Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14

Saad al-Hariri Caught On Tape with “False Witness” Muhammad Zuhair al-Siddiq

Well this is embarrassing. Lebanese TV station al-Jadeed has a major scoop tonight: a leaked recording of a meeting between Saad al-Hariri, Information Branch chief Colonel Wissam al-Hassan, STL deputy chief investigator Gerhard Lehmann, and Muhammad Zuhair al-Siddiq. You can watch the entire report below.

It’s not entirely clear just how damaging this could be for Hariri. On the one hand, judging from a comment made by Siddiq near the beginning, this conversation must have taken place shortly after the attempted assassination of May Chidiac on September 20th, 2005. That was still very early in the investigation, well before the IIIC determined that Siddiq was unreliable (note the date of the report shown in the video: August 2006). For an excellent background document on the whole false witness scandal, see here.

Furthermore, the al-Jadeed audio clip does not portray Hariri or al-Hassan feeding Siddiq any information. Rather, it’s the other way around, and the German investigator raises doubts about the veracity of the witness’s testimony. If anything, what the clip seems to show is:

  1. Hariri and his people wanted Siddiq to provide “clear evidence” of Syrian involvement.
  2. They were convinced by what he said, and were trying to convince Lehmann that his testimony was valuable.
  3. Al-Hassan looks even more eager than Hariri to get the information out of Siddiq.

Now, despite all of this, I do believe that the clip could be seriously damaging — depending on how Hariri handles it. The opposition is going to claim that Hariri lied about not having anything to do with the false witnesses (even though this audio actually seems to confirm that he was the recipient of Siddiq’s testimony, not the originator of it.) The mere fact that he was in contact with Siddiq is enough to further poison the well of public trust in the STL.

More on this tomorrow (al-Jadeed has promised us another tape!)

UPDATE: I’ve translated selections from the recording into English, and will translate the rest later if I have time. For those who read Arabic (but are having trouble hearing everything said on the recording), see Elaph’s transcription of the discussion.

*

[1:25]

Hariri: (addressing Siddiq) Neither I nor you, nor Murad, nor Gerald, nor Andy, nor anyone in Lebanon or Syria doubts that they did it.

Siddiq: No one doubts?

Hariri: …That they did it. Now, we’re working with countries — Arab countries. If you can’t bring them clear evidence that the Syrian regime using X, Y, and Z, with evidence A, B, and C was involved [in the crime], then we have a problem.

Siddiq: … If you want to speak like this, then you need to begin to respond to them with [??] That’s the first thing, in respect to the Arab countries, apart from the foreign [i.e. non-Arab] countries.

(The tape is then cut off abruptly)

*

[2:30]

Siddiq: I take responsibility for what I’m saying, Wissam. Because there’s going to be a confrontation, and I’m going to confront people myself.

*

[2:40]

Siddiq: I don’t want to say something, for him to ask me: “When is that going to happen?”

Hariri: When are you going to bring 1, 2, 3?

Siddiq: Those who are carrying out the explosions in Lebanon: I get them.I get them all. That’s my job. That’s what I do. I’m the one who gets them.

*

[2:57]

Siddiq: The telephone call in which I told you that they would send 20 people. The telephone call in which I told you that the explosions would begin. Didn’t it happen? You’re seeing it. I called you the night before last, do you remember? Did you see the call?

(pause)

Siddiq: I called you the night before last.

Hariri: Mmm.

Siddiq: You didn’t answer. I called a second time and you didn’t answer. I said maybe he went to sleep and he’ll call me in the morning. [I was calling] to tell you that there was a bomb going to the LBC. It ended up being for May [Chidiac]. May was lost.

(Note that Siddiq did not actually communicate this to Hariri prior to the bombing. He’s claiming to have had advance knowledge but he didn’t actually warn Hariri ahead of time, because he allegedly couldn’t reach him on the phone.)

Hariri: Usually, when you want to speak to me you send me an SMS.

Siddiq: At a time of urgency?! An SMS?! …

(Discussion of Nabih Berri’s visit to Spain and then Syria to meet with Bashar al-Assad and Hassan Nasrallah)

*

[4:27]

Siddiq: Go confirm this information.

Hassan: Zuhair, let’s go back to the scene of the crime.

Siddiq: The scene of the crime, ya habibi, I’m going to tell you about it. What I want to tell you is this: if the report is going to come out without any confusion whatsoever, it needs to have the names of nine people: four Lebanese and nine Syrians. That’s what the report should say. Nine Syrians and four Lebanese.

*

[4:51]

Siddiq: Tell him [i.e. Lehmann] something for me. Tell him that Zuhair will not let you become a spectacle [nazra?] in front of the world, no. Tell him that I have the truth and that all of it will come out, God permitting…

*

(Discussion of where Siddiq’s wife would stay when he came to Lebanon. My friend Alex pointed out that this conversation reveals that the meeting between Siddiq and Hariri did not take place in Lebanon. Where did it take place? If someone can dig up an old press report that mentions which country Hariri was in shortly after May Chidiac was killed, then we can guess where this meeting happened.)

To be continued…

UPDATE: Here is Part Two.

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Discussion

96 thoughts on “Saad al-Hariri Caught On Tape with “False Witness” Muhammad Zuhair al-Siddiq

  1. al manar is already running with this story calling it a “fadeeha”

    Posted by tamer k. | January 15, 2011, 5:32 pm
  2. It is easy to guess, after watching this tape, why Hariri wanted to burry the issue of “false witnesses”. It was believed that Hariri’s aids were involved with the witness’s fabrication, and He was trying to protect them, but not so much Hariri himself meeting and discussing evidence with people who had a very bad record.
    Here you have the son of Rafik Hariri, meeting with a low life in order to fabricate some evidence to implicate some Syrian and Lebanese in his father’s assassination. Rafik Hariri must be rolling in his grave now.
    The most striking observation about this tape is the political immaturity of Hariri himself, whereby, He allows himself to meet with a witness, be it false or real.
    Not only He was not in command of that meeting with a low life liar, but He was being instructed, and almost ordered with little respect by Siddiq.
    This is the first time the public gets a glimpse of Hariri true, innocent, and immature personality. After watching/listening the tape, I kind of felt sorry for him.
    My impression of Al-Hassan was that he was more of a street smart than, intelligent. His claim of being just an interpreter is laughable, because He hardly had any command of the English language. His job was to convince investigators of Siddiq’s story, knowing that the guy has a credibility issue. How smart is that?
    I Just wonder if this meeting was being taped with knowledge of Al-Hassan ( Being Hariri’s security man),If this is the case, I t makes you wonder, why? Is is stupidity? Or designed to black mail Hariri?

