I wrote to Neil Macdonald (author of the CBC report about the UN investigation into Rafiq al-Hariri’s murder) asking him if he would respond to some of the questions published on this blog earlier today about the timeline presented in his account of the investigation’s proceedings.
Mr. Macdonald had argued in his piece that “Brammertz could not be persuaded to authorize the one technique that those investigators wanted above all to deploy: telecommunications analysis,” and that “the UN commission in Lebanon did no telecom analysis at all for most of its first three years of existence.”
As some of our fearless readers have pointed out, the Mehlis report itself clearly indicates that the Commission was using telecoms data in its investigation to track Hariri’s killers. So why, I asked Mr. Macdonald, would Brammertz have had to authorize telecommunications analysis if the Commission was already using it in 2005? Or was that earlier work done under Mehlis a different kind of telecoms analysis from the stuff performed by Wissam Eid?
Mr. Macdonald responded to my query with the following note, which I quote with permission:
“The question we addressed in the documentary was when the commission began carrying out actual telecomms analysis of phone records. My sources — and they were there — are absolutely firm. The commission did none until late 2007. The Lebanese police did. Capt. Eid was the first to discover the red network, and the first to identify the co-location phones. The commission under Mehlis was aware of the ISF’s early telecomms work. Brammertz referred to the commission’s collection of phone records (I refer to that in my piece; they obtained the entire 2005 phone database for Lebanon). But actual telecomms analysis by the commission itself, as I reported, was not authorized until late 2007, at which time FTS, the British firm, was brought in.”