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allemand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-05 07:46 AM
Original message
Syrian witness says Hariri's son forced him to lie
Edited on Mon Nov-28-05 08:00 AM by allemand
DAMASCUS (Reuters) - A man has appeared on Syrian state television saying Lebanese officials, including the son of Rafik al-Hariri, had forced him to testify falsely to a U.N. inquiry into the former Lebanese prime minister's assassination.

Hosam Taher Hosam, a Syrian who said he had worked with Syrian and Lebanese intelligence during Syria's military presence in Lebanon, said in a programme aired on Sunday that an elaborate scheme of torture, threats and bribery had forced him to testify to chief U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis.

His appearance came after Damascus agreed to allow five Syrian officials to be questioned by Mehlis at U.N. offices in Vienna in connection with Hariri's February 14 assassination.

Hariri and other officials accused by Hosam could not immediately be reached for comment.


According to some reports, he was Mehlis' key witness: /

Key Mehlis Witness Accuses Hariri Aids of Falsifying Evidence and Witness Tampering

GGL Staff
Local News
Beirut, November 28: Many newspapers published in Beirut reported this morning that a key witness heavily relied upon by the international investigating commission, set up by the UN Security Council to look into the murder of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, has recanted his testimony saying it was obtained under duress. The witness, Husam Husam, a Syrian resident of Metn in Lebanon accused Fares Khashan, whom he called a consultant to Mr. Saad Hariri of being his handler throughout the investigation. According to Husam, Khashan tutored him on what to say in his testimony before the commission.

In a televised interview witnessed in Beirut, which was recorded for Al Jazeera and broadcast on Syrian TV late Sunday evening, Husam said that he was the masked witness who confronted General Jamil Sayed at the commissions Monte Verde, Lebanon, headquarters, and who was credited with much of the facts detailed in the most recent Mehlis report to the UN Security Council. He called his own testimony a pack of lies which he was both carefully tutored as to the contents thereof and forced to make after having been repeatedly subjected to torture and false imprisonment. He accused the Lebanese interior minister, Hassan Sabaa, Member of Parliament Saad Hariri and a number of government officials and Hariri staff, of complicity in the crime of instigating his false testimony. He claimed that he was offered a large amount of money in cash in Mr. Sabaas office, in the presence of the minister, a Hariri ally, which he said he refused, and that he was given a new car by the commission.

Husam claimed that he was able to escape to Syria on Saturday, November 26 after two earlier escape attempts failed and resulted to him in more imprisonment and torture. He left the commission provided car behind near the Syrian Lebanese border, he said. He claimed that he met Saad Hariri twice and that Hariri promised to send him to Paris for surgeries that would change his looks and to arrange for him to receive Lebanese as well as French passports. Husam charged that the Melhis investigation was largely run by Hariri and his staff and allies and that this group was using money and threats to enlist false witnesses, tutor them and present them to the commission as credible sources of information.

Finally, Husam claimed that the commission had planned to take him to Vienna to confront the five Syrian officials who are supposed to be questioned there in the next few days, using a script that was provided to him by two commission staff members whose first names he gave.

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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-05 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. Who to believe? I vote for no one. They're all compromised.
We shouldn't assume that just because Syria's our designated bad guy that everyone opposed to it is a saint.
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allemand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-05 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. In any case this is a major embarrasment for the UN and for Mehlis if
Edited on Mon Nov-28-05 09:53 AM by allemand
Hosam Taher Hosam was indeed "witness No. 1" who is quoted in paragraphs 96-102 of the Mehlis report.

Man tells Syrian TV he was bribed to frame Syria in U.N. Hariri probe
Associated Press

BEIRUT, Lebanon - A man has claimed on Syrian state TV that he was bribed to accuse top Syrian officials of the murder of Rafik Hariri in his testimony to the U.N. commission into the former Lebanese premier's assassination.

Husam Taher Husam, a former conscript in the Syrian army, alleged in a 75-minute interview on Sunday night that Saad Hariri, the son of the slain Hariri, met him several months ago and offered him $1.3 million to testify against top Syrian officials.

Saad Hariri was in Argentina on Monday, but his aide Hani Hammoud dismissed the allegation, saying Saad had never met the "fictitious personality" Husam. (...)

The spokesman for the Syrian inquiry into Hariri's murder, Ibrahim Daraji, said Monday that if Husam is the unidentified key witness quoted in the U.N. commission's interim report, then the United Nations' case "has completely collapsed."

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allemand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-05 10:43 AM
Response to Original message
3. "Confirmed: Hosam Taher is Mehlis' Witness No. 1"
A source has confirmed, beyond a doubt, the claim that ex-Syrian cab driver Hosam Taher Hosam is indeed Mehlis' witness no. 1. I did not speak to this source directly, but he stands accused by Mr. Taher of 'coaching him' to give false witness to the Mehlis investigation. The source confirms that he had met Mr. Taher on more than one occasion but that he had nothing to do with coaching him. He had spoken earlier today to a very credible source of mine that was also mentioned/accused by Mr. Taher in his press conference today.
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-05 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
4. This could get interesting
We can't know the truth yet, but if these claims are true, the next questions are: Who was really behind the particulars of the UN investigation? Did he have an enormous mustache?
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allemand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-05 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
5. UN confirms that Hosam Taher was a witness
Edited on Mon Nov-28-05 12:43 PM by allemand
The UN investigation team has confirmed he was a witness who had approached the commission with information.