    Posted by prophett | January 15, 2011, 5:55 pm
  3. @ tamer

    Maybe because it is? Dear god, did you even watch the video? There’s a reason this is a big story, and that’s because it is a “fadeeha”.

    Posted by Shizzle | January 15, 2011, 5:59 pm
  4. @shizzle only 4 minutes in… the internet in lebanon is a fadeeha.

    Posted by tamer k. | January 15, 2011, 6:05 pm
  5. Of course, while it will affect the debate over the STL and the “false witness” issue in Lebanon, and Hariri’s own political position, it actually says absolutely zero as to the quality of the actual indictments that might emerge from the STL. ;)

    Posted by Rex Brynen | January 15, 2011, 6:13 pm
  6. The video shows that Hariri was duped by Siddiq. Nowhere does it show that he was pushing Siddiq to fabricate evidence. He actually seemed skeptical.Wisam Al-Hasan has a lot to answer for though. I would not be surprised if he is indicted.
    Siddiq was a plant to mislead the investigation and the UN investigation has disregarded his testimony.

    Posted by TOGuy | January 15, 2011, 6:13 pm
  7. I’m not impressed. This isn’t a big deal. It sounds like the information flow was going from Siddiq to the other men. I think he’s been vetted since and discredited. The only thing that is somewhat scandalous in this is Hariri’s political naivete in having a recorded meeting with a witness. However, remember that 4 long years have passed since this meeting.

    Posted by Firas | January 15, 2011, 6:16 pm
  8. If this is not a big deal, why didn’t Mr. Hariri offer this recording himself to explain how he himself was duped by this witness. Surely, this would have been the right thing to have done when the false witness story broke out.

    Posted by EHSANI2 | January 15, 2011, 6:23 pm
  9. Ehsani

    Hariri obviously gave it to the STL, as the Jadeed crew say. As for why he didn’t offer it himself to the Lebanese public, that’s a good question. I’ve watched it 10 times now, and the more I watch it, the more skeptical Hariri himself seems of Siddiq’s credibility. In the meeting before Siddiq comes in, they are even wondering whether the guy is a Syrian intelligence officer, and Wisam al-Hassan has to convince Hariri that “al-mudir” (i.e. the chief Syrian intelligence officer?) knew Siddiq.

    But all of these subtleties are going to get lost in the “fdee7a” :)

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 15, 2011, 6:30 pm
  10. @EHSANI2 like I said, the political naiveté is the only thing nearly scandalous about this.

    Like someone said above there is nothing about this video that sheds light on the quality of the upcoming indictment.

    Posted by Firas | January 15, 2011, 6:33 pm
  11. But, this is my point. If the “subtleties” are indeed in his favor, he should have offered the video to the public himself. The fact that he had not either points to the fear of different subtleties or may be a little worse. Most critically, is/was he aware of the recorder in the room?

    Posted by EHSANI2 | January 15, 2011, 6:37 pm
  12. Firas,

    If this meeting a preview and/or an accurate description of how the STL’s other witness sessions have gone, I think the credibility of the whole process will be questioned.

    Posted by EHSANI2 | January 15, 2011, 6:39 pm
  13. No actually it cannot even be called any deal whatsoever. Why should Hariri produce a tape that he may not even have or may have no relevance? Let’s hear Karma Khayat defend her motivations for producing such an entertaining piece of news on the eve of presenting the indictment,

    http://www.aljadeed.tv/wsg/newsvideo.aspx?ln=4919&&lc=3

    Also it looks like Ahmedi Nejjad is more worried about the Haaretz leak than anything else. He’s scrambling to end the Lebanese crisis speedily calling upon Erdogan to do something. Believe or not, He even called King Abdullah in NY just to check on his health almost a month after he recovered. Bashar is also reported to have expressed to Sarkozy a feeling of anger about Hariri (Jr.) the like of which he did not express since he last met with Harriri (Sr.) prior to his murder.

    Obviously this is a production of HA Hollywood department. The question is, if HA had this piece of bull why did they not produce it long ago?

    Posted by anonymous | January 15, 2011, 6:41 pm
  14. I’ll withhold judgement until I read the indictment myself.

    Posted by Firas | January 15, 2011, 6:42 pm
  15. What’s the big deal here beyond how and who is behind making and leaking the tape?

    Was the meeting room bugged? By the Syrians … or Hizballah?

    Hariri didn’t bother to answer Siddiq’s calls which goes to show how much he thought of him prior to that meeting.

    Siddiq promised to “deliver” the henchmen behind the bombings in 7 days.

    Where is the crime?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 15, 2011, 6:44 pm
  16. anonymous,

    It is not HA’s that needs to explain this tape. It is Mr. Hariri and I were him, I would have already offered an explanation. Did he know it existed? Did he sanction a recorder in the room? If so, who gave to the TV station and why now? Only Mr. Hariri can answer these questions and the many more that will be asked tonight. As for the actual STL, let us finally have it out…please.

    Posted by EHSANI2 | January 15, 2011, 6:47 pm
  17. “Hariri didn’t bother to answer Siddiq’s calls which goes to show how much he thought of him prior to that meeting.”

    how did he get hariri’s phnoe number? why did he have access to hariri?

    Posted by tamer k. | January 15, 2011, 6:50 pm
  18. Siddiq is still key to this whole investigation or else he would have been left to the wolves.

