Hizbullah And Its Proxies Expose Supposed CIA Activity In Lebanon, U.S.
Over the past few months, Hizbullah and the media organs aligned with it have waged a media campaign to expose purported CIA activity against Lebanon, both within the country and in the U.S. The campaign began with a December 10, 2011 story on Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV, claiming that the organization's security apparatuses had arrested 12 CIA agents after exposing the U.S. embassy in Beirut as a "den of spies" used to recruit and facilitate CIA agents. The CIA denied the story, which included supposed photos of the agents meeting in fast food restaurants in Beirut.
This was followed by a January 31, 2012 article in the English edition of the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah and Syria, calling USAID a front for intelligence-gathering operations.
An April 16 article on the English version of Hizbullah's official website, moqawama.org, likewise accused the CIA of trying to recruit and influence Lebanese society "throughout the [country's] many political, diplomatic, legal, economic, financial, media and military levels."
On April 6 and 30, 2012, respectively, the English edition of Al-Akhbar published articles claiming that the CIA was also trying to influence and enlist Lebanese students studying abroad at American universities.
The following are highlights from these articles, in the original English, which has been lightly edited for clarity:
A still from the Al-Manar TV report
USAID Project in Lebanon A Front for U.S. Intel-Gathering Operations
On January 31, 2012, the English-language version of the daily Al-Akhbar ran an article titled "USAID Goes to School: Instruction or Intelligence?" The article claimed that a "USAID initiative which is ostensibly geared toward rehabilitating schools and improving education in Lebanon is raising suspicions that it will act as little more than a cover for collecting intelligence."
Following are excerpts:
"...The stated aim of the [Developing Rehabilitation Assistance to Schools and Teacher Improvement (D-RASATI)] project is to improve public education by addressing four areas: repairing and equipping schools, improving the qualifications of teachers in subjects taught in English, engaging Lebanese students in extracurricular activities, and motivating parents and the community to be more involved in the schools their children attend...
"The formulas adopted in implementing the project, which the education ministry in the current government consented to, [have] raised suspicion among observers and educators. Skeptics say that representatives from the ministry were absent from 'talks' with teachers that preceded the training sessions, which are expected to take place soon. They also question how interviews conducted by 'non-Lebanese foreign nationals whose affiliations [are not known]' were used.
"Sources close to the project's implementation claim that audio recordings with teachers include inquiries about issues unrelated to the goals of the project. One participant asked: 'What does enhancing teachers' skills and evaluating their need for educational training have to do, for example, with whether they are attached to their community or resentful of it, whether they like to travel and to what country, and if this person or that person is their relative?'
"This participant later continued, saying: 'We sensed an intelligence gathering approach that went beyond the text of the agreement and the instructions of the Education Minister Hassan Diab who assured us he did not agree to collecting this kind of information.'
"This approach led many of the teachers to boycott the evaluation test conducted for those targeted by the training courses...
"A number of teachers active in union work [asked:]... 'Is this project part of a U.S. diplomatic campaign to improve its image and promote its policies in the region... What if one of the long-term goals of the project is to change the educational curriculum?'...
"Many of these critics realize that strengthening public education requires a political decision. Neither USAID nor any other project can achieve this goal. The Lebanese state needs to make this decision...
"[Lebanese Education Minister Hassan] Diab is dismayed that some would think this project may lead to changing the educational curricula. According to Diab, the curricula are not even part of the text of the agreement. The curricula are set exclusively by the Center for Educational Research and Development...
"[Director-general of Education Fadi] Yarak ... adds that it is not the first time there has been cooperation with foreign parties to train teachers. The French and the British preceded the Americans and there were similar projects in coordination with them...
"Pedagogical commentators have recently noticed many attempts to infiltrate Lebanese public schools through various extracurricular activities. Upon examining their goals, it becomes clear that the common denominator among these projects is to collect personal data about the students and their parents and community..."
Hizbullah's Official Website Points to "CIA Exploitation of Academic Facilities, Human Rights Organizations [and] Political and Strategic Centers" Including USAID
An April 16, 2012 article on the English version of Hizbullah's official website, moqawama.org, likewise claimed that the CIA was exploiting various forums in Lebanon to infiltrate its society. It cited an interview by retired Lebanese army brigadier-general Amin Hotait with the Lebanese weekly Al-Intiqad, which is close to Hizbullah, in which he linked the CIA to USAID and the American Bar Association (ABA).
