Friday, February 8, 2013

Inexpert Expert

I would like to briefly return to the article discussed in my first posting:
CBC must have had a wide choice of "experts" that could have been interviewed for this article on Iran's nuclear developments. Why did they choose Aurel Braun?
Aurel Braun has very distinguished credentials as an expert in International Relations, and is a widely published scholar, so on the surface he looks credible.
However, Aurel Braun is:
1) only an expert on Eastern Europe and Communism. He has no scholarly publications on Iran because he has no specialized knowledge of Iran. He does not speak the language, and has no in-depth knowledge of Iranian culture, history, religion or society;
 2) He has no specialized expertise on nuclear technologies, either for war or peaceful purposes;
 3) and most significantly, he is well-known to have extremist Zionist views and his statements on Iran are more in keeping with Israeli Government propaganda than any scholarly research.
Even a cursory research into Aurel Braun's background reveals that
1) he has held high positions in Canadian Jewish organizations that have a strong pro-Israel bent, including the B'nai Brith;
2) he is a controversial figure for his destructive chairmanship of the now-defunct NGO, Rights & Democracy (where he tried to enforced the position that human rights should not apply to Palestinians);
3) and he has frequently been quoted in right wing media making warmongering claims that were not only ignorant, but patently ridiculous. For example he has been quoted on the radio saying that as soon as Iran obtained a single nuclear weapon, it would use it. Given the fact of America's 1000s of nuclear bombs, and Israel's 100s, and the certainty that they would retaliate, this is tantamount to saying that the leadership of Iran would commit national suicide.
Aurel Braun has close to zero credibility to comment on the topic of this article. We must ask why CBC gave him this platform. If they did so in order to provide a range of opinion, then we must ask why they did not balance this article with at least one quoting a real Iran expert, or anyone with a least a scintilla of the credibility that Braun lacks.
CBC made a choice here, and the choice was clearly to promote war. CBC has chosen to weaponize its words on Iran, and Aurel Braun was the perfect choice of "expert" to carry this out.


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