Version française ICI
These last months, the Iranian Press TV agency produced dozens of articles and many TV reports about the student boycott in Quebec. Analysts contacted by the press agency in New York, Shanghai and different Canadian cities are all favourable to the striking students’ demands. Press TV did not bother inviting specialists who could have explained how affordable higher education is in Quebec and that it will remain so, even after the increases proposed by the Charest government are in effect.
Lysiane Gagnon (La Presse – April 17, 2012): Remarks about a boycott (Notes sur un boycott)
Nathalie Elgrably (La vitre cassée – May 25, 2012): For whom are they struggling? (Pour qui se battent-ils?)
Questions being asked by Iranian TV hosts to their out-of-Quebec guests about the repercussions of the Quebec movement seem to reflect a hope in Tehran that the instability occurring in the province will spread elsewhere in Canada and in North America. This reaction can be explained in part by Tehran’s will to hurt Canada, as much as it can, after it imposed various sanctions against Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, an important ally of Iran whose government is being challenged by the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and other entities.
Daniel Pipes (June 15, 2012): Stay out of the Syrian Morass
GMBDR (February 15, 2012): Qaradawi Organization Sponsors Pro-Syrian Opposition Rally In Qatar
The titles of three videos broadcast by Press TV summarize the message conveyed by Tehran about the actual political context in Quebec:
Matching the Iranian agenda with the demonstrations taking place in Quebec, Press TV stated in a June 9, 2012 article that demonstrators gathered near the Formula 1 race site in Montreal “were also calling attention to the violation of human rights in Bahrain, which also hosted the franchise’s races in April despite mass demonstrations.” Important confrontations have taken place between Shiites and Sunnis in Bahrain recently.
The tip of the iceberg
Michel Chossudovsky is professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and a frequent commentator on Iranian Press TV programs. Agreeing with conspirationists in Tehran, he claims that al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11 events.
Fars News Agency (September 11, 2011): Ahmadinejad Views 9/11 Events as US Excuse for Attacking Muslim States
On Iranian Press TV, Chossudovsky describes the lifting of the tuition fee freeze in Quebec as the tip of a neo-liberal iceberg in Canada:
It is ironic to notice that Mr. Chossudovsky’s office at the University of Ottawa is located in the Desmarais Building named in honour of Canadian and international businessman Paul Desmarais after he gave a large sum of money to the University.
Introduced as an “International affairs expert” by Press TV, Kenneth Fernandez has also been invited to comment about what is happening in Quebec. Fernandez ran for the Canadian Action Party (CAP) in the Saint-Laurent-Cartiervielle riding in 2000 and 2004. In 2004, CAP leader, Paul Hellyer, a former Minister of Defense in the Trudeau cabinet held unsuccessful talks with Jack Layton on a merger with the NDP.
Referring to Jean Charest’s previous job as a Minister in Brian Mulroney’s Conservative cabinet in the eighties, Fernandez describes a huge conspiracy in order to explain Charest’s decisions regarding the tuition fees. It involves the CIA through a connection with Mulroney and George Bush father:
More conspiracy: asked to comment by their Iranian host about the origin of vandalism that takes place in demonstrations where people displaying the red square gather, Michel Chossudovsky and Kenneth Fernandez blamed infiltrators controlled by police:
In an interview broadcast by Quebec network TVA, MNA Amir Khadir has also given credibility to the argument of infiltrators in order to explain the vandalism that has occurred in Montreal in the last few weeks:
On June 7, 2012, MNA Amir Khadir’s own daughter, Yalda, was arrested by Montreal police who suspects her of having taken part to various acts of vandalism perpetrated during the student protest.
Press TV’s questions reveal a concern about the PQ and its secession project
Sometimes, one’s questions are more revealing than one’s assertions. Although nobody, for all practical purposes, in Quebec has made a connection between the recent demonstrations and the project of independence of Quebec, it should be stressed that Press TV hosts seem to worry about the issue. They insisted on asking their guests to comment about the impact that the demonstrations could have on a possible Quebec secession.
Michel Chossudovsky answered that, according to him, the current movement is not influenced by the sovereignty vs. federalism dynamic:
As for Kenneth Fernandez, he fears that the PQ will benefit from the current turmoil:
After having lined up commentators who portrayed Jean Charest in a negative light, after having expressed its reserve towards the PQ, Press TV has kept its only good words for Amir Khadir after he was arrested on June 5, 2012 for taking part in an illegal demonstration in Quebec City.
On June 4, 2011, Press TV also reported MNA Khadir’s statement to the effect that Prince William and his wife Kate touring Canada could be compared to “circus performers.”
During the Bouchard-Taylor Commission in 2007, another Iranian press agency (IQNA) announced that Amir Khadir and his Québec-Solidaire party had called a proposal aiming at forbidding public servants from wearing the Islamic veil “a delirium.”
Press TV made the headlines when its commentator Tariq Ramadan was fired by the city of Rotterdam in 2009
In 2007, Tariq Ramadan was hired by the city of Rotterdam “to help ‘bridge the divide’ between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities.” After having found out that Ramadan was working for Press TV, the propaganda organ of the Iranian regime, many Dutch political parties asked for and got his firing.
Nrc.nl (August 18, 2009): Rotterdam fires Tariq Ramadan over Iranian TV show
“Bridges” are built by Islamists to allow people to go in only one direction. Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, summarized this facet of the Islamist program best in his classic Milestones:
As we write these lines, we cannot determine with certainty whether or not Tariq Ramadan still hosts a program for Press TV. The relationship between Iran (Shiite) and the Muslim Brotherhood (Sunni) has severely deteriorated since the Brotherhood is involved in a military campaign to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime (Alawi) allied to Tehran.
Richard Martineau (Blog/Journal de Montréal – June 7, 2012): Trade-unions financial contributions to Quebec student associations (Contributions financières des syndicats aux associations étudiantes du Québec)
Lysiane Gagnon (La Presse – June 12, 2012): Wind of folly (Vent de folie)