Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 18, 2020

The End Of The Hariri Trial

Today the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which was set up to investigate the 2005 assassination of billionaire and former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafik Hariri, is giving its final judgment:

Judges at a U.N.-backed tribunal said Tuesday there was no evidence the leadership of the Hezbollah militant group and Syria were involved in the 2005 suicide truck bomb assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
...
The trial centered on the alleged roles of four Hezbollah members in the suicide truck bombing that killed Hariri and 21 others and wounded 226 people. Prosecutors based their case largely on data from mobile phones allegedly used by the plotters to plan and execute the bombing.

Without the phone data there would be no case against the four suspects, [Presiding Judge David] Re said, as he began explaining the complex investigation into the telecom networks prosecutors say the suspects used.

Re said that the telecom evidence in the case was “almost entirely circumstantial.”

Based on that 'almost entirely circumstantial' evidence the tribunal found that only one of the accused, Salim Jamil Ayyash, is guilty of the charges. That person, an alleged Hizbullah member, has vanished years ago.

The reading of the 150 pages summary of the 2.600 pages long judgment is still ongoing. Independent reporter Bel Trew is live tweeting the proceedings.

The outcome is a big nothing burger that will leave the many enemies of Hizbullah unsatisfied. But it also saves Lebanon from more strife.

Nine years ago we predicted that this was likely to be the result of the case. Here is the original piece published on 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 were spent 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 August 18, 2020 at 13:48 UTC | Permalink

Comments

I can once again read your good research and conclusions now that you are skipping the plandemic nonsense.

Posted by: warren schaich | Aug 18 2020 13:53 utc | 1

Lebanese were given paper in exchange for their property in central Beirut—shares in Solidere. I wonder what that paper is worth today...and whether somebody cashed out just before the currency collapsed and before the explosion in the port.

Posted by: JohnH | Aug 18 2020 14:15 utc | 2

b, correct me if I'm wrong, but in the last few months it appears you are using a ghost writer for some of your articles and not attributing them as being written by someone else? I say this because recently there have been at least two distinct writing styles in your articles - ones such as this one seem to be written by a native English speaker, with certain idiosyncrasies and ways of saying things, and your original articles, which are written in your normal style - short, concise sentences, to the point and brief in nature. No nonsense, no political favouritism, just strict analysis.

Would you please address this and tell me that I'm either flat out wrong, or that the toll of writing an article each day is getting too much, and that you are using a second writer to keep the one article per day thing going. I love your analytical articles, and have donated to you in the past because they are so succinct and to the point with no partisanship. It's beginning to bother me enough that I felt the need to air my thoughts in the comments. Maybe others have noticed the same thing? Truth and trust are the only currencies we have in this dark age. I don't mind if you have additional writers. I do mind if they aren't attributed as such.

Thanks in advance,

Paul :)

Posted by: The Q | Aug 18 2020 14:18 utc | 3

B has a strange way to read facts. 5 Hizbollah are accused, 3 are acquitted, 1 is doubtful, one is convinced. Since the majority of are not guilty then you conclude so is the convinced one. That's B mathematics. The rest of the world will conclude that Hisbollah charged "Salim Ayyash", the guilty one, to assassinate Hariri or Salim Ayyash was wandering that day along Hariri passage with 2 or 3 tons of tnt in his pocket, a pure hazard ?

Posted by: murgen23 | Aug 18 2020 14:31 utc | 4

What I get out of this is the Empire's ability to convict whoever it accused is eroding. Ten or fifteen years ago a so called UN trial would convict a piece of stone if the Empire decreed it to be so.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Aug 18 2020 14:44 utc | 5

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Aug 18 2020 14:44 utc | 5

Correct conclusion. More, it was overreach.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 18 2020 15:31 utc | 6

Posted by: murgen23 | Aug 18 2020 14:31 utc | 4

Good to have Israel on hand to correct b's errors. Otherwise we might have foolishly concluded that Hizbullah were innocent (/snark)

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 18 2020 15:33 utc | 7

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Aug 18 2020 14:44 utc | 5

You assume that you are privy to the "Empire" plans, so you reach these conclusions. You could be honest and review the total bandwidth of facts that you can actually verify yourself in your life. Deduct an order of magnitude if you live in someone's basement. For almost all of us, this bandwidth regarding anything out of our physical sight, to say nothing of geopolitical "facts", is effectively zero. (See "Paul" above and "trust".)

If you wish to stick to your guns regarding "Empire" controlling trans-national institutions, then you need to ask 'what has caused the "Empire" to lose its grip?'. Can you explain this "loss of control" at the peak of power of "Empire"? What other preceding events document this loss of control?

Maybe it is not in the interests of the "Empire" to pin this fully on Hezbollah. Or maybe we are seeing the n-th repeat of an upstart being integrated into the global protection racket.

Regardless, what is an indisputable fact is that a nation's internal affairs are decided by outside entities. And that this state of affairs is not questioned.

I'd say the "Empire" remains fully in control.

Posted by: conspiracy-theorist | Aug 18 2020 15:34 utc | 8

Biswapriya Purkayast@5
Agreed.
This is the second time in the past couple of weeks that US inspired attempts to pin murders on Hizbollah have ended up inconclusively. And that, blaming a man who has not been heard of for years, is putting it mildly.
The other case was in Argentine where Hizbollah was long blamed, by clearly suborned lawyer/warriors, for the bombing of a Jewish Community Centre. In fact it seems clear that fascists in the Argentine military were behind the killings. In view of their record in the long 'dirty war' against socialists this should not have been a surprise. Nor should the Zionist attempts to deflect the blame from real anti-semites and friends of Israel, to Hizbollah.

Attempts to blame the Resistance for the explosions in Beirut have a long pedigree.
Hariri's death was used as a cue for the "colour" Cedar Revolution which was the first shot in the long campaign to isolate and break up Syria. It was followed in 2006 by Israel's war against Lebanon and defeat by the Resistance, which later played, and plays, a key part in the defence of Damascus and the reconquest of regions occupied by NATO and its terrorist surrogates.

Finally, warren schaich@1, could you walk us through the planning behind the pandemic? Where did it take place? Who did it involve? And if they were governments, why did they fall out so quickly and blame each other? On second thoughts-don't bother.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 18 2020 15:35 utc | 9

MoA: He was not the "good guy" the "western" media constructed but a neoliberal robber baron who defrauded the people

I see a contradiction here. What is a "a neoliberal robber baron" if not one of the short list of types of good guys?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 18 2020 15:35 utc | 10

Lebanese were given paper in exchange for their property in central Beirut—shares in Solidere. I wonder what that paper is worth today...

Posted by: JohnH | Aug 18 2020 14:15 utc | 2

I think a lot has changed since those long ago days in the early 1990s. I doubt if the situation has remained the same. People move on.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 18 2020 15:37 utc | 11

Nasrallah revealed that Israel was involved when he showed the hacked drone footage of the road route that Harriri travelled on.

Posted by: Prof K | Aug 18 2020 15:39 utc | 12

His son gained the most for starters. Will he own the port in ten years? Toronto Nat'l Post Financial Post (printed edition) referred to a meeting with Palestinian Auth. for financing being killed too. CBC National report by N. McDonald got info from Israel telecom that found Hez cell phones in the area. The story goes on how this Hezb crew were detectives following a sapper group, but they set up the assassination as a side hobby in spare moments. I'd wish for better developed lies. Post-byzantine politics.

Posted by: failure o'imaginatio | Aug 18 2020 15:40 utc | 13

Interesting stuff. So in another words - case closed but unsolved, perhaps willingly unsolved; no Hezbollah, no Syria... just one middling missing guy against the world. Hilarious. This verdict is one step above throwing the whole case out for lack of evidence. No one killed Hariri. It was an act of God.

Posted by: gottlieb | Aug 18 2020 15:41 utc | 14

The empire's "loss of grip" is due to economic decline. It is an inescapable feature of capitalism that when markets saturate then competition will drive profits to 0%. This is being masked by the empire running its fiat currency printing press at full speed, but in real terms profits have tanked and capital ownership is concentrating to ridiculous extremes.

