Posted by Joshua on Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
The Der Spiegel article is suspicious for many reasons. Here are a few put forward by SC readers:
1. The timing suggests that the story was released to provide maximum damage to Hizbullah’s and Aoun’s likely success in the elections.
2. The most recent UN investigative teams (in contradistinction to Mehlis) have been excellent at not politicizing or leaking evidence from the case.
3. Nasrallah has no record of assassinating Lebanese political figures that stand in his way.
4. The accusations against Syria in 2005 and 2006 turned out to be based on false witness, why should we trust this bombshell?
5. There are accusations that Der Spiegel and Israeli intelligence are in close cahoots.
6. Ehsani notes that the article claims that investigation reached surprising “new” conclusions a month ago.
Are we to believe that the court was set up on march 1, 2009 without a formal and concrete case at the time, and that somehow this case took a new turn very recently?
7. Alex writes: This article is the ultimate manifestation of the on-going politicization of the Hariri tribunal.
All the evidence in this article is twisted, starting with the 8 cell phones, which for your information, belonged to a Sunni group in Trablus, not to any one in Hizbullah. And this is a confirmed fact even during the Mehlis phase of the investigation
8. T.desco alerts us to the similarities between the Spiegel article and the Le Figaro article of 2006.
I think you should also post the Figaro article, because it’s more fun:
Der Spiegel 2009:
“The pace of the investigation stalled under Mehlis’s Belgian successor, Serge Brammertz. (…)
But now there are signs that the investigation has yielded new and explosive results. (…)
Tribunal chief Bellemare and his fellow judges apparently want to hold back this information, of which they been aware for about a month.” (!) (my emphasis)
Le Figaro 2006:
“LES ENQUÊTEURS libanais, en charge de l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri, travaillent depuis quelques mois sur une nouvelle piste, qui conduit au Hezbollah. «L’enquête internationale dirigée par le juge Serge Brammertz s’oriente également dans cette direction», confirme, au Figaro, un proche de Saad Hariri (…).” (my emphasis)
Der Spiegel 2009:
“Damascus’s view of the situation could be more mixed. Although the Syrian government is not being declared free of the suspicion of involvement, at least President Assad is no longer in the line of fire.”
Le Figaro 2006:
“Elle ne modifie pas l’orientation générale de l’enquête : la Syrie reste pointée du doigt. «Les Syriens ont cloisonné l’opération, en confiant à leurs différents alliés au Liban le soin de préparer cet attentat, sans que l’un sache ce que l’autre avait à faire», estime un spécialiste des questions de sécurité.”
The story goes out of its way to highlight the fact that “although the Syrian government is not being declared free of the suspicion of involvement, at least President Assad is no longer in the line of fire. There is hardly anything to indicate he was aware of the murder plot”.
Presumably, the release of the four Lebanese Security Chiefs has put to rest the theory that Damascus was to blame.
With Syria out of the picture, the story goes on to shift the blame to Iran and HA. Here are the key parts:
“SPIEGEL has learned from sources close to the tribunal and verified by examining internal documents, that the Hariri case is about to take a sensational turn.”
Is it the source that examined the internal documents or is it spiegel that examined these documents. If it is the latter, was the source able to take these documents outside the tight security building? Surely, the investigation should be able to track this so-called source?
The article claims too much knowledge: “He is believed to be Abd al-Majid Ghamlush, from the town of Rumin, a Hezbollah member who had completed training course in Iran. Ghamlush was also identified as the buyer of the mobile phones. He has since disappeared, and perhaps is no longer alive.”
How did they know that he completed training in Iran? Did they see him board a flight to Tehran and followed his bus ride to a training camp?
“Salim has largely assumed the duties of his notorious predecessor, with Mughniyah’s brother-in-law, Mustafa Badr al-Din, serving as his deputy. The two men report only to their superior, and to General Kassim Sulaimani, their contact in Tehran.”
How did the investigators identify General Kassim Sulaimani in Iran? Did he have a caller ID? Was this general dialing in from his Tehran office into salim’s cell phone? Also, how does the reporter know the secret chain of command at the top ranks of Hizbullah?