    It certainly wasn’t Hariri that fabricated him.

    There is a reason why Siddiq remains protected to this day. And it has to do with either some truth … or who and why he was planted as a false witness that obviously is key to the investigation

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 15, 2011, 6:57 pm
  19. EHSANI2,

    Hariri does not have to explain anything. Only paranoid criminals and their backers need to do the explaining. It is time for accountability from Dahiyeh to Damascus and all the way to Qom and Tehran.

    Obviously you’re not Hariri and you seem to be quite paranoid for nothing. So why should he?

    Posted by anonymous | January 15, 2011, 7:03 pm
  20. PID 18,

    You may have some merits in your comment. We cannot be sure, however, until the evidence is made public.

    He (Siddiq) seems to be like those ordinary typical Syrian ‘fahlawis’ (you know the kind that would like to appear to outsmart their audience). His reference, however, to his prediction of May Chidiac bombing is interesting, as well as to the Ahbash connection to Abu Adas and the killing of Ramzi ‘Irani.

    It is well known that the Ahbash are a Syrian tool.

    Posted by anonymous | January 15, 2011, 7:12 pm
  21. It wouldn’t be surprising if the supposed false witnesses actually turn out to be the Achilles heel of the perpetrators.

    Why else attack them … or protect them?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 15, 2011, 7:13 pm
  22. Has any one noted Siddiq’s admitting to the knowledge of the bomb which targeted May Shidiak at a last a day before? How would He have such information,unless He is part of the killing machine.
    He goes further to promise Hariri to bring in all of those behind the bombs,in the presence of Information Branch chief Colonel Wissam al-Hassan, STL deputy chief investigator Gerhard Lehmann. Shouldn’t He been questioned under oath as to exactly what He knew,instead of being negotiated with?Al -Hassan has a lot to answer.
    Any lawyers around to give us a legal opinion on this ?

    .

    Posted by prophett | January 15, 2011, 7:19 pm
  23. “Has any one noted Siddiq’s admitting to the knowledge of the bomb which targeted May Shidiak at a last a day before? How would He have such information,unless He is part of the killing machine.

    Interesting observation which I made already. I wasn’t expecting it to come from Prophett.

    We know Siddiq is a Syrian intel. Hmm… are we getting closer to identifying the killing machine? Where is Husam Taher Husam by the way? Where is Ghazi Kanaan? Where is Ali Kanaan? Where is Imad Mughniyeh?

    Posted by anonymous | January 15, 2011, 7:25 pm
  24. Paranoids and criminals seem to go hand in hand here. I am glad that I only won the title of paranoid so far.

    Posted by EHSANI2 | January 15, 2011, 7:29 pm
  25. The May Chidiac issue is circumstantial. It’s what he “claims” he called Hariri about. It probably was what got Hariri to momentarily believe he was credible.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 15, 2011, 7:30 pm
  26. Although 38 year old Western educated, mobile compliant Saad states Siddiq could have “texted” him about it :)

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 15, 2011, 7:36 pm
  27. anon,
    Why didn’t you expect it from a prophet?
    I may have been typing or on the phone when you posted.
    I’m after the truth more then you, but I want solid evidence , like this to make judgment, but rumors and speculations.
    If the evidence leads to Syria, or anywhere else, be it.I’m not defending any one ,nor accusing anyone without solid evidence.
    This tape is an eye opener.
    Again, Al Hassan has many questions to answer.

    Posted by prophett | January 15, 2011, 7:39 pm
  28. but not rumors and speculations

    Posted by prophett | January 15, 2011, 7:40 pm
  29. This confirms wissam el hassan is hezb’s guy.

    Posted by jack | January 15, 2011, 7:44 pm
  30. anon, Hariri has a lot to answer,and has lots of questions to ask of his body guard,Al-Hassan.

    Posted by prophett | January 15, 2011, 7:45 pm
  31. How did you come up with this conclusion,jack?

    Posted by prophett | January 15, 2011, 7:49 pm
  32. First, Qifa Nabki your account of the tape is not accurate at all. The dumb Saad Hariri was skeptical?! Contrary to what you said (even after watching the video 10 times), Wissam Hassan was feeding Siddiq what to say in the report.

    Second, Rex Brynen will never stop to be a fan of the Hariri clan ever since he shamefully became a cheerleader for Fouad Sanyoura during the destruction of the Palestinian refugees camp at Nahr Al-Barid in 2008. He talks about the STL and “the quality of the indictment”! The joke of the week. Tell your Canadian counterpart Daniel Bellemare that he made enough money being the clown of the STL and better to go back to Canada fetch something instead of trying to convince himself that he is that bright. The sky is blue and the sun is shining.

    Posted by NR | January 15, 2011, 7:50 pm
  33. You’ve got to love this:
    Egyptian activists opposed to President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade regime danced outside the Tunisian Embassy in Cairo as the news broke on Friday, chanting “Ben Ali, tell Mubarak a plane is waiting for him too!”
    THAT CHANT WOULD APPLY TO ALL ARAB LEADERS. i bet they all have few suit cases ready, in case they were rushed to take a permanent vacation.
    Sorry QN, different subject. I could not resist.

    Posted by prophett | January 15, 2011, 8:01 pm
  34. If Syrians/HA were so sure that this short and most likely edited “film” was to their advantage why scream out “fadeeha”?
    NR; chill brother only guilty people freak out on evidence that is supposedly supporting their version of events!
    I have a feeling we will see a whole lot of credible evidence implicating the Hizb as well as Syria. BTW; knowing that Muggsy was(IS) a hero of the HA/Iran/Syria why has the SYN not asked about the progress of the Syrian investigation of the Muggs hit?

    Myself I am glad that the moments are closing in whereas we will see justice administered in Lebanon!

