Alexis Debat – Lone Wolf?
Guest post by Marie
First meet one of the very important organ grinders of the rightwing noise machine: Eleana Benador Asia Times reported on 8/15/03 that after a stint with the Middle Eastern Forum (MEF), Ms. Benador left in October 2001 (shortly after 9/11) to start Benador Associates. With help from A M Rosenthal and James Woolsey, Ms. Benador amassed a client list of who's who of Neo-Cons in less than two years. Soon Benador Associates could claim to be brokering 15-20 television interviews and five Op-Eds per week from their client roster. A claim I wouldn't dispute given the ubiquitous presence of the Woolseys, Perles and Krauthammers on TV and in the newspapers throughout the period after 9/11 and through the build-up and invasion of Iraq. Nobody doubted that these were very serious and important people with pipelines directly to the White House.
It's not at all surprising to that learn that Benador represented Judy Miller or Khidhir Hamza - associated with the Iraqi National Congress. Or that by 8/03 that:
Benador says that she is now trying to work more with companies that are investing in the Middle East and need up-to-date analysis of the situation there from her clients. She has also launched an effort to present programs on "anti-Americanism" on US university campuses using her clients as featured speakers.
There wasn't even anything secretive about who they represented and what political positions their clients would espouse. Many of them have long been active in fomenting anti-Iran sentiment in the US, even if they had to "fix the facts" to "catapult the propaganda." The Nation was onto this by mid-2006. Not that anyone in the MSM would read The Nation.
Where this all gets very interesting is in the person of Amir Taheri, an Iranian exile journalist and highly prized Benador client. He published a completely bogus piece in May 2006 about an Iranian law requiring Jews and others to wear badges identifiying themselves as non-Muslims. The story was retracted in a day. Guess that means the MSM isn't completely brain-dead, but what does it say about our government that days later, "Taheri was invited to the White House to consult with President Bush on Iraq with other "experts."
Taheri probably needed no encouragement from the WH to peddle lies about Iran. It was, after all, his profession for decades. Probably not much of a stretch to wonder if his been on the US payroll for many years. Questions that have yet to be answered is what Taheri's relationship is to "Politique International" that published Debat's fake interviews with Obama and several other high profile people such as Bill Gates and Kofi Annan. He claims to have been an editor. Exactly what is "Politique Internationale?"
Over the past 27 years, Politique internationale has become the most influential French-language publication devoted to international politics. It is read by leading decision-makers in the fields of politics, diplomacy, economics, industry and finance on all five continents. Its contributors include heads of state and governments, leaders of political parties and many others who either make the news or decipher it.
Wonder who funds "Politique Internationale?"
So, we have an Iranian version of Chalabi represented by an agency specializing in Neo-Con clients, peddling fake stories and visiting with GWB in 2006 who just happens to have some sort of relationship with a publication that for years has been publishing fake stories under Alexis Debat's byline and who coincidentally published a story about how the US plans to attack Iran. And Mr. Debat has been employed for years by ABC news as a "terrorism expert" even though he holds no credentials to support his alleged expertise. (Will leave it up to the readers to connect the dots on this.)
In the arena of journalistic integrity, Debat and Taheri makes the Glass, Jayson Blair and Janet Cooke frauds look like chump change. The damage done to this country and the world by Debat and the Neo-Con frauds is serious stuff that makes the Rather/Mapes oops about GWB's TANG records look like fluff. Yet, in each of those prior instances many heads rolled. Brian Ross deserves the same treatment that Dan Rather got, although his lapses were far more serious and numerous than Rather's single lapse in rigorous journalistic standards. I'm not holding my breath for Murdoch owned publications to punish anyone for promoting Taheri, and someone on the staff of the WSJ is probably thanking god along about now that Murdoch purchased the paper before this Debat-Taheri story broke.
Finally, we must once again ask our Congress to investigate any and all US government connections to Debat and Taheri. Demand to know if taxpayers were funding these two to disseminate lies like all the other "journalists" and "pundits" the Bush Administration paid.
Updated to fix links and spelling of Ms. Benador.