Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hussam Taher Hussam, the 'Masked Witness'

How badly does the unveiling of the 'Masked Witness,' Hussam Taher Hussam, hurt the Mehlis Report? The Lebanese are claiming his Syria testimony is all crap in an effort to keep . Syrians have been loving it. I watched the series of interviews and the press conference with Hussam Taher Hussam, which have been continuously aired on Syrian TV yesterday. They were riveting TV. Hussam was good. He is smart and articulate in a "simple" way, peppering his responses with folksy aphorisms, which lent authority and seeming wisdom to normal Syrian talk. He didn't hesitate or look to the Syrian authorities sitting next to him for guidance in his testimony. He answered tough questions by journalists. He had clearly done his homework and was well prepared. He was also well groomed and had a youthful and energetic demeanor, which showed he had lived in Lebanon for a long time. The visual effect of seeing him answer the questions of Syrian and Lebanese journalists with spirit and confidence was powerful. Everyone here in Damascus was watching him and believing. Today, having been subject to the counter-attack from Lebanon, they are less sure.

What made Syrians believe him is that he was forthright about a number of small things most Syrians would hide. He said he had been working for Syrian intelligence while employed as a barber in Lebanon for over a decade. He said his Lebanese captors and handlers had treated him as a Kurd who could be easily bought, claiming that as a Kurd he should be against the government in Syria and that the Sunnis who are 80% of the Syrian population should be ruling and shouldn't let a minority of 10% rule them - a clear reference to the Alawites. The reason for making up such stories is obvious to non-Syrians, but to a Syrian, it made the speaker convincing because no Syrian would dare say such a thing on Syrian TV, even though the majority thinks just that. It is hard for a Syrian to believe that Hussam’s Syrian handlers would coach him to say something so forthright, because mentioning the issue of Alawi rule, even in such a case, is totally taboo. To hear someone mention Alawi rule on Syrian TV is a shocker. He was also forthright about the lures of money and the good life he was offered for his testimony. Syrians can identity with that.

What was not credible was his claim that Saad Hariri actually spoke to him about money. The Lebanese who prepared him for his false testimony were a "Whose Who" of Syria's enemies - Jubran Tueni, Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblat, etc. He even got May Shidiac’s name on record, claiming he had seen her from a distance while giving his false testimony at Monteverdi. (Shidiac denies even knowing where Monteverdi is.) None of these encounters would seem likely. The problem is that his testimony to Mehlis was exactly like his testimony against the Lebanese. He claimed to Mehlis that he had personal knowledge of all the top Syrian intelligence officers being involved in Hariri's murder. He also tied the Palestinians and fundamentalist Sunni Lebanese into the plot - much too neat. His Mehlis testimony was as fantastic as his testimony against Mehlis. The conclusion will have to be that he is completely discredited as a witness.

The most concrete evidence in Mehlis' report, directly linking the Hariri murder to the top Syrian intelligence personnel, is now unusable. Saddiq and Hussam were the two witnesses that allowed Mehlis to name the 6 top Syrian intelligence officers, including Maher and Asef, in his report. Both witnesses were plants. Stern magazine exposed Saddiq, who claimed he had been paid by Rifaat al-Asad, as a shyster. Now Syria has exposed Hussam.. My taxi driver yesterday said that Mehlis was not believable because three different people have said they were offered money to give him false testimony - the Syrian who languishes in a Turkish jail who went on TV to say he had been offered a lot of money to do what Mussam did, Saddiq, and now Hussam. This has become a pattern. Beginning with the double report issued by Mehlis - one naming names and the other not - and ending with Hussam's testimony, the Mehlis operation is beginning to look rather unprofessional. It is all getting curious and curiouser, as Alice said.

Whatever one may say about Syria’s use of Hussam, it has succeeded in punching a further hole in the original Mehlis report. It has also tarnished the image of Mehlis himself. No longer does he seem like the tough, Teutonic, no nonsense, investigator who can discriminate between wild stories and hard evidence. He used both Hussam and Saddiq’s testimony to spearhead his assault on Syria and give force to the list of names he insisted on investigating. That assault is looking a bit more questionable today. The testimony of both discredited Saddiq and Hussam was remarkably similar; it suggests that someone was working hard to put together evidence against Syria’s top officials and to link specific names to the more copious, but circumstantial evidence that a Syrian hand was behind Hariri’s killing. If it was not Hariri’s people, as Saad insists, who was it? Some good investigative reporter will make a name for themselves by getting that story.

