Fisk on Hariri's Murder

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As a follow-up to my exchange with Raimondo in an earlier post today on the how's of the Hariri assassination, this piece by Robert Fisk in The Independent (taken from the Aounist movement's website) suggests that the theory of a suicide bomber is, at best, questionable.

The UN's Irish, Egyptian and Moroccan investigation team has now been joined by three Swiss bomb experts following the discovery that many of the smashed vehicles in Hariri's convoy were moved from the scene of the massacre only hours after the bombing and before any time for an independent investigation.

The article also notes:

Some members of the Hariri family have been told that the report of the UN enquiry team will be so devastating that it will force a full international investigation of the murder of 'Mr Lebanon' and his entourage.

Will the agnostics believe Fisk? He's one of theirs, after all.

NEXT: Heaven Forfend!

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  1. Your HTML is fucked up.

  2. Michael, you run a Beirut-based newspaper. Do you guys have any photos of the blast area? So that we could see crater depth, for instance? When your reporters have talked to the hotel about the theorized tunnel, what has been their response?

  3. The only facts in the Fisk article are

    1)that George W. Bush is going to announce that Syria did it. Big surprise.

    2) that the UN is mad at the Lebanese for moving evidence.

    3) that a car thrown into the water by the force of the explosion could tell us something about the nature of the explosion.

    4) That the Independent has a photograph of the road with a mysterious “object” in it, taken before the explosion.

    Even if all these turn out to be true, this hardly constitutes proof that Syria is behind the assassination of Hariri. But in Lebanon, I suppose, people are going to believe what is convenient for them to believe, no matter what.

    Pardon my skepticism, but we were lied into war with Iraq by means of all kinds of “evidence” that Saddam had WMD, that Iraq was behind 9/11, etc. etc. As Michael Young’s hero, GWB, once said: Fool me once, uh, er, shame on you (no, on me: no, … aw shucks, well you get the picture…..

  4. Yet another bad day, Justin? Too bad, that is. Really.

  5. To answer Young’s question, no, they will not believe Fisk, one of their own.

    “Raimondo”:
    “But in Lebanon, I suppose, people are going to believe what is convenient for them to believe, no matter what.”

    What, no comment on the enormous anti-Syrian occupation demonstration today?

    “As Michael Young’s hero, GWB, once said:”

    In other words, if you don’t agree with my take on the Middle East, George Bush is your hero. Apparently logic is not your forte.

  6. Jim,

    Here is a link with a few pictures and an analysis: http://www.lfpm.org/asphalt.php

  7. Lets wait till the whole report is released before commenting on it ? And we don’t have to necesarily beleive Fisk — the report will probably be leaked, if confidential.

    So it wasn’t a suicide bomber. That would open the field a little and maybe knock out groups like Al Qaeada.

  8. –Even if all these turn out to be true, this hardly constitutes proof that Syria is behind the assassination of Hariri. But in Lebanon, I suppose, people are going to believe what is convenient for them to believe, no matter what.

    Yeah, it would be a damn shame to wrongly accuse the Syrian government and blemish their otherwise spotless record.

  9. Wasn’t the watr about getting some premo bases in the heart of arab country where our troopers could drink and fornicate to their heart’s content, unlike in S.A?

  10. “Yeah, it would be a damn shame to wrongly accuse the Syrian government and blemish their otherwise spotless record.”

    Uh huh. Even if it was a lie, it was a good lie.

    If this UN report goes the wrong way, expect “It was never about Hariri” to be the new “It was never about weapons of mass destruction.”

  11. Yes, E. Stevens is right.

    According to Wikipedia’s list of massacres:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres

    Feb. 1982, Syria put down a Muslim uprising by leveling the city of Hama and killing 20,000. Imagine if the Zionist-Crusaders had done that to Fallujah!

  12. joe, I definitely see your point. The truth is important, in and of itself. On the other hand, if Syria didn’t do it, and they withdraw from Lebanon because they’re widely blamed, I won’t shed a tear. To me, the best thing to hope for is that this time, our government stays agnostic on the Hariri murder until the evidence is in, while at the same time supporting the opposition in Lebanon. I have no idea whether or not Syria killed Hariri, but I still hope the Lebanese get their country back.

