Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Confirmed: Hosam Taher is Mehlis' Witness No. 1

Hosam Taher Hosam, would you trust this face? Would Mehlis?

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.

It may be useful to take a second look at the allegations made by witness no. 1 in the 'edited' Mehlis 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 Sûreté Générale 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.


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