Once again there is a new topic in the Middle East; this time Iran as a nation is being shaken by a fake revolution. Social media are being flooded with headlines, pictures and videos of a sudden crisis in another muslim country. It happens that Iran is being framed inside another war-related Propaganda campaign, otherwise known as psychological operations or PSYOP, it seems like to there is where all these years of research and advancements in communication technologies is taking us to.

Briefly, the history of PSYOP started at beginnings of the 20th century, it is an American warfare technology which has being exploited due to its effectivity through the years with substantial results as a weapon against a population. A technology which has been continuously updated until these days.

Today PSYOP, as this is called, is being triggered through the internet, aided in great part by social networks. Since access to the masses is pivotal for this device, these usual channels on internet are being hosts for several online news outlets which are spreading these image /text kits, under eye-catching headlines, which are then reinforced by the so-called mainstream media, followed with articles on printed press, television capsules, radio show mentions, and of course internet clickbait, which create a war on the media, before it is even real.

All that looks very exciting and targets youth which is highly dependent of these platforms for communication and interaction.

What is really happening now?

    First let’s look back to these same dates but last year; there was an epidemy of fakenews following Trump’s victory, and previously massive fake reports made by verified profiles on Twitter and Facebook accounts of activists, arguing to the public in the West about Syrian president Assad killing his own people.

The current PSYOP against Iran appeared exactly now, when Iran’s role in the peace process in the region has been very efficient, which for US and Israel is not really pleasant news.

The conflict crisis which has turned the so-called Middle-East into a provider of headlines, continues to mutate. After facing what was the XXI century exodus (i.e., the 2015 refugees crisis and the liberation of Aleppo), the news has turned into a sort of asset, which before the apparent democratisation of media by the hand of these social networks, made possible for people to create forum with their own agency, which was an exclusive privilege of big media companies the likes of CNN or even Disney Channel, until now.

This now means that the task of misinforming is no longer an exclusive responsibility of TV anchors on big media networks, but that it is now shared with normal people’s online activities. Long story short; due to the instrumentalisation of media into propaganda, innocent people’s miseries, unrest and lives are being commodified for the sake of profit.

The only difference from this year and last year in January is that, it was still unclear how many agencies were involved in this interventionist agenda, and what was the target or end of these fakenews. Social networks and the overflow of information might trigger bad algorithms, leaving individuals confused, distracted or desensitised, but what if this is all being monitored, or even triggered intentionally?

Either intentional, as it seems from last year’s fakenews epidemic, these irresponsible algorithms from social media, make it even harder to identify the core from where these fakenews are being elaborated. Yet, let’s acknowledge how our online interaction with these click-baits carries consequences, which sometimes might escape our real intentions. Still it would be wise to recognise that ignorance has always been humanity’s most recurrent flaw.


What's driving protests in Iran?

Ismael Ogando — Jan 3rd, 2018

fig. 1
Charlemagne Péralte was a leader of the Haitian resistance against the American invasion of 1917. He was Assassinated by US Marines during this occupation. His body was left to rot in the sun for days as a message to Haitians who sought to resist US occupation. The US Marines produced hundreds of copies of this photo distributing them in Haitian neighbourhoods.

fig. 2
Bana Alabed's story all began in September of 2016 when 7 year old Bana began to tweet from eastern Aleppo to share with the world her anxiety about living in a war-torn city. It is perhaps a sad reflection of the world we live in that her arrival on the social media scene provoked a certain amount of scepticism, hilarity even. It seems only fair to endeavour to consider the Bana case objectively.

Fig. 3
Fake activist pretending to be a civilian from East Aleppo calling for help to stop Assad on primetime-news.