  13. i’ve yet to hear mr young address the skepticism evinced by the arabist and nur al-cubicle regarding the manufactured basis of these well-financed, telegenic color-coded “revolutions”. they seem to follow the serbian model and gene sharp’s outline very closely.

    i’ve come to severely doubt it’s the lebanese that watched the ukrainian revolution so closely so much as it is the same american-backed ngo’s manifesting the same policy program that accounts for the naked similarities.

    such third party regime change may not be a universal evil — but it surely isn’t what anyone in the united states believes they’re watching in lebanon, and they have conveniently given the bush administration the excuses they need to start issuing ultimatums and rattling sabres.

    do you know any american ngo’s at work in beirut, mr young? who’s paying for all the stickers and flags and porta-potties at these things (conveniences noticably lacking at hezbollah’s rally the other day)?

  14. I’d like to go on record as saying “I really don’t know or care whether Al Queda or Syria killed Hariri, but I hope the Lebanese manage to kick out Syria.”

    Assuming those terribly concerned about the possible besmirchment of the Syrian government’s name think the Lebanese have the right to do so without settling that single question to their personal satisfaction, of course…

  15. Steve:
    “the Lebanese get their country back.”

    What about the Palestinians or the Iraqis, any hopes for them?

    Peter K:

    ” Imagine if the Zionist-Crusaders had done that to Fallujah!”

    The “Zionist-Crusaders” actually did more than that, but to a different city (Hint: it starts with the letter H and it is in an island).

  16. if Syria didn’t do it, and they withdraw from Lebanon because they’re widely blamed, I won’t shed a tear.

    Interestingly, that comment recalled for me joe’s oft repeated (though not for a while) point that we shouldn’t shed tears for convicted drug dealers because even if it’s wrong to convict them for drug dealing, they’re bad people anyway.

  17. a,

    Yes, I do have hope for the Palestinians and Iraqis. If you hadn’t noticed, they both had elections recently, which is a very good sign. I’d say the Iraqis are closer to taking their country back than they’ve been in 30 years. We’ll see about the Palestinians.

  18. Sam and Sheesh, thank you very much for the pictures. Here are my concerns:

    1) On the LFPM page, does the crater in pictures 3-4 look much like the crater in 1-2 to anyone?

    2) If the bomb was placed in a tunnel then shouldn’t the crater show us a view into a tunnel? Because it sure looks like solid earth all the way around.

    3) Who put together the LFPM page? Argument from authority is dicey; nevertheless, when a certified forensics expert tells me how an explosion should behave it earns a lot more credit than when some anonymous political website creator does. We’ve all seen the “no plane could have done this” to the Pentagon presentations.

    4) From what I have read of explosions, it appears to be unwise to state too categorically what different types could and couldn’t do.

    I don’t know why the Syria Did It folks are so fixated on the idea that it was a subterranean bomb, btw. If it were a car bomb that wouldn’t rule Syria out by itself. All of Lebanon’s historical belligerents have used car bombs and recruited suicide bombers to do their dirty work from time to time – Maronites, Shiites, Sunnis, Druze, Syrians, Israelis, Americans.

    If either the LFPM1-2 or 3-4 craters are the actual Hariri bombing crater, it pretty well convinces me that it WASN’T placed in any tunnel, there being no, well, tunnel. If both are, it strikes me possible that 1-2 are pre-excavation and 3-4 post – the fires are out and the hole looks deeper. Trying to recover body parts and other evidence by moving a bunch of earth to sift? Maybe.

  19. Interestingly, that comment recalled for me joe’s oft repeated (though not for a while) point that we shouldn’t shed tears for convicted drug dealers because even if it’s wrong to convict them for drug dealing, they’re bad people anyway.

    Because, yes, the Syrian government has a natural and/or constitutional right to rule over Lebanon that should not be deprived except through due process of law, just like drug dealers and their rights to life, liberty, and property.

    I mean, geeze, that crazy Lebanese mass vigilantism just has to be stopped.

  20. You know, I can understand the interest in “was it Syria that did it?” and discussion of the likelihood of various possibilities.

    I cannot understand the impassioned defenses of the Syrian government, nor the harping on the idea that Lebanese popular opposition and revolution against them must be illegitimate if this one grievance of many fails to pans out – especially on a libertarian forum.

