Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14

FPM: Let’s Avert Disaster in Lebanon Through False Witnesses

The Lebanese political talk show Bi Mawdu`iyya recently hosted an interesting debate between two young political operatives, `Uqab Saqr (a March 14 MP) and Ziad Abs (an official with the Free Patriotic Movement, whom I interviewed in May of 2009).

The two-hour discussion covered several topics, but the most interesting bits dealt with the much-anticipated indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is expected to come out in the next month. Abs’s comments on the indictment were revealing, in my opinion, insofar as they reiterated the FPM’s proposed exit from the crisis. Here are the relevant clips (with paraphrased translations for non-speakers of Arabic):

Clip 1: There are two views on how to handle the indictment. One view holds that if this indictment is issued and it is based on shoddy and unscientific evidence — or even if it is based on scientific evidence — Saad al-Hariri should simply declare that he renounces it, and that he’s ready to turn a new page. The second view holds that given the clear indication that certain people have tried to mislead the investigation, let’s transfer the false witness file to the judicial council so that we can say, if the indictment comes out: “There are false witnesses who are still being prosecuted, and the indictment is now suspended as far as we are concerned…”

Clip 2: By not prosecuting the false witnesses, what we are really saying is that the forthcoming indictment is legitimate and honest. Timing is tremendously important here. Once the indictment comes out, it will be too late, as far as public opinion is concerned. What’s going to convince people otherwise?

Clip 3: If an indictment is issued [against Hizbullah], then we might see Sunni takfiri groups emerging in the North and the Bekaa who use it as their justification to launch a counter-attack. Even if the indictment is not based on false witness testimony, this is irrelevant. The security of the country is more important… I see another Ain al-Rummaneh bus attack [i.e. the beginning of another civil war]. In 1975 nobody thought that the Ain al-Rummaneh incident would lead to a 15 year war.”

In brief, Abs is arguing that whether or not the STL’s case is legitimate, the consequences of an indictment against Hizbullah would be so grave (leading to an Iraq-type conflict) that nothing short of a complete torpedoing of the Tribunal by the Lebanese government would prevent a major disaster. What’s worth noting is that Abs precisely did not say that the FPM regards the STL as an outright conspiracy (as Nasrallah has argued). He said that it doesn’t matter whether it is legitimate or not: what matters is that its consequences would be too explosive for Lebanon to bear.

Let’s not forget that this conversation between two politicians did not take place in a smoky back room. It was held on live primetime television. Think about that. What Abs is saying is: even if X is true, let’s all agree to say that X is false. There’s something so deliciously honest and yet so dissembling about this position. Thoughts?

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Discussion

244 thoughts on “FPM: Let’s Avert Disaster in Lebanon Through False Witnesses

  1. Thanks, GK.

    Would agree with your speculation, although it could also be a one-off type scenario related to some other deal-making.

    Shall we file a formal request (in the name of a certain Mr. Qifa Nabki)? I am sure the UN has something along the lines of a FOIA request procedure.

    Still weird that I cannot find the relevant US appropriation, although maybe it is staring me in the face. Will see if I can find it this weekend and will post if I do.

    Best — d

    Posted by david | November 18, 2010, 10:55 pm
  2. David, GK;

    US gave a total of 30million $ to the STL from it’s inception until Nov, 2010. Of that 30$ million, 10$ million have been only recently annouced.

    Source: US department of state official blog:

    http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/special_tribunal_for_lebanon_10_million

    Posted by G | November 19, 2010, 4:03 am
  3. G,
    Thanks for the info. That is fascinating. I need to double check on this but I think that officially there have been so far only two budgets for the STL. The third year is on the way. The 1st year was around $51 million and the 2nd $55.5 million. Lebanon had to pay 49% of the funds which translates into about $52-53 million. That leaves only $54 million for the rest of the world. If the US has contributed $30 and we know the UK has given about 4 then this means that all other countries combined including Saudi Arabia have given only $20 million. Maybe some of the contributions by the US count towards the 3rd year?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 19, 2010, 9:00 am
  4. Prophet 158
    “Don’t worry about my four women, and my breeding. At least we don’t marry our nieces. I know you will come back and deny that you are allowed to do that, or that you are not religious”.
    Religious commands do not allow Jews to mary a niece or more than one wife. You realy know very little about Jews, probably because you have kicked them all 100% from Lebanon.