Nibras Kazimi writes on his blog: "Confirmed: Hosam Taher is Mehlis' Witness No. 1." He quotes the parts of the Mehlis report that depended on Hosam's testimony. Here are the important bits:

96. One witness of Syrian origin but resident in Lebanon, who claims to have worked for the Syrian intelligence services in Lebanon, has stated that approximately two weeks after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1559, senior Lebanese and Syrian officials decided to assassinate Rafik Hariri. He claimed that a senior Lebanese security official went several times to Syria to plan the crime, meeting once at the Meridian Hotel in Damascus and several times at the Presidential Place and the office of a senior Syrian security official. The last meeting was held in the house of the same senior Syrian security official approximately seven to 10 days before the assassination and included another senior Lebanese security official. The witness had close contact with high ranked Syrian officers posted in Lebanon.

97. At the beginning of January 2005, one of the high ranked officers told the witness that Rafik Hariri was a big problem to Syria. Approximately a month later the officer told the witness that there soon would be an “earthquake” that would re-write the history of Lebanon.

98. The witness visited several Syrian military bases in Lebanon. At one such base, in Hammana, he observed a white Mitsubishi van, with a white tarpaulin over the flatbed. The observations were made on 11, 12 and 13 February 2005. The Mitsubishi left the Military base in Hammana on the morning of 14 February 2005. The Mitsubishi Canter van, which was used as the bomb carrier, entered Lebanon from Syria through the Bekaa border and a military hot lane on 21 January 2005, at 1320 hrs. It was driven by a Syrian Colonel from the Army Tenth Division.

Here is Katherine Zoepf's article in the New York Times, along with a few from al-Nahar. By the way, she is stuck in Lebanon. The Syrian government no longer issues visa's to Americans at the Lebanese border. They must be purchased in Washington. Friends of Katherine have interceded to get a special telegram from the Ministry of Information sent to the border crossing, permitting her to reenter the country. So be warned: don't try to get a visa at the border anymore.

Syrian Witness in U.N. Inquiry on Beirut Killing Reports Bribes
November 29, 2005
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 28 - A man claiming to be a former Syrian intelligence agent in Lebanon has said on Syrian state television that Lebanese officials tortured him and offered bribes to persuade him to present false testimony against Syria to a United Nations commission investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister.

The man, Hussam Taher Hussam, said he had been held in Lebanon by supporters of Saad Hariri, the son of the former prime minister, and subjected to torture and drug injections to force him to testify. Saad Hariri, he said, offered him $1.3 million if he would lie about senior Syrian officials. Mr. Hussam did not say whether he had accepted any money.

Mr. Hussam, a slim, bespectacled Syrian Kurd, looked composed and unemotional as he spoke on a program originally broadcast Sunday.

He said Mr. Hariri and his associates had asked him to tell investigators that he had seen a truck used in the assassination at a Syrian military camp, and to present false evidence implicating Maher Assad, the younger brother of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and Asef Shawkat, the president's brother-in-law, in the killing in February.

"It was a ploy," Mr. Hussam said, adding that Mr. Hariri and his associates were desperate to accuse Syria. Syria agreed last week to allow five of its intelligence officials to travel to Vienna to be interviewed by Detlev Mehlis, the German prosecutor leading the inquiry. His findings are to be presented to the Security Council in mid-December.

In an interim version of the report, released last month, he presented evidence that strongly suggested that high-level Syrian officials were involved in planning the assassination.

Mr. Hussam was not identified as a witness in the interim report. However, the commission issued a statement confirming that he was a witness, saying he had come forward voluntarily. He told investigators several times that he feared that Syrian authorities would take revenge on him or his family, the statement said.

Saad Hariri's office issued a statement denying that there had ever been any contact between Mr. Hussam and Mr. Hariri or his associates.

Elie Fawaz, a Lebanese political analyst, said Mr. Hussam's television appearance had been widely mocked in Lebanon as a clumsy attempt by President Assad and his allies to discredit the investigation.

