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Monday, November 28, 2005

Syrian witness reveals shocking truth

In what will soon become the farce of the century, the Syrian military intelligence showed its idiotic face Sunday by airing more than an hour-long "confession" by somebody claiming to be Mehlis’s masked witness. Husam Taher Husam, a Syrian Kurd, recanted his alleged testimony and claimed he was coached and/or bullied by more than a dozen people including:

Saad Hariri with two English speaking "friends", Marwan Hamade, Walid Jumblatt, An-Nahar’s Gibran Tueni, al-Moustaqbal’s Fares Khashan, LBC's May Chidiac, the French ambassador, Hassan Sabaa (Lebanon’s interior minister), Ghattas Khoury, and of course the UN commission headed by Detlev Mehlis whose car apparently is no match to Husam’s donkey in his village (the commission allegedly gave him a car that he left at the border while escaping. Of course, he also says he tried to escape prison three times. Have you ever hard of a prisoner who is given a car to roam freely OUTSIDE the prison?).

Saad Hariri and Fares Khashan allegedly coached him, with the former offering him through his advisors more than $1.3 million “that were placed on Sabaa’s table.” Husam offered his apologies to the Lebanese security officials for testifying against them, claiming he made the confession under torture (they injected him with needles, which never stopped him from arguing back at his captors and then roaming Lebanon freely in his car.. but wait, he was in prison!) The killers of Hariri, he said, are his inheritors.

And then he reveals the earth-shattering truth: it’s all a Lebanese-French-American conspiracy against “Syria, Iran and Hizbullah.”

The televised confession tried to cater to an increasingly weary Syrian population by including statements like the following: "they were under the impression that the kurds were against Syria but they didn't know that we are Syrians."

Interestingly, all this allegedly happened without Mehlis's knowledge. "I felt he had no relation to anything or knew anything," Husam said. I guess Assef and Maher don't want to get on Mehlis's bad side yet, so they picked easier targets: the Lebanese, US and France!

I will spare you the rest of this nonsense. Read more here, here and here.

As I said in my previous post, the Syrian regime is in its last throes. The only way from here is down.

Update: Read the full transcript here. (Arabic)

Hehehehe. I already saw this. It's quite funny.

Did you also see the article in al-Iqtisadiyyah? Another shocker, so brace yourself: Washington has instructed its puppets in the March 14th movement, first among which are Saad and Jumblat, to mobilize to open the file of the presidency, leading up to disarming HA and the full implementation of 1559. All this is the "second phase" of the plot against... (you all know the words, sing together) "Syria, Hizbullah and Iran."

They might want to introduce some variety in this last refrain. You know, so it doesn't sound as stale as "the unity of track and destiny" (wihdat al-masar wal-masir) or what was that other one about the Syrian presence being "temporary, necessary," and something else I forgot, that used to be recited in order.

Ammar is right. There's an element of pitifulness involved with such thugocracies.
Interesting that you completely blow off this new witness. I wonder what your reaction would have been if this witness appeared in Beirut arguing against the Syrian regime.

Now I admit it does seem a bit ridiculous and far-fetched that this witness shows up now with his story. But I cannot bring myself to simply dismiss him and proceed to mock his story. From what friends in Syria tell me, this guy is a big deal to Syrians as he proves the conspiracy exists.

I do not agree that the regime is on its last throes. And I do not agree that we can completely dismiss this witness away like the White House is dismissing the whole Al-Jazeera bombing memo.

If you rest your case on the seemingly ridiculousness of the witness, that is fine. It is a flimsy argument, but an argument nonetheless.

But as a new reader of your blog, it would impress me, help retain me as a reader and go towards convincing me of your truth if you could come up with something more concrete.

The way the Syrian regime is dealing with this is a big insult to our intelligence, and this guy's confession falls under that. If this guy was really the big deal your Syrian friends say he is, then he could have been presented differently. Not that this is an issue of presentation. It is easy to dismiss him because what he said is implausible and illogical, although it is consistent with what we've been reading in the Syrian press.

