Dancing on His Grave
Alletson Cook Lauds Dr. Fatemi's Execution (1954)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | August 17, 2016                       

Alletson Cook Lauds

Yellow journalism, a trend that never seems to go out of style, has a long and stuporific history.

When New York based journalist F. G. Alletson Cook learned of some happy news from Iran — the death of Mossadegh’s loyal Foreign Minister Hossein Fatemi — he placed it, along with a personal anecdote, in his society column. Fatemi, a 35 year-old husband and father, had been put before a firing squad, tied to a post and executed on November 10th, 1954. He had been in hiding for months prior to his capture, following the August 1953 military coup, aided by the U.S. and Britain, that smashed Iran’s legal government.

Cook was anything but faithful to the facts. To start with, he pretended Fatemi’s death was an obscure event, when it had actually been widely reported worldwide. Then he recalled meeting Fatemi during a UN press conference with Premier Mossadegh, though it is very unlikely that Mossadegh attended this press conference, if any, as he was not known to include himself in these briefings. The Iranian delegation, which had traveled thousands of miles to defend their case before the entire world, certainly had no intention of squandering the opportunity, yet Cook suggests otherwise, claiming they had “nothing to say” to the media. Cook also estimated the press conference’s length at over an hour, which sounds a bit long, but who knows.

Hossein Fatemi (1919-1954) Finally, Cook claimed that when he questioned him, the then Deputy Premier froze, leaving “a full minute” of pregnant silence. That is an incredibly long period of time to ‘stare into space’ — even 10 seconds would be huge. When Fatemi finally answered, says Cook, his reply had nothing to do with his question. That just isn’t plausible.

Oh, and one more thing. Cook said that Dr. Fatemi switched languages to answer him “in careful English”. So far as we know, Fatemi did not speak much English, but if he were so proficient, surely he would have spoken it all along in the first place, right?

One definitely gets the sense that Cook was simply making things up, with the sole aim of rhetorically dancing on the young “traitor” Fatemi’s freshly dug grave. And in case there were still any doubt of his extreme bias, Cook topped his defamation bender off with a snifter of completely unnecessary racist innuendo.

Who was this vindictive jerk, anyway? At the time, Cook was a writer for various Heywood & Company publications, and a New York based correspondent for Australian and British newspapers such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The London Evening Standard and The Age. During World War II he had been a war correspondent, and communicated a bit with Gen. Eisenhower. In 1955 he wed a Scarsdale woman.

The good Lord took Frederick G. Alletson Cook on January 13, 1960 at age 54.

November 18, 1954
Alletson Cook’s New York Diary

Death of a traitor

Hossein Fatemi, captured before his execution When a traitor meets a traitor’s end in faraway Persia you’d hardly think it made news in New York.

But the execution of Hussein Fatemi, old Dr. Mossadeq’s shifty – eyed right-hand man, made news all right for me.

I remembered the Press conference he and the hysterical old faker, [he means Mossadegh] who almost wrecked his country, gave at the United Nations at the height of the oil wrangle with London.

The world’s top reporters at the UN, summoned peremptorily to a Press conference, were somewhat bewildered to get nowhere at all with them for an hour or more.

If they had nothing to say, why call a Press conference?

But finally I pinned them down or so I thought — to the basic issue: “Just what sum in compensation would they consider reasonable? How much were they really prepared to pay Britain for the seized oil company?”

Fatemi, confronted with the blunt question, looked into space, completely expressionless, for a full minute.

Then he turned back to me and in careful English, said, “What about the condition of the Negroes in the American south?”

For many of the newsmen present, it was a first introduction to the working of the Oriental mind.

The Wingham Chronicle, Dec. 7, 1954

The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer | December 7, 1954 front page: "Notes From the City" by H.A.McC.
Canadian paper on Mossadegh: “A man who deserves no pity”

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Related links:

British Humorist Nathaniel Gubbins’ Demeaning Mossadegh Mockery (1951)

Three Chickens A Day | The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 15, 1953

The Importance of Being Tearful | The Warwick Daily News, January 26, 1952

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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