By Wayne Madsen .
Online Journal Contributing Writer .
JULY, 2004- On September 15, 2001, just four days after the 9-11 attacks,
CIA Director George Tenet provided President [sic] Bush with a Top Secret
"Worldwide Attack Matrix"-a virtual license to kill targets deemed to be a
threat to the United States in some 80 countries around the world. The Tenet
plan, which was subsequently approved by Bush, essentially reversed the
executive orders of four previous U.S. administrations that expressly
prohibited political assassinations.
According to high level European intelligence officials, Bush's counselor,
Karl Rove, used the new presidential authority to silence a popular Lebanese
Christian politician who was planning to offer irrefutable evidence that
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon authorized the massacre of hundreds of
Palestinian men, women, and children in the Beirut refugee camps of Sabra
and Shatilla in 1982. In addition, Sharon provided the Lebanese forces who
carried out the grisly task. At the time of the massacres, Elie Hobeika was
intelligence chief of Lebanese Christian forces in Lebanon who were battling
Palestinians and other Muslim groups in a bloody civil war. He was also the
chief liaison to Israeli Defense Force (IDF) personnel in Lebanon. An
official Israeli inquiry into the massacre at the camps, the Kahan
Commission, merely found Sharon "indirectly" responsible for the slaughter
and fingered Hobeika as the chief instigator.
The Kahan Commission never called on Hobeika to offer testimony in his
defense. However, in response to charges brought against Sharon before a
special war crimes court in Belgium, Hobeika was urged to testify against
Sharon, according to well-informed Lebanese sources. Hobeika was prepared to
offer a different version of events than what was contained in the Kahan
report. A 1993 Belgian law permitting human rights prosecutions was unusual
in that non-Belgians could be tried for violations against other
non-Belgians in a Belgian court. Under pressure from the Bush
administration, the law was severely amended and the extra territoriality
provisions were curtailed.
Hobeika headed the Lebanese forces intelligence agency since the mid- 1970s
and he soon developed close ties to the CIA. He was a frequent visitor to
the CIA's headquarters at Langley, Virginia. After the Syrian invasion of
Lebanon in 1990, Hobeika held a number of cabinet positions in the Lebanese
government, a proxy for the Syrian occupation authorities. He also served in
the parliament. In July 2001, Hobeika called a press conference and
announced he was prepared to testify against Sharon in Belgium and revealed
that he had evidence of what actually occurred in Sabra and Shatilla.
Hobeika also indicated that Israel had flown members of the South Lebanon
Army (SLA) into Beirut International Airport in an Israeli Air Force C130
transport plane. In full view of dozens of witnesses, including members of
the Lebanese army and others, SLA troops under the command of Major Saad
Haddad were slipped into the camps to commit the massacres. The SLA troops
were under the direct command of Ariel Sharon and an Israeli Mossad agent
provocateur named Rafi Eitan. Hobeika offered evidence that a former U.S.
ambassador to Lebanon was aware of the Israeli plot. In addition, the IDF
had placed a camera in a strategic position to film the Sabra and Shatilla
massacres. Hobeika was going to ask that the footage be released as part of
the investigation of Sharon.
After announcing he was willing to testify against Sharon, Hobeika became
fearful for his safety and began moves to leave Lebanon. Hobeika was not
aware that his threats to testify against Sharon had triggered a series of
fateful events that reached well into the White House and Sharon's office.
On January 24, 2002, Hobeika's car was blown up by a remote controlled bomb
placed in a parked Mercedes along a street in the Hazmieh section of Beirut.
The bomb exploded when Hobeika and his three associates, Fares Souweidan,
Mitri Ajram, and Waleed Zein, were driving their Range Rover past the
TNT-laden Mercedes at 9:40 am Beirut time. The Range Rover's four passengers
were killed in the explosion. In case Hobeika's car had taken another route
through the neighborhood, two additional parked cars, located at two other
choke points, were also rigged with TNT. The powerful bomb wounded a number
of other people on the street. Other parked cars were destroyed and
buildings and homes were damaged. The Lebanese president, prime minister,
and interior minister all claimed that Israeli agents were behind the
It is noteworthy that the State Department's list of global terrorist
incidents for 2002 worldwide failed to list the car bombing attack on
Hobeika and his party. The White House wanted to ensure the attack was
censored from the report. The reason was simple: the attack ultimately had
Washington's fingerprints on it.