"The image that pops up in my mind is from Maoist China," Mr. Fawaz said. "Mao used to bring people forward and force them to publicly denounce themselves, and that's exactly what's happening now in Syria."

But Joshua Landis, a University of Oklahoma historian who is in Syria on a Fulbright research fellowship, said Mr. Hussam's story was playing well. "Everyone in Syria is watching it, and they're very excited," he said. "They love this stuff. They want to believe it."
Leena Saidi contributed reporting for this article.
U.S. Leaves it to Mehlis to Decide what is 'Credible and not Credible'
The United States has declined comment on Syria's call to revise the U.N. report on Hariri's murder after Damascus said a key witness had recanted.
Syrian officials said the findings by U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis, which implicated Damascus, should be reviewed after their state television broadcast the so-called 'Masked Witness' testimony.

But State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said: "We'll let an independent investigator, Mr. Mehlis, make the decisions about what is credible and what is not credible and what should be included in his report."

"We have refrained, while he is working on his report, to comment on any potential preliminary findings or press accounts that may come out about the facts or alleged facts. So I'm not going to try to comment on those," McCormack said.

Syria's attack on the inquiry came a day before Mehlis' team was due to hold its first interviews with 5 senior Syrian officials at U.N. offices in Vienna, ending a prolonged wrangle over the venue for the interrogations.

McCormack said the Syrians "have apparently decided to cooperate by sending these witnesses to Vienna. We hope only that that cooperation continues and is expanded."(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, Updated 29 Nov 05, 09:24

Lebanon Tears Syria's 'Masked Witness' to Pieces, Calling him a 'Ghawar Tosheh' Comedy
Lebanon lambasted Syria's 'Masked Witness' attempt to discredit the international investigation into Rafik Hariri's assassination on the eve of the interrogation in Vienna of five Syrian senior intelligence officers by the Detlev Mehlis commission.
"It is a Ghawar Tosheh comedy," said Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh.

"It's a new chapter of attempts by the dreaded Syrian intelligence service which has attempted to assassinate me. This apparatus has now moved into lying through a man whom we haven't seen in our lives or his life," Hamadeh added.

Saad Hariri said through his information office in Beirut that Syria's 'Masked Witness' TV show was an attempt to derail the international investigation into his father's murder.

Legislator Gebran Tueni whom the so-called 'Masked Witness' Husam Husam claimed to have seen at the Monteverde headquarters of the Detlev Mehlis commission said "If this is the latest inventions of the Syrian intelligence system to confront reality, I believe they are in a very bad situation. It's an affair of bankruptcy."

"I don't remember seeing him," the General Manager of An Nahar went on. "I would have hoped Syria would go to defend itself in the international investigation and to serve its own real interests as well as the welfare of the Lebanon-Syria relationship, because we do not differ with the Syrian people and because we are not in a state of war with the Syrian people."

May Chidiac, the LBCI anchorwoman who was maimed by an assassination attempt widely believed to have been engineered by Syria's intelligence, also denied from her hospital bed that she was seen or she has seen the 'Masked Witness' at the Monteverde.

"I don't know where the Monteverde is," May told LBCI.

Syria on Monday unmasked the 'Masked Witness' and put him on television to claim that he has tricked the Mehlis commission feeding them a long testimony and that he came now from his own volition to unveil what he called the truth to the Syrian committee of investigation. Beirut, Updated 29 Nov 05, 09:43


At 11/29/2005 07:59:00 AM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

Here we go, Mr Saad Hariri, Jinblat, Twyne and Hmadi, worked hard to bring Syria under the US pressure, but failed to do so.

They could argue that Hussam's comments are not true then His tesstimony to Mehils is defenitly untrue now?

This is exactly what the Syrian government want at this stage? by undermining the whole Mehlis report and even Mehlis himslef, the Syrian government has now changed the rules of the game and moved to the attacker position.

some may argue that this could be arranged with the US, as part of a deal with the Syrian Government, in such a case, I think Mehlis, Hariri's and Jinblat must have learned a lesson that the Americans are very unrelaiable!

well done Syria

At 11/29/2005 08:47:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

from :
By KATHERINE ZOEPF; Leena Saidi contributed reporting for this article.
International Herald Tribune

Elie Fawaz, a Lebanese political analyst, said Mr. Hussam's television appearance had been widely mocked in Lebanon as a clumsy attempt by President Assad and his allies to discredit the investigation.

