[Marxism] Jordanian Journalist Who Fabricated Syrian Rebel Chemical Weapons Story, Wrote Recent Jerusalem Post Column Extolling Israel

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Mon Sep 23 20:14:18 MDT 2013

This may be the best expose yet


> Jordanian Journalist Who Fabricated Syrian Rebel Chemical Weapons Story,
> Wrote Recent Jerusalem Post Column Extolling Israel
> by Richard Silverstein on September 23, 2013 · 7 comments<http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/09/23/jordanian-journalist-who-fabricated-syrian-rebel-chemical-weapons-story-likely-fabricated-jerusalem-post-story-as-well/#comments>
> in Mideast Peace<http://www.richardsilverstein.com/category/mideast-peace/>
> I’ve been following the story of a few weeks ago, claiming that Prince
> Bandar of Saudi Arabia was shipping chemical weapons to the Syria rebels,
> which they were using on the battlefield.  As so much of the reporting on
> this subject, this story really stank.  But I didn’t give it much thought
> until I learned more about the professional histories of both Dale Gavlak,
> the AP reporter who helped birth the story; and Yahyah Ababneh (aka Yan
> Barakat) who allegedly “reported” it from Syria.
> The quick background on this is that Gavlak, who works for a number of
> news organizations including AP, recommended that the Mint Press publish a story
> she’d received<http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/>written in Arabic, purporting to describe a Syrian rebel chemical weapons
> attack.  After the story had circulated for a week or so journalists began
> questioning various elements of it.  Eventually, Gavlak dissociated herself
> from the story even though she played a critical role in getting it
> published.  Mint Press was hung out to dry because it hadn’t done due
> diligence itself and couldn’t say whether the story was true or false.  It
> had relied on Gavlak and trusted her judgment.
> Antiwar.com also republished the story on its website.  But it apologized
> to its readers within a few days of the controversy beginning.  That was
> more than its editors offered me when they yanked my published profile of
> Meir Javedanfar, under the censorious direction of Justin Raimondo.
> What, if anything, about Yan Barakat/Yahyah Ababneh, is real?
> Gavlak must’ve thought she’d got hold of a great story and in her
> eagerness to publish and take credit, she rushed it into print.  Only
> afterward, did she begin to realize she may’ve been had.
> Yahya Ababneh, the journalist credited with the story seems to be a
> charlatan.  Everything about him seems either fictional or dubious.  Though
> he does appear to exist, nothing beyond that seems certain about him.
> This intrigue would still be little more than minor skirmish in the battle
> for truth and credibility in the Syrian story were it not for Gavlak’s and
> Ababneh’s connections to Israeli journalism.
> Brian Whitaker, former Comment is Free editor, writes in his blog<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#sthash.mNHaJqzt.dpbs>that Ababneh and Barakat are one and the same.  He also notes that Barakat published
> a piece<http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Peace-on-paper-is-not-peace-on-the-ground-325088>in the Jerusalem Post.  What, you may ask, is a reputed Jordanian
> journalist doing publishing in one of Israel’s most right-wing newspapers?
> Good question.
> The column is one of those feel good stories that Israel’s media love to
> publish about Arabs who see the errors of their ways and liberate
> themselves from the anti-Israel propaganda they drank with their mother’s
> milk.  In other words, it’s typically self-serving and propagandistic.  I’m
> guessing that someone in the foreign ministry came across this guy on
> social media and contacted him and asked him if he’d expound the wonders of
> Israel for an Israeli audience.  This isn’t a rare occurrence.  There are
> numerous similar episodes involving people like Mark Halawa<http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2010/04/29/mark-muntasir-halawa-pimping-the-pro-israel-lecture-circuit/>,
> Walid Shoebat<http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2008/04/10/walid-shoebat-ex-plo-terrorist-muslim-apostate-evangelical-convert-arab-zionistand-now-charlatan/>,
> Tawfiq Hamid<http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2006/02/03/tawfiq-hamid-islamic-reformer-who-hates-islam/>,
> and a host of Iranians (Reza Khalili<http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/01/28/was-fordo-a-hoax-if-so-why/>and Amir
> Fakhravar)<http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2012/01/29/israeli-intelligence-pimps-discredited-iranian-dissident-peddling-regime-change-by-another-name/>.
> The latter have regaled Israeli audiences about their lives as Iranian
