Saturday, December 14, 2002

Times Makes Stuff Up

The Moonie Times, that is:

Hezbollah story likely 'invented'
The furor over the importance that a media article that allegedly contained "invented" remarks from a Hezbollah leader, and the role it played in Canada's decision to ban the Lebanese group, continued to grow on Thursday.

On Wednesday Canada outlawed both the military and social wings of Hezbollah. As the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports, "it was an abrupt about-face for the foreign affairs minister, Bill Graham, who has argued the social arm of the organization is a legitimate charity."

Apparently one of the key factors in Mr. Graham's decision to add the group to the list of terrorist organizations banned by Ottawa was a US media report quoting Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, urging Palestinians to expand their suicide bombings worldwide. The US story had been widely covered in the Canadian media.

Only one problem. It now seems the Sheik never made the remarks. On its Wednesday night (Dec. 11) national TV news broadcast, the CBC alleged "pro-Israeli" freelance reporter Paul Martin "likely invented the remarks."

There is no record of such a speech here, and there would be. It was not broadcast on Hezbollah's television station, as was reported. Hezbollah, which vigorously publicizes Nasrallah's every word, says the remarks were never uttered and the Canadian embassy in Beirut has tried and failed to document the quotes. The story originated not in the Middle East but in London, with this man. Paul Martin freelances for "The Washington Times," a right wing newspaper owned by the Unification Church. He cannot back up the quotes his story attributes to Nasrallah.