Sunday, February 20, 2005

US involved in assassination of Hariri?

US covert operations and dirty tricks? According to the UK's Sunday Herald, the assassination of the former Lebanese PM has aroused suspicions that the USA may have been involved.

Diplomatic editor Trevor Royle writes that with Iran, "there is the option of covert operations aimed at making life impossible for the administration and paving the way for a more sympathetic government."

"Last week’s assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri is a good example of this approach. No serious group has claimed responsibility for the operation, which was well planned and efficiently executed, but the attack has created the kind of uncertainty that can encourage change."

"As a diplomat in Honduras between 1981 and 1985, Negroponte turned a blind eye to atrocities and political assassinations carried out by US-funded Contra fighters during the illegal war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government.

"Throughout the period, Honduras receive huge funding and military assistance from the US in what CIA director William Casey called 'the ultimate covert operation' which culminated in the discredited 'Irangate' policy of channelling funds and weapons through Israel and Iran.
According to Human Rights Watch, Negroponte and other US officials 'looked the other way when serious atrocities were committed'."

"Backed by the US, albeit secretly, Honduran forces were accused of torture and assassination and Contra fighters were repeatedly discovered perpetrating atrocities on civilians. When the scandal was revealed, it was discovered that CIA teams had instructed the Contras in the art of political assassination as well as taking part in the illegal mining of Nicaraguan ports.

"According to critics, all this would have been known to Negroponte but he kept his silence and the cover was not blown until October 1986, when Sandanista forces shot down a CIA aircraft carrying arms to Contra forces inside Nicaragua."

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