Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Israeli nuclear attack on Iran - the making of a canard


"Uzi Mahnaimi has reported once again in The Sunday Times that Israel is about to attack Iran, this time with tactical nuclear weapons. Were we to believe the reports of Mr Mahnaimi, both Syria and Iran would have been wiped out by Israel several times. In 2005 he reported that Israel was preparing to attack Iran in March of 2006, with a similar scenario to the one that he and Sarah Baxter report now. The fact that Israel didn't attack Iran does not prevent Mahnaimi from repeating the same fable again, nor does it prevent media all over the world from quoting him as though he is a trustworthy source and reliable authority. In September of 2006, Mahnaimi had also reported that Israel is preparing to attack Syria and Iran. In 2000, Mahnaimi reported that Israel was going to attack Syria if the peace talks with the Palestinians collapsed. The talks collapsed, but there was no attack. Strangely, Mahnaimi did not lose either his credibility or his job.

"Mahnaimi's greatest coup was a story he initiated apparently in 1998, though it may have had its origin in a science fiction story published in the Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot. According to this fantasy, Israel was developing a genetically programmed "ethnic bomb" - a bacteriological warfare agent that would target only Arabs. Not only did this story have no basis in fact, it was also a scientific impossibility that should not have been believed by anyone who had taken an introductory course in human genetic. Nonetheless, this absurd lie was parroted in respectable newspapers and is still cited by Web sites like "Global Research" and "anti-Zionist" cites like Radio Islam.

"Guysen news has published a review of the journalistic career of the imaginative Mr. Mahnaimi, a discussion of his political affiliations and possible motives for inventing these tall tales. It is worth a read. In English ; In French

"The question that must be asked is not why Mahnaimi continues to write this rubbish, or even why the Sunday Telegraph continues to publish it. The world and especially the Middle East, have never lacked for liars and sensation mongers. The question is, why do so many journals pounce on this material so eagerly? Within hours, this absurd fib, invented by a man with a well-earned reputation for confabulation, had made its way around the world. Despite Israeli government denials, it elicited a bellicose threat from Iran. Similarly, when Robert Fisk reported in the Independent, on trumped up evidence, that Israel had used nuclear weapons in Lebanon, it created a sensation. The story was repeated everywhere in huge headlines. The denials were ignored, and the announcement by the UN that there was no basis for the allegations got hardly any attention at all. The damage was done."

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