Peres, in Argentina, Leaves Sense of Irony at Home

Israeli President and political office-juggler Shimon Peres is in Argentina schmoozing the poor man’s Eva Peron, batty President Cristina Kirchner, in the week before Palestinian Authority strongman Mahmoud Abbas visits. Though he seems to be trying to stay one step ahead of his enemies, he’s traveling so quickly he seems to have left behind sense of irony, the evidence of which is this Jerusalem Post article:

Citing two acts of terrorism perpetrated by Iran on Argentinean soil: the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in 1994, Peres wondered who could agree to have a regime that murders innocent people be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

“Who would believe them? Who could rely on them?” he asked.


Raimondo on Palin and the GOP

Justin Raimondo is doing a daily brief commentary for The Hill, Capitol Hill’s newspaper of record. Today’s question is “What must Sarah Palin accomplish on her book tour?” His answer is here, along with those of (so far) Larry Sabato and Glenn Reynolds.

Also, check out Justin’s response from last week’s question: Will PATRIOT Act reauthorization divide Dems, hamper healthcare?

Another Shoe Drops in the NIAC Story

Following up on our coverage of the campaign to destroy the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), Josh Rogin at the Cable has more information on the background to the attacks. The most interesting revelation concerns Hassan Daioleslam, the Iranian-American journalist — accused by critics of ties to the Mujaheden-e Khalq (MEK) terrorist group — who is being sued by NIAC for defamation and who appears to have been the source for the recent Washington Times hit piece on NIAC. Newly released documents make clear that Daioleslam (portrayed by his hawkish supporters as merely a concerned human rights and democracy advocate) has been only the public face of a group of Washington neoconservatives aiming to bring down NIAC as a way to undercut the Obama administration.

Rogin relays emails between Daioleslam and Kenneth Timmerman, in which the two plot strategy and discuss plans to leak documents to Times reporter Eli Lake. Timmerman, for those not familiar with him, is a notorious neoconservative hardliner and longtime advocate of regime change in Tehran. He founded the ultra-hawkish Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI) in 1995 with Joshua Muravchik and the late Peter Rodman, but became marginalized in mainstream circles after making a series of outlandish accusations. Notably, he accused Iran of having a role both in the September 11 attacks and the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings; he also alleged the existence of an “insurgency within the U.S. government” — a conspiracy centered on the CIA and State Department — that “sabotaged the [Bush] administration’s Iraq war plans” and was responsible for the failures of the U.S. war effort.

In one April 2008 email, Daioleslam wrote to Timmerman that he considered NIAC president Trita Parsi to be “the weakest part of the Iranian web” and that “destroying him will be the start of attacking the whole web.” Daioleslam continued (my emphasis): “This is an integral part of any attack on Clinton and Obama“. (The email was sent during the Democratic primaries, when it was not yet clear who would be the Democratic nominee.)

The email makes clear that the attacks on NIAC are simply a means to an end — the real goal being the sabotage of the Obama administration’s Iran policy. While it makes sense that the NIAC attacks have been picked up by the Weekly Standard set, one has to wonder whether the liberals who have aided and abetted them feel comfortable with participating in a campaign whose ultimate goal is to cripple a Democratic administration.

Missing Doc Prather

Many of you have written wondering where the heck are Gordon Prather’s columns these past two weeks.

The bad news first: Doc Prather has had a fairly serious medical problem come up recently, and it has hindered his ability to work.

The good news is that he’s going to be just fine if he, and we, can just have a little patience.

So, the bottom line is, don’t worry too much because Gordon is as tough as nails and is certain to be around smashing the War Party’s lies for years and years to come.

Iranian-American Dual Loyalty, continued

The campaign against the National Iranian-American Council and its president, Trita Parsi, intensified today with the publication of a long hit piece in the Washington Times by neoconservative journalist Eli Lake. The piece’s unusual length appears to be an attempt to disguise the thinness of the allegations it contains. Most of the claims are based on hearsay and speculation, and only two-thirds of the way through the meandering 3000-word article does Lake actually discuss whether any of the evidence actually shows that NIAC has lobbied for the Iranian government. At which point we get this brief sentence:

Two lawyers who read some of the same documents [on which the allegations are founded] said they did not provide enough evidence to conclude that Mr. Parsi was acting as a foreign agent.

