Iran Calls Video Games Part Of CIA Plot

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

Robert Mackey writes for the New York Times:

According to Iranian state television, a former United States marine who was convicted of spying on Iran and sentenced to death on Monday was also involved in a nefarious plot to brainwash the youth of the Middle East using an unlikely tool: video games.

In a video report broadcast last month, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the former marine of Iranian descent who was arrested during a visit to Tehran in August, allegedly confessed to a career in American intelligence that included a stint at a video game company in New York that was “a cover for the C.I.A.”

According to an English translation of the report published by The Tehran Times, an Iranian state-run newspaper, about one-third of the way through the report, Mr. Hekmati said he had worked for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, after he left the Marine Corps in 2005. Then, according to the newspaper’s somewhat oddly worded translation, Mr. Hekmati said in Persian:

After Darpa, I was recruited by Kuma Games Company, a computer games company which received money from C.I.A. to design and make special films and computer games to change the public opinion’s mindset in the Middle East and distribute them among Middle East residents free of charge. The goal of Kuma Games was to convince the people of the world and Iraq that what the U.S. does in Iraq and other countries is good and acceptable.

He reportedly added: “The head of Kuma called me and said, ‘I have received your resume from Darpa, and we have a program in which you can help us.’ ” Kuma, Mr. Hekmati explained, “was also a cover for the C.I.A. and only the chief of company knows that you’re working with the agency.”*

(After the verdict against Mr. Hekmati was reported on Monday, his family, along with the White House and the State Department, flatly denied that he was a spy.)…

Read more here.

30 Comments on "Iran Calls Video Games Part Of CIA Plot"

  1. Talk about disinformation; Iran is pretty good at that.

    • jerryangelo68 | Jan 25, 2012 at 11:30 am |

      I don’t know we seem to do a pretty great job at disinformation here in the good ol’ US of A. Our government actually has people believing that Iran has nuclear capability and it’s only a matter of time before world destruction, and this is after they lied to us once about Iraq.

      The United States is filled with idiots.

    • gwen jackson | Jan 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm |

      lol, what a moron…if you had two brain cells to rub together, you’d know you’re much more likely to get the truth from foreign media than any of the glorified gossip rags in your own country.

  2. Sounds right to me.  Have you seen the shit they put in games these days?
    Brainwashing the kiddies for the endless war on terra

    Sorry you got popped buddy.  You chose the wrong team to swing for.

  3. It’s true that the ‘games’-industry is (CIA)-indoctrination.
    Anyone with any sense at all can see that. Massive attack is going on, brainwashing propaganda is EVERYWHERE.

  4. gwen jackson | Jan 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm |

    This is true, the government heaps funding on a huge number of “entertainment” industry products including movies and gaming companies, the old “hollywood and the gov’t don’t like eachother” schtick is just more bread-and-circus, it’s been reported on a few times in the past year, i don’t feel like looking it up, it’s fucking depressing.

    • DeepCough | Jan 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm |

      You are absolutely right: The Daily Show and the Colbert Report are clearly tools of distraction engineered by the Illuminati. I’ll bet John Stewart is not even Jewish!

    • “We think computer games are a really good way of imparting
      information,” says CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield. “We don’t call them
      games; we call them computer-based training aids.”  – ‘CIA Plans Own Video Game’, 29 Sep, 2003

      Kuma Games, particularly seem to stand out in their enthusiastic recreation of real world operations (wanna join SEAL Team 6 taking out Osama? ), suggesting both uncritical cheerleading of rampant militarism (wanna practice invading Iran? you can do that too) and privileged access to classified information. 

      They also play a leading role in this 2009 study, titled ‘Targeting the Player: Computer Games as Propaganda for the Military-Industrial Complex

      On the issue more generally of the extensive links between intelligence agencies and games makers, see the career of Gilman Louie who kicked off the CIA’s Venture Capital front In-Q-Tel back in 1999 after having earlier founded such titans of the early gaming landscape as Microprose and Spectrum Holobyte. 

      • “The people, through direct engagement or encouragement, helping to shape the interaction of commercial-based games and DoD include:.. Keith Halper, Kuma Games…” P.8

        “We believe that the government has a strong interest in advancing the state of the art of games as an interactive medium, not only to stimulate the games industry to be a better partner to government, but also to make games more effective in areas such as

        propaganda education and training.” P.26

        “In the absence of a Draft, efficient measures are needed to recruit an all-volunteer military force. Games have proven to be an enormously cost-effective way to  communicate the values of the military to prospective candidates.” P.198

        ‘MS&G, When Worlds Collide: A Primer for Potential’, 2006, Joint Advanced Warfighting Program – Institute for Defense Analyses, 4850 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311-1882

  5. gwen jackson | Jan 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm |

    24, persons of interest, call of duty, homeland, etc…

    • British QC Philippe Sands, while interviewing numerous Bush Administration officials, including those on the ground in Guantanamo, for his book ‘Torture Team’ reports being surprised to discover just how universally popular, but also persuasive in shaping attitudes, was the series ’24’:

      “In early 2007 I interviewed Diane Beaver, the lawyer who had been the
      staff judge advocate down at Guantánamo when, in the autumn of 2002,
      decisions were being taken on the authorisation of 18 new techniques of
      interrogation for a detainee who was thought to be the 20th hijacker.
      The second series of 24 went to air on October 29 2002, at the very time
      these decisions were being taken. Beaver described to me how the series
      was shown at Guantánamo.”

