A media provocateur exposed
31 July 2012
A lie travels half-way around the world before the truth gets its boots on.
The media is full of shills, but some people have more form than others, I reflected, as I read up on the latest case exposing the fine line between agent provocateur and journalist.
The Electronic Intifada has just outed one “Paul Martin”, aka “Paul Cainer”, aka “Cainer Paul Martin”, aka “Sayed Anwar”. The man apparently travels on US and South African passports.
It seems Martin, now producing stuff defending Israeli war crimes in Gaza for the official British government newsagency, the BBC, is the same man who churned out hoax stories about Palestine and Lebanon a decade ago.
In 2002 Martin posed as a Palestinian journalist writing from Bethlehem under the fake name Sayed Anwar. According to The Electronic Intifada:
“In stories written for right-wing broadsheet The Washington Times in 2002, Martin posed as a native informant reporting a ‘reign of terror’ against Palestinian Christians by ‘hard-core Palestinian militants’ who he claimed had ‘seized the Church of the Nativity’ (‘Exiled Palestinian militants ran two-year reign of terror’, 13 May 2002; ‘Arafat Aided group that besiged church’, 23 May 2002).
“A few months later Martin was found by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to have attributed a fabricated quotation to Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Writing as Paul Martin on the front page of The Washington Times, he quoted Nasrallah as saying: “I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide. Don’t be shy about it” (“Hezbollah calls for global attacks,” 4 December 2002).
“But CBC’s Neil Macdonald scoured the TV archives in Lebanon and found Nasrallah had never said any such thing. ‘The story originated not in the Middle East but in London, with this man [Paul Martin]’ Macdonald concluded at the time. Martin publicly threatened to sue Macdonald and CBC but, unsurprisingly, he never did so.”
Also unsurprisingly Martin has recently turned up in Libya and Egypt writing for the London Evening Standard.
In January 2010, the BBC’s Newsnight broadcast one of Martin’s films designed to cast doubt on the Goldstone Report, the UN-sponsored investigation into Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2008 and 2009. Martin’s ‘documentary’ suggested that a mosque that had been bombed-out by Israeli forces had been used to store arms.
But in an interview with the Middle East Monitor, Desmond Travers, the retired Irish army colonel who co-authored the Goldstone Report, accused the British colonel used by Martin to make the claims of “serving the propaganda interests of one belligerent over another” and described the mosque accusation as “drivel” (“Gaza is the only gulag in the Western hemisphere,” 2 February 2010).
The wonderful thing about the internet is that it makes it easy to keep tabs on sleazy political operators. The LinkedIn profile for “Paul Cainer” shows him to be the chief executive of World News and Features, the name of Paul Martin’s production company.
And what appears to be Martin’s Facebook page shows he has some dubious “friends”, including himself, going under his “Paul Cainer” cover name! Both Martin and Cainer’s profiles appear to be rarely used, with only a handful of contacts. Interestingly, “Paul Cainer” is “friends” with the pro-Zionist British ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, the Israeli settler Itamar Marcus, and co-founder of the Washington neoconservative think tank the Henry Jackson Society, Alan Mendoza.
Random House, the neoconservative publisher of choice is another clearinghouse for this sort of political disinformation operation.
The Norma Khouri case is the classic example. Khouri was the pen name of Norma Bagain Toliopoulos (born Norma Bagain in Jordan in 1970), the author of Forbidden Love released by Random House in 2003. The best-seller purporting to describe the Muslim honor killing of her best friend, was exposed as a literary hoax a year later.
In 2004 the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Khouri had not lived in Jordan since her early childhood – except for a three week stay during which she apparently researched the background for her book – and was not living in Jordan during the period in which Forbidden Love was set, but in Chicago. The Herald also revealed accusations that Khouri had left the United States while being investigated by the FBI, along with her very dubious husband, for defrauding an elderly neighbour.
Right at the time that the US occupations of Iraq began to unravel and public support for the for them began to falter, Forbidden Love miraculously appeared to bolster the argument that the invasions, actually about “energy security”, were really a feminist intervention against Muslim and Arab cultural beastliness towards women.
In the next few months, look out for a lot of fake stories planted by the Zionists and their US allies who are trying to create the casus belli for a sneak attack on Iran. When your enemy doesn’t act like an uncivilized bastard on cue, the easiest thing is simply to invent stuff, because by the time your lies are exposed, it’ll be too late.