Monday, December 29, 2008
December 29-31, 2008 -- SPECIAL REPORT. Intelligence and blackmail of U.S. politicians
It was a story that surfaced at the same time that the first major Congressional page sex scandal embroiled members of the Senate, House of Representatives, their staffs, and congressional employees. The year was 1982 and among those implicated in the page sex scandal was then-Idaho Republican Representative Larry Craig, who later, as a Senator, was convicted of soliciting sex from an undercover policeman in a men's room at Minneapolis Airport.
While the congressional page sex scandal of 1982 caught the attention of ABC and NBC News, another, more serious child sex scandal that hit the newspapers and the now-defunct Independent Network News (INN), broadcast from WPIX-TV in New York, quickly faded from view.
The story about Washington, DC's politically-powerful and underage male prostitutes, some as young as 12 years old, broke about the same time that the FBI identified a key kingpin in child pornography production and distribution in Chicago who admitted under questioning by FBI agents that his network of pedophiles included a U.S. naval officer and other influential government employees. It was later discovered that the naval officer was the Commanding Officer of the U.S. Naval Facility in Coos Head, Oregon.
The Naval Investigative Service (NIS) was called in and the Operations Officer at the Oregon naval installation was requested by the FBI and NIS to participate as the lead temporary special agent in a carefully-prepared sting of the base commander to obtain evidence and the identities of co-conspirators.
On September 14, 1982, UPI filed the following report from Coos Bay, Oregon:
"The commander of the Coos Head Naval Facility was relieved of duty and jailed on charges he promoted an obscene sexual performance by a child.
Lt. Cmdr. Larry William Frawley, 38, was arrested Saturday and accused of promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child and using a child in an obscene sexual performance. Both are felony charges.
Police Sgt. Jack Bushmaker said Frawley was lodged in the Coos County Corrections Facility on $10,000 bail.
Frawley's alleged role in the will not be made known until the investigation is completed, Lt. Cmdr. John Marchi, public affairs officer for the naval base in Seattle, said. He said details will be not be at present since the investigation is pending, he said.
Lt. Cmdr. Marney Finch, executive officer at the Coos Head station, is now the interim commanding officer, Marchi said.
Frawley had been at the station since 1980.
Officials declined to say how many children were involved in the case or whether additional arrests were expected."
During the sting operation, Frawley admitted that his network of pedophiles included senior naval officers, clerics, lawyers, politicians, and judges.
The FBI had an additional problem in Chicago: two veteran Chicago police officers were later charged with producing child pornography. Critical photographic evidence was destroyed by the Chicago cops before it could fall into the hands of the FBI and Cook County state's attorney's office. The case against the officers soon fell apart.
Three Chicago North Side residents were convicted of running a "sex club" using teen-agers between May 1982 and August 1983, the height of the call boy scandal in Washington and other cities.
In 1993, Chicago's Roman Catholic Archbishop Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was sued by a former student who accused him of sexual abuse while he was an adolescent. Bernardin was Archbishop of Cincinnati from 1972 to 1982.
But federal investigators faced another major problem in their investigation of child prostitution. A shadowy Washington DC communal group called "The Finders," which had significant Chicago links, was suspected of engaging in the sexual abuse of children, some as young as 2 years old, and performing Satanic rituals involving children. And there was one other problem for investigators: the Finders were believed to have connections to the CIA.
The involvement of intelligence agencies was advanced by New York Detective Dale Smith who conducted a five-year investigation on behalf of the New York state Senate Select Committee on Crime. The investigation was spurred by New York Republican Senator Ralph J. Marino. Marino became Majority Leader of the New York Senate in 1988 but was ousted during the Thanksgiving holiday in 1994 by conservative GOP allies of Republican Governor-elect George Pataki. Marino was replaced by Joseph Bruno. Bruno later tangled with New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was brought down in a prostitution scandal involving adult women. Marino died in 2002 from tongue cancer. He was 74.
Smith testified that Robert Kohler, an accountant for five call boy services, told him the services sold information about their clients to foreign intelligence services. The clients were reported to be U.S. government officials. Smith revealed that the foreign intelligence involved were those of Israel, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. However, British intelligence has an unwritten understanding with the CIA not to operate on U.S. soil without the knowledge of the CIA. Smith said that a Soviet intelligence agent told him that the KGB bought information on the clients of the call boy services. Mossad's involvement was not detailed but such blackmail activities by Israeli intelligence have been and are endemic in hostile intelligence activity in the United States.
