JNN 03 July 2011 BEIRUT — The Hezbollah leader has said the U.S.-funded Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was established to turn world public opinion against the resistance and to foment sectarian strife in Lebanon. Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks in Beirut on Saturday night during a televised speech in which he condemned the UN tribunal’s decision to issue indictments for four Hezbollah members over the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Press TV reported.
In his first speech since the indictments were announced on Thursday, he promised that the country would not see a new “civil war” linked to the findings of the UN-backed tribunal.
Discussing the tribunal’s investigations into Hariri’s murder, Nasrallah said, “We mentioned the possibility of having Israel involved in the murder and the fact that (Israeli) agents were present at the murder scene one day before the murder.
“No one in the STL even asked the Israelis anything. This is normal. Why? Because the tribunal, since its formation, had a precise goal and no one was allowed to talk to the Israelis… Instead of investigating the Israelis, (the STL) gathered information from them.”
The Hezbollah leader rejected the allegations that Hezbollah was involved in the assassination, saying the indictments were premeditated and politicized.
Nasrallah denounced the six-year investigation as a new plot by Israel and the U.S. to tarnish the image of the popular resistance movement and said it was “an aggression against us and our holy warriors”.
He questioned the credibility of the tribunal and said those behind the “politicized” investigation are linked to U.S. and British intelligence agencies.
Israel benefits the most from the U.S.-backed tribunal, he stated.
Nasrallah said the evidence Hezbollah had presented earlier was sufficient to indict Israel for involvement in the attack that killed the former Lebanese prime minister.
On February 14, 2005, a massive bomb blew up the vehicle carrying Rafiq Hariri, killing the Lebanese leader and over 20 other people.
“The tribunal should have investigated the Israeli role in Hariri’s assassination,” but it “cooperated with the Israelis instead of questioning them,” he said.
Nasrallah presented new documents indicating that the STL’s computers and their documents were not directly sent to The Hague from Beirut, but transferred via Israel.
“The probe should have been carried out by neutral, unbiased people,” while “those behind the probe are linked with U.S. and British intelligence services,” he added, and accused the investigative committee members of ethical and financial corruption.
He said Hezbollah would produce a document proving that the computers were transported from South Lebanon to Israel.
Speaking from Beirut, Jamal Wakim of the Lebanese International University told Al Jazeera that the charges over computer data were “the most important point” in the speech.
He said, “It proves the implication of Israel in trying to divert and manipulate the international court.”
Nasrallah said the tribunal was seeking to foment sectarian strife between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Lebanon but would fail.
He confirmed that the four men accused by the UN of the assassination were members of Hezbollah and said, “The warrants have been issued against brothers with an honorable history in fighting the occupation.”
He said the UN charges were an attack on the resistance movement.
“We consider the tribunal an assault on us,” he stated.
“The tribunal is part of the psychological warfare against the resistance,” but the resistance movement is ready to confront any Israeli plots, Nasrallah said.
He also accused the Western-backed March 14 coalition of dreaming of inciting sectarian strife in Lebanon and stated that the STL indictments were meant to help pro-Western parties overthrow the Lebanese government.
“A pro-Israel tribunal will not reveal the truth about Hariri’s death,” the Hezbollah leader said, recalling how Israelis did not allow anyone to investigate them over the massacre they committed in the West Bank city of Jenin in April 2002.
The Hezbollah secretary general revealed that he had received a document from the Qatari prime minister and Turkey’s foreign minister, which stated that Saad Hariri, the son of Rafiq, who was toppled as Lebanon’s prime minister earlier this year, had agreed to a set of demands, including abandoning the STL process, if he could stay on as prime minister.
Nasrallah said he would reveal the document to the public at a later date if the need arose, but that the message conveyed to him was that it was approved by Saudi Arabia, France, Britain, and the United States.
The Hezbollah leader said the tribunal was “politically motivated from the beginning” and its indictments were based on false witnesses and accusations made by the U.S. and Israel.
The STL’s investigations should have been confidential but the panel deliberately leaked its decisions to the media to tarnish the image of Hezbollah, he noted.
Also on Saturday, Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said that the STL was “political” and “disreputable” and that its indictment of Hezbollah members is of no importance.
“The court is so disreputable that no one pays attention to its results,” said Larijani from Azerbaijan, where he is travelling on official duties, the Iranian parliament’s website reported.
Larijani said the STL’s ruling was influenced by the United States.
“The Americans feel they have been slapped in the face and they are seeking to make up a story” by indicting Hezbollah members, Larijani said.