Lebanon

Problem: There’s Nothing Wiki About Wikileaks

Yesterday, I pointed out the ID number discrepancies in two of the diplomatic cables published by the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar, which — despite not having been released yet by Wikileaks — are being claimed by al-Akhbar as authentic.

I have no idea whether these cables are real or fakes. They look real and sound real, but let’s admit that it doesn’t take much imagination to suppose that someone could have tampered with certain parts of a cable, adding or subtracting information, or even inventing an entire cable out of nothing. After all, the U.S. government is not rushing to authenticate these documents, so who is to say that cable #08BEIRUT372 (published here by al-Akhbar) represents the unadulterated record of what Minister al-Murr said to embassy officials on March 10, 2008?

Which brings me to what I feel is the biggest problem with the whole Wikileaks affair: there’s nothing “wiki” about it. The definition of a wiki is “a website that allows users to collaboratively create and edit web pages using a web browser.” In the context of an informational resource like Wikipedia, the basic theory is that the collaborative editing process is self-regulating and ultimately leads to the filtering-out of inaccurate information. Obviously, this theory is just that: a theory, and we can all point to countless instances of Wikipedia getting something wrong. But the point of a wiki is to enable users to address inaccuracies and inconsistencies, thereby correcting (or at least nuancing) the public record.

The most important difference between Wikipedia and Wikileaks is that Wikileaks is not a wiki. The information it presents is completely unidirectional: there is no centralized mechanism to allow for the authentication of the information that it presents. And that, in my opinion, is a major problem, particularly in light of the possibility (nay, likelihood) that individuals, organizations, and possibly even governments will begin using the now familiar diplomatic cable template to spread misinformation.

Do you doubt this will happen? Marc Lynch gave a great paper at MESA this year in which he argued that Arab governments have been remarkably successful at staying one step ahead of democratization movements in their countries precisely by deploying online media to serve their own ends. It seems to me that the potential and incentive to spread misinformation via the fake Wikileaks cable are obvious, given that: (a) the U.S. government is not tripping over itself to authenticate certain cables;  and (b) we’ve already seen Middle Eastern government officials dismissing legitimate Wikileaks cables as fakes.

So, in the chaos of too much information, who will be the arbiter of authenticity? Wikipedia puts that job in the hands of the public, and provides a centralized forum for it to take place. Will Wikileaks do the same?

Let me just conclude by saying that this is not a critique of the entire concept of increasing transparency via leaked documents. Nor am I suggesting that the Al-Akhbar documents are fake. I am simply pointing out the problems raised by the lack of an authenticating mechanism. (And I’m sure many others have been saying this, but I just haven’t been paying close enough attention.)

Update: wordpress stats I’m now hearing from multiple sources that al-Akhbar is explaining the discrepancies in ID numbers as a simple clerical error. That could certainly be the case, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt since the cables look authentic to my untrained eye. But I wish they’d clarify where they got them from, given that Wikileaks has not mentioned giving any such documents to al-Akhbar.

Discussion

165 thoughts on “Problem: There’s Nothing Wiki About Wikileaks

  1. Well-made point and I agree about the potential for manipulation of information.

    One thing, however: the State department provided the NYT with some cables in response to those coming in from embassies and released by WikiLeaks. (I gather they were official responses to the most damning revelations unearthed in the cables).

    The understanding was that no cable provided by the State Department would be published and of course we can speculate about why the State Department would want to do this and what it had to gain, but it would be extremely weird if the State Department started responding to cables that weren’t originally authentic.

    Posted by Patrick Galey | December 3, 2010, 1:04 pm
  2. I don’t disagree that there is the potential for abuse. Nor do I disagree that the “wiki” in Wikileaks may be a misnomer. But I think your argument inaccurately implies (perhaps this is just my misinterpretation) that there is no authenticating mechanism. In fact, Wikileaks takes upon itself the task of authenticating the documents it receives. In a recent interview with Forbes (http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2010/11/29/an-interview-with-wikileaks-julian-assange/), Assange gave details of a case where they received documents they couldn’t authenticate and suspected of being fakes:

    “One example: It began with something we released last year, quite an interesting case that wasn’t really picked up by anyone. There’s a Texas Canadian oil company whose name escapes me. And they had these wells in Albania that had been blowing. Quite serious. We got this report from a consultant engineer into what was happening, saying vans were turning up in the middle of the night doing something to them. They were being sabotaged. The Albanian government was involved with another company; There were two rival producers and one was government-owned and the other was privately owned.

    “So when we got this report; It didn’t have a header. It didn’t say the name of the firm, or even who the wells belonged to.

    “…So I said, what the hell do we do with this thing? It’s impossible to verify if we don’t even know who it came from. It could have been one company trying to frame the other one. So we did something very unusual, and published it and said “We’ve got this thing, looks like it could have been written by a rival company aiming to defame the other, but we can’t verify it. We want more information.” Whether it’s a fake document or real one, something was going on. Either one company is trying to frame the other, which is interesting, or it’s true, which is also very interesting.

    “That’s where the matter sat until we got a letter of inquiry from an engineering consulting company asking how to get rid of it. We demanded that they first prove that they were the owner.”

    I don’t claim it’s a perfect system, and there may spring up other leaking sites that don’t bother to authenticate documents, but if Arab governments are going to try to use Wikileaks to spread information, they’ll have to do more than anonymously submit documents.

    Posted by rukn | December 3, 2010, 1:59 pm
  3. Rukn,

    The problem is not with the cables that Wikileaks releases, which have its endorsement of authenticity. The problem is with the stuff that circulates claiming to derive from Wikileaks (or leaks within Wikileaks). Is Wikileaks going to go into the business of authenticating every single cable out there?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 3, 2010, 2:09 pm
  4. I claim ‘copy rights’ for first observing so-called Wiki Leaks blatantly stole the name of Wiki. That was couple posts ago. And I knew it was all wicked all along.

    Now I will re-join the club of the extremely low techies. So much for the ‘super hi techies’.

    Posted by anonymous | December 3, 2010, 2:22 pm
  5. As usual Wiki is turned tricky. Akhbar could have doctored the “cables”. No way of proving it either way!

    So best brush off all this “sensational cycle” as another news filler on CNN and off course Lebanese media.

    Posted by danny | December 3, 2010, 3:04 pm
  6. QN,

    Sorry to not have addressed your point head-on (though I do think you were a bit unclear. When you say, “The information it presents is completely unidirectional: there is no centralized mechanism to allow for the authentication of the information that it presents,” well, no there is a way of authenticating the information IT presents: did it (rather than another source) present it or not?). I see how Wikileaks will give governments a new channel for misinformation without them having to actually go through Wikileaks. And I fear you’re that this channel will be used and may hoodwink some people. At the same time, if you’re a news organization that will publish cables that aren’t from Wikileaks, or if you’re a consumer of news that will automatically believe something has the Wikileaks stamp of approval without checking whether it was actually published by Wikileaks, well, you were already ripe for government misinformation regardless of whether it purportedly came from Wikileaks or not (not to deny that the hullabaloo surrounding Wikileaks might make things easier for the government–just say it’s form Wikileaks and be done without having to resort to some other means of planting the information). So I guess I’m agreeing but am not particularly pessimistic about the prospects Wikileaks enabling government propaganda (or, rather, my cynicism about the current state of the Arab media make it hard for me to be particularly worried about something that will give governments ANOTHER channel by which to spread misinformation).

    Posted by rukn | December 3, 2010, 3:09 pm
  7. rukn #6,

    I believe you’re still missing the central concept behind Wiki. Wiki-pedia is meant to be checked and corrected by the public at large and not by one, two orv few sources.

    The idea behind it is that the mere participation of the public in the editing and dissemination of information will create a source of knowledge that is self correcting and of high degree of accuracy. It is not completely error free yet.

    Posted by anonymous | December 3, 2010, 3:17 pm
  8. #7,

    If you read my first post (#2), you’ll see I don’t deny that calling it WIKIleaks may be a misnomer. That does mean, however, that the site has no authentication procedures.

    Posted by rukn | December 3, 2010, 3:20 pm
  9. *does not

    Posted by rukn | December 3, 2010, 3:33 pm
  10. I’ll re-post my comment here again since it seems you didn’t take a look at the header of the other revealed cables:

    if you look closer to the other cable, you’ll notice that Al-akhbar has included, wrongly, a portion of the header of another cable at the bottom of that one, it’s a just a copy/paste error. Nothing fishy! Just search for ID and you’ll find it with the 1st line of the header.So don’t jump on this ID issue to build a conspiracy theory againt the credibility of the cables published by al-akhbar.

    Posted by lebnany | December 3, 2010, 3:44 pm
  11. Thank you, Lebnany. I actually made that point in the post a while ago, if you read the “Update”.

    No one is trying to build a conspiracy theory against the Akhbar cables. But it would help if they could clarify where they got them, since Wikileaks didn’t say anything about giving cables to Akhbar. I personally think that they are probably authentic.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 3, 2010, 4:11 pm
  12. Remember this? Wikileaks did offer embargoed access to other media too, without specifying details. http://twitter.com/#!/wikileaks/status/9003850094608384

    Posted by Rime | December 3, 2010, 5:10 pm
  13. QN,
    You’re absolutely wrong about this. Wikileaks is a wiki in the sense that through leaks, people have the ability to fill in information about governments that was previously known only to those in centralized systems. It is user generated, though not completely open access (wikipedia is not open access anymore either).

    But more, that Wikileaks vets its sources and centralizes the documents means that the potential for error and false documentation is very little. When this is over, all 250,000+ documents will be accessible on their site, and we can have high confidence that they are accurate. Wikileaks had the opportunity to trace its sources and confirm the accuracy. The lack of denials by the USG also confirms the accuracy.

    If, on the other hand, Wiki was created in the manner you suggest, it would end up totally fabricated (or fabricated enough to call into question the entire collection of information it provides).

    Thus, i disagree with you. Wikileaks is well structured, and its name is not false advertising.

