Saturday 27 November 2010

Author of ’’Dans le Secret Des Presidents’’ Confirms Chirac Knew Details of Investigation in Hariri’s Assassination

Local Editor

Day after day, fact about conspiracies planned against Lebanon are being revealed, and the content of the French book entitles, Dans le Secret des Presidents, which means, In the Presidents' Secret, proves the schemes, especially those planned between former French and US Presidents, Jacque Chirac and George Bush.

In this context, the author of the book, Vincent Nouzille, confirmed that Chirac was informed of every detail concerning the investigations in former PM Rafiq Hariri's assassination case at all levels.

Furthermore, the former French President attempted to exploit, diplomatically and politically, the reports of Terje Roed-Larsen, UN envoy assigned to follow up resolution 1559 implementation, and Detlev Mehlis, former head of international investigation committee in Hariri's assassination case.

Concerning Mehlis, author Nouzille said that the first reason for Chirac was the importance of accomplishing everything in order to launch the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), and point it to international judiciary, releasing it from the Lebanese.

Nouzille referred that after Rafiq Hariri's assassination and the meeting between George Bush and Chirac in February 21 2005, the latter's main priority was to launch international investigation, and to establish an international tribunal later on.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV, Vincent Nouzille referred that Bush and Chirac aimed at defeating the Syrian regime, an attempt which they has been working for before Hariri's assassination.

Nouzille also revealed that Chirac was opposing for the "Shiite sect", and believed the Sunnis and Christians should take over the power in Syria.

According to Chirac, what was needed in the first place is the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, Nouzille referred that it was a request from late Hariri himself, especially that pressures were all on Lebanon before a couple of months.

On this level, Nouzille clarified that Chirac believed if Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon, then Assad's regime will fall back by its self, and thus achieve what Chirac aims at.

The author affirmed that Chirac planned to pressure Syria before Hariri's assassination, and has declared that since 2004, vital cooperation started between the Elysee and the White House, precisely between Presidential Advisors Gordo Montari and Condalisa Rice.

Bilateral discussions revolved around Lebanon and the Syrian-Lebanese file.

Since the year 2004, Chirac told the Americans that as George Bush wants to spread democracy in the Middle East, occupying Iraq to do so, then the best example for that could be by protecting the poor democracy in Lebanon, through putting an end to what he called, "Syrian occupation".

Therefore, since spring and summer of 2004, phrasing resolution 1559 began between the French and the Americans, in order to achieve the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, denouncing the Syrian interference in Lebanon, and thus defeating the Syrian regime.

On the level of resolution 1559, Vincent Nouzille referred that since summer 2004, the resolution began to be formed in Paris and Washington, in cooperation with diplomats and ambassadors of both countries, especially France's ambassadors to Lebanon and the US.

Nouzille revealed in his book that Jacque Chirac directly accused Syria of Hariri's assassination, declaring it in his meeting with bush on February 21 2005 in Brussels.

Concerning Tejre Roed-Larsen, author Nouzille confirmed that the coordination between him, the French and the Americans was very tight, and this when he visited Lebanon and Syria, his information were transferred naturally to the Elysee and the White House.

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November 27, 2010

Posted by Franklin Lamb ·in .Veterans Today and Al-manar

Sun Tzu and Hassan Nasrallah
Sun Tzu and Hassan Nasrallah
Part II  “Know thyself”  Sun Tzu and Hassan Nasrallah

According to the Lebanese military, at 11 am and again at 1 p.m.  on 1l/24/10, a total of six Israeli warplanes crossed into Lebanese airspace, and violated for the 8256th time UNSC resolution 1701 that ended Israel’s 5th war against Lebanon, on August 14, 2006.

Nearly, daily, and sometimes several times daily, warplanes and/or reconnaissance aircraft invade the skies over Lebanon to frighten, attempt to intimidate, and pressure the Lebanese population. They also to try to keep tabs on Lebanon’s resistance, led by Hezbollah.

As every Resistance defender  is aware, if a twice daily high flyover by a US supplied specially programmed satellite imaging camera detects a stone the size of golf ball out of place, since the previous photo, anywhere in an area thought to be visited by Hezbollah forces,  the photos are closely examined by Israel and American analysts.

The moving of a stone or a tree branch or significantly more or fewer goats appearing in a herd, meandering, for example, in  Lebanon’s “nature preserves” is carefully analyzed.

The reason, and perhaps encapsulating Israel’s increasing likelihood, according to UNIFILUnited Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and US sources,  of failing in its next war against Lebanon, is that Israel has never even been able to figure out  what became of the hundreds of tons of chipped rock and soil removed during the construction of hundreds of suspected deep Hezbollah bunkers, impenetrable to every weapon but nuclear.  Some bunkers are almost literally under the noses of where suspected  Israeli agents live or where UNIFIL forces patrol daily. “ Do they remove the debris by teaspoons full?”  a UNIFIL official wondered recently.

Also unsettling to the Israeli military and reportedly censored from viewing by Israeli forces  are a collection of Hezbollah training videos thought to have been photographed by US  high altitude  cameras. IDF psychologists reportedly have advised the Israeli Cabinet that seeing the Hezbollah videos may further erode Israeli forces confidence if they are ordered  again into Lebanon.

One such video shows the following:

A line of Hezbollah fighters on mountain bikes in a steep ravine south of the Litani river riding at high rates of speed.

The rider must flip the bike  up onto only the back wheel so the soldier’s body is facing the sky and his back flat parallel with and about two feet off  the ground. The examinee must travel at close to 90 mph  holding a RPG in either hand, and a cell phone in the other waiting firing instructions from a subterranean command center.

The fighter must then fire the rocket thru a swinging small tire approximately 120 meters away on a tree branch.  Achieving fewer than 11 bulls eyes out of 12 requires the arduous physical test repeated.  A commander in UNIFIl, who claims to be familiar with this particular Hezbollah training exercise commented that none of the UNIFIL soldiers from the 28 countries could even do the exercise, much less get one RPG through such a swinging tire.  “ I would doubt very much if any Israeli could do it either. Hezbollah fighters are probably the world’s best. I have never studied the Chinese up close but I’ve seen a whole lot of the others.”

It is these kinds of skills that Hezbollah fighters used to force repeated errors by Israeli forces during the July 2006 war, and although not widely reported, during its 18 years of occupation of Lebanon (1982-2000).

Errors, that the Israeli Winograd commission called “ the worst kind of mistakes and failures of the ground forces.” Among the examples  still discussed in Dahiyeh,  and presumably in Tel Aviv and Washington, include  the Hezbollah forces routing of the Israeli  “elite” Golani, Egoz and Magland Brigades at Maron al Ras on the Lebanese-Palestine border between July 25-30, 2006. 

Another was the Battle of Bint Jbeil which Dan Halutz  called Israel’s planned “Web of Steel’ which was expected to take less than 48 hours to defeat Hezbollah forces starting on July 24.  But by July 30,  the much battered  Golani forces withdrew and the Israeli air force renewed indiscriminate aerial bombardment. 

