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There have been several diaries on the story that was published in the right-wing Canadian newspaper, The National Post, today. which relied on Iranian exiles as sources.  But significant is a companion piece by one, Amir Taheri,  What makes it significant is who Taheri is, who his associates are, and who sponsors him.

Google the name Amir Taheri and you will find that his writings are published by National Review, the New York Post, the Jerusalem Post and the Weekly Standard.  But more significant is that he has sponsored by Benador Associates, an erstwhile public relations firm whose founder, Eleana Benador has major right-wing connections:

"Eleana Benador has been instrumental in helping to publicize key neoconservative figures in recent years, with her company Benador Associates serving as a principal neoconservative marketing agency. Writes journalist Jim Lobe: "Meet Eleana Benador, the Peruvian-born publicist for Perle, Woolsey, Michael Ledeen, Frank Gaffney and a dozen other prominent neoconservatives whose hawkish opinions proved very hard to avoid for anyone who watched news talk shows or read the op-ed pages of major newspapers over the past 20 months. Also found among her client list are other major war-boosters, including former New York Times executive editor and now New York Daily News columnist, A. M. Rosenthal; Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer; the Council on Foreign Relations' resident imperialist Max Boot; and Victor Davis Hanson, a blood-and-guts classicist and one of Vice President Dick Cheney's favorite dinner guests. Aside from her success in getting her clients distributed all over the television dial at critical moments in the march to war, what is particularly remarkable about Benador is the speed with which she has built what is obviously a thriving business, based on 17- to 18-hour work days, the personal attention she gives to both her clients and her media contacts, and her conviction that what her clients say is true and right. "In general, I do agree with their views," Benador told Inter Press Service during an interview in the plush lobby of what is Washington's only grand hotel in the European style, the Willard. "So when I represent them, I can really convince another person."

Another of Benador's big-name clients is Khidhir Hamza, an Iraqi nuclear scientist who fled several years ago to the United States, where he wrote a book claiming that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had a nuclear bomb.

As for Benador Associates, aside from Taheri, its clients include such prominent neo-cons such as James Woolsey, Michael Leeden, Frank Gaffney and Richard Perle.

So, without knowing whether the story is true or not, our antennas should be up for the distinct possiblity that, like the propaganda in the lead up to the Iraq war, this story is a neo-con plant seeking to support an attack on Iran.

Originally posted to Paleo on Fri May 19, 2006 at 01:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, godspiral, viscerality

    This reminds me of the pre-Gulf war stories spread by George HW that Iraqi troops were throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwait hospitals.

    Certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man. - OWH

    by blockbuster on Fri May 19, 2006 at 01:06:50 PM PDT

  •  Recommended. (0+ / 0-)

    Great stuff, thanks for digging.  Let's keep banging this drum.  This propaganda is smeared in yellowcake and dipped in oil.

    "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by reef the dog on Fri May 19, 2006 at 01:08:28 PM PDT

  •  To answer your question (0+ / 0-)


    Taheri is a tool.

    "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

    by Steven D on Fri May 19, 2006 at 01:09:09 PM PDT

  •  Conspiracy Theories (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JPhurst, Buddha Hat

    So, without knowing whether the story is true or not, our antennas should be up for the distinct possiblity that, like the propaganda in the lead up to the Iraq war, this story is a neo-con plant seeking to support an attack on Iran.

    No, first you assume that there is truth to the story based on prior, true, Iranian actions and speech.  Blaming Republicans first for everything that happens is idiotic.

    Dana Curtis Kincaid Ad Astra per Aspera!

    by angrytoyrobot on Fri May 19, 2006 at 01:15:13 PM PDT

  •  good to know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the story was stinking.  In general, fundamentalist Shia are not as peculiar about dress as Salafists, men and women do not have a common Muslim dress, Iranians do not cultivate a tradition of a national dress for men, this story was making no sense.

    There was a little bit similar story: with presidential support, Majlis enacted a law allowing women to watch male sports (meaning, men in short trunks playing soccer), and this law was stricken down by the Council of Guardians (or whatever theocratic body did it).

  •  Looks fake to me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tzt, qrswave, marcello09

    See this story.  

  •  Yes, of course it's propaganda (5+ / 0-)

    It's yet another, in a long line of pre-war scare stories. Right up there with the "incubators" story, the WMDs story, the "Iraq/Al Queda" connection story, yellowcake, ad etc...

