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ę FRIDAY Mid-Morning Open Thread [Y-not] | Main | Flashback: Steven Hayes Reported One Key Player Behind Benghazi Talking Points Alterations -- Obama's Fabulous Fabulist Ben Rhodes Ľ
May 06, 2016

American Psyops: Ben Rhodes' "Force Multipliers" Now Being Called Out by Foreign Policy Experts

Note: If you're just seeing this story, you might want to read this piece from yesterday first, or Lee Smith's Weekly Standard piece to get up to speed.

It's huge.

The legacy media is, get this, giving this story the silent treatment, not interested in covering a scandal that affects so many of their colleagues and late-night bootycall side-pieces.

But conservative writers are writing about it. This Lee Smith piece at the WS has additional horrifying quotes from the New York Times piece about Ben Rhodes and his army of "force multipliers."

Samuels's profile is an amazing piece of writing about the Holden Caulfield of American foreign policy. He's a sentimental adolescent with literary talent (Rhodes published one short story before his mother's connections won him a job in the world of foreign policy), and high self regard, who thinks that everyone else is a phony. Those readers who found Jeffrey Goldberg's picture of Obama in his March Atlantic profile refreshing for the president's willingness to insult American allies publicly will be similarly cheered here by Rhodes's boast of deceiving American citizens, lawmakers, and allies over the Iran deal....

In Rhodes's "narrative" about the Iran deal, negotiations started when the ostensibly moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected president, providing an opening for the administration to reach out in friendship. In reality, as Samuels gets administration officials to admit, negotiations began when "hardliner" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was still president. It was Rhodes who framed the Iran deal as a choice between peace and war, and it was Rhodes who set up a messaging unit to sell the deal that created an "echo chamber" in the press. "[Al Monitor reporter] Laura Rozen was my RSS feed," says Tanya Somanader, the 31-year-old who managed @TheIranDeal twitter feed. "She would just find everything and retweet it."

"In the spring of last year," Samuels writes:

legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. "We created an echo chamber," [Rhodes] admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. "They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say."

When I suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed a bit removed from rational debate over America's future role in the world, Rhodes nodded. "In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this," he said. "We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked." He is proud of the way he sold the Iran deal. "We drove them crazy," he said of the deal's opponents.

Sohrab Ahmari is writing about this incident today, and Ben Rhodes' echo chamber force multiplier Laura Rozen, as she relentlessly retransmitted Administration lies about Rouhani.

Sohrab Ahmari's account says he's:

Editorial Writer, @WSJOpinion. At work on a book about smugglers and refugees.

Here's his encounter with Rhodes'/Obama's "Echo Chamber:"

A Twitter essay on Iran and Ben Rhodes: (1) In June 2013, the day after Rouhani was elected, I wrote a WSJ oped showing he's no moderate.

(2) I noted his "Death to America" statements, record in the Iranian security apparatus and role in suppressing the 1999 student uprising.

(3) I also noted that, even if he were inclined toward moderation, the Iranian system is designed such that popular branches have no power.

(4) The oped clashed with the Rouhani-mania in Washington, among the Rozen types and the various Iranian-American interpreters of Iran.

(5) A few others (@EliLake, @SGhasseminejad, @mdubowitz) joined me in sounding skeptical notes but the Rozens of the world won the day.

(6) Their message discipline was remarkable. It was as if they'd all received the same memo. Skeptics were shut out and ridiculed.

(7) There were variations in tone. But on the main issues the Rouhani government, the US Iran lobby and most of the prestige press agreed.

(8) The main line was that it's either deal or war. Also that Washington and Tehran should overcome hard-liners on both sides.

(9) As if John McCain, Mark Kirk and Netanyahu, etc. were no better, morally, than the ayatollahs who stone women and hang gays.

(10) Every instance of Iranian aggression and duplicity was attributed to the "hard-liners." Rouhani was an innocent lamb.

(11) I thought: I've lived in Iran. How can Max Fisher et al propound on it with such certainty from a 10-mile radius from Dupont Circle?

(12) More important, how could so many foreign-policy elites pretend that history began in 09, following a dark prehistory that began in 03?

(13) Well now we know: Ben Rhodes was feeding them the talking points, packaged in those obnoxious background that are Obama-admin hallmarks

Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College, is detailing his (presumed) run-in with Rhodes' Force Multiplier Echo Chamber:

I want to know how the #IranDeal advocates are going to explain why Ben Rhodes is wrong about how they were all his sock puppets. /1

Why should I, or anyone, believe that the agitprop campaign about the @AP report in particular wasn't orchestrated by the WH? /2

A lot of experts put their reputations on the line for #IranDeal and #Parchin, and made some heavy accusations. Rhodes outed them today. /3

I wrote about this in the @thedailybeast at the time, here. /4

The article he's talking about his here, about the Force Multipliers' relentless pushback when the Parchin matter was disclosed. Let me quote a bit, before getting back to his narrative. Parchin was, as you might remember, the facility that the Iranians were allowed to self-inspect for nuclear activity, in a side-deal.

The story, of course, had immediate impact: Supporters of the Iran Deal took issue with the whole notion of "self-inspection," while opponents blasted the news as yet more evidence that the West, and particularly the Obama administration, had caved to unreasonable Iranian demands.

In short order, this predictable debate fell to the wayside as Deal supporters adopted a "shoot the messenger" strategy. In a later version of the same story the AP clipped some of the more controversial claims. Deal supporters pounced, and gloated that the AP was quietly walking back its own story after accomplishing nothing but riling up the GOP rubes who hate the deal anyway.

