Trita Parsi’s Lies and NIAC Intimidation Campaign
March 26, 2010
NIAC’s Smokescreen and Intimidation Campaign
Shortly before the Washington Times article about NIAC’s lobbying activities was published (by Eli Lake, Nov. 12th 2009), Trita Parsi who is the president of this organization recruited a professional Washington PR firm (Brown Lloyd James). This was done in an effort, not to clear his name, or dispel the notion that NIAC did indeed have ties with the Iranian regime, but rather, to launch a media blitz targeted at me (also the target of his lawsuit). Ironically, the tactics being used by NIAC and Parsi share an uncanny resemblance to those used by the regime itself when attempting to dispel its own critics. Remember the “death to America” slogans every time they found themselves in a debacle!
In April 2007, I published my first article about Parsi and NIAC. Immediately, several government-related newspapers in Tehran came out defending Parsi and attacked me. One of them called NIAC the "Iranian lobby in Washington". The governmental press tried to present my report as an attack by “Zionists” and “Neo Cons” against NIAC.
In my reports I wrote that Trita Parsi and his associate Siamak Namazi were leading a pro Iranian regime lobby disguised under an Iranian-American organization with no official stance on political issues. The evidence discovered in Trita Parsi’s law suit against me further support my published findings. My background and my political beliefs have no bearing on these evidences and are irrelevant to the question of Parsi’s lobbying efforts.
While the aim of Trita Parsi and NIAC’s PR campaign has been to present me as a war monger who is out to get Barak Obama, it is rather instructive to look through the smoke screens, and at the historical record. When I first published my findings about NIAC in 2007, most people did not even know who Obama was. In fact, the story I have been telling, begins with Trita Parsi working as the foreign advisor, confidant and assistant of then Congressman Bob Ney, an ardent pro-war politician who was credited for the phrase “freedom fries” (in protest of French government anti-war stance). Such associations must feel embarrassingly inconvenient at a time when Parsi is trying to line up with the progressives and left. Noteworthy to remember that Parsi’s PhD mentor has been Francis Fukuyama, who was considered the father of Neo-conservatism.
A second aspect of Parsi’s recent campaign is to intimidate me and anyone else who dares to criticize him. For the past 2 years, NIAC’s lawyer has been busy sending cease and desist letters to various media outlets, threatening them of legal action. The last example is the Washington Times that received two such legal threat notes.
According to the minutes of NIAC board meeting in 2008, the lawsuit was brought against me to “fold” me. The most shocking example of NIAC’s bullying is their response to one of my article published in June 2008 exposing how they spent the NED grant funds in Iran. Instead of responding to my report, Dokhi Fassihian, NIAC’s former executive director informed Trita Parsi that she will contact NED official to use their important resources and “hit me hard”:
“I would talk to NED immediately about this and perhaps consult them on how to address this. They will have more resources and avenues to hit him hard.”
Trita Parsi and NIAC must realize that the facts in the case are independent of who I am and what I believe. These facts are not about “Neo Cons”, “war mongers”, “Israelis”, “Zionists”, “right wings”, MEK”, “monarchists”, and many other smoke screens in their PR campaign. These facts are directly based on Parsi’s writings, communications and actions. NIAC’s repeated failed efforts to put a gag order on the discovered facts do not change the nature of these documents either.
Let me, one more time, and with utmost clarity state that: I am not a monarchist. I have never been a member of MEK, and I have never had any cooperation, coordination or affiliation with that organization. I have sent my articles for publications to venues with all types of ideologies and political positions. Some have decided to publish it, and some have not. I have no control on that.
It is about time that Trita Parsi, NIAC and their associates realize that this is not about me. It is about the truth. They should believe that people see through the smoke screens.
When Trita Parsi Lies
Purporting to represent the Iranian-American community, Trita Parsi has gained access to the corridors of power in Washington. In September 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited a group of "Iran experts" to a dinner to discuss the upcoming nuclear negotiations with Iran and other issues. The seven guests whose names have been revealed by the press all advocate, with minor variations, a specific policy towards Iran. Among the guests was Trita Parsi, the president of National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Evidently, he advised the White House to share the Middle East with the Iranian regime.
Parsi's success in Washington is partly due to the assertion by NIAC that it represents the Iranian-American community. Consequently, he has been frequently invited to brief the government on the community's opinion.
Do NIAC and its president represent the Iranian-Americans? Through a campaign of untruth, NIAC and its supporters have been able to mislead at least the American government to believe so. NIAC's internal documents obtained during a defamation lawsuit against me suggest that Parsi has repeatedly lied about his organization's membership.
In his campaign to hype NIAC's representation, Parsi was assisted by the Iranian regime, as well as by some groups in the US who preach for engagement with Iran and believe that more influence for NIAC would create a more favorable environment for their policy of co-existence with the Iranian regime.
For example, in 2006, the former head of the Iran interest section in Washington, Faramarz Fathnejad had a meeting in Tehran and expressed his support for NIAC and its president Trita Parsi. He highlighted "the importance of relations with Iranian organizations in the U.S. and specially pointed to NIAC and his young leader who is a consultant to CNN and has been very successful in his efforts." Then, the Iranian regime's representative claimed 20,000members for NIAC.
The Iranian officials are not alone in hyping NIAC and Parsi's performance. In October 2007, the organization boasted on its website a New York Times report by Roger Cohen claiming that "NIAC represents about one million Iranian-Americans."
The minutes of a meeting of the NIAC Board in 2007 (discovered during the lawsuit) contains:
"Trita reviewed the membership trends: 1,034 (2005) increased to 1,307 in 2006 and 1,680 as of today - citing these figures as absolutely unacceptable".
A good number of these members did not even pay their membership fee. As these numbers were absolutely ridiculous for an organization that claims to represent a community of one million, the solution proposed by a board member was simply to lie to the public. A few lines later in the same minutes of that meeting we read:
"Alex felt it would not be deceitful to mention NIAC as being comprised of 25,000+ members when dealing with the media and other inquiries."
Alex Patico is the co-founder and a member of the Board of Directors of NIAC. Relatively speaking, Ahmadinejad was more accurate in representing his presidential election victory results in Iran.
Patico's suggestion to lie to the public was in fact institutionalization of an untruth that Trita Parsi had been already offering for years. In several CVs that Parsi prepared for Amnesty International, Saban Center at Brookings Institute or Eurasia Fund, etc. he openly lied about NIAC membership. His resume (in 2005) entailed:
- Raised $450,000 and increased membership to 10,000 in less than one year
- Organized fundraisers events with members of Congress
In 2006, his resume included:
- Raised $800,000 and increased membership to 10,000 in less than one year.
In a March 2006 meeting with Mark Silverman and William Ralph from Senator Chafee's Office, Trita Parsi pushed the same insinuation in a very cunning and insincere presentation:
"... Mark asked us detailed questions about the survey that NIAC conducted. Trita noted that the initial survey asking what activities NIAC should be doing was sent out to 10,000 members."
It is worth to know that less than five hundred persons responded to NIAC's July 2009 membership survey. But, Trita Parsi and his colleagues in NIAC feel the need to be utterly cavalier with the truth. How otherwise could they get a ticket to Hilary Clinton's dinner?
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