The empire's "grip" is and has always been purely economic. Military dominance is entirely a secondary effect.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 15:46 utc | 15

Piotr Berman @10

Damn you! Now I have to clean coffee out of my keyboard.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 15:48 utc | 16

warren schaich | 13:53 | 1
I and certainly many others would be glad if you would keep your not supported by any arguments opinion on the covering of the Corona pandemic by B, to yourself. B's contributions are important, fact based as usual and therefore valuable.

Posted by: pnyx | Aug 18 2020 15:48 utc | 17

Still looks bad for Hezbollah

If Salim Jamil Ayyash is guilty and a member of Hezbollah it is extremely hard to believe that he would assassinate such a high ranking person on his own. Wouldn't Nasrallah be totally pissed off with someone in his organization going all Mad Dog Mattis without telling him or someone a Hez. officer?

How plausible is it that Ayyash is not actually a member of Hezbollah? The AP article mentioned 'Hezbollah' in every other word and quoted Nasrallah saying that he was not going to hand anyone over. This implies that he is protecting him.

BTW here is a link to the court decision rather than the AP story.
https://www.stl-tsl.org/crs/assets/Uploads/20200818-F3840-PUBLIC-Summary-of-Judgment-FILED-EN-FINAL.pdf

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 18 2020 15:56 utc | 18

False accusations against Hezbollah

bevin @9, I agree that the guilt for the bombing of the Jewish Community Center, a long held article of faith, is now in serious doubt.

1. The Ammonia Nitrate stockpile in London is also a myth. I tried tracking down that story and I eventually got to ... 'an arrest of a 39 yr old mand was made who was later released'. Say what??? If this was a terrorist bomb factory then wouldn't he have been thrown in jail or used to get others thrown in jail? Ironically, the story in 'the Telegraph' was peppered with innuendos. Just google it and see for yourself, too depressing too bother saving the link.

2. The only terrorist incident that I can still reasonably see pinning on Hezbollah is the bombing of the Israeli bus in Bulgaria but I have not taken a second look at that one yet. Is this yet another house of cards story?

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 18 2020 16:05 utc | 19

The attitude displayed towards todays judgement of an international court is very depressing and worrying. The cynical attitudes, including b's, is an abdication of everyone's obligation to inform themselves properly, take time to understand the issue at hand (any and every issue) and control the urge to just splash an opinion, however unsubstantiated.
I worked in a UN court and know first-hand the extreme professionalism, dedication and enormous difficulties of international investigations and prosecutions. Sure, there are attempts of states, in particular the usual ones, to influence the process, but it doesn't work. It only hinders and delays. It has, however, become the standard "analysis", that whatever the outcome of an iternational criminal trial, it must be an expression of the will of the powerful. Maybe in your home country, or in your municipality, but not at the international level, despite some let downs by some unethical judges.
The Court said today that one man is guilty, for three the evidence was insufficient; Hissbolah leadership not involved and no evidence of Syria involvement.
Instead of taking that as what it is - the outcome of a trial process based on evidence, and reading the judgement to form an opinion about the evidence, the reasoning of the Chamber and its decision, all is dismissed out of hand based on ignorance, biases, arrogance and sheer laziness (of the spirit).
Those who genuinely want a better world, one of community, fraternity, cooperation, fairness, eqaulity and justice, a world which understands that truht is its most important foundation, and a world without impunity, in particular for the most powerful, would not, and should not be cynical towards the nascent international criminal courts, one of the most important developments in the history of humanity. The courts should be under informed critical scrutiny, but they should be supported because they serve our basic need for truth and justice. Otherwise the powerful will (try to0 crush them. That will be in line with what is being written here. Is that what is wanted?

Posted by: JB | Aug 18 2020 16:07 utc | 20

JB @20

Are you suggesting that a UN court would be immune from the kind of corruption that has rendered the OPCW worthless? What mechanisms would such a court have to prevent this kind of corruption?

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 16:15 utc | 21

thanks b for shining a light in a different direction that has more relevance... i share @5 Biswapriya Purkayast viewpoint...

@ 20 JB... please do answer @ 21 wg's question.. thanks....

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2020 16:23 utc | 22

JB @20, I'm taking the decision at face value. That one of the four defendants is guilty. I scanned the 150 page 'summary' and sure, they tried to be thorough.

Applying 'court of public opinion logic', I'd say that if the guilty party was really a member of Hezbollah then I find it inconceivable that he would kill a former Prime Minister of Lebanon without telling Nasrallah or some other high ranking member of Hezbollah even if the court did not find any such evidence of a conspiracy.

I have nothing against Hezbollah, that is just the way I see it. I kind of insult people for not being honest (other websites), so should try to be honest rather than project my views.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 18 2020 16:27 utc | 23

Looks like all the "circumstantial evidences" against Ayyash relies on the expertise of a certain john edward phillips. The phones were not contracted out by the accused and their usage attribution is "proved" by cell-proximity analysis by this guy. Who is he?

Posted by: ATH | Aug 18 2020 16:31 utc | 24

The empire's "loss of grip" is due to economic decline. It is an inescapable feature of capitalism that when markets saturate then competition will drive profits to 0%. This is being masked by the empire running its fiat currency printing press at full speed, but in real terms profits have tanked and capital ownership is concentrating to ridiculous extremes.

The empire's "grip" is and has always been purely economic. Military dominance is entirely a secondary effect.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 15:46 utc | 15

I appreciate the fact that China's Communist leadership accurately speaks of "hegemony" and not "empire" when considering the currently prominent Anglo nation's recent actions.

The capitalists you mention are not bound to any nation-state. Approximately 100 years ago they designated a clock making nation as a "free zone" of sorts. Today, 100 years later, they are doing the same to UAE, the "Switzerland of Middle East".

So I reject the notion that "Empire" is in any sort of decline or even challanged in any significant way. The only genuine question (for me) is whether China's Communist Party a dedicated member of the "Empire" or merely an opportunistic member of the few centuries old "mercantile" empire. Some obviously are hoping it is the latter.

Posted by: conspiracy-theorist | Aug 18 2020 16:36 utc | 25

@warren schaich | Aug 18 2020 13:53 utc | 1
I hear you, it is starting to be almost normal.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 18 2020 16:39 utc | 26

@conspiracy-theorist

Whoever is designating UAE to be the "Switzerland of Middle East" should have his/her brain checked. UAE is not neutral neither the population and the elite has the kind of "capitalist protestant ethic" that existed in Switzerland for centuries.

Posted by: ATH | Aug 18 2020 16:42 utc | 27

glad we have people here who can tell us what is normal or not... jesus...

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2020 16:52 utc | 28

james @28 +1

Posted by: spudski | Aug 18 2020 16:58 utc | 29

I live in the UAE and it is no Switzerland but more like Swiss cheese. Think Yemen, Iran, Saudi, Qatar. I could go on and on. Conspiracy-theorist must live on another planet in an alternate universe!

Posted by: Blues Guy | Aug 18 2020 17:03 utc | 30

So, Nasrallah, Assad, Hezbollah and Syria are innocent of the crime. But they were always blamed for all these years.

And all the "authorities" can give us is a trumped up circumstantial evidence theory pointing to some "bad guy".

Telephonic data construed into evidence. This is the specialty of the US Intel crowd.

So, that, to the educated eye, becomes circumstantial evidence pointing to CIA.

They wanted a "cause". It hasn't worked as well as they hoped, though they got the war against Syria they wanted.

So now, they have the Beirut port explosion, trying to point that at Hezbollah.
Same M.O. Blame the others for what you do. Circumstantial though it is. But the pattern is deep and wide. Who benefits from the chaos?