    As for issues relating to Syria Lebanon border, and these bear on the Sheba issue. There is no such thing, according to Syria. It was and is a French imperialistic temporary artifact. There is not even one written document, a map or a written paper, officially signed by Syria clearly marking that border by GPS or traditional ways. The UN has been asking for it for several years and got nothing. The only internationally secure and agreed border that Lebanon has is with Israel. According to the UN several thusand dunams of Leb. land were taken over by Syria, with the active help of the so called Lebanese resistance, not a word from Syria or Lebanon. Please google under Lebanon Syria Border UN.

    Posted by Rani | November 19, 2010, 10:21 am
  5. Rani,
    I was just repeating what I heard from My Jewish friends. According to them, Jews are allowed to marry their nieces; Though It’s rarely practiced now days.
    So don’t hold it against me now. This type of marriage was traditionally permitted among Jews, I’m told by Jews themselves.
    As far as the Jews of Lebanon, No one kicked them out. Most of them left after the 82 invasion. No one ever bothered the Lebanese Jews. They were victim of Israel’s killings in the name of Jews.
    I can’t defend what happened during the civil war. Most Lebanese, including the Lebanese Jews, were forced to leave their neighborhoods. They were never targeted as a community because of their faith.
    As a matter of fact, the only Jewish community world wide that increased its number after the creation of Israel was the Lebanese Jewish community.

    http://judaism.about.com/od/birthtomarria2/f/wed_uncle_niece.htm
    As far as Shibaa is concerned, It is occupied regardless of the border dispute between Syria and Lebanon. Both countries recognize that it is, or at lease most of the area is Lebanese

    Posted by Prophet | November 19, 2010, 2:02 pm
  6. G.,

    Thanks but I am actually look for the congressional appropiation, not the DOS press release.

    Posted by david | November 20, 2010, 3:33 am
  7. If anyone represents some publication, I suggest (s)he contact Press Officer of the STL, requesting detailed information about voluntary financial contributions from various states.

    Posted by Badr | November 20, 2010, 2:39 pm
  8. To p.
    I am glad you agree with me that in practice, since medieval times practically all Jews can marry only one wife. Though, according to some, it is, legally speaking, permisable.
    Marying niece is also legally permisble but numerous [most?] Rabbies, and the number is growing, are strongly against it, since medieval times, and will not allow it. Notice in the attachment you brought up where the Rabbi is also quoting the terrible genetic implications of the practice and then is citing the law, that he will do to a couple asking for advice.

    You said: “They were victim of Israel’s killings in the name of Jews.” And you accept that reason and excuse with no additional comment.
    Israel does not kill in the name of all Jews. Israel never said that much. It is you who is saying it. That is a racist attitude and saying. That is the racial attitude that Muslims are facing now in the USA and Europe. You are accepting as normal and common a racist form of revenge which you seems to deplore in the case of Christians and Muslims in Lebanon. You accept that it is normal and rational to kill, as a common general practice, some body because some members of his nation or ethnic group or religion killed some body some where some place.

    According to your above accepted moral system Jewish leaders were killed and Jewish familiess terrorised systematically before the Jews left Lebanon. In the mid-1980’s, Hizballah kidnapped several prominent Jews from Beirut — most were leaders of what remained of the country’s tiny Jewish community. Four of the Jews were later found murdered.
    From the net:NOW Lebanon: Why is that?
    Liza: You know, a lot of people know I am Jewish, and that is always dangerous for me. You never know who will want to hurt me because of my religion. They could be anyone – Sunni, Shia, Christian, I don’t care – the point is, the friends I have are the ones that accept me as Jewish, and the rest turned their backs and prefer to avoid contact with any Jew, including me. She was one of the last Jews in Lebanon.

    You said: As a matter of fact, the only Jewish community world wide that increased its number after the creation of Israel was the Lebanese Jewish community.”
    As for Lebanon that is half truth: It grew after 1948 them after 1970 it declined to practically nothing. As for the World it is totally wrong. For example, the Jewish communities in France, Germany, Poland, and Austria and other states grew after the creation of Israel.
    As for Sheba. Syria and Lebanon are in war with Israel. Therefore their opinion of what Israel does or does not is biased. They refuse to talk to Israel about any subject. So it is for the UN to decide if and when Israel is holding, illegally, Lebanese and or Syrian Land. Up to now the UN have said that the only Lebanese Land held by Israel is the north of Ghajar. If Lebanon want to to go to war with Israel for Syrian land that is for the Lebanese people to decide. If you represent them it seems that they have voted for war, too bad for all of us.