    Posted by joe m. | December 3, 2010, 6:50 pm
  14. Hey QN,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I had posted a take on the one Beirut cable that is on WikiLeaks, only to find out later that the internet was on fire with reports about Murr (who makes no appearance in the cable I read).

    The parts about Murr’s take on Aoun seem a little too myopic and sensationalized to be in a cable, but who knows?

    That, essentially, is the point: as you note, even if these cables are real, authenticity is an issue that demands careful reading and caution.

    http://pagelebanon.com/2010/12/03/theres-something-happening-here/

    Posted by The Silent | December 3, 2010, 6:53 pm
  15. Also, unfortunately, i wish i had time to comment about the Murr documents. It’s amazing. did you see the one where he’s reported to say that they were purposely dividing and causing infighting among the palestinians in lebanon to keep them from organizing effectively. nothing new, but it’s great to have confirmation and helps make sense of a lot of other things we always suspected.

    And these documents leave no doubt that Hizbullah has a genuine right to protect themselves the way they do. and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. less than 700 of the 250,000 documents have been released. keep them coming!

    Posted by joe m. | December 3, 2010, 6:55 pm
  16. QN,
    There is no doubt that the ability to authenticate a leak is hugely important and unless the doubt regarding authenticity is lifted then a cloud of uncertainty will persist and will even render the leak totally useless. Trust in such matters is at a premium.
    I am not sure though why is it that you think that the “biggest problem” with the wikileaks affair is the name. The importance/unimportance of the content is not to be even tangentially related to the name. Does it really matter whether this is a Wiki or not? Doers i9t matter whethrShell petroleum comes from sea shells?:-) I always thought that Shakespeare was right when he said:
    “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;”

    BTW, a case can be made that the Wikileaks is a real Wiki since the final product is that of collaboration by a bunch of “thieves”.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | December 3, 2010, 7:04 pm
  17. joe m.

    How did you deduce that HA have the right to defend themselves based on these docs?

    No one has the right to their own militia. If you think the people in govt. are out to get you, then you either revolt, or you vote them out of office.

    I fail to see the logic there in your statement.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 3, 2010, 7:09 pm
  18. # 13,

    I find what you say about Wikipedia complete nonsense. You should read this,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia

    You may reply by saying this is nothing but Wikipedia certifying itself. But there is more to it and I would suggest you check every reference provided at the end of the article. Your assertions cannot stand on their own as they are simply mere assertions.

    I can also say that the sources that ‘confirmed’ those leaks could be simply untrustworthy. And nothing can actually be inferred from the silence of the USG.

    Posted by anonymous | December 3, 2010, 7:12 pm
  19. Joe

    Your definition of a wiki is very strange, and it risks opening the floodgates to a huge range of institutions and media sources.

    Wikileaks is a wiki in the sense that through leaks, people have the ability to fill in information about governments that was previously known only to those in centralized systems. It is user generated, though not completely open access (wikipedia is not open access anymore either).

    So if these documents were first obtained and published by the New York Times, or a foreign government, or even yourself, that would make the NYT, the govt, or yourself a wiki?

    And how are these leaks “user generated”? Wikileaks got its hands on them and its making them available. Neither you nor I are participating in the creation of the information, which is the essential definition of a wiki.

    But more, that Wikileaks vets its sources and centralizes the documents means that the potential for error and false documentation is very little. When this is over, all 250,000+ documents will be accessible on their site, and we can have high confidence that they are accurate. Wikileaks had the opportunity to trace its sources and confirm the accuracy. The lack of denials by the USG also confirms the accuracy.

    The problem is not the material that Wikileaks authenticates. It’s the stuff that it DOESN’T authenticate. The Al-Akhbar cables are a perfect example. Wikileaks did not come out and authenticate them. So what are we supposed to do? Just accept that they are for real? There is no arbiter in this case. If Wikileaks had released them or if it had come out and authenticated them, then we would not be having this discussion.

    If, on the other hand, Wiki was created in the manner you suggest, it would end up totally fabricated (or fabricated enough to call into question the entire collection of information it provides).

    I’m not saying that Wikileaks should be modeled on Wikipedia, just that it shouldn’t call itself a wiki. It’s a unidirectional news source, just like the NYT, a ministry of information, or this blog. And like any good news source, it should do its part in authenticating the material that is attributed to it.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 3, 2010, 7:22 pm
  20. By the way, for those who haven’t clicked on the link in comment 14, I failed to mention that The Atlantic has written up a critique on Al-Akhbar’s releases. You can click on the link #14 or check it out over at Beirut Spring. Apologies for that oversight…

    Posted by The Silent | December 3, 2010, 7:29 pm
  21. Wait a second: this blog is unidirectional?!?

    🙂

    Posted by david | December 3, 2010, 8:06 pm
  22. QN,
    Would you be satisfied if the Guardia or the NYT ran a story confirming the content of the document published by Al-Akhbar?
    We have read other stories attributed to the Guardian or the times without seeing the actual document published. Do you question the authenticity of those stories?

    Posted by Prophet | December 3, 2010, 8:28 pm
  23. Bad Vilbel,
    i dont have time to respond to this, though i would like to have the discussion. maybe in a couple of weeks it will still be a hot issue. it’s likely, considering that there are so many documents yet to be released.

    QN,
    The definition of a wiki is really not of vital importance. Also, WIkiLeaks has released some 700 Docs on its website (now hosted in Switzerland). i have not reviewed them, but it is highly likely that the Al-akbar documents are in that batch. have you checked? i havent been reading closely enough to know (so sorry if im asking an obvious question).

    As for the argument that WikiLeaks is unidirectional, ok, fine. But so what? I just think that they named themselves in reference to the way they want leaks to occur. that they want more people within major organizations to define the organizations they work for, rather than the info coming from the ministry of information… or press office or such. And so, while not as collaborative as wikipedia, wikileaks is a wiki in that sense. just, the world in which it is a wiki is smaller…

    or maybe they just wanted to get publicity from the name. I guess they could have equally called themselves tweetyleaks.

    Posted by joe m. | December 3, 2010, 8:31 pm
  24. QN,
    I’m not making an assumption about the authenticity to the documents published by AL- AKHBAR .I’m as curious as you are.

    Posted by Prophet | December 3, 2010, 8:35 pm
  25. Prophet,

    As of yet, Al-Akhbar’s leaked cables are not up on WikiLeaks. The phased release of the 200,000+ cables will take months.

    Only one cable from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut appears – and it details a rather mundane meeting between former PM Fouad Siniora and former Centcom Commander General David Patraeus.

    Of course, cables from other embassies – say, Cairo or Paris – certainly deal with Lebanon-related issues, but Al-Akhbar claims its documents originated from the Beirut (Awkar) embassy.

    Posted by The Silent | December 3, 2010, 8:40 pm
  26. Silent,
    I’m in agreement with you that this particular document did not appear on the cable.They claim that it was originated from Beirut,though wikileaks have not published it yet.
    I guess we have to wait and see.

    Posted by Prophet | December 3, 2010, 9:00 pm
  27. On of the good that might come out of this is that many people especially the Arab leaders will learn not to shoot their mouths off as the wall might have ears and that is proven , i hope they learned their lessons ,

    Posted by Norman | December 3, 2010, 11:15 pm
  28. The DS is reporting on cables that they, exclusively, have “seen”.

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=122189#axzz176jpp3fB

    Posted by lally | December 3, 2010, 11:15 pm
  29. The discussion about whether or not Wikileaks is a real wiki, while kind of tangential in and of itself, raises a bigger issue, which is the change of Wikileaks from what was essentially a tool for whistle-blowing to whatever it is now. Unless one makes the decision that all (American) government is criminal, it’s hard to see how Wikileaks is actually being used for that source anymore.

    When it first started up, it was actually bidirectional, in that many people with access to documents were uploading things, whether it was shady business dealings or, in my case, a list of banned films in Lebanon. It started drifting away from its original m.o. when Michela Wrong’s book on corruption in Kenya (ironically a sort of whistleblowing exercise itself) was being distributed online for free because it was being suppressed in the country. Needless to say, this was being done without Wrong’s permission and was not the way that she wanted to deal with the issue of availability in Kenya. She finally came up with her own creative solution to the distribution problem.

    Now, for better or worse, Wikileaks is steering away from the group-oriented approach to small leaks and focusing on single caches of huge amounts of leaks. It’s certainly made wikilieaks both more popular and more despised.

    Posted by sean | December 4, 2010, 7:23 am
  30. Norman,

    We all know that there is a reason that off camera remarks are supposed to stay there. I do not condemn anyone for expressing their candid views.
    Remember GWB in 2006?

    or Jessy Jackson during Obama campaign?
    or Bashar Assad’s threat to Ban Ki Moon about burning the ME?

    All these cables have to put in their proper contexts based on the events of the day or the thread of the conversation etc. After all these are not transcripts but a “record” that an employee typed up.

    I think, in Lebanon, people are attaching too much to this to the chagrin of HA as it has taken its focus of the campaign to discredit STL!

    Posted by danny | December 4, 2010, 8:52 am
  31. Sean, can you post or link to the list of banned films in Lebanon? I’m curious.

    Norman, when did “Bashar Assad’s threat to Ban Ki Moon about burning the ME?” happen?
    It seems strange and completely out of character for a conversation with the UN SG.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 10:56 am
  32. HP ,

    I did not say that , Danny did , please correct the record ,

    Posted by Norman | December 4, 2010, 11:25 am
  33. Oops, sorry 3ammo Norman. Apologies.

    Danny, same question as mistakenly addressed to Norman in #31, please.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 12:44 pm
  34. lol Norman got really nervous and requested a correction of the records incase Assad people are reading, this is hillarious

    Posted by V | December 4, 2010, 2:05 pm
  35. Bashar Assad said in early May 2007 that Lebanon and the entire region will burn if the STL is formed. That was the time when the UN was preparing to create the STL. I cannot recall if it was reported in some media (al-Nahar probably) that Assad told Ban Ki Mon in a phone conversation that the region will burn or if Assad said it in a different context. You may want to try to search Al-Nahar archives if you’re really interested.

