Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nasrallah's "evidence" that Israel murdered Hariri is a joke - but....(UPDATED)

Yesterday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah went on TV for two hours, trying to spin a convoluted case that Israel was behind the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

The most interesting parts of his speech were where he said that Hezbollah had captured an Israeli drone in 1997, and they managed to analyze it in order to capture IDF surveillance footage.

"The secret I want to reveal tonight is that before 1997, Hezbollah was able to catch an Israeli spy plane photographing South Lebanon and sending them to an Israeli operations center," Sayyed Nasrallah went on to say.

"Before 1997, the Resistance managed to capture the transmission of an MK drone and we managed to access this transmission which enabled us of capturing the images transmitted by the drone as the enemy's operation room was receiving them," Hezbollah Secretary General explained.

"The capturing of the MK drone images by the Resistance's operation room led to the foiling of the enemy's amphibious assault on Ansariyeh on September 5, 1997," Hezbollah Secretary General revealed, before showing details of the Ansariyeh operation and explaining how this tactic helped the Resistance fighters foil the Israeli attempt.
He showed what looks like convincing aerial video footage of that failed 1997 assault.

Al Manar has the speech on video here.

Then he goes on to say that Hezbollah continued to capture video from Israeli drones up through at least 2005, and this footage supposedly shows that Israel was surveying the route that Rafik Hariri took when he was killed.

Hezbollah Secretary General then turned to the most sensitive part of the press conference: tangible proof showing the Israeli enemy carefully monitoring the movements of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and his locations.

In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah unveiled footage intercepted from Israeli surveillance planes of the site of the 2005 murder of ex-Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri prior to his assassination.

"Israeli drones had carefully monitored the movements of Hariri's motorcade in Beirut and on the Farayya-Faqra road," Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out. "Was that a coincidence?" his eminence wondered. "Such footage generally comes as the first leg of the execution of an operation."

Several clips, each minutes long and undated, showed aerial views of the coastline off west Beirut on various days prior to the Hariri assassination. "Are there any Hezbollah offices in these areas monitored by Israel? Why is Israel monitoring these locations?" Sayyed Nasrallah wondered.

The videos are undated, so if Hezbollah did capture drone videos for years then they pretty much have aerial video from the IDF over all of Lebanon. Nasrallah does make a convincing case that certain turns in a specific roads that Hariri supposedly used were videoed from various angles.

Nasrallah also claimed to have evidence of exactly when Israeli planes were over Beirut on the day that Hariri was assassinated, and that an Israeli spy was in the area.

That's pretty much his evidence.

The evidence was far from convincing for at least some in Lebanon:

Commenting on the evidence that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah presented during his 2 + hours press conference Elias Zoghbi told “BBC:” What has Nasrallah presented was a political case . This is not the kind of concrete and convincing evidence that we expected from him that will prove Israel was behind Hariri’s murder. Nasrallah ’s presentation was interesting …. he acted like a news anchor ”
What I have not yet seen from Israel is any confirmation or denial that, for what may be years, Hezbollah was able to intercept Israeli drone transmissions. Clearly what Nasrallah showed indicated that Hezbollah captured video from multiple drones over a period of time. Some of the footage was in color.

This would be an outrageous security failure on the part of the IDF. It is not difficult to encrypt transmissions in such a way that they would be virtually unbreakable. If the IDF didn't change their methods of transmission or their encryption after the 1997 drone capture, someone should be fired.

UPDATE: See the comments. Apparently Israel radio is speaking about this; one IDF general says that Nasrallah's claims might be true, others seem to be denying it.

UPDATE 2: Apparently, you can intercept sensitive stuff yourself for $26 plus your satellite dish. Again, if this was known since the 1990s, why would transmissions remain unencrypted? (h/t Pesach)