Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14, Syria

Questions Raised about CBC Hariri Exposé

The ink has hardly dried on the CBC report about the Hariri investigation, and I’ve already heard at least two substantive critiques of it, which I thought I’d share with you.

The first comes from T_DESCO, a smart commenter at Joshua Landis’s Syria Comment blog, who has been following the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) very closely since 2005 and can recite passages from its reports in his sleep. He points out that both the fourth and fifth STL reports expressly state that they are relying upon telecommunications data in their investigation:

STL Report #4:

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. (…)

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.

STL Report #5

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.

**

The second critique comes from an eagle-eyed friend and long-time reader of this blog, Ben Ryan, who sent me this commentary (which I post with his permission).

“Great post on this “new” report – as usual, one of the best analyses/round-ups I’ve seen. I think there may be a couple things that need extra highlighting. This didn’t fit nicely into a blog comment, but if you think that’s better I can try to re-tool and comment that way:

1) From Erich Follath’s October 2005 Der Spiegel report: “Unknown men bought ten mobile telephones in December. As the Mehlis team discovered, the phones were activated in northern Lebanon on Jan. 4, 2005 and used almost daily in the weeks before the attack, frequently in places where Hariri also happened to be located. […] According to the UN team’s investigation, six of the mobile phones logged in at Beirut’s Place de l’Etoile and along the motorcade route on February 14… At 12:53 p.m., a member of the assassination team made four calls, apparently reporting that Hariri was leaving the café. The bomb was detonated minutes later, and the mobile phones were never used again. The analysis of the mobile phone records, one of Mehlis’ most important pieces of evidence, led to a group of five high-ranking intelligence officials the UN investigator believes made up the core of the conspiracy group.”

  • Phone records of the “red” team are reported about in detail. Ten of them, six at the site on the February 14, 2005, all activated 1/4/2005.

2)  Le Figaro, August 21, 2006 (trans from French): “Everything starts with the identification by the Internal Security Forces (ISF) of a group of mobile phones, which has been used before and just after the crime. […] But one of them has committed a mistake by calling a friend, who was not part of the network of accomplices. Through phone records, police have recorded the number of this friend, then interrogated him. He gave them the name of his correspondent. The individual has since been found. … According to a source close to Saad Hariri, he is a Lebanese, operating in the movement Hezbollah and its intelligence services.”

  • Phone records of the “red” team and a reference to Ghamloush and his girlfriend. “A dozen” phones “at most”

3) Der Spiegel, May 23, 2009: “Captain Eid’s team eventually identified eight mobile phones, all of which had been purchased on the same day in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. They were activated six weeks before the assassination, and they were used exclusively for communication among their users and — with the exception of one case — were no longer used after the attack. … But there was also a “second circle of hell,” a network of about 20 mobile phones that were identified as being in proximity to the first eight phones noticeably often. … sometimes located near the site of the attack. The romantic attachment of one of the terrorists led the cyber-detectives directly to one of the main suspects. He committed the unbelievable indiscretion of calling his girlfriend from one of the “hot” phones. It only happened once, but it was enough to identify the man. He is believed to be Abd al-Majid Ghamlush…”

  • Eight “red” team phones, 20 “blue” team phones reported, sounds like the same time for activation reported before, and now the details on Ghamloush.

4) CBC, November 19, 2010: “UN commission in Lebanon did no telecom analysis at all for most of its first three years of existence. At that point, in October of 2007, things began moving fast… in December, a specialist from FTS began examining what the computer was spitting out. … He had identified a small network of mobile phones, eight in all, that had been shadowing Hariri in the weeks prior to his death. … when the investigators began their due diligence, double-checking their work, there was another revelation, this one even more earth-shattering. Someone digging though the commission’s records turned up a report from a mid-ranking Lebanese policeman that had been sent over to the UN offices nearly a year and a half earlier, in the first months of 2006. …”

This tracks with the previous stories and appears to explain why all this is finally coming out now, and possibly why leaks of it surfaced back in 2006. But it doesn’t explain the 2005 report, and it doesn’t explain why the 2006 report claimed that the Brammertz investigation was handling the phone records.

