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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/20/10

Is the US Embassy in Lebanon squandering its diplomatic immunity?

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US Embassy in Lebanon

Picnicking on Mount Vesuvius?

Beirut
Tensions are rising in Lebanon between elected representatives in Parliament, "Unity' Cabinet members and the American Embassy, as the 27th anniversary of the 1983 attack on the US Embassy approaches and the Embassy issues another warning for Americans to leave Lebanon.

On March 29, 2010 the US Embassy instructed Americans not to travel to Lebanon citing "safety and security concerns." Simultaneously it warned those who are in Lebanon to seriously consider leaving.

Advising that Lebanon, placed on a US list of 14 countries "linked to Terrorism" following the Christmas Day attempted aircraft bombing near Detroit, has "the potential for a spontaneous upsurge in violence, US citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks, as Embassy personnel may not be able to aid them in case of conflict." The "Warder Warning" to American citizens follows a series of recent efforts by the Embassy to pressure the National Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah, currently shaping the new Unity' government with its work in Parliament and the Cabinet. It comes following Opposition charges, emphasized by Hezbollah's Secretary Hassan Nasrallah the preceding week, that the US Embassy in Beirut engages in espionage activities for Israel and cautioning that the collaboration was very dangerous for Lebanon.

According to Nasrallah during an interview with Al Manar channel:
"All the information which the US embassy gathers in Beirut reaches Israel. Here we are not speaking about a normal foreign embassy which is gathering information for its own government "

"When it comes to the American embassy in Beirut, it is a different story"And so what is given to the US Embassy and what reaches the Israelis, the information, all of these leads to the destruction of Lebanon.This helps the Israeli enemy to understand what is going on in Lebanon, to use this information against Lebanon and to take revenge against our country" What is the difference between espionage networks, which give information directly, or giving information by mediation, meaning giving it to the US embassy who then gives it to the Israeli side?"


Nasrallah was speaking to an audience estimated at more than 100 million viewers around the region.

April 2010 and April 1983 parallels?


The Hezbollah Secretary-General is not the only one questioning whether the US Embassy operates as "a normal foreign embassy" with acceptable "mild spying and information gathering" or operates as "an espionage network" for Israel and passing it intelligence reports from US assets throughout Lebanon who monitor all roads and paths from Syria as well as South Lebanon and South Beirut.

What increasingly concerns many in Lebanon is the US Embassy role in recent projects including a "security agreement between the US and the Lebanese Internal Security Force' (ISF) which the Embassy and their allies described as "an American donation" to train and equip the ISF and make Lebanon stronger.

The "donation" resulted from the January 25, 2007 Paris-3 International Conference on the support for Lebanon. As far as security is concerned, [the] March 14 [opposition] charges that the then pro-American-pro-Saudi Fuad Saniora government "gave away the store" to U.S. intelligence by placing data related to Lebanon's two mobile phone networks at the disposal of the United States, that it is believed would allow the Embassy and Israel to tap Lebanese phones. There is a widely held belief in Lebanon that all information the Embassy receives goes to Israel. Also protested was the adopting of the American interpretation of "terrorism" which as applied by the Embassy means that no ISF member who is a Hezbollah member could receive any training to due various US Terrorism lists issues.

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Since 2013, Professor Franklin P. Lamb has traveled extensively throughout Syria. His primary focus has been to document, photograph, research and hopefully help preserve the vast and irreplaceable archaeological sites and artifacts in (more...)
 

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