Saturday, July 20, 2024
Ben Affleck in a scene from “Argo.”

Ben Affleck in a scene from “Argo.”

This must be hands-down the craziest thing you will come across today.

Kevin Barrett, a promoter of 9/11 conspiracy theories, is playing along with conjectures that Ben Affleck is a “covert operative” engaging in propaganda to whip up a war against Iran and “might one day be hanged for war crimes and treason – not only for Argo … but also for his role in the 2001 film ‘Pearl Harbor,’ an earlier intelligence operation designed to pave the road to the 9/11 “‘New Pearl Harbor.’”

The person suggesting that to Barrett on his radio show, which he then quoted in a column on the website PressTV, is Barbara Honegger, who worked briefly on domestic policy in the Reagan White House. His column also cited Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, a French lawyer whom he said has met with Iranian officials planning a lawsuit against the creative team behind “Argo.”

Iran’s government is upset because “Argo” recounts a story from the 1979 hostage crisis, when revolutionaries seized the U.S. embassy and, upset because the United States let in the deposed shah to provide medical help, held Americans for more than a year. Affleck’s “Argo” focuses on six Americans who hid in the Canadian embassy and later escaped Iran entirely.

Plans to film an Iranian, government-funded answer to “Argo” are under way to “‘correct’ the distorted historical context,” Al Arabiya News and others have reported, and surely that will be a fascinating two hours in the dark – even if it does seem to repeat Iran’s exact complaint that Affleck made “Argo” under government orders.

According to Barrett, Mohammad Lesani, identified as general secretary of a “Hoax of Hollywood conference” in Tehran, said Monday that “the Islamic Republic of Iran is going to sue all those who have been active in the anti-Iran domain, including directors and producers”:

If the makers of Argo are deposed under oath, they may be forced to reveal that their film – like the fictitious film-within-the-film – is a covert operation disguised as a movie … In “Argo,” the fake film (and real covert operation) is a CIA project, and Affleck plays a CIA agent. But were the Pearl Harbor and Argo movies covert operations by the CIA or by the Israeli Mossad?

So the Iranian government plans to simultaneously sue because there’s a government-funded, propagandistic Hollywood film defaming the country and make a government-funded, propagandistic film that defends it.

Shaky legal grounds indeed. Nearly as shaky as the idea that Affleck “might one day be hanged for war crimes and treason” for acting under government orders to make a film. (Treason, you might recall or be able to look up somewhere, even if Barrett and his friends can’t, is “overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance.” Following orders from the government of your own country or expressing an opinion that might someday be found to have been harmful doesn’t quite cut it as a crime against the state.)

Neither Barrett, Honegger, Coutant-Peyre (wife of terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, also known as Carlos the Jackal) nor the government of Iran seems to have a clue what they’re doing. At best, they’re providing some fodder for people who like to joke that Michael Bay’s “Pearl Harbor” really was a “war crime.”

“Will Ben Affleck, and other covert operators working to launch a criminal war of aggression against Iran, ever be brought to justice?” Barrett asks. “Iran’s lawsuit against the makers of ‘Argo’ is a good place to start.”

Actually, it’s a terrible place to start. It just happens to be as good as any, given that the whole thing is crazy.

Here’s more from Deadline about Iran’s case against Hollywood.