The New York Times is having a heck of a time dodging scorn and maintaining any
semblance of authenticity these days, apologizing for its Jayson Blairs, bogus
WMD reporting, and Judith Millers. Even owner Arthur Sulzberger’s feet are
being held to the fire now. Yet, the paper persists in its role as a stenographer
for the US government. The Times’ coverage of the UN report by German prosecutor
Detlev Mehlis on the slaying of Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister,
and 20 others, is a further example. 
It is of great importance to note that the Mehlis Report  was exclusively
an investigation into the possible involvement of Syrians and Lebanese in the
assassination of Hariri. Excluded, a priori, with standard imperialistic manipulation
of course, was the role of the powers that effectively benefited from the assassination:
the United States and Israel.
Israel Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres responded to the Mehlis Report by
calling for a regime change in Syria. The Israel News Agency report made clear
that it was a region-wide program for toppling governments; this was shockingly
revealed by the title, “UN Gives Green Light for Israel, Syria, Iran War.”
Another fact of great importance is about Hariri as a person. Since when do
imperialistic powers care so inordinately much about the fate of a former prime
minister of another country? And why does the UN Security Council, reduced to
an outlaw organization, get involved in a resolution regarding the fate of an
individual? To what can one attribute such great interest in Hariri? To his
stature as former prime minister, to his wealth, or to his connections to the
CIA and the Saudi ruling family, and arms deals that made him a billionaire?
But more important than all this is, was there a Syrian motive for killing
Hariri? The answer is a categorical no. Why should the Syrian state kill a man
with whom it had good relations despite his opposition to renew the presidency
of Emil LaHood? Above all, who was taping all these incriminating conversations,
obtained for the Mehlis Report, between Lebanese and Syrian politicians, if
not foreign powers? Why would the Syrians tape conversations that could indict
them? This is aside from the fact that all those taped conversations do not,
in any way, prove that Syrian operatives killed Hariri.
Who, in the past, killed Bashir Jamail (former presidential candidate during
Lebanese civil war), Rashid Karami (eight times prime minister), Kamal Junblatt
(socialist parliamentarian and leader in the struggle against colonialism and
imperialism), and other Lebanese politicians if not Israeli state operatives,
experts in remote controlled detonations? Israel has admitted to a number of
assassinations of Arabs it designates as enemies. 
The assassination of Hariri has the appearance of a staged assassination between
Lebanese Christian militia, Israel, and the United States. After the assassination
“how come thousands of Lebanese demonstrators spontaneously pulled out
thousands of Lebanese flags and identical red and white sashes in the Beirut
square. The presence of large screen TVs and the complex technical infrastructure
behind the demonstrations raises questions regarding who is funding and directing
the media campaign behind Lebanon’s velvet revolution. These questions
have, predictably, not been asked by the American news media.” 
Regardless, the immediate effect of the assassination was the departure of
Syrian forces from Lebanon. So why would Syria kill Hariri if the killing would
end its role in a part of its historical land that France, severed, and made
an independent state?
It was natural, therefore, that Syria through its ambassador Fayssal Mekdad
rejected the findings of the Mehlis Report.
The US is putting pressure on the UN Security Council to take action. Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice said, "The United Nations Security Council has
to take extremely seriously the report...” She added, “Accountability
is going to be very important for the international community.”
One wonders about the US’ accountability for 100,000 Iraqi civilians
killed in this present aggression? About the half-a-million to a million Iraqi
children that perished prior to the current phase of the Persian Gulf Slaughter
because of the genocidal UN sanctions that the US insisted be maintained against
Iraq? Where is the accountability?
What kind of accountability can the representatives of the US call for in light
of their publicly expressed disdain for enumerating the Iraqi civilian fatalities?
The Times was open about US government intentions for the Mehlis Report: “The
comments indicated that the United States was determined to rely on the report's
damning of Damascus to further its campaign to isolate Syria, which it holds
responsible for financing anti-Israel guerrilla groups and encouraging insurgents
crossing its border into Iraq.”
The Mehlis Report indicated that the killing “was carried out by a group
with an extensive organization and considerable resources and capabilities"
and found “there is converging evidence pointing at both Lebanese and
Syrian involvement in this terrorist act.” Well, why could not Mehlis,
for example, point his converging fingers toward Israel that has been involved
in the destruction of Lebanon for over thirty years?
But “converging evidence” is not necessarily conclusive guilt.
How soon people forget the evidence that allegedly converged on Libyan operatives
in the Lockerbie bombing. John Ashton and Ian Ferguson, authors of Cover-up
of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie, considered western intelligence
services, especially of the US, primarily responsible for the Lockerbie bombing.
The book directs criticism at the corporate media’s “parroting the
twists and turns of the official line and note that no major British or US newspaper,
radio, or TV channel has had the journalistic independence to undertake a sustained
investigation of this most murky aspect of the disaster.” 
The Times quoted President George Bush as noting: “the report strongly
suggests that the politically motivated assassination could not have taken place
without Syrian involvement.” To this, Bush said the world must “respond
One wonders why this man Bush is still accorded any credence whatsoever following
his fraudulent claims of Iraqi drones that threatened American soil, Niger yellow
cake, aluminum rods destined for the production of nuclear weapons, and weather
balloon-launching vehicles being biochemical weapons labs. And why does Bush
care so much for Hariri? Did he donate a few millions dollars to the Republican
Party, or did his assassination give him the opportunity to build a case for
attacking Syria? Is Hariri a Duke Ferdinand of Austria? Is Beirut a Sarajevo?
But with the compliance of two international prostitutes: a former communist
dictatorship, Russia, and the paradox of currently communist-capitalist China,
many things unimaginable can happen.
