Saturday, June 11, 2005

Beirut, Damascus and Washington: The Logic of Murder

Below is "an Administration official" laying the groundwork for a potential armed "regime change" in Syria, using the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri as one of the pretexts. Follow his argument, and see if, with some slight tweaking, it doesn't remind you powerfully of another act of nation-changing violence.

The Bushist minion was mouthing off to the Hard Right agit-prop funnel, The New York Sun. Prefacing his remarks by declaring that a secret UN report shows "very clearly" that Syria was behind the Hariri bump-off, the minion says: "Could we prove this in a criminal court? Not beyond a reasonable doubt. But there is no other plausible explanation. There were movements of individuals before the assassination who would have been known by Syrian intelligence, the preparations for the attack could not have escaped Syrian intelligence.".

Now substitute the phrase "September 11 terrorist attack" for the word "assassination," and replace "Syrian intelligence" with "American intelligence." Structured this way, the passage describes perfectly the reality of the September 11 attack. The movements of the terrorists before the assassination were known by American intelligence, and the preparations for the attack could not have escaped American intelligence. Does that mean that the Bush faction planned and carried out the September 11 attack? And if not, then how does this same logic "prove" that Syria assassinated Hariri?

I once had occasion to do a very extensive background investigation into Rafik Hariri – about a year before his death. And I have to say that the corporate media's post-murder portrait of the great selfless martyr for Lebanese liberty bore almost no resemblance to the real person I had encountered in my research – the crafty, ruthless, Saudi-citizen, pro-Syria player who had ridden the sea of blood and corruption that is modern Lebanese history to power and riches.

I'm no expert in Lebanese politics. (Consult the renowned humanist scholar As'ad AbuKhalil, the "Angry Arab," for the real low-down on Lebanon. Although I will note that – oddly and irrelevantly enough – I was actually born in Lebanon. Lebanon, Tennessee, that is.) Perhaps the Syrians did kill Hariri for some unknown reason, although the entirely predictable fall-out from such a deed – international outrage, an immediate presumption of Syrian guilt, and irrestible pressure to withdraw from Lebanon – makes it hard to see what their motive might have been. There are other plausible suspects – including the extremist Islamist group that openly claimed credit for the deed. But whatever the origins, the result has been a disaster for the policies and ambitions of Syria's leaders.

On the other hand, it is overwhelmingly obvious that whatever the origins of the September 11 attack, the result has been a resounding success for the policies and ambitions of the Bush Faction. Here, as always, the eternal question asserts itself: Cui bono? Who benefits? In the Hariri case, certainly not the Syrians. In 9/11, indisputably the Bushists.

Those White House minions need to be careful how they wield their "case-proving" logic; that knife can cut both ways.

[Apologies for the earlier glitches.]