Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Daily Beast Takes the Bait on Anti-Iran Propaganda

Over at The Daily Beast's Cheat Sheet, which serves as a news aggregator, a post went up today with the eye-catching headline: "Iranian President Ahmadinejad Arrested."

The blurb accompanying the post claims:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was arrested Monday while on a visit to a book fair in Tehran, where he was held for seven hours and questioned by the Revolutionary Guards' intelligence unit. According to a source within the guards' unit, Ahmadinejad was intercepted while on his way to a meeting at the supreme leader’s office. His security team was stripped of communication devices and Ahmadinejad was questioned about documents that may be detrimental to the regime. He was warned, essentially, to keep his mouth shut about all matters that could harm the regime going into the upcoming presidential election.
How positively scandalous! The infamous Iranian bogeyman, along with his entourage, accosted, interrogated, threatened and silenced by the very security forces the hysterical Western media and political pundits would have you believe he himself commands and wields with an iron fist!

At the bottom of its short post, the Beast sources the information to The Guardian and links to the original article. But following the link, something doesn't feel right. Or look right.

Because it isn't right.

The link leads to a site called "The Guardian Express" at the URL 'Hey, what's the "lv" stand for?,' one might ask if one cared about such things as accuracy. It stands for "Las Vegas," because the website is actually a local community news forum in Nevada, not the prestigious British news outlet.

The article found on "The Guardian Express" site - posted by a forum member who goes by the moniker "randy77" - is a nearly completely plagiarized story stolen from the latest piece of nonsense published Tuesday by the pseudonymous neocon darling "Reza Kahlili," a serial liar and propagandist beloved by the Bomb Iran crowd who wears a surgical mask in public for absolutely no reason. "Kahlili" claims he is a former CIA agent who infiltrated the highest echelons of the Iranian intelligence apparatus and apparently some people believe him. Judging by his choice of headgear, he may also be a San Francisco Giants fan, but that might actually be a clever ruse to throw the pursuing mullahs off his trail.

Yes, he does this.
"Kahlili" is a regime change enthusiast who wants Iran attacked by the United States and Israel yesterday. He consistently publishes scoops on the right-wing loony-toon website WorldNetDaily that contain no factual information, save that a country called Iran does actually exist.

A few years ago he insisted that there is "no doubt" the Iranian government is "going to commit the most horrendous suicide bombing in human history. They will attack Israel, European capitals and the Persian Gulf region at the same time, then they will hide in a bunker [until a religious prophecy is fulfilled]… and kill the rest of the nonbelievers." He also said Iran had already enriched uranium to 90%, that is, weapons-grade, and that "they have missiles that they have not publicly shown, because that would verify their intention of carrying out nuclear warheads," whatever that means.

He's also warned of an "Iranian dominated worldwide terror network that now reaches the United States" and said that the Iranian government has planted sleeper cells in the U.S. that are ready to strike if Iran is attacked.  Impending terrorist acts carried out in the United States by Iranian agents is a recurring theme in his creative writing.

Wondering about "Kahlili"'s bona fides and impressive associates? "I thought I knew a lot about Iran until meeting with him," admitted racist Islamophobe Peter King, who is also somehow a U.S. Congressman.  He was a featured guest of the AIPAC-affiliated Washington Institute on Near East Policy in 2010.  This insane interview with leading lunatic Pam Geller might also be useful.

In 2011, "Kahlili" claimed both that Iran was planning an EMP attack on the United States and wrote, "Not only does the Islamic Republic already have nuclear weapons from the old Soviet Union, but it has enough enriched uranium for more. What's worse, it has a delivery system," because, hey why not?

He likes suggesting that the Iranian government is both messianic and genocidal, that it's planning to "annihilate the Jews" and wage an apocalyptic war to hasten the end times. Last fall he declared that "a three-person delegation of the Obama administration led by a woman engaged in secret negotiations with a representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei," and cut a sanctions-alleviating deal before the 2012 presidential election.

Earlier this year, "Kahlili" repeated the claim that Iran had "successfully...built a nuclear bomb with the help of Russia and North Korea and has enough weapons-grade uranium and plutonium for more." Soon thereafter, he pretended that there had been a massive explosion at the Iranian enrichment facility at Fordo, even though it wasn't true.

Just a couple of months later, however, he claimed his super secret sources revealed that "Iranian scientists are working on nuclear warheads – and trying to perfect them – at an underground site unknown to the West," adding that Iran had, as yet, only "succeeded in enriching uranium to 20 percent, which is 80 percent of the way to weapons grade."

Perhaps the most ridiculous allegation "Kahlili" has made in recent memory was when, on April 22, he stated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps was responsible for the bombings at the Boston Marathon a week earlier and that the Tsarnaev brothers were devoted followers of Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Needless to say, the claim that Ahmadinejad was arrested has not been corroborated by any other sources and should be taken with a grain of salt the size of Atlantis.

That The Daily Beast would promote such silliness, with false attribution that lends the tale the imprimatur of a real news story, no less, is a testament to both its own lack of fact-checking and willingness to believe whatever nonsensical stories pop up about Iran are floating around in cyberspace. A glimpse at the Beast's own "Xtra Insight" link on that same post, which brings the reader to an asinine article by shameless self-promoter, staunch Zionist and self-described "public intellectual" Bernard-Henri Lévy about regime change in Iran only drives the point home.

With "insight" like that, it's no wonder The Daily Beast has trouble seeing clearly.



As a result of this post getting some attention, The Daily Beast has issued a correction on its Cheat Sheet post:

Still no reference to the "sourcing" being WorldNetDaily or "Kahlili", but hey, it's something, right?

Meanwhile, Britain's Daily Mail has already picked up the story and run with it and FoxNews' Shepard Smith reported the story on air, citing "Great Britain's Guardian newspaper," and saying that The Guardian "quotes a source within Iran's Revolutionary Guards; that source says officials with the Supreme Leader held Ahmadinejad for seven hours and gave him a warning: 'Stop creating problems for the regime.'" Smith called the report "a real stunner" and promised there would be "developments on that, no doubt."

Nowhere in his report, does Smith ever mention the actual source being "Kahlili", who was - wait for it - an actual frequent FoxNews contributor back in 2011 and has been interviewed on FoxNews Radio alongside his buddy - wait for it - Billy Baldwin.

The clip can be watched below.

Has Fox News corrected its report yet? Just kidding.



Israeli analyst Meir Javedanfar, with whom I've had differences, has added another bit of skepticism to this story. He points out that Ashkan Safaei, a former broadcast journalist for Israeli State Radio, noted that "Ahmadinejad was not at the Tehran book fair on Monday as Kahlili claims. He was there on Tuesday, as corroborated by local news reports."

Kudos to all those who are converging upon, questioning and debunking this utter crap.



Unknown said...

I saw this same story on Fox news today. They also cited the UK's guardian. Very good take down.

Leig said...

I also was wondering about the truth behind this story. The only other "information" site I found relaying the news was the CNRI of mujahidin’s'( But i can't find it anymore (i should have taken a screen shot).

Anyway, thank you for the article.

Anonymous said...

Nice. ealier today I read my first dailybeast article and realised two paragraphs in that they were full of crap. Checked two more articles just to be fair which both confirmed my suspicions.
The funny part is I thought "this crummy website is just a left-wing fox news", so its telling that it was both fox news and thedailybeast that screwed up in tandem. Thedailymail is a whole lotta crap too, its all so telling.