    Posted by anonymous | December 4, 2010, 2:10 pm
  36. Thank you, anon, found this:
    http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/getstory?openform&FEAFDD604382A77AC22572DA002B5867

    <<Assad Threatens to Set the Region on Fire

    Syrian President Bashar Assad has threatened to set the region on fire, from the Caspian to the Mediterranean, over differences with the United Nations regarding Lebanon’s stability.
    The independent daily newspaper an-Nahar quoted well informed diplomatic circles as saying Assad made the threat last Wednesday in a telephone discussion with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
    The sources, according to the paper spoke of a “heated dialogue” between Assad and Ban, during which the Syrian President “threatened to set the region on fire, from the Caspian to the Mediterranean.”
    The focus of the telephone discussion was creation of the international tribunal that will try suspects in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes, the report explained.
    It stressed that the tribunal issue will be a topic of discussion within the U.N. Security Council as of Monday.
    Following the tense discussion with Ban, Assad on Thursday announced that his country is not concerned with the international tribunal, stating that the court is “a special topic concerning Lebanon and the United Nations.”
    Lebanese MP Saad Hariri son of the slain premier, had announced that the tribunal will be created under chapter seven of the U.N. Charter.
    Hariri and factions of the March 14 majority alliance blame the ex-premier’s killing and related crimes on Syria. Damascus denies the charge.
    Beirut, 13 May 07, 09:55
    >>

    Not sure how credible the report from “well informed diplomatic circles” can be considered but it was indeed reported in Al-Nahar.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 2:57 pm
  37. NYT mentions AL-AKHBAR’s published document.
    The story neither confirms, nor questions the authenticity of these documents.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/04/world/04wikileaks-reax.html?_r=2&sq=akhbar&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=all

    Posted by Prophet | December 4, 2010, 3:26 pm
  38. according to the angryarab

    “Yes, those documents that are being released by Al-Akhbar are Wikileaks from a larger collection (and more, much more are to follow). Al-Akhbar has been acting very responsibly toward those documents: handling them with care and caution and showing concern for the lives of people (innocent people) involved. Al-Akhbar has decided to go over them all again to redact what potentially could pose danger to lives of innocent people. They will release them today at 3:00PM (Beirut Time).”

    Either way I don’t think any new wikileaks will make a splash, and I am quite surprised at the lack of attention to these leaks from m8. nasrallah quoted a made up letter to kissinger so logic would say they would be all over these wikis. I think the only reason m8 is dancing around the released wikis is because of initial Iranian stance.

    Posted by tamer k. | December 4, 2010, 4:04 pm
  39. 3ammo norman,

    I have no issues in being comapred with you by HP no less. 😀
    HP; you are a no nonsense patriot. I guess you found the answer. Sorry for not providing two links as QN is quite a stern taskmaster LOL.

    Posted by danny | December 4, 2010, 4:05 pm
  40. tamer,

    Right on about Amjad’s stance. Also, they have been blaming Israel for this…Unfortunately for them they are stewing; I’m sure; as they spoke too soon. 😀

    Posted by danny | December 4, 2010, 4:08 pm
  41. Danny,

    I can’t agree more m8 has presented some silly evidence to link the STL to israeli/american project and have hit the airways hard. COMPARED to what m8 has offered so far, the Bellemare – USG wikileaks should be a home run and I am baffled at their response or more appropriately their lack of a response. It would not take much to spin those wikileaks.

    Either they really think the Syrian/Saudi initiative will work and don’t want to turn up the heat or they are really shackled by Iran.

    Posted by tamer k. | December 4, 2010, 4:20 pm
  42. It looks to me that President Assad convinced many people and countries that he is the only firefighter that they need to keep the region from being set on fire ,

    Like him or hate him , it seems to be a shrewd move ,

    Posted by Norman | December 4, 2010, 4:28 pm
  43. If anyone thinks that Conspiracists will settle for a second place, he is utterly mistaken. Conspiracists will rule the world. Al-jazeera just produced a gem proving the conspiracy behind these Qwerky Leaks (or Leaps depending on your field of specialty)

    http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3DB07319-6937-419A-B84D-BE5B3BD0876D.htm?GoogleStatID=1

    Iran, however, is taken matters seriously in order not to be outdone by this latest ‘Americo-Zionist’ conspiracy maneuvre of releasing qwerky leaps by assuring its Arab neighbors that all will be well when it (Iran) succeeds in taming the elusive real quarks.

    Posted by anonymous | December 4, 2010, 4:29 pm
  44. I want to add that Syria with the help of KSA is making clear that accepting the Syria/Saudi deal is better than dealing with Hezbollah/Iran deal that will be forced ,

    Posted by Norman | December 4, 2010, 4:31 pm
  45. Ooops…Here’s the link for Iran’s diplomatic counter offensive

    http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/8F92ABB8-CAF1-40C3-A33F-6994282C3261.htm?GoogleStatID=1

    Posted by anonymous | December 4, 2010, 4:31 pm
  46. Tamer k.,
    M8 will jump on wikileaks revelations, as soon as they know that none of the leaks, that are to come out, embarrass them, or any of their allies.
    I think they are busy worrying about the STL indictment, and the negotiations going on between the Syrians and the Saudis.
    Taking on the wikileaks at this time may turn out to be troublesome, for M8, since some of these leaks involve the president’s favorite Defense minister, Mr. Mur.
    I expect M8 to make a big deal out of these revelations right after the indictment is out, or if/when the Syrian /Saudi negotiations fail.

    Posted by Prophet | December 4, 2010, 5:05 pm
  47. Here’s a quote attributed to Walid Junblatt in the Washington Post linked right above by Norman:

    <>

    Hmm, I think Walid Beyk has been reading this blog and has been persuaded by the eloquent posts of BV and occasional reinforcement arguments of V ;-). LOL.

    On a serious note, I take issue with that statement. I take issue with who the “We” are in Walid Beyk’s statement. Surely this applies to the greatest majority of current Lebanese politicians, the bunch of bumbling incompetents best qualified by the “Ignorantus, Ignoranta, Ignorantum” phrase of Molière’s Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid). While there are brilliant and courageous minds that may represent sparkling specks of hope in the otherwise hopeless political scene in Lebanon, they are, regrettably, few and far between, for now. Yet, the formula of a truly independent, secular, non-aligned Lebanon is not a fallacy nor a utopia. It is clearly — pardon my physics language — a state of lower energy that is eminently stable but which requires, for its realization, a high energy kick out of the – equally stable, but deplorable – state of effective anarchy and subservience the country is in at this time. In other words, how to get from here to there is the question and the statement that the Lebanese simply cannot govern themselves, uttered by one of the key idiotic madmen currently running the country, is simply not true.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 5:17 pm
  48. What the heck! my quote disappeared! Here’s the quote:

    “It seems that, well, we cannot govern ourselves by ourselves,” Jumblatt said. “Lebanon is not a nation. It’s a bunch of tribes.”

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 5:18 pm
  49. OK, if you want to skip posts #48 and 49, here’s a self-contained post:

    Here’s a quote attributed to Walid Junblatt in the Washington Post linked right above by Norman:

    “It seems that, well, we cannot govern ourselves by ourselves,” Jumblatt said. “Lebanon is not a nation. It’s a bunch of tribes.”

    Hmm, I think Walid Beyk has been reading this blog and has been persuaded by the eloquent posts of BV and occasional reinforcement arguments of V . LOL.

    On a serious note, I take issue with that statement. I take issue with who the “We” are in Walid Beyk’s statement. Surely this applies to the greatest majority of current Lebanese politicians, the bunch of bumbling incompetents best qualified by the “Ignorantus, Ignoranta, Ignorantum” phrase of Molière’s Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid). While there are brilliant and courageous minds that may represent sparkling specks of hope in the otherwise hopeless political scene in Lebanon, they are, regrettably, few and far between, for now. Yet, the formula of a truly independent, secular, non-aligned Lebanon is not a fallacy nor a utopia. It is clearly — pardon my physics language — a state of lower energy that is eminently stable but which requires, for its realization, a high energy kick out of the – equally stable, but deplorable – state of effective anarchy and subservience the country is in at this time. In other words, how to get from here to there is the question and the statement that the Lebanese simply cannot govern themselves, uttered by one of the key idiotic madmen currently running the country, is simply not true.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 5:20 pm
  50. Examples of the “specks of hope” I mention: Uqab Saqr
    Examples of future “giant balls of hope” who would completely transform the country: QN !!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 5:22 pm
  51. Another example of an honest, sincere, competent, and respectable “person of hope” who could give credence to any “resistance” movement or “opposition” etc.: usedtopost, a.k.a Mo.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 5:23 pm
  52. Hopeful minister of business: V
    Minister of Civics (a new portfolio I would advocate): BV

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 5:24 pm
  53. Who would I be, you ask? huh?
    I would be the wise retiree going back to the mother country and distributing blessings on that new leadership.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 5:26 pm
  54. There is an old Lebanese proverb:

    “Don’t invite a Druze to sleep over at your house … he’ll kill you in your sleep.”

    Jumblatt lives up to it.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 4, 2010, 5:31 pm
  55. PeterinDubai Says,

    I think what you said is not called for , Jumblatt can not be trusted but to throw a blanket indictment on all the Druz is not fair ,and is probably racist , you are not ,

    Posted by Norman | December 4, 2010, 5:41 pm
  56. Pid 55,

    The folk saying that I recall is somewhat different than yours:

    Dine at the Druze house and sleep at the Christian house.

    That was meant as an advise for travellers of old days. I think it makes more sense than your version. Who knew people of old were more politically correct than us 21st century so-called ‘enlightened’?

    Posted by anonymous | December 4, 2010, 5:52 pm
  57. You guys are correct.

    Sorry for generalizing.

    Am pretty pissed off at Jumbatt because I am part of the Aley voting district and voted for the first time in my life in the last elections for his block.

    He abused of it, because my vote was an anti-Iran/Hizballah and a pro-army and pro-government vote.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 4, 2010, 6:05 pm
  58. anon,
    Your version is the accurate one, but both, yours interpretation, and that of Peter’s are common.
    I disagree with peter on using this quote to describe all Druze, as not trust worthy though.
    Generalization is always wrong.