Posted by: Red Ryder | Aug 18 2020 17:08 utc | 31

Al Jazeera tries its best to spin the Hariri trial result in an anti-Hezbollah direction:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib1YL7L7DVc

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Aug 18 2020 17:15 utc | 32

As anticipated, the Zionist attempt to Frame Hezbollah for its murder of Hariri failed, in part due to Hezbollah's good fortune in being capable of hacking Zionist drones back in 2005. Nasrallah's presentation of the 2+ hours of drone footage in 2010 took the Zionists and their sponsors within the Outlaw US Empire totally by surprise, and they had no way to refute what was so obvious. For the unbiased, it was at that point when the UN's "court" was seen as the kangaroo it was designed as and at that juncture ought to have been disbanded. But the Empire must have its Show Trials aimed at Framing specific enemies for crime(s) committed by it or its vassals, the MH-17 crap being the next to smell. It's yet to get through the very thick skulls of those running the Outlaw US Empire and West that such flummery only serves to diminish its credibility in the eyes of the greater world--the NAM for example--while raising the credibility of nations seen in pursuit of Truth. Except for the weak-minded, the Era of Colonial Diktat is over.

Lebanon's problems are a mixture of the complex and the simple, with much of its history as a colony hindering its development. Lebanon must be designed by Lebanese for Lebanese, not French, Saudi, Turk, or other flavor of non-Lebanese; and as such, sectoral differences must be pushed aside once and for all. A person must identify as Lebanese First and Marionite or other flavor last if Lebanon is going to be a place for Lebanese to live and prosper. Yes, that means a great many egos must be reigned in and put out to pasture for good. But I'm merely echoing Nasrallah's own words spoken many times. Escobar's advice that Lebanon look East I second.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 18 2020 17:29 utc | 33

Posted by: JB | Aug 18 2020 16:07 utc | 20

"Those who genuinely wants a better world" should stay away from the UN..where is the credibility in a UN court?

Posted by: LuBa | Aug 18 2020 17:42 utc | 34

Now that 'justice has been made' it is time to say it loud and clear: Rafic Hariri was a dangerous crook. He has put in Lebanon the seeds of its destruction.

Francis Balanche accuses him to be the most corrupted of all and to have institutionalize corruption in Lebanon post civil war..

https://www.academia.edu/11264280/The_reconstruction_of_Lebanon_or_the_racketeering_rule


https://www.cmi.no/publications/file/4594-lebanon-after-the-cedar-revolution.pdf

also in french
https://www.causeur.fr/liban-macron-a-raison-de-tancer-la-classe-politique-180147

"Mais, à mon sens, le plus grand corrompu et celui qui institutionnalisé ce système au détriment d’un véritable état de droit était Rafic Hariri, Premier ministre libanais de 1992 à 2004. Il serait trop long de décrire comment les Hariri, père et fils (Saad Hariri a été premier ministre de septembre 2009 à janvier 2011, puis de décembre 2016 à janvier 2020), ont mis le pays en coupe réglée, je vous renvoie à un de mes articles sur le sujet qui est en accès libre : « The reconstruction of Lebanon or the racketeering ruling ».

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 18 2020 17:43 utc | 35

So, according to the court decision document, all the "circumstantial evidences" are based on the metadata of the calls and cell-proximity analysis. It looks like none of the contents of the calls were available.

Here's an extract:
"In the absence, however, of any content of any of these calls, or any other evidence,
the finding is that it would be too speculative to infer a hierarchy from mere call ‘sequencing’."

And even based on this, the military wing couldn't be implicated, again according to the document above.

Posted by: ATH | Aug 18 2020 17:43 utc | 36

...
Regardless, what is an indisputable fact is that a nation's internal affairs are decided by outside entities. And that this state of affairs is not questioned.
I'd say the "Empire" remains fully in control.
Posted by: conspiracy-theorist | Aug 18 2020 15:34 utc | 8

Bingo!

"Who corrupted the UN?" is much more worthy of urgent International Investigation than "Who killed Hariri?"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 18 2020 17:44 utc | 37

Laguerre@11: Unless Solidere went out of business recently, the deal was that property owners were forced to give up their property In central Beirut in exchange for shares of Solidere, the Hariri company that rebuilt central Beirut. That was still the deal ten years ago when I visited Beirut. Construction around the Green Line was still very active.

If anything moved on, it was at most a change share holders.

Posted by: JohnH | Aug 18 2020 17:44 utc | 38

What were the motivations of Ayash and how could he have prepared such a precise operation without accomplices.?

The UN investigation appears incomplete and flawed for the simple reason that it seems to avoid looking in the direction of a Mossad-CIA operation that used Ayash with the purpose of putting the blame on Hezbollah. they succeeded as for years Syria and Hezbollah were pointed at as the criminals. Now silence... but it is too late to look at another path. Nobody wants to hear about that

Ayash has probably be eliminated or changed his identity. Maybe he lives happily in California or tel Aviv..

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 18 2020 17:53 utc | 39

Blame was supposed to be laid at Assad’s intelligence and generals. This Neocon attempt failed miserably …

The Mitsubishi van was stolen in Japan and transported through Dubai, travelled via the Bekaa Valley to Beirut. It was a suicide bomber (trade of Sunni terror} and the phones were bought in Northern Lebanon in Maronite area of Terbol and Menyeh. There was a big attempt to blame al Qaeda and the early STL investigation was based on false witnesses to blame Syrian generals. Beyond the immense difficulty of intelligence from too varied sources, many witnesses died or just vanished.

The red network mobile evidence came from a Lebanese policeman Capt. Wissam Eid. A car bomb ended his life, bodyguard and three nearby. The Lebanese telecom network was infiltrated by Israeli espionage. Just sort that out. Certain Lebanese billionaires had a monopoly of the mobile networks.

The British FTS did the mobile data analysis for the STL investigation.

Posted by: Oui | Aug 18 2020 17:57 utc | 40

For how Lebanon reached that state of corruption and who are the main contributors, read this

https://www.cmi.no/publications/file/4594-lebanon-after-the-cedar-revolution.pdf

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 18 2020 18:00 utc | 41

@JB above ... agree and my sympathy as I live in the shadow of the Court.

Posted by: Oui | Aug 18 2020 18:00 utc | 42

@Oui

I don't get how you link FTS to the UN court expert. Their product seemingly needs access to the phone itself to extract deleted data. In the case at hand, it doesn't look like the phones were available to the court. The cell network analysis of the calls' metadata (or paradata) was done based on the data at the call switching center, presumably years after the assassination. It is not difficult to prove that the expertise to manipulate and "re-calibrate" some data in the switching center database to "build-up" desired scenarios is available to many centers of power nowadays.

Posted by: ATH | Aug 18 2020 18:15 utc | 43

yeah, like seismic signals, lol... oui works for you know who...

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2020 18:43 utc | 44

JB 20 "The attitude displayed towards todays judgement of an international court is very depressing and worrying. The cynical attitudes, including b's, is an abdication of everyone's obligation to inform themselves properly, take time to understand the issue at hand (any and every issue) and control the urge to just splash an opinion, however unsubstantiated.'

"Inform themselves properly" lets have a look at the Kangaroo court.

https://file.wikileaks.org/file/crs/R40054.pdf

"
U.N. Secretary-General, asking that the Security Council establish the court as a matter of
urgency. Subsequently, on May 30, 2007, a divided U.N. Security Council voted 10 to 0 with 5
abstentions (Russia, China, South Africa, Indonesia and Qatar) to adopt Resolution 1757, which
established a tribunal outside of Lebanon to prosecute persons responsible for the attack against
Hariri.
Resolution 1757 has proven divisive in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region. Pro-Syrian elements
have criticized it and Syria has threatened not to cooperate with the tribunal. Western countries,
including France and Germany, praised this step. Opponents of the Resolution objected on the
grounds that it was passed under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which could include the use of
force, and that it represented interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs. The Russian delegate to
the U.N. commented that “never before has the Security Council ratified agreements on behalf of
a parliament of a foreign country.”1"

" The United States has contributed $14 million for the tribunal. Lebanon is expected to fund 49% of its costs"

Sections of the Canadian prosecutor Bellemare conversation with US Ambassador.
https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08BEIRUT1348_a.html

"One, provide intelligence information that UNIIIC has formally requested, or inform him that it cannot be provided, so that he knows not to pursue the requests." (Obvious from this that US has said it has information when it doesn't or it has information that is the opposite of what it claims same as MH17)

"9. (S/NF) Bellemare showed a good understanding of the problems associated with complying with the first two requests from his several meetings with USG officials, but his frustration was nonetheless evident. "You are the key player. If the U.S. doesn't help me, who will?" The USG has "a big investment in the Tribunal" and being more forthcoming on UNIIIC's requests is a way of making that investment pay off, he said."