What kind of concrete argument does one need not to dismiss this as an act of desperation? I don't know if you have Lebanese friends, but if you do, they would tell you that a confession like this would either never be aired on Lebanese television or at least if it was, the press and the Lebanese blogging community would shred it to pieces.

What's sad about your comment is that some people seem to be gullible enough to accept this hogwash as a "big deal" and proof of an anti-Syrian conspiracy. While there probably is some kind of campaign against syria, there was also a murder here, and all credible evidence points towards the Syrian regime. The testimony of this witness will not break the case against Syria. What's flimsy is not my argument, but the regime's defense, which so far has consisted of stuff like this.

Thanks for reading though.
Also, what does this have to do with al-jazeera's alleged bombing memo?
This so called evidence is another demonstration of the total bankruptcy of the Syrian regime. It is one thing to keep an open mind but another thing to be asked to accept laughable and incoherent statements as truth. No one would stoop so low as to arrange for that bizzar confession except out of desperation. The current Syrian regime has demonstrated to the world one more time its utter incompetence ,its devotion to amateurish fabrications of facts, its untrustworthiness and its willingness to do whatever it takes to stay in power and prevent the truth from being revealed.
The Syrian regime has shot itself again and it will be impossible for such a regime to survive.
actually we should be happy about this... because the Syrian blew it. They could have tried to forge a credible witness, but no, they had to make fool of themselves!

I mean, he said that he tried to escape many times before succeeding, come on, what is that? Do they think that people are so dumb?

The good news is: if they try to get a new guy like that, nobody will believe them.
Nevertheless this testimony weakens the Mehlis report further.
If the syrian government is innocent and has nothing to do with the murder, which they want us to believe, wasnt it treason what Husam told Mehlis? Is he in prison now? What is syrias commissions answer, they promised cooperation with Mehlis commissin?

He is good for Hollywood, which sick brain created this crime?

An ashamed syrian
From any commentary and from what Husam has said, there is nothing that concretely proves he is a lier. (Granted I have not watched his testimony yet)

For those who completely accepted and used the Mehlis Report without question and under the relyance of one or two key witnesses: The Mehlis Report has crashed and burned. Those people should be ashamed of themselves now as they are on the opposite side of the fence. Previously they had lauded the same Husam's testimony as the 'truth', even though it was just as convinient and neat and potentially biased. They didn't care then and took it at face value. Now these people are forced to watch the 'truth' change. And NOW they refuse to believe it. Why didn't you question the original testimony? What did you expect from the beginning from a report that linked Syria to the killing based solely on two witnesses? This is a predicament for them--the key witness recants and now there is nothing--not even witness testimony--that links Syria to Harirri.

I don't know what the truth is. But there is no way to simply dismiss this new testimony as fake. That would be akin to the Americans simply dismissing the whole Bush/Al-Jazeera story as fake. While both revaltions seem incredible, there could be truth to 'incredible' stories. Just like there was once truth to an American President (Nixon) obstructing justice--an incredible story in its day. So both incredible stories should be investigated and conclusively proved wrong or right.

So my point is I don't care if he sounds fake, or if his story is incredible. Lots of things in this world are incredible but true. It seems the 'truth' pendulum has swung back to the Syrian side. But I am not going to rub it in the Mehlis band-wagon's face as I could do and I am not going to accept the new Husam's testimony at face value (even though many Syrians are). I don't like being duped, but I really think he was lying both times. I think the Lebanese had nothing on Syria and so went looking for witnesses--and then sent him along to Mehlis. And I think the Syrians of course have tried to spin this and make it seem a huge deal. Doesn't take away from the fact he has completely withdrawn his previous testimony.