Following are excerpts:
"The facades covering up the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) presence in Lebanon are numerous and more than [can] be determined, as they spread throughout the many political, diplomatic, legal, economic, financial, media, and military levels. A CIA exploitation of academic facilities, human rights organizations [and] political and strategic centers has come to light. This comes after the U.S. espionage den in the Awkar-based embassy in Beirut was revealed, [where] the U.S. exploited diplomatic asylum to veil its conspiracy schemes in Lebanon. Also, a recent WikiLeaks revelation indicated that the 'Stratfor' Association is nothing but [a] 'CIA phantom' and [a] media platform used to breach civil organizations in our region.
"Hereupon, retired Lebanese Army general Amin Hotait revealed in an interview with Al-Intiqad, [the] online newspaper, one of the CIA['s] methods: exploiting legal organizations and research centers to breach Arab countries. Hotait listed sample organizations, among which [some] are Lebanese, like the Badaro, Beirut-based 'Philosophy of Law' Association, established by university professor George Saad and directly linked to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)...
"'The establishers of this association tried at first to hide its true identity and [keep] it at a far distance from any relation with the Americans. [This was] a trap for some university professors to collaborate with it and join its membership,' General Hotait stated.
"On [the other] hand, Hotait noted that George Saad is a professor at the Lebanese University, and therefore, by law, he is not allowed to establish a private association. He also recalled how the [same] association tried to [recruit] him, [by] inviting him to seminars and lectures, which led him to investigate it and later find out it is a subordinate of USAID...
"Hotait clarified that the 'Philosophy of Law' association represents a 'model' of many others found in the Arab world, asserting that 90% of the globe's human rights organizations [are] an invention of the CIA, with four major tasks:
· "To gather the elite in[to] one group able to receive 'one' orientation.
· "To make way for intellectual elites to 'intellectually' interact with each other [in order] to serve the goal implanted in their minds.
· "To enable the elite [in] affecting public opinion.
· "To [facilitate] the elites [in imparting] a monochromic opinion to society [and] [in becoming the leaders whom] society follows...
"Furthermore, General Hotait explained that the CIA violated world communities through five different frameworks:
· "Political framework via political recruitment.
· "Military framework [by] keeping hold on military leaderships.
· "Economic framework [by] controlling the economy...
· "Social framework [by] establishing so-called 'welfare facilities.'
· "Intellectual academic framework[s] to attract influential personnel. This was successful in many countries, [as] evidence[d by the fact] that the officials and political elite [come] from these organizations...
"USAID, one of the CIA's branches, usually resorts to breaching societies and countries with the help of civil and non-governmental organizations... Among these programs are educational scholarships, good governance, economic aids, etc...
"In Lebanon, an attempt was made (in 2010) to license a branch for the American Bar Association (ABA), which seems to be one of the USAID's legal facades; as referred to in its reports from its Arab-based branches, like Jordan and Egypt. However, the said attempt was aborted despite a Lebanese government decree to license it, thanks to the efforts exerted by the Lebanese Bar Association in Beirut and Tripoli..."
"CIA Wining and Dining Lebanese Students in U.S."
An April 6, 2012 article, in the English edition of Al-Akhbar claimed that the CIA was illegally using the Lebanese Collegiate Network (LCN) to hold "CIA info sessions" aimed at recruiting Lebanese students studying in the U.S.: "Several CIA agents walk into a room full of Lebanese students. It is decorated with the flags of Lebanon, the U.S., and the CIA. The participants' eyes glow as they stare at the spymasters who have decided to pay them a visit in appreciation of their intelligence. They give their full attention to a presentation about the different sections of the CIA. They note down information about the agency's need to recruit smart, ambitious, and multilingual young Lebanese like them.
"When they are done, students and agents go out to lunch where they eat hummus, grilled meats, tabbouleh, and flat bread. The CIA's long experience [has] taught it that recruiting a Lebanese agent starts with a hummus plate and a shawarma wrap. So, following each session, the CIA hosts and pays for a traditional Lebanese spread.
"None of the above details are embellished or fabricated. Such meetings have been taking place since 2008 in the U.S. after a Lebanese American student group decided to connect Lebanese students with one another in various states and cities. Under the guise of working toward providing them with employment opportunities in the U.S., they hold yearly recruitment sessions for the CIA...
