The National Post was owned by accused felon and neocon Lord Conrad Black, and sold to the Asper family when Black and his wife ran into their legal troubles.
Iran report of Holocaust-style badges questioned 2006-05-19 12:01:29
The National Post is sending shockwaves across the country this morning with a report that Iran's Parliament has passed a law requiring mandatory Holocaust style badges to identify Jews and Christians.
But independent reporter Meir Javedanfar, an Israeli Middle East expert who was born and raised in Tehran, says the report is false.
"It's absolutely factually incorrect," he told The New 940 Montreal. "Nowhere in the law is there any talk of Jews and Christians having to wear different colours. I've checked it with sources both inside Iran and outside."
"The Iranian people would never stand for it. The Iranian government wouldn't be stupid enough to do it."
Political commentator and 940 Montreal host Beryl Waysman says the report is true, that the law was passed two years ago. "Jews should wear yellow strips, Christians red strips, because according to the Iranian mullahs, if a Mulsim shakes hands with a non-Muslim he becomes unclean."
The National Post cites Iranian expatriots living in Canada as its primary source on the story.
He was a prominent member of Canada's Jewish community, and was well-known for his strong faith and support for Israel. While a Liberal in domestic Canadian politics his views in regard to Zionism coincided with the right wing Likud - he was an admirer of Vladimir Jabotinsky.
Asper would occasionally pen editorials defending the nation in his various papers and was accused by a number of media observers of censoring opinions critical of Zionism or which he deemed sympathetic to the Palestinians. He was also a critic of public broadcasting media, especially the CBC both for competing with the private sector as well as alleging that CBC News had a pro-Palestinian bias. Critics have accused Asper of simply attempting to eliminate competition to his business and political opinions. It is ironic that his last television interview before his death was to CBC journalist Evan Solomon.
Asper was also a close friend of many of Canada's prominent political and business elite, including Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. He had three children, David, Leonard and Gail, all of whom became lawyers. Leonard is also currently the President and CEO of CanWest Global.
Here's today's National Post front page. Shameless, tasteless and completely disgusting.
On a personal note, can I add how much this b.s. pisses me off? Although, I think my posts have already made clear my contempt for these bastards. On both sides of my family, I can trace back to ancestors who were killed in the Final Solution and Stalin's pogroms. And, I know this will sound cliched, but this stuff makes me so mad I can't even think of anything beyond cliches to express my thoughts. To use their memories as the basis for launching unprovoked wars, which themselves are based on lies, deception and deceit...I would have hoped that their deaths would be an example of why reactionary politics -- which is what Zionism is no matter what semantical games the Zionists play to disguise it -- should be avoided, and in fact, be beyond the limits of legitimate political discourse. But instead, here we are again, repeating what the world already went through after the first two world wars. How dumb and selfish and small minded can people be to believe this nonsense and why do we continue to tolerate it?
Amir Taheri, National Post Published: Friday, May 19, 2006
While the Iranian economy appears to be heading for recession, one sector may have some reason for optimism. That sector is the garment industry and the reason for hopefulness is a law passed by the Islamic Majlis (parliament) on Monday.
The law mandates the government to make sure that all Iranians wear "standard Islamic garments" designed to remove ethnic and class distinctions reflected in clothing, and to eliminate "the influence of the infidel" on the way Iranians, especially, the young dress. It also envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public. The new codes would enable Muslims to easily recognize non-Muslims so that they can avoid shaking hands with them by mistake, and thus becoming najis (unclean).
The new law, drafted during the presidency of Muhammad Khatami in 2004, had been blocked within the Majlis. That blockage, however, has been removed under pressure from Khatami's successor, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The new law replaces the one passed in 1982 dealing with women's clothes. That law imposed the hijab and focused on the need to force women to cover their hair in public. The emphasis on the hijab was based on the belief that women's hair emanates an "evil ray" that drives men "into lustful irrationality" and thus causes harm to Islam. The new law cannot come into effect until consensus is reached on what constitutes "authentic Islamic attire."
The world's estimated 1.3 billion Muslims live in more than 180 different countries and dress in a bewilderingly large number of styles reflecting national, tribal, ethnic and folkloric traditions. The Ethnological Museum in Tehran shows that Iran itself is home to hundreds of different styles of clothing for men and women.
According to Ahmadinejad, the new Islamic uniforms will establish "visual equality" for Iranians as they prepare for the return of the Hidden Imam.