    Posted by Prophet | December 4, 2010, 6:07 pm
  59. Fair enough Peter,
    As you can see, we posted at the same time.

    Posted by Prophet | December 4, 2010, 6:08 pm
  60. Peter,
    We have no army , nor a government for you to support. So don’t feel so bad for wasting your vote,lol

    Posted by Prophet | December 4, 2010, 6:11 pm
  61. This last exchange epitomizes the problem that all Lebanese have and I’m probably somewhat – even if unconsciously guilty of it – of intrinsic confessionalism. I can’t help but think that, on an individual level, the people of Lebanon have so much more in common than they do in whatever links them to their religion or sect or tribe or what have you.

    As I mentioned before, I think that the key challenge is how to effect the transformation into the new society most of us on this blog aspire to. Change is never easy and is always glacially slow (unless brought about by revolution).

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 4, 2010, 6:14 pm
  62. HP,

    I have been to Iran many times.

    I do not want Lebanon or Lebanese to live under such kind of a regime.

    One has to travel to Iran to understand what life under the Iranian regime means.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 4, 2010, 6:20 pm
  63. Hezbollah is a photocopy of it.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 4, 2010, 6:22 pm
  64. Only Fanatics that rely on a living through that regime can thrive.

    The rest are oppressed. And they are the majority.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 4, 2010, 6:26 pm
  65. I have also been to Iraq under Saddam … and it wasn’t any different.

    It was his way … or the highway.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 4, 2010, 6:30 pm
  66. Sort of what G.W. Bush was.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 4, 2010, 6:38 pm
  67. Individualism should prevail it is what a Pearson does , not what his family , religion, or ethnic background , until then women will be killed for their deeds and the leaders of the ethnic groups will keep power to themselves as defendants of the group rights while defending only their rights with their people’s blood ,

    Posted by Norman | December 4, 2010, 6:48 pm
  68. HP
    I totally agree. If Lebanese were able to put their sects and religion aside, many of their differences can be bridged, at least on an individual level.
    That being said, I wish I can be as optimistic as you are. Unfortunately, Religion and sectarianism became an identity for most Lebanese. Even secular Lebanese are forced to line up behind what ever sect or religion that was given to them by their parents.
    The last five years were a good example of that, where leaders, who claim to protect “the sect”, were using every scare tactic possible to line up support. Religious institutions and their leaders are as guilty of this as, political leaders.
    I have not met a Lebanese( where I live ) that I did not relate to, But when we are in Lebanon, everyone behaves differently.
    I think that transforming a society to become more secular and civil, needs leadership and laws. We have neither. Every society reflects the rules and laws it lives by. Lebanon is no different; just look at our political system, and the laws that are never enforced.
    The only law that most Lebanese leaders obey and enforce is the hypocrisy law.

    Peter,
    Your fears are not justified. HA can never, and will transform Lebanon into Iran. The Shiia of Lebanon will never go for that. HA is very mindful of his supporters, to your surprise.
    Being southerner myself, I can tell you that Shiia of Lebanon are not, and do not want a regime like Iran.

    Posted by Prophet | December 4, 2010, 7:06 pm
  69. Correction,
    and will NEVER transform Lebanon into another Iran.

    Posted by Prophet | December 4, 2010, 7:09 pm
  70. Norman,

    It is not Assad who alone is convincing the west that he is the best firefighter; but it is KSA/Egypt and Bibi who think a strong and brutal Assad who controls Lebanon; is a better option than an erratic HA dominated Lebanon that will create problems for Israel… and a Muslim Brotherhood controlled Syria that will be asking for Golan instead of Lebanon.

    Posted by danny | December 4, 2010, 7:38 pm
  71. Danny,

    Syria does not want Lebanon she only wants that Lebanon is not used to attack Syria,

    All these people and countries you mentioned could not destroy Syria so they are playing the card that they want Syria , They have no choice and should be happy that Syria brought back to their censuses ,

    The Golan is what Syria wants and a fair solution to the Palestinian problem and safe and secure Israel ,

    http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=7851

    Posted by Norman | December 4, 2010, 7:49 pm
  72. # 68,

    I, for one person, think that Lester Pearson was a great person.

    Posted by anonymous | December 4, 2010, 8:11 pm
  73. Did anyone see this leak yet?

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=122189#axzz17C48fqVs

    It is not clear if this a wiki. But how come al-Akhbar did not report it? Is it being selective? May be it is time to dissmiss al-Akhbar altogether as a non-objective outlet with an agenda that is becoming clearer day by day.

    Posted by anonymous | December 4, 2010, 8:51 pm
  74. anon, lally reported that link up in #28

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 5, 2010, 12:45 am
  75. #73

    Off course he was. That’s why they have an airport named after him. 😀

    Posted by danny | December 5, 2010, 8:46 am
  76. Here’s the conspiracy-theory-du-jour gaining traction in Lebanon:
    http://www.almanar.com.lb/newsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=164122&language=en
    Basically that Hariri was killed by a depleted uranium rich bomb originating from Germany and fired by an Israeli drone!
    Someone pinch me.
    The earlier reports on this from a number of years ago had indicated that the characteristics of the blast and its aftermath indicated the likelihood of the use of a depleted uranium bomb, material that apparently is available from Iran and from Israel.
    No comment from me as I’m sure this will just reinforce whatever penchants folks have on whodunit, recognizing that both camps will use this to confirm their beliefs.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 5, 2010, 10:38 am
  77. I wonder why Thierry Meyssan could not find any publisher for his Hariri hypothesis besides the relatively obscure Russian Odnako magazine. 🙂
    I find it interesting that AlManar did not mention the name of the author of the article but instead made it sound as if the magazine itself had conducted an investigation . Who is Thierry Meyssan working for?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | December 5, 2010, 1:00 pm
  78. naharnet

    7:38pm Information obtained by MTV: Bellemare submitted a draft indictment to Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen.

    this could get interesting this week IF THIS IS TRUE. How long would y’all guess it would typically take to review the indictment?

    Posted by tamer k. | December 5, 2010, 2:12 pm
  79. 8:10pm The Hague sources to Naharnet: STL Prosecutor Danielle Bellemare has not yet submitted a draft indictment to Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 5, 2010, 2:35 pm
  80. What time zones is Naharnet referring to. As of this posting it is 7:52 PM at the Netherland.

    If it is Beirut Time, then most likely STL is monitoring QN. I believe Bellemare submitted his trial indictment immediately after posting by HP #77. Then he changed his mind after posting by #78.

    Posted by anonymous | December 5, 2010, 2:54 pm
  81. Wikileaks yesterday released a number of the cables Al Akhbar had published (at least the Libya cables), thereby laying to rest any suspicion about their authenticity.

    Posted by EDB | December 5, 2010, 2:55 pm
  82. EDB 83,

    Could you please explain ‘authenticity’ in your comment?

    i.e. 1) authentic as in al-Akhbar leaks are the same as the Asange leaks,

    or 2) authentic as in the aforementioned leaks representing actual events that may have transpired.

    Posted by anonymous | December 5, 2010, 3:08 pm
  83. Here is the sequence of events viz-a-viz STL indictments:

    Figaro reports Bellmar submitted his indictments to Franseen.

    Naharnet quotes Figaro earlier at time indicated in above postings.

    STL issues statement saying no indictments have been submitted.

    Naharnet corrects its earlier report.

    STL issues another statement saying Bellmar will tell the press himself when and if indictments are submitted.

    Posted by anonymous | December 5, 2010, 3:32 pm
  84. both figaro and MTV reported the issuance of an indictment

    8:40pm French daily Le Figaro: Bellemare finalized the draft indictment and submitted it to Fransen.
    8:13pm Bellemare office sources to Naharnet: When Bellemare submits a draft indictment to Fransen, he will issue an official statement to announce that.
    8:10pm The Hague sources to Naharnet: STL Prosecutor Danielle Bellemare has not yet submitted a draft indictment to Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen.
    7:38pm Information obtained by MTV: Bellemare submitted a draft indictment to Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen.

    Posted by tamer k. | December 5, 2010, 3:39 pm
  85. nowlebanon which has yet to appropriately cover the wikileaks has also broke the figaro story.

    http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=220987

    Posted by tamer k. | December 5, 2010, 3:42 pm
  86. to bring this back to wikileaks issue, nowlebanon.com has no problem reporting uncorroborated news from le figaro, yet if one was just to follow nowlebanon.com they really wouldn’t know that al akhbars wikileaks exist, when major global newspapers (la times etc.) have covered the leaks. For a news outlet that claims to be so progressive it seems pretty biased on the wikileaks issue. Someone should take this up with Hanin Ghaddar, the voice of the enlightened shia!

    Posted by tamer k. | December 5, 2010, 4:07 pm
  87. Since Bellmar has not spoken to the press yet, we can say no indictments have been submitted as of now. NL and MTV are still qouting Figaro.

    NL and other media outlets not indulging in the sensationalism of Asange are acting most responsibly, IMHO.

    Posted by anonymous | December 5, 2010, 4:24 pm
  88. “NL and other media outlets not indulging in the sensationalism of Asange are acting most responsibly, IMHO.”

    Talk about someone who is out of touch with reality.

    There is not a single major media outelt in the world who is not covering and commenting on the Wikileaks. The fact that NL, one of Hariri’s media outlet, has elected to totally ignore the leaks speaks more about their own agenda, and your ridiculous comment above speaks of yours.

    Posted by Saint | December 5, 2010, 5:39 pm
  89. **** new wikileak from the guardian ****

    some interesting quotes

    “Rizk repeated his concerns that UNIIIC Commissioner Daniel Bellemare had stated to some that he “has no case.” Rizk said the U.S. can help by directing Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to ask the UN SYG to impress upon Bellemare the importance of his role as prosecutor for the Tribunal.”

