Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 30, 2011

The Hariri Indictment

2005: Investigator Says Syria Was Behind Lebanon Assassination

The German prosecutor conducting the United Nations investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon said today that fresh evidence reinforced his earlier judgment that Syria's intelligence services were behind the killing and that Syrian officials were obstructing his investigation.

2009: Four Lebanese generals 'to be handed to UN for Rafik Hariri tribunal'

Four army generals held in Lebanon over the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri could be handed over within weeks to the special tribunal in The Hague that will put them on trial, the court registrar said today.

2011: UN court indicts four Hezbollah members over Hariri car bomb

Lebanon's senior prosecutor has received criminal indictments for four members of the Shia militant group Hezbollah, who are accused of assassinating the country's former prime minister Rafiq Hariri in a car bomb attack six years ago.

2015: ...

Obviously they can't make up their mind on who killed Hariri - Syria, some Lebanese generals, Hizbullah or whoever it will be convenient to indict during the next decade. The purpose of the UN kangaroo (or potato) court is not to find the Hariri murder or to do justice. It is a political instrument in the hands of the USraeli-Saudi alliance.

But let's step back and take today's indictment of Hizbullah members as an opportunity to again look at the person of Rafik Hariri. He was not the "good guy" the "western" media constructed but a neoliberal robber baron who defrauded the people of Lebanon.

From the 2005 BBC economic obituary of Hariri:

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri used his business empire to rebuild Beirut after years of civil war.

To do it, he deployed his own construction industry fortune, and a huge network of rich and powerful friends.
...
He was his country's richest man, reckoned to be worth roughly $4bn (£2.1bn). But it is his corporate brain-child, Solidere, that best illustrates his central role in regenerating Lebanon's economy.

Solidere bought up large chunks of central Beirut and turned the business district from a bullet-marked, rubble-strewn mess into a glitzy banking and tourist centre. Mr Hariri was its most influential shareholder.
...
As prime minister, Mr Hariri's public works and rebuilding programmes ran up debts that threatened to overwhelm the public finances.

The budget deficit climbed to 17% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2002, and debt repayments were costing the government 80% of revenue.
...
[F]or many Lebanese, the redevelopment of central Beirut meant dispossession of homes or property without adequate compensation, and the enrichment of Mr Hariri.
...
Mr Hariri's vision for wealth creation of Lebanon was definitely of the trickle-down variety. In power, he cut social services, public sector wages and company taxes.

While Hariri ruled a law was implemented that essentially dispossessed all the property owners in central Beirut. Their land was put into Solidere, a joint stock company under Hariri's control. Then huge amounts of public money was spend to build the new central Beirut owned by Hariri's Solidere. Additionally to that fraud all the rebuilding was done at much too high costs by Hariri's construction companies. It was a huge racket that made Hariri immensely rich and the Lebanese state very poor.

To indict Hariri and to get the stolen money back to the people of Lebanon and the defrauded property owners of central Beirut would be a worthy court case.

When Hariri got killed there were millions of Lebanese who had good reasons to wish the guy to be dead. Besides them many political entities, including Israel and the U.S., had plausible motives to kill Hariri if only to stick the murder to someone else. The current court case against Hizbullah is nonsense. Hariri's real murderers will likely never be found.

Posted by b on June 30, 2011 at 01:00 PM | Permalink

Comments

Well, well. A new day, a new apology for a professedly "anti-american" despotic and murderously non-democratic family-run arab nation-state.

What a fucking surprise, b.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 30, 2011 2:01:36 PM | 1

In the long view of history, who gives a damn about sundry inaccuracies reported by the "Western press" about a minor world-historical subject who deserves universal, if occasionally inaccurate, derision?

Allied reporters during the war constantly circulated crazy rumors about Hitler. The fact that the reporting was inaccurate hardly justifies supporting Hitler as the default response to the serial subterfuges characterizing the products of the organized intelligence of "the press."

Fuck Assad every which way from Monday.

There. That was easy. Try it.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 30, 2011 2:12:22 PM | 2

@slothrop - a new apology for a professedly "anti-american" despotic and murderously non-democratic family-run arab nation-state.

Where please did I excuse Lebanon?

Posted by: b | Jun 30, 2011 3:08:24 PM | 3

"Well, well. A new day, a new apology for a professedly "anti-american" despotic and murderously non-democratic family-run arab nation-state."

Almost every Arab state, from Morocco to Oman, is despotic, (Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Jordan)murderously non-democratic (Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia) and family run (Mubarak, Ben Ali, Hariri).

