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Friday, May 09, 2008

Beirut Finally . . . The Fuller Picture

Lebanese  Militia man takes aim in Beirut
Lebanese Militiaman takes aim in Beirut

Robert Fisk: Lebanon descends into chaos as rival leaders order general strike

The darker side of all this, of course, involves Beirut airport. Mr Jumblatt’s claim that Hizbollah has installed cameras beside one of the runways appears to be correct. Lebanese army officers have apparently noticed the cameras which can monitor executive jets taking off and landing. However, the apparatus may well have been installed because the Hizbollah believes that runway 1-7 – which starts a few metres above the Mediterranean – could be used for a small seaborne landing by Israeli troops.

There is a persistent rumour in Beirut that the Israelis were about to stage such an operation against the Hizbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut on 28 April but that it was cancelled for equally mysterious reasons.

Was this the origin of the cameras and of Hizbollah’s unpleasant suggestion that Mr Jumblatt is doing Israel’s work?

Normally I would hesitate to link to much of what Mr Madsen prints, however this time I feel he may have stumbled onto something ignored by the Mainstream Media. For instance if you search the New York Times looking for articles about Roland Carnaby what you get is a message saying:

Your search for Roland Carnaby in all fields returned 0 results.

May 6, 2008 -- The Middle East firestorm was to have started on April 25 (author: Wayne Madsen Report,)

WMR has learned from its Middle East intelligence sources that a leak from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office resulted in the last minute scuttling of an Israeli intelligence operation in Beirut that would have started a series of events that would have likely resulted in the outbreak of warfare between Israel and Lebanon, Syria, and possibly, between Iran and the United States.

Israel's Mossad planned an April 25 assassination, likely by its favorite method, a massive car bomb, of Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Because the assassination would have triggered the "perfect storm" for the outbreak of war in Lebanon, with the involvement of Israel, the United States, Syria, and Iran, an official in Olmert's office leaked the assassination plan. When it became apparent that there was a leak, Mossad scuttled the entire operation.

The plan was immediately known by the CIA and Hezbollah. It is known that retired CIA officer and contractor Roland Carnaby, a Lebanese-American, had close contact with all of Lebanon's various factions. On April 29, four days after the planned assassination of Nasrallah by Mossad, Carnaby was killed in broad daylight by Houston police. WMR previously reported that Carnaby had successfully penetrated a Mossad ring active in the Houston area.

It is clear that Israel would not have carried out the Nasrallah assassination without the knowledge and approval of the neocon cell operating from Vice President Dick Cheney's office and extending to elements of the U.S. Air Force, CIA, and other federal agencies.

Nasrallah's assassination by Israel would have resulted in a massive Hezbollah strike on Israel and, possibly, through Moqtada al Sadr's forces in Iraq, on U.S. troops in that country. The outbreak of massive violence between U.S. and Sh'ia forces in Iraq may have laid the groundwork for a U.S. strike on alleged training camps in Iran and other targets of opportunity.

WMR has also obtained a copy of the civil suit filed by Carnaby's widow, Susan Carnaby, against the City of Houston for the wrongful death of her husband.

Madsen says April 25th, Fisky says April 28th. Neither are, of course, as trustworthy as the New York Times /snark

What is next for Lebanon?

Did you see the face of Sa`d Hariri reading (and fumbling) the statement written for him by Hani Hammud and Walid Jumblat? He looked as pleased as when Ahmad Chalabi was informed that he did not win one seat in the Iraqi puppet parliament, or when Salam Fayyad was informed that he has won a whopping 1% of the votes in the Palestinian puppet legislative parliament. But Marcel Ghanim (the annoying host of LBC’s Kalam An-Nas who never misses a show without praising House of Saud and who used to be sociable with Rustum Ghazalah) summed it all when he told Walid Jumblat during the interview today that “you are surrendering.”

But while I never agree with Jumblat (not in his Syria days and not in his Israel days), I did agree with him when he commented on Nasrallah’s statement today by saying that it contains a contradiction: that on the one hand Nasrallah says Jumblat is a thief, killer, liar, and agent of Israel and yet he offers dialogue with him. But then again: Jumblat is the king of contradiction: he precipitated the current crisis by calling for an end to the communication lines and calling Hizbullah responsible for the assassinations in Lebanon, and yet today (as he does once a week) he called Hizbullah “the resistance” and spoke of the need for its protection, and even for the preservation of the communication lines that he called for its elimination.