    “10. (C) Rizk pointed out that Bellemare should not be disassociating UNIIIC from the detention of the four generals suspected of involvement in Rafiq Hariri’s assassination because the blame then falls squarely on XXXXXXXXXXXX”

    hmmm I wonder who that person is?

    the full cable can be read here.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/152073

    Posted by tamer k. | December 5, 2010, 5:59 pm
  90. “The fact that NL, one of Hariri’s media outlet, has elected to totally ignore the leaks speaks more about their own agenda, and your ridiculous comment above speaks of yours.”

    My agenda? You haven’t improved one iota since we last met. Gaby was right. We need to try Arabic.

    I made my agenda clear long ago:

    WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT ALL THESE LEAKS (OR LEAPS)

    We’ll try to comm with you one statement at a time. See if that works.

    Posted by anonymous | December 5, 2010, 6:15 pm
  91. “12. (S) Meanwhile, in a separate conversation on Hizballah’s progress in establishing a fiber optic network, Siniora’s senior advisor Mohammed Chatah told Charge that the network was yet another example of Hizballah’s many infringements against the state. The network could thus not be separated from Hizballah’s military activities. A GOL public accusation against Hizballah would beg the same question as to why the GOL did not remove Hizballah’s tanks, and entailed military risks for the GOL. The UNSC could not remain neutral to reports of increasing illegitimate Hizballah activities, he noted, but the GOL would have to be the one to initiate the accusation. Chatah also said there was no clear strategy within the GOL on how to approach the problem, cited some disagreement between Defense Minister Murr and Telecom Minister Hamadeh.”

    The latest wikileak shows the POLITICAL Ineptitude of M14. It does beg the question if they wanted a showdown to remove the telecom network then why not remove hezbollah’s arms? It is clear they wanted the united nations/western governments to step in after initiating an “attack” on Hezbollah. It is ridiculous that our government ministers seem preoccupied by Hezbollah “illegal” activities in the face of daily Israeli infractions.

    Moreover, can any M14 politician or supported (after this leak) convince any right minded Lebanese person that the STL is not politicized, after this statement

    “Rizk repeated his concerns that UNIIIC Commissioner Daniel Bellemare had stated to some that he “has no case.”

    Posted by tamer k. | December 5, 2010, 6:19 pm
  92. CORRECTIOn

    sorry I wanted to say that this quote shows M14 politicization and interference with the STL

    “Rizk said the U.S. can help by directing Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to ask the UN SYG to impress upon Bellemare the importance of his role as prosecutor for the Tribunal.”

    Posted by tamer k. | December 5, 2010, 6:57 pm
  93. Tamer k
    Can you please explain how does impressing upon an official the the importance of his/her post constitute a politicization?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | December 5, 2010, 8:36 pm
  94. HP #31:

    Gaby, erm, I mean Debbie, Does Dallas?

    QN:

    How can one ever “authenticate” a leak. The whole notion of authentication requires some sort of exact scientific mechanism to demonstrate authenticity.

    How can you ever be sure that:

    Since the source of the leak is ultimately one-sided (the embassy/ambassador/etc) in question).

    (1) That the embassy didn’t make it up altogether.

    (2) If there was no other nefarious reason, that the embassy didn’t paraphrase, misunderstand, condense, interpret a discussion. There is after all no official signatures in those documents for which the other party officially signed off- hence effectively “authenticating” the document.

    All this is self-evident truth. As you said, I don’t think anyone can consider the “Leaks” any more or less authentic than anything else that makes its way to your conventional news media. That doesn’t make them any less discussion worthy, if for no other reason, than their pure entertainment value!

    Posted by Gabriel | December 5, 2010, 10:22 pm
  95. The leaks seem to be hearsay and opinions not admissions by anybody or opinions backed by evidence , do they look like that to you too ,

    They seem to be like Gossips,

    Posted by Norman | December 5, 2010, 11:20 pm
  96. The only proof I’ll accept for authenticating these leaks (i.e. that they actually originate from state depts. and/or defence depts.) is if Asange demonstrates how he or his organization succeeded in breaking their encryption codes. He has to present these same leaks in their encrypted form and then provide a demonstration of reconstructing the published cables from the encryptions.

    Until then, I’ll continue to consider them as hearsay, and yes a good entertainment sport.

    That will be Asange’s ace. Because then he would be in a position to claim that he can lay bare all the security measures taken by world governments. Keep in mind that the level of encryption of government information (particularly the US) is one of the highest there is in the world of hi tech (I am not being sarcastic here I mean the real world hi tech)

    If that is the case, then you should be worried not about these leaks and their authenticity or entertainment values but more about the dangers that all your personal info (or worse your banking info)may be exposed to in this fantastic world of cyber espionage – and yes Anthony it is really dark now, even darker than bitter sweet chocolate!

    Posted by anonymous | December 6, 2010, 12:45 am
  97. Anon,

    These are genuine and authentic. Even the USG has admitted as much.

    The were taken by someone on the inside who was privy to the unencrypted information and copied them without the encryption, and wikileaks did not have to decrypt them. the alternative would be that the leaker provided wikileaks with the encryption key, but that’s very very unlikely. it’s plain and simple, they are real.

    Posted by joe m. | December 6, 2010, 1:34 am
  98. Anon @92

    “You haven’t improved one iota since we last met. Gaby was right. We need to try Arabic.”

    “We’ll try to comm with you one statement at a time. See if that works.”

    What is it, you don’t feel well to speak for yourself you need to call Mommy, I mean “Gabby?”

    You condescending attitude alone is cause enough to ignore your persistent drivel on this blog. And the puerile, self-congratulatory, back-slapping act you and buddy “Gaby” engage in should in reality net you nothing but scorn and ridicule. Come out of your play pen first and we’ll discuss. I tried to respectfully address your points in the first post and you answer with nothing but derision and pomposity, and invite your slap-stick buddy “Gabby” to elucidate the finer distinctions between “Defacto” and “theoretical.” You can’t be serious, right? You continue the same posturing by another ad-hominem attack above. You are a piece of work. You are truly full of yourself.

    My sincere advice to you is to lay off the snobbery. Your commentary and analysis is mostly flimsy and irrelevant anyway. Your politics is simple, obvious and one-dimensional. And your lame attempts at appearing nuanced and erudite only help to make you look more ridiculous. That is why you throwing the Isagoge earlier in the middle of a discussion about what you meant about two mundane terms was so comedic, and only speaks to your own mental incapacity and the dire and persistent need you must feel to be taken seriously. All you are good at, with your buddy “Gabby,” is putting other posters down through childish mockery and ad-hominem attacks. I realize, in the same vein, I am also addressing you personally as well; but your ridiculous antics, and further shouting above left me no choice.

    You can be sure I will ignore you and your buddy “Gabby” from here on. Even sitting down to pen these couple of paragraphs was a waste of time. You can carry on: “the dogs bark….”

    Posted by Saint | December 6, 2010, 1:36 am
  99. Ghassan,

    When an interested party with a lot of guns (conducting two wars in the region), and who provides the court with lots of money and diplomatic support tells a supposedly independent prosecutor (who also is director of the tribunal) that it’s very very important that he remember how important his job is (ie. that he make arrests and file charges), that is plenty enough political interference to throw out the entire trial. Every country in the world would consider that extreme interference. Regardless of what Bellemare did as a result. And that we didn’t hear him object forcefully (even if he did) is additionally dangerous to the independence of the indictments/trial. There is no doubt.

    Posted by joe m. | December 6, 2010, 1:47 am
  100. Saint:

    I can understand your compulsion to take a jab at poor Anon, but why’re you sucking me into it?

    His Mommy?

    Why not Daddy?!?!

    Posted by Gabriel | December 6, 2010, 1:58 am
  101. On a serious note, though, and most importantly out of respect for the illustrious QN, who has kindly provided this forum for debates and banter, and what not…

    … I think everyone should grow a slightly thicker skin. A little banter and laughter never hurts.

    Someone called me (almost) racist and obnoxious earlier. If ever I sounded condescending, please humbly accept my apologies, I am here not only for the occasional chuckle (and Anon gives me lots of those! So please keep that edge coming!), but more importantly to learn, listen, appreciate.

    In my brief debates with you, I found myself pulling hairs, as I was thought words were being put in my mouth (or hands).

    You need not interpret that as a criticism of you, or that I am condescending to you. It may well be that I am a very poor communicator. The end result- frustration- is very real though. And surely, unlike those leaks, it is two-sided.

    Ignore if you will, or Indulge. But always remember, smile, and don’t take anything personally.

    Posted by Gabriel | December 6, 2010, 2:14 am
  102. joe m:

    Political Interference and Politicized Trials is one thing. Take the point.

    Data is another.

    One may argue that the Nuremberg Trials were political. Do the victors not pass judgement and write history? But no-one can deny the crimes.

    Whatever else you may think of the STL, it is doing work of a technical nature. That much you cannot contest. If interested parties want to challenge the technical data, they can most certainly do so. In a non-political way of course. But challenge technical data with technical data.

    And once all the technical data and refutations are presented. Then we can all stand back and judge.

    But unfortunately for those seeking answers, there are those (I take it you’re in that bucket) who just don’t want the questions raised or explored. And who are desperately trying to find reasons for the STL to stop doing its work. It is something that perplexes me immensely. HA has a fairly loyal following either way, and a crowd that will buy almost anything they present.. Why they appear to be afraid to challenge the evidence is perplexing. Why they are trying to outright put an end to the STL can only suggest their complicity (or at the very least their lack of confidence in the ability to challenge the evidence).

    Posted by Gabriel | December 6, 2010, 2:29 am
  103. Joem,
    Did the US impress upon the prosecutor the importance of his job or were they asked to do so? I am under the impression that the US was requested to do so and we are not told whether the request was fulfilled or not? I am not splitting hairs, I do find most of the revelations from the leaks to be sensational and damning of the speaker only since I do consider most of the cables to be personal analysis and a record of personal conversations regarding what some wish could take place. I know that to lust is to sin in the eyes of the religious but is lusting a crime? 🙂

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | December 6, 2010, 2:41 am
  104. Ghassan,

    I have not had the time to read many of the cables so i was just quickly scanning things. But there are things we know now that we did not before.

    One is that the prosecutor has previously been telling people privately that he has no case. The other is that the Lebanese government was recently pressuring him to make a case, and seeking to get the USA to pressure him, to make a case.

