An alternate title might be: Why gambling at the Venetian is exceptionally bad for ones health. But more on that later.


What is Iranium[1]? Iranium is the third production in a movie trilogy of fear and hate. The first two productions, Obsession[2] and The Third Jihad[3] focused on equating Islam with a form of Nazi-ism bent on world domination.

The first film, Obsession[2] made some headlines when it was distributed to 28 Million households in swing states during the 2008 presidential race. It came in DVD form in peoples Sunday papers and the first thing that people saw when they played the DVD was shots of 9/11 and other acts of terror committed over the last decade. The WTC collapse, dead children in Russia, bloody bodies from who knows where… the message was clear: when you go into the voting booth on election day, remember to be afraid, very afraid. Mainstream and blogosphere coverage at the time was decent, the Huffington Posts write up was particularly good.

Huffington Post – Pro-McCain Group Dumping 28 Million Terror Scare DVDs in Swing States[4]
Omid Safi – Who Put Hate in My Sunday Paper?[5]
DKos – Clarion Fund’s Scare Tactic Video in Charlotte Observer Today[6]
FDL – Calling all Scapegoats—Mosque gassed after hate DVD stuffed in newspaper [7]

Who is producing this stuff? These movies are produced by the Clarion Fund, a non profit. NPR’s "The Secret Money Project" and Center for Investigative Reporting tracked The Clarion Fund back to Aish HaTorah, "a strongly pro-Israel Jewish educational organization promoting Jewish identity and pride"[8]. They also pointed out that Clarion had "material on its Web site supporting John McCain, but then took it down."[8].

Jeffrey Goldberg, writting in The Atlantic, has gone much further in describing this crowd at Jewish extremists, "the lunatic fringe" to the right of Likud, with connections to settler leaders such as Benny Elon.[9]

But I digress. It’s said of Ronn Torossian that he represents "right-wing" Israeli politicians, but this description does not do his clients justice. "Right-wing" is Bibi Netanyahu. Torossian represents the lunatic fringe. Several years ago, in one of my only encounters with him, he introduced me to Benny Elon, a rabbi and settler leader who was then Israel’s tourism minister, and who, at various points in his career, has more or less advocated the ethnic cleansing of Israel of its Arab citizens. At one point, when Elon had gone to take a telephone call, Torossian and I started talking about Israel’s right to reprisal for terrorist attacks. I was arguing in favor of some sort of proportionality (this was after Jenin, in which the Israeli army chose to root out terrorism block by block rather than bomb the city from the air) but Torossian interrupted: "I think we should kill a hundred Arabs or a thousand Arabs for every one Jew they kill." I was somewhat taken aback, of course, because this is a Nazi idea, rather than a Jewish idea. I asked him to explicate: "If someone from a town blows himself up and kills Jews, we should wipe out the town he’s from, kill them all. The Israelis are suckers. They should have destroyed Jenin." He went on like this for some time. I would only note that Torossian, to the best of my knowledge, never volunteered for the Israeli army, so he seemed to me by definition a chickenhawk.[9]

This most certainly isn’t J-Street, it’s not even AIPAC. It’s well to the right of anything which could be considered mainstream…. so who’s funding this stuff?


The St Petersburg times points out that:

A June 15, 2001, article in the Jerusalem Post said that Aish HaTorah provided $150,000 in "seed money" to create an organization called Media Watch International that took over HonestReporting, the group that made Obsession four years later.

But that hardly begins to explain the cost of production and distribution which Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, places at a minimum of 50 million dollars.[11]

Who’s extremely rich and has views considered to be noticably to the right of AIPAC? Richard Silverstein wonders if it was Sheldon Adelson.[12] As does Omid Safi[5].

Sheldon Adelson certainly is rich enough, owning casino’s such as the Venetian and usually placing near the top of the Forbes list. And he’s certainly known to hold views well to the right of AIPAC[13]. But is there a smoking gun? No, not that I’ve noticed as of yet.

Folks at FDL certainly have had run-in’s with Sheldon Adelson which do seem to fit this story.
Specer Ackerman has called out a Sheldon Adelson funded outfit for comparing progressive Jews to nazi sympathizers. [14]
Christy Hardin Smith hightlights a portion of an Accountable America article which points out that the McCain spent some quality time with Adelson during his campaign and asks: " Are groups Adelson is funding really independent from the McCain campaign?" And also points to Freedom Watch, which links up Adelson money and the GOP[15]
Phoenix Woman has pointed out that Adelson’s charity work has been of a rather nasty brand: "Adelson himself pledged last year to donate up to $200 million to Jewish and Israeli causes. How does running racist ads exhorting us to Fear The Scary Brown Catholic People equate with protecting Israel?"[16]

Also, regarding Sheldon Adelson being the largest donor to Freedom Watch: It’s president, Bradley Blakeman, is on record stating: "If Hitler’s warnings were heeded when he wrote ‘Mein Kampf,’ he could have been stopped. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is giving all the same kind of warning signs to us, and the region — he wants the destruction of the United States and the destruction of Israel." [17] Again with equating the perceived enemies of Israel to Nazi’s. That seems like the fast track to getting cash out of Mr Adelson.

And this[18] 2007 article on Information Clearinghouse by Bill Berkowitz which states that Freedom Watch is now targeting Iran really fits into the theme. Especially with the upcoming release of Iranium.


