Independent Investigative Journalism Since 1995

donate.jpg (7556 bytes)
Make a secure online contribution
Go to to post comments

Get email updates:

RSS Feed
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to Google

contactContact Us

Order Now


Age of Obama
Barack Obama's presidency

Bush End Game
George W. Bush's presidency since 2007

Bush - Second Term
George W. Bush's presidency from 2005-06

Bush - First Term
George W. Bush's presidency, 2000-04

Who Is Bob Gates?
The secret world of Defense Secretary Gates

2004 Campaign
Bush Bests Kerry

Behind Colin Powell's Legend
Gauging Powell's reputation.

The 2000 Campaign
Recounting the controversial campaign.

Media Crisis
Is the national media a danger to democracy?

The Clinton Scandals
Behind President Clinton's impeachment.

Nazi Echo
Pinochet & Other Characters.

The Dark Side of Rev. Moon
Rev. Sun Myung Moon and American politics.

Contra Crack
Contra drug stories uncovered

Lost History
America's tainted historical record

The October Surprise "X-Files"
The 1980 election scandal exposed.

From free trade to the Kosovo crisis.

Other Investigative Stories



What If Ahmadinejad Really Won?

By Robert Parry
June 15, 2009

It’s fast congealing into conventional wisdom that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole re-election through fraud and that the so-called “green revolution” of Mir-Hossein Mousavi – which was based in the country’s intelligentsia and middle class – got robbed.

But a strong case can be made that the large turnout, which was estimated at about 85 percent, was the key to a genuine landslide for Ahmadinejad, who is viewed as a friend of more traditional Iranians from the working classes and among the rural peasants.

That is the assessment expressed by Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty in a Washington Post op-ed citing their findings from extensive polling across Iran in mid-May that detected roughly the same 2-to-1 margin in favor of Ahmadinejad that emerged from the final tallies.

Ballen and Doherty also knocked down one of the central arguments cited by analysts who are claiming that Ahmadinejad committed fraud. That argument is that Mousavi, an Azeri, surely would have won Azeri-dominated districts which instead were recorded as going heavily for Ahmadinejad.

However, Ballen and Doherty reported that “our survey indicated … that Azeris favored Ahmadinejad by 2 to 1 over Mousavi.”

Their poll also undercut the widespread media assumption about Internet-savvy youth backing Mousavi. They found that only 1 in 3 Iranians have access to the Internet and the “18-to-24-year-olds comprised the strongest voting bloc for Ahmadinejad of all age groups.”

Nevertheless, the rush to the “fraud” judgment among much of the U.S. news media is shaping the political realities that now confront both Washington and Tehran. One of the snap media judgments has been that Ahmadinejad’s “theft” of the election proves that hardliners in Israel and neoconservatives in the United States were right all along about the impossibility of dealing rationally with Iran, that President Barack Obama was the "big loser," and that force is the only option to employ against Iran.

It also has been curious to see U.S. news organizations care suddenly about legitimate elections when most of them ignored, ridiculed or covered-up evidence that George W. Bush stole the U.S. presidential election in 2000 and possibly in 2004 as well.

In Election 2000, Florida – a state controlled by Bush’s brother Jeb and Jeb’s cronies – was the scene of widespread election irregularities. Then, when a recount was attempted, the Bush campaign sent well-dressed hooligans from Washington to Miami to stage a riot aimed at intimidating vote counters. Finally, Bush got five partisan Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the counting of votes and award the White House to Bush.

Yet, the U.S. press corps was extraordinarily passive about this well-documented election theft. Even when it became clear that Al Gore won the popular vote and would have carried Florida if all legal ballots had been counted, major U.S. news organizations, including the New York Times and CNN, misrepresented the facts to protect Bush’s “legitimacy.” [See’s “Gore’s Victory.”]

Similarly, serious irregularities in Election 2004, especially in the key state of Ohio, were never seriously investigated by the mainstream news media, which instead mocked Internet sites (including ours) and citizens groups as “conspiracy theorists” for citing some of the bizarre vote tallies favoring Bush. [For details, see our book, Neck Deep.]

Yet, when an election occurs in another country and an “unpopular” leader appears to win, an opposite set of rules apply. Anyone who doesn’t immediately accept the assumption of voter fraud is naïve; every “conspiracy theory” is cited respectfully while contrary evidence is downplayed or ignored, for instance the assumption about the Azeri vote that Ballen and Doherty debunked with their poll findings.

Another irony is that Iran's religious leaders now have ordered an investigation of the fraud allegations in a country not known for its democratic institutions. That is more than Americans got in 2000 and 2004.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to

To comment at Consortiumblog, click here. (To make a blog comment about this or other stories, you can use your normal e-mail address and password. Ignore the prompt for a Google account.) To comment to us by e-mail, click here. To donate so we can continue reporting and publishing stories like the one you just read, click here.

homeBack to Home Page is a product of The Consortium for Independent Journalism, Inc., a non-profit organization that relies on donations from its readers to produce these stories and keep alive this Web publication.

To contribute, click here. To contact CIJ, click here.