    Posted by Rani | November 20, 2010, 2:56 pm
  9. Rani,
    At least you agreed with me that at one time this type of marriage was permitted.
    You didn’t accuse me of being anti-Semite yet. Racism is still a harsh one anyway.
    I never condoned any killing, whether by HA or any one else. There is no reason to put words in my mouth.
    I have written many times about the Lebanese Jewish community at this forum. My understanding is the Jews of Lebanon were not targeted because of their faith, nor were they discriminated against because of their fait. Yes, during the civil war, their neighborhoods were the seen of battles, but there was no specific attacks on Jews per say. The civil war did not discriminate against any one, indeed, it victimized all Lebanese.
    I can’t deny that after the 67 war, and the arrival of the PLO, the sentiment against Jews had changed, and they were being looked at, fairly or not, with suspicion by many people.
    I would imagine how hard it would have been for a Lebanese Jew who had to struggle with two different identities, especially when those identities were officially at war.
    Having double loyalty to both Lebanon and Israel was impossible to maintain.
    It was after the 75/76 war, that Jews started leaving Lebanon in large numbers, and after the 82 war, most of them had left.
    You are quoting Now Lebanon as a source, which I have no confidence in non what so ever. I don’t consider your source as a reliable source. I don’t have time to waste on that site.
    Kidnappings, and killings took place all over Lebanon, every community had its share of victims. The whole county was a victim, and you’re highlighting the case of few Jewish leaders who supposedly were kidnapped. There is no evidence of your claim.
    Israel claims to be the home of the Jews, and it does everything in the name of Jews. Every one killed by Israel is a justified killing in defense of Israel and the Jews. In that sense, yes, they were victims of Israel killings in the name of Jews. Jew communities failed to make the distinction between Israelis and Jews clear. Israel never saw any distinction between Jews and Israelis.
    The loyalty of all Middle Eastern Jews, fairly or not, became an issue since every Jew considers himself Israeli.

    Posted by Prophet | November 20, 2010, 3:59 pm
  10. david.

    I’m curious as to why you think that congressional appropriators would be directly involved in funding the STL. Given the anti-UN sentiment that infuses the GOP, it would seem to be asking for trouble to rely on tortuous & flaky congressional processes for the monies.

    In any case, the following publication from the “Congressional Research Service” indicates (footnote #27) that the first $20 million was from the DOS. It makes more sense that funding would be the province of the State dept.

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:nTo2aPg3DqQJ:www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/R40054.pdf+MEPI+lebanon+stl&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShLCfHU9_-zi3yIl4J7ueUCM4xTlZw4gGkOZmKdHjo_98lcrjrVZUJcL8y63lwOedZCItU1RnVncaKy4pezZdV193Ur5ErgFFcarZeExFk0XRui-sMI_81mFjSSO93KKs9z09dx&sig=AHIEtbR8QoBTJMhbNrONRr9IBy6MR1QzCQ

    Posted by lally | November 20, 2010, 5:15 pm
  11. lally,

    Every dime DOS spends is appropriated by Congress. That is not to say that Congress knows which office chairs Foggy Bottom prefers, but it would be weird if State was using some open-ended operations budget to fund the STL. As I indicated on a previous thread, the STL is not listed on State’s list of Contributions to International Organizations (22 USC 262a), and there are a couple of reasons for this.

    Still I would like to know from which State budget the monies come from — my guess is some sort of supplemental appropriation for “combatting terror” fund.

    So it is not that Congress would be asking for the check, but it should appear on some State Department budget, which would be submitted to WH and then Congress as part of some larger budget request. I cannot find it, though.

    Posted by david | November 21, 2010, 1:59 am
  12. And yes, I have seen that CRS report, which suggests the author obtained the figure during a consultation. That’s not weird, because money appropriated is not necessarily money spent, ie it is often very hard to determine how much money is actually dispersed in any federal program, from corn subsidies all the way to foreign operations.

