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
Note : Dubious wordings are shown in bold italic.
The Associated Press, June 30, 2011, by Bassem Mroue and Elizabeth A. Kennedy, started the confusion with, "One of the people named is Mustafa Badreddine, believed to have been Hezbollah's deputy military commander. He is the brother-in-law of the late Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh."
The Lebanon journals were first out of the gate and set the pace for dubious information.
Ya Libnan, Mustafa Badreddine is main Hezbollah suspect in Hariri's murder
June 30, 2011. They reported, "Mustafa Badreddine, the brother in-law of assassinated Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah, is the prime suspect in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005. Badreddine replaced Mugniyah as Hezbollah's chief operations officer after he was killed in a mysterious explosion in Syria on Feb. 12, 2008. The 50-year old is a member of the Hezbollah Shura Council."
The Daily Star, July 1, 2011 accompanied Ya with, "Four members of Hezbollah, including a senior military commander, were accused Thursday of the 2005 assassination of former statesman Rafik Hariri, as the U.N.-backed court probing the crime issued its first indictment to authorities in Beirut.
"Badreddine, Hezbollah's military commander, was accused of masterminding the plot to kill Hariri. Ayyash, another senior party official, was accused of carrying out the attack, the source added."
Credit to The Los Angeles Times, July 01, 2011, By Alexandra Sandels and Patrick J. McDonnell, for being more, but not entirely objective, "The identities of the four suspects were not released, and the indictment remained sealed. But local news reports suggested all four were Lebanese nationals linked to Hezbollah, a major militia and political party backed by Iran and Syria."