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Ladydawg posted an interesting question from the Guess what diary today:

On Saturday, I interviewed Aziz al-Taee, Chairman of the Iraqi-American Council. He detailed a compelling body of evidence about the holocaust being waged against the Iraqi people.

Who is Aziz al-Taee?

JUMP!

Back in late March and April, 2003 Mr. al-Taee, a native Iraqi, was making the case for war, in a variety of media:

Since the start of the war in Iraq, NBC 10 News has been airing stories from a unique perspective -- an Iraqi man living in Philadelphia. But now, NBC 10 has learned that Aziz Al-Taee has a criminal record and could be deported next year.

Al-Taee has also been interviewed in major newspapers, cable news operations and other public news outlets. Al-Taee told about how he had been in danger when he lived in Iraq and how concerned he is for his family who still lived under Saddam Hussein's thumb.

Unfortunately, Mr. Aziz is also a criminal:

Al-Taee pleaded guilty in the 1990s to selling empty plastic envelopes commonly used to package crack. He also pleaded guilty to buying stolen computers. He was sentenced to three years of probation, fined $3,000, and forced to forfeit $17,673 in profits.

He was arrested again in May 2001, on charges that the chain of electronics stores he owns in Philadelphia was selling counterfeit compact discs. A judge dismissed that case for lack of evidence on March 4. Al-Taee blamed the compact disc counterfeiting case on unscrupulous employees, who he said had acted without his approval.


I cannot find any updated info on this guy, or whether or not he was deported.

What about the Iraqi-American Council? from the NBC 10 link above:

some Arabs in America say that Al-Taee does not represent them. They claim the Iraqi-American Council is simply a Web site and a phone number designed to benefit Al-Taee.

This is the only site I can find identifying itself as IAC:.  Its website appears dead - this address info is provided:

Iraqi American Council  (IAC)
7263 Maple Place #210,
Annadale, VA 22003,
Tel:   800-416-8684
Fax:  877-803-1800
http://www.al-iraq.org
e-mail:  iraq@al-iraq.org

This site appears dormant

I can find only a SourceWatch link to Philly news (is this a reputable paper?), so take this with a big grain of salt, he was supposedly Nick Berg's business partner

William Bunch, in his May 17, 2004, Philadelphia Daily News article "Berg Met with Shady Iraqi," link: writes that "Berg teamed up in Baghdad with an ex-Philadelphia man who led a controversial group of Iraqi expatriates encouraged by the U.S. government - even as he faced deportation for his role in Russian-emigre crime ring selling millions of vials used for crack. ... Aziz Kadoory Aziz, also known as Aziz Al-Taee, hooked up earlier this year with the 26-year-old West Chester man to start a small company called Shirikat Abraj Babil, or Babylon Towers Co., that would install, inspect and repair telecommunications and utility towers."  

Here's Gannon's article on al-Taee  He doesn't quote al-Taee, but rather lists Saddam's atrocities.

So, we have Gannon the unseemly propogandist of sham news organization interviewing criminal propagandist Al-Taee of sham Iraqi-making the case for war organization.

In light of the plans of OSP to pay "foreign" journalist to spread its propaganda, this seems worth a look.

Originally posted to 2lucky on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 08:58 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What a good find (none)
       This is very interesting.  A (really quick) google search turns up a philly.com which seems to refer to itself as "Philly news"--but they  may be using the word "Philly" to refer to the area (because otherwise it seems they'd capitalize "News."

    ...the White House will be adorned by a downright moron...H.L. Mencken

    by bibble on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 09:09:19 PM PST

    •  It's supposed to be Philadelphia (4.00)
      Daily News - "Philly" site name.

      It gets even more interesting.  Remember Safia Taleb Al Souhail of SOTU hug fame?  She's listed as a contact on the IAC website (which hasn't been updated since Oct 02.

      Both Safia and al-Taee are tied to Chalabi.

      •  You know, (none)
        I started to say that, and felt too tired to go back to previous diaries to check her name, and then decided that I was just getting tinfoilly!  So it's the same person? Hmmm....