In addition to working for the New York Senate Committee, Smith also worked with the Washington, DC and Arlington, Virgina police in investigating the call boy ring over a three year period.
The Mossad is known to keep extensive files on embarrassing information to use later to blackmail individuals. WMR has learned from a former high-level Jewish official of the Clinton administration who has extensive contacts with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that the number two Mossad chief responsible for the United States and Canada is Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel, the prospective Chief of Staff for Barack Obama. With Mossad's files at his disposal, Emanuel is in a position to blackmail politicians involved in Mossad's past "honey trap" operations, including the 1982 call boy network, which saw Israeli intelligence agents buying information from the pedophile prostitution services.
Smith revealed information on the intelligence blackmail operations involving U.S. government officials during a two-day New York Senate hearing in July 1982 at which Smith described how boys between the ages of 13 and 16 were shuttled between various cities to have sex with clients for fees between $50 and $250. The younger boys commanded the higher fees. Smith also testified about child pornography being produced by the call services. Smith also stated that the call boy service was connected to "organized crime' in New York City but he was not specific about the ethnicity of the syndicate.
Smith told The Washington Post that he posed as someone "interested in starting a male prostitution service in the Washington area." Smith said the sale of client lists posed a national security problem for the United States and that is why he decided to make public the intelligence angle involving Israeli, Soviet, and British intelligence public..
However, Washington Metropolitan Police detective Carl Shoffler's testimony provided some clues to the identities of the criminal syndicate involved. Shoffler said, "Call service operations in Washington have some connection with organized crime in New York and that a separate investigation by the Washington Metropolitan Police revealed that "information pertaining to organized crime involvement generally led to corporations and individuals in New York." Smith testified that profits from the call boy services were re-invested in real estate. The corporate angle is significant. The female prostitution ring that enmeshed New York Governor Spitzer was linked to the Israeli Mafia in the New York City area. Interlocking corporations were used to launder the money made by the prostitution ring.
Most of the boys were said to be runaways and the call boy services operated behind such fronts as modeling agencies, photo studios or book stores. Shoffler said that the the call boy prostitution clients were often the victims of extortion. Shoffler added, "most of the victims, you can tell from their professions and all, wouldn't be complainants."
Smith stated that among the centers for the call boy trysts were Dallas Bar, the Haymarket, and the Follies Theater in New York and Cinema Follies in Washington and Best of Both Worlds in Pittsburgh.
Jeremiah McKenna, general counsel for the New York Senate committee told the Associated Press that ''They're making more money selling information than on the prostitution itself."
Washington, DC Metropolitan Police detective Anne Fisher told the committee that the cities involved with the call boy services were Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, New York, Washington and Houston and that some clients paid for sex with boys with credit card. Yet with such prima facie paper trail evidence, an investigation by the FBI was never pursued. Fisher testified, ''You could call a number in Houston from Washington and have a young boy brought to your room in Washington." Fisher said the boys used were as young as 12. Smith said a weekend of sex with boys would cost $450 and that limousines transported the young prostitutes.
Special Agent Charles Koczka of the U.S. Customs Service office in New York testified that 60 percent of pornography entering the United States from overseas involved children between the ages of 12 months to 13 years of age. The Soviets especially used child pornography to blackmail western intelligence agents. Government Communications Headquarters employee Geoffrey Prime, a Russian linguist with a Top Secret Byeman clearance for U.S. spy satellite information, was arrested by British police in 1982. Prime was a member of a British pedophile group, information that was obviously used by the Soviet KGB to blackmail him into passing classified material to the Soviets. Prime was actually a member of the Pedophile Information Exchange, a pedophile organization in Britain.
Fisher said the call boy pimps used the boys for production of pornography.
With all the information compiled by law enforcement in three states and the Customs Service, the FBI did not see fit to further investigate the foreign intelligence angle to the call boy ring. The FBI told The Washington Post that "the bureau has no information to confirm that Soviets or agents from other foreign governments have purchased customer lists from male prostitution services." However, there were reports that the FBI had requested the C&P Telephone Company to turn over phone call records of suspected call boy clients in the Washington, DC area. Washington and Arlington police raided two call boy salons in March 1982 and a list of 1000 clients was sized. The Washington Post reported that a mid-level State Department employee resigned after his name turned up o the client list.