High level European intelligence sources now report that Karl Rove
personally coordinated Hobeika's assassination. The hit on Hobeika employed
Syrian intelligence agents. Syrian President Bashar Assad was trying to
curry favor with the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9-11 and was
more than willing to help the White House. In addition, Assad's father,
Hafez Assad, had been an ally of Bush's father during Desert Storm, a period
that saw Washington give a "wink and a nod" to Syria's occupation of
Lebanon. Rove wanted to help Sharon avoid any political embarrassment from
an in absentia trial in Brussels where Hobeika would be a star witness. Rove
and Sharon agreed on the plan to use Syrian Military Intelligence agents to
assassinate Hobeika. Rove saw Sharon as an indispensable ally of Bush in
ensuring the loyalty of the Christian evangelical and Jewish voting blocs in
the United States. Sharon saw the plan to have the United States coordinate
the hit as a way to mask all connections to Jerusalem.
The Syrian hit team was ordered by Assef Shawkat, the number two man in
Syrian military intelligence and a good friend and brother in law of Syrian
President Bashar Assad. Assad's intelligence services had already cooperated
with U.S. intelligence in resorting to unconventional methods to extract
information from al Qaeda detainees deported to Syria from the United States
and other countries in the wake of 9-11. The order to take out Hobeika was
transmitted by Shawkat to Roustom Ghazali, the head of Syrian military
intelligence in Beirut. Ghazali arranged for the three remote controlled
cars to be parked along Hobeika's route in Hazmieh; only few hundred yards
from the Barracks of Syrian Special Forces which are stationed in the area
near the Presidential palace , the ministry of Defense and various
Government and officers quarters . This particular area is covered 24/7 by a
very sophisticated USA multi-agency surveillance system to monitor Syrian
and Lebanese security activities and is a " Choice " area to live in for its
perceived high security .
The plan to kill Hobeika had all the necessary caveats and built-in denial
mechanisms. If the Syrians were discovered beforehand or afterwards, Karl
Rove and his associates in the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans would be
ensured plausible deniability.
Hobeika's CIA intermediary in Beirut, a man only referred to as "Jason" by
Hobeika, was a frequent companion of the Lebanese politician during official
and off-duty hours. During Hobeika's election campaigns for his
parliamentary seat, Jason was often in Hobeika's office offering support and
advice. After Hobeika's assassination, Jason became despondent over the
death of his colleague. Eventually, Jason disappeared abruptly from Lebanon
and reportedly later emerged in Pakistan.
Karl Rove's involvement in the assassination of Hobeika may not have been
the last "hit" he ordered to help out Sharon. In March 2002, a few months
after Hobeika's assassination, another Lebanese Christian with knowledge of
Sharon's involvement in the Sabra and Shatilla massacres was gunned down
along with his wife in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A bullet fired at Michael Nassar's
car flattened one of his tires. Nassar pulled into a gasoline station for
repairs. A professional assassin, firing a gun with a silencer, shot Nassar
and his wife in the head, killing them both instantly. The assailant fled
and was never captured. Nassar was also involved with the Phalange militia
at Sabra and Shatilla. Nassar was also reportedly willing to testify against
Sharon in Belgium and, as a nephew of SLA Commander General Antoine Lahd,
may have had important evidence to bolster Hobeika's charge that Sharon
ordered SLA forces into the camps to wipe out the Palestinians.
Based on what European intelligence claims is concrete intelligence on
Rove's involvement in the assassination of Hobeika, the Bush administration
can now add political assassination to its laundry list of other misdeeds,
from lying about the reasons to go to war to the torture tactics in
violation of the Geneva Conventions that have been employed by the Pentagon
and "third country" nationals at prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and
columnist. He served in the National Security Agency (NSA) during the Reagan
administration and wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth. He is the
co-author, with John Stanton, of "America's Nightmare: The Presidency of
George Bush II." His forthcoming book is titled: "Jaded Tasks: Big Oil,
Black Ops, and Brass Plates." Madsen can be reached at:
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