A committee that consists of members from the Ministry of Islamic Orientation, the Ministry of Commerce and the Cultural Subcommittee of the Islamic Majlis is scheduled to propose the new uniforms by next autumn. These would then have to be approved by the "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei before being imposed by law.
Although the final shape of the uniforms is yet to be established, there is consensus on a number of points. The idea of adopting an Arab-style robe (known as dishdash) for men has been rejected along with a proposal that men wear a form of turban.
"Iranians have always worn trousers," says Mostafa Pourhardani, Minister of Islamic Orientation. "Even when the ancient Greeks wore woman-style dresses with skirts, the Persians had trousers. We are not going to force Iranian men to do away with trousers although they predate Islam."
What men will wear on top is not clear yet.
Some Islamic experts want a kind of long, almost European-style, jacket known as "sardari" and used in Iran for centuries. Others propose only a waistcoat.
On colour schemes, however, there seems to be consensus.
Islamic legislators are unanimous that Islam is incompatible with "gay, wild, provocative colours" such as red, yellow, and light blue, which are supposed to be favoured by Satan. The colours to be imposed by law are expected to be black, brown, dark blue and dark grey.
Some Majlis members have been trying to lift the ban on green, which is, after all, the colour of the Bani Hashem, the family of the Prophet Muhammad, and thus regarded as the colour of Islam. The majority view, however, is that green is not "serious enough" to underline the gravity of a Muslim man's position.
Religious minorities would have their own colour schemes. They will also have to wear special insignia, known as zonnar, to indicate their non-Islamic faiths. Jews would be marked out with a yellow strip of cloth sewn in front of their clothes while Christians will be assigned the colour red. Zoroastrians end up with Persian blue as the colour of their zonnar. It is not clear what will happen to followers of other religions, including Hindus, Bahais and Buddhists, not to mention plain agnostics and atheists, whose very existence is denied by the Islamic Republic.
The new law imposes a total ban on wearing neckties and bow-ties which are regarded as "symbols of the Cross." Will Iranian Christians be allowed to wear them, nevertheless? No one knows.
The law also mandates the government to wage a campaign against "expensive attire" without defining it. Some mullahs, for example, wear robes made of pure hand-woven silk that costs several thousands dollars. Nor is it clear whether or not the kind of blouson (long shirt) that Ahmadinejad often wears would be deemed Islamic. (Shops in Tehran are selling the so-called "presidential" blouson for US$3 apiece.)
One aim of the new law is to impose a total ban on imports of clothes and dress designs from the West. The Majlis hopes that all jeans will disappear from the Iranian scene within five years. The boutiques selling haute couture Western gear for men and women will also be closed over the next few years. A total ban on designer items, marked by logos, will come into force by the end of the year.
"There is no sense in a Muslim man or woman wearing something that is, in fact, an advertisement for an infidel designer or clothing merchant," says Pourharandi.
Another aim of the new law is to abolish the chador, the overall piece of cloth that Iranian women have tucked themselves in for centuries. The reason is that the chador existed before the Khomeinist revolution and thus cannot be regarded as "properly Islamic." Women must wear clothes that would, in fact, transform them into advertising billboards for the regime's ideology.
One remaining problem is to decide the age at which girls should wear the uniforms. At present the hijab is mandatory from the age of six. But some of Ahmadinejad's advisers want to reduce that to four.
During the committee debates on the new law, some Majlis members tried to include articles determining the shape and size of men's beards and mustaches and impose an Islamic standard for male facial hair. But it was agreed that the issue be tackled in another bill to be presented to the Majlis next year.
By September the Majlis is expected to approve an initial budget of US$800-million to help "the poor and the needy" to adopt the new uniforms. All public sector workers, estimated to number 4.5 million, will be in uniform by 2009 at the latest.
What is already labelled "the Islamic clothes revolution" will not be limited to Iran. Tehran has already sent a team to Lebanon to inform the Hezbollah of the new law and train cadres to impose it on Lebanese Shiites.
"Our aim is to make sure that every Muslim, wherever he or she happens to be on this Earth, is a living and walking symbol of Islam," says Pourharandi.
- Iranian author and journalist Amir Taheri is a member of Benador Associates.
Is Iran turning into the new Nazi Germany?