    Posted by danny | January 15, 2011, 8:14 pm
  35. How do we know that Hariri, Siddiq and Hassan did not meet before this meeting and fabricated the plan and to show that Hariri did not have anything to do with it when they met with somebody from the investigation ,

    How can be possible that Hariri took Siddiq to meet the investigation man without talking to him first ,

    He had to have known about what Siddiq was planing to say before the meeting and recorded it for cover at the right time ,

    Posted by Norman | January 15, 2011, 8:17 pm
  36. As we read in the Holy Quran:
    ‏وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ
    (صدق الله العظيم)
    (Al-Anfal, 30)

    Posted by NR | January 15, 2011, 8:24 pm
  37. Norm,
    Good observation.
    One can easily tell that Siddiq and Hariri had met before. They didn’t seem to be strangers at all.
    Can anyone guess why this meeting was taped?

    Posted by prophett | January 15, 2011, 8:24 pm
  38. NR: I’m hardly a Hariri fan, or a proponent of flattening refugee camps, as anyone who actually knows me could quickly attest *lol*

    Posted by Rex Brynen | January 15, 2011, 8:30 pm
  39. It’s amusing to read all the reactions knowing that none of us knows what’s actually gone on behind closed doors since this tape was recorded. What did Hariri tell the STL about this meeting? Or what did he confine to HA about the Siddiq and so-called ‘false witnesses’, we know nothing. It’s clear this is nothing but an attempt to embarrass Hariri why else release this tape at this hour, otherwise it holds no legal merit for certainly HA would’ve exploited the heck out of it.

    Desperate times calls for desperate measures and HA is all ran out of tactics to intimidate and harass Hariri, thus resorting to such cheapish tactics.

    Posted by ak | January 15, 2011, 8:53 pm
  40. “First, Qifa Nabki your account of the tape is not accurate at all. The dumb Saad Hariri was skeptical?!”

    It is very reassuring to know that a dumb Saad Hariri outfoxed the whole axis stretching from south Beirut, to Damascus all the way to Qom.

    So what will these guys do when they have to face a half-dumb other than Hariri?

    “Tell your Canadian counterpart Daniel Bellemare that he made enough money being the clown of the STL and better to go back to Canada fetch something instead of trying to convince himself that he is that bright. The sky is blue and the sun is shining.”

    Indeed, the sky will never be bluer and the sun shinier than few days hence.

    Posted by anonymous | January 15, 2011, 9:17 pm
  41. @everyone,
    Even if you all think this tape proves nothing about Saad Al-Hariri, it does prove that he knew about the bombings that happened after the assassination of PM Rafic Al-Hariri. Siddiq clearly said he told Saad details about them before they did actually happen. So, supposedly Saad was skeptical about Siddiq, what did he do with the information concerning bombings that “will happen”? Were those bombings going in his political favor? Did he notify the Lebanese security forces? Did they know about the bombings as well(seeing that Ashraf Rifi is very close to Hariri)?
    Many questions need to be answered, but what’s unquestionable is that Saad Al-Hariri should have voted FOR the false witnesses issue ~two weeks ago that the opposition suggested. Voting against it means he was protecting someone, most probably Al-Hassan.

    Posted by Jad | January 15, 2011, 10:19 pm
  42. Norman,

    Wow you figured that all out from the clip? mukhabarat needs a profiler like you. :D

    Posted by danny | January 15, 2011, 10:24 pm
  43. Actually, Jad, what Siddiq says is that he told Hariri that explosions would begin, and they did. Then he says that he tried to call Hariri to warn him about the LBC bombing, but Hariri didn’t answer his phone. As far as we know, Siddiq was lying when he said that he had advanced knowledge of that. There is no evidence in the tape that he actually did… If he had gotten through to Hariri and told him about it and had Hariri acknowledged that on tape, then we’d have some real evidence.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 15, 2011, 10:35 pm
  44. danny 42,

    Actually you came close but not quite. This and commenter # 41 are typical manifestations of what psychologists recognized as typical traits of a person living under the Syrian regime. It is called the ‘fahlawi’ personality that I referred to earlier.

    I am glad QN took care of the other case.

    If this is what the so-called ‘false witness’ issue amounts to, then I still do not see why they raised it in the first place. Stupid question, right? Will find out when the impeccable Syrian justice system begins absentia trials of all those accused by Sayyid.

    How else can you commit a crime and escape prosecution?

    Posted by anonymous | January 15, 2011, 11:19 pm
  45. not clear how damaging? could you be any more obvious in your defense of saad hariri and this farcical tribunal? this is nothing less than EARTH SHATTERING. it undermines the entire tribunal, hariri (m 14), you name it. talk about a smoking gun.
    It’s amazing you attempt to minimize it (sort of like the absence of this blog for weeks after the wikileaks cables).

    Posted by AC | January 15, 2011, 11:22 pm
  46. Anon,

    You are so impressive and smart ,

    why do you think that Hariri is stupid enough to take a witness to the prosecutor before he knows what he is going to say , no smart person will do that and I for do not think that Hariri is stupid ,

    Posted by Norman | January 15, 2011, 11:39 pm
  47. Hey guys,

    We are discussing something the authenticity of which has not been proven. Not to mention it stands in a court of law.

    But even so, looks like very few found any merits in it.

    That is indeed a sign of bankrupcy on the part of HA.

    Posted by anonymous | January 15, 2011, 11:39 pm
  48. Norman,

    You may think Hariri is not stupid. But I do not think he is ‘fahlawi’. That could be the reason.

    Posted by anonymous | January 15, 2011, 11:45 pm
  49. anon,

    But the people who are couching him are FAHLAWI

    Posted by Norman | January 15, 2011, 11:51 pm
  50. Norman 48,

    Then, luckily he is not.

    Posted by anonymous | January 15, 2011, 11:58 pm
  51. why is it only New TV and Al Akhbar newspaper have access to such sensitive documents and recordings. Can’t they for a change show us something positive, one little positive “fadeeha” so we may believe them.

