Thursday, November 19, 2009

The 'conspiracy' to debunk a smear campaign

Taking a page from her allies with the MEK, Jennifer Rubin of the neoconservative Commentary magazine has written what journalist Daniel Lubin accurately characterizes as a “paranoid post” (approvingly linked by Washington Times hatchetman Eli Lake) accusing a range of writers of various ideological stripes – including Andrew Sullivan, Spencer Ackerman, Matt Yglesias and Glenn Greenwald – of engaging in a secret campaign coordinated by some Washington PR firm to defend the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and its president, Trita Parsi, from the slanderous and unsubstantiated claim from the likes of Rubin and Lake that the group is a front for the Iranian government.

Now, one should never be surprised to read something bat-shit crazy from Commentary magazine, but this is a truly bizarre instance of projection -- mirroring the MEK approach of accusing all their opponents of being Iranian spies -- wherein one of the very right-wing operatives defaming NIAC and Parsi suggests something shady and conspiratorial is at play in the effort to respond to her libels. This after it was well-publicized that the smear campaign against NIAC originated with a coalition of wacky neocons and agents of the anti-Iranian terrorist group the MEK. The only remarkable aspect of her post, really, is that she never gets around to explaining how George Soros was orchestrating the whole defense of NIAC all along from his liberal fortress in the sky (but I guess Michael Goldfarb beat her to it).

“Weeks before the story actually broke, the groundwork for the defense was being laid,” Rubin writes, reproducing a November 2nd email from Parsi alerting supporters to the coming smears. Weeks later, that smear campaign has unfolded, culminating in Lake's remarkably weak hit piece in the Times accusing Parsi of being an Iranian agent based on documents provided him by a neoconservative ideologue and a reported MEK agent – but it is Parsi and the “Left blogosphere” that is engaged in a conspiracy, Rubin says, suggesting those defending NIAC all go their talking points handed them by PR firm Brown Lloyd James (who?).

“That sort of smooth-running rebuttal doesn’t just happen on its own, it is fair to conclude,” Rubin writes, one eyebrow raised, “and you can’t say Parsi and NIAC aren’t getting their money’s worth from their PR team.”

Again we see how these ever-so-brave neoconservatives aren't willing to debate actual facts, like Luban's evidence the source of the Parsi/NIAC smear is a member of a foreign terrorist organization, so they reflexively fall back to the tactic of smearing, suggesting all who disagree with them are controlled by others. NIAC opposes sanctions and war against Iran? Well, then they must be directed by Iran, goes the line. Unimpressed with Lake's pathetic, evidence-free smear of Parsi as a foreign agent? Why, you must be directed by NIAC (and its spooky public relations team). Of course, the tact is juvenile and asinine, and more than a bit played out, but then so is the neoconservative world view.

Writes Luban:
“While I don’t want to get in the way of a good theory, I would suggest that Rubin could benefit from the judicious use of Occam’s Razor. It is indeed possible, I suppose, that every commentator who has disputed the charge that NIAC lobbies for the Iranian regime has only done so because they are receiving talking points and unmarked cash-filled envelopes from Brown Lloyd James. But let me venture what I think is a simpler explanation: commentators from across the political spectrum have argued that NIAC is not a tool of the Iranian regime because, well, it is utterly obvious that NIAC is not a tool of the Iranian regime.”
Obvious, at least, to those with half a brain (agents of Tehran, one would think, wouldn't send out press releases like this).

But Rubin isn't exactly the brightest bulb in the blogosphere, as she demonstrates with her claim that lefty bloggers “struggled mightily to paint Parsi as the innocent victim and somehow the friend of the Greens (neatly sidestepping the conspiracy to defund the same)” in their efforts to defend NIAC, thus their needing to rely on a PR firm's talking points. Except it really isn't so hard to defend Parsi's “conspiracy” to end U.S. aid to Iranian “opposition” groups. In fact, allow me to just quote Iranian dissident and journalist Akbar Ganji on the matter, via the BBC:
"The US democracy fund was severely counterproductive. None of the human right activists and members of opposition in Iran had any interest in using such funds, but we were all accused by Iran's government of being American spies because a few groups in America used these funds."
See? Not so difficult. But people like Rubin don't actually care about facts, the Iranian opposition, or the Iranian people, for that matter. What they care about is U.S. hegemony – that's it – and the Iranian regime's refusal to become a client state. If the mullahs in Tehran allowed a few U.S. bases in their country, then neocons would speak out about Iran's human rights situation about as much as they do Uzbekistan's – which is to say, not at all.

Full Disclosure: This post was dictated by George Soros at the request of Ayatollah Khamenei.

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