Levitt’s New Book and the Truth

Years have passed since Levitt testified as an ‘expert’ on Hezbollah at Mohamad’s trial. As demonstrated earlier, his ignorance concerning Hezbollah and Lebanon was conspicuous. Ostensibly, Mr. Levitt reviewed the prosecution’s file of Mohamad. Then, without genuine knowledge of Hezbollah’s operation or modus operandi, he testified that the conduct of Mohamad and his friends had characteristics of Hezbollah activities.

However, in his newly published book, Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God, Mr. Levitt acknowledged that he did not study Hezbollah seriously until after Mohamad’s trial, in May 2003, when he attended a conference… (Levitt page xiii) Now, since Levitt has studied Hezbollah, his book proves the arguments that Mohamad’s attorney made concerning Hezbollah and Fadlallah. Moreover, his writing concerning Hezbollah is virtually the same as the defense experts’ testimony and contradicts every key point Levitt had made at the trial. If he had testified as he has now written in his book, the jury would have heard a completely different case.

For example, at the trial he opined that only leaders can call Fadlallah, and since Mohamad has called Fadlallah, he must be a Hezbollah leader.

Now, he writes: “Hammoud also kept in contact with Mohamad Hussein Fadlallah. By this time, Fadlallah was no longer formally affiliated with Hezbollah, and by some accounts he was no longer the group’s “spiritual adviser, either.” (Levitt 161) The contradiction of his testimony is patent.

At the trial, Levitt testified that Fadlallah’s mosque was where Mohamad lived, in Bourj Al-Barajni, and that Fadlallah was the spiritual leader of Hezbollah.

In his book, Levitt writes, “Living in the Bir al-Abid quarter, Fadlallah served as the local representative of his Iraqi teacher, Ayatollah Khoi, and founded schools, mosques, and other institutions… Even as Fadlallah’s ties frayed with Iran and likewise Hezbollah, he would always be revered by Lebanese Shi’a. He remained the most prominent Shi’a spiritual leader in Lebanon.” (Levitt 26)

These statements contradict his testimony on the essential points he made at the trial, which the prosecutor repeated endlessly: Fadlallah is Hezbollah; Mohamad’s association with Fadlallah proves he is Hezbollah; and money to Fadlallah is money to Hezbollah.

Concerning the internal command hierarchy of the military branch of Hezbollah, Levitt, acknowledged its high secrecy:

“Little is known about [the Hezbollah military wing’s] internal command hierarchy,’ a Western government report noted in 2012, ‘due to its highly secretive nature and use of sophisticated protective measures.”(Levitt 13) He wrote also: “The Jihad council is responsible not only for Hezbollah’s formal militia activity (the Islamic Resistance) but also for its covert activity. Under this structure Hezbollah’s militia, terrorist wing, and security organization all report to the Jihad council. Unlike its sister councils, the Jihad council enjoys strategic ambiguity such that neither the majority of its officials not the party’s elected parliamentarians are aware of the details of Hezbollah’s covert military and terrorist activities, which are decided upon by the party’s most senior leadership.” (Id. At 14-15)

Additionally, he wrote: “Due to the secretive nature of [Hezbollah’s terrorist wing], it is difficult to gather information on its role and activities… Hezbollah, to be sure, goes to great lengths to hide its covert and illicit activities, severely complicating the prospect of conducting open source research on the subject… As a former FBI agent put it, groups like Hezbollah, “are well aware of our interest in them and what our intentions are” and therefore “they have become experts in the arts of concealing their activities.” (Id)

Concerning Hezbollah cells, particularly sleeper cells, Levitt’s writing is congruent with Mr. Robert Baer, the defense expert’s testimony. Levitt wrote:

“[A]ccording to a protected witness, the formation of sleeper or “dormant” cells operating under strict operational security guidelines such that members of one cell were not aware of members of another.” (Id. at 81) And, “Hezbollah operatives use foreign passports and nationalities. They use Christian-sounding names. (Id. at 134-135) Mohamad’s attorney has argued the casual and non-covert communications were so public that they were completely inconsistent with Mohamad operating a Hezbollah cell or Harake being a military commander.

“[B]y 1994, the FBI would report that New York Hezbollah cell members were taking directives from the group’s Beirut leadership, exhibiting security-conscious behaviors, and at the instructions of Hezbollah leaders, increasing counterintelligence efforts aimed at identifying Lebanese nationals within the community who may be provided information to law enforcement.” (Id. 149). “In another case, a Hezbollah cell in New York was instructed to divide into teams as a security precaution. Teams were not to discuss Hezbollah matters outside of their team,” the FBI reported. “Secret communication could no longer be carried by courier, and letters could not contain details such as the names of members.” (Id. 150)

Again, these observations are so inconsistent with the evidence regarding the conduct of the so-called “Charlotte Hezbollah Cell” as to prove this group of men was in no way a cell.

Concerning Hezbollah finance, Levitt wrote:

“For years Hezbollah relied almost exclusively on Iranian largesse, which hovered around $100 to $200 million a year or more (Id. at 357, citing US Department of Defense, unclassified report on military power of Iran. “CDA-Military power of Iran. (April 2010)”. Again Levitt admits Hezbollah did not rely on donations from nationals abroad.

Levitt testified falsely about subjects he had not studied and knew virtually nothing about. A person examining Levitt’s false testimony would easily conclude that Levitt was given a “green light” to say anything that would assist the prosecution with a conviction. For example, it is illogical that the lead prosecutor hired a person for $25,000 to testify about a Lebanese organization but did not ask that person whether he had ever been to Lebanon.

Levitt’s false testimony─that Mohamad was a Hezbollah leader because he had called Fadlallah; that Mohamad was a fanatic because he had gone to a very pro-Iranian, anti-American school, that Mohamad was a terrorist because he had helped procure arms to Hezbollah – was extremely damaging, especially in the emotionally charged months after the tragedy of 9/11.

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