In December 2004 Daniel Brett
, journalist and Young Fabian
, founds BAFS because of his strong affection for the poor, downtrodden Ahwazi people. The BAFS website goes live in March 2005. Within a couple weeks BAFS receives an explosive letter which appeared to be from the Tehran leadership proposing ethnic cleansing against the Ahwazi Arabs. Shortly thereafter there are protests, riots, arrests and deaths over in Iran.
Daniel Brett then uses his journalistic skills and the BAFS brand to focus human rights groups and media attention on the Iranian government's repression in the Ahwazi region.
Nevermind that Tehran says it has pulled out all the stops to reassure Ahwazi Arabs, released all but 10 of the arrested rioters, and denied forcibly that the letter was genuine.
So who is Daniel Brett? From SourceWatch:
Daniel Brett is a journalist specialising in defence, security, hydrocarbons and the petrochemicals industry in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He was educated in politics and development economics at Queen Mary and Westfield College and the School of Oriental and African Studies. He is International & Embassy Receptions Officer of the Young Fabians.
In other words, as a pal suggested, "He's MI6".
Or is he? He is trying to cast himself as a bleeding-heart liberal who feels for the poor Ahwazi. Denying that BAFS is CIA-funded, he writes on IndyMedia:
I formed the BAFS after meeting with several indigenous Ahwazi refugees and asylum seekers in London, who felt alienated by the political system. While their land is being exploited by ENI and Sinopec for its oil and gas resources, they are kept in conditions comparable to those endured by the Palestinians.
The BAFS does not take any side, but the side of justice, democracy, human rights, secularism and self-determination for the Ahwazi people and indigenous minorities across the world.
For someone not taking sides, the BAFS website is heavily tilted toward attacking Tehran and not acknowledging any of the actions Tehran has taken to calm the peoples in southern Iran following the riots.
Who else is involved in BAFS? Well, Daniel Brett's wife is the Secretary.
The Treasurer is Mansour Silawi-Ahwazi, "the Arab Iranian journalist". Mansour produces most of the content for the Al-Ahwaz TV and exile Ahwazi media.
The British Ahwazi Friendship Society facilitates grants and donations to Al-Ahwaz TV, which broadcasts to the Al-Ahwaz region and the rest of the Gulf. Al-Ahwaz TV is the only independent broadcasting medium dedicated to giving a voice to the Ahwazi people. Using unique footage filmed by journalists in Al-Ahwaz and smuggled out of Iran, Al-Ahwaz TV is a unique grassroots Arabic language television station dedicated to freedom, democracy, peace and self-determination.
I wonder if they get funding from US AID or the US Department of Defense?
It would be interesting to know where BAFS gets its funding for ALL its outreach, educational, broadcast, lobbying and other activities.
Daniel Brett denied that BAFS is a CIA front, but he didn't say where the money was coming from all the same.
On the internet, no one really knows whether you're a right-wing war agitator or a left-wing defender of the downtrodden. If Daniel Brett didn't exist, it sure would be convenient for the CIA to create someone just like him.
It's still a mystery.
Update [2005-4-27 10:11:13 by LondonYank]: I've removed Daniel Brett's e-mail at his request. He reiterates that BAFS did not publish the letter on its website until after the riots and asserts the independent legitimacy of BAFS. He says funding for BAFS comes only from private individuals Ahwazi diaspora and that there is no hidden agenda.
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