    Bush is in a big hurry to get his war on. There's an election coming, and if his suporters lose majority position, he may finally be held accountable for his actions.

    Can't have that.

    So, with his approval rating having fallen all the way down from "annoying dolt" to "a joke in a necktie," his only hope to shore up flagging republican support, is to start another war.

    Just think of the photo-ops, that would provide. He'll get to proclaim "Mission acomplished" all over again, not to mention play dress-up, in a soldier costume one more time.

    But he's got to hurry. November is coming, and he has to have things in motion, so he can pick a start date for the bombing.

    My guess: probably right around october.

  •  of course it's not. (0+ / 0-)

    where do you get such silly ideas that it could be propaganda?

    obviously not from me, as some people don't want me here and have removed my posts.

  •  it is propaganda (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not that the Iranian government doesn't condemn non-Muslims living in Iran as infidels; they do.  But this yellow badge story is without a doubt propaganda.  A shameful day for the Simon Weisenthal Center and for the USA.

  •  From my previous comment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "are you being sarcastic? (I'm betting yes)

    would never commit such a blunder that would enrage the West.

    Like whatever the hell he was on about that was probably mistranslated, yet was still so stupid as to boggle the mind...remember the remarks about Israel...
      I think a lot of things said about the Iranian govt is mis- or selectively translated to english for the english speakers by who? With what agenda? These are the first questions one should ask when reading anything about Iran.
      ' They' ,the translators,have been busted several times, but I think it best to be totally skeptical about all, ALL media reports by or about anything Iranian.
        The Iranian ex-pat community is everywhere and are only a part of the disinformation campaign against Iran. Even me believes some of it..but mostly I try to be skeptical.
        Besides our own State dept's Liz Cheney, and our taxpayer dollars at work, there are the RW blogs and Israeli oriented folks who salt the onlineosphere as well. The money was budgeted for just this kind of thing, mostly radio, but once you've said 'Cheney'...
        Too bad some fell for it, but debunking this story is a lesson for us all, and I think 'we' should be doing just this type of thing, flushing this type of story out.
         The other problem is that this is the kind of story that gets sucked up in the rw spin machine, one of which elements are the news aggregators like google news and yahoo news and etc. Then quoted elsewhere, and since it then has several 'sources' haha, it then gets accepted as background truths, like we saw in the prewar Iraq stories."

    Somebody, do something, I got kids I care about, fer crying out loud!

    by KenBee on Fri May 19, 2006 at 02:19:24 PM PDT

  •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emptywheel, KenBee

    The story just smelled fishy to me when I first read it.

    It just seems to play too perfectly into the "see? he's JUST LIKE HITLER!?!?!" trope that's been the neocon's main talking point w.r.t. to Iran.

    And the plot thickens I just went back to re-read the first article you link to, and it seems to have been pulled. That page now says "this story is no longer available". Well, isn't that interesting, too.

    Destiny: A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure. --Ambrose Bierce

    by kingubu on Fri May 19, 2006 at 02:20:57 PM PDT

  •  American Jewish Congress condemns Iran (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    godspiral, KenBee

    Hmmm . . . just found this which was posted 1 hour ago:

    NEW YORK, May 19 U.S. Newswire -- A state like Iran which threatens neighbors with extinction and routinely uses violence and terrorism as deliberate instruments of state policy must be a pariah state and recognized as such by all civilized nations. Now Iran's Parliament, the Majlis, again departs from universally accepted norms not only with regard to other states, but towards its own citizens, proposing to color-code them by faith. It thus adds force to its head long retreat towards the dark ages.

    The newly passed Iranian dress code would oblige Moslems to wear "standard Islamic garments," while forcing non-Moslem Iranians to display color coded cloth on their clothes. The code is yellow for Jews, red for Christians and blue for Zoroastrians.

    "This law recalls the Holocaust immediately to mind when Jews were forced to wear distinctive yellow Stars of David on their clothes," said Executive Director Neil Goldstein.

    This has me confused because I respect the American Jewish Congress -- have they independently verified this or are they basing their info on the one news report?  This story keeps going and going, and I really would like some answers on this.

  •  There are people in America and.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    most countries in the world who would like to stick badges on people. Is this neo-con propaganda? I don't know.

    What concerns me is the complacency of many re: an attack on Iran. Some are that the current un-popularity of the war and of Bush are suffient to prevent an attack.

    Inadvertantly, these folks have identified exactly how the attack on Iran will be sold: as a way to end the problems in Iraq.

