Clarion Fund Discloses Hawkish “Advisory Board” Before Launch of Iran Documentary

Salon’s Justin Elliott has new evidence indicating who funded the Clarion Fund’s 2008 distribution of 28-million DVDs of the Islamophobic documentary, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.

Starting in 2008, we began writing about the films produced and distributed by the mysterious Clarion Fund, as well as questioning the money trail. A new page on their website offers a revealing insight into the organization’s web of connections in the Islamophobia and neoconservative echo chamber.

The Clarion’s website “About Page” lists the organization’s Advisory Board, composed of some of the most high-profile and established propagators of Islamophobic rhetoric.

It includes:

  • Clare M. Lopez– A  Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy and Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee. (Our reporting on the Iran Policy Committee can be found here and here.) The Iran Policy Committee has pushed for greater U.S. engagement with Mujahedin-e Khalq, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
  • Daniel Pipes– The Director of Middle East Forum and a well known propagator of Islmophobic rhetoric. Pipes has defended the Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders, who has been attacked for his inflammatory comments that include referring to Mohammed as a “devil” and demanding that Dutch Muslims “tear out half of the Koran if they wish to stay in the Netherlands.” Pipes called Wilders “a charismatic, savvy, principled and outspoken leader who has rapidly become the most dynamic force in the Netherlands.”
  • Dr. Harold Rhode– A foreign affairs specialist who worked in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. According to a Mother Jones  article by Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, “Rhode worked with [Douglas Feith] to purge career Defense officials who weren’t sufficiently enthusiastic about the muscular anti-Iraq crusade that Paul D. Wolfowitz and Feith wanted.” “Rhode accosted and harangued a visiting senior Arab diplomat, telling him that there would be no ‘bartering in the bazaar anymore…. You’re going to have to sit up and pay attention when we say so.’”
  • Ilan Sharon- The Executive Director of Minnesotans Against Terrorism. Clarion describes Sharon as, “A son of Jewish refugees from Libya and Egypt, Sharon lectures frequently on the issue of terrorism, the threat of Radical Islam, and the struggle for Peace in the Middle East. He aided in the production and distribution of Obsession, The Third Jihad, and Iranium.”

The Clarion Fund’s advisory board represents a whose-who of the Islamophobia industry and the neoconservative far-right.

Clarion writes that their latest film, Iranium, will:

…[T]target influential U.S. interest groups and policy makers while remaining both straightforward and down-to-earth.  After viewing the film, the general public will be able to understand the critical nature of the threats and encourage a movement aimed at preventing the further advancement of the Iranian regime and its nuclear arsenal.

Given its list of advisers with their long history of propagating Islamophobic rhetoric and advocating for a militant U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, it remains to be seen how the Clarion Fund can present a balanced viewpoint on the complexities of U.S.-Iran relations.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. Eli Clifton is in no way an unbiased journalist reporting on this issue, but has undermined his own credibility by mixing in non-biased reports with reports on his anti-Clarion agenda.

    Since the release of the Clarion Fund’s first movie Obsession, he has helped spearhead an ongoing campaign against the production company.

    He has publicly acknowledged this bias in a report published on this very website April 19th, 2010.

    “As highlighted in the ‘Rebutting Obsession’ project (which, in full disclosure, I contributed to)…”

    Eli Clifton may have his opinions on the films, but they are just that: opinions. He should in no way be considered a neutral authority on this topic.

  2. I don’t see any bias here at all. Eli is just keeping us up to date about the people behind this shadowy propaganda organization. does his list of the Advisory Board include any mistakes?

  3. RE: “Eli Clifton may have his opinions on the films, but they are just that: opinions. He should in no way be considered a neutral authority on this topic.” – Nate Mellin


    Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, also called Obsession, is a controversial 2005 documentary film about radical Islamist teachings and goals…Obsession compares the threat of radical Islamism with that of Nazism before World War II, and draws parallels between radical Islamists and the Nazi Party during the War…
    …In September 2008, the Clarion Fund, in cooperation with the Endowment for Middle East Truth[19], distributed 28 million DVDs of the film by mail,[20] and in newspaper advertising supplements, predominantly in swing states.[21]…
    …Newspapers that refused to distribute the [Obsession] DVD included the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,[31] the Detroit Free Press, the News & Record of Greensboro, North Carolina, and The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio.[32][33]
    News & Record president and publisher Robin Saul said: “It didn’t meet our advertising standards. We were told its purpose was educational. We didn’t see it as educational at all. It was fear-mongering and divisive.”[34][35] The editor John Robinson wrote: “As a journalist, my default position is to provide people with more knowledge, however troubling, rather than less. Were this truly an issue of the freedom of information, I would have argued to publish. But this was a paid advertisement presenting one side of an inflammatory issue.”[34]…

    SOURCE –'s_War_Against_the_West

Comments are closed.