But the most grotesque part of Jumbalt was when he said: “My blood is Palestinian and my history is Palestinian.” Yes, and I am sure that he only discusses the liberation of Palestine when he meets with Elliott Abrams. And did you hear Jumblat make a reference to “Condy”? I wonder if he refers to Olmert as “Olmertiti”. But the major conclusion from the developments in the streets of Beirut is this: given the retreat of Hariri militia, one can conclude that Jordanian training of Hariri goons has been as effective as Jordanian training of Dahlan goons, and as effective as Jordanian training of Iraqi puppet troops.

I am sure that some in Israel are now saying: we did a better job when we trained the executioners of Sabra and Shatila. But there is an additional worry: Hariri militia operates like Dahlan militia by relying on mercenaries. Now, they may draw upon the only ideological committed elements in their ranks: Al-Qa`idah and other Bin Ladenties groups. Relatives of my mother were reporting last week with alarm that Hariri buses were bringing fanatical salafi fighters into Tariq Al-Jadidah.

Moar in the same vein:

There will be debates, recriminations, and accusations and counter-accusations about what happened in Beirut, and especially about the Hariri militia. The militia was well-paid, and trained in Jordan—all US-supported militias in the Middle East are trained in Jordan, from Iraqi puppet troops, to Dahlan gangs, and the Hariri militia. The reason why they did not fight is that they lacked a driving ideology. What is the ideology? Hariri family? When Sa`d Hariri has been absent in Saudi Arabia for two straight montha attending to the health of Prince `Azzuz? They were joining the Hariri militia and getting paid but they were not willing to fight, although they had plenty of weapons as we saw on TV (You have to ignore the existence of US-supported militias in the Middle East because when US and UN (as it it is their business) talk about militias in the Middle East they only refer to anti-US militias. The Badr sectarian militias which drilled holes in victims’ skulls, and which was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Iraq is not mentioned as a militia.) But Hariri militia assumed that Sunn-Shi`ite agitation would serve as the driving ideology but that did not work either at the time of battle. When Hasan Nasrallah said yesterday that he no more is fearful of Sunni-Shi`ite conflict he basically was saying that we now know that the Sunnis of Lebanon would not fight, like they did in Iraq, in a sectarian war. And they did not fight. Al-Akhbar (which gave the best coverage of events yesterday in today’s issue—for purposes of conflict of interest I should state that I write in that secular and independent newspaper that drives the Hariri gangs crazy) reported that Northern Lebanon was promising some 70 vans at a time of war and sectarian confrontation but that only 7 vans arrived. Al-Arabiyya TV (which provides wall-to-wall sectarian coverage) reported that armed men of the SSNP were seen on the streets of Beirut. Al-Arabiyya TV did not report that Hariri gangs put on fire several offices of the SSNP in Beirut in the last two years—and I say that without being a supporter of the SSNP. A Phalanges’ leader, Salim Sayigh, today talked about Beirut “the city of Sunnis” as if other sects in Beirut are mere visitors.

Even Moar:

What is not known is this: how did the crisis in Lebanon start? Or in other words: what (or who) did instigate Walid Jumblat to suddenly bring up the issue of Hizbullah’s lines of communication, and the matter of airport security? What about the timing? Is there any connection between Jumblat’s sudden announcement on the matter and the visit by David Welsh? One thing is for sure: no good will come out of a situation with Amal armed thugs roaming the streets of Beirut—I already hear complaints about their thuggery by people in the city. The city (and the Palestinian camps) have tried that before, and it was certainly not a pleasant experience.

But make no mistake about it: just as Muhammad Dahlan was trying to overthrow the Hamas government in Gaza, before it preempted him, the Jumblat-Hariri gang was about to takeover the government and move against Hizbullah, at the behest of the US/Israeli/Saudi plan before they were outcouped or overwhelemed. It is to expect a Sunni rift to grow with Jumblat: typically, when defeat is imminent, he appeared on LBC-TV yesterday and called on his fighters to refrain from fighting, and to surrender the offices of his militia to the Lebanese Army. Many Sunnis will feel that he pushed Hariri camp toward a confrontation, and then left them to fend for themselves. Furthermore, will the US now acknowledge that there are several militias in Lebanon? I mean, now we know for sure that the Harriri family has an armed militia all over Lebanon—a lousy and incompetent militia, but a militia nevertheless.