"Bellemare thanked the USG for what he said was a much improved attitude on the part of the Tribunal Management Committee. His requests have been more favorably received than was the case previously."

"that he did not want to go to Syria until the USG or other sources had provided names of leads he should ask to interview and other information. If Syria denied his request to interview these people, then he would have evidence of Syrian non-cooperation."

And then this from 2011.
https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/08/201
"It is mainly based on telecommunications, and this is a controversial source of evidence because in the past there have been official reports by both the Lebanese governments and international telecommunications networks that show infiltration and tampering of the cellular networks in Lebanon by suspects who are Israeli agents, or who work for the interests of the Israeli intelligence. Therefore the so-called evidence of the telecoms network is controversial, and will be heavily scrutinised by the defence when court procedures start."
Since mid-2009, the Lebanese authorities have arrested approximately 70 people on suspicion of working with the Israeli intelligence services. By July 2010, they had arrested two Lebanese nationals working specifically within the telecoms sector on charges of spying for Israel. According to security officials at the time, one of those arrested, Tarek Rabaa, a telecoms engineer with Alfa, is said to have been in contact with Israeli intelligence since 2001.

Charbel Nahhas, former Lebanese minister of telecoms, said in a press conference at the time that this was the "most dangerous espionage act in Lebanese history". A few months later, following an international conference on telecoms held in Mexico, Nahhas pointed out that a further investigation had demonstrated that Israel has had access to telecommunications-related data in Lebanon "for quite some time" and has had the capabilities of altering and manipulating it."

"To some, however, the wording within the indictment can only be interpreted as political, and thus lacks any impartiality.

One such example can be found in Paragraph 59 of the indictment. Here, Bellemare stated: "All four accused are supporters of Hezbollah, which is a political and military organisation in Lebanon. In the past, the military wing of Hezbollah has been implicated in terrorist acts."

"This should say 'allegedly' implicated in terrorist acts," said Dr Nashabe. "There is no international court that gave a verdict stating Hezbollah was involved in terrorism. In fact, there is no international consensus that categorises Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation."
.............................

If you have really worked at the UN in these kangaroo courts you're a fool. They will only investigate and prosecute US targets. If you cant get a conviction against the US target then no culprit is found.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 18 2020 19:08 utc | 45

ATH 43

Read the section of the al Jazeera article on what it was doing with Lebenese telecoms in my comment @45

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 18 2020 19:11 utc | 46

@ Peter AU1 | Aug 18 2020 19:11 utc | 46.. i am getting the 404 page not found on your 2nd link in your post... what is the title of the article?

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2020 19:22 utc | 47

found it another way - Little surprise in Hariri assassination probe

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2020 19:24 utc | 48

OT but related, Israel's 1982 vs 2006 invasion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1982_Lebanon_War
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Lebanon_War

Being a curious person, I wanted to see how far did the IDF get into Lebanon in 2006 vs 1982? Can you say, major information scrub? Whenever I look up a war or battle in Wikipedia, as I did for 1982 I always see a map in the main caption. 1982, pretty colors, but for 2006 nothing, just a dusty building. I then looked under 'ground war', and it doesn't even say anything there, only that Hezbollah used 'Guerilla warfare' (flat out lie).

Guerilla warfare is when you let a superior force occupy your territory and then you come out at night and ambush them as they wash their clothes, the main point being occupation. I am 99% certain that Hezbollah yielded very little territory, used a system of tunnels, minefields, trenches, and ATGM's to attack Israeli's from different directions. They may have popped up behind Israelis like the Japanese did on Iwo Jima but that was a stand up fight, not guerilla warfare.

Anyway, no matter how much I googled, bing'd, or duck-duch-go'd, I could not find a map or text to describe the extent of the IDF advance in 2006. I bet they got stuffed. But oh, did they ever bomb Lebanon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Lebanon_War#/media/File:Locations_bombed_Aug13_no_fact_box.jpg At least wikipedia documented that. There is no way Hezbollah was in all of those places. Israel dropped almost 5 million cluster bombs on Lebanon. Nasrallah could have fought Israel forever but didn't want to see Israel vaporized.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 18 2020 19:26 utc | 49

Another French backed puppet government topples over:

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/mali-coup-underway-mutinying-soldiers-storm-presidents-palace-arrest-keita-pm

I think it's safe to say Macron will not be parachuting in with inspirational messages for the locals ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Aug 18 2020 19:30 utc | 50

Nasrallah could have fought Israel forever but did not want to see Israel Lebanon vaporized.

[Meant to say Lebanon, but reading Nasrallah's speeches, I do not believe that he wants to kill Israeli civilians either. He does not gives off a psychopathic vibe like Bibi Netanyahu (or Trump) does]

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 18 2020 19:34 utc | 51

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 18 2020 19:26 utc | 49

Being a curious person, I wanted to see how far did the IDF get into Lebanon in 2006 vs 1982? Can you say, major information scrub?

Wikipedia is IDF occupied territory. I've seen whole chunks of history that don't show the IDF in a good light vanish off wikipedia over the years.

Something about recent google search results give me a strong suspicion they've got a partnership going with Alphabet too ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Aug 18 2020 19:37 utc | 52

Another US document from wikileaks. Here Bellemare straight out tells US to show him what they want investigated.

https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08USUNNEWYORK316_a.html
Bellemare also asked for investigators with
"military analysis" expertise who can help UNIIIC as it faces
a hostile intelligence service. Bellemare shared his view
that the United States, through its intelligence contacts,
could help him determine whether he is taking his
investigation in the proper direction or whether he should
pursue different approaches or leads.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 18 2020 20:04 utc | 53

conspiracy-theorist @25

Both "hegemony" and "empire" are accurate. There are differences for discussing specific aspects of the world order, but they are not that important for our purpose here.

"The capitalists you mention are not bound to any nation-state."

Some are, and some are not. It depends upon how mobile their capital is. A mine, for instance, is difficult to move to another country. Golf courses don't travel well either. Fiat currency, on the other hand, which is in reality nothing more than an entry in a ledger, is quite highly mobile.

But even the capitalists with only fiat currency and thus whose capital is entirely virtual will attach themselves to a particular nation state because they realize that they will occasionally require the use of a military as a backup to convention to enforce the value of their ledger entries. This is not so apparent when times are good and fresh markets are free for the taking. In such times our capitalist will flit from place to place raking in profits with glee. But when markets tighten then our previously carefree capitalist will start looking for safe havens to protect his capital and gangs for hire that can "liberate" markets from other capitalists for him to exploit. At this time our unbound capitalist will become quite bound, at least so long as that offers the best deal.

Anyway, the empire very much is in decline, as a host of events show. Declining living standards, unrest in the streets, loss of industrial vitality, and even their signature products crashing to the ground. The empire can no longer even provide safe drinking water to the core population that it depends upon for soldiers. "Game over, man! Game over!"

The Chinese are obviously not part of the empire. It was hoped by many in the West that they would merge with the imperial blob as they developed domestic capitalists, but the market forces permitted by the communists were strictly instrumental and were never allowed to become the dominant power in the country.