One might be forgiven for thinking that this fact is relevant enough to be included in the first few paragraphs. Similarly, despite the thousands of pages of documents that were leaked to him, Lake is unable to show any evidence of a financial relationship between NIAC and the Iranian government. (It’s also worth noting that the question of whether NIAC engages in lobbying is separate from the question of whether it engages in lobbying on behalf of the Iranian government. Lake, who conflates the two questions, provides little evidence for the former and even less for the latter.) In any case, the question of whether any of the allegations might actually be true is then dropped, not to be pursued again for the remainder of the piece. Instead, we get bizarre fixations on facts like Parsi’s Swedish citizenship (which is about as relevant for his standing to work for an Iranian-American organization as Martin Indyk’s Australian citizenship was for his standing to work for an American Jewish organization.)

NIAC has issued a response giving background to Lake’s piece. The documents in question were provided by NIAC during the discovery phase of a lawsuit the group filed against journalist Hassan Daioleslam (or alternately, Hassan Dai) over allegations he made that NIAC was lobbying for Iran. So far the case has been going poorly for Daioleslam, with the judge denying his motion to dismiss the bulk of the charges; it seems plausible that the knowledge that he was likely to lose the case led Daioleslam to leak the documents in question to Lake as a Hail Mary. NIAC accuses him of trying “to litigate the case in the media rather than in a court of law.”

While it may be entertaining to indulge in this innuendo and speculation, we might shed more light on the question of whether NIAC lobbies for the Iranian regime by examining the organization’s actual actions. As I noted a few weeks ago, NIAC has taken a leading role in denouncing the regime’s crackdown on protesters, calling for new elections, and demanding that human rights issues be put on the engagement agenda. Furthermore, the group’s blog played a key role in disseminating information about this summer’s protests and their repression, much of it deeply damaging to the regime. To state the obvious, it is hard to see how these actions are consistent with a desire to further the regime’s interests. But perhaps Lake will explain to us how disseminating videos of the regime shooting and clubbing protesters is simply a cunning plot by the devious Parsi to win support for Ahmadinejad in Washington.

The campaign against NIAC should be seen for what it is — an attempt to delegitimate any Iranian-American voices that are insufficiently hawkish for the neocons’ liking. Hawks in Washington and Jerusalem are faced with the inconvenient fact that few Iranians, even those harshly critical of the regime, desire to see their country get bombed or invaded, or for Iran’s most vulnerable citizens to die under the weight of sanctions that do nothing to help the cause of the Green Movement. Hence the attempt to portray any Iranian who opposes sanctions or war as a stooge of the regime — and the hawks’ recent turn against the Iranian opposition itself, for refusing to play Chalabi and tell them what they want to hear. As the battle over Iran continues in Washington, it is likely that the attacks on NIAC and other dovish voices in the Iranian-American community are only going to get worse rather than better.

Gitmo 9/11 Suspects

Some thoughts on the Gitmo 9/11 suspects that are supposedly behind 9/11 and are due to come to New York for a civilian trial:

1. Why haven’t they been brought to trial years before now? We didn’t just discover that they were behind the attacks.
2. Why are we fighting in Iraq? If the ones behind 9/11 are in custody, why are we killing people in Iraq at the cost of more American lives than were killed on 9/11?
3. Why are we fighting in Afghanistan? If the ones behind 9/11 are in custody, why are we killing people in Iraq at the cost of more American lives than were killed on 9/11?
4. What about Osama bin Laden? I thought he was behind it all. Isn’t that why we went into Afghanistan?
5. Why are these men being tried and possibly facing the death penalty? The actual murderers perished in the planes they hijacked.

Am I excusing anything these men may have had to do with 9/11? Certainly not. But neither do I make excuses for the U.S. foreign policy that created terrorists.