Remember when Ben Rhodes mocked the mainstream media as being gullible dupes ready to believe whatever they were fed? Looks like Team Obama weren’t the only ones looking for a media ‘echo chamber’.
This legal permanent resident of America went looking for some ‘useful idiots’… and came up with CNN, among others.
He must have done a good job of it if Iran has paid him a touch more than a quarter-million bucks for his work so far.
From the DOJ statement about his arrest.
“For over a decade, Kaveh Afrasiabi pitched himself to Congress, journalists, and the American public as a neutral and objective expert on Iran,” said John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “However, all the while, Afrasiabi was actually a secret employee of the Government of Iran and the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations (IMUN) who was being paid to spread their propaganda. In doing so, he intentionally avoided registering with the Department of Justice as the Foreign Agents Registration Act required. He likewise evaded his obligation to disclose who was sponsoring his views. We now begin to hold him responsible for those deeds.”
“Afrasiabi allegedly sought to influence the American public and American policymakers for the benefit of his employer, the Iranian government, by disguising propaganda as objective policy analysis and expertise,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharme. “This Office is committed to the robust enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which provides the American people the tools they need to evaluate opinions and arguments in the marketplace of ideas by requiring foreign agents to declare their paymasters. Those, like the defendant, who conceal the full extent of their work for a foreign government when the law requires disclosure will face consequences for their actions.”
“Anyone working to advance the agenda of a foreign government within the United States is required by law to register as an agent of that country,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Sweeney. “Mr. Afrasiabi never disclosed to a congressman, journalists or others who hold roles of influence in our country that he was being paid by the Iranian government to paint an untruthfully positive picture of the nation. Our laws are designed to create transparency in foreign relations, and they are not arbitrary or malleable. As today’s action demonstrates, we will fully enforce them to protect our national security.”
“Our arrest of Kaveh Afrasiabi makes it clear that the United States is not going to allow undeclared agents of Iran to operate in our country unchecked. For more than a decade, Mr. Afrasiabi was allegedly paid, directed, and controlled by the Government of Iran to lobby U.S. government officials, including a congressman; and to create and disseminate information favorable to the Iranian government,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Bonavolonta. “The FBI will continue to do everything it can to uncover these hidden efforts and hold accountable those who work for our adversaries to the detriment of our national security.” –DOJ
The National Pulse article spotted a detail that explains why the media would have been such willing dupes to his propaganda.
Afrasiabi penned a book “Trump and Iran: From Containment to Confrontation,” which back cover reveals the work’s disapproveal for President Trump’s approach to Iran.
“They provide the necessary historical and regional context, and then proceed to explain, in a balanced and rigorous way, why Trump’s shift from a policy of containment to one of confrontation can only fail,” the review notes. — NationalPulse
That’s right, the Iranian Propagandist is on team OrangeManBad… so of COURSE they believed every word that dropped from his lips. Just like they did Avenatti, Michael Cohen, and so many other crackpot grifters.
With views like his, he would almost be qualified to RUN one of those 9 am CNN Zucker phone calls where the talking points get handed out like Kleenex.
But there’s still more to the DOJ document.
In the course of his employment by the Iranian government, Afrasiabi has lobbied a U.S. congressman and the U.S. Department of State to advocate for policies favorable to Iran, counseled Iranian diplomats concerning U.S. foreign policy, made television appearances to advocate for the Iranian government’s views on world events, and authored articles and opinion pieces espousing the Iranian government’s position on various matters of foreign policy. Afrasiabi has long known that FARA requires agents of foreign principals to register with the U.S. Department of Justice and has discussed information obtained from FARA disclosures with others. Nevertheless, Afrasiabi did not register as an agent of the Government of Iran.
For example, in January 2020, Afrasiabi emailed Iran’s Foreign Minister and Permanent Representative to the United Nations with advice for “retaliation” for the U.S. military airstrike that killed Major General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the external operations arm of the Iranian government’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, proposing that the Iranian government “end all inspections and end all information on Iran’s nuclear activities pending a [United Nations Security Council] condemnation of [the United States’] illegal crime.” Afrasiabi claimed that such a move would, among other things, “strike fear in the heart of [the] enemy.”
Afrasiabi has admitted in his own communications that his extensive body of published works and television appearances, in which he has consistently advocated perspectives and policy positions favored by the Iranian government, has been attributable to the funding he receives from the Iranian government. For example, in a July 28, 2020, email to Iran’s Foreign Minister, Afrasiabi included “links for many of [his] works, including books, hundreds of articles in international newspapers and academic journals,” telling Iran’s Foreign Minister, “Without support none of this would have been possible! This has been a very productive relationship spanning decades that ought not to be interrupted.”
With Biden in office now, what’s the over/under that these charges will be dropped and he will be folded in as one of Joe’s foreign policy advisors?
After the Obama/Biden Project Cassandra debacle, it would be very much ‘on brand’.
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