> Revolutionary Guard officers before they saw the light and turned against
> the Iranian forces of darkness.
> *CORRECTIONS*: I’ve just discovered an Israeli blog post<http://yovav-kalifon.tumblr.com/post/52461241531/his-finger-on-the-pain-jordanian-tells-israelis-how-it>written by someone who claims to have hosted a meeting with Barakat in
> Israel. So while some parts of his Jerusalem Post story may be true, there
> remains much that strains credulity.
> Further, since Israel no longer considers Jordan an enemy state, it’s
> permissible for Israelis to visit Jordan and vice versa.  But any citizen
> of an Arab country attempting to visit Israel would be vetted extremely
> closely by the Shabak, which controls border crossings with bordering Arab
> states.  That means that Ababneh received permission from the Shabak to
> enter Israel.  It may mean that the security services and/or foreign
> ministry were much more involved than that in arranging his visit.
> Read the following in light of these caveats.
> *  *
> In his article, Barakat claims to have visited Israel on his own form of
> personal peace mission.  This beggars belief.  Just as it is illegal for
> Israelis to visit Arab states it is similarly illegal for citizens of Arab
> states to do so.  So how did the Jordanian journalist do this?  Or perhaps
> more appropriately, did he?
> To all this we need to add that the Jerusalem Post has a long<http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/02/03/jerusalem-posts-anti-semitism-fetish-leads-to-likely-irish-hoax-report/>and
> checkered<http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2009/04/08/jerusalem-post-and-norwegian-anti-semitism-hoax/>history of being ‘had’ by fraudulent reports and reporters.  I’m going to
> hazard a reasonable guess that it’s happened again.  Just as Yahyah Ababneh
> claimed to have witnessed rebels using chemical weapons inside Syria, Yan
> Barakat claims to have traveled to Israel to explore making peace with the
> Jewish enemy.  We know his claims about Syria are false.  I’m reasonably
> certain his claims about Israel are as well.
> If the Jerusalem Post had any journalistic integrity it would’ve demanded
> that Barakat provide evidence of the meetings he claimed he had with scores
> of Israelis during his visit.  I’m virtually certain they didn’t do that
> before publishing and won’t do it now that his credibility has been shot to
> hell.  The Post wanted to believe an Arab loves Israel.  But a good rule of
> thumb is that if a story looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
> Understanding this requires care and skepticism, something the Post lacks
> when it comes to publishing stories by or about “good Arabs.”
> What’s clear is that Ababneh/Barakat is a petty con man.  Like all good
> con men he knows how to tell his audience what they want to hear.  He also
> knows how to aggrandize himself with readers and probably get paid well for
> his troubles.  It shouldn’t surprise us that he’s also an actor and has
> posted pictures of his performances on his social media accounts.
> I think those who speculate why he might’ve worked for either Israeli or
> Jordanian intelligence regarding the Syria story are missing the point.  A
> guy like this doesn’t work for one side alone.  He works for whoever pays
> the best and most.  One day it’s the Jerusalem Post or an intelligence
> agency, the next its Bashar al-Assad.
> Look at it this way: the Syrian government knew it had a huge scandal
> breathing down its neck. What better way to diminish some of the momentum
> of the story than to put out a fake rebel CW counter-story.  Until the
> world discovered it was a hoax, it would help counter the damage done by
> the Gouta disaster.  Cynical you say?  What intelligence agency isn’t
> cynical?  And there are scores of provocateurs and self-promoters eager to
> jump on such a gravy train.
> There’s also an interesting factor in Dale Gavlak’s connection to Israeli
> media.  Besides working for AP, Times of Israel lists her as one of its
> writers. <http://www.timesofisrael.com/writers/dale-gavlak/>.   It’s
> likely she isn’t formally employed by TOI, but that in its desperation for
> journalistic credibility the publication has glommed onto anyone it
> re-publishes and calls them a TOI “writer.”  Any story she’s written there
> (or anywhere else for that matter) should be scrutinized carefully to
> ensure she didn’t take any of the same shortcuts she took in publishing
> Ababneh’s nonsense.

Clay Claiborne, Director
Vietnam: American Holocaust <http://VietnamAmericanHolocaust.com>
Linux Beach Productions
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 581-1536

Read my blogs at the Linux Beach <http://claysbeach.blogspot.com/>

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