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A New Disgrace at HuffPo

2:50 PM, Jan 9, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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They come so frequently, it's hard to get worked up, but there's a dead giveaway this time. The teaser for the piece reads, "At the risk of sounding like an apologist for the Islamic Republic..." The author is Hooman Majd, who accuses the Pentagon of manufacturing the incident with Iran in the Gulf this week.

The Pentagon's version of the encounter in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday morning, involving U.S. Navy warships and Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boats is, at the very least highly suspicious. On Tuesday, the Navy released video footage and an audiotape to back its claims that the Iranian boats acted in a threatening and provocative manner, but neither the video nor the audio are particularly convincing as proof that Iran had hostile intentions. The video, which shows what is claimed are Iranian boats speeding around U.S. ships, doesn't show any of the boats hurtling directly towards any of the navy ships, nor does it show what the Pentagon claimed the Iranians then did, namely dropped "white boxes" in the water.

It goes on like that--analysis of the accents, Iranian naval tactics, etc. And what are Mr. Majd's qualifications for such an analysis?

Hooman Majd has had a long career as an executive in the music and film businesses. He was Executive VP of Island Records, where he worked with a diverse group of artists including U2, The Cranberries, Tricky and Melissa Etheridge; and Head of Film and Music at Palm Pictures, where he executive-produced James Toback's "Black and White" and Khyentse Norbu's "The Cup" (Cannes 1999).

Watch the tape for yourself--no one but an apologist for the Iranian regime could possibly claim that the boats shown were not acting in a threatening and reckless manner. And Majd has absolutely no evidence on which to base his accusation that the Pentagon manufactured or concocted any of this.

It'd be one thing if Arianna got some expert in Naval tactics to write a piece saying that, from the video available, it isn't clear that the Iranian were acting in the aggressive manner the Pentagon alleged--though I doubt she could find a reputable expert to say any such thing. But to have some record producer accuse the military of a conspiracy based on...what exactly? The Huffington Post would have been better off just posting the Iranian regime's propaganda. It draws the same conclusion, yet much more elegantly.

Update: More here, and at HotAir. Also, a real expert, our own Stuart Koehl, breaks it down here.