ITWASSOOTED: Assassinations in Lebanon, and the Mosul-Haifa Oil Pipeline

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Assassinations in Lebanon, and the Mosul-Haifa Oil Pipeline

By Mike Whitney

Al-Jazeerah, October 27, 2005

No one knows who killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. We do know, however, that the main witness cited in the UN report, Zuhir Mohamed Said Saddik, “has been convicted of embezzlement and fraud among other crimes” (Der Spiegel) which casts grave doubt on the credibility of his testimony.

No problem; the Bush administration has used convicted fraudsters to make their case for war before, particularly in the case of Iraq where the specious claims of Ahmed Chalabi appeared consistently on the front page of the New York Times creating the rationale for the invasion. But, Sadik’s trustworthiness is even more uncertain than Chalabi’s. “Sources in the UN say that Sadik had undeniably lied” and had received money for his testimony. “According to a statement by his brother, Sadik had called him from Paris in late summer and said, “I’ve become a millionaire!” (Der Spiegel)

Indeed; lying can be a profitable choice when it serves the greater objectives of American-Israeli foreign policy.

None of this suggests that Syrian intelligence wasn’t involved in the assassination. It very well may have been. It simply proves that the report of German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis is inconclusive and may have been the result of American coercion. At the very least, the report fits rather nicely with the Bush administration’s stated goals for regime change in Damascus and redrawing the map of the Middle East.

If Mehlis was truly serious about finding out who the assassins really are, rather than carrying out a political vendetta for the United States, he would be devoting more energy to uncovering the details related to the white Mitsubishi Canter Van that carried the explosives. The history and origins of this van, which was stolen in Japan on Oct. 12, 2004, are critical to the investigation as journalist Robert Parry points out in his recent article “The Dangerously incomplete Hariri Report”. But, then, few who have been following the Hariri assassination have any misgivings about the real motives behind the Mehlis Report. The Hariri investigation is just the pretext for the forthcoming military action against Syria.

Already the western press has swung into high-gear reiterating the blistering rhetoric emerging from the White House and its acolytes’ at the State Dept. Ambassador John Bolton, the Bush administration’s mad-hatter at the UN, has repeatedly threatened Syria with swift action although the facts are still uncertain.

"This is true confessions time now for the government of Syria”, Bolton warned. “No more obstruction. No more half measures. We want substantive cooperation and we want it immediately."

As many have suspected, the volatile Bolton was dispatched to the UN to pave the way for war with Syria and Iran. His baseless attacks on Damascus have done nothing to disprove that conclusion.

Fans of the much-maligned “paper of record” will be glad to see that Judith Miller’s chair at the Times has been filled by her equally-competent protégé, Warren Hoge. Hoge has already produced 4 front-page articles on the Hariri case invoking the same demagoguery, unsubstantiated allegations and damning insinuations as his mentor Miller. In essence, the Times has already condemned poor Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by framing the uncorroborated evidence in a way that excludes every other suspect and by repeating the constant refrain “sanctions” 7 times in one article alone. Judy Miller’s early retirement has not dulled the Time’s appetite for reiterating fictions on its front page. Predictably, no mention of the witness Sadik’s shaky testimony has appeared in any of America’s leading newspapers.

Sound familiar?

( Note: “James Akins was ambassador to Saudi Arabia before he was fired after a series of conflicts with then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, father of the vision to pipe oil west from Iraq. In 1975, Kissinger signed what forms the basis for the Haifa project: a Memorandum of Understanding whereby the US would guarantee Israel's oil reserves and energy supply in times of crisis. The plan was promoted by the now Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was to be built by the Bechtel company… The memorandum has been quietly renewed every five years, with special legislation attached whereby the US stocks a strategic oil reserve for Israel EVEN IF IT ENTAILED DOMESTIC SHORTAGES - at a cost of $3 billion (£1.9bn) in 2002 to US taxpayers. “UK Observer)
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