    I do not agree that the Bush will attack Iran to burnish his image before the public. I think he genuinely doesn't care what the world or America thinks of him.

    Bush has an eye on history.

  •  Ha'aretz tones down the scare quite well (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emptywheel, godspiral, sofia, KenBee, 7Seven7

    According to Meir Jawadnafar, an Israeli expert on the Iranian government, Tehran has not yet determined the nature of Muslim dress that will be required in the country. Therefore, he says, the claim that it was decided that Iran's Jews would be forced to wear yellow badges on their clothing is baseless. He said the Iranian government has no intention of forcing ethnic groups to wear specific colors.


    The article is spin. The government is trying to adopt a dress code. That appears to be a fact. The goal is not to isolate Jews, but to enforce a conservative dress style in the country. Looking at what I can glean, instead of trying to be obnoxious, they were trying to be nice. They want to establish a dress code to get rid of tight jeans and provocative clothing (infidel influence). But while they could set a dress code for Muslims, they couldn't use the same code for Christians or Jews, as they fall under different morality laws. I don't know about Iran, but in Syria, Christians go to Christian judges for things like marraige, as they don't want to impose Muslim law over things of this nature.

    Being neo-cons, instead of attacking the leaders of the country for treating the whole nation like grade schoolers (you know, like Tipper Gore in 2000), they twist the intention of the law to scare people.

  •  Nice job, Paleo (0+ / 0-)

    We cannot let the country be dragged down Judy Kneepads lane again.

    This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

    by emptywheel on Fri May 19, 2006 at 02:42:11 PM PDT

  •  Iranian MP denies the story (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emptywheel, Brian Nowhere, tzt, sofia, KenBee

    "IRAN'S only Jewish MP strongly denied reports in a Canadian newspaper overnight that Iran may force non-Muslims to wear coloured badges in public so they can be identified.

    "This report is a complete fabrication and is totally false," Maurice Motammed said in Tehran. "It is a lie, and the people who invented it wanted to make political gain" by doing so."

    Edwards-Strickland '08

    by Paleo on Fri May 19, 2006 at 02:46:32 PM PDT

    •  The Jewish MP is a handpuppet (0+ / 0-)

      Just remember that Iran is not a real democracy, but rather a hand-picked republic dependent on the old Mexican concept of the dedazo (from the days of the PRI), and that many MANY candidates were taken off the ballot last election (so really Ahmadenijad may not truly be the vote of the people, but rather an "Anybody But Rafsanjani" (who was bad enough anyways in his personal support for the wave of bombings in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994) vote).

  •  I would not put it past Ahmadenijad to do this (0+ / 0-)

    This guy is a neo-Hitler in waiting.  All his responses have been met by mealy-mouthed platitudes from the West.  And if you think Jews live in some sugar-plum fairyland with chocolate rivers in Iran, I have some SCARY news for you.

    You want to talk apartheid, Iran is the place.  I'm sure all of you know about the gender apartheid there.    Hell, I'm sure you already know about the situation of the Baha'is there (then again, their Holy Temple is in Israel, so they must be some Evil Zionists (TM) et al.)  And yes, supposedly Judaism is a "protected" religion.  But guess what?  Not in reality.  Hebrew cannot be taught in the religious schools because Hebrew texts cannot be distributed.  Jews are denied multiple-exit permits and must leave at least one family member behind to discourage emigration.  Pogroms have occurred in Tehran and Shiraz.  Jews can't even communicate with family they may have in Israel.  Heck, the leaders of the Jewish community are known to be tools of the mullahs (see what happened to Habib Elghanian in 1979, you think anyone wants to have his fate?)  So yes, Iranian Jews have been reduced to dhimmis, dependent on the protection of the state, and that's if the state wishes to protect them at all.  I don't know what this sounds like more, Nazi Germany or Czarist/Soviet Russia?

    BTW, if you want to see how Jews fared even BEFORE the Pahlavis, check the HEAVILY CITED Wikipedia article: (sure, it has that disclaimer at the top, but there's no doubting its depth of citation).

    Again, if you want to know if there was Iranian precedent, there indeed was, with the Mongol ruler Oljetu, Shah Abbas I or the Safavid Dynasty, and the advent of the Qajar Dynasty, all detailed per that article above.

    Do I think this story is true?  I don't know.  All I know is that there was prior historical precedent set and that the conditions in Iran are there for this to happen again.  Also, remember that the Final Solution was a secret up to the last days of World War II, called in Nazi propaganda "deportation to the East".