''The image that pops up in my mind is from Maoist China,'' Mr. Fawaz said. ''Mao used to bring people forward and force them to publicly denounce themselves, and that's exactly what's happening now in Syria.''

But Joshua Landis, a University of Oklahoma historian who is in Syria on a Fulbright research fellowship, said Mr. Hussam's story was playing well. ''Everyone in Syria is watching it, and they're very excited,'' he said. ''They love this stuff. They want to believe it.''

At 11/29/2005 08:53:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

So Josh ..''Everyone in Syria is watching it, and they're very excited,'' he said. ''They love this stuff. They want to believe it.''
Did you believe it? set the record straight and say it.. Did you believe the show?

At 11/29/2005 09:02:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

I think this man hussam is a fugitive now. The UN can\may ask for his extradition since he was trying to mislead the investigation. Not a very smart move by the Syrian regime. A smart move would be to contact the UN investigation team and tell them they have him, of course this only apply if the Syrian regime is looking to uncover the truth and clear it's officials names

At 11/29/2005 10:01:00 AM, Blogger BP said...

Mister Landis,

Sir, do you know how syrias legal authority will act now? Is false witness treason? Is he imprisoned now? Will he be handed over to the Mehlis commission? What do you believe? Should we trust him? Your statement suggested that.



At 11/29/2005 10:47:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

First of all, it remains to be seen if Husam was the 'Masked Witness,' . I am waiting for a confirmation from Mehlis, not from the Syrian TV.

At 11/29/2005 10:47:00 AM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

This is not about trusting or untrusting Hussam's commen? this is about a game initiated by Some lebanese leaders beleiving that they could bring the syrian regime down that easy.

Those some lebanese tried to make use of all the evil circumstances in the region and to Kill 10 birds in one stone (That Stone is Hariri's blood).

-Get red of Hizbulah
-Nock the syrian government down
-Kick the syrian troops out
-Open up new deals with US and Israel
-Kill or kick the palestenains out
-Endangering the whole unity of syria and the syrians by making syria vunrable to a military attack approved by the UN and led by the americans & french

.....and the list is long

If you don't beleive Hussam then Mehlis should ask him again and again, there is nothing that could prevent him from telling the truth, he is under the UN protection, but sometimes some people would like to hear their own truth (Syria Killed Hariri), and pretend to be deaf when listening to the real truth (Syria did not Kill Hariri)

At 11/29/2005 10:49:00 AM, Blogger Hashem said...

Landis wrote:

"He was also well groomed and had a youthful and energetic demeanor, which showed he had lived in Lebanon for a long time...."

Where can I start? What on earth is wrong with you? So, to you, anyone who is youthful and energetic means that they lived in Lebanon? What kind of people do you see in Syria? Where do you live man?

This really explains a lot about your distorted views of Syrians.

Someone stop this guy please!


At 11/29/2005 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

" Hussam was good. He is smart and articulate in a "simple" way, peppering his responses with folksy aphorisms"

Is this Angry Arab or Joshua Landis'blog ? It's not what I read on http://beirutbeltway...syrian-witness-reveals-shocking-truth.html

At 11/29/2005 10:52:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Dr. Landis,

It is interesting to see that you can measure the pulse of “Everyone” inside Syria and report to us that they are all excited and that everyone was “believing”. I would really appreciate more clarification of the word “believing”. Can we now relax that Syria could not be behind the murder? If so, do you think that the investigation will now turn to the Mossad as the next possible guilty party? Do you alternatively prefer the first version of his story that it was Hariri’s heirs that ordered the assassination?

Incidentally, you seem intrigued by the fact that the witness was willing to mention the taboo subject of Alawi rule on TV. You seem to think that this was a “shocker” and is a sign that made him “convincing”. You think, therefore, that this witness dared to go on Syrian TV and shocked his so-called handlers. Presumably, Asef and Maher will be happy with some of his testimony but would be ”shocked” and incensed about him bringing up such a taboo subject, right? Dr. Landis, do you really think that there are any taboo subjects when your regime is close to imploding?