As far as imperial subjects rejecting the decline of their empire, this is oddly universal across all empires in history. They always seem to think that their empire will last forever for some reason.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 20:14 utc | 54

Re: Arch Bungle | Aug 18 2020 19:30 utc | 50

"Another French backed puppet government topples over:

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/mali-coup-underway-mutinying-soldiers-storm-presidents-palace-arrest-keita-pm

I think it's safe to say Macron will not be parachuting in with inspirational messages for the locals ..."

//

US Troops – Aims and Purposes in Mali

1) US Special ops in Mali from 2006

2) US operation Oasis Enabler (2009) looking to infiltrate and control Elite Malian army units

3) March 2012 Coup brought to power American trained Capt. Amadou Sanogo

4) French Operation Serval, at the request of the 'interim government' fights to control northern Malian territory and URANIUM mines along the Mali - Niger border (they said they fought ISIS but what they actually fought was a Tuareg separatist movement) together with the presence of ISIS (the US trained, evacuated from Syria version?) in the area... “

(MOA 10-21-17)"

Posted by: AntiSpin | Aug 18 2020 20:18 utc | 55

JB 20 Try thy this. This is the order for the US to ignore getting Lebanese government approval and push the tribunal through anyway. Something of a smoking gun when it comes to kangaroo courts.

https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07STATE70478_a.html

7. (SBU) WILL COUNCIL ACTION UNDERMINE LEBANESE
SOVEREIGNTY? The United States continues to fully support
the immediate establishment of the Special Tribunal to try
those responsible for perpetrating the terrorist attack that
killed Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. We believe the
establishment of the Tribunal is necessary to see that
justice is done. The Tribunal will serve as a deterrent to
those who in the future might be tempted to engage in similar
violent crimes intended to undermine Lebanon's democracy,
sovereignty and independence. While we would prefer Lebanese
parliamentary approval, this is no longer a realistic option.

Has be some naive fools if they think this wasn't a US show trial/kangarro court to set up Hezbollah and Syria. For 12 years they tried to convict Syria and Hezbollah and all they can come up with is vague "telephone networks" from the period Israel was manipulating Lebanon telecoms.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 18 2020 20:27 utc | 56

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 18 2020 19:26 utc | 49

33 Days 33 pictures

More videos etc

Hezbollah attacks Israeli ship

Posted by: Some Random Passerby | Aug 18 2020 20:29 utc | 57

I always suspected Western linked intelligence services had a hand in Hariri's murder. I knew nothing about him until the year or so before his death when I skimmed an article in Commentary or something of that ilk (opposition research) which was a long screed about how horrible and corrupt he was and why was Washington supporting him? I took it as telegram from the neocon security state that he had lost his protection. Low and behold, next time I heard his name he had been killed and we were blaming our enemies based on signals intel provided by a friendly regional government.

Posted by: Michael | Aug 18 2020 20:40 utc | 58

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 18 2020 17:29 utc | 33

Nasrallah's presentation of the 2+ hours of drone footage in 2010 took the Zionists and their sponsors within the Outlaw US Empire totally by surprise, and they had no way to refute what was so obvious.

Here is the drone footage in case someone missed it: (search technology appears to fail for some subjects)

Nasrallah accusing israel of killin hariri - August 9 2010 - 8 of 14 (starting at 3m43s)

Nasrallah accusing israel of killin hariri - August 9 2010 - 9 of 14 (continues here)

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Aug 18 2020 20:40 utc | 59

STL Bulletin on Telecom Evidence
https://www.stl-tsl.org/sites/default/files/bulletin/Primer.pdf

Posted by: Oui | Aug 18 2020 21:24 utc | 60

Vasco da Gama @59--

Thanks for posting those links. I once had the entire presentation bookmarked on a now compromised computer hard drive; and as expected, it isn't easy to find anymore. At the time, 2010, it was amazingly difficult to get anyone to watch/listen to the evidence presented. IMO, there's a growing faction in the West wanting to proclaim its innocence by being purposefully ignorant--determined not to know--so they aren't morally troubled by reality. It's beyond apathy, and it's very different from being programmed to be ignorant a la 1984's Proles. Sometimes I have a hard time determining which faction's worse: The Knowing Liars or the Ignorant Deniers.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 18 2020 21:27 utc | 61

@Oui

My question and the assertion regarding the ease with which the switch DB can be manipulated to produce favorable data was based on the document you just linked.

Posted by: ATH | Aug 18 2020 21:30 utc | 62

For what it's worth, I have heard separate and independent testimony from two Christian Lebanese who speak very highly of Hezbollah and their non sectarian good works.

One from the north of Lebanon told me: "they are gentlemen, they know how to treat women, they helped my daughter with her homework."

The other came from Cana or Qana in the south, this is where Jesus was supposed to turn water into wine for the wedding festivities. Perhaps they actually tried the magic mushrooms instead? During the murderous Zionist 2006 invasion the mixed town Cana was destroyed starting with the church and then the mosques. My Lebanese informant told me: "They destroyed everything including my house, I crawled underneath the rubble and went into hiding because they were shooting everyone on sight. A week later I heard someone crawling towards me through the rubble, it was a man from Hezbollah, he bought me food, water and medicine, he saved my life, he didn't care if I was christian."

In addition, an old friend a scrupulously honest Sunni Palestinian also speaks highly of this legitimate resistance group from first hand experience.

I have concluded Hezbollah are the genuine non sectarian good guys and that is why they are targeted for defamation and destruction.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 18 2020 21:32 utc | 63

Did Hariri hold any government position in 2005? He resigned as prime minister in 2004.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 18 2020 21:36 utc | 64

Since the tribunal could not find Hezbollah and Syria involvement in the murder, who is left that had a strong motivation to incriminate Hezbollah and Syria so the Syrian army leaves Lebanon and render it vulnerable for the 2006 war?
The answer is obvious: Israel and the CIA

The Israelis agents infiltrated in the tribunal did all they could to direct the investigation exclusively on the usual suspects: Syria and the Hezbollah away from the Mossad CIA path that Hezbollah pointed out several times.

The Israelis succeed in making 1 billion nothing burger of the UN tribunal and they got away untouched. No body would deny that the Israeli Mossad are smart killers that always manage to get away.
Shame on the UN for fearing to uncover Israeli crimes!

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 18 2020 21:53 utc | 65

i am waiting for the 1 billion trail ( what this one cost) to find the suspects for the 2020 beirut explosion, financed by the same one's who financed this probably...and of course they will be looking for the same suspects again... a repeat 10 years later, except as heraclitus said - ' you can't step into the same river twice, as it is not the same river'..

@ Vasco da Gama | Aug 18 2020 20:40 utc | 59.. thanks for those links..

@ Virgile | Aug 18 2020 21:53 utc | 65 quote "The answer is obvious: Israel and the CIA." that is what it looks like to me as well...

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2020 22:01 utc | 66

Paul @63--

Since its inception, Hezbollah has strived to first and foremost be Lebanese and serve the people of Lebanon in contrast to all the corrupt entities who always put themselves first and Lebanon and Lebanese last, Hariri being one, but not by any means the only or worst. In trying its utmost to put itself above Sectarian politics, Hezbollah immediately became the #1 target for all the self-seekers and their organizations. That Hezbollah began in the predominately Shiite South which was perhaps the poorest region of Lebanon is more in line with its basic Islamic and Humanist nature as it worked with all communities there without exception or favor. In my eyes, they were genuine social workers and activists first and foremost, with their Shiism always last. And in a place teeming with corruption like Lebanon, dogooders are hated by all. After the Blast, I wrote that Nasrallah needed to become the Sheriff and Moses as that's what Lebanon needs most--Moses being the Law Giver and the Sheriff being its enforcer, all of which works within Islamic thought. That might happen IF Nasrallah's chosen by the Lebanese to lead them. Yes, Nasrallah is a proponent of small d democracy and self-government freed from Oligarchs and Colonial Nations. IMO, he's the most patriotic of all Lebanese. And right now, Lebanon needs a dozen more Nasrallahs to create new institutions and resurrect pride in the Lebanese for Lebanon, not their faith or foreign affiliations.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 18 2020 22:03 utc | 67

I totally agree with you B

It's fun that the french president called lebanon's politicians "corrupt" ; totally forgetting that hariri was France's first ally and friend. Oh and he also happens to be a billionnaire. coincidence ?

incredible how far these guys go. I don't have any trust in this scam tribunal. Judgment needs to be done, but not by a politically orchestred tribunal

Posted by: Ghassan | Aug 18 2020 22:03 utc | 68

I truly lament the progression downwards b of MOA. Where was your analysis of Beirut? Come on now. Get real. Now pages are filled with a dude called Richrad fucking Hack and crappy groupthink which was always sort of there.