        ...the White House will be adorned by a downright moron...H.L. Mencken

        by bibble on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 09:34:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wow! Good for you. (none)
        You are so smart! This certainly bears watching. It's too bad we aren't a national newpaper and could put the real unspun news out there. How long ago was it when the news media actually did research and presented it objectively? I cannot remember. Go here http://www.nypress.com/18/7/news&columns/signorile.cfm

        Well, I'm sorry about that. I thought I was making a link for you, but just can't get the knack. It's great article about Guckert and REAL news.
        Congratulations again.

      •  This definately warrants some looking into (none)
        My research skills are extremely limited, but maybe I can spend some time on this.

        But I think this should be recommended to give it some attention.

        Tracing these websites could be a valuable tool.

      •  Wow! (none)
        Seems our little Jimmy G. may have gotten involved with the big boys... Nice, nice find!

        Plus you've found another Chalabi dot.

        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

        by mataliandy on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 11:43:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm pretty convinced a lot of the (none)
          ugliness we're seeing will lead to Feith - when I saw that diary on the SAIC, I posted about the sole-source "Iraq media" contracts and accusations by Jack Shaw against Feith - if you read the history of Jack Shaw, one thing is clear: he wasn't going down without a fight.  I wonder if he's contacted the FBI about the AIPAC probe?

          Anyway, I have a feeling that this is part of the OSP propoganda machine.  I don't think we can link these to Ketchum, because the OSP/CPA contracts are likely classified.

  •  Tip Jar! (3.44)
    Here's a tip jar for you....

    ...the White House will be adorned by a downright moron...H.L. Mencken

    by bibble on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 09:09:50 PM PST

  •  Oops--didn't come out-- (none)
    Someone who knows what they're doing will have to make your tip jar--sorry!

    ...the White House will be adorned by a downright moron...H.L. Mencken

    by bibble on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 09:10:49 PM PST

  •  Guckert went to college with Nick Berg (none)
    so the whole issue could bear further analysis.
    •  Interesting.... (none)
      I wonder if they were "buddies"?

      When the PEOPLE lead, the LEADERS follow!

      by mlkisler on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 09:23:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was some stuff (none)
      about the possible Berg connection the other day on another thread...it was tentative at that point--did they just graduate from the same college, or were there other factors (same year, same major, or something)--do you know? That whole thing was very strange.

      ...the White House will be adorned by a downright moron...H.L. Mencken

      by bibble on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 09:39:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Berg and Guckert at school? (none)
      I doubt it.  They're 20 years apart in age.
      Further, Guckert went to West Chester State, graduating in 1980.  Berg's family actually lives in West Chester.
      Guckert is from Northwestern Pennsylvania, some 350 or so miles away.
  •  More, the IAC site address (none)
    7263 Maple Place is in the Trimark Corporation

    What's the new Gannon site - I know I've seen Trimark referenced re: this.

  •  Thank you, wayback machine! (none)
    That 'dead' website comes out last updated on February 4, 2004 on the wayback machine.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20040206210304/http://www.al-iraq.org/index.html

    It looks like it came into existance on January 25, 1999.  No modifications at all in 2000, then a flurry of them in early 2001.

    Even Lt. Chekov knew how to say 'nuclear'..even if he couldn't say 'vessels'.

    by Stymnus on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 09:30:53 PM PST

  •  Ari Fleischer spoke with Gannon Pre-Talon News (4.00)
    I found this line in the story very intriguing.  

    When asked for a comment by GOPUSA News, White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "This is something the President remarks about from time to time. What about the cries on the basis of human rights for the people of Iraq who are suffering under the hand of Saddam Hussein? That is an important issue for the world to face."

    A couple things here...

    1.  Ari Fleischer is the only person in the story quoted on the record or off the record.  Who fed Gannon this story?  I wouldn't be surprised to find a cut and paste job here if you cross referenced this with other pre-war stories.

    2.  The date of the story, March 10, 2003 is very interesting.   As detailed today, his first briefing appearence looks like it was Feb 25, 2003.   Does anyone get the feeling that Fleischer/McClellan brought him in as a ringer specifically for the purposes of War Propaganda Machine and began feeding him stories?  This was followed by the regular correspondents trying to figure out where the new guy came from.  This is then followed by the creation of a front GOPUSA organization, Talon News, to take the heat off.