Down the road from Bint Jbeil, at Aita al-Shaab, Israel lost 26 soldiers and more than 100 severely injured without gaining an inch of territory. Shortly before Israel agreed to a ceasefire,  its forces experienced the catastrophe at Wadi Slouqi, a ravine through which  a column of Israeli tanks were sent to link up with airlifted troops at Ghandouriyah village.  The Israeli plan, read by Hezbollah forces from the onset, was to move toward Tyre and head north.
“They (Hezbollah forces) jumped up out of the ground all around us” one Israeli at the scene testified later.

Hezbollah hit more than a dozen tanks, quickly killing 17 Israelis and wounding more than fifty. It became known in Israeli military  circles as “the Black Sabbath, the goddamned Sabbath”, as one Israeli war room officer commented.

Increasingly during the 33 day July 2006 War, Israeli forces refused orders to advance against Hezbollah fighters, happily opting for 14 day jail sentences for failure to obey orders. 

Concerning IDF recruitment and  AWOL problems, according to IDF Captain Arye Shalicar of the IDF Recruitment Fraud unit, it is US taxpayers who  foot the bill  for eight companies of private investigators recently hired to track down Israeli draft dodgers.  The popular social networking site, Facebook,  is being used  to track down thousands who lied about being religiously observant and seeking to avoid facing Hezbollah.  Israelis not wanting to join the military often post a photograph on Facebook showing them eating at non-kosher restaurants or accepting invitations for fake Friday night (Sabbath) parties sent by the investigators.
It was against the backdrop of examining these kinds of IDF-Hezbollah confrontations, that  a US Senate Armed Services Committee staffer reports that, “seemingly counterintuitive given the past six decades of US coddling  Israel with all manner of  support and  political cover”, the White House has informed Israel that the days of ‘green lights’ for trampling and carpet bombing Lebanon are over.  Secretary of State  Clinton reportedly told PM Netanyahu during his recent visit to basically ‘forget about it’ when Israel’s Prime Minister repeated ad nausea the mantra that “Lebanon is now Hezbollah and Hezbollah is  now Lebanon” so Israel can exercise “blanket self defense.”  ( Ed: gets to bomb and obliterate at will)
During US Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, John Kerrey’s recent swing through the region he warned Lebanese  and Syrian officials that Israel could attack at any time.  But he also carried the message to Israel that Washington does not want an Israeli attack on Lebanon or on Iran for precisely the same reasons.  Israel can’t win Washington increasingly believes and the risk of regional conflagration from either is too great.
It is in this context that Washington is  using the STLSpecial Tribunal for Lebanon as a 6th war against Lebanon, following those 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996, and 2006.

It is reported by Haaretz on 11/16/10  that  Israeli Foreign Minister  Lieberman reveal Israel has been helping the STL with its “investigation.”

“Hezbollah’s  greatest advantage against Israel in the next war against Israel”, according to Pentagon sources, including a 22 year veteran who maintains an office in Beirut,   “is not seen in Washington  as  being based on just Hezbollah’s  demonstrated ability to prevail on the battlefield against Israeli ground forces, withstanding potential days or weeks or months of carpet bombing and during hugely asymmetric conflicts. Rather, increasingly Hezbollah’s success against Israeli is being explained by its moral, political, popular, religious, psychological, culture that were enhanced by Hezbollah’s “Lebanonization” and growing acceptance by other sects while being dubbed by some at the Pentagon as now “the 8th greatest missile power in the World.”

There is also the factor of the environment that is embracing Hezbollah and the Resistance. These are  people who will no longer accept to yield to the dictates of  Israel,  the US, Lebanese Forces, Phalanges, or anyone else.  As far as the Resistance is concerned, no one can ask a people that was oppressed, occupied, and disdained by others for decades and centuries, yet managed to gain power to defend itself at a time when everyone abandoned it, to let go of its element of power and become again under the mercy of Israel’s threats as well as those of its local Israel’s allies.

 Hezbollah believes it has to win the next war for the sake of the whole country, because the army is poorly equipped and because Lebanon has hundreds, maybe thousands of Mossad agents in Lebanon compromising the country’s institutions. Hezbollah MP, Nawaf Moussawi has said on many occasions that the STL indictment accusing Hezbollah of the Hariri assassination will be dealt with as a US Israeli invasion, and to date Hezbollah has proven to have great skills in countering ‘invasions.’  The Party is not easily provoked or intimidated but when their existence is threatened it fights back.

Hezbollah, has  smashed the myth of Israel’s invincibility, broken the barrier of fear, increased the popular demand for resistance, exposed  the fake peace process and rejected  appeasement, acquiescence and surrender. Hezbollah forces taught the world that Arabs can and will liberate Palestine because  they possess the qualities  and acumen to do it. The kings and the presidents in the region, who for six decades chose their thrones over Jerusalem  quake as does Israel.

This observer is obviously not privy to any security information relating to Hezbollah, and it would be treasonous and unthinkable for anyone in Hezbollah to share any, but among the many scenarios that the Lebanese National Resistance  is said to be preparing for includes a possible invasion from  North  Lebanon using troops from two Arab countries that for years having been trying to train Sunni and Lebanese Forces “ Security minus”  troops.

The plan, if it exists, would try to force Hezbollah from Beirut back to the south, by using a blitzkrieg type of invasion using Arab, American and Israeli forces attacking south Beirut as north Lebanon Sunni and Christian forces  close of roads heading out from Beirut. Phalange forces would try and capture Mt Lebanon, and Arab special forces would hunt Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah leadership amidst “ Dahiyeh option”  ruins.  All to be made perfectly legal and respectable by the all but certain  STL indictments and convictions.

This kind of scenario is reminiscent of  when the French sent  Moroccans and Algerians to fight for them last century against the Turks.  A French General on the scene was asked “you are sending Muslims to fight against Muslims” ?

The general reportedly laughed and replied, “ if  our Arabs win we get the credit , if our Arabs or theirs die, who cares”.

Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon.

He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book.

He can be reached at 

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While Hariri seeks Tehran's "support", Egypt's FM says Iran should "bud out"...


