About 4 years ago, I first came across Hasan Dai, who at the time was making the LA Persian TV circuit. At first glance, he was straight talking and charming, with a real populist appeal. He seemed like a guy you could go bar hopping with, who would pick up the check and teasingly scold you for even trying to spend a dime, all the while watching your back if a bar fight broke out. His slight lisp made him even more human and down to earth.
He got my attention talking about some nebulous organization called NIAC and some person called Trita or Azita or something. I assumed Trita/Azita was a woman. Apparently, Trita/Azita had been fooling American presidents, the State Department, and the CIA. They all were buying his quarter con for a dollar! I believed him and worryingly began to wonder what kind of a modern day Mata Hari he was talking about.
About three years passed, when one evening , I was watching the Jon Stewart Show and this Trita person suddenly shows up. Except that I was completely wrong. Trita was not Mata Hari. Not in the slightest, but rather Trita Parsi, who was promoting his latest book A Single Roll of the Diceon that night’s The Daily Show (http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-8-2012/trita-parsi). As I watched the interview, I realized this guy was actually making sense. No-ideology sense. Complex sense. Good sense. He was against war with Iran while, at the same time, was against the Iranian regime. I could not find a single flaw in his argument.
At the end of the show, I did googled “Trita Parsi” and came across this 2009 Time Magazine article written by Joe Kline, in which NIAC was described as "sane". (http://swampland.time.com/2009/11/17/sane-iranians-attacked/). Then l came across a long list of NIAC supporters: John Limbert, held captive in the American Embassy in Iran. (He is on their Board). Sarah Shourd, the American hiker who was kidnapped by the regime and imprisoned at Evin prison. Several members of Congress, former top diplomats and finally journalists like Roger Cohen, Joe Klein, and the eminently respected Fareed Zakaria, who extensively quoted NIAC's Reza Marashi on his show this past Sunday - see the clip here. (http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/14/nuclear-iran-war-or/)
Parsi’s positions seemed reasonable, sane, and well thought-out. He has come out against war with Iran, against the sanctions which only punish the people of Iran, but yet, also against the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran. What finally convinced me that Parsi is on the right track was an article written by Alex Kane, in which Kane details the full account of how Daniel Pipes has been bankrolling Dai all along, providing him with intellectual and financial support. The same Daniel Pipes who claimed the President Obama was a closeted Muslim apostate. The same Daniel Pipes who calls Iranian " brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene".
(http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/daniel-iranian-american.html). The same Daniel Pipes who has advocated that the United States use the terrorist organization Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) in a proxy war against the IRI reminiscent of the use of mujahadeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Then it all made perfect sense. Dai, I realized, was not a charming nice guy or drinking buddy, but rather, the Persian Joseph McCarthy, paid or designed to intimidate anyone who opposes the Neocons’ “Bomb, Bomb Iran” views. Dai, I realized, was simply a Shill, a weapon the Neocons use to attack and neutralize anyone who dares to challenge their version of the Truth. Thing is though, outside the unsophisticated, reality denying bubble of the LA TV world and the 50 Cent Army-style commentators on Iranian.com - (http://consciouslifenews.com/paid-internet-shill-shadowy-groups-manipulate-internet-opinion-debate/1147073/), nobody believes them. NIAC is legit.
If one is to believe the loud screams on this forum, NIAC is some sort of a controversial, isolated and disliked entity working for the regime.
The Mujahedin (MEK) and the Neocons may hate NIAC, but the leaders and intellectuals of our time respect and rely on this Iranian-American organization. Given a choice between Hassan Dai/Daniel Pipes and Fareed Zakaria/Alex Kane, I’m going with Zakaria/Kane. Hassan Dai is a shill in the hands of Daniel Pipes. And Daniel Pipes is a perfect example that just going to Harvard does not make you respectable. Most of his Middle Eastern analysis over the past twenty years has been inchoate gibberish. But I’ll leave the explanation of that for another post…