"The LCN which claims to work toward providing students with employment opportunities in the U.S., has been holding information sessions sponsored and run by the CIA since its inception in 2007 up until last week. The lecturers are CIA agents who are openly recruiting and hiring students...
"But the CIA's contribution is not limited to hummus. It is an LCN 'Gold Sponsor' in 2012, alongside other, 'Silver,' sponsors like Rotary and RotarAct. The financial contribution of the CIA to the LCN could be a violation of the CIA's regulations about working on U.S. territory. U.S. laws allow the CIA to directly recruit agents in the U.S. but not to fund U.S. organizations with U.S. citizens as members inside the country, except in extraordinary circumstance[s]...
"LCN['s] mission states that it is 'a non-political, non-religious, and non-profit organization aiming to connect and develop Lebanese collegiate clubs, students, and alumni within the United States.' For five years in a row, the CIA was the only 'institution' to provide career training for students [through the LCN]! On the other hand, the CIA's mission says, 'We are the nation's first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go. We carry out our mission by collecting information that reveals the plans, intentions, and capabilities of our adversaries... [and by] conducting covert actions at the direction of the President to preempt threats or achieve U.S. policy objectives'...
"LCN considers the 'CIA info sessions' [to be] one of its major achievements. In its first communique about the issue it claimed that 'more than 100 students attended and engaged the CIA representatives with several intuitive questions that ranged from salary, commitment, and policies.' The student network does not deny CIA funding. Its website and annual letters indicate that 'the CIA donated $500 per info-session to the LCN.' It also 'purchased the food for all student attendants'... Nevertheless, several leaks from inside LCN indicate that the CIA's contribution is upward of US$10,000 annually, thus giving it the Gold Sponsor status."
Lebanese Government Investigates Legality of LCN-Run Events at UCLA Bringing Lebanese Students Together with "Enemy" Israelis
An April 30, 2012 article in the English edition of Al-Akhbar said the Lebanese government was investigating whether events at UCLA cohosted by the LCN-run Lebanese Social Club (LSC) and the Israeli Leadership Council were illegal according to Lebanese law. The article explained that the LCN, sponsored by the CIA, seemed to be facilitating contact between Lebanese citizens and Israelis, which was forbidden because "Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and according to Lebanese law it is illegal to communicate with any person from an enemy state."
Following are excerpts:
"The Lebanese government has said it will look into the legality of a 'Lebanese society' at an American university hosting a joint event with an Israeli one. The Lebanese Social Club (LSC) at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is organizing a charity fundraiser with the Israeli Leadership Council 'for the disenfranchised children of Israel and Lebanon.' The group is part of the Lebanese Collegiate Network (LCN), which Al-Akhbar revealed earlier this month is heavily sponsored by the CIA, leading to claims that it was little more than a recruitment center for the American spy network...
"The stated aim of the Israeli Leadership Council, which is co-organizing the event, is to 'build an active and giving Israeli-American community in order to strengthen the State of Israel.' The group also has a close relationship with the 'Friends of the IDF' charity...
"Adnan Mansour, Lebanese foreign minister, said the government was to look into whether the event was legal under Lebanese law. 'We will investigate whether the Lebanese Social Club consists of Lebanese citizens or Lebanese Americans,' he said. Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and according to Lebanese law it is illegal to communicate with any person from an enemy state...
"Following the article about the LCN, Al-Akhbar has learned that a board member of the group has resigned. 'The CIA taints the LCN in the perspectives of those in Lebanon, and even many people here; CIA associations damage the credibility of anyone and everyone in the Lebanese public sphere, especially in light of recent events,' the board member said in a resignation letter obtained by Al-Akhbar. 'The very fact that the CIA is one of the largest LCN donors has created a negative stigma that will follow the LCN. I hereby resign and call on those within the LCN to boycott this organization if they share similar opinions to mine,' it added. This prompted the Lebanese Student Association at Berkeley University to pull out [of the LCN]."
 Al-Manar TV (Lebanon), December 10, 2011.
 New York Times (U.S.), December 13, 2011.
 Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 31, 2012.
 English.moqawa.org, April 16, 2012.
 Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), April 6, 2012.
 Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), April 30, 2012.
I must admit that as an American that I'm shocked my government would EVER do these sorts of things. Absolutely shocked.
|"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.