      • gwen jackson | Jan 28, 2012 at 12:08 am |

        the really sad part is that we have known for decades, if not centuries, that TORTURE DOES NOT INDUCE PEOPLE TO GIVE CORRECT INFORMATION.
        so it’s basically just done for the sick sexual satisfaction of the torturers, and the sick american public who masturbate to such fantasies of inflicting pain on ‘brown people’.

        There’s no hope for this species; the pinnacle of evolution is EXTINCTION.
        Personally, I can’t fucking wait.

        • “The interrogation that is part of torture, Scarry points out, is rarely
          designed to elicit information. More commonly, the torturer’s
          interrogation is designed to demonstrate the end of the normative world
          of the victim-the end of what the victim values, the end of the bonds
          that constitute the community in which the values are grounded. Scarry
          thus concludes that “in compelling confession, the torturers compel the
          prisoner to record and objectify the fact that intense pain is

          That is why torturers almost always require betrayal-a demonstration
          that the victim’s intangible normative world has been crushed by the
          material reality of pain and its extension, fear. The torturer and
          victim do end up creating their own terrible “world,” but this world
          derives its meaning from being imposed upon the ashes of another.’ The
          logic of that world is complete domination though the objective may
          never be realized.

          FN[ Pain and interrogation inevitably occur together in part because the
          torturer and the prisoner each experience them as opposites. The very
          question that, within the political pretense, matters so much to the
          torturer that it occasions his grotesque brutality will matter so little
          to the prisoner experiencing the brutality that he will give the
          answer. For the torturers, the sheer and simple fact of human agony is
          made invisible, and the moral fact of inflicting that agony is made
          neutral by the feigned urgency and significance of the question. For the
          prisoner, the sheer, simple, overwhelming fact of his agony will make
          neutral and invisible the significance of any question as well as the
          significance of the world to which the question refers . . . .It is for
          this reason that while the content of the prisoner’s answer is only
          sometimes important to the regime, the form of the answer, the fact of
          his answering, is always crucial. … [In confession, one betrays
          oneself and all those aspects of the world-friend, family, country,
          cause-that the self is made up of.]”

          – Robert Cover, 1986, ‘Violence and the Word’

  6. Mr Willow | Jan 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm |

    Oh. My. God. I can’t believe I haven’t noticed it before. 

    So my every urge to don a functional (yet stylish) robe of some interesting, yet indiscernible, fiber, throw on some leather armour, strap a sword and bow on my back, wander about in the countryside picking all sorts of flora, tasting each—just to see its effect—and be ever vigilant for wolves, sabre cats, rogue mages, and spriggans (among other dangers)—none of whom are a match for my superior skills of conjuration, destruction, and alteration magic, nor can they hope to contend against a well-honed blade to their back, if I even allow them to see me at all before an arrow pierces them from the shadow—is the product of some CIA experiment to gauge how well I will do against the soon approaching time when the dragons actually do awaken? And here, I thought I was just having fun. . . 

    • Anarchy Pony | Jan 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

      Adept level robes are my favorite, at least in appearance. Then I took an arrow to the knee.

    • gwen jackson | Jan 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm |

      no, what you’re doing is deliberately missing the point, but whatever, fuck you.

      • Mr Willow | Jan 28, 2012 at 12:15 am |

        I understood the point just fine: Military-based shooters that are currently pervading the video-games industry fuels nationalism (which Iran is exploiting) and makes it easier for the citizens that play them to accept the atrocities committed in the name of ‘preserving freedom’ or ‘spreading democracy’ or whatever else. 

        My point was that not every video game is a modern military war simulator, nor are most video games filled with any sort of political theme or undertone. And those that do are generally not involved with the exploration of the politics of our era, historical timeline, or universe.

        • Though I agree with most of your perception regarding the game industry, you cannot deny that in shooter games there is a constant bias towards who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, I’m not much a fan of those games but it certainly would ring a bell if players were able to play as a Palestinian or a Lebanese resisting Israeli bombs, an Afghan or a Vietnamese resisting occupation, those kind of narratives are unheard off in video games, instead we get a tacit agreement, which is a lie, that every little war of aggression that the west fights is just.

          • Mr Willow | Jan 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm |

            you cannot deny that in shooter games there is a constant bias towards who are the good guys and who are the bad guys,

            No, I cannot. There is a definite bias. 

