Friday, December 10, 2010

Lebanon holds its breath over leaked revelations

By Robert Fisk in Beirut

"Julian Assange may claim that WikiLeaks' disclosure of US documents is for the good of the world, but in Lebanon they have had an incendiary effect. The Hezbollah party is using the cables as proof of UN involvement with Washington – and thus, by extension, with Israel – and politicians are desperately denying that they gave intelligence information to the Americans about Hezbollah's secret communications system.

For weeks, the Hezbollah's secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, has been denouncing the UN's tribunal into the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri as an American-Israeli plot. He says that anyone giving security information to the Americans is an Israeli spy.....

The UN tribunal's forthcoming accusations – which may be mercifully delayed – have already caused the Beirut government to divide into opposing camps. Now the US cables reveal that the UN has indeed been cooperating with the United States, asking for aerial reconnaissance pictures of the Bekaa Valley and sending DNA samples from Mr Hariri's suspected killer, Ahmad Abu Adass, to FBI headquarters for examination.

One of the most damaging reports is a conversation between the Lebanese defence minister Elias Murr and then US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman.....

Yet more dangerous still is a 2008 cable stating that former Lebanese telecommunications minister Marwan Hamadeh provided the US with maps detailing locations of Hezbollah's communications network. The network, according to former US ambassador Michele Sison, "covers the Palestinian camps, and the Hezbollah training camps in the Bekaa.......

All of this is causing the Lebanese to hold their breath for more revelations. And for those named in the cables to hold their breath even more fearfully. "Sister" Syria is known to have taken its own revenge for much less. As for the Hezbollah, their MP for Tyre, Hassan Fadlallah, says the cables prove "that the US is using the court and the investigation committee as a tool to target the [Hezbollah] resistance"."

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