    Posted by abdo | January 16, 2011, 12:27 am
  52. Harriri was in Paris France on the day shidiaq was blown up 9/25/2005.
    here is a log from Harriri paper.

    http://www.almustaqbal.com/stories.aspx?storyid=157833

    9/25/2005 he met with chirac to discuss the attack on shidiaq.

    http://www.almustaqbal.com/stories.aspx?StoryID=142911

    the day after the chirac meeting 9/26/2005 he was visited by gaagaa in Paris and they issued a joint statement , note the news item at the bottom of the page about Mubarak meeting chirac on that day.

    http://www.almustaqbal.com/default.aspx?issueid=914

    http://www.almustaqbal.com/stories.aspx?StoryID=143081

    after the above date Harriri falls off the radar.

    on the 9/28/2005 mehlis issued an arrest warrant for the security chief of “al ahbash” mentioned on the tape.

    http://www.almustaqbal.com/default.aspx?issueid=916

    Posted by BamBoo | January 16, 2011, 1:21 am
  53. هير الصديق متوجهاً للحريري: التلفون اللي دقيتلك ياه إنو رح يبعتوا 20 واحد. التلفون اللي قلتلك ياه إنّو رح تبلّش التفجيرات صارت؟ وعم تشوفها ولسا رح تصير. دقيتلك تلفون أوّل مبارح بالليل بتتذكّر المكالمة؟

    الحريري: نعم.

    الصديّق: ما ردّيت عليّ دقيتلّك مرّة ثانية. قلت يمكن نام يمكن الصبح بدقلّي. كنت اريد ان اقول لك انّ هناك عبوة ستذهب على الـ”LBC” طلعت بمي… راحت مي… في عندي ناس أنا قلتلّك لهلأ

    Siddiq: The telephone call in which I told you that they would send 20 people. The telephone call in which I told you that the explosions would begin. Didn’t it happen? You’re seeing it. I called you the night before last, do you remember? Did you see the call?

    (pause)

    Siddiq: I called you the night before last.

    Hariri: Mmm. (He said Mmmm, as a YES, the tone was very clear.)

    He may not have known about May Chidiac’s attempted murder, but he knew there was going to be explosions, and the thing about sending 20 men. SO, Hariri knew a lot of things that were going to happen. Had Siddik been lying(to Hariri’s face) that he told him about bombings prior to them happening, Hariri would have said no! Especially in front of the chief investigator Gerhard Lehmann.

    Posted by Jad | January 16, 2011, 1:27 am
  54. But no one here wants to think about the Spain connection?

    Posted by Alex | January 16, 2011, 2:07 am
  55. I’m not sure how this video does that much damage to Hariri, unless it sways Jumblatt. Walid’s finger is in the wind, I don’t think anyone should count on where his loyalties will end up.

    Posted by Christopher Robbins | January 16, 2011, 3:02 am
  56. Wow… the level of comfort between sidiq and AL Hassan, they seem to have spent a lot of time together and my take listening to the tape is that AL Hassan seems to know everything sidiq have to say.

    – sidiq seem to hard selling himself to Harriri who sound skeptical of sidiq as being all talk and no prove or what my 4 years old calls the Trooof.

    – Harriri doesn’t seem to be very critical of what sidiq is telling him or interested in asking both sidiq and AL Hassan the right questions , he is only interested in how the sidiq will be perceived by other parties / counties.

    – it is amazing that sidiq’s statement of first hand knowledge of the (LBC)bomb being on its away would not be questioned by both Harriri or AL Hassan, the head of the information branch now which is akin to the FBI in this country, also if sidiq knew about the bomb and couldn’t reach Harriri to alert him about it why didn’t he call Wissam AL Hassan after all he is in charge of security and they are on a first name bases.

    – Both Harriri and AL Hassan in the pre meeting with sidiq seem to be aware of his shady character and seem to be snookering about sidiq awing his kids school principle money.

    – unless Lehman speaks Arabic he would have no idea what is being said or he already have been informed by AL Hassan of what sidiq have to say.

    – Lehman’s reservations about the credibility of sidiq and how it will make a mockery of the UN investigation is very interesting since at this point he have no way of knowing sidiq is lying ,,,,,,,, unless he knew beforehand that he was lying.

    – my conclusion is that everyone in the room knew that what is being said is a bunch of lies and they all went along with it, their main concern is not the truthiness of it all but how these lies will be perceived and the purpose of the meeting is to get the go ahead from Harriri.

    Posted by BamBoo | January 16, 2011, 3:04 am
  57. QN,

    just a small correction in your last paragraph. May Chidiac was NOT killed.

    As for the tape, it certainly helps to exonerate HA. If anything it reinforces the blame on the Syrians. But the lack of mention of HA means that a) Saddiq is lying and didn’t know what went on b) Syria did it but somehow managed to steer the blame towards HA or c) neither had any involvement and it’s one big conspiracy.

    but ultimately this piece of ‘evidence’ like all others that came before it will only strengthen each camp’s own convictions.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | January 16, 2011, 3:06 am
  58. On the day Shidiaq was blown up 9/25/2005 Harriri was in France and met Chirac to discuss the shidiaq bombing , the next day 9/26/2005 he met Gaagaa in paris and they issued a joint statment on the shidiaq incident.
    9/27/2005 he is offscreen and the is no mention of his activity in Al mustaqbal.

    Posted by BamBoo | January 16, 2011, 3:17 am
  59. You have el hassan, hariri and siddik in a room talking. Someone does a recording and leaks it to hezb. It has to be el hassan.

    Posted by jack | January 16, 2011, 3:44 am
  60. For those who are not familiar with the Spain connection, Reda Kabreet a Lebanese theater actor and a ranking member of the Syrian social nationalist party was arrested by army intelligence ( Maktab Tani) right after the SSNP attempted coup back in the days and was being interrogated / beaten mercilessly ,the army intelligence wanted to know which country was the coup sponsor, he took for a while till finally he couldn’t take it anymore and screamed out loud Spain Spain, that confession halted the beating but only briefly, ( espania ya ibn el…) he got beat up for the confession as well.