    I have here that money was appropriated, or at least requested, in the FY 2009 foreign operations budget, but I still cannot find the exact language or the dollar amount.

    Relatedly, I would be very surprised to learn that the UN has the authority not to disclose voluntary contributions, but the STL annual report does not break down the numbers.

    The search continues …

    Posted by david | November 21, 2010, 5:20 am
  13. david.

    I commend you for your efforts to track the money trails through the morass. It’s a formidable task. Could the funds be funneled through USAID?

    As per your remark: “I would be very surprised to learn that the UN has the authority not to disclose voluntary contributions…” , the following article quoting then registrar Robin Vincent suggests that transparency in this arena is not a given:

    “We do have money over and above the budget of the first year,” says Vincent. If, however, the makeup of the Lebanese government changes as a result of the June elections and the country’s leadership becomes less willing to support the tribunal for political reasons, there is always the nuclear option. “If during the lifetime of the tribunal the funding situation becomes difficult then [the UN Secretary General] reserves the right to revert to the UNSC,” asserts Vincent.
    The expenses of the first year will cover the logistical elements necessary for the initiation of proceedings, as well as the other activities of the tribunal. “The prosecutor [Daniel Bellemare] has made it very clear that he would see 2009 as still being a year where predominately there would be ongoing investigations,” says Vincent.
    Today, there is still a small team in Beirut that is currently liquidating its operations, which are not funded by the STL but by the UN itself. Although the list of contributors ranges from Austria to Uruguay, the latter contributing a symbolic $1,500, perhaps the most notable facet of the list is that the countries that have contributed to the STL all come from the same political angle, thus prompting further accusations of politicization. The principal contributors to date are the United States ($14 million), Kuwait ($5 million), France ($4.5 million) and a collection of other “regional states,” who have chosen to “exercise their right to remain anonymous,” according to Vincent.”

    http://www.executive-magazine.com/getarticle.php?article=11738

    I’m unclear as to what the “nuclear option” (“If during the lifetime of the tribunal the funding situation becomes difficult then [the UN Secretary General] reserves the right to revert to the UNSC,”) means in operational terms.

    Posted by lally | November 21, 2010, 4:05 pm
  14. lally,

    I suppose nuclear option just means going back to UNSC and revising the Tribunal’s mandate, ie cutting out Lebanon’s relevant authority over its exercise.

    As for “right to remain anonymous,” I find that surprising, and frankly, a little disconcerting. As mentioned, the annual report lists donors, including Uruguay, Kuwait, Turkey and some happy place called Regional States (I suppose Altered States would not pony up …)

    I am also curious as to where the author of the Executive piece got the Kuwait figure? I had not seen it.

    I would also say that is exactly because multilateralism of the UN-variety is unpopular in certain American political segments that any funding would be laid out for all to see. Indeed, that is the “limitation” language of 22 USC 262a.

    V,

    Thanks, but I don’t think the STL money is there. Those figures include USAID funds, and non-USAID funds, but I dont think the Tribunal is there. Regardless, somewhere there should be explicit language about the funding of the Tribunal, whether in an appropriation or State budget justification.

    Hmmm …

    Posted by david | November 21, 2010, 7:47 pm
  15. lally says,
    “I’m unclear as to what the “nuclear option” (“If during the lifetime of the tribunal the funding situation becomes difficult then [the UN Secretary General] reserves the right to revert to the UNSC,”) means in operational terms.”
    i do not think that there is more to it than what it says. I believe that the option of having the SG procure the funds was written into the charter of the STL as of 2-3 years ago. That is why the so called effort to force the Lebanese cabinet not to pay share would not amount to much in this case.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 21, 2010, 8:38 pm
  16. I would be remiss to not remind all that Lebanon is celebrating its 67 birthday tomorrow.
    It is sad when after 67 years Lebanon has failed even to establish the semblence of a state. There are many reasons for that but the most important is the obsession with sectarian balance. Yes we still have a sectarian balance of sort s but the price has been very costly. It could eventually lead to the death of this experiment that has not gone anywhere in 67 years. If the Lebanese do not want an independent , sovereign state then maybe it is time that we consider pulling the plug on this ill conceived enterprise. As we have said before; they do shoot horses don’t they?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 21, 2010, 8:45 pm
  17. GK,

    “i do not think that there is more to it than what it says. I believe that the option of having the SG procure the funds was written into the charter of the STL as of 2-3 years ago. That is why the so called effort to force the Lebanese cabinet not to pay share would not amount to much in this case.”