Daniel Bellemare's personal coat of arms. The motto reads, in Latin: "To devote one's life to the truth". Source: The Public Register of Arms, Flags, and Badges of Canada. Click to enlarge.

These points are important because 1) the phone records were on the radar as of October 2005, and rather than getting shoved in some drawer and forgotten they were being reported on in the international media. And 2) they were reportedly a key part of the Brammertz-era investigation too, if Le Figaro is accurate (and again, they were being reported in the international media so were hardly gathering dust in a filing cabinet somewhere). The timeline for these records as laid out in the CBC report just doesn’t make sense. Also, I find it very convenient that so much of the plot in this story is being driven by one super-human mathematical genius dead man who can neither confirm nor deny any of it.

What’s more, someone at the UN seems to rediscover these phone records and leak them to the international press every time the suspect du jour needs a public relations wupping. They got buried in the scandal of the 2005 UN report actually (accidentally..) naming names and pointing at Syria, but the timing of the 2006 report, right after the “Divine Victory,” and the 2009 report right before the elections, and now this one as things appear to be ratcheting towards a confrontation, both target Hezbollah. I’ve seen no attempt at an explanation of how these magical phone records could point to the Syrians in October 2005 and then Hezbollah in 2006, 2009, and 2010.

Basically, I smell a rat. Maybe these are real and maybe they say exactly what MacDonald says they do. But this story is being peddled, not investigated. An investigative reporter capable of discovering all this would also be capable of the 15 minutes of Googling and Google Translating that I did to compile these discrepancies, and either explain them in the new report or at least start asking these questions.

**

I think  that both of these commentaries deserve a response from CBC. Anyone have a connection to Neil Macdonald? Actually, come to think of it, I do. I’ll try to get him to comment on this.

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Discussion

48 thoughts on “Questions Raised about CBC Hariri Exposé

  1. Ben’s last point about peddling is spot on. Another thing to remember is the contradiction in strategy and leaks that have come out of the Mehlis, Brammertz, & Bellemare investigations. Even if the final report is 100% accurate, discrediting it will be too easy for any of the parties involved.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | November 23, 2010, 9:33 am
  2. Don’t forget that in Mehlis’s report, the phones lines were linked with the Al Ahbash group.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 23, 2010, 9:36 am
  3. Send BV round with his “Hammer of Conspiracy”. That will soon sort both of them out…:)

    Forget Macdonald, you need to get your contact tracking down this nefarious lothario Abd al-Majid Ghamlush!

    Posted by usedtopost | November 23, 2010, 9:37 am
  4. As it turns out, Neil Macdonald is Norm’s brother. No joke.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 23, 2010, 9:43 am
  5. From Naharnet 27 oct 2005

    State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza has formally charged two brothers of a pro-Syrian Sunni Muslim fundamentalist faction called Al Ahbash with involvement in Rafik Hariri’s assassination, upping to 10 the total of Lebanese detained in connection with the murder of Lebanon’s 5-time prime minister.

    The move against the pair, Ahmad and Mahmoud Abdel-Al, followed their classification by German Prosecutor Detlev Mehlis as key elements in Hariri’s Feb. 14 killing. Mirza bound them over to examining magistrate Elias Eid, who is in charge of the Lebanese version of the investigation into Hariri’s death.

