selectivity of this global
role now played by the new "social media."
As we have observed throughout
Part 1 (top page) and now Part 2 of this analysis, the moment the accusation of vote
fraud in Iran (however unsubstantiated) triggered massive street
demonstrations in protest of a "stolen" election, foreign news media were
riveted to these events, and featured the stolen-election line as well as
reports about Iran's pro-democracy, reformist movement for several weeks.
So, yes, in this case, people around the world (but especially in the
metropolitan centers of the West) expressed solidarity towards Iran's
protestors, as the Western media kept people's attention focused on
struggles inside Iran, and propagated questions globally about the
legitimacy of the regime.
When we turn to Honduras, however, this pattern breaks-off, and the
existence of so-called social media contributed nothing.
For as we just saw,
during the first 30 days after the coup, the signature "social media" were
barely mentioned in reports about Honduras. But this was not because the
Internet and blogs, mobile phones, text-messaging, Facebook and Twitter, and
digital videographic capabilities were inaccessible to Hondurans who opposed
the coup and who demanded the restoration of their democratic rights.
Rather, this was because the same Westerners who featured these capabilities
when discussing Iran shut-down mentally and morally when Honduras was
concerned, and ignored its democratic movement.
In dramatic contrast to
those who struggle for democracy and social justice inside Iran, the local
struggles of Hondurans were prevented from becoming a "global struggle," far
fewer people outside of Latin America expressed solidarity with Hondurans,
and international attention (but especially in the metropolitan centers of
the West) faded almost immediately.
At a conference called "Cyber Dissidents - Global Successes and Challenges"
in April 2010, presenters attended from a number of countries where
telecom + apps have been used to circumvent government censorship and
Non-U.S. speakers were featured from opposition movements in
Iran, Syria, China, Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela.
regimes that the United States targets for destabilization produce "cyber
dissidents" of interest to U.S. conference organizers, the conference
managed to miss voices of opposition from any country where repressive
regimes are supported by the United States (Honduras included).
Just as there are "worthy" victims, there are also "cyber dissidents" who
become of great interest to the enlightened West, as in Iran.
year, a George Polk Award (for journalism) was given in the new category of videography to the "anonymous individuals" who digitally recorded the
shooting death of Neda Agha-Soltan on a street in Tehran in June 2009, and
then uploaded the video to the Internet, YouTube, and beyond, along with the
message "Please let the world know."
"The video became a rallying point for
the reformist opposition in Iran," the Polk Award's panel of advisers
explained in giving the award to otherwise anonymous recipients.
But there are also "unworthy" victims, who find it difficult, if not
impossible, to establish any kind of recognition of their "dissident"-status
in the West, and who receive little, if any, help in publicizing their
struggles against repressive status quos, as in Honduras.
Thus, as we showed
in Part 1, the individuals who recorded and then uploaded to the Internet
and YouTube the video images of the July 2009 shooting death of the Honduran
protester, Isis Obed Murillo, not only received no Polk or any other award,
but these images failed to become a rallying cry within the Western media
and among human rights campaigners - even the same campaigners for whom the
images of Neda's death were recognized as the,
"most significant viral video
of our lifetimes."
The world never heard.
Indeed, this dichotomous pattern is long-standing, and reflects the
structure of power in the global system.
It shows not the slightest sign of
being overcome - or even significantly reduced - by the spread of "social media"
and the refurbished, empire-friendly ideology of "democracy-promotion."
 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.
 Following the elimination of invalid votes, the handling of
complaints, and a 10% vote recount by Iran's Guardian Council in the
second-half of June 2009, the final results as reported by Iran's
Interior Ministry on June 29, 2009 were as follows: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
24,525,491 (62.6%); Mir Hossein Mousavi, 13,258,464 (33.8%); Mohsen
Rezai, 656,150 (1.7%); and Mehdi Karroubi, 330,183 (0.8%).
 See Honduras: Human Rights and the Coup d'État, Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights, December 30, 2009, especially "The 'fourth
ballot box'," para. 82-87.
