She has a long piece today about the assassination of Wisam Al-Hasan. She, of course, only talks to one side. In her defense, it is not that she is biased--which she is--but she really does not know any better. She does not know the story and like every new NYT correspondent who lands in Beirut, they receive their contacts and citations from the Hariri press office and their contacts among the Western press corp. But look at this statement about Rafiq Hariri: "Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a longtime foe of Mr. Assad’s". Now, I know that Ms. Barnard has no clue (I mean, she took some Russian in college, for potato's sake and she has no connection to the Middle East story like most of her colleagues who are writing for the Times from the Middle East--I know this because I asked them and they told me), but who on earth would refer to Rafiq Hariri as "longtime foe of Mr. Asad"? Hariri became prime minister in 1992 and served until 2004 although he briefly (between 1998 and 2000) did not serve as prime minister. These were the years of Syrian regime domination in Lebanon and if he was a foe why would the Syrian regime which controlled the political system agree to install him as prime minister? Can you solve that riddle for me, Ms. Barnard. And then Ms. Barnard cites the wisdom of my childhood classmate, Paul Salem (actually we were not classmates for long because I skipped a grade in elementary school and became a classmate with his brother, Adib) about the work of Mr. Hasan: "they were doing things that a sovereign state does.” What are those things, Paul? Like taking marching orders from Saudi intelligence? Like funding and controlling fanatical Islamist groups in Tripoli and beyond? Like operating OUTSIDE the jurisdiction of the Lebanese government? Like receiving outside funding that does not pass through the Lebanese treasury? Like serving at the pleasure of a family because of its wealth? Sovereign state, Paul? I know that it is the role of intellectuals to prostrate before the powerful forces in Lebanon now especially that the Syrian army is out of Lebanon, but a measure of dignity is in order, if only for a bit of credibility.