    I would not bet the farm on that. Five absentions, and that with GOL approval. Take away the full support of the GOL, and you have much tougher slog at the UNSC, regardless of the current language.

    They can say whatever they want, but if the Lebanese government walks away, it becomes a different ballgame.

    Posted by david | November 21, 2010, 9:26 pm
  18. CBC “world exclusive” on the Hariri investigation here

    Make sure to check the links to the right for leaked documents concerning Hizbulla’s involvement and the investigative committee’s suspicion of Wassim Hassan, head of ISF’s intelligence branch.

    Posted by R | November 22, 2010, 2:16 am
  19. Thank you, R.

    Used-To-Post (Mo), do you have a rebuttal to the CBC article?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 22, 2010, 4:56 am
  20. The CBC piece is fascinating. The tragic hero of all this in my eyes, is Capt. Wissam Eid RIP.
    .

    Posted by Amir in Tel Aviv | November 22, 2010, 10:26 am
  21. Seriously HP? You need a rebuttal for that? Where the F*** would I start?

    The hagioraphic description of Hariri? The charachter assasination of Brammertz who became prosecutor for the Court on Yugoslavia? Or wait, how about this savant genius of mathematics who was wasted in the ISF IT dept, whose work the British company they hired called impossible? (and by the way the company FST, is no ordinary company, it has links to British Intelligence)? Or no, lets start with the fact that Wissam Hassan is now on Hizballah’s payroll? Better yet, lets start with the fact that Hizballah, who Israel have had as much success in penetrating as a eunich would the members of a harem, suddenly start carrying around lots of traceble of phones, which they bought in Tripoli, you know, Hizballahs heartland? Or wait, no I’ll start with asking Abd al Majid al Ghamloush about this, oh no I can’t, since no one had heard of him before or since but the UNIIIC have managed to link all the way to Nasrallah!

    Or lets just dispense with all that and ask why you are not asking (and do not consider it suspicious) that since this is such an in depth investigation, that begins and ends with the MOBILE telephones as all the evidence required to prosecute, why does he at no point mention the spy ring at Alfa telecom?

    Listen, I don’t know who did it, but I do know that when everyone is working so hard to indict someone without asking how, why and by whom they are being manipulated then I know something fishy is going on.

    I hope for their sake they have more than phone records, because lets face it, considering the spy rings that have been caught, if thats all they got, no “reasonable” judge will even admit it into court as it will be so compromised.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 22, 2010, 11:00 am
  22. Thanks R for the link. It looks nice, but really there are no new revelations.

    UTP,
    You said “, but I do know that when everyone is working so hard to indict someone without asking how, why and by whom they are being manipulated then I know something fishy is going on.”
    How do you know that they (I assume you mean the STL investigators) are not asking “how, why and by whom?”

    Posted by IHTDA | November 22, 2010, 11:36 am
  23. Business as usual in the Arab world. Moderates or supporters of rule of law and democracy get assassinated thus cowering the rest of the population into lethargic indifference. I am talking about Eid. What is the most sickening thing about this story, is that surely his colleagues in the ISF know who killed him and attempted to kill his boss and why. Yet they do nothing. The man gives his life and his colleagues turn out to be cowards. Mission accomplished. Eid killed and his colleagues all get the message. Violence wins the day again. If violence is so successful, why will it ever stop if this is the reaction???

    Posted by AIG | November 22, 2010, 11:43 am
  24. Mo,

    Those alleged spy rings that have been found? You are kidding us right? WTF…Are you trying to insult the collective intelligence of anyone who is not a HA? Get with it Mo; HA and its childish and amateurish attempts to “find” spies suddenly in the Telecommunications network? Walla HA and its sheeple could only believe such a lame setup…
    Don’t freak out! CBC reportage was ver clear and your “rebuttal” lame.

    Posted by danny | November 22, 2010, 11:51 am
  25. Given the alleged involvement of Al-Hassan in this, who is to say that this alleged spy ring in AlPHA was not concocted by Al-Hassan himself who manages the branch of ISF that caught this ring? If not concocted then its alleged damage hugely exaggerated?
    The plot thickens.

