Monday, October 31, 2005

Why was Mehlis picked?

The UN could have picked any prosecutor in the world to investigate the Hariri assassination, but chose a German prosecutor named Detlev Mehlis. Mehlis was the prosecutor of the case of the 1982 bombing of the La Belle Discotheque in West Berlin. This was blamed by Ronald Reagan on Libya, which allowed Reagan to bomb Libya. We can analyze American involvement with Libya with a much more cynical eye now that we have seen so clearly how lies were used to manipulate the attack on Iraq. Mehlis' entire prosecution was heavily manipulated by American, Israeli and West German intelligence agencies, and Mehlis played right along, a fact which presumably made him perfect for the framing of Syria. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed writes (or here):

"Detlev Mehlis' role in the investigation into the La Belle bombing raises disturbing questions about his role in the investigation of the assassination of Hariri. As Berlin public prosecutor, Mehlis inadvertently but consistently covered up the dubious involvement of US, Israeli and German intelligence interests in the 1986 terrorist attack; actively built a selective politically-motivated case against suspects without objective material proof; while ignoring and protecting a group of suspects with documented connections to western secret services. This background fundamentally challenges the credibility of his investigation of the Hariri assassination."

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed points out how Mehlis hinged his entire conclusion on one very dubious source, the name of whom Mehlis managed to keep out of the published report:

"An electronic version of Mehlis' report for the UN commission sent to various media outlets identifies Maher Assad, brother of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and their brother-in-law Asef Shawkat, the chief of military intelligence, along with three others, as the key alleged conspirators behind the plot. Yet Mehlis cites as his source for these officials' names – the crux of his report's allegations - a single anonymous Syrian living in Lebanon purportedly in contact with Syrian officers posted there. Explaining why the names were removed in the version transmitted to the Security Council, Mehlis noted the importance of the 'presumption of innocence,' since the entire accusation of Syrian government culpability boiled down to only one anonymous source. 'It could give the wrong impression that this was an established fact', he cautioned.

Indeed, UN sources cited by the respected German newsmagazine Der Spiegel on 22nd October identified Mehlis' central source as Zuheir al-Siddiq, a criminal convicted of fraud and embezzlement, who had clearly lied in his testimony, contradicting himself several times. At first, sources said, he claimed to have left Beirut in the month prior to the assassination of Hariri. In late September, however, he went so far as to admit involvement in the assassination. According to his brother, al-Siddiq was paid a substantial amount by an unidentified third party for his testimony for the Mehlis report. Sources within the UN Commission investigating the Hariri assassination also said that Mehlis had made contact with al-Siddiq through Syrian dissident Riffat al-Assad, an uncle of the incumbent president opposed to the current regime."

The neocons in the Bush Administration have been expressly calling for war against Syria for years, and this leads to the inevitable conclusion regarding the Mehlis report:

"In this context, the Mehlis report provides the Bush and Sharon administrations the ammunition needed to galvanise support for the neoconservative plan for military action against Syria. Given his role in the 1986 La Belle bombing, the possibility remains that his investigation has firstly concealed the role of US and Israeli intelligence interests in relation to the Hariri assassination, and secondly been politicized to support US and Israeli grand regional designs."