            There is a reason for the bias, one of them being that the majority of the people who make the games (Call of Duty, Battlefield, Medal of Honor being the main ones) self-identify as ‘patriots’, so they want to portray the US as the ‘good guys’ because whether or not they have bought all the heavy nationalism involved with the war here in the States (the kind of mentality that you see from the neocon “If you try to see it from the enemy’s perspective you hate America!” types), they still think of their country as being representative of them. That isn’t meant to be an excuse, just their perspective, from what I have seen from interviews. 

            “We want to be very respectful to the military” sort of mentality. 

            The other real reason is that they’re afraid of rocking the boat, as it were. When the reboot of Medal of Honor was getting ready to come out, in the multiplayer mode they were originally going to have the two ‘sides’ as being the US Army (or Marines, I can’t quite remember) and the Taliban, which promptly caused a week of controversy in the media. 

            “Oh my god, this could be used as a recruitment tool, cause children are going to be the Taliban in a virtual environment!”, that sort of diatribe (neglecting in past war games, set in WWII, you could play as the Nazi’s and Imperial Japan).

            All of which caused EA to change the ‘Taliban’ to the ‘Op-For’ (Opposing Forces). They’ve even attacked members of the military, when a group of marines wanted to develop, Six Days in Fallujah, about the eponymous battle in Iraq, And then, all of a sudden it’s a controversy because it’s so realistic, despite the player being in control of the US forces the entire time. My thought is that because the Marines were directly involved, and they wanted to make it a simulation of the events, rather than just a mindless shooter, it became a controversy because then the public, who would be exposed to actual warfare (as much as could be achieved through a screen and controller, which can be a surprising amount if emotion is injected into it), would turn against the war, because they would be so disgusted with what the men were sent over there to do. 

            In such an environment, could you imagine if someone decided to make a statement by even incorporated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, let alone pick the side that wasn’t pro-Israel? Game developers would get death threats, or at the very least be accused of terrorism in one way or another.

            All of this is made worse by the fact that anytime a video game is featured in the media here at all (aside from websites and magazines catering to the medium) it’s to bring some big ‘injustice’ to the forefront. 

            “Video games are too violent. They’re ruining our youth. This form of expression shouldn’t be allowed.” etc. 

            I mean, when the Supreme Court voted down a measure that would make the sale of M-rated games to minors punishable by a huge fine, that was seen as a great defeat by the media, who conveniently thought that in the case of video games free speech should not apply, and the responsibility to the ‘mental safety’ of children should be the federal government, rather than parents. 

            Generally, it’s seen, from the game industry’s perspective, that if video games aren’t featured in the mainstream media, then it’s a good day.

          • Yes, but still, the games that do deal with these kind of narratives should not be used as propaganda, they should be balanced, and I think that is the point; all other discussions are, in reality, meaningless to this, it only shows that American society is very repressive of its people in an ideological way.

          • Mr Willow | Jan 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

            Oh, I certainly agree. 

            Another part of the problem is that, like everything in America, what gets made and what doesn’t get made is dependent upon what corporate owners are willing to finance, based upon what they think will sell. 

            From a purely ‘sales’ standpoint, corporate financers don’t think a game involving war from any perspective other than patriotic, pro-America will sell, which is borne out through things like public opinion polls (which can be biased based upon what section of ‘the public’ is polled), as well as the false opinion of the public projected by the media. 

            It’s a very difficult thing to do, both because the cost of making games is so high that, for the time being anyway, they need the money corporations have, which means they have to follow guidelines given to them by the corporation, which, in the case of realistic, war-based games, I would imagine involves keeping the narrative of ‘the US are the good guys, everyone else [except Israel] are the bad guys’ relevant in the American consciousness. 

            For the record, I do think it would be an incredible thing for a truly subversive game to come out. And there is something of that in the upcoming Bioshock Infinite (or the first Bioshock, to be honest), but again, it won’t come in the form of a realistic, here and now, war-based game. It needs to be approached in an alternate history sort of scenerio, in the same way 1984, or even V for Vendetta approached social commentary, so should games approach it, in the way Assassin’s Creed (in the ‘truth’ segments), or Deus Ex (in particular the emails in the Picus news-station, which describe the media as something to be manipulated).

          • Yeah, I think the success of GTA when it first exploded came from how subversive the game can be. About the corporations, I guess we will only see an openly subversive game when they take the right poll, or when capitalism explodes and disappears, and we start doing these things just for the fun.

          • Mr Willow | Jan 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm |

            I welcome the day. 

  7. gwen jackson | Jan 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm |

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you soon find that your favorite “anti-gov’t conspiracy” or “independent watchdog newsblog” website has also received certain funding…or “occupation” protest movement sponsored by corporations who are also inseparable from your government…so, like, if any of you wonder what goebbels and reifenstahl would be up to these days, propaganda has evolved so as to be indistinguishable from entertainment….

  8. As if this is true, how stupid can people be? Video games used as propaganda? Yeah right… Now off to play Call of Duty to kill some dirty filthy Muslim terrorists! Fuck I love war and I fucking love killing Muslims, because they’re all terrorists.

Comments are closed.