    I mean, please – if the Lebanese boot out the Syrians, it’s like falsely convicting someone of a crime? The Hell…?

  21. Eric, I feel your pain. I can never fathom what these one-man Warren Commissions are trying to prove. I don’t care who the hell detonated that bomb, the Lebanese don’t need an excuse… heck, we don’t need an excuse, to kick the Syrian government’s ass. Just let the asskicking commence.

  22. Eric the .5b,

    FWIW, my observation was primarily just that, and to the degree it was directed one way or the other it was directed more at joe. But since I offered it without qualification, I see how I left it open to interpretation, and misinterpretation.

  23. 2) If the bomb was placed in a tunnel then shouldn’t the crater show us a view into a tunnel? Because it sure looks like solid earth all the way around.

    I suspect the tunnel would be filled in by the blast.

  24. anyone know where I could find this “mysterious object” photo from the 12th?

  25. if Syria didn’t do it, and they withdraw from Lebanon because they’re widely blamed, I won’t shed a tear.

    Either way, there will be plenty of reasons to shed tears if it leads to our government getting involved in Syria.

    fyodor,

    I’m unfamiliar with joe making the point that: “we shouldn’t shed tears for convicted drug dealers because even if it’s wrong to convict them for drug dealing, they’re bad people anyway.” But, assuming we’re talking about adult customers, this seems like a very unfair point. Even if it was, by some stretch, fair to characterize hard drug dealers generally as “bad people”, their inequity can’t begin to compare to the injustice of locking people up for selling something to willing buyers who use it to aggress against no one.

    The purveyors of hard drugs, or cigarettes for that matter, get no admiration from me but their actions are much less offensive than those of folks who use government force for their own, non-defensive ends. These miscreants include the people who lied us into the Iraq war as well as welfare recipients, both personal and corporate, and businesses that use government to punish their competition.

  26. Steve:

    I’d say the Iraqis are closer to taking their country back than they’ve been in 30 years. We’ll see about the Palestinians.

    The Palestinians will never be able to take their country back until the Israeli government is forced to end its murderous and thieving (increasingly so, with the wall) occupation. Our government’s ending their financing of this disgrace is certainly called for.

  27. If there’s a better debate/discussion concerning Hariri’s murder than this exchange between Michael and Justin with contributions from et al., anywhere on the web, I don’t know where it might be.

  28. As Michael Young’s hero, GWB,…

    Michael, please say it’s not so!

  29. It’s worth keeping in mind that Michael Young has a bit more knowledge of Arabic and of Lebanese history and politics than does Justin Raimondo, who’s drawn on his deep knowledge of everything to write fascinating (albeit unhinged)pieces on Ukrainian politics (http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=4164 ), Chinese terrorists in the U.S. (http://www.antiwar.com/blog/comments.php?id=P1662_0_1_15 ; a piece so hysterical he had to update it with an acknowlegement that it was based on a “joke”), and the role allegedly played by Israel in…..the 9/11 attacks (http://www.antiwar.com/israeli-files.php ). With a record like that….it’s little wonder that so few people take him seriously.

  30. fyodor, that is a gross misrepresentation of my views.

    ANd shame on you, Eric.5, for being such a sucker.

  31. Tom,

    I’ve been reading Justin Raimondo’s columns since the months before the Iraq war. His predictive ability seems to be so strong that new age types probably think he has some sort of psychic gift. He told us first and with strong analysis (unlike the anti-war left) that the WMD and “terror connections” pretexts for war would prove false. The most cogent coverage of the neocon machinations for war is to be found at Antiwar.com.

    Justin doesn’t posit a necessarily affirmative “role played by Israel in the 9/11 attacks”. Rather, he lays out a well-documented case, from many mainstream news agencies, of the Israeli government’s prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks:

    http://tinyurl.com/587v8

    Your comment that, “so few people take him seriously” is quite off base in view of how often folks borrow Justin Raimondo’s analysis and incorporate it into their own writings.

    Lastly, I would just like to note, indicative of Justin’s fealty to principle, that if Jefferson and Madison were with us today, it should not be a all surprising if Antiwar.com was among the sites to which they would be pledging their “fortunes and sacred honor”.