"..."We say to our brothers in Iran ... Iraq must be left alone and Lebanon must be left alone. And Iran should not intrude in Bahrain in any way," said Abul Gheit.
"The security of Gulf countries comes first, and Egypt gives it much of its attention," said the minister, who accompanied President Hosni Mubarak on a Doha visit which ended on Thursday.
Abul Gheit also called for a diplomatic solution between Iran and the international community on its nuclear programme which has raised concern in the West and among some Arab countries.
"Egypt is aware and knows that Iran has a problem with the Western world," he said. "The settlement of Western-Iranian problems must be achieved via diplomatic and political means, away from military action and war."...."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 6:51 PM

Hariri seeks Iran's support

"...In an interview on the eve of the visit, Hariri said Iran could play a role in maintaining stability in Lebanon and the region. “Iran is involved in all efforts to ensure the components of stability in all regional states, including Lebanon,” Hariri said in an interview with the Iranian news agency IRNA published Friday....
“The Islamic Republic’s role in the region is a natural role emanating from the historic, political, economic weight of a state of this size in the Arab neighborhood,” Hariri said.
He added that he did not accuse Hizbullah of involvement in his father’s assassination. Referring to a recent Canadian TV documentary implicating Hizbullah in the assassination, Hariri said, “We have said clearly that [media leaks on the indictment]do not serve justice.”
“Lebanon is facing many dangers. We all have to consider that national unity and stability should not be shaken by anyone whatever the reasons or the circumstances are. We are destined to live together on our beloved country,” he said.
In addition to the Lebanese crisis over the indictment, Hariri is expected to discuss in meetings with Ahmadinejad and other senior Iranian officials the stalled Middle East peace process and the situation in Iraq. During the visit, ministers from both countries are expected to sign cooperation agreements. ..."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 6:45 PM

"..Sa'ad Hariri has been the darling of the AIPAC/Israel/Bush Administration collegium.."

"Now this/ (the links below) are amusing.  Sa'ad Hariri has been the darling of the AIPAC/Israel/Bush Administration collegium.  He has been described for years in those circles as a potential "savior" of Lebanon from the Hizbullah/Iran/Syrian forces that lurk in the background.
Now, apparently, the realities of life and politics in the eastern Mediterranean have penetrated his Saudi money filled head. 
Lebanon is once again on the brink of attack based in Israeli rage and frustration.  Hariri was supposed to know that he had been bought, not rented, but alas, his Saudi mentors have probably told him to go make peace with the Iranians.
So much for the AIPAC/Israeli belief that the Saudis are the implacable enemies of Iran.
Oh yes, let us not forget that in this speech he described Israel as the greatest threat in the region...."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 7:05 PM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Israeli troops violently attack Bil'in and Ni'lin anti-wall marches

[ 27/11/2010 - 02:44 PM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Dozens of Palestinian citizens and multinational activists suffered suffocation and some of them fainted when the Israeli occupation forces attacked the weekly anti-wall protests organized yesterday in the villages of Bil'in and Ni'lin in the West Bank.

In the village of Bil’in, in central West Bank, Israeli and international supporters joined villagers after the midday prayers at the local mosque and marched towards the Israeli segregation wall built on farmers' lands.

As soon as protesters reached the gate of the wall, soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at them, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Soldiers then chased people back to the village.

In the nearby village of Ni’lin, the weekly protest started when villagers conducted the Friday prayers in an area not far from the Israeli wall. Multinational supporters also joined Ni’lin villagers.

When all participants approached the wall, soldiers started to fire tear gas at them. Many received medical treatment after they inhaled tear gas.

In the village of Ma'sarah, south of Bethlehem on the same day, Israeli troops detained five participants, four foreign activists and a child, during the weekly anti-wall march organized in the village.

Violent clashes between the protesters and troops, and dozens of tear gas suffocation cases were reported.

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Turkey Closes Ownership Door for Zionists

Local Editor

After the Turkish "Secret Constitution" or "Red Book" sorted the Zionist entity on top of its list of strategic threats, Turkish Milliyet newspaper revealed the veil off a law which the government is working on passing to the Parliament.

The law drafted banns all Zionists and Greeks from ownership in Turkey, where on the other hand, permits ownership for Iranians, Syrians, Saudi Arabians, and citizens from the Gulf.

The Turkish Ministry of Housing and Public Works drafted on the other hand a law that aims at organizing the selling of properties in the Turkish territories to foreigners, which resembles the newest punishment method for the Zionist entity.

According to surveillances, the expected repercussions of this law will be very huge, where without doubt; Zionists and Greeks will be like the enemies, at the time where there will be equality between Iranians, Syrians, and people of the Gulf with the Turkish citizens.

Writer Tbernoc Kerechi in Milliyet newspaper, referred that if the Turkish Parliament voted for the proposed law, the Turkey will be the lead between countries which allow foreign ownership.

According to the law draft, the newspaper added that all foreigners would become allowed to own lands in Turkey, a maximum limit of 99 Thousand Km2.

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The endgame for the peace process

Future historians will argue over the precise moment when the Arab-Israeli peace process died.

Robert Grenier Last Modified: 21 Nov 2010 11:02 GMT

Future historians will no doubt argue over the precise moment when the Arab-Israeli peace process died, when the last glimmer of hope for a two-state solution was irrevocably extinguished. When all is said and done, and the forensics have been completed, I am sure they will conclude that the last realistic prospect for an agreement expired quite some time before now, even if all the players do not quite realise it yet: anger and denial are always the first stages in the grieving process; acceptance of reality only comes later.

There are growing signs, however, that the realisation is beginning to dawn in Ramallah, Tel Aviv and, most strikingly, Washington, that the peace process, as currently conceived, may finally be dead.

Washington: hoping for a miracle?

We should begin in Washington, in the aftermath of the seven-hour marathon meeting between Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, in New York last week.

To view the apparent results of that meeting in context, one would have to recount the gargantuan structure of US military, intelligence, economic and diplomatic support to Israel, painstakingly constructed over many decades, for which there would not be space to describe it all here - if indeed one had the knowledge to do so.

The edifice is so extensive, including direct military aid, weapons transfers, access to US emergency weapons stocks, pre-positioning of US military materiel in Israel, US investments in Israeli technology development, US support for Israel's foreign weapons sales, weapons co-production agreements, all sorts of loan guarantees, assistance for settlement of immigrants in Israel - the list goes on - that literally no single entity in Washington is aware of it all.

In September, the US Congressional Research Service made a noteworthy attempt to capture it, but was probably only partly successful, having no access, for example, to classified US assistance. The annual value of all this is literally incalculable, and well in excess of the $3bn per year usually cited, to say nothing of critical US diplomatic support in the UN and elsewhere.

Given all this, confronted with Israel's refusal to extend its partial moratorium on new settlement construction in the Occupied Territories, and with anything more than verbal pressure on Israel literally unthinkable, the US was hard-pressed to come up with additional inducements which might extend the peace process even a little further.

Into the breach, as he has done so many times before, stepped the redoubtable Dennis Ross. Ross, in discussions with an Israeli counterpart, compiled an extensive list of motivators whose length we do not yet know, but which was verbally agreed between Clinton and Netanyahu in New York, and which will be presented in writing for possible approval by the Israeli cabinet.

We are told it includes a US commitment to block any Palestinian-led effort to win unilateral UN recognition of a Palestinian state; US obstruction of efforts either to revive the Goldstone Report at the UN, or to seek formal UN condemnation of Israel for the deadly Mavi Marmara incident; an ongoing US commitment to defeat any UN resolutions aimed at raising Israel's unacknowledged nuclear weapons programme before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); vigorous US diplomatic efforts to counter all attempts to "delegitimise" Israel in various world fora; and, most importantly, increasing efforts to further ratchet international sanctions on both Iran and Syria concerning their respective nuclear and proliferation efforts.