But b. you are better than that. I am true believer in you who paid out of his cleaning wages some money to you each month.

You have really let me down but thanks for your brilliance...

Posted by: Lochearn | Aug 18 2020 22:17 utc | 69

Virgile 65

"16.While the Commission is independent, it cannot operate in a vacuum. Indeed, the Commission acts on behalf of Member States and its success depends on their timely and effective assistance."
https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Tenth+report+of+the+International+Independent+Investigation...-a0217259072

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 18 2020 22:28 utc | 70

Both "hegemony" and "empire" are accurate. There are differences for discussing specific aspects of the world order, but they are not that important for our purpose here.

"The capitalists you mention are not bound to any nation-state."

Some are, and some are not. It depends upon how mobile their capital is. A mine, for instance, is difficult to move to another country. Golf courses don't travel well either. Fiat currency, on the other hand, which is in reality nothing more than an entry in a ledger, is quite highly mobile.

But even the capitalists with only fiat currency and thus whose capital is entirely virtual will attach themselves to a particular nation state because they realize that they will occasionally require the use of a military as a backup to convention to enforce the value of their ledger entries. This is not so apparent when times are good and fresh markets are free for the taking. In such times our capitalist will flit from place to place raking in profits with glee. But when markets tighten then our previously carefree capitalist will start looking for safe havens to protect his capital and gangs for hire that can "liberate" markets from other capitalists for him to exploit. At this time our unbound capitalist will become quite bound, at least so long as that offers the best deal.

Anyway, the empire very much is in decline, as a host of events show. Declining living standards, unrest in the streets, loss of industrial vitality, and even their signature products crashing to the ground. The empire can no longer even provide safe drinking water to the core population that it depends upon for soldiers. "Game over, man! Game over!"

The Chinese are obviously not part of the empire. It was hoped by many in the West that they would merge with the imperial blob as they developed domestic capitalists, but the market forces permitted by the communists were strictly instrumental and were never allowed to become the dominant power in the country.

As far as imperial subjects rejecting the decline of their empire, this is oddly universal across all empires in history. They always seem to think that their empire will last forever for some reason.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 20:14 utc | 54

I appreciate the thoughtful reply. We are in disagreement regarding whether it is a fine distinction to note, as Communist Party of China's leadership clearly also does, that United States of America is the "dominant" "hegemon" within the current global regime. This regime, which can fairly be called "imperialistic", is the Western global supramacy that came into being due to two critical historic events: Naval technology and Banking.

You point out the distinction between bound physical assets and portable assets (maximally banking instruments). If you review history, you will see that the emerging powers in Banking picked their side and joined the Naval powers, whether at corporate level of entities like East India Company, or directly at the bloodline level of intermarriages between banking families and so-called aristocrasy of the emerging naval powers. This is the historic "empire" with its own political theatre for local consumption. This fell into America's hand at the end of WWII. And without question USA enjoys dominance in this framework, but the "Empire" can and will continue even if USA crashes and burns to the ground.

Personally I view these attempts these past 2 decades to pin the "Empire" tail on US as propaganda for acceptance of the mutation of the current imperial regime to another form, possibly no longer Euro-Judaic centric. This may have been the bridge that was sold to the CCP. I agree that high probabiliy possibility is that CCP also was entering into their "devil's bargain" with hidden intent, and is not part of the empire.

What is being denied in some quarters is the end of Western Supramacy, even though the signs of its decline have been painfully evident for a few decades now.

Posted by: conspiracy-theorist | Aug 18 2020 22:38 utc | 71

@18 Christian J. Chuba: "Still looks bad for Hezbollah"

I disagree. It looks like the Tribunal knows for a fact that Hezbollah had nothing to do with this assassination, but because so much has been invested into the "Hezbollah Done It!!!" narrative then a bone has to be thrown to the salivating dogs.

"If Salim Jamil Ayyash is guilty"..... I doubt that. But he is missing, and I would bet very good money that the Tribunal knows that he will never be found. So he became the convenient bone to be thrown to the salivating dogs.

b is right: this is a massive nothing-burger. The only remaining mystery is why this tribunal went off the reservation rather than stubbornly following through with the Needs Of The Empire.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 18 2020 23:02 utc | 72

@ JB | Aug 18 2020 16:07 utc | 20

Mate, nobody disagrees with your high mindedness.
Although the sanctimonious preaching is a bit grating.
We all aspire to universal justice but we seldom see it.
How can we perform "informed critical scrutiny" when we are systematically denied information; we are disappointed that the once trusted sources of news are compromised?
Those with great influence bemoan our access to other sources of information (social media) and do their best to censor what can be seen; but it's always one-sided.
Sir, who else can we turn to in order to remain informed then?

We're sick & tired of it.

We see the UN is no longer "an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations" (Wikipedia quote); more like a club of countries that use the UN to impose their will on others; a colonial enforcement club.
The larger countries ignore it at will and without consequence.
Ever seen a "shithole" country get their way at the UN?

No Sir; we, the Commentariat, have acquired cynicism in abundance.
The more cynical our interpretation of the world the more accurate and predictable.
It's the only way to make sense of the place.

I wish you sunshine and good health.

Posted by: Hosscara | Aug 18 2020 23:04 utc | 73

@49 Christian J. Chuba Maps don't necessarily tell the entire picture. Here are some pertinent facts regarding the 2006 war that might give some insight into how "well" the IDF ground forces performed.

1) The battle of Bint Jbeil. A Lebanese village just over the border, and a major Hezbollah staging post. Despite three major IDF attempts to take the village it remained in Hezbollah hands throughout the war. They, basically, did not make a dent on Hezbollah's defenses despite overwhelming firepower superiority. (Note that wiki lists the result as: "Israel failed to conquer the town" which is a laughable euphemism for "Decisive Hezbollah victory")

2) The UNSC ceasefire resolution 1701 contained this line "Upon full cessation of hostilities, calls upon the Government of Lebanon and UNIFIL as authorized by paragraph 11 to deploy their forces together throughout the South and calls upon the Government of Israel, as that deployment begins, to withdraw all of its forces from southern Lebanon in parallel;"

Israel took that as an open-invitation to grab as much territory as it could before the ceasefire came into effect, all the better to force the Lebanese army/UNIFIL to make good on that Paragraph 2 i.e. it could grab and hold territory until "that deployment begins".

So in the last few days of the war Olmert ordered a full on, no-holds-barred, invasion to lunge the IDF as far as the Litani River before the ceasefire came into effect. No effort spared.

They never got there. Merkava tanks littered the countryside, cluster-bombs in untold numbers strewn across the land. And.... the IDF never got to the Litani River. They staggered out of their starting lines, ran into the Hezbollah defenses, and simply.... stalled.

It was a display that was beyond pathetic.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 18 2020 23:36 utc | 74

Thanks for the summary of 2006 Yeah, Right.

I think maps are useful. In 1982, Israel made it to the gates of Beirut, blew past the Litani river and shredded the Syrian army which is why Wikipedia was so eager to display it as a trophy for Israel.

In 2006, I can't find a single map because it looks like it would be an embarrassment for Israel. The only thing Israel was able to do was murder Lebanese by bombing their merchant ships, all of their cities even in the farthest north with no other combat, use white phosphorus shells, and cluster bombs.