As was the case with the later George H. W. Bush administration, which saw congressional pages and call boys given midnight tours of the White House by GOP officials, the Reagan administration tolerated child prostitution. One result of the 1982 Coos Bay Navy-FBI investigation was the realization that pedophiles involved in the ring and covering it up extended "all the way into the White House." The information on the Reagan White House connection came from the NIS resident agents in Portland and Seattle. Representative Austin Murphy (D-PA) was outraged by the Reagan administration's lackadaisical approach to the child prostitution in its midst. Murphy told a House labor and eduction subcommittee that the Reagan administration was ''getting big government off the backs of the pimps." After hearing testimony that child prostitution rings used children as young as five, Murphy said, ''Are we willing to lend a helping hand to American children who are alone in the streets for filth peddlers to prey upon? The answer from the White House seems to be 'no',''
Post script: The Coos Bay navy facility operations officer who was the FBI and NIS temporary special agent who led the government "sting" against the Commanding Officer in 1982 was this editor. The FBI and NIS confided that the perpetrator had likely been "turned" by the Soviet KGB during a previous and unauthorized trip to the Soviet Union after knowledge of his pederasty became known to Soviet agents during a clandestine hotel check of his room and luggage.
A cover-up of the Navy case was launched by then-Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, later named as a member of the 9/11 Commission. Lehman was also a member of the Project for the New American Century and is a member of the neocon Committee on the Present Danger. Lehman was considered an odds-on favorite to have been named CIA director or Director of National Intelligence had John McCain won the presidency.
This editor's Navy career was a casualty of participation in the FBI/NIS investigation of the national pedophile ring. Attempts to correct retaliatory fitness reports were rebuffed by the Navy Department and Lehman's Judge Advocate General told this editor that the "needs of the Navy outweighed the career of one individual."
Further attempts to have details of the story publicized by Navy Times and the Eugene (OR) Register-Guard were met with threats against the newspapers editors and publishers by top Navy and Defense Department officials.
" The White House Murder Inc, "
A formidable weapon in the service of Empire Building for USA...
* Corrupted democratic elections in Greece, Italy and dozens
of other nations;
* Been involved to varying degrees in at least 35
assassination plots against foreign heads of state or prominent
political leaders. Successful assassinations include democratically
elected leaders like Salvador Allende (Chile) and Patrice Lumumba
(Belgian Congo); also CIA-created dictators like Rafael Trujillo
(Dominican Republic) and Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnam); and popular
political leaders like Che Guevara. Unsuccessful attempts range from
Fidel Castro to Charles De Gaulle.
* Helped launch military coups that toppled democratic
governments, replacing them with brutal dictatorships or juntas. The
list of overthrown democratic leaders includes Mossadegh (Iran, 1953),
Arbenz (Guatemala, 1954), Velasco and Arosemena (Ecuador, 1961, 1963),
Bosch (Dominican Republic, 1963), Goulart (Brazil, 1964), Sukarno
(Indonesia, 1965), Papandreou (Greece, 1965-67), Allende (Chile,
1973), and dozens of others.
