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[casi] ] Iraq war PR conspirators

Good work Casi! Casi (and Drew Hamre) are listed in this article


Representing the Right

By Bill Berkowitz,
October 14, 2002

Today we're going to talk some inside baseball. Not to worry, this
column is
not about America's "national pastime"; "inside baseball" is just an
expression. This column actually is about the work of Eleana Benador.
She is
one of those influential public relations folks who work behind the
managing and massaging the media.

Eleana Benador runs a high-powered media relations and international
bureau called Benador Associates. With offices in New York City, Paris,
London, Madrid, and Geneva, she is a woman on a mission. The last time,
and I
must confess the first time, I heard about her activities was when Brian

Whittaker, writing for Britain's The Guardian ("US think tanks give
in foreign policy"), described Benador's work promoting a gaggle of
spokespeople that support Israel's objectives in the Middle East.

Whitaker's article painstakingly described the coterie of Middle East
"experts" -- nurtured by several right-wing, and mostly Washington,
think tanks -- who have come to dominate the public discourse over
East policy. (For more, see "Richard Perle's posse".)

This domination has been aided and abetted by the work of Ms. Benador.

An expert booking agent, Ms. Benador succeeds with remarkable ease in
her clients maximum exposure on cable's talking-head television
programs, and
in placing their op-ed pieces in a number of the nation's major

Ms. Benador represents a constellation of right-wing politicos and
conservative think tankers including: Alexander M. Haig, Jr., -- former
Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan who currently runs Worldwide
Associates, Inc., a company that assists "corporations around the world
providing strategic advice on global political, economic, commercial and

security matters"; James Woolsey -- former Director of the Central
Intelligence Agency for two years under Bill Clinton and one of the
of drum beaters for taking out Saddam Hussein; Richard Perle -- the
neoconservative icon who is one of the chief architects of Bush's Middle
policy; Charles Krauthammer -- a regular columnist with the Washington
who is a "hawk's hawk"; Michael Ledeen -- currently occupying the
Chair at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.; Frank
-- founder and president of the Washington, DC-based Center for Security

Policy and columnist with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times;
Arnaud de Borchgrave -- Senior Adviser and Director of the Center for
Strategic and International Studies and former editor-in-chief of the
Washington Times.

Dr. Khidir Hamza

One of Benador's bright new stars is Dr. Khidhir Hamza, the dissident
nuclear scientist who recently charged that Iraq could have a nuclear
within months. According to an article in Britain's The Times (September
Dr. Hamza, who was science adviser to the Atomic Energy Establishment
later helped to start and direct Iraq's nuclear bomb program before his
defection, claimed "that Saddam [Hussein] could be in a position to make

three nuclear weapons within the next few months, if he has not already

The Times: "Dr. Hamza gave warning that UN inspectors would be useless
because even if they were given 'unfettered access' they would find it
more difficult than before to detect the nuclear assembly line. 'The
of the present system is that the units are each very small and in the
years since the inspectors left they will have been concealed
underground or
in basements or buildings that outwardly seem normal,' Dr. Hamza said."

Dr. Hamza testified before Senator Joe Biden's Senate Foreign Relations
Committee hearings on Iraq in Washington last August, "but it was only
the recent International Institute for Strategic Studies report on the
from Saddam," reports The Times, "that he became aware of the West's
imperfect understanding of the urgency of the situation."

That's where Eleana Benador comes in. Over the past several months Dr.
has been interviewed by the New York Times, Tom Brokaw, Nightly News, 60

Minutes II, PBS Frontline, NPR: All things Considered, and the Morning
with Bob Edwards.

Interlocking clients

The website run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq recently
linked to
photos of Benador that, said website contributor Drew Hamre, were
taken at a meeting that included: US Senator Joseph Lieberman...
ideologue Daniel Pipes [director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East
Forum], and -- inexplicably -- Reza Pahlavi, the former Crown Prince of
Adding absurdity to inexplicability," Hamre added, "the photos are
posted on
the vanity website of a Philadelphia-area realtor active in Middle East
politics." (View the photos here.)

Since the beginning of August, Michael Ledeen, one of Benador's clients,
written 6 columns in the National Review about Iran -- most of them
the Bush Administration to rally around the opposition forces and add
Iran to
the list of future (not too distant) targets.

In a September 1, 2002, piece for the Wall Street Journal titled "The
War on
Terror Won't End in Baghdad," Ledeen threw Iran into the preemptive
mix, writing: "this is not just a war against Iraq, it is a war against
terrorist organizations and against the regimes that foster, support,
train, indoctrinate and command the terrorist legions who are clamoring
our destruction. There are four such regimes: in Iran, Iraq, Syria and

Ms. Benador, along with several of her clients, are listed as "Core
and Supporters" of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon
(USCFL) at
its website. According to the Guardian's Brian Whittaker, the USCFL
the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin jointly with the Pipes' Middle
Forum. The Bulletin, which "is sent out by email free of charge -- but
never-the-less afford to pay its contributors," reports Whittaker,
"specializes in covering the seamy side of Lebanese and Syrian

In June 2000, the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum issued a 48-page
study, titled "Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role."
According to a press release announcing its publication, the report
for the U.S. to "demand a Syrian withdrawal and restore Lebanon's
sovereignty," and it "suggests a range of specific policy
from issuing a clear statement of policy ('All Syrian forces must leave
Lebanon') to putting serious pressure on Syria." The media contact?

A recent article in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz will give you an idea
how incredibly tangled-up these people and issues are. Akiva Eldar's
"Perles of wisdom for the Feithful," reports that in 1996, Richard Perle

(Benador client) and Doug Feith, currently the deputy defense minister
according to Eldar "the No. 3 person in the Pentagon's hierarchy," met
at the
request of Benjamin Netanyahu who was then taking "his first steps as
minister." They prepared a report for the Institute for Advanced
and Political Studies, a think tank with offices in Washington, DC and

Perle, Feith and several others "could not have known that four years
later... the working paper they prepared, including plans for Israel to
restore the Hashemite throne in Iraq, would shed light on the current
policies of the only superpower in the world," Eldar writes. The paper's

major theme was assuring the security of Israel. One scenario advanced
was to
encourage "investment in Jordan [in order] to shift structurally
economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria's attention by

using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of
(For more on this, see here.)

Grand conspiracy? No. Megalomaniacal vision of unleashed U.S. power? You
Helping these Dr. Strangelovian characters get their message out? Ms.
Benador of Benador Associates -- priceless.

Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His
WorkingForChange column Conservative Watch documents the strategies,
institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right.

Reproduction of material from any pages without written
permission is strictly prohibited.
C 2002 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

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