Benador Asks: Are You With the Fabricators or the Terrorists?

"Who needs Hill & Knowlton when you've got Benador Associates?" asks Larry Cohler-Esses in The Nation. Cohler-Esses examines a rapidly-debunked May 2006 story in Canada's National Post, which claimed that Iran's government was requiring Jewish residents to wear a yellow insignia. That story was planted by the PR firm Benador Associates, according to its president, Eleana Benador. The firm's "stable of writers and activists" reads like "a Who's Who of the neocon movement," including Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Frank Gaffney and Amir Taheri, an Iranian exile who wrote the false story. Cohler-Esses notes that Taheri's 1989 book, Nest of Spies, was also debunked for citing "nonexistent sources," fabricating "nonexistent substance in cases where the sources existed," and distorting the facts "beyond recognition." Last year, Taheri falsely claimed that Iran's current ambassador to the United Nations took part in the 1979 hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Yet, Taheri was part of an "Iraq experts" briefing of President Bush last month. "My major concern is the large picture," Benador told Cohler-Esses. "As much as being accurate is important, in the end it's important to side with what's right. What's wrong is siding with the terrorists."