At 11/29/2005 10:57:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

The Lebanese bloggers have a more interesting explanation. http://lebanesebloggers...opium-of-masses-food-for-oppression.html

"...So after all this stalling, I guess there was a price for giving up the 5 Syrian witnesses to the U.N. Commission investigating Hariri's murder. The price is Hussam's "confessions" on Syrian TV. It is clear, that in return for giving up Syrian officers for questioning, the Syrian regime is trying to bolster its position in its public's eyes...or else, such yielding of power and "sovereignty" would lead to disasterous outcomes on the Syrian streets."

I think that Syria made a bad move here. As for Abou Arab ludicrous claims, I think that they speak for themselves.

At 11/29/2005 11:37:00 AM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

From any commentary and from what Husam has said, there is nothing that concretely proves he is a lier. Sorry Vox Populi, beiruit-to-beltway couldn't and Lebanesebloggers couldn't. They have absolutely nothing concrete disproving him. They either mock his testimony or point to things that don't quite make sense logically (but life sometimes does not follow logic, not to mention there were logical errors in his original testimony also!!) and then make the leap to simply dismiss it.

The thing is--Husam's testimony was nothing but a rumor from the start--the Mehlis Report. And if you believed the Mehlis Report linked Syria without any questions, that means you basically believed a rumor--a single witness testimony linking Syria. Well the Mehlis Report has now crashed and burned. Those people should be ashamed of themselves now as they are on the opposite side of the fence. Previously they had lauded the same Husam's testimony as the 'truth', even though it was just as convinient and neat and potentially biased. They didn't care then and took it at face value. Now these people are forced to watch the 'truth' change. And NOW they refuse to believe it. Why didn't you question the original testimony? What did you expect from the beginning from a report that linked Syria to the killing based solely on two witnesses? This is a predicament for them--the key witness recants and now there is nothing--not even witness testimony--that links Syria to Harirri.

I don't know what the truth is. But there is no way to simply dismiss this new testimony as fake. That would be akin to the Americans simply dismissing the whole Bush/Al-Jazeera story as fake. While both revaltions seem incredible, there could be truth to 'incredible' stories. Just like there was once truth to an American President (Nixon) obstructing justice--an incredible story in its day. So both incredible stories should be investigated and conclusively proved wrong or right.

So my point is I don't care if he sounds fake, or if his story is incredible. Lots of things in this world are incredible but true. It seems the 'truth' pendulum has swung back to the Syrian side. But I am not going to rub it in the Mehlis band-wagon's face as I could do and I am not going to accept the new Husam's testimony at face value (even though many Syrians are). I don't like being duped, but I really think he was lying both times. I think the Lebanese had nothing on Syria and so went looking for witnesses--and then sent him along to Mehlis. And I think the Syrians of course have tried to spin this and make it seem a huge deal. Doesn't take away from the fact he has completely withdrawn his previous testimony.

Now that the Mehlis Report and its findings are pretty much dead, it looks like there is nothing that links Syria to this murder at all. Something could emerge from Vienna, but until then, my main concern now is that the Lebanese are always going to blame Syria no matter what lack of evidence there is. This asassination is starting to look like a JFK deal--nobody knows who really killed him but conspiracy theorists for many years will bring up new theories and it will be a subject of fascination of all for many many years to come.

Can the Lebanese turn the page? Or are they always going to carry a grudge against Syrians? Will they always simply rely on the first Husam's first incredibly convinient testimony rather than his second? I hope not. I hope the Lebanese will realize sometimes in crime, especially the tragic ones, the perp is not caught. I hope they will accept that and move on.

At 11/29/2005 11:46:00 AM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

By the way, the Mehlis Commission has confirmed that Hassam had testified before it:

Syria wants UN report changed after witness recants

US silent on Hariri witness' retraction

At 11/29/2005 01:26:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Eng.Chg. Please answer this question for me with a simple yes or no please. Do you think syria is guilty or not in the murder of Hariri? Just Yes or No would do.

At 11/29/2005 01:49:00 PM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

Its really not that simple. I do not know--i have no evidence so this opinion of mine oscillates wildly week to week as I think more about it and listen to other opinions. I know I am being played on both sides.