    Posted by MM | November 22, 2010, 12:05 pm
  26. I’ll have an in-depth analysis of the report later tonight, folks.

    Til then…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 22, 2010, 12:08 pm
  27. The special documentary will be broadcast on CBC News’s The National on Monday November 22 at 9:00pm and 11:00pm ET/PT on CBC News Network and at 10:00pm (10:30 NT) on CBC Television.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 22, 2010, 12:33 pm
  28. IHTDA,
    I don’t know. I can only make an educated guess, based on who the investigaters are interviewing and where.

    Danny,
    I presume you are replying to me.

    I’m not sure how much you contribute to the “collective intelligence” but you do realise that HA had nothing to do with catching the Alfa spy ring right? And you do know that Lebanon lodged an official complaint at the UN over Israeli espionage, including the infiltration of Lebanons telecoms network? You know that right?

    Apart from that, your reply is decidely unlame, or childish.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 22, 2010, 12:38 pm
  29. UTP/Mo @ 222, yes, I was serious in asking you in my 220, and this is because I think it is important to have the two sides of the issue stated here. If we were to just go by the CBC report without hearing the arguments/rebuttal against it articulated, then those who accuse this blog of being one-sided would be right. But this is not the case, and they are wrong. We debate here, and look at all angles and all colors of the issue and do our best to gauge all of it as objectively as possible. So thanks for the response and please keep putting in the thoughts and arguments that you do. I can’t speak for others but I, for one, do want to read them. I remain tilting towards culpability of a Syrian/HA group but do agree that we have to wait until all the facts and arguments for/against are unveiled.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 22, 2010, 12:42 pm
  30. UTP,
    I appreciate that your inclinations form your opinion as all of us. But the “little knowledge” that we all have about the content of the report “is a dangerous thing.”
    hopefully (not surely) soon we will have enough details to debate whether the indictments are well founded or not.

    Posted by IHTDA | November 22, 2010, 1:10 pm
  31. The last thing that I want to do is pass myself as an authority on legal mattersbut since this has not stopped anyone before let me join the fray by suggesting that MO a.k.a. UTP has an excellent point which was mentioned also in the CBC report. A record of who called whom without a transcript of what was said is not strong evidence . It might not stand in court. I have nothing against circumstantial evidence but just a record of telephone calls will probably not cut it.

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 22, 2010, 2:07 pm
  32. Godfather part 4 is well and alive in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle east.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 22, 2010, 2:58 pm
  33. Don’t feel like reading the comments I’ve missed. But I just read the CBC report story.
    Fascinatingly interesting.

    Whether it proves anything or not (yet to be determined), at the very least, it shows how proper investigation and evidence is conducted. As opposed to the ridiculous conspiracy theories and “he said, she said” crap that the naysayers are so prone to throw out there anytime someone brings up the STL.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 22, 2010, 3:27 pm
  34. Albeit from trying to implicate Wissam Al-Hassan (although many in Lebanon questioned since 2005 and still do his intriguing absence from Hariri,s motorcade, Neil McDonald piece is a rehash of old news. The best coverage of the STL was done by Al-Akhbar in a series of articles a few months ago.

    On can only say is that Daniel Bellemare, a Canadian from the province of Québec, is trying hard!

    Posted by NR | November 22, 2010, 3:27 pm
  35. i knew you would be discussing this here:-)

    I am also still unable to take a decision about the report, as it states its sources as being from the UN, but the piece reads as if it was ‘coached’ to reach where it did.

    However, i think what they are trying to highlight is that the owner of some phone numbers were actually moving in the same area and time as Harriri was (Shadowing). Which means that the owner of such phones were actually watching his moves up to and including the fatal moment (since this is where they started backtracking). After that they went dead. Obviously finding those numbers is important, but finding their owners is the major issue. the story goes on to tell us how were they found and how they were also linked to official from HA.

    This is the story that these phones tell us, and I think it should be clear by now that the famous visit by UN investigators to the Clinic in the suburb of Beirut, was to try to link the dubbed “pink” network numbers to HA Officials. ( I am presuming that the women would be listing their husband numbers as emergency contacts on their files)

    Obviously if we believe that the phone records are correct, then HA has a lot to explain, If we think they are a fabrication, then that is a different story all together.

