The Blogfather and the Spy
Newsweek / Christopher Dickey

A central figure in what is supposed to be a vast international conspiracy to overthrow the Iranian regime has been officially invisible until now... Credibility problems are the more likely reason. In truth, we know who this guy is, and he's not the kind of character that even the hallucinatory conspiracy theorists of Tehran should want to build a case around. The regime's description of the so-called spy's travels, contacts, and opinions make it unmistakably clear that he's the mercurial, maddening Hossein Derakhshan, a.k.a. Hoder, a.k.a. The Blogfather. He is the man who started the Persian-language explosion on the Web in the earlier part of this decade that led directly to the blogging, texting, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube phenomenon that helped bring huge protests into Iran's streets last June and get the protesters' message to the outside world. Yet without Derakhshan—or at least without what he's alleged to have said and what he previously posted on the Web—the Iranian regime, even by its own lights, would not have much of a story to tell.

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