The next morning, Max Fisher of Vox fired off a story that, at first reading, seemed to eviscerate the AP's report...

Fischer seized on the fact that the later version of the story omitted a couple of claims in the earlier version, and decided, for no particular reason (except that Ben Rhodes probably told him so) that this represented a full walk-back of those claims.

It didn't. The next update included all those claims again. It was just happenstance that one draft didn't include a couple of claims.


As Fisherís story hit the Internet in mid-morning, it crossed in cyberspace with the APís updated version of its own story, with all the contentious claims restored. The AP, it turns out, hadnít "scrubbed" anything and stood by all of it. Fisher amended his own story to note this new development, including an interview with AP executive Paul Colford, who said the earlier version had been cut briefly to make room for GOP reactions.

Still, Twitter lit up with gleeful claims that the AP reporters had gotten the story wrong....

These are pretty serious accusations. And then things got really weird.

On Thursday afternoon, the AP published what it claimed was a direct, verbatim transcription of the draft side-agreement...

Instead of engaging the substance of the document, however, Iran Deal supporters went for a simpler, truther-ist explanation: The document couldnít say anything at all, but because it's a fake.

Interestingly, almost all of the charges and implied charges of forgery hit the Internet at roughly the same time on Friday morning. (At least they did in my Twitter stream.) Iím not pushing my own conspiracy theory, so I'll just say I have no idea if it was orchestrated. But I hate those kinds of coincidences--and hey, I'm just asking questions.

Not to skip ahead, but Nichols now does suspect coordination. But at the time, he didn't know that Rhodes had a bunch of Twitter Dummies posing as "experts" who would take whatever pre-cum dripped out of his lie-dick and turn it into a Twitter lie bukkake.

The presumed Force Multipliers began blaming Jewish chicanery. No, I'm not kidding.

The Huffington Post made the strongest play by noting that former IAEA official Tariq Rauf said that in his view it was "not an authentic document" and represented an attempt to "hinder:the Iran Deal. Because the APís draft referred to Iran as the "Islamic State of Iran"--its official name is the Islamic Republic of Iran, which also appears in the draft--some seized on this as evidence of involvement of...well, You Know Who: "The only one who refers to Iran," Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council tweeted, "as 'Islamic State of Iran' is [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu. And strangely, AP's dubious 'draft' of the IAEA-Iran agreement..."

AP writer Matt Lee upbraided Parsi, saying: "You know better than this." Parsi, in classic truther fashion, replied: "I am pointing out the language similarity and calling it strange. That's it." Fisher, for his part, called the AP story "troubling" and backed off when Lee also directly challenged him to take a position on the forgery charge.

Now back to Nichols' new suspicions in the wake of the Rhodes Confessions:

I and other #IranDeal opponents, scholars and experts, were accused of ignorance and pure partisanship. /5

But we weren't the ones cutting and pasting Rhodes's talking points. We weren't the ones accusing @AP of cooking the reports on #Parchin. /6

We were accused of bad faith. But as Rhodes admits, he spun the messaging *intentionally* to short circuit a debate. /7

Here's Rhodes: "We set up an echo chamber."
He's not even trying to finesse it. He fed a line to reporters and think tank flacks. /8

And the rest of us had to take static for being partisan from people like @cirincione, and journo giants like @Max_Fisher on #Iran /9

I wonder: did any of those people foresee the possibility that Rhodes is so arrogant he'd out them and then crow about it? /10

Because make no mistake: Rhodes is admitting what he did. And he's happy about it. And he thinks it was a good idea. /11

And in turning experts and journos into #IranDeal suckers, both experts and journos harmed themselves and public debate. /12

Those who saw the deal as an Obama play for a legacy based on some vaporous #Iran grand bargain got it right, like @Doranimated. /13

Those of us who objected to #IranDeal on those grounds were then told that this was just striking while the iron was hot, only on nukes. /14

This, by Rhodes's own admission, is now completely a lie. This was part of a harebrained Big Policy Idea going back years. /15

But when some of us sensed exactly that very thing, we were gaslighted by fellow experts and compliant journalists for being haters. /16

Every expert who took those #IranDeal talking points, and every journo who repeated them willingly, should have to answer for this. /17

My opposition to #IranDeal was based on best judgment as a foreign policy expert and scholar. My conscience is clear. /18

But those #IranDeal advocates who participated in this circus should be losing sleep over it. At the least, they owe us an explanation. /19

And I don't want to hear how this is more partisan hating. I've written in support of Obama policies when I've thought them to be right. /20

But the experts and journos who bought Rhodes's #IranDeal novel have placed their credibility in doubt.

It's up to them to restore it.

So where is the media on this? This is not an accusation; this is an admission by Ben Rhodes as well as some of the key players in his shop. Who named themselvs -- they're not anonymous. They admitted these things.

So we have lies, schemes to deceive, willing stooges in the media eager to transmit those lies (as they have no expertise of their own to offer, except what the failed novelist Ben Rhodes puts in their heads), and all over an inarguably major subject -- foreign policy, and specifically, the nukes Obama gave Iran.


The Fuck.

Is the Media?

As usual -- covering up for their dirty-dealing colleagues.

Here's Lee Smith summing up this unscrupulous, anti-American psyops against the public:

So that's it. For the last seven years the American public has been living through a postmodern narrative crafted by an extremely gifted and unspeakably cynical political operative whose job is to wage digital information campaigns designed to dismantle a several-decade old security architecture while lying about the nature of the Iranian regime. No wonder Americans feel less safe--they are.

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posted by Ace at 11:32 AM

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