Having said that, YES i think there was Syrian involvement in his murder. But I admit its more of a gut feeling than anything and so it really doesn't mean a thing. And however much I want to convince myself that this Syrian involvement did not go up to Bashar, that doesn't make sense to me. Sorry, no simple answers in this kind of thing.

At 11/29/2005 02:06:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I will take that as a yes. I merely asked for your personal feel.

At 11/29/2005 02:23:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

Thank you for your input. We share the same GUT feeling. but I am sure everyone share a common dominator " love for Syria"
It really heart to see the kind of people in control of "Souria", liars, killers, Greedy and fearless of any GOD.
But, finaly we start seeing the end of it.

At 11/29/2005 02:41:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

It's unclear if Husam is the 'Masked witness'. Mehlis may have more than one witness. The press has said that he didn't publish all his proofs in his report, he only said enough to get a UN extension.

We have to wait for the final report, which may be published after the 15th of December since the Lebanese government has been talking about extending his mandate for a second time.

Last but not least: the only plausible explanation for Husam retraction is that he was a double agent trying to mislead the investigators (or that he's a patriotic Kurdish-Syrian who had moral problems in betraying his country and refused Hariri's money, you chose).

This means that Syria has been trying to mislead the investigation and manipulate Mehlis. Why is that?

Husam's behaviour a direct violation of the UN resolutions. Not to mention that this man violated the Lebanese law by giving a false testimony and should be extradited.

At 11/29/2005 03:30:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Yeah but technically he can say that he was under "threat" from Saad Hariri and was scared for his life etc. Legally, he can think of a few things to get out of it.

At the end of the day, as I have said few times. ppl will believe what they want. if they want to believe his story they will overlook the sketchy details. and if they believe he is a liar they will dismiss the plausibility.

At 11/29/2005 03:37:00 PM, Blogger annie said...

If Syria clears this hurdle the neocons et al. will throw another one at it : they still have Saddam's hidden wmd, irhabi infiltrators in Iraq, human rights (and what about Tunisia, the American darling, and its record in this field ?)

At 11/29/2005 05:15:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

I don't care what Syria-haters like Vox blabber about, I say this was a stroke of genius by the Syrian Intelligence services.

It seems this guy was a Syrian double-agent planted by the Syrians from the beginning to keep a close eye on what's going inside the MonteVerde. He played his role to the last possible point, and he was smuggled out when his cover was about to get blown.

Mehlis has admitted that he was a major witness. I think the lawyer of one of the Lebanese generals has said that he sounds like the masked witness.

This just goes to show how much hot air this investigation is filled with, and the Syrians have put a monkey wrench the size of Lebanon into Mehlis' head. Mehlis now just seems like either:

1) total idiot
2) paid, biased agent who got owned.

either way, this doesn't bode well for Mehlis or Syria's accusers. Yes, the guy's story doesn't make much sense, but he's real and he provided Mehlis with important info, which turned out to be totally false, and that's what matters.

At 11/29/2005 05:18:00 PM, Blogger Abu Kais said...

for an alternative analysis, go here.

At 11/29/2005 05:39:00 PM, Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

Ha ha ha! So Syria "flipped" a witness. Well done.

At 11/29/2005 06:56:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

If anyone of you were accused of murder that they did not commit, would you ever behave this way from the start? Speaking for myself, I would have taken my barber spy, my files, my tough security guys, CNN and Aljazeea and demand from Mehlis to meet me yesterday and to bring all his evidence to any place of his choosing insisting that the proceedings is aired on live TV. As I expose all there lies and made up witnesses and conspiracies, I will prove to the world that my country and my family is innocent of the crime. America and the U.N. will be at their knees asking me to stop this TV show. Bush will resign and Syria will rule the world!

Dr. Landis, any idea Why Bashar does not do this?

At 11/29/2005 07:46:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

First of all Damascene Blood, I am not a Syrian hater and second of all, your 'bright' move is not so bright since Syria proved that it was trying to manipulate the investigation.

Showing to the whole world that you sending only proves that you have something to hide.

You fail to see that this case will not be judged in a court of law. It will be judged by the other states. And what is already there is enough to incriminate your friend Bashar.

Bashar can now add impediment to the charges.