Now that the Mehlis Report and its findings are pretty much dead, it looks like there is nothing that links Syria to this murder at all. Something could emerge from Vienna, but until then, my main concern now is that the Lebanese are always going to blame Syria no matter what lack of evidence there is. This asassination is starting to look like a JFK deal--nobody knows who really killed him but conspiracy theorists for many years will bring up new theories and it will be a subject of fascination of all for many many years to come.

Can the Lebanese turn the page? Or are they always going to carry a grudge against Syrians? Will they always simply rely on the first Husam's first incredibly convinient testimony rather than his second? I hope not. I hope the Lebanese will realize sometimes in crime, especially the tragic ones, the perp is not caught. I hope they will accept that and move on.
Engineering Change-

Perhaps you are not aware of the terror and murder that the Syrians have committed against Lebanese and on Lebanese soil over the past 20+ years.

You said: "Can the Lebanese turn the page? Or are they always going to carry a grudge against Syrians?"

What the hell do you think? You obviously are very ignorant to Syria's atrocities in Lebanon. The fact that you think the Lebanese had no right to point their fingers at Syria for Hariri's death, means you need to do some more research.
You are right I am very ignorant to what happened in Lebanon all those years. I readily admit that. The Lebanese have a right to point a finger at Syria--but they need evidence to back up their claims.

But I think thats helps my case that I am UNBIASED. I don't let the past dictate who or what I think about this murder. (because I don't know what happened in the past) Because something as huge as who killed Harirri and its implications should not rest on past behavior alone or single witness testimony. Both of these things could very very easily taken advantage of by rogue players. In my mind there must be hard evidence for accusations to hold any weight.

For what its worth, I am sorry for Syrian's past crimes. I wanted us out of Lebanon long before this whole thing. We stayed in Lebanon much too long. Despite the crimes and corruption I hope the Lebanese can turn the page with the Syrian people.
You're biased EG, you've been educated by the Baath.

It's unclear if Husam is the 'Masked witness'. Mehlis may have more than one witness. Also, it is very possible that he didn't publish all the proofs in his report, he only said enough to get a UN extension.

We have to wait for the final report, which may be published after the 15th of December since the Lebanese government has been talking about extending Mehlis' mandate for a second time (UN will probably accept).

Last but not least: Husam's retraction can be explained by pthreats on his family or by the fact that he was a double agent trying to mislead the investigators (or that he's a patriotic Kurdish-Syrian who had moral problems in betraying his country and refused Hariri's money, you chose).

This means that Syria has been trying to mislead the investigation and manipulate Mehlis. Why is that?

Husam's (and Syria's) behaviour a direct violation of the UN resolutions. Not to mention that this man violated the Lebanese law by giving a false testimony and should be extradited.

And even without the 'masked witness', don't forget that there's tape on Moallem, Ghazale and Mr. X.
I take all your points into consideration. You are right--Dec 15 (or even later) is the date we should all have circled.

I choose the scenerio that Hussam is patriotic and when he saw how much trouble he caused he recanted. Or his family was threatened. Probaly both.

And FYI i have never attended one baathist class, don't know one baathist song, and don't like the baath much. You are barking up the wrong tree. I may be biased in that I am a patriotic Syrian. True. So the president is naturally an extension of my country in my mind. Thats why its natural for me to defend him.

Why would Syria mislead the investigators if he is a double-agent? One logical explanation is that Lebanon was going to find somebody as a witness no matter what--they were sure Syria did it and so would justify their paying off of somebody. Similiar to America justifying the Iraq war with the yellowcake incident.

Syria meanwhile knows she didn't do it and so sends Hussam to be that witness and show how weak the Lebanese case against the Syrians is. Its still Illegel--but still being proactive.
Did you notice the number of TV stations and journalists that attended Mr Hussam press conference?
He got a larger press coverage than Bachar speech at Damascus University.
The Syrians are convinced that they pulled the biggest rabit ever from a hat.
Anyway this shows the poor level of Syrian Mukhabarat.They just set traps and fall into it.
How they managed to hold Lebanon for 30 years is the biggest mystery!
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