* Undermined the governments of Australia, Guyana, Cambodia,
Jamaica and more;
* Supported murderous dictators like General Pinochet (Chile),
the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines), "Papa Doc" and "Baby
Doc" Duvalier (Haiti), General Noriega (Panama), Mobutu Sese Seko
(Ziare), the "reign of the colonels" (Greece), and more;
* Created, trained and supported death squads and secret
police forces that tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of
civilians, leftists and political opponents, in Guatemala, Honduras,
El Salvador, Haiti, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile,
Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Angola and others;
* Helped run the "School of the Americas" at Fort Benning,
Georgia, which trains Latin American military officers how to
overthrow democratic governments. Subjects include the use of torture,
interrogation and murder;
* Used Michigan State "professors" to train Diem's secret
police in torture;
* Conducted economic sabotage, including ruining crops,
disrupting industry, sinking ships and creating food shortages;
* Paved the way for the massacre of 200,000 in East Timor,
500,000 in Indonesia and one to two million in Cambodia;
* Launched secret or illegal military actions or wars in
Nicaragua, Angola, Cuba, Laos and Indochina;
* Planted false stories in the local media;
* Framed political opponents for crimes, atrocities, political
statements and embarrassments that they did not commit;
* Spied on thousands of American citizens, in defiance of
* Smuggled Nazi war criminals and weapon scientists into the
U.S., unpunished, for their use in the Cold War;
* Created organizations like the World Anti-Communist League,
which became filled with ex-Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, Italian
terrorists, Japanese fascists, racist Afrikaaners, Latin American
death squad leaders, CIA agents and other extreme right-wing
* Conducted Operation MK-ULTRA, a mind-control experiment that
gave LSD and other drugs to Americans against their will or without
their knowledge, causing some to commit suicide;
* Penetrated and disrupted student antiwar organizations;
* Kept friendly and extensive working relations with the
* Actively traded in drugs around the world since the 1950s to
fund its operations. The Contra/crack scandal is only the tip of the
iceberg -- other notorious examples include Southeast Asia's Golden
Triangle and Noreiga's Panama.
* Had their fingerprints all over the assassinations of John
F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcom X.
Even if the CIA is not responsible for these killings, the sheer
amount of CIA involvement in these cases demands answers; [editor's
note, see: Evidence That the CIA Murdered RFK]
* And then routinely lied to Congress about all of the above.... and
many more operations still unfolding from 1995 onwards.
The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6
million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (4)
Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an
--Gore Vidal, The Erosion of the American Dream
I have repeatedly stated that the US regime of George W. Bush was not
legitimate. How can I make it any clearer? "Illegitimate" means that
the regime of George W. Bush was no more legitimate than the crooked
regimes of tin horn dictators in banana republics. The Bush regime
differed little in terms of competence or statesmanship. Now, in a
cynical document that the US Army had never intended be disseminated
publicly, we have confirmation that the position of the US vis a vis
the rest of the world is based not upon Democracy or legitimacy. It
is, rather based entirely upon force, aggression and US terrorism....
By Paul Craig Roberts
Jan 13, 2009,
Why does Israel have a right to exist, but Palestine doesn’t?
This is the question of our time.
For 60 years Israelis have been stealing Palestine from Palestinians. There are maps available on the Internet and in Israeli publications showing the shrinkage over time of what was once Palestine into what Palestine is today -- a small number of unconnected ghettos or Bantustans.
Palestine became “the occupied territory” from which Palestinians were ejected and Israeli settlements built for “settlers.” Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are full of refugee camps in which Palestinians driven off their lands by Israeli force have been living for decades.
Driving people off their land is strictly illegal under international law, but Israel has been getting away with it for decades.
Gaza is a concentration camp of 1.5 million Palestinians who were driven from their homes and villages and collected in the Gaza Ghetto.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency was created 60 years ago in 1949 to administer refugee camps for Palestinians driven from their lands by Israel. As of 2002, the registered Palestinian refugee population was 3.9 million.
Caterpillar Tractor makes a special bulldozer for Israel that is designed to knock down Palestinian homes and to uproot their orchards. In 2003, an American protester, Rachel Corrie, stood in front of one of these Caterpillars and was run over and crushed.
Nothing happened. The Israelis can kill whomever they want whenever they want.
They have been doing so for 60 years, and they show no sign of stopping.
Currently, they are murdering women and children in the ghetto that they have created for Palestinians in Gaza. The entire world knows this. The Red Cross protests it. But the Israelis brazenly claim that they are killing “Hamas terrorists who are a threat to Israel’s existence.”
The American media knows that this is a lie, but does not say so.
Israel has been able to slowly exterminate a people for 60 years without provoking sufficient outrage to stop it.
The United States, “Christian America,” has been Israel’s greatest enabler in its long-term murder of the Palestinian people. Millions of “evangelical Christians” endorse Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
The rest of the world condemns the Israeli military attack on the Gaza Ghetto. Last week, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution requiring a ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Israeli SS from Gaza.
The United States abstained.
While the rest of the world condemns Israel’s inhumanity, the US Congress -- I should say the US Knesset -- rushed to endorse the Israeli slaughter of the Palestinians in Gaza.
The US Senate endorsed Israel’s massacre of Palestinians with a unanimous vote.
