Posted by Alex on Sunday, April 13th, 2008
Posted by Alex
French daily Le-Figaro published its investigation into the disappearance of Zuheir al-Saddiq, star witness in the probe on former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri's murder. I translated the relevant parts to English, below. I am not a professional translator. Please refer to the original article for reference.
disparition du faux témoin de l'affaire Hariri
(Disappearance of the false witness of the Hariri affair)
Some months after the assassination of [late Lebanese prime minister Rafiq] Hariri in February 2005, his entourage came in contact with a man, [Assadiq] who claimed to have important secrets and to be the chauffeur of a Syrian General. During Assadiq's pre-screening in Saudi Arabia, those close to Saad Hariri, the heir to his father, undertook the task of briefing Assadiq. At the time Detlev Mehlis, the German persecutor in charge of the Hariri investigation, had difficulties … There were many testimonies but none that implicated Syrians. The pro Hariri people who were collaborating closely with the Mehlis commission wanted to attribute to Assadiq information gathered by others. There was a need for a place to conduct the interrogation. In the name of friendship which bonded Jacques Chirac with Rafiq Hariri, the [French] ex-president accepted that the UN investigators come to France to question the suspect and that Assadiq be pre-screened by French authorities.
Did Jacques Chirac realize that it was a setup? … not sure.
However, as soon as his initial interrogation commenced, the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, France’s foreign intelligence agency) realized what Assadiq was, and handed this hot potato to the DST (Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, a directorate of the French National Police operating as a domestic intelligence agency). Assadiq was then guarded by French elite intervention team, équipe RAID (Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion] which quickly asked to be relieved from their responsibility of protecting him since he was “uncontrollable”. According to a person who is familiar with his file, “the false witness” ended up telling the policemen that “he had been paid to say what they wanted him to say so that the investigation moves in the desired direction”.
At the end of 2005 Assadiq called his brother Imad and informed him that he has become a millionaire. The man became an embarrassment. But what can be done about him? …Several hypotheses are possible for his disappearance. The false witness left at his own initiative, the Syrians recuperated him in a clandestine operation, the French have hidden him so that they can later hand him over to international justice.
The most obvious hypothesis is otherwise. An intelligence expert who has followed the affair stated that “those who brought him to France, that is the Hariri camp, have neutralized him by sheltering him”… was this done without French involvement?
“it is technically possible that the French did not have a role in his departure” adds a police officer, since no charge had been laid against him and Assadiq was free in his movements and he was not under permanent surveillance. In fact, according to a diplomatic source “France, since last September, did not want him anymore, the Hariri clan cutoff his living allowances to make him leave, but today those close to Saad Hariri are keeping him clearly under their radar”.
By placing him in a secret location his manipulating protectors wanted to avoid being discredited by their client at the international tribunal.
Meanwhile, the internet is rich in thousands of links to articles and opinion pieces from 2005, 2006, 2007, and even 2008 that continue to dedicate a paragraph to the initial Mehlis report which was based on Saddiq's testimony … "Syria implicated" in Hariri's murder.
Here are screen shots of a few samples.