    Posted by BamBoo | January 16, 2011, 3:49 am
  61. hariri is satan and he will be
    obliterated. he is a dog woof woof

    Posted by bored | January 16, 2011, 3:59 am
  62. hariri take your money and shove it
    up your *******. it is worthless
    in your country. the seyed rules lebanon and thats a fact.

    peace
    branco from california

    Posted by bored | January 16, 2011, 4:01 am
  63. My friend Alex pointed out that this conversation reveals that the meeting between Siddiq and Hariri did not take place in Lebanon. Where did it take place?

    it took place in MARBELLA, which also happens to be the staying place of ref3at el assad….

    Posted by janbein | January 16, 2011, 6:00 am
  64. sorry and it is mentionned in the video… near the end :)

    Posted by janbein | January 16, 2011, 6:01 am
  65. a bit sensitive are we? you get called out and begin censoring comments? the son of the murder victim, along with deputy investigator are meeting with a ‘witness’. I guess this is normal in your world

    Posted by AC | January 16, 2011, 9:13 am
  66. This is my 2 cents.

    An analysis of this tape allowed me to surmise the following:

    1)Lehman & Hariri were going to meet in person Sadiq for the first time (most probably in Spain)

    2) Hassan had most likely already met with Sadiq in person and was the middle man ( the go between) between sadiq and the UN investigators and between sadiq and hariri

    3)hassan demonstrated that he was convinced about Sadiq’s credibility or wanted to give the impression that he is convinced in order to convince hariri and Lehman

    4) most likely sadiq got hariri’s number and was able to communicate directly with hariri on phone at the behest of Hassan.

    5) UN investigators had already received leads from Sadiq but were not too impressed (note what Lehman was saying in the last part of the tape)

    6) sadiq was about to go to lebanon to give his testimony (statement) to UN investigators.

    7) Hassan told Sadiq what he was supposed to say in Lebanon to the UN investigators. Hassan told Sadiq to change what he had previously said concerning his whereabouts during the 4th Month — THIS WAS CLEARLY A FALSIFICATION OF FACTS THAT HASSAN WANTED SADIQ TO DO. HARIRI’s SILENCE WOULD IMPLY CULPABILITY.

    8) It seems strange that Lehman was there without an interpreter and assuming that he did not understand Arabic then it would seem likely that he recorded the meeting so that he can have it translated later on.

    9)Hariri may have been convinced by Hassan to come to the meeting to lend credibility to Sadiq. Lending credibility would have been for the purpose of convincing Lehman of the importance of Sadiq as a witness.

    All this raises some questions regarding Hassan’s role in all this. If Hariri and the UN investigators werent that convinced, how come Hassan was? If Rifaat al Assad is behind Sadiq, is Rifaat al Assad behind Hassan too? is Hassan being paid to push Sadiq’s credibility?

    Posted by BB | January 16, 2011, 9:41 am
  67. Again how can we ignore the fact that Hariri and Siddiq were communicating. Siddiq was behind implicating the 4 generals as confirmed by the audiotape. Wikileaks revealed to us that the 4 generals were not released because it would be a political fiasco for the march 14 forces. Why won’t m14 allow the Lebanese Judiciary to investigate the wrongful imprisonment of the 4 generals?

    I am not a lawyer, but I am sure Hariri is not Siddiq’s lawyer, so why is he or 1 of his associates interacting with Siddiq? Why should he have access to Siddiq, is Hariri an investigator? If my father was killed in any country in the world would the legal and investigative authorities allow me to interview and influence a witness?

    “If you can’t bring them clear evidence that the Syrian regime using X, Y, and Z, with evidence A, B, and C was involved [in the crime], then we have a problem.”

    Am I the only person who has a problem with this statement? We’ve established the fact that Hariri is neither Siddiq’s Lawyer, nor is he an investigator, nor is he a sworn translator – if this is not witness tampering then I don’t know what is.

    The tribunal is a creation m14, their fingerprints are all over the investigation since its inception as shown in this audiotape.

    Posted by tamer k. | January 16, 2011, 10:07 am
  68. Hi everyone

    I woke up this morning and had 13 comments to take out of moderation, either because:

    (a) You’re new to this blog, so welcome!
    (b) You are putting more than three links in your comments, so just pay attention to that.

    I will go through the comments carefully in a bit and respond to people, but in the meantime, here are a few quick things:

    IC — I know that May Chidiac was not killed, but that is what Siddiq said. I guess she was in critical condition at the time that they spoke so it looked like she was going to die.

    AC — Trust me, I have better things to do than to censor comments of people who disagree with me. :)

    bored — We try to keep the language relatively clean in this comment section. Wa shukran.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 16, 2011, 10:09 am
  69. A point of observation and maybe of interest:

    Did not Jameel Al Sayed in one of his press conferences accuse Hassan of meeting with Sadiq in Spain??

    And did not Oukab Sakr refute Sayed’s accusation in the subsequent press conference that Sakr gave??

    It appears that Hassan did meet with Sadiq outside of lebanon based on this tape.

    Posted by BB | January 16, 2011, 10:36 am
  70. QN,

    May Chidiac attack was on September 25, 2005 and this October 19, 2005 report says Hariri was due to travel to Saudi Arabia soon: http://www.lebanonwire.com/1005/05101914AFP.asp
    You’ll additionally find many reports saying he was “abroad” due to safety concerns both during and after the explosions.

    He returned to Lebanon on December 13, 2005 according to this:

    http://archive.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=74641&d=13&m=12&y=2005

    No one logs more frequent flyer miles than Sa’ad Hariri.

    Posted by w_led | January 16, 2011, 12:03 pm
  71. Future movement’s statement said just minutes ago that this meeting was actually organized by the STL as part of the investigations. SUPPOSING this is true, how come there was no interpreter for Lehmann? I’d like to read some other ideas about this subject please.

    Posted by Jad | January 16, 2011, 12:28 pm
  72. I won’t be surprised if Hariri is leaves Lebanon for some political consultations somewhere after al jadeed releases part II of this audiotape.