The US House of Representatives voted 430-5 to endorse Israel’s massacre of Palestinians.
The resolutions endorsed by 100 percent of the US Senate and 99 percent of the House were written by AIPAC, as were the speeches praising Israel for its inhumanity....
The US Congress was proud to show that it is Israel’s puppet even when it comes to murdering women and children.
The President of the United States was proud to block effective action by the UN Security Council by ordering the secretary of state to abstain.
Be a Proud American. Swagger and strut. Pretend that you are not besmirched by the shame that your government has heaped upon you. Take refuge in your ignorance, fostered by 60 years of Israeli lies, that the murder of Palestinians and the theft of their lands is “Israel’s right of self-defense.”
Full Text: 11th report of the International Independent Investigation Commission.
The following is the eleventh report of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) established pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1595 (2005), 1636 (2005), 1644 (2005), 1686 (2006), 1748 (2007) and 1815 (2008), submitted by Daniel A. Bellemare, commissioner, on December 3, 2008.
The Security Council requested the International Independent Investigation Commission to report on the progress of the investigation within six months of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1815 (2008) on 2 June 2008. This report is the eleventh provided by the Commission, and the second report of Commissioner D.A. Bellemare who took office on 1 January 2008.
The report provides an update on the progress that can be publicly reported. The Commission has acquired new information that may allow it to link additional individuals to the network that carried out the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The Commission also made further findings that help to identify the possible geographic origin of the suicide bomber.
Since the previous report, the Commission has also uncovered additional elements corroborating the connection between the Hariri attack and the other cases with which links had already been found. Preliminary indications also suggest that there may be a link between one additional case and the Hariri case.
The Commission continues to maintain regular contact and interact closely with the Lebanese authorities on matters related to its investigations, as well as on matters relating to the security of the Commission and its staff. The Syrian Arab Republic has provided generally satisfactory cooperation. The Commission's mandate currently ends on 31 December 2008. The Secretary General has announced that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is fully on track to commence functioning on 1 March 2009. The Commission requests that its mandate be extended up to 28 February 2009, so that it can continue its investigation without interruption. During the extension period the Commission would gradually transfer operations, staff and assets to The Hague with a view to completing the transition by the time the Tribunal starts functioning.
The launch of the Tribunal does not mean that the investigation has been completed. While extensive work has been done on the investigation, the Commission - and the Office of the Prosecutor, once it begins to operate - must continue to gather evidence that would support an indictment before the Tribunal.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the Tribunal will need to continue to investigate all the cases within the Commission's current mandate, in order to establish which of the cases are connected to the Hariri case in the manner required by the Tribunal's Statute. It will also require the full cooperation and support of the Lebanese authorities, as well as all other Member States, in order to conduct effective investigations and prosecutions.
1. This report is the eleventh report provided by the International Independent Investigation Commission, and the second report of Commissioner D.A. Bellemare who took office on 1 January, 2008.
2. In April 2005, in the aftermath of the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the Security Council decided to establish "an international independent investigation Commission based in Lebanon to assist the Lebanese authorities in their investigation of all aspects of this terrorist act." The approach of the Security Council at that time was that the investigation would be led by the Lebanese authorities, with the assistance of the Commission, and that prosecutions would be brought before Lebanese courts.
3. In 2007, this approach was changed. At the request of the Lebanese government, the Security Council created an international body, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (the "Tribunal"), with a dual mandate: to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the Hariri assassination and related attacks. This new Tribunal would take the lead in the investigation and ultimately hold trials.
4. On 30 November 2008, the Secretary General stated that "the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is fully on track to commence functioning on 1 March 2009." This means that the investigation will be led from that time by the Office of the Prosecutor of the Tribunal in The Hague.
5. While extensive work has already been done on the investigation, the Commission - and the Office of the Prosecutor, once it begins to operate - must continue to gather evidence that would support an indictment before the Tribunal.
6. The momentum of the investigation must be maintained in the transition from the Commission to the Office of the Prosecutor. To ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum during the transition process, the Commission notes that an extension of its mandate until the day the Tribunal commences functioning would allow the investigation to continue uninterrupted and facilitate a phased selection and movement of staff.
