By way of background, I began research into Dai many months ago to learn who this darling of the neoconservative movement really is. Piecing together what I found through his writings, associates, documents, and now public email exchanges, a less than flattering picture of this character was formed (to say the least).
Crucially, I discovered that the Dai conspiracy machine owes its continued existence to a culture that relishes in sensational conspiracies and avoids holding anyone accountable. So in the interest of accountability, I am posting a rebuttal to claims Dai makes in his latest video. Please note that this is not intended as a defense of Majd, whom I also have little respect for. It is merely a modest attempt to return some semblance of accountability to a community that desperately needs it.
Here we go:
Dai begins AND ends by citing Majd’s view that sanctions aren’t effective and should not be pursued.
Response: At a conference organized by arch-neocon Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum, Dai stated that the reason he began his attacks against what he calls the Iranian web was because he saw efforts being made to ease sanctions and reduce tensions with Iran. This is a startling admission. It tells us what motivates Dai, and puts him at odds with the majority of Iranian-Americans.
Dai claims (with a visible sense of frustration) that if you follow the American news media, you are certain to have seen Hooman Majd frequently.
Response: This is a common theme of Dai’s writings, and something he seems to be very sensitive about. It must be frustrating to see Majd write for the like of the New York Times and appear on the major news networks. With Dai’s claim to legitimacy being a few appearances on VOA, the frustration is understandable. His writings, too, have failed to find their way beyond fringe publications.
Is Dai’s anger justified? Has Dai ever considered that perhaps dishonesty, distortions, and overall lack of quality of work might be why the mainstream will not take him seriously?
Hassan Dai, Hakha, Saeed Sakuee, and the tin-foil hat crowd have a comfortable home base in Farsi satellite shows with no standards or accountability, but Hassan agha seems baffled that Pars TV and the Financial Times would operate by different standards.
Finally, in documents unearthed from a defamation lawsuit against Dai, neocon Michael Rubin (former Chalabi promoter) is shown giving Dai step-by-step instructions on what to write, how to spell things, what his writing style should be, when to use adjectives and adverbs, and on and on. Rubin even tells Dai that he will run his articles by lawyers for editing so as not to violate US libel laws.
When one requires assistance with 4th grade level grammar, expecting to be published anywhere serious is just not realistic.
Dai complains that Majd spends considerable time in Iran for his writing.
Response: The drawback of writing in Iran is obvious. Writers may need to carefully word what they write for fear of being denied reentrance to Iran (or worse).
But it is crucial that this happens, especially when the writers are as articulate in English as Majd is. Without that, Americans are largely left with the musings of the Chalabi-Dai types. Reports from Westerners in Iran, even if biased, are of vastly greater value than all of Dai’s Iran analyses from his days supporting Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war to the conspiracy peddling he’s made a career out of today.
And generally speaking, it is no honor to have not visited Iran in 33 years. These type of Iranian-Americans, generally the most out-of-touch and hawkish type, are a small minority (though you wouldn’t know it if you get your news from Farsi satellite). Polling shows that most Iranians do in fact travel back.
Dai claims that his goal is to point out people that push “anti-Iran” policies in the US.
Response: “Anti-Iran” policies are fine however, if the people pushing them are also showering Dai with cash. Virtually all of Dai’s American allies are neocons, and virtually all have openly or implicitly called for war with Iran.
Daniel Pipes, who referred to Dai and other Iranians as brown people with bad hygiene, has lobbied furiously for Iran’s invasion using American boots on the ground. In the 1980s he lobbied the US government to provide Saddam greater military and intelligence assistance.
That directly led to an untold number of dead Iranians. Perhaps Dai doesn’t consider that “anti-Iranian,” for he too was actively supporting Saddam alongside his siblings Fatemeh and Hussein Daioleslam who both hold central positions in Masoud Rajavi’s cult.
Even if Dai wanted to object to Pipes and the millionaire backers funding him, the flow of money and benefits he receives to do the neocon’s dirty work in the Iranian-American community virtually guarantees the slavish acceptance of his status as his superior’s favorite brown lackey.
Dai claims that Hooman Majd is not qualified to write about Iran, citing that Majd previously wrote for the music and entertainment industry.
Only in the parallel universe of a conspiracy minded MEK shill does selling ice-cream and women’s perfume make one qualified to talk about Iran, but writing about music does not.