 See "Honduran Election Results Still Need to be Scrutinized,"
Council on Hemispheric Affairs, December 15, 2009. This article reported
that on the night of the election, the "U.S.-backed Honduran civil
society coalition, Hagamos Democracia (Making Democracy, HD)" estimated
the voter turnout rate to be 48.7% and "claiming 99% accuracy." Also,
the "pro-Zelaya National Front of Resistance against the Coup calculated
a 65-70% rate of abstention by counting the number of voters entering
polling stations and comparing that figure to the number of individuals
who were registered to vote," which is to say, a voter turnout rate of
 See Jesse Freeston, "Honduran elections exposed," The Real News
Network, December 8, 2009. "The coup government, not officially
recognized by any country in the world, was hoping to gain international
legitimacy by demonstrating a large turnout at the polls," Freeston
explains. "That 62% figure appeared at 10 p.m. on election night, after
the Electoral Tribunal's computer system broke down for three hours... So
where did the 62% number come from? A high-ranking official at the
Electoral Tribunal told me off-camera that the president of the
tribunal, Saul Escobar, on the night of the election announced the
number out of nowhere. When I asked the official to say that on camera,
they responded: do you really want me to get shot? The coup regime's
announcement that more than 60 percent of Hondurans voted on election
day has been enough to drastically change the dynamics of the situation.
Governments that previously stated the elections were illegitimate now
consider them a triumph."
 See, e.g., Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "The U.S. Aggression
Process and Its Collaborators: From Guatemala (1950-1954) to Iran
(2002-)," Electric Politics, November 26, 2007; and Seymour M. Hersh,
"The Bush administration steps up its secret moves against Iran," New
Yorker, July 7, 2008.
 See, e.g., Eva Golinger, "Washington and the Coup in Honduras: Here
Is the Evidence," Postcards from the Revolution, July 15, 2009; and
Michaela D'Ambrosio, "The Honduran Coup: Was It A Matter of
Behind-the-Scenes Finagling by State Department Stonewallers?" Council
on Hemispheric Affairs, September 16, 2009. In a letter signed and
circulated by the deposed President José Manuel Zelaya on the one-year
anniversary of the coup, Zelaya himself stated: "The United States was
behind the coup d'état. The intellectual authors of this crime were an
illicit association of old Washington hawks and Honduran capitalists
with their partners, American affiliates and financial agencies." ("Zelaya:
Coup was planned by U.S. Southern Command," Agence France Presse, June
 See Ian Kelly, "Honduran Elections," U.S. Department of State,
November 29, 2009.
 See Alexei Barrionuevo, "Obama Writes to Brazil's Leader About
Iran," New York Times, November 25, 2009. "President Obama sent a letter
on Sunday [Nov. 22] to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil
reiterating the American position on Iran's nuclear program, a day
before Iran's president made his first state visit to Brazil... On
Honduras, Mr. Obama justified American support for a presidential
election there after the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya in June. Mr.
Obama said in his letter that the situation would 'start from zero'
after the [Nov. 29] election, the Brazilian official said."
 "Neither Real Nor Free," Editorial, New York Times, June 15, 2009;
"The Honduras Conundrum," Editorial, New York Times, December 5, 2009.
 See Edward S. Herman and Frank Brodhead, Demonstration Elections:
U.S.-Staged Elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and El
Salvador (Boston: South End Press, 1984), Ch. 4, "El Salvador," pp.
 "Democracy's Hope in Central America," Editorial, New York Times,
March 30, 1982.
 Lindsey Gruson, "A fingerhold for dissent in Salvador," New York
Times, March 17, 1989.
Also see Herman and Brodhead, Demonstration Elections. As these authors
noted, in March 1981, the military of El Salvador "published a list of
[some 138] 'traitors' responsible for the country's woes - essentially a
death list... There ensued an increase in violence under a state of siege,
with many thousands of civilian murders and the emergence of a society
whose most revealing feature was the daily search for and removal of
mutilated bodies" (pp. 117-118). Under conditions such as these, El
Salvador held both its March 1982 and March 1984 elections.