    Mahmoud Abdel-Al was detained in Beirut Saturday on the recommendation of the U.N. investigators, who said he made “interesting” telephone calls from the scene of Hariri’s death, including one to President Lahoud’s mobile phone just three minutes before the murderous one-ton bomb went off.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 23, 2010, 9:46 am
  6. QN, sorry for maybe being thick. What is the jist of the first criticism by T_Desco?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 23, 2010, 9:47 am
  7. Does anybody else find it odd that in the over 30 minutes of video reporting, and in the written report by the CBC, there are no Arabs at all, with the exception of Wissam Eid’s family (whose brothers are speaking French) being interviewed? I’m not suggesting a conspiracy theory or anything, but it seems like a bunch of sensationalism from a news station that in the past 5-10 years has lost its best people to Al-Jazeera and has substituted actual investigative journalism for fantasy – building a tale around the tragic life of a heroic protagonist whose duty was to protect Lebanon with Excel spreadsheets …

    How is it that Scott Carpenter ends up being the expert on Lebanon-Hizballah-Syria relations in this report????

    Posted by w_led | November 23, 2010, 9:47 am
  8. I knew 3ammo Norman had good genes. I knew it!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 23, 2010, 9:48 am
  9. QN, all, before you jump on me on #8, I AM KIDDING! REALLY!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 23, 2010, 9:49 am
  10. HP
    The gist of T_desco’s post is that contrary to Macdonald’s claim that the STL was not bothering with telecoms data during Brammertz’s time, there are two STL reports that speak directly to the point that they were using this material.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 23, 2010, 9:56 am
  11. From Mehlis’s First report:

    Use of Prepaid Telephone Cards

    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.

    146. The Commission, in conjunction with the Lebanese authorities, continued the investigation of the origin of these telephone lines. The six pre-paid cards originated, along with four others, from the Powergroup Company, Beirut, a store owned by a
    reportedly active member of Al-Ahbash with close ties to Sheikh Ahmad Abdel-Al. According to company records, the lines were delivered to the store’s Tripoli branch. One of the employees of that Tripoli store reported that on the 30 December 2004, he
    received a telephone call from Raed Fakhreddin, the owner of another cell shop in Tripoli and the nephew of Tarek Ismat Fakhreddin, a prominent businessman and consultant to
    former Lebanese prime minister Omar Karame. Raed Fakhreddin reportedly urgently wanted to buy 10 prepaid cards; the Tripoli store employee noted that the inquiry itself was unusual as Raed Fakhreddin did not customarily buy lines from the Tripoli store nor
    38 typically have commercial dealings with the Tripoli store other than mobile handset purchases. However, the ten calling cards bearing these particular lines were located, and Raed Fakhreddin sent a messenger to pick up the calling cards bearing these lines from the Tripoli store. That messenger reported to the Commission that he paid $700 USD in cash at the Tripoli store to purchase these ten lines and deliver them to Raed Fakhreddin.
    The forms legally required for purchasing cellular lines were not filled out that day, however, but rather over two weeks after the lines had been sold, on 12 January 2005. The supporting identification required for the purchase, which was provided by Raed Fakhreddin, proved to be false. On 14 September 2005, the ISF arrested Raed Fakhreddin, along with others involved in the transfer and sale of these calling cards. Raed Fakhreddin was subsequently interviewed as a suspect by the Commission. In that
    interview, while he admitted that he purchased the lines, he denied any knowledge of the use of six of the lines in connection with the Hariri assassination.

    147. Of the ten mobile phones used in connection with these ten cellular telephone cards, five have been traced to a store in Tripoli.

    Conclusion:

    The investigation of the prepaid telephone cards is one of the most important leads in this investigation in terms of who was actually on the ground executing the assassination. This is a line of investigation that needs to be pursued thoroughly.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 23, 2010, 10:01 am
  12. Excellent follow-up, T-DESCO, Ben, and QN. I think it is pretty obvious from the content of the online version of the CBC report (less clear in the video version) that the primary source(s) were 1-2 individuals within the investigation who were unhappy with the leadership of the investigation, up to and including Bellemare (hence the jibes about his shopping habits, etc). If they joined the team relatively recently, that would also help to explain the distortions in the timeline.

