November 15/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 17,11-19. As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met (him). They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" And when he saw them, he said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."

Releases. Reports & Opinions
Nasrallah builds case for jihad against Lebanese government.By Abu Kais.Ya Libnan. November 14/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for November 14/07
Ban in Beirut Thursday after Spain, Tunisia-Naharnet
Sfeir, Responding to Appeals, Finally Puts Forward List.Naharnet
Hariri Accuses Syria of Seeking to Destroy French Initiative.Naharnet
Canadian chosen to head probe into Hariri killing.Globe and Mail
Former FBI, CIA Lebanese Woman Obtains Information on Hizbullah-Naharnet
CIA Officer Admits Guilt in Seeking Hezbollah Files.New York Times
IDF chief: Lebanon War could have been quicker and cheaper.Ha'aretz
Israel Hopes to Resume Talks With Syria.The Associated Press

Brammertz Replaced-Naharnet

Kouchner shuttles among Lebanese leaders-Daily Star
UN chief to visit Beirut to push for election-Daily Star
France grants $729,000 for South-Daily Star
March 14 MP assails Nasrallah speech-Daily Star
Mousawi: US aims to weaken Hizbullah-Daily Star
'The situation in the South could change any minute-Daily Star
Winograd panel gets okay to keep report secret-Daily Star
Palestinian factions vow to prevent security breaches
UNRWA: Nahr al-Bared poses 'daunting challenge-Daily Star
Fishermen want compensation for damage from Sidon dump-Daily Star

Ban to Visit Beirut on Thursday. Naharnet
IDF Chief: Lebanon war contributed to Israel's security.Ha'aretz, Israel
Former FBI Agent Accused Of Leaking Info.CBS 11, TX 
Analysis: The United States' New Backyard.Free Internet Press,
Hariri to Launch 24-Hour News Channel.Naharnet
A rare cinematic treat for Beirut audiences-Daily Star

'About $6 billion for Beirut telecom sale-Daily Star
Abbas, Peres hail US summit as 'historic opportunity-Daily Star
Iran turns tables on Argentine investigation.AFP

Sfeir, Responding to Appeals, Finally Drafts List of Presidential Candidates
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir has finally responded to national and international appeals regarding the need to put forward a list of presidential candidates.
The daily An Nahar on Tuesday said Sfeir "actually did write down a list of five or six candidates," that included opposition Gen. Michel Aoun as well as pro-government MPs Butros Hard and Nassib Lahoud. It said Sfeir, who had always insisted on not wanting to be drawn into the naming game, has softened his stance after he was informed by visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner that there is no way that parliament doors would open for elections without Bkiri issuing a list of presidents accepted by the feuding sides. The daily said the French envoy also cautioned Sfeir that in the event his rejection continued regarding naming compromise candidates for president "he will be held responsible for failure of elections and for fear of a constitutional vacuum," warning him that "several parties would place the responsibility upon him."An Nahar said Sfeir agreed to put forward a presidential list after Kouchner conveyed to him the stances from all the sides he met on Tuesday, which included MP Saad Hariri, Premier Fouad Saniora,
Speaker Nabih Berri, former President Amin Gemayel, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, former cabinet minister Suleiman Franjieh, and Aoun. An Nahar said Sfeir on Wednesday would likely hand in the presidential candidate list to the chargé d'affairs of the French Embassy. The daily cited prominent political sources as saying that the "French Plan" enjoys both Arab and global backing. Kouchner had said he hoped Sfeir would name a consensus presidential candidate.
He said contacts between the Hizbullah-led opposition and the parliament majority were "going on very well" and that Sfeir is "thinking about a list that includes the names of several candidates." "I don't know them (candidate names), but they might become public tomorrow or after tomorrow," he told a news conference late Tuesday at the airport before heading back for France.
"During my meetings ... there was understanding and intention," Kouchner said of talks with Berri and Hariri. "They are taking responsibility in this process and I believe they have the intention that there be a compromise president and this is what France wants." He said Hariri and Berri would select "with sincerity and courage" the person to win the top job. A source at the Maronite patriarchate said he did not know when Sfeir may present the list. "We are confident that the cardinal will present a list, but we will have to wait and see to know if the process will actually work," a prominent member of the ruling majority said.
"It is an attempt to reach an accord, we are still at the start of the process," the member added. The list is expected to be submitted to Berri and Hariri who would then select two or three names to be proposed at the November 21 parliament session. Kouchner, who announced his intention to return to Beirut next week, pressed urged all sides to pick a compromise candidate for Lebanon's next president and gave France and Germany as examples of history-long animosity that has been overcome.
"These two countries are building Europe," Kouchner said. "I hope the Lebanese sects exert (similar) efforts for the election." Kouchner described the results of his daylong meetings with the various Lebanese political leaders as "excellent" but warned that the situation remains complicated.
He said Lebanon is "very important for France," adding that "France wants and hopes this (election) process would take place in line with the Lebanese constitution," Kouchner said at the news conference. Kouchner indirectly blasted Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah for his fiery Sunday speech, saying he was sorry to "hear threatening voices." "These voices want to say that this electoral path is not the right one, but I don't think so," Koucher said, stressing that France never favored one Lebanese sect over the other.(Naharnet_AFP) Beirut, 14 Nov 07, 08:54