 See Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The
Political Economy of the Mass Media, 2nd Ed. (New York: Pantheon Books,
2002), Ch. 3, "Legitimizing versus Meaningless Third World Elections: El
Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua," pp. 87-142.
 Steven R. Weisman, "Reagan Predicts Nicaraguan Vote Will be
'Sham'," New York Times, July 20, 1984; "Nobody Won in Nicaragua,"
Editorial, New York Times, November 7, 1984.
 Michael Ignatieff, "Who Are Americans To Think That Freedom Is
Theirs To Spread?" New York Times Magazine, June 26, 2005. For bland
lies told in the service of American Power, it would be hard to surpass
Ignatieff's work overall and this essay in particular.
 See, e.g., Kari Lydersen, "Welcome to the new Honduras, Where
right-wing death squads proliferate," AlterNet, April 27, 2010; and Kari
Lydersen, "Violence Against Honduran Resistance Movement, Unionists
Continues," In These Times Blog, October 11, 2010.
 See "Frente Nacional de Resistencia supera la meta de un millón 250
mil firmas," Resistencia, September 13, 2010. (For an English
translation, see "1,250,000 signatures for the refounding of Honduras,"
Quotha, the personal website of the U.S. academic Adrienne Pine. Pine
translates the opening two paragraphs of the article from the website of
the National Front of Popular Resistance in Honduras as follows: "The
National People's Resistance Front FNRP today exceeded its goal of one
million 250 thousand signatures on the Sovereign Declaration for the
Popular and Participatory Constituent Assembly, and for the return of
Presidente Manuel Zelaya Rosales, Father Andrés Tamayo and the rest of
those Hondurans who have been expatriated and are in political exile.
The Front today, Sunday, reached one million 269 thousand 142
signatures, earlier than the deadline for their collection, this
September 15th, the day on which the 189th anniversary of Honduran
independence from the kingdom of Spain will be celebrated.")
 Namely, in Ginger Thompson, "Region Finds U.S. Lacking on
Honduras," New York Times, November 28, 2009.
 Namely, in Elizabeth Malkin, "Fate of Ousted leader Clouds Election
Result in Honduras," New York Times, December 1, 2009.
 Factiva database searches carried out under the "Newspapers: All"
category on October 7, 2010. The exact search parameters were as
follows: For Iran: rst=tnwp and atleast2 Iran* and (human rights abuse*
or human rights violation*) for the two time periods specified; and for
Honduras: rst=tnwp and atleast2 Hondur* and (human rights abuse* or
human rights violation*) for the three time periods specified.
 About the zero in the third row for the first 30 days after coup
d'état in Honduras (June 29 - July 28, 2009): In fact, Factiva produced
8 matches. But upon checking each of them, we determined that all
mentions of human rights abuses in articles also mentioning Honduras
referred to human rights abuses that either had occurred in the past in
Honduras or that had occurred elsewhere in Latin America. For this
reason, we've excluded these from our total, leaving us with zero. Thus,
for example, Simon Romero wrote in the New York Times about "countries
like Chile, Argentina and Brazil, where bitter memories linger over
human rights abuses by military officials that toppled civilian rulers
in the 1960s and 1970s" ("Rare Hemisphere Unity In Assailing Honduran
Coup," June 29, 2009). Similarly, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported
that "The coup in Honduras brings back bitter memories in Latin America,
where for years military officials toppled civilian rulers at will,
unleashing horrific human-rights abuses" (Marina Jimenez, "Honduras coup
at odds with new politics in Americas," July 1, 2009). In London's
Independent, Hugh O'Shaughnessy reported that in 2001, "Democratic
Senator Chris Dodd attacked Mr. [John] Negroponte…for drawing a veil
over atrocities committed in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, by
military forces trained by the US. Mr. Dodd claimed that the forces had
been 'linked to death squad activities such as killings, disappearances
and other human rights abuses'" ("Democracy hangs by a thread in
Honduras," July 19, 2009). Richard Collie wrote in the Korean Times that
"since World War II, the School of the Americas (SOA), founded in Panama
but now based in Fort Benning, Ga., under the new guise of 'Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation'…has its grubby finger
prints all over a long list of political assassinations, coups and human
rights abuses in the region" ("Iron Fist, Velvet Glove: Obama and
Honduras," July 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.
