Sunday, August 27, 2006

Several of you sent me this piece by Shah's propagandist, Amir Taheri. I did not want to address it. It contains so many inaccuracies and so many mistakes that it is not worth my time, or your time. And Taheri makes things up (the position of Gen. `Awn for example). (By the way, the Mufti of Tyre, `Ali Al-Amin, was part of Hizbullah (in its most dangerous phase in the 1980s), but when he did not rise in the organization, he joined Amal. He also failed to rise within Amal, so he "joined" Hariri Inc.) But Amir Taheri has been exposed as a fraud before: "It was in 1989 that Taheri was first exposed as a journalistic felon. The book he published the year before, Nest of Spies, examined the rule and fall of the Shah of Iran. Taheri received many respectful reviews, but in The New Republic Shaul Bakhash, a reigning doyen of Persian studies, checked Taheri's footnotes. Suddenly a book review became an investigative exposé. Bakhash, a history professor at George Mason University and a former fellow at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, detailed case after case in which Taheri cited nonexistent sources, concocted nonexistent substance in cases where the sources existed and distorted the substance beyond recognition when it was present. Taheri "repeatedly refers us to books where the information he cites simply does not exist," Bakhash wrote. "Often the documents cannot be found in the volumes to which he attributes them.... [He] repeatedly reads things into the documents that are simply not there." In one case, noted Bakhash, Taheri cited an earlier article of his own--but offered content he himself never wrote in that article. Bakhash concluded that Nest of Spies was "the sort of book that gives contemporary history a bad name." In a response published two months later, Taheri failed to rebut Bakhash's charges."