Iran's semi-official news outlets have something of a reputation for taking conspiracy theorism to the next level. They've written on Israel's secret plans to annex Iraq, the conspiracy by Western media to fabricate quotes by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemning the Holocaust and the secret Jewishness of the British royal family. You may notice a certain theme here.
On Sunday, the hard-line semi-official Fars News dropped one of its biggest bombshells yet: The United States government has been secretly run by a "shadow government" of space aliens since 1945. Yes, space aliens. The alien government is based out of Nevada and had previously run Nazi Germany. It adds, for timeliness, that the controversial NSA programs are actually a tool for the aliens to hide their presence on Earth and their secret agenda for global domination. This is all asserted as incontrovertible fact with no caveats.
There are so many wonderful details here. As proof that aliens were secretly behind the Nazis, the report explains that Germany built hundreds of submarines toward the end of the war, far more than would have been possible with mere human technology. It does not explain why aliens with access to interstellar travel built subs that were so grossly incapable against the British navy, or why all-powerful extraterrestrials were unable to help the Nazis resist an invasion by Allied forces that are mere cavemen relative to their own technology. So far, these are pretty unimpressive aliens.
In any case, after losing the war, the aliens apparently installed themselves as the secret force behind the United States government. President Obama is said to be a tool of the aliens, though anti-alien factions within the U.S. government are fighting to topple him. Their present aim is to install a global surveillance system that will, somehow, allow them to finally impose a one-world government and enslave humanity.
The best part to all this, to me, is the sourcing. Fars News takes us through a veritable hall-of-mirrors of sources "confirming" their scoop. The progenitor of it all, of course, is ostensibly NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who has waited until now to reveal that the real reason for all those NSA programs is aliens. As best I can tell, Fars claims that Snowden gave this information to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). They also say it was independently confirmed by former Canadian defense minister Paul Hellyer. (Hellyer, who is 90, does indeed argue that aliens have visited Earth many times, though I haven't seen him comment on this particular story.) The FSB, they say, put all this information down in a secret report, which was inexplicably obtained by the ultra-fringe conspiracy theory Web site, Whatdoesitmean.com.
Yes, this story is highly entertaining, as are many of the bizarre conspiracy theories proposed by official or semi-official news agencies in authoritarian states. But there's also a more serious undercurrent here. A worldview that sees the U.S. as an evil hegemonic force so irrationally driven toward global domination that it must be run by space aliens is not a worldview that is predisposed toward negotiation or accommodation. It's one that justified, or perhaps even necessitates, total resistance and a refusal to compromise. To be clear, this does not appear to be the present view of the Iranian president; the ongoing and highly public friction between Rouhani's moderate-minded camp and Fars is proof enough of that. But the fact that there are people anywhere within the Iranian system sympathetic enough to this viewpoint to let through an article like this is a reminder of how some hard-liners see the world.