    This audiotape would be the end of any politician in any normal country in the world.

    Posted by tamer k. | January 16, 2011, 12:40 pm
  73. Hariri’s press release confirms the audio clips to be actual and not fabricated.

    From what we hear, it appears that Hariri and Lemahn were skeptical to varying degrees about Siddik while Hassan was pushing to trust him.

    The scandal(s) here:
    1. why was Hariri meeting with a witness? Why is someone affected by the crime participating in the investigation? Why is a powerful politician involved with the investigators? Even if the witness is legitimate, there are serious conflict of interest issues and the possibility of manipulating witnesses.

    2. Why did Hariri deny ever meeting Saddik? If he and the STL thought this was an okay thing to do, why was it secretive, denied, and taken as an insulting accusation?

    3. Siddik is so obviously manipulating them and avoiding any details by yelling a lot. It is at the very least incredibly incomptent to give him any credibility at all.

    4. After repeatedly claiming that we have to wait until the end of the investigation to figure who is a false witness and who isn’t, Hariri’s press release explicitly says Siddik gave false testimony. Why then not investigate and prosecute him? And how much was his false testimony responsible for the detention of the four generals?

    And thats just from what we know.

    Posted by RedLeb | January 16, 2011, 1:56 pm
  74. So this is confirmed?

    “On the day Shidiaq was blown up 9/25/2005 Harriri was in France and met Chirac to discuss the shidiaq bombing , the next day 9/26/2005 he met Gaagaa in paris and they issued a joint statment on the shidiaq incident.”

    The meeting did not take place in Spain because Siddiq would have said “Nabih Berri was here in Sapin”

    Paris most likely.

    Also, I think the way Siddiq was trying to give Saad Hariri the impression that Nabih Berri was in Spain, implies something quite significant … if you want to understand Siddiq’s motivitations (besides making money)

    Posted by Alex | January 16, 2011, 2:03 pm
  75. RedLeb

    1. Agreed.

    2. Did he deny meeting Siddiq? I’ve been looking for a statement to this effect.

    3. It’s obvious with the benefit of hindsight… this was 2005, when they were still grasping for straws in the investigation.

    4. Agreed. They botched this issue completely, as I’ve been arguing for months.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 16, 2011, 2:10 pm
  76. Does someone have a reference or clip or official statement of Hariri denying ever meeting Siddiq?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 16, 2011, 2:13 pm
  77. From nowlebanon:

    Future News says it will reveal the truth behind the New TV broadcast at 10 p.m.

    news wars heat up. jadeed hasn’t released part 2 yeat and SHN is due to speak in 10 minutes. I wonder how this will all work out.

    Posted by tamer k. | January 16, 2011, 2:19 pm
  78. Comment removed by moderator

    Posted by Original Lebanese are Shi3a | January 16, 2011, 2:23 pm
  79. part II in progress… hariri being questioned in english. will post anything important

    Posted by tamer k. | January 16, 2011, 2:29 pm
  80. W.H argues “if he were from their side, the Saudi Embassy would’ve never granted him a visa”. The meeting appears to have taken place in the KSA.

    Posted by Diogene Laërce | January 16, 2011, 2:34 pm
  81. hariri’s interview is over, he had a lot to say and he especially focused on shawkat. it appears al jadeed has more audio recordings because they played a commercial type clip called “al haqeeqa leaks” and the voices played were murr, sayyed, husam husam among others introducing themselves as if about to be interviewed.

    Posted by tamer k. | January 16, 2011, 3:02 pm
  82. I watched part 2 …

    The funny part is that Saad described Bashar as “you idiot”

    And it seems he met him many many times in the past …. the meeting last year was not the first between the two as was announced. They went to dinner together and with the son of King Abdullah …

    Tere Roed Larson played a major part before and after the assassination and I am convinced he was quite biased.

    Posted by Alex | January 16, 2011, 3:07 pm
  83. Alex

    Could you post a link to the recording?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 16, 2011, 3:36 pm
  84. watched it live on TV …

    Should be here when they upload it

    http://www.aljadeed.tv/wsg/Default.aspx

    Posted by Alex | January 16, 2011, 4:05 pm
  85. This is a Royal Cluster f(%$# , all the Fortune tellers , the Tarot card reader and Prophets cannot UnF^%$ this now , it gets complicated by the minute , what about the poor lebanese people who are living this nightmare of not knowing where the country stands , and getting ready for another blood bath becuse of who is right and who is wrong , hariri the son is a kid with lots of money and from his personality he could care less , he is only a PM becuase of his relegious status , poor sunis dont have a real leader to stand up for their cause

    Posted by iceman | January 16, 2011, 4:19 pm
  86. There are more holes in this investigation and tribunal than a block of Swiss cheese. And yet there is no shortage of people (the host of this blog among them) with a knee-jerk reaction, coming to its defense.
    Forget about M14 and M8 for a moment; look at this investigation objectively (I guess this is all relative and depends on where you come from – I find SO MUCH of this investigation objectionable and shocking and if I were the defendant I would have a belly laugh and successfully defend myself, while stoned and drunk).
    Can anyone say with a straight face that this is a professional and objective investigation, free of any tampering or political pressure?

    Posted by AC | January 16, 2011, 7:06 pm
  87. AC,

    I invite you to actually read some of the commentary that has appeared on this blog (preferably not stoned and drunk) before rushing to judge my opinion about the Tribunal.

    Why don’t you explain what you find so objectionable and shocking about the investigation, and debate the issues?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 16, 2011, 7:12 pm
  88. Last night as I watched NewTV, listening in shock to the recording of our Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaking in private to UN Investigators – I was both excited and conflicted.

    Some thoughts:

    1. The act. The simple act in itself of obtaining such confidential recordings and testimonies of individuals of the highest ranks of government is yet another huge blow to the credibility of the tribunal. This is should not happen, period.