7. The Commission is sensitive to the fact that the beginning of operations of the Tribunal and the upcoming move to The Hague have brought expectations to a peak. These expectations are that indictments naming perpetrators will be filed as soon as the move to the Tribunal is completed. Though these expectations are understandable, the move does not in fact mean that the investigation has been completed.
8. The Commission shares the Lebanese people's frustration with the uncertainty about the time needed to complete the investigation. But the Commission can only stay true to its obligation to be guided solely by facts and evidence and to conduct its investigation in accordance with international standards.
9. As it approaches its move to The Hague, the Commission is aware that, to earn the sustained commitment of the Lebanese people and the international community, it must continue to inspire the public's confidence in its independence and professionalism.
10. Public confidence in the Commission and the Tribunal will also help people feel safe about approaching them with what they know, and in doing so help bring an end to impunity in Lebanon. Victims also need to feel confident about the process and as a result the Commission has placed a renewed emphasis on victim outreach.
11. In fostering public confidence, the Commission needs partners. The media, particularly the Lebanese media, has a key role to play in this process. The Commission will endeavour to ensure, through the press, that the public is kept accurately informed about the nature of the Commission's work and the next steps of the process. To that end the Commission will assist the media in enhancing its grasp of the legal processes and concepts involved in the work of the Commission and the Office of the Prosecutor.
12. With these considerations in mind, this report will attempt to strike a delicate balance, being as informative as possible, while maintaining the necessary confidentiality of the investigation. It will present (i) the environment in which the Commission operates; (ii) the challenges it faces and the progress achieved; (iii) the cooperation received from States; (iv) the process of transition to the Office of the Prosecutor of the Tribunal and (v) conclusions.
I. The Environment
13. In this reporting period the security environment has been volatile and resulted in serious violence during May 2008. At that time, the Commission's movements were severely restricted and interviews and other scheduled investigative activities had to be postponed.
14. Following the events of May, sporadic violence continued to erupt in various parts of the country. In recent weeks the security situation has improved, but the security environment in Lebanon and the region remains fragile. As a result, movement remains restricted for Commission personnel in certain areas. In addition, as the Commission approaches its transition to the Tribunal, it remains cognizant of the need to protect its staff, premises and holdings. It is with this and other safety and security concerns in mind that additional measures have been taken to protect Commission personnel and assets at this time.
15. During the reporting period there have been important developments on the political front in Lebanon, including the signing of the Doha Agreement, the election of a President, the formation of a national unity government and the resumption of the National Dialogue. The President and the new government have both affirmed Lebanon's continued commitment to the Tribunal. The new government's ministerial statement, which received the Lebanese Parliament's vote of confidence, stipulated that:
The government [of Lebanon] confirms its commitment to the International Tribunal to look into the assassination of martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his companions, as well as other assassinations, in order to bring the criminals to justice and deter them without seeking revenge or politicization.
II. Progress in the investigation
A. A secure environment for cooperation
16. The Commission remains mindful of the essential role played by witnesses and confidential sources as its investigation progresses and of the importance of identifying individuals prepared to appear as witnesses in future trials.
17. As a result, the Commission has refined its procedures to accommodate, in a secure environment, any potential witness who appears to be in physical danger. According to these procedures, persons considered by the Commission to have significant information relevant to the investigation, and whose testimony will likely be required in future judicial proceedings, will be considered eligible for protection if the Commission determines that they are in physical danger as a result of their cooperation.
18. To ensure continuity, the Commission's procedures on witness protection will be shared and coordinated with the Victims and Witnesses Unit of the Registry at the Tribunal.
19. A number of countries approached by the Commission have also indicated their willingness to cooperate with the Commission in accepting witnesses and confidential sources who require protection. Procedures have been put in place to ensure the safety and security of those at risk, both during the life of the Commission and after transition to the Tribunal.
B. Investigative challenges
20. Operational challenges of varying magnitude are inherent to complex investigations. There are, however, additional challenges that are specific to the Commission's investigation, some of which have been noted in past reports.
21. During the reporting period a number of these challenges have had an impact on the progress of the Commission's work.
22. First, the Commission has faced difficulties in obtaining potentially sensitive information for lead purposes.
23. The Commission also frequently sends formal Requests for Assistance for specific information to Member States. The Commission is mindful of the burden imposed on States in responding to such Requests. While the vast majority of Requests are responded to in a timely and comprehensive manner, the Commission notes that late or incomplete responses slow progress in the investigation.