    Those facts alone are very damning in the face of looming indictments. Political interference in indictments is very damning to the legitimacy of indictments.

    A prosecutor has a lot of power to make a case on the basis of the evidence they have. And if they are pressured to make indictments without the proper evidence, or to make weak indictments just to satisfy their mandate, they can do a lot of unnecessary damage.

    You know that i have long believed that there is little chance a strong case will be made by the tribunal, and i believe these revelations confirmed that. but now it appears that there is (at least an attempt at) political interference in the process. and this is very damning.

    Posted by joe m. | December 6, 2010, 3:42 am
  105. Joe m,

    Do you have links to the above mentioned cables?
    You said;”One is that the prosecutor has previously been telling people privately that he has no case”
    I guess if Bellemaire is making that assertion then all the politicization or the fake date innuendo is just that. If I were in HA; I’d be delighted that there is nothing against them.
    I mean do you think the prosecutor can “creat

    Posted by danny | December 6, 2010, 8:29 am
  106. sorry for the cut off..
    …”create” a case and evidence like a soup de jour?

    Posted by danny | December 6, 2010, 8:30 am
  107. Joe m,
    As you might recall I have also shared the belief that the case will not be based on a “smoking gun’. Had they had that evidence then they would not have dragged this thing so long. I am of the opinion that the case must be brought to an end with whatever evidence is available. This will not be either the first or the last assassination that will be unresolved , if that is the case. But yet I believe that the accepted judicial proceedings should go ahead unhampered. Let the evidence or lack off speak for themselves.

    As to the rumours that Bellmare said privately that he had no case, that is based on a conversation by Najjar in which he says that he has heard rumors that Bellmare has been saying this 🙂 These leaks are in some cases read like these rags at the check out counters, titilating accounts based on he said she said.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | December 6, 2010, 9:52 am
  108. I have checked this wickileak mirror site, and it seems that only 3 cables from the embassy in Beirut were released so far.

    Posted by Badr | December 6, 2010, 10:08 am
  109. I find it amusing that:

    1) The latest fashion seems to be to cry “politicization” about anything and everything. The prosecutor had lunch at a Mexican restaurant! CLEARLY POLITICIZED! The clerk to the STL was seen buying a kosher sandwich at the deli! Clearly the Jews are politicizing the STL!

    2) If we were to follow some of the assertions of Mo and Anon, that having a high profile player say how important the STL and the job are constitutes grounds for dismissing the case. Well, I guess most high profile cases in most criminal courts should be thrown out. If that’s how courts operated, then every trial from OJ Simpson to the John Lennon murder shoulda been thrown out of court because some mayor or VIP got in front of the cameras and said “We will do everything in our power to bring the murderer to justice.” or somesuch declaration.

    Really. I am still amazed at how people in the ME seem to think the Justice system is some kind of flexible tool that can be bent around depending on the actors. I suppose that should be no surprise since we’ve never had a truly independent and functional justice system in our history. We have no idea what that’s like.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 6, 2010, 2:06 pm
  110. BV, Mo is very thoughtful and has not, I don’t think, made unconsidered analyses or claims. I haven’t studied carefully the posts in this thread so maybe there’s an exception that proves the rule (?). I like and trust Mo, even as we disagree. I secretly wish all his beliefs were true but my logic points me otherwise. Still, he can be a partner in building a new Lebanon that we can all be proud of.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 6, 2010, 2:28 pm
  111. My apologies. The post I was referring to was from Joe M. Not Mo.

    Joe said:
    “When an interested party with a lot of guns (conducting two wars in the region), and who provides the court with lots of money and diplomatic support tells a supposedly independent prosecutor (who also is director of the tribunal) that it’s very very important that he remember how important his job is (ie. that he make arrests and file charges), that is plenty enough political interference to throw out the entire trial.”

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 6, 2010, 2:30 pm
  112. You guys have no clue how it’s like to be jabbed at by the saintly beatified:

    Imagine there’s no heaven
    while turning doubly orphaned
    restricted to one dimension
    and no chocolate to lay hands on

    BV 111,
    “2) If we were to follow some of the assertions of Mo and Anon, that having a high profile player say how important the STL and the job are constitutes grounds for dismissing the case.

    I never said that. Actually I believe it is ridiculous to say that.

    Posted by anonymous | December 6, 2010, 3:12 pm
  113. Anon:

    Jeezus, you’re killing me.

    Posted by Gabriel | December 6, 2010, 3:23 pm
  114. I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 6, 2010, 3:39 pm
  115. BV:

    >> I am still amazed at how people in the ME seem to think the Justice system is some kind of flexible tool that can be bent around depending on the actors. <<

    I personally never understood the "politicization" dimension. But is justice not ultimately subjective?

    I was watching a video on the BBC about some Pakistani Xian sentanced to death for some "blasphemous" utterance or another. It seems strange to me that any judge would mete out such a ridiculous punishment. Stranger still that blasphemy should be punishable at all. But no doubt there was a Judge that passed the judgement.

    I go back to my point #104.

    And perhaps most pertinently to the blog post that HP kindly pointed me to on the Landis website. Perhaps in some alternate dimension of self-righteousness, Hariri's murder is seen by some as Justice delivered to someone who has betrayed the "Arab" cause or the cause of "the Resistance". Perhaps in this alternate dimension, the Judges in Qom wouldn't shy away from a public admission to that effect- if only because of the explosive precedence it sets, but that they may nonetheless be no less convinced about the righteousness of their Judgement.

    Posted by Gabriel | December 6, 2010, 3:40 pm
  116. Gabriel,

    Interesting points. I guess I should have clarified that the justice system I speak of is not only independent and impartial, but also built around what we, in the 21st century, have arrived at in terms of modern sets of values and mores (which is to say, what passes off as civilized these days).
    This incorporates, imo, the basic tenets of freedom of speech, religion, sexual orientation, and whathaveyou.
    And yes, I know, in the real world, there are still many countries where these don’t apply.

    I don’t frankly think that condemning homosexuals to death (as is done in some African countries) or stoning adulterers to death (see Iran and KSA) are the kind of “justice” I speak of here.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 6, 2010, 3:55 pm
  117. BV,
    No one in his right mind can disagree with your vision of justice and equality, especially in the Middle East. The question is; How do we get there? Do we have the mechanism for change?
    We need to remember that discrimination and racism are common everywhere, especially in western countries .
    I just read a story, that would have made the headlines in the western media, had it taken place in a middle eastern county.
    A Boss, in Norway, orders female staff to wear red bracelets when they are on their periods.
    Of all countries, Norway!!

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1334400/Female-staff-Norway-ordered-wear-red-bracelets-period.html#ixzz17NAoKaNF

    Posted by Prophet | December 6, 2010, 6:24 pm
  118. How do we get there is indeed the million dollar question. I don’t have a practical answer.
    I don’t think we will get there in my lifetime, to be honest.

    As for the Norway story. Clearly, that’s an abhorrent practice that should be against the law in any country.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 6, 2010, 7:06 pm
  119. BV,
    I have categorically stated what I believe the whole STL is all about and I won’t get back into the pointless back and forth.

    But let me ask you a question. Do you seriously believe that the judicial process is as straight and as incorruptible (or flexible as you put it) as you seem to state? Do you really believe that even in the US no judge or jury has ever been influenced either by bending of ear or by brown plain paper envelopes?

    If you are, congratulations, you live in a far less cynical world than I do.

    One thing I need to correct you on though. You say its the people in the ME that seem to think the Justice system is some kind of flexible tool that can be bent around depending on the actors. In that case I suggest you look at how the wikileaks have affected the Spanish in that they purport to show that the US govt. very much tried to make Spanish Justice a “flexible” tool in the case of José Cuoso. Perhaps in reading how the US govt. tried to influence that case you will understand what some of us mean when we say they are trying to influence the STL.

    I’m sure you still won’t care, nor would I expect you to. But at least, rather than being so “amazed”, you may gain some measure of understanding of what the other side thinks.

    Posted by usedtopost | December 6, 2010, 7:09 pm
  120. UtP:

    So you’re implying that Hizballah definitively killed Hariri?

    Posted by Gabriel | December 6, 2010, 7:42 pm
  121. Excuse the english: Definitively = Definitely.

    Posted by Gabriel | December 6, 2010, 7:43 pm
  122. UTP,

    You and I will agree to disagree on certain things. I already know that, so as you said, I won’t rehash.

    However, you are attempting to put words in my mouth, i think.
    I did not say that corruption does not exist. In the US and every other civilized place, there is always corruption and attempts to buy off judges, etc. And sometimes, those attempts are successful. And sometimes they are not.

    But I think you are missing the point I was trying to make. There is a difference between a system that for the most part, holds, despite corruption, and doing away entirely with the system because someone tried to corrupt it.

    Trials do not get DISMISSED or CANCELED in the US because someone attempted to pay off a judge. The judge might get replaced, and prosecuted himself, and charges against him would have to be proven (as opposed to general hearsay) and the original case would still continue.

    In the Middle East, there appears to be this notion that well, if there’s political pressure, then we need to do away with the tribunal and the case altogether. That’s what I meant by flexible. In the ME, there also appears to be this tendency that only certain people can be prosecuted. I’ve ranted about this before. Even with all the corruption in the US and Europe, politicians STILL get indicted. In the middle east, forget about even getting to the part where someone bribes a judge, the case itself doesn’t even get STARTED! Have we ever seen a politician or well connected person even get CHARGED? Court proceedings even get INITIATED?
    The only examples we have for our frame of reference (which is why we don’t get it) are indeed selectively politicized trials (like say, Geagea being tried for things everyone else in the room was just as guilty of).

    You see what I mean?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 6, 2010, 8:09 pm
  123. defining definitively as definitely is definitely non definitive

    Posted by Honest Patriot | December 6, 2010, 8:35 pm
  124. Gaby,

    You lost me in your last comment (122). Please explain how you can deduce that from the comment you made use of. I’m eager.

