The Truth

Having an “international tribunal” deal with the investigation of Hariri’s assassination is somehow laughable when you know that the UN commission of Brammertz has repeatedly declared that the four suspects (Raymond Azar of Army Intelligence, Ali Hajj of the Internal Security Forces, Mustafa Hamdan of the Presidential Guard and Jamil el Sayyed former head of General Security) currently detained by the Lebanese judiciary are held based on charges leveled by the Lebanese judiciary while the ‘international instances’ have nothing against them.

So you have on the one hand local powers (14th of March) that dream of a more forceful internationalization of the conflict that will finally pinned down all the ‘culprits’, and on the other hand, you have the ‘international’ UN commission that seems to say: “we hold no charges against those you think (and with them a bunch of others) are going to be tried once it is internationalized”. Of course, in this case, I’m overlooking the ‘political’ use of this ‘internationalization’ for 14th of March on one hand and for the US on the other. This ‘political’ use becomes apparent when the legal findings just sketched above are clear. It has nothing to do with the truth. It has to do with a political version of a truth. No wonder why there are talks that Detlev Mehlis, the former UN commissioner who was on Hariri’s payroll, might be back, and who in effect knew how to bark against Syria or its allies in Lebanon.

I mean why would the US keep a guy like Brammertz who, with his findings, contradicts every single aspiration of the 14th of March?

But my point here rather is to reflect on this ‘international VS local’ syndrome that we Lebanese suffer from. We think that if we just give ourselves to a perceived ‘higher’ instance then things obey a certain normality it follows a set of rules and regulations that are more trustworthy then those we have. I think this could be symptomatic of post war societies or societies where the breakdown of security and legal structures was a daily reality. And it is plainly ironic that the “international” sometimes through obscure channels come to remind the “local” that they can deal with this on their own. And the Lebanese judges and prosecutors in place know that. It may be just a matter of time before Sayyed and co are freed.

14 Replies to “The Truth”

  1. you do not seem to have any direct evidence for what the Brammetz or anyone in the UN said on the detainees. please show it.

    the article linked to the daily star mention: “Sayyed said he was surprised ” (who the believes him anyway, non??)

    you are misleading your readers, as always and simply my friend

  2. I don´t have anonymous friends.

    sorry but this is the only working link i found. I have another one but it is too old of an article and daily star´s archive are payable:

    Daily Star staff
    Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    BEIRUT: The attorney representing Jamil Sayyed, the former head of the Surete Generale in proceedings related to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, said Monday that he would hold a news conference “soon,” outlining developments in his client’s continued detention.

    In a statement, Akram Azoury said he sent what he described as a “last letter of appeal” to Investigative Magistrate Elias Eid asking for the “immediate” release of his client.

    “Serge Brammertz, the head of the UN probe investigating into Hariri’s murder, told the UN Security Council that he had submitted to Eid and State Prosecutor Said Mirza all information related to Sayyed, in a bid to enable the Lebanese judiciary to make the appropriate decision,” Azoury said.

    Brammertz and the council discussed Sayyed’s arrest on March 21 after the detained security chief had sent a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month.

    Azoury said that the UN Security Council had also discussed a memo enclosed with Sayyed’s letter, in which Brammertz said that Lebanese judges had confessed to keeping Sayyed under arrest “for political reasons that have nothing to do with the international investigation.” – The Daily Star

    Anyway, just google it and you´ll eventually find it. Brammertz has been clear on that. In his report there is not even a mention of these suspects.

  3. Well bech, ma tiz3al minni, I think like the first posting you are misleading yourself and your readers. I know you personally and know that you are a very respectful person. What is with the Najah Wakim-style talk in your posting of Mehlis on hariri’s payroll and he “barks” against Syria. Come on man, you hate Hariri, fine, but keep your cool and debate calmly. And Brammertz in his reports did not spare Syria or its role implcitly. Shou hal ossa ya zalameh, a ton of C4 explosives wandering in the streets of Beirut and the Syrian intelligence did not know about it!!! Ya3ni Jamil Sayyed knew every move of Samir Kassir and didnt know of the explosives? Aslan two generals are detained because they deformed the crime scene, and that’s reason enough. Now Sayyed and Azar there is no enough evidence against them, but there will be very soon once the tribunal is estbalished. I know holding people before convition is not right, but hey, Geagea remained in prison years before he was handed his first verdict. I’m not saying it was good, but Sayyed is too dangerous to be out again.
    This will be my last contribution here. I thought we could have a fruitful debate, turnd ouy you’re just repeating March 8 poor statements with their gangster style.