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Dangerous Parallel: Is Iran turning into the new Nazi Germany? Share your opinion online at national post.com
Right-web's profile of Benador Associates. Look at all the neocons.
Eleana Benador, founder/CEO Max Boot, speaker Hillel Fradkin, speaker Frank Gaffney Jr., speaker Charles Krauthammer, speaker Michael A. Ledeen, speaker Richard Perle, speaker Richard Pipes, speaker Ruth Wedgwood, speaker James Woolsey, speaker Meyrav Wurmser, speaker
Benador Associates is a public relations firm that was founded by Eleana Benador, the former director of Daniel Pipe's Middle East Forum, a hard-line think thank whose members have urged for wider U.S. intervention in the Middle East. Benador's list of experts reads like a who's who of heavy hitters in the neoconservative advocacy world. Clients include Frank Gaffney, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, and James Woolsey.
Wrties journalist Jim Lobe of Benador's work: "When historians look back on the United States war in Iraq, they will almost certainly be struck by how a small group of mainly neo-conservative analysts and activists outside the administration were able to shape the US media debate in ways that made the drive to war so much easier than it might have been. . . . But historians would be negligent if they ignored the day-to-day work of one person who, as much as anyone outside the administration, made their media ubiquity possible. Meet Eleana Benador, the Peruvian-born publicist for Perle, Woolsey, Michael Ledeen, Frank Gaffney and a dozen other prominent neo-conservatives 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." (2)
Also on Benador's client list is Khidhir Hamza, an Iraqi nuclear scientist who fled to the United States in the early 1990s, where he wrote a book claiming that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear bomb. When pressed on the issue, he denied saying that Iraq had a bomb, despite the fact that he says exactly that in his book's opening pages. (3) Says Benador of Hamza (and Iraqi National Congress figure Kanan Makiya), "[They are] really my most powerful voices right now." (2)
What a shock, Benador represents Laurie Mylroie and Natan Sharansky.
Benador Associates is a public relations firm that promotes conservative writers and speakers dealing with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
According to Benador's web site, (http://www.benadorassociates.com/about.php) Benador Associates is a "Public Relations, Media and International Speakers Bureau." Benador was founded by Eleana Benador. Offices are "located in New York City as well as in Paris and London. However, the activities of the firm are expanding throughout the American continent, as well as in Europe and the Middle East."
Jim Lobe describes Benador as follows:
"When historians look back on the United States war in Iraq, they will almost certainly be struck by how a small group of mainly neo-conservative analysts and activists outside the administration were able to shape the US media debate in ways that made the drive to war so much easier than it might have been… But historians would be negligent if they ignored the day-to-day work of one person who, as much as anyone outside the administration, made their media ubiquity possible. Meet Eleana Benador, the Peruvian-born publicist for Perle, Woolsey, Michael Ledeen, Frank Gaffney and a dozen other prominent neo-conservatives 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."
— Jim Lobe, The Andean Condor among the Hawks
(http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/EH15Aa01.html), Asia Times, August 15, 2003.
Benador's Speakers are "a highly qualified cadre of inspiring, knowledgeable speakers who are available to address your group or broadcast audience...Each of our experts is nationally and internationally recognized on issues of the Middle East and national security, among others."