Hariri Accuses Syria of Seeking to Destroy French Initiative
Parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri announced that the ruling March 14 alliance had every intention to make the French initiative a complete success, accusing Syria of seeking to destroy it. "We are exerting all efforts to make the French initiative a success and so we could reach a settlement," Hariri told the French satellite channel TV5. "But the Syrian regime is capable of thwarting it (French initiative)," Hariri added. Hariri said there is a "big chance" for electing a consensus president "if pressure was exerted on others."He said that Berri is after smooth presidential elections, however "there are increasing Syrian pressures on our friends in Lebanon."
"All we want is a President who … believes in Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and freedom and rejects foreign hegemony on Lebanon," Hariri said.
Asked if March 14 would use a simple majority vote to elect a new president, Hariri said: "We have to give dialogue and consensus a chance."He said the opposition "is not capable of establishing a second government despite its threats.""… They have weapons (coming in) from Syria and Iran and threaten (us) with them," Hariri said of Hizbullah's arms still flowing from Syria and Iran. "We take these threats seriously, but will they implement them? Hariri asked.
"… We represent the majority of the Lebanese people and we will do everything we possibly can, with the help of our friends, particularly the French, to curb any threat to the stability," Hariri warned. Beirut, 14 Nov 07, 10:00

Ban in Beirut Thursday after Spain, Tunisia
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Beirut Thursday to push the country's feuding political leaders to reach consensus on a looming presidential election.
Ban was expected to arrive in Spain on Wednesday after a week-long tour of South America and the Antarctic that he said has made him an informed "messenger" on the problem of climate change. Next weekend, he is to attend the unveiling of the fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in Valencia, Spain.
The document is seen as a landmark reference paper for governments trying to tackle global warming -- and a key text that will be read ahead of a Bali conference in December on the issue that Ban will host. "I hope that by this time the world leaders and the international community have fully understood the urgency and importance of this accelerating global warming phenomenon," he told AFP Tuesday on a flight back from Brazil's Amazon basin. "Now I'm going to continue with my consultations and my role as a messenger of early warning on climate change until I go to Bali," he said. "By the time we meet in Bali, I hope we will agree to launch on official negotiations" aimed at coming up with an international accord to succeed the Kyoto treaty, which expires in 2012.
Negotiators at the Valencia talks said there was wrangling over the final 2,500-page report, which is intended to be a neutral guide for decision-makers. One negotiator described the talks as "difficult," with sharp exchanges over what the document should include. The U.N. secretary general was not to get involved in that haggling.
Upon arrival in Madrid Wednesday he was to hold a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. He was then to jet off to Tunisia to attend an international counter-terrorism conference, followed by a hastily-organized flight to Lebanon, before returning to Spain to attend the Valencia meeting.
The U.N. chief has declared tackling climate change one of his top priorities. He said Tuesday, during a visit to the Amazon jungle, that he was "returning with a sense of great achievement" from what he had learned throughout his trip. During his tour, he took in Argentina, Chile and the Antarctic before visiting Brazil for three days.
He met Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday and commended him on his ecological policies. During his jungle visit, he also repeated to Brazilian officials and indigenous representatives: "I make my firm commitment that the United Nations will work with you and stand by you."
Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva, accompanying Ban and his wife up the Guama River in the Amazon basin to Combu Island, near Belem, said "the presence of the U.N. secretary general is a strong gesture" for Brazil's efforts to preserve the Amazon rainforest.(AFP) Beirut, 13 Nov 07, 20:15

