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Does The Name Ahmad Chalabi Ring A Bell?

Reported by Nancy - June 10, 2005 -

Last night (6/9) on Special Report, Brit Hume used his one-on-one interview segment to talk with Michael Ledeen (holder of the American Enterprise Institute's Freedom Chair & reactionary ideologue par excellence) about the situation in Iran.

At 6:21pm, Hume interviewed Ledeen (AEI). Ledeen started off by claiming that "people [in Iran] are constantly demonstrating their hatred of the regime & their desire to be free." Hume asked why we don't hear about this, & Ledeen said it's "all over the blogs." Hume suggested that Western news media aren't allowed to cover Iran, & Ledeen agreed, adding that "they have killed foreign reporters." Hume asked how Ledeen follows events there if it's so difficult & Ledeen said he reads "Persian blogs" in Farsi, & "get[s] emailss & faxes." He added that "some of the foreign radio & TV" do a better job reporting on Iran. Hume asked Ledeen to talk about events surround the Iranian national soccer team. Ledeen said soccer games are an "opportunity for political demonstrations" & there was some discussion about women starting to attend soccer games & taking part in the demonstrations. Ledeen sneered that it's all part of Iran "pretending to have elections" (which he said aren't real because the "leaders picked 6 candidates" out of 1000 who wanted to run). He dismissed President Khatami as a "so-called reformist president" & said the "country is more repressed than ever." Hume asked whether the circumstances that could lead to revolution are present, & Ledeen said they are, the only thing lacking is US support. He asserted that "this administration has done bad on the subject" & noted that "they've been saying for 4 years" they'd support an Iranian revolution but haven't done anything concrete about it. Hume asked what the administration could do, & Ledeen rattled off a list, starting with "defend dissident journalists" & ending with "we should be giving money to Farsi broadcasters." When Hume asked if he meant that RIce & Bush "oughta be out there pounding the table" Ledeen agreed, & when Hume asked why that wasn't happening, Ledeen simply said "Appeasement".

Comments: The entire conversation took place without the slightest hint that either participant was aware of some pretty heavy irony. How can Hume, with a straight face, wonder why "Western media" aren't too good at covering Iran? For one thing, the major European news orgs are generally much better at covering the world than any US-based media conglomerate (especially since CNN became just another cog in a wheel at a megacorporation). For another thing, if Hume wants an example of poor coverage of world news, he need look no further than his own channel & his own program. Iran is mentioned on the 2 FNC programs I monitor (FNL & Special Report) only rarely, & only in the context of Bush's "axis of evil" concept -- as a source of terrorism & terrorists, as a rogue regime, as a "bad guy" because Iran wants to join the nuclear club, & so on.

More importantly, have we learned absolutely nothing from listening to Iraqi exile groups with an agenda? Has Ledeen already forgotten Ahmad Chalabi's Iranian connections, or does he choose to ignore them in order to advance his own ideological agenda?

For more background on Ledeen, there's a good, if brief, profile from 2003 at AlterNet, including this telling paragraph:

Now Michael Ledeen is calling for regime change beyond Iraq. In an address entitled "Time to Focus on Iran -- The Mother of Modern Terrorism," for the policy forum of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) on April 30, he declared, "the time for diplomacy is at an end; it is time for a free Iran, free Syria and free Lebanon."

Or you can check out his page at the American Enterprise Institue. Neither profile goes into much detail about some of his more ... er, interesting history, like his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal.

My favorite Michael Ledeen quotation:

"Every 10 years or so, the US needs to pick up some small crappy little country & throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business"
- Quoted by Jonah Goldberg, "Baghdad Delenda Est, Part Two," National Review Online, 23 April 2002 (& note the date).

As it turns out, Ledeen has an article in NRO dated June 8, 2005 -- "The War Against the Torture Masters:
Will any Western leader proclaim the Iranian elections a fraud?" -- which is basically the same material he discussed with Hume on Special Report on 6/9. Ain't self-promotion grand?

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Hume, Ledeen, Iran). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.