Current (Listed as Expert - April 28, 2006)
Ali Al-Ahmed  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/alahmed.php) Raphael Israeli  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/israeli.php) Salameh Nematt  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/nematt.php) Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/albaghli.php) Charles Jacobs  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/jacobs.php) Richard Perle  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/perle.php) Nir Boms  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/boms.php) George Jonas  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/jonas.php) Walid Phares  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/phares.php) Arnaud de Borchgrave  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/borchgrave.php) Stanley H. Kaplan  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/kaplan.php) Richard Pipes  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/pipesrichard.php) Ismail Cem  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/cem.php) Efraim Karsh  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/karsh.php) Dennis Prager  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/prager.php) Leon Charney  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/charney.php) Charles Krauthammer  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/krauthammer.php) David Pryce-Jones  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/pryce.php) Saad Eddin Ibrahim  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/eddinibrahim.php) Herbert I. London  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/london.php) Tom Rose  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/rose.php) Rachel Ehrenfeld  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/ehrenfeld.php) Lord Lamont of Lerwick  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/lamont.php) A.M. Rosenthal  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/rosenthal.php) John Eibner  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/eibner.php) Michael A. Ledeen  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/ledeen.php) Jano Rosebiani  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/rosebiani.php) Hillel Fradkin  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/fradkin.php) Kanan Makiya  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/makiya.php) Tashbih Sayyed  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/sayyed.php) David Gelernter  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/gelernter.php) Paul Marshall  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/marshall.php) Natan Sharansky  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/sharansky.php) Dr. Stephen Gullo  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/gullo.php) Andrew C. McCarthy  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/mccarthy.php) Richard O. Spertzel  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/spertzel.php) Michel Gurfinkiel  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/gurfinkiel.php) Hassan Mneimneh  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/mneimneh.php) Amir Taheri  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/taheri.php) Alexander M. Haig, Jr.  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/haig.php) Laurie Mylroie  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/mylroie.php) Paul Vallely  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/vallely.php) Victor Davis Hanson  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/hanson.php) Ayman Nour  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/nour.php) Ruth Wedgwood  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/wedgwood.php) Fereydoun Hoveyda  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/hoveyda.php) John O'Sullivan  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/osullivan.php) James Woolsey  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/woolsey.php) Mansoor Ijaz  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/ijaz.php) Yossi Olmert  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/olmert.php) Meyrav Wurmser  (http://www.benadorassociates.com/wurmser.php)
Max Boot Khalid Durán Frank Gaffney Jr. Khidhir Hamza Saad Eddin Ibrahim Martin Kramer Shaykh Kabbani Judith Miller Salameh Nematt Barry Rubin Michael Rubin
What others say
So there are these peculiar archipelagoes of opaqueness in the world of news, where journalists are at the mercy of single sources that appear solid. It is very dangerous for the US cable news channels to depend so heavily for analysis of things like Iraq and the war on terror, on retired military officers and on well-connected cyphers like Walid Phares. (Hint to cable news personnel departments: if an academic has a spotty publication record and is at some small place or doesn't have a proper university post, but you get a call pushing him from some rightwing think tank in Washington or from the Benador Agency, be suspicious).
Juan Cole, Psy-Ops and News (http://www.juancole.com/2004/12/psy-ops-and-news-los-angeles-timess.html), Informed Comment, Dec. 3, 2004.
Contact details Phone: (917) 626-1266 Email: info AT benadorassociates.com To contact Eleana Benador: eb AT benadorassociates.com Website: www.benadorassociates.com/
The usual suspects have picked up this story. Here it goes through the neocon echo chamber -- CNN can't be far behind.
IRAN LAW LABELS JEWS
By NILES LATHEM and ANDY SOLTIS
May 20, 2006 -- Concerned U.S. officials and Jewish groups yesterday demanded answers from Iran after a shocking report that Tehran's radical leaders passed a Nazi-style law requiring Jews and Christians to wear identifying badges.
Renowned Iranian-affairs expert Amir Taheri reports that the law, approved by Iran's parliament last week, "envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct color schemes to make them identifiable in public."
Jews would be forced to wear yellow cloth strips - like the Star of David that Jews were made to wear in Nazi Germany - while Christians would have to wear red strips, wrote Taheri, a New York Post columnist.
The purpose is to protect Muslims from becoming "unclean" by accidentally shaking hands with them, he said.
World leaders, human rights groups and Jewish and Christian organizations were stunned.
"I think it has clear echoes of Germany under Hitler" and the Third Reich, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
"It would be appalling," Australian Prime Minister John Howard said.
But there were conflicting accounts about the "national uniform code," which was first proposed two years ago to curb Iranian citizens' desire to wear Western-style attire. The law must still be OK'd by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog.
Iran's only Jewish member of parliament, Morris Mohammed, called the report of required badges for Jews and Christians "a complete fabrication."
The law's sponsor, Emad Afroogh, called the claims "a sheer lie."
Nevertheless, the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging him to investigate. "The world should not ignore this," Rabbi Marvin Hier, the center's dean, said.
The State Department is also seeking answers, officials said.