To this the US is adding a commitment to supply Israel with some 20 ultra-modern F-35 aircraft worth $3bn - so new they have not yet entered the US inventory - as well as a mysterious "comprehensive security agreement," whose details have not been revealed, but which may include unilateral US endorsement of Israeli troop deployments in the Jordan Valley, in the event of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

And what is Israel being asked in return?

Consider this carefully: in return for the above written guarantees, Israel will consider agreement to a brief, one-time-only 90-day extension of the partial settlement moratorium, which excludes not only East Jerusalem, but also the cordon sanitaire of settlements which Israel has carefully constructed to ring the city and deny Palestinian access to it, after which the US agrees, in writing, never again to request an Israeli settlement moratorium.

After witnessing US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians for over 30 years, I had thought I was beyond shock. This development, however, is breathtaking. In effect, along with a whole string of additional commitments, including some potentially far-reaching security guarantees which it is apparently afraid to reveal publicly, the Obama administration is willing to permanently cast aside a policy of some 40 years' duration, under which the US has at least nominally labelled Israeli settlements on occupied territory as "obstacles to peace,". All this in return for a highly conditional settlement pause which will permit Netanyahu to pocket what the US has given him, simply wait three months without making any good-faith effort at compromise, and know in the end that Israel will never again have to suffer the US' annoying complaints about illegal settlements.

Leave aside the fact that as of this writing, the Israeli cabinet may yet reject this agreement - which seems even more breathtaking, until one stops to consider that virtually everything the Americans have offered the Israelis they could easily obtain in due course without the moratorium. No, what is telling here is that the American attempt to win this agreement, lopsided as it is, is an act of sheer desperation.

What gives rise to the desperation, whether it is fear of political embarrassment at a high-profile diplomatic failure or genuine concern for US security interests in the region, I cannot say. It seems crystal clear, however, that the administration sees the next three months as a last chance. Their stated hope is that if they can get the parties to the table for this brief additional period, during which they focus solely on reaching agreement on borders, success in this endeavour will obviate concerns about settlements and give both sides sufficient stake in an outcome that they will not abandon the effort.

No one familiar with the substance of the process believes agreement on borders can be reached in 90 days on the merits; consider additionally that negotiators will be attempting to reach such a pact without reference to Jerusalem, and seeking compromise on territory without recourse to off-setting concessions on other issues, and success becomes virtually impossible to contemplate.

The Obama administration is coming under heavy criticism for having no plan which extends beyond the 90 days, if they can get them. There is no plan for a 91st day because there is unlikely to be one. The Obama policy, absurd as it seems, is to somehow extend the peace process marginally, and hope for a miracle. The demise of that hope carries with it the clear and present danger that residual aspirations for a two-state solution will shortly be extinguished with it.

Tel Aviv: buyer's remorse?

Meanwhile, in Israel, we are seeing something akin to buyer's remorse. On the cusp of finally achieving the goal for which Likud has aimed since its founding in 1973 - that is, an end to the threat of territorial compromise which would truncate the Zionist project in Palestine - the Israeli military and intelligence communities, which will have to deal with the consequences of a permanently failed peace process and the dissolution of responsible Palestinian governance in the West Bank which could well follow, are actively voicing their concerns.

Even as ardent a Likudnik as Dan Meridor has recently said to Haaretz: "I've reached the painful conclusion that keeping all the territory means a binational state that will endanger the Zionist enterprise. If we have to give up the Jewish and democratic character (of the state) - I prefer to give up some of the territory."

The time for such second thoughts has passed, however. Having succeeded in creating irrevocable facts on the ground, settlements which no conceivable Israeli government could remove even if it wanted to, the territory which Meridor and company would conceivably part with now will not be enough to avoid the fate which they fear in future: the progressive delegitimation of the current state, and the eventual rise of a binational state in its place.

Ramallah: terminally gloomy?

The terminal gloom among the tired leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is palpable. They will not allow themselves to be openly complicit in a negotiated capitulation to Israel, and yet they cannot bring themselves to irrevocably abandon the process either.

The recent, relative success of Salam Fayyad, the prime minister, in bringing some measure of security and good governance to the West Bank notwithstanding, they know their legitimacy is tied to the hope of their people for a just peace - a peace they also know, in their hearts, they cannot deliver. They look to the Americans in hope of salvation, while the Americans can only hope, impotently, for the same.

Both Israelis and Palestinians know that the relative calm prevailing in the West Bank and Gaza cannot last indefinitely absent some prospect for an end to Israeli occupation of the former. No one can see the way to a near-term solution, and yet neither does anyone yet have the courage to suggest an alternative future.

That will be the task of a new and probably distant generation of Israelis and Palestinians.

Robert Grenier was the CIA's chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 1999 to 2002. He was also the director of the CIA's counter-terrorism centre.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Maariv: Ball in Hezbollah’s Court, Feltman Deeply Involved in Lebanon Quagmire

27/11/2010 Israeli daily Maariv reported Friday that “there are US-Israeli understandings” on way to counter the repercussions of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) indictment against Hezbollah in the assassination case of former Premier Rafiq Hariri.

The newspaper’s correspondent in Washington Shmuel Rosner said that the US administration was working on this track more than it was on the Israeli Palestinian track.

He added it was surprising to see how busy the US official’s schedule on the Middle East, be it with Saudi or Israeli officials who have been to Washington lately.

Rosner also quoted a “well informed Israeli official on US-Israeli talks on Lebanon” as saying that “between Washington and Tel Aviv are understandings concerning what we will or will not do, in case of escalation in Lebanon.” He added that “Washington had hinted that Israel could attack Lebanon” and that “this was the most efficient threat available, based on the hypothesis that the Americans will not send aircraft carriers to tackle the problem of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Maariv correspondent said that “the United States finds it difficult to solve the anticipated crisis in Lebanon; because the ball now is in Hezbollah’s court as the party has pointed out that it will not accept accusations against it and while Washington does not really know where Hezbollah’s counter action would lead; will it settle for a show of power, or will it try to topple the government? Will it content itself with pointing the finger towards Israel, or will it point its missiles towards it?”

Rosner stressed the “ability of the Americans to figure out scenarios, beware of Hezbollah, conduct talks, but eventually they will have to postpone their reactions on the events until the time that Hezbollah sets.”

Maariv also said that US Undersecretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman “is deeply involved in the Lebanese quagmire and hopes to create a coalition that can stand in the face of Hezbollah in the aftermath of the STL indictment.

Obama himself made a commitment towards Lebanon, and this underscores his will to do something. However, Obama did not pledge to keep Lebanon free; instead he only vowed to do what he can, as this means: everything that falls under the restraints he has.”