The Mehlis Report, however, did not state that the assassination “could
not have taken place without Syrian involvement.” It stated, “Given
the infiltration of Lebanese institutions and society by the Syrian and Lebanese
intelligence services working in tandem, it would be difficult to envisage a
scenario whereby such a complex assassination plot could have been carried out
without their knowledge.” [italics added] The report leaned to Bush’s
conclusion but it was not categorical as Bush declared it to be.
It is, however, a most curious statement. If unchallenged, the statement has
many logical implications. One implication is that the CIA and Mossad have not
infiltrated Lebanese institutions and society. A second implication is that
planned terrorist actions must be known about by intelligence services in most
countries. Third, US intelligence sources should have known about the “complex
assassination plot” of 9-11. In other words, “complex assassination
plots” can only, with difficulty, be planned unbeknownst to intelligence
services. This whimsical assertion in the Mehlis report is patently false, yet
the Times did not see fit to comment on this absurdity. Given that this absurdity
appears in the Mehlis Report then how does this reflect on the rest of the report’s
The Times reported that Bush had spoken to Rice about the need for prompt UN
action on the report, which he described as "deeply disturbing."
Why the call for a prompt response by the UN? The Mehlis Report stated: “the
investigation is not complete.” In fact, the investigation is far from
concluded: “The Commission considers that the investigation must continue
for some time to come.”
Even if this was a final report, why does this transgression suddenly supersede
all other transgressions in importance and immediacy? Why have the surfeit of
Israeli violations of international law and UN resolutions been ignored? An
Israeli report noted that from 1967 to 1988 the UN Security Council passed 88
resolutions against Israel. During that interval, Israel was condemned 49 times.
The UN General Assembly passed 429 resolutions against Israel during that period,
condemning Israel 321 times.  Indeed, Israel has been in occupation of Syria’s
Golan Heights since 1967.
Yet, Rice even had the chutzpah to state: “there are some very important
lessons for Syria and the need for Syria to respect a country the rest of us
regard as independent.” In the meantime, the US state is hypocritically
occupying Iraq (among other territories) through its military, a country whose
people it has massacred and whose economic infrastructure it has destroyed.
The US government may mouth platitudes about Iraqi independence but Iraq has
been savagely rendered dependent.
To top it off, the US is asking the UN to act on a purportedly illegal act
by Syria despite the fact that the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has already
pronounced the US-UK aggression of Iraq to be illegal. How can the UN be expected
to act against one allegedly transgressing country while ignoring the far greater
crimes of the complaining country?
So now that Syria is in the crosshairs of US imperialist ambitions in the Middle
East, the UN is called upon to continue to ignore the Israeli occupation of
Syrian territory (as well as the vicious occupation of Palestinian territory
which comprises the entire landmass of Israel) and the US aggression of Iraq
(and other states such as Haiti).
The US ambassador to the UN John Bolton called for “serious” measures
by the UN Security Council. UK foreign secretary Jack Straw joined forces with
his US counterparts. He even said that sanctions were under consideration against
Since sanctions are rarely limited to a criminal class, a question emerges:
Under what principles of morality must Syrian citizens be expected to suffer
for the crimes of their dictatorial leaders? Nowhere is there any discussion
of sanctions against the apartheid state of Israel for its decades-old non-compliance
with UN resolutions despite Israelis -- driven by a racist Zionist ideology
that encourages the theft of others’ territory  -- having slaughtered
masses of people. Ostensibly, UN resolutions correspond to the noisome realpolitik
of hyper-power dictate: being valid only insofar as how a country chooses to
align itself with greater powers in the world. In this way, the UN further undermines
its already tarnished image.
The acquiescence of the UN to US bullying and the dissemination of
disinformation and propaganda by the corporate media, a malignant exemplar being
the New York Times, denigrate these institutions to the immoral status of tools
of the occupiers.
Sadly for humanity, at present, an unbridled corporate media and a
world body free to fulfill its mandate to “save succeeding generations
from the scourge of war” are but illusory hopes.
 Warren Hodge, “Bush
Pushes U.N. to Move Swiftly on Syria Report,” New York Times, 22 October
 Online at “Report
of the International Independent Investigation Commission Established Pursuant
to Security Council Resolution 1595 (2005).”
 Joel Leyden, “UN
Gives Green Light for Israel, Syria, Iran War,” Israel News Agency,
21 October 2005. Leyden writes, “This final war with Syria and Iran can
be performed quietly from within as Syria and Iran leaders are given one last
opportunity to work for peace, commerce and stability in the Middle-East or
Israel fighter jets and IDF commandos can get the job done in hours. Hizbullah
must and will be removed from the southern Lebanon border where they are presently
arming themselves with missiles which can reach Haifa and beyond.”
 Recently, Israeli occupation officials admitted responsibility for the
1973 assassination of the Palestinian poet Ghassan Kanafani. “Israel
admits responsibility for assassinating Palestinian poet,” Daily News,
4 October 2005.
 Abhinav Aima, “They Can March Too: Hezbollah and the Politics of
Staged Protests,” Common Dreams, 7 March 2005.
 Steve James, “Cover-up
of Convenience -- the Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie,” World Socialist
Web Site, 24 April 2002.
 Reference Desk, “The
U.N.'s Record Vis a Vis Israel,” Arutz Sheva. The twisted logic of
reporting the surfeit of condemnations of Israel relative to condemnations of
Arab states supposedly indicates a bias in the UN. Flowing from this illogic
is the implication that a failure to equally condemn Jews and Nazis during World
War II would have been biased.
says UN to mull Syria sanctions,” AlJazeera.Net, 22 October 2005.
 Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared, “Ben Gurion
said that anyone who approaches the Zionist problem in a moral aspect is not
a Zionist.” Quoted in Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle (South End Press,
1983, 1999), p 481.