Dai says Hooman Majd “siasat balad nist,” and shows clips of Majd saying things like he isn’t much into politics, isn’t a political analyst, and doesn’t spend his time in academic settings coming up with policy prescriptions.
Response: Great. If Majd is foremost an observer, as he says he is, then his observations of everyday life are made ever more valuable when the observer carries no political background and agenda. This is especially needed on an emotionally charged issue like Iran, otherwise we’re left with delusional Chalabi-like old-timers, who love Iran, but will tell Americans anything to force regime change so they can, after 3 decades, return to Iran and see their homeland before they die.
Chalabi got his wish and returned to the wasteland that was left of his homeland. His “We Liberated Iraq!” party won a humiliating 0.36% of the vote in 2005.
Dai criticizes (but does not rebut) Majd’s claim that Ahmadinejad and the IRI have a lot of support among the pious, and that most Iranians support the nuclear program. He claims that Majd said the regime is liked by the people of Iran. Finally, Dai claims that all Iranians hate Ahmadinejad since the 2009 election.
Where to begin? Dai’s criticism of Majd centers around the long stretches of time Majd spends in Iran. Dai’s time has been divided in Iraq, near Rajavi’s base in Paris, and on LA’s circus of Farsi satellite stations. One would think that based on profile alone, Majd can speak with greater authority on the issue. Even if everything Majd says is a lie, there is no reason to believe Dai has greater credibility. Basic logic, polling, reports from Iran, and personal experience would dictate that it is reasonable to conclude that the IRI enjoys support among the pious and in rural areas. That is not to say that it enjoys a majority or anywhere close. The preponderance of available evidence also suggests that it is far more likely that Majd is right about Iranian support for the nuclear program then is Dai.
Dai’s claim that Majd said the regime is liked by the people of Iran is categorically false. Majd never made such a claim, only indicating that the regime has its supporters and its opponents and that accurately quantifying such a thing is not possible.
Dai then proceeds to do some quantifying of his own. The claim he makes is that since the presidential elections of 2009, all Iranians have come to hate Ahmadinejad. Personally, I believe that an overwhelming majority of Iranians don’t just hate Ahmadinejad, but the entirety of the Islamic Republic too. That is merely the sense I have based on everything I’ve known, read, and experienced. But I would never state this as hard fact, and I especially would not claim that 100% of any population shares any single belief.
As with much of Dai’s claims, evidence is absent. Even in this short clip attacking Majd, he takes no time refuting Majd’s statements that he presents as falsehoods.
Even if we assume that Majd worships at the alter of Ali Khamenei, he at least had the decency not to pull statistics from his rear and acknowledge that quantifying the information in question is not possible.
Dai however, heir to a long tradition of fabricated statistics by his Mujaheddin (MEK) cohorts, seems to have no qualms about lying. No accountability and years worth of a free pass by a constituency that doesn’t value accountability has encouraged the lies.
Here is a brief selection of dreamed up statistics made by the MEK and its leaders:
– 90% of Iranians support Masoud Rajavi
– 99% of resistance in Iran is carried out by the MEK
– 90% of the personnel at Iranian bases and Iran’s air force support the MEK
– 85-90% of Iranians supported boycotting elections
– 90% of “martyrs” in the mid-1990s were MEK
– 95% of those executed by the IRI in 1982 were MEK (not including Kurds)
– 95% of Iran supported Khomeini when he was allied with the MEK, and 95% opposed him after the two split.
Conclusion: The neonconservative war on Iranian shapers of policy, of which Hassan Dai is the face of, is not about Hooman Majd or anyone in particular. As was explicitly spelled out in newly discovered emails between Hassan Dai and his neocon paymasters, the aim is to discredit the Democratic party’s policy of reducing tensions with Iran and finding a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue by discrediting the influential Iranian-American voices who advocate these policies.
To use Dai’s own word, “destroying” the weakest part of “the Iranian web” that he considers insufficiently hawkish “will be the start of attacking the whole web.” With their role as a central constituency shaping Obama’s Iran policy, destroying them would also be “an integral part of any attack on Clinton and Obama.”
There is very little, if anything, that I like about Hooman Majd. But as a fierce opponent of the IRI as well as war and broad sanctions, I must warn the vast majority of like-minded Iranian-Americans who also oppose war and the IRI, to be weary of gossip peddlers like Dai and never assume that they can’t have an impact. Silence is complicity, and when the neocons signal that time has come to go after the rest of us, we must not forget that first they came for the Hooman Majd’s…