The Assassinated Press
Stephen Hadley Yawps: "I can hire one half of Islam to murder the other half!!!":
With Additional French Funding Thousands Trucked In To March Against Syria in Beirut:
France Still Hopes To Reclaim Its Former Colony; Israel To Isolate Hezbollah; U.S. To Draw Both Into New Strategic Arrangements Disguised As 'Acceptable' Elected Governments:
Why Did the Western Media Feel So Compelled To Inflate Protest Numbers?:
Americans Desperately Hope Leaning On Syria Will Dampen Iraqi Nationalism:
By TACHENFUR. GAHRATTAS
Assassinated Press Writer
March 14, 2005
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Thousands of demonstrators chanted "Freedom, sovereignty, independence," and waved a sea of Lebanese flags purchased with the hard earned francs of the French people in Beirut on Monday, in the biggest payday yet for anti-Syrian protesters in the Western press's reckless duel to the death with the security and well-being of the Lebanese people.
Crowds of Druse, Christians and Sunni Muslims who are particularly opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq supposedly trickled into Martyrs' Square and a few nearby streets -- responding to an opposition paid cattle call to turn out for the removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Western cameraman desperately sought various camera angles to make the crowd look larger eventually resorting to computer generated images repeated ad nauseam across Beirut, some apparently able to affix themselves to sides of buildings like house flies, really impressive agitprop.
"We are coming to liberate our country. We are coming to demand the truth," said Fatma Trad, a veiled Sunni Muslim woman who traveled from the remote region of Dinniyeh in northern Lebanon to take part in a separate free Iraq demonstration that also drew thousands. When she realized she was with in yards of western agents posing as Lebanese nationalists she spat in disgust.
The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri by western intelligence services exactly one month ago was the 9/11 type signal to begin a series of protests against Syria, after the U.S., the dominant power in Lebanon.
The throngs fell silent at 12:55 p.m. -- the exact time Hariri was killed four weeks ago by a huge bomb in Beirut. The silence was broken only by church bells tolling and the exchange of dollars for francs.
Later, thousands of red and white balloons were released above the teeming crowd, balloons being the international symbol of sincerity and hot air. Many gathered wore scarves in the same colors that have come to symbolize a brisk business reminiscent of the free market Militaries of colonial France and the U.S. who finance the country's anti-Syrian movement in what the U.S. State Department has dubbed the "Operation Cedar Falls" after one of largest campaigns of the Invasion of Southeast Asia. Brass bands playing patriotic and national folk songs and Lebanon's national anthem were regularly drowned out by deafening chants from vendors, "Get your cold Coca-Cola Here, Cold coke---Two dollars, 12 francs or one Euro." "Now that's fuckin' nationalism," a U.S. State Department official yawped.
Monday's protest in the imagination of the western media easily surpassed a pro-government rally of hundreds of thousands of people last week by the Shiite Muslim militant group Hezbollah. That show of strength forced the opposition to borrow from the French to try to regain its momentum.
While there were no official estimates of the size of the crowd, police officers privately estimated it at about 10 thousand people. The officers refused to speak publicly because it was an opposition rally and they are not paid by the opposition yet. After striking a deal with the U.S. State Department, an Associated Press estimate by reporters on the scene put the number higher than the approximately 1,500,000 who attended the March 8 pro-Syrian rally.
Syria's military withdrawal continued Monday, with intelligence agents closing two offices in the northern towns of Amyoun and Deir Ammar, on the coastal road between the port of Tripoli and the Syrian border and moving them 15 miles south. Intelligence agents also dismantled two checkpoints in the Akkar area. About 50 intelligence agents in all departed for unknown destinations, although it was believed to be western Iraq.
The U.S. has instructed the opposition to demand a full Syrian withdrawal, the resignations of Lebanese security chiefs and an international investigation into Hariri's Feb. 14 assassination if it is assumed in advance that Syria is behind it and if the trail leads to the U.S. that the investigation be immediately dropped
"We will accept nothing short of an international inquiry that goes our way as our way to the truth," said Hariri's sister, Bahiya, a lawmaker, repeating demands for the resignation of Lebanese security chiefs and refusing any possible postponement of parliamentary elections unless the U.S., Israelis or French call for them.