    None of which, of course, means that the additional SIGINT information is any less interesting, especially the key role that colocation analysis played in making some of the connections (as opposed to the more prosaic use of a “work” phone to make a “personal” call).

    Posted by Rex Brynen | November 23, 2010, 10:28 am
  13. I’ve brought up the leaks before as an indication that the STL is a farce, and Ben Ryan’s critique hits the nail on the head. It’s pretty clearly being used as a political tool rather than any serious investigative effort, and matching up the ‘leaks’ with significant political events solidifies the argument.

    I did get a kick out of the “super-human mathematical genius” line. That’s just so uniquely Lebanese!!

    Posted by Mehdi2 | November 23, 2010, 10:42 am
  14. Al-Akhbar today cites a piece by Yossi Melman in Haaretz (which I cannot find on their English-language cite) the gist of which is this: The UN doesn’t have the equipment or expertise to do this kind of analysis, leading to the inevitable conclusion that in this they had the help of Western and/or Israeli intelligence agencies (nowhere mentioned in this CBC report, which instead relies on the superhuman abilities of the late Wissam Eid). Melman (according to this summary) says the same thing happened in the pre-2003 Saddam weapons search.

    Possibly this additional hole in Norm’s brother’s (!?) story ties in with some of QN mentions above…

    Posted by John | November 23, 2010, 10:42 am
  15. Also, what does the inclusion of Al-Hasan in this report do to the Hariri camp? Assuming Hariri can ignore it until any indictments, it would be interesting to note what happens if he is included in the accused. Does Hariri dump a man who must know an outhouse-load on the family or does he join forces with HA in caling the STL discredited?

    And how believable is this accusation that he has always been a suspect when the UNIIC has used him so intensively (esp. as translator!!)?

    And going into the fabled land of conspiracy, if he has “suddenly” become a suspect, why?

    Posted by usedtopost | November 23, 2010, 10:50 am
  16. Mehdi2
    What if the leaks are by HA mole? Would that be the modus operandi of Syrian/HA/Iranian axis? Muddle up everything and blame on the others?

    CBC report just confirmed what was reported till now by the commission. Now if the facts and the evidence still point to the guilt of HA/Syrian regime; I am so certain that you still will announce that this is a conspiracy against the divine soldiers of God

    Posted by danny | November 23, 2010, 10:59 am
  17. John,
    Actually the report does mention this and says British company FTS was brought in to do the comms analysis. In fact, FTS did not believe the story of Eid saying that what he claimed to have done would be impossible. This doesnt however break the Western intelligence help claim as my research has confirmed that FTS were started at the behest of and have very close links with UK law enforcement agencies so more than likely that they are an operational front.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 23, 2010, 11:08 am
  18. Considering how Jamil Al Sayed publicly pointed the finger at Saad Hariri’s entourage for his father’s assassination and was accused by Sakr being behind the Der Spiegel leak … it would not surprise me if he was the “behind the scene facilitator” of this report.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 23, 2010, 11:15 am
  19. Danny – if the leaks are by a HA mole, that would be quite a stroke of genius. No doubt these leaks help them immensely. Having said that – as Angry Arab points out, Neil Macdonald has a history of speaking (and sympathizing) with M14 sources:

    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/09/20/f-rfa-macdonald.html

    Clearly, whatever source he has is someone directly involved in the investigation (as seen by his access to the actual phone numbers in question).

    Finally, you assume too much of me if you think I would ignore real facts and evidence that point to HA/Syrian culpability. The problem is, I haven’t seen a shred of real evidence that proves their guilt yet – and I’m unwilling to throw accusations in either direction without seeing proof of their involvement. Up until now, the STL has been a joke, and mismanaged to the point that it has lost all credibility. Don’t let your desire to see any one side implicated shroud your ability to look at the facts as they are being presented.

    Posted by Mehdi2 | November 23, 2010, 11:21 am
  20. This might seem like a dumb question:

    Are the Abdel Al’s still in jail?