    BV has an excellent point in 124. HNA repeatedly indicated his preference for ‘justice’ a la Arab League sort of tribunal. For some reason, HNA and his followers believe that ME version of ‘justice’ is the justice to strive for. Of course, HNA presents his case in terms of our justice versus their justice or more precisely Islamic justice vs. non-Islamic justice which is a profanity from his point of view. I am not sure if he still wants that kind of circus tribunal, or he simply wants the STL dismissed altogether and the case burried.

    You would continue to split hairs with proponents of this view no matter what. You have to prove your case not only beyond reasonable doubt but beyond any doubt whatsoever in your non-Islamic court since you presumably do not subscribe to certain ‘ideals’.

    The reference points are different.

    P.S.
    When Hariri visited Tehran, he was repeatedly lectured about the special character of the ‘martyrs of resistance’, but no mention was made of those killed after 2005. What is that supposed to mean? Martyrdom racism?

    Posted by anonymous | December 6, 2010, 8:46 pm
  125. Prophet says,
    “We need to remember that discrimination and racism are common everywhere, especially in western countries .”

    That homosapiens have the proclivity to discriminate has never been questioned. But to claim that the West manifests this inclination more than other regions in the world is a statment that is difficult and probably impossible to support. What is important is not whether individuals have biases but whether there are laws that prevent them from acting on these biases.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | December 6, 2010, 11:23 pm
  126. Anon:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,172713,00.html

    I refer to the Cuoso case. As can clearly be seen by the Bastion of Fair reporting: America’s Fox News. Even the US does not deny that Cuoso was in fact killed by a US tank.

    The “political” dimension that our friend CtP refers to is the pressure to have the case dismissed.

    I am not aware of any American attempts to suggest the death was a result of Iraqi Snipers hiding behind some bushes. The Americans have to the best of my knowledge not overtly Falsified this data, nor have they accused any foreign agents of falsifying this data.

    Picking American friendly judges, versus American unfriendly judges simply makes the Death one of accidental cost of war, versus a flagrant abuse by the US military. That he died is not being questioned. That he died as a result of American action is not challenged either.

    My point is this. A murder happened in Lebanon. There is evidence. Some of it may be circumstantial. Perhaps it won’t stand completely in a court of law. But it is pointing quite strongly at a certain group in Lebanon.

    To create an equivalence between the two narratives, is to suggest that “politicization” of the matter is to pick a narrative more convenient to American interests, versus a narrative presumably more sympathetic to HA. (Landis Theory: HA knocked him out because he was a traitor to the cause).

    The logic of course is intended to be facetious. The argument is completely illogical, because no innocent party, as you have pointed out on numerous occasions, would behave as has HA.

    The STL will defacto be politicized because HA will not pay for the deed (if they are successfully prosecuted). They will ultimately not be accountable just as the Americans will (mostly) not be accountable for breaches in international law.

    Posted by Gabriel | December 7, 2010, 12:15 am
  127. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan etc. etc. Are the true light unto the nations of this world and their current state of social, political and economic affairs is the model the west should adopt to join this civilized club.
    HP thanks for your earlier vote of confidence! You make a great Secretary of State 🙂

    Posted by V | December 7, 2010, 3:37 am
  128. jumblatt has confirmed wikileaks pertaining to him.

    http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=221371

    Posted by tamer k. | December 7, 2010, 4:48 am
  129. Julian Asange has been arrested in Britain.

    Thanks Gabriel. I now see your point. Be careful with Landis. He is a very ‘murky’ fellow.

    Posted by anonymous | December 7, 2010, 9:04 am
  130. BV:

    >> This incorporates, imo, the basic tenets of freedom of speech, religion, sexual orientation, and whathaveyou. <<

    I think many of us in the West have been reconditioned to think the above is obvious. (I am a huge proponent of all these things, and many more things besides).

    But I think to be fair to the argument, you should take more currently contentious arguments.

    Take abortion: There are countries in the West in which abortion is still illegal, or more constrained.

    or Gay Marriage: Even within the States there is variation.

    For every issue there can be a whole range of opinions/interpretations/etc that surround it.

    In a way, every judicious process is in some sense "political", or "politicized".

    Which, going back to the discussion on the assassinations is what is confouding. Take the issue of Court away. Take away the Judicial process, and the inherent biases that will undoubtedly exist. Take all that away. An incident (murder) has happened. I won't call it murder so as not to betray a "bias" in reading the incident.

    This incident could have been executed by HA. Or it could not have been executed by HA. But no one can deny the incident happened. And HA either was involved in the incident, or it was not involved in the incident.

    The STL is a forum to explore these issues. To pull out the data. And how can anyone be against getting more data?

    Even the flurry of counter-PR that HA is currently active in, seems chronologically to be a result of the findings (raw data) of the STL. Even if I were not to accept the truth of the counter-allegations, I would not deny the value of having that extra data. It's good to know that the telecomm was infiltrated by a certain party. It would be good to know if this data is "fakeable" and the probability of it being fakeable. And I would like nothing better than to see a slew of technical specialists sympathetic to HA punch the numbers, compute the probabilities and present the "Data".

    That there are individuals in this forum, or in the broader political landscape who are not interested in seeing this analysis is something I consider unthinkable. Illogical (assuming they don't have another political agenda, but are here for purely for reasons of debate and exchange of ideas). And hiding behind words like "Political" doesn't make it any more logical.

    Posted by Gabriel | December 7, 2010, 1:02 pm
  131. Ghassan,127
    I did highlight discrimination and racism in the west, but that didn’t mean that the west was more or less racist than other regions. To be clear on this, it was not my intention to imply that. I wanted to make a point that not only Arab countries suffer from discrimination and racisms.
    As a matter of fact I have not looked at any data to say either way.
    I think my emphasis on the west was because of their diverse societies, and the clash of cultures between Europeans, and the new immigrants.
    Many other regions are less diverse, so racism is not really measured much.
    That being said, western societies, especially some Europeans countries have been struggling with the rise of racism against other minorities from North Africa, and other Muslim countries. Good example, France, and Germany.

    Posted by Prophet | December 7, 2010, 1:45 pm
  132. Gabriel 132:

    Excellent points. I tried to mitigate my previous statement by saying that clearly, the justice system in the “west” is also imperfect. I don’t believe there is a perfect system that satisfies everyone’s sense of justice.
    Gay marriage, abortion, etc. are all very valid points.

    I go back to the root of my argument though: It’s not so much about which system is better or whether it’s good or not. It’s more about the fact that there IS a system.

    The story of gay marriage in the US, for example, illustrates my point. There is a system in place that deals with this (and any other matter) and attempts to right the wrongs (perceived or real) as our society evolves.
    No one would think of taking up gay marriage in the courts in the US in the 1950s or 1850s because society had not yet evolved to where this matter was self-evidently acceptable. But when society was ready, the system was in place to bring this matter forward. In other words, it is not the justice system that changed. It was always there and always capable of handling the question. It was just a matter of waiting till society was ready to bring this question to the justice system.

    In the ME, we don’t really have a system present and ready to handle matters. Instead, in the name of “our society isn’t ready for this”, we throw out the justice system entirely and ignore it.

    Maybe I am not explaining this very well, but in my mind, the difference between the 2 approaches is HUGE.

    I’ll stick to gay marriage as my example:
    – Conceivably, someone could’ve taken up the issue of gay marriage in the US courts all the way back in 1850. The legal framework was there all along.
    – In Lebanon, there is no legal framework for such matters. Or rather, there is on paper, but it is happily ignored on a daily basis.

    Did that make sense?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 7, 2010, 1:56 pm
  133. BV.

    It makes sense to me sitting in my comfortable home 8000km away.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t know anything about Lebanon, how it works. Who the players are. Do people pay taxes? What, besides tourism, generates money for the government? Or is it all government handouts, and investment opportunities the Hariris give to Gulfies so they can have a nice Pad overlooking the Mediterranean.

    It’s clear to me the country’s a banana republic. But it’s about all I can say!

    Maybe you’re more in touch with day to day realities in Leb, so I can take a somewhat pertinent example. A few years ago, I was reading about an active movement to allow “Civil Marriages” in Lebanon. I don’t know what came of it. Was it brought before the courts? Was there a hearing? Is there a the equivalent of a “Supreme Court” that handles questions of the sort? Or did the political establishment kill the movement based on the Sectarian nature and religious groups exercising authority?

    Forgive me if my questions are naive and silly. I really don’t know what the situation is actually like or why it is what it is.

    Posted by Gabriel | December 7, 2010, 2:19 pm
  134. Gabriel, it would be premature (and stupid) for the defense to release their own evidence, especially as a response to the flawed and biased CBC “report”.

    “Sometimes I get the impression that the indictment is the final determination of who’s responsible for the killing of Mr. Hariri,” von Hebel said. “An indictment is really only the beginning of a process.”

    Once Fransen has the indictment, he will likely launch proceedings with the court’s appeals chamber so that he can clarify legal issues raised by the indictment, von Hebel said. This intermediary stage is one of the changes introduced last month to the court’s rules on procedure and evidence, in a step designed to speed up the STL’s work, von Hebel said. The content of these consultations should be public, he added.

    Only after Fransen reviews the evidence, indictment and consults the appeals chamber will the pretrial judge decide to confirm all or part of Bellemare’s indictment. “It is only in the first quarter of next year that we may see a decision by the pretrial judge,” von Hebel said. Should the court be able to detain any of those indicted, the phase of disclosure of all evidence between prosecution and defense attorneys would then need to be finished before a trial could begin, the registrar added.”

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=122291#ixzz17S8m9apQ

    The trial phase is the proper venue for presentation and arguments over the veracity/credibility of the data.

    Posted by lally | December 7, 2010, 2:52 pm
  135. Gabriel,

    Well, to be fair, I’m also 8000km away. But I did spend the majority of my life in Lebanon, so I may be somewhat familiar with things.
    Banana republic is actually an apt description, imo.