 For the results of Iran's June 24, 2005 presidential runoff, see
Ali Akbar Dareni, "Iran Council OKs Presidential Vote Results,"
Associated Press, June 29, 2005.
 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.
 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.
 Factiva database searches carried out under the "Newspapers: All"
category on August 25, 2010. The exact search parameters were as
follows: For the Chatham House analysis: rst=tnwp and Iran and (Chatham
House or Ali w/2 Ansari) for the period June 21, 2009 - December 21,
2009; and for the second PIPA-WPO analysis: rst= tnwp and Iran and
(Program on International Policy Attitudes or worldpublicopinion) for
the period February 3, 2010 - August 3, 2010. We found zero reports on
the PIPA-WPO survey released on February 3, and 150 reports either on
the Chatham House study that criticized Iran's election results or that
invited Ali Ansari to comment on Iranian affairs.
 Eric A. Brill, Did Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Steal the 2009 Iran
Election?, Self-Published Manuscript, last updated August 29, 2010. Also
see Alvin Richman, "Post-Election Crackdown In Iran Has Had Limited
Impact on the Minority Expressing Strong Opposition to the Regime," PIPA
- WPO.org, February 18, 2010.
 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, August, 2009, p. 2
 Brill, Did Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Steal the 2009 Iran Election?.
 Factiva database searches carried out under the "Newspapers: All"
category on August 25, 2010. The time-periods searched began
four-weeks-to-the-day (or 28 days) prior to each election, and continued
through four weeks (or 28 days) after the election, for a combined
search period of 57 days each. The exact search parameters were as
follows: For Iran: rst=tnwp and Iran and (election* or vote*) w/10
((phony or phony) or (rig or rigg*) or stole* or fake* or farc* or sham
or fraud*) not (Afghanistan or Honduras)) for the period May 15-July 10,
2009; and for Honduras: rst=tnwp and Honduras and (election* or vote*)
w/10 ((phony or phoney) or (rig or rigg*) or stole* or fake* or farc* or
sham or fraud*) not (Afghanistan or Iran)) for the period November
2-December 28, 2009.
 Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall, "The nonviolent script for Iran,"
Christian Science Monitor, July 22, 2003.
 James K. Glassman and Michael Doran, "The Soft Power Solution in
Iran," Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2010. As Glassman and Doran
continue: "Despite Iran's oil wealth, the economy has for years been in
miserable shape thanks to bad management, corruption and the squandering
of funds on Arab terrorist groups and the nuclear program. The slogans
of the [Green Wave] protestors demonstrate that they are connecting the
dots between the regime's foreign policy and economic privation."
 See "The Morning After in Nicaragua," Editorial, New York Times,
February 27, 1990; and "Nicaragua's Second Revolution," Editorial, New
York Times, April 25, 1990.
 The September 30, 2006 Iran Freedom Support Act directed the
executive branch to destabilize Iran (which it had been doing anyway),
but the Act left the actual sums of money to be used for this purpose to
its discretion. Quoting the Act: "Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, the President is authorized to provide financial and political
assistance (including the award of grants) to foreign and domestic
individuals, organizations, and entities working for the purpose of
supporting and promoting democracy for Iran. Such assistance may include
the award of grants to eligible independent pro-democracy radio and
television broadcasting organizations that broadcast into Iran." (Sec.
302(a)(1), "Assistance to Support Democracy for Iran.") For
contemporaneous reporting on the actual dollar-sums involved, see Robin
Wright, "Iran on Guard Over U.S. Funds,"Washington Post, April 28, 2007.
 Negar Azimi, "Hard Realities of Soft Power," New York Times
Magazine, June 14, 2007.
