[News] Israel's Fingerprints Surface on The Hariri Assassination

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 23 12:42:31 EDT 2010


http://www.counterpunch.org/

July 23 - 25, 2010


Israel's Fingerprints Surface

The Hariri Assassination

By RANNIE AMIRI

In the Middle East, the link between political 
machinations, espionage and assassination is 
either clear as day, or clear as mud.

As for the yet unsolved case of the February 2005 
murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, 
mud might be giving way to daylight.

A crackdown on Israeli spy rings operating in 
Lebanon has resulted in more than 70 arrests over 
the past 18 months. Included among them are four 
high-ranking Lebanese Army and General Security 
officers­one having spied for the Mossad since 1984.

A significant breakthrough in the ongoing 
investigation occurred in late June and 
culminated in the arrest of Charbel Qazzi, head 
of transmission and broadcasting at Alfa, one of 
Lebanon’s two state-owned mobile service providers.

According to the Lebanese daily As-Safir, Qazzi 
confessed to installing computer programs and 
planting electronic chips in Alfa transmitters. 
These could then be used by Israeli intelligence 
to monitor communications, locate and target 
individuals for assassination, and potentially 
deploy viruses capable of erasing recorded 
information in the contact lines. Qazzi’s 
collaboration with Israel reportedly dates back 14 years.

On July 12, a second arrest at Alfa was made. 
Tarek al-Raba’a, an engineer and partner of 
Qazzi, was apprehended on charges of spying for 
Israel and compromising national security. A few 
days later, a third Alfa employee was similarly detained.

Israel has refused to comment on the arrests. 
Nevertheless, their apparent ability to have 
penetrated Lebanon’s military and 
telecommunication sectors has rattled the country 
and urgently raised security concerns.

What does any of this have to do with the Hariri assassination?

Outside the obvious deleterious ramifications of 
high-ranking Lebanese military officers working 
for Israel, the very legitimacy of the Special 
Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is now in question. 
The STL is the U.N.-sanctioned body tasked with 
prosecuting those responsible for the 
assassination of the late prime minister. On Feb. 
14, 2005, 1,000 kg of explosives detonated near 
Hariri’s passing motorcade, killing him and 21 others.

It is believed the STL will issue indictments in 
the matter as early as September­relying heavily 
on phone recordings and mobile transmissions to do so.

According to the 
<http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100716/wl_mideast_afp/lebanonisraelspytelecomhezbollah>AFP, 
“A preliminary report by the U.N. investigating 
team said it had collected data from mobile phone 
calls made the day of Hariri's murder as evidence.”

<http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100718/FOREIGN/707179831/1002>The 
National likewise reported, “The international 
inquiry, which could present indictments or 
findings as soon as September, according to 
unverified media reports, used extensive phone 
records to draw conclusions into a conspiracy to 
kill Hariri, widely blamed on Syria and its Lebanese allies ...”

In a July 16 televised speech, Hezbollah 
Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah 
speculated the STL would use information gleaned 
from Israeli-compromised communications to 
falsely implicate the group in the prime minister’s murder:

“Some are counting in their analysis of the (STL) 
indictment on witnesses, some of whom turned out 
to be fake, and on the telecommunications 
networks which were infiltrated by spies who can change and manipulate data.

“Before the (2006) war, these spies gave 
important information to the Israeli enemy and 
based on this information, Israel bombed 
buildings, homes, factories and institutions. 
Many martyrs died and many others were wounded. 
These spies are partners in the killings, the 
crimes, the threats and the displacement.”

Nasrallah called the STL’s manipulation an 
“Israeli project” meant to “create an uproar in Lebanon.”

Indeed, in May 2008 Lebanon experienced a taste 
of this. At the height of an 18-month stalemate 
over the formation of a national unity government 
under then Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, his 
cabinet’s decision to unilaterally declare 
Hezbollah’s fixed-line communication system 
illegal pushed the country to the 
<http://www.counterpunch.org/amiri05102008.html>brink of civil war.

Recognizing the value their secure lines of 
communication had in combating the July 2006 
Israeli invasion and suspecting that state-owned 
telecoms might be compromised, Hezbollah resisted 
Siniora’s plans to have its network dismantled. 
Their men swept through West Beirut and put a 
quick end to the government’s plan. Two years 
later, their suspicions appear to have been vindicated.

Opposition MP and Free Patriotic Movement head 
Michel Aoun has already 
<http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-07/17/c_13402375.htm>warned 
Nasrallah that the STL will likely indict 
“uncontrolled” Hezbollah members to be followed 
by “
 Lebanese-Lebanese and Lebanese-Palestinian 
tension, and by an Israeli war on Lebanon.”

Giving credence to Nasrallah and Aoun’s 
assertions, Commander in Chief of the Israel 
Defense Forces Gabi Ashkenazi, 
<http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/2010/07/%E2%80%9Cmerlin%E2%80%9D-ashkenazi-wishfully-predicts-deterioration-in-lebanon-in-september/>predicted 
“with lots of wishes” that the situation in 
Lebanon would deteriorate in September after the 
STL indicts Hezbollah for Hariri’s assassination.

Ashkenazi’s gleeful, prescient testimony to the 
Knesset’s Foreign Affairs Committee betrays what 
Israel hopes the fallout from the STL’s report 
will be: fomentation of civil strife and discord 
among Lebanon’s sectarian groups, generally 
divided into pro- and anti-Syria factions. 
Ashkenazi anticipates this to happen, of course, 
because he knows Israel’s unfettered access to 
critical phone records will have framed Hezbollah for the crime.

Israel’s agents and operatives in Lebanon and its 
infiltration of a telecom network have been 
exposed. At the very least, the STL must 
recognize that evidence of alleged Hezbollah 
involvement in Hariri’s death (a group that 
historically enjoyed good ties with the late 
premier) is wholly tainted and likely doctored.

The arrest of Qazzi and al-Raba’a in the breakup 
of Israeli spy rings should prompt the STL to 
shift its focus to the only regional player that 
has benefited from Hariri’s murder; one that will 
continue to do so if and when their designs to 
implicate Hezbollah are realized.

It is time to look at Tel Aviv.

Rannie Amiri is an independent Middle East 
commentator. He may be reached at: rbamiri [at] yahoo [dot] com.




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