    If so, I assume there is enough evidence to keep them locked up, right?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 23, 2010, 11:25 am
  21. If WAH and HA are indicted – how will any of them be arrested???

    Is this why STL is so keen on their trial in absentia procedures?

    Posted by Umm iDriss | November 23, 2010, 11:30 am
  22. utp @ 18: Duly noted. However, Melman seems to be skeptical *both* of the claim that W Eid *and* the British firm would have been able to do what is claimed for them, hence his supposition about help from actual Western/Israeli intelligence agencies. Funny I can’t find his piece on the Haaretz English language site…

    Posted by John | November 23, 2010, 12:03 pm
  23. John,
    The report claims they use a program called IBase which its makers claim is a investigative analysis tool. It is in fact a database application that does fuzzy matching and attempts to identify patterns and connections in data fed to it.

    However, saying that, even the report categorically states that FTS only identified the 8 shadowing phones. It was Eid who then used excel to make all the connections – Almost convenient that he’s dead.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 23, 2010, 12:17 pm
  24. Sorry, failed to make it clear the last sentence was sarcasm….

    Posted by usedtopost | November 23, 2010, 12:18 pm
  25. How would Wissam al Hassan hated by Hezbollah and indicted by Syria on the “false witness’ case can possibly be an accomplice to the alleged Hezbllah murder team? Except if the alleged ‘Hezbollah’ squad is actually another squad (Israel of Al Qaeda) . Let’s not forget that in the past few months many Israeli spies were apprehended ( including a ‘long-trusted’ member of Aoun’s security team). Also there has been “International Condemnation of Israel’s Violation of Lebanon’s Telecommunications Sector: The conference in Mexico condemned on Friday Israel’s violation of Lebanon’s telecommunications sector, saying that the sector has and is still being subject to Israeli interference, reported As Safir on Saturday.
    It said that Lebanon’s “mobile phone and land lines are being subject to Israeli piracy, interference, and obstruction.””

    By exposing the errands and mismanagement of the UN team, Mc Donald is maybe trying to remove the high level protection Wissam Hassan had and still has in order to investigate him thoroughly and maybe discover another trail.
    Mc Donald is not liked by Israel who has repeatedly criticized him for is bias towards the Palestinians.

    http://www.aish.com/jw/mo/48948701.html

    (It’s time for Neil Macdonald to go.)

    Hariri’s reaction in Lebanon today was predictable : he dismissed the report and reaffirm his trust of Wissam Al Hassan.

    Mc Donald is a serious journalist with a political agenda: I believe his report was written to corner the UN investigative team into following other trails ( the Israeli one in particular that was requested by Nasrallah). The timing is also crucial. The TSL will receive bad press if the case of Wissam Al Hasan is skipped. Hariri has a tough choice to make: Either Hezbollah AND his security chief are indicted, or none!

    Posted by why-discuss | November 23, 2010, 12:24 pm
  26. John: Melman is flat wrong is he suggests that the UN couldn’t acquire the sort of expertise to do this network analysis—a quick Google search will easily find you a dozen companies that market either the kinds of software one would use, or the sort of SIGINT experience that would be helpful. It’s big business.

    That being said, Western intelligence agencies would be rather derelict in their duty if they didn’t offer tips, pointers, and otherwise try to support the investigation, especially one acting under a UNSC mandate. I’m not sure what your point is.

    Posted by Rex Brynen | November 23, 2010, 12:43 pm
  27. What’s driving me nuts in all of this regarding WAH is that a while ago Jamil Sayyed accused him of not being in the convy the day Hariri was killed and claiming he called him that day and he was not in an exam. WAH responded by posting his call logs that day. Basically, it’s the same thing that the UN report shown on CBC is talking about. He lied to UN about his phone being off because he was studying but yet he was making phone calls all day.

