Lebanese television station Al-Jadeed released another titillating episode in its series “Haqiqa Leaks” a few days ago, this time featuring the notorious Hussam Hussam, a Syrian intelligence agent who came forward early in the Hariri investigation with information incriminating Syrian and Lebanese security officials.
Hussam, like Siddiq (who was the star of his own Haqiqa Leaks primetime special), would later recant his story and claim that he was pressured by March 14th figures to fabricate his testimony. The leaked recording is from an interview conducted with him by a member of the U.N. investigation team in Damascus in 2007. It’s full of all kinds of accusations, among them that he was tortured by Gerhard Lehmann in a subterranean building abutting the headquarters of the Special Tribunal in Monteverdi (a residential neighborhood just northeast of Beirut), and that he was offered $5 million by Saad al-Hariri to round up other false witnesses to help substantiate the tale that he was made to tell.
According to the STL, neither Siddiq nor Hussam’s testimonies are part of the evidence presented to the pre-trial judge, having been deemed unreliable once they recanted. This will not stop many from continuing to argue, however, that the entire case is based on false witness testimony…
And whether or not one chooses to believe a word that the guy says, it’s obvious that whoever is behind these leaks knows just how damaging they will be to the Tribunal’s credibility in Lebanon. Does al-Jadeed have their own Bradley Manning deep in the bowels of the STL’s offices in The Hague? How much more embarrassing material is waiting to be revealed, and when will we see other parties circulating their own “leaks” to counter the Al-Jadeed narrative?
More importantly: don’t you just love Lebanese politics? Not content to be the first country ever to trigger a UN Special Tribunal devoted to the prosecution of a political murder, we are also the first country to coopt the Wikileaks phenomenon (and brand) in the service of undermining said Tribunal. Ghazi Kanaan didn’t know who he was dealing with when he told the Lebanese to stick to entertainment and leave the politics to Syria. Talk about a false choice.