Human shields open question, where were you when you first heard the term 'human shield'? I can't quite remember, it was either during one of Israel's invasions of Lebanon or the 2009 destruction of Gaza. But I do know it was in the context of, 'the Arabs are barbarians, the Israelis were forced to bomb that hospital'.

Sorry to ramble but I'm in a cross mood. I made the mistake of listening to a guest on Glenn Beck, from the Nazarene Fund, Rudy Atallah. He echoed every anti-Hezbollah meme including a myth that they killed children in order to blame it on Israel. I posted and told them it was total crap. As if the U.S. or anyone other than Iran cares what Israel does or Hezbollah would have to resort to such tactics or Hezbollah would not have 5 other real examples of Israeli atrocities to point to. Probably a gullible rube repeating propaganda he actually believes to other rubes.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 19 2020 0:16 utc | 75

I'm surprised at the verdict. Usually these sorts of "independent inquiries" have prejudgements simply due to the composition of the inquirers. I fully expected Hezbollah to be blamed because that is what Israel and the US wanted and I assumed they had rigged the inquiry to "make it so", to quote Captain (now Admiral) Picard.

As for the one alleged member of Hezbollah who was convicted, it's entirely possible that he was suborned by someone, framed by someone, or a double agent from the start - or not even a confirmed member of Hezbollah. Therefore extending from the (alleged) fact that he was a member of Hezbollah to the notion that Hezbollah's leadership ordered the assassination is a non-starter absent better evidence. Once again, people need to distinguish between levels of evidence - not many here appear capable of that.

Finally, even if Hezbollah did kill the victim, it's clear from b's exposition that it would have been justified since the victim was the usual corporate statist scumbag.

That's the extent of my interest in this topic.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Aug 19 2020 1:03 utc | 76

William Gruff explains @ 15, Capitalism in a pure competition environment will produce a net 0% profit. Corrupt states use their rule by law, and treaty making powers, to generate monopoly powers. From hot thin air come those monopoly laws (copyright, private property ownership, patents) and monopoly powers granted by government to its feudal lords( contracts, privatization and the like). When the state gives monopoly power to one person to make him rich and independent it renders the balance of the people poorer and more dependent.

Conspiracy-theorist @ 25, raises the same question I have. is China's Communist Party a dedicated member of the "Empire" or merely an opportunistic member of the few centuries old "mercantile" empire. .. It is the answer to this question that may expose the Pandemic as an intentional expression of chaos.
Trump's effort to block Chinese competition and expand infected citizen densities increases the need for that answer..


From the viewpoint of nation state controlled societies, William Gruff @ 54 observes that "nation state decline is expressed as "Declining living standards, unrest in the streets, loss of industrial vitality, and even their signature products crashing to the ground"<= but I say, there is a different way to look at those downsides.
The state is the problem it gets in every bodies way, except the feudal few in control of the state. When the masses avoid and ignore the state.. the masses can collectively return their economy to its earlier successful structure (yes what cost $10 in nation state economy is $.10 cents in the local economy, but the consumption is the same). Collectively the masses could refuse to buy your stock, refuse to pay your taxes, refuse to buy the goods you feudals produce, transport and sell. Instead of compliance, defiance becomes the standard, the governed establish their own economies, provide for their own reserve capital and proceed to operate without involving the nation state, its feudal lords, or its bureaucratic and military henchmen.. no matter the insistence of the state.. I think then you would see the declining nation state.. it would be extinguished not by its actions, but by citizen deference to its demands. Never before have i seen the populations across the globe so willing to work together against the corruption that permeates the national and international systems. No governed person is satisfied with those that govern or the systems they use to do their governing.


How can we perform "informed critical scrutiny" when we are systematically denied information; Hosscara @ 73<= I think it can be said all information deficient govern, wherever located, are working to answer your question. What is needed is a system that debunks what we are told and another system that finds and exposes that which is hidden. Among all of us, there is the wisdom to develop both into efficient servants of mankind.

Posted by: snake | Aug 19 2020 1:28 utc | 77

Anyone who has hung a round a courtroom for a length of time knows that the flaw in the system, the flaw which sees many innocents convicted & the guilty set free, has little to do with the process of the courts and everything to do with the selection of accused defendants.

On a local level that means an impoverished area is much more patrolled, citizens are much more likely to be stopped, harrassed, interrogated & searched than in a wealthy area.
This has a huge effect on the outcomes of the courts.
For example have you ever heard of police patrolling a suburb populated by 'masters of the universe' where residents are regularly stopped & asked if they have been insider trading recently, accused of being a pumper and dumper and asked "have you been in trouble before" according to the law, someone stopped & questioned where there is no evidence of a crime isn't in trouble now, but that last query applied in about 99% of stops is a favourite because a neophyte upon hearing it will probably accept he is in trouble now and open up.
International court is exactly the same. It is no coincidence that mostly people from poor countries end up charged in front of this court or that the US which trumpets results from the hague refuses to ratify the court & allow its own citizens to be charged by it.

Today's result tells us nothing apart from the fact that the beak, mindful of keeping a cushy well paid job, played the percentages and convicted a defendant who is probably dead, secure that there is unlikely to be blowback.
Since 2001 all transnational institutions have been subject to insane levels of pressure by the US. Blackmail, bribery, assassination are the tools used to warp institutions into compliance.
None of them have any credibility in 2020. The OPCW tried to resist but failed and there is absolutely no evidence to suggest the same thing hasn't happened to the international court.

Take a moment to consider the war crimes farce. Some car worker who was 16 at the time he was alleged to be a concentration camp guard is tortured to death by this court at the behest of the brigand dictatorship of occupied Palestine who the US deported him to from where he was forwarded to the Hague after serving big time in a kangaroo zionist court. Yet the current open thread has photos of a nazi memorial in a New Jersey cemetery where the nazis who ensured that at least 5000 belorussian jews were butchered lie buried after lifetime of assistance to the US.

International courts will spend a great deal of time & effort ensuring processes appear copacetic but the methods at each side (input & output) of that courtroom process are deeply corrupt.

I imagined most people here understood that is the standard method of US oppression. Provide a narrow window to the clean bits, but rape, murder, plunder each side of that narrow window of transparency - just out of the public eye.

Posted by: John Lee | Aug 19 2020 2:17 utc | 78

In my mind there is no doubt, The US an Israel are the guilty ones, some poor jerks carried out the deed.
Whenever something bad happens, it is always Uncle Sam and Uncle Schmuel that are behind; there is light at the end of the tunnel though, the US is inflating fast, very fast in fact and when it is bankrupt, so will Israel be.
All good comes to those that wait...

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 19 2020 3:48 utc | 79

The outcome is a big nothing burger that will leave the many enemies of Hizbullah unsatisfied. But it also saves Lebanon from more strife.

I'm doubtful about that.

The usual suspects seem very happy. The verdict implicitly points a finger at Hezbollah while implicitly clearing Israel and USA. That's more than enough to spin new propaganda while rehashing and reinforcing all the usual narratives.

Israel urges action against Hezbollah after tribunal ruling on Hariri hit

Saudi Arabia calls for Hezbollah to face justice for its crimes

<> <> <> <> <>

Bahaa Hariri tells us what is planned for Lebanon:

There is no role for Hezbollah in Lebanon’s future

Summary

  • Hezbolla is a corrupt terrorist organization that has no place in government
    A position that Bahaa supports with accusations and hints that have no factual basis: Hezbollah killed his father and that a corrupt Hezbollah controlled the Beirut port (hinting: is likely to be responsible for the port explosion on Aug. 4th.)
  • Hezbolla must be ejected from government as part of ending sectarianism (the pretense)
  • Lebanon needs international help to eject Hezbollah, starting with expanding UNIFIL

Excerpts:
I shouldn’t be writing this article. My father, Rafik Hariri, should be the author.... But 15 years ago, terrorists from Hezbollah — the very people who control the Port of Beirut where the Aug. 4 explosion took place — assassinated him.

Lebanon will never be able to become the nation its people need with the continued involvement of this corrupt terrorist organization.