    Video of Jamil Sayyed accusing WAH:

    WAH Response:

    http://www.nna-leb.gov.lb/archive/25-09-2010/JOU59.html

    Call Logs Chart:

    http://www.bintjbeil.org/index.php?show=news&action=article&id=33688

    I think the report has a point to raise questions about WAH behavior that day and his alibi to the UN.

    Posted by Wael | November 23, 2010, 1:06 pm
  28. Wael,

    Who says that this information is true?

    The STL has asked the CBC to submit its information on all these subjects.

    They have never been mentioned in any official report.

    They are probably fabricated.

    Why?

    So that tensions in Lebanon (and according to Bashar Al Assad the whole region) could ignite into a catastrophic war.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 23, 2010, 1:37 pm
  29. PiD,

    How do you know any documents were “fabricated”. The information could have come from Shehadeh who was “re-located” to Quebec after the assassination attempt against him.
    Also, STL has not asked any information from CBC. Rather; they have officially requested that all those documents to be returned to UN.

    Posted by danny | November 23, 2010, 2:11 pm
  30. danny,

    if this information was uncovered by the investigators … don’t you think they would have been kind enough to inform the Hariri family about a key culprit being in their midst running internal security in Lebanon ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 23, 2010, 2:24 pm
  31. About Jamil al-Sayed as a possible source, he’s definitely been trying to cast suspicion on WH <a href="http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/Lebanon/8E94BAF8F42AB253C22577A70019331A?OpenDocument"before.

    I also find it interesting that all these phone record theories seem to lean towards the premise that HA did it on their own, with little or no mention of Syria.

    If for a moment we accept the claim that a HA team was operationally responsible, isn’t it unlikely that they would (or could) pull such a thing off w/o coordinating with Syrian Mil Int? It’s not just that killing Hariri risked compromising their own standing in Lebanon, it also put Syria’s interests in danger (QED!). And the supposed motive for HA to act (SCR 1559) resulted almost entirely from Syria’s relations to Hariri and the West, so they were really in the same corner.

    For HA to then go blow up the status quo w/o prior coordination w Syria seems just bizarre. Remember, this was at a time when there were something like 20,000 SAR troops in the country and no real effort to get them out, plus, Bashar & co were on a hair trigger due to the regional situation. I can’t imagine that HA would suddenly go it alone in that environment. It seems not only wildly out of character, but also extremely risky in so many ways.

    And, if HA planned it, it’s even harder to imagine Iran didn’t know and approve. But presumably Teheran would also want to bring in the Syrians, since they depend on each other massively in Lebanon.

    I’m not saying this to lump together an “axis of evil”, but to point out that you can’t just say HA did it as if that was the end of the story.

    IF they did it, it would almost automatically involve other actors, most likely including Iran, Syria and Syria’s local tools (Sayed etc). Yet, and here’s the interesting part, neither Damascus nor Iran play much of a role in the “leaked” narratives. It’s all about HA.

    Tell me if I’m wrong — but when trying to figure out the motivation of the sources, that seems significant. Especially since the CBC report now starts shifting blame into the Hariri camp itself, possibly even setting up Wissam al-Hassan for the role of the “rogue faction” of M14. (How long before someone leaks an alleged WH-Israel link?)

    Posted by aron | November 23, 2010, 2:32 pm
  32. PiD,

    No. Why would they? They had him as a person of interest according to the report. Rather they would have made sure no sensitive information was filtered through WAH. Also, They had suspicions…They do not work for Hariri.

    Posted by danny | November 23, 2010, 2:40 pm
  33. Hariri was killed, with the help of Hezbollah operatives because in his understanding the state of israel was an established fact and that Syria would have to comply with it’s own ground realities of being pre-dominantly Sunni.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 23, 2010, 2:48 pm
  34. why-Discuss @27: “How would Wissam al Hassan hated by Hezbollah and indicted by Syria on the ‘false witness’ case can possibly be an accomplice to the alleged Hezbollah murder team?”