The Israeli newspaper quoted Feltman as saying that everyone working in Lebanon knows that the situation in this country does not allow those working inside or outside it, to control everything that’s happening there. This means, according to Maariv, that “if Lebanon was simply destroyed, the US would not necessarily be able or even be willing to try to save this country; this is what Feltman and Obama have implied. This is also what the Iranians, the Turks, Hezbollah, and Lebanese Cabinet members already know.”

Maariv concluded that “for the Lebanese, a US intervention does not seem a decisive element in the existent conflict. In fact the steps of the closer neighbors, including Israel, are very much more important (to them).”

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PFLP accuses PA of holding many of its cadres in its jails

[ 27/11/2010 - 01:48 PM ]

WEST BANK, (PIC)-- The popular front for the liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said that the Palestinian authority's security apparatuses are detaining a number of its cadres and other members of factions in West Bank jails in the context of its security cooperation with the Israeli occupation state.

Senior PFLP official and lawmaker Khaled Jarrar told Safa news agency that the PA security apparatuses implement the Roadmap plan which provides for eliminating the Palestinian resistance and its supporters.

Jarrar accused the PA security apparatuses of exchanging the detention of Palestinian men and women with the Israeli occupation, where it kidnaps everyone released from Israeli jails and vice versa.

In a related incident, Palestinian local sources reported that the PA security militias stormed in late Friday night the house of Omar Al-Jabrini, a senior member of Hamas and a detainee in their jails in Nablus city.

The sources told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the detainee, 50, used to be a prisoner for several years in Israeli jails and was released about one month ago before the PA militias kidnapped him.

Other different local sources on Saturday said the PA militias kidnapped 10 Palestinian citizens from the cities of Nablus, Al-Khalil and Tulkarem.

The PA and its militias in the West Bank still refuse to release the noted female preacher Timam Abu Assaud despite her poor health conditions and the appeals made by human rights centers.

The national campaign that was formed in solidarity with Abu Assaud said in a statement on Friday that the detainee is in very critical health condition as a result of her exposure to torture at the hands of PA interrogators and demanded her immediate release

The campaign added that Abu Assaud is the only breadwinner of her family after her husband died long time ago and her detention without considering her social status vindicates further that the PA persists in violating the national norms and the Palestinian law.

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George Galloway: Free Palestine, Free Afghanistan, Free Speech

George Galloway in Vancouver, Canada, November 22, 2010

"The man who gave the US Senate a solid drubbing in 2005, former British MP George Galloway came to Vancouver during his cross-country tour of Canada on November 22 -- and he had a lot to say. In this talk he tackles his nemesis Jason Kenney -- the man who illegally banned him from entering Canada in 2009.

He continues by lambasting the complicit Neo-Conservative government of Canada and he laments our diminishing reputation as 'Peacekeeping Canadians' on the international stage. Mr. Galloway then explores the persistent hypocrisy of Israel and the West vs. Islam and the Middle East. He concludes by discussing Iran and Islamophobia...

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Knesset right-winger calls for declaring O. J'lem capital for Jews

[ 27/11/2010 - 08:13 AM ]


A right-wing Knesset member called for changing the text in the Israeli basic law which describes occupied Jerusalem as Israel's capital into the capital of the Jewish people.

Maariv newspaper said on Friday that the Israeli ministerial committee for legislation would discuss once again early next week the proposal submitted in this regard by Knesset member Zevulun Orlev.

Zevulun introduced his bill for the first time more than two years ago and the Knesset approved it in its first reading, but the ministerial committee for legislation declined to put it to the vote.

Meanwhile, preacher of the Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Ismail Nawahda called on the Palestinian rivals to join forces and end the estrangement between them in order to strengthen the internal front in the face of the Israeli occupation and its schemes.

Sheikh Nawahda in his Khutba (sermon) on Friday warned that the Aqsa Mosque is exposed to real dangers threatening its existence and called on the Muslim nation to defend it by all means.

The preacher also denounced the Israeli occupation authority for demolishing Palestinian homes, property and holy sites, especially a Mosque in Tubas city on Thursday.
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Lebanese Politics: Boastful Ignorance, Quiet Rage

By Ruqayyah Chamseddine
November 27, 2010

Exclusive to Al-Manar

The bitter taste of ignorance is at times overpowering; distorting the senses to the point of intellectual nausea. The joyful march of simpletons in unison and the silent rage of dissenters which follows is commonplace while at the same time grotesquely bewildering.

This trend is not selective, it does not reveal its municipal silhouette in accordance to a particular society over another – no, it is circadian and fairly ordinary.

Lebanon, the overlooked and underestimated sliver bordered by both Syria and Israel, is a politically diverse hamlet. Politics is the drug of choice here, above all else; Yellow and Green are not just complimentary colors.

Recently the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (hereon referred to as the “STL“) has been at the forefront of all political machinations; the tribunal was created in order to allegedly probe into the murder of former Lebanese Premier Rafiq Hariri who was assassinated in 2005 along with 22 others.

Syria was more or less cleared of involvement in September of this year – Saad Hariri, the late Rafiq Hariri’s son, stated that ”…at a certain stage we made mistakes. We accused Syria of assassinating the martyred premier, and this was a political accusation.” He went on, “…we were wrong and this prosecution policy is outdated…”

Yes, ‘they were wrong in implicating Syria in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and for the longest time they were unashamedly wrong. In early 2005, when the wound of the Hariri assassination had barely been tended to, accusations against Syria were coming not from Lebanese sources but those in Israel. The Lebanese had only started to mourn and yet Israel was already boasting of “intel” which conveniently pointed the finger at Syria.

Now it seems like the blame is being shifted towards another group, since accusing Syria has lost its political appeal. Hezb’Allah is the new suspect in this tired and unending drama.

In this case it goes beyond simple political convenience, to accuse Hezb’Allah of having a hand in killing Rafiq Hariri.

I’ve been reading comments being made against Hezb’Allah by every group under the sun; venomous and often childish remarks by those who disregard the role Israel has played in the region since before even the creation of Hezb’Allah in 1982. Israel has always been an instigator; from the illegal occupation of Palestine to the occupation of Southern Lebanon. South Lebanon was only liberated from Israeli occupation in 2000 because of the Resistance, because of Hezb’Allah. This is an undeniable fact.

In 2006 Israel was unable to defeat Hezb’Allah; The Israeli War Commission called the 33 day July War a large and serious failure.

In 2006 Israel was unable to defeat Hezb’Allah; The Israeli War Commission called the 33 day July War a large and serious failure. Retired judge Eliyahu Winograd said his commission that probed the Israeli failure in the 2006 war on Lebanon, found the war was marked by failures, shortcomings and missed opportunities. "To offer a general summing up, Israel lost an important opportunity. We went to war on our own initiative, it was a long war and it ended without a clear victory in terms of the military objectives. An organization of just a few thousand troops [Hezbollah] managed to hold out against an army that benefited from absolute air supremacy, and major benefits on the technological level," he said.