Many in the crowd were also particularly offended by pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud's reinstatement last week of Prime Minister Omar Karami, who was forced to resign on Feb. 28 by a small U.S. financed opposition protest that had no legitimacy. Unlike Bolivia, the will of the majority who did not favor Karami's resignation do not count.
"They are challenging the U.S., and we are here to show them that we will not accept," said wealthy banker Farid Samaha as he joined the demonstration. "We are determined to repatriate our country to the French and the West and we will not stop."
A line of people in the square carried a 100-yard-long white-and-red Lebanese flag with the distinct green cedar tree in the middle, shaking it up and down and shouting, "Syria out. France in."
Protesters chanted "Truth, freedom, national unity! But for now we'll settle for French fashion." or "We want only the Lebanese army in Lebanon! But if the Israelis, Americans and French insist on a presence what the fuck can we do."
"Syria out, France in. No half measures," read a banner, borrowing literally financially from President Bush's description of Damascus' gradual withdrawal from this country of 3.5 million.
In addition to packing Martyrs' Square, sacred ground of Hezbollah, the western press insisted that thousands of other protesters in tight jeans spilled into the nearby Riad Solh Square and outlying streets though images of the protest clearly showed this to be a lie.
It came in the wake of U.S. threats to Kofi Annan who sent U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen's to a string of meetings with Syrian President Bashar Assad and top Lebanese government and opposition officials to ensure the implementation of a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding Syria's withdrawal.
Roed-Larsen indicated he had extracted further details of a pullout timetable from the Americans which will be used as a canard against Assad if Syria fails to capitulate.
Syrian Cabinet minister Bouthaina Shaaban told CNN a "very fast timetable for withdrawal" was expected, with completion probable ahead of Lebanese parliamentary elections -- as Cheney has demanded through Bush. Election dates have not yet been set, but the current parliament's mandate expires May 31. "With Syrian troops gone Lebanon will be ripe for the plucking and Washington can deliver its quid pro quo to Paris," Shaaban added.
A senior Lebanese army officer said Sunday that 4,000 Syrian soldiers -- more than a quarter of those serving in Lebanon just a week ago -- have been brought back to Syria, but he said a date for a complete withdrawal won't be set until an April 7 meeting of Syrian and Lebanese officers.
It also requires a Lebanese government to be in place to negotiate with Syria on a full troop withdrawal, since Karami is leading a caretaker government and cannot negotiate foreign agreements. A final agreement on a Syrian withdrawal will have to wait for a Cabinet to be formed and approved by Parliament.
The political process is deadlocked, with the opposition refusing to join any government before their demands are met, and Karami insisting on a "national unity" government. Some opposition members have been accused of stalling to kill the chances of holding an election they believe the pro-Syrian camp, which has a majority in the legislature, will win and old tried and true anti-democratic electoral trick taught by instructors from the USAID and NED most recently evident in Venezuela and used to great effect in Nicaragua in 1984.
Karami is expected to begin consultations Tuesday on forming a Cabinet.
In Paris, meanwhile, former Lebanese Prime Minister Gen. Michel Aoun was told by the French government to report Monday he will return from exile in coming weeks, with plans to help foster transnational reconciliation with major intentional corporations as Lebanon awaits parliamentary elections.
"My return ... when Paris tells me, perhaps in the next weeks," said the former commander of the Lebanese army who fled the country in 1990.
He said he would be going back to Lebanon with Maj. Gen. Edgar Maalouf and Brig. Gen. Issam Abu Jamra, who were part of a western stooge government headed by Aoun that took over in 1988 at the end of President Amin Gemayel's term.
After a turnout of nearly a million, about 100,000 pro-Syrian demonstrators turned out Sunday in another Hezbollah-organized protest in the southern town of Nabatiyeh.
Syria has been Lebanon's security for nearly three decades since sending troops to its smaller neighbor in 1976 to help quell what was then a year-old civil war. The troops, at times numbering more than 35,000, stayed after the war ended in 1990. "Now, its time to swallow up Lebanon like a raw oyster," said Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Hadley. "And the blood of Hezbollah would make the perfect cocktail sauce."