  32. BTW, I don’t get the insistence on the type of bomb used, either. Syrian agents can arrange for a suicide bombing. Al Qaeda linked fundies can arrange a complicated project like burying a bomb.

    I find that Michael Young often goes out of his way to insist on peripheral or irrelevant points, as if they completely discredit whoever he’s arguing with. First, he pre-emptively growled and people who would refer to the “Phalangists” as “fascists.” Now, there’s this intense debate about the bombing strategy.

    I always assume there’s some kind of Lebanese inside baseball angle.

  33. BTW, is Robert Fisk known as an especially reliable source? I don’t get to read English newspapers very often, and am not in the habit of taking reporters at their word based on political ideology.

  34. I’ll limit myself to a simple point, since I’m not an expert on Lebanese politics. That point is that if Justin Raimondo was right about WMD, so were lots and lots of other people, since the evidence for WMDs was not compelling. He’s been waaaay off base when it comes to what *is* happening anyplace, as his rants about the elections in Ukraine, where his “analysis” was mere hysteria adorned with URLs linking to crazy conspiracy sites and apologists for east European post-Soviet dictators, such as the discredited and utterly incredible “British Helsinki Human Rights Group.”

  35. Who in the holy hell cares what that damned chowderhead Robert Fisk has to say?

  36. joe,

    fyodor, that is a gross misrepresentation of my views.

    Really? How so? I don’t believe I’m misrepresenting what you said about drug dealers at all. I recall your complaining that Reasonoids were too sympathetic to drug dealers and comparing their arrest to the conviction of Al Capone on tax evasion, saying you were glad they were behind bars regardless of whether drug dealing itself should be a criminal offense. No? I’m not going to bother to search the archives, but I feel quite certain that’s a fair representation of what you said. If not, surely you at least remember saying things that came pretty damn close and could explain how I got you wrong?

    Anyway, there’s other issues revolving around Lebanon v. Syria besides this one. But I thought it was interesting that some similar arguments were being used to those you had used yourself in a different context, and yet you were arguing against those using them. And maybe there’s good reason. After all, no two situations are exactly the same. But it’s still interesting.

  37. Rick Barton,

    Assuming my memory is correct, joe’s point was NOT simply that hawking drugs is bad, but rather that drug dealers (he may have been referring primarily to higher ups, such as Medellin cartel leaders, I’m not sure of that detail anymore) had likely committed other, not-so-victimless, crimes, such as murder and the like.

    I don’t see what’s wrong with drawing an analogy from that to what many are saying about Syria, that regardless of whether they’re guilty of this one crime, they’re surely guilty of others. And it’s a perfectly valid point. Just as I would never shed tears per se for murderers convicted for victimless crimes, even if I think those crimes themselves shouldn’t be crimes. I always thought Joe kinda imagined libertarians having such misguided sympathies. Just as you and he apparently think I’ve imagined Joe saying all this in the first place! ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. joe’s point was NOT simply that hawking drugs is bad, but rather that drug dealers (he may have been referring primarily to higher ups, such as Medellin cartel leaders, I’m not sure of that detail anymore) had likely committed other, not-so-victimless, crimes, such as murder and the like.

    Apologies if my paraphrasing of joe as saying that drug dealers were “bad people” left out this aspect of his argument. I had expected it would be self-evident, especially since I was comparing his argument to people who were pointing out that Syria had done other abhorrent things regardless of whether they had done this one. Apparently it was not so self-evident to Rick Barton, so perhaps it wasn’t to others as well.

  39. fyodor, the argument I made was that prohibition creates black markets. Black markets attract Al Capones, regardless of the merits of the underlying prohibited activity. This is one of the central points of anti-prohibitionist politics.

    But it is a long way from saying “we shouldn’t shed tears for convicted drug dealers because even if it’s wrong to convict them for drug dealing, they’re bad people anyway,” your distortion of my position. Some drug dealers are bad people, some are not. When a peaceful, decent drug dealer is imprisoned, it’s a shame. When a Tony Soprano gets arrested because one of the violence-soaked rackets he runs is drug distribution, it’s not a shame.

  40. fyodor, that is a gross misrepresentation of my views.

