I Assure You, I Am No Agent Provocateur for Iran

Never trust a bureaucracy. This should perhaps go without saying but the singularly remarkable series of events which has ended in my feeling the need to pen a formal denial of a bizarre accusation has reinforced the belief in my mind, and perhaps after reading this, it will have done so for you as well.

Over the Labor Day weekend it came to my attention that Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), an official part of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government of the United States of America, had penned an article entitled “A Name, A Phenomenon, An Iranian Website.” The article concerned a relatively anonymous and heretofore to me unknown website with an Iranian domain name, BarackObama.ir.

Which is perhaps an odd enough thing for Radio Free Europe to be concerning itself with, but in the course of insinuations about the site’s possible links to the Iranian government, and its role as part of a post-2009 election attempt by the Ahmadinejad government to “artificially construct” a presence a funny thing happened and the article became about me.

Well not so much about me, but the author speculates that I personally was either “recruited to write exclusive for BarackObama.ir or agreed to share (my) content” with a site that the article makes very clear is up to some dastardly deed on behalf of the Iranian government. They add “or neither” parenthetically later on but it seems pretty clear this is an afterthought.

My first thought was “why me,” as the website has lifted content (entirely without permission) from countless writers, including many much more well known than I. With such luminaries as John Pilger and Tom Engelhardt also having had content copied and pasted by this site, it seems odd that my name should be singled out for scrutiny.

But I assure you that I, Jason Ditz, am not now nor have I ever been an agent provocateur for any government, let alone the Iranian one. The fact that such a proclamation has to be made is perhaps a lesson in the absurd state of affairs for a radio station that has gone from Cold War propagandist to CIA proxy to forgotten (but still funded) ward of the government.

After all the speculations about my so-called relationship with that website or, for that matter, the Iranian government, could have been readily cleared up with a phone call or a simple email. My contact information has never been difficult to find, and with the administration’s “Broadcasting Board of Governors” insisting these sites maintain the highest standards of journalism one wonders how such content is invented, let alone published as what one is supposed to accept as “official policy” without even cursory fact-checking.

In the era of the Internet wild accusations gain a remarkable level of currency across broad swathes of society, and certainly people making up stories is nothing new. It’s just that these stories usually aren’t backed by $90 million annually of taxpayer funding.

Which is perhaps the real story here. With the Cold War long since over and virtually the whole of Europe long ago freed from totalitarianism why on earth does Radio Free Europe still exist as a federally funded program? Despite federal law openly forbidding them from duplicating any service provided by private media their website appears to cater primarily to American audiences with content that is by and large culled from private wire services. The service pumps its content, such as it is, to a handful of nations in Central Asia and the Near East, but its era of dropping leaflets into enemy countries and fomenting revolutions in Hungary is clearly past. Its attempts to reinvent itself as a “model of media professionalism” on the taxpayer’s dime seems downright silly, when at the end of the day they are eagerly (and inexplicably) muck-raking about my non-existent ties with Iran.

One thought on “I Assure You, I Am No Agent Provocateur for Iran”

  1. "Agent provocateur?" Wow Mr. Jason, you should be flattered. Radio Free Europa would offer up your name? What's the old adage, "any publicity is good publicity?"
    Gosh, I would have figured Barganier as 'provocateur' before you. Isn't Radio Free Europa really broadcast at the "old Europa?" You know, as opposed to a more modern and post 9/11 early twenty first century "progressive" Europa. You know, the Europa that has France deporting Roma and Italy's dancing with fascism again and Britain's Tony Blair and war crimes. Golly and how about Foggy Rasmussen milking the Afghaniscam? Europa gots to have it's heroin. Would trafficking in heroin be construed to be a war crime?

    1. It looks like they have about 10 of my articles on the site, and yeah there's really no copyright problem with what they're doing under Iranian law.

      I haven't read the entire site so its hard to give much of an opinion. It seems like the vast, vast majority of the English language stuff is lifted from people like me, so at the risk of sounding conceited I think they have good taste :)

  2. You can tell a lot about a person by his enemies. I respected you before, and the effect of RFE's libel only adds to my estimation of your humanity. I have always been somewhat disappointed in my own failure to elicit the attention of imperialsts.

  3. Methinks the writer doth protest too much.
    I mean, that's all very good and well…but can you conclusively prove that you are not an agent provocateur for Iran?
    Aha! I thought not.

    1. Yes, that is the point. That is why smears work. Because there need not to be the remotest connection to any fact.

      There just needs to be a motivation to believe. And all will fall into place with prior conviction. Which as Nietzsche once said is a greater foe of truth than lies.

      But this one doesn't even pass the laughing test.

  4. Jason, given the quantity of genuine Zionist agents provocateurs – Fishman above, for example – that are now appearing to do their thing in the comments sections of your articles, I do believe that you have managed to get yourself onto their blacklist. Congratulations! It is indeed very true that a much can be learned of a man's character by his enemies, and it is well to your honor that the FedGov itself has deigned to notice you. My parole to you in this regard is "Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn." It is rapidly getting to that point in the US, I am very much sad to say.

  5. Jason, After reading your remarks above I went this Sunday morning to the BarackObama ir website you linked for the first time and there I found on the front page Jacob Hornberger's (FFF) piece "How Much Is an Iraqi Life Worth?" You might give Jacob and many other friends of the America freedom and liberty movement a head's up and warn them that they may join you in the State's eg RFE "Hall of Shame!"

    There is another side of this IMO that could be even more destructive to authoritarian states of all kinds and that especially in the muslim world, I say that considering the origins of the site itself, average folk may see articles like your's and Jacob's and go forward to discover the larger world of both Antiwar.com, Future of Freedom Foundation and then from there a vastly larger freedom, liberty, antistate, antiwar, etc. movement and thus introduce a far more destructive weapon against all form of authoritarian mindsets.

  6. Plenty of interesting quick story books and activities books are available in market or online. A. C. Grayling, in a evaluate of "A Historical past of Studying by Alberto Manguel", had said, "To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which supplies a view over extensive terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries. Vanessa Bassil

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