    Easy, perfect cover to maintain a HA and Syria mole.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 23, 2010, 3:17 pm
  35. For all those who seemed to be intrested, the Yossi Melman piece can be found on the English Haaretz site:

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/tapping-into-their-telephones-1.326184

    Boring and devoid of anything new, in my opinion.
    Oh, that was the 1st time I entered the English Haaretz version….it’s awful! And the article ‘mix’ is completly different than the Hebrew one…I suggest not to use the english site as an indication of what is ‘hot’ in Israeli news.

    Posted by G | November 23, 2010, 3:22 pm
  36. HP,

    Correct. It seems that HA/Syria have had a field day in their misinformation campaigns(“False witness”es; supposed leaks…”) ala Soviet style. Flood the media with enough crap then the truth will be muddied all along the rest of falsehoods…or so they thought!

    Posted by danny | November 23, 2010, 3:34 pm
  37. G: Do you have a link to the Hebrew original of that?

    Posted by John | November 23, 2010, 4:58 pm
  38. One of the oldest “adages” in criminal science is that of motive.

    Humor me here, guys.

    The killing of Hariri and other Lebanese politicians can be interpreted to benefit a whole host of foreign and local parties, so there’s really no point arguing that. Whether it benefited Syria, HA, Israel, or the Americans. There are countless logical arguments that can be made there.

    The one that really stands out, to me, from this perspective, is the assassination of Wissam Eid.

    This is clearly NOT a political assassination. It is quite clear that Capt. Eid was assassinated because of what he found during the course of his investigations (ie the cellphone networks, etc.)

    With that in mind, it’s not much of a leap to say that the people to whom these cellphones belonged were clearly the folks responsible for Hariri’s assassination. After all, if these are just innocent civilians, who happened to be in the same area as Hariri, for no nefarious purposes, then why would they want Eid out of the picture? Why would they want to hide the fact that they were trailing Hariri?

    To me, this pretty much torpedoes the argument that Hezbollah was indeed trailing Hariri, but that it was for his own protection, or to catch some Israeli spies, or whatever other reason.
    I mean, you don’t go assassinating Capt. Eid for uncovering a network of patriots who were helping catch Israeli spies, do you?

    I know my theory here is no smoking gun. But in all the discussions I’ve read on this in the past few days, no one seems to have connected these 2 matters. Capt. Eid was no politician. His murder did not stand to advance any foreign or local party’s interests, start any wars, force Syrians to withdraw or anything like that. The ONLY explanation for his murder is that he was too close to the truth in the Hariri case! And by extension, this pretty much confirms that these networks he uncovered are indeed the assassins. The only remaining question is: Can one confirm with certainty who these cellphones belonged to? They’ve been “linked” with HA members. But how does such a “link” work. How do we know these phones were not operated by Syrian intelligence, Israeli intelligence, the CIA or whoever?

    THAT is the real question, imo.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 23, 2010, 5:22 pm
  39. Good Analysis QN…

    I wonder about the timing of this report and as well to the title “Getting Away with Murder – part 1″

    Is the goal of this report to push the UN into having more teeth in the indictment process?

    Did anyone get away with this murder yet?

    If Hezbollah is not affected by any indictment, why they are publishing today through one of their clowns, the minister of communications, that the possibility of Israel messing up the communication data.

    http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/getstory?openform&76E1DD2D396B76E8C22577E40038236B

    Why they are trying to defend themselves?

    Posted by LebanesePatriot | November 23, 2010, 11:00 pm
  40. Lebanese Patriot

    I don’t think they are not defending themselves, I think they are adding water to the mill that Mc Donald has started, that is putting more doubts in any accusation based solely on the mobile phones issue and on the shady role of Wissam Al Hassan. The TSL is now under more pressure to come out with valid proofs, outside the mobile phone trail and it seems they don’t have one. I forecast that they will again postpone the public accusation.