    ANd shame on you, Eric.5, for being such a sucker.

    Joe, considering your dismissal of Lebanese grievances against Syria and harping on the question of the Hariri assassination:

    Uh huh. Even if it was a lie, it was a good lie.

    If this UN report goes the wrong way, expect “It was never about Hariri” to be the new “It was never about weapons of mass destruction.”

    …well, by your own words, you’re putting yourself in spitting distance of what fyodor sloppily implied you’d said.

    So, bite me.

  41. The Palestinians will never be able to take their country back until the Israeli government is forced to end its murderous and thieving (increasingly so, with the wall) occupation. Our government’s ending their financing of this disgrace is certainly called for.

    As long as the Palestinians use terror to murder Israelis, they are not going to get much of anything back.

  42. I still don’t see why Justin can’t be right (AQ did it with a car bomb) AND Michael can’t be right (Syria was behind it).

    I can think of a number of very good reasons for Syria and the local AQ affiliate to go in together on this one, in fact.

  43. Raimondo was there first with the WMD . . .

    As previously mentioned, no strong evidence of WMDs was ever presented (aside from the fact that Saddam once used chemical weapons against the Iranians and his own people). Same goes for terror ties.

  44. Sorry, RC, if someone can’t show it was Assad in the Conservatory with the Candlestick, the Lebanese have to stay under Syrian rule.

  45. fyodor,

    Actually, I didn’t think that you imagined joe making that contention. I just said that I didn’t recall him doing so. And I’m hep to the point that the Syrian government has certainly done other abhorrent things regardless of whether or not they killed Hariri, and the analogy that you were drawing.

    The point of my post @ 08:56 PM was just to attack the idea that; “we shouldn’t shed tears for convicted drug dealers because even if it’s wrong to convict them for drug dealing, they’re bad people anyway.” Regardless of where in the world that idea came from. ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Don:

    As long as the Palestinians use terror to murder Israelis, they are not going to get much of anything back.

    Right, the murder of innocent Israelis might well be counter-productive to ending the occupation. Just as the murder (and lesser victimization) of innocent Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government in the course of maintaining that occupation is likely to provide continued impetus for anti-Israeli terror.

    But it’s certain that Palestinian terror provides no sufficient reason for the occupation. And there is no good reason why American tax-payers should be forced to pay for it.

  47. fyodor, the argument I made was that prohibition creates black markets. Black markets attract Al Capones, regardless of the merits of the underlying prohibited activity. This is one of the central points of anti-prohibitionist politics.

    Well, duh-uh!!! Why would you have even needed to make such a point here?? Anyway, I recall you talking (typing?) like all drug dealers were Tony Sopranos. If that’s not the position you take now, good for you!

  48. Don:

    …no strong evidence of WMDs was ever presented (aside from the fact that Saddam once used chemical weapons against the Iranians and his own people). Same goes for terror ties.

    As one example, a lot of folks swallowed the litany of BS that Powell laid out at the UN, and voices of support from across the political spectrum followed that speech. But Raimondo exposed those UN fabrications in meticulous detail. There are good reasons why antiwar.com was ranked as high as the 38th most frequented web site in the world.

  49. Right, the murder of innocent Israelis might well be counter-productive to ending the occupation. Just as the murder (and lesser victimization) of innocent Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government in the course of maintaining that occupation is likely to provide continued impetus for anti-Israeli terror.

    But it’s certain that Palestinian terror provides no sufficient reason for the occupation. And there is no good reason why American tax-payers should be forced to pay for it.

    Rick,

    From the beginning, the aim of the Arab armies that attacked Israel was extermination; in contrast, Israel is one of the few countries in the region where Arabs can vote (due to Bush, Arabs can now vote in Iraq as well as Israel). Point being, Israel behaves much better than the surrounding Arab countries, even towards Arabs.

    As far as the occupied lands: the Arabs lost the land because they chose to go to war, and then they lost. I don’t blame Israel one bit for retaining land that provides a small buffer from hostile forces that would exterminate them.

  50. As one example, a lot of folks swallowed the litany of BS that Powell laid out at the UN, and voices of support from across the political spectrum followed that speech.

    My recollection is skepticism based upon a lack of specific factual information on WMDs and terror connections.

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