At 11/29/2005 08:21:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Just imagine if the huge megabucks given to the slick sleaze-for-sale international PR agencies who scripted rehearsed and packaged this "turned witness" circus were invested in competent experts on economics or public administration…

At 11/29/2005 08:44:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Can anybody tell me where the independent criminal investigation went ,where is the physical evidence ,where did the explosives come from ,i thought they can track the origin of the explosives and know who bought them,why didn,t Mehles look into that instead of rumers and inuwindows,looking at the time that the crime took place Jumblat seemed to know things ahead of many other people encluding the Mitsubeshi car and the envolvment of the Lebanese security services ,could he have been behind the murder !?.

At 11/30/2005 12:04:00 AM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

Look guys, you can accuse the Syrians of doing this all you want, and guess what, that's exactly what Mehlis did in his report: he accused the Syrians, presenting only 'witness' testimony. The Syrians were a step ahead/or got lucky and one of the witnesses was revealed to be false.

I am still waiting for the real evidence that everyone claimed Mehlis has: the voice recordings, the bank transfers, the tracking of the car, etc etc. you know, real, hard evidence that many people claimed Mehlis was about to show 2 months ago and nothing happened.

Sorry guys, at this moment, the word of the Syrians is equally valid/invalid as your word, and if this 'evidence' was presented in the court of law, you would be laughed out of court.

You can go on a hunch all you want and accuse Syria, but your hunch is worth as much as this moment as Mhelis' hunch: Zilch.

At 11/30/2005 02:49:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"that's exactly what Mehlis did in his report: he accused the Syrians, presenting only 'witness' testimony."

You still have the phone calls and the tapes. You have a continuous history of criminal behaviour, you have the mobile, you have the capability. And you don't have another suspect. Israel does not have a mobile and the capability.

Rafic Hariri was not the average occupied Lebanese. He deliberately developped a powerful network of friends to disuade potential assassins. Unlike Assad sr who succesfully terminated Lebanese opponents, Bashar is not going to get away with that one.

While the tapes mention the assassination in an implicit and not an explicit way, they make it clear that Syria's relations with Hariri were extremely tensed, something that the Syrian officials have vigorously denied when they gave their testimonials to Mehlis. The phone database make it clear that you had an unusual concentration of Syrian-Lebanese intelligence in this area on Day D.

Last point: Syria is right to say that the investigation is political. Damn right it is. This thing is not going to be judged in a court, it's going to be dealt with in the western chancelleries. And I assure you, policy-makers are immune to the kind of paranoiac crap you can hear on the Arab street. They already know the truth. Syria's behaviour and history in Lebanon constitute a proof by themsleves. Case closed. No appeal.

At 11/30/2005 03:06:00 AM, Blogger BP said...

>Vox Populi

Sir, you should not discuss too much with this Damascene, he is that typical syrian street big mouth seeking just public. Cheap, nothing else. May be this job is his bread.

At 11/30/2005 03:25:00 AM, Blogger Hashem said...

The direction Mehlis took in his report showed that there will not ever be real evidence. In fact, it is impossible to have proof beyond doubt about the perpetrators. It will be enough however, for the international community to show that there is evidence pointing towards Syria, which is exactly what they did. Whether the information had been provided falsely or not, Mehlis can easily avoid all this by pointing out Syria's lack of cooperation with the investigation and that would be enough to confirm Syria's guilt. In my opinion, whoever this witness is, Syria had made a mistake by parading him in this way, all this would do is buy the regime some time, but time for what? Just delaying tactics as usual.

If the Syrian regime was indeed innocent, shouldn't they have immediately arrested this witness, since it was him who claimed that 40% of the Mehlis report was based on his testimony, i.e. it was him, for no purpose whatsoever (since he didn’t accept money), the man responsible for potentially causing harm to all Syrians! Of course I know things don't work like that in Syria, one thing though, I wonder if he would be persuaded to commit suicide anytime soon.


At 11/30/2005 10:38:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"In fact, it is impossible to have proof beyond doubt about the perpetrators. "

Maybe, but remember: Paul Bremer modified the rules for Saddam's case: the court needs reasonable proofs to condemn Saddam, not proof beyond doubt. It's the same thing for Bashar.


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