So now here comes the part two of what can simply be called the Israeli Games in Lebanon; they could not subdue Hezb’Allah through military aggression, thus they must bring the Resistance to its knees politically.

So how does Israel bring forth the political collapse of one of the strongest Resistance groups in the region, one which unashamedly continues to challenge Israeli hegemony? The STL.

Though it is called the Special Tribunal for “Lebanon” it is anything but.

The STL is Israeli aided and US-backed according to none other than Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. He has recently acknowledged Israel's "cooperation" with Hariri's tribunal and said that Tel Aviv has been transparent and open to the investigation, Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper reported Friday. He also accused Lebanon's resistance movement of Hezbollah of trying to undermine the tribunal.

In an August speech, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah presented evidence proving that Israel masterminded the assassination. In his televised address, Sayyed Nasrallah presented footage captured by Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), as well as recorded confessions by captured Mossad agents, substantiating that Tel Aviv had been behind the killing.

There is no need to be meek about the role they play in Lebanon. The continuous fly overs Israeli planes conduct over Lebanon, in direct breach of UN Resolution 1701, are not for the sake of wasting precious fuel.

But again, the ignorant parties will continue to boast and the dissenters will remain loyally persistent in their silent crawl forward.

It is often much easier to bite ones tongue in an act of apathetic dismay than to use it in lashing out against a parade of fools.

In this case the same individuals who overwhelmed Lebanon’s political stage with accusation against Syria are now changing their tune, attempting to present to the world another off-key lullaby; changing the suspects but keeping the accusation the same.

Israel adheres to no UN Resolution, nor a single code of law. Israel occupies land which belongs to another people, in both Lebanon and Palestine. Israel has slaughtered the Lebanese and Palestinians en masse, arrogantly and with fear of no legal or moral repercussions.

Yet it is seemingly far-fetched for one to even attempt to accuse Israel of assassinating a Lebanese Premier and 22 others, why?

Israel is not even being investigated by the Special Tribunal for “Lebanon” – why? Because this tribunal is not for the Lebanese, it is not for Lebanon.

The STL is attempting to place the noose around the neck of the Resistance but its attempt will be in vain – any hand which dares to be raised against the Resistance in Lebanon will be “cut off” as Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah vehemently states time and time again.

Be it Israel, the STL or any other imperialist force – We bow to no one but God.

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Hariri Tribunal Reports Tell a Different Story than CBC Account

An interesting comment, exposing the contradictions in the CBC report. UNIIIC Reports between 2005 and 2007 confirm that the Red team was "identified at the initial stages of the investigation and that signal analysis was a key technique used by the commission."

Therefore, the CBC claim that the telecommunications work done before late 2007 was performed by the Lebanese police, by a DEAD MAN and not by the UN Commission is baseless. "The UN was working in close cooperation with the Lebanese and not, as Mr. Macdonald’s sources suggest, in isolation from them?"

No surprise, in 2005 the direct target was Syria (the state, not only the regime), which shall lead to disarming Hezbollah either by Carrot ( Political Power)) or by the Stick (July war). The outcome was getting Syria out of Lebanon. Consequently, they shifted to blaim Hezbollah by they have no evidence other than the same telecommunications work.

Back to QN comment:

"This contradiction with the documented historical record undercuts the report’s credibility. It is obviously trying to sell you something. And what I think what it is selling is the linkage between the Red team and HA."

"I speculate that the attack on Wissam Hassan is to undermine the ISF’s work on Israeli spies and Israel’s penetration of the Lebanese telecom network. At Nahass’s conference this week, Wissam Hassan was specifically named as helping out in the investigation of Israel compromising HA phone lines. By labelling him an HA accomplice, the whole Israel angle can be explained away."

"The attack on Bellemare and Brammertz are interesting. Whoever fed Macdonald his information must have felt the indictments are not going to come out, or will fail to name HA members. "

"Thus the report serves to indict HA in the media, regardless of the path the STL takes. The whole ‘Getting Away with Murder’ angle is that HA did it, we know they did it, but here’s why the STL won’t indict them. "

"Is someone nervous?"

In case you missed it:


Hariri Tribunal Reports Tell a Different Story than CBC Account

Posted by Qifa Nabki I spent an hour or so this morning going through previous reports by the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC), in order to see how the historical record tallies with Neil Macdonald’s report about the Hariri investigation for CBC.

As you’ll recall, Macdonald makes the following basic points in his piece:
  • The UNIIIC did not begin analyzing telecommunications data until late 2007, because Serge Brammertz (the successor to Detlev Mehlis) refused to authorize this kind of work.
  • When they finally got around to looking at phone records, the investigators happened upon the “earth-shattering” discovery of the so-called “red network”: the group of phones carried by Hariri’s hit squad.
  • As they soon discovered, however, a young Lebanese police captain named Wissam Eid had already discovered this network and the networks behind it as early as the spring of 2006, and submitted a report to the UNIIIC that detailed his findings. Eid’s work pointed to Hizbullah’s complicity in the crime.
  • This report was put into a drawer and did not resurface until the end of 2007, at which point the UNIIIC established contact with Eid. A month later, Eid was dead.
So far so good?

Now, let’s go back to the reports that were issued by the UNIIIC between 2005 and 2007 (a period during which, according to Macdonald’s sources, no telecommunications analysis was carried out by the investigating commission). What we find is a drastically different account of the work that was taking place, and not just under Detlev Mehlis (generally portrayed as an effective investigator) but also under his successor Serge Brammertz (who comes off as timid and incompetent in Macdonald’s account).

The following excerpts are taken from the first eight UNIIIC reports, which cover the tenures of Mehlis and Brammertz. Have a look and let me know what you think:

Mehlis (Syria out)

UNIIIC Report #1 (Mehlis, 22 Oct 2005)

144. Investigations by both the ISF and Military Intelligence have led to six pre-paid calling cards, which telephone records demonstrate were instrumental in the planning of the assassination. Beginning at approximately 1100 hrs on 14 February 2005, cell site records show that cellular telephones utilizing these six calling cards were located in the area stretching from the Nejmeh Square to the St. George Hotel, within a few-block radius and made numerous calls with each other and only with each other. The phones were situated so that they covered every route linking the Parliament to Kuraytem Palace: that is, cellsite records demonstrate that these telephones were placed to cover any route that Hariri would have taken that day. One of the cellphones located near the Parliament made four calls with the other telephone lines at 1253 hrs — the time that Mr. Hariri’s convoy left the Nejmeh Square . The calls — and all usage on the cards — terminated at 1253 hrs on 14 February, a few minutes before the blast. The lines have all been inactive since.

145. Further investigation has revealed that these six lines — along with two others — were put into circulation on the 4 January 2005, after calling number 1456 activated them. They were all activated at the same location in northern Lebanon between Terbol and Menyeh. Since they were first purchased in early January 2005, until the time of the explosion, the lines only had calls with each other. In that time period, until the assassination, there appears to be a correlation between their location and Hariri’s movements, suggesting that they might have been used to follow Hariri’s movements in that time period.

