Major update: Linda Heard, writing in Online Journal
, says that the UN report may suggest that the Hariri assassination was done by organized crime. Heard further states that the head of the investigation has implied that he is being used by the United States for the purposes of fabricating a war. I will attempt to find original sources and provide them to our readers.
As readers may have noticed, I am interested in Syria. This is because a case is being made in the press to start a war with that nation. Considering how the war with Iraq has gone, I believe this would be catastrophic for our country. Contrary to the lies of cowardly right-whingers, we of Mercury Rising love this country and hate to see it led into disaster by the sociopaths of the upper levels of the Republican Party.
A number of people familiar with the Middle East, like Juan Cole and Robert Fisk, believe that Syria probably engineered the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. I have serious doubts. Because we have been lied into war with Iraq, we should demand that three issues be answered before being lured into yet another war:
1. Could this have been a black operation by the U.S.?
2. Could this have been a rogue operation by Syrian individuals (but not policy)?
3. Is it in the national interest of the US to make war?
The answer to the last question is almost certainly no. Anyone who believes the opposite is welcome to try to make the opposite case in the thread devoted to that purpose. But because appeals to national interest can be subverted to almost any purpose, we need to look at the Hariri case and see if the apparent casus belli is false.
I have raised questions about the Fitzgerald report in posts below and will recapitulate these in comments here. But Robert Parry, one of the ten real journalists left in the United States of America, has laid out good reason to question the UN Report here
* The van used for the assassination came from Japan. No subsequent chain of custody has been given.
* A key witness, Zuhir Ibn Mohamed Said Saddik, " is a convicted swindler who was caught in lies by the U.N. investigative team." [Cue the Chalabi theme song.]
* "Saddik apparently was paid for supplying his testimony."
* The UN report discounted the testimony of another witness who "said [the accused assassin] Abu Adass 'played no role in the crime except as a decoy … forced at gunpoint to record the videotape' before being killed."
Parry says "While Syria and its reckless intelligence services deserve to remain prime suspects in the Hariri murder, there is a danger, too, in rushing to judgments simply because the target of the investigation is as unpopular as the Syrian dictatorship is."
There's an even greater danger in thinking that the armed forces of the United States of America should, at the snap of the fingers of the New York Times, hare off after every wrong of this troubled world.