Now, the moment so many of you have all been waiting for: the première of Clarion Fund/Aish Hatorah’s latest magnum opus in its epic trilogy of Islamophobia. Iranium is coming. It will be premiered (where else) at the Heritage Foundation and introduced by one of the great neocon charlatans, Richard Perle. It will be screened at New York City AMC Theaters. Years in the making and with a cast of neocon thousands (well, OK maybe “tens”) and a seeminly unlimited budget (fronted no doubt by far-right Jewish Republican fatcats like Barre Seid who spent $17-million promoting Obsession), Iranium will scare the wits out of you (well, maybe not you) and send you crawling to your local Congress member demanding that they do something, anything about Iran before it’s too late.
Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton actually watched the entire film before Clarion locked down its Vimeo account and made the file private. Their review is available at Teheran Bureau. If anyone here has access to the full length version, please let me know. I think it’s critical that progressives watch this film, blog about it and so steal the thunder from Clarion and the war party advocating attacking Iran. The more we can tell the world what this film is really about the less people will fall prey to the inevitable propaganda that will pass for objective information about the “Iranian threat.”
I’ve been watching video segments consisting of portions of the film and one sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s video of an interview with an alleged Iranian CIA spy, Reza Khalili (not his real name, nor is anything else about this guy genuine). The name was familiar to me and then I realized why. Yossi Melman profiled him in Haaretz. When I read his piece something about it smelled fishy. This was confirmed when Prof. Muhammad Sahimi also suspected fraud. He wrote about the alleged spy:
Even according to him [Khalili], the last time he was with the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] – if he was – was in late 1980s, twenty-years ago. Things have changed fundamentally. The IRGC has changed, but so also has the society. What relevance his “experience” has to the current state of affairs? None.
The article is also full of inaccuracies…When he was supposedly with the IRGC, there was no nuclear program to speak of; so what does he know? As much as anyone else based on public information.
…This guy, Khalili is not even smart. If he were, he would try to make his case without invoking Israel and the Nazis. The very fact that he does goes to show that he is associated with lunatics and at best is an opportunist.
On this subject, can you tell me any Iranian besides the Mujahadeen e-Khalq, who publicly advocate bombing Iran and who say if the U.S. doesn’t have the nerve they hope Israel will? Can you tell me any Iranian (other than perhaps monarchists living in Beverly Hills) who ape Bibi’s “it’s 1938 and Teheran is Munich” hysteria? Can you tell me any Iranian who complains that the West had a chance to overthrow the Iranian regime last June “without firing a single bullet” and didn’t do it? Do you know an Iranian who believes that among the last remaining signs of the coming of the Iranian messiah that must occur are the “destruction of Israel and bombing of Persian oil fields and European capitals?”
Does this guy pass the smell test?
One of the few honest statements in Melman’s profile is an acknowledgement that Khalili is associated with “conservative right-wing circles in the U.S.” Among other lies or misstatements in Melman’s profile is the claim that Khalili’s alleged mentor Dr. Ali Shariati, was assassinated by the SAVAK (Iran’s Shah-era secret police). Prof. Sahimi correctly notes that Shariati died of a terminal illness and was not killed by anyone. Either Khalili is making up stories and Melman hasn’t done his research or Melman himself is trying to pass off lies as truth.
Melman’s story also claims that Khalili taught Revolutionary Guard personnel how to use computers. In another passage, Khalili notes that his most active period in the Guard was in the “early 1980s.” I myself took a computer science course at Columbia University in 1980 and computers were in their infancy. Microsoft didn’t even begin as a company until 1980 and Windows wasn’t developed until 1985. I am dubious that Khalili taught anyone anywhere computers in the early 1980s. Another strike against him.
Clarion Fund has also trotted out similar alleged Muslim “turncoats” to people its earlier films, among them the notorious Zuhdi Jasser, the star of Third Jihad. Before that it was Walid Shoebat, the fake PLO terrorist, and Tawfiq Hamid. So it’s a common ploy of these people to latch onto sources of dubious repute and hang the weight of their expose on the expertise they bring and the ‘authenticity’ of their inside knowledge of the subject, whether it be the race for the world Muslim Caliphate or Iranian world ‘domination.
Take a look at a few of Khalili’s bedfellows and you’ll get a sense of how trustworthy he is. Roger Simon of Pajamas Media interviewed him in 2008, claiming the CIA offered an email approving publication of a profile of him (thus giving him the CIA Good Housekeeping seal of approval). Pat Robertson’s CBN also featured him.
Khalili has even written an “exposé” of his “double-life” working for the CIA while a Revolutionary Guard, A Time to Betray. It even looks like he hoodwinked as formidable a journalistic figure as the Washington Post’s David Ignatius into reviewing it (and highly favorably I might add).
I invite my readers to peruse other video footage used in Iranium. If you note any similar howlers to this one please let me know. We’ve got to take this propaganda apart line by line if necessary to drain the toxin from the body politic that the film is liable to build up.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.