UNIIIC Report #2 (Mehlis, 12 Dec 2005)

65. As previously noted (see S/2005/662, para. 192), telephone analysis has been a central aspect of the present investigation. Since October 2005, the Commission has concentrated on organizing the telephone data received into manageable databases so that it can be more easily accessible for future analysis. That process has involved compiling over 400,000 records from 195 different files (based on requests for telecommunications data) into one central database. Another database contains over 97 million telecommunications records of all the calls in Lebanon between 7 and 21 February 2005. Those two databases will permit a standardized search of any relevant telephone number and its contacts in an efficient manner which will facilitate future telephone analysis projects.

73. The Commission has not had time, in the short period available since the end of October 2005, to investigate meaningfully the following issues that were raised in the previous report: … Identification, location and further contacts related to the ring of prepaid telephone cards, including eight significant telephone numbers and 10 mobile telephones, which are believed to have been used to organize surveillance of Mr. Hariri and carry out the assassination (see S/2005/662, paras. 121 and 148-152).

UNIIIC Report #4 (Brammertz, 10 June 2006)

51. Communications analysis is a major task, with the collection of up to 5 billion records by the Commission currently under way. All must be sifted, sorted, collated and analysed. This work is painstaking in its depth, with any linkage established almost exponentially generating further linkages. The Commission has devoted a project team of analysts and investigators to this task and is acquiring specialized software and hardware to accommodate the project requirements. Such traffic analysis work requires focus. Hence, the Commission is concentrating on the immediacy of the Hariri case and closely associated links with the operation and other relevant issues, and the results of this work are continuously integrated into the broader case components.

52. The traffic and intercept analysis has expanded beyond the immediate utilization of the six subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, referred to in the Commission’s previous reports, on the day of the attack. Complex linkages, associated calls and geographic locations of a broader time period are being scrutinized and added to the overall investigation findings. The communications currently under analysis also have an international dimension, although the Commission is not in a position to make final conclusions about the significance of such calls at this stage.

UNIIIC Report #5: (Brammertz, 25 Sept 2006)

39. The Commission has devoted considerable resources to the analysis and investigation of the communications traffic aspects of the case. This topic has yielded important results, and enables the Commission to establish links that otherwise would not be evident. Much of the work is reactive in nature. However, some of the analytical work is also proactive and speculative, and builds upon known facts and develops investigation themes. It has elicited a number of leads and continues to provide the Commission with better understanding of the communications linkages relevant to the crimes.

40. The links that are being established through the communications work demonstrate a complex network of telecommunications traffic between a large number of relevant individuals, sometimes through intermediary telephone numbers or locations and sometimes directly. A series of investigation leads has been developed as a result of these analyses, which the Commission regards as a priority. Much painstaking work is required to track down each individual connection or link and exempt it from the enquiries or continue with it as a working lead. Similarly, the Commission understands better the preparatory aspects of the attack through its communications analysis; this work remains ongoing in conjunction with timeline analyses, and is one of a number of areas where comparative analysis with the 14 other cases is being pursued. For example, knowledge of the activities of the six subscriber identity module (SIM) card holders who are alleged to have been part of the bombing team, both geographically and in communications terms, has become clearer and more detailed.

41. The Commission has also developed direct and indirect linkages between significant individuals in disparate groups that are relevant from an investigative perspective. Explanations for these linkages are in some cases not immediately apparent, and the Commission is working to understand their relevance to the crime itself, to those potentially linked to it and to other individuals.

42. The international dimension of the communications analysis continues to provide investigative leads, as the Commission develops its knowledge of the complexities of international call routing and receives responses to its requests from States where telephone call traffic has been traced. To date the Commission has engaged 17 States in this aspect of its work, and has received considerable assistance and responses from a number of them.

43. The relevant communications links emanating from within Lebanon or outside the country of those individuals whom the Commission wishes to interview and/or continues to investigate are being systematically reviewed, and the results are providing further investigative leads.

UNIIIC Report #6 (Brammertz, 12 Dec 2006)

43. The Commission has conducted seven interviews in connection with the alleged bombing team and their use of six telephones to communicate on the day of the attack and in the days leading up to it. These interviews have provided new leads that are currently being pursued and will lead to more interviews in the next reporting period. Analysis of the use of other associated subscriber identity module (SIM) cards is also ongoing.

44. The location of the telephones when used and the purposes for which some of the linking numbers were used have revealed the high degree of security-aware behaviour exhibited by the individuals under investigation. Some persons used multiple mobile cellular telephones during a short period of time or registered telephones using aliases. While such compartmentalization of telephone usage makes analysis more complex, it helps to provide an understanding of the modus operandi of the perpetrators.

45. During the reporting period, communications traffic analysis has continued in support of the other investigative projects. This work consists of preparation for interviews of key persons and preparing specific reports on communications between selected individuals. For the purpose of preparation of interviews, data relating to the different telephones used by the interviewee during a certain period of interest are gathered and organized into an exploitable electronic format. The analysis then focuses on the personal contacts and communications links of the interviewee, the use of intermediaries and the frequency, timing, type, duration and location of the calls, as well as international call activity.

UNIIIC Report #7 (Brammertz, 15 Mar 2007)

34. The Commission’s analysis of communications traffic continues in order to support and validate different points arising from the investigations. Much work has been done to support the interviews conducted, in order that respective communications contact with other persons of interest to the case can be discussed with witnesses. Patterns of communications traffic, including frequencies and timings of calls, and linkages and clear associations to others, are all developed and elicit investigation leads.

35. In relation to the six mobile cellular telephone SIM cards allegedly used by the team that executed the operation on the day of 14 February 2005, the Commission has developed further information of interest relating to associated earlier operations, including possible surveillance and reconnaissance activity, possible practice-runs or earlier attempts to kill Rafik Hariri, and other actions undertaken by the team. New areas of interest have emerged from this analysis and are currently being examined.

36. The Commission has also undertaken an investigative project examining the role of the persons using the six SIM cards and activities that can be inferred from their use. This exercise is supported by the Commission’s existing communications traffic analysis projects in relation to the cards. The objective is fourfold: first, to reaffirm the validity of the hypothesis that the cards could indeed have been used by the bomb team to execute its task; second, to establish whether other modes of communication must have been used between the members of the team, and also perhaps with other individuals, in order for the attack to take place; third, to allow the Commission to establish a better understanding of how the crime was committed on 14 February; and finally, to understand further what other activity the bomb team undertook, and what locations it travelled to and why, in the days leading up to the attack.
37. Such extensive analysis enables the Commission to reach a better understanding of the bomb team, its role in the crime and its other activities. This in turn creates further investigative leads geographically and temporally, and pointing to the activities of individuals outside the immediate bombing team the Commission believes were using the six SIM cards.