    Posted by Caustic | November 22, 2010, 3:28 pm
  36. ok so we have a group red phones + co-location RED PHONE

    co-location RED PHONE communicated supposedly communicated with group blue phones which is supposedly a closed group too… but if co-location RED PHONES were used to communicate with the “closed blue group” how is the blue group closed?

    the article is pretty ambiguous as to whether or not the co-location RED phones called either the blue network or co-location blue network phones. because if blue network is a closed group too i don’t see how co-location red phones can also call group blue.

    and how is the big break when a HIZB member called his girlfriend. lets say the hizb member was breaking the rules and had a girlfriend, was she a mut3a girlfriend or something. but seriously if all these networks are connected and eventually lead to the hizb hospital nerve center wouldn’t that be the big break?

    also how were the pink phones indirectly communicating with the other networks? via co-location phones or via carrier pigeon?

    Posted by tamer k | November 22, 2010, 3:35 pm
  37. “I’m not sure how much you contribute to the “collective intelligence” but you do realise that HA had nothing to do with catching the Alfa spy ring right? And you do know that Lebanon lodged an official complaint at the UN over Israeli espionage, including the infiltration of Lebanons telecoms network? You know that right? ”

    Mo, who is childish here?
    You really want us to believe that the LAF/ISF have suddenly become the spy busters of the world? You of the conspiracy king novelist; of all people you should know that all the amateurish attempts by HA (or people who follow their own brand of logic)trying to muddy up the waters will never work. Even though you really get excited and have no real rebuttal.

    Please guide us to the trials of all these so called spies…also if you are so connected please let us know how these “spies” were “revealed” only in the past year; after the Der Speigel Article and obviously the leaked info by the HA mole.

    Posted by danny | November 22, 2010, 4:02 pm
  38. Isn’t the “Hizballah was tracking him” argument the same argument Nasrallah made when he showed the Israeli aerial footage? And wasn’t the dismissal at the time “of COURSE they’re tracking him, that proves nothing!”

    The story sounds great, but it’s only convincing to those who want to be convinced. Circumstantial at best – the STL better have an ace up its sleeve if this is their best bet.

    And once again, we have leaks to foreign media that are way too detailed, with a pretty transparent agenda. Is this the most unprofessional investigation of all time?

    Posted by Mehdi2 | November 22, 2010, 4:52 pm
  39. “Isn’t the “Hizballah was tracking him” argument the same argument Nasrallah made when he showed the Israeli aerial footage?”

    Mehdi2 you are confused. The aerial footage was from the stone age and had nothing to do with 2005. Based on this new revelations; if true; it is obvious why Nasrallah came up with his “tracking” of Israeli spies spin. It lends credence to the CBC report that HA had a mole in the investigative body and is constantly trying to “counter” any evidence that might come out or supposedly discredit them.

    However, it seems that you are satisfied with the amazing footage from 1997…

    Posted by danny | November 22, 2010, 5:24 pm
  40. Danny – I never said the argument was valid (either way) I said it’s the same argument Nasrallah made.

    Posted by Mehdi2 | November 22, 2010, 5:33 pm
  41. Mehdi2
    Actually Nasrallah never admitted to tracking Hariri.Rather he asserted that they were in pursuit of an Israeli spy who was in the neighborhood…

    Posted by danny | November 22, 2010, 5:44 pm
  42. A few technical notes on the discussion that might be helpful…

    1) The phone records would be extraordinarily difficult to fake: mobile phones send location signals out to surrounding towers constantly, whether in use or not. To fake that constant communication over all of Beirut over a period of months would border on the impossible, especially since many of the phones would also be generating their normal traffic.

    2) It is clear that a lot of people did not realize the danger of colocated phones until recently, hence the sloppiness in Hizbullah communication security.

    3) The evidence could be pretty strong for the immediate trigger and surveillance teams: a closed network that is located at the assassination site and then goes silent really has no other plausible explanation, and if those individuals can be identified through colocation I suspect it would stand up in any reasonable court. It becomes more problematic, however, the further one moves away from that circle.

    Posted by Rex Brynen | November 22, 2010, 6:38 pm
  43. Guys, there’s a new post up precisely on this topic. Rex, feel free to re-post your comment there.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 22, 2010, 6:40 pm

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