Former FBI, CIA Lebanese Woman Obtains Information on Hizbullah

A Lebanese-born woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to having paid an American to marry her so she could get U.S. citizenship and then later obtain jobs at the FBI and CIA, the Justice Department said. In a case which bared weaknesses in the US vetting of staff for its key law enforcement and intelligence agencies, Nada Nadim Prouty, 37, also pleaded guilty to having illegally obtained from FBI computers information on her relatives and Hizbullah, branded a terrorist group by the U.S. government. According to a Justice Department statement on the case, filed in Detroit, Michigan, Prouty was helped in gaining U.S. citizenship by former Detroit restaurant owner Talal Khalil Chahine, her sister's husband who is now wanted in the United States on tax evasion, bribery and extortion charges. The statement linked Chahine, now a fugitive believed in Lebanon, with Hizbullah leader Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, designated by Washington as a "global terrorist."
According to the statement, Prouty defrauded the United States by paying an unemployed man in 1990 to marry her after her student visa ran out. She then used the marriage to obtain US citizenship in 1994, and a year later divorced her husband. In April 1999 she was hired by the FBI to work in its Washington office as a special agent working on crimes against U.S. citizens overseas. The charges said that in 2000 and 2003 she probed FBI computers for records on herself, her sister and Chahine, and on a Detroit FBI investigation into Hizbullah.
She left the FBI in 2003 to join the CIA, from where she resigned earlier this month.
The statement said that she had agreed to cooperate fully with prosecutors as a part of a plea agreement. The most severe charge, naturalization fraud, could bring up to 10 years in prison and a 250,000 dollar fine, as well as removal of her citizenship. "This case highlights the importance of conducting stringent and thorough background investigations," said U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy. "It's hard to imagine a greater threat than the situation where a foreign national uses fraud to attain citizenship and then, based on that fraud insinuates herself into a sensitive position in the U.S. government."(AFP) Beirut, 14 Nov 07, 10:39

Brammertz Replaced
U.N. Chief Ban ki-moon has picked a Canadian, Daniel Bellemare, to replace Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz as head of the U.N. probe into the 2005 murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafik Hariri, according to a letter seen here Tuesday. In a letter sent to the U.N. Security Council, the secretary general, said Bellemare, until recently Canada's deputy Attorney General, would take over from Brammertz, who has just been to nominated to be the new chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Ban thanked Brammertz, whose mandate expires on December 31, "for his leadership in advancing the investigation and for his commitment to assisting the Lebanese government and people in bringing and to impunity in their country." He said the 55-year-old Bellemare, who retired from Canada's department of justice and public service last September 29, would begin his official duties as chief investigator in the Hariri probe "at a later date." Bellemare's appointment is expected to be endorsed by the 15-member Security Council. Brammertz, a former deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has been in charge of the Hariri probe since January 2006, when he succeeded German magistrate Detlev Mehlis. Mehlis had implicated in the Hariri slaying senior officials from Syria, which for three decades was the power broker in its smaller neighbor. Damascus has strongly denies any connection with that murder as well as with the string of assassinations of other anti-Syrian Lebanese figures.
Last July, Brammertz released an interim report indicating that investigators had identified several people who may have been involved in Hariri's assassination.
Hariri, who was a leading opponent of Syrian domination of Lebanon, and 22 other people were killed in a massive truck bombing in downtown Beirut on February 14, 2005. (AFP) Beirut, 13 Nov 07, 18:55

Nasrallah builds case for jihad against Lebanese government
Tuesday, 13 November, 2007 @ 7:30 PM
By Abu Kais
Nasrallah has appealed to Syrian-installed puppet Emile Lahoud to embark on a "national rescue initiative" so that the country does not fall into the hands of "thieves and murderers who are followers of the American-Zionist project".
Nasrallah said his militia will not recognize a president elected outside the "consensus", and will consider him an "usurper". He added that the presidential election is important because it will determine the role of the army and government in the next period. He said no force on earth can disarm his militia, and that last week's exercises were a "message to the world that the resistance can create a victory that can "alter the face of the region".
Nasrallah also warned against privatizing cell phone companies-- which Siniora's government is trying to do-- threatening future bidders that his Iranian-owned militia will "confront them using legal and legitimate means". Nasrallah, who represents a privatized version of Shia Islam, has his own phone network, and prefers to keep his wiretapping operation undisturbed by giving new licenses or modernizing the service in the land of do as you like.
He also called for early elections, and vowed to accept the result of that election and give the current "fake majority" the right to elect a president if they win two thirds of the seats. He said he considers the results of the last parliamentary elections invalid, because the deputies who allied themselves with Hizbullah during the election have not honored their campaign promise of rejecting UNSC 1559 and protecting the "weapons of the resistance".
Nasrallah denied rumors of impending clashes erupting between Hizbullah and armed elements in the refugee camps near the southern suburbs. The rumors are, mind you, are being propagated by Damascus-based PFLP-GC leader Ahmad Gibril.
The speech, delivered on the occasion of "Martyr's Day", is full of lies and hypocritical claims as usual. It's safe to say that Hizbullah now equates the current Lebanese government and March 14 leaders with the Israeli government. That he hasn't called for jihad against the government seems to be a matter of time. It makes you wonder on what basis Hariri and Berri are meeting. Does Hariri really think he can reach an agreement with people who consider him to be a Zionist thief and murderer?
Source: From Beirut to the Beltway