    2. Timing. Obtaining such information is groundbreaking enough, however, withholding it from the public, only to release the information under politically tense, yet appropriate timing (by NewTv’s President’s measure of ‘appropriate’) is troubling. We know in Lebanon, the media is an extended hand of the political parties. However, this takes it to a new level. The release of the voice recordings (and in the order that they are released – Hariri being first) on the Sunday prior to the launch of negotiations on a new Prime Minister and government, means NewTV is more than an extended hand to the opposition’s political parties. It has rather transformed itself to become an almost autonomous player in the Lebanese political game. This media outlet now holds more credibility and power than the heads of state! It is a force to reckon with.

    Should a media station play that role? Has NewTV now transformed itself from a news station to a political actor, a feared investigator or even a second independent Information Branch of Lebanon? Should any media source hold that power to begin with?

    3. Media Race. We all know the political views that NewTV supports. We also know a leak of confidential material is always exciting (as long as your name is not mentioned in the captions). However, what do they do with the information which does not serve the Opposition’s agenda? If NewTV has recordings of March 8 leaders, where are they, and do I not have a right to see them? Or is rather a race between other news stations, where NewTv is so far ahead in the race that FutureTV, LBC and MTV can’t even see them anymore? Is it now the job of March 14 media outlets to obtain “the juice” against March 8 leaders?

    4. Strategic Censorship. While I understand the political logic of destroying Hariri’s credibility in light of his possible reappointment as Prime Minister, is it truly necessary to jeopardize his relationships as well? For example, is it necessary to include the part where he calls Bashar al Assad an idiot for giving lecture on Arabism to more experienced presidents and leaders? And if it necessary, then who got to make that decision? Who decided to include the section where he called Najib Mikati a “wimp” (ps. that line was not translated into Arabic in the subtitles) while choosing to delete other sections?

    5. Me. What is my role as the viewer? As the reader? As a Lebanese citizen? Does this media source have a responsibility to me in providing me with all the information that they have? Why am I allowed only certain sections of the recordings in an attempt to sway me in one direction vs. another? As a viewer of NewTV, do they not have a responsibility to me in clarifying their sources, informing me why certain sections are public and others not, and revealing the full extent of their information?

    Or rather it is my job as a viewer and a citizen to perform my own internal investigation – where I gather what is public, assume what is private, and make my own decision – and yet, does my opinion even matter? Because isn’t this all a game, a race, a theater, between the untouchable politicians, sitting on high pedestals which we carry and balance on our own shoulders every day, as we watch them from below? When do we decide it’s all too much, and pick up hands, tilt our shoulders and just… drop them?

    Posted by Dana Ballout | January 17, 2011, 9:22 am
  89. My understanding is that the recording is happening in Marbella….

    Posted by bach | January 17, 2011, 11:06 am
  90. So, uhm, we keep hearing how phone records are invalid because Israel has messed with our telecoms, and how none of this anti-HA evidence is real, as it was all fabricated by the Mossad. Right?

    So, all you paranoid conspiracy theorists should be willing to assume that this recording was manufactured by the Mossad and leaked to sow sunni-shia fitna. Right?
    Right?
    Cause otherwise you guys would be hypocrites…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 17, 2011, 3:08 pm
  91. Why is the son of the murdered man questioning a witness? In front of deputy investigator no less.
    What about four men previously incarcerated for years? We now know that at a certain point their detention was political (the Americans and STL delaying their release until after elections – to help who? Why?)
    What happened to the French recreation of the explosion?
    The language and tone changed dramatically with each subsequent head prosecutor/investigator, but nothing changed (the same people remained incarcerated, despite the fact that they were cleared). It is clear from the outset that Hariri and his allies drove this investigation inside Lebanon and the US took the reins internationally. The Lebanese people have suffered for decades and deserve to know who is (and has been) killing their leaders, and prosecute the culprits. This investigation, however, remains far from objective. It is tainted and politically motivated.
    If one were to analyse this from a technical point of view, as far as how an investigation and prosecution should be conducted, there would be numerous glaring problems. There is no way you would be able to pull this off in a law and order society that offers protections and rights to the accused. It just would not happen.

    Posted by AC | January 17, 2011, 4:42 pm
  92. Look, I don’t care what new tv comes up with! Everybody knows they are pro-syrian and this just confirmed it for me 100%. They are just trying to back up their masters. In regards the tape, I heard it 3 times now, and to me, it doesn’t sound like a big deal. Its obvious why it cannot be released to the public, not because its secret, but because of the language used. Saad was just trying to be honest in the pursuit of finding his fathers killers. The language used is obviously not for puplic consumption and I do believe that if Saad knew someday that this tape will be broardcasted, especially on a pro-syrian tv station, then he wouldn’t have had this meeting, or at the very least, wouldn’t have let anyone make a recording of it.
    I don’t believe anyone will be swayed by this development, in fact, I am even more sympathetic to Saad Hariri. And I also strongly believe more then ever that Rafik Hariri’s murderers must arrive to justice what ever the remafications. Otherwise, we will keep on having assassinations forever.
    If Huzbualla really want to help, then they must help in finding Hariri’s killers.

    Posted by Mick | January 18, 2011, 2:28 am
  93. A thread like no other…italien politics.
    no matter what happens; no matter what is shown; it will always be “in the eye of the beholder” in leb politics …frame by frame analysis is a zero sum game; and this is what happened in the thread.
    …but really, the question is: was that scene right? is that how justice is investigated? I mean that siddiq character comes out of a black comedy.
    All the folks that want to give a break to harriri must ask if they would have accepted that kind of behavior from someone else; if not then…think again.

    Posted by George-R | January 18, 2011, 3:48 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Nasrallah to Address Lebanon on Eve of Indictments’ Release « Qifa Nabki | A Lebanese Political Blog - January 16, 2011

  2. Pingback: Some Post-Speech Thoughts « Qifa Nabki | A Lebanese Political Blog - January 16, 2011

  3. Pingback: Saad al-Hariri Caught On Tape with “False Witness” Muhammad Zuhair al-Siddiq | Uprootedpalestinians's Blog - June 29, 2013

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