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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

UN "threatened" CBC reporter; Hezbollah uses hospital for comm HQ

Two articles in Naharnet follow up on the sensational CBC report implicating Hezbollah in the Hariri assassination.

One has an interview with the reporter, Neil MacDonald:
[T]he Canadian journalist said he tried to contact Abdul Majid Ghamloush, an alleged Hizbullah operative who Macdonald described in his report as a "minor electronics specialist who worked for Hizbullah."

Quoting "one former U.N. investigator," Macdonald said in his CBC report that Ghamloush had been tasked with "collecting and disposing" the mobile phones allegedly used by the hit squad that murdered Hariri.

"We knew that he had fled to Syria after the death of Major General Wissam Eid, maybe he was killed after that," Macdonald told Sada al-Balad.

The CBC reporter also noted that he tried to interview Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Druze leader Walid Jumblat, who allegedly refused to appear in the report.

Moreover, Macdonald said that he tried more than once to contact Col. Wissam al-Hasan, head of the police Intelligence Bureau, noting that he obtained his phone number from one of the U.N. investigation commission's employees.

Col. Hasan, however, refused to cooperate with the Canadian journalist.

The CBC report claims that Hasan's alibi in the Hariri assassination case was weak and that he had told another story entirely.

It said Hasan was "on the U.N. radar from the beginning, for two reasons: He quickly became one of the inquiry's main liaisons with the Internal Security Forces; plus he was in charge of Hariri's security at the time of the assassination."

The report depicts Hasan as a possible suspect in the case.

On the other hand, Macdonald reiterated that the United Nations had "threatened" him not to publish the report and to handover all U.N. documents in his possession.
Naharnet also reproduced one of the more damning pieces of the CBC piece, on Hezbollah's communications network:
An investigative report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) has revealed that Capt. Wissam Eid's discovery showed that "everything" in the assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri was connected to landlines inside Hizbullah's Great Prophet Hospital south of Beirut.

Eid's work would also lead to another discovery: Everything connected, however elliptically, to land lines inside Hizbullah's Great Prophet Hospital in South Beirut, a sector of the city entirely controlled by Hizbullah, CBC added.

It has long been said that the fundamentalist fighters operate a command centre in the hospital.

Eventually, telecom sleuths would identify another network of four so-called "pink phones" that had been communicating both with the hospital and, indirectly, with the other networks.

These phones turned out to be tremendously important. It turned out they had been issued by the Lebanese government itself and when the ministry of communications was queried about who they had been issued to, the answer came back in the form of a bland government record.

CBC has obtained a copy of this record provided to the commission. On it, someone has highlighted four entries in a long column of six-digit numbers. Beside the highlighted numbers, in Arabic, was the word "Hizbullah."

Finally, Eid was handed a clue from the best source possible: He was contacted by Hizbullah itself and told that some of the phones he was chasing were being used by Hizbullah agents conducting a counter-espionage operation against Israel's Mossad spy agency and that he needed to back off.

The warning could not have been more clear, CBC said.