Monday, December 12, 2005

Where have you gone Mr. Mehlis? We hardly knew you. How an Investigation Came to NAUGHT. So is this it? That's it. The Second Mehlis Report??? This report is a polite and timid redaction and reduction of the previous report. Hariri propaganda can claim all they want that the appearance of Hassam Hassam in Damascus (for the full play of Syrian propaganda) did not affect the investigation, but it certainly has. There are no bold claims here, and no plots offered. This is a report that can be summarized in terms of: we will still investigate, and we suspect some Syrian and some Lebanese, and we shall let you know. That is it. Not much else. It is so thin and so weak, that I am now certain that Mehlis really has not missed his wife as much as the Lebanese prime minister has said, to explain his return to Germany. Mehlis II: I shall comment on certain numbered paragraphs in the report.
Par. 8. Motives of Syria in forming the judicial committee. Why should this matter? Why are motives relevant if the goal is to form a commission. Did Bolton write this paragraph? Did you write this one, John? Come on. Just tell me.
par. 9: Here, we are in effect told this. Beware. If you question or criticize the work of the Mehlis investigation, you are guilty of hindering the investigation, and possibly of planning the assassination of Hariri. So just shut up, and accept what he tells you. If you have questions, just read Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, the official newspaper of the Mehlis Commission.
Par. 14: Here, we learn that 37,000 pages of documents have been entered. So you if lack the evidence--solid or flimsy, just brag about the volume of papers. But 37,000 pages of what? of newspapers' clippings? Of interviews with politicians in Lebanon who have no knowledge of the case but who have political agendas? And if you want to brag of volume qua volume. Why not tell me how many beverages were consumed by the Mehlis team members? And how many falafil sandwiches have they consumed during their stay in Lebanon. It also talks about 14 different investigators from 10 different countries, but it also mentions in passing "a number of external experts." I love this one. Can we obtain their names, nationality, and their c.v.s Mr. Mehlis? But of course we know that you are "professional" and "neutral", just as "professional" and "neutral" the UNSC is under US command. But can we really learn something about the "external experts." Can we at least know something about their backgrounds, please?
Par. 15: what are the "specialized inputs of national expertise"? Please? I am not casting doubt, and I fully trust the objectivity and professionalism of Detlev Hariri, I mean Detlev Mehlis. Just tell me. Please.
Par. 21: Here, we learn that the suspects are suspects because they "may have been involved." Ya. That should stand in a court of law. I can see you yelling in court: "This person "may have been guilty", your honor." And I can see the judge saying, and you "may have been" a buffoon. Sit down.
Par. 26: This particular item is used by Hariri media as "the explosive" and "damning" evidence. That some files or documents of an intelligence service of a country are shredded or burnt. Shocking. Really shocking. Why are those documents not filed away in full. Why? I mean, US and Western intelligence agencies do not even possess shredders. What are shredders? They never destroy documents. I am truly shocked. Correct me if I am wrong, but shredding is against international law, no? My department owns a shredder, and I have been telling them to get rid of it because it is against the law.
Par. 28: The investigation must be really embarrassed over the negative results of the DNA testing of the apartment where planning ostensibly took place. What is left of the pillars of this investigation after the collapse of Siddiq and the demise (the-truthful-in-Beirut-and-liar-in-Damascus witness, Hassam Hassam, according to Hariri propaganda) of the star witness of Mehlis.
Par. 30: The fiasco of Hassam Hassam. Here, Mehlis wants to explain the farce of Hassam. He explains that he was pressured by the Syrian government to make his recent claims. But why can one not also say that he was pressured into making his previous claims in Beirut? Or is Mehlis implying that pressures can only be exerted in Syria, or that people can only lie once they step into Syrian territory, and that people can not lie in Hummusland.
Par. 35: the Mehlis II report suffers from weak and flimsy documentation. What does "it was reported" to the commission mean? What does that mean? Was it a rumor? Was it a tip by a Hariri functionary? Explain, please, Mr. evidence.