Beirut Jackboots
Beirut Jackboots

But we knew this all along: they all have a militia in Lebanon. In Lebanon, even Mr./Ms. Potato head has a militia. But I think that Larsen will fly to Lebanon and disarm all Lebanese militias. It was quite bizarre to read that one of the key commanders of the Hariri militia was none other than Shakir Al-Birjawi: do people remember that gangster from the civil war years?

F&*k it, just go there yourselves and read it at :

“We’ll Defend Against Jumblatt Govt’s Declared War” - Sayyed Nasrallah

Hezbollah Secretary General holds a press conference to address recent developments in Lebanon, particularly the tense situation on the street caused by the latest decisions adopted by the unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora.
Sayyed Nasrallah said that the ruling bloc has pushed the country in a completely new situation. “The decisions of the ruling are declaration of war,” his eminence warned.

On the communications network, Sayyed Nasrallah said that communication networks are necessary in every army, every party and militia. “It is a key part of the control and command system which has led us to victory,” Sayyed Nasrallah said. “The communications network existed since before the year 2000, but has been upgraded,” he added.
Sayyed Nasrallah reminded that the Winograd report recommended the ability of Hezbollah’s control and command be destroyed. His eminence clarified that using wireless communication systems has caused the death of many of the resistance’s cadres and leaders in previous wars adding that the “resistance’s communications network” is a system that connects bases and homes of leaders to avoid tapping and monitoring by the enemy. “Our communications network is not a commercial telephone service, but rather a military communications system that backs the resistance,” his eminence emphasized.

The Hezbollah chief revealed that “a few months ago, the communications network issue was raised by the ruling bloc, so we made contact with them and reassured their fears. We had extended a wire from Beirut’s southern suburb to Beirut days after the 2006 war. They told us that their problem was with this particular weapon so we responded and cut the wire. They told us that we were extending wires between Jbeil and Kesserwan and we denied. They told us that we were extending a wire to Tripoli and we denied. They told us that we had extended a wire for communications between Dahiyeh and south Lebanon and we acknowledged. They told us that they fear that we would extend wires to the Chouf area, so we told them that this will never happen. They were reassured. Later on, they told us that they would turn a blind eye on all our communications network if we end the sit-in in downtown Beirut. If we were to agree, would our communications network becomes legitimate? So we refused this blackmail. Apart from this, the unconstitutional of Walid Jumblatt, not Fouad Saniora because he’s only an employee to Jumblatt, has again raised this issue. So Jumblatt’s government met and took its decisions on that black night.”

Sayyed Nasrallah said that the ruling bloc’s decision to consider the communications network an aggression against the sovereignty of Lebanon was a declaration of war.
“Jumblatt’s government declared proxy war on the resistance for of Israel and the US…This bloc is exposed. One of their goals is to push the Lebanese army into a confrontation with the resistance after all previous conspiracies proved futile. Our response to the decisions is: Whoever launches war against us, even if it were my father, we will confront him and we will defend ourselves and our weapons. The communications network is the most important part of our weapons. After the black decisions of Jumblatt’s government, we consider that a war has been launched against us and our duty is to defend ourselves and our weapons; he who warns is excused. All red lines have been crossed, so we will not be lenient with anyone. We have information that says that the communications network is only the first step to strip the resistance of its capabilities.

The unconstitutional government also decided to incriminate everyone who took part in building this network and everyone who uses it. “The network is Hezbollah’s, and I’m the party’s secretary general, I own the network and I use it. Everyone who worked on it is a Mujahid…It is forbidden to target those people…targeting them is targeting the arms of the resistance,” Hezbollah’s Secretary General said.
His eminence added that things must be said clearly as the situation has changed after the “black decisions of Jumblatt’s government.” “He who detains us, we will detain his. He who opens fire at us, we will open fire at him… Walid Jumblatt admitted he’s a liar; he admitted he’s a killer, so who’s ruling the country today? This is not a ruling bloc, this is a gang.

