Iran's Khomeinist news agency, Press TV – long recognized for its Jihadist-supporting broadcasts – has published what is being referred to as a veritable "hit piece" against many leading U.S. media companies, commentators, antiterrorism experts, legislators, and at least one presidential candidate – calling several by name – in what the news agency considers to be "The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America." And what observers fear may reveal a more sinister motive.
The article entitled, "U.S. Empire foments Islamophobia," and based on a just-released report by the Center for American Progress, contends there is a conspiracy by these so-named (primarily conservative) organizations and individuals to foment fears about Islam.
Press TV is funded almost exclusively by Iranian petrodollars (oil profits) from the same regime that funds and directs global terrorist organizations like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (the IRGC which is also known as the Pasdaran), the IRGC's Quds Force, Lebanon's Hizballah, and others; all of which are designated foreign terrorist organizations by the U.S. government and other countries.
The annual budget of Press TV is approximately $25 million according to estimates. And according to reports from the Iranian opposition – specifically the Green Movement – Press TV is directly controlled by the Pasdaran. The agency broadcasts the tightly-controlled propaganda of the Iranian regime, and it prepares the ground – so to speak – for future propagandizing against any real or perceived enemies of the Iranian Islamic state.
In the past, Press TV has focused its efforts against the U.S. and Europe, Arab moderates (including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco). Moreover, the agency has proven to be a standard-bearer for Hizballah, the Mahdi Army in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, and all of Iran's allies worldwide. In addition to its operations in Tehran, Press TV operates in Beirut, from where the agency vigorously supports and promotes the leadership of Hizballah, and frequently interviews so-called experts who support Iran, Hizballah, and Hamas.
In the article published Sept. 1, 2011, Press TV changes up its batting order, specifically targeting – attempting to discredit and demonize – several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), members of the U.S. Congress, Muslim dissidents like Nonie Darwish and Walid Shoebat, various Western think tanks, and a number of international terrorism researchers like Robert Spencer, Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes. The article also castigates the chair of the Homeland Security Committee in the U.S. House, Rep. Peter King; the chair of a subcommittee on Intelligence, Rep. Sue Myrick, and others. The list expands to include Rep. Paul Broun, Rep. Allen West, Rep. Renee Ellmers and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
The article goes on to target national media such as FOX News (particularly Sean Hannity) – accusing the network of fueling anti-Muslim sentiment – the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the Washington Times, National Review (including Andy McCarthy, former Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the terrorists in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing), former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney, well-known lawyer David Yerushalmi and Professor Walid Phares. Private foundations are even named: Donors Capital Fund, the Richard Mellon Scaife Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Newton Becker foundation, and others.
The article continues, "State-based, local, and Tea Party organizations … [are examples] of the muscles of Islamophobia network." Other groups named include Act! for America (headed by Lebanese Christian-born Brigitte Gabriel) and the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Frankly, the list drones on-and-on lambasting everyone from noted Christian leaders to conservative radio personalities.
According to one NGO official, "This article is disturbing because it demonstrates that the Iranian-funded propaganda has marked its targets within the United States, in much the same way Hizballah marked its targets in Lebanon with smear campaigns before terrorist attacks were actually launched against those like former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, and parliamentarians Jebran Tueni and Walid Eido."
The publishing of the article shoehorns into what the NGO official says is "a string of reports and letters posted and circulated by the Western-based – more particularly U.S.-based – Islamist elements since late last year." The official says, the "reports and letters targeted every public figure or well-known voice in the debate on the Jihadi threat.
Moreover, the campaign led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its allies against U.S. Rep Peter King, included a letter sent out by CAIR director Nihad Awad which vigorously condemned the expert witnesses said to have been invited to testify on Jihadi terrorism, including: Former Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, American Islamic Forum for Democracy chair Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, and Professor Phares.
CAIR – a Muslim Brotherhood front group, as well as an offshoot of Hamas – is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007-2008 Holy Land Foundation case (Foundation members were found guilty of "providing material support to a foreign terrorist," among other charges.). Though CAIR has Salafi Islamist roots, the connection to Hamas links it to Iran and Hizballah.
None of this is surprising being that there we are witnessing increasing unified-coordination between both Sunni and Shia Islamists in the efforts against the West, especially against those who dare to speak out against Jihad. But it is disturbing. And this effort includes planned initiatives by some well-heeled Islamist groups to implement worldwide "criminalization" of any and all criticism of Islam.
We see the clear common goals of both CAIR and Press TV. We see similar strategies to achieve those goals. And we see the immediate strategy in the form of a series of smear campaigns against American leaders and citizens – publicly naming names of those – who are educating the public about a serious national security threat.
An Iran analyst based in Europe tells us, "This is like a fatwa, and if it is the case, this would be dangerous for all people named."
Experts believe – based on previous actions – that Jihadists will issue lists of targeted enemies, so that the Jihadi terrorists closest to those targets will know who the enemy is.
The Press TV article – to include those who funded and published it – should not be taken lightly. This was not simply an opinion piece. This was a list of names published in international media by a state-run news agency; a state designated by the U.S. State Dept. as a "state sponsor of terrorism." Additionally, the U.S. government must look into the series of tracts and letters written and disseminated since the beginning of the year targeting Americans who are attempting to educate the public about the very real Jihadist threat.
Clare M. Lopez is a retired CIA operations officer. W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor, who writes about military/defense issues.