Par. 43: This clearly shows what a mess the Mehlis commission is in. They really have no idea which way they are going. What is being implied in this paragraph, is that despite earlier claims, the theory of an underground explosion may now be pursued. Bring up your maps, o Muhammad Qabbani. We may now need them after all.
Par. 47: Here, Mehlis is ruling out any other outside party simply because he is maintaining that the Lebanese and Syrian security services WOULD or SHOULD HAVE KNOWN about it any other plot by any other side. What? How can you make such claims when terrorist groups have been able to strike in countries with far more effective, and far more professional, and far stronger internal security forces. Come on. This is not enough to dismiss that other possibility or track of investigation. I think that the real reason is political. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if Mehlis asks for even token and one-time purposes to interview Israeli intelligence operatives as suspects? I mean, the US may even arrest Mehlis if he were to attempt that.
Par. 51: that Hariri was wiretapped. Yes, Hariri was wiretapped, and so were other Lebanese politicians. And Hariri was receiving daily transcripts of the wiretaps of politicians. To wiretap somebody is not necessarily a reason to implicate you in murdering that person, when the Lebanese Army and other services were authorized by their lousy parliament to wiretap, with little regards for legality, human rights, civil rights, or right of privacy.
Par. 54: why is it mentioned that `Ali Hajj (former bodyguard of Rafiq Hariri who was most likely a spy for Syrian intelligence from early on) stole some unauthorized materials? What is the relevance of that? Did Clinton's NSC advisor not do the same, and he did not serve one day in jail? Give me a potato here.
Par. 57: The real Rafiq Hariri emerges here (and in the previous paragraph). Somebody who was without self-respect and without dignity and without pride. Somebody willing to be humiliated by a functionary of Syrian intelligence, all to stay in power in this little country that he so badly wanted to rule. Why not resign? Why go along with such a humiliating protocol? Why accept such limits and such control on you? How could he allow Rustum Ghazalah to interfere in what was printed in Al-Mustaqbal newspaper? How shameful.
Par. 59: Take my word. "Media information" here refers to Hariri propaganda. How irresponsible is this? The OJ investigation in LA was more professional and serious.
Par. 68: just like the previous report, here Mehlis throws in a new twist. He basically is saying that if the political motive does not work (and in the conclusion of the report he stresses that the political factors are behind the assassination), he can pursue this financial link or track, an entirely new twist in the case. Make up your mind, Mr. Mehlis Make up your mind. Which is which.
Par. 69: spare me the promises of Rafiq Hariri to investigate Al-Madinah Bank. The scandal took place under his nose, while he was Prime Minister, and the scandal involved(s) people in his own circle.
But you know where the Mehlis team is going with the statements of John Bolton. His statements are real hilarious if we are not talking about words that lead to a trail of wars and explosions. He always is five steps ahead of Mehlis. If Mehlis says "maybe", Bolton says "guilty." If Mehils says "slow cooperation by Syria" Bolton says "no cooperation by Syria." If Mehils talks about "may have done it". Bolton urges that the guillotine be mounted to punish the Syrian and Lebanese killers. As a sign of the unprofessionalism and the political nature of this Mehlis Commission, I was shocked this Sunday when I learned from the interview with former Minister of Interior--AT THE TIME OF HARIRI's assassination--, Sulayman Franjiyyah on New TV that he was not interviewed once by Mehlis. Not once, when this Mehlis has personally interviewed people who have no links to the investigation, in my opinion, except their political stance in support of the Hariri Inc. How could Mehlis explain that he interviewed Jubran Tuwayni, for example--who did not hold an official position at the time of the Hariri assassination, and who was not a confidante of Hariri, but failed to interview Sulayman Franjiyyah? It seems that Mehlis does not talk to people who are not close to the Hariri Inc. This would be bad for the investigation. But don't worry. Bolton is on the case. His vast of knowledge of Lebanese affairs will help guide the case, no matter who succeeds Mehlis. Now, to cast doubt, very serious doubt, on the Mehlis investigaton is not to absolve the Syrian intelligence service of responsibility for the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. I still believe, unless I find evidence to the contrary, that the Syrian mukhabarat in Lebanon was behind it, although I am not sure at what level of political decision making the order was taken.