On the issue of the airport raised by Jumblatt, Sayyed Nasrallah said the title of this matter is Brigadier General Wafik Shqeir.
“Shqeir does not belong to the Amal Movement, Hezbollah or any other opposition force. The issue is that they want to extend their control on the airport, not to steal because they are already stealing; they want to transform the airport into a Mossad, FBI and CIA base. Therefore, it has become necessary to remove Shqeir. We will not tolerate such bases. His eminence the vice president of the Higher Islamic Shiite Council Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan called up Saniora and told him that if Shqeir had done anything wrong then open an investigation, otherwise why remove him? He was not defending a Shiite officer. When a patriotic officer like Shqeir is removed, other patriotic officers become threatened of sacking. Saniora vowed to do what he can in Shqeir’s case, but what can he do; he’s just an employee. The decision to remove Shqeir is illegitimate. Any other officer who would take over as the head of the airport security body should know that he would be an imposter who’s mission is to transform the airport into a Mossad, CIA, FBI base. Treason and collaboration have no religion.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that “we will not tolerate targeting our existence and our legitimacy. If they want dialogue to reach a settlement, then we are prepared. The exit is for this is for Jumblatt’s unconstitutional government to withdraw its decisions.”
“We are not worried about a Sunni-Shiite sedition. The problem is between a US project and a resistance project. In the wake of the July 2006 war, we came under a brutal campaign by politicians, journalists, writers, scholars and others, however they have failed to distort the picture of the resistance. Our weapons are not to attack anyone and not to make a coup d’état. You (ruling bloc) opened fire at your own selves. If we wanted to make a coup, you would have woke up this morning in jails.

Answering a question about how Hezbollah assesses Saudi Arabia’s positions, Sayyed Nasrallah expressed hope that the kingdom does not repeat its mistake in 2006 and works wisely by not taking part with a group against the other.
One reporter asked Sayyed Nasrallah about Mufti Kabbani’s call for who he called “aggressors” to withdraw from Beirut. His eminence stressed there are no aggressors in the capital and that the people there are residents of Beirut, “the people who live in Beirut and elect in Beirut.”
“There is no civil war and reporting the facts are being exaggerated. Yes there is omen of war, but this is the war that the others have imposed. We do not want war with anybody. He who took those black decisions that could lead to war should take them back, and then everything ends.”
His eminence stressed “we bargain on elections not on fighting.”
“Our resistance is not sectarian…and does not seek power. I’m not asking for support, I’m not asking for help; all I’m asking for is to understand us and not be dragged to the path that would only benefit the US and Israel that is celebrating it’s 60th birthday on the ruins of our sanctities.”

Well I hope that clears matter up, somewhat

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Deborah Jeane Palfrey

Handwriting sample of Deborah Jeane PalfreyHandwriting sample of Deborah Jeane Palfrey

If I were forced to give an answer to the question "What do you think, Hubris?" I'd have to say:
the example on the left comes from a left hander while that on the right comes from a right hander trying to forge the handwriting of a left handed person

Palfrey's Friend On Suicide Note: 'That's Not Her Signature'

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Swiss caught in German/U.S. pincer movement?

Coinkydink? . . ..

UBS Faces U.S. Tax Evasion Probe; Employee Detained
Clients pulled a net 12.8 billion francs ($12.1 billion) from UBS's asset- and wealth-management units in the first quarter, the first withdrawal in almost eight years as the bank's writedowns swelled to $38 billion. German prosecutors said in March they're weighing a criminal investigation into whether UBS helped clients evade taxes.

``UBS has been hit by a perfect storm,'' said Edwin Merner, who oversees $2 billion at Atlantis Investment Research Corp. in Tokyo. ``Clients may run away if they think they'll leak information to tax authorities in Germany and the U.S.''

UBS fell 1.5 percent to 34.7 francs by 1:47 p.m. in Swiss trading. The bank said yesterday it plans to cut about 5,500 jobs, including as many as 2,600 at its investment-banking unit, which had 18.2 billion francs of first-quarter losses. Chief Executive Officer Marcel Rohner told analysts he expects ``tough business conditions'' to continue.

Washington Upset Over Iran-Europe Energy Deal
May 5, 2008 | From
Europe ignores U.S. calls for tighter sanctions on Iran by pursuing a gas deal.

Today, Swiss energy giant EGL is set to sign a contract with Iran agreeing to purchase €18 billion worth of gas starting 2011. The potential deal comes in quick succession after the revelation in April that Austrian energy company omv signed letters of intent to buy €22 billion of gas from Tehran.

Swiss bank's manager held in U.S. tax probe
ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) -- UBS said Wednesday that a senior manager was briefly detained in the United States as part of an investigation into whether the Swiss bank helped U.S. customers evade taxes.

