Tuesday, May 7, 2013

MJ Rosenberg Declares A Loss To Be a Victory (And Other Fibs)

It's a surprise to me, but over the weekend MJ Rosenberg did not turn into the most "pro-Syrian" guy around like the rest of the Huffington Post. He did, however, step outside his comfort zone a little bit to explain that it's totally okay to lobby on behalf of a foreign nation and place its interests above your own...as long as that country is Iran. His article is supposedly about "neocons" trying to destroy NIAC, which he calls "the largest Iranian-American grassroots organizations." And as you will see what Rosenberg says happened and what actually happened are quite different indeed.

See, what was happening at the end of last year (while nobody on the Huffington Post noticed) is that a guy named Seyyed Hassan Daioleslam accused NIAC of, in Rosenberg's words, "being the lobby of the Islamic Republic of Iran." Rosenberg naturally pulls out all the stops to defend NIAC, calling the accusations "ludicrous," which would make sense if it was coming from anyone except MJ Rosenberg. Trita Parsi is a blogger on the Huffington Post and he rarely criticizes Iran, you can look for yourself. In contrast, all one needs to be accused of being an "Israel firster" by MJ Rosenberg is to dare to agree with Netanyahu about something. Of course, he can't accuse Parsi of being an "Iran firster" because Parsi is not an America and never has been. But anyway, let's get back to the case which closed about seven months ago.

Rosenberg, having poisoned the well by declaring that "the neoconservatives" "decided to go all out" to win, claims victory because Daioleslam went through documents and was not able to prove that Tehran actually tells NIAC what to do. Of course, there is no evidence that Jerusalem tells AIPAC what to do either, but that doesn't stop MJ Rosenberg and his amen corner from declaring them a "foreign lobby" and calling for them to be kicked out or murdered. Anyway, returning to the court case, notice how he poisons the well again:
"So NIAC had to prove that Daioleslam knew that he was lying -- a tall order under all circumstances. And convincing the very conservative, Bush appointed Judge John Bates -- the same judge that got Dick Cheney off the hook in the Valerie Plame case -- that Daioleslam acted with malice was probably impossible."
Yeah yeah, boo hoo. When the ruling doesn't go your way, just dig up some dirt about the judge so that your audience can just ignore whatever he says.

Now that Rosenberg has said his piece, let's take a look at the actual ruling. The judge says that he dismissed the lawsuit not merely because NIAC failed to prove malice but because he did not find that Parsi was actually as "pro human rights" as he claimed to be:
"That Parsi occasionally made statements reflecting a balanced, sharedblame approach is not inconsistent with the idea that he was first and foremost an advocate for the regime. Given the other evidence defendant amassed to support his views, the Court sees no "actual malice" in defendant's decision to disregard occasional contrary statements and assume that they were made largely to burnish Parsi and NIAC's image in the United States. After all, any moderately intelligent agent for the Iranian regime would not want to be seen as unremittingly pro-regime, given the regime’s reputation in the United States. (p. 12)The Court disagrees. While Parsi does criticize Iran's human rights record in the underlying article, his criticisms are tepid. A representative example is the following statement: "Even in long isolated Iran, a country known for its less than flattering Human Rights record, there is a trend toward the improvement of the human rights situation, although it remains far from being satisfactory."6 In this article Parsi does not come close to specifically condemning – or even mentioning – the "torture, mass executions, rapes of women in prison, and stoning" that defendant accuses him of ignoring. Moreover, the vast majority of the article is devoted to Parsi expressing his disappointment with the UCLA students who protested Kharazi's speech, not to discussing the regime's abuses. Hence, while defendant's article is certainly a strongly-worded and one-sided take on Parsi's underlying publication, it is not a distortion of the underlying publication that amounts to willful blindness or actual malice. (p. 13)"
Furthermore, the court decided to sanction NIAC for discovery abuses and found that the accusations by Daioleslam are "substantially true."
"The statements complained of regarding Parsi and NIAC’s lobbying activity are substantially true. Defendant has opined that Plaintiffs are important players in a lobby enterprise, lobbying on behalf of actions which are in line with the wishes and interests of the Iranian government. 10It is true that the manner in which NIAC, and by extension Plaintiff Parsi as the President of NIAC seeks to have such legislators vote is in accord with the needs, interests and wishes of the Iranian regime. (p. 10-11)"
If we were talking about Jews and not Muslims, MJ Rosenberg would have already declared them traitors and "Israel firsters" ten times over five different articles by now. To declare this a "victory" is a real stretch, as anyway you read it NIAC walks away disappointed and Daioleslam was vindicated. It just goes to show, Rosenberg doesn't actually care about the well being of any country, he just wants the "neocons" to be wrong and the "antiwar" crowd to be right.

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