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Updated. Please see below.

Last night the National Post ran a story informing us that Iran was on the verge of forcing its Jewish and Christian citizens to wear coloured badges in public so they would be identified as non-Muslims. Quite a few media outlets picked up the story, all sourced to the Post. And a lot of bloggers picked up the story, mostly to take it at face value and scream and gnash their teeth about that horrible Iranian regime (not that they're particularly nice guys).

Very few picked up this from this morning:

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."

And now we have this:

IRAN'S only Jewish MP strongly denied reports in a Canadian newspaper overnight that Iran may force non-Muslims to wear coloured badges in public so they can be identified.

"This report is a complete fabrication and is totally false," Maurice Motammed said in Tehran. "It is a lie, and the people who invented it wanted to make political gain" by doing so.
Mr Motammed said he had been present in parliament when a bill to promote "an Iranian and Islamic style of dress for women" was voted. "In the law, there is no mention of religious minorities," he added.

The Post story was credited to unnamed Iranian expatriates. I'd pull a quote to prove it, but the link now seems to give me a blank page. Funny, it was there this morning. Let's try a link to the print version of the story. Oops, "This story is no longer available."

There are obviously a fair number of people who are in a hurry to create a crisis where Iran is concerned. And there are obviously a lot of people who have already forgotten the con job that was pulled in the run up to the invasion of Iraq and the role that expatriates played in the propaganda. Either that or they'd like us to forget.

I wonder if we have our newest zombie lie -- a story that won't die no matter how often it's debunked.

Hat-tip to EnMasse for the links.

Edited for spelling. (And edited some more for spelling and such. I have a guardian editor.)

Thanks to Ti-Guy in comments for a link to the text of the original story at the CJC's website.

And a non-retraction retraction from the Post. Notice how they cast doubt on their original story but then close with Stephen Harper's reaction. Not his reaction to the latest news, mind you, but to the original story.:

“Unfortunately we’ve seen enough already from the Iranian regime to suggest that it is very capable of this kind of action,” Mr. Harper said. “It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the earth would want to do anything that would remind people of Nazi Germany.”

Translation: Even though the story is probably a crock all the nasty things you were thinking about Iran are still true. I'd say this little bit of propaganda did it's job.

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Copy still up at the site: CJC's site.

I wonder why Chris Wattie didn't get better confirmation? This is a very serious issue.

Good find, Ti-Guy. "I wonder why Chris Wattie didn't get better confirmation?" - perhaps because he couldn't? See the refutation links pogge's included in his post. I can't find the original story in which Donald Rumsfeld confirmed suspicions that the US buys foreign journalists - this link will have to serve to make my point:

'Weapons of Mass Deception'

I for one can readily believe the National Post and Chris Wattie are on the payroll, even if they weren't already ideologically ready to invent this sort of war provoking lie.

This is why whenever the main stream media (i.e National Post, Can West Stories, etc) releases a story about how Iran or Hamas said this or is gonna do that, I tend to tuck it away and wait for a day or two to see if it is debunked. From what I have seen it appears to happen quite often. Eventually someone who can actually translate properly and without bias gets out the correct information but its true it takes awhile sometimes.

This was a despicable piece of journalism, even for the post. But the more interesting story is the story behind the story:


Stephen Harper said that?!?

Isn't Stephen Harper supposed to be the prime minister of Canada? How is it possible that he should say in public and in his official capacity as our representative anything so crude?

josh: thanks. More and more appalling ...

Sadly, I learned a few years ago that the National Post's newest editors after they fired Ken Whyte had no compunction whatsoever about absolutley lying, making up a position held by another person (namely myself), and falsely attributing a position or statement to me. I was shell-shocked when they did this to me. I don't believe a goddamn thing that the National Post reports anymore. If they reported that the Sky was blue, I'd make sure to go check first before passing on the "news".

MWW - just read your blog and (while we're far from perfect) I am _so_ glad you're back on this side of the border! What's your take on Harper's recent backpedaling on the Kelowna Accord? Don't want to change the subject here - I will check your blog to see if you've anything to say on the subject...

Good to see this story retracted. For what it's worth, though, it should be noted that the newspaper linked to for the report of the denial - the Sunday Times - is about as credible a source of information in the Australian context (it's a Murdoch rag) as the National Post is in Canada.

And today Faux news is still playing the story attributing it to "some newspapers".

There you go, "National Post, The Fox News of Canadian Print Media".

Two things:

One: Whirlitzer, with cutouts.

Two: "The Post story was credited to unnamed Iranian expatriates".....smells like the non-Pentagon Office of Special Plans, that actually is and/or Curveball all over again.

Now the question is, why would they go offshore (or at least North of the 49th) with this type of thing? Could it be that both the WaPo and the NYT ar no longer beholden to their Craptitude?


the Sunday Times - is about as credible a source of information in the Australian context (it's a Murdoch rag) as the National Post is in Canada.

The difference is that the Sunday Times actually named a name and provided direct quotes. That means it can be verified. If they've misquoted the individual in question you can bet we'll hear about it. The original Post story made passing reference to unnamed expatriates and then filled the page with everyone's outrage at a story that hadn't been confirmed.

Now the question is, why would they go offshore (or at least North of the 49th) with this type of thing?

They start somewhere small but sympathetic to bury its beginnings.
After it's picked up by the Jerusalem Post, all subsequent reprintings will likely only source the JP.
Next it runs with no reference to its origins.
The New York Post ran the story today.

From New York Post story:
"Renowned Iranian-affairs expert Amir Taheri"
Whooo boy! Read all about him here
pogge nailed it in his original post: "I wonder if we have our newest zombie lie -- a story that won't die no matter how often it's debunked."
Thanks, pogge, for exposing it for what it is.

Whoa. Paleo's diary was thing of beauty. I lost track at around the 5th level of duplicity, but it was awful...er...awesome, nonetheless.

Gazetteer's got some interesting comment on the story: 'The Zombie Lives'.

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This page contains a single entry by pogge published on May 19, 2006 5:37 PM.

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