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Hezbollah's propaganda exposed during Annan's visit

By CTB Special Correspondent

Editor's Note: Karim is a special correspondent for the Counterterrorism Blog (he posted on July 24) and is currently in Lebanon.

Hezbollah's staged mini-demonstration in the southern suburb of Beirut has been exposed by unauthorized media footage. During a visit to the Hezbollah former "security square," destroyed during the war with Israel, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was greeted by a prepared crowd of Hezbollah militants. Accompanied by Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Seniora, Dr. Annan was escorted by Lebanese Army security, apparently very friendly with Hezbollah Department of Security. The Lebanese Army officers and Hezbollah were seen smiling at each other and coordinating the staged demonstration. A camera linked to an international media agency was broadcasting live from behind the Hezbollah's security lines. It captured the details of the "show." A group of women and girls, in traditional Muslim dresses and scarves were gathered by Hezbollah bearded security some 15 minutes before the motorcade arrives. The gathering was at about 30 feet away from where Annan's car was supposed to stop. This indicates that the motorcade security and the Hezbollah operatives knew ahead of time where the spot would be and had the women standing and waiting. Posters of Hassan Nasrallah were then distributed to the women. The camera showed a group of bearded men standing few meters behind the first line of women as a "second brigade." Then the camera showed the group of women tightening their positioning while few men with hats and "talkies" positioned themselves behind the women and started shouting orders: "Clap when Annan gets out of the car," they screamed to the women. The latter complied with "passion," raising the posters of Nasrallah. "Boo when Seniora appears," the Hezbollah's operators shouted. A huge boo was produced, not only by the women, but also by the men standing behind them.

As the UN delegation approached the group walking, the women screamed the name of Nasrallah and behind them couple men screamed "down, down, USA" (especially when the international media appeared). As soon as the officials walked farther, and as in a choreographed play, the women dispersed themselves opening the path for the militiamen looking males to rush behind the delegation walking through the ruins. Responding to orders barked form inside the group, the mens' "demo" got loud and slogans were shouted with greater energy and menace. Interestingly, and since the camera was filming live from behind and feeding it to satellite around the world, observers were able to "see" the whole operation to its most detailed developments. The last security men of the UN delegation facing the following crowd were smiling at the security cadres of Hezbollah and keeping the exact distance needed for the shouting to be heard and for the international cameras to film the delegation surrounded by angry people, hoping the sympathizing translators and editors would make the right comments on BBC, CNN, and of course on al Jazeera, and by the next morning, the right articles will be printed in the New York Times, the Guardian and Le Monde. The show got even more detailed, as the camera was feeding the footage live and raw, when a Hezbollah militiaman screamed at a media cameraman who had climbed onto rubbles to have a bigger view of the crowd and the whole picture. The Hezbollah operatives, along with a security man from the Lebanese Army rushed to remove the cameraman from where he was, which was logical, as he could have filmed the staging machine and more importantly the "size" of the demonstration. Back to the demonstration: the Lebanese state-security elements were telling the Hezbollah fellows, "tameem, azeem," (very good, excellent). The "commissaries" behind the lines of the males were changing the slogans from "Long live Nasrallah" to "Down with the US." In a few minutes, the delegation headed back to the cars, Kofi Annan apparently impressed with the "people's voice." When the convoy left, the men and women of Hezbollah's demonstration vanished leaving regular bystanders to themselves. Interestingly as well, whenever the camera showed a journalist, especially with cameras, a Hizbollah militiaman was just few feet away.

August 28, 2006 05:35 PM   Link 

Andrew Cochran
Co-Editor, The Counterterrorism Blog
Co-Chairman, The Counterterrorism Foundation

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