Saturday, November 27, 2010

Coming to a head?

Tick, tock. Tick, tock... The days and months continue to roll by since the assassination of Rafik Hariri (February 14th, 2005), and the official investigation plods on... Recently, Canadian broadcaster CBC published a 4-part "investigation", "Who Killed Lebanon's Rafik Hariri?" (subtitled "Getting Away with Murder.") The bottom line? Hezbollah, albeit with help...

OK, so let's stipulate that all of this could be true, although there is a fair amount of skepticism out there... For example, the Qifa Nabki web site takes issue with the CBC "investigation's" central thesis that the UNIIIC ignored telecom information for the first several years (note: his criticism provides copious references to and excerpts from UNIIIC reports by Mehlis and Brammertz which reference telecommunications analysis work that the commission had done).

This blogger finds the very first two sentences of the CBC article simply astounding! Quote, "It wasn't until late 2007 that the awkwardly titled UN International Independent Investigation Commission actually got around to some serious investigating. By then three years had passed since the spectacular murder of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik Hariri." Huh? Is this actually possible? No real investigating for the first three years? While the evidence was "fresh"? While suspects were actually incarcerated and in jail (e.g. "the four generals" - head of general security Maj. Gen. Jamil al Sayyed, Ali al-Hajj, the former police director general, army intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Raymond Azar and the head of the Presidential Guard Brigade, Brig. Gen. Mustafa Hamdan)? Wouldn't this be in contravention of the "guiding principles" of the STL e.g. "to take account of the most stringent requirements for the protection of human rights"(see here), and wouldn't this be a case of providing ammunition to those already looking for opportunities to criticize the UNIIIC and to call for its disbanding?

To this blogger if the CBC contention is accurate then the very premise and existence of the UNIIIC is problematic, while if the CBC contention is inaccurate it does not augur well for the reliability of the rest of the "investigation."

Next, the entire "Captain Wissam Eid had figured it all out but the UNIIIC lost/misplaced his findings" story and the associated time line are also rather bizarre... So, the narrative is that in 2005/2006 Eid had figured out the "red network" and the "networks behind the networks"... He had even received a confirmation direct from Hezbollah, before filing his report with the UNIIIC "in the first months of 2006." Subsequently his boss was targeted "as if to underscore" that he should back off (curiously enough that was in September 2006... one would think that Hezbollah would have done this before he turned in the incriminating report and not after "he had moved on!"). Then Hezbollah waited for a year and a half, and after Eid's work was "found" and he met with UNIIIC investigators, then they kill him too... Again, wouldn't it have been better to kill him a. before he turned in his report, or failing that, b. after he turned in his report, along with having report expunged by one of their operatives (since Hezbollah is supposed to have "infiltrated the commission.")

And actually, what exactly is the relevance of the entire Wissam Eid story to the subject of proving Hezbollah's responsibility (or not) for the Hariri murder, other than from a "human interest" angle? After all, if the specialists from FTS have analyzed all the telecommunications data and have mapped out all the connections, it does seem rather moot...

Additionally, some of the connections are not exactly clear... How exactly did the networks connect "elliptically" with Hezbollah's Great Prophet Hospital, and how did the networks communicate "indirectly" with the pink phones?

Oh yeah, and there appears to be very little in this CBC "investigation" that is new, much of this information was published by Der Spiegel back in May of 2009, see 'Breakthrough in Tribunal Investigation: New Evidence Points to Hezbollah in Hariri Murder'

The bottom line? We'll have to wait for the STL's indictments to know more, and even so those are sure not to be the last word!!

CBC Investigation: Who killed Lebanon's Rafik Hariri?
STL response: Hariri Investigation will not be Deterred by Recent Criticism
Lebanon tense as fingers point over Hariri killing
Trials and tribulations for Mr. Bellemare

Some previous blog entries referencing Lebanon:
Great quotes - Oct 10th, 2010
Random charts - Sep 23rd, 2010
Random picture - Aug 4th, 2010
Great quotes - Jan 10th, 2010
Great quotes - Jul 29th, 2010
Such concern - Jul 24th, 2009
Lebanese elections II - Jun 9th, 2009
Lebanese elections - Jun 8th, 2009
Four years on... - February 16th, 2009
Quotes - Jan 21st, 2009
UNIIIC progress (?!) - December 18th, 2008
Great quotes... - December 10th, 2008
Damned if you do... - November 18th, 2008
Lebanon - good grief - November 11th, 2008
Taking it back - October 28th, 2008
Profile - Oct 20th, 2008
Litmus test quiz - September 2nd, 2008
Everything takes more time... - August 12th, 2008
At Last (Lebanon)! - July 11th, 2008
Self-examination - profound & shallow - July 7th, 2008
Some poll indicators - June 21st, 2008
Make that President Sleiman - May 25th, 2008
Le Sursis - May 21st, 2008
Lebanon - Doha noise - May 20th, 2008
Bad omen... good omen... - May 11th, 2008
Needed in Lebanon III - May 6th, 2008
Headed back down the toilet? - May 6th, 2008
Needed in Lebanon II - May 2nd, 2008
Needed in Lebanon - April 16th, 2008
Misc updates #3 - April 4th, 2008
Rogue's Gallery II - March 26th, 2008
A Rogue's Gallery - March 2nd, 2008
Benazir Bhutto follow-up... - Feb 9th, 2008

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