Taheri is a former pro-Shah propagandist -- or "journalist" in the Michael Gordon mode, if you prefer a less loaded term. [Check out Gordon's latest bit of water-toting for the Crawford Caligula in the New York Times: a piece on the "success" of the "surge" which quotes only military officials carrying out the surge and one outside "expert": surge cheerleader Michael O'Hanlon, last seen shaking his pom-poms for a possible U.S. military intervention in Pakistan. EB readers will also remember O'Hanlon's call earlier this year for an American-backed, forced ethnic cleansing of Iraq, a gruesome process of blood, iron and wrenching upheaval which he called -- let's hope not revealingly -- "soft partition." Speaking of partition, you will find nowhere in Gordon's story -- or anywhere else in the mainstream media -- one of the main reasons for the surge's "success" (i.e., lowering the slaughter rate in Iraq to a "mere" 575 attacks last week) is that there has already been an American-backed forced ethnic cleansing process in Iraq, carried out by the American-paid, American-armed Shiite militias masquerading as Iraqi government forces and the American-paid, American-armed Sunni militias now lording it over their walled ghettos in Baghdad. They have already killed, tortured and terrorized their way to an ethnically homogoneous "peace" in their respective enclaves, and driven literally millions of Iraqis from their homes. The killings are dropping in these ravaged zones because there is no one else to kill. But we digress.]
Among the many other mendacities duly noted by Schwarz, Taheri is responsible for the new blood libel now gaining currency thanks to the likes of Abnormal Poddy (now tutoring Rudy "Raw Meat" Giuiliani in the fine art of foreign policy): a specious claim that the Iranian regime's founding father, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, declared that it did not matter if Iran were destroyed, as long as Islam "emerges triumphant in the rest of the world." This "quote" -- which no one can source anywhere -- has suddenly appeared as a counter to the argument that even if Iran were to produce a nuclear weapon, they would be bound by the same constraints that have thus far held every other nuclear power from launching a unilateral nuking of an enemy: namely, the fact that such an act would provoke the immediate annihilation of the launcher's country. If Iran were to attack Israel, it would be immediately wiped out by Israel's own bulging nuclear arsenal.
Ah, but now comes the fake Khomeini quote to "prove" that the Iranians are raving lunatics, willing to see themselves, their families and their entire country incinerated just for the pure evil pleasure of destroying Israel or -- gulp! -- even America itself to pave the way for the triumph of the worldwide caliphate, etc., etc. As Craig Unger notes in a new interview with Harper's Scott Horton, this is the same kind of codswallop that Cheney and Rumsfeld (and Abnormal and his crew) used to peddle about the Soviet Union back in the day: the Commies are irrational madmen, willing to see their own children incinerated in order to bring down the West.
And lest you think that this some kind of fringe crankery, Schwarz notes that Taheri already has the ear of the White House. In fact, just six days after his last fabricated claim was exposed as a baseless lie -- i.e., that Tehran was forcing Jews and other minorities to wear special ID badges on their clothing -- Taheri was ushered into the Oval Office to instruct the president on Middle Eastern affairs.
Or maybe he was just talking shop with his fellow professional liars.
For more, see Jon's full piece at Mother Jones, and some further observations he makes on his home ground at A Tiny Revolution.