 Hillary Rodham Clinton, "Remarks on the Human Rights Agenda for the
21st Century" (Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.), U.S. Department
of State, December 14, 2009.
 See Mark Landler, "U.S. Hopes Export of Internet Services Will Help
Open Closed Societies," New York Times, March 8, 2010.
 Hillary Rodham Clinton, "Remarks on Internet Freedom" (at the
Newseum in Washington, D.C.), January 21, 2010.
 See Brad Stone and Noam Cohen, "Social Networks Spread Iranian
Defiance Online," New York Times, June 16, 2009; Mark Landler and Brian
Selter, "Washington Taps Into a Potent New Force in Diplomacy," New York
Times, June 17, 2009; and Mike Musgrove, "Twitter Is a Player in Iran's
Drama," Washington Post, June 17, 2009.
 See Golnaz Esfandiari, "The Twitter Devolution," Foreign Policy
Blog, June 7, 2010. Also see the analysis by Malcolm Gladwell, "Small
Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted," New Yorker, October 4,
2010. Esfandiari summed up the real contribution of the newer
telecommunication technologies and software applications less in terms
of their impact on Iranian life, than in terms of their impact on the
Western consumers of non-Iranian media: "Twitter played an important
role in getting word about events in Iran out to the wider world.
Together with YouTube it helped focus the world's attention on the
Iranian people's fight for democracy and human rights. New media over
the last year created and sustained unprecedented international moral
solidarity with the Iranian struggle."
 In the past, we've analyzed at great length both
Western-establishment as well as left-denigration of the Islamic
Republic of Iran. For one example of the former, see Edward S. Herman
and David Peterson, "The Iran Versus U.A.-NATO-Israeli Threats," MRZine,
October 20, 2009; and for one of the latter, see Edward S. Herman and
David Peterson, "Riding the 'Green Wave' at the Campaign for Peace and
Democracy and Beyond," MRZine, July 24, 2009. In the case of Iran in
particular, the alignment between the Western establishment and the
Western left (or faux left) is striking.
 See Ian Kelly, "Termination of Assistance and Other Measures
Affecting the De Facto Regime in Honduras," U.S. Department of State,
September 3, 2009. On this day, this State Department spokesman's exact
words were: "The Department of State announces the termination of a
broad range of assistance to the government of Honduras as a result of
the coup d’etat that took place on June 28."
 Factiva database searches carried out under the "Newspapers: All"
category on October 7, 2010. The exact search parameters were as
follows: For Iran: rst=tnwp and atleast2 Iran* and (internet or facebook
or youtube or twitter or sms or text-messaging or mobile communication*)
not Hondur* for the 30-day period specified; and for Honduras: rst=tnwp
and atleast2 Hondur* and (internet or facebook or youtube or twitter or
sms or text-messaging or mobile communication*) not Iran* for the 30-day
period specified. Note that in row 1, column 2, we report the total as
 Elizabeth Malkin et al., "Honduran President Is Ousted in Coup,"
New York Times, June 29, 2009.
 Julie Creswell, "How to Start a Company (And Kiss Like Angelina),"
New York Times, July 12, 2009.
 Yigal Schleifer, "Why Iran's Twitter revolution is unique,"
Christian Science Monitor, June 19, 2009.
 See the website for the Conference on Cyber Dissidents: Global
Successes and Challenges, George W. Bush Presidential Center, April 19,
 See "Speaker Biographies," George W. Bush Presidential Center,
April 19, 2010.
 In keeping with this pattern, the "Cyber Dissidents" conference
also invited Oscar Morales Guevara, the founder of One Million Voices
Against FARC - a Facebook group that, like official U.S. policy, supports
the regime in Colombia, while propagating worldwide opposition to the
main rebel force that opposes it.
 See the George Polk Award for Videography, "2009 Award Winners,"
Long Island University. Also see Brian Selter, "Honoring Citizen
Journalists," New York Times, February 22, 2010.
 Here quoting the State Department's Jared Cohen, in Jesse
Lichtenstein, "Digital Diplomacy," New York Times Magazine, July 18,