That There is some Bravo Sierra
Military Roundup 15 Apr 2010

A Time to Betray- Review by Elise Cooper

Elise Cooper for BLACKFIVE.

Reza Kahlili (an alias) recently wrote a book, A Time To Betray, a portrayal of his life as a CIA Agent, code named Wally, while working as a Revolutionary Guard.  The book starts off with the Iranian Revolution and proceeds to tell his journey from a strong supporter to someone who despises the brutal Khomeini regime.  Although it is impossible to independently verify his recounting of all the events and facts, it is a fascinating read about the despotic Iranian government.

The most powerful parts of the book are the descriptions of the unfolding horror:  the torture, rapes, executions, assassinations, and paranoia that innocent citizens had to endure.  What is particularly heart wrenching is a letter sent to him by a girl who was tortured and his description of a young woman’s stoning.  He is able to show the disjointedness of Iranian society between its medieval ways and modern society.  A glimpse into the ruthlessness of those in charge is his recounting of the letter sent to him:

    “I wish I was one of those girls who were lucky enough to go in front of the firing squad.  They took everything from me in that prison.  I have nothing left…When I was in solitary confinement these filthy, evil men would come to my cell…not even animals would do what they did.  They raped me, but it was more than rape.  When they were through they kicked me in the back as hard as they could, threw me down next to the toilet…They would make us hold one leg up for a long time.  If you got tired, they would lash you on the tired leg.  Some would faint from the pain and bleeding.  They cut my arm with a knife and told me that they would cut my throat the next time if I did not confess.  The next day they sent me to a small dark room where another guard raped me.  This was the routine.” 

A strength of the book is his insight into the thinking of the Iranian leaders.   He tells that “Al Qaeda started with small jobs and they grew bigger and bigger. America took no action which made bin Laden believe he was untouchable.  This same thing is happening with Iran.  If Iran becomes nuclear they will take the world hostage. Remember they are in the center of the most important area for energy. No one understands the philosophy of this regime.”

He comments that the book was written “to get the word out about the dangers of the Iranian regime.  I am the first one coming out.  They did not know I existed as an American spy inside the system.  I want to alert the American people that the US government has a reactionary foreign policy where they wait for something to happen and then react.  My goal is to stop a nuclear Iran from happening.”

He makes a definite compelling case as to why the US and its allies should refrain from making deals with a government that can never be trusted.  The book details how the Iranians decided in the mid 1980’s to start a nuclear program.  He chillingly notes in the book that if the Iranians had a bomb they would have used it after the US Navy accidentally shot down the Iranian jetliner.

The intelligence reports he gave regarding facts learned and events that followed are the weakest parts of the book.  For example, there is a definite discrepancy between his view and what the lead FBI investigator, Richard Marquise, says about the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.  Marquise says that unequivocally all the evidence points to the Libyans, while in the book Kahlili points out that it was the Iranians that initiated the plan, provided the funds, and coordinated the attack. When asked about this inconsistency, he stated,” I was not involved in the exact details of the investigation.  The regime talked about retaliation for the downing of the Iranian flight by the US Navy and I stand by what I said. The Libyans were a part of it because of the bombing of the Palace ordered by President Reagan.  They participated in the takedown, but the Iranians were the masters of the plan.”

A Time to Betray reads more like a novel than a non-fiction book.  It is fast paced and the reader will not be able to put it down.  Kahlili’s descriptions of the despicable, despotic, criminal regime are the most potent parts of the book.  As he tells, “we cannot be deceived by the leadership in Tehran.  I betrayed my country for a reason, to bring freedom to my people and end this ruthless regime.” For anyone that wants to gain insight into the Iranian system, this book is highly recommended.