Syria however, while sharing these characteristics, is distinct in that it is not a US satellite. It is that distinction (shared with Libya)which irritates Slothrop and Hillary Clinton.

The objection on the part of the imperialists is not to murderers, despots or kleptocrats (90% of whom are their creatures) but to those who are not willing to pay protection money to the gangsters running the racket.

The historical truth is that, since 1945, the United States has gone around the world setting up, not democratic republics but, absolute monarchies and disney-monarchies on the payroll of the State Department. The policy is one that was inherited from their mentors in Whitehall, but greatly expanded in practise. The list is long but interesting: there was the King of Nepal and before him the King of Afghanistan, a great favourite in the fifties. Then there was the King of Thailand, the Shah of Iran, the Hashemite monarchs in Iraq and Jordan. And many others: the US even played around with the Sultan of Djogjakarta in 1965 before settling on General Suharto. Then, when Kings didn't take, the US always favoured dynastic candidates: Baby Doc to follow Pap Doc, and so on.

We all know this, why do we need to dispute something which is so obvious. What Slothrop should be doing, and imperialists used to do, is to come up with some theoretical justification- the White Man's burden; the beneficent spreading of the capitalist gospel, the enlightenment of pagans, the Enlightenment by pagans etc etc.

If the US ruling class were so interested in democracy would it not introduce it at home?

Posted by: bevin | Jun 30, 2011 4:24:31 PM | 4

Actually, slothrop, at the time of the assassination, I recall reading and hearing several reports that the signature of the Hariri bombing, the style, etc., was more similar to what Mossad would do than anything Hezbollah or Syria had done up to that point.

Now everyone can learn new tricks, but I found that very interesting and it has stuck with me, making me somewhat skeptical of what is reported as "known" "facts."

I haven't googled yet, and much may be far down the Memory Hole, but I will look later.

I also remember, back from the days before the internet reached the general populace, a long BBC aural documentary which showed that most of the supposedly solid info that Libya was behind the Lockerbie airliner explosion was incorrect and that, if anything, what evidence there was pointed more clearly toward Iran.

But, Libya was either the designated bad guy or there was evidence which proved it was behind the bombing, and it is not clear to me what happened. But the US gov't has fully accepted and promulgated that Gadiffi and Libya was the source of the attack.

It was a fascinating step by step analysis of how the attack was put together and went down. Long report, can't recall if it was over severaL days or just very long form.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 30, 2011 4:31:59 PM | 5

bevin

slothrop's hold on the facts are so slim that rebutting them becomes repugnant. the worldview he defends over these last years point to paralysis. there is no opening. closing doors until he will close a door on himself

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 30, 2011 5:08:56 PM | 6

slothrop's got his analogy the wrong way

replace Arabs with Jews and Slavs, Pentagon/Nato with the Wermacht, Deutsche uber alles with today's "chosen nations" (Us, Israel) and the analogy will begin to acquire a real historic significance

in the thirties, there were myriads of slothrops justifying Hitler (btw, he did have a justification that the Us and Israel don't have: Versailles) and impatient with the friends of the Jews, so obviously inferior and dangerous, and central European countries like Czechoslovakia, so obviously ineffective and anti-German, that you had to be a crypto-Bolshevik to defend them

as a matter of fact, the Ussr vainly defended Jews and the integrity of Czechoslovakia against prevailing "appeasing" attitudes of western élites

but slothrop is more than a mere appeaser, he has a real Nazi animus, as betrayed by his enthusiasm for the wars our superior civilization brings against inferior arabs

In the long view of history, who gives a damn about sundry inaccuracies reported by the "Western press" about a minor world-historical subject who deserves universal, if occasionally inaccurate, derision?

chilling

Posted by: claudio | Jun 30, 2011 6:05:28 PM | 7

Its clear who made the suggestions : first the victims were the syrians ( to get them out of Lebanon, to allow Israel to attack Lebanon) and then hezbollah (to allow Israel to attack lebanon again)...so the obvious conclusion (cui bono?): these charges emanate from Israel...and everyone elses merely echoes the 'chosen people'/master race.
what could be simpler!

Posted by: brian | Jun 30, 2011 6:23:55 PM | 8

Hariris real murderers live in Tel Aviv...

Posted by: brian | Jun 30, 2011 6:24:46 PM | 9

I suspect that few in the Middle East will pay much attention to the indictment. It is widely recognized that the court accepted the testimony of false witnesses and never repudiated them or even batted an eyelash about the testimony. It has also been acknowledged that Israel was conducting aerial surveillance of Harari's motorcade when he got blown up...but, of course, it never occurred to the Tribunal to question Israel about that. And finally, the signature of the blast was quite unique, something having to do with nuclear nanotechnology that the Germans were developing at the time.