Speaking of Iranium’s release, The Clarion Fund "are planning to launch the film in the fall to coincide with Ahmadinejad’s visit to the US for the Untied Nations General Assembly"[1]. This of course also coincides with midterm elections. I wouldn’t be at all suprised if the GOP once again tries to push one of thier Fear Based Initiatives using this film.


And if it’s anything like last time, this film will be widely distributed. College campus groups, church groups, military acadamies, Fox News, Youtube, the Sunday Paper… even "family oriented" cable networks such as American Life TV[20](target audience of 78 million) picked up the first 2 installments of this trilogy.[19] There’s nothing like getting in an hour of fear and hate between reruns of Flipper and the Honeymooners(in color). But I suppose that’s to be expected from a network who’s owners backrounds are The Hour of Power and Godtube. DVD’s were also being handed out at the DNC and RNC by lovely folks affiliated with the Florida Security Council[21].


But hey, just because the first two episodes were jam packed with fear and hate doesn’t mean that Iranium will be. This time it’s gonna be different! Well, lets take a look at what the Clarion Fund is saying about thier new film and take a look at the stars of the film.

From the Clarion Fund:

Our 45-minute film will explore the principles of the revolution, and visually demonstrate the hatred and violence exhibited by Iran’s brutal leadership. The film will document the regime’s abusive treatment of their once proud citizenry, and will chronicle the regime’s use of terror proxies abroad to inflict deadly messages on their self-described enemies.

It is the goal of the Iranian leadership to spread the radical Islamic revolution with all available resources. This extremist worldview is ingrained in the state’s constitution and apparatuses, and has been supported by the actions of the regime’s leaders.

Since the start of the revolution, the unelected Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has established a stranglehold on the Iranian government, military and economy. Any attempts from within to bring alternative leadership have been violently muted.

Now 30 years after the start of the revolution, Iran is on the cusp of crossing the nuclear threshold…[22]


James Woolsey and Bernard Lewis, two well known gentlemen with excelent neocon credentials. But certainly there are others to broaden the message? Oh Yes, absolutely there are!

– Congressman Eliot Engel (Democrat)

He’s one of over 80 Democrats that voted to make Bush "the decider" with regards to Iraq.
As Jane has pointed out here at FDL, he was on the board of advisors for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies which was running "outrageous scare ads against Democratic House members regarding FISA" [24]
And poor Elliot got himself in a pickle by following Joe Lieberman to speak at a Christians United for Israel[25] get together hosted by a man who is quoted as stating: "God sent Adolf Hitler to bring the Jews to Israel." [26]

– Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld

She is the author of these articles:
4/2/2009 Huffpost: Does Iran Harbor Osama bin Laden? [27]
12/9/2005 WashingtonTimes: Iranian Intentions [28]

One wonders what will it take for the international community to understand that Iran seriously intends to use its nuclear power to attack the "infidels."

Iran by all indications is developing a nuclear arsenal as a mechanism to set off a chain reaction of death resulting in the destruction of a third of the world’s population in order to facilitate the arrival of the Mahdi.

– ex-Major General David Grange

Here at FDL, emptywheel has coined David Grange as "the most prolific Rent-A-General". [29]
David Grange also co-chaired a work group on Iran Policy along with neocons from The Heritage Foundation, The Washington Times, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a variety of other right wing groups. He’s no stranger to crazy. [30]

– Dr. Harold Rhode

Here at FDL, Harold Rhodes name pops up in reference to emptywheel’s research regarding Dick Cheney, Torture, Iraq, and Valerie Plame. [31] [32] Sounds like Rhodes has a track record of doing Feith and Cheney’s dirty work.

– Caspian Makan

And finally, a real star! Caspian Makan, an Iranian driven out of Iran by the events of the recent "Green Revolution". Boyfriend of Neda Soltan, "the Iranian demonstrator whose murder, captured on a cellphone video, became an international symbol for resistance to the Ahmadinejad regime"[33]

Only 1 problem with Caspian Makan, as the author of the original article on Neda points out in a later article[34], Caspian is a story teller. He makes stuff up. Lots of it.

This has got to be a bit upsetting for the Israeli’s who have wasted time and effort courting Caspian Makan since his departure from Iran. As covered in the Jerusalem Post[35], Caspian has visited Israel and even met with Simon Peres.

Hats off to for the story on this[36].

Hmmm, with a cast like this, it sounds like Iranium is going to be another fair and balanced mixture of right wing hysteria. We’ve got enough political problems to sort out in this country without adding Iran hysteria to the list. Sure, we have serious issues to sort out with Iran but hysterics based on fear and hate are not going to be helpful in that matter.


So, what to do about Iranium? Well, I’m open to suggestions. I suppose one thing is to head it off at the pass. Get to your newspaper publishers before they sign contracts to distribute Iranium DVD’s during midterm campaign season. Explain to them that there’s a difference between giving out free toothpaste samples and mailing out free hour long doses of fear and hate. If you belong to college groups or religious groups, it might be worth your time to convince them not to have an Iranium movie night. And of course, avoid the Venetian Hotel and Casino. I don’t know if Sheldon Adelson’s money is behind Iranium but regardless, his idea of charity is bad news for everyone.