Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Racing His Own Zombie In Circles?


The single source of the Iranian Badge News Zombie (see posts below), Amir Taheri, has released a statement on the website of his 'well-connected' PR firm 'Benador Associates' in which he says that he is still right and that if only various groups had waited he could have delivered the full and complete story to them:

Regarding the dress code story it seems that my column was used as the basis for a number of reports that somehow jumped the gun.

As far as my article is concerned I stand by it.

So who, in fact did jump the gun?

Antonia Zerbisias has some ideas:

1. Here is the letter sent from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. Note that it is dated Thursday:

I am writing you on a matter of grave concern regarding a new Iranian “National Uniform Law” that was discussed in the Iranian Parliament, the Majlis, on Monday. The law was drafted two years ago and held up in the Iranian Parliament. It has now been revived and pushed forward by President Ahmadinejad.

According to an editorial that was to appear in Friday’s National Post, by Amir Taheri, a well known and well respected analyst on Iranian affairs, a consensus has developed regarding color badges to be worn by non-Moslems: yellow for Jews, red for Christians, blue for Zoroastrians and other colors for other religions. This would make religious minorities immediately identifiable and allow Moslems to avoid contact with non-Moslems.

If this is true, it would move Iran even closer to the Nazi ideology of the 1930s which also began with yellow badges and ended with the Holocaust that led to the murder of six million Jews and millions of other innocent civilians.

As I (Zerbsias) blogged last night, what this indicates is that either somebody at the Post or, perhaps Iranian-born analyst Amir Taheri Taheri himself, flipped a copy of Taheri's op-ed in advance of its publication to the SWC. Indeed, that's what sources at the Post say.

Perhaps it is time to get National Post editor-in-chief Douglas Kelly on the record as to why he went with a circularly sourced front page story that all comes back to Taheri through groups like the Wiesenthal Center whose comments were used to give the story the additional gravitas of the Holocaust angle.

Oh, wait. John Goddard of the Toronto Star already tried that.

Repeated calls to Post editor-in-chief Doug Kelly went unreturned. The paper's website ran a story headlined "Experts say report of badges ... is untrue."

Clearly, we have, indeed, been played for saps.

Thanks to Alison of Creekside, who's doing a great job on this, for the heads-up on the Taleri 'statement'.
And, again, we ask - did the PMO jump the gun too? Or, put another way, when were they 'informed' of the story that resulted in Mr. Harper's comments Friday that contributed to the birth of the Zombie?

Update: According to Taylor Marsh, guest blogging at Firedoglake the person at the National Post who may just know the real story is John Turley-Ewart.

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