  4. Hi Hussain,

    I don’t understand the logic that while after two years there is not enough evidence to try Sayyed and Azar, it will somehow materialize when the Tribunal sits? Unlikely. Obviously both Eid and Mirza have come under a lot of pressure since Brammertz washed his hands of the arrests, thereby making it clear (and official) that they are being held upon orders of the Lebanese judiciary and not the Commission. And now suddenly Hariri’s bodyguards of all people (!) want Eid removed, because he has grown “too close” to Sayyed. You are right that the others are being held for tampering with crime scene evidence, which is not enough to convict them of complicity outright, unless you can prove that they conspired to do this to cover up the crime. That’s the legality of it. That there’s a good chance that they might flee if they are released on bail could account for why those arrestees are still being held, but does not apply to Sayyed.

  5. May I add that as someone who has followed the dealings of Mehlis very closely in Germany and Lebanon, Mehlis was removed from the investigation. He did not voluntarily resign. This was a decision by the German foreign ministry, based on appeals by big banks and industry who noted that Mehlis was dragging Germany’s reputation through the mud, after his first report was published (and the successive false witnesses, Saddiq and Houssam Houssam came out and told stories of alleged bribery. When Mehlis was initially appointed to head the commission there was an outpouring of articles in German legal journals condemning this, because of Mehlis’ past record. As a prosecutor on international terror trials Mehlis flagrantly manipulated witnesses in order to deliver (prematurely) a verdict that suits the Americans. The LaBelle discotheque bombing in west Berlin is the most well-known case (Mehlis blamed Qaddafi; the White House bombed Qaddafi’s palace in response, and later, many years later, it was revealed that in fact a Mossad agent was the most likely suspect. Mehlis had actually flown to Malta to interrogate him but chose not to indict him! You can find more about this on google, most of it in German unfortunately.) He absolutely disgraced and discredited himself. In another case, he oversaw the illegal kidnapping of a suspect-turned-witness; a Syrian coincidentally. This is all well-known. As far as any monetary rewards he might have received from Hariri, we do not have proof though those allegations have been made. But what we do know (and I know this first hand) is that Mehlis’ crew flew around on Hariri’s private jet, to Saudi Arabia, and were hosted in Hariri’s house in Jeddah. Doesn’t the ballooning budget for this Commission cover necessary travel expenses? One might think…

  6. edb,

    Even though I had promised I will not write here again, I have to commend you for your civilized manners and sharp eye when debating. Fine, we’re talking about 2 officers, Sayyed and Azouri. I don’t want to go into too many details, but with the judiciary aside, it is hard to believe than someone like Sayyed found out about the bombing of Hariri when he heard the news. He certainly knew beforehand. Too bad, some political groups in the country are obstructing the procession of justice, which is keeping Sayyed in the no-law zone and under unjustified arrest.
    BTW, you know who appointed Said Mirza as the Judicial Investigator on the Hariri crime case, it was no other than Adnan Addoum. This makes me wonder because Addoum’s integrity has been undisputedly gone long time ago.

  7. “…it is hard to believe than someone like Sayyed found out about the bombing of Hariri when he heard the news. He certainly knew beforehand.”

    Dear Hussain, unfortunately it is hard to prove this and even harder to make it stand up in a court of law. It has struck me as farcical from the very beginning that in a country whose politics are as untransparent as they are in Lebanon, where political violence — in the form of assassinations– has been the order of the day for so many years, where rumors and assumptions have run their course and not a semblance of a unified narrative exists vis-a-vis the country’s past, that advocates of a “tribunal with an international character” might actually believe that outsiders– the UN, in this case– could come and make sense of this whole mess and mete out justice in the case of one such incident (Hariri’s killing). By international standards– and the tribunal’s statute endeavors to meet “the highest standards of international criminal law”– Sayyed is to be prosecuted, then it does not suffice to say that he must have known in advance, given his position. If the Lebanese strive to meet those standards of international justice then they must accept– like in so many countries– that often the perpetrators of crimes go unpunished because of a lack of evidence and/or the mishandlings of their case by the judiciary (think of trials such as O.J. Simpson, who was cleared of charges because the policemen on site tried to frame him, even though he was in all likelihood guilty of his wife’s murder.) Surely Sayyed held some political responsibility for the security situation and this is a route that could be taken. But — in light of the assassinations that have happened during M14th’s tenure in the government– wouldn’t it be hyprocritical to say that those in power must know or be held accountable? I am fine with this mode of accountability, in particular because it is incomprehensible that they — and the Darak intelligence–might not have a single lead on any of the assassinations and bombings (save for that silly sketch published 18 months after the fact of Elias Murr’s attempted assassins.)
    From what we know, from how Brammertz has handled the case of Sayyed, there is not sufficient evidence to prove that he knew, nor was intentionally negligent of his duties. So be it.

  8. To EDB:

    Can you provide any links on the Mehlis issue? I have run a search in German, but nothing much came up on the way Mehlis quit the commission. I found a few articles on ‘Junge Welt’ and ‘’, but would be very interested in those legal journals you mentioned. Thanks.

