Matthew Yglesias, filling in for Josh Marshall, asked a good question this morning: Did somebody hire Benador to push this story?
As I chronicled when the story broke last week, Amir Taheri is associated with Benador Associates, which is filled with neocons that have acted as the propaganda wing of the Bush administration's preemptive war division. It's a flat out pr firm.
As regular readers know, I spoke with Aaron Breitbart of the Simon Wiesenthal Center early on Friday, who confirmed the Iranian badge story as being true. That post of mine blasted across the web and is still going strong. I tried to reach Breitbart again late Friday after it had been thoroughly debunked, to no avail. I left him a message today as well. I also spoke with a woman named Avra who answered the phone in the public relations department at the Center, which is where I was forwarded when Breitbart wasn't available. I explained why I was calling and she took my name and number, saying someone would get back to me. I've not heard back from the Center yet. You want to bet if I will?
Considering the developments since this story started, along with the questions that have arisen out of it, it seems pertinent to now offer another part of the fax I received from Breitbart on Friday, which I've not revealed yet. Offering it now just might advance the story a bit, if only
to yield more questions.
The original fax Breitbart forwarded to me was from “Turley-Ewart, John (National Post)” to a Rabbi Cooper. Here is what it says as an introduction
to the subject that followed, with emphasis added.
Subject: Taheri on Iran
As per our conversation, I'm looking at running this but I have not been able to confirm its veracity. Particularly, I want to make sure that the part saying Jews will have to wear a yellow stripe and Christians a red stripe
is in fact true. Now the law has not yet come into effect, but it is moving closer to becoming law and I think we need to draw attention and much of it to this right now.
Any assistance you can give us in confirming this info would be much appreciated.
I've omitted the email addresses, including cc's, in the text above, but all else is verbatim. What appeared below “jte's” missive to Rabbi Cooper was the entire article by Amir Taheri. I've also tried to reach John Turley-Ewart, but today is Victoria Day in Canada and the National Post is closed.
As Iglesias suggests today, and I obviously agree, it's important to understand the connection between Amir Taheri and Benador, as well as what that connection means to the trumpeting of the Iranian badge story. When you put in the context of Seymour Hersh's article, as well as Steve Soto's Iran piece this weekend, the picture gets even clearer, the intent more ominous.
It's obvious that Turley-Ewart wanted the Simon Wiesenthal Center to confirm and help him push the story forward, which he had an obvious interest in doing personally. That the New York Post ended up trumpeting the story over the weekend, after it was discredited says so much. That Aaron Breitbart confirmed the badge story, without reservation, to me on Friday, seems logical to assume he did the same for Turley-Ewart.
So, again, did somebody hire Benador to push this story, and if so,
why? We can all make an educated guess on that one, but it would be nice to actually know the truth.