Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Wiretapping Problem

- ... There is the problem of wiretapping… What exactly is the problem so we can resolve it? We have to identify the problem before solving it.

- Watergate was a scandal… And it led to Nixon’s resignation. There was a clear problem. But what is the problem exactly today?… I respect MP Hassan Fadlallah’s positions very much, but to say that no Lebanese is at ease in the privacy of their own homes?

- Here is the problem with the way the wiretapping issue has been raised, especially by those in the March 8 alliance… We’re missing the point. We all remember the assassination of MP Antoine Ghanem. They want to raise the wiretapping issue? Let’s raise it.

- MP Antoine Ghanem had just arrived in Lebanon two days before his assassination, as did Gebran Tueni. Ghanem had not scheduled his visit to the friend he saw that day. During his phone call with Samir Shebli, he decided to change his plans and stop by Horsh Tabet to pay his condolences. An hour later, he went back to his car and it exploded. No one knew he was going to stop by … The only conclusion is that his line was tapped, and in the hour or so it took for him to stop there, they got to his car.

- The problem is that wiretapping takes place outside the official channels, such as the military… This is what led to assassinations, and Antoine Ghanem is but an example.

- Instead of talking about the crux of the issue, they sidetracked… Law N⁰ 140 was passed in 1999, and since then, wiretapping… has not changed. What’s worse is that today they say we need to find solutions, but that will not change anything.

- Law N⁰ 140, then, was not implemented. All those raising the issue today were leaders then. It was not implemented in 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, or today… I do not want to defend anyone, but there are certain truths that must surface.

- The only difference is that they were physically present in Lebanon until 2005.

- The reason I decided to speak out on this matter today, although I am neither directly nor indirectly concerned, is because it is illogical… There is a bare minimum of logic [in any claim] that people deserve.

- I talk on the phone. I talk to Boutros Harb, Saad Hariri, Nassib Lahoud, Sheikh Amin [Gemayel]… And a few days later, [our conversations] show up in al-Akhbar [newspaper]… The wiretapping is conducted, and it has nothing to do with national security. So yes, this must be organized and controlled… The problem to be discussed is the way wiretapping is done and its role in the assassinations.

- I will hold a lengthy press conference on these issues at a later time ...

The above is a translation of a segment of a press conference given by Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, and translated by NOWLebanon. Here is a list of other articles (and a lot of noise) on the wiretapping issue:

3 comments:

  1. I hear what your saying Jade,

    But the thing is, when a nation dosen't trust itself; it kinds of looses half of itself.

    What I mean is, in a Nazi state, you had the SS supervising the Generals, because Hitler did not trust his Generals towards the end of the war, and so, half his army, was looking out for the other half.

    It's like everything you would do, would require your left hand to make sure what your right hand is doing is correct. This is the deep problem.

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  2. This is not something new, even at the time of Fouad Chehab and the "Maktab Thani" illegal tapping was taking place. Trespassing on personal privacy has been part of our daily bread for a while now, and even Geagea while in command of the LF did it. I see it a bit differently myself. For me this is nothing but another proof that Syrian hegemony never stopped. YEs our "sister" withdrew its forces from Lebanon but its "moukhabarati" aparatus has expanded (of course with local help and support).

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  3. Well to some extent I agree with what you're saying Court Fool, and that's why I included a link to Najib Mikati's statement (maybe I should've quoted it) - I thought it was fair.

    After all, we all know that the main reason we have so many security services is so that each major sect has control over one.

    But ... and this is a big but ... we do have to keep our place in history in mind. This isn't 1952, 1972, 1982, 1992, or 2002. This is 2009 and we have just passed through a period of occupation - in which one country and its allies in Lebanon had complete control - followed by a liberation, which those parties are desperately have been trying to scuttle.

    And they've been trying through assassinations and armed civil conflict. These aren't abstract notions, these things happened.

    Just because there hasn't been a major assassination in months doesn't mean we should forget all about that.

    I couldn't help but remember, as this wiretapping problem arose, a scene from 2004, when the Qornet Shehwan Gathering was formed, in the midst of the Syrian occupation, and all those meeting removed their cell phone batteries so the meeting wouldn't be listened in on.

    Three of those who gathered that day have now been assassinated: Gebran Tueni, Pierre Gemayel, Antoine Ghanem.

    I'm all for the centralization of our security services, but lets not pretend that this is something that Hizballah, Amal, the FPM, and the SSNP should take credit for. Its not.

    And if there is to be centralization, we should be very very clear on who will be in control of that centralized system.

    On May 7th 08 Hizballah declared war on the Lebanese state and people for daring to ask questions about its telephone system.

    What will the Lebanese state and people do to protect their communications from Hizballah and its allies?

    Democracy is our weapon and June 7th 09 is when we should fight for our freedoms through the ballots.

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