Some regarded the recent press conference held by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah to be a success. The criteria of success in this case is not confirming or denying an accusation, but rather in preparing to deal with these accusations.
In order not to be misunderstood, let me clarify that this press conference was a success even before it started. This press conference was preceded by a media campaign launched by a host of media outlets affiliated or loyal to Hezbollah which leaked pictures, investigations, and confessions, all as a part of a slogan that many founded attractive; Israel is the killer, Israel is responsible for the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. We experienced several weeks of a media propaganda campaign that made almost everybody feel that they had to listen to what Nasrallah would say, and that their fate was closely linked to this press conference. This is precisely the mood that Nasrallah succeeded in creating.
Nasrallah prefaced his speech with several press interviews in which he continually promised to reveal more next time, telling al-Manar satellite television that “before 8 August is one thing, and what happens afterwards is another.” The fact that the streets of Beirut were empty when this press conference was being broadcast, and that the media gave this special coverage, is proof that the event was a success in grabbing the attention of the Lebanese public and making them feel that the fate of the entire nation was hanging on what Nasrallah was going to say.
However let us analyze some of the things that we saw and heard.
What Nasrallah described as “inconclusive evidence” is precisely the same information that was published earlier by newspapers and media outlets affiliated to Hezbollah. The press conference merely recycled the same news that Hezbollah had previously leaked to the media, or to be more precise, to its own media. Nasrallah repeated what we had already been informed of in order to present his view and analysis of the Hariri assassination.
The conference, which included an unprecedented audio and visual presentation with regards to previous Nasrallah press conferences, relied primarily on journalistic expertise and capabilities rather than judicial or investigative [expertise]. Al-Manar satellite television reporters exerted a lot of effort to develop the photographs of the Israeli reconnaissance aircraft, and produce the segments [of the presentation] that showed the confessions of [Israeli] agents, with the Israeli flag being shown at the top of the screen.
Following the Nasrallah conference, newspapers revealed that more than 150 young men and women affiliated to Hezbollah searched through archives and records for the specific material that was utilized during this press conference.
Therefore it is not important here to confirm or deny what was put forward at this press conference, for this is something entrusted to the international tribunal, and until now we do not know what or when it will announce its final ruling. It seems that we have become entrapped by these fiery speeches, and we will continue to be affected by the leaks in the press as they have become the backbone of our daily lives. Nasrallah concluded this press conference by saying that he was providing data and evidence in order to open new horizons, but it seems that these new horizons will be nothing more than another source for leaks, speeches, and media talk, rather than giving us conclusive proof, investigation, or confession.