Sadly, the Hague has become nothing more than a kangaroo court, designed to dispense victor's justice while letting the most despicable of war criminals continue to thrive.

Posted by: JohnH | Jun 30, 2011 7:25:57 PM | 10

OT, but update on the Strauss-Kahn "scandal": The maid involved turns out to be not quite the quiet, law abiding, near virginal woman first described, per this NYTimes article (hat tip to BostonBoomer at Sky Dancing).

The case may be falling apart. Oh, my. Maybe that's why, usually, these arrests are often handled quietly, until all the investigations are well in hand? BTW, the prosecution uncovered the information putting her charges in doubt.

Things are not always the way they seem at first glance....

“It is a mess, a mess on both sides,” one official said.

According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends.

In addition, one of the officials said, she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application. She also told them that she had been subjected to genital mutilation, but her account to the investigators differed from what was contained in the asylum application.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 30, 2011 10:53:37 PM | 11

Ah,yes, it's so hard to trust our vaunted free press here in the US, so very, very hard....

I was going to add that, as soon as I heard Israel might be involved in the Hariri bombing, it was the best fit to the question of "Who benefits?"

JohnH @ 10, the info that Israel was conducting aerial surveillance is new to me. Wow.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 30, 2011 10:58:27 PM | 12

the info that Israel was conducting aerial surveillance is new to me.

it came out last year in the israeli spying racket, all the busts.

Posted by: annie | Jun 30, 2011 11:43:51 PM | 13

@Jawbone JohnH @ 10, the info that Israel was conducting aerial surveillance is new to me. Wow.

Nasrallah describes 1997 ambush

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that his organization had intercepted transmissions by Israeli drones, which allowed it to set up an ambush for IDF commandoes raiding the Lebanese coastal village of Antsaria in 1997.
...
Nasrallah also presented "proof" that Israel was involved in Hariri's murder. He described what he claimed were exact times and locations in which Israeli drones appeared over Lebanese territory on the day before the prime minister's death, as well as on the day itself, in order to prove that Israel was documenting the murder from above.

Nasrallah also showed footage of a man he called Ahmed Nasrallah, whom he claimed is of no relation to himself, saying he had served as a spy for Israel.

Posted by: b | Jul 1, 2011 12:02:48 AM | 14

tangentially off-topic (but just slightly) - the goose-stepping pose on the cover of the older CIA recruitment brochure pictured in this link leaves me scratching my head wondering at the reasoning behind its selection, assuming that it transends any cultural specificity i might otherwise not be privy to

Posted by: b real | Jul 1, 2011 2:06:03 AM | 15

well, the idea of the indictment is legal cover to deny Hezb the legitimacy of governance. democratically elected governance. Treat them like Hamas; make it difficult for governments and organisations and financial firms to do business with a Hezb supported government. That way, it MIGHT force the other quisling factions to band together to win the elections in the future.

Inconvenience enough of the lay public and they'll ungratefully forget the defense of Lebanon by Hezb. And with the changes happening in all the neighbourhoods, now is the best time for Israelis to steal some more land, with the NATO/American forces at max levels nearby in Libya during a Winter exercise. A fake attack and Israel asking for NATO help, Lebanon can be in for a pounding.

Interesting times.

Posted by: shanks | Jul 1, 2011 11:11:21 AM | 16

Only Brammertz pursued the business motivated trail in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. There is a big red 'Stop Solidere' sign posted on the walls of the St Georges hotel right now in Beirut. The site of the assassination is symbolic enough. There is resentment among Lebanese citizen about what Hariri had done to them and to their city. Only few were able to resist Hariri's offers when he decided to buy the whole center town area and these people were heavy weight. Ordinary citizen, who had their shops and their livelihood in the area, financially and psychologically broken by years of civil war, had to sell because Hariri had an offer for them they could not refuse. I think what happened here is a vivid illustration fo the shock doctrine. I was in Beirut when the indictment was issued and it was a non event. Lebanese, from all sects, have come to realise what Hariri did to their country and there is little love for him right now in Lebanon where the economic situation is difficult. The Al Jadid TV interviewed people just after the indictment was issued asking if they were ready to go to the streets to demand justice for Hariri and even among the people who were visiting his grave the answer was 'no'. And during my stay in Beirut, I crossed the martyr square area daily and never saw more than one or two people at the grave, most of the time there were none.

Posted by: Sophia | Jul 13, 2011 11:40:07 PM | 17

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