24. Finally, the Commission continues to have a pressing need for expertise in a number of key specialised areas. It will continue to seek Member States' support to meet this need on a timely basis.
C. Progress achieved since the last report
25. For every inch of progress there is a mile of activity. Progress in an investigation is as much about excluding some leads as following up others. During the reporting period, certain information collected was deemed reliable and led to further investigation, while other information allowed some leads to be excluded.
26. Those responsible for the attacks were professional and took extensive measures to cover their tracks and hide their identity. Much of the Commission's activity at this point in the investigation focuses on piercing the smokescreens to get to the truth.
1. Hariri Investigation
27. The investigation into the Hariri case continues to be active in all areas. During the reporting period, the Commission's work has included forensic examinations; gathering and analysis of information from a wide range of sources; and 288 interviews.
28. Progress has been made. However, to describe particular aspects of the progress is also to publicise the identity of persons who may have information relevant to the investigation and put their lives in jeopardy. It may also compromise investigative opportunities currently being pursued as it would advertise the Commission's next steps.
29. In the last report, the Commission stated that it had gathered evidence establishing that a network of individuals, the "Hariri network," acted in concert to carry out the assassination of Rafik Hariri.
30. As a result of investigative and analytical work, the Commission has identified new information that may allow the Commission to link additional individuals with this network. Corroborating information has been obtained from a variety of sources and this information has reinforced the Commission's finding that members of the Hariri network are associated to other attacks.
31. The Commission has also continued its investigation relating to the identification of the suicide bomber in the Hariri attack. Investigative activity during the reporting period included collecting additional soil, sand and water samples from States in the region and additional isotopic investigations. The results of these activities help to identify the possible geographic origin of the suicide bomber.
32. It is widely known that the "money trail" is often key in terrorism investigations. With that in mind, the Commission has placed renewed emphasis on reviewing financial transactions that may relate to the attacks. The Commission's investigation in this area has already yielded leads that are being followed up.
33. The Commission has also completed and reviewed the inventory of exhibits, including exhibits previously held by the Lebanese authorities. This inventory consists of a total of over 10,000 forensic exhibits including more than 7,000 that relate to the Hariri case.
2. Other investigations
34. The Commission currently has a mandate to assist the Lebanese authorities in the investigation of 20 attacks other than the Hariri attack. Investigations in these other cases also support the Hariri investigation.
35. When it last reported, the Commission stated that the Hariri network, or parts of it, were linked to some of the other cases within the Commission's mandate.
36. Since then, the Commission's investigation has found additional elements to corroborate those links. The Commission has also identified a potential link between one additional case and the Hariri case. Given the sensitivity of this area of the investigation, no further detail can be provided at this time.
37. A report comparing explosives used in the Hariri case to those used in all other cases is also expected soon. It may reveal additional links.
38. The results of recently-conducted forensic examinations have revealed information regarding the explosives used in certain of the targeted attacks within the Commission's mandate and their placement in the vehicles used in the attacks.
39. Moreover, forensic examinations in five of the targeted attacks revealed new DNA profiles and fingerprints from the vehicles and other items used in the attacks. These new results have increased the total number of fingerprints and DNA profiles found on items likely to have been handled by the perpetrators of the crimes.
40. The Commission has also been provided with a weapon that was allegedly used in the attack on former minister Pierre Gemayel. The Commission has sent this weapon to a foreign laboratory for ballistics analysis to determine whether this weapon was indeed used in the attack. Results are expected in the coming weeks.
41. Since March 2008, 29 persons have been indicted in connection with the case of the twin bus bombings in Ain Alaq.7 Technical assistance was provided to the Lebanese authorities on the analysis of explosive devices used in the attacks and the results were handed to the Lebanese authorities. The Commission also found four DNA profiles in relevant areas of the crime scene which were provided to the Lebanese judicial authorities for possible use in their proceedings.
42. There remains a significant amount of additional investigation work that must be undertaken in all the cases within the Commission's mandate. The Prosecutor will therefore need to continue the investigation into these cases once he assumes his office in order to establish which of the cases are connected to the Hariri case in the manner required by the Tribunal's Statute.
