Lebanon News

U.S.-Israel 'may have hand' in Hariri murder


BEIRUT: German criminologist Juergen Cain Kuelbel, who released a book last month on the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, arrived in Lebanon this week to offer "an alternative track" to the UN commission investigating the assassination which he hopes it would "at least consider."

"Currently the commission is on the Syrian track, and what I am offering in my book, backed with evidence and interviews, is a U.S.-Israeli track, that may have had a hand in the assassination," said Kuelbel to The Daily Star in an exclusive interview.

The book - "Hariri's assassination: Hiding Evidence in Lebanon," published in March, has been translated into Arabic, and was recently the subject of a special report broadcast in late April by Lebanon's New TV.

"The book is not an attack on the former head of the UN probe, Detlev Mehlis," said Kuelbel, adding he hopes to meet and interview Mehlis in the near future.

"Mehlis was pressured to follow the Syrian track, as shown by a UN report, where UN Secretary General Kofi Annan himself told him to follow that route," said Kuelbel.

One of the issues mentioned in the book that caught media attention, is the source of the jamming system that disabled the Hariri convoy's defense system, which Kuelbel claims is manufactured in Israel and was "surprised" to read Mehlis' comment in The Daily Star where he said it was "imported from

a Western European country."

"Mehlis said imported, not produced, and it is easy to trace the manufacturer, as it is not uncommon for Israel, being the top producer, to get a license in Europe," said Kuelbel.

In his book, Kuelbel points the finger at "exiled Lebanese," mentioning organizations like "The United States Committee for a Free Lebanon," a major Lebanese American grassroots lobbying organization in the U.S., and "The Government of Lebanon in Exile," in Jerusalem, the Israeli intelligence network and the CIA.

"I was upset as a criminologist, that a crime has been committed and as we don't know who the criminal is, all scenarios and tracks should be investigated, a basic step in any investigation," he said.

When contacted by The Daily Star, Mehlis refused to comment on Kuelbel's visit, and said: "Whatever should be said from my part on the issue of Mr. Kuelbel's book has been said." In a previous interview with The Daily Star, Mehlis dismissed the book and its allegations "as ridiculous."





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