    Can someone look through the Feb-Mar 2003 Gannon articles and determine if the White House was the main source for most quotes?
  •  Something smelled rotten about the (none)
    Berg incident from the beginning, and his poor parents.  I'll never forget the picture of his dad breaking down.  What I really didn't get, was how such a young man was able to saunter over to Iraq and sell communications equipment (was it antennas?) without major connections.

    I saved that newspaper, but lord knows where it is and I've been "going to sleep" for a while now, but if I find anything, I'll know where to post it.

    I do remember Berg was held in an Iraq jail and the US claimed they weren't responsible, that it was the Iraquis who put him in jail!!! His parents had filed suit against the US for illegal detention was it?

    What an excellent day for an Exorcism.... Social Security THERE IS NO CRISIS!

    by DianeL on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 10:31:00 PM PST

    •  Hey, you! (none)
      Yeah, the Berg thing was really odd.  I have found only 1 link to 1 article on this, so I'm not thinking it's anything right now.

      I do find it interesting that Gannon "interviewed" al-Taee - it could just be al-Taee was making the rounds of any and every RW media outlet.

      Plus, both IAC and LI are housed in VA in Trimark corp buildings - but again, that could just be because Trimark owns all the prime space.

      Still, two pretty unsavory characters with a single agenda meeting in a star-crossed march to war - it's so romantic!

      Be good, or I'll clown ya.

      And, no, you can't post our friend tonight.  That's for weekend fun.  

      •  Hey You ! (none)
        (that CLOWN that stays in my shadow hasn't let me go to sleep yet :0)  

        My impression was that young Berg was a testosterone overdosed young man filled a 'patriotism' not unknown in that vicinity, who fell in with some unsavory US Government figures who used him.  The rest of it is over my head currently.

        Anyway, must go to sleep.  

        Goodnight 2 Lucky

        (I've got the clown under control at present)

        What an excellent day for an Exorcism.... Social Security THERE IS NO CRISIS!

        by DianeL on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 11:00:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Could I suggest a subject line change? (none)
    Something like "Gannon collaborated with false Iraqi 'informant' " might be more eye-catching.  I think this needs to be recommended.

    It's not over till you're underground.

    by ChicagoDem on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 10:57:35 PM PST

  •  Quick analysis of al-Iraq 1999 (none)
    Quick analysis of the very first version of al-Iraq website in Jan 25, 1999.  This is purely to get data on the thread; there is no analysis after the executive summary. If you note anything interesting in the data, please comment.

    Thanks to the Wayback machine (that needs its own Tip Jar), I've taken a look over the very first site it caught.

    Executive summary:

    It is very amateurish. Text is cribbed from other sources. Strangely, there are two versions of the home page, one amateurish and one slightly more professional looking with the addition of links to "News," "Events," Press Releases" and "Membership". A link through Culture : Paintings goes into the Iraqi National Congress website (Chalabi's group), but that may just be laziness.

    Looming questions: Why is it so amateurish? It almost looks as though nobody cared about it, but it had to exist. Why was it revised once, and done so weakly? And what would have happened in 1999 if you called the number?

    It almost feels like a student project.

    Site map data:

    Note: Many images return errors, with the Wayback machine attempting to present them by linking to images on the current (2005) al-iraqi site. This is probably more a Wayback issue than an al-Iraq issue.

    Home Page
      Not even y2k compliant, as I looked at the site on:
    1:29 AM , Thurday, February 17, 19105
    (unless time is truly cyclical and the Wayback machine is actually capturing our future).
      [note: the "www.al-iraq.org" page loaded is different from the "home" link on content pages. The home link - "www.al-iraq.org/default" - is what I am describing here. The www.al-iraq.org link is similar, but without the following: News, Events, Press Releases, Membership. Perhaps it is a draft version or some sort of "before"]
      Mosaic image of various Iraqi sites. 6-7 words in a text I can't read (Sanskrit?). Address (same as below); words "Iraq. The Beautiful." "Don't let [Sanskrit?] fade away!" visitor counter. (I'm visitor 3857 on both versions of the page).
      Logo: IAC Iraqi-American Council (Professional looking).
      Links below are in navigation bar on left side of the page.

