The newly released indictment says the van then found its way into a car showroom in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli where it was purchased with cash by two unidentified men. The indictment asserts, again without any clear proof, that the buyers were collaborating with the four defendants.
While the evidence against the four Hezbollah members remains murky, what is clear is that Lebanon is regarded by the United States and its regional allies as an important battleground in their geopolitical struggle with Iran.
According to classified State Department cables released by WikiLeaks, Saudi Arabia even discussed a military intervention in Lebanon in 2008 under cover of UN peacekeepers.
On May 10, 2008, Saudi Foreign Prince Saud Al-Faisal told U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield that a joint U.S.-Saudi "security response" might be needed against Hezbollah to counter its "military challenge to the Government of Lebanon," according to a U.S. embassy cable.
"Specifically, Saud argued for an 'Arab force' to create and maintain order in and around Beirut, which would be assisted in its efforts and come under the 'cover' of a deployment of UNIFIL troops from south Lebanon.
"The US and NATO would need to provide movement and logistic support, as well as 'naval and air cover.' Saud said that a Hizballah victory in Beirut would mean the end of the Siniora government and the 'Iranian takeover' of Lebanon."
The cable indicates how high the stakes are in the Lebanese political struggles and how powerful the motivation is to use propaganda to discredit U.S. adversaries there.
Between those propaganda imperatives and the inherent double standards regarding how the U.S. news media addresses crimes by the United States and its allies versus those allegedly committed by U.S. adversaries, it shouldn't be surprising that an objective observer might lose faith in what's regularly presented to the American public.
The drumbeat is already building for new sanctions against Hezbollah to force it to turn over the four defendants to the special tribunal, much as Libya was pressured to surrender Megrahi to the special Scottish court which then succumbed to apparent political influence to convict him.
On Aug. 17, the Washington Post published an op-ed by David M. Crane and Carla Del Ponte (two prosecutors in cases involving human rights crimes in Sierre Leone, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda) demanding strong support from the international community for the Hariri tribunal.
The pair cited a statement by the tribunal's president, Italian jurist Antonio Cassese, declaring how important it is "to entrench the notion that democracy cannot survive without the rule of law, justice and respect for fundamental human rights."
That standard apparently applies to weak countries and to movements considered unpopular in the West, but not to the United States, other big powers or CIA-connected terrorists who find safe haven in places like Miami.
It's as if Washington's enemies should expect to get fitted for orange jumpsuits, while it would be wrong to subject U.S. officials and their friends to such humiliations.Cross-posted from Consortium News
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