III. Cooperation with national and international authorities
A. Lebanese authorities
43. The Commission continues to maintain regular contact and interact closely with the Lebanese authorities on matters related to its investigation, as well as on matters relating to the security of the Commission and its staff.
44. The Commission continues to be extremely grateful to the Lebanese security forces for their relentless and effective support and assistance in protecting the Commission's staff and premises, without which the Commission could not continue its work.
45. The Commission continues to cooperate with the Lebanese authorities. As the investigation continues, first under the auspices of the Commission and then the Office of the Prosecutor of the Tribunal, it is expected that the same level of cooperation will be provided.
46. The Prosecutor General of Lebanon remains the main interlocutor of the Commission. Since the last report there has been a dramatic increase in the number and complexity of Requests for Assistance made to the Lebanese authorities. These authorities have responded with dispatch and in a comprehensive manner and the Commission thanks them for this cooperation.
47. During the reporting period the Commission also held meetings with the investigative judge for the Hariri case and the judges on other cases within the Commission's mandate.
48. As the investigation progresses, the Commission continues to share with the competent Lebanese authorities the substance of all relevant information obtained. The Commission recognises that it is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Lebanese authorities to detain or release individuals in Lebanon. In that regard, the Commission has continued to provide to the Lebanese authorities all the information that they need to make an independent determination on detention issues without resort to the Commission. The Commission has also provided its views on these issues to the Prosecutor General.
B. Syrian Arab Republic
49. Since its last report, the Commission has submitted 24 requests for assistance to the Syrian Arab Republic ("Syria"). Syria provided responses within the deadlines specified by the Commission. The Syrian authorities have also, during the period, facilitated nine missions to Syria.
50. The Commission acknowledges the logistical and security arrangements made by the Syrian authorities for its missions. The cooperation provided by the Syrian authorities continues to be generally satisfactory.
51. The Commission will continue to request the full cooperation of Syria in the discharge of its mandate.
C. Other States
52. Out of the 619 requests for assistance issued by the Commission during the reporting period, 96 were sent to 40 Member States other than Lebanon and Syria.
53. Member States responded positively to the Commission's requests. The Commission thanks Member States for their continued support and commitment to its work and renews its request for timely and complete responses.
54. The current mandate of the Commission ends on 31 December 2008. On 30 November 2008 the Secretary-General announced that the Tribunal is fully on track to commence functioning on 1 March 2009. As a result of this, an extension of the mandate of the Commission is requested to enable the continuation of the Commission's investigation activities until the start of the Tribunal's operation.
55. During this extension period, the Commission would gradually transfer operations, staff and assets to The Hague with a view to completing the transition by the time the Tribunal starts functioning. As stated by the Secretary General,8 staff will continue to be employed by the Commission during this entire period - i.e. until 28 February.
56. This phased relocation will allow the Office of the Prosecutor to have the staff required to be fully operational in The Hague by the time the Tribunal starts functioning. All measures should be taken to avoid any delay in investigative activities planned for this period.
57. On the day the Tribunal commences its functions, the Commissioner will assume his functions as Prosecutor and take the lead in the investigation.
58. No indictment will be filed until the Prosecutor is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to meet the applicable legal threshold. When this happens, he will submit an indictment to the Pre-Trial Judge for confirmation.
59. A chart providing an overview of the investigation and prosecution process envisaged for the Tribunal is provided in an Annex.
60. The Commission remains committed to the investigation of the crimes within its mandate.
61. The Commission's mandate currently ends on 31 December 2008 and the Secretary General has announced that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is fully on track to commence functioning on 1 March 2009. The Commission therefore requests that its mandate be extended up to 28 February 2009, so that it can continue its investigation without interruption and gradually transfer operations, staff and assets to The Hague.
62. There remains a significant amount of additional investigation work that must be undertaken in all the cases within the Commission's mandate. The Prosecutor will therefore need to continue the investigation into these cases once he assumes his office in order to establish which of the cases are connected to the Hariri case in the manner required by the Tribunal's Statute.
63. Both the Commission and the Office of the Prosecutor will need the unwavering support and full cooperation of all Member States in order to be able to conduct effective investigations and prosecutions.
64. The Lebanese people have shown a genuine commitment to the cause of justice. As the journey towards justice continues, this commitment must be matched with a respect for an independent and impartial judicial process that leaves no room for either a predetermined schedule or a prejudged outcome.