A UN statement released in Beirut said the inquiry "does not offer, and has never offered or provided, any compensation in exchange for information".

Taher's testimony in the UN report:

96. One witness of Syrian origin but resident in Lebanon, who claims to have worked for the Syrian intelligence services in Lebanon, has stated that approximately two weeks after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1559, senior Lebanese and Syrian officials decided to assassinate Rafik Hariri. He claimed that a senior Lebanese security official went several times to Syria to plan the crime, meeting once at the Meridian Hotel in Damascus and several times at the Presidential Place and the office of a senior Syrian security official. The last meeting was held in the house of the same senior Syrian security official approximately seven to 10 days before the assassination and included another senior Lebanese security official. The witness had close contact with high ranked Syrian officers posted in Lebanon.

97. At the beginning of January 2005, one of the high ranked officers told the witness that Rafik Hariri was a big problem to Syria. Approximately a month later the officer told the witness that there soon would be an earthquake that would re-write the history of Lebanon.

98. The witness visited several Syrian military bases in Lebanon. At one such base, in Hammana, he observed a white Mitsubishi van, with a white tarpaulin over the flatbed. The observations were made on 11, 12 and 13 February 2005. The Mitsubishi left the Military base in Hammana on the morning of 14 February 2005. The Mitsubishi Canter van, which was used as the bomb carrier, entered Lebanon from Syria through the Bekaa border and a military hot lane on 21 January 2005, at 1320 hrs. It was driven by a Syrian Colonel from the Army Tenth Division.

99. On 13 February 2005, the witness drove one of the Syrian officers to the St. George area in Beirut on a reconnaissance exercise, as he subsequently understood it to have been after the assassination took place.

100. Regarding Mr. Abu Adass, the witness has stated that he played no role in the crime except as a decoy. He was detained in Syria and forced at gunpoint to record the video tape. Subsequently, he was killed in Syria. The videotape was sent to Beirut on the morning of 14 February 2005, and handed over to Jamil Al Sayyed. A civilian with a criminal record and an officer from the Sret Gnrale were tasked with putting the tape somewhere in Hamra and then calling Ghassan Ben Jeddo, an Al-Jazeera TV reporter.

101. General Jamil Al-Sayyed, according to the witness, cooperated closely with General Mustapha Hamdan and General Raymond Azar in the preparation of the assassination of Mr. Hariri. He also coordinated with General Ghazali (and, among others, people from Mr. Ahmad Jibreel in Lebanon). General Hamdan and General Azar provided logistical support, providing money, telephones, cars, walkie-talkies, pagers, weapons, ID-cards etc. Those who knew of the crime in advance were among others, Nasser Kandil and General Ali Al-Hajj.

102. Fifteen minutes before the assassination, the witness was in the vicinity of the St. George area. He received a telephone call from one of the senior Syrian officers, who asked the witness where he was. When he answered, he got the advice to leave the area immediately.


We never offer money -- commission
BEIRUT, Nov 28 (KUNA) -- The international committee investigating assassination of the former Lebanese premier Rafic Al-Hariri denied on Monday remarks made by a Syrian national who said at a news conference in Damascus earlier today that he had been offered money for information.

The bureau of the commission said in a statement, reacting to the Syrian, Hussam Taher Hussam, that the latter had voluntarily come to the headquarters of the commisison in the resort of Monteverde, east of Beirut, and offered to give a testimony, identifying himself as a Syrian intelligence officer.

The statement said the Syrian national had repeatedly expressed concern on his safety and the safety of his family for offering the information.
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donkeyotay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-05 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
6. Bolton. Lies. Bolton. Lies. Bolton. Lies. No one should believe anything
Edited on Mon Nov-28-05 02:37 PM by donkeyotay
these idiots say about Syria. The outcome is already decided. Now they're just selling the same old SOP they sold on Iraq.


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allemand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-05 03:01 PM
Response to Original message
7. Syria demands Mehlis report revision
Monday 28 November 2005, 21:41 Makka Time, 18:41 GMT

Syrian officials have demanded that a UN report implicating them over the February murder of five-time Lebanese premier Rafiq al-Hariri be revised after state television broadcast the apparent recanting of a witness.

Ibrahim Darraji, who leads Syria's own investigation into the killing, on Monday said the new testimony from Kurdish former intelligence agent Hussam Tahir Hussam spelled the collapse of last month's findings by UN investigator Detlev Mehlis. The report prompted a Security Council resolution against Damascus. (...)

"From a legal point of view, the Mehlis report has collapsed," Darraji told reporters at a joint news conference with the purported witness in Damascus.

Key witnesses

"It was based on the testimony of two key witnesses - Muhammad Zuhair as-Sadiq, who is now jailed in France, and Mr Hussam," he said, standing alongside Hussam.


Hussam Tahir Hussam (L) said he gave false testimony
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