    To answer your specific questions:
    – The civil marriage thing went nowhere. Perfect example of what I was talking about. There may be some legal mechanism to pursue such a thing, but it’s on paper only. The matter got buried or ignored with no real recourse for those who fought for it.
    -Technically, there is a process. There is a system. On paper. There are courts. There is a somewhat equivalent to a supreme court, and so on. But in practice, no one knows where they are or how they work. I believe the “supreme court” is currently disbanded, or something along those lines? No new appointments were made? (Maybe someone more familiar can update us).

    Either way, there is really no real recourse for the ordinary citizen, in practical terms. The courts are pretty much politicized and exist out of the reach of the non-political class.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 7, 2010, 3:01 pm
  136. Lally,

    >> it would be premature (and stupid) for the defense to release their own evidence, especially as a response to the flawed and biased CBC “report” >>

    You’re two steps ahead of me. I haven’t even gotten there yet. I am in pre-trial stage! From what I see, some people want the STL to be altogether disbanded, defunded… all, I am assuming, to put an end to the investigation or the indictment.

    Posted by Gabriel | December 7, 2010, 3:21 pm
  137. WikiLeaks cables: Saudis proposed Arab force to invade Lebanon

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/07/wikileaks-saudi-arab-invasion-lebanon

    wow, @ least the American’s were pragmatic

    Posted by tamer k. | December 7, 2010, 6:48 pm
  138. tammer K.
    I wonder if one should put any faith in the Saudi/Syrian efforts.lol
    Note, they wanted the US and NATO to do the job for them, then they move in.
    I’d imagine the total destruction of Dahieh was part of the plan to take control of Beirut.

    Posted by Prophet | December 7, 2010, 7:13 pm
  139. The Saudi’s didn’t impress in Yemen, and I would imagine they would of left a lot of boys behind in Dahieh.

    It is clear from the previous wikileaks that Chatah (M14) knew what Hezbollah’s response would be when they tried to take down the telecom network. Whether the hizbis are guilty or not I don’t think anyone in March 14 is dumb enough to think that the hizbis are going to wait to have their day in court to defend their honor.

    “. The UNSC could not remain neutral to reports of increasing illegitimate Hizballah activities, he noted, but the GOL would have to be the one to initiate the accusation”

    only this time it will be the international community under ch.7 authority initiating the accusation. Bottom line is that as long as the US delays bombing Iran, its jittery neighbors will look to push the agenda against its proxy in Lebanon to make their point.

    Posted by tamer k. | December 7, 2010, 7:48 pm
  140. WikiLeaks cables: Syria stunned by Hezbollah assassination

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/07/wikileaks-syria-hezbollah-assassination

    In 2006 the Lebanese defence minister, Elias Murr, told US diplomats that Mughniyeh was “very active in Beirut”, hinting that he was involved in a spate of murders of Lebanese politicians who were hostile to Syria.

    Posted by tamer k. | December 7, 2010, 8:10 pm
  141. Gabriel, I took your frequent calls for HA to lay out their case in order to prove their innocence to mean you wanted public disclosure now rather than at the appropriate time & place.

    BTW, my primary beef is with the increasingly obvious interference and political pressure exerted by my own government in order to weaken the formidable enemy that Israel has spawned.

    The STL is but one example of our duplicitous behavior in that regard. We seem incapable of designing our ME foreign policies to put real US interests first.

    (In regard to your earlier suggestion that we should lighten up and smile …..”Debbie does Dallas” did it for me.)

    tamer k.

    The Daily Star is being fed selected and selectively “reporting” on what their American source provides. So much for US outrage over leakage of our embassy cables. I wonder when in 2006 Murr was flapping his lips; before, during or after “Operation Just Reward” as the IDF called it before someone with a PR clue renamed it.

    If they chose to, the lying hypocrites could easily put a stop to this as the pool of those with access to the documents would be rather shallow.

    Perhaps one of those sharp-eyed & persistent American journalists on the State dept beat could confront spokesmodel PJ Crowley about the DoS dog that has yet to bark about the *crimes* of disclosure being committed in Beirut.

    Posted by lally | December 7, 2010, 10:32 pm
  142. ‘The Daily Star is being fed selected and selectively “reporting”’. And u this how?
    A wikileak of Wikileaks?

    Posted by anon | December 8, 2010, 5:53 am
  143. Arabian Gulf states call for lifting sanctions on Iran if it complies with full disclosure… Iran resumes talks (positively) about it’s nuclear file… Syrian president in France… Israel restarting talks with Palestinians… Qatar hosting world cup 2022… China and India busy educating ~3b people…….

    Lebanese very busy analyzing wikileaks…

    Posted by IHTDA | December 8, 2010, 12:49 pm
  144. IHTDA
    That is the sad truth. But at least we have been distracted some from demonizing the rule of law 🙂

    Posted by ghassan karam | December 8, 2010, 1:15 pm
  145. IHDTA (What does that stand for anyway?) #145:

    Great observation.
    I’ve stated before that the Lebanese seem to think their tiny little country of 3 million imbeciles is the center of the universe.
    They sit around wasting their lives, essentially, while the rest of the vast world out there moves forward with technology, education, and all sorts of other advances for humanity.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 8, 2010, 2:07 pm
  146. 3 million ? You obviously haven’t been caught in rush hour traffic in Beirut.

    And unless I’ve missed something, I think the rest of the world is pretty much in a mess unless you are Chinese.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | December 8, 2010, 2:37 pm
  147. BV
    I Have To DisAgree…

    Posted by IHTDA | December 8, 2010, 3:12 pm
  148. anon of comment 144 is not one and the same as anon in anonymous.

    Posted by anonymous | December 8, 2010, 3:17 pm
  149. IHDTA, Quite the contrarian, eh?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 8, 2010, 3:40 pm
  150. Anon, I mean Anonymous:

    I got worried there a little. You need to pick a unique identifier.

    We can’t even lovingly nickname you Anon anymore without sowing all sorts of confusion.

    Posted by Gabriel | December 8, 2010, 5:03 pm
  151. From today’s Now Lebanon:

    “Lebanese figures named in US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks should be summoned and questioned by the judiciary, Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun said on Wednesday.

    “My name appeared and I am ready to give my testimony,” Aoun said in a press conference following the bloc’s weekly meeting.

    He commended those responsible for leaking the US cables by saying that they “enjoy some humanity and want the US to be a model for dealing with the world.”

    Now isn’tb this the village idiot who said just last week; those leaks were the work of mossad?

    These are the politicians we have in Lebanon and the sheeple who follow them! What a bunch of morons!

    Posted by danny | December 8, 2010, 6:18 pm
  152. Danny,
    A politicians opinion is determined by which way the wind is blowing:-)

    Posted by ghassan karam | December 8, 2010, 6:26 pm
  153. GK,

    You must admit GMA gives a new meaning to the term “Lebanese politician”. Even WJ cannot swivel that quickly lol. 😀

    Posted by danny | December 8, 2010, 6:46 pm
  154. Indeed….

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | December 8, 2010, 6:50 pm
  155. Just digressing a bit…Here’s what Hamas preaches…and we are supposed to be sympathetic to them.

    http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=676&fld_id=676&doc_id=3857

    Posted by danny | December 8, 2010, 7:21 pm
  156. Danny,
    Note the following two exerpts from the previous thread on this blog and also note the date and the accuracy of the forecast 🙂

    “BTW, have you also noticed that many of the politicians who jumped the gun in assessing the leaks find themselves in an awkward position now that the leaks favour their position Ex. GMA dismissed the leaks as intentional in order to raise the level of tension in the region. That makes it more difficult for him to turn around the next day and use the leaks that he denounced the day before as evidence that supports his position. Politicians, give them enough rope and they will hang themselves 🙂

    danny Says:

    December 3, 2010 at 9:19 am

    GK,

    The village idiot of Rabieh will come up with a twist and believe me; his followers will accept his lunacy. 😀 ”

    Not that one deserves any special credit for predicting what some of these pols will say or do lol.

    Posted by ghassan karam | December 8, 2010, 8:01 pm
  157. Anyone knows what happened to Al Akhbar website? looks like they got hijacked by a pink Saudi Website

    Posted by V | December 8, 2010, 11:27 pm
  158. Saudi freedom of PRESS at its best.
    I’s funny how the king is his brother are dancing because they were able to hijack Al Akhbar.

    Posted by Prophet | December 9, 2010, 3:00 pm
  159. Where can we get all the fun now with al-Akhbar gone for a while?

    I am suspecting it is an inside job at al-Akhbar.

    Posted by anonymous | December 9, 2010, 3:08 pm
  160. Anon:

    Just read qifanabki.com comments section, no?

    😀

    Posted by Gabriel | December 9, 2010, 3:40 pm
  161. @ #144, the real “anon”

    Unlike Al-Akhbar, why is Patrick Galey not permitted to link to or display the original documents in full?. That implies that a different “wikileaker” with different RoE’s is his source. Someone should ask him about his “exclusives” especially in light of this tweet:

    “Puzzled again. How can Al-Akhbar + Al-Masry al-Yawm have ‘exclusives’ on #wikileaks cables? Surely stuff’s either on the site or embargoed?
    8:55 AM Dec 1st via web”

    http://twitter.com/patrickgaley

    (are you also this anon?)

    http://patrickgaley.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/us-military-funding-arse-and-elbow/#more-636

    Posted by lally | December 9, 2010, 5:34 pm
  162. Wikileaks is part of Israeli Hasbara to further isolate the US from the world community and make it easier for Israel to manipulate Washington against the Muslim world.

    On November 30, 2010 – the British daily The Independent had reported Israeli daily Ha’aretz senior commentator on strategic issues, terrorism and intelligence, Yossi Melman, saying that Mossad-MI6-CIA were behind the publication of classified US State Department documents by WikiLeaks.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/wikileaks-turkey-iran-and-the-lies/

    Posted by rehmat1 | December 9, 2010, 6:03 pm
  163. and

    bin laden, according to a wikil release, was alive in 2006. most think he died in late 2001.

    and of course

    iran can reach berlin with dangerous missiles. we know this thanks to wiki release.

    any release of u.s cables re lunatic kuwaiti actions against iraq that led to iraq’s justified invasion.

    Posted by 5 dancing shlomos | December 14, 2010, 1:07 pm

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