      News
        A list of articles, all from USAToday except two articles with dates after May 31, 1999:

    "Iraqi Oppositions  met with U.S. Secretary Of State - June 4, 1999" [links to an image titled "oppositions.jpg" sadly, link not preserved on Wayback]
    "U.S. Jets hit air defense site in Iraq by CNN -  May 31, 1999" [links to "usjets.html". also not preserved.]

       There are a lot of stories (>1/week, on average) until the June 4th story, then one on August 29th ("congressional delegation travels to Iraq", a USATODAY link) and one for "October 29th-Nov. 1st" ("Convention for Iraqi Opposition") with no link to content.
      Strangely, these dates mostly come after the 25 Jan 1999 archive date for the Wayback machine. I suspect this is a quirk of the Wayback Machine. Does this effect our research? I noticed part of the URL changing as I navigated the wayback sites from 19990125093112 to 20010423070130.

      Events
       A small, very simple HTML table listing three events, including one that it gives no location for. Also, "This page is still under construction. Thank you for your patience." [At least a year's worth of patience]

      Press Releases
       "No Current Press Releases. Check again soon. Thank you."  [Capitalization as found]

      Geography
        Two click-to-enlarge maps of Iraq. You can also click on two impressively ugly buttons to enlarge them. (You gotta see these buttons! Ugh!). Maps have "City.net MAGELLANGeographix" watermark.

      Iraqi Culture
        Quick Facts (text) w/ iraqi flag
        Paintings - External link to Iraqi National Congress (Chalabi's group)
        Newspapers (Instead of image, link to "Al-Iraqi" [not related])
        Music (external link - iraqi4u.com)
        Poetry (external link - iraqi4u.com)

      History of Iraq
        Brief History  Cribbed from this pdf file found at the California State University, Long Beach web site. It's from the International Relations Class Notes for the Senior University (an Osher Lifelong Institute at CSULB)" Strangely, though, these are the notes for April 15, 2003 lecture, 4 years after the site went live.
        The Legend of Ishtar (several paragraphs of text center-aligned [ugly and difficult to read-hard to imagine someone put much effort into it, or expected anyone to read it), with British spelling of "fertilised". I haven't found a source in Google)
        The Epic of Gilgamesh (word for word copy of fakhri.com/gilgamesh.htm. Oddly, fakhri.com appears to have been hacked by Kernel_Attack)

      Politics - "Under Construction" text GIF built from Iraqi flag

      Links [note: I have not looked at any not mentioned explicitly below]
        The Links pages from the two home pages are slightly different - the one from the more professional home page has the links in a frame on the left, while the other home page has no frame. The name of the frames-based links page? "Iraqi Links 2".
        Broken into 3 parts: Organizations, News Media, and Religious. The "Organizations" seem to be mostly iraqi opposition, except, strangely, for "Local Iraqi Time", which links to an Australian site "www.hilink.com.au" (no longer in existence). "News Media" appears to be Middle Eastern news media. "Religious" is "Karballa", "Islam.org" and "Al-Islam".

      Contact Information
       3 incredibly ugly buttons, each with a different font. "E-mail" only active button, a mail-to link. Some images were not loaded (Including the background), but I doubt they'd make it any better.
        Text content (same as on front page)

    8116 Arlington Blvd. # 198
    Falls Church, VA 22042

    1-877-807-8700
    1-877-803-1800 (FAX)

    iraq@al-iraq.org

     IRAQI DISCUSSION
     Looks like a test of a discussion board. Only two (three?) posts: "test" 12/14/98 from WEBMASTER "test" From: test 3/9/99 "new" 3/9/99

    --- end site map description

    Those of you who read the Daily Kos -- in your opinion has the writing changed recently? Were they always this well orgranized and activist?

    by HeyThereItsEric on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 01:27:26 AM PST

  •  Did you see this? (none)
    Check the Comments & Feedback section at this website:

    http://www.barzan.com/

    Jeffy is all over the place...

    Canadians care too...

    by jbalazs on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 04:49:32 AM PST

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