38. This detailed examination of the activities of the six SIM cards has resulted in a number of significant elements for ongoing investigation. These include, but are not limited to: potential identification of the role of each participant in the preparation, planning, surveillance and actual attack; the bombing team’s anticipation of Hariri’s activities and movements; and possible earlier attempts on Hariri’s life.

39. One working hypothesis is that the bomb team had to ensure that Hariri was indeed dead after the explosion in order for the video claim of responsibility to be delivered and to have resonance with its intended audience. It is possible that the team, and those commissioning the crime, could not afford to deliver a claim of responsibility to the global media if Hariri had survived the attack. Thus, the Commission is exploring the hypothesis that one member of the team, or an associate, was tasked with confirming the death of the principal target as soon as possible and may have contacted someone waiting for the news. Based on existing information, the time frame for this activity would have been within approximately 45 minutes of the explosion.

40. This in turn led to the series of events related to the taped claim of responsibility and the subsequent telephone calls made to media outlets. The Commission is examining the hypothesis that one or more members of the bomb team was responsible for delivering the tape and making the subsequent telephone calls to the media. Other variations on this hypothesis are being explored to establish the numbers of perpetrators who may have been involved on the day of the attack.

UNIIIC Report #8 (Brammertz, 12 Jul 2007)

41. The Commission has consolidated its sizeable holdings of call records, communications data and analyses related to specific time periods, institutions and individuals of relevance to the Hariri investigation. Since its inception, the Commission has acquired more than 5 billion records of telephone calls and text messages sent through cellular phones in Lebanon, as well as communications data from a number of other countries. The Commission has also acquired a very large number of detailed subscriber call records. Since 2005, the Commission has issued more than 300 requests for assistance to support its communications analysis related to the Hariri investigation.

42. The Commission’s communications analysis provides valuable input to the investigations in establishing links between individuals, analysing the behaviour and activity of a number of persons of interest to the investigations and analysing call patterns for specific numbers, times and locations. It is also a very valuable resource in preparing for witness interviews. Given the proven investigative value and potential of communications analysis, the Commission has recently sought outside expertise to help exploit its communications data holdings and analysis. The Commission has also recently acquired new hardware and software, which will allow it to conduct more comprehensive data searches.

43. On the basis of the consolidation exercise, the Commission has confirmed and advanced its earlier conclusions that individuals using six mobile cellular telephone SIM cards acted in a coordinated manner to conduct surveillance on Rafik Hariri in the weeks prior to his assassination. A detailed analysis of the use of these cards on the day of the assassination indicates that these individuals played a critical role in the planning and execution of the attack itself, as demonstrated by their movements and call patterns. The Commission has established the origins of the SIM cards and is finalizing its understanding of the circumstances around the sale of the cards and a number of handsets to the individuals who made use of them in the surveillance of Rafik Hariri. A number of interviews were held during the reporting period to advance this line of inquiry.

46. The Commission has also been focusing on establishing horizontal and vertical links between individuals linked to the crime scene and those who may have been involved in the preparation of the attack or may have had prior knowledge of the attack through the analysis of telephone communications. Several telephone numbers have been identified and scrutinized as a result of this line of inquiry.

So, what do you think?

Does this look like the work of an investigating commission that was not engaged in telecommunications analysis?

When I asked Mr. Macdonald about the discrepancies between the statements of his sources and the first Mehlis report, he insisted that all of the telecommunications work done before late 2007 was performed by the Lebanese police and not by the UN Commission. He added that the UNIIIC was “generally aware” of the work being done by the Lebanese, but that “actual telecomms analysis by the commission itself, as I reported, was not authorized until late 2007.”

As others have already noted, this simply does not add up, and the above survey of the UNIIIC reports confirms the contradictions in the CBC account. Even if we accept the testimony of Mr. Macdonald’s sources and assume for a moment that all of the discussions in the UNIIIC reports about communications analysis prior to late 2007 were just made up, how does this explain the suggestion that the discovery of the red network by the UNIIIC was “earth-shattering”?

After all, they had already discussed this network in eight different reports from 2005-2007! And the network was not just discussed under Mehlis. Brammertz devotes pages to the discussion of how the UNIIIC was trying to develop its lead vis-à-vis the red network.

But let’s also assume, just to give Mr. Macdonald’s sources the benefit of the doubt, that it was not the UNIIIC that was investigating the communications traffic, but rather the Lebanese police. How does one then explain how the UNIIIC became privy to the work that the Lebanese were doing (so as to be able to mention it in the eight reports between 2005-07), unless of course the UN was working in close cooperation with the Lebanese and not, as Mr. Macdonald’s sources suggest, in isolation from them?

I will endeavor to get a response from CBC about these questions. Stay tuned.
Update 1:

Buried in the comment section of the last post is this gem from RedLeb, who basically says exactly what I said in this post (and much more), but more succinctly. I reproduce his comment in full below:

“It is not enough for Macdonald to say that ‘Mehlis was aware of the ISF’s early telecomms work’. Macdonald’s report, especially the video, emphatically makes the claim that the commission only identified the Red team late in Brammertz’s tenure, and only after much prodding.

However, the commission’s reports are clear that the Red team was identified at the initial stages of the investigation and that signal analysis was a key technique used by the commission.
This contradiction with the documented historical record undercuts the report’s credibility. It is obviously trying to sell you something. And what I think what it is selling is the linkage between the Red team and HA.

The Red team stands out in any signal analysis. It is a closed network, located at the scene of the crime, and ceased to exist immediately after the assassination. By focusing on the slam dunk part of the Eid’s analysis, we are asked to adopt the further linkage of the Red Team to HA.

What is that linkage?

Did someone on the Yellow team call the Hospital and then someone at the Hospital call a government issued HA phone line?

How about if an Israeli agent calls someone at AUH, and then someone at AUH calls AUB? Can I then claim the Dean of AUB is an Israeli spy?

And this whole ‘mathematical genius’ spin. It just sounds like a way to cater to the Leb ego so as to distract our suspicions. Tell me Eid used some special software. Tell me he set up a database. Hell, tell me wrote a computer algorithm to do signal analysis. I will believe you. But a super-mathematical genius who could ‘intuit mathematical patterns’? No. Just… no.

I speculate that the attack on Wissam Hassan is to undermine the ISF’s work on Israeli spies and Israel’s penetration of the Lebanese telecom network. At Nahass’s conference this week, Wissam Hassan was specifically named as helping out in the investigation of Israel compromising HA phone lines. By labelling him an HA accomplice, the whole Israel angle can be explained away.
The attack on Bellemare and Brammertz are interesting. Whoever fed Macdonald his information must have felt the indictments are not going to come out, or will fail to name HA members.

Thus the report serves to indict HA in the media, regardless of the path the STL takes. The whole ‘Getting Away with Murder’ angle is that HA did it, we know they did it, but here’s why the STL won’t indict them.

Is someone nervous?

I think the only factual we get out of the whole report was from Bellemare’s press release in which he stated he is working on the draft of the indictment. So we know that’s coming sooner than later.”
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