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Slanting Rafik Hariri's Assassination

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A United Nations (UN) Special Tribunal received a mandate to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and handed down indictments to prosecutors in Lebanon. Its indictments named four men, Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Asad Sabra, and Hasan Ainessi, with "leaks' claiming all men have "ties" to Hezbollah. The UN Tribunal did not mention a political assassination, refer to the involvement of any political Party, or indicate that the indicted acted for a specific organization. Let us be clear: It is possible that future events will prove Hezbollah involvement. After all, PM Rafik Hariri impeded Hezbollah's entrance into the higher echelons of government. However, the UN Tribunal did not mention any involvement in its indictment. It is reasonable that we might eventually learn that the bombing was a contract and occurred due to other reasons, such as a conflict between business relationships.


Nevertheless, the media slanted the news to an indictment of Hezbollah and strained to find information to support its revelations. Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, added fuel to the embers by permitting himself to be quoted as saying, "he would never surrender the indicted to authorities." A reading of Hassan Nasrallah's speech on July 2 does not reveal any statement that approached this quotation, which appears often in the press. The closest statement made by the Hezbollah leader is: "This investigation, tribunal, resolutions, and what is issued by it are to us clearly American and Israeli. Accordingly, we refuse it and we refuse all what it issues whether groundless accusations or groundless sentences."


Characterized as a terrorist crime, it marks the first time that an UN-based quasi court tries a crime committed against a specific person. No trials were conducted to determine who killed Mohandas Ghandi, India (1947 ), Salvador Allende, Chile (1972 ), Archbishop Romero, El Salvador (1980), Indira Ghandi, India (1984), Olof Palme, Sweden (1986), Banazir Bhutto, Pakistan (2007) and 18 other Lebanese politicians.


More significant: The UN never investigated the 1948 murder of United Nations mediator Count Folke Bernadotte during the British Mandate, nor assassinations of their officials in Sudan, Ethiopia, Bosnia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Southern Lebanon and elsewhere.


Firstly, the indictment does not mention that the killing was a terrorist crime of political origins. Hariri had many business enemies and the assassination could have had many origins.


Secondly, the four indicted men might have been sympathetic to Hezbollah, as are most Shi'a in Lebanon, but are they formal members? Does Hezbollah have applications, review committees and a formal and available membership list?


Thirdly, member action does not automatically correspond to sponsored organization action.


The misplaced, contradictory, fabricated and poorly cited reports demonstrate how the media misrepresents events and prejudices reading. In the following, note the contradictions, fabrications and dubious language. Reports seem composed from a macro phrase and an editor fills in the blanks

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Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter. His website articles have been read in more than 150 nations, while articles written for other websites have appeared in online journals throughout the world(B 92, (more...)
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