    And BTW, now I know how you feel about one set of victims vs. another set of victims.  If fake things were said about what was happening in Darfur, I'd imagine you'd say, "Yeah, but everything else is true."  Why is THIS the only thing where you think the oppressed are living in a fairyland?

  •  Story had disappeared (0+ / 0-)

    The story has apparently disappeared from the National Post website:

    Edwards-Strickland '08

    by Paleo on Fri May 19, 2006 at 03:24:30 PM PDT

  •  National Post backtracks! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tzt, sofia, KenBee

    Apparently, realize they've been neo-conned!

    "Several experts are casting doubt on reports that Iran had passed a law requiring the country’s Jews and other religious minorities to wear coloured badges identifying them as non-Muslims.
    The Iranian embassy in Otttawa also denied the Iranian government had passed such a law.

    A news story and column by Iranian-born analyst Amir Taheri in yesterday’s National Post reported that the Iranian parliament had passed a sweeping new law this week outlining proper dress for Iran’s majority Muslims, including an order for Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians to wear special strips of cloth.

    . . . .

    Hormoz Ghahremani, a spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa, said in an e-mail to the Post yesterday that, “We wish to categorically reject the news item."

    Edwards-Strickland '08

    by Paleo on Fri May 19, 2006 at 03:33:31 PM PDT

  •  More info on antisemitism in Iran (0+ / 0-)

    Since you-all conveniently like to remain silent on the facts of the issue:

    "The regime has emphasized its implacable enmity to the state of Israel and Zionism. Community leaders are forced publicly to condemn Israel and Zionism and to participate in anti-Israel rallies organized by the regime such as on Jerusalem Day. At least ten Jewish citizens and communal leaders, including Habib Elghanian (the head of the community council), have been executed for allegedly having connections with Israel or Zionist organizations, for associating with the Shah or for "corrupt business practices". The regime has also confiscated Jewish property, including factories, hotels, cinemas, houses and other assets, and has made it increasingly difficult for Jews to obtain business licences."

    "Although the 1979 constitution grants some civil rights to three religious minorities-Jews, Zoroastrians and Christians (primarily Armenians and Assyrians)-they are not employed in government offices or in any organization run by the regime. Permits for highly profitable businesses are granted only to Muslims, especially those loyal to the regime.

    Since 1994, premises belonging to non-Muslims, especially those serving food, have been obliged to hang a sign at the entrance saying "run by religious minority". This order, derived from the distinctive Shi'ite Muslim notion of the ritual impurity of unbelievers, continued to cause much concern within Jewish and Christian business circles for fear of violent attacks.

    Members of religious minorities, including Jews, are forbidden to join mainstream sports clubs but are permitted to run their own associations."

    "Schoolbooks in Iran often include antisemitic remarks relating to Middle Eastern history or religion. Only one Jewish school remains open and its Muslim director is appointed by the ministry of education. The school is forced to hold classes on the sabbath and the teaching of Torah is permitted only with Farsi translations of the Bible."

    "Jews in Iran are banned from having any connection with Zionist or non-Iranian Jewish organizations abroad. (They are permitted, however, to receive financial aid from an Iranian Jewish welfare organization in the UK.) Iranian Jews are banned from travelling to Israel and there have been many cases of imprisonment or fines for those suspected of visiting Israel in secret.

    During the trial of five members of a group charged with "immoral, illegal, subversive and intelligence activities", the Iranian media drew attention to the fact that the leader, Hedaytolah Zendeh-Del, was a Jew who had converted to Islam. He and one other member of the group were sentenced to death and hanged in December."

    AND THIS WAS ALL FROM 1996, WHEN AHMADENIJAD WAS STILL A LITTLE NOTHING!!!  Replace Iran with Israel and Jews with Muslims and this ENTIRE BOARD would be having a Katrina-sized hissy fit!

    Want personal stories?  OK:
    That gives you accounts from other Arab/Muslim countries in addition to Iran!

  •  war-provoking agitprop (0+ / 0-)

    That's what this is. Can anyone point me to the DKos article reporting D.Rumsfeld's admission that the US buys foreign journalists to propagandize for them - I do believe the National Post might be on the payroll. Meanwhile, anyone who needs a reminder can get a copy of 'Weapons of Mass Deception'.

  •  zombie lies (0+ / 0-)

    Kudos to the blogger who first exposed this for what it is:

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