In the past week since the bombing, the people of Lebanon have risen up and are speaking with one voice. They are demanding change. They are calling out the current failing and compromised political system, railing against warlords and corrupt elites, government inertia and the system that supports all of them. They are also calling for an end to the role Hezbollah has played in governing parts of Beirut and Lebanon. Terrorist organizations and warlords cannot build countries — they only know how to tear them down.

. . .

We must confront Hezbollah and turn away from their path of continued destruction and corruption.

We cannot do this alone. The Lebanese people need international support for a new, non-sectarian, democratic approach that can reboot the economy and transform the country. This could come in the form of a welcome deal with the International Monetary Fund, further sanctions on those responsible for the blast, and an expanded mandate for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) ...


!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 19 2020 3:57 utc | 80

" A confirmed member of Hezbollah" ohh vey! They did actually find his membership card and could see by the stamps that he was a member? Or they politely asked Hezbollah
"Is this one of your guys? ". Or is he Hezbollah just because he associated with the "wrong" people ? Or maybe he is just a comfortable scapegoat.
With the associations I have, I need to be much more careful, else I might risk being charged with the murder of JFK even though I was only 5 years old at the time.
No matter of course, master criminals start early....
Sigh!

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 19 2020 4:01 utc | 81

They found his membership card, right? Just like the "magical" passport from 9/11 WTC incident.
I do know people are heading towards stupidity, but I did not think we would hit
"Idiocracy" levels in my lifetime.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert you know who.

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 19 2020 4:10 utc | 82

Bahaa Hariri is so bloody stupid that Hezbollah regards him as an asset, and would never contemplate to exterminate him.

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 19 2020 4:14 utc | 83

Bwahaha Hariri is just the latest stooge the West is trying out. He’s a Saudi Swiss with no real connection to Lebanon. He’s a soft little rich boy who wanted nothing to do with carrying on the family name, forcing his brother Saad into politics. I’m sure his voice carries as much weight in Lebanon as a popcorn fart, but in Davos they think he’s aces.

Posted by: Roy G | Aug 19 2020 4:17 utc | 84

It maybe worth remembering that UNIFIL was originally set up in 1978. After the Lebanese Civil War it was supposed to monitor the Israeli withdrawal and maintain peace along the border. It didn't prevent skirmishes and the 'peace' was broken in 2000 and again in 2006.

UNIFIL is a mishmash of forces that don't always get along with each other or know what they are supposed to be doing. They are distrusted by Israel and Hezbullah alike. Presumably Bahaa Hariri would like to see US forces take over command of UNIFIL. A very unlikely occurrence IMO.

Posted by: dh | Aug 19 2020 4:34 utc | 85

Russian magazine Odnako published an analysis by Thierry Meyssan in 2010 on Hariri's assassination in 2005.
https://www.voltairenet.org/article167553.html

Many interesting parallels to the recent Beirut bombing. Meyssan thought the 2005 bomb (rather missile) material originated from Germany. He took a close look at Detlev Mehlis, the German UN investigator leading and misdirecting the investigation into the event. Not surprisingly, Mehlis' CV has a pungent CIA/AIPAC stench about it.

Posted by: Leser | Aug 19 2020 8:17 utc | 86

I rather liked the Masdar report Lebanese President discusses timetable of disarming Hezbollah for the subtlety of language Michel Aoun used.


President Michel Aoun discussed during an interview with an Italian newspaper, the timetable for disarming Hezbollah, stressing that the idea of ​​disarming the party will take place after Israel stops its attacks on Lebanon.

Of course, Israel has never stopped attacking Lebanon since Israel's independence in 1948, so what he really means is that Hizbullah will never disarm, and he doesn't plan to try. It's just language to please the US and France.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 19 2020 9:30 utc | 87

Hezb. were challenged in Syria and returned depleted.I imagine a lot went on in Syria that will never see light of day.

Posted by: anon | Aug 19 2020 11:51 utc | 88

@88 If the heat ever gets too much for Aoun then he has an easy out: just visit Hezbollah and present them with truckloads of Lebanese Army fatigues.

Here, wear these. You are now the Lebanese Army "Litani" Division.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 19 2020 12:19 utc | 89

the killer, one and only : israel

Posted by: fayez chergui | Aug 19 2020 12:37 utc | 90

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 19 2020 4:10 utc | 83"

You mean Albert "fervent zionist" Einstein?not a good one to quote..just another guilty of history.

Posted by: LuBa | Aug 19 2020 15:18 utc | 91

It is not exceptional that a trial has no definite outcome but I do get fed up with show trials which can be made to drag on for years and end with declarations which allow all the accusations to simply continue. In this case 15 years of casting suspicion and blame, in other cases the Mueller report or the 'rape case' against Assange . I am waiting for the next 'Blame Hezbollah for Beirut port explosion' case to appear and to last for another 15 years.
Then there's the ambiguous wordings like Porton Down allowing the government to maintain their claims about the Skripal poisoning or any statement of international watchdogs.
And then there's all the media who don't do any effort to resolve the ambiguities but help supporting them.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Aug 19 2020 19:45 utc | 92

@Luba, Einstein was a good man with a good record. He was not a nationalist and he was for equal human rights. Einstein's relation to Zionism has been discussed in a book by Fred Jerome. It's a good book. It has been discussed at mondoweiss.net a few times.
Zionism also has had more than one meaning. There is a blog of someone else who calls himself Zionist in a way which resembles Einstein's : http://www.jeremiahhaber.com.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Aug 19 2020 20:04 utc | 93

From what I read, the one convicted disappeared the night before the bombing. My guess is he was killed and his body put in the truck to be the suicide bomber. The Israelis where tracking Hariri with a drone so easy enough to detonate the truck remotely when Hariri was in position.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 19 2020 20:11 utc | 94

Oh look, people looking serious searching for truth: et c'est reparti pour quinze ans .

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Aug 20 2020 19:38 utc | 95

Red Ryder #31

So, Nasrallah, Assad, Hezbollah and Syria are innocent of the crime. But they were always blamed for all these years.


Thank you and of course they were innocent.

But I don't see a crime here. Hariri who stole incessantly from the Lebanese people and should have had a cracker up his arse for every dollar stolen, the immensity of the blast was commensurate with his crimes.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 20 2020 21:52 utc | 96

Israel killed him to frame Hezbollah. That's the best analysis of the available evidence. No car bomb could have hit his convoy because he had some fancy system that blocked such bombs. The system was made in Israel. Even if you argue that the van blew up, you have to argue that Israel dismantled that anti car bomb system because the only way it could have gone off is if it was dismantled. So Israel would be guilty once again.

He was killed by a missile from one of the many Israeli drones all mysteriously converged on the site of the attack 10-15 minutes before the attack. They all videotaped the attack. Further, Israeli drones had been watching Hariri's every move for three days prior to the attack. We know all of this because Hezbollah hacked the Israeli drones' video system so they could see what the drones were seeing. Hezbollah has released this drone video material to the public. Also the injuries were very bizarre of a type never seen in any car bomb to date. In addition, one of the victims who was flown to France had radiation in his system after he was wounded. The missile fired by the drone was probably some sort of a very small tactical nuclear weapon.

Posted by: Robert Lindsay | Aug 22 2020 6:44 utc | 97

@ Robert Lindsay | Aug 22 2020 6:44 utc | 98

Since you did not provide any references for your claim that radioactivity was found on one of the victims of the Hariri assasination, it is difficult to make any substantial criticism. However, I do want to mention that depleted uranium, commonly used in warheads, is only so much "depleted" and leaves a significant radioactive fingerprint.

A jammer device can block remote control signals from triggering a detonation, but cannot stop a suicide bomber from initiating one manually.

If traces of depleted uranium were found on a victim in a French hospital, then that weakens the hypothesis of a car bomb (assuming that the victim's transport to the hospital had not passed one of the many leaking French nuclear reactors at the wrong time).

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 22 2020 9:50 utc | 98

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