Swiss banking giant UBS is under investigation
Swiss banking giant UBS is under investigation
over possible tax offenses in the United States

UBS said the employee was briefly detained as a material witness and was still in the United States.

"Our understanding is that the respective employee, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing by the U.S. government, will remain in the United States pending discussions with the U.S. authorities regarding resolution of his status as a witness," the company said in a statement.

UBS spokesman Serge Steiner said that the employee had the full support of the bank and that "at the moment he is in the United States until his status as a witness is clear."

He declined to provide details about the man or his detention.

The company says the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Switzerland's largest bank concerning its cross-border business.

The probe focuses on whether UBS helped its clients evade U.S. taxes between 2000 and 2007.

The company said the SEC was examining whether Swiss-based UBS client advisers engaged in activities that triggered an obligation for UBS Switzerland to register with the SEC as a broker-dealer or investment adviser.

Swiss banks refuse blame for foreign [German] clients' tax evasion

Swiss banks cannot be expected to police foreign clients' tax affairs, one of the country's top banking officials said Monday, rejecting German demands for greater cooperation to catch tax evaders.

The president of the Swiss Bankers Association laid the blame for tax evasion squarely at the feet of governments that demand too much of their citizens' income.

"Countries which worry about tax evasion of their citizens should have a good think about the way they tax their people," Pierre Mirabaud told journalists in Geneva.

The European Union, in particular Germany, has been pressuring Switzerland to crack down on EU citizens who hide money in Swiss banks in order to avoid paying higher taxes at home.

Switzerland, which is not a member of the 27-nation bloc, fiercely protects the privacy of banking customers, including foreigners who have deposited more than 1 trillion Swiss francs (US$950 billion; €640 billion) in its vaults.

"It's necessary to clearly show Germany and the European Union where their sphere of influence ends and where our sovereignty begins," Mirabaud said, adding that his members don't regard themselves as responsible for their clients' actions.

"We are not a tax authority and we are not a police authority," he said.

Leading Swiss politicians and bankers reacted with outrage earlier this year when it was revealed that German intelligence had purchased confidential information on bank customers in neighboring Liechtenstein. Mirabaud said at the time that Berlin had used "Gestapo" methods to acquire the data, but later retracted his comparison to Nazi Germany's secret police.

The information led to a series of high-profile raids against individuals and businesses in Germany, as well as further investigations by authorities in Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Switzerland, like Liechtenstein, provides no judicial assistance to foreign authorities in cases of tax evasion because it is considered an administrative offense subject only to fines rather than a crime punishable by a jail sentence.

A visit last week by German chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the tax issue failed to change Switzerland's stance on the matter.

Mirabaud said criticism of Switzerland was misplaced, and largely driven by competitors jealous of the Alpine nation's success as a leading center for international finance.

"For any Anglo-Saxon newspaper, it's much easier to attack Switzerland than the United Kingdom or the U.S.," he said.

Mirabaud insisted that Switzerland has some of the world's strictest rules against money laundering and has done much in recent years to shake off its reputation as a safe haven for dictators to stash their funds.

Millions of dollars (euros) hidden in Swiss accounts by the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and Philippines strong man Ferdinand Marcos have been returned to their governments, and Swiss authorities are seeking to do the same for money deposited here by former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.

But on the matter of tax evasion, Mirabaud said the solution is for countries to demand less from their citizens.

"Humans being what they are, if the tax burden becomes too high there will always be tax evasion," he said.

World Jewish Congress wants Swiss to cancel Iranian gas deal

The president of the World Jewish Congress said Tuesday he wanted Switzerland to cancel a multibillion-dollar Swiss-Iranian natural gas deal because it threatens Israel and the US.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes deals with Europe, despite American sanctions.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes deals
with Europe, despite American sanctions.

Ronald Lauder, a billionaire cosmetics magnate, said the deal signed by Swiss Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey in Tehran last month has angered the WJC because of Iran's hardline president and because it comes at a time when the United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program.

"Maybe that money that Switzerland is paying to Iran will some day be used to either buy weapons to kill Israelis or buy weapons to kill Americans or buy missiles to be able to deliver nuclear weapons," he said.

"I'd like them to cancel it, yes," Lauder told reporters in the Swiss capital. But he said he did not want to exert pressure on the Swiss government.

pincer movement

a movement by two [or more?] separate bodies of troops converging on the enemy.

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