PressTV’s American Corps

Swivel-eyed anti-American and antisemitic conspiracy theories fill the pages of Iran’s vile PressTV. But it’s not just regime lackeys airing these views. A cadre of credentialed Americans regularly churns out propaganda for the blacklisted Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) news outlet.

Foremost among them is Madison, Wisconsin-based Kevin Barrett, “author, journalist, and radio host with a P.h.D. in Islamic and Arabian studies.” His PressTV articles include “US, Israel waging biological warfare on massive scale,” “US officials must face execution over Soleimani,” and most recently, “US biological warfare against China could lead to WWIII.”

No topic is beneath the prolific Barrett, as long as it paints the U.S. (or Israel, of course) as a force for evil. There are no prizes for guessing who Barrett blames for 9/11 (clue: not al-Qaeda).

Barrett clearly has a soft spot for repressive regimes. In his latest article he regurgitates China’s ‘suggestion’ that the U.S. is responsible for Coronavirus. With great leaps of logic (“So, putting these two facts together…”) and a vivid imagination (“…out of control rogue agencies within [the USG] did in fact whether deliberately as is the most likely possibility [cause coronavirus] (sic)…”), even a flat earth conclave would consider Barrett’s articles a little far-fetched.

Not to be outdone, another Madison resident and former U. Minnesota professor James “Uncle” Fetzer throws Barrett’s relative caution to the wind. Cited in a PressTV article on March 5, Fetzer attributes the current “alleged coronavirus epidemic” to “biological warfare… being conducted against Iran by Zionist elements who are taking advantage of the situation.” He asserts, “Almost certainly, in my opinion, this is in fact a plot to damage Iran.”

Press TV

PressTV article highlighting Prof. Fetzer’s belief that coronavirus is a Zionist plot

Another PressTV regular and PhD is Philip Giraldi, a former long-serving CIA agent who refers to “the so-called Holocaust” and thinks pro-Israel American Jews ought to labeled as such whenever they appear on TV, “kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison…” Giraldi’s articles are regularly republished in PressTV and he likewise floats the idea that “it might be possible that Washington has created and unleashed the virus in a bid to bring Beijing’s growing economy and military might down a few notches.”

Admittedly, it is a testament to America’s healthy commitment to free speech that allows former college professors and intelligence agents to write such material and have it published both in the U.S. and in Iran, whose official state mantra is “Death to America” (although Barrett’s recent comment, “Here in the United States, murderers are still executed, so President Trump, Mike Pompeo and whoever else is behind this crime [of killing Qassem Soleimani] should be executed,” skates close to the prohibition on threatening the life of the President).

And whether or not providing material for a sanction-designated media outlet violates the ban on supplying goods and services – it is unclear if the contributors are remunerated  – it is regrettable that they choose to publish the most vicious anti-American conspiracies in one of the most virulently anti-American news organs on the planet. There are plenty of other outlets available for that purpose.