    Posted by why-discuss | November 24, 2010, 1:05 am
  41. Vilbel,

    Agreed. Those phones are crucial, but could have belonged to HA or Iz spies. I’d opt on the side of Iz spies simply because it is common presumption that all Lebanese telephones are tapped by at least 5 entities at all times: CIA, Mossad, France, Syria, MI6 -not to mention Lebanon. Surely Iz or US were listening in to content? With their super advanced tele-tech, wouldnt incrimnating words have been captured? Even old programs like Echelon and Promis were capable of mining for the pertinent words/clues.

    So lets say we proved the phones were HA? So what? Unless we know content, so? Same goes for HA revelation of Mossad drone surveilling Beirut waterfront on day of car bomb. Doesnt Mossad do this regularly, and havent they for years?
    Either both angles are legit or neither. Neither can be discredited just based on who is doing them. Has satellite imagery been useful in this case?

    Posted by Myla2 | November 24, 2010, 6:29 am
  42. Israel Penetrated Hizbullah Phones, Using Austrian Numbers, Report
    “Israel has reportedly penetrated Hizbullah cell phones, using Austrian numbers.
    As-Safir newspaper on Friday uncovered what it dubbed “serious chapters” on Israel’s ability to control Lebanon’s telecoms sector by creating phone numbers that coincide with each other on a single phone line without the knowledge of its owner, “thus fabricating fake calls at different locations at different times.”
    Nahar 26, 2010

    Posted by Myla2 | November 27, 2010, 1:34 am
  43. One of the oldest “adages” in criminal science is that of motive. Humor me here, guys. The killing of Hariri and other Lebanese politicians can be interpreted to benefit a whole host of foreign and local parties, so there’s really no point arguing that. Whether it benefited Syria, HA, Israel, or the Americans. There are countless logical arguments that can be made there. The one that really stands out, to me, from this perspective, is the assassination of Wissam Eid. This is clearly NOT a political assassination. It is quite clear that Capt. Eid was assassinated because of what he found during the course of his investigations (ie the cellphone networks, etc.) With that in mind, it’s not much of a leap to say that the people to whom these cellphones belonged were clearly the folks responsible for Hariri’s assassination. After all, if these are just innocent civilians, who happened to be in the same area as Hariri, for no nefarious purposes, then why would they want Eid out of the picture? Why would they want to hide the fact that they were trailing Hariri? To me, this pretty much torpedoes the argument that Hezbollah was indeed trailing Hariri, but that it was for his own protection, or to catch some Israeli spies, or whatever other reason. I mean, you don’t go assassinating Capt. Eid for uncovering a network of patriots who were helping catch Israeli spies, do you? I know my theory here is no smoking gun. But in all the discussions I’ve read on this in the past few days, no one seems to have connected these 2 matters. Capt. Eid was no politician. His murder did not stand to advance any foreign or local party’s interests, start any wars, force Syrians to withdraw or anything like that. The ONLY explanation for his murder is that he was too close to the truth in the Hariri case! And by extension, this pretty much confirms that these networks he uncovered are indeed the assassins. The only remaining question is: Can one confirm with certainty who these cellphones belonged to? They’ve been “linked” with HA members. But how does such a “link” work. How do we know these phones were not operated by Syrian intelligence, Israeli intelligence, the CIA or whoever? THAT is the real question, imo.

    Posted by Nona Mills | December 22, 2010, 3:03 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Discrepancies and Holes In the CBC Report | The Beirut Spring, a Lebanese Blog - November 23, 2010

  2. Pingback: Syria Comment » Archives » Disapearing Golan; Hariri Murder; Iran - November 23, 2010

  3. Pingback: Neil Macdonald Addresses Questions About CBC Hariri Exposé « Qifa Nabki | A Lebanese Political Blog - November 23, 2010

  4. Pingback: Hariri Tribunal Reports Tell a Different Story than CBC Account « Qifa Nabki | A Lebanese Political Blog - November 26, 2010

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