Critics said the reports fit in with the anti-Semitic rants of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Academic Committee: Dr. Christopher Barder Dr. Atalia Ben Meir Dr. Josef Bodansky Dr. Debora Bodlander Dr. Ron Breiman Dr. David Bukay Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld Dr. Hillel Fradkin Prof. Rafi Israeli Dr. Mordechai Nisan Prof. Moshe Sharon David Pryce-Jones Prof. Shlomo Slonim Prof. Johny Swails Dr. Meyrav Wurmser Prof. Xu Xin
Public Affairs Committee: Marisa Albert Morrie Amitay Lt. Gen. Paul Cerjan (US Army, Ret.) Yoram Ettinger Dr. Sergei Filatov Dr. K.P.S. Gill Rev. Malcolm Hedding Richard A.Hellman Amb. Alan Keyes Pres. (Frm.) L. A. Lacalle Michael Landau Esther Levens Rev. Kenneth Meshoe Rev. Myles Munroe Gen.l Paul E. Vallely Leah Susskind
Another Fraud on Iran: No Legislation on Dress of Religious Minorities
Maurice Motamed, the representative of the Iranian Jewish community in Iran's parliament, has strongly denied the rumors started by Canada's National Post that the Iranian legislature has passed a law requiring members of religious communities to wear identifying badges.
The report was also denied on Montreal radio by Meir Javedanfar, Middle East Analyst and the Director for the Middle East Economic and Political Analysis Company.
The National Post was founded by Conrad Black and has been owned by CanWest since 2003,* is not a repository of expertise about Iran. It is typical of black psychological operations campaigns that they begin with a plant in an out of the way* newspaper that is then picked up by the mainstream press. Once the Jerusalem Post picks it up, then reporters can source it there, even though the Post has done no original reporting and has just depended on the National Post article, which is extremely vague in its own sourcing (to "human rights groups").
The actual legislation passed by the Iranian parliament regulates women's fashion, and urges the establishment of a national fashion house that would make Islamically appropriate clothing. There is a vogue for "Islamic chic" among many middle class Iranian women that involves, for instance, wearing expensive boots that cover the legs and so, it is argued, are permitted under Iranian law. The scruffy, puritanical Ahmadinejad and his backers among the hardliners in parliament are waging a new and probably doomed struggle against the young Iranian fashionistas. (The Khomeinists give the phrase "fashion police" a whole new meaning).
There is nothing in this legislation that prescribes a dress code or badges for Iranian religious minorities, and Maurice Motamed was present during its drafting and says nothing like that was even discussed.
The whole thing is a steaming crock.
In fact, Iranian Jewish expatriates themselves have come out against a bombing campaign by the US or Israel against Iran. There are still tens of thousands of Jews in Iran, and expatriate Iranian Jews most often identify as Iranians and express Iranian patriotism. I was in Los Angeles when tens of thousands of Iranians immigrated, fleeing the Khomeini regime. I still remember Jewish Iranian families who suffered a year or two in what they thought of as the sterile social atmosphere of LA, and who shrugged and moved right back to Iran, where they said they felt more comfortable.
This affair is similar to the attribution to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the statement that "Israel must be wiped off the map." No such idiom exists in Persian, and Ahmadinejad actually just quoted an old speech of Khomeini in which he said "The occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." Of course Ahamdinejad does wish Israel would disappear, but he is not commander of the armed forces and could not attack it even if he wanted to, which he denies.
I had a very disturbing short email correspondence with a reporter of a major national newspaper who used the inaccurate "wiped off the face of the map" quote. When challenged, he said it was "carried by the news wires and is well known" or words to that effect. I pointed out that the "quote" was attributed to a specific speech and that the statement was inaccurately translated. When challenged further he alleged that his trusted translator in Tehran affirmed that Ahmadinejad had said the phrase. When that was challenged, he reported that the translator said that anyway he had said something like it. When I pointed out that the translator was either lying or lazy, the reporter took offense that I had insulted a trusted colleague! I conclude that this reporter is attached to the phrase. He complained about being challenged by "bloggers" and said he was tempted to stop reading "blogs."
So this is how we got mire in the Iraq morass. Gullible and frankly lazy and very possibly highly biased reporters on the staffs of the newspapers in Washington DC and New York. And they criticize bloggers.
On how Iran is not actually any sort of military threat to Israel, see the op-ed at the Star Ledger by Thomas Lippman and myself. Lippman is a veteran Washington Post correspondent who covered the Iraq War.
Note: I had corrected the para in our op-ed that referred to the "wiped off the map quote" but somehow an earlier draft got sent out accidentally. Since the article instances it as an unlikely hypothetical, no harm done, I think.
Antonia Zerbisias has more on the Benador connections of this story. Same agency as got up the Iraq War.