  9. Dear Dr. Miletzki,

    There has been nothing published in regards to why Mehlis was removed, or that he was in fact removed. This was reported to me by two different sources– one Lebanese, one German. If and when I have documented evidence of this I will gladly share it with you and the greater public. But the German government has been very protective of Mehlis and his partner Lehmann, allegedly also promising to extend immunity to Mehlis should legal charges be pressed against him by any of the detained Lebanese generals (under the pretext that this would substantially harm Germany’s interests.) If you send me an e-mail address to, I can send you a PDF of an article or two that appeared when Mehlis was nominated to head the commission. And yes, Die Junge Welt has been one of few sources reporting on Mehlis’ and Lehmann’s mishandling of the affair. Lehmann in fact has twice sued the newspaper– once for revealing his identity as the alleged interrogator of the Lebanese-German Khalid el Masri who was kidnapped by the CIA (he lost the trial.) And the second time for mentioning allegations published in Al Akhbar that Lehmann was working as a private consultant for Hariri after he was removed from the Commission. To the best of my knowledge, the legal proceedings are still underway.

  10. I am sure everyone realizes it was not in Syria’s best interest to have Hariri assassinated, but it is also hard to imagine that explosives in that quantity being smuggled in without the Syrian intelligence knowing about it.
    The only explanation I might think of gives me a huge “malaise”, because it is unthinkable. Did the US and Syria agree to something at some point, at least concerning the Hariri assassination, and something went wrong afterwards (remember how the first Gulf war was introduced ?)

    On Hariri and the American US Base, which as far as I’m concerned, has been agreed to by the current “gov” (please correct me if I’m wrong)

    Isn’t that the same type of argument which was used at some point to accuse the Israelis of manipulating Chartouni into killing Bechir Gemayel, when he opposed himself to the contruction of an Israeli military base in chouefat?
    It could be a conspiracy theory, but it might have a link with the truth.
    Also, about the Syrians controlling everything at that time (and according to some, to this time still), how come then do we find Mossad in Lebanon (nowadays, it’s israelis journalists who visit Beirut and Bint Jbeil disguised as Canadians and Brazilians)…

    I’m having this really bad feeling that that are today two parties in Lebanon : pro opposition (or pro syrian as some will) and pro gov (or pro US as other will), but this sounds surreal. Things have never been THAT simple in Leb (only in the mind of G.W. Bush, which I’m starting to think is not at all dumb as he seems, there was never only one intelligence service in Leb, but hundreds of them -including CIA and Mossad, and Syria had no proper decision making without the “aval” of the US.
    So yes, Hariri was assassinated. But if the Syrians did know about it or did do it, are we that sure that it did not at some point take us where the US want us to go ? We speak of the Syrian occupation for 15 years and I’m pretty much disgusted by it, because it reduced certain parties to nothing, like Christian ones, which my friend Bechir despises, and profited others… But does that mean forgetting Chirac’s speach in 2002 in Beirut or the American position all along ? It’s like imagining that Syria controlled Lebanon alone, never needing “une ptite tape” on the head by the US (or the “international commitee” as I call it these days) ! Being pro Syrian was being pro US or pro France during the 15 yr occupation with all the crimes perpetrated !!!!!
    It is only today, because the US, decided (for reasons that go, according to me, far beyond the assasssination of Hariri), that Syria is out of the friendly pack, that we, in our heads, point the finger at Syria, while for 15 yrs, when we went to sit-ins and stuff, we were NOTHING !

    I’m not sure I articulated clearly what I wrote above, point is : I can’t disconnect that simply American and Syrian interests, as it is being done today. And if it was not a commong decision and I had to pick one of the two, that would go around the other and take the decision to assassinate H., I would bet a hell lot more on the US than on little Syria.


  11. In any case, dear S., any man with some resemblance of common sense in his mind would have easily concluded that Syrians cannot be that dumb as to assassinate a man like Hariri, a player in the “big leagues” (<- those leagues of international influential circles of 'heavy' people) without paying the price.
    If I was Assad and had a decision to make, I don’t think it would take many consultants to realize that the only ones would could not benefit from the assassination of Hariri are the Syrians and whoever support them.. well it’s either that, or, and excuse my trigger-happy tongue.. but is the Syrian regime made out of Homsi’s?
    Sorry but it just doesn’t add up. I see the US and its allies in the region a much better candidate to reap the fruits of such a mishap.
    How can you convince me of the opposite?

  12. Dear J.,
    I might not have the absolute truth and certainty coming out of my mouth, like the analytical and intelligent person that you seem to be, but speaking of homsis, you seem to have an understanding problem,… (sorry, too easy not to take on)….
    Anyways, I suggest you read a couple of more times what I wrote, then we can discuss it if you still don’t get it.


  13. S.
    I wasn’t talking to you actually, but rather, I was just adding to your comment/analysis.
    I guess common sense is a bit lacking these days, and understanding is becoming a rare commodity in this confusing mess..
    I am sorry you took personal what